Testing Loyalty to Sharia Law Might Soon be Practical and Widespread

Testing Loyalty to Sharia Law Might Soon be Practical and Widespread, by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert.

[Newt Gingrich] recently said he wants to “test” Muslims living in the United States to see if they support Sharia Law because it is incompatible with the Constitution. Gingrich says we should deport anyone who fails the test, as they are not loyal Americans.

Your first reaction to Gingrich’s idea is that singling out one religion is unconstitutional and bigoted, and the tests would be worthless because people can simply lie. Plus, all that testing would be impractical. Let’s dig into that a little.

If the government tests all Muslims, and no one else, that is clearly a problem with the Constitution and unfair as well. But let’s say you test everyone in the country for loyalty to the Constitution versus loyalty to any competing system. That makes it fair, albeit impractical to implement. There are simply too many people to test.

Well, not so fast. Imagine that the test is administered to anyone who applies for a driver’s license, passport, or government ID. Those applicants would be asked to sign an oath of allegiance to the United States at the same time. It takes an extra 30 seconds. After a few years, you’d have most adults.

But how accurate would such a test be? People can simply lie. Here’s where things get interesting, because I think technology is right on the cusp of being able to create a lie detector that is 99.99% accurate. Let me say a bit about that.

A trained interrogator – or even a trained hypnotist – can detect deception in a subject with, let’s say, 80% accuracy. That’s not good enough. An existing lie detector with old-timey technology can detect deception about 80% of the time too, but that’s not good enough to be accepted in a court of law.

Now we have technology to detect lies based on changes in a subject’s eyes. This technology claims to be about 85% effective, and better than polygraphs. But that still isn’t good enough.

There has also been a lot of technological improvement in the speed, sensitivity, and cost of brain scan technology. You can put an inexpensive headband with sensors on a subject and detect brainwave changes. That technology can’t yet detect deception, but it’s heading in that direction. …

We’re probably three years away from lie detection technology that is 99% effective. That’s probably the solution. And if we test all citizens – not just Muslims – such a system is probably fair enough to satisfy the Constitution.