Muslim Extremism and the US Response - Politics through the lens of Naturalism

The internet is once again abuzz over the latest atrocities committed against US citizens and diplomats by thugs intoxicated on a belly full of the religious hate being force-fed to them.  Over in the West the debate, at least the intramural one in the Western world, seems to be centered around what is the proper burden level of blame the country responsible for this video should bear in all this.  Being the country responsible equals being the eminent domain owner of the dirt upon which this video was filmed.  The varsity debate in the West assumes that the Muslim world is quickly becoming a Category 5 shiticane of hate and violence over this video and, at the end of the day, it is all our fault and we are getting what we deserve for being such asses anyway. 

There is one country in that part of the world whose portfolio of Initial Responses to Cartoons and Such does not include "Option A - go out and start raping and killing all the "non-us" with a righteous anger, yea even to the yonder lands".

That country would be Israel.

Israel and its supporters, like all other civilized countries, understand that having the "Kill! Kill! Kill!" sorts of responses in the Initial Responses to Cartoons and Such portfolio disqualifies one from possessing nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons would make ANY current Option-A portfolio obsolete. Any sane person should realize that and react with the appropriate horror at that sort of willingness to destroy on such a mass scale over having one's religious sensibilities brusied.

Israel is insulted hundreds of times in Arab press each week.  You don't see Israelis strapping on bombs and blowing up buses in Muslim villages or anything of that sort. There are constant speeches all over the region exhorting "all the faithful" to push Israel into the sea.   From Israelis and Jews in general:  bupkis.  The very values of tolerance in the face of far more insulting and sometimes violent insults are exhibited on a daily basis in the nightlife of Tel Aviv just like the Village in New York City or any other city in the civilized world.  See how far that same assumption of tolerance gets you in any other major city outside of Israel in the surrounding region. Israel, dirty laundry and all, has pitched its tent firmly in the land of the civilized and recent events underscore the importance of standing should to shoulder with them.  We have as much to lose as they do should we lose this battle against the uncivilized.

These recent extremist attacks are against our civilized society which the "true" Muslim hates.  The "true believers" have effectively stultified the Arab world in the past and want to do the same to Western civilization today. We don't want to give them the precise tools they need to accomplish their goal neither now nor in the future.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Islamic Golden Age: Naming Rights


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Comment by Rich Goss on September 23, 2012 at 11:29am

Yes, I certainly agree.  Good post.  I've had this conversation with Barbara Walker both live and on my blog.  To our thinking, Constantine the Great was the ultimate criminal who screwed up the world.  We can also put St. Augustine of Hippo in there the way he stifled human curiosity. 

Al-Ghazali would run a close third and when it comes to screwing up the world altogether, the fourth is definitely W. Bush.

Did you ever study Julian the Apostate?  The Christian of stabbed him in the back on the battlefield definitely belongs on the list. 




Comment by Richard Lawrence on September 22, 2012 at 9:11pm

I'm glad I could be of help. :)  al-Ghazali's story is an enlightening one; al-Ghazali had to deal with a meteoric rise in scientific knowledge and the ability to to implement it in technology. His time parallels ours in that respect.  When faced with a heretofore unthinkable challenge:  a system that could actually cure disease without resorting to prayer. So what did he do?  Label it evil.

Science saps power and thereby control from religious leaders. Once this begins to happen they  label science as evil and looking at the world through the lens of science is something no "true believer" is allowed to do. The more sophisticated of their ilk (like Kent Hovind, for example) go after the underlying methodology (naturalism).  Fundamentalist Christians had their bloomers all twisted over the onslaught of Humanism, some called it Secularism, on society a few years back if I remember.  Calls to war and vitriol abounded on the 700 Club.  Again, the reaction is always the same lest anyone think I am being unfair to Islam.

Imagine had the Greek intellectual bloom continued unabated. I've heard it speculated that Columbus would have landed on the moon.  What would our lives be like if technology was 500 years old instead of a few decades?

 Science renders religion irrelevant in our every day lives.  Science makes the deserts bloom, feeds (or is well able to, I should say) the billions on this planet. Science, not God, stopped the wailing of millions of mothers grieving over their dead babies who died of diseases science has essentially eradicated (or is well able to, I should say).  But this is a subject for another post :)

Comment by Rich Goss on September 21, 2012 at 6:35pm

Richard, I owe you a "thanks".  By coincidence, at my humanist meeting of about twenty friends, I asked the following question Thursday night.  Your Youtube post of DeGrasse Tyson was precisely the answer to my question.  I emailed the group:

I found out the answer to the question I asked last night by chance.  Why did the intellectual supremacy of Islam degenerate to what we see today considering the achievements from 800 to 1100 AD?  The Crusades were part of the reason as Barry suggested, but one man stands out as changing the world:  Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058–1111 C.E.) (Persian: ابو حامد محمد ابن محمد الغزالی‎).  (I threw in the chicken scribble to make it look good.) 


He’s considered the second most important and influential Mohammadan after the Holy Prophet himself.  He started a movement to distrust science and mathematics and place one’s life and destiny in the hands of faith.  The Islamic world has degenerated ever since. 


I've wondered about this question a long time.  It's pretty convincing evidence that one man can change the world.  Now we need one to change things for the better. 




Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Dr. Tyson.  Thanks for posting that link.  Well done. 


We might have opened quite a revelation here.  I’ve always blamed Pres. W. Bush for what he’s done to our country (not to forget Dick Chaney).  But if we go back far enough, it could be argued that the ultimate culprit for the modern-day madness might have been Pope Urban II, the firebrand of the First Crusade.  He started to the whole mess travelling Europe from town to village telling clerics and aristocrats, “Deus Voit” (God wills it.).  Stories tell of the Knights of Baldwin of Flanders literally covering the streets of Jerusalem with blood ankle-deep. 


The point is, if this asshole didn’t start the Crusades, Islam would have continued to flourish and who knows what wonders it would have discovered in a thousand years at the rate it was going.  As Neil says, most of the stars in the sky have Arabic names! Al-Ghazali probably figured his people had offended Allah, and used science and mathematics as a scapegoat.  The world has never been the same.  Mohammadans were doing rudimentary surgery while Charlemagne, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire, was learning to write his name.


Comment by Richard Lawrence on September 21, 2012 at 3:45pm

The Arab side doesn't want peace, never has and never will.

Comment by Richard Lawrence on September 21, 2012 at 11:03am

No doubt there are a lot of strange and chimerical views over there.  I agree; bringing both sides back to reality (I prefer the one that is based on inter-subjectively verifiable evidence) is very important, even more so for the Arab side. Their petro-dollars will eventually run out along with their influence.

Comment by Rich Goss on September 21, 2012 at 10:29am

I agree with much of what you say, but to my mind the Jews are equally culpable of holding strange and chimerical religious views as the Mohammadans.  Their beliefs are also eccentric, like believing they’re the chosen people of God just because a book that they wrote says so.


Bringing both sides back to reality, I believe, is the key to peace.




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