Earlier this week, I was reading Belle Waring’s hilarious take down of Richard Dawkins and the other Islamophobes about the whole Ahmed Mohamed clock incident, When a Policeman Asks You for a Correct Philosophy of Time, You Give It. I was going to post it as a quote. But then I came upon something she mentioned from someone in the Dawkins crowd. And it is really telling because I’ve heard this kind of argumentation for my entire life. It is designed to sound open-minded, but as I will discuss, it is just the opposite. In fact, Fox News uses this same exact propaganda tool all the time:
I don’t know any of these things. But I’m intellectually mature enough to admit I don’t know, and to also be OK with that. I don’t feel a need to take the first exit to conclusionville. But I do like to find facts where I can, and prefer to let them lead me to conclusions, rather than a knee jerk judgement based on a headline or sound bite.
Got that? He just doesn’t know. He’s not saying that anything nefarious was going on. He’s just asking questions. It just so happens that this is exactly what the slightly more educated Birthers say, “I don’t know where Obama was born; I’m just asking questions.” Similarly, James Inhofe doesn’t know that global warming is a hoax. He too is just asking questions. This is even true of Holocaust deniers. Obviously, none of this is true of the Little Brains. But anyone with the slightest intellectual sophistication grabs onto the “just asking questions” rhetoric.
Here’s what you need to know about this: there are literally an infinite number of questions that can be asked. The questions that you ask say a great deal about you. So this guy is just asking questions, because he can’t trust the news. If it had been news about a tsunami or a vote in Congress, well, then it wouldn’t occur to him to ask questions or even remember that he can’t trust the news. It’s sad. The guy is a classic example of what I call a subgenius: someone smart, but not incredibly smart, and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
The main purpose of his article is to try to show — in a very very Alex Jones kind of way — that Mohamed did not build the clock. Mostly, his point is that it uses old electronics parts. As I noted when I first discussed it: I have done the same thing. I had an electronics lab filled with equipment. I assume Mohamed had old bits of electronics that could be scavenged. Not that it matters. Arguing with this guy would be exactly like arguing with 9/11 Truthers.
This spectacle is hilarious in a certain way. There are people who are classic Islamophobes: people who fear, hate, and distrust Muslims. But like all bigots, they don’t see themselves as bigots. So they come up with elaborate ways to justify their bigotry. But most of all, they are just open-minded. They are just asking questions.
 The site is currently down, but it is: clock | Tech Voice – Artvoice. Whether this is because of bad luck, a DDoS attack, or simply because there are lots of people like Richard Dawkins who just can’t get enough of this kind of thing, I can’t say. Here’s a copy: Google cache.