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Sometimes an issue serves as a value check on what you really stand for: Do you actually support something of inherent worth, or do you merely oppose some specific thing you find personally irritating without understanding why?  The bizarre dichotomy on the left of attitudes toward Christianity vs. Islam is a case in point that separates the liberals from the posers: We see a reaction to two religions not by the ideas they promote or the behaviors normalized by their respective cultures, but simply how the identities involved relate to the political convenience of the speaker.  The results can be surreal, and attacks from the left on Richard Dawkins for criticizing Islam have been some of the clearest and most appalling examples.

As a modern social phenomenon, Christianity deals largely in moral hypocrisy, self-adulation, and corrupt fundraising, while Islam as a norm deals in what the former only deals with at an extreme - absolute demarcation between Us and Them, with most forms of anti-social or authoritarian behavior being excusable by the ingroup vis-a-vis Others and an infinite plethora of unhinged conspiracy theories being considered plausible on the part of outsiders.  Most of the Islamic world not only appears to believe 9/11 Truther conspiracy theories, but doesn't seem to be aware that any other history exists.  In fact, for the most part, Islamic history in these countries is almost all concerned with weaving a WATB fantasy of the infinite evil of Westerners, the infinite suffering of Muslims at their hands, and largely ignores anything else unless it's to demonize other sects of Islam than the dominant one.

There is no part of core Islamic belief that's liberal.  If you do anything good, it's not because it's good inherently - it's because an all-powerful tyrant says so and will slaughter those who defy Him: Basically the same moral origin as fundamentalist Christianity, only with scriptural examples of militant political religion by the central spiritual figure and his followers.  God is not good in the Islamic framework, but "Merciful" - i.e., one who is malevolent but restrains himself if you are obedient.  And the concepts of "peace" and "submission" are thus considered identical: You do not speak.  You do not think.  You do not change.  You adhere to the rigid structures which you inherit or there will be horrific consequences.  There is no guarantee there won't be horrific consequences anyway, but as long as you are "on the team" you have the comfort of rigid identity and can make whatever excuses are needed to believe yourself righteous.  Again, the same phenomenon occurs in Christianity, but it isn't a codified structural element of the underlying belief.

And the beliefs of Islam are completely ridiculous, Dark Age gibberish no more rational than anything else from Abrahamic tradition, yet somehow manages to be even darker - silly numerological fetishes, arbitrary attributions of very specific practices or meaningless acts to divine purposes, etc.  Basically the Old Testament raised to the power of Yuck.  It's awful, and even worse when you realize that a billion people would fear for their lives to say so.  Texas evangelicals can only fantasize about the level of fear, ignorance, and conformity that people are born into in the Islamic world.  I find it infuriating that someone in another part of the world could be exactly like me in their minds, but if they spoke the scientific / curious / inquiring thoughts that have been going through my head since childhood, they would be endangering themselves and their families - possibly facing danger from their families.

There are people in these parts of the world working and risking themselves to change that, but they at least know the problem exists, and some of them at least know that Islam is part of the problem - that it's the most religious of religions, and that everything wrong about religion is especially potent and concentrated in Islam.  Where religion is ignorant, Islamic religion is almost entirely epistemically closed.  Where religion is about controlling people, Islam is nothing but control - except in the few places where people are allowed to unleash their violent passions against designated scapegoats.  All other competitors for passion are strictly regulated or prohibited: Women, alcohol, art, music, everything.  Christianity is less explicit on these subjects, and where it is, Christians mostly ignore it because (a)most of them know it's crap, and (b)people who say it's crap aren't targeted for murder, dismemberment, or imprisonment.  Christianity is open enough to allow its followers to outgrow it.

I am not a moral relativist, and I will not create artificial barriers between the reality that pertains to the planet Earth I live on and one where people who dress differently live.  There is one reality, and in that reality human beings and all other living things evolved from other species.  There were no talking serpents, a burning bush did not scrawl 10 commandments into a rock, the magic carpenter did not hocus pocus an infinite picnic from a bottomless basket, and a desert bandit did not hear the voice of an omnipotent being telling people to not drink alcohol and to walk five times around a box.  Muslims can hear that without turning into terrorists or feeling like oppressed victims, and they can handle hearing that their religion has been by and large a bad thing for humanity and deal with the fact constructively.  If they don't like it, they can change their religion, or they can choose some other religion, or they can support science and enlightenment, but if they deny the history of what Islam does simply to protect their identity they'd be no different from any other idiot religious people and equally deserving of ridicule.

I will not deservedly mock ignorant, repugnant evangelical Christians for their silly beliefs and bigoted attitudes while treating Muslims like psychologically delicate pets who have to be protected from criticism of their religion and can't handle 21st century thinking without flying off the handle.  If that's what does happen - if culturally Islam is that sensitive - then that just proves it's in dire need of far more criticism and mockery than it gets.  Richard Dawkins, who has been a tireless advocate for reason and sanity, deserves immense credit for having enough respect for people who happen to be Muslim to laugh at their religion the same as he laughs at Christianity - especially in Britain, where the WATBism of conservative Islam goes far beyond even Tea Party Christianity in the US.

When I look at Islam, I don't see some delicate alien culture that needs protection from us big, bad, omnipotent Westerners - I see a bunch of obsolete ideas that hurt people and have been allowed to dominate the lives of a huge swath of the world for long past its point of usefulness.  Ideas are what they do, and we know what Islam does: At best, nothing.  It is the ultimate status quo, and because it came into effect in Dark Age Arabia, that's the standard of "normal" that that religion gravitates toward - as opposed to Hellenistic Rome or late medieval Germany.  The more rigid, the more self-absorbed a religion is, the more its domination crushes cultures into stagnation.  Why pursue such a rigorous, arcane, and uncertain pursuit as science when it's so much easier to memorize and recite verses like a machine?  The brief flowering of Islamic science in the Middle Ages was rapidly crushed beneath the jackboot of devout unconsciousness and still hasn't emerged.

The only reason anyone disputes it is precisely the attitude of victimhood that Islam teaches and the paternalistic attitude by some on the secular left that see Muslims as emotionally unstable zoo animals who can't deal with vigorous 21st century thought like what Christians are exposed to.  Well, they can deal with it, and should be respected enough to be told that their religion is bullshit like any other - the sooner the cultural PTSD bubble of history is shattered, the sooner those cultures can create something better.  Who the hell wants the final word on their culture to have been written in the 7th century?  What kind of asshole idolizes the Dark Ages?  And what good is pasting a 21st century patina over cultural ideologies that still revolve everything around superstition, power, and conformity?  In Dubai - that oh-so-modern skyscraper playground of billionaires - they recently convicted a woman of the crime of being raped.  I don't think it was because their stockbrokers told them to.  

Just because a set of ideas came from a desert is no excuse to let them make everything else into a desert to perpetuate them.  Life is a lot better now, almost everywhere, and depriving people of alcohol had nothing to do with it; making women cover their awesome bodies had nothing to do with it; prayer had nothing to do with it; and obedience had less than nothing to do with it.  All the good things that exist today were created by the impious and unsatisfied, the inquisitive and blasphemous, because such are the energies of Life.  People stopped being their ancestors' puppets and got on with it.  God is dead, and you are already dead if you subscribe to a culture obsessed with reliving the fantasies of some dead cult leader, schizophrenic, or con man.  So leave the desert in the desert, and leave the past in the past, and life will grow in places once desolate.

Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 4:22 AM PT: Who could have predicted that criticizing Islam would result in spammed personal attacks, Orwellian false equivalencies, and threats?

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Comment Preferences

  •  And your global theology (26+ / 0-)

    degree is from . . . ?

    I find you more dangerous than religion.  You are like a seed of hate that germinates and then escapes from cultivation.

    Have you ever read anything from Walt Whitman?  It sounds not.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:37:54 PM PDT

  •  I like to call this... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, mickT, crose, Fishtroller01

    the Bill Maher.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:39:39 PM PDT

    •  Bill Maher's a smart guy. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia, Fishtroller01
      •  ponder this (28+ / 0-)

        We saw an evolution of thinking on race, religion and sex in the Western world post WW2. Things are better in general.

        The western world needed oil to function in the post WW2 world and the western world destroyed forward thinking thinkers in the Middle East because the thinkers wanted to keep their oil and build up their countries in socialist way. So dictators rose up and made deals with the west to provide oil and the west provides whatever and maybe this contributed to Islam not progressing like the Western World. Oil money would have gone a long way to help heal tribal wounds. When people are financially secure they get along better.

        I like to wonder what the Middle East would look like if the Brits didn't use the CIA to destroy Mossadegh.

        I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

        by jbou on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:53:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. We've been NURTURING (20+ / 0-)

          extremist Islam in several countries -- if not outright (Saudi Arabia, anyone? "Northern Alliance," anyone?), then by destroying moderate and progressive opposition to it.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:00:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Like we've been nurturing... (16+ / 0-)

            global warming by outsourcing manufacturing to countries that don't care.

            I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

            by jbou on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:04:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, we've been papering it over (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Farugia, scott5js, crose, StrayCat, linkage

            with flimsy governments that appease their subjects by letting them run religious matters how they please.  We still shouldn't do that - no matter how bad the results of what people vote for, they have a right to vote for it.  But a lot of these terrorists are rich, educated people with no excuses.

          •  If not funding it. (9+ / 0-)


            Extremist Sunni Islam served as an excellent brake on Khomieni's Iran;  we propped up Zia's fundamentalist regime in Pakistan to have a base (Qaeda, in Arabic) for the support of mujahedin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, and were not too picky about where the funding actually went.  

            For good measure, we of the rest of the planet placed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose version of Islam is the most intolerant of all, under our security shield.  When Saddam threatened KSA, almost the entire world rode to its rescue.  This precedent means that the Saudis need not set up a society that can tax, arm and defend itself.  Instead, they get to spread extremist Islam from Morocco to Indonesia.  

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 09:20:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Netherlands didn't have to protect itself (0+ / 0-)

              in the Cold War either, and it's a big oil producer.  Why aren't they spread militant Calvinism and beating people to death with wooden shoes worldwide?

              •  Ignorance (5+ / 0-)

                The Calvinist Church from the Netherlands became the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa and their progeny the Afrikanders who used rather more than shoes to kill people in places like Sharpeville, all in the name of their religion.

                While we are at it, I suggest you look up information on the Saudi armed forces, a significant client for both American and European arms suppliers.

                We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

                by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:01:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I ask again. (0+ / 0-)

                  Why aren't they spreading militant Calvinism worldwide and engaging in constant social conflict with everyone, everywhere there are significant Dutch populations?  Why aren't Calvinists blowing up marketplaces anywhere?  You can cite anecdotes of colonial oppression, but you can't show any remotely equivalent social phenomenon.

                  •  Simple (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    terrypinder, corvo

                    A. The Dutch were not that successful in colonialisation.

                    B. The DRC was an  exclusive hard line church which does not demonstrate the inherent compassion in Islam.

                    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

                    by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:33:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The British, however, were very successful (0+ / 0-)

                      as were the French.  Neither Angelicanism nor Catholicism exhibits the social consequences of Islam, and you'll have to excuse my skepticism of the "inherent compassion" of a religion obsessed with the minutiae of medieval vengeance in the 21st century.  How much of Islamic politics revolves around condemning Israel - a tiny scrap of desert - compared to dealing with anything else going on in the world?

                      •  you're both wrong (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        alain2112

                        The Dutch, the Brits, and the French (and the Germans and the Belgians and even the Americans) left very profound and very deep scars on the societies they colonized--scars that still affect events right now, to this day. Boiling it down to religion is glib, I think, as is calling them "a success."

                        also worth noting most the prohibitions on homosexuality in much of sub-Saharan Africa, even in countries that are now predominately Muslim, come directly from British and French--and other---Christian (Anglican and so on) missionaries and are based on what was legal and not legal in the UK and France at the time. Missionaries in many places were (and I guess one could say still are, since Wahabbism is a missionary movement too and now anti-gay evangelical American Christians are spreading all sorts of nonsense in sub-Saharan Africa) some of the primary agents of colonization. But that is just one small part.

                      •  OK, now you are just being a total idiot (0+ / 0-)

                        English (Anglican with some Protestants), Dutch (Protestant), and Spanish, Portuguese, and French (all Catholic) colonial empires were viciously bloodthirsty and stole everything that was not firmly fixed to the landscape almost everywhere in the world outside some parts of central and east Asia, which came under Mongol, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian domination at various times. No, I take that back. They frequently stole the landscape as well, in many cases denying the original inhabitants any property rights whatsoever. Then they introduced slavery. All of this was done in the name of Christianity. In many cases this specifically included Christianizing the natives and African slaves by force.

                        These forms of Christianity have not gone away in the world of today. They persist in the racism, bigotry, misogyny, and Mammonism of the Christian Right in the US and similar movements throughout Europe, and among converts to Evangelical Christianity worldwide. Hence, for example, the Kill the Gays bill in Uganda, and many more such oppressions.

                        Judaism was massively intolerant throughout all of Biblical history, although it got over its early genocidal tendencies. Christianity became massively intolerant late in the first century, progressing to murder, forced conversion, and the destruction of Greek and Roman temples as soon as it gained the power to do so, and has not yet fully given it up.

                        The notion of religious tolerance among European Christians outside the Netherlands did not exist until the 17th century, and is still not well accepted everywhere. Islam was frequently respectful of Judaism and Christianity, as required in the Qur'an, though certainly not so much after the Crusades. Islam originally gave women far greater rights than any Christian society of the time, again as mandated in the Qur'an, although again these were fairly soon lost in most Muslim countries.

                        So drop the pretense, or the delusion, that Christians and Jews are somehow inherently better than Muslims.

                        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

                        by Mokurai on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:01:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Now you've gone over to the dark side. There is (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    corvo, JosephK74

                    nothing about Christianity that is any better or worse in the history of its effect on humans and nature than Islam.  It only depends how much power or influence religious adherents have, the extent to which their religious fantasies affect their actions, and how much the religious nature of their beliefs has cowed the populace.  Religion, by itself, and in all of its variations is focused on death, and not life.  Plato's forms has blinded us to reality.  The forms are, in reality the shadows on the cave wall that the religions of the world seek to imprison us.

                    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                    by StrayCat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:17:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Christianity was weak enough to let its adherents (0+ / 0-)

                      grow beyond it, and today that's still a normal thing.  It's commonplace for Christians to abandon their faith and become secular, or agnostic, or atheist.  Muslims would face profound social if not physical or legal consequences for that.  It's difficult even among relatively assimilated immigrant Muslims in Western countries, and in some cases more dangerous because the fundies in those communities are more obsessed with preserving their identities by committing violence against apostates.

                      •  Well, I think the weakness was in part a (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        corvo, JosephK74, linkage

                        consequence of their overreaching and corruption.  This, in part lent impetus to the philosophers and scientists to seek a fundamentally different epistemology, which resulted in the Enlightenment.  Not much about this history that makes Christianity any better than Islam.

                        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                        by StrayCat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:16:33 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  On the contrary. (0+ / 0-)

                          The growth of Islamic militancy is its Reformation.  The "corruption" it reacts against is Western secularism.  The Gospels are full of doctrines that expose political religion as a hypocrisy, but political religion is explicitly commanded in Islam.

                    •  Not all of religion is focused on death (0+ / 0-)

                      There is certainly a lot of it in Christianity, but not for example Buddhism and Daoism.

                      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

                      by Mokurai on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:04:01 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  They did throughout their colonial empire (0+ / 0-)

                    and paid a price in rebellions and terrorist incidents. But back at home, after they threw off Spanish rule and the Inquisition, they had  instituted Freedom of Thought—only for themselves, not for those they then started to colonize. Now that they have no empire, they still have a fair degree of Freedom of Thought.

                    Some of the English Separatist Puritans fled persecution in England for the Netherlands, but they couldn't stand freedom of religion either, and so some set out from there for the New World, ending up creating the Massachusetts Bay colony and their own genocidal theocracy.

                    You make an excellent example for the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which the ignorant think they know more than the experts, or even the well-read.

                    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

                    by Mokurai on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:02:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Exploitation was true of the entire world (0+ / 0-)

          but Islam informed how the population responded to it as the old empires collapsed and the Cold War ended.  The results have been different, to say the least.

          •  really? (21+ / 0-)

            So you look at the specific manipulation by the west to stifle liberal leaders in the Middle East as just another exploitation?

            This is lazy thinking on your part. Think about what oil money would look like in the hands of smart liberal thinkers. You would have seen a version of the Unitarian church within the Muslim faith, you would seen a more diverse media if the liberals had been in charge in the Middle East, you would have seen women get ahead, you would have seen a whole host of things happen that didn't because the Western World propped up dictators to make sure we had oil. There was no Civil Rights movement brought on by prosperity due to WW2 and post WW2 growth. There was no GI bill that gave everyone a leg up like the oil money could have in the Middle East.

             Muslims are not incorrigible, they are stifled, almost retarded by their circumstances.

            I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

            by jbou on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:20:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's WATBism by proxy. (0+ / 0-)

              Every Muslim country on Earth falls far short of liberal because of evil outsiders?  Their societies are just delicate, fragile victims that fell apart because of interference by mustache-twirling Westerners, and even with the birth of some versions of democracy still have to constantly fight the worst religious authoritarians on the planet because of people half a world away?  Come on.  The Egyptian protesters would be sickened by that kind of attitude.  

              •  Well, I guess you've just proven the charge (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nattiq

                Of islamophobia that has been leveled against you.  Muslims aren't the problem, Islam is, just as Christianity is and Judaism is.  Each religion states that there is only one truth, derived solely from the select, whether they be priests,rabbis or imams.  There is no practical deference among them.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:22:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (15+ / 0-)

    catpopcorn

    I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning.

    by BFSkinner on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:48:33 PM PDT

  •  Do a Word Replace and Send This to the Domestic (11+ / 0-)

    fundies. The world has a lot more to worry about from them.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:49:18 PM PDT

  •  I like your astronomy diaries (22+ / 0-)

    this, no.

    I'm not going to debate, but I'll just note that for hundreds of years, there's been much more aggression from Christians towards Muslims than the other way around.

    Also, Christian and Jewish fundies are every bit as wacko as Muslims. There's no there, there.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:52:40 PM PDT

  •  You waste your intellectual gifts, Troubadour... (21+ / 0-)

    Hate is hate is hate.
    And this diary is hate.

  •  Christianity has done an admirable job (13+ / 0-)

    of attempting to oppress, control, and demean women.

    Given the right circumstances, with the right lunatics in place, here in this country Christianity could easily do a different version of the burkafication of women.

  •  There is one major difference (16+ / 0-)

    Muslims are mostly concentrated in other countries, making their lives difficult.

    Christian fundamentalists are mostly here, making our lives miserable.

    Muslims aren't the ones passing mandatory vaginal ultrasound laws in state legislatures, just for one example.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:03:36 PM PDT

    •  Yes, they're not passing vaginal ultrasound laws (0+ / 0-)

      because elective abortion isn't even up for debate in Muslim countries.  It's just illegal, period.

      •  Showing your ignorance again. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrypinder, ricklewsive, JDsg

        Elective abortion is not permitted in very many countries in terms of a simple decision by the mother. In the UK for example it is necessary to show harm to the mother if the pregnancy were to continue.

        Islam has a rather more complex relationship to abortion depending on the stage at which it is. Many quote that during the first 40 days, the foetus is "as water". The more important stage is 120 days when many believe the soul comes to life however Sharia law provides for abortion after that date:

        Islam allows abortion to save the life of the mother because it sees this as the 'lesser of two evils' and there is a general principle in Sharia (Muslim law) of choosing the lesser of two evils.

        Abortion is regarded as a lesser evil in this case because:

        the mother is the 'originator' of the foetus
        the mother's life is well-established
        the mother has with duties and responsibilities
        the mother is part of a family
        allowing the mother to die would also kill the foetus in most cases

        and this will surprise you (page last updated 2009):
        In recent times in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni has issued a fatwa permitting abortion for foetuses under 10 weeks shown to have the genetic blood disorder thalassemia.

        And also in Iran, Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei issued a fatwa which permits abortion in the first three months for various reasons. Saanei accepted that abortion was generally forbidden in Islam, but went on to say:

        But Islam is also a religion of compassion, and if there are serious problems, God sometimes doesn't require his creatures to practice his law. So under some conditions--such as parents' poverty or overpopulation--then abortion is allowed,
        Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2000

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:36:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What right does any religion have to dictate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pirogue

          medical decisions?

          •  Not dictation (0+ / 0-)

            but religious guidance for those who do wish to follow the religion. In fact many Imams are more than willing to overcome cultural practices done in the name of religion but giving such advice. A minor one I know of is the practice of many Bengalis to spit out their saliva during Ramadan fasting in the (mistaken) belief that it represents drinking. This was a problem for the schools in the East End of London where I worked for the education board but that was very quickly cleared up.

            What Islam (and most other countries' laws on abortion) recognise is that there is a balance between the "right" of the mother to abort at any time and the interests of the foetus as it develops. The UK sets the limit at 22 weeks (unless in the case of severe abnormality) on the grounds that after that the foetus is viable outside the womb. Actually the practice is a bit more subtle as it is recognised that babies born between 22 and 24 weeks face decreasingly bad outcomes. Those just 22 weeks are unlikely to survive without damage as the parents are offered the choice of aggressive intervention or to let nature take its course in the event of a crisis.

            Now both Islam's 120 days and the previous Catholic doctrine of the soul commencing at "quickening" have some form of basis in that it's then that independent movement becomes obvious. Rather more of a scientific observation than an arbitrary limit of absolute prohibition or, as you seem to suggest, the ability of the mother to terminate life up to 36 weeks gestation.

            We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

            by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:50:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Richard Dawkins deserves to be attacked (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, jbou, sturunner, alain2112, bevenro, JDsg

    whatever he says.  He is the very worst kind of self-promoting pseudo-intellectual.  He's wrong on everything.

  •  This diary seems to exist. (3+ / 0-)

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:08:03 PM PDT

  •  Religion, by definition, is anti-science (14+ / 0-)

    and taken to the extreme, leads to theocracy, suppression, and revisiting the dark ages.  It is irrational nonsense.  This is the only thing that I agree with Ayn Rand on.

    Islamic extremists have not reconciled their religion to the modern world.  They are essentially, still living in the dark ages.  Medieval Christianlty spawned the Crusades, the Childrens' Crusades, and was complicit in the Spanish Inquisition.  It was every bit as bad as Islam extremists are today.

    The difference is that in the modern world, most Christians interpret their religion in ways that allow a modern lifestyle. They ignore or rationalize their use of abortive birth control, unmarried sex, and other things that contradict the doctrines of their faiths.

    •  That's just silly and ignorant. (6+ / 0-)

      Religion is NOT "by definition" anti-science.

      I stopped reading there, realizing that you're too ignorant to have anything to say that would interest me.

      But let me add...Please do learn something about the current attitude of the Christians, and especially the Catholic Church, toward science.  Please trust me, it's not what you think.

      •  How often does religion subject itself to testing (5+ / 0-)

        by a falsifiable hypothesis?

        •  How often does music subject itself to testing (4+ / 0-)

          by a falsifiable hypothesis?

          Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx (-8.75,-8.36)

          by alain2112 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 11:30:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Since when has atheism (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ricklewsive, Timaeus

          had a falsifiable hypothesis with any evidence to support it?  Never.

          Totally irrelevant.  

          This is MWI:

          ... It is also referred to as MWI, the relative state formulation, the Everett interpretation, the theory of the universal wavefunction, many-universes interpretation, or just many-worlds.
          [...]
          In lay terms, the hypothesis states there is a very large–perhaps infinite[14]–number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes...
          It's one of the most important theories in physics, and there is no way to prove or disprove it.  It makes no falsifiable predictions because there's no way to test this idea of alternative histories.  It's just a cleaner explanation of quantum theory, although it has enormous implications about things that happen outside the realm of our universe.

          For instance, according to MWI, there is one alternate history where the bomb we dropped on Hiroshima was a dud (think of all those particles that had to decay at just the right time with X percent probability) and everybody in Hiroshima lived.  There are more histories where it was destroyed, but still, there are many where everybody in Hiroshima heard a thump, looked at the dud bomb in the middle of town square and scratched their heads.  MWI says that actually does happen, but there's no way to prove it.  Not falsifiable.

          •  Not sure if it's one of the most (0+ / 0-)

            important theories in physics. It is popular, as is string theory, which also has so far produced no falsifiable hypotheses.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:16:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Atheism is not a hypothesis. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fishtroller01, skrekk, denise b

            It is the recognition that the evidenciary value of religious belief is zero.  You can't prove a negative, and it's irrational to demand that someone try.

            •  Yes, the evidentiary value is zero. (0+ / 0-)

              Likewise, the evidentiary value of belief in the MWI interpretation is zero.  

              It's still the most elegant explanation that I've found.  Elegance does not constitute evidence.  But it feels satisfying and it provides a framework with which to try to understand more complicated things.

              •  Religion is not a theory. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skrekk

                It doesn't explain anything or provide a framework for anything.  It's just making shit up and then defending it by any rhetorical or psychological means necessary, and sometimes through physical coercion.

                •  Religion encompasses an enormous (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch, Timaeus

                  swath of territory.  I don't think any of my own religious beliefs would qualify for your description above.  In fact, many atheists seem frustrated that I don't call myself an atheist.

                  MWI is not really a theory either, strictly speaking.  It's an interpretation that works perfectly well for understanding quantum behavior, but it postulates unverifiable things in order to do it.

                  My diary about Schrodinger's Cat from the MWI point of view.

                  Why belabor this?  Because there are some things that cannot be verified or falsified.  Some of these unprovable things provide useful elegant explanations that are consistent with the things you know to be true.  Useful things are useful.  Some religions can be one of those useful things that are unprovable.

                  Unprovable or unfalsifiable things are not bad.  They just are not science.  

                  I'm fascinated by metaphysics.  A lot of the turf in physics, like string theory, like MWI, constitute metaphysics rather than physics because of the fact that they are unprovable.  Just about everything in metaphysics, in fact, is unprovable by experiment.

                  For instance, I pointed out in a recent atheist diary (I wasn't trying to troll, just couldn't help pointing it out, though) that even though circles exist, but they do not REALLY exist in the material world.  There is no such thing as a perfect circle anywhere in the material world.  Only in the world of models, which is a realm of the mind, do circles exist.  It's a nice model (or form, as Plato would put it) that has enormous applications for describing many things in the material world, even though the material world has no circles.  

                  Through processes of argument, like this, rather than through experimental proof, I can try to make a good argument for why there are THINGS that don't exist in the same frame of reference as the things we weigh and measure in science.  If such things have some KIND of existence that can't be evaluated through the scientific method, then how do we evaluate them?

                  •  The problem lies in claiming that one (0+ / 0-)

                    unprovable thing has greater factual value than any other unprovable thing.  The realm of mysticism and spirituality that concerns the entire domain of the unprovable is perfectly valid, it's just when you arbitrarily construct specific claims out of the unfathomable profusion of unprovable things and say that they're more true than the others, that's dishonest.  And it leads to outright lies when it impinges on things that are falsifiable and yet the social force of religion demands that people ignore the evidence (e.g., in denying human evolution).

                    The fact that honest mysticism is possible does not mean that it's commonplace.  It's the slipperiest of slopes, with plain lies beyond the ordinary habit of religion.

                    •  I totally agree. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Troubadour
                      ...it's just when you arbitrarily construct specific claims out of the unfathomable profusion of unprovable things and say that they're more true than the others, that's dishonest.  And it leads to outright lies when it impinges on things that are falsifiable...
                      I totally agree with every word of that.

                      However, that's not all religion.

                      I'm Jewish, and I'm not even a very good Jew, more eclectic than Jewish, I suppose.  I've been fascinated for some time now with the Indian religion of Jainism (wiki).  It's a relativist religion.  Here's what Jainism says about the nature of truth.

                      The Nature of truth
                      Main article: Anekantavada

                      One of the most important and fundamental doctrines of Jainism is hanēkāntavāda. It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, and to the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, no single one of which is complete.[33][34]

                      Jains contrast all attempts to proclaim absolute truth with this theory, which can be illustrated through the parable of the blind men and an elephant. In this story, each blind man feels a different part of an elephant: its trunk, leg, ear, and so on. All of them claim to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant but, due to their limited perspectives, can only partly succeed.[35] This principle is more formally stated by observing that objects are infinite in their qualities and modes of existence, so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception. Only Kevalis—omniscient beings—can comprehend objects in all aspects and manifestations; others are only capable of partial knowledge.[36] Accordingly, no single, specific, human view can claim to represent absolute truth.[33]

                      That sort of goes in the direction that I take things.  I think there can be multiple unprovable theories that describe all the known, verifiable phenomena, and (this is the tough part) simply BECAUSE those theories are unprovable, they are true.  Multiple inconsistent theories that predict the same observable facts.

                      Read the Elegant Universe.  You'll find that one of the things they are running into in M-theory (things have probably changed a lot since the book was written) is that if/when they do come up with a satisfying solution to the shape of the M-world, there might be more than one solution with no way, and not even any good reason, to choose one over the other.  Can they both be right, if there can never be any testable distinctions?  

                      For simple purposes of calculation. then, you might HAVE to choose one theory over the other just to have a framework for working out an answer, even though the other framework would give you the same answer, through a different method.  

                      Let's make that analogous to religion then.  Are there interpretations of things like the meaning of our existence, the meaning of who and what we are, that might be unverifiable, but consistent with everything observable?  Yes.  I think so.  

                      What then are we to make of the UNVERIFIABLE predictions that such models make?

                      Go back to quantum theory.  We have Copenhagen, which makes sound predictions of observable behavior but makes the assumption that there is one universe that behaves randomly.  MWI posits a deterministic universe with multiple conflicting histories of equal validity, except to the observer.  MWI makes some startling predictions that we can't demonstrate -- that there really ARE alternate universes where everybody at Hiroshima lived, for instance.  Why shouldn't somebody find that a perfectly satisfactory belief, ESPECIALLY since there is no way to test it?

                      •  Beliefs affect actions (0+ / 0-)

                        and actions have observable consequences.  My point is that the overall social impact of Islam is negative.  If all unprovable things are simply options, then there is no reason to believe unprovable things that yield negative social phenomena.

                      •  You had me until the statement, (0+ / 0-)

                        "simply BECAUSE those theories are unprovable, they are true".  There may be ideas that are unprovable that are true, but they are not true BECAUSE they are unprovable.

                        •  Yes, that's the tough part. (0+ / 0-)

                          That's where I tend to lean nowadays, though.

                          Remember, I'm a relativist.  I'm open to the idea that there can be multiple conflicting versions of the truth.  UNTIL AND UNLESS there is a way to resolve conflicts between two such theories, there is no reason to prefer one over the other.  And yet you have to use at least one!  Imagine two different versions of string theory at complete odds with each other, both producing all the same results in terms of their predictions about the natural world.  Which one is true?

                          If neither makes a prediction that can be tested to validate one but not the other, then they are equally valid.  It becomes a waste of time to try to make a distinction between which is true and which is not.  It's almost a matter of taste.  There are still an infinite number of FALSE theories of the shape of the universe that can be disproved.  Choosing between the "true" theories then becomes a matter of taste.

                          "But that's not what truth means!"  

                          Whatever you say.  Your distinctions between what is true and not true seem to not make much difference.  

                  •  That's a really smart comment, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dumbo
                •  Religion is an opinion about the nature of the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  skrekk, never forget

                  world propped up by institutions.  Since it is only an opinion, it should be subject to scrutiny and the application of reason and reality, and FREELY subjected to that.

            •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Timaeus

              According to Popper, you have to prove a negative in order to disprove a scientific theory but not proving the negative does not mean that the theory is true, merely that it is the most satisfactory explanation at the time.

              We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

              by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:42:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you don't prove a negative, ever. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                serendipityisabitch

                You form a conditional If-Then hypothesis utilizing certain assumptions, and then within those assumptions determine whether the most parsimonious explanation is a given theory.  In fact, you don't prove anything true or false, you merely establish apparent relationships and attempt to elucidate patterns from them.  Those relationships may be entirely different under different conditions or assumptions, which is why science is always changing.

              •  That's not at all what Popper says. (0+ / 0-)

                You aren't "proving a negative", you're disproving a claim.

                Negative claims are generally in practice a lot harder to disprove experimentally than positive claims, but that doesn't mean that the concept of falsifiability doesn't apply.

            •  Actually it's the null hypothesis in this analogy. (0+ / 0-)
      •  The Catholic Church's Attitude Toward Who to Elect (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, Troubadour, skrekk

        is in lockstep with the anti-science fundamentalists. It's anti-science authoritarians.

        So it doesn't practically matter what the Church's attitude toward science in general is.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:34:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The fact that you stopped reading as soon as you (4+ / 0-)

        saw something you disagreed with is revealing.  I suppose that you think calling me ignorant refutes what I stated in my comment (which you didn't bother to read).

        I guess it's not only people on the right who argue by name calling and smearing people.

        Accepting the "miracles" in the bible is believing in the irrational, and is anti-science.  Religious faith implies believing in things that can't be proven.

        To be consistent, Christians should believe every word in the bible.  All Christians should be extreme fundamentalists.  Deciding which parts of the bible to live by because they "fit" into the lifestyle one chooses to lead is nothing but hypocrisy.

    •  no... One needs not preclude the other. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112, ricklewsive

      I welcome the day when ppl on DKOs figure that out.

      What you say is applicable to extremists--but religion does not need to be anti-science at all.  Many classical Greeks knew this--and so did countless others.

    •  islam > salafis (7+ / 0-)

      that's where the diarist and you go off the rails. there are tons of muslim scientists, historically, in america, and in countries where the majority of the populace is muslim. this false binary simply does not exist in practice. hundreds of millions of muslims reconcile their religious beliefs with the modern world every single day, because they live in the modern world, in actuality.

      •  My comments referred to religion in general, (0+ / 0-)

        not to Islam in general.  The only reference to Islam was to compare the contemporary extremists to the Christians of the middle ages.

        I suppose that people have assumed that I agree with everything in the diary.  That is not the case.  I believe that the diary generalizes and makes blanket statements about Islam that are not warranted.

        •  i was responding to your final paragraph (0+ / 0-)

          and the way it elides hundreds of millions of muslims living in the modern world, reconciling their faiths with science and modernity, unacknowledged by the vast majority of americans.

          human beings have reconciled science and religion for as long as they have had both. it is not a simple mutually exclusive thing, that take is but one of a myriad approaches, and hardly descriptive of either the historical record or the present, IMO.

          •  It's very interesting to me that you find that in (0+ / 0-)

            my comment (I am assuming the initial one).  

            The first paragraph states that religion in general is anti-science.  The second paragraph compares Islamic extremists to medieval Christians.  The last paragraph refers to modern Christians.

            Nowhere does the comment refer to all or the majority of modern Muslims.

            •  Actually, I can see how you interpreted my initial (0+ / 0-)

              comment as referring to all modern Muslims.  

              There is a possible semantic ambiguity in the last paragraph.  In that paragraph, "The difference is . . ." is intended to refer to contemporary Christianity vs. medieval Christianity and Muslim extremists.  The paragraph is not intended to compare contemporary Christianity to moderate Muslims.

              •  no, it pretty carefully elides the existence (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JDsg

                of modern muslims. a rhetorical approach that is very, very common in american non-muslim discussions of muslims. if i had a nickel for every american i've heard/read claim that "the problem is that islam never had a reformation/never made it to the modern era/never made peace with science," i'd have enough money to pay my tuition several times over.

                intentional or unintentional, that rhetorical approach and its underlying assumptions is absurdly prevalent, and implies something that has been demonstrably false for centuries now.

                •  I think that you have a point (0+ / 0-)

                  that all Muslims are commonly lumped together as one (extremist) entity, which is incorrect and unfair, and that the majority of Muslims are not extremists.  I concede that point, but I stand by everything else that I stated in my comment.  Not a big fan of religion, in general.

                  •  it's the "those people are stuck in time" thing (0+ / 0-)

                    it's a very old trope, and has a rather unsavory history, especially WRT parts of the world that europe happened to colonize during its first flourishing of enlightenment rhetoric and the use of the words "modern" and "science" to justify said dominion.

                    as science and religion and modernity are all essentially human constructs, people are eminently capable of working out ways to accommodate them as it makes sense in the context of their lived experience. we are creatures capable of both rationality and irrationality at the very same time. what feels right in terms of rhetoric simply does not capture the self-contradictory, messy complexity that is humanity, be they religious, irreligious, or antireligious in their professed philosophical orientation.

                    it's just not that simple.

  •  On this planet... (18+ / 0-)

    ..there are untold millions (perhaps billions) of devout Muslims & Christians (not talking about American Republican Christians; I'm talking about real Christians) who go about their daily routine living righteous lives, helping others & making positive contributions to society.

    And I take some perverse pleasure in knowing there is not a fucking thing Richard Dawkins can do about it.

    To any Republican reading this, I request you write a diary about why Republicans are such assholes. I promise to tip & recommend such a diary.

    by wyvern on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:34:07 PM PDT

  •  Reading this again (4+ / 0-)

    I feel like I am watching a cliff diver, except there is no water on entry.

  •  I wish I could unsee this (16+ / 0-)

    I have no idea what Dawkins said, but if it in any way resembles what is in this diary, I'm glad that liberals, leftist, and just decent people stood up to him and against him. As I hope they do you.  

    This, this diary, is simply vile.

    I'm going to assume--hope--that you don't actually know any Muslims, as friends. As individual people and not simply boogeymen and women created by a sensation-seeking media and your fevered brain. Otherwise, you'd never post something like this, so dehumanizing and bigoted. I hope.

    Mind, I have no brief for any religion (nor for fellow-atheist Dawkins) but I absolutely reject the dehumanizing of people as a result of the religion they practice. There are a couple of billion Muslims in the world, maybe more, who follow various sects within the religion, and...

    Well, I wrote a lot more but lost it in trying to post (I am on my phone) but I won't try to rewrite it. I find that the sort of ignorance on display here often tends to be willful ignorance, perhaps arising out of fear, so little has any affect on it.

    True radicalism is finding reasons for hope, not grounds for despair. - Ray Williams

    by Nanette K on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:00:29 PM PDT

    •  Troubadour is on my side in the Obamawars (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, cordgrass

      apparently (I'm a fanboy). I've recced plenty of his diaries in the past. I won't be doing that again.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:14:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I rec'd folks that sh-t on me in this (6+ / 0-)

        diary.  It's the ideas & their expression that Kos is about.
        Ingore them when they're wrong.

        "I'll not yield. -- Wendy Davis" "Fear is a habit. I am not afraid. -- Aung San Suu Kyi"

        by sturunner on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:37:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You won't Rec anything I write ever again (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        because I criticized Islam?  Wow, I'm ashamed I ever had the support of such a bigot.

        •  I'm pretty sure you know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LaEscapee

          that's not what I meant.

          Frankly, the entire diary is bigoted. I'm no fan of Islam either but this goes way over the line from criticism to outright racism. I'm not cool with that.

          Don't feel too bad. After a night's sleep I realize I probably WILL rec a diary of yours in the future if I like it (the commenter above you is right that I should judge people on a diary by diary basis). Yesterday was a bad day for Daily Kos in general and I was REALLY cranky at how much nonsense made the rec list. I hate this particular diary but I shouldn't have personally taken it out on you.

          Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

          by Matt Z on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:16:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Calling this racism is complete nonsense. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fishtroller01

            First of all, Islam is not a race.  Second of all, I'm not attacking Muslims - I'm criticizing their religion.  If that's not acceptable, then you and I have very different ideas about freedom and open discourse.  Frankly, I would say it's insulting to a person to act like they're indistinguishable from their opinions and beliefs.  You're basically acting like they can't and shouldn't be asked to handle people disparaging their religion.  And that's not a liberal position, and not a humanistic position.

            •  I'm perfectly open to criticism of Islam (0+ / 0-)

              I think there are a ton of horrible things about it. If I had read your diary only about halfway through I would have agreed with it and probably recced it. But you went way beyond criticism of the religion and started attacking the people who believed it. I'm not cool with that.

              Also, I don't think anyone is asking you to censor what you write. I can't speak for anyone else of course, but I personally think you should write what you want. That however doesn't mean that people don't have the right to criticize you for what you DO write. If that were so Rush Limbaugh could say everyone who has a beef with him is stifling his free speech.

              Write what you want. Criticize Muslims to your heart's content. But don't expect people to stay silent about it in an open forum.

              Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

              by Matt Z on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 02:03:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You're completely ignoring what I wrote (0+ / 0-)

      and responding to something happening in your imagination - the "demonization" of Muslims.  You wouldn't be reacting like that to any other religion.

  •  I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere (15+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure I wandered into Pam Geller's blog. I think I passed Michelle Malkin on the way in.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:24:16 PM PDT

    •  Again, you're only saying this crap (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, cryonaut, Fishtroller01

      because the noun is Islam rather than Christianity.  I never get that kind of response when I attack Christianity.

      •  Actually I'm a Christian (0+ / 0-)

        Just not the fun kind.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:24:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are two sides to the problem. (0+ / 0-)

          One, which we are seeing here, is the paternalistic attitude by some on the left that Islam has to be protected from criticism simply because right-wing Christians are batshit.  It's the same idiocy we dealt with when we acted like the Soviet Union wasn't psychotic simply because the Red Baiters were too.  Reality doesn't work like that.  You can't judge an idea by how a third party reacts to it.

          •  I would be a little more open (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nattiq, JosephK74, alain2112, JDsg

            to criticism of Islam if it wasn't constantly used by certain people as an excuse to bomb them.

            I'm not big on picking fights with 1.3 billion people.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:39:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I reiterate: (0+ / 0-)
              You can't judge an idea by how a third party reacts to it.
              Ideas have more than enough of their own consequences to judge them by.  The only reason to default to moral relativism is if the purpose is to avoid acknowledging those consequences.  It's an attempt to change the subject.

              Right-wingers do exactly the same thing to rationalize precisely the military policies you're talking about.  They can't justify what they do, so they simply talk about what other people do.  And people who defend Islam for whatever reason - be it personal identity or political fetish - can't justify it by its own consequences, so they simply change the subject to what Westerners do.

              •  So what's your point then? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder

                Christians good, Muslims bad?
                Atheists good, everyone else bad?
                Liberals are hypocrites?

                Personally I don't have too many problems with people's belief systems - until they cross the line and try to use the force of government to impose them on me.

                As the old saying goes - your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

                If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                by Major Kong on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:19:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My point is that Dawkins is right about Islam. (0+ / 0-)

                  Exactly what I said, and exactly for the reasons I described: Its consequences are particularly negative.  And no amount of straw men is going to distract from or in any way mitigate that fact.

                  And no, liberals are not hypocrites.  Nor are hypocrites liberal.  That too is my point.

  •  funny (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, pgm 01, Timaeus, alain2112, JosephK74

    the Muslims I worked with were very nice guys. Better than some of the 'Christians'. (I miss working with them.)

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:36:59 PM PDT

  •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

    The evil militant Islamic nation of Iran has attacked far more countries than the peace loving Christian nation of America.

  •  Richard Dawkins is a bigoted, self-important (7+ / 0-)

    self-aggrandizing faux atheist who reduces religion to utterly hilarious straw men, hates Muslims (even more than other religions, which he of course reviles), and tries to snivel his way out of a completely loaded series of 'facts' by  pretending that he's some sort of arbiter of reason an rationality, presenting things the way they are--as only Richard Dawkins can rightly know.

    Sure, you can present facts.  Of course it's a fact that Nobel laureates are proportionally far less represented in Islam than in many other religions.  But there's a way to look at that from an academic standpoint--and there's a way to be a racist (oooh--excuse me it's not technically 'racist' since you can CONVERT to Islam)

    But it's so patently obvious that he was presenting them in a 'Muslims are brainwashed fools who bring down the world' context (since he does this weekly--if not daily--that his 'facts' end up becoming just another tool in his holier than thou arsenal.

    Dawkins is a washed up hack---his hero worship is waning--and you'll be able to stick a fork in that has been in probably a year, two max.

    That said, I like ya, Troubadour!  But I hate Dawkins :)

    •  Great comment! I'm very happy to see this (0+ / 0-)

      kind of strident, open-throated pushback against Dawkins.  I'm so tired of seeing him treated here as some kind of saint, by intellectually challenged Kossacks.

    •  Dawkins only started having problems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cryonaut

      when he specifically started criticizing Islam, and as far as I can tell, he's applied the same standards to it as he has been applying to Christianity all along.  The problem is Islam and the people who refuse to stop treating its adherents as mental patients too delicate to handle criticism.

      •  wrong. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alain2112

        dawkins has been on the shit list since he sexually harrassed a young woman at a convention, and then told her to get over it. your hero is a piece of shit.

        •  I don't know anything about that case. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cryonaut

          All I know are his ideas and the arguments he makes, which are a good deal stronger than the idiotic ad hominems you're engaging in.

          •  you mean you know NOTHING about (3+ / 0-)

            the debates on sexism within atheism and skepticism that have been going on for over THREE years now? Sexism and harrassment that is STILL ONGOING, RIGHT NOW?

            It must be AMAZING to be a white guy like you.

            When I write on Christianity I'm VERY CLEAR about exactly WHO I'm attacking. Dawkins (and you) made a grand sweep that's about as functionally WRONG as me going "Christians are ruining everything!" Statements I HAVE made and have been RIGHTLY dinged for it.

            What happened to the "I'm a historian" thing you were doing for awhile there? If you actually were, you'd know that fundamentalism is new in both Christianity and Islam, is a reaction to modernity as much as it's part of modernity, and that billions of people in BOTH religions (that's roughly 3 to 4 billion people--just about half to OVER half of the planetary population) manage to reconcile their beliefs AND get along with the rest of the world just fine. Grow the fuck up.

            And then you have the audacity to say "Dawkins never judges anyone." HE HAS A FUCKING ORGNIZATION CALLED BRIGHTS THAT IS BUILT ON THE PREMISE THAT PEOPLE WHO THINK LIKE HIM ARE BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE.

            Jesus Vishnu Christ Allah, you're a child. And not a clever one either.

            •  So not only are you engaging in idiotic ad homs (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fishtroller01

              and totally ignoring the subject, but now you're attacking my sex and race.  Anything is justifiable when you're self-righteous, isn't it?  You have a license to hate.

              When I write on Christianity I'm VERY CLEAR about exactly WHO I'm attacking.
              And when I write on Christianity, I generally talk about ideas, not people.  Which is what I did here.  And which is the opposite of what you just did, assassinating the character of both Richard Dawkins and myself.  Real portfolio of credibility you're building there.
              What happened to the "I'm a historian" thing you were doing for awhile there?
              One of the conclusions I've reached is something you don't like.  That's what "happened" to it, at least as it appears to be your perspective.
              just about half to OVER half of the planetary population) manage to reconcile their beliefs AND get along with the rest of the world just fine.
              And you're basing that statement on what - that you personally haven't experienced the negative consequences of Islam?
              Grow the fuck up.
              Yes, I should totally grow out of my childish fixation on facts and reason, and learn to engage in ad hominems and knee-jerk ideology.
              And then you have the audacity to say "Dawkins never judges anyone."
              No, I have the audacity to judge his ideas by his ideas rather than going into a teabagger berserker fugue upon hearing someone criticize Islam.
              HE HAS A FUCKING ORGNIZATION CALLED BRIGHTS THAT IS BUILT ON THE PREMISE THAT PEOPLE WHO THINK LIKE HIM ARE BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE.
              Keep up that all caps thing.  It really makes up for your total lack of valid arguments.  But you need to misspell more often, and maybe add a lot of random exclamation points.  

              BTW, it's kind of hard to argue that people who use reason as the basis of their opinions are brighter than people who just make shit up or believe whatever they're brought up to believe.  That's pretty definitive.

              •  your fisking is adorably typical and indicative (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                moviemeister76, alain2112

                of the deep problems within the skepticism/humanist/atheist movement. There's a reason it's mostly white and mostly male.

                •  Doubling down on the racism and sexism bit? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Fishtroller01

                  Let me know when you reach the Oligocene in your digging.  If you said that about any other religion in respect to any other race or sex, you'd be HR'd into oblivion.

                    •  Really? Someone could come here and hostilely (0+ / 0-)

                      attribute a religion to some implied intrinsic property of being a woman or being black and that wouldn't be rightly HR'd?

                      •  2 things (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        alain2112

                        1. no it wouldn't--this is Daily Kos where people say ridiculous things all the time.
                        2. there's demonstrable evidence of the problems within the atheist/skeptic/humanist movement. The implication you seem to think was there isn't in existence.

                        •  Some ridiculous things are more equal than others (0+ / 0-)

                          on Daily Kos.  

                          And there's a difference between noting demographic discrepancies and attributing ideas to a race or a sex.

                          •  Feel free to explain your own comment (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Fishtroller01

                            about my being a white man and how that's relevant to my being an atheist.

                          •  your post, where you dismissed my criticism of (0+ / 0-)

                            Dawkins, is quite indicative of the many demonstrated problems within the skeptic/atheist/humanist movement. Too many simply want to dismiss them as not relevant. That's what that meant.

                            (you rather missed the attack in that comment. Wasn't on your ethinicity or lack of religion, but that you behave like a binary-thinking bratty child. That was an attack. Feel free to TR the comment if you want. I'm not sorry for it. It's, I think, a fairly accurate hypothesis.)

                          •  Of course problems in the movement are relevant (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Fishtroller01

                            to the movement.  And yes, I welcome a discussion about them.  But you should have explained that that you were talking about ways to improve the movement, not made it sound like an attempt to discredit Richard Dawkins for criticizing Islam.

                            As to "binary-thinking," it's my lack of binary thinking that seems to be causing all the outrage here.  Right-wing crazies hate Muslims, ergo Islam has to be treated with kid gloves because some people can't handle thinking for themselves.  They have to define reality as a reaction against people who annoy them.  That's not how I roll.  I deal with ideas as themselves, not as weapons against other ideas.

                            Religion makes me sick to my stomach because it substitutes forms of coercion in place of reason to promote its viewpoint.  The best of them use emotional manipulation through family upbringing, but the worst among them - and Islam is the biggest of the worst - actively intimidate people who would question or leave it, and cause deaths in substantial numbers on a continuing basis that has no place in this century.  That can change: Muslims can make their religion more modern and honorable.  But it won't change if being assertive about the problem is treated as an attack.

                          •  I actually was discrediting dawkins. (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't care about his opinion on Islam considering his own misogyny. It sounded the way it did because I meant it.

                            It's possible to be a great scientist (although he's produced no scientific output in a decade, what he did produce is still brilliant) and a terrible human being.

                            And he's certainly entitled to say whatever he wants. Others are just as entitled to push right back.

                            Oh, and Muslims aren't a monolith just like Christians aren't a monolith. Read what's actually coming out of Egypt and the Arab Spring. Whatever changes that happen will not be because a bunch of Westerners are whining at them.

                          •  Nothing is a monolith. (0+ / 0-)

                            That's a trivial observation when someone doesn't want to deal with the net character of a social phenomenon.  And if Western opinion were so irrelevant in the Muslim world, there wouldn't routinely be calls to further regulate speech in Europe to avoid sparking riots and terrorist attacks.  The Arab Spring is a good thing, and regardless of how much or how little what we say affects it, it certainly isn't served by kowtowing to the religious forces who would quash its potential.

                          •  "trivial observations" (0+ / 0-)

                            Arab Spring is entirely native-grown, by people who by and large consider themselves believers, thus indicating the observation is not "trivial."

                          •  They by and large call themselves believers (0+ / 0-)

                            because calling themselves anything else would be illegal and dangerous.

                          •  you still need to correct your (0+ / 0-)

                            statement about Dawkins' "sexual assault" incident. Until you do that, the rest of your complaints about him hold no water.

          •  terrypinder is completely off base (0+ / 0-)

            with this charge. I've been pressing him about it further on down the thread and have gotten nothing as far as evidence.  I haven't found it either.  The flap over Dawkins re:sexism had to do with a woman named Rebecca Watson who complained to Dawkins about being harrassed by someone else at the atheist convention and Dawkins wasn't very sympathetic.  That is a far cry from saying the HE committed sexual assault and I think terrypinder should apologize for making his statement or come up with the evidence.

        •  Please provide an evidential link (0+ / 0-)

          to your claim that Dawkins "he sexually harrassed a young woman at a convention, and then told her to get over it".

          I think you are referring to the incident with Rebecca Watson and if so,  you are WAY OFF BASE.  (How do you like MY capital letters?)

          •  I love capital letters. More should use them. (0+ / 0-)
          •  oh, and since I'm capable of admitting I was wrong (0+ / 0-)

            unlike Troubador, who in diary after diary after fucking diary on subject after subject after fucking subject where he shows he has no knowledge beyond what he learned at the University of Google and has shown he is completely incapable of admitting incorrectness or even the acceptence of the slightest criticism, I can readily admit that I am wrong about Dawkins harrassing Rebecca Watson (who was harassed by someone else). He did, however, completely dismiss her concerns, which to this very day gets her email and twitter mentions full of rape threats and other assortia.

            my bad. criticism accepted.

            •  Thank you for this. (0+ / 0-)

              I would point this out, however...  Nestling your apology within a comparative diatribe about the sins of someone else (in this case Troubador) kind of takes some of the sincerity out of it.  I am well aware, as most atheists who are active online, of the situation between Dawkins and Ms. Watson.  I take everything with a grain of salt any time there is a he said/she said.  Dawkins is probably responsible for his insensitive dismissal in this incident, but certainly is not responsible for what you say is happening to Ms. Watson ongoing.  I felt that the whole thing had been dealt with by some really good atheist writers, like Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism, and by organizers of various freethought conferences.  

              And by the way, I've had arguments with Troubador in the past, one that went on for awhile. But this diary represented his opinions on Islam and its effects in the world. Yes, the opinions were harsh, but they also hold water.  In our yearnings to appease religious sentiments, we have allowed or turned a blind eye to the atrocities and mayhem that religions have added to the world for thousands of years.   It is time to stop that, and I think Troubador hit on many things that need to be said, and I defend his right to say it.

  •  One more thing, Troubadour: I just finished a (9+ / 0-)

    booke entitled

    'The Great Caliphs: the Golden Age of the Abbasid Empire'.

    book by Amira Bennison--I think she's a senior lecturer at Cambridge.  It's entitled 'The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the Abbasid Empire'.

    You said yourself you don't know much about Islam--I don't know tons myself (but as I work in Central Asia and have studies Silk Road cultures for about 8 years I probably know a bit more)

    Perhaps you should take a look.  She acknowledges--as does Dawkins (and myself)  that in some ways Islam has gotten itself stuck in certain areas--religiously--over the last several centuries, and allowed in some areas a kind of religious dark-age to settle in (some areas--certainly not everywhere).  The Mongols are probably the main culprit for that state of affairs....but that's a different story.

    It's not that this is untrue.  What's problematic is that Dawkins uses an ill-informed and obscenely broad brush to further a fairly hateful agenda--thus maligning a billion people and doing nothing to further discourse.

    •  We've seen fundamentalist Christians (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      get stuck in certain areas as well, and in a far shorter time period.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 11:22:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dawkins isn't maligning people, but ideas. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      And he isn't actually maligning them - he's describing them.  It's the fact that a lot of those people refuse to differentiate themselves from those ideas that's part of the problem, and the fact that some on the left who aren't part of that culture rationalize it externally is extremely hypocritical and counterproductive.

  •  I worry about you, Troub. (0+ / 0-)

    Not for the obvious reasons, either.  

    With the announcement of the new ban system, in which user HRs can cause instantaneous temporary bans, guys like you who post things like this are in grave danger.  I read this diary and thought, oh shit, let's see how well the buddy system works this time.

    I actually identify with you to the extent that I too have always been somewhat fearless in posting what I thought, although I don't think my own thoughts are as repulsive.  We both march to our own drummers, although my drummer actually has a drum.  So I'll be watching and praying for you in the belief that whither goes Troubadour, there too might go I, although, hopefully, with more style.

    •  Your comment is a pitiful threat (0+ / 0-)

      by a powerless troll with no argument to make and no ability to dispute my points.  You as much as concede everything I've said with that comment.

      •  What threat??? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alice in Florida, alain2112

        Good grief.  My post was snarky, yes, but there wasn't anything the slightest bit threatening about it, and I'm not being coy.

        My post earlier today about the new rule changes.

        •  Sounds like a new way to empower the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          gang-attacker trolls who already bully everyone else into silence.

          •  My point exactly. (0+ / 0-)

            and since I have never HRed you or anybody else on this site, ever, after lo these many years, I was making no threat to you.  I'm rather worried for myself and hope to not see the DailyKos forum turn into a bunch of eager George Zimmermans looking for somebody to shoot with their deadly HR clicks.

            I guess I'm pleased you didn't get HR bombed tonight, even though I thought the diary was particularly vile.  I'm extrapolating from that to what's going to happen to other outspoken risk-taking people, and maybe me.  

            •  Well, I won't be silenced in a place (0+ / 0-)

              I've come to regard as my home on the internet.  If the policy is as you describe it, you'd be right in analogizing it to Stand Your Ground.  If by automating the process, someone on the staff thinks they can dispose of "troublesome priests" a la Henry II without getting their hands dirty, they're wrong.

              •  Well, don't trust my characterization of it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Troubadour

                Read the original diary by elfling, here.

                Henry II and Beckett is a good analogy.  The moderators are friends with people they don't want to ban, so they say fuck it all and let the users ban each other.  

                I was thinking more along the lines of Archie Bunker's solution to airplane hijackings:  Instead of checking people for guns at check-in, just give everybody a gun as they board the plane.  

  •  Religions are not static. They are constantly (5+ / 0-)

    evolving. Some people mistakenly think that fundamentalism means adherence to authenticity and  orthodoxy. But in fact, fundamentalism is a fairly recent phenomenon and a reaction to modernity. The Arab world was, up until the 70's, in the grips of secular pan-arabism. Fundamentalism, and the more recent spread of wahhabism, is probably a reaction to the failure of pan-arabism leading up the the 67 and 73 wars.

    You are right that there is plenty to loathe in Islam fundamentalism. But there is no need to go crazy here condemning Islam in general.

    •  I don't see how stating that Islam in general (0+ / 0-)

      has been negative for social progress is "going crazy."  It's a conclusion supported by basically all of the evidence, and one that's denied only on the basis of ideology and the demand to treat Islam as a special case that can't handle criticism.  And the subject isn't limited to Arabs - it includes Turkic, Indic, and South Asian peoples.

  •  This diary is repugnant (5+ / 0-)

    And that so many people agree with you is even more repugnant. Nice to see that it's A-OK to hate Muslims here at DKos.

    I seriously want to break something right now. What the hell kind of community do we have in which someone feels comfortable posting such obvious, foul nonsense? Absolutely disgusting.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:58:01 AM PDT

    •  You're the one who equates criticizing Islam (0+ / 0-)

      with "hating Muslims" - who thinks they are more emotionally delicate than Christians, and too irrational to handle being exposed to secular thought.  You're the one treating their beliefs differently than you would to an identical criticism of any other religion.  And the fact that you talk about wanting to break things and won't stop and examine your own reactions and motives is telling.

      •  Your logic is incredibly faulty (4+ / 0-)

        I don't hate your diary because you are "criticizing" Islam. I hate your diary because so much of what you wrote is factually wrong. You literally say a bunch of nonsense to defend the chance to attack an entire religion. If someone were to do the same about Christianity I would have the exact same problem.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:49:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But that's not what happens. (0+ / 0-)

          There is a paternalistic fetish by some on the left to defend Islam simply as a reaction against right-wing Christian fundies, and that's irrational and disrespectful to everyone who has to suffer the conservative social consequences of Islam.  

          And if anything I said was factually wrong, you could correct it.  You didn't.  Instead you talk about breaking things, because you viscerally can't handle hearing Islam criticized.  Somehow it's special.  It's a delicate flower that must not be besmirched by the blasphemous gaze of enlightened inquiry.  That's not a reasoned reaction: That's a fetish.

          •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder

            I didn't correct your mistakes because I saw the way you dismissed all the other people who did take the time to do so. Why would I waste my time correcting a multitude of mistakes when I know the person receiving those mistakes is incapable of arguing with any sort of intellectual honesty?

            You know, usually I ignore your diaries. I don't always disagree with your overall sentiment (in fact, I usually agree), but I have always found your logic to be poorly thought out, and your inability to admit a mistake a major fault. It's why I rarely recommend any of your comments. But now that I have gotten a close look at how ridiculous you are when I actually disagree with you, I can see now why so many actively dislike you. It's such a waste of time arguing with someone who is incapable of imagining they might be wrong.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:28:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  you *would* take Dawkins's side. (0+ / 0-)

    dude's a dick.

    he's always been.

    South Park pegged him quite right. If he turns out to be a transphobe (he's already horribly sexist), life will have imitated art.

    •  I would take his side because he's right. (0+ / 0-)

      And you're not exactly expressing your opinions politely either, so why exactly am I going to find your ad hominems more convincing than my lying eyes?

      •  you're not. And I'm not here to convince you. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nattiq, alain2112

        This isn't an argument. Dawkins is a fairly horrible individual all around. Science has quite a few of these.

        Dr. Watson? Racist and sexist. But he and Dr. Crick and Dr. Franklin discovered DNA, one of the greatest discoveries ever. (Let's not forget they didn't credit Rosalind Franklin and stole her work, but that's beside the point. Actually, it's not. It relates to the fact that James Watson is sexist as fuck.)

        Michael Shermer apparently has sexually assaulted someone. And I follow and chat with enough women scientists who are now opening up to all the abuse they take. And again, the humanist movement is at present overwhelmed with the discussion of sexism and worse.

        But go right ahead and call the statement "Richard Dawkins is horribly sexist", one that is ACTUALLY AND DEMONSTRABLY FACUTAL, an ad hominem. Put down the Anthony Flew book and join the real world. There's more to life than calling everything a logical fallacy.

        •  If it's not an ad hominem (0+ / 0-)

          why are you even bringing it up in a discussion of religion?  What the hell does whether or not Richard Dawkins is sexist have to do with whether or not Islam has been a benign influence on humanity?

          •  because there is sexist bullshit in religion (0+ / 0-)

            Dawkins is just as bad. That's why I bring it up. It's relavant. I mean, not to you because you don't care, but it is to others.

            •  You're just throwing shit at a wall (0+ / 1-)
              Recommended by:
              Hidden by:
              Nattiq

              hoping something will stick.  Attack Dawkins, attack me, attack atheism as a movement, anything goes.  Anything to avoid just dealing with the inconvenient truth and the hard social problems it confronts us with in the modern world.

              •  I'm an atheist. Even a "militant" one at times. (0+ / 0-)

                Stating that Dawkins is sexist is not an attack. It's fact. It's been demonstrated OVER and OVER not only by the women he's harrassed but by his own dismissal of their statements.

                Stating the movement has serious problems with sexism and sexual harrassment is not an attack. It's also fact demonstrated OVER and OVER again. I'm guessing you DON'T read Sikuvu Hutchinson, Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson, Jen Ferrit, PZ Myers, and so many more who have been discussing this and writing on it for YEARS now.

                Sure, we're not forcing women beneath the burqa like in Saudi Arabia or systematically removing the right to choose like here in the United States but it's still WRONG. Our movement has as many regressive attitudes as theirs. Islam has regressive attitudes and ideas? Sure as fuck does. So does our movement. But Dawkins dismisses those all the time, because he's a fucking jerk (and that right there IS an ad hominem. But an accurate observation.)

                Saying that you don't seem to care is not an attack. It's an observation (fuck, a hypothesis even) based on what you're posting. You might care, but you haven't indicated as such. If you want me to stop saying that you don't care, show me that you do.

  •  I mostly agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, cryonaut

    I think Islam has a more malign influence in the world than any other major religion at present.  Where I disagree, or at least am indifferent, is the theological stuff.  I don't think old words on paper (or orally transmitted) are the basis of anything--they're the rationalization.  As Trotsky said, in the beginning wasn't the word, it was the deed, and the word followed.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:46:56 AM PDT

  •  This has mostly been proven true (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour
    People are afraid to speak against the Islamic world. Afraid to offend, and to be punished for offending, the sons of Allah. You can insult the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Jews. You can slander the Catholics, you can spit on the Madonna and Jesus Christ. But, woe betide the citizen who pronounces a word against the Islamic religion.
    Oriana Fallici

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:05:15 AM PDT

  •  Well, I've now read all the comments currently (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego

    posted, and went back to Dawkins' statements, and I find I have one major problem with the whole thing.

    When Dawkins says

    I regard Islam as one of the great evils in the world
    I have trouble identifying with any statement about him, pro or anti.

    Because, you see, the use of the concept of "evil" itself suggests that he is coming from some theological standpoint, and that he is not a dispassionate judge in this arena.

    He may be correct in how he categorizes Islam generally - I do not know. But to me there is a sheer effrontery in categorizing some things as "good" and some things as "evil" without saying what overarching standard you are using for that categorization. And it's hard to find that sort of standard outside of the category of religion itself. Possible, but not usual.

    I'm tipping for the variety of responses the diary has engendered, not for the premise itself.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:35:39 AM PDT

    •  Evil is a moral concept, not theological. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch

      And he wasn't even necessarily being literal, just using it as a synonym for "bad things."  But it's hard to imagine a self-consistent moral framework other than Islam itself that would categorize Islam's social consequences as positive.

      •  If you can make a case for good/evil (0+ / 0-)

        on the basis of ethics rather than morals, I might be willing to argue. I've never seen a self-consistent moral framework that could handle real world concepts very well. I don't know that he was using it literally or as a synonym. I do know that his use of it, in a context where he might have used a more nuanced term, taints his conclusions from my viewpoint.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:32:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that he said "evils" is a pretty standard (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serendipityisabitch

          indicator that he means "bad things."  You wouldn't call genocide "one of the evils of the world" - you would just call it evil.  "Evils" are things like poverty and corruption.

          •  I'm sorry Troubadour, but I actually wouldn't. (0+ / 0-)

            Evil is one of those words that comes with a mountain of baggage for most people, most of it religious. If I hear it from a serious commentator, I automatically start looking to see where he or she carries that baggage.

            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

            by serendipityisabitch on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 11:17:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Why I respect Muslims more than "Christians" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    Anyone who has any contact with Muslims will know that like many Christians, they have an ambivalent relationship with their religion.

    Most recognise that the teachings are based on dessert culture a millenium or so ago. Some have personal conflicts - like the several gay men with Islamic backgrounds I have met. Some are very conflicted about it, rather like many Christians brought up in conservative societies.

    However most practicing Muslims will try to keep to the Five Pillars as best they can. Perhaps the most important duty - and one that is taken extremely seriously - is Zakat. Just how is shown by:

    Muslim donors are the most generous religious group in the UK, giving an average of £371 per head in 2012, according to research into giving habits by religion.

    Research among 4,036 UK residents, carried out by ICM Research in 2012 and based on data from JustGiving, showed that the next most generous group was Jewish donors, who gave £270 per head, followed by Protestants, who gave £202, Catholics, who gave £178, and Hindus, who gave £171.

    Atheists, who made up a quarter of the total, were the least generous, giving £116 on average

    Perhaps if more atheists like Dawkins took their responsibility to society more seriously like British Muslims, the world would be a better place.

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:03:00 AM PDT

    •  Religious giving is NOT charity (4+ / 0-)

      When "charitable giving" is mentioned, it always includes church giving, which is just giving to support your own social club.   If you want to truly measure charity, you would have to figure out how much the church itself passes out to needy people.    When you see the Cadillacs, private airplanes,  personal mansions , golden domes and marble pillars at places of worship, you know not much is going to help the needy or invest in the future outside the cult/church.

      Remove the religious giving from the equation, and the secular crowd is very generous.     Check out the performance of the Foundation Beyond Belief for an example (http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/)

      Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

      by bobtmn on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:50:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not "religious giving" in your sense. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        First, charities are regulated by the Charities Commission in the UK and are open to challenge for such excesses. In fact the corrupt use of donations from their congregations you described is at its  worst in the Evangelical churches - especially in the Black African churches which they spawned.

        Zakat is not a form of tithe in which the Church receives a tenth of  the member's income. Rather it is a duty to give alms to the poor - and ensure that the poor receive it. Many Muslims will take turns to provide the poor with Ishtar meals during Ramadan and will prepare and serve it themselves.

        Others give to Islamic charities precisely because they ensure that alms given are used effectively. One in the UK particularly has been vetted so effectively that they belong to the elite group of British charities that form the Disasters Emergency Committee.

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:03:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Who says Richard Dawkins doesn't take his (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, bobtmn, linkage

      responsibility to society seriously?  He gets death threats all the time and subjects himself to constant demonization to defend reason and decency.  And you think someone giving money to their religion simply because that religion tells them they'll be punished if they don't is charitable?  It's the same shtick con artists do.  Some of them spread around a little money to the community too.

      •  The Dawkins Foundation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour
      •  Try reading which you never do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        I wrote "Atheists like Dawkins" making the direct link with evidence that they are the least generous group.

        I would also point out that Dawkins has an even greater responsibility to society in not formenting Islamophobia through ignorance and inciting civil conflict - precisely what he and this diary attempts to do.

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:08:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's a fallacy (0+ / 0-)

      and as a liberal you should know that. What a ridiculous comment.

      With a strong social safety net, charities would not be required to the extent they are now. The vast majority of services provided by acceptable charities should have their costs socialized through taxation.

      Secondly, what "charities" were being donated to? I'm sure you're aware of a wide range of "charities" in the US, many that should not be listed as such, and there's no reason to think the UK is any different.

      •  Providing a strong social safety net. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        In case you had not noticed, in many Middle Eastern and other Islamic societies it is the role of the mosque to provide just such a safety net - comparable to the similar role played by the church in pre-Reformation Europe.

        And the role of these charities is not simply limited to "beginning at home" and staying there.

        Islamic Relief received £14.4m last year and makes a third of its income during the religious fast, a spokesman for the charity said.

        "Ramadan is a time to think about the less fortunate and many Muslims choose to give zakat during this time," he said.

        "It’s about disposable income, and we recommend Muslims talk to a scholar about their own situation and their own personal circumstances. One of the things we’ll be doing during Ramadan is having a scholar available who will be offering information about zakat."

        Islamic Relief has launched a new campaign to mark Ramadan, called War on Hunger.

        http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/...

        And as it is now dark here: Eid Mubarak

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:14:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Islamic brutality (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, Troubadour, Fishtroller01

    Athiests  don't do this:

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

    Friday's newspapers include extensive coverage of an acid attack on two British women in Zanzibar.

    The Sun reports that Islamic fanatics may have targeted the girls in a bid to scare away tourists and force the government to free two radical clerics.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:41:04 AM PDT

    •  I can name several who have done worse (0+ / 0-)

      The very idea that atheists are incapable of human savagery is ridiculous.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:31:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, atheists can commit atrocities (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        Of course, I did not make a claim that they don't.

        Your False Attribution, Straw Man Attack:

        "atheists are incapable of human savagery"
        Yes, atheists can commit atrocities, but not because they are atheists.    These folks are acting in the interests of their religion, there god and their clerics.

        Atheists NEVER do that.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:55:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that is where I completely disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lib Dem FoP, alain2112

          As someone who has actually studied the Middle East in detail over the course of the past five or so years, I know these people are largely reacting based on secular, local pressures. Religion has little to do with it. If you took religion away, they would still be acting like this. It's a hell of a lot more complex than just religion.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:02:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  hm. see: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg

          Soviet destruction of 75% of Mongolia's Buddhist monasteries.  

          see: numerous evils ascribed to the atheism of the cultural revolution in China.

          And countless others.

          Atrocities are done by sick humans--religious or not.

          The argument that 'atheists don't commit atrocities in the name of atheism'  is the kind of argument I would expect regurigated on an elementary school playground.  It's as mature and developed as 'Science flies people to the moon--religion flies them into buildings'.

  •  Good luck. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobtmn

    You can't criticize Islam the way we all do Christianity. I have read worse about the Pope on this very site than anything in this article.

  •  Thomas Jefferson said, (0+ / 0-)

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

    All religions are unintelligible propositions about the world, and therefore by their very nature, are fair game for the application of criticism and even ridicule.

    That's all this diary is, and any other diary or comment that takes religious ideas and actions to task.  

  •  Hmm - So the secularists who went out in their (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq, JosephK74, alain2112

    millions to demand the overthrow of Egyptian President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government are exactly the same as the Muslim Brotherhood? After all, they're all Muslims.
       Or the Turkish protesters who rose up against Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan? All the same? They must be. They're all Muslims?
       How about Ahmed Sheik Masood, assassinated bt al Qaeda or the Taliban a few days before the 9-11 attack? If all Muslims are the same, why was his muder a necessary first step to an attack on the west?
       You hate Islam. Fine. But the US has to engage in the Muslim world. And the US has Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion. So, please, keep your bigotry to yourself.

  •   (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq

    millions to demand the overthrow of Egyptian President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government are exactly the same as the Muslim Brotherhood? After all, they're all Muslims.
       Or the Turkish protesters who rose up against Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan? All the same? They must be. They're all Muslims?
       How about Ahmed Sheik Masood, assassinated bt al Qaeda or the Taliban a few days before the 9-11 attack? If all Muslims are the same, why was his muder a necessary first step to an attack on the west?
       You hate Islam. Fine. But the US has to engage in the Muslim world. And the US has Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion. So, please, keep your bigotry to yourself.

  •  So the secularists who turned out by the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq, JDsg

    millions to demand the overthrow of Egyptian President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government are exactly the same as the Muslim Brotherhood? After all, they're all Muslims.
       Or the Turkish protesters who rose up against Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan? All the same? They must be. They're all Muslims?
       How about Ahmed Sheik Masood, assassinated bt al Qaeda or the Taliban a few days before the 9-11 attack? If all Muslims are the same, why was his muder a necessary first step to an attack on the west?
       You hate Islam. Fine. But the US has to engage in the Muslim world. And the US has Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion. So, please, keep your bigotry to yourself.

    •  Shhhhhhhhh (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, Nattiq, alain2112, JDsg

      You're using nuance. I don't think he does nuance.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:13:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One posting of this was quite enough. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobtmn, denise b

      This is not about questioning people's rights to believe and practice their beliefs. It is about holding those beliefs and ideas up to the same standards of scrutiny and reason we hold any others to.   And your attempt to shut down this diarist's rights to do that by telling him to keep his bigotry to himself is rather revealing as to what your idea of freedom entails.

      Show me just where the diarist proposed elminating a person's right to hold or practice their beliefs?  This diary is a critique of the ideas and actions of people who practice Islam. Nothing more, nothing less.  If it was a scathing attack on the ideas and practices of the Tea Party, no one here would be upset.

      Religion and religious ideas do no have and should not have a special category called "untouchable".  Or do all those who are attacking this diarist believe in blasphemy laws?  I would think not, but you wouldn't know that by reading some of these comments.

  •  Religion is: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, denise b

    1. A set of values

    2 A group of people who share those values

    3 A set of people who are identified by the group as their leaders.

    4 A set of practices through which the people seek to spread their values.

    So far, I could be describing a union, the democratic party , the tea party, ALEC or the boy scouts.    All of these groups are openly discussed on DKos without much controversy over the topic.

    Religion adds a fifth thing:

    5 A deeply held conviction that their personal views are inspired from a divine source and cannot be fairly challenged by people who are not similarly infused with the spirit.

    I call Bullshit on number 5, and applaud all reasonable efforts to challenge religious belief, especially of the most dangerous religions, and you know which one I am talking about.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:07:44 AM PDT

  •  HRed for blatant (0+ / 0-)

    bigotry.

  •  HR'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaEscapee, Lib Dem FoP

    You can criticize a group of people for their actions but this diary crosses the line into an assault on Islam. You're not a bad writer. Why are you so needlessly proactive and insulting in this diary?

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:23:26 AM PDT

    •  And why can't someone criticize the beliefs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, denise b

      of Islam, or its texts or anything else about Islam? The use of the term "assault" is hyperventilation and just the kind of language that is used to shut down what is essentially free speech.

      I read once where someone said that if religions don't want their ideas to be called ridiculous, then they shouldn't promote ridiculous ideas.

       Are you in favor of blasphemy laws?

  •  More on blasphemy... There have been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Troubadour

    several proposals made by reps from Islamic nations in the UN to pass a law prohibiting "defamation" of religion. It's an anti- blasphemy law.  It would cause a system of punishments for anyone criticizing religion or religious ideas, just like Troubador did here.

    What upsets me to no end is that many of the critical comments here, especially those who HRd the diary appear to agree with the Islamists on this one.

  •  HRed for ignorant bigotry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag

    It won't get hidden, but it will get noticed by the admins.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:13:32 PM PDT

  •  Alhamdulillah! (0+ / 0-)

    I thank Allah (swt) for being a Muslim.  It's remarkable just how many expose their ignorance of Islam and the Muslim world here, but that's to be expected in this modern-day jahiliyyah society.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 11:58:23 PM PDT

  •  I didn't read through all the comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    ...because the comments thread is so long and there's so much scrolling, but I didn't see anyone mention this: does the author realize he's conflating "religion" and "culture?"

    "When I look at Islam, I don't see some delicate alien culture that needs protection from us big, bad, omnipotent Westerners"

    Uh, there are American Muslims, and Muslims throughout the world. Muslims are as ethnically diverse as people of any other religious faith.

    And, actually, while I'm also an atheist, I do think strawmanning Christianity as if all Christians are evangelical fundamentalists IS also silly and I don't agree with it when other atheists pull that card. If you want to talk about the specific tenets of a religious faith being bollocks (Jesus being revived) or whatever, fine, but lumping diverse people into simplified distinctions does make you look ignorant... because it's an ignorant thing to do.

  •  All the people who HR'ed this for alleged bigotry (0+ / 0-)

    are helping prove the OP's claim that the sorts of things people are allowed to say against Christianity are not on equal footing with the sorts of things people are allowed to say against Islam.

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