“War is deceit,” Muhammad said, but sometimes one’s speech and body language don’t play along in selling it. We hope to post the video of last night’s Spencer/Zayed debate as soon as possible for those who could not watch it live, and there is an interesting phenomenon to observe.
Robert Spencer remains calm and unruffled. Zayed is the opposite. Zayed got agitated, was clearly rattled, and on the defensive. He began to talk loudly and very quickly. He appeared to be scrambling, as every stroke he delivered as a hoped-for coup de grace was answered just the same, and his every evasion was called out, such as fixating on short phrases that were not ultimately at issue to run out the clock (avoiding “hath made one to excel the other” in Qur’an 4:34 by focusing on “man is the protector of woman,” and avoiding “caused me pain,” in Sahih Muslim 4.2127, to make his claim that Aisha said Muhammad pushed her instead of striking her).
As the debate went on, that pattern continued, and the attacks got more personal, and the shots got cheaper against Spencer and his readers, until that was all that was left by the end before the call-in section commenced. Zayed apparently had no recourse at that point except to go completely off-topic into personal attacks.
To illustrate the point further, CNN recently carried this story from RealSimple that interviewed a few experts on the physical signs of lying, and Zayed appears to have hit a number of them:
A pair of flaming trousers (or a growing nose, Ã la Pinocchio) isn’t the only sign that a person is spewing falsehoods. Here, five experts teach you how to smoke out a fibber.
A person’s demeanor or voice radically changes
“As an investigator, I first try to assess how someone normally speaks. To do that, I begin an interview by asking questions that I know the answers to, like “What’s your full name?” or “Where do you live?” Some folks are naturally animated and talk fast; others are more subdued. Once I know which type of talker a person is, I start asking him questions that I don’t know the answer to. If his manner shifts abruptly — going from calm to agitated or lively to mellow — chances are he’s not telling the truth.” […]
A person proclaims his honesty repeatedly
Even if he did not use the same phraseology, Zayed invoked his own authority in this manner:
To sell us on the integrity of their answers, liars often use phrases emphasizing the validity of their statements, like “to tell the truth” and “to be perfectly honest.” These verbal tip-offs frequently invoke religion. Think of expressions like “I swear on a stack of Bibles” and “as God is my witness.” Most truthful people don’t need to go that far.
“War is deceit,” Muhammad said, but we’ll stand by for Zayed to throw that translation — linked above from Islamic sources posted by the Muslim Student Association of the University of Southern California — under the bus, to tell us as an authentic Arabic speaker that it really says “rabbits are fuzzy,” and to promise to post the “real story” on his blog, along with more insults.
“War is deceit, ” but it’s so much easier to tell the truth.