Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Meaning of "False" 

The adjective FALSE has 10 senses:
 1. not in accordance with the fact or reality or actuality
2. arising from error
3. erroneous and usually accidental
4. deliberately deceptive
5. inappropriate to reality or facts
6. not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article
7. designed to deceive
8. inaccurate in pitch
9. adopted in order to deceive
10. (used especially of persons) not dependable in devotion or affection; unfaithful

***

AbuKhalil asks a question:

Look at this. The New York Times provides FALSE justification for the Israeli racist bigoted "Law of Return"

"Many European countries, as well as Israel, grant a fast track for citizenship or otherwise give privileged status to people born elsewhere with shared roots."  This is an article about Israel but the sentence begins by a reference to European countries, notice. And which European country grants automatic citizenship purely based on religion? Which one?

Notice how the professor who should know better resorts to a sleight of hand in order to justify his  claim of falseness. The article speaks of European countries granting a fast track for citizenship or privileged status to people with "shared roots".

AbuKhalil  finds it convenient to "contradict" this statement by equating "shared roots" with "religion". But "shared roots" could mean anything from religion to race to nationality to language to culture, etc,.  A religion like Judaism is a shared root.  A language like Hebrew is a shared root. Historical memory, attachment and narratives are a shared root.

To understand how silly and transparent this ploy is, let's imagine a man told by his doctor to avoid eating strawberries. Next day the man shows up with full blown allergy symptoms. What's this, asks the doctor, didn't I tell you not to eat strawberries? I didn't eat strawberries, says the man. Only strawberry ice-cream. You said nothing about strawberry ice cream. That's AbuKhalil's rationalization of his claim of "FALSE justification": He would eat the Strawberry ice cream and blame his doctor for the onset of allergy because clearly when the doctor warned against eating Strawberries he did not specify all the foods in which Strawberries are a more or less important ingredient.  

It is a significant point to understand how AbuKhalil understands/uses/abuses language in the service of his loudmouth, black&white politics. 

Anne Carson (the Canadian genius poet) describes a similar phenomenon in her book of poems "The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos":

What really connects words and things?

”Human beings, tend to use language as Homer says

“the gods do. All human words are known to the gods but
have for them entirely other meanings alongside our meanings.

They flip the switch at will”.

In other words, the gods know that Red is Red and when they speak to mortals, they use it in its proper denotation. But sometimes they prefer to pretend that red is Red. This is when they lie, or try to fiddle with our mind. People do not do well when their minds are fiddled with, which is why Albert Camus is reputed to have warned us about the danger of playing fast and loose with meanings:

"Mal nommer les choses, c'est ajouter au malheur du monde' (Not to call things by their correct names is to add to the troubles of the world)"


Now for the crux of the matter itself:

Here is a list of countries, mostly European, that practice a form of  "special consideration in a country's immigration laws (called "repatriation") which facilitate or encourage the reunion of a diaspora." 

_____________

More accuracies from Prof. AbuKhalil:

In this missive, the professor  makes the following statement:

"Israel all but admitted that it has killed Hassan Laqqis..."

It certainly is plausible and possible that Israel is responsible for killing Laqqis, but it is not in anyway a certainty or a fact. So I decided to do a little snooping around and it took all of 2 seconds to find that:
 

Laqqis was killed in an assassination when reportedly a number of gunmen shot him in the head in his car from close range as he arrived at his home at around midnight of 3–4 December 2013 local Beirut time in the Hadath region, a suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut. He was rushed to the hospital but died there a few hours later.[5]

A Lebanese Sunni militant group, "Ahrar al-Sunna Baalbek Brigade" (Arabic: لواء أحرار السنة بعلبك‎ ), believed to be an Lebanon-based al Qaeda-linked group from the Abdullah Azzam Brigades[6] claimed responsibility for the attack in a message on Twitter. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated this group “is not a fictitious name... This group exists ... It has its leadership ... and I am convinced it is linked to Saudi intelligence.”[7] Hezbollah has also claimed Israel was responsible for the assassination.[8] Israel has denied any involvement in the matter."

Presumably,  this information is available to a professor who teaches in an American university in America. So it invokes a certain suspicion of bias when he takes these facts:

 1. "A Lebanese Sunni militant group, "Ahrar al-Sunna Baalbek Brigade" ...claimed responsibility for the attack in a message on Twitter

2.  "Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated this group “is not a fictitious name... This group exists ... It has its leadership ... and I am convinced it is linked to Saudi intelligence.


3. "Hezbollah has also claimed Israel was responsible for the assassination.[8] 

4. "Israel has denied any involvement in the matter."

And sums them up as ""Israel all but admitted that it has killed Hassan Laqqis..."

What does "All but admitted" mean? 

"All but"  is a ceremonial "almost", that is,  an "almost" that means "practically", or 0.01% short of absolute certainty.

Is there anything in the list of facts cited above to justify such a level of professed certainty?

2 Comments:

At 5:22 PM EST, Anonymous Brian Goldfarb said...

Are we not astounded by the Prof's outstanding grasp of logic and linguistic. We are truly in Humpty Dumpty territory here: "a word means what I want it to mean" Even Donald Rumsfeld ("known unknowns", etc) made so much more sense than this.

Is there any evidence that he teaches his students as sensibly as he blogs? That is, is he as illogical in the classroom as on the net? And if so, how come he's still in a job?

 
At 2:49 PM EST, Anonymous migreli said...

AbuKhalil is exhibiting a cultural trait that is very prevalent among his people. The "truth" can be what is emotionally rewarding, not necessarily what reflects material or any other putative reality. At some level he and his friends are quite aware of the difference. But they have noticed that all humans are susceptible to this psychological weakness and therefore persist in pressing their fantastical version of reality.

 

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