Clergy Letter Project expands to include Imam Letter

| 76 Comments

The New Scientist reported yesterday that U. S. Muslim clergy have signed an Imam Letter to the effect that evolution is compatible with their Muslim beliefs. I cannot find any information yet as to the number of signatories, but they will join approximately 13,000 Christian clerics, 500 rabbis, and 250 Unitarian-Universalist clerics when they affirm

that the timeless truths of the Qur’an may comfortably coexist with the discoveries of modern science. As Imams we urge public school boards to affirm their commitment to the teaching of the science of evolution. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth

and call for a ban on teaching “a literal interpretation of scriptural account of creation” because that would be “indoctrinating a particular religious point of view in an environment that is supposed to be free of such indoctrination.”

I applaud this development, not because I think there are any timeless truths in any sectarian religious document, but because (like the three previous letters) the Imam Letter shows that sensible religious leaders of any denomination can accept scientific fact and come to terms with the modern theory of evolution. Additionally,

“[The Imam Letter] shows that evolution and science can transcend what some people see as quite deep religious divisions, providing a unifying factor representing common ground between them,” says Michael Zimmerman of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, the architect of the Clergy Letter Project. “Christians are really excited about the Muslim letter,” he says. “They realise that Islam is just as fractured as Christianity, with just as many people who take their scriptures out of context to deny the truth of evolution.”

We have previously reported on the Clergy Letter Project here and elsewhere.

Acknowledgment. Thanks to Jack Krebs for pointing out the NS article.

76 Comments

Gee, this should have been done several years ago.

As a member of Care2, I ran a group dedicated to defending evolution and promoting proper science education:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/evol[…]on_education

One of my strongest supporters in that group was a Muslim named Woodrow Fields:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/people/pro[…]id=493791899

I later repaid him by helping him set up and run a group detailing Muslim art:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Islamicart

It was I who gave the group its title and specified its agenda and some of its rules, since Woodrow lacked experience in such matters.

http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/dis[…]p;pst=379988

Expecting the atheist fanatics to start screaming again about “accomidation” and throwing stones at me for working with Muslims in 5.…..4.…..3.…..2.….1.….

Expecting the atheist fanatics to start screaming again about “accomidation”

Or even accommodation, right?

Flint said:

Expecting the atheist fanatics to start screaming again about “accomidation”

Or even accommodation, right?

Sorry about that! Must.…..remember.….to.….always.….preview!

Well, not all of them agree. Here’s the Dishonesty Institute’s counterpart in Europe:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110516[…]onism_france

This is long overdue IMHO and sadly, quite timely, in light of a recent British Muslim imam’s observation that evolution is a science fact, only to be condemned by his faithful.

DavidK said:

Well, not all of them agree. Here’s the Dishonesty Institute’s counterpart in Europe Turkey:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110516[…]onism_france

That’s Harun Yahya, who lives in Turkey, not Europe, though he may have been touring Europe recently. What’s really weird is that he’s been getting assistance and advice from Christian Creationists in America.

It’s the “enemy of my enemy is my (temporary) ally. But if science education is corrupted on both sides of the Atlantic, the Christians and Muslims who opposed evolution won’t hesitate to turn on each other, because by rejecting science and making their different scriptures their supreme suthorities, they will have no way to find objective truth, and no reason for tolerance of each other.

And that is a compelling reason to fight Creationism at every turn. Remember the Dark Ages and the Crusades?

I have misgivings about this. Unlike Christians, Muslims in the West are mostly immigrants, or descendants of comparatively recent immigrants. They have yet to relieve themselves of the “Us vs. Them” mentality. The Imams who have taken part in this project will most likely be seen as conniving hypocrites who are working with the west to destroy Islam. As an inhabitant of the Muslim community(though an atheist myself), I can attest to the fact that most Muslims(regardless of their place of birth or living) believe that there’s an ongoing conspiracy to restrain, what is perceived to be, the progression of Islam towards becoming the dominant religion of the world. Not surprisingly, the theory of evolution is seen as an imperialist construct to undermine the Orient. The Imams who will vouch for the scientific authenticity of the theory will be regarded as emissaries of Imperialists. I won’t be able to provide any evidence, but this mentality is very much implicit in the community.

But it’s a positive step nonetheless.

Prithvi said:

As an inhabitant of the Muslim community(though an atheist myself), I can attest to the fact that most Muslims(regardless of their place of birth or living) believe that there’s an ongoing conspiracy to restrain, what is perceived to be, the progression of Islam towards becoming the dominant religion of the world. Not surprisingly, the theory of evolution is seen as an imperialist construct to undermine the Orient. The Imams who will vouch for the scientific authenticity of the theory will be regarded as emissaries of Imperialists. I won’t be able to provide any evidence, but this mentality is very much implicit in the community.

But it’s a positive step nonetheless.

Why SHOULDN’T Islam be stopped from becoming the dominant religion of the entire world? I don’t want Christianity to dominate the whole world either, and for the same reason; both religions are hopelessly corrupt and can only be trusted when they are politically disabled. Give either of them political power and we will see death, destruction, and social stagnation, just like 1000 years ago!

Besides, Islam itself is an imperialist religion, as its own history shows. Those Muslim bigots are in for a looooooooooooong fight if they don’t stop trying to rule the world.

Dale Husband said:

DavidK said:

Well, not all of them agree. Here’s the Dishonesty Institute’s counterpart in Europe Turkey:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110516[…]onism_france

That’s Harun Yahya, who lives in Turkey, not Europe, though he may have been touring Europe recently. What’s really weird is that he’s been getting assistance and advice from Christian Creationists in America.

Turkey is officially a European country!

Dale Husband said: Why SHOULDN’T Islam be stopped from becoming the dominant religion of the entire world? I don’t want Christianity to dominate the whole world either, and for the same reason; both religions are hopelessly corrupt and can only be trusted when they are politically disabled. Give either of them political power and we will see death, destruction, and social stagnation, just like 1000 years ago!

Besides, Islam itself is an imperialist religion, as its own history shows. Those Muslim bigots are in for a looooooooooooong fight if they don’t stop trying to rule the world.

I didn’t say Islam shouldn’t be stopped, I merely reported what a Muslim would have thought about this.

The Islamic world is currently undergoing a change in perspective, thanks to the uninhibited flow of information via the Internet. Muslims are slowly facing the reality that science doesn’t necessarily affirm or stay mute on subjects that have hitherto been handled by religion. Since more and more young Muslims will be curious about evolution, it is imperative that they be not presented with the creationist version of human origins(mind you, that Harun Yahya guy is the “Stephen J Gould” of Islamic creationism in terms of public outreach and popularity in the Muslim world). As someone who had had no instruction regarding evolution in high school(the books just make a passing mention and teachers evade the topic) and living in a religious society, I find it very disappointing when I google terms like “evolution”, “speciation”, “junk DNA” and I get at least 3 creationist websites in the first page. It also doesn’t help that sites like “Unintelligent design” make use of religiously neutral and scientific prose and appear to bear scientific authority to anyone uninitiated in the controversy. I have personally seen this reflected in many Bengali blogs(I’m Bangladeshi btw) and Islamic sites. The last thing we need is Muslim creationists forming an informal coalition with IDiots.

Perhaps, critics of ID should take Islamic creationism more seriously. People like Harun Yahya(though he seems to be the only notable creationist in the whole of the Muslim world, the rest just quote from his voluminous works) are not very intellectually stimulating, but he has a HUGE following(I’ve seen publisshing houses translate his books and right-wing student groups distributing them for free). Most academicians may not deign to engage him, but someone has to take out the trash, right?

DavidK said: Well, not all of them agree. Here’s the Dishonesty Institute’s counterpart in Europe:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110516[…]onism_france

Actually, Harun Yahya, like many US creationists, is opposed to ID because it’s not sufficiently religious. Didn’t you know the Dishonesty Institute is in fact “a tool of atheist Masons” and “a distraction created by Satan”?

Yeah… it’s a full time job keeping up with creationist slapfights…

Something is true or it is not, there are no ‘forms of truth’.

Adam said:

Something is true or it is not, there are no ‘forms of truth’.

If that were true, then evolution is true. If that is not true, then evolution is still true.

This is an interesting development to be sure (and not entirely unexpected), but for now, the Christian community is the key demographic. That arena, is where the CLP must be fought and defeated.

One mind, one heart, one life at a time.

FL

FL said:

This is an interesting development to be sure (and not entirely unexpected), but for now, the Christian community is the key demographic. That arena, is where the CLP must be fought and defeated.

One mind, one heart, one life at a time.

FL

And yet, you still refuse to tell us where in the Bible Jesus specifically stated that He would damn anyone who accepts Evolution as true, or damn anyone who did not read the Bible word for word literally.

You can’t even explain why your inane “rubric” is even relevant to Christianity.

are scientists who sign the letter accomodationists ?

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress[…]open-letter/

Thony C. said:

Turkey is officially a European country!

Noted. But it was also known for centuries as Asia Minor, not Europe Minor. I wish the geographers would make up their minds. Sigh!

This is an interesting development to be sure (and not entirely unexpected), but for now, the Christian community is the key demographic. That arena, is where the CLP must be fought and defeated.

One mind, one heart, one life at a time.

Indeed, I see Ken Ham suggests on his blog today that those Christians who accept evolutionary science are “against Christ”:

Romans 1 reminds us that men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” As the Bible teaches us, if one is not for Christ, then that one is against! There is no neutrality in this spiritual battle. People would not react the way they do about what the Bible teaches if it was not a spiritual battle.

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]h+Ken+Ham%29

We TEs just cannot win.

We have Coyne, Myers, and Dawkins attacking us on one side (indeed, Dawkins has recently stated that those Christians who accept evolution are deluded, and that the YECs have kind of got it right), and Ham on the other.

Turkey is officially a European country!

Only part of Turkey is in Europe, geographically speaking, and it’s not part of the EU (although it’s appled for membership).

Still, I suppose if it can enter the Eurovision song contest.….….……

Peter Henderson quoted Ken Ham:

There is no neutrality in this spiritual battle.

Finally - something from Ken Ham that I can agree with! Sounds like he doesn’t like accomodationists either.

The sooner we pro-science / pro-evolution folks admit to ourselves that the anti-science / anti-evolution folks see this as a “battle,” the sooner we can fully engage in and win the battle.

Otherwise the forces championing scientific illiteracy and willful ignorance will continue winning. Anybody who thinks accomodationism can win should check in with Neville Chamberlain and see how it worked out for him.

Dale Husband said:

Prithvi said:

As an inhabitant of the Muslim community(though an atheist myself), I can attest to the fact that most Muslims(regardless of their place of birth or living) believe that there’s an ongoing conspiracy to restrain, what is perceived to be, the progression of Islam towards becoming the dominant religion of the world. Not surprisingly, the theory of evolution is seen as an imperialist construct to undermine the Orient. The Imams who will vouch for the scientific authenticity of the theory will be regarded as emissaries of Imperialists. I won’t be able to provide any evidence, but this mentality is very much implicit in the community.

But it’s a positive step nonetheless.

Why SHOULDN’T Islam be stopped from becoming the dominant religion of the entire world? I don’t want Christianity to dominate the whole world either, and for the same reason; both religions are hopelessly corrupt and can only be trusted when they are politically disabled. Give either of them political power and we will see death, destruction, and social stagnation, just like 1000 years ago!

Besides, Islam itself is an imperialist religion, as its own history shows. Those Muslim bigots are in for a looooooooooooong fight if they don’t stop trying to rule the world.

Am in complete agreement with your observations, Dale. It is disappointing that most Muslim Americans I have met refuse to acknowledge that Islam has had its own sordid history of religious imperialism that, in many respectives, look worse than Christianity or any other major religious faith. If anyone should doubt this, then let me remind them not only of the initial Arab Muslim conquest of the Middle East (including all of the Sassanid Persian Empire and much of the early Byzantine Empire), but also the Ottoman Turkish conquest of the surviving remnant of the Byzantine Empire and of the Slavic Balkans.

Paul Burnett said:

The sooner we pro-science / pro-evolution folks admit to ourselves that the anti-science / anti-evolution folks see this as a “battle,” the sooner we can fully engage in and win the battle.

Good luck on your crusade. Write us a report when you’re done.

mrg said:

Paul Burnett said:

The sooner we pro-science / pro-evolution folks admit to ourselves that the anti-science / anti-evolution folks see this as a “battle,” the sooner we can fully engage in and win the battle.

Good luck on your crusade. Write us a report when you’re done.

It will never be done. Every new generation is a fresh invasion of ignorant barbarians, and the barbarians are winning.

Paul Burnett said: It will never be done.

Oh, I wasn’t expecting to see the report any time soon.

Prithvi said: Perhaps, critics of ID should take Islamic creationism more seriously. People like Harun Yahya(though he seems to be the only notable creationist in the whole of the Muslim world, the rest just quote from his voluminous works) are not very intellectually stimulating, but he has a HUGE following(I’ve seen publisshing houses translate his books and right-wing student groups distributing them for free). Most academicians may not deign to engage him, but someone has to take out the trash, right?

As Matt Young would attest, there are quite a few who do take Islamic creationism seriously. Among those is a frequent collaborator of his, Turkish physicist Taner Edis, who is a professor at Missouri’s Truman State University. For example, look here:

http://www.hssonline.org/publicatio[…]tionism.html

It’s been emphasized too here:

http://newhumanist.org.uk/1783/western-front

I am also well aware that there is a very strong link between Salafi Islamofascism and Islamic creationism too; I believe Osama bin Laden was a creationist.

Peter Henderson said:

Turkey is officially a European country!

Only part of Turkey is in Europe, geographically speaking, and it’s not part of the EU (although it’s appled for membership).

Still, I suppose if it can enter the Eurovision song contest.….….……

Point well taken, but the Turks I know who reside here in the USA and in Austria do regard themselves as Europeans. One of my friends is a New York City-based photographer who has extensive interests in classical music and French culture, for example. Others include classical musicians who studied at Vienna conservatories and still reside in Vienna, where they work professionally as musicians.

Dale,

You do a good impression of an atheist fanatic.

Dale Husband said:

Why SHOULDN’T Islam be stopped from becoming the dominant religion of the entire world? I don’t want Christianity to dominate the whole world either, and for the same reason; both religions are hopelessly corrupt and can only be trusted when they are politically disabled. Give either of them political power and we will see death, destruction, and social stagnation, just like 1000 years ago!

Besides, Islam itself is an imperialist religion, as its own history shows. Those Muslim bigots are in for a looooooooooooong fight if they don’t stop trying to rule the world.

Neville Chamberlain gets such a bad rap for a situation that I doubt anyone could have made a go of. Read Niall Ferguson’s “The War of the World”

Paul Burnett said:

Peter Henderson quoted Ken Ham:

There is no neutrality in this spiritual battle.

Finally - something from Ken Ham that I can agree with! Sounds like he doesn’t like accomodationists either.

The sooner we pro-science / pro-evolution folks admit to ourselves that the anti-science / anti-evolution folks see this as a “battle,” the sooner we can fully engage in and win the battle.

Otherwise the forces championing scientific illiteracy and willful ignorance will continue winning. Anybody who thinks accomodationism can win should check in with Neville Chamberlain and see how it worked out for him.

Only very close students of German military history know just how terrified of war the General Staff was, how little pushing they would have needed to stop Hitler, and how Chamberlain could have taken advantage of them. But of course Chamberlain didn’t know any of this. I can’t blame him for not acting on knowledge he didn’t have.

throwing stones at me for working with Muslims

naw, we’re too busy throwing boulders at you for all the strawmen you erect.

*tosses large boulder at Dale*

Ichthyic said:

throwing stones at me for working with Muslims

naw, we’re too busy throwing boulders at you for all the strawmen you erect.

*tosses large boulder at Dale*

What strawmen?

{{{Tosses pillow back at the Fish Guy}}}

Stanton said: I mean, he constantly spews about how Christianity and Evolution are incompatible, yet, refuses to tell us where in the Bible Jesus specifically said that.

I’m sure it’s right there next to the part that specifically states that abortion is murder.

John Kwok said:

Dale has made some valid points which you seem incapable of appreciating, relying instead on ad hominem attacks on him.

Isn’t it cute when Kwok hits the wrong button on his canned replies list? Either that or his understanding of the phrase “ad hominem” is no better than his understanding of the word “personally”. Oh, the mendacity!

Kwok,

Actually it started way back after the First World War when the victorious powers divvied up the middle east for its oil resources instead of letting the very sensible plans of Lawrence take place. The West has it’s own sordid history of corporate imperialism to be ashamed of. The Arabs plans even included an offer of accepting Jews into Palestine. If you want to lay blame you should get to the very roots of the problem.

John Kwok said:

Islam HAS BECOME AS BIG OF A PAIN IN THE ASS to us, and this started back in 1983 when Muslim terrorists killed United States marines in Beirut. Not to mention the bombing of our embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole, and the two World Trade Center attacks. Unfortunately you and some of your fellow atheists refuse to recognize this.

Dale has made some valid points which you seem incapable of appreciating, relying instead on ad hominem attacks on him.

Dornier Pfeil said:

Kwok,

Actually it started way back after the First World War when the victorious powers divvied up the middle east for its oil resources instead of letting the very sensible plans of Lawrence take place. The West has it’s own sordid history of corporate imperialism to be ashamed of. The Arabs plans even included an offer of accepting Jews into Palestine. If you want to lay blame you should get to the very roots of the problem.

This is an often overlooked point that is hidden in the pettifoggery of patriotism and nationalism.

Behind the economic engine that has made this country has been the acquisition and exploitation of strategic resources from around the entire globe.

That requires armies, navies, and “negotiations” to protect “interests” and distribution systems.

And unfortunately, too many of the “interests” have been those of some pretty ruthless industrialists who have had the means of keeping their ruthlessness out of the spotlight.

Science Wimp barfed:

John Kwok said:

Dale has made some valid points which you seem incapable of appreciating, relying instead on ad hominem attacks on him.

Isn’t it cute when Kwok hits the wrong button on his canned replies list? Either that or his understanding of the phrase “ad hominem” is no better than his understanding of the word “personally”. Oh, the mendacity!

I have better things to do with my time than react to a delusional GNU like yourself, but your observations about Dale are completely out of line, moron.

Dornier Pfeil said:

Kwok,

Actually it started way back after the First World War when the victorious powers divvied up the middle east for its oil resources instead of letting the very sensible plans of Lawrence take place. The West has it’s own sordid history of corporate imperialism to be ashamed of. The Arabs plans even included an offer of accepting Jews into Palestine. If you want to lay blame you should get to the very roots of the problem.

John Kwok said:

Islam HAS BECOME AS BIG OF A PAIN IN THE ASS to us, and this started back in 1983 when Muslim terrorists killed United States marines in Beirut. Not to mention the bombing of our embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole, and the two World Trade Center attacks. Unfortunately you and some of your fellow atheists refuse to recognize this.

Dale has made some valid points which you seem incapable of appreciating, relying instead on ad hominem attacks on him.

Dornier, do you honestly think that the Allies would listen to a Royal Army captain who had spent his early career as a clerk in Alexandria? You must be kidding.

As for the real start of our “Islam problem”, I would point to the pivotal year of 1979 when these events happened:

1) Islamic Revolution in Iran which forced the Shah from power, his replacement by Ayatollah Khomeini and the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2) Storming of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Salafist Sunni Muslim terrorists who objected to the al-Saud’s dynastic rule of Saudi Arabia and its overtures to the West.

3) Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which began a neverending cycle of foreign invasion and civil war.

In each of these cases, we are still living with their repercussions.

Mike Elzinga said:

Dornier Pfeil said:

Kwok,

Actually it started way back after the First World War when the victorious powers divvied up the middle east for its oil resources instead of letting the very sensible plans of Lawrence take place. The West has it’s own sordid history of corporate imperialism to be ashamed of. The Arabs plans even included an offer of accepting Jews into Palestine. If you want to lay blame you should get to the very roots of the problem.

This is an often overlooked point that is hidden in the pettifoggery of patriotism and nationalism.

Behind the economic engine that has made this country has been the acquisition and exploitation of strategic resources from around the entire globe.

That requires armies, navies, and “negotiations” to protect “interests” and distribution systems.

And unfortunately, too many of the “interests” have been those of some pretty ruthless industrialists who have had the means of keeping their ruthlessness out of the spotlight.

Sorry Mike, this is too simplistic an explanation from Dornier. Most in the West aren’t familiar with the storming the Grand Mosque, first by Salafist Sunni Muslim terrorists, and then by the Saudi Arabian army.

Here’s a rememberance from an Arab newspaper:

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?se[…]amp;id=18984

And here’s one from a Western source:

http://azelin.files.wordpress.com/2[…]ze-mecca.pdf

John Kwok said:

I have better things to do with my time than react to a delusional GNU like yourself, but your observations about Dale are completely out of line, moron.

Perhaps it would help if I put together all the relevant points I made so far.

I started with:

Gee, this should have been done several years ago.

As a member of Care2, I ran a group dedicated to defending evolution and promoting proper science education:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/evol[…]on_education

One of my strongest supporters in that group was a Muslim named Woodrow Fields:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/people/pro[…]id=493791899

I later repaid him by helping him set up and run a group detailing Muslim art:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Islamicart

It was I who gave the group its title and specified its agenda and some of its rules, since Woodrow lacked experience in such matters.

http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/dis[…]p;pst=379988

Expecting the atheist fanatics to start screaming again about “accomodation” and throwing stones at me for working with Muslims in 5.…..4.…..3.…..2.….1.….

Because if you are really against accomodation of religious people and their beliefs, you should have condemned me for what I did in support of those Muslims in Care2. If not, quit screaming about what the NCSE does in attempting to appeal to people of liberal religious ideals. It’s no different, really.

My next point was:

Why SHOULDN’T Islam be stopped from becoming the dominant religion of the entire world? I don’t want Christianity to dominate the whole world either, and for the same reason; both religions are hopelessly corrupt and can only be trusted when they are politically disabled. Give either of them political power and we will see death, destruction, and social stagnation, just like 1000 years ago!

Besides, Islam itself is an imperialist religion, as its own history shows. Those Muslim bigots are in for a looooooooooooong fight if they don’t stop trying to rule the world.

Unlike many of the New Atheists, I am not out to convert everyone else to atheism. Merely to promote SECULARISM and get across the point that no religion has all the answers to humanity’s problems. Religion can simply be a set of symbols, rituals, and standards of conduct that people can identify themselves with and live by. The idea that it can and must be absolute truth for all has to be destroyed eventually if our civilization is to progress. That’s not the same as converting everyone to atheism.

Then I continued with:

As for “accomodation”, that looks to me like merely a phrase for “accepting that (some) religious people can do science and defend science education just as well as atheists”. It’s not about saying all religious views are equal. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be fighting creationism. Just because you are a theist doesn’t mean you are idiotic, anti-science, or evil. I know many intelligent, caring and honorable theists of various types. As long as theists obey the common rules of scientific investigation and education, what’s the problem?

Theist = a believer in some sort of personal god, not necessarily the God of the Bible. Equating theism with Christianity is like equating the city of Paris with all of Europe. Since the Bible was written before modern scientific methods were developed, no Christian should ever rely on it to state accurately ANYTHING about science. You can still learn valuable lessons from the Bible, just as you can learn valuable lessons from Star Wars while never thinking there was ever a Death Star or Galactic Republic. The stories in the Bible are just.….stories. They are only a threat to science if people misuse them for something simply not real.

My next comment was:

Odd that Ichthyic and other atheists would be more tolerant of Islam than of Christianity. Or is that another “strawman”?

Indeed, they should be dealing ten times harder with Islam because in almost every state that Muslims are in the majority, they attempt to impose Sharia on everyone. If Sharia could somehow be ripped completely out of Islam, along with the absurd claim that the Quran is Allah’s last revelation and Muhammad was the last Prophet, then we would have an Islam that would be truly rational and honorable. As it stands, telling Allah to be silent forever, as Orthodox Islam has, is no better in my judgement than atheism.

“THERE IS NO GOD AND MUHAMMAD WAS NO PROPHET.”

If someone could get me an Arabic version of that sentence, I’d much appreciate it.

Next, I had to deal with FL’s stupidity:

Sure, naturalistic evolution is incompatible with fundamentalist Christianity, but your assuming and repeating endlessly a claim based on only one understanding of evolution and one understanding of Christianity is bogus crap. Always was, always will be.

Are you expecting the Christian clearly to all lie about evolution like you do? Saying that are serving the interests of atheists is like saying we were serving Joseph Stalin when we conquered Nazi Germany in World War II.

How about we lock you and Dawkins together in a cell and see which one comes out alive the next day. [Note: I think FL is too cowardly to deal with someone like Dawkins directly, which is why he comes here instead.]

It’s not the intention of those clergy to convert people from atheism to Christianity, of course. People of all religious or non-religious views just need to be true to themselves, not hypocrites.

And if Zimmerman converted to Christianity while still being an evolutionist, wouldn’t you attack him anyway as a compromiser?

What a nice chunk of libel FL spat out. Hey, if he really thinks the Bible is infallible, why isn’t he a geocentrist?

Mike Elzinga said: Behind the economic engine that has made this country has been the acquisition and exploitation of strategic resources from around the entire globe.

That requires armies, navies, and “negotiations” to protect “interests” and distribution systems.

It wasn’t just “strategic resources” - unfortunately this reminds me of the origin of the term “banana republic.”

Paul Burnett -

I was just surprised by Ken Ham’s quote which seemed to oppose accomodationism. Most theists - particularly the fundagelicals - are all for it, as it legitimizes their un-scientific / anti-scientific views of creationism as being a “theory” co-equal with evolution. This is the folly of accomodationism.

This statement is incorrect.

The whole point of authoritarian fundamentalist movements is to claim that their particular harsh declarations are the only “true” interpretation of a religion (or ideology). This is true of Christian fundamentalists and always has been, since at least the 200’s AD. It is true of Islamic and Hindu fundamentalism as well. This tendency also characterizes some adherents to rigid political ideologies, and even some schools of artistic and literary criticism.

The “religious right” arose in the US at a time in which segregation and official gender bias were being partly eliminated from US society. Mainstream churches were playing a role in this. There was a widespread perception that mainstream churches were taking the “liberal” point of view on things like segregation, the Vietnam war, and to some degree the role of women. Suddenly, a movement declaring that “literal” understanding of the Bible always supports whatever is the current stance of the most right wing politicians in the US gained prominence. Whether there is a connection or whether this is a coincidence, a major target of fundamentalists is non-fundamentalist denominations. The religious right competed (very successfully) with mainstream “Mr. Rogers” type churches, not with atheism.

Not only do authoritarian fundamentalists oppose everyone who does not adhere to their authoritarian fundamentalist dogma, but if they do gain official recognition, they begin to hunt for “impurity” among their own members.

I don’t personally have a need for any type of religion, but it is important to keep the concepts clear.

John Kwok said:

I have better things to do with my time than react to a delusional GNU like yourself…

He says while reacting to me.

John Kwok said: …your observations about Dale are completely out of line, moron.

Wow, how persuasive.

I simply find Dale’s, and your, comments about vocal atheists to be completely unrelated to what actual atheists actually do and say. That you’d have to resort to the insult=ad hominem fallacy, and the “why don’t you pick on Muslims more” canard is all the evidence I need. They are both patently ridiculous, made up out of whole cloth, relating to nothing real. I’m embarrased for Dale. For you, its par for the course.

John Kwok said: Dornier, do you honestly think that the Allies would listen to a Royal Army captain who had spent his early career as a clerk in Alexandria? You must be kidding.

The astonishing ignorance demonstrated by this statement puts it on an equally competitive footing with “breathtaking inanity”. I don’t know if it deserves heaps of abuse or careful parsing but I am sure I would annoy Matt Young if I chose the former path. And there is, like a broken clock, a small grain of factualness to it. So…

Heavens no. Politicians. Bureaucrats. Businessmen*. Diplomats. They are very good at creating the messes they then frequently have to toss in the laps of the military**. But then, when the problem has been solved, they shove the military aside and act like they actually deserve to recreate the problems all over again. Heaven forbid they should have followed the advice of the Lieutenant-Colonel who was an undisputed subject matter expert of the middle east and good enough to win their war for them, especially after Churchill’s fiasco, but not good enough to tell them how to achieve a lasting peace in the region. It had nothing to do with any alleged shortcomings of a man who was a great deal more than a clerk and everything to do with the arrogance of a wrathful political/diplomatic corps. And Lawrence was not alone. Wilson was equally aware that not giving freedom to the middle east would have continuing, lingering, bad consequences.

John Kwok said: As for the real start of our “Islam problem”, I would point to the pivotal year of 1979 when these events happened:

1) Islamic Revolution in Iran which forced the Shah from power, his replacement by Ayatollah Khomeini and the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And who do you think put the Shah into power? Do you even know what blowback is? If you expect love and respect from Iranians, who were perfectly aware that their democratically elected government had been overthrown by the U.S., to preserve British oil access and oil revenues, and replaced by a dictator, you are being too simplistic. And that was not the first instance of western interference in Iran. Only a decade earlier than the CIA overthrow, the allies violated Iran’s neutrality so they could gain rail access to the USSR.

John Kwok said: 2) Storming of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Salafist Sunni Muslim terrorists who objected to the al-Saud’s dynastic rule of Saudi Arabia and its overtures to the West.

Overtures to the West? That is rather mild. Again, who do you think had been supporting the Saud’s ever since 1915 when they needed a counterweight to the Ottoman Turks? There were many claimants to power on the Arabian peninsula prior to WWI and the Sauds succeeded precisely because the British sided with them during WWI. Only a generation later the US took up the mantle of supporting a dictator in Arabia. If you take sides in a religious dispute, that is literally centuries old, supporting a dictatorship, expect to be hated by the oppressed peoples.

John Kwok said: 3) Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which began a neverending cycle of foreign invasion and civil war. In each of these cases, we are still living with their repercussions.

And after we used the Afghan people in our cold war, we dropped them like hot rocks. A little help to the people who had earned their freedom from soviet domination would have been a good thing. Another American mistake. Or do you think we should have abandoned the Afghanis to the Soviets because the are all just a bunch of militiant Islamofascists.

Even your little thumbnail history for when WWI began is too simplistic. Recounting the details of who declared first and who marched when and which domino fell on which domino ignores the entire context of the international system that had been created bit by bit by the dominant powers over the period stretching from the end of the Seven’s Years War till the end of the Napoleonic Wars. A system that was used to frustrate the minor powers throughout the 19th century. A system that could only end in war. A war that was enthusiastically and cheerfully prosecuted by all the participants from the highest leaders to the lowest privates. A war that no one wanted to stop no matter which side they were on. To pick just a single example, the French were still nursing their grudge over the defeat of 1871. My suggestion still stands. Pick up Niall Ferguson’s “The War of the World”

Science has often been metaphorically described as a wall with the scientists of each generation laying the bricks that form the foundation for later generations of scientist to stand on.

History is no less a metaphorical wall. The decisions of the leaders of every generation are the bricks that form the wall the leaders of successive generations have to stand on. The sooner you moralising nationalist Islamophobes learn this the sooner we can get our economy and politics out of the oil fields of the middle east. But you can’t because people like you think the U.S. is immaculate. Suggest to people like you that the opening shots of the Pacific half of WWII were fired in July 1853, in Tokyo Bay, by an American instead of on Dec 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, by the Japanese and you go all ape about blaming the victim.

*And I am quite happy, in this case, to be able to say- businessMEN.

**The most recent example–GWB invades Iraq against the advice of his military, doesn’t use as much force as they tell him to, and then turns to them when it all goes wrong.

Dornier Pfeil said:

John Kwok said: Dornier, do you honestly think that the Allies would listen to a Royal Army captain who had spent his early career as a clerk in Alexandria? You must be kidding.

The astonishing ignorance demonstrated by this statement puts it on an equally competitive footing with “breathtaking inanity”. I don’t know if it deserves heaps of abuse or careful parsing but I am sure I would annoy Matt Young if I chose the former path. And there is, like a broken clock, a small grain of factualness to it. So…

Heavens no. Politicians. Bureaucrats. Businessmen*. Diplomats. They are very good at creating the messes they then frequently have to toss in the laps of the military**. But then, when the problem has been solved, they shove the military aside and act like they actually deserve to recreate the problems all over again. Heaven forbid they should have followed the advice of the Lieutenant-Colonel who was an undisputed subject matter expert of the middle east and good enough to win their war for them, especially after Churchill’s fiasco, but not good enough to tell them how to achieve a lasting peace in the region. It had nothing to do with any alleged shortcomings of a man who was a great deal more than a clerk and everything to do with the arrogance of a wrathful political/diplomatic corps. And Lawrence was not alone. Wilson was equally aware that not giving freedom to the middle east would have continuing, lingering, bad consequences.

John Kwok said: As for the real start of our “Islam problem”, I would point to the pivotal year of 1979 when these events happened:

1) Islamic Revolution in Iran which forced the Shah from power, his replacement by Ayatollah Khomeini and the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And who do you think put the Shah into power? Do you even know what blowback is? If you expect love and respect from Iranians, who were perfectly aware that their democratically elected government had been overthrown by the U.S., to preserve British oil access and oil revenues, and replaced by a dictator, you are being too simplistic. And that was not the first instance of western interference in Iran. Only a decade earlier than the CIA overthrow, the allies violated Iran’s neutrality so they could gain rail access to the USSR.

John Kwok said: 2) Storming of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Salafist Sunni Muslim terrorists who objected to the al-Saud’s dynastic rule of Saudi Arabia and its overtures to the West.

Overtures to the West? That is rather mild. Again, who do you think had been supporting the Saud’s ever since 1915 when they needed a counterweight to the Ottoman Turks? There were many claimants to power on the Arabian peninsula prior to WWI and the Sauds succeeded precisely because the British sided with them during WWI. Only a generation later the US took up the mantle of supporting a dictator in Arabia. If you take sides in a religious dispute, that is literally centuries old, supporting a dictatorship, expect to be hated by the oppressed peoples.

John Kwok said: 3) Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which began a neverending cycle of foreign invasion and civil war. In each of these cases, we are still living with their repercussions.

And after we used the Afghan people in our cold war, we dropped them like hot rocks. A little help to the people who had earned their freedom from soviet domination would have been a good thing. Another American mistake. Or do you think we should have abandoned the Afghanis to the Soviets because the are all just a bunch of militiant Islamofascists.

Even your little thumbnail history for when WWI began is too simplistic. Recounting the details of who declared first and who marched when and which domino fell on which domino ignores the entire context of the international system that had been created bit by bit by the dominant powers over the period stretching from the end of the Seven’s Years War till the end of the Napoleonic Wars. A system that was used to frustrate the minor powers throughout the 19th century. A system that could only end in war. A war that was enthusiastically and cheerfully prosecuted by all the participants from the highest leaders to the lowest privates. A war that no one wanted to stop no matter which side they were on. To pick just a single example, the French were still nursing their grudge over the defeat of 1871. My suggestion still stands. Pick up Niall Ferguson’s “The War of the World”

Science has often been metaphorically described as a wall with the scientists of each generation laying the bricks that form the foundation for later generations of scientist to stand on.

History is no less a metaphorical wall. The decisions of the leaders of every generation are the bricks that form the wall the leaders of successive generations have to stand on. The sooner you moralising nationalist Islamophobes learn this the sooner we can get our economy and politics out of the oil fields of the middle east. But you can’t because people like you think the U.S. is immaculate. Suggest to people like you that the opening shots of the Pacific half of WWII were fired in July 1853, in Tokyo Bay, by an American instead of on Dec 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, by the Japanese and you go all ape about blaming the victim.

*And I am quite happy, in this case, to be able to say- businessMEN.

**The most recent example–GWB invades Iraq against the advice of his military, doesn’t use as much force as they tell him to, and then turns to them when it all goes wrong.

Sorry Dornier, you tend to forget that the Western World back at the time of World War I was far more stratified than it is now, cut rigidly across artistocratic and military hierarchy lines. No credible diplomat would have tolerated Lawrence’s efforts at lobbying on behalf of the Arab Revolt, which, BTW, was led by the Hashemite Sheriff of Mecca (His descendants included the Hashemite dynasties of Iraq and Jordan; the Iraqi branch was exterminated by the Ba’athist-led revolt in the late 1950s which replaced the monarchy with a totalitarian Ba’athist dictatorship.). The Hashemites were rewarded by the British for their Arab Revolt leadership and because they were being pushed out by the Saud family, which had concluded a Faustian arrangement with Wahabbi Sunni Islam back in the late 18th Century, but had no success until the Hashemites had led the Arabs against the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

I might add Dornier, that the Saudi “overtures to the West” did not begin in earnest until American and British geologists and oil companies discovered the Saudi oil fields around the time of World War II, and that the Americans and British were able to establish expartriate communities on Saudi Arabian territory; both of which irritated the more extreme Wahabbist Sunni Muslims who would become the Saudi Arabian contingent of the Salafi Islamofascist movement that arose in Egypt via the Muslim Brotherhood.

As for the Shah of Iran, his rule was relatively benign in stark contrast to the theocratic totalitarian dictatorship led by Ayatollah Khomeini; since you doubt this, then read that history, which has become a most fertile ground of source material for nonfiction books and novels.

As for Niall Ferguson, he’s one of my favorite historians and I enjoyed reading the “War of the World”, in which he does make a persuasive case that World War I and World War II were different phases of the same war (But that is true IF and ONLY IF you contend that the governments involved were quite similar for the major powers involved; I believe one could argue persuasively that Ferguson is incorrect, simply because one of the most important reasons for World War II was the Nazi totalitarian dictatorship in Germany. Had that been neutralized either internally or externally at or before the time of the Munich Agreement,there’s a reasonably good chance that the only major conflict might have been an Anglo-American war against the Japanese Empire.).

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on May 28, 2011 7:48 PM.

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