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Post 0

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 6:07amSanction this postReply
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It would be interesting to see the response to your latest missive.



Post 1

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:21amSanction this postReply
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Robert D,
His interlocutors's response will be rather all too predictable, I'm sure.




Post 2

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:23amSanction this postReply
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Is the message being CC'ed or bCC'ed to others in the university?



Post 3

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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It's a list-serve seen by all faculty at the college.
I'll post the response here shortly.




Post 4

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply
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Here is the response of professor XXXX.
 
Dear Colleagues,
I have no desire to be part of this flame, but I do feel it is important to note that our mission as an institution revolves around scholarship and teaching. I think that includes this List-Serve. I think it is inappropriate to use the List-Serve to stump for political positions unless the emphasis can stay on debate based in substantial and rational arguments.
Simultaneously denouncing and engaging in ad hominem name calling is not in keeping with the decorum that one expects here. And the denouncements of scholarship that Marty makes are not only inconsistent with the mission of the institution for which he works, but are also gross distortions of an historical record he seems only dimly to understand.
As my dissertation (in progress) focusses on cultural shifts in Weimer and early Nazi eras, I can report to you that these statements ("before WWII, effete intellectual snobs studied German culture and sought an understanding of the Nazis instead of developing strategies to fight Hitler. Perhaps certain things don't change." and "Too many intellectuals seem to be playing a game in a deadly serious battle. PhD's contributed to Nazism and communism.") blur the actual history of the Nazi era, apparently to make a political point. Intentionally obscuring the historical record in order to accomplish political ends is, sadly, typical of our government.
But should we let playing fast and loose with the facts infect our culture at Purchase? Can we, as a faculty, let it pass? Shall we turn our heads away from the reduction of history to cheap sloganeering?
If anybody wants to debate the complex and varied responses of scholars of Naziism, I would be most happy to. It's a fascinating topic that can potentially shed much light on interactions between culture and politics. But, were I to enter into such a debate, it would certainly not be with someone who has shorn the argument of all its particulars, ignored parts of the historical record that don't support his position, and placed it in evidence simply in order to support a vague foreign policy that is driven by manifest ill-will towards an entire religion.
We, as a faculty, should not be silent when one among us who is supposed to be a scholar stops behaving like one. Everyone has the right to speak as he wishes. But ones right to be regarded as a respected scholar depends on evincing the behavior of a respected scholar.




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Post 5

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 12:40pmSanction this postReply
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Marty,

Dayaamm!

That was on mighty fine intellectual slap. I really enjoyed that one!

From what I see, the academics you address want to learn knowledge about Islamic culture without learning about their moral principles.

They want to ignore the backward, non-progress influence Islam has had on the social cultures where it is practiced when compared to the Western world. And they want to ignore that the Islamic world is steeped in principles that do not depend on learning knowledge - "faith" principles, ones that lead to blind obedience.

So your academics would abandon moral principles to the Islamic Witch Doctors in examining the Islamic culture. No wonder they think the Attilas that pop up might be our fault.

You are right. Their brains did fall out - the evaluative part, anyway.

Michael


Edit - My post crossed with yours, Marty. From the response, get ready. This guy doesn't want to discuss anything with you. He wants to ban your thoughts from being exposed to the discussion audience. He seeks control, not discussion. I predict that he will be busy busy busy busy busy in the wings, and that you, not your ideas, will be his object of focus.

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/26, 12:47pm)




Post 6

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 1:19pmSanction this postReply
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 manifest ill-will towards an entire religion.
...But ones right to be regarded as a respected scholar depends on evincing the behavior of a respected scholar.
Ill-will is only respectable against Christians and Jews. 




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Post 7

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 1:39pmSanction this postReply
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I don't generally bash religious people, and rarely even mention their beliefs. But I have no problem whatever "manifesting ill-will" against the "entire religion" of Islam. It deserves it. Just as I would manifest ill-will against Communism, Facism, or any other anti-reason, anti-freedom doctrine.

Sheesh. Talk about multi-culturalism run amok.




Post 8

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 8:43amSanction this postReply
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It should be.



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Post 9

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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Marty - Professor X as quoted by you in Post 4 is clearly gunning for you. Don't let the bastard get you down or bring you down. Typically illiberal behaviour on the part of a modern "liberal." Akin to "scratch a self-proclaimed 'nice' person & you find a creep" is "Scratch a 'liberal' & you find a fascist."

I thought of writing a testimonial for you, but somehow I concluded that it might be the kiss of death. :-)

Anyway, Bravo! for your stand.

Linz



Post 10

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 3:37pmSanction this postReply
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Marty,
    The professor is clearly trying to take the secular humanist "high road" on this issue.  By "understanding" islamic culture he likely means acceptance of subjective truth, moral relativism, non-judgementalism regarding cause and effect relationships between values and consequences, etc... There is nothing wrong, in and of itself, with understanding islamic culture as an alternative to ignorance on the subject. But what does understanding have to do with anything?  Let us assume that every non-muslim on the planet somehow earns a PhD in Muslim Studies without converting to the faith.   What are we to assume all this enlightened "understanding" would achieve?  Perhaps if the academic community could be trusted to teach truthfully about islamic culture "understanding" may actually serve a valuable purpose.  I'm thinking, if more german jews had achieved a better understanding of Nazi thought, maybe they would have made their own extermination a more difficult enterprise for Hitler and his followers.  I suspect the professor's motive here is a completely different one though.   -Steve




Post 11

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 5:09pmSanction this postReply
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There is a difference between understanding and acceptance.  I was raised as a Christian to understand Biblical teachings via Sunday school lessons, church services, participation in the youth choir, formal training in catechism and the resulting confirmation of faith as an impressionable young teenager, etc.  I eventually understood it well enough, not to embrace it, but to reject it at its roots via rejections of supernaturalism, mysticism and self-sacrifice in favor of reality, reason and self-interest.

Unfortunately, we see here an attempt to get students to "understand" Islam for the sake of accepting it rather than rejecting it.  I do not need to read the Koran to reject Islam for the same reasons I rejected Christianity.  That secular humanists refuse to take a hard moral stand against the roots of religion boggles my mind.

Back in 1998, during work on the last NASA Spacelab pallet mission, I worked with a contractor from Saudi Arabia.  He was a practicing Muslim.  In our casual discussions, he shared that his religion treated Jesus as a prophet and that his home nation would not allow an atheist to set foot in their land.  I found that interesting, but not interesting enough to crack open the Koran.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 11/26, 5:18pm)




Post 12

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 5:33pmSanction this postReply
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Keep fighting the good fight, Marty. You're not alone!



Post 13

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 5:33pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,

Good for you and it wouldn't have done you any good if you had.  The Koran is not what empowers the faith.




Post 14

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,
Probably you were being rhetorical, but it needn't boggle the mind if you remember what that type of secular humanist really wants. (We, too, after all are secular humanists of a sort. The lower case sort.)




Post 15

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 6:53pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff, yes and no.  I understand the sort of collectivist relativism they want.  I just do not see how they can want it and still call themselves humanists and lovers of reason.  Grrrrrr...

I have seen occasional blurbs from various Objectivists protesting the mush of secular humanism.  Does anyone know of a complete, focused treatise taking the mainstream secular humanist philosophy to task from an Objectivist viewpoint?  I would call that a difficult assignment given that secular humanism is not a monolithic and integrated philosophy in the way Objectivism is.  One could easily make such an article into a hatchet job of the same order as Peter Schwartz's "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty."




Post 16

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,
Excellent points.

I don't know of any article or work directed specifically at particular 'movements', like say that headed by Kurtz. I would view most so-called secular humanist views as falling under the more general altruistic, pinkish left-wing rubric. But it's difficult to pin a tail on a cloud.

I was thinking more specifically of those that tend to be found in universities, but I take your point.




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Post 17

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:24pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

I know what most academic professors want - and it ain't philosophical - and if you are polemical, it is elusive.

Tenure.

Michael




Post 18

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Speaking of humanists, I posted a note to the SOLO Clubs forum recently about the enigma of the Center For Inquiry (CFI).  These people are clearly well-organized and well-financed to spread their "more general altruistic, pinkish left-wing rubric" to the masses.  I can see a few narrow opportunities for cooperation such as church-state separation activism but their overall thrust is quite different from Objectivism.  I would like to see our philosophy rise to topple theirs.  But we need excellent activism to do it.



Post 19

Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 7:36pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

For some reason that made me laugh. But maybe that's not what you intended.
I wish what they primarily coveted was an unjustified job security. Then once they got it, maybe they'd shut up. You are right about one thing, though. Being outspoken before you get tenure is really risky, career wise. Somehow I don't think that's primarily what drives the majority toward commonly held views. (I spent about twelve years in major universities so I have some experience.)




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