Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oxymoron of the day: "Moderate Islam"


"Where are all the Islamic Moderates" asks Ayaan Hirsi Ali, even though she knows the answer to that question. EXCELLENT article. I hope it turns some heads. Interesting when simple truths sound like heresy.

"If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?
When a “moderate” Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking. "

NY TIMES Article

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

moderate THIS}:-

December 12, 2007 -- A Brooklyn man whose "Happy Hanukkah" greeting landed him in the hospital said he was saved from a gang of Jew-bashing goons aboard a packed Q train by a total stranger - a modest Muslim from Bangladesh.

Walter Adler was touched that Hassan Askari jumped to his aid while a group of thugs allegedly pummeled and taunted him and his three friends. So Adler has invited his new friend over to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

The two new pals - Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes - broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.

Anonymous said...

hey; another thing. There's no such thing as a "moderate" Muslim. You either are or are NOT a "King of the Earth," according to the big Q. The "few radicals" are not subverting the so called religion of peace, they are returning it to it's true form. There is no reformation in Islamic history, and it is still as brutal as it was in the 7th century. Homosexuals are executed, and women/children are treated like animals.

Aaron said...

How could you possibly write this after reading my blog? Why are you trying to argue my own position against me?

upinVermont said...

First, I was not able to read the article at the NY Times - my password doesn't work. If you could send me a copy, Aaron, that would be great.

Not having read the article, I would say that there *are* moderate Islamists, although I would tend to agree with Sam Harris in his assertion that moderates in *any* religion enable fundamentalism and give fundamentalists legitimacy. I am guessing that Ayaan Hirsi Ali's point is partly a rhetorical one. There certainly do *not* seem to be any moderate Islamic states in the middle east. Any country which upholds Sharia Law is, by definition, a fundamentalist regime. There is no Islamic apologist who could convince me that these laws aren't barbaric and pathologically inequitable.

"God knows" how long it's going to take these countries and their people (thankfully minorities in most cases) to stop behaving like vicious little pitbulls with mouths full of religion.

We can barely fend them off in our own country.

Anonymous said...

anything to annoy you, Aaron, that's all. Why else do you think I would come here? It's a bit odd that we all agree about Islam, though. However, you two think Christianity is an equal threat, so we are definitely at a standoff there. Yes, there are "moderate" Muslims-the decent folks born into it and who are just trying to get by, but make no mistake, those who preach in the U.S. mosques and control the Muslim countries are not moderate in the least. We are in trouble}:-

Aaron said...

No, I do not think Christianity is an equal threat on par with Islam. Never said such a thing. The answer to religious extremism is secularism, not more religion. Particularly not the virulent brand of end-of-days evangelical ChristianISM which has a sex/drug money scandal almost daily. Every country that has become less adherent to religious literalism over the centuries has become proportionately more humane and advanced. It's not a coincidence. Christianity will morph into something else. 100 years from now Christians will be taking credit for implementing gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and genetic engineering of psychological and physical attributes to implanted human embryos. This seems impossible to imagine. But it would be just like going back in a time machine and telling Gallileo's persecutors that someday the Catholic church would be taking credit for the whole of western science. They would be equally in awe that someonme could believe something like that. Christians have traditionally been about a century late in accepting progress after fighting it... right before they take credit for it.

Anonymous said...

A:The answer to religious extremism is secularism, not more religion.
M: That’s like saying the answer to automobile pollution is to walk. The answer is common sense reformation based on reason, not fear.
A:Particularly not the virulent brand of end-of-days evangelical ChristianISM which has a sex/drug money scandal almost daily.
M: like the pedophiles recently busted in the ACLU?
A:Every country that has become less adherent to religious literalism over the centuries has become proportionately more humane and advanced.
M: Like the defunct USSR, China, or N. Korea? Sure would like to live there, huh?
A:It's not a coincidence. Christianity will morph into something else.
M: says you and your crystal ball. So you’re a prophet now?
A:100 years from now Christians will be taking credit for implementing gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and genetic engineering of psychological and physical attributes to implanted human embryos.
M: Speaking as a former blastocyst, it seems all your embryonic research vitriol was for naught. They are now getting T-cells from adult skin cells. HA! If they had harvested YOUR blastocyst looking for same, there would be no Aaron here to speak for all of Christianity.
A:This seems impossible to imagine. But it would be just like going back in a time machine and telling Gallileo's persecutors that someday the Catholic church would be taking credit for the whole of western science.
M: Wasn’t that back when doctors were blood letting? Why is religion supposed to be immune from the primitive and awkward stages of progress that all other areas of human interest suffer? There is not ONE kind of Christianity that represents all of it’s sects as you would like to believe.
Even the ancient Gnostics saw the fallacy of faith without knowledge and reason. There are progressive sects of Christianity you are apparently unaware of and or don’t care to know about, preferring instead to brand anything outside your secular box with the same tired and narrow
perspective. You also ignore the compassionate social programs many churches offer.
I used to despise the Catholic church until I got involved with them and found (most of) them to be wonderful people who simply embrace the church as a concrete expression of their faith in the unknown. So WHAT if a few headline grabbing hucksters pillage church funds or bugger some poor child, that is the PERSONS fault, not the church or the faith. Church or no, pedophilia and embezzlement are HUMAN tendencies, NOT the divine expression of humanity which IS the focus of the church. And just because the Catholic church has it’s own astronomical observatory means in no way they are taking credit for astronomy. Where do you get this stuff, anyway?

You take the worst of religion and judge it’s whole by same. You say religion is “juvenile” and needs to grow up. The REAL problem is that most people are introduced to religion when they ARE children, and many reject it not too much later. Duh. Children are more interested in playing games and or are preoccupied with discovering their sexual nature. When they reach adulthood and are reintroduced to religion or asked about it, all they have is a childish perspective remaining in their head and that is what they project into their understanding of reality. All they remember was it interfered with their fun, and sex was a “no-no.”
Or perhaps they were seduced by some east-meets west religion hucksters and became disillusioned ahem. What REALLY needs to be reformed is the narrow perspective of atheism
and it’s adherents}:-

Aaron said...

*Education leads to a decrease in religiosity almost in linear proportion. The strategy of the religious apologist is to attack the institutes of higher learning for being biased, while pretending that faith, emotionality, and nationalistic pride is just as valid as reason and facts in interpreting the world. This way beliefs can be broadcast to the public in a form which is impervious to fact checking, dialogue, and necessary evidence. Such a huge cacophany of sheer baseless bullshit is spewed out on a daily basis that when someone interjects something that is actually true, nobody can tell the difference, and nobody believes it. And when somebody says somethign that is completely false, nobody can tell the difference either. No journalistic standards are there, and nobody is held accountable. The result is that the propaganda artist can *make* something true in the public zeitgeist merely by saying that it is over and over again. And whalla, you have talk radio and cable news opinion hour.

*The ACLU are nothing but the immortal talk radio straw man whipping boys. The Catholic church is forgiven because the ACLU has pedophiles in it. Nice piece of reasoning.

*USSR, China, N. Korea- the government *is* a religion based on faulty metaphysical assumptions just like any religion. I went to china and I met a girl interpreter with an idol around her neck. She said it was a goddess idol, but was quick to add that it was not her religion (because religion is illegal). Then to my amazement, she literally told me "the government serves as my religion". Hitler wanted to get rid of the Catholic church in the end because it competed with his "religious" charismatic personality cult movement. So playing a shell game with the word "religion" and pretending that the liberal secularism of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Albert Einstein is equivalent to those other secular children of the enlightenmnet and bastions of critical reasoning- Stalin and Kim Jong Il, only makes sense after many *many* hits of acid. Or to a Christian, take your pick.

History shows that the first thing a dictator ever does is kill and/or fire the university proffessors and intellectuals who oppose him. Do you see the correlation there?

* Half the people in the U.S. do not believe in the basic foundation of biological science. Half believe that Jesus will return in their lifetime and commit a holy genocide on the unbelievers. Frankly, I don't care how many different types of Christianity there are when 175 million of my neighbors are batshit crazy. And my president is cool with it.

If the beliefs of the religious didn't contradict scientific facts they wouldn't bother me much. They do, and they do it with staunch pride in ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Wrong Aaron. The first thing dictators do when they take over is to confiscate all the guns. And you are confusing correlation with causation, which is also the major flaw of the global warming fools.
I really don't plan on trading punches with you here, I simply wanted to see what you were up to, and it appears you have become even more dense and contracted than you were last year.

Atheists, like homosexuals, are a minscule minority trying to force the vast majority to succumb to their mandate, and me and MY crystal ball say it AINT gonna happen. You spin worse than any neocon EVER has, and watching you do it is really fun AND educational. College doesn't necessarily make people smart, only opinionated, as I can see in between the lines of some of your absurd premises. I have and will continue to answer your banal platitudes at

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Hegelian_Spin_Cycle/

where I can do so freely. If I violate any copyright infringements, then sue me. I'm sure the ACLU will help you.
I must say that the first time you really pissed me off was when you put the image of the arab child with his leg blown off with a caption which read "Your tax dollars at work" on my Infidels Unite list. What a crock! There was not ONE iota of proof that the child was hurt by U.S. soldiers OR Iraqi insurgents, or even any proof it was from the war at all!
It was bullshit pure and simple, but at the time you thought you were proving something, and you actually were, but not what you thought. And you are still doing it. I'm going to slice and dice you piece by piece, and you can watch or not @HSC, I don't care, but I will enjoy doing it, so please keep on writing. This will be fun}:-

Aaron said...

It's nice to have someone like you on my blog. I am sorry you are going away. I enjoy observing how you see the world and how you think, the same way I enjoy listening to Rush, Savage, O'reilly, and Sean Hannity. My head shakes back and forth and I laugh so hard I get dizzy.

I listen in with total fascination. I still can't understand why you believe what you do. I think it would be impossible for you to believe what you do without your belief in Christianity. Take that away and you would find your beliefs laughably and hysterically absurd, as I do. And this is the reason why I attack the bronze age goat herder worldview so much. Without it, you would have no desire to believe what you do.

Apparently you still defend the global warming denialists. I suppose you think the Iraq war is a success. I suppose you think that what we need to solve social problems is more Christianity, despite the fact that the least violent countries in the world with the greatest qualities of living and health are also the least religious (And the U.S. is not one of them). Evolution is merely an unproven "theory" I am sure you believe. God tampers here and there and the U.S. is his chosen country.

You are cut from the same cookie cutter mold- hallmarked by the aggressive and emotional denial of obvious facts in order to protect a cherished superstition ingrained in your bones.

Everyone nowadays believes in man made global warming- but for me to say so is "spinning the issue".

Everyone in the world believes Iraq was an error, and over 70% of Americans too. For me to point this out is "spinning the issue".

No serious biologist refutes evolution. Even Christian biologist Francis Collins states "you will not find a more solid theory". But for me to shake my head at evolution denialists is "spinning the issue".

We've come to a dangerous cross-roads in this country where societal emotionalism and theology based superstition is successfully outgunning vast science concensus. People who believe in basic facts are ridiculed and blamed for "spinning". evidence-less propaganda is held at the same level of esteem as world-wide expert concensus. Journalism is gone, so opinions don't have to be supported by facts. People who have no facts and do nothing at all but spin are called "patriotic lovers of America". The enlightenment values are in danger of being lost by people who are solidly connected like a barnacle to their cherished superstitions.

I shake my head in disbelief. I can't imagine how your ilk look at facts and still find such clever ways of denying them, and yelling loudly in your echo chamber.

upinVermont said...

Hey A.,

Is it Lou? Anonymous doesn't sound portentous or conceited enough to be Lou. It has to be Mike. I wonder why he's posting anonymously?

As Spock would say: Fascinating.

upinVermont said...

M: The answer is common sense reformation based on reason, not fear.

P: Trouble is, reason is incompatible with faith. Expecting a reformation based on reason is expecting a contradiction. Take any passage from the Bible, Koran, etc... and examine it by 21rst century standards, and all of it collapses (inasmuch as the Bible serves as a rationale for a belief in god.) Don't believe me? Try it out. Give me any passage...

A:Particularly not the virulent brand of end-of-days evangelical ChristianISM which has a sex/drug money scandal almost daily.
M: like the pedophiles recently busted in the ACLU?

P: Aaron's point is larger than that. The Religious like to assert that without Religion human kind would be immoral. Only through Religion (the fear of retribution in the after-life) will human beings be prevented from raping their daughters, murdering their fathers or, worst of all, being gay. However Mike, as you yourself state, the problem is not religion but human beings. This begs the question, frequently asked by Christopher Hitchens: Since this is true, and since Religion does not deter immoral behavior, then what does religion or a belief in god offer that atheism does not? The answer, even by your own standards, is nothing. The religious are as corrupt as anyone. It obviously does not serve as a deterrent in any way, so why have it? Anyone can believe in god without religion.

A:Every country that has become less adherent to religious literalism over the centuries has become proportionately more humane and advanced.
M: Like the defunct USSR, China, or N. Korea? Sure would like to live there, huh?

P: As Aaron pointed out, these regimes have replaced one dogma, one kind of fundamentalism and one set of beliefs with another. The alternative to religious literalism (or fundamentalism) is not another literalist ideology. All of the countries you named replaced one kind of literalism and fundamentalism with another. In countries and cultures where literalism and fundamentalism have *not* been replaced by fundamentalist ideologies, they have indeed become proportionately more humane and advanced.

M: Speaking as a former blastocyst, it seems all your embryonic research vitriol was for naught. They are now getting T-cells from adult skin cells. HA! If they had harvested YOUR blastocyst looking for same, there would be no Aaron here to speak for all of Christianity.

P: The larger ethical issues remains. If religious fundamentalists had had their way, *none* of this research would have occurred. The study of embryonic stem cells would not have occurred and the resultant discovery that skin cells *might* be an alternate source would not have occurred. I say *might*, because the usefulness of skin cells is far from certain.

The following is from:

http://stemcell.taragana.net/archive/the-truth-about-embryonic-stem-cell-alternatives/

"Researcher Kevin Eggan and his colleagues achieved this
dramatic medical advance by fusing individual adult skin cells and bone
cells to embryonic cells.

However Eggan estimates it may be as much as ten years before this method can be used in treatment. His complete report appeared in the journal Science on-line on August 22.

Additionally in a New York Times article, it is reported that scientists would need to uncover how to reprogram the chromosomes of the cell´s nucleus. The fused cells may have twice the number of chromosomes of the original cell, thus the cell may not survive.

This simply doesn’t help in any way with the current requirements of stem cells for treating diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, spinal cord injuries etc.

“We are right where we always were,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a co-sponsor of the bill with Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., on Monday after having read of the Harvard research.

The second alternative is cordblood-derived-embryonic like stem cells or CBE’s. They are better than adult stem cells but the newfound CBEs are nowhere as versatile as human embryonic stem cells.

In short embryonic stem cells currently do not have any alternatives in treatment of life-threatening diseases. "

So, Mike, we still need embryonic stem cells. The stubborn and scientifically ignorant intransigence of religious fundamentalists continues to hinder rather than accelerate research (in American). Meanwhile, millions of embryonic cells will be thrown in garbage cans over the course of the year. I don't hear you or others opting to adopt them?

M: Wasn’t that back when doctors were blood letting? Why is religion supposed to be immune from the primitive and awkward stages of progress that all other areas of human interest suffer?

P: Because the true believers, the fundamentalists, the literalists, make this claim themselves, Mike. They claim that the Bible is the word of God and the meaning of those words has not changed since god set his words to papyrus. So, you say, there are different sects? Then tell me why your interpretation of the Bible is correct and theirs isn't? I'm willing to bet that you can't. Not to the fundamentalist's satisfaction, nor mine. However, I and Aaron *CAN* explain to you why our interpretation of the universe excels that of Galileo's or Newton's. That is the difference between science and religion. You can make whatever claims you want concerning your understanding of religion and god, but none of it will be the least bit persuasive to another believer with a different set of beliefs. It's called pissing wind.

M: ...Church or no, pedophilia and embezzlement are HUMAN tendencies, NOT the divine expression of humanity which IS the focus of the church.

P: Right, but the "Church" claims that it alone can control these tendencies. They can't, so how is the "Church" justified? An association of secular humanists could and do accomplish as much and better. No atheist, to my knowledge has ever called for abstinence instead of condoms.

M: What REALLY needs to be reformed is the narrow perspective of atheism and it’s adherents}:-

P: Which atheists? There *is* no defined "adherent of atheism".

gh said...

Um...Aaron? This is your chickenshit friend from NJ commenting here--I haven't purused your blog in a while, but I did today, and this "anonymous" or "M" or whatever he's calling himself sounds like he's capable of getting pretty violent.... even 'unibomber-esque' if you know what I mean. Don't you think it might be a good idea to...you know...take it down a notch or two? For the sake of your own self-preservation? Just a suggestion :~0

Aaron said...

Note the patented bull insignia. }:-

But yes, Lou is around too. He tried to get me to sign onto his facebook account recently.

Don't worry chickenshit in NJ, Mike is harmless.

Pat, concerning the stem cells, I saw that researchers insist that even if other cells can be turned into pluripotential cells etc... it won't stop the need to study the embryonic stem cells to figure out how they work. I am incapable of taking the argument seriously. If someone is really offended by working on a clump of cells smaller than the head of a pin, nothing I or anyone else could say would change their mind. Same with global warming. I've had it with these people. They are mere conspiracy theorists. ID is also a conspiracy theory. Shit, half the talking points of Mike and his clones are fucking conspiracy theories defiantly taking cracks at worldwide concensus.

You make some great points there. On a gigantic nationwide message board I won't mention the name of, I read through and participated in numerous discussions between the religious and atheists. The final concensus among the Christians *themselves* was that being a Christian does not make you any more moral than not being a Christian, "only forgiven". They were time and again forced to admit this based on the obvious hypocrisy seen everywhere. No matter who started the thread, the end result was the Christians getting stuck in their own logic loop and admitting that Christians are no more moral overall than non-Christians. They want to eat their cake too.

upinVermont said...

Fascinating. (Think Spock again...)

Lou invites you but not me.

There's no logical reason why he should invite me (mostly because I think he's a buffoon). But so do you, and even more virulently than I do. I, at least, have not written off NDEs.

Fascinating.

Opposites attract. Are you corresponding with Lou?

Aaron said...

Of course not.

Interesting thing is, I have absolutely no desire to even take a look at Mike's message board. I couldn't care in the least what he has to say because I listen to talk radio whenever I can in order to stay abreast of the latest conspiracy theories, and I know he does too. I am however, curious about whether he still thinks there are WMD's in Iraq, and whether he still champions his idea that it was okay for the American people to be duped about the reasons for invading Iraq by a handful of neocons because the reasons for invasion are only understandable by the higher ups in the intelligent agencies, and not amenable to the understandings of common citizens (and don't forget the members of the intelligence agencies who utterly rejected the fake intelligence leading up to the war who were ignored and blackballed by a cowardly media scared shitless over being called "unpatriotic", walking lockstep to the drummer (yet in the same breath still decried as "the liberal media" for not including a daily homage to Christianity in daily newscasts). All this Mike is okay with, and in the same breath he claims that highly educated non-Christians who base their worldview on science and reason as opposed to JudeoChristian mythology are the enemies of America and are bringing "fascism" to us.

Whatever.

I have no more patients with these people. They live in an alternative imaginary universe.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Most of the Western Muslim establishment is comprised of Islamist groups claiming to be moderates. True moderate Muslims reject Islamic supremacy and Sharia; embrace religious equality and democracy.

Poll: Who is a moderate Muslim?

Aaron said...

I ask the same question to Muslims as I do to Jews and Christians. How can you *possibly* take any of these religions seriously and be a "moderate" who believes in religious freedom and equality? I don't think it's possible, especially with Islam. I don't think it can be done except tongue in cheek. Anyone who takes their religion remotely seriously understands that either their holy book is the word of god or it is not. And if it is not, then Islam, Christianity, and Judaism become nothing but cultural relics. The churches, Mosques, and synogogues become mere museums and historical theme parks. You can't have the cake and eat it too.