I write not to disagree with the substance of this post by Edward regarding the growth of religiously-inspired textbook rewrites. Indeed, I'm no fan of folks who conflate their personal religious views with science. But I do take exception to the implication that such folks, however foolish or ill-intentioned, are the moral equivalent of the Taliban or a Wahhabist -- and, in particular, to the use of the term "madrassas." Let's save this word for true madrassas, and not weaken it by rhetorical hyperbole.
After all, one can be an idiot who must be opposed without being a galactically-dangerous idiot who we might have to kill. And we can refuse to give ground in politics without painting our opponents with the direst brush.
(This post should also serve notice to new readers -- if it's not already apparent -- that the ObWi Six do not move in precise political lockstep.)
Update: Although I have a couple of supporters, the readership overwhelmingly sides with Edward on this one. Most (including our own Hilzoy) make the point that the term “madrass” merely identifies a particular type of Islamic religious school, “not specifically one that calls for violent jihad or supports the Taliban [or other terror groups].” That’s an insufficient defense, however. Metaphors are contextual, and draw upon the most common meaning of a term known to the reader. Here, context and meaning link the peaceful and democratic (albeit wrongheaded) behavior of certain Christian fundamentalists with madrassas that preach hate and violent Jihad against the West. Such a link is inappropriate and unduly de-civilizing; it's also unlikely to convince anyone "on the fence" of the rightness of Ed's point.
The blogosphere is also against me, but they generally miss the mark. Hellblazer chides me for attacking Ed’s rhetoric because certain Republicans are (in his opinion) far more deserving of criticism. So noted, but so what? I write about what I want, and I’m concerned that Ed’s post is needlessly inflammatory and likely to further destroy the civility of public debate. And, incidentally, I criticize Republicans and conservatives with some frequency -- indeed, as noted, I agree with the fundamentals of Ed's post (as Hellblazer seemingly concedes in passing).
JPT accuses me and others on the "right" of "metaphor missing," but the claim is inapposite (as well as terribly arrogant). Of course Ed's use of "madrassas" is a metaphor; my whole point is that, as a metaphor, it is inappropriate and unduly inflammatory.