The Instigator
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
41 Points
The Contender
Mirza
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points

Shari'a Law

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
J.Kenyon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,154 times Debate No: 13421
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (83)
Votes (13)

 

J.Kenyon

Con

Thanks, Mirza, for agreeing to this debate.

My opponent indicated via private message that he accepts the Qur'an, the Sahih Muslim, and the Sahih al-Bukhari as the basis for Shari'a law. The burden of proof will lie primarily on Pro to demonstrate the merits of Shari'a law and show why it ought to be widely adopted; I am tasked only with the burden to negate.

1. Shari'a law is paternalistic; it unnecessarily and arbitrarily, restricts individual freedom. John Stuart Mill writes: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." http://www.scu.edu... Paternalism is a malignant mutation of benevolence that treats people as objects rather than as rational individuals free to seek their own ends and satisfy their needs as they best see fit. Mill continues: "With respect to his own feelings and circumstances, the most ordinary man or woman has means of knowledge immeasurably surpassing those that can be possessed by any one else...He is the man most interested in his own well-being."

b. Shari'a oppresses women. Pro has stated previously that he believes all women should be forced to wear hijab (see photo: http://www.travel-images.com...). Supposedly, this is to prevent their sexual degradation, which I see as enormously self-contradictory. Treating people with respect means allowing them to make their own decisions; the idea that women need to be made to dress a certain way for their own good is rooted in extreme, condescending sexism. Women are viewed in the Muslim world as mere objects; too pathetic and helpless to make important choices for themselves.

In addition to being nearly universally recognized as symbolic of patriarchal dominance and oppression, the hijab is ridiculously inconvenient. How can a woman participating in athletic activities be expected to do so in hijab? How can women be made to wear hijab outside in ninety degree weather? Or at the beach? Or while hiking? It seems the answer is tied to the general negative attitude in Islam toward such female expressions of independence and self sufficiency.

c. Drug and alcohol prohibition are ineffective. Although the Saudi government refuses to release crime statistics, there is good reason to believe prohibition has failed there, as it historically always has. To the extent that it succeeds, it creates extremely negative behavioral incentives. Because it's difficult for people to consume alcohol safely, Saudis have turned to drinking cologne for its methanol content, which is highly toxic and dangerous. http://www.antizol.com...

d. Shari'a economic policies are unsound. The ban on charging interest on loans has no rational economic basis; it stems from total ignorance of the crucial role interest plays in a market economy. Disregarding inflation, the "pure" interest rate is a reflection of a time preference. The lender chooses to forsake immediate satisfaction for potentially greater future satisfaction; the borrower chooses to pay interest for the convenience of having immediate access to needed funds. The rate is arrived at by mutual agreement for mutual benefit. Another important factor affecting the interest rate is risk of default. Lending money always involves a measure of risk; without the possibility of profit, lenders have no incentive to take on such risk. All the ban accomplishes is the drastic constriction of credit and hindrance of growth.

2. Shari'a statutes are excessively harsh and unjust. The Sahih al-Bukhari hadith (9:83:17) mandates that apostates be killed. Corporal "justice" is common in Islamic society. In 2003, a Saudi Arabian man had two teeth extracted without anesthetics as part of the literal "eye for an eye" retributive scheme. http://www.amnestyusa.org... This is far from an isolated case. The same year, a man was ordered by a court in Pakistan to be blinded with acid for committing a similar act. http://news.bbc.co.uk... In 2005, an Iranian man had his eyes gouged out for a crime he committed twelve years ago as a sixteen year old boy. http://www.freerepublic.com... This clearly goes beyond punishment; it is state sanctioned revenge.

b. Retributive "justice" is morally unsound. As Gandhi famously said, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Exacting revenge is punitive and does nothing to make amends for the crimes committed. I endorse the restorative theory of justice, which places emphasis on repairing the damages caused by criminality. http://www.restorativejustice.org... Rather than having their hands cut off as the Qur'an dictates (Surah 5:38), thieves should be made to work and pay restitution to those from whom they have stolen.

3. Does God command it because it is good, or is it good because God commands it? The Euthyphro dilemma cuts straight to the core of the ethical debate. Regardless of which of the two horns one embraces, the Divine Command theorist is necessarily committed to the existence of unexplained brute facts. On what basis is morality rooted in the will of God? What is the ontological status of morals if they exist independently of God's character? Taking either side results in a slew of problems, therefore, I will leave my opponent to elucidate his own view before I proceed with my criticisms.

b. Muslims view Shari'a as the perfect reflection of the immutable will of God. It must, therefore, itself be constant and unchanging. This interpretation is wrong; it is a fallacious conflation of moral absolutism with moral objectivism and the results are predictable. Many of the social mores prevalent in 7th century Saudi Arabia are antiquated. Christians, for example, recognize the Levitical codes as ceremonial law aimed at governing a specific group of people at a specific time. Instead they follow the underlying moral law and the principles outlined in the Ten Commandments. In addition to my previous arguments, consider the prohibition on eating pork. There is no scientific basis for this. During the fourth century AD when the Qur'an was supposedly revealed by God, there existed poor sanitary conditions and the consumption of pork products carried a high risk of trichinosis. http://www.cdc.gov... Today, the risk is virtually non-existent in modern, industrialized society.

c. Even assuming Divine Command theory is sound, what evidence is there that the Qur'an and Shari'a law really are divinely inspired? Shari'a prescribes extremely harsh punishments for trivial offenses and dictates arbitrary, counterproductive statutes. Anyone who claims the authority to decide for me what I can and can't eat, what I can and can't wear, whom I may associate with, and on what basis I may conduct voluntary transactions had better be able to present unimpeachable evidence of divine authority. If I've succeeded in showing that Shari'a law is not at all conducive to human well being, is that not evidence of imperfection? If the answer is no, on what basis could the claim to divine inspiration be falsified?

== Conclusion ==

Por's ethical case rests on three dubious assumptions: (1) Divine Command theory is a sound ethical system, (2) The Qu'ran and other sacred writings really are divinely inspired, and (3) they must be interpreted in accordance with the most extreme form of moral absolutism. I've also presented a powerful practical and moral case against Shari'a. In order to win, my opponent will have to respond to my criticisms, build his ethical case up from the ground, and find some way to make his despotic legal system appear palatable.
Mirza

Pro

Thank you very much. I accept the first part as has been agreed upon. Unfortunately, I don't have enough character space to refute all arguments with good details, which is why I will use abbreviations, something I normally refrain from doing.

-- Rebuttals --

1. Shari'a Law doesn't unnecessarily restrict personal freedom. Any political system besides one like anarchism restricts personal freedom. The freedom to murder, rape, steal, etc., all of this is prohibited even in many libertarian ideologies. That does, however, not constitute a negative system whatsoever. Shari'a Law prohibits what is harmful in and itself, while it permits all that leads to a good and happy human being. I have discussed with many people about this, and I have yet to find out why a society permitting tons of "freedoms" is better than one permitting and making it easier for one to be a good and happy person. Shari'a Law does this.

1.1 Sexism, by definition, is favoring one sex above the other. Shari'a Law never does this. As a matter of fact, it is the only theocratic law/guidance world which gives women rights as good as those of men. I can go in deep details, but I don't have enough space. Women are obliged to wear hijab,[1] and that's because Islam favors displaying one's inner beauty, not outer beauty. In the Western world, we have women who starve to be pretty, who pay lots of cash to be pretty, who suffer because they are not feeling pretty, and so forth. In an Islamic nation like Saudi Arabia, they don't have this. They don't have these sad things going on due to outer beauty. Moreover, most people ignore the fact that men are dressed as much as women. In any Islamic nation you will witness this. Saudi Arabia is a good example.[2] They also have beards as a religious duty. Why do people ignore this?

Furthermore, it can be very warm in Saudi Arabia, yet these men who are not obliged to dress that much do it regardless, and they even work outside, whereas women take care of homes and children. It is all justified. Moreover, although men are obliged to cover from the navel to the knees, an exception is made in case of fitnah, or fear of temptation. If man works in a minefield, he can uncover to get some fresh air, but if he is among other women, he needs to cover.

As for athleticism, it is entirely possible. I have had PE where females wearing hijab performed very well. There are also athletic dresses for women. As for the warm weather, people are very mistaken about the hijab and that. Today, we know very well that skin cancer is caused by exposure to sunlight. The hair can also suffer from negative effects. Incredibly many people die due to this, and treatment can be difficult. I ask, what is the solution to this? Nudity? No, dear readers. It is covering. Sun lotions are not entirely safe (and might cause cancer, as some scientists have said), but the safest method is to cover yourself. In Saudi Arabia, it is very warm, and uncovering your face and hands only is sufficient for vitamin D manufacturing via sunlight. Shari'a Law sets perfect guidelines. As for beach, there are beaches for women only where they can uncover from the navel to the knee, as Islam permits between women. There are also special Islamic dresses for bathing.

1.3 The prohibition on intoxicants are highly effective. Shari'a Law never claims to cleanse a society of evils. It rather helps them in better ways than other systems. Firstly, it is insulting when people say that the Saudi government refuses to release crime statistics. When people say this without evidence, what can I do to refute them? Force the government to give me the statistics? Absolutely not. Westerners always boast about "evidence evidence" ad infinitum, and when it is presented, it is also rejected. The government releases crime statistics as good as can be. They have nothing to fear. They do not fear international laws, so why would they fear showing that 100+ women got raped?

Moreover, they have made it perfectly clear that even the holiest city in Islam, Mecca, is the biggest drug trafficking place in the nation.[3] Is this a refusal to release statistics? Secondly, Shari'a Law is perfectly successful in reaching its goal: to prevent family ties being broken due to intoxicants, to prevent alcoholism, to prevent too regretful deeds (due to intoxicants), to prevent ruining your life due to intoxicants, etc. The West suffers from all of this. All of it. So do Islamic nations, but in fewer numbers and much fewer victims of intoxicants. The people who drink cologne are few. I hardly doubt they are many.

1.4 The ban on interest is humane and just, a wise ban indeed. The charlatans who get richer by taking money from people who actually need it are not benefiting the economy. Read on interest-free loans here: http://halalinc.com... As for profit, Islam does not give profit to the loaner. It gives him honor as a helper. And how does the loaner make sure that his loan will not go to waste? In brief, if a person wishes to take a loan, he can ask some people for it. If he asks three people for $3,000 each, and buys a car with that then all until he pays them back, these people are co-owners of the car. If he cannot pay them back in due time, as has been agreed upon, then he has not bought their rights for the car, and they are co-owners.

Moreover, in Islam, there are three needs: absolute, important, additional. The first is in cases of choice of life and death; here, one can take an interest based loan if he has no other opportunity to save his life. The second is if you need to buy a car to drive your kids to school, so they can get an education. In this case, it can also be permissible. The Qur'an allows doing sins out of great necessity. The third is buying an new navigator for your car; in this case, there is no permission for riba/interest based loans at all. And I must say that the third option is widespread, and people let the rich get richer because they cannot wait to save money for a new Apple MacBook.

2. Regarding apostasy, please see my argument on that in source #4. Unfortunately, people ignore and are unaware of the sad story of the oppression of Muslims during the final establishment of Islam. When Muslims spread monotheism, they were suppressed and oppressed by the pagans. The first battle between the Muslims and disbelievers explains the sad parts very well. Later on, Muslims ruled with Shari'a Law, and it was important to let Muslims be part of society and not let them forsake the rest, so that they did not act upon treason. Therefore, a Muslim government has the opportunity to choose a strict punishment on apostasy through propagation of other religions. In fact, some people apostatized during the era of the beloved Prophet, but they were not killed. They reverted and apostatized again, and then reverted.

The "eye for an eye" punishment is to be used as a last resort. Islam favors justice, and what kind of justice does a prison serve for a murderer? Shari'a Law does not need criminals to improve the economy through labor work. Some people would even enjoy living with hard labor work instead of being dead. Shari'a sets straight guidelines, and we know for sure that a person who removes the eyes of an innocent human being should also have his eyes removed. Jail is nothing, especially not the modern, luxurious ones. To end the round with, I will say that I've got little space to refute all of this, which is unfortunate. I kindly ask my opponent to make his arguments well-measured so I can rebut.

-- References --

[1] http://madmikesamerica.com...
[2] http://images.google.com...=
[3] http://business.maktoob.com...
[4] http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
J.Kenyon

Con

Although I'm itching to reply to my opponent's arguments in full, I realize he has a lot to respond to, so I'll keep my round to less than 4,000 characters as he requested.

1. Pro has not offered a substantive reply to my claim regarding paternalism. His response demonstrates a misunderstanding of what is intended by the word freedom. Freedom, in the political sense, is the absence of the fraud and initiatory violence. Oliver Wendell Holmes stated it best: "the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." http://freedomkeys.com...

Pro claims that Shari'a prohibits what is harmful and permits what leads to happiness. This response is circular; its merits need to be considered in light my other arguments. He has also ignored the core of my contention: that an individual is the one best qualified to seek after his own happiness. Different things bring different people varying degrees of happiness; it is subjective. In a libertarian society, individuals make their own determinations without others arbitrarily deciding for them what is in their "best interest."

b. In order to keep my round brief as Pro requested, I won't go into detail about sexist practices in Islam at this time. The fact that men are also oppressed under Islam does not justify the oppression of women; two wrongs do not make a right. I fail to see logic behind taking away a woman's ability to make such a choice for herself in the name of upholding her rights; you cannot increase freedom through use of coercive power! Moreover, in a voluntaryist system, women who see the merits of wearing hijab would do so freely without needing to be forced. Muslims who view with disdain the "cultural corruption" of the West would be able to form their own communities, setting their own laws, within which a strict interpretation of Shari'a could be observed.

c. Pro's entire response is essentially a bare, unsupported assertion. The only statistic he has cited in "support" of his claim is an article explaining that Mecca is giant drug trafficking hub. My contention is rooted in the simple economic principle of supply and demand. The more something is suppressed, the greater the profits involved, this the greater the incentive to break the law. For this simple reason, drug and alcohol use can be slightly hindered, but never eliminated. Driving the trade underground only increases the risks and magnifies the harm done to the individual user.

d. I fail to see how offering loans is "taking money from people who actually need it." As I explained, banning interest only constricts the availability of funds. My opponent also fallaciously sees finance as a zero-sum game. http://www.wordiq.com... By putting the loan to use, say, to start a business or to buy something now rather than having to save and wait until later, the borrower benefits; by receiving interest, the lender benefits and overall prosperity increases.

2. I understand the difficulties that early Muslims had to contend with, and while I sympathize with my opponent's point of view, I fail to see how this justifies punishing apostates with death. On the contrary, this is just as unfair and tyrannical as the suppression of Islam in the past. Moreover, without a compelling case for Divine Command Theory and divine revelation of the Qu'ran, such preferential treatment for Islam is extremely unfair and arbitrary.

b. Even if, as my opponent claims, "eye for an eye" punishment is rare, the fact that it is allowed at all is a perversion of justice. Pro also has yet to fully address the moral reasoning behind my opposition to retributive punishment schemes.

== CONCLUSION ==

As I stated earlier, I've kept this round brief at my opponent's request so as to allow him to build his case in support of divine revelation and Divine Command Theory, which I'll respond to in my last round. I feel this is the most crucial part of the debate and look forward to seeing how Pro attempts this.

The resolution is negated.
Mirza

Pro

Thank you very much.

1. Continuation

1.1 Chopping hands of thieves

It's not revenge when a nation punishes people strictly. Revenge is the desire toward harming someone merely because he harmed you. Punishment is harming someone because you don't want people to follow his ways and commit the same crime. There's a great difference. When the Qur'an commands that a hand of a thief should be cut off, that is to prevent more of such crimes and let people know that they should beware of crimes. In fact, we can easily compare the robbery cases of e.g. Spain and Saudi Arabia.[1] The difference is enormous. All the nations who top the list have light punishments, such as imprisonment for a while. In Islamic nations, you can clearly see the few cases of robberies, thanks to a much better system of punishment. Moreover, the people who get their lives ruined due to commitment to such crimes are in an extremely greater number than those who get their hands cut off for e.g. robbery. In fact, I think it takes Saudi Arabia 50 years to compare to Spain in that.

1.2 Divine Command theory

My answer to the question asked is "both." However, I can merely argue by saying that God commands it because it is good, for the sake of argument. I have made my points clear in some of my debates, and people can look for them. However, I can say that my opponent asks why morality is rooted in the will of God, but I can ask him why it is rooted in whatever he believes it is rooted in. Both answers will be subjective. So, what I can do is to say that the fact that Shari'a Law is the most successful in preserving morality that it preaches than any other society, it lies in the fact that God has ordained it. I will elaborate.

1.3 Unchanging Law

It is not true that Shari'a Law is unchanging. Most of it is, but many new things that come to societies need new laws. Guns, for instance, are permitted in Saudi Arabia. If it is proven that they are dangerous, then they can be banned. Regarding the prohibition of pork, my opponent is very mistaken about the wisdom behind it. In Islam, it is forbidden to consume blood of any kind. When we slaughter cows, chickens, etc., we do it at the necks, where we cut the jugular veins, and the entire blood flows out. The pig, however, has no such neck. You cannot kill it and let the blood flow out. The blood is very unhealthy for consumption, and even if the germs are killed, uric acid still remains there. Therefore, the Shar'i system is perfectly befitting for all times.

1.4 Divine inspiration

Shari'a Law applies to all times. No law has ever ruled in the world for such a long time without falling apart, yet it is successful at all times. This is evidence of the Islamic prophecies. Moreover, the argument against harsh punishment is nothing but emotional. Islam leans on logic, not emotions. Furthermore, can my opponent name one nonarbitrary law? Perhaps there are some objective ideologies in the world that are perfect? No, there are not. Also, how is Sharia Law not conducive to human well being? It is the only law in the world which has a perfectly functioning system of marriage, guidance in life, etc. It does not impose control, but guidance. When a teenage girl harms herself because her boyfriend cheats on her, what does she need? Freedom? She needs guidance. All those Western laws allow freedom, but freedom does not lead to a happy human being. Our ability to think freely and make safe choices is literally being smashed in Western societies. As much as a woman is directly forced to wear hijab in an Islamic nation, a woman in the West is indirectly forced to wear horribly immodest clothes due to societal pressure. Psychological logic explains all this very well. Then which is worse? A government or a society being oppressive? There is no difference.

2. Rebuttals

2.1 Freedom

See, Islam does not use outdated scientific theories to control a society. The "your first ends where my nose begins" argument, when applied to freedom, is backwards and even barbaric. Studies of the brain show that mental pain contributes to physical suffering. Stress is one example among tons of others. So, do people think that Islam should prohibit direct harm (e.g. with fists), but not mental harm? What kind of a religion would this be? Why is a person who keeps harassing another person day by day not a criminal, especially if it leads to a dramatic case (i.e. suicide)? Is this what the world needs? A government which believes that mental pain is nothing like physical pain? God forbid this. Your fist ends where my nose begins and your tongue goes back to its place when my brain feels pain. That is more correct, dear readers.

2.2 Individual happiness

It's horribly false to claim that an individual is the best one qualified to seek his own happiness. By this logic, the person who forsakes his children for the sake of his own happiness is doing a good thing; the murderer is doing a good thing; the racist is doing a good thing, ad infinitum. How is this reasonable? And a libertarian society is illogical and utterly barbaric. While it does not have a government to guide people, it has no sense of morality whatsoever. If a man forsakes his family by adulterating, and it leads to horrible consequences for the family, should this be unpunished? Is this consensual harm? Is this logical at all? No, nor has it ever been.

2.3 Oppression

Neither men nor women are oppressed if you ask me. They are rather guided. Islam protects women and honors women. The Qur'an mentions the status of the mother like no other holy book. It promotes the rights of a woman and tells the men to protect her and give her goods even if she is much wealthier than he is. It tells him to work and earn money while the woman can merely keep the home well-functioning and take care of the children. Is this oppression? Also, the "voluntaryist system" is not a valid argument against me. When Muslim give birth, they will make their children follow Islamic law, which breaks down the "voluntaryist system." In fact, that is how Shari'a Law prospered. Muslims followed it, spread it, and now lots of them like it. Also, if women were unwilling to wear hijab, we would not see the fastest growing religion in the world having 2/3 of converts being women by their own will.

2.4 Statistic

"Pro's entire response is essentially a bare, unsupported assertion." This is entirely false. Pro claimed that the Saudi government doesn't release crime statistics, and what I did was to show a completely valid statistic from their own government which shows that Mecca is plagued by drug trafficking. Why would they ever show such a horrible crime, but not that e.g. many women are raped? Moreover, as I said, Shari'a Law never claims to fully eradicate a societal problem. And permitting intoxicants would lead to horrible family ties cuts and other such gross things.

2.5 Interest

There is a reason why Islamic nations have prospered very well with their economies throough centuries. Malaysia is a good example of the modern world. I already explained how Islamic loans are functioning. Read more here: http://www.ruf.rice.edu...

2.6 Punishment

As I said before, a government can choose punishment for apostasy if there's a necessity for that. It can be that Muslims are very oppressed by other people and families don't want to lose more members, e.g. by leaving Islam due to non-Islamic propaganda. If the Muslims in Afghanistan start converting to another religion merely because the invading troops propagate lies against Islam, how is this justified? How is it justified that the government lets Muslims forsake their nation, people, and Faith due to propaganda? This is absolute shame. Would my opponent allow his child to cut his body throughout his life because his friends tell him to? I hope not.

-- References --

[1] http://www.nationmaster.com...
Debate Round No. 2
J.Kenyon

Con

1. I'm not sure I understand the aim of Pro's rant against libertarianism; it's either a gross misunderstanding or an intentional caricature of my position. Pro claims that "[without a] government to guide people it has no sense of morality whatsoever." First, I'm advocating voluntaryist minarchy, not anarchy -- I support the existence of a night watchman state. Second, voluntaryism is itself a normative code based on the non-aggression principle: assuming ceteris parabus, no person or organization (government included) is justified in using initiatory violence against another person or his property. The murder example clearly violates this. Regarding racism, it's impossible to read an individual's mind, ergo it is impossible to punish racism qua racism, however, racists will still be held accountable for any outward rights-violating actions they take regardless of their motivation. The child abandonment issue is a point of contention among libertarians, however, I hold that since parents voluntarily initiate the causal sequence leading to conception and child birth, they are responsible (to a point) for raising the child. I'll expand on this in the next section.

Limiting free speech as my proponent proposes is despotic. Pro has claimed in the forums that teenagers should be put to death if verbal bullying leads to suicide. How could this possibly be enforced? How would you determine which act it was that pushed a person over the edge? How do you take account the psychological factors that may have made a victim more prone to suicidal thoughts? Moreover, if you punish any form of expression that might lead to depression or suicide, that would mean outlawing things like unfavorable book reviews and satire. http://mises.org... Clearly, we cannot curtail the rights of libelers, slanderers, and bullies without placing free speech on insecure ground. Finally, if we take a private property based approach to rights, the issue is far less problematic. The right to free speech does not mean that one is free to follow someone into her house and harangue her at length. Property owners would be able to set their own laws governing conduct.

b. There is a clear distinction between "guiding" and "oppressing." Guiding implies passive influence and voluntary compliance or non-compliance; oppressing involve the active imposition of one's will upon another person. Anyone who does not *want* to wear Hijab, or be an at home mother cannot be forced to. The underlying ethical framework is akin to Aristotle's attempt to justify slavery on the grounds that it is better for the slave -- of course, neither Aristotle nor my opponent bother to ask the slave for his opinion on the matter! Moreover, if, as my opponent claims, women are converting to Islam in droves, then mandating the wearing of Hijab becomes superfluous; why require what people already do voluntarily? Finally, if women are treated with equal respect in predominantly Muslim nations, how does my opponent account for the massive gap in literacy rates between men and women? https://www.cia.gov...

Young children are endowed with the de jure right self-ownership, thus they cannot be abused, mistreated, or killed. However, parents act as de facto stewards. Children, while living in their parents house, are subject to the rules set for them. As they grow older and achieve greater levels of autonomy, their privileges are expanded accordingly. Children are free to leave their parents house and try to make it on their own as soon as they acquire the means to do so. Children who *like* living under Shari'a law may indeed choose to stay within the community as adults.

c. My contention here is not "Saudi Arabia doesn't release crime statistics, therefore Shari'a is bad" -- I tagged my argument "[d]rug and alcohol prohibition are ineffective" in the first round, so there should be no confusion on this point. Prohibition fails, create bad incentives, and violate the right to personal autonomy. Pro's response is a red herring. http://www.fallacyfiles.org... The empirical evidence in Portugal and the Netherlands vindicate my line of reasoning. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized almost all intoxicants, including "hard" drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Usage rights have markedly declined, especially among young people. HIV infection rates are down and twice as many people are now voluntarily seeking rehabilitation. http://tinyurl.com...

d. Pro's claim that Islamic nations are among the most prosperous in the world is frankly laughable. Moreover, my contention is rooted in the a priori science of praxeology. http://mises.org... Without a proper interpretive understanding of human action, it is impossible to ascribe a definite cause to a given effect. Even if Pro's claim is true (it's not), he has fallen victim to the epistemological problem of economics. http://mises.org... Money has a time value. This is not arguable; if my opponent (or anyone else for that matter) disagrees, I invite him to transfer to my bank account whatever funds he's not presently making use of. I'll be sure to return it, sans interest, thirty years hence! Any hypothetical prosperity a Muslim nation might achieve would be *in spite* of ridiculous financial policies, not *because* of them.

2. Pro claims that my position on punishment is based purely on emotion, which I find absurd. I explained myself quite clearly: the focus should be on restitution to the victim; Pro has not explained why the emphasis should instead be on inflicting retribution. Moreover, if, as Pro stated, the goal of punishment is to deter would-be criminals, why stop with an eye for an eye? If all crimes were made punishable by death, it would do a great deal more to deter. Surely, if we punished petty theft, illegal downloading, and the tearing off of mattress labels by boiling the offender in hot oil, people would be far less apt to do so! If Pro wishes to be morally consistent, there is no reason to limit punishment with proportionality.

3 & 3b. Although Pro's response was vague, it appears he's taken the first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma -- that God gives normative commands because they are *intrinsically* good in and of themselves. From a metaethical standpoint, this is problematic for the theist as it essentially makes God irrelevant and limits his sovereignty by binding him to an external code over which he has no control. Additionally, if it is the case that moral facts exist independent of God's character, then we can reasonably assume that these values supervene at least partially on human well being, fairness, justice, etc. and that we possess some ability to discover and understand them. If I can show that Shari'a does not accomplish these ends, or fit these criteria that is powerful evidence that it is not revealed by God.

Certain Shari'a statutes -- like the ban on pork products and the regulation of beard length -- clearly reflect amoral cultural norms. It's absurd to believe that having too much or too little stubble could be *intrinsically* wrong. I can't conceive of what amoral property facial hair possesses that might lead us to such an ethical conclusion. The ban on pork is similarly nonsensical. Pork meat actually contains less uric acid than chicken breast, salmon, herring, tuna, and lamb. http://www.goutpal.com... Even if pork was more unhealthy than other foods, that doesn't justify a ban. Donuts, cookies, cake, ice cream, potato chips, and hamburgers contain much more sugar and saturated fat than pork. This relate to the paternalism theme: if people feel that the pleasure they get from consuming unhealthy food outweighs the risk of obesity, heart disease, or diabetes, what right does anyone else have to prevent them from doing so?

The resolution is negated.
Mirza

Pro

Thank you.

1. Rebuttals

1.1 Libertarianism

If you read what I wrote, you would clearly see that I never stated that there's no government in a libertarian society. I said that there's no government to guide people. Moreover, as can be seen, I also placed a distinction between libertarianism/freedom and my argument about e.g. racism was a response to the theory of a person being the best to know what leads him to happiness. I responded by saying that if that were the case, then a racist is doing a good thing (by that logic) by being hateful. Therefore, saying that individual happiness is achieved with one's own guidance is a very weak point.

1.2 Free speech

I've defended my statement on the forums. I never said that it's part of Shari'a Law. The fact that a person was "bullied to death" and I called for death penalty for the well-mature teenagers in this particular case doesn't mean that I think it should be part of Shari'a Law. Perhaps it shouldn't. This divine law welcomes scientific research, and denying it is forbidden. If we can clearly prove the mental maturity of a person and know that he wanted to kill through bullying, then what's wrong with capital punishment? If we can't have a good case against him, then by all means we should help him. As for free speech in general under Shari'a Law, it is allowed to speak truthfully. However, any form of slander in the open where there is very strong evidence for a person spreading it, then there is a form of punishment that a judge can appoint.

1.3 Guidance/oppression

Some people hate going through education, but it's still better for them. Is it oppression? For them, yes it is. For others, it is guidance. My opponent apparently does not think that guidance is different to oppression, but that is an error on his part. Enforcing guidance is important for a modern society. We are no longer cavemen. We are communicating at a global level and we are very dependent on each other. One person making a mistake can lead to severe consequences for others. That is why we also need more control over people. We need control which can help them with actually having control over their own lives. Let us look at what happens in the West due to lack of control:

Abortion (which is unfortunately used as prevention): http://www.abortiontv.com...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases: http://www.avert.org... and http://www.cbc.ca...
Female teenage suicide rates: http://www.suicide.org...
Unwanted teenage pregnancy: http://www.familyfirstaid.org...

I can go on for long. Looking at this, how monstrous and egregious is it that there are millions of abortion cases annually? How about STD's? Is this what we get from "the individual's choice is his ultimate source of happiness?" Is this what a society needs? Female suicide rates, do you know what causes them? Do you know why we have depressed teenagers? Because the Western world lacks family oriented life. It allows teenagers to fornicate, sleep with tons of other boy/girls, then enter jealousy-dramas, and so on. What does it lead to? Depression, hate, sadness, etc. Is this good? Not only that but unplanned teenage pregnancy is also a horrible thing. It is due to fornication. Is fornication what a society needs? Can someone explain to me - once and for all - what good comes from fornication? Moreover, is this a good example of a free society? Is this what a "free" society offers? Does this lead to happiness?

[Qur'an 2:185] "Allah wants ease for, you not hardship"

1.4 Children in Shari'a Law

Quick response to "housewife": A woman is allowed to work in an Islamic nation. In fact, many jobs ask for women employees, such as medical. The important thing is that the man and the wife arrange it all properly, so that there are no holes in the family system/life, and arguments over roles. The man, however, must not stay home and not work. His duty is to provide his wife and offspring with wealth, even if his wife is wealthier than him. Moreover, I agree, children should not be mistreated. Shari'a Law calls for good treatment of children. As for the community they might want to leave if they don't like it, it depends on the situation. As I said, people can dislike something that is good for them.

[Qur'an 2:216] "... and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you know not."

1.5 Statistics and intoxicants

Once more, my opponent ignored my point regarding statistics. The government of Saudi Arabia does provide statistics. This refuted his point in round one. Regarding intoxicants, the ban is clearly effective. I already said that there is no promise of fully cleansing a society of it, but to an extent, and that surely works. We hardly see comparable problems between Saudi Arabia and USA when it comes to intoxicants. Moreover, the reduction of HIV rates is an absurd point to make. Why are there even vast amounts of STD's? Due to fornication, adultery, prostitution, etc. Those are strictly forbidden under Shari'a governing, dear readers. Opening a free way for intoxicants can only increase STD rates in Islamic nations.

1.6 Prosperity

If you read what I wrote, you will not find a single word indicating that Islamic nations are the most prosperous. I didn't say that they are. What I said is that throughout centuries, they have managed to prosper economically, not by being the wealthiest in the world, but by being able to have decent economies, and all that without interest. Whoever says that interest is needed in economy is speaking with void words. I provided a link to which there was no counter-link from Con. Malaysia is a good example of Islamic banking, and clearly it has a strong economy and it gets better. I refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org...

1.7 Punishment

I stand by my claim that my opponent bases his argument on emotions. What's wrong with corporal punishment? Moreover, why exactly don't we simply jail certain people? This is why:

http://www.bbc.co.uk...
http://www.independent.ie...

"46% of rapists who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime." - http://www.independent.ie... As for this, other statistics show much higher percentages of rapists committing the crime of rape after being released from jail. That is exactly why deterring the crime is better than to let it happen. Executing e.g. 100 rapists annually is better than to let them rape 1,000 innocent women. Moreover, it isn't true that capital punishment is better than corporal punishment in some cases. Some people prefer death over a body without limbs.

1.8 God

Why do I even have to prove that Shari'a is from God? It is simple: God commands only what is good, therefore something is good because God commands it. Also, would it be fair if I asked an objectivity to prove that Ayn Rand is a genius in order for Objectivism to be valid? No.

1.9 Pork / food

I see no valid rebuttal to my argument against pork. I stated that the blood cannot flow out when slaying the pork, and the uric acid "remains" in the body. It "flows out" in e.g. chickens. This is perfectly valid. Furthermore, food like hamburgers etc., it is true that we cannot ban it, but adding evil upon evil is never better than clearing it one by one. Just because people can find alternatives to destruction doesn't mean that we shouldn't make it harder for them to do so (e.g. by banning pork). And pork can gives over 50 types of diseases.

I thank my opponent and I hope that the readers have enjoyed reading this. I hope that you will vote fairly.
Debate Round No. 3
83 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
Mirza
I'd actually say J.Kenyon won this debate even in my opinion. I think the arguments I made weren't nearly adequate enough in explaining the true nature of Islamic Law. I'd argue far more differently now anyway.
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
Mirza
Indeed.
Posted by Ahmed.M 5 years ago
Ahmed.M
Mirza, the resolution was way too general and encompasses too much to address in a single debate. You should have narrowed it down to specific aspects of Islamic Law (or much better one aspect) so you could adequately have space to respond. He listed way too many points for you to address each one adequately. No one can properly address an entire ideology and system of law in a single debate.
Posted by DANGELLO 6 years ago
DANGELLO
The problem in France is that Sharia Law is taking over government's law and every muslims does not want to follow French law anymore.
Posted by Anacharsis 6 years ago
Anacharsis
I actually agree with most of what Mirza says, but still must give the vote to J.Kenyon. The ills that Mirza points out with "liberal" Western society are largely accurate. However, it is important to observe that the promotion of Shari'a law relies upon assumption of Islam as the universal truth, with which I have some disagreements. In fact, since a great many people have even bigger disagreements with it than I, I cannot see imposing an Islamic concept of morality on all. I say this even though my own concept of morality coincides much more closely with Mirza's than with what prevails in the U.S. Neither would I impose my own sense of proper guidance upon others. I offer it only to those that I see may be able to benefit from it and leave it. Enforced "guidance" might achieve forcing people do things that fit the prevailing concept of morality, but it cannot change what is in their heart or bring them wisdom. These things will come to people when it is the will of God. What is right for me is not right for all.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
I did explain that. You can find it on some of my arguments (I might elaborate later, I have something to do now).
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I actually agree with that (good supervenes on justice, fairness, maximizing happiness, minimizing pain, etc.), but you've got to explain what sort of things "good" is based on; it's not enough to just say "good things are good;" that's a tautology.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
As I said, it is not solely based on one thing.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Then good isn't relative; you're basing your argument on utilitarianism.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
No, you cannot say that because there are other examples of good. I gave several definitions of good, indirectly. Less harm, because the non-physical is also punished. This, for instance, is good.
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