I’ve mentioned before – that old rule about “once is coincidence” also applies to large systems of any sort. Even if you have thousands of computers running, if three of them develop the same misbehavior, it’s not a fluke, there’s something wrong with the system. A bug, or something else overlooked, but not simply “oh an edge case”.

In case you’re wondering, this applies in part to yesterday’s post. Sure, we’ll never get rid of evil, but when you’re talking about orders of magnitude of difference in outcomes by population demographic, something is indeed different enough to cause such disparate outcomes, and it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the bunch.

That said, I laid aside intent, and root causes, and simply pointed out that  a nearly imperceptibly small change in odds can cause outsize results.

Today, I do no such thing.

I was watching an interview clip with the current leader of UKIP, and he quoted a part of the Koran related to killing jews. The lady was shocked, shocked I tell you. Then fell back to “but the Christian bible has just as ridiculous stuff in it too.”

Oh, and “it’s just a few extremists.”

Sure lady, pull the other one, care to tell us one of those things? Because the guy immediately countered: The bible doesn’t even have passages lining out, in detail, to kill all the jews until they submit, and how to subjugate other religions, or anything like it. There is absolutely a qualitative difference.

But it’s just a few extremists, right?

OK, again, I already covered how few “extremists” are truly needed to make life hell. instead, I’m going to cover why even one or two “extremists” are just the tip of the iceberg. The short version is: it’s the support network.

A single imam, preaching at a single mosque, to kill the infidel, is not the same as preaching or rallying in the public square, even in places that have free speech. It’s private property, and someone who knows the message being preached continues to allow it. Mosques require a support structure, financing, banking, and of course, a congregation.

One mosque in a city may just be a fluke. There’s always a percentage of cranks.

That said – what if there are two, or three mosques?

Then it’s not just one group of cranks attracting the disaffected, it’s a movement.

A systemic problem.