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Showing posts from July, 2015

"Free speech must not incite violence"

Yes, but...
Free speech must not incite violence by literally inciting violence: that is, calling for rioting or killing of people.
Any other free speech, be it satire, cartoon, even objectionable or confronting articles, must be allowed.  In these cases, if violence ensues, it is only when it is incited by those taking offence.  It is not incited by the free speech itself.  Any other take on this is to blame the victims of violence, as many have done, implicitly or explicitly in the Charlie Hebdo case.
This sadly misguided SMH editorial quotes Dr Anne Aly of Curtin University, who claims that "right wing extremism is emerging as an equal or even greater threat that Muslim radicalisation in Australia".
But this is nonsense.
Crazies from the Ku Klux Klan or other right-wing racist nutters aside (and they're a vanishingly small number in Australia), the so-called "right-wing extremists" we're talking about here are those that are against the spread of Shar…

"A New Syndrome: Anything But Islam"

On the ridiculous notion that the Islamic State, or ISIS, or ISIL, or Daesh, or whatever you want to call it, "has nothing to do with Islam", as we're told by Obama, Cameron, Kerry, et. al.
Our own Aussie Foreign Minister has taken to calling it "Daesh", in the belief that this somehow divorces it from Islam.  But Daesh simply means "Islamic State" in Arabic.  As one wag commented somewhere: it's rather like believing that it's not a cake, because you call it a "gateau".
Graeme Wood covers this in rather more detail in the Atlantic: "What ISIS Really Wants".
And Rod Liddle tackled the ludicrous notion, here and here.

Why has scientific progress stalled in many Islamic countries?

An article in the Times Higher Education supplement examines this question.
But there's nowhere in the article any recognition of Islam itself.
"The Closing of the Muslim Mind", by Robert Rielly, covers this aspect rather better.
The point that sticks most clearly in my mind from that book, is this: that Islam (from around the 11th century, if I recall correctly) has basically banned the concept of "cause and effect".  The reason: because to say that "x" causes "y", is to limit the power of Allah.  Thus, one cannot even say that the three angles of a triangle always add up to 180 degrees.  For to do so would be to limit the agency of God.
One can imagine the violence this does to the scientific method.  Cause and effect is replaced by "Inshallah".
The full article is below the fold.

New Conservative Star Does it AGAIN! Slams Obama on Islam and Terrorism

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Tomi Lahren has some firm views.  
Fist pump? Cheer? Slow clap? All appropriate responses to this epic rant. Watch....

Yes, Islam is inherently misogynistic, and here's why

A typical piece of Islamic apologia under the headline "No, Islam is not inherently misogynistic, and here's why". Unsurprisingly, in the leftie Huffington Post...

On the other hand:

What Sharia says about women. (This blog)What does the Koran say about women? (Acharya M. Murdock)
Note that in neither link above do we cherry-pick.  We both quote the negative and positive references to women.  It's just that the negative far outweigh the positive, by a large margin, and are considered normative in many parts of the Islamic world.  Vide: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, in particular.

Patricia Crone, 70; scholar of Islamic history

I've come across Patricia Crone's work from time to time; and now she's dead.
She died just when we had news that a fragment of a Koran had been discovered at a UK university, apparently written at the time Muhammad was alive.  That was interesting as most scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim, and including professor Crone, believe that the earliest Koran's were assembled only some centuries after his death.  Indeed, elsewhere, Crone has stated that there is no archaeological evidence of any of the events of the Koran or in the Islamic Trinity.
But Saudi scholars are not convinced that the newly-discovered fragments are indeed from the time of Muhammad.  They say that it was common to wipe off previous text from ancient documents, and to write later texts thereon.

The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar - NYTimes.com

What I've always believed, based on the science:
"The available evidence points to the fact that there appears to be a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems; none can be detected with artificial sweeteners...." If you've gotta have a Coke, make it a Diet...

"Gloves come off in bitter fight over climate change". But the SCMP doesn't cover the full brouhaha

The South China Morning Post's Science Focus is an often interesting page.
Its editor is Alex Ho has decidedly "climate science denial" (or "sceptic" if you wish) tendencies, so I suspected there may have been more to the story that simply the case of a brave "climate sceptic" facing off the brute forces of  the "global warming orthodoxy".
I was suspicious. A letter to the editor followed:

I was intrigued to read the article by Wilie Soon (“Gloves come off in bitter fight over climate change”, Science Focus, 19 July).  Why give such prominence to an article complaining about “personal attacks”? [1]

So, I hied me to the internet and find that Soon’s statement had first appeared on 2 March, in response to a New York Times article claiming that Soon had not fully disclosed the source of grants for his studies on climate change. These totalled $US 1.5 million over ten years, almost all from the fossil fuel industry.  
One may choose to believe So…

Salman Rushdie on Islam: 'We have learned the wrong lessons' | Books | The Guardian

Quote re Rushdie:
The novelist [Salman Rushdie] told the French magazine that he believes "we are living in the darkest time I have ever known", with the rise of Islamic State of "colossal importance for the future of the world". He argued that the taboo surrounding "supposed 'Islamophobia'" must be brought to an end. "Why can't we debate Islam?" he said. "It is possible to respect individuals, to protect them from intolerance, while being sceptical about their ideas, even criticising them ferociously." The cravenness and self delusion of western literati.

What it means to be poor by global standards | Pew Research Center

Interesting, from the non-partisan, and widely regarded PEW Research Institute. Main conclusion to note -- confirmed by United Nations and other studies -- is that global poverty has plunged in recent decades as countries, notably China and India, have adopted capitalism as their guiding philosophy.
For Africa the story is the same, save for the added importance of improved governance there (otherwise known as not letting the kleptocracy get away with it all).
Whatever the angsts of the SJWs, the clear fact is that it's capitalism (NOT socialism) that has the best record of improving the lot of the poor and the working class of the world.
Full article here.

I’m off to join Islamic State. See ya, kafirs! » The Spectator

From the redoubtable Rod Liddle.
Sad truths of the west's self delusion on Islam wrapped in his trademark barbed humour.

The enemy's enemy: how Arab states have turned to al-Qa’eda » The Spectator

By Ahmed Rashid, a writer I've just recently come to know. A highly interesting article about the world of realpolitik and the least bad choices. Who da thunk? 14 years after 9/11 and Al-Qaeda is now being courted as the "moderates"....

Political Islam – Questions and Answers | Blazing Cat Fur

Bill Warner is good. Well worth the twenty minutes.
H/t BCF
http://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2015/07/21/political-islam-questions-and-answers/

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David Cameron has given his best speech yet on tackling Islamic extremism - Spectator Blogs

Douglas Murray, always sound. There's good discussion in the comments at Harry's Place

Megyn Kelly | Five Reasons Why Islam Is A Cult

Smart woman, Megyn Kelly. Nails it here...

Call for schools to teach a positive view of Islam while branding Australia racist | Winds of Jihad

Dangerous policies if adopted for Australian education.

Qatar's 'Efficiency' Praised Amid Ongoing Rights and Bribery Controversies | VICE News

Ridiculous that Qatar should be top of a list of most efficient governments in the world. Right. Efficient at bribery, corruption, exploiting workers and downtreading women.
Here's a critique of this morning's news of that "honour"....

Life as a sex slave to ISIS - Newsnight

Of course, ISIS has *nothing* to do with Islam. As Cameron, Obama, et al are constantly assuring us.
Only that it does. Slavery is expressly allowed in the Koran. And in Sharia law. And in the Hadith. And in the Sirah, the official biography of Muhammad. Q
And that "perfect man", Muhammad, had his own slaves.
Now watch this profoundly disturbing video. Horrible Islam in action.

Nathan Lean: Islamopologist-in-chief

Nathan Lean has form.  He's been a consistent critic of critics of Islam, but does so in a particularly nasty and incoherent way.  A few years back Jerry Coyne's took him on in his Why Evolution is True blog.
Lean's latest piece in Salon cops a lot of flak in the comments, interestingly for a left-of-center blog.
I found Lean's piece gag-worthy.
Amongst many egregious statements, one of the worst is this one:
The values they [Ayann Hirsi Ali and Asra Nomani] claim to champion — gender equality, nonviolence, rationality, and self-critique — are virtuous for sure, and ones that, in their view, any reasonable human being should welcome. The problem, though, is that they elevate themselves above the rest of the Muslim community and, looking down upon it from their throne of high morality, delineate the acceptable parameters of practicing religion. It is against their world and its paradigms that all followers of Islam must measure themselves. [the bolding is mine]. What d…

Alpha Brewing Scraps "Submission Ale" -- But Not Necessarily a Beer Mocking Islam

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As a budding brewer of craft beers, I found this article rather funny.

(if also rather depressing).

Another case of Islam being treated with kid gloves.  Why not "mock" Islam, just as we mock all other religions and atheists.
Alpha announced the series making fun of religion back in January, and put all 12 labels online at that point, Langeneckert says. There was no controversy. Nor was there any in previous months when everyone from atheists to "door knockers" to Scientologists came in for a ribbing. These included a "pope mob-ale" and "xenu xipa".

The lure of Fantasy Islam

This is a long and rather learned article on the issue of Islamic apologia.  The concept that Islam is a "Religion of Peace" vs what we see daily done in its name.
I post it here for reference, as Kirby is thorough in his comprehensive footnoting of Islamic doctrine.
His conclusion, with which I agree:
 For many years non-Muslims in the West have been fed a steady diet of how Islam is a “Religion of Peace” and is similar, and even related to, Judaism and Christianity.  At the same time we have seen an increasing number of acts of violence done in the name of Islam.
For those willing to learn and investigate, the irrefutable conclusion is that most, if not all, of the violent acts committed by the jihadists are truly supported by Islamic doctrine, just as the jihadists themselves claim.  But this conclusion can create a cognitive dissonance between what we have heard about Islam and what we see actually being done in the name of Islam and supported by Islamic doctrine.  This…

The Decisions That Greece Faces - NYTimes.com

Things were getting better then Syriza got in power. This is by the ex finance minister George Papaconstantinou.
/clip:
"After five years of tremendous economic and social pain, in the beginning of 2015 the economy was growing again. What lay ahead was a promise of additional debt relief, and economic and social recovery.
"It took five short months for the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to destroy all this because of a mix of ideological blindness, lack of understanding of the basic eurozone rules, unforgivable brinkmanship and plain incompetence."

Http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/02/opinion/the-decisions-that-greece-faces.html?referrer=

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Religious Schools, Ideology and Terrorism > Samir Yousif

Long article (linked below) somewhat dour and tedious, but important. The same as the authors reveal here as happening in Islamic schools around the world -- namely as breeding grounds for terrorism -- is happening in mosques around the world too.
Better the Singapore solution: not to allow *any* foreign funding for any schools or mosques (or churches or temples, just to make it fair).
The main villain in the piece, as in so many of our problems with Islam around the world, is our supposed ally Saudi Arabia. God-awful Saudi Arabia. God, God awful Saudi Arabia, about which not one good thing can be said.
/snip
Today, religious schools are found everywhere including the USA and Europe. Granting Schools the right to teach Wahhabism is similar to licensing Neo-Nazism. Democratic and liberal societies should look beyond the surface and comprehend the consequences of implanting ideas of hatred in the minds of the young. Teaching Wahhabism in the USA and Europe means implanting the see…

Get off your high horses, lefties – Big Government, not 'austerity', has brought Greece to its knees - Comment - Voices - The Independent

When Did Carmen Ortiz Become an Islamic Religious Authority?

Related to the post immediately preceding this, from Middle East Forum, again focussing on the fact that Islamic State has a lot about it which is Islam:
Nevertheless, it [saying Islamic State has "nothing to do with Islam"] is very troubling and very dangerous, for two reasons. Most obviously, it is a refusal to accept reality – namely, that these crimes are very much about Islam and represent an ideology which, though it is not shared by all Muslims and many Muslims oppose it, is at least an offshoot of Islam which many Muslims do believe authentically represents their faith. If you can't correctly identify who or what you are fighting, you can't defeat it, to paraphrase former US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.More importantly, it is not the business of the United States government to decide what is "true" religion (any religion) and what is heresy. That is the foundation of the (non-) Establishment Clause of the First Amendm…

Sorry, but you can’t take the Islam out of Islamic State

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The always spot-on Rod Liddle:
The truth is that, no matter how unpalatable it might be to say so, the Islamic State has an awful lot to do with Islam — yes, the clue is in the name. They believe that what they are doing is theologically right and there is a fairly sizeable proportion of the Islamic world which would concur. And we are not qualified to dissent.The unpalatable truth is that they believe what they are doing is theologically right — and a sizeable proportion of the Islamic world would concur What is amazing about the efforts of Cameron, Obama, Kerry and others who want to remove "Islam" from the "Islamic State", is that they don't attempt to change the name of any other odious regime in the world.  The still talk of the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea", even though it's not democratic, doesn't represent the people and is not a republic.  To remove "Islam" from the Islamic State not only inconsistent, it's…

The U.N.’s Gaza Report Is Flawed and Dangerous - NYTimes.com

Simple and powerful analysis of the ongoing demonization of Israel and double standards on dealing with its actions. Shame of Judge Mary Davis...
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/opinion/the-uns-gaza-report-is-flawed-and-dangerous.html?referrer=

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Fracking and the Franciscans - NYTimes.com

The Catholic Church again getting things wrong....

Whole article below the fold...

As atrocities are committed in the name of Islam, our ‘leaders’ are failing us | Nazir Afzal | Comment is free | The Guardian

Interesting especially for the comments that take Afzal to task. Not your usual leftie apologia
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/30/islam-leaders-muslims-victims-crimes-uk

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Our tolerance for other cultures is at once our strength and weakness - Telegraph