Wednesday, 22 September 2010

They Don't Know Jack

With the Vigilance Committee in the East End: A Suspicious Character - Illustrated London News 1888 - public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
In the morning paper, some hit-and-run text opinionator made this killer point which I have only heard about thirty million times this year:

"Sure, most Muslims aren't terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims..."

Wherefore Muslims shouldn't get upset if non-Muslims look at them funny - or maybe do a little bit more. This is speciously plausible enough, that even plenty of otherwise smart people I know seem to find it conclusive.

So because I've run out of patience this morning, here is another argument of the same logical form:

"Sure, most white males aren't serial killers, but most serial killers are white males."

More than this, the bet that a given serial killer will turn out to be a white male remains a disproportionately good bet to make in this country. Therefore, both the literal statement and the unstated implications of each proposition are true in exactly the same way.

Nonetheless, if Jamila in the street starts giving me the hairy eyeball on the strength of my abnormal propensity to imitate Jack the Ripper, then I shall feel fully justified in ripping into her arguments with the keen blade of my SCOOOOOOORN! Because it will plainly be the toot she is talking.

This implies, necessarily, that she has an equal right to lay on with the fool-flayer if our positions are reversed.

Excuse me, Mr Opinionator. I feel one of my funny turns coming on.

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