From: Lawrence DeBivort (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 11 Nov 2002 - 00:44:47 GMT
Joe: You meant "Is ANTI-Zionism antisemitic?" I'm sure.
Lawry: Yes, thanks for the correction.
Joe: Yes, one can be critical of one without being critical of the other,
most who try end up crossing the line by quantums.
Lawry: And even by BIG amounts, too <smile>.
Joe: And I am quite
familiar myself with Daniel Pipes' writings, as well as the scurrilous
attacks leveled against him by CAIR; Pipes' targets of criticism, militant
radical Muslims, wish to portray him as being against not only them, but
against all Muslims, but it simply isn't true.
Lawry: We'll have to disagree on this Joe. Pipes writings and interviews are
available for anyone to see, and they can draw their own conclusions about
whether Pipes is rabid anti-Muslim and pro-Zionist, pro-Israel or not.
> I don't know if you are aware that Ibn Warraq is an alias. Do you
> know who the author really is? I would like to know, before blindly
> accepting the credentials with which he has clothed himself. Would it
> not be prudent to know, before taking his arguments on faith?
Joe: Of course it is an alias (the name is one that belonged to a historical
Muslim freethinker); if he put out his actual name and address, he'd be
fatwa'ed and murdered as fast as jihadists could manage it. He rejected
his faith; that is an Islamic capital offense.
You buy the assertion that he is indeed, a Muslim, or ex-Muslim. But how do
you know who he is, really? Isn't it at all also conceivable to you that
the writer is an imposter, seeking specifically to discredit Islam, for
reasons unrelated to secularization? _I_ don't know who the writer is, and
so I speculate here. But are you not speculating, as well?
I agree that one has to judge the arguments that an author makes on their
merits, but both the authors you base your opinions on, Pipes and "Ibn
Warraq" make a slew of assertions that are not factually backed up, and
controverted by the mainstream of experts on the area. So it DOES become
relevant who they are, and what their agendas might be. I do not consider
this an ad hominem attack: it is simply a prudent effort to not be gulled by
two who strive mightily, IMO, to do so. I say this not so much because I
disagree with much of what they assert, but because it simply does not jibe
with the multitude of other sources I have become acquainted with, or my own
personal and research experiences where they overlap. I must add that there
are many analysts with whom I disagree but whom I respect for their
integrity and diligence. Your Pipes and "Ibn Warraq" are simply not among
All of this is relevant to how we know what we know, and to the operations
of memes. How can one avoid being gulled? By looking at different and
contrary sources. By actually talking with primary sources. By being alert
to the signs of deception, or simple active omission. By paying attention to
who is dedicated to learning first, and 'being right' second. Especially in
the field of politics, this is not easy. What facts there are are often
subject to counter-example. And those facts that remain standing after
scrutiny are often subject to interpretation, and it is in the
interpretation that meaning is found. There was a time when I focused on
the physical sciences, seeking a field within which mental certainty could
be found. But I found instead that science did not tackle the problems with
which I was concerned. These lay in the fields of human behavior, cognition
and motivation. The 'facts' here, are a lot more slippery, but, to me, the
issues are far more fascinating and important. So I pay attention not just
to the 'what' of the world around us, but to 'how' we come to perceive and
understand it, and the 'why' of our communications and our hopes.
I do not expect to open your mind up, Joe. But I do hope that you consult
some of the sources I have cited, in the same way that some of us have
looked at some of the sources you have been kind enough to post in the last
couple of days. And then, once you have done so, perhaps we can resume this
with some greater degree of understanding.
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