Questionable Motives

November 2, 2013

Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies?

Because of  the teachings of the koran stand contrary to them.

The music is irritating but the video reveals what I’ve been saying forever: the koran itself – and not a ‘few bad apples’ who mistakenly take its teachings too seriously – is incompatible with Western liberal secular values.  Pointing out this fact does not make one a racist or an islamaphobe. It makes one a realist who is awake and aware.

Sam Harris makes a very good comment on it here as does Jerry Coyne here.

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15 Comments »

  1. Islam is, presently, the unchallenged home of utter, utter, utter ignorance.

    Comment by john zande — November 2, 2013 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  2. Uhhh, hey first guy, we do ask the same questions of Jews and Christians!

    Comment by R. L. Culpeper — November 3, 2013 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  3. I really have no comment! How crazy can these people be?

    Comment by makagutu — November 3, 2013 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  4. More compelling evidence that a significant minority bordering on a majority – and not the beliefs of a few ‘bad apples’ – of muslims living in western secular liberal democracies hold fast to a set of islamic values that are incompatible with western secular liberal values.

    “These findings clearly contradict the often-heard claim that Islamic religious fundamentalism is a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe or that it does not differ from the extent of fundamentalism among the Christian majority. Both claims are blatantly false, as almost half of European Muslims agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, that there is only one interpretation of the Koran, and that the rules laid down in it are more important than secular laws.”

    From a recent study of fundamentalism comparing christian to islamic in Europe. A good review of it is here at WEIT.

    Comment by tildeb — December 10, 2013 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  5. Hi Tildeb,

    This is the video I posted on my facebook page that started an argument with my agnostic brother about how I can’t paint all muslims with the same brush based on the beliefs of a room of a few hundred people. I don’t believe I ever did get an explanation as to what that has to do with the fact that this room full of lunatics believes in the most abject nonsense and the name of that nonsense is Islam. I know I got an argument to the effect that since approximately 85 – 90% of the world are believers (the details of what they believe in and degree to which they believe vary), they can’t ALL be delusional. It’s rather alarming that educated secular people are taking up arms beside religious moderates and apologists and are not able to see and/or acknowledge the terrible consequences that belief in supernatural garbage can lead to, as was so clearly demonstrated in that video.

    Comment by Ashley — January 14, 2014 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for stopping by, and commenting, Ashley.

      I don’t know why so many people refuse to admit that perhaps people do say what they mean and are even willing to act on it. Suggest to your brother to go and talk with muslims about whether or not they support the teachings of the koran in part of whole. perhaps this will disabuse him of his assumptions. If what people say is against the common values of western liberal secular democracies, the assumption by people who support these values – ie, individual autonomous legal equality rights – is that everyone really does. But this assumption is wrong and dangerously so.

      There are significant populations of the world that support values antithetical to these western enlightenment values, the main one being islam. These antithetical values are the foundation of the koran. Whereas liberalized christianity will support these values to various degrees, and so their followers are also generally willing (because these religious authorities no longer have the power to usurp which values people must support), islam remains stuck in its fundamntalism. That’s why in more than a dozen countries who are members of the UN, some of which have representatives sitting on the Human Rights Commission, maintain islamic – not secular – laws of apostacy that carry with them the death penalty. This is not a few painted muslims; this is islam where islam holds undisputed political and legal power. This isn’t opinion. This is a brutal fact. The delusion occurs when people refuse to recognise this reality we share.

      Comment by tildeb — January 14, 2014 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

      • In our discussion, I brought up the point about being an atheist and that, although it may be perceived as arrogant, I consider it a mark of intellectual superiority to be an atheist. Perhaps superiority was the right word, perhaps not, but it’s certainly a mark of intellectual honesty. Why did I choose superiority? I know this “offends” people but I’m sorry, I just don’t think it’s a very intelligent thing to believe that a supernatural being created the entire universe and all life in it (at least on earth anyways) and that this god has a special plan for you and you’re going to a place of infinite pleasure and reward after this mortal life if over (and bad guys are going to roast for eternity). It’s based on nothing more than fear and wish thinking. There’s no basis for it, there’s no evidence for it, it’s completely irrational and it’s completely illogical. Call me smug, call me arrogant but it still won’t change the fact that religious belief is ridiculous. The fact that approximately 85% of the planet holds to some sort of religious belief doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
        Someday I will have to ask him why he’s adopted the apologist approach even though he’s not religious himself. I don’t think it’s because of fear, but I suspect because he think that criticism of religion is somehow intolerant or perhaps hateful. Perhaps I’ll look into it and get back to you. LOL

        Comment by Ashley — January 15, 2014 @ 11:39 am

      • I think we have to learn how not to be credulous, not to be gullible, not to be seduced by confirmation bias, to recognize when we compartmentalize and justify how we think we know stuff.

        The question, “How do you know that?” is really the most important question for any stated belief (especially for any causal claim). This is the introduction to the importance of epistemology, of the method we use to determine likelihood and the extent of reasonable confidence we then place in any explanation for knowledge claims. The most intellectually honest answer for knowledge claims that are based on no knowledge isn’t, “Well, I believe this explanation may or may not be true (a .5 probability)” This is what agnostics try to sell us as the ethical high ground they take when meeting any and all faith-based causal claims. But is it honest?

        If we want to figure out how much or little confidence we should place in a causal claim that has no knowledge, the least honest answer is “I don’t know.” It isn’t honest because we do know that the claim has no knowledge value, which is why it is a faith-based and not evidence based belief.

        Duh.

        The honest answer to a causal claim that has no knowledge value is “I have no reason to believe that claim is true.”

        In all other areas of human endeavor, no reasons to believe something is true is equivalent not to, “I don’t know” but to “I don’t believe that (because I have no compelling reasons to lend any confidence to that explanation). This is exactly what these supposed agnostics I’ve encountered actually exercise in their daily lives… and consistently so. And that’s why I claim that those who assume an agnostic position in regards to faith-based beliefs (like religious claims) are really just cowardly atheists unwilling to be intellectually honest and admit they don’t believe something for exactly the same lack of reasons they might find compelling. And when I’m challenged by agnostics who seem to take offense to being called ‘cowardly atheists’, I simply ask them if they demonstrate the same consistency of reasoning they apply in this religious case to all other cases? Are they thinking consistently or are they privileging a subset of faith-based beliefs in some misguided attempt to feel smugly superior to both the gullible and us ‘militant’ atheists… who are consistent and honestly so?

        Do they answer, “I don’t know” when it comes to the gods of our ancient past? To the gods that populate myth and fable? To the co-existence of a supernatural realm that causes effects in this one? To the faith-based claims that populate conspiracy theories, populate the denial realm of anti-vaccination, anti-global warming, anti-climate change, anti-choice, anti-evolution, anti-science, anti-medicine, anti-research, anti-women, anti-human rights, and so on? Do they claim, “I don’t know” when it comes to alternative therapies and magical, mystical vital forces, “I don’t know” in response to the memory of water in homeopathy, “I don’t know” to flying yogis and daily claims of divine power reported from the Far East, “I don’t know” to what might have caused another divine Cheesus sandwich, caused the weeping statues of Virgin Marys, the mystical power of future-sight that supposedly informs the correct reading of tea leaves and dowsing, tarot cards and crystal balls, and so on? Does the agnostic really stand behind the “I don’t know” of everyday life where knowledge is absent, that he cannot say with any degree of confidence for or against predictive propositions such as the sun shall rise in the east and set in the west because the future has yet to happen, “I don’t know” that death and taxes shall still be around tomorrow? Really? Honestly? Such a person would find an honest “I don’t know” debilitating if consistently exercised for the same reasons used to justify the “I don’t know” towards zero knowledge faith-based beliefs.

        The fact of the matter is that we empower confidence in beliefs all the time with varying degrees of justifications. But not all justifications are equal in merit. The agnostic (regarding faith-based beliefs) pays no mind to the quality of the context and content of these justifications for a subset of religious claims but sweeps them all into a metaphorical box labeled “Maybe, maybe not” and then claims because there is no knowledge difference in any of them, all are equivalent in merit. And this is true. But the deduction made from this recognition isn’t “Therefore, none are likely to be true.” The honest deduction is that none of them have any knowledge value and so on the spectrum of likelihood, all are at one end nearest zero and not, as the dishonest agnostic proudly will tell all, halfway between the probability of zero and the probability of 1, which then supposedly justifies the .5 probability likelihood of an honest “I don’t know.” And if the agnostic paid attention to deducing a belief claim from a knowledge claim, then there would be no agnostics uncomfortably straddling the very sharp fence of intellectual honesty and integrity between believers and non believers.

        Understanding why faith-based beliefs of all kinds deserve no confidence of likelihood until they become knowledge-based claims worth our consideration is not a matter of intelligence or superiority; its a matter of honesty, a matter of integrity, a matter of enough education to think well, think consistently well, to be aware of our own biases and prejudices and credulity and gullibility, our own willingness to be fooled by our assumptions and assertions and wishful thinking. It requires discipline of thought to work one’s way through the diversions and noise of our propensity to assign agency where it may or may not be present, be causal, be knowable. And most of us can do this almost all of the time… except when we don’t! And we usually have good reasons – even if shortsighted – to suspend this discipline… be it specifically with convincing ourselves that this ticket is the winner and our debt finances will be just fine, that this person really does love us and wouldn’t dream of doing us wrong even after infidelity is known, that the Nigerian prince really does require just some of our money to free up that fortune he’s willing to share with us, that the ghost living upstairs is a bit of a character, and in the other hundred thousand ways each of us fools ourselves some of the time. But the harm comes when we get a big part of life wrong, such as the notion that life is fair, that doing the same thing will yield different results, that our secret invisible friend just so happens to be the creator of the universe and yet whispers in our special ear to reduce the rights of others in the name of promoting our own and that this demonstrable harm is good because it’s pious.

        Comment by tildeb — January 15, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

      • Tildeb,

        From the response you give, I suspect that you have also run into the agnostic/atheist misunderstanding – or maybe I should call it misapplication. Most people don’t understand what the true defintions of the words even mean. Most people think theist = someone who knows god exists, atheists = someone who knows god doesn’t exist and agnostic = doubt. Therefore atheists are just as shrill and arrogant as fundamentalist believers. I think that’s the real root of the problem. It’s also very strange that that’s the case because a simple consultation with a dictionary can clear it up in about 2 minutes. Theist = someone who believes in god, atheist = someone who doesn’t believe in god, agnostic = someone who doesn’t know whether or not god exists. Agnosticism and atheism are 2 completely seperate answers to 2 completely different questions. One is a question about belief (theism/atheism) and the other is a question about knowledge (gnostic/agnostic). Rana (from Virgninia the Viruliferous) can accurately be described as an agnostic deist. Rolling Thunder (from Virginia the Viruliferous) can accurately be described as a gnostic theist. The question of belief is a yes/no answer. You either believe something or you don’t. To say “I don’t know” is, as you say, just a disingenous, dishonest, responsibility-dodging, non-answer.

        Comment by Ashley — January 15, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  6. Hey Tildeb,

    Well, we’re at it again – my brother and I that is. He posted this article on his facebook page http://www.universityaffairs.ca/womens-rights-or-religious-rights-which-comes-first.aspx
    If you’ve got time, give it a read (it’s pretty short) and see if you can figure out why I had problems with the article. LOL

    Comment by Ashley — January 24, 2014 @ 11:36 am | Reply

    • I am not supportive of ‘reasonable accommodation’ for religious beliefs inserted into the public domain because I have yet to find a compelling argument why any religious belief is deserving of any publicly funded accommodation.

      The results of Taylor Commission In Quebec about reasonable accommodation for religious sentiments in public institutions left me wondering how on earth any reasonable person could agree because this first argument was never answered… other than assuming and asserting that the religious belief was reasonable to begin with. It’s not, or it wouldn’t require any faith of the religious kind; it would hinge on best practices supported by compelling evidence and good reasoning to justify it.

      When one tries to negotiate what is and is not reasonable in response to accommodating something immune from reason, then we get the inmates running the insane asylum… but many don’t realize they’re the inmates when they assume faith is a way to justify anything.

      Fortunately in Canada (now that Section 13 of the Human Rights Act has been deleted

      It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination)

      there is no reason to think ‘reasonable accommodation’ is anything more than implementing policies on the basis of an individual ‘sentiments’ being offended… regardless of how ‘reasonable’ in law the sentiments are! That’s why I liked the way the professor substituted other sentiments to see if the request was, in fact, reasonable in law (skin tone, sexual preference, and so on). Lo and behold, it was not reasonable but actually discriminatory in the eyes of the law. And that’s why it’s important to understand what legal equality means and “understand the first principles that apply to human rights – our institutions are required, by law, to provide services to everyone without discrimination. Requests that would injure the interests of one protected group in favour of another violate that first principle.” (From a comment posted by Patrick Case, Jan 8, 2014 2:18 PM at the link provided in your comment.) I have a significant problem with the very notion of ‘protected groups’ because the secular Enlightenment principle that forms the foundation of our legal rights is that only individuals have them. Not groups. And this principle is essential in law to legitimize governance by the consent of the governed (individual vote) rather than the consent of groups (which is why we don’t allow group or ‘interests’ voting).

      I also don’t like the idea of a university discussing policy changes regarding equality legal rights to what is and is not reasonable accommodation for religious sentiments that stand contrary to them based on a bunch of academicians rubber stamped by university administrators. This is the inevitable mess that accompanies trying to accommodate the unreasonable.

      Comment by tildeb — January 24, 2014 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

      • Hey Tildeb,

        Thanks for the quick reply. The first thing that jumped right out at me was the title – implying that there’s actually a decision to be made because there’s competing “rights” (religious vs gender). They I read further (while noticing that the article was written by a woman) and stumble across her “solution” – which it say that we need to figure out accodate competing rights. But the part that absolutely floored me, was the claim regarding what secularism means in Canada – and that secularism is embeded in the Christian worldview. I just about fell off my chair when I read that. How someone make a claim like that, with a straight face and pretend to be a serious journalist in any sense must mean that they’re living in some kind of bizzaro world or something. After discussing/arguing with my brother a little longer, I was told by him that “Christianity today (certainly in their protestant forms) are deeply committed to secularism. I would have to think that to say such a thing must absolutely be not to know what the word secular even means,
        The whole thing morphed into another discussion about “new atheists” not being seriously considered by academia and that the problem is that the “new atheists” only focus on the bad thngs that religion has done while ignoring the good. I’ve left the ball in his court to answer the question that Christopher Hitchens used to ask in many of his debates. Name the ethical/moral statement/action that could only be said/undertaken by a religious person. If it wasn’t for religon or belief in god, I just couldn’t …(fill in the blank). I told him that if he could supply a satisfactory answer to that question, I’ll never read anything by Dawkins or Hitchens or Harris or Dennett or Kraus ever again and I’ll have to reconsider my views about religion. I anxiously await the reply.

        Comment by Ashley — January 24, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

      • Yeah, there’s a lot of misunderstanding of what legal rights mean and what constitutes them (hence, the founding legal document called a ‘Constitution’). Because I am very familiar with this case, I only parsed the article and found nothing new in it about the story itself. I’m glad there’s general outrage throughout the country at how the university handled it. People here generally tend to have a pretty good grasp of why secularism is important to keep supreme even if they in particular too often support it’s breaches in the name of religion.

        I don’t know what christianity your brother is referring to, but it stands with the secular state usually when faced with encroachment by some other religion! Otherwise, he’s talking through his ass and is either oblivious or ignorant of christianity in Canadian history. We’ve fought religious interference tooth and nail to get it removed from holding and swaying political power in every province and the battle continues today. Sure, various sects of christianity try to use the power of the secular state to either privilege itself or thwart the equality of other faiths. This may give the appearance of secular support even though it’s done for the worst of reasons.

        That’s a great question to ask him, BTW. I look forward to hearing his reply or, more likely, hearing only his silence because – as the Hitch discovered – I think he’s got nothing to work with.

        Comment by tildeb — January 24, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

      • So as you might expect, I never did get an answer to my question. I got told that it was a straw man argument, that it wasn’t his position, etc, but I keep seeing in his responses that religious belief has been responsible for both bad and good behaviour. I’ve been asking, in vain, for just one single solitary example of how someone used their faith, the DETAILS of that faith (for example that because of their belief that Jesus died for their sins) to accomplish (fill in the blank) goal. I’ve been getting a lot of assertions that religion has been intrinsic in the development of secularism and a lot of great things about western culture amount other things, but I’ve yet to see any explanation as to how that could only have come about because of religious belief. Anywho, I don’t think I’m going to persuade him to change his position any time soon (as he likely won’t be able ego change mine) but I guess I’ll just agree to disagree with him for now.

        Comment by Ashley — January 25, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

  7. […] Original article: https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/2671/ […]

    Pingback by Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies? | Believers vs Non-Believers — February 6, 2014 @ 2:51 pm | Reply


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