Journalist’s Resource

Researching for a topic / issue can be daunting matter, especially if you are trying to make sense of the myriad views and opinions surfaced.

Journalist’s Resource is a good place to start. It provides journalists relevant, scholarly research surrounding a topic. A good example would be the updated recent entry on Islam, terrorism and immigration in France following the Charlie Hebdo killings.

Hackers: Heroes or Headache?

This PBS documentary tries to highlight the positive social change effected by hacker communities in high profile issues like the Middle East uprisings, military trials and even disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

Do you agree? Is ‘hactivism’ really a force for good in the digital age? Can we trust these anonymous faceless groups to mete out justice in a manner we’re willing to accept? 

Anti-Islam Video: Crossing the line from moral culpability to legal accountability?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the burgeoning global protests against the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims”. While most can agree that the video is indeed denigrating and disrespectful, what is debatable is whether such acts (and judging from the violent responses it has generated) warrant criminal investigation and legal action? Do we take them to task in order to quell somewhat the violent reactions, or simply choose to wave it off while extolling the freedom of speech and shaking our heads at the violent protests?

Professor of Religious Studies Anthea Butler argues that yes, the masterminds behind the video deserve to be arrested given the dishonest nature of its production and the global repercussions it has costs for both western and middle-eastern worlds alike:

So why did I tweet that Bacile should be in jail? The “free speech” in Bacile’s film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith’s founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers. Even the film’s actors say they were duped […] Bacile indirectly and inadvertently inflamed people half a world away, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Embassy personnel.

Adam Lee, a Big Think and Daylight Atheism blogger, argues how calls to arrest the film producers are ludicrous and symbolically bows down to the demands of the protesters:

With all that said, however, I have to admit that there’s no moral equivalence to be drawn here. The free expression of opinions, however reprehensible those opinions are, isn’t a crime against human rights. Violence is. The producers of the film (who are apparently trying to stay in the shadows) may well hold false or bigoted opinions about Islam. But if their intent was to enrage Muslims and provoke them into violence against innocent people, thereby demonstrating that Islam is a backward and violent religion… well, they’ve made their point.

What is your opinion on the matter? Do you agree more with Butler in that the negative impacts of such actions justify due punishment? Or with Lee in that while we denounce such videos, arresting the film-makers would be a compromise of ‘western’ values of freedom of expression and speech? 

OR, are both writers missing the point here? Was this video merely a trigger that blew wide open larger anxieties and tensions between the two ‘civilizations’ (ala Samuel Huntington)? 

Not About Gun Laws, But About A Climate of Fear

Unsurprisingly the Aurora shooting has reignited debate over America’s gun laws again. Of course, it really isn’t about Aurora per se (such maladjusted people will kill, regardless of the laws); the incident is but another tragic trigger that has reminded Americans to look at the gun death statistics. In this article Michael Moore points the debate away from right or left wing rhetoric and instead points out larger societal mentalities of resolution methods and fear:  Continue reading

Honesty and Debating

Why On-going Arguments Show We’re Not Really Reasonable or Honest

If we have access to the same facts and evidence, we ought to reach the same conclusions about any topic. What does it mean when we don’t?

We’ve all encountered situations where we believe we are right and someone else wrong. Indeed, by our very nature, we hold beliefs that we think are true. However, says economist Steven Landsburg, when it comes to claims that involve others or the world, our access and knowledge of data ought to lead everyone to the same conclusion.

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Insanity of Justice

Is this a reflection of measured and responsible justice that keenly considers the mental state of the convicted, or is it the failure of a system to meet the needs of a grieving society? 

Norwegian disbelief at Breivik ‘insanity’

The Norwegian public, politicians and experts alike are expressing surprise at the verdict of the forensic psychiatrists assessing Anders Behring Breivik.

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