Islamic Terrorism and Slothful Induction – a price paid in blood

Regular readers would likely by now have encountered my five previous posts on the reality of Islamic Terrorism, and the reaction of some people to this reality with Slothful Induction – a refusal to ‘join the dots’ and see things as they are, rather than as they would like things to be.

The consequences of this refusal to acknowledge reality became manifest, in the most horrible and mournful way, on Monday, and in the small hours of Tuesday morning, here in my home town of Sydney.

There is much that could be said on this topic – many have already said it, here is Andrew Bolt’s take – and no doubt there will be much to be said.

I would like to focus on one manifestation of this slothful induction – the police response to the situation.

From the beginning of the siege, and throughout, the jihadi who had stormed the cafe made clear his motivations:

  • he wore a headband with arabic writing which expressed his allegiance to Mohammed, the islamic prophet;
  • he instructed two of his hostages to hold a black flag bearing the arabic script of the shahada, or expression of faith, at a window of the Lindt cafe;
  • he instructed one of his hostages to tell the world, via her Facebook page, that ‘he wants the world to know that Australia is under attack by the Islamic State’;
  • he became agitated at the lack of accurate reporting of his motivations; the hostage wrote on her Facebook page ‘The member of the Islamic State who has taken us hostages says: “I have heard the news that politicians are not telling the truth to media about the motivation … The media is not telling the truth”; he then demanded an Islamic State flag and a conversation with the prime minister.

Clearly, from the outset, this was a terrorist attack on Australian civilians by a committed muslim jihadi.

And yet the media and the police refused to acknowledge this fact.

“We still don’t know what the motivation might be,”

said Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn at 4pm in the afternoon.

This is so mind-meltingly unbelievable that I feel bound to repeat it for you:

  • the jihadi took great pains to emphasise his association with islam, and described his armed seizure of the cafe as an attack by the Islamic State on Australia;
  • despite this, the woman in charge of the police response to the jihadi’s attack refused to believe him and insisted that they didn’t know the motivation for his actions.

This refusal to countenance reality led the police to treat the situation, not as a terrorist incident which the SAS and Commando regiments were better equipped and trained to deal with, but as a hostage-taking incident, which caused them to focus their efforts on negotiation towards a peaceful outcome via surrender of the jihadi – despite the fact that he refused point blank to talk to them.

Their error led them to choose to wait out the crisis:

  • police snipers, who on many occasions had the chance to shoot the jihadi through the cafe’s windows, never received approval to do so, such that the jihadi remained alive within the cafe, terrorising his hostages;
  • Police Commissioner Scipione announced to the media that the situation may last for a number of days.

Obviously, this was never going to happen. The jihadi had to sleep, he knew he would be vulnerable when he slept, fatigue began to set in, so he became nervous, and lost control of the situation when hostages took the opportunity of his distraction to escape. The jihadi responded with anger and threats to the lives of the remaining hostages. The result was the death of two hostages and the storming of the cafe by the police, with the jihadi dying in what can only be described as a veritable hail of bullets.

The police got it very, very wrong, because they refused to acknowledge the reality of the situation. And people died because of this mistake.

This is why I harp on about slothful induction. It is a form of wishful thinking and denial of reality, which mostly goes by without consequence but can often end in serious harm. As George Orwell wrote in 1946:

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson paid the ultimate price for this fantasy thinking.

Unless we change this false belief that terrorism is not related to islam, I fear that many more Australians will suffer the same fate.

Please, no more.

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About Stebbing Heuer

A person interested in exploring human perception, reasoning, judgement and deciding, and in promoting clear, effective thinking and the making of good decisions.
This entry was posted in Formal fallacies in reasoning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Islamic Terrorism and Slothful Induction – a price paid in blood

  1. Pingback: Prize for Slothful Induction: Catherine Burn in the running for a second year | The Stebbing-Heuer Project

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