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eeeeeeeli
08-03-2011, 09:25 PM
Loathe as I am to open a new thread on a topic that has been run ragged the past week, I couldn't resist posting the following link.

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/03/poll-muslims-atheists-most-likely-to-reject-violence/)

I think the findings make perfect sense. Whether or not someone supports any kind of violence has to do with a lot more than religion.

AemJeff
08-03-2011, 09:30 PM
Loathe as I am to open a new thread on a topic that has been run ragged the past week, I couldn't resist posting the following link.

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/03/poll-muslims-atheists-most-likely-to-reject-violence/)

I think the findings make perfect sense. Whether or not someone supports any kind of violence has to do with a lot more than religion.

You're just trying to make apple's head explode.

apple
08-03-2011, 09:33 PM
You're just trying to make apple's head explode.

Nope, I have always stated that - in my estimation - most Muslims reject Al Qaeda. However, the problem is not Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is only a symptom of a broader problem that exists with Islam.

Most Muslims may not approve of Bin Laden, but unfortunately, all Muslims approve of the 'prophet' Muhammad, who is just as bad, if not worse.

apple
08-03-2011, 09:34 PM
Did those Muslims also reject the violence of the 'prophet' Muhammad?

Ocean
08-03-2011, 09:42 PM
Did those Muslims also reject the violence of the 'prophet' Muhammad?

Are you Mormon?

apple
08-03-2011, 09:44 PM
Are you Mormon?

Are you?

Ocean
08-03-2011, 09:45 PM
Are you?

No.

How about you?

apple
08-03-2011, 09:47 PM
No.

How about you?

No.

Ocean
08-03-2011, 09:48 PM
No.

Thanks.

apple
08-03-2011, 09:51 PM
Thanks.

What was the point of all this? To avoid debating the merits of the beloved religion that shall not be named?

Ocean
08-03-2011, 09:54 PM
What was the point of all this? To avoid debating the merits of the beloved religion that shall not be named?

My question was unrelated to this thread. Sorry for the confusion. I haven't been following all discussions in detail and for some reason, I thought you had said you were Mormon, but I may be confused with someone else. That's all.

apple
08-03-2011, 09:56 PM
My question was unrelated to this thread. Sorry for the confusion. I haven't been following all discussions in detail and for some reason, I thought you had said you were Mormon, but I may be confused with someone else. That's all.

No, I am an atheist, though not an immoral relativist.

Ocean
08-03-2011, 09:58 PM
No, I am an atheist, though not an immoral relativist.

Okay. Thanks.

miceelf
08-03-2011, 10:09 PM
Ocean, you may be thinking of operative.

But you raise a good point. The founder of the the Mormon religion engaged in bank fraud, polygamy, and war against the US.

Current mormons' beliefs are heavily weighted toward integrity, they officially reject polygamy, and are among the most patriotic of Americans.

no one is running around demanding that they renounce Joseph Smith. Rather, they are, in our best times, evaluated for their current behavior and speech. Does it contradict their history? Sure, just as Jews ro the most part reject the polygamy of Abraham (as do the Christians who claim that Abraham is their spiritual ancestor). If they believe in monogamy, that's good enough for us. We recognize that religion is full of contradiction, and we don't attack religious people for what the patriarchs and matriarchs of their faith did (or even, in the case of YHWH, for what the deity of the faith did). Rather, we judge religious people based on what they do and say, not on what ancient (or in the case of Mormons, not so ancient) religiuos figures did.

When Jews defend themselves against anti-semitism, we don't poke them with a stick and say "what about Moses, huh? What about Joshua and David? And Yahweh? Huh? Huh? Renounce!!! Renounce!!!!"

sugarkang
08-03-2011, 10:16 PM
Rather, they are, in our best times, evaluated for their current behavior and speech.
As well as their short sleeved white shirts, skinny ties, bicycles and penchant for traveling in pairs.

apple
08-03-2011, 10:17 PM
Ocean, you may be thinking of operative.

But you raise a good point. The founder of the the Mormon religion engaged in bank fraud, polygamy, and war against the US.

Current mormons' beliefs are heavily weighted toward integrity, they officially reject polygamy, and are among the most patriotic of Americans.

no one is running around demanding that they renounce Joseph Smith. Rather, they are, in our best times, evaluated for their current behavior and speech. Does it contradict their history? Sure, just as Jews ro the most part reject the polygamy of Abraham (as do the Christians who claim that Abraham is their spiritual ancestor). If they believe in monogamy, that's good enough for us. We recognize that religion is full of contradiction, and we don't attack religious people for what the patriarchs and matriarchs of their faith did (or even, in the case of YHWH, for what the deity of the faith did). Rather, we judge religious people based on what they do and say, not on what ancient (or in the case of Mormons, not so ancient) religiuos figures did.

The Mormon church acknowledges, on the basis of "new revelations", that Joseph Smith was wrong about polygamy. Somewhat bizarrely, the religion founded to justify polygamy ended up repudiating it anyway. But it's possible, as Mormonism regards Smith as a messenger, not as a moral exemplar. Compare that to Islam, where Muhammad is seen as the best man who ever lived. In fact, Islam is based just as much on the teachings of Muhammad as on the 'divine revelation' (recitation) that is the Koran, supposedly. The word Sunni comes from Sunna, which refers to the teachings of Muhammad. And I can assure you that non-cultural Muslims don't take the moral relativist route of saying that Muhammad was the best man... in his own time.

Mainstream Islam doesn't (in fact, can't) acknowledge that Muhammad did anything wrong, and it certainly doesn't acknowledge any new revelations - it is a tenet of Islam that Islam is the final revelation (very convenient).

Ocean
08-03-2011, 10:34 PM
The Mormon church acknowledges, on the basis of "new revelations", that Joseph Smith was wrong about polygamy. Somewhat bizarrely, the religion founded to justify polygamy ended up repudiating it anyway. But it's possible, as Mormonism regards Smith as a messenger, not as a moral exemplar. Compare that to Islam, where Muhammad is seen as the best man who ever lived. In fact, Islam is based just as much on the teachings of Muhammad as on the 'divine revelation' (recitation) that is the Koran, supposedly. The word Sunni comes from Sunna, which refers to the teachings of Muhammad. And I can assure you that non-cultural Muslims don't take the moral relativist route of saying that Muhammad was the best man... in his own time.

Mainstream Islam doesn't (in fact, can't) acknowledge that Muhammad did anything wrong, and it certainly doesn't acknowledge any new revelations - it is a tenet of Islam that Islam is the final revelation (very convenient).

Just as a brief follow up, this is the kind of comment that may have confused me. See, most atheists have a different view on religion. They see so many inconsistencies in all religions, that they are not surprised or moved by any particular religion and its own internal "craziness". It's a given.

It's usually religious people who see those kinds of flaws that you seem to identify in Islam. They expect a continuity of belief and thought and they find the flaws that they identify in others' religion, disturbing.

I think that your reasoning about Islam is what I would expect from non-Muslim (and probably non-Jewish) religious people. But, considering you said you're atheist, I'll have to assume that there are exceptions to the rule.

apple
08-03-2011, 10:52 PM
Just as a brief follow up, this is the kind of comment that may have confused me. See, most atheists have a different view on religion. They see so many inconsistencies in all religions, that they are not surprised or moved by any particular religion and its own internal "craziness". It's a given.

Yes, it is true that many atheists have a facile (and very wrong) attitude that all religions are equally bad and crazy. I'm not surprised or moved, but I do think that not all religions are equally good or bad, or that they teach the exact same things. For example, I prefer Quakerism to the Aztec religion of human sacrifice. Why? Well, for the obvious reason. Does that mean that Quakerism does not have crazy elements? Not at all. And for the same reason, I prefer Mormonism to Islam, even though they're about as crazy.

It's usually religious people who see those kinds of flaws that you seem to identify in Islam. They expect a continuity of belief and thought and they find the flaws that they identify in others' religion, disturbing.

I think that your reasoning about Islam is what I would expect from non-Muslim (and probably non-Jewish) religious people. But, considering you said you're atheist, I'll have to assume that there are exceptions to the rule.

Religious people are very good at identifying the flaws in the religions of other people. But they are blind to the flaws in their own religions. A criticism of Islam made by a Christian is not necessarily invalid, or a criticism I could not agree with. You might say that an atheism would disagree, because the very same thing could be said about Christianity. But the things about Islam I criticize are pretty unique to Islam, so they do not fall into that category.

Sulla the Dictator
08-03-2011, 10:55 PM
Loathe as I am to open a new thread on a topic that has been run ragged the past week, I couldn't resist posting the following link.

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/03/poll-muslims-atheists-most-likely-to-reject-violence/)

I think the findings make perfect sense. Whether or not someone supports any kind of violence has to do with a lot more than religion.

I read this as, "Muslims, atheists, silliest people in the country." What a ridiculous thing to say, that violence which causes the death of civilians is never justified. That's a fundamentally unserious position if we look at history, and if you ask me, its an example of overcompensation by the respondents.

eeeeeeeli
08-03-2011, 11:26 PM
For example, I prefer Quakerism to the Aztec religion of human sacrifice.
You obviously don't know very much about Quakerism. Many of their followers were incredibly violent.

apple
08-03-2011, 11:39 PM
You obviously don't know very much about Quakerism. Many of their followers were incredibly violent.

Are you suggesting that you prefer Aztec human sacrifice? If not, how does me preferring Quakerism to Aztec human sacrifice "obviously" show that I don't know very much about Quakerism?

Also, I am not aware of any "incredibly violent" behavior on the part of Quakerism, unless you want to count disrupting church services, for example, and other crazy behavior. Mostly, Quakers had incredibly violent things done to them, like Nayler. Can you name examples?

Ocean
08-04-2011, 07:45 AM
Yes, it is true that many atheists have a facile (and very wrong) attitude that all religions are equally bad and crazy. I'm not surprised or moved, but I do think that not all religions are equally good or bad, or that they teach the exact same things. For example, I prefer Quakerism to the Aztec religion of human sacrifice. Why? Well, for the obvious reason. Does that mean that Quakerism does not have crazy elements? Not at all. And for the same reason, I prefer Mormonism to Islam, even though they're about as crazy.



Religious people are very good at identifying the flaws in the religions of other people. But they are blind to the flaws in their own religions. A criticism of Islam made by a Christian is not necessarily invalid, or a criticism I could not agree with. You might say that an atheism would disagree, because the very same thing could be said about Christianity. But the things about Islam I criticize are pretty unique to Islam, so they do not fall into that category.

Yes, I get the points you're making. As I said I just offered an example of stereotypical attitudes from atheists, but it was a broad generalization.

Somehow your anti-Muslim fervor is reminiscent of the intensity found in religious rivalries. That's all.

eeeeeeeli
08-04-2011, 10:16 AM
Are you suggesting that you prefer Aztec human sacrifice? If not, how does me preferring Quakerism to Aztec human sacrifice "obviously" show that I don't know very much about Quakerism?

Also, I am not aware of any "incredibly violent" behavior on the part of Quakerism, unless you want to count disrupting church services, for example, and other crazy behavior. Mostly, Quakers had incredibly violent things done to them, like Nayler. Can you name examples?
I was just kidding. ;)

apple
08-04-2011, 03:35 PM
Yes, I get the points you're making. As I said I just offered an example of stereotypical attitudes from atheists, but it was a broad generalization.

Somehow your anti-Muslim fervor is reminiscent of the intensity found in religious rivalries. That's all.

I think you mean anti-Islam fervor. Fervor is not necessarily a bad thing. If good people won't fight for the good with the same intensity as evil people fight for evil, who will win? Incidentally, this is the problem with pacifism.

Ocean
08-04-2011, 06:14 PM
I think you mean anti-Islam fervor. Fervor is not necessarily a bad thing. If good people won't fight for the good with the same intensity as evil people fight for evil, who will win? Incidentally, this is the problem with pacifism.

Yes, anti-Islam. It just comes across as anti-Muslim as well.

I agree that some fervor reflects conviction and commitment to a cause. Extreme fervor is a problem because people tend to get blinded by it. Complete lack of it is meh.

apple
08-04-2011, 07:11 PM
Yes, anti-Islam. It just comes across as anti-Muslim as well.

It is hard to make generalizations about self-proclaimed Muslims, which is why I do not make them the target of my criticism, though I'm obviously not a big fan. Islam, on the other hand, is easier to evaluate and criticize.

I agree that some fervor reflects conviction and commitment to a cause. Extreme fervor is a problem because people tend to get blinded by it. Complete lack of it is meh.

"Extreme" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, many in the thirties thought that Winston Churchill was extreme in his Naziphobia. Now, he's regarded as a visionary. John Brown sacrificed his own life to free the slaves, a textbook case of "extreme fervor", but can we say that he was wrong?

Also, I do not think we can divorce the respectability of fervor from the respectability of its cause.

eeeeeeeli
08-04-2011, 11:17 PM
I read this as, "Muslims, atheists, silliest people in the country." What a ridiculous thing to say, that violence which causes the death of civilians is never justified. That's a fundamentally unserious position if we look at history, and if you ask me, its an example of overcompensation by the respondents.
OK, but the drill-down was "to target and kill civilians", to which the margins were smaller yet held.

Again though, we could go a lot of sociological places with this, but it hardly supports the notion that Muslims are more supportive of violence than anyone else. But I suppose if we're talking about serious people, this poll shouldn't be surprising.

I am surprised about atheists though. I always say - "Kill 'em all, let... heck, just kill 'em all!"

uncle ebeneezer
08-04-2011, 11:26 PM
I am surprised about atheists though. I always say - "Kill 'em all, let... heck, just kill 'em all!" You're just not a humanist ;)

The only surprising thing in this poll is that atheists came in 2nd place. After all if you don't believe killing will be rewarded in the afterlife, it follows that you would be far less likely to endorse killing than someone who does. but then again, there's some angry atheists...

sugarkang
08-04-2011, 11:28 PM
"Extreme" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, many in the thirties thought that Winston Churchill was extreme in his Naziphobia. Now, he's regarded as a visionary. John Brown sacrificed his own life to free the slaves, a textbook case of "extreme fervor", but can we say that he was wrong?

Ahh, status quo bias. Today's common sense is tomorrow's flat earth. We know the majority is always wrong. The problem is which of the myriad minority positions is right?

miceelf
08-05-2011, 12:09 AM
Ahh, status quo bias. Today's common sense is tomorrow's flat earth. We know the majority is always wrong. The problem is which of the myriad minority positions is right?

None of them are right, either.

;-)

sugarkang
08-05-2011, 12:32 AM
None of them are right, either.

;-)

I wouldn't go that far. I'd say almost all of them are wrong.

apple
08-05-2011, 06:13 PM
OK, but the drill-down was "to target and kill civilians", to which the margins were smaller yet held.

Again though, we could go a lot of sociological places with this, but it hardly supports the notion that Muslims are more supportive of violence than anyone else.

Islam does not teach Muslims that they should target and kill civilians. It does teach Muslims that they should kill people who insult (i.e., tell the truth about) the 'prophet' Muhammad. How about asking Muslims, as well as other religious people: "Are attacks on people who insult the 'prophet' Muhammad/Jesus/Buddha justified?"

JonIrenicus
08-06-2011, 12:10 AM
Loathe as I am to open a new thread on a topic that has been run ragged the past week, I couldn't resist posting the following link.

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/03/poll-muslims-atheists-most-likely-to-reject-violence/)

I think the findings make perfect sense. Whether or not someone supports any kind of violence has to do with a lot more than religion.

Too bad American Muslims are not representative of muslims populations around the world. But it's nice of you to showcase the inherently positive effect of American society on the muslim population.

apple
08-06-2011, 01:06 PM
Too bad American Muslims are not representative of muslims populations around the world.

http://pewresearch.org/assets/datatrends/numbers/1184.gif

TwinSwords
08-06-2011, 04:43 PM
http://pewresearch.org/assets/datatrends/numbers/1184.gif

Given that all of the poll respondents were Muslim and the numbers range from very low to very high from country to country, you have successfully ruled out Islam as the cause for the support for these barbaric practices.

Congratulations!

TwinSwords
08-06-2011, 04:52 PM
Too bad American Muslims are not representative of muslims populations around the world. But it's nice of you to showcase the inherently positive effect of American society on the muslim population.

You're implying that Muslims have an inherent tendency to support violence that kills civilians, i.e., that Muslims start, by default, supporting this kind of violence, but that in the case of American Muslims, that belief can be eventually "influenced" out of them by "the effect of American society."

Is this just sloppy writing and / or thinking on your part? Or did you really mean to imply that Muslims are born supporting violence against civilians and will continue to support it absent American influence?

I'm also curious why you think American society is so much more effective at influencing Muslims than it is at influencing Protestant Christians and Catholics.

sugarkang
08-06-2011, 04:56 PM
Given that all of the poll respondents were Muslim and the numbers range from very low to very high from country to country, you have successfully ruled out Islam as the cause for the support for these barbaric practices.

Congratulations!

No, it could be a necessary, but not a sufficient. Good try, DoubleSpoons. This liberal bias in science is troubling.

jimM47
08-06-2011, 09:00 PM
Mainstream Islam . . . certainly doesn't acknowledge any new revelations - it is a tenet of Islam that Islam is the final revelation (very convenient).

The nature of the subject-matter makes it difficult to say that the above statement is straight-up "wrong," but as description (rather than theology) it is at the very least a crabbed and misleading view of the Islamic tradition. Islam certainly does recognize continuing sources of authority. Those sources are usually (but not always) positioned at a lower status than revelation, but sometimes this looks a lot like a technicality. And while those sources are not allowed to directly contradict Quranic revelation, as a practical matter, they will sometimes "indirectly" do so (this being an issue common to all textual interpretation of which I am aware).

In a sense, the great division in Islam between the Sunnis and Shi'ites is about the source of continuing revelation. It is often said that the division was a political fight that only later took on theological dimensions -- but take them on it has. Among Sunnis, Ijmāʿ (consensus of the Ummah, or more realistically, the Ulama) takes the role of continuing authority (though this gets muddied when the position of Caliph becomes dynastic). Among Shi'ites, the Imams took on that role (but things get complicated as the Shi'ite factions diverge).

Keep in mind the reasons that this is so. The Qur'an and Sunnah are each, in different ways, supposed to be the application of timeless perfection to contingent and imperfect circumstances. Logically, it is possible that moral reasons and principles can remain the same while having polar opposite applications in the real world. Indeed, Muhammad himself is said to explain and follow this principle. But the sources of authority in Islam don't always explain the purpose behind rules or examples of model behavior, and even those passages that do lay out purposes don't set a uniform system for which level of generality covers particular circumstances. So how they apply to the world fourteen hundred years later is not exceedingly determinate.

. . . doesn't (in fact, can't) acknowledge that Muhammad did anything wrong . . .

I don't really get why this is troubling. Should we condemn Muslims because they do not fault Muhammad for deaths that occurred long ago in history? even if they do condemn what seems to us like morally equivalent violence that might happen now?

jimM47
08-06-2011, 09:05 PM
"Are attacks on people who insult . . . Buddha justified?"

If you see the Buddha, kill him!

Sulla the Dictator
08-06-2011, 10:24 PM
Given that all of the poll respondents were Muslim and the numbers range from very low to very high from country to country, you have successfully ruled out Islam as the cause for the support for these barbaric practices.

Congratulations!

(Cough) That is......one way.....to view that poll. Another is to examine the history of the two outliers....Turkey and Lebanon, and ask why they might be different.


Here's an idea, maybe you can google someone named "Ataturk" and see what you find.

Sulla the Dictator
08-06-2011, 10:24 PM
No, it could be a necessary, but not a sufficient. Good try, DoubleSpoons. This liberal bias in science is troubling.

Why do liberals hate science so much, do you think?

apple
08-06-2011, 10:45 PM
In a sense, the great division in Islam between the Sunnis and Shi'ites is about the source of continuing revelation. It is often said that the division was a political fight that only later took on theological dimensions -- but take them on it has. Among Sunnis, Ijmāʿ (consensus of the Ummah, or more realistically, the Ulama) takes the role of continuing authority (though this gets muddied when the position of Caliph becomes dynastic).
Among Shi'ites, the Imams took on that role (but things get complicated as the Shi'ite factions diverge).

These so called authorities are merely interpretations of actual authorities. They do not possess any inherent authority, any more than the decisions of the Supreme Court are an authority in and of themselves. They only have the force that they do, because they are based on an actual authority, the Constitution. The Supreme Court can't make stuff up as it goes, it has to stick to the source. The authority of the Ulama and the imams is similarly limited. They are supposed to interpret Islamic law, not create it. We might call them secondary authorities.

Keep in mind the reasons that this is so. The Qur'an and Sunnah are each, in different ways, supposed to be the application of timeless perfection to contingent and imperfect circumstances. (...) So how they apply to the world fourteen hundred years later is not exceedingly determinate.

Actually, the Koran is not supposed to be anything imperfect. Even though a secular Western person like yourself would interpret it like that, as it does refer to specific circumstances in 7th century Arabia, Muslims believe that the Koran is merely a recitation of an eternal book that has always existed. So there is absolutely nothing contingent or imperfect about the prescriptions of the Koran.

As for the Sunna, there are very few times when Muhammad's hand was actually forced by "contingent and imperfect circumstances". For example, what forced him to marry a 6-year old girl and have sex with her when she was 9? You know, other than his libido and sexual passion for children.

I don't really get why this is troubling. Should we condemn Muslims because they do not fault Muhammad for deaths that occurred long ago in history? even if they do condemn what seems to us like morally equivalent violence that might happen now?

You're saying that we should put our trust in such cognitive dissonance, and in people who condemn certain actions in the abstract, but refuse to condemn the "best man who ever lived" (according to them) for those actions. It's a fool's errand to bet that Muslims won't ever find out what their prophet actually did. Better to strike at the falsehood that this man was anything even close to "good".

Sulla the Dictator
08-07-2011, 12:16 AM
I don't really get why this is troubling. Should we condemn Muslims because they do not fault Muhammad for deaths that occurred long ago in history? even if they do condemn what seems to us like morally equivalent violence that might happen now?

I don't think so. I do think, though, that we should be less deferential to Islam. We show a lot less respect for Mormonism, for example.

JonIrenicus
08-07-2011, 12:18 AM
You're implying that Muslims have an inherent tendency to support violence that kills civilians, i.e., that Muslims start, by default, supporting this kind of violence, but that in the case of American Muslims, that belief can be eventually "influenced" out of them by "the effect of American society."

Is this just sloppy writing and / or thinking on your part? Or did you really mean to imply that Muslims are born supporting violence against civilians and will continue to support it absent American influence?

I'm also curious why you think American society is so much more effective at influencing Muslims than it is at influencing Protestant Christians and Catholics.

Actually, I am not truly sure what effects american society has on muslims. I do know there are some american norms held by a large majority that blast back against ideas in other cultures and may work to reign certain ideas in. How do you think the idea of stoning someone to death for leaving Islam would be received in the US? With pure hostility, that kind of shit just won't fly here as there is a critical mass against that kind of barbarism.

In the case of american muslims though, I wonder how much of the peacenik poll results are an over reaction to the perception in the US that Islam is more violent and simply a case of muslims going out of their way to push against that idea?

I'd be really interested to see similar polls of american muslim attitudes before 911, before a more hostile light started to shine on the faith.

Even if american muslims are going out of their way in such polls to prove they are not violent though, that still tells me that they see the perceptions of violence as a bad thing, that they do not want any associations with it, contrast this with muslims living around a critical mass of other violent muslims and feeling ZERO shame with marching with signs like this.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2Pu80ZHEQgM/SnQsnY-MgXI/AAAAAAAABSY/hkbNIbs5knk/s400/behead-those-who-insult-islam.jpg

It tells me that the standards of decency of this nation and its muslims is simply superior to many other standards accepted around the world, not all places, but probably most muslim societies.

So go on twin, cheer the admirable qualities of America, it won't burn your eyes, will it ?!?

jimM47
08-07-2011, 03:44 AM
These so called authorities are merely interpretations of actual authorities. They do not possess any inherent authority, any more than the decisions of the Supreme Court are an authority in and of themselves. They only have the force that they do, because they are based on an actual authority, the Constitution. The Supreme Court can't make stuff up as it goes, it has to stick to the source . . . .

Well, the Supreme Court does make stuff up, and sometimes legitimately so. Much of what the Court does is interpretation of positive law -- statutes, treaties, the Constitution -- but some of what it does is to craft common law. I should probably avoid discussing the Erie Doctrine here, but suffice it to say that when it decides cases based on federal common law, the Court is either acting as a source of law, or it is interpreting only very abstract concepts such as: custom, the interests of justice, or core principles of the American legal tradition. (E.g. I am not aware of anyone who really thinks that the rule that recovery of punitive damages arising out of federal maritime jurisdiction is limited to equal or less than the actual damage award is somehow derived from an authority other than the Court itself.)

The Mujtahid historically made law in the same way. A core of Shari'ah is drawn either directly from the Qur'an and Sunnah, or by analogy, but each of the four mainstream schools of jurisprudence include tradition, reason and justice (or some variant on the three) as part of their sources. It was a gradual process of building the law up, but a huge part of it is not based in the authority of the written sources.

The thing that you have to understand about Islamic law, especially in the classical period, is that it is a natural law tradition, like the common law or Grotian international law. Part of what that means is that it applies to everything -- to all parts of life -- not just to what Muhammad talked about. How far can your roof hang over the road? what happens if your horse hurts someone? what happens if your ox gets its head stuck in the opening of your neighbor's well? (Not kidding, these are actual examples.)

These are mostly things that are not based on something that comes from Muhammad, they are based on the idea that Shari'ah is whatever justice is. And these are things that change based on circumstances. Last year I did a research project tracking Islamic tort law rules from the 1876 Majelle to the 1987 UAE Civil Code to see if Richard Posner's efficiency theory of the common law would hold true to Shari'ah as well. I found that within certain limitations it did. Now, obviously, that area of law isn't the big new hotness. It isn't core religious law, and it isn't an area of law that has become culturally charged (like banking) so it is obviously going to be more based on experience and reason; but the point is that there is a lot of law like this.

And at least in a very narrow topic here, I can speak to the connection between Muhammad and actual lived Islamic law. Basically all discussion of vicarious liability (i.e. when you have to pay for damage done by someone or something else under your supervision) under Shari'ah has as its sole basis in Muhammad only a single Hadith in which the Prophet says that owners should pay for damage done by their animals during the night, but not during the day. And here's the kicker: the dominant school, the Hanafi, don't even follow that rule!

. . . The authority of the Ulama and the imams is similarly limited. They are supposed to interpret Islamic law, not create it. We might call them secondary authorities.

So with all that background showing how incredibly loose the connection is between the Prophet and any given rule: that isn't even what I am talking about when I say that Ijma is a source of authority.

Yes, consensus will, practically speaking, nearly always come from interpreting the sources of law (custom, reason, and justice included), but Ijma itself is seen as a primary source of divine authority. It's like how in Catholicism, the Holy Spirit is said to guide the Church. And in various forms of Shia the Imam have/had pseudo-prophetic status. So, no, we aren't just talking secondary interpretive authority here.

Actually, the Koran is not supposed to be anything imperfect. Even though a secular Western person like yourself would interpret it like that, as it does refer to specific circumstances in 7th century Arabia, Muslims believe that the Koran is merely a recitation of an eternal book that has always existed. So there is absolutely nothing contingent or imperfect about the prescriptions of the Koran.

Yes, yes, the Qur'an is co-eternal with God. And all of reality is like a flame emanating from the candle of God, from the shadows of reality to the brightness of the angels and the perfection of the forms, to God himself, in a metaphysical continuum. It's all beautiful stuff. Lovely reading. And it kept Plato and Aristotle's works alive through Europe's dark ages. I'll give mystics and philosophers their due any day, BUT: (1) you need to understand the things they were saying in their own context; they weren't thinking about the Qur'an in the same way you are, and (2) the Ulama, who were thinking of it a lot more like you are, were constantly in feuds and power struggles with the people who were saying stuff like that.

The reality, from the perspective of the jurist, is this: the Qur'an plainly contradicts itself; Muhammad first told the Muslims to do X, then he told them to do Y; the change is acknowledge; the text itself establishes a later-in-time rule of precedence; and Muhammad explains that there is no contradiction because principles are eternal, but applications are not. (Incidentally, the strange part about this is that the Suras are not generally arranged by date, but by length.) I am not aware of any Islamic jurist, up until modernity, who contested this bedrock principle of interpretation in Islamic law.

As for the Sunna, there are very few times when Muhammad's hand was actually forced by "contingent and imperfect circumstances". . . .

Muhammad had various and different things to say about how Muslims should pray, whether Muslims can drink alcohol, how they should engage in battle, what is to be done with the conquered. These changes were explained as depending on changed circumstances (the trend over time being more mercy, less booze). If I were really up on this historical material I could give you numerous other examples.

You're saying that we should put our trust in such cognitive dissonance . . .

If I have to put my trust in something, cognitive dissonance would be high up on the list. It's highly pervasive in human nature, and with a bit of study it becomes fairly predictable.

But, furthermore, I don't think we are really in cognitive dissonance territory here. All legal systems, and all moral traditions face the question of how to draw abstract principles from particular precedents. And any good common lawyer can tell you that there are some good and solid rules that came out of horribly decided cases. For instance, MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. seems like a profoundly unjust result (from facts that Justice Cardozo mangles) and yet its holding that contractual privity is not required in a products liability case is a foundational and good part of our tort system.

. . . Better to strike at the falsehood that this man was anything even close to "good".

Is that what this is all about? You don't like Muhammad, and so therefore Islam is worthless? To most atheists, all religions -- and to most religious people, all other religions -- are based on a falsehood. Religions, as a rule, are not based on things that are plausible or consistent or intuitive. Credo quia absurdum. If they were just ordinary truths they would have little meaning.

sugarkang
08-07-2011, 05:42 AM
Last year I did a research project tracking Islamic tort law rules from the 1876 Majelle to the 1987 UAE Civil Code to see if Richard Posner's efficiency theory of the common law would hold true to Shari'ah as well.

Richard Posner should be one of the Supremes. He got robbed. He should replace any of the redundant liberal Justices. By any Justice, I mean Elena Kagan. Do you have a shorthand explanation of this efficiency theory?

TwinSwords
08-07-2011, 07:12 AM
No, it could be a necessary, but not a sufficient. Good try, DoubleSpoons. This liberal bias in science is troubling.

You think being a Muslim could be a necessary condition for supporting barbaric practices? Really?

sugarkang
08-07-2011, 07:44 AM
You think being a Muslim could be a necessary condition for supporting barbaric practices? Really?

Do you purposely try to misread everything I write? When engaging in debate with people with different opinions, is your first instinct to go for the worst possible interpretation? This sort of tactic might have had some sway a few months ago when I started posting with some regularity, but not now.

Why don't you take a moment to reflect and see if I could've meant something different and reasonable?

TwinSwords
08-07-2011, 08:35 AM
Actually, I am not truly sure what effects american society has on muslims.
I'm sure it has the same powerful effect on Muslims as it does on all people who are born and raised here, and substantially less on people who immigrate here. I think the same is probably true of any cultural milieu: it strongly influences the beliefs and attitudes of the people who are immersed in it, but most strongly those born and raised in it.


I do know there are some american norms held by a large majority that blast back against ideas in other cultures
Key word: Cultures.


..and may work to reign certain ideas in.
Yes, I'm sure you're right. But this wasn't the issue. The issue was your suggestion -- intended or not -- that Muslims, by default, start out supporting violence against civilians, and that the only reason Muslims wouldn't support this violence is because it has been influenced out of them by American society. In stating this, you are demonizing Muslims -- which is bigotry -- by suggesting that "American society" and inborn Muslim values are inherently at odds with one another.

I do think it's possible that you didn't really mean to imply these things -- although you are a die hard conservative, you've never struck me as the type of person who would make a claim like this.


How do you think the idea of stoning someone to death for leaving Islam would be received in the US? With pure hostility, that kind of shit just won't fly here as there is a critical mass against that kind of barbarism.
I agree that "shit won't fly here," but what are you saying? That American Muslims would support stoning for heretics if only American society would get out of the way? Again, your reasoning seems to imply that Muslims are inherently barbaric absent a countervailing American cultural influence. That's a remarkable claim -- if indeed you mean to be making it.


In the case of american muslims though, I wonder how much of the peacenik poll results are an over reaction to the perception in the US that Islam is more violent and simply a case of muslims going out of their way to push against that idea?
That's an interesting theory, though it contradicts your earlier theory that the barbarism was influenced out of Muslims.

But let's go with your theory for a minute: The poll shows that substantially fewer Protestants and Catholics are opposed to violence against civilians. It's interesting that these groups don't feel nearly the same need to "push against that idea."

In fact, I'd bet that a lot of Republicans think the poll question is a liberal plot to trick them into condemning collateral damage -- i.e., the countless accidental victims of American aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You know who the most vocal and aggressive defender of American collateral damage here in this forum has been over the years? Probably you! You have entered into countless discussions attacking liberals for their concern over these deaths.

So how would you answer the question "Is violence against civilians ever justified?"



Even if american muslims are going out of their way in such polls to prove they are not violent though
Uh..... what?

Haven't American Muslims proven they're not violent by, you know, not being violent? There are exponentially greater numbers of Muslims serving in the US Army and US Marines than have been convicted of terrorism. But these Muslims never get any of your attention, do they?

Did it ever occur to you that when some white conservative is busted planning an act of terrorism, the story gets no coverage at all, but when a Muslim is busted for the same, it blankets the airwaves and is discussed ad nauseam in the wingnut blogs, talk radio, Fox News, etc.?

Have you noticed that even the Norway atrocities, committed by a far-right Christian, generated more discussion of the perfidy of Muslims than it did discussion of the person and ideology actually responsible for the attacks?

Has it not also occurred to you that a major factor in the most massive violence of the last ten years -- the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- were a direct result of actions taken by white, conservative Christians who voted for Bush and Cheney and who enthusiastically supported their wars?


So go on twin, cheer the admirable qualities of America, it won't burn your eyes, will it ?!?
I love America, and I recognize its admirable qualities every single day, and I resent your suggestion that I am somehow anti-American or unwilling to recognize the greatness of this nation.

And for the record, unlike probably you and every other Muslim hater in this forum, I actually know Muslims by the thousands. I lived in a community that was about 35% Muslim until I was 20 years old, and I still have friends and family who live there. Muslims have been my neighbors -- i.e., Muslim families living in the houses on my street, including next door to my grandmother, who lived across the street from me -- and teachers and friends and classmates since I was born. I know Muslims, and I have seen firsthand how well Muslims have integrated into American culture.

They are no different from anyone else you know.

TwinSwords
08-07-2011, 08:43 AM
Loathe as I am to open a new thread on a topic that has been run ragged the past week, I couldn't resist posting the following link.

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/03/poll-muslims-atheists-most-likely-to-reject-violence/)

I think the findings make perfect sense. Whether or not someone supports any kind of violence has to do with a lot more than religion.

Thanks for posting this, Eli.

And thanks for all your other efforts to be a voice of sanity in a truly insane nation. If we're ever going to have any chance at all, it's going to be because of the efforts of people like you.

TwinSwords
08-07-2011, 08:51 AM
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2Pu80ZHEQgM/SnQsnY-MgXI/AAAAAAAABSY/hkbNIbs5knk/s400/behead-those-who-insult-islam.jpg


By the way, I can't help but laugh at the sign "liberalism go to hell." That sign works equally well at a teabagger rally. It's the daily message of Rush Limbaugh and the other leaders of the conservative movement.

If you ever want to really understand the thinking of liberals, we oppose authoritarianism whether Islamic or Christian. We oppose oppression of women whether because of fundamentalist Islam or fundamentalist Christianity. We oppose conservative fundamentalist Christianity and conservative fundamentalist Islam. Prior to 9/11, it was the left and feminists exclusively who spoke out against Saudi Arabia's and the Taliban's oppression of women and denial of education to Muslim girls. For this we were attacked by the American right -- for undercutting our valuable strategic allies in the region.

I'll also note that the Reagan and Bush pere administrations found some of their only allies in the United Nations among the most conservative, religiously oppressive Islamic states -- places like Iran and Saudi Arabia -- when looking for allies in opposition to human rights conventions, women's rights conventions, children's rights conventions, etc. The far-right American Christian party has a lot more in common with the far-right Islamic parties that rule large parts of the Middle East than meets the eye, especially since, after 9/11, the wingnuts have devoted themselves to open religious warfare against Islam.

sugarkang
08-07-2011, 11:04 AM
The issue was your suggestion -- intended or not -- that Muslims, by default, start out supporting violence against civilians, and that the only reason Muslims wouldn't support this violence is because it has been influenced out of them by American society. In stating this, you are demonizing Muslims -- which is bigotry -- by suggesting that "American society" and inborn Muslim values are inherently at odds with one another.

Speaking for myself only:

No. The idea is that human beings are all the same: murderous, barbarous and ruled by animal desires. It is precisely because I am not a racist and a bigot that I view everyone with the same cynicism. However, certain cultures evolved differently over time. Some cultures were more successful than others due to population density, availability of resources, climate, whatever.

Christians engaged in barbaric acts just 150 years ago, a blink of an eye in human history. According to some liberals, we didn't even start civilization (in this country) until 1964 because Civil Rights was that important. Fine. That just bolsters my argument. We Americans were uncivilized as early as 50 years ago. We didn't get along, but we were forced to; the confluence of events chose that to be the reckoning. Industrialization and high density populations demanded it. And anyone that has lived in America in the past 50 years has seen this transformation take place.

America is unlike any other place in the world in this regard. Relative to other countries, we are the most inclusive nation on the planet. How do I know? Obviously, look at our Olympic team. Take a look at census data. No other country in the world is as diverse as ours. Would this even be possible if the GOP, roughly half of the nation, were as adamantly opposed to immigrants and "others" as you think?

Stop using 1865 racism, 1964 racism and 2011 racism interchangeably. They are not the same. Ditto for all the other -isms and -phobias.


I do think it's possible that you didn't really mean to imply these things -- although you are a die hard conservative, you've never struck me as the type of person who would make a claim like this.


The problem is that you've found only one way to interpret facts: your own. This is an egotistical bias that says everyone who does not think the way you do is illogical, stupid and/or evil. But this rationale is insanity. Obviously, there are moral philosophers who disagree. Does it follow that reasonable people could also disagree? Liberalism does not have a monopoly on morality, justice and truth. You probably know this, but then why act as if?

Florian
08-07-2011, 11:43 AM
Great post, jimM47.

It is important for non-Muslims to understand that sharia law has evolved over the centuries, that like all other traditional legal systems it is subject to diverse interpretations, and that the word of Muhammad is not the last word. Indeed it may not even be the first word:

....the Prophet says that owners should pay for damage done by their animals during the night, but not during the day. And here's the kicker: the dominant school, the Hanfi, don't even follow that rule!.

Beware of what your camels do at night.

Is that what this is all about? You don't like Muhammad, and so therefore Islam is worthless? To most atheists, all religions -- and to most religious people, all other religions -- are based on a falsehood. Religions, as a rule, are not based on things that are plausible or consistent or intuitive. Credo quia absurdum. If they were just ordinary truths they would have little meaning.

Amen.

Sulla the Dictator
08-07-2011, 12:53 PM
And thanks for all your other efforts to be a voice of sanity in a truly insane nation. If we're ever going to have any chance at all, it's going to be because of the efforts of people like you.

This country is really terrible. We're all so lucky people like you put up with us, TwinSwords. Why do you do it? Why do you tolerate this crappy, crazy, stupid, people?

jimM47
08-07-2011, 02:33 PM
Do you have a shorthand explanation of [Posner's] efficiency theory?

Sure. Basically, what Posner and some other law-and-econ types at Chicago have done is to analyze legal rules from the perspective of the incentives they produce and the costs they incur, to try to solve mathematically for which rules create the greatest amount of economic efficiency. They then looked at the actual rules of common law and determined that they roughly fit these criteria. Posner et al. postulated that while judges were not (until then) intentionally crafting legal rules in order to maximize economic efficiency, the precedential and competitive nature of the legal system tended to cause efficient rules to emerge -- not necessarily just rules, depending on your definition, but economically efficient rules.

Part of what makes a rule efficient or not is what sorts of productive activities the people are engaging in. You'll want a different balance of rules in an agrarian society than in an industrial society, and a completely different set of institutions in a hunter-gatherer society. So it is not necessarily true that there is one true set of best-ever rules (and the common law is it). If legal rules everywhere tend towards efficiency, they will diverge from each other based on local circumstances. On this latter point, I'm always eager to recommend Ronald Coase, "The Problem of Social Cost." (http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/CoaseJLE1960.pdf)

sugarkang
08-07-2011, 11:52 PM
Sure. Basically, what Posner and some other law-and-econ types at Chicago have done is to analyze legal rules from the perspective of the incentives they produce and the costs they incur, to try to solve mathematically for which rules create the greatest amount of economic efficiency.
I've been meaning to look into the law and economics discipline. I've watched some Posner lectures. I love reading him; hate listening to him. Though, do you know if tort reformers actively seek his opinion? If I were doing tort reform, I'd think he'd be the first guy to turn to. Do you know any more about this? (Sorry, I know Islam was the original topic!)


They then looked at the actual rules of common law and determined that they roughly fit these criteria. Posner et al. postulated that while judges were not (until then) intentionally crafting legal rules in order to maximize economic efficiency, the precedential and competitive nature of the legal system tended to cause efficient rules to emerge -- not necessarily just rules, depending on your definition, but economically efficient rules.
I have some doubts about this. Liberal judges seem overly concerned with fairness at the expense of efficiency, IMO. They seem to engage in post hoc rationalizations that fix the rules to create justice for the parties at hand while making horrible law for their jurisdiction.


Part of what makes a rule efficient or not is what sorts of productive activities the people are engaging in. You'll want a different balance of rules in an agrarian society than in an industrial society, and a completely different set of institutions in a hunter-gatherer society. So it is not necessarily true that there is one true set of best-ever rules (and the common law is it). If legal rules everywhere tend towards efficiency, they will diverge from each other based on local circumstances. On this latter point, I'm always eager to recommend Ronald Coase, "The Problem of Social Cost." (http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/CoaseJLE1960.pdf)
This makes intuitive sense to me and I suppose that's why I prefer brightline statutes over muddy 7 part reasonableness tests. But I've often thought that a fear of litigation or cost of regulatory compliance is keeping entrepreneurs from starting up businesses. Do you find this to be true or are fiscal conservatives totally making a big deal out of nothing and we just need to tax the rich more?

Also, what do you think of trying to get incentives to align in the law as a solution to removing a lot of regulatory bodies that seem to be revolving doors or apprenticeships to big business?

Coase is on my reading list. The problem is the list keeps getting bigger.

popcorn_karate
08-08-2011, 02:58 PM
I don't think so. I do think, though, that we should be less deferential to Islam. We show a lot less respect for Mormonism, for example.

true, Its pretty easy for Muslims to run for president in the US, but boy-howdy would the shit hit the fan if a mormon ever ran...

you've really got your finger on the pulse of the nation there, buddy.

popcorn_karate
08-08-2011, 02:59 PM
If you see the Buddha, kill him!

: ) !

Sulla the Dictator
08-08-2011, 03:15 PM
true, Its pretty easy for Muslims to run for president in the US, but boy-howdy would the shit hit the fan if a mormon ever ran...

you've really got your finger on the pulse of the nation there, buddy.

Almost 30% of Democrats say they would not vote for a Presidential candidate who is a mormon. There is currently a Broadway show that's a big hit, which mocks Mormonism. Meanwhile, we edit out images of Muhammad and the left makes sure that it effusively praises Islam at every opportunity.

stephanie
08-08-2011, 03:18 PM
I've been meaning to look into the law and economics discipline. I've watched some Posner lectures. I love reading him; hate listening to him. Though, do you know if tort reformers actively seek his opinion? If I were doing tort reform, I'd think he'd be the first guy to turn to. Do you know any more about this? (Sorry, I know Islam was the original topic!)

Here's (http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2005/01/tort-reform--posner.html) one comment by him.

I have some doubts about this. Liberal judges seem overly concerned with fairness at the expense of efficiency, IMO. They seem to engage in post hoc rationalizations that fix the rules to create justice for the parties at hand while making horrible law for their jurisdiction.

Do you have specific examples of what you are referring to, so that we could discuss them? The most famous judge-made law re torts is the Learned Hand formula: duty to protect against resulting injuries depends on: (1) probability of the event; (2) the gravity of the resulting injury; and (3) the burden of adequate precautions.

Mostly what people get upset about are punitives, though, and those have to do with the penalty to be paid by a defendant who has acted outrageously, in the opinion of the jury. How hard that is to prove or even get to the jury depends on the jurisdiction.

This makes intuitive sense to me and I suppose that's why I prefer brightline statutes over muddy 7 part reasonableness tests.

Funny, because reasonableness tests are more likely to consider efficiency concerns, IMO. For example, per se antitrust violations are often easy to see, but have allowed for results that are in the view of various economists (and Judge Posner) inefficient. The rule of reason directly considers economic effect.

Brightline prohibitions still require consideration of whether a particular act is prohibited or not (by the judge or jury, depending), and take other issues, such as the burden of complying, off the table.

JonIrenicus
08-08-2011, 04:18 PM
First, I don't think religion is the be all and end all of why people believe what they believe.

Here is a sample of backwards (and mildly amusing) cultural attitudes by some in Uganda towards gays. Some of them if not most of them are probably christian, and yet that attitude cannot be found in the same strength and concentration among American christians.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euXQbZDwV0w



In the US people were reading from the same bible for hundreds of years, their "morality," supposedly sourced from god and their religion, is often seen as a constant through time. This is false of course, the morality of slavery changed with time, as it did with Jim Crowe, if the ethics were purely gained from their religion then how could there be such a change? It's clear culture and society acts on the beliefs as much if not more than specific religious tenets.


So why would I have more negative ideas about fundamentalist muslims immigrating to the US compared to fundamentalist Jaines?

Because it is not ALL about society and culture, beliefs still matter, they are not nothing. I think of the culture like a field you might find in physics extending out through space. If effects particles in specific ways, but different particles can react in different ways and magnitudes to the same field depending mass or charge or position or configuration etc.


Peoples beliefs and morays are not these sort of blank slates that can be perfectly imprinted upon by society and culture, religious beliefs are often the filter through which a larger culture influences the society.

Some would have us believe that religious beliefs are meaningless to how people behave compared to cultural influence, and I don't think that is the case at all.

And it could be that certain beliefs are more dangerous when given government authority over others vs kept in check by a culture that prevents specific religious demands from being imposed onto others.

The culture is the B field or whatever field that makes sense that extends through society, the specific religious beliefs are the particles, it is simply wrong to expect zero differences between how different particles react in the same field.