Intelligence squared

Sort of like "The Bookshelf" but for... you get the idea.
User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:05 pm

http://youtu.be/rh34Xsq7D_A
This is a debate that really informs. It's a little heated at first but really gets going about halfway through. It helps if you know the players, but you can follow up on that afterwards.

I'll give the exact spot later (I have notes at home), but there's a point where Ayaan is reading off evil Qu'ran passages. Zeba has this puzzled look on her face and tries to interrupt with her list of nice passages. She asks why Ayaan thinks she can cherry pick bad stuff but she (Zeba) can't counter them with the good ones? Ayaan does not answer this and I think she's wrong.

The reason is, Ayaan is really cherry picking, Zeba isn't. Ayaan is taking some data and ignoring other data and saying her data proves Islam is evil. Zeba acknowledges the evil passages and the all the things done in the past, and looks at the contributions of Muslim scientists and philosophers and majority Muslim democracies and Muhammad's wife and Muslims who lived in peace in non-Muslim countries for centuries, until quite recently, and she concludes that most of the branches and sects and versions of her culture are peaceful as well as the millions of people who do the rituals and attend mosques.

Don't get me wrong, Zeba and Nawaz never address the problem of monotheism, a fundamental problem that Ayaan brings up. But she uses cherry picking to make her point and they never get to that.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3272
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: His Beatitude

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:31 am

the better talk is the Richmond Forum discussion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2prB3weT4c

We don't have to agree 100% with Hirsi Ali, but she sure has a right to say what she says.
The mere fact that two people can justify peace and war from the same text shows that Zeba is just as right as Ali - as is ISIS.
The Koran, after all, is the story of conquest - not much cherry-picking required.

And Muslim countries, for most of history, have been under outside control - after the 7th century conquests, they were never really in a position to show their peacefulness.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:21 pm

Surprised you missed the point by that much EM. ISIS is not right. You can't justify things arbitrarily using random quotes from historical documents. Zeba is right because the quotes she choses have been proven right by generations across a variety of successful societies. Zeba picks the verses that, at the time they were written, were progressive. They helped transform a region of constant tribal warfare into an empire that brought knowledge from around the world together and contributed to the scientific revolution. They also brought some of that tribal stuff with them and we are still dealing with that. But that's our struggle, that's the burden of our generation. It's our turn to write something and do something that leads to progress.

From Wikipedia on Al-Andulus
The historian Said Al-Andalusi wrote that Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III had collected libraries of books and granted patronage to scholars of medicine and "ancient sciences". Later, al-Mustansir (Al-Hakam II) went yet further, building a university and libraries in Córdoba. Córdoba became one of the world's leading centres of medicine and philosophical debate.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3272
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: His Beatitude

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:34 pm

Are some Muslims countries progressive because of the benign passages of the Koran? Or because they have enough sense and self-confidence to dare ignore the violent bits?
I would argue that simply being able to 'pick and chose' those bits from the text that promote civilization over tribalism means that you have moved passed the dictates of the Koran - you've become in part secular. It means that you no longer accept all of the text as being directly from God - you claim to have the authority to know better than the prophet what is right or wrong.

a modernized Islam does not need a Koran 2.0, just like Christians don't need an 'Even Newer' Testament. It needs the sense of humanism which allows us to chose for ourselves what we want to do, and maybe later learn that some of these ideas are shared by people in old books.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:42 pm

I couldn't agree more. I'm not a Muslim arguing that you should read my holy book. I'm an atheist saying you shouldn't judge all Muslims based the actions of a few. Zeba is a Muslim saying you shouldn't judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few. But saying Islam "needs" humanism and telling them to put down the Koran for a while is not much different than what the missionaries did to the aboriginal tribes during the British empire. There are still missionaries, but they don't go in with armies and force them to dress or groom themselves a certain way or punish them for doing their rituals. They bring food and medicine and teachers and say they came in the name of Jesus.

You should judge Muslims based on the sum of their place in history. When you do that, no one comes out looking much better than the rest. Everyone has slavery and stupidity in their ancestry. And if you are only looking at the present, if you pick a large group, like 2 billion Christians or Western Europe or Mericans, the math works out about the same.

In my estimation of people throughout history, most of them don't "accept all of the text as being directly from God". Why else would the Vatican need a torture chamber or ISIS need to cut people's heads off? The 3 major monotheisms spend a lot of time in their scripture talking about the consequences of not accepting their god, considerably less time demonstrating miracles of their god and a tiny bit of time giving good advice. But that's not what religion is. Religion is the rituals that those things get turned into. You can connect the illogical derivations of the Bible of the Westboro Baptists to the wrong actions they take. You can't connect my grandmother eating a cracker and believing it is Jesus to an abortion bombing. She has "enough sense and self-confidence to dare ignore the violent bits."

Muslims countries are not and were not progressive because of benign passages of the Koran alone. Current progress is made through logic reasoning, no doubt. Progress in the past however was very much based on a few individuals who could inspire action. Progress and conquering came hand in hand and there's not much we can do about that now. Once we mapped the whole world things started to change and we can judge people differently now. But then, progress meant expanding your empire and an empire needed an identity, religion fit that bill. There are examples in history of both leaders who were inspired to conquer based on the Koran and leaders who were inspired to learn and discover knowledge based on the Koran. That's my history of the world in one paragraph.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3272
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: His Beatitude

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:10 pm

Humanism might have been first implemented in Europe, but the West has no monopoly on it. At it's core, all it means that you put the well-being of a human over the well-being of a God.
And that is a necessary perquisite to become a moderate Muslim: that you are more concerned with your fellow humans, all of them, than with religious doctrines. That you make up your mind first, and then, if you have to, find support for your decision in your chosen book.
But it does not work the other way around: none of the Monotheistic holy book are 'How to be a good person for Dummies' kind of guidebooks.

What Muslims eager to modernize their faith need to do, above all, is to read non-religious books, preferably philosophical ones.
They also should read the stories of Mulla Nasrudin
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:18 pm

Lausten wrote:You should judge Muslims based on the sum of their place in history.

........or.......judge them on what they are doing right now ........... just as everyone has done throughout history.

compare and contrast.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:50 pm

Lausten wrote:You should judge Muslims based on the sum of their place in history.

In this sentence, I was referring to Muslims as a group. That's not prejudging, that's referring to a group. Referring to a culture that has existed for centuries is going to be a generalization by definition. But it's still not prejudice. It's making a judgment about a large collection of data, it's not pre-judging individuals. That judgment of the past can inform your current view, but change has occurred very quickly in the last two hundred years, much faster than the previous 2,000 years. You have to factor that in.

Claiming all living Muslims are a certain way based facts about some living Muslims is prejudice. Claiming all living Muslims are a certain way based on some historical facts is prejudice. Claiming all living Muslims are, or are susceptible to being a certain way based a selection of some facts while ignoring others is cherry picking.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:21 pm

The peace or violence of Islam (or any religion) really has very little to do with their holy text. People form their beliefs and actions from other sources (political circumstances, for example), then justify those beliefs/actions using whatever text or source they deem necessary. As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t a specifically religious thing but a human one — we do it all the time, whether justifying our beliefs through cherry picking the Bible or Wikipedia.

The Islamic success during their intellectual high points has more to do with unity and cohesion throughout that region of the world (unified, to be clear, largely around Islamic beliefs) than anything related to any specific passages of the Qu’ran.

Likewise today, the violence in the Middle East and Central Africa has less to do with any specific portions of their chosen texts, and far more to do with the stark reality of foreign powers militarily occupying their lands and arming violent militia groups over a period of decades during and since the Cold War.

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:21 pm

Thanks Canadian Skeptic. You touch on some good points, but I think you go too far. You are saying that words don't have meaning, specifically words that are spoken often, taught to children, used and abused by politicians, studied by scholars, entire degrees are based on them, entire careers are built on those words, people just give them money because they claim to be studying those words. You're saying that the historians who said so-and-so was a man of God or a spiritual man who prayed to Mecca everyday just said that for the hell of it. I wish it were true that people formed their beliefs somewhere else, then brought that to religion, but as long as we have infant Baptisms and mothers wanting their daughters to marry within their religion, that just isn't happening.

What you say is just happening is what I say needs to happen. Children should be told they can think for themselves and make up heir own mind about religion when they are ready to do that. This is not "indoctrinating them into secularism". This is starting with learning they are in a pluralistic world, where they need to understand how to get along with others, then looking at joining some exclusionary club that claims to know more than everyone else.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:46 pm

Lausten wrote:Claiming all living Muslims are a certain way based facts about some living Muslims is prejudice. Claiming all living Muslims are a certain way based on some historical facts is prejudice. Claiming all living Muslims are, or are susceptible to being a certain way based a selection of some facts while ignoring others is cherry picking.

I agree. It also true that nobody says any of the above. 3 Straw men in a row. Only a fool would sum up 1.5 Billion as being only one thing. Very lazy irrelevant thinking.

Here is another idea that sums up 1.5 Billion as being only one thing:
Lausten wrote:
You should judge Muslims based on the sum of their place in history.


Meaningless blather.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:53 pm

Lausten wrote: You're saying that the historians who said so-and-so was a man of God or a spiritual man who prayed to Mecca everyday just said that for the hell of it.


Oh I’m not saying that at all. Those people very much believed what they said, and the words people use to defend their actions and beliefs are very much informative about their positions. My main point is that words, outside of a particular social context, are meaningless: but used by people, they can indicate belief, but not actually compel people to belief. That qualification is very important: words outside of context don’t matter, but words in context matter very much. In the latter case, though, it's the context that constructs belief, interpreting the text to support itself.

Consider teaching a child some religious idea or another. The direction and force of those teachings will depend less on the specific words on the page and much more on what the teacher brings to the table.

To give just an example of how words are nearly meaningless without considering the social context they come from and how they’re interpreted, imagine I had a holy book with one line:

“All babies are precious.”

This quote could end up supporting such opposing beliefs as:

- Abortion is a rightful choice.
- Abortion is evil.
- Cannibalistic infanticide.

The words don’t particularly promote any one interpretation over another — only whatever the believer brings to the table.

Lausten wrote: I wish it were true that people formed their beliefs somewhere else, then brought that to religion, but as long as we have infant Baptisms and mothers wanting their daughters to marry within their religion, that just isn't happening.

But remember, both baptism and within-religion marriages are largely independent of the text. Using the same exact Bible, some Christians conclude they need baptism/within-religion marriages, and other Christians, again referring to the same text, conclude they do not. The desire to baptise is largely a social convention, as is within-religion marriages for that matter, and not directly caused by any particular portion of the Bible.

Lausten wrote:…than looking at joining some exclusionary club that claims to know more than everyone else.

Call me jaded, but I see this happening with or without religion. I don’t even think religion makes this more likely; it just provides an additional opportunity for it to take place, but there are infinite opportunities.

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:34 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:
Lausten wrote:
Lausten wrote:…than looking at joining some exclusionary club that claims to know more than everyone else.

Call me jaded, but I see this happening with or without religion. I don’t even think religion makes this more likely; it just provides an additional opportunity for it to take place, but there are infinite opportunities.

Not jaded at all, but the difference I was discussing that led up to that was first providing a broad education that supports modern thinking and modern values, including the important value of allowing them to question that thinking. THEN, they can pick their clubs. My guess is, they'll do a better job of picking if they have that education first.

As for the stuff about context, I think you're just describing that words change their meaning with time. I assumed that in the background.

This conversation with Electric Monk began in a different section. It's about the cause and effect of Muslim teachings and Sharia law governments on terrorist groups. I agree with you that groups like that will take the Qu'ran and do with it whatever they want to meet their ends. OTOH, their ends are driven by their own cultural upbringing that led them to believe in jihad and martyrdom in the first place. Using your analysis of words, the last few generations have changed the meaning of jihad so it has very little to do with creating any kind of better world, to simply meaning kill anyone who doesn't believe. Words can also have different meanings in different contexts, not just different times, so I think there is still a lot of hope in those who have those different meanings, if we can just get the two groups together.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:51 pm

Lausten wrote:Not jaded at all, but the difference I was discussing that led up to that was first providing a broad education that supports modern thinking and modern values, including the important value of allowing them to question that thinking. THEN, they can pick their clubs. My guess is, they'll do a better job of picking if they have that education first.

Fair enough, I agree with this in principle. The one issue would be in determining how we promote this in foreign nations, like Syria, where our intervention – no matter how noble we think we’re being – inevitably will spur greater violence, by the mere fact of us forcing our values on others. It’s a complicated problem.

Lausten wrote:As for the stuff about context, I think you're just describing that words change their meaning with time. I assumed that in the background.

To be fair, I don’t think you and I are really disagreeing all that much. I *think* I’m just placing a little more emphasis on context and taking it away from religious texts, but we may not even be different on that.

Lausten wrote:It's about the cause and effect of Muslim teachings and Sharia law governments on terrorist groups.

Interesting, I must have missed that one. I’ve been engaged in a lot of conversations of exactly that nature recently (sigh), but never saw that thread here.

Lausten wrote:OTOH, their ends are driven by their own cultural upbringing that led them to believe in jihad and martyrdom in the first place.

Yes and no, and this is where we *might* slightly disagree. For me, it’s not so much that they were taught to believe in jihad and martyrdom in the first place that’s interesting (though they were, and these teachings are relevant), but rather that they are being taught violent jihad and violent martyrdom as a specific response to perceived foreign invasion, not to mention other sources of local violence. We can certainly talk about beliefs in Jihad and how these beliefs are transmitted, but the political conflict of these regions is what prompts (causes) people to teach violent beliefs. It’s a reaction to current and historical events, so that’s what I focus on – the cause, not the rhetoric.

Lausten wrote:Using your analysis of words, the last few generations have changed the meaning of jihad so it has very little to do with creating any kind of better world…

Actually, I don’t think the word has changed all that much, and the people who today promote “jihad” in places like Syria do, I suspect, believe they’re trying to create a better world, and it’s not as simple as killing all non-believers, even for them. They’re trying to eliminate foreign involvement in their affairs, and it takes the rhetorical form of Islamic jihad. They want to “kill all unbelievers” because they view all unbelievers as imperial forces trying to take control from them – in large part because we are, and have been for decades.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:06 pm

"They want to “kill all unbelievers” because they view all unbelievers as imperial forces trying to take control from them..." /// Last I heard, ISIS kills more Muslims than Non-Muslims. The Non-Muslims being a lot of journalists, students, aide workers and tourists.

Its difficult to talk about "Big Issues" with broad generalities. Every thing said correct, but only for some percentage of the issue being addressed. And many broad generalities are simply irrelevant to understanding what needs to be done, as what needs to be done is usually driven by different issues.

fun stuff. Context.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:09 pm

Good input Canadian Skeptic
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:13 pm

So Lausten..... what do you think should be done on any specific issue? Pick your own.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:14 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:"They want to “kill all unbelievers” because they view all unbelievers as imperial forces trying to take control from them..." /// Last I heard, ISIS kills more Muslims than Non-Muslims. The Non-Muslims being a lot of journalists, students, aide workers and tourists.


ISIS is largely Sunni, and they mostly kill Shia, seeing them as supportive of the foreign influences ISIS opposes. Even other Sunni, if they don't support ISIS, are seen as equally the enemy. Further, the greater the conflict in these regions, the better ISIS is able to recruit -- other Muslims seeing no alternatives. So ISIS kills other Muslims, paradoxically, to better recruit them (largely by blaming foreign powers -- like the US -- for the conflict, and not their own actions).

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:16 pm

CS--so a whole set of motives totally different from what you posted.

I could ask which is more important.........but its always a mix. but thanks for being flexible enough to incorporate new information.

......................... 8-) ......................... (Because no gif for whistling)
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:17 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:CS--so a whole set of motives totally different from what you posted.

What's different from what I posted? I posted that political context matters. I then elaborated on the political context of ISIS.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
Has No Life
Posts: 11005
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:39 am

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:18 pm

I decline. Its right there.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:29 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:
Lausten wrote:Not jaded at all, but the difference I was discussing that led up to that was first providing a broad education that supports modern thinking and modern values, including the important value of allowing them to question that thinking. THEN, they can pick their clubs. My guess is, they'll do a better job of picking if they have that education first.

Fair enough, I agree with this in principle. The one issue would be in determining how we promote this in foreign nations, like Syria, where our intervention – no matter how noble we think we’re being – inevitably will spur greater violence, by the mere fact of us forcing our values on others. It’s a complicated problem.

I'm not ignoring the other stuff, just focusing on one at a time.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came out of the UN and was based on traditions of many cultures. We have to keep in mind that these are not "our" values. This means education on our end too, like that Jesus did not invent the Golden Rule for example. It means changing the "how" of what we do, so it is not imposition. That part is more complicated. No matter what we (or any outside influence) does someone's not going to like it and get violent, and twist the logic, but that's why there is Article 26 about education.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:44 pm

I won't argue with you there, Lausten.

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:15 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:
Lausten wrote:
OTOH, their ends are driven by their own cultural upbringing that led them to believe in jihad and martyrdom in the first place.

Yes and no, and this is where we *might* slightly disagree. For me, it’s not so much that they were taught to believe in jihad and martyrdom in the first place that’s interesting (though they were, and these teachings are relevant), but rather that they are being taught violent jihad and violent martyrdom as a specific response to perceived foreign invasion, not to mention other sources of local violence. We can certainly talk about beliefs in Jihad and how these beliefs are transmitted, but the political conflict of these regions is what prompts (causes) people to teach violent beliefs. It’s a reaction to current and historical events, so that’s what I focus on – the cause, not the rhetoric.

I didn't really flesh that statement out, and upon reflection, I'm not sure I could a great job of it. Scott Atran has done a thorough job of studying the terrorist mind, and some disagree with him. For me to simply say what specific actions were caused by religion and what were caused by politics would be a stretch to say the least. I tend to agree with Leonardo Bolf in "The Liberation of Theology", that it's all ideology. It's just different ways of expressing it. That's where the scientific method needs to come in, or call it a philosophy of seeking truth through empiricism, or whatever sells, but we have to get all the players agreeing on some basics.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:40 pm

Maajid Nawaz said it at 1:02:20, many verses need a reform. Well common! Will he do so, or has he tried, and how will he succeed in a notion of peace? The man is lost. Even Zeba Khan had enough sense to remain on her side of the argument by stating reform isn't the word. It's too bad reform is the word and she is ironic in her attempt because she had already admitted to ignoring bad text. The question being, Do these texts have an authority? If so, then we are at war with those texts, whether in dialogue, self-interpretation, denial, or political. And if not, then where is this peaceful reform? It doesn't exist and.. it never will because you will always find people, political or not, who say you better not touch my Koran! And everyone of them will be.. well, you know... "peaceloving" Muslims. tada!

"Islam is a religion of peace". It's a false notion. And I've serious gripe with Douglas Murray for stating that if we went back to the teachings of Jesus we'd have at worst a single verse which states, "I came by the sword". What secularists had to do to Christians is exactly what Douglas Murray is attempting to do, in a light, to Muslims. Within the United States we were lucky enough to have had a common enemy (monarchy of England) who colonists equally hated because these Christians were fighting each other all over the place and the notion to leave religious belief out of public affairs was gracefully accepted because of it. You wont find that in the Muslim world because the common enemy is all those who will not submit themselves to the final revelation. Or those who turned to it and now understand it's bogus. And that's written down in a sacred book. So at the end of the day that will always be the case because the necessary harmless reform is impossible in our peaceful Muslim world.

Also, Douglas Murray should understand that the minute a person came to him, or perhaps the real goal - his children, and said, They'd better believe in hippy Jesus teachings because if they didn't they'd be condemned to an eternity in hell (something Jesus brought), that they'd be on the brink of a war. It's not to be taken lightly.

Islam isn't being hijacked by extremists. Just as Christianity isn't hijacked by West Boro. The religions themselves are extreme and to believe in their teachings are an extreme. And it's only those who practice secularism next to religion who find themselves stealing from it on the behalf of their religion in this notion that religion brings peace.

I felt Ayaan Ali brought the stronger argument, but I did enjoy Douglas Murray's wit and Maajid Nawaz's heart. However, I stopped at the questionnaire because over all I did not enjoy the debate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sEcBzxoMB8
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:23 pm

digress wrote:Maajid Nawaz said it at 1:02:20, many verses need a reform. Well common! Will he do so, or has he tried, and how will he succeed in a notion of peace? The man is lost. Even Zeba Khan had enough sense to remain on her side of the argument by stating reform isn't the word. It's too bad reform is the word and she is ironic in her attempt because she had already admitted to ignoring bad text. The question being, Do these texts have an authority? If so, then we are at war with those texts, whether in dialogue, self-interpretation, denial, or political.

How can you be at war with texts?

You avoided my arguments about cherry picking, and just said Zebra "ignored" the bad texts. No she didn't, Ayaan did.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:45 pm

Lausten wrote:
digress wrote:Maajid Nawaz said it at 1:02:20, many verses need a reform. Well common! Will he do so, or has he tried, and how will he succeed in a notion of peace? The man is lost. Even Zeba Khan had enough sense to remain on her side of the argument by stating reform isn't the word. It's too bad reform is the word and she is ironic in her attempt because she had already admitted to ignoring bad text. The question being, Do these texts have an authority? If so, then we are at war with those texts, whether in dialogue, self-interpretation, denial, or political.

How can you be at war with texts?


I explained how in my next few sentences. I'll go into more detail. It produces a war within one-self because, by example, there is no interpreting "kill the infidel". So if you believe the text to be what it stands to be; insight by God, but ignore some passages then you immediately become misaligned with yourself. It then becomes your secular practice which bears the responsibilities of peace and not your religion. When we aren't talking about the self, and private practice goes public, you are immediately forced into a war-of-politics because you will always find those who don't use secular practices in the face of divine knowledge vs. your practiced secularism. Making Zeba's argument an anti-thesis because it isn't politics that corrupts religion, but the goals of religion in the face of secular practices.

Lausten wrote:You avoided my arguments about cherry picking, and just said Zebra "ignored" the bad texts. No she didn't, Ayaan did.


In all due respect I didn't ignore you. You did not edit your OP with the "exact spot" in your notes for an exact reply.

Looking at Muslim contributions to science, philosophy & democracy over the centuries says nothing about the religion because, Does the Koran promote science, philosophy & democracy?

You first must understand that religion is the result of philosophical questioning being answered and then cemented into truth from on-high. Ayaan did well cherry picking because the topic is, Is 'a religion' a religion of peace? Evidently it is not by its passages. And by your notes Zeba acknowledges that fact. What a joke.

You saw quite clearly how Zeba doesn't defend the notion, but rather Islam itself. Zeba would have been better off saying, "Violent ideology passed down by God may in-fact, and has, incite violence, but I love Islam and so do many other people I know because... "insert not so violent passages here", "insert family experiences here" etc." Because at least then she'd really be acknowledging the bad in the face of her argument about how much she hates politics.
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:01 pm

digress wrote:You first must understand that religion is the result of philosophical questioning being answered and then cemented into truth from on-high.

This (and related) argument was popularized especially by EB Tylor and has long since been on its way out the academic door. Most relevant scholars today reject this position for very good reason (I'm not really bothering to illuminate those here; I'm making the relevant arguments in at least 2 other threads already).

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:11 pm

link your two topics?
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:26 pm

This one: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=26252&start=80

And this one: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=26362&start=80

My arguments in there are obviously not *direct* responses to your position, but I think they're related and I could relate them more strongly, if pressed. The short answer is that I believe religion is not explicitly the result of philosophical questioning, and much more related to group identity, where people's ideological views largely come to reflect the historical contexts of their current time and place. Religion provides a certain narrative style (myths and stories), but the use that those narratives get put to, the direction they take, and so on is contingent on other factors.

A good example I can think of off the top of my head is that in certain proto-Indo European beliefs (so beliefs that largely preceed the written record, and are the precursors for many European/Middle Eastern religions, including Judaism, Iranian religions and so on). For a long time, the religious leaders promoted, among other narratives, an end of the world scenario (eschatology) in which all the mountains were said to be flattened, and this was an imminently evil event. The context that's necessary to understand this is that the mountains were seen to be representative of a social hierarchy -- the priests at the top, everyone else descending from there -- and the mountains being flattened represented social hierarchies decaying. So it was evil.

Later, a counter narrative emerged to challenge this story, where the mountains still flattened but this was said to be a good thing -- it meant the equalization of social classes throughout society (which also entailed the end, or "flattening," of the priestly classes).

These religious narratives are not strictly or even primarily epistemological in nature -- they're not simply attempts for people to truly understand the nature of the world. To be clear here, these adherents almost certainly believed the narratives literally, but the narratives actually represented a shifting worldview. The story/myth that was used -- mountains collapsing -- was merely a rhetorical vessel used to convey a given worldview (in this case, a perception of social hierarchies -- either to reinforce or to challenge them), and not a proto-scientific attempt to explain the universe and/or the future.

Religions today do much of the same thing -- for example, in the Middle East, which has been ravaged by foreign occupation for generations, a struggle against outsiders has emerged. Because Islam happens to be the narrative or rhetorical style most easily accessible to most people in this region, that struggle gets narrated through Islamic scriptures like the Qu'ran (while other regions of the world, absent this ongoing struggle against a foreign power, uses the Qu'ran for different, often more peaceful, interpretations, reflecting alternative and locally relevant histories). Secular groups, for comparison, in these same Middle East regions do much of the same thing, only using more secular narrative vehicles to do it -- for example, Marxism.

I hope that brief description above bridges the gap between your point here and my views expressed in the other threads.

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:56 am

I'm a bit thrown off. Are you saying you understand the identities of historical communities and the individuals that comprised them well enough to distinguish their desires, fears, needs, comforts, tastes, etc, giving you the insight necessary for making a claim about its impact on the origins of religion, today?

Because when I said, understanding religion comes from answering the unanswerable through representation of God, I had reflected on the present. By people I know and myself. In other words, I know enough to say that if you remove the desire to know (to philosize) - what death is, or is there more than this life, or you aren't alone, or many other curiosities we are left with in the dark which religion claims to have answer to then you wont find an interest in religion. Simply because you wont be addressing these questions. However, religion (theism) always makes the claim it knows-so by detecting God's finger in-it-all. Really distinguishing itself from narrative storytelling, Marxism or the idea each religious sect is its own.

I'd be curious to know, What is it about human identity that has you so intrigued?
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:47 pm

Digress, you're talking about how people approach religion today and where it came from and how or influenced 13th century Muslims. Those don't mix.
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:18 pm

digress wrote:In other words, I know enough to say that if you remove the desire to know (to philosize) - what death is, or is there more than this life, or you aren't alone, or many other curiosities we are left with in the dark which religion claims to have answer to then you wont find an interest in religion.

I would argue that in your hypothetical world devoid of any desire to philosophise about the “mysteries” of life, we would still have religion (we *might* not have science, however). You’re certainly right that religion does provide answers to many of those mysteries, but that’s not the *function* of religion.

One of the functions of religion is to reify (that is, to reinforce) our existing concerns, social hierarchies and so on. It does this by providing a narrative. That’s why I brought up the example of proto-Indo European religions (PIE religions). The eschatologies/mountain myths in PIE religions did not exist because people were interested in knowing how the world would end. The myths existed so they could strengthen or challenge the social hierarchies of those communities.

So too with Islam today. Extremists in the Middle East interpret violence from Islam because they are in a violent context. Muslims in the rest of the world do not interpret violence from Islam because they are not in a violent context (they interpret it to achieve other goals). In neither case are Muslims in the Middle East or wherever interpreting violence from their holy texts strictly because they’re interested in understanding the world. They’re interested in constructing their world according to how they see it, using the religious language they’re used to.

We see this happening in essentially every religious context, up to and including secular concerns (remember that brief window of time where racism was justified using Darwinism, for example). Again, these narratives don’t exist just because people are curious about their world. In fact, they’re really not being curious at all. They’re merely looking at the world and seeing themselves reflected in it.

Side note: I’m not saying anything about the “origins” of religion. I’m only using a single PIE myth as an example, to illustrate my point, not to show a direct lineage between PIE religions and modern beliefs.

User avatar
Lausten
Persistent Poster
Posts: 3450
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:33 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:03 pm

Really hoping to get some time with your posts and links CS. Maybe next week
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Wow thanks for sharing Canadian Skeptic!
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

User avatar
digress
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1692
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:11 am
Custom Title: doomer
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:54 pm

Lausten wrote:Digress, you're talking about how people approach religion today and where it came from and how or influenced 13th century Muslims. Those don't mix.


Well, no, in my reply to you I was referring to the current day, but Canadian Skeptic had more to expand on the origins than I could.

Remember, history rhymes. The question being, Do politics corrupt religion? Because Canadian Skeptic seems to be saying it was designed for that task. How am I to know this isn't a reverse engineering of the present day and a sophisticated argument based on what many people now argue - that it's really just politics and not religion? I'm still skeptical to the idea, but it is a curious thing to think about.
  God is an idea.  

"For now, I am going to err on the side of freedom of speech..." -Pyrrho
"Every instance that has always existed is a piece of evidence that God is not needed." -yrreg
"I am not a concept..." -Confidencia

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:54 pm

Forgive the length, digress, I’m trying to be concise while also explaining my reasoning, providing examples, and where necessary, referencing *some* of the historical back story on where these arguments are coming from. Even still, I’m omitting a lot.

digress wrote:Also, how am I to know this isn't a reverse engineering of the present day and a sophisticated argument based on the reflection of what many people argue - that it's really just politics and not religion?

Let me clarify a little more. I’m certainly not saying that it’s “really just politics and not religion,” or any other such notion, and you’re absolutely right to be skeptical of that position. It dates to mid 20th century scholars like Mircea Eliade, who argued that all religions were essentially the same, generally good, and so on. The good parts of religion – a desire to connect with the “mystery” of the universe, and so on – was “religious,” while the bad stuff – violence – was not. Violence was of some other sort of thing.

Those arguments were apologetics, and that’s not what I’m doing.

Let’s set aside the issue of what religion “is,” for the time being (I’ll come back to it). Instead, let’s talk about human behaviour, because one of the things humans are really good at is narration. They’re good at finding stories — at generating narratives — especially stories that support their views of the world. If a person belongs to a community with a social hierarchy, and they feel a strong sense of kinship with that community, then they will create stories, and those stories will positively reflect on those hierarchies and other shared beliefs.

Some of the time throughout history, these stories took the form of things like the PIE religions I mentioned earlier – mountains coming crashing down to signal the apocalypse, for example. We have tended to categorize these stories “religious,” for other problematic reasons not worth dredging up right now.

But some of the time, we generate stories that are not explicitly religious – for example, that black people (or Jews, or whoever) descended from an “inferior” genetic line. We created stories weaved out of pseudo-understandings of Darwinism, and called it eugenics. It was a “secular” narrative, but followed essentially all the same functions I’m saying “religious” languages do.

The point to be made here is that this narrative style, where we create stories that account for the things we already believe, is common to human nature. We always do this using whatever common language we have at our disposal. Highly religious individuals will use language borrowed from their religion. Less religious people, but maybe who have a connection to modern science, might attempt to use “scientific” language to generate narratives that support them (think Deepak, here). If they’re familiar with other kinds of languages (New Age; Conspiracy; whatever), then they will use stories borrowed from those languages.

In most of these cases, the narratives are designed to be meant and interpreted literally. And it’s a phenomenon that happens the world over. So it’s not that, for example, Islamic violence is “not religion” or “not Islam” – it absolutely is. But “religion” is also the same as so many other human endeavours, and so there are no clear dividing lines between “religion” and “not religion,” except as an arbitrary reference the kinds of words people used when constructing them (“god,” “spirit,” etc.). But the “function” – the function is not solely religious, it’s human, and extends far.

It’s also worth noting that the theory I’m arguing for jives *really well* with our knowledge of Cognitive psychology, among other fields. To stick with the example I’ve been using, there’s a reason “generating stories that agree with our existing beliefs” sounds suspiciously like Confirmation Bias. Because in many ways, that’s exactly what it is.

And the more we continue to believe that “religion” is some unique or special form of human activity, the more credibility we’re giving to religious people as a whole. We’re saying religion is special, it’s not like any other form of human behaviour. That’s the wrong position to take, especially from a secular perspective, because religion is *not* special, and everything that religion *does* can be, and these days often is, also done by non-religious thinking.

To give one final example for now, drive down to a crowded Texas street some day. Ask yourself, if you were to burn either a Bible or the American flag, which one do you would be more likely to incite violence against you? My assumption here is that, based on modern American culture, you’d probably be equally at risk of being attacked for both.

One object is clearly “religious” while the other “secular.” But what, actually, is the difference between them? It seems to me, both are achieving the same result, and as we become increasingly secular as a society, our deeply held convictions shift from God to State to whatever other standard future societies choose to hold dear (a scholar I’m borrowing heavily from is Durkheim, who called these things “totems.”). Or maybe the US will revert back to religion and god, or maybe some other narrative will emerge. Either way, you’ll always risk violence for burning society’s sacred object, because society will always have its sacred objects – it’s sacred languages, narratives and stories; the only question is what that object is – the narrative they use, but even that is less relevant than how strongly they hold to it.

But again, don’t confuse my argument with saying it’s “not religion.” It is religion; I’m just arguing that religion is a whole lot like other human behaviours, too.

User avatar
Gord
Real Skeptic
Posts: 29411
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:44 am
Custom Title: Silent Ork
Location: Transcona

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Gord » Fri Dec 25, 2015 3:43 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:...A good example I can think of off the top of my head is that in certain proto-Indo European beliefs (so beliefs that largely preceed the written record, and are the precursors for many European/Middle Eastern religions, including Judaism, Iranian religions and so on). For a long time, the religious leaders promoted, among other narratives, an end of the world scenario (eschatology) in which all the mountains were said to be flattened, and this was an imminently evil event. The context that's necessary to understand this is that the mountains were seen to be representative of a social hierarchy -- the priests at the top, everyone else descending from there -- and the mountains being flattened represented social hierarchies decaying. So it was evil.

Later, a counter narrative emerged to challenge this story, where the mountains still flattened but this was said to be a good thing -- it meant the equalization of social classes throughout society (which also entailed the end, or "flattening," of the priestly classes)....

This is a topic in which I am very interested. Specifically, I've never heard this about a mountain myth. Do you have any links or suggested reading on the matter?
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
#ANDAMOVIE

Canadian Skeptic
Regular Poster
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:05 pm

Gord wrote:This is a topic in which I am very interested. Specifically, I've never heard this about a mountain myth. Do you have any links or suggested reading on the matter?

Yes, Bruce Lincoln's Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification. Specifically Part 1, Chapter 3 ("Competing Uses of the Future in the Present"), but if you start reading this, I highly encourage you to read the book all the way through. Of the actual scholarly materials in this area, this one also happens to be one of the easiest to dive into (though still expect to have a dictionary close at hand for some of it).

User avatar
Gord
Real Skeptic
Posts: 29411
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:44 am
Custom Title: Silent Ork
Location: Transcona

Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Gord » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:18 pm

Thanks, I'll have to find a copy.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
#ANDAMOVIE


Return to “Film/Theater/TV/Video/Radio/Podcasts”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest