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Sam Harris on Israel

Greyparrot
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3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?
dylancatlow
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3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.
Greyparrot
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3/11/2015 3:28:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.

No, but it is his main point. He also compares ratios of Jewish zealots to Arab zealots.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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3/11/2015 3:33:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:28:35 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.

No, but it is his main point. He also compares ratios of Jewish zealots to Arab zealots.

His main thesis is that, in general, one should side with Israel. He uses Muslims' devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings to support his thesis.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,251
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3/11/2015 3:37:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:33:32 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:28:35 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.

No, but it is his main point. He also compares ratios of Jewish zealots to Arab zealots.

His main thesis is that, in general, one should side with Israel. He uses Muslims' devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings to support his thesis.

Right, but at the end he acknowledges the Zionist minority and Israel's responsibility to work against them for the good of the nation.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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3/11/2015 3:43:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:37:10 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:33:32 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:28:35 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.

No, but it is his main point. He also compares ratios of Jewish zealots to Arab zealots.

His main thesis is that, in general, one should side with Israel. He uses Muslims' devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings to support his thesis.

Right, but at the end he acknowledges the Zionist minority and Israel's responsibility to work against them for the good of the nation.

So?
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,251
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3/11/2015 3:43:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:43:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:37:10 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:33:32 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:28:35 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/11/2015 3:25:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 11:00:30 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/10/2015 5:51:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
bump

Do we really need this guy to tell us that devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings is bad?

That's not his only point. And if by "we" you mean most liberals, then yes.

No, but it is his main point. He also compares ratios of Jewish zealots to Arab zealots.

His main thesis is that, in general, one should side with Israel. He uses Muslims' devout adherence to thousands of years old dated writings to support his thesis.

Right, but at the end he acknowledges the Zionist minority and Israel's responsibility to work against them for the good of the nation.

So?

Exactly.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Ugh.

Okay, rampant ignorance when it comes to Islam and Middle Eastern History.

First of all, his bit one the Jewish Rabis having this idea that god cannot be prayed to, and of that being unique. Free will isn't a big thing in Islam, so praying for things also isn't a big thing. What Allah does, Allah does, and the virtue in life lies not in altering the ordained, or bringing it to fruition, both of which are seen as beyond human capabilities. Virtue lies in understanding the world and the will of Allah. The idea that they believe in praying for things just reveals a projection of Christian norms onto Islamic beliefs which really doesn't fit. This is why Islam has, historically, placed such a huge importance on natural science science, medicine, logic, and philosophy.

He also treats devoutness in Islam as equivalent to fanaticism in Judaism, when in classical Islam (and certain sects of Christianity) devoutness is seen as supportive of knowledge, scholarship, and inquiry.

He then presents 'the rest of the world' as 'eager to murder the Jews at every opportunity', when Jews actually often thrived in the Middle East, forming a strong community in Egypt, for example, where Maimonides rose through the ranks of Islamic scholars and compiled the Mishneh Torah, or the several Jewish viziers of the Caliphate of Cordoba. That's a historically ignorant claim to make universally; it only really applies to Europe.

Then on to typical one-sided defense of Israel which doesn't see the absolute injustice of the fact that Britain sold the land to Zionist, land which they owned as (essentially) a colonial holding, without any consideration towards the people actually living there. They did this after Western powers supporting the Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule, and then backstabbed the leader of the Islamic world while selling their land to Western Jews. To Muslims, this isn't an issue of 'Jews are bad'. Jews have bean living peaceably in the Middle East since the advent of Islam. Muslims protected Jews against the Crusades, gave them shelter when they were fleeing pogroms in Europe, and offered them a new home when they were removed by the Inquisition. This is an issue of 'The West promised us support in our fight for independence, then backstabbed us, carved up our land, sowed dissension, and sold OUR LAND to Western Jews.' It's salt in a considerable, and still festering, wound, not just 'crazy Muslims hate the Jews'. To anyone with an iota of comparative historical knowledge about Europe and the Islamic world, that claim is obviously false. Unfortunately, Harris's ignorance, or disingenuity, is exactly what I've come to expect from the 'new atheists.'

Then he completely takes Qur'anic verse out of context...

This honestly just gets worse and worse. He admits that that Israel cannot do anything that they want to the Palestinians due to international pressure within two breaths of claiming that the fact that Israel can do anything to Palestinians demonstrates their restraint and moral superiority. He glosses over radical zionists, but then treats Hamas and their propagandist cartoons as representative of Islam not only presently (which is in itself absurd) but historically as well.

Most of all, Harris fails to ask the ultimate question just itching beneath the surface of this conflict: why did a people who, just over a century ago, expressed disgust at the idea of blood libel which had been imported from the West and then stood by Jews a long-time valuable members of their society go from open arms for Jews to a stated desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map? By refusing to ask that question, Harris takes the same route that most Western commenters do and, in my eyes, loses all credibility. Instead of looking at the roots of the conflict, he relies of prevailing Western stereotypes of Islam as a barbaric and oppressive force to paint the opposition as mindless and murderous savages without some very real and horrific grievances against the West in general, and Israel as a Western proxy in the heart of their territory. I have ZERO respect for people who look down from their ivory tower and see good and evil instead of wading through the bloodstained history surrounding this conflict. Because that history indicts US, not them.

Israelis don't use human shields because they don't have to. The fact that Palestinians use human shields is a testament to their desperation, not their inhumanity.

Then he conflates ISIS with Islam at large.

And Hamas wants to spread their ideology to every corner of the world, stifle freedom everywhere, burn kittens at the stake, etc. etc.

Muslims don't want to get to paradise. They just want some of the agency and self-determination back which was stolen from them by the West after the breakup of the Ottoman empire.

Jesus, in 15 minutes Harris demolishes any credibility which he had with me.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Ugh.

Okay, rampant ignorance when it comes to Islam and Middle Eastern History.

First of all, his bit one the Jewish Rabis having this idea that god cannot be prayed to, and of that being unique. Free will isn't a big thing in Islam, so praying for things also isn't a big thing. What Allah does, Allah does, and the virtue in life lies not in altering the ordained, or bringing it to fruition, both of which are seen as beyond human capabilities. Virtue lies in understanding the world and the will of Allah. This is why Islam has, historically, placed such a huge importance on natural science science, medicine, logic, and philosophy.

His point was that Judaism today is a very moderate religion. Many Jews don't even believe in God. Compare this to Islam, where homosexuality is punishable by death in many countries because of what the Quran says.


He also treats devoutness in Islam as equivalent to fanaticism in Judaism, when in classical Islam (and certain sects of Christianity) devoutness is seen as supportive of knowledge, scholarship, and inquiry.


Are those virtues incompatible with a fanatical approach, and are they good descriptions of devout Muslims today?

He then presents 'the rest of the world' as 'eager to murder the Jews at every opportunity', when Jews actually often thrived in the Middle East, forming a strong community in Egypt, for example, where Maimonides rose through the ranks of Islamic scholars and compiled the Mishneh Torah, or the several Jewish viziers of the Caliphate of Cordoba. That's a historically ignorant claim to make universally; it only really applies to Europe.

How on earth are we supposed to know that the Jews were, for the most part, respected in the Middle East because one Jew wrote a book. I realize that it's only meant as an example, but it's a pretty bad one and might as well not have been made.
.

Then on to typical one-sided defense of Israel which doesn't see the absolute injustice of the fact that Britain sold the land to Zionist, land which they owned as (essentially) a colonial holding, without any consideration towards the people actually living there. They did this after Western powers supporting the ur fight for independence, then backstabbed us, carved up our land, sowed dissension, and sold OUR LAND to Western Jews.' It's salt in a considerable, and still festering, wound, not just 'crazy Muslims hate the Jews'. To anyone with an iota of comparative historical knowledge about Europe and the Islamic world, that claim is obviously false. Unfortunately, Harris's ignorance, or disingenuity, is exactly what I've come to expect from the 'new atheists.'


Even if the land of Israel was unfairly seized, does that excuse calls for genocide or the bombing of Israel? Israel is clearly not going to move. At this point, pushing the Jews out of Israel is not any more justified than was pushing Palestinians out of their homes. If the Muslims really wanted peace they would have already come to terms with this fact. They are choosing conflict over peace. If they left Israel alone, the world would be better off for everyone (including Muslims).

Then he completely takes Qur'anic verse out of context...

This honestly just gets worse and worse. He admits that that Israel cannot do anything that they want to the Palestinians due to international pressure within two breaths of claiming that the fact that Israel can do anything to Palestinians demonstrates their restraint and moral superiority.

I'll admit that it's a flawed argument. The fact that Israel hasn't destroyed Palestine even though it could tells us nothing about what they would do if there were no international community to answer to. However, it's safe to say that if Israel could have anything it wanted, it would simply choose peace, and not engage in the same genocidal practices they experienced in Europe. In any case, it establishes Israel as the more grown up nation - one that at least tries not to be reckless, as such recklessness can lead to unnecessary war and is therefore immoral.

He glosses over radical zionists,

Because they're a small minority.

but then treats Hamas and their propagandist cartoons as representative of Islam not only presently (which is in itself absurd) but historically as well.

Why shouldn't he?


Most of all, Harris fails to ask the ultimate question just itching beneath the surface of this conflict: why did a people who, just over a century ago, expressed disgust at the idea of blood libel which had been imported from the West and then stood by Jews a long-time valuable members of their society go from open arms for Jews to a stated desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map?

Maybe because their holy book, which they regard as perfect and unalterable and take literally, tells them to? They're simply being better Muslims.

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

By refusing to ask that question, Harris takes the same route that most Western commenters do and, in my eyes, loses all credibility. Instead of looking at the roots of the conflict, he relies of prevailing Western stereotypes of Islam as a barbaric and oppressive force to paint the opposition as mindless and murderous savages without some very real and horrific grievances against the West in general, and Israel as a Western proxy in the heart of their territory. I have ZERO respect for people who look down from their ivory tower and see good and evil instead of wading through the bloodstained history surrounding this conflict. Because that history indicts US, not them.


Israelis don't use human shields because they don't have to. The fact that Palestinians use human shields is a testament to their desperation, not their inhumanity.

He was claiming that if they were to use them, it would be ineffective because the Palestinians want to kill Jewish civilians while they don't. The fact that Palestinians use children to protect their weapons (which they use to bomb Israel) is a testament to their desperation and to their inhumanity, which both follow their fundamental savagery.

Then he conflates ISIS with Islam at large.

When? I'm not saying he doesn't, but I'd like to know what the context is.


And Hamas wants to spread their ideology to every corner of the world, stifle freedom everywhere, burn kittens at the stake, etc. etc.

Yeah, let's just gloss over that one. It's not important at all.

Muslims don't want to get to paradise. They just want some of the agency and self-determination back which was stolen from them by the West after the breakup of the Ottoman empire.

And, of course, to kill all non-believers.


Jesus, in 15 minutes Harris demolishes any credibility which he had with me.

It's just a standard pro-Israeli stance.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/11/2015 10:17:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Ugh.

Okay, rampant ignorance when it comes to Islam and Middle Eastern History.

First of all, his bit one the Jewish Rabis having this idea that god cannot be prayed to, and of that being unique. Free will isn't a big thing in Islam, so praying for things also isn't a big thing. What Allah does, Allah does, and the virtue in life lies not in altering the ordained, or bringing it to fruition, both of which are seen as beyond human capabilities. Virtue lies in understanding the world and the will of Allah. This is why Islam has, historically, placed such a huge importance on natural science science, medicine, logic, and philosophy.

His point was that Judaism today is a very moderate religion. Many Jews don't even believe in God. Compare this to Islam, where homosexuality is punishable by death in many countries because of what the Quran says.

Islam is very different from Judaism. Saying that a religion is 'moderate' when the occupation of land based on the old testament is used to justify a conflict which ends in dismembered children is not accurate. Judaism is moderate in certain areas, but in others it holds despicable beliefs. Moderation (Wasatyya) is actually a critical aspect of Islam which is all but ignored Salafism, and is an aspect of Shar'ia law which many misunderstand. All judgments are supposed to be tempered by moderation, and the fact that they are often not is actually indicative that there is something severely wrong with the practice of law in the Middle East. The death penalty for anything in Islam is only really applied classically for a combination of crimes (i.e. apostasy and inciting war against Muslims, basically a form of treason.) Homosexuality has always been pretty prevalent in the middle east, and most 'crimes' were ignored if practiced in private. In the middle east, most judgements took more into account things which negatively impacted public tranquility, like public lewdness. Things like incestual Zoroastrian self-marriages, which Islam found despicable on a moral level, weren't prosecuted, partly because of the dhimmi contract, and partly because doing so would sow dissension.


He also treats devoutness in Islam as equivalent to fanaticism in Judaism, when in classical Islam (and certain sects of Christianity) devoutness is seen as supportive of knowledge, scholarship, and inquiry.

Are those virtues incompatible with a fanatical approach, and are they good descriptions of devout Muslims today?

Yes, they are incompatible with a fanatical approach, and yes, they are common among devout Muslims. To a devout Muslim, discovering the truth of the world around them is part of exploring the divine. There is no 'god-of-the-gaps' phenomenon like there is in Christianity; since God decrees and commands all things, to understand them is to understand God.

He then presents 'the rest of the world' as 'eager to murder the Jews at every opportunity', when Jews actually often thrived in the Middle East, forming a strong community in Egypt, for example, where Maimonides rose through the ranks of Islamic scholars and compiled the Mishneh Torah, or the several Jewish viziers of the Caliphate of Cordoba. That's a historically ignorant claim to make universally; it only really applies to Europe.

How on earth are we supposed to know that the Jews were, for the most part, respected in the Middle East because one Jew wrote a book.

Wrote a book... Maimonides compiled and translated fourteen exhaustive tomes on Jewish law which continues to be an essential piece in the Jewish canon. He was also highly respected by and influenced Islamic scholars who are legendary today, like Ibn Rushd (Averroes, the man largely responsible for passing the works of Aristotle the the west) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the famous natural scientist and doctor whose medical works would serve as the standard in Western universities for over five centuries.

I realize that it's only meant as an example, but it's a pretty bad one and might as well not have been made.

You really don't know who Maimonides is. It's not a bad example. He was, hands down, one of the most essential players in the preservation of Jewish traditions and religious practices, and he operated exclusively within the Islamic scholarly sphere.

And it wasn't just him, he was just the most prominent example. A large amount of Jewish scholars were prominent in the Islamic world, especially in Egypt and Al-Andalus.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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3/11/2015 10:33:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 10:17:40 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Ugh.

Okay, rampant ignorance when it comes to Islam and Middle Eastern History.

First of all, his bit one the Jewish Rabis having this idea that god cannot be prayed to, and of that being unique. Free will isn't a big thing in Islam, so praying for things also isn't a big thing. What Allah does, Allah does, and the virtue in life lies not in altering the ordained, or bringing it to fruition, both of which are seen as beyond human capabilities. Virtue lies in understanding the world and the will of Allah. This is why Islam has, historically, placed such a huge importance on natural science science, medicine, logic, and philosophy.

His point was that Judaism today is a very moderate religion. Many Jews don't even believe in God. Compare this to Islam, where homosexuality is punishable by death in many countries because of what the Quran says.

Islam is very different from Judaism. Saying that a religion is 'moderate' when the occupation of land based on the old testament is used to justify a conflict which ends in dismembered children is not accurate. Judaism is moderate in certain areas, but in others it holds despicable beliefs. Moderation (Wasatyya) is actually a critical aspect of Islam which is all but ignored Salafism, and is an aspect of Shar'ia law which many misunderstand. All judgments are supposed to be tempered by moderation, and the fact that they are often not is actually indicative that there is something severely wrong with the practice of law in the Middle East. The death penalty for anything in Islam is only really applied classically for a combination of crimes (i.e. apostasy and inciting war against Muslims, basically a form of treason.) Homosexuality has always been pretty prevalent in the middle east, and most 'crimes' were ignored if practiced in private. In the middle east, most judgements took more into account things which negatively impacted public tranquility, like public lewdness. Things like incestual Zoroastrian self-marriages, which Islam found despicable on a moral level, weren't prosecuted, partly because of the dhimmi contract, and partly because doing so would sow dissension.


He also treats devoutness in Islam as equivalent to fanaticism in Judaism, when in classical Islam (and certain sects of Christianity) devoutness is seen as supportive of knowledge, scholarship, and inquiry.

Are those virtues incompatible with a fanatical approach, and are they good descriptions of devout Muslims today?

Yes, they are incompatible with a fanatical approach

Fanatical means strict adherence to dogma. If being a good Muslims means inquiring about God, then clearly they are not in conflict.

and yes, they are common among devout Muslims.

Provide some evidence.

To a devout Muslim, discovering the truth of the world around them is part of exploring the divine. There is no 'god-of-the-gaps' phenomenon like there is in Christianity; since God decrees and commands all things, to understand them is to understand God.

He then presents 'the rest of the world' as 'eager to murder the Jews at every opportunity', when Jews actually often thrived in the Middle East, forming a strong community in Egypt, for example, where Maimonides rose through the ranks of Islamic scholars and compiled the Mishneh Torah, or the several Jewish viziers of the Caliphate of Cordoba. That's a historically ignorant claim to make universally; it only really applies to Europe.

How on earth are we supposed to know that the Jews were, for the most part, respected in the Middle East because one Jew wrote a book.

Wrote a book... Maimonides compiled and translated fourteen exhaustive tomes on Jewish law which continues to be an essential piece in the Jewish canon. He was also highly respected by and influenced Islamic scholars who are legendary today, like Ibn Rushd (Averroes, the man largely responsible for passing the works of Aristotle the the west) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the famous natural scientist and doctor whose medical works would serve as the standard in Western universities for over five centuries.

I don't mean to be rude, but so what? This example could easily exist in a world in which Jews were, in the main, discriminated against in the Middle East.

I realize that it's only meant as an example, but it's a pretty bad one and might as well not have been made.

You really don't know who Maimonides is. It's not a bad example. He was, hands down, one of the most essential players in the preservation of Jewish traditions and religious practices, and he operated exclusively within the Islamic scholarly sphere.

I still don't know how this proves the Jewish experience in the Middle East has been a happy one.

And it wasn't just him, he was just the most prominent example. A large amount of Jewish scholars were prominent in the Islamic world, especially in Egypt and Al-Andalus.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/11/2015 10:41:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Even if the land of Israel was unfairly seized, does that excuse calls for genocide or the bombing of Israel?

You're looking at this from a detached perspective, which is good when it comes to foreign policy calculations, but horrible when you want to understand why what is happening is happening. Think of it this way:

During the American revolution, France supports us. However, once England is defeated they support a Quebecois takeover of America, push the founding fathers into exile, and divide the US into territories which it rules in a temporarily colonial fashion, attempting to stamp out your traditional culture and replace it with their own. Then, they take the chunk of land on which your family is living, and sell it to an ally. Those allies show up expecting to own your home and everything which you've worked for, and you lose it all. You flee to neighboring areas, and your fellow Americans, incensed at this slap in the face after already suffering considerable humiliation, attack to win your land back. The invasions fail, and the small country, with French military backing, occupies more and more land, and begins expelling the Americans who live their in order to build housing developments for their burgeoning population. While all of this is happening, the French continue to manipulate the politics of your divided territories to maximize their own influence in the region, supporting brutal tyrants who oppress your people. Pretty pissed at the French and their little friends? That's how Muslims feel about Israel and the West. Add in some beloved family members dead, your home bulldozed, and/or your way of life wiped out, and you begin to think that there are no redeeming qualities to be found in your enemy, that they are pitiless and so deserve no pity. When you see them portraying themselves as victims, it makes you sick with rage. They're all the same to you, and it's either you or them. You don't need an excuse at that point, or rationality, or moderation.

Israel is clearly not going to move.

It will if its tenuous diplomatic situation collapses.

At this point, pushing the Jews out of Israel is not any more justified than was pushing Palestinians out of their homes. If the Muslims really wanted peace they would have already come to terms with this fact. They are choosing conflict over peace. If they left Israel alone, the world would be better off for everyone (including Muslims).

A terrible arguments. The same defense can be made of Nazis who seized land under their Lebensraum policy: it's always easier to maintain the status quo. And resentment doesn't just go away; when it's created, one must deal with it.

Then he completely takes Qur'anic verse out of context...

This honestly just gets worse and worse. He admits that that Israel cannot do anything that they want to the Palestinians due to international pressure within two breaths of claiming that the fact that Israel can do anything to Palestinians demonstrates their restraint and moral superiority.

I'll admit that it's a flawed argument. The fact that Israel hasn't destroyed Palestine even though it could tells us nothing about what they would do if there were no international community to answer to. However, it's safe to say that if Israel could have anything it wanted, it would simply choose peace, and not engage in the same genocidal practices they experienced in Europe. In any case, it establishes Israel as the more grown up nation - one that at least tries not to be reckless, as such recklessness can lead to unnecessary war and is therefore immoral.

They would still be building settlements and displacing the people who live there, as there are very real housing restrictions for them to overcome.

He glosses over radical zionists,

Because they're a small minority.

They still played a pivotal role in establishing the country by bombing British targets until their demands were met, demands which went beyond the original intentions of the Balfour Declaration.

but then treats Hamas and their propagandist cartoons as representative of Islam not only presently (which is in itself absurd) but historically as well.

Why shouldn't he?

Because they aren't.... you don't seriously believe that, do you?

Most of all, Harris fails to ask the ultimate question just itching beneath the surface of this conflict: why did a people who, just over a century ago, expressed disgust at the idea of blood libel which had been imported from the West and then stood by Jews a long-time valuable members of their society go from open arms for Jews to a stated desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map?

Maybe because their holy book, which they regard as perfect and unalterable and take literally, tells them to? They're simply being better Muslims.

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Skepsikyma
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3/11/2015 10:55:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most of all, Harris fails to ask the ultimate question just itching beneath the surface of this conflict: why did a people who, just over a century ago, expressed disgust at the idea of blood libel which had been imported from the West and then stood by Jews a long-time valuable members of their society go from open arms for Jews to a stated desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map?

Maybe because their holy book, which they regard as perfect and unalterable and take literally, tells them to? They're simply being better Muslims.

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

"Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.

And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors."

This is a call for self-defense, which states twice that cessation of violence on one side ought to mean the cessation of violence on the other. I don't see your point.

By refusing to ask that question, Harris takes the same route that most Western commenters do and, in my eyes, loses all credibility. Instead of looking at the roots of the conflict, he relies of prevailing Western stereotypes of Islam as a barbaric and oppressive force to paint the opposition as mindless and murderous savages without some very real and horrific grievances against the West in general, and Israel as a Western proxy in the heart of their territory. I have ZERO respect for people who look down from their ivory tower and see good and evil instead of wading through the bloodstained history surrounding this conflict. Because that history indicts US, not them.



Israelis don't use human shields because they don't have to. The fact that Palestinians use human shields is a testament to their desperation, not their inhumanity.

He was claiming that if they were to use them, it would be ineffective because the Palestinians want to kill Jewish civilians while they don't. The fact that Palestinians use children to protect their weapons (which they use to bomb Israel) is a testament to their desperation and to their inhumanity, which both follow their fundamental savagery.

Are you listening to yourself?! That's just despicable on so many levels. I'm honestly shocked. No race of people is 'fundamentally savage'. And the human shields are NOT used because they expect the Israelis to avoid striking them, that's absurd in face of the fact that they often do. It's done in order to force the Israelis to embrace full brutality in their oppression, and to face the public backlash for it.

Then he conflates ISIS with Islam at large.

When? I'm not saying he doesn't, but I'd like to know what the context is.

His claims about there being no big protests by Muslims against ISIS while they persecute religious minorities, when just about every government in the Middle East is actively fighting ISIS, and they have been condemned by scholars from every school of Islam, even Salafism.

And Hamas wants to spread their ideology to every corner of the world, stifle freedom everywhere, burn kittens at the stake, etc. etc.

Yeah, let's just gloss over that one. It's not important at all.

It's not true. Hamas wants to destroy Israel. Islamic theology holds that the universality of Islam is preordained, and that humans cannot alter that. This means that there's no battle for hearts and minds, as there is with Christianity. No 'bringing people to Christ'. Hence the huge difference in conversion practices. Harris acts as if these differences don't exist.

Muslims don't want to get to paradise. They just want some of the agency and self-determination back which was stolen from them by the West after the breakup of the Ottoman empire.

And, of course, to kill all non-believers.

That's why they killed all the non-believers under their rule and explicitly within their power for 1,500 years. That's why they snuffed Judaism off of the face of the earth when they controlled all of the remaining centers of Jewish scholarship. That's why there are no more Christians in Syria and Egypt.

Oh wait... they didn't do that.

Jesus, in 15 minutes Harris demolishes any credibility which he had with me.

It's just a standard pro-Israeli stance.

Yeah, a stance which is warped and which rests on racist preconceptions and historical ignorance.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
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3/11/2015 11:16:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 10:33:32 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 10:17:40 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/11/2015 7:55:33 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/21/2014 8:08:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Ugh.

Okay, rampant ignorance when it comes to Islam and Middle Eastern History.

First of all, his bit one the Jewish Rabis having this idea that god cannot be prayed to, and of that being unique. Free will isn't a big thing in Islam, so praying for things also isn't a big thing. What Allah does, Allah does, and the virtue in life lies not in altering the ordained, or bringing it to fruition, both of which are seen as beyond human capabilities. Virtue lies in understanding the world and the will of Allah. This is why Islam has, historically, placed such a huge importance on natural science science, medicine, logic, and philosophy.

His point was that Judaism today is a very moderate religion. Many Jews don't even believe in God. Compare this to Islam, where homosexuality is punishable by death in many countries because of what the Quran says.

Islam is very different from Judaism. Saying that a religion is 'moderate' when the occupation of land based on the old testament is used to justify a conflict which ends in dismembered children is not accurate. Judaism is moderate in certain areas, but in others it holds despicable beliefs. Moderation (Wasatyya) is actually a critical aspect of Islam which is all but ignored Salafism, and is an aspect of Shar'ia law which many misunderstand. All judgments are supposed to be tempered by moderation, and the fact that they are often not is actually indicative that there is something severely wrong with the practice of law in the Middle East. The death penalty for anything in Islam is only really applied classically for a combination of crimes (i.e. apostasy and inciting war against Muslims, basically a form of treason.) Homosexuality has always been pretty prevalent in the middle east, and most 'crimes' were ignored if practiced in private. In the middle east, most judgements took more into account things which negatively impacted public tranquility, like public lewdness. Things like incestual Zoroastrian self-marriages, which Islam found despicable on a moral level, weren't prosecuted, partly because of the dhimmi contract, and partly because doing so would sow dissension.


He also treats devoutness in Islam as equivalent to fanaticism in Judaism, when in classical Islam (and certain sects of Christianity) devoutness is seen as supportive of knowledge, scholarship, and inquiry.

Are those virtues incompatible with a fanatical approach, and are they good descriptions of devout Muslims today?

Yes, they are incompatible with a fanatical approach


Fanatical means strict adherence to dogma. If being a good Muslims means inquiring about God, then clearly they are not in conflict.

Fanaticism usually concerns inordinate zeal, and has pretty negative connotations. Nevertheless, I don't want to argue semantics. In Islam, there isn't really dogma. The religious scholars, or ulema, belong to various contrasting schools of thought in areas like jurisprudence, theology, and natural sciences. Each ulema traces his line of instruction back to Muhammad in a student-teacher-student-teacher fashion. One of the biggest principle in Islamic government is the non-interference of political actors in religious affairs. The various schools have always sought to debate and refine their ideas over enforcing one idea over another. There was an attempt to do such a thing during the Abbasid caliphate called the Mihna, a sort of pro-Mu`tazila inquisition. It was a dismal failure which undermined the authority of the Caliph in religious matters.
and yes, they are common among devout Muslims.

Provide some evidence.

History:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

To a devout Muslim, discovering the truth of the world around them is part of exploring the divine. There is no 'god-of-the-gaps' phenomenon like there is in Christianity; since God decrees and commands all things, to understand them is to understand God.

He then presents 'the rest of the world' as 'eager to murder the Jews at every opportunity', when Jews actually often thrived in the Middle East, forming a strong community in Egypt, for example, where Maimonides rose through the ranks of Islamic scholars and compiled the Mishneh Torah, or the several Jewish viziers of the Caliphate of Cordoba. That's a historically ignorant claim to make universally; it only really applies to Europe.

How on earth are we supposed to know that the Jews were, for the most part, respected in the Middle East because one Jew wrote a book.

Wrote a book... Maimonides compiled and translated fourteen exhaustive tomes on Jewish law which continues to be an essential piece in the Jewish canon. He was also highly respected by and influenced Islamic scholars who are legendary today, like Ibn Rushd (Averroes, the man largely responsible for passing the works of Aristotle the the west) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the famous natural scientist and doctor whose medical works would serve as the standard in Western universities for over five centuries.

I don't mean to be rude, but so what? This example could easily exist in a world in which Jews were, in the main, discriminated against in the Middle East.

No, it really couldn't. This wasn't some guy sitting down and writing a book. This is a man acquiring an extensive education from the scholars of his day, including fluency in multiple languages, then translating and compiling a scattered religious tradition, originally a chiefly oral one, and then discussing it with his colleagues. He then had it produced and disseminated in an age when that was anything but cheap. This would have been utterly impossible without the support of the scholarly class which ruled society, and it's beyond a doubt that he had their open encouragement, not just their support, as he and Muslim scholars frequently reference one another's works.

I realize that it's only meant as an example, but it's a pretty bad one and might as well not have been made.

You really don't know who Maimonides is. It's not a bad example. He was, hands down, one of the most essential players in the preservation of Jewish traditions and religious practices, and he operated exclusively within the Islamic scholarly sphere.

I still don't know how this proves the Jewish experience in the Middle East has been a happy one.

If Jewish scholars had the full support of the Islamic scholars in compiling and discussing their own religion, were able to serve in the upper echelons (viziers) of the Cordoban Umayyad court, and had their essential works preserved and rediscussed for centuries after their death, they had a pretty sweet deal by any standards, but especially compared to their treatment in Europe.

And it wasn't just him, he was just the most prominent example. A large amount of Jewish scholars were prominent in the Islamic world, especially in Egypt and Al-Andalus.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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3/13/2015 8:17:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 10:41:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/11/2015 9:49:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

At this point, pushing the Jews out of Israel is not any more justified than was pushing Palestinians out of their homes. If the Muslims really wanted peace they would have already come to terms with this fact. They are choosing conflict over peace. If they left Israel alone, the world would be better off for everyone (including Muslims).

A terrible arguments. The same defense can be made of Nazis who seized land under their Lebensraum policy: it's always easier to maintain the status quo. And resentment doesn't just go away; when it's created, one must deal with it.

There's a difference between uprooting a society that has been established for over 65 years in order to make right a past injustice (which is really just fighting an evil by practicing it), and returning land back to the original owners after the fighting stops.

Then he completely takes Qur'anic verse out of context...

This honestly just gets worse and worse. He admits that that Israel cannot do anything that they want to the Palestinians due to international pressure within two breaths of claiming that the fact that Israel can do anything to Palestinians demonstrates their restraint and moral superiority.

I'll admit that it's a flawed argument. The fact that Israel hasn't destroyed Palestine even though it could tells us nothing about what they would do if there were no international community to answer to. However, it's safe to say that if Israel could have anything it wanted, it would simply choose peace, and not engage in the same genocidal practices they experienced in Europe. In any case, it establishes Israel as the more grown up nation - one that at least tries not to be reckless, as such recklessness can lead to unnecessary war and is therefore immoral.

They would still be building settlements and displacing the people who live there, as there are very real housing restrictions for them to overcome.

He glosses over radical zionists,

Because they're a small minority.

They still played a pivotal role in establishing the country by bombing British targets until their demands were met, demands which went beyond the original intentions of the Balfour Declaration.

but then treats Hamas and their propagandist cartoons as representative of Islam not only presently (which is in itself absurd) but historically as well.

Why shouldn't he?

Because they aren't.... you don't seriously believe that, do you?


I don't think they're entirely representative, but they certainly give us some idea.