Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id PAA13254 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 21 Jan 2002 15:17:55 GMT From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 09:51:11 -0500 Message-ID: <NEBBKOADILIOKGDJLPMAIEPBCJAA.firstname.lastname@example.org> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Priority: 3 (Normal) X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook IMO, Build 9.0.2416 (9.0.2910.0) In-Reply-To: <200201190652.g0J6q8W17844@mail2.bigmailbox.com> X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2919.6600 Importance: Normal Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe, I checked into these sources. Thanks for the citations. I see what is
happening. You are going to sites that are polemical, that are put together
by people whose goals are to attack, rather than to learn and explore. This
is one of the problems with the web: anybody can say anything, largely
unchallenged. You are not going to academic or scholarly sites and sources,
nor to primary ones. The consequence is a bit like going to Madalyn O'Hair's
(sp???) atheist website to learn about Christianity. At some point, if you
really want to learn about Christianity, you have to go to its primary
sources, and then read what its mainstream adherents have to say.
One also needs to be careful about the provenance of some of these polemical
web-sites. For example, some health, energy, pharmaceutical and chemical
companies have set up false web-sites that purport to be in favor of 'the
environment' or 'health' and that in actuality just promote pro-industry
views or policies. One should not be too surprised if websites are created
are set up to do this in the political or religious fields, as well.
Checking into the actual credentials of some of the site authors may help in
assessing how much credence should be given to them.
To be clear, without further inquiry, I am not suggesting that this is the
case with your Ibn Warraq site -- it would be quite natural, and beneficial,
to find secular humanists in the Muslim world, and that some of these might
be quite bitter against Islam, and have expressed that anger in such a way
that it has drawn the condemnation of those attacked. But I wouldn't depend
on such a site to give me my understanding of Islam. With regard to the
contents of the site, I found the section on Muslim law particularly weak,
and highly tuned to citing western or Christian sources, e.g. Charles Watson
and Bertrand Russell. Perhaps the site author did this to gain credibility
with a Christian or Western audience, but it has the opposite impact on me;
it makes me wonder about Ibn Warraq's background. As a non-doctrinal secular
humanist, I find the site to be quite weak, almost deliberately so. Any
secular humanist can mount far more credible critiques of religion than is
contained in this site. Its goal seems not so much to advance secularism but
to attack Islam, by hook or by crook.
Can you give us any confirmable information on Ibn Warraq himself? I
couldn't find any from his site.
Huntington's book, I agree is in a different class, and his Harvard
credentials give him a certain luster. But please consider that he may in
fact be wrong. After all, the same luster enwrapped Henry Kissinger, to whom
history is now beginning to give high marks for wrong-ness, and even war
By your own quote, Huntington concedes that his observation was 'casual'
though he quickly asserts that 'every disinterested source' agrees with hims
view. But of course this is not the case: indeed I am not familiar with ANY
disinterested source that has agreed with him on this point. Huntington's
was an interesting theory -- and what a wonderful title! -- but I don't
think his views stand up to rigorous examination. of course, that doesn't
mean his book won't influence, and indeed, not that you point it out, one
can see echoes of in Bush's unfortunate declaration that the US was in a
Thanks again for the citations.
> > "Lawrence DeBivort" <email@example.com>
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory
> PerceptionDate: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 15:40:18 -0500
> >Reply-To: email@example.com
> >> I, for one, happen to share them, as do Howard Bloom, Ibn Warraq,
> >> Richard Dawkins, Samuel Huntington, and many others,
> >Joe, do you have any citations for Huntington that would back
> this up. Who
> >is Ibn Warraq, and any citations?
> For Samuel P. Huntington, read THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS,
> passim, but particularly pages 109-120 and 183-266 (and most
> particularly the chapter entitled INCIDENCE: ISLAM'S BLOODY
> BORDERS, PP. 254-258). I quote a footnote from page 258:
> No single statement in my FOREIGN AFFAIRS article attracted
> more critical attention than: "Islam has bloody borders." I made
> that judgment on the basis of a casual survey of
> intercivilizational conflicts. Quantitative evidence from every
> disinterested source conclusively demonstrates its validity.
> Ibn Warraq was once a Muslim but has become a secular humanist.
> His book WHY I AM NOT A MUSLIM (a title that echoes Bertrand
> Russel's WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN) earned him a death fatwa, a
> badge of honor he shares with the Bangladeshi doctor Taslima
> Nasrin (she earned it for her book SHAME), and, of course, Salman
> Rushdie. I HIGHLY recommend you avail yourself of several
> insiders' views as to the virulent, murderous and uncompromising
> toxicity of the Islamist memeplex by accessing the website of the
> Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society, to be found at:
> In particular, I recommend you read the articles that may be
> found in the upper left hand corner of this page.
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