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Post 20

Sunday, July 25 - 6:43amSanction this postReply
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When a group of  "moderates" comes forward and reports to the FBI that their radical mullah is preaching hate and recruiting terrorists on U.S. soil, then I'll accept Phil's position. Until then, Islam is an ideology held only by sympathisers of terror, in my view.  

Seems to me that Muslims seek to protect Islam first, America second.  




Post 21

Sunday, July 25 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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> Islam is an ideology held only by sympathizers of terror

Phil's new rule :-): Before posting with certainty about Islam or muslims as such one has to read some non-right wing sources and some scholarly but nonpartisan ones (of which there are many) so as to get a range of viewpoints, arguments, and counter-arguments. And concrete details. One has to read up a bit on the history and development of the culture(s) - including the medieval 'high civilization' stage I mentioned**. One has to read up on the differences between, say, Indonesia and Pakistan or Turkey and Iran.

There will be a four-hour quiz: I will be awarding all expenses paid trips to a combat zone. The quiz will discuss the nature of religion, the differences between Islam and Christianity, how a religion is implemented or not implemented in a culture, how you can tell if someone is giving 'lip service', but doesn't really believe. How to change a religious culture. And more.

Those who get below 50% on the quiz will be forced to wear a burqua (football helmets for men) and then stoned.

** I am currently reading "Aristotle's Children." It is excellent and beautifully written. While not about muslims as such, it has quite a few insights. Since 9-11, I have felt it necessary - and very rewarding - to read quite a few articles and a book by Bernard Lewis on Islam and/or the Middle East.



(Edited by Philip Coates on 7/25, 9:12am)




Post 22

Sunday, July 25 - 9:11amSanction this postReply
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Here are two questions from the PhilQuiz:

1. Why is Al-Ghazali important in Islam and in what way is he comparable to Aquinas?

2. Compare and contrast culture, religion, and government in Indonesia and Turkey on the one hand and in Iran and Pakistan on the other.



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Post 23

Sunday, July 25 - 10:53amSanction this postReply
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After I posted it, I hope no one took the wording "Phil's new rule" in #21 too seriously. It was meant to be a humorous light touch. Sort of a mock-arrogant wording.

(Fortunately I'm not really arrogant because that would be a flaw and I have none.)



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Post 24

Sunday, July 25 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply
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Turkey in recent years because of a once desired bid to enter the E.U. has become more Democratic. The government passed reforms that took power away from the secular military dictatorship and placed that power towards Parliamentary style government. It has since become more Islamist in attitude. Recently it gave support to the so called Gaza Aid Ship and has warmed up to and supported Iran.

What's the difference between Iran and Turkey? A lot. They speak different languages, have different customs, one is predominately Sunni and the other Shia, they've had different historical experiences, but none of those differences are important, the similarities are. And what's similar is that they are both countries that have a population that predominantly follow a crippling religion. Where Turkey is still living off of the remnants of its modern secular past, it's moving away from that tradition. I don't see what else is to blame for that other than the culture of Islam.

That of course doesn't mean one should take the nuke 'em all attitude. There are a lot of people that follow irrational beliefs but not all of them are a threat. I don't have a problem with criticizing the crush 'em all attitude or the hasty generalization all Muslims are violent thugs, but what I do have a problem is trying to apologize for the culture and the religion. There's no need to whitewash the ideology.



Post 25

Sunday, July 25 - 2:15pmSanction this postReply
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> trying to apologize for the culture and the religion. There's no need to whitewash the ideology. [John]

There's a big difference between trying to apologize for something or to 'whitewash' it and capturing what it's like in all its nuances and differences.



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Post 26

Sunday, July 25 - 2:48pmSanction this postReply
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This reminds me of a similar conversation from a few months ago.

The objection you seem to have is that conservatives, Objectivists, and 'right-wing' libertarians are using a strawman when trying to identify or attack Islamic ideology. The objection goes, you can't really object to Islamic Ideology because more enlightened Muslims don't believe what conservatives, Objectivis, and 'right-wing' libertarians are arguing against. Really the argument becomes enlightened Muslims actually don't believe in Islam.

At some point, there has to be some meaningful identification of what Islam is in order to evaluate it and scrutinize it. You can't argue against some vague undefined position so it's not good enough to just say it's "complicated", or it "varies" according to country, or it has undergone many historical changes, or not every practicing Muslim believes in that interpretation of that verse of the Koran. It gives the Muslim and their apologists the benefit of never having to defend any concrete position by vaguely defining theirs and attacking their opponents arguments who have at least made the effort to come up with some understandable identification of the ideology.



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Post 27

Sunday, July 25 - 6:17pmSanction this postReply
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> Really the argument becomes enlightened Muslims actually don't believe in Islam.

John, I never said what you just said. Please *do not* alter my arguments and put words in my mouth. My arguments are -exactly- the ones I stated in my original post:

I took a lot of trouble to write my original post and worded it very precisely. I took a lot of trouble to give specific countries and examples. I took a lot of trouble to make a comparison to Christianity. I took a lot of trouble to discuss a very relevant historical example.

> it's not good enough to just say it's "complicated", or it "varies" according to country, or it has undergone many historical changes

That is why I gave you a lot of detail in my original post. I didn't just say "it's complicated".

> It gives the Muslim and their apologists the benefit of never having to defend any concrete position

There is no such thing as "the" muslims. That's a collectivist fallacy like speaking of -the- Negroes. Here's are some of the factual points I made once again based on my reading and on the facts of history:

"If one has read a book on the Middle East and Islam, one quickly learns that there is a difference between the religion and a tiny minority of its most extreme adherents, the Islamists or Islamofascists. The Islamofascists want to impose theocracy, to declare jihad and fatwas, to murder their opponents both in their home countries and in the West...Islamofasism is not identical to Islam, nor do more than a tiny minority of muslims subscribe to it. Never in history have one billion people been of a single mind about anything. Nor have they been willing to follow a single intellectual path, even when clothed in the respected garb of the church."

And this: "Al Qaeda and Bin Laden and their allies have been steadily losing support as they have murdered innocent people in their own countries, as thugs and murderers have terrorized those who violate religious strictures and as it has become clear what 'sharia' means. MOreover, elsewhere in the Middle East (with the possible exceptions of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) from Morocco in the West to Turkey in the East plus Iraq and Indonesia - the largest muslim country in the world, the forces of secularism and modernization are very much at war with, and disgusted by, the bands of would-be religious totalitarians."

That's why you actually have to read up on this -- I can't prove it to you in a post. The points I just made are not controversial for anyone who has read up on Islam.
(Edited by Philip Coates on 7/25, 6:21pm)




Post 28

Sunday, July 25 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
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> Where Turkey is still living off of the remnants of its modern secular past, it's moving away from that tradition. [John]

How would you know that it is moving away from secularism? How long a trend and how many measures would it take to make that strong a trend clear or permanent?

Turkey has elections and currently the more 'conservative', and religious party is in power. But that doesn't mean the things they do which we don't approve of will maintain after the next election.



Post 29

Sunday, July 25 - 6:37pmSanction this postReply
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Phil

John, I never said what you just said. Please *do not* alter my arguments and put words in my mouth. My arguments are -exactly- the ones I stated in my original post:

I took a lot of trouble to write my original post and worded it very precisely. I took a lot of trouble to give specific countries and examples. I took a lot of trouble to make a comparison to Christianity. I took a lot of trouble to discuss a very relevant historical example.


Your words are subject to interpretation and examination Phil. That you claim that's not exactly the words you wrote and is therefore not your argument is specious. I can most certainly draw logical conclusions from your argumentation and scrutinize them. It is clear you want to try to throw up the smoke and mirrors that Islam is something that is hard to pin down. That people you labeled as attacking Islam are really just ignorant of it and have no legitimate basis for attacking it.

There is no such thing as "the" muslims. That's a collectivist fallacy like speaking of -the- Negroes.


Really Phil? I can't even REFER to a group of people that share a common characteristic like the religion they follow? Am I supposed to take this objection seriously?

"If one has read a book on the Middle East and Islam, one quickly learns that there is a difference between the religion and a tiny minority of its most extreme adherents, the Islamists or Islamofascists. The Islamofascists want to impose theocracy, to declare jihad and fatwas, to murder their opponents both in their home countries and in the West...Islamofasism is not identical to Islam, nor do more than a tiny minority of muslims subscribe to it. Never in history have one billion people been of a single mind about anything. Nor have they been willing to follow a single intellectual path, even when clothed in the respected garb of the church."


No I understand perfectly Phil. You want to whitewash an ideology by claiming a minority adherent to that ideology doesn't truly reflect the religion. It's the same kind of ridiculous argumentation that Christians try to use. They vaguely define what the religion really is and claim that some portion of them aren't true Christians or don't really follow the accepted doctrine (even though they constantly evade concretely defining the doctrine). So it's a never ending game of evasion when you attack the ideology, you can never really pin it down. It's exactly the kind of "no true scotsman" fallacy I tried to point out to you. If you feel offended your argument is terrible, not my problem.



Post 30

Sunday, July 25 - 6:41pmSanction this postReply
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Phil

How would you know that it is moving away from secularism?


Are you asking how do I know or are you saying it's impossible to know?



Post 31

Sunday, July 25 - 7:02pmSanction this postReply
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> that Islam is something that is hard to pin down.

Once again, I didn't say that. I said that with any religion there are people who take it seriously and people who pay 'lip service' to it. I didn't say the religion itself is hard to pin down; I said people vary in how seriously they live it or adhere to it. Is the difference unclear?

May I make a request? Quote me exactly. I'm a pretty good writer when I take a lot of time to write a detailed post. Don't 'paraphrase' me or presume to think what logical next step I might go to or which you think follows. You could always ask me what position I take on, for example, innocent deaths in collateral damage...that would actually have advanced the debate, clarified my views. And have been interesting.

> I can most certainly draw logical conclusions from your argumentation and scrutinize them.

Only if you do it properly. However, if you are going to use: "You want to whitewash an ideology" "it's a never ending game of evasion" "you want to try to throw up the smoke and mirrors", I have no further reason to argue with you.

I have made the point about civility and not using slanted language on other boards. When you use words like 'evasion', 'whitewash', and 'smoke and mirrors', you step away form careful and fact-based argument. You raise the emotional temperature of the discussion. And you *piss people off*. Just as you have done with me. Do you always argue in this manner?

Example:

Party A: I think Marco Rubio is a good candidate because he seems to support measure X.
Alternative Response 1: I question whether he actually supports the measure. And that is not the most important measure to consider this year.
Alternative Response 2: You are whitewashing him. Your argument is all smoke and mirrors. You are guilty of evasion.

Try to imagine which of these two responses leads to a good faith, calm debate.




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Post 32

Sunday, July 25 - 7:11pmSanction this postReply
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I'm surprized at you, Phil :

There is no such thing as "the" muslims. That's a collectivist fallacy like speaking of -the- Negroes

Islam isn't a race. It's an ideology. Conversely, there are no ideas attached to being a "negro."
 I can't believe you'd make an equivocation like that.  If anyone said "the" Objectivists, you'd know exactly what they were talking about, and I'm thinking you'd relate to it as well.

At any rate, with billions of "moderate" followers, you'd think extremism in Islam would be perfectly impossible, wouldn't you?  I know I would. 




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Post 33

Sunday, July 25 - 7:59pmSanction this postReply
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Phil I'd prefer not to get into discussion over proper forum etiquette. I don't have the interest, and I don't believe I'm being rude.

You wrote in your first post:

There are indeed statements in the Koran which advocate holy war and advocate the fusion of church and state. And in many ways the religion as currently practiced is more hostile to civil society, and peace, and rights than is the Christian or Buddhist or Confucian world. But those muslim scriptures existed and were studied and learned across the Islamic world during the Middle Ages. And yet, the muslim world was the peaceful world, the civilized world, the world which had great respect for the Greeks and reason and science and which revered, respected, and preserved the works of Aristotle and of science and enlightenment for those very reasons. If the muslim religion as such were the implacable problem, what about it made it more so than the Christian world of the time: The Christian world was the world of barbarism and force and an intellectual, moral, economic, epistemological dark ages. The Islamic world was the world of order, rule of law, trade, science, reason.


This is a ridiculous narrative. Where did you even get this historical view? They were peaceful? They respected the Greeks and preserved the works of Aristotle? Perhaps to some limited extent they did/were, but you seem to have dropped the fact the Byzantine Empire preserved the works of the classical world. How else did Muslim scholars even have the opportunity to even come across these works? The Philosophy school of Athens was open for multiple centuries during the Christian rule of the Roman Empire. In the waning years of the Byzantine Empire a school of philosophy at Mystras was opened, with two famous scholars holding opposing philosophical views of Aristotle and Neoplatonism. The Italian renaissance can partially be credited to these Byzantines.

Islamic armies swept through Anatolia and what, "peacefully" conquered Greece? The Islamic Arabs peacefully swept through Judea and the North Africa "peacefully" conquered these lands? How exactly are you measuring "peaceful" and how you are measuring "barbarity"?

The fact that there existed Muslim scholars that had a respect for Aristotle has nothing to do with their religious affiliation. No more so than the Byzantine Christians kept and preserved the ancient Greek and Roman texts of Plato, Aristotle et al because they were "Christian".



(Edited by John Armaos on 7/25, 8:55pm)




Post 34

Monday, July 26 - 4:52amSanction this postReply
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> There is no such thing as "the" muslims. That's a collectivist fallacy like speaking of -the- Negroes
> If anyone said "the" Objectivists, you'd know exactly what they were talking about.

Context, Teresa. there's no such thing as the muslims in the collectivist sense I was refuting. E.g., "the muslims" are our enemies. "the muslims" are supporters of terrorism. Just like saying "The Negroes" are poorly educated.

You can't just take my sentence out of the context intended.



Post 35

Monday, July 26 - 5:13amSanction this postReply
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> Islamic armies swept through Anatolia [John]

Did I say they -started- as a great civilization? That was centuries before I am talking about.

> The Italian renaissance can partially be credited to these Byzantines.

Did I say the Islamic civilization was the only civilization to take credit?

> This is a ridiculous narrative. Where did you even get this historical view?

John, I'd prefer not to get into discussion over basic facts of history. The points I made about the -late- Middle Ages and the comparison between the highly advanced civilization of Islam compared to the backward civilization of Christianity are well known. I've read probably a dozen world history books and it was *in every single one of them*.

,,,,,
And once again basic internet etiquette and civility: Using inflammatory words like 'ridiculous', 'evasion', 'whitewash' rather than saying 'I disagree with you' is rather inappropriate. What part of these are personal attack words is unclear to you?

You don't have to discuss it with me and you can simply try to deny that it is rude and insulting, but I -will- point it out when you do it.

That's the first step in what causes internet discussions to degenerate into flame wars.





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Post 36

Monday, July 26 - 6:19amSanction this postReply
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The speaker on this youtube video, Ravi Zacharias, makes a couple of excellent points when asked about the right to disbelieve.
Thanks,
Glenn




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Post 37

Monday, July 26 - 9:07amSanction this postReply
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Phil:

> There is no such thing as "the" muslims. That's a collectivist fallacy like speaking of -the- Negroes
> If anyone said "the" Objectivists, you'd know exactly what they were talking about.

Context, Teresa. there's no such thing as the muslims in the collectivist sense I was refuting. E.g., "the muslims" are our enemies. "the muslims" are supporters of terrorism. Just like saying "The Negroes" are poorly educated.


In other words you can't identify any kind of common religious beliefs among Muslims. Islam is therefore unidentifiable. Referring to "the Muslims" must presuppose there is some kind of shared identifiable ideology.

You may stomp your feet all you want Phil and claim that you're not trying to argue that Islam is hard to pin down. But you are, you're simply trying to have it both ways. You want to claim there is some common identification to Islam but then you refuse to want to actually identify common characteristics by obscuring it through identifying non-essentials, such as different customs, different histories, different experiences, etc. And despicably, you insinuate it is some kind of form of racism to even refer to Muslims as sharing some kind of common identity. Throw your temper tantrum all you want Phil, if you want to start throwing around the need for decorum, then you can drop the bullshit racist accusation.

> Islamic armies swept through Anatolia [John]

Did I say they -started- as a great civilization? That was centuries before I am talking about.

> The Italian renaissance can partially be credited to these Byzantines.

Did I say the Islamic civilization was the only civilization to take credit?

> This is a ridiculous narrative. Where did you even get this historical view?

John, I'd prefer not to get into discussion over basic facts of history. The points I made about the -late- Middle Ages and the comparison between the highly advanced civilization of Islam compared to the backward civilization of Christianity are well known. I've read probably a dozen world history books and it was *in every single one of them*.


I'm trying to understand Phil at what point in time then could one describe the Christian world as being barbaric while the Islamic world during this time was civilized? According to your criteria, it's who actually bothered to study Aristotle (among other things like law and order). Ok, well I've pointed out to you that the Byzantine Empire, which was a Christian Empire, lasted for a millennium and were the world's sole custodians of the ancient philosophical, historical and artistic texts which included those of Aristotle. When the Byzantine Empire completely fell in the 15th century the Italian renaissance had already begin. While the Islamic Turks were sweeping through Anatolia and then eventually sacking Constantinople and taking the Greek mainland subsequently, Greek scholars, artisans, philosophers, historians, et al fled to Italy with those ancient texts to take part in the Italian Renaissance, i.e. those Italian Christians. The Medici family among others took these people and texts in. The only reason the Islamic world even bothered to look at these texts was because they wondered what these people they conquered were reading.

And no point in time can we singly identify the entire Christian world then as being "the world of barbarism and force and an intellectual, moral, economic, epistemological dark ages." and then oppose this with the Islamic world of "order, rule of law, trade, science, reason" Well WHICH Christian world are we talking about? WHICH Islamic world are we contrasting this with? I thought you shouldn't talk about these things in any kind of "collectivist" sense?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to apologize for Christian wrongs. I'm only pointing out your narrative is false. Most of the time both Christian and Islamic scholars reading Aristotle were just too busy trying to twist Aristotle into something compatible with their own religious beliefs. It wasn't anything remotely comparable to the scholarly pursuits of pre-Christian Europe. Both of those religions were busy infighting and squabbling over who had the correct interpretation of their holy text.


If your narrative is found in every historical textbook, then apparently everyone you read was written by an ignoramus.








(Edited by John Armaos on 7/26, 10:07am)




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Post 38

Monday, July 26 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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Allowing a mosque, with its barbaric, death-worshipping values, to be built on that tragic and memorialized site is a shocking betrayal of the public trust.

While I agree that the particular Muslims behind this effort to build a mosque should be opposed in their attempted use of publicly owned land, I take exception to the characterization above about all Muslims.

An empty mosque is just a building, a collection of bricks or plaster or whatever -- it takes its meaning from the people inside it, and what they teach. And to lump all Muslims together is like lumping all Christians together, from members of the KKK to the fundie Mormon FLDS to staunch Catholics to rock-band music playing Protestants to ...

I personally know some peaceful Muslims. Now, perhaps you can argue that they are peaceful because they are not following the "true" meaning of the Quran, but the same can be said of most anyone following religious beliefs -- religions tend to be mishmashes of conflicting philosophical viewpoints, and depending on what is emphasized, differ behaviors can be held up as examples of the "true" belief.



Post 39

Monday, July 26 - 10:47amSanction this postReply
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Jim:

I personally know some peaceful Muslims. Now, perhaps you can argue that they are peaceful because they are not following the "true" meaning of the Quran


Basically yes. The religion is barbaric with death-worshiping values. That some or many (whatever portion it is) are not barbaric death-worshiping Muslims are simply being traitorous to their own self-professed identity as a Muslim.



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