RE: The ISIS site and Joe's other sources

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Mon 11 Nov 2002 - 00:44:47 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: The ISIS site and Joe's other sources"

    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, but 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. Lawry: 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 them. 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.

    Best regards, Lawry

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