The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Aliens Cause Islamofacist Terrorism: Mueller and Stewart Use False Science to Argue for Surrender in the War on Terror

A long time ago, the late Michael Crichton gave a speech called “Aliens Cause Global Warming.”  He started off his speech by saying:

My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming.

Likewise my title sounds equally humorous but I am working around to a serious point.  And yeah, strap yourself in because this will be a long one.

If you want to know why the libertarian movement* has trouble getting traction when our spending has never been more out of control, as is our debt, you need look no further than today’s piece by John Mueller and Mark Stewart which first drew my attention via twitter:

If you follow the link, you come to an article entitled: “Putting Al Qaeda in perspective:

What this amounts to is the idea that, hey, al Qaeda is not such a big deal!  What’s a few thousand dead American civilians?  It is more efficient to just let them kill people now and then, then to actually fight them?

You think I am being unfair?  Well, I won’t exactly fisk it, but let’s pull out some quotes (and by all means, feel free to read it for yourselves and decide if this is a reasonable summation):

In September 2001, members of Al Qaeda — a fringe group within a fringe group and with grandiose visions of its own importance — managed, largely because of luck, to pull off a risky terrorist act that became the most destructive in history. 

(Emphasis added.)  Well, in fact they managed to put four teams of terrorists on four different planes, and to successfully take over each in synchronization, and then crash three of them into buildings, collapsing two of them.  That seems to be a bit more than luck to me.

On the other hand, the colossal stupidity of the government in preventing the attacks would seem more relevant to this “luck” thesis.  The immigration enforcement failures (and many libertarians want to eliminate immigration enforcement entirely), and the failure of government officials to notice that people were learning how to fly a plane but claiming they didn’t need to know how to land, demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that a more competent government could have caught the terrorists and prevented those particular attacks.  But of course these are libertarians, so they don’t want government big enough to have had that kind of presence in the first place.  And I would question if government ever could be simultaneously that big and also competent.

And then it gets worse for our authors:

A standard cost-benefit analysis suggests that enhanced US domestic expenditures on homeland security since 9/11 would have to prevent one large attack per day to be cost effective. In fact, terrorists have been unable to detonate even a primitive bomb in the US since Sept. 11, and they have killed only a handful of people by gunfire.

So first they set out to do... cost-benefit analysis.

Well, let’s take a moment to look at the costs.  The first and most obvious cost is, well, this (see left):

How much is that man’s life worth?  Isn’t it kind of pointless to even ask?  His life is of infinite value, right?

And what exactly is infinity times about 3,000?

(I am going to be rounding off a lot of numbers in a minute because, well...  life is too short and my estimates make my point well enough.)

Or perhaps you are willing to be cold enough to say that life has a value, but you won’t get any two people to agree on the value.  One person might say $1 million.  Another might say $1 trillion.  How could you possibly decide which of those two people are right?

Which is not to say that life is so valuable we will never risk it or even sacrifice it.  Four thousand or so Americans willingly gave their lives for our nation’s Independence from Great Britain, to name an example.  But they did so to obtain other “goods” that are also intangible and immeasurable.  What price is freedom worth?  What price is democracy worth?  And how does that compare to the value of a human life?

And of course it was never as crude as the British saying, “hey, give us 4,000 dead and we will leave.”  It was in fact asking a greater number of Americans (meaning the denizens of the colonies that would become America) to place themselves at risk.  And the actual risk was pretty hard to determine.  You could say for instance, that Americans faced a 1 in 1,000 risk of being killed by the British, given that there were close to four million Americans at the time we declared independence, and thus if the British only killed around 4,000, the average American faced a total chance of being killed at 1/1000 or 0.1%.

But of course that is wrong.  I don’t believe the British, for instance, killed very many people who weren’t soldiers or at least involved in the rebellion.  So really it was the risk of standing up the British that you had to be concerned about, more than the risk of just standing around minding your own business.  And the risk involved was unknowable.

In July of 1776, our founders declared that “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” as they declared their Independence.  They were deciding to risk their lives for freedom.  But suppose the fifty-six signatories were the only ones doing this?  Well, then the chances that these people would be killed by the British wouldn’t be 0.1%, but more like 90%.  And of course the prospects of success significantly changed the calculus.  Certainly if our rebellion failed, the chances of those fifty-six founders having to lose their lives—not to mention fortunes and perhaps even their honor—would have gone up considerably.

So certainly to the people in that moment there must have been no way of knowing just what risk they were taking.

And the same kind of analysis can be applied to al Qaeda.  Consider this line again:

In fact, terrorists have been unable to detonate even a primitive bomb in the US since Sept. 11, and they have killed only a handful of people by gunfire.

Ah, so having spent trillions of dollars preventing attacks is a waste of money because they have not successfully attacked us very much after having spent all that money!—or so the argument goes.  The problem with that is our success against al Qaeda changes the variables.  Yes, they aren’t able to do very much to us, while we have expended great amounts of our treasure in order to disable their ability to harm us.  And maybe the reason why they haven't been able to harm us is precisely because we have expended that blood and treasure.  So one wonders reasonably what would have happened if we didn’t do that, if we just let al Qaeda do what it does and let them get away with it?  How much worse would it have been?

I don’t know.  No one can know this.

And as if that is not bad enough consider the effects on other intangibles.  If terrorists are able to effectively kill Americans at will, what happens to our freedoms?  As regular readers know I participated in the Everyone Draw Mohammed movement.  The idea behind it was very simple: the terrorists said that they would kill everyone who drew Mohammed; therefore we figured we would all draw Mohammed.  “After all,” we reasoned, “they can’t kill us all.”  We hoped on one hand that the terrorists would recognize that they couldn’t really kill everyone who drew their prophet and stop issuing those threats.  And we hoped that the media would recognize their impotence and stop being afraid to depict Mohammed.

On the first metric, demonstrating the impotence of the terrorists, it was a smashing success.  On the second, demonstrating the impotence of the terrorists to the terrorists, I think it was an equal success.  Oh, they still thump their chests, but I don’t think they are making any serious effort to kill any of the artists, including the really prominent ones like the creators of South Park.  But then again, Comedy Central is still apparently afraid of letting South Park actually depict Mohammed, so we have not achieved victory on that third metric.

Now change the environment where the terrorists could operate more effectively in the U.S. and that might change significantly.  How long could freedom of expression survive if they really could kill all of us?  Indeed the terrorists have made it clear to us that they are going to keep attacking us until we all convert their own twisted version of Islam.  Would people be willing to stick to their religions in the face of constant murder?

And what if the terrorists next start saying, “Vote for an Islamofascist to be President or we will keep killing you.”  If we were not fighting to disable al Qaeda, could our democracy survive that onslaught?

I don’t know.  The answer is unknowable.

So if we were to do some kind of cost-benefit analysis, you would have to do a comparison between two sums: the cost of fighting the war, v. the cost of not fighting it.  The first sum could be rendered as:


And the second could be rendered as:


Which is gibberish unless I tell you what each variable means.  The first is MCWOT which stands for “material cost of the war on terror.”  The second is CLWOT which stands for the “cost of (human) life in the war on terror.”  The thirsd is VHL which stands for the “value of human life.”  The next is CFWOT which stands for the “cost of freedom from fighting the war on terror”—meaning how many rights and liberties we have given up in the fight against terrorism.  And VHF stands for the “value of human freedom.”  And that gets us to CFT, which stands for the “cost of fighting terrorism.” And of course I used NWOT for “no war on terror” so in the next equation, so CLNWOT is the cost of lives if there is no war on terror, CFNWOT is the cost of freedom if there is no war on terror, and CNFT is the cost of not fighting terrorism.

And indeed I am sweeping a great deal of complexity under the rug in creating those formulae.  For instance, is all human life equally valuable?  Before you say yes, let us remember that the when calculating the human death toll on 9-11 we generally leave out the terrorists themselves.  Are their lives equally valuable?  Of course not.  I place no moral value on the lives of these islamofascist terrorists, but I do recognize that they might serve a utilitarian purpose to us.  So for instance, I wanted us to capture bin Laden alive, not because I cared in the slightest for the value of his life, but because I wanted us to subject him to harsh interrogation and find out what he knew.  Find out what we can, and then by all means kill bin Laden.

And of course not all freedoms are equally valuable.  The Constitution guarantees equally our right to freedom of expression, and that soldiers will not be quartered in our homes.  But if breached, which one is a more serious problem?  So in fact the value of human life and human freedom would actually have to have complex formulas underneath them to figure out the relative value of the lives and freedoms lost.

So it is really, really artificial to reduce it to those two formulae and then compare the results to determine whether the war on terror is really worth it.  The formula is crude, but as you will see in a moment, it is more than enough to make my point.

In Crichton’s speech, his major point was to say you cannot have science with massively unknown variables.  And it is really worth the time to quote him at length:

In 1960, Drake organizes the first SETI conference, and came up with the now-famous Drake equation: N=N*fp ne fl fi fc fL

[where N is the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; fp is the fraction with planets; ne is the number of planets per star capable of supporting life; fl is the fraction of planets where life evolves; fi is the fraction where intelligent life evolves; and fc is the fraction that communicates; and fL is the fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live.]

This serious-looking equation gave SETI a serious footing as a legitimate intellectual inquiry. The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. And guesses—just so we’re clear—are merely expressions of prejudice.

Nor can there be “informed guesses.” If you need to state how many planets with life choose to communicate, there is simply no way to make an informed guess. It’s simply prejudice.

As a result, the Drake equation can have any value from “billions and billions” to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion.

Faith is defined as the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. The belief that the Koran is the word of God is a matter of faith. The belief that God created the universe in seven days is a matter of faith. The belief that there are other life forms in the universe is a matter of faith. There is not a single shred of evidence for any other life forms, and in forty years of searching, none has been discovered.There is absolutely no evidentiary reason to maintain this belief. SETI is a religion.

He goes on to argue that SETI created an environment in which then the equally fallacious equations behind global warming could be equally accepted as good science.

And isn’t that what is happening here?  I just gave you an equation that looks real serious but it is filled with variables that cannot be known.  It is not just the value of human life cannot be known, but once you admit that there is some human lives you care about more than others—that is, you care more about the life of Michael Monsoor than Osama bin Laden—then things get impossibly messy.  And then on top of that, just how many lives would we have lost if we didn’t fight the war on terror?  We can’t know.  And just what state would our freedom—indeed our democracy—be in if we faced endless unchecked islamofascist violence?  Again, we can’t know.

So they are attempting to impress into a discussion on the worth of the war on terror an inappropriate glean of science.  The only way to work such a formula, Crichton said, was to fill it in with guesses; and guesses are nothing more than an expression of prejudice.

And plainly when Mueller and Stewart say that the war on terror is not worth it, they are just guessing.

And they are entitled to their opinion.  But they are not entitled to dress up their guesswork on the stakes in this war as science.  They did not do anything as scientific as a cost-benefit analysis.  They made their own guesstimation on the value of the war on terror, and then tried to palm it off as science.


* Now that all being said, let me circle back to my smack at libertarians in the begining.  Of course there are many libertarians who are strong on national defense.  Glenn Reynolds comes to mind.  But right now in the mind of the public too often they are people like Ron Paul declaring that a nuclear Iran is no big deal.  As long as libertarians let that be how the public sees them, it is going to have trouble gaining very much ground.  Not that I know how to change that perception, but it does need to be changed.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the Blogger’s Defense Team button on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.


  1. Most of the Libertarians I have personally encountered are nowhere near as rigorous.

    In fact, most seemed like dopers and other libertines looking for the veneer of respectability a political affiliation can, on occasion, provide.

  2. I'm a small "l" libertarian because I disagree with the LP on matters such as national defense and immigration. Another area where the general public has trouble accepting libertarianism is the drug war.

    The Republican party is generally seen as being conservative, both fiscally and socially. (Though they're actually weak on fiscal conservatism and ineffectual at social conservatism.) While the democrats are seen as fiscally and socially liberal. (They most assuredly excel at both social and fiscal liberalism.) The LP is fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

    Members of the LP will often say that the American public sees matters generally the same way the LP does. My experience, though, is that most people are fiscally conservative but socially moderate -- we often are pro-choice but with caveats, or feel that immigration policies are necessary, or the war on drugs could be weakened without chucking it altogether. For me, this equates with the basic tenets of the Tea Party; so I think if we're headed in the direction of a third party, it will need to be something centered on a fiscally conservative, socially moderate ideology.

    I couldn't read the article you pointed to, because it's no longer available on that site. :-/ However, having argued with hardcore libertarians on national defense, I'm sure you fairly represented the authors' views.

  3. A comment on the value of a human life:

    We do routinely place a finite value on human life. This happens in wrongful death suits, product liability suits, and frankly, when people buy life insurance. Nobody has ever awarded an infinite amount of money for the loss of a human life.
    We see this kind of decision made in smaller ways, as well. Those who died in the Revolutionary War decided that the cost of possibly dying was worth the benefit of freedom from British rule. Outside of war and battle, we make choices based on how important life is to us. We engage in sports that have a small chance of killing us. We drive in cars while some number of people die in auto accidents every year. We eat junk food. We've decided that all of these activities are more rewarding to us than the extra twelve and a half minutes of lifespan they cost us on average.

    That being said, it is true the chance of dying in a terrorist attack is (so far) less than the chance of dying in a bathtub accident. But that doesn't mean we can't take reasonable steps to mitigate both. Terrorism, being the result of human choices, can be deterred. If it's made plain that committing terrorism will cost the terrorist and his cause more than it benefits, that's a deterrent. Bathtubs, on the other hand, are notoriously indifferent to deterrence, so we mitigate bathtub accidents with high-friction stickers on the bottom -- a technique that would probably not work with terrorists.

  4. Our enemies have made clear in their statements that if we do not fight back, they will increase their attacks until they successfully defeat us.

    His analysis doesn't take into account the fact that basic game theory and basic military theory requires that you oppose even weak players while they are trying to evolve the ability to effectively harm you.