I love graphs. Graphs are a great way to quickly and dramatically illustrate a point. But graphs without data aren't worth the paper they might be printed on.
It's true that the three major religions in the graph fired up at different times (but though Jesus Christ was probably born by or before 3 BCE, I doubt that his followers were coming out of the woodwork while he was a toddler) and that can't be completely ignored if you're going to compare religions. There might even be a way to model violent behaviour* by adherents of religions** as a function of time and you might be able to come to be able to make the assertion that religions change in predictable ways over time. Maybe. This is otherwise complete bunk, and I hope heads roll at the FBI (figuratively - I'm not a murderer like Governor of Texas and Presidential-hopeful Rick Perry).
Graphing gives the FBI's assertions the illusion of true scholarship where there is in fact none. The graph is merely a vehicle so they can say:
1. Jews and Christians are equally pacifist in general, and Christianity has always been more violent than Judaism but it is trending to pacifism more quickly, therefore Christianity is actually innately better.
2. Muslims always will be more violent, since their violence is now at a fixed level and not a function of time like White People Religion.
They don't need any evidence, they just need a graph. Who needs evidence, anyway? The United States government's dim view of human intelligence was vindicated when the Iraq War was launched on spurious*** claims that Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.
To stop the War on
Follow-up: It seems that the FBI contracted the person who provided this 'training', and now that the materials have been leaked, they say they're no longer contracting him and that they intend to review their policies. God, I love the media sometimes. Would we have anything even resembling democracy without them? Here's a new article including some details of the FBI's about-face.
As much as the ball was dropped, I am oddly comforted that the FBI merely condoned this training instead of actually creating and delivering it, and that angers me - corporations contract partly to avoid the sort of liability there'd be doing things in-house.
As far as I know, there are no standards governing people who are flown into corporate offices to give seminars. Equally spurious BS probably gets thrown around everywhere all the time (if you have a consultant come in and she administers a personality test, run) - this is just hackle-raising because of the circumstances.
* - How do you quantify that? Let's for the moment pretend we have perfect statistics and competent statisticians.
** - Even the sects that live in the mountains and are hard to sample for?
*** - Even before the war, it was shaky. I admit a lot of us just wanted to see the US go in and kick Saddam Hussein's ass. We willingly looked the other way.