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What is Humanism
Posted: 20 March 2006 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I’m just curious how the Ayn Randian belief in the sacredness and ultimate importance of humanity pervades secular humanism.  Operationally, I live and think by all the humanist creeds described and agreed upon above, but in a more cosmic and broad sense, I believe (and I think most atheists would agree in some way) that human life, and any other life for that matter is ultimately meaningless - until we prescribe it meaning that is.  So, I guess my question is, how does Secular Humanism account for the sort of scientific determinism that an evolutionary viewpoint demands, or does it have to assert some sort of human-centered worldview, especially in reference to environmental and species-related issues?

I often struggle myself with this dichotomy, subscribing to a very cooperative and progressive political and social doctrine (a la Barry’s posts) while still maintaining that human life is without “purpose” and is more worthy to inhabit the planet than plants, birds, or bears.  I suppose this is true, but when it comes to our actual life, we have little choice but to live for own interest!

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Posted: 20 March 2006 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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human-centered worldview?

Yeah, I think the problem with humanism is the term itself.  It sounds like its human-centered, and therefore speciest or even selfish.  But I do not think this is the case since we humanists define humanism in quite the opposite way.  Through the manifestos and other writings about humanism and the Enlightenment, we see our philosophy is not speciest or overly individualistic at all, even though it is about human behavour and societies. 

Surely Paul Kurtz’s idea of “planetary humanism,” though perhaps needing some amendments regarding capitalism, is essentially about how humans much protect the envionment and other species… and this is not just because such behaviour is good for humanity, but that all of life is so interconnected - a la Carl Sagan’s ideas on this - that we should aim to treat all life as at least worth respecting. 

We may not have to cringe when we accidently step on a bug, and we may not all have to become Vegan Vegitarians (though we need to treat other animals better than we do re food), but we should not do things to hurt or destroy other life (such as hunting for fun, or for political reasons… or such as destroying eco-systems to put up more expensive condos, shopping malls or golf courses). 

Evolutionary biology does not, in my opinion say we can not care about other life just because it shows that life itself is not sacred al la religion or the nutty Randians.

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Posted: 20 March 2006 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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On Human Nature.. Wes and Barry

...you wrote: “Finally, I think human emotion, which does not support our ruthless competitive society, and does support helping one another - when these emotions are not squeezed out of us like so many of our self-proclaimed elite of history have done to us - can lead us to become a generally cooperative species. Just look where our forced competitiveness is getting us.. Almost extinct!>

I highlighted “almost extinct” and ask - really? The world’s population is continuing to increase. America has about 300,000,000 people and growing as well as billions in India, and China. Clearly you must have meant something else. - Wes

Actually Wes, by near extinction, I did not mean our current numbers, I meant how close we are to destroying ourselves.- Barry

On the emotional side I make a very different conclusion. First I do not see our emotions as you do when you wrote: “when these (cooperative) emotions are not squeezed out of us like so many of our self-proclaimed elite of history have done to us.” Our emotions are a product of our genes - that is a scientific fact. Those emotions have helped us survive as a species - that is a scientific fact. Those emotions recognize kin and other close relationships - that is a scientific fact also supported by simplistic computer models. Such cooperation is tenuous and very fragile in the presence of “others.” Even among kin there is competition, natural competition - sibling rivalry - that is a scientific fact! The conclusion is inescapable - we are naturally competitive! - Wes

I do not agree.  None of your facts mean we are not primarily cooperative for many reasons… and by emotions, I meant our understanding of our extended self-interests .. like studies on Mirror Neurons seem to indicate.  And the only time I see real sibling rivalry is among siblings who have maladjusted behavior due to their parents’ perhaps favoring one or the other sibling, or to the culture in which we live which prizes competition from capitalism to winner-take-all sports, etc. - Barry

You wrote: “Humans are really actually competitive when resources are hard to come by, but not for a long time should this be so.. Not for black folk in New Orleans or black folk in Africa, to use two examples here. The U.S. is 5% of the world population, and yet is the richest country of all, and it uses 60% of each year’s resources (and still we have New Orleans, which shows how both racism and capitalism go hand in hand).”

Scarcity of resources is a perception. - Wes

:wink: Humbug! Tell that to the poor of the world.. Why don’t they have the same access to “earth’s bountiful resources” while many rich white folks do? - Barry


Consider 2 of your statements: Eliminate capitalism or any state-controlled economic system, and see how fast we all revert to our natural cooperative natures!” And: “...can lead us to become a generally cooperative species” These statements are contradictory! In the face of the Soviet controlled economy the people practiced a marketplace. Many women made clothing in their homes and sold them, for a little profit, to others who were doing the same. We revert to the market species we are. Your second statement clearly demonstrates the notion that you would like us to “become a generally cooperative species.” - Wes


The Soviet system was just as corrupt, and favored elites just as much, as our system is and does.  Theirs was not a socialist system, as Chomsky points out in my other post. - Barry
A friend of mine who agrees with me, offered this:

“I’d respond with the part of my essay in your book - Toward a New Political Humanism - that talks about how in our society of extreme affluence and poverty, many people do feel as if they are being deprived, and thus have a “victim mentality.”  But even people who feel this way throughout their daily lives are capable of responding to the needs of someone else whom under certain “equalizing” circumstances may be viewed as legitimately needy and not a threat, with greater generosity than the wealthy.

“I’d also send this link
http://peacecenter.berkeley.edu/greater_current_issue.html - and direct Wes to read the “Chauffeurs Dilemma.”” —Arnell Dowret

PS: I’d add this related link to your research: http://peacecenter.berkeley.edu/keltner_spring04.pdf

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Posted: 06 April 2006 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Why Humanism is a Political Philosophy

What is a Political Philosophy? 

David Miller, author of Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, in naming the chapters of his book which talk about what a political philosophy is and of the sorts which actually exist, uses these titles: Authority (whom, if anyone, should have authority over whom), Democracy, Freedom, Justice (global and local), Feminism and Multiculturism.  It seems to me that humanism, which specifically promotes all but the first of these (on authority, humanism is only said not to be authoritarian, which may lead for some to the sort of social order found in anarchism), is then indeed a political philosophy. 

Humanism is about these things, about how humans ought to behave or conduct themselves in society, and about finding and implementing the best methods to move forward therefore.  Combining all of this with the clearly articulated politico-philosophical principles in the Humanist Manifesto(s), and with humanism’s reliance on scientific naturalism rather than ideological dogma as its bases of epistemology, it would seem we can therefore understand that humanism’s aim is to evolve humanity into an egalitarian society where:

All humans are free to be who and what they are in regards to personal beliefs, career choices, and basic life-choices.

Justice’s goal is meant to protect and equalize human freedoms for all peoples, and encourage and ensure the continued cooperation of all peoples.

Humans are not divided by “race,” supernaturalistic religion(s), sex, sexual orientation, skin color, disabilities, or genetics.

True democracy is practiced, therefore eliminating fascist, totalitarian, or top-down political, bureaucratic or social hierarchies such as Stalinist Communism, theocracies, religious or secular dictatorships, monarchies, oligarchies, or state/imperial capitalisms.  Towards such democracy, both supernaturalistic religion(s) and capitalisms, which are severely hierarchal and dogmatic (and accepted as healthy by many existing quazi-democracies such as the United States) - might have to be actively, but non-violently, marginalized in favor of a clear division between supernaturalism and the cooperative social order (religion could remain private and personal), and in favor of non-statist democratic philosophies such as Libertarian-Socialism. 

War, as an immoral and ultimately destructive tool of the powerful and rich, is eliminated.  If such a society is to be successful, war must be absolutely eliminated.

Barry F. Seidman

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Posted: 30 May 2006 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Norm Allen understands humanism.. why don’t others?

Cheers to Norm Allen!

    “Cartoons and Cartoon Minds” in the Fall 2005 issue of AAH Examiner clearly demonstrates a truely humanistic understanding of the Danish Cartoon “controversy,” and shares with David Koepsell’s essay in the Secular Humanist Buliiton a philosophically and politically sound and relevant position on the best way humanism ought to respond to this issue.  This is even more true in contrast to the self-serving western-centered breast-beating found in relevant writings of Ibn Warraq, Christopher Hitchens, and even the Flynn/Kurtz pieces in both Free Inquiry and the Secular Humanist Bulliton… all which come off as absolutist and certainly not becoming of humanist critical thought. 
    Cheers again to Mr. Allen!

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Secular Humanism is a sociopolitical philosophy - informed by scientific naturalism - which advocates for a democratic, non-hierarchal society, and promotes individual freedom, economic and social equality, human cooperation and planetary peace.

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Posted: 31 May 2006 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Re: Norm Allen understands humanism.. why don’t others?

[quote author=“Barry”]  “Cartoons and Cartoon Minds” in the Fall 2005 issue of AAH Examiner clearly demonstrates a truely humanistic understanding of the Danish Cartoon “controversy,” and shares with David Koepsell’s essay in the Secular Humanist Buliiton a philosophically and politically sound and relevant position on the best way humanism ought to respond to this issue.  This is even more true in contrast to the self-serving western-centered breast-beating found in relevant writings of Ibn Warraq, Christopher Hitchens, and even the Flynn/Kurtz pieces in both Free Inquiry and the Secular Humanist Bulliton… all which come off as absolutist and certainly not becoming of humanist critical thought. 
    Cheers again to Mr. Allen!

Perhaps you could elaborate a bit on the differences between Norm Allen’s piece and those which you don’t agree with. I don’t have access to the Norm Allen piece.

Personally, I didn’t see any problems with the essays by Paul Kurtz or Tom Flynn in the recent issues of Free Inquiry.

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Posted: 31 May 2006 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Norm Allen et al

Its simple, Doug.

Flynn and Kurtz - especially in SHB - want all to think the most important issue with these cartoons was free speech and the right to insult religion.  Ibn Warraq goes as far as to claim no apologies are needed for what I would call the ‘reasons’ for the Muslim response - western imperialism (that the ends, whatever they are supposed to be, justify the means.)  Hitchens.. well, Hitchens is just a good old angry atheist, neo-con apologist.

On the other hand, Koepsell in SHB talks about compassion and understanding and makes clear that FI’s choice to reprint the cartoons was about angry atheist rebellion and not humanism. 

Allen takes the conversation even further:

“There is something insidious and invidious about the original publication of those cartoon ... (Jyllands-Posten) is a conservative publication that ... had ties to German and Italian facists ... They refused to publish cartoons that one of its editors deemed offensive to Christians ... indeed (the paper) considers itself (to be) a Christain newspaper.”

“White Westerners carried on incessantly about the threat to “Western” and “European” values ... in the name of Western freedom, they defended reprinting cartoons that could easily be used in bigoted campaigns against Arabs and Muslims ... There is a very thin line between religious criticism and anti-religious bigatry and the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims .. As the old saying goes, ‘just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean its right o do it.’” 

“Furthermore good people should not feel obligated to stand with bigots in order to defend freedom.”

Allen also points out that reasons DO matter, and though Muslim extreemism is not to be defended, it SHOULD be understood as mainly a Western creation.


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Posted: 31 May 2006 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Re: Norm Allen et al

[quote author=“Barry”]Flynn and Kurtz - especially in SHB - want all to think the most important issue with these cartoons was free speech and the right to insult religion.  Ibn Warraq goes as far as to claim no apologies are needed for what I would call the ‘reasons’ for the Muslim response - western imperialism (that the ends, whatever they are supposed to be, justify the means.)  Hitchens.. well, Hitchens is just a good old angry atheist, neo-con apologist.

On the other hand, Koepsell in SHB talks about compassion and understanding and makes clear that FI’s choice to reprint the cartoons was about angry atheist rebellion and not humanism. 

Yes, well, I think you do raise some important issues here, Barry. I want to separate a couple of things:

(1) The “free speech” issue, i.e. that we should be allowed to say things about religion that believers might find insulting; that we should be allowed to satirize religion.

(2) The “western imperialism” issue, i.e. is the effect of the west on the rest of the world positive or negative.

Now, these do run together somewhat, in that the right of free speech is inherent to the (essentially western) enlightenment approach.

I do agree we as westerners need to be aware of the history of abuse that we have meted out to many in foreign cultures. We should be aware of the way in which we are viewed. We should, as far as possible, be “compassionate and understanding”, as you say Koepsell advised.

Indeed, when I first heard that FI was going to reprint these cartoons, my heart sank for precisely these reasons. Insult just for the point of insult seemed to me ill-advised.

However, my opinion changed when I saw the cartoons themselves. These are extremely tame drawings, much tamer than political satires in the daily paper. Much tamer than Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

And in the final analysis freedom of expression has to trump the narrow interests of religious fanatics. To deny this is simply to deny the whole purpose of FI, CFI and indeed the enlightenment program itself.

What I’m saying here is that I agree with both Koepsell and Kurtz here. But given the actual cartoons that FI published, Koepsell had no reason for complaint.

As to Hitchens, he is a very able polemicist and good wordsmith, but in general I agree with you.

[quote author=“Barry”]Allen takes the conversation even further:

“There is something insidious and invidious about the original publication of those cartoon ... (Jyllands-Posten) is a conservative publication that ... had ties to German and Italian facists ... They refused to publish cartoons that one of its editors deemed offensive to Christians ... indeed (the paper) considers itself (to be) a Christain newspaper.”

Well, this is interesting to know, and troubling. But it doesn’t change the basic fact that we must have the freedom to publish critical satire.

And it was of real interest to me (really newsworthy) that these were so tame, given the disproportionate violent response they drew. I was expecting much more incendiary work.

[quote author=“Barry”]“White Westerners carried on incessantly about the threat to “Western” and “European” values ... in the name of Western freedom, they defended reprinting cartoons that could easily be used in bigoted campaigns against Arabs and Muslims ... There is a very thin line between religious criticism and anti-religious bigatry and the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims .. As the old saying goes, ‘just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean its right o do it.’” 

If I felt that these particular cartoons were bigoted I would agree. But I did not. These were clear, tame religious satire.

Of course, we must be aware that there is a conflict between value systems here. The values we espouse as liberals and CFI devotees are originally western values; namely, freedom of the press, freedom to criticize religion, freedom to be non-religious, separation of church and state, women’s rights, gay rights, etc. These are all values which are not held in common by those Moslems who were satirized in the cartoons. So at some level we, as CFI members are in real conflict with people who hold non-western cultural values and practices. One of the most anti-women parts of the world is the Middle East. One of the most anti-gay is Africa.

So yes, be careful, compassionate, understanding, and at all times avoid the evil of bigotry. But we do that by espousing the (ironically) western enlightenment ideals which we consider essentially universal.

[quote author=“Barry”]Allen also points out that reasons DO matter, and though Muslim extreemism is not to be defended, it SHOULD be understood as mainly a Western creation.

Well, that strikes me as a silly overstatement of western power and control. Muslim extremism (Wahhabism) is a creation of certain radical Moslem philosophers and thinkers. Its strength is due in part to the oil money that comes through Saudi Arabia, or so it would seem.

Of course, many westerners including American presidents (GWB is one of the worst examples) have clearly added fuel to the fire. But that’s not to say we’re somehow the main character in that play.

Best,

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Posted: 31 May 2006 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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More on the Cartoons

Doug:

Most of what you say, I agree with.  And freedom of speech in such matters is indeed important.  However, based on the details Allen scetched for us about the intentions of the newspaper - the ones you found troublesome - it must be understood that the protesters KNEW this about the Dutch paper and therefore the real intent of the cartoons.  Flynn, Kurtz, Warraq, and Hitchens chose to rush into their arguments WITHOUT doing their homework on this.  And though I agree that Koepsell’s piece is weak, it is at least headed in the humanistic direction.  Allen’s piece is certainly the best among the CFI’ers, and you should read these very good pieces too:

Tariq Ali: www.guardian.co.uk/cartoonprotests/story/0,,1708319,00.html#article_continue
James Carroll: www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/17/opinion/edcarroll.php

Taraq Ali (and Pervez Hoodhboy), who live in the Middle East, have also noted that most of the protesters were NOT fundies, but moderate and even secular Arabs.  This tells me that the protests - though exhasperated beyond reason by some fundie leaders - were more about social issues and politics than about religion.

As far as the “tame” nature of the cartoons goes… tame by YOUR standards, I would think.  You are probably less sensitive to religious satire because you are an atheist.  If you were a Christain (and not even a fundie Xian), you might be more inclined to resist attacks on your faith.  This is not to say such attacks should be censored, but that when evaluating how insensitive the Dutch cartoons were or were not, you should walk in the shoes of a Muslim. 

Add this to the obvious racist, bigoted, and right-leaning political reasoning behind publishing such cartoons, and you can see the problem here.

As for my comment about Islam and the West, let me say that I see a distinction between Islam and Political Islam.  Yes, Islam, when extreme, is a part of the male culture which created it.. and that is a problem to liberty and freedom of those who toll under it.  BUT, “Political Islam” is something which has ONLY gained its power and prominance over the decades (over Arab Nationalism and Arab Socialism), BECAUSE of the foreign policies of the US.  That things are so much a mess in the Middle East is partly due to poverty and related issues, and partly due to a Political Islamic leadership ... all serverely due to US (and European) imperialism, colonialism, and hegomony. 

For more on this, listen to our interview with journalist Robert Dreyfuss here:  

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Posted: 31 May 2006 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Re: More on the Cartoons

In general I think we agree.

Re. this point:

[quote author=“Barry”]As far as the “tame” nature of the cartoons goes… tame by YOUR standards, I would think.  You are probably less sensitive to religious satire because you are an atheist.  If you were a Christain (and not even a fundie Xian), you might be more inclined to resist attacks on your faith.  This is not to say such attacks should be censored, but that when evaluating how insensitive the Dutch cartoons were or were not, you should walk in the shoes of a Muslim. 

Well, of course, the only standards I have to go on are my own. That said, I think we could open the newspaper to the political cartoons each Sunday and find four or five that were more “insensitive” and even offensive to people from the opposing political party than any of these cartoons. After all, they were really quite simple stuff: Mohammed and a bomb. Heaven’s being full.

From what I’ve heard, there’s stuff miles worse every day about Jews in the Islamic press. And I did find it somewhat telling that when these cartoons came out, one Iranian newspaper launched a competition to come up with the “best” cartoons about the Holocaust . I find it “telling” because clearly the Jews had no particular role to play in the Muslim cartoons.

Apparently you can see some of them here .

So there is plenty of desire within the Muslim world to be offensive about other religions, particularly Judaism. And indeed, much as I find this sort of material distasteful, freedom of the press must allow it all. I certainly don’t agree with any sort of special dispensation to Muslims which would allow them to satirize others and not be satirized themselves.

James Carroll’s piece was both trenchant and totally fallacious—trenchant in that he highlights the inexcusable and indeed criminal abuse of Muslim prisoners; fallacious in his apologetics for the Koran. He tells us that the sacredness of the Koran is like that of Jesus in Christianity. Well, surely that’s the problem, isn’t it? That’s just the sort of thing we need to undo, through careful research into the creation of the Koran. That’s the sort of attitude we need to overcome, just as much as we need to overcome it with a more rational understanding of Jesus and the Bible.

If we allow ourselves to be stopped dead in our tracks every time a religious believer says “this is sacred, come no further”, we might as well just forget the whole project.

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Posted: 31 May 2006 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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A bit more on Cartoons

Doug:

As for Carroll.. yes, he is a believer and so I would expect him to be softer on religion than us. His other points are not invalid though because of this.

As for the Iranian cartoons.. Two Things.  Bigotry leads to more bigotry.. and the Iranian leaders are no foes of bigotry.  Of course, the Iranian leaders (political Islam) are proof positive of what happens to a country tormented by the West (Shah).

The other thing is that I think it is clear that the anti-Jewish cartoons - particularly that they are about the “holocaust” - are about political and social problems Muslims have with Israel’s criminal behavour toward Muslims, and not so much about Judiasm.

BFS

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Posted: 31 May 2006 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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one-sided view ?

Well, that seems to me a very one-sided view of what’s going on in the Middle East. After all, Israelis are also very concerned about Muslim criminal behavior ... viz., suicide bombings, which are explicitly directed at innocent civilians. And a lot of the Muslim rhetoric is explicitly anti-semitic and anti-Jewish, viz., Hamas cites the virulently anti-semitic fraud called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their Charter. - Doug

Doug:

Actully, I am fully aware of the problem of terrorism and do not condone it.  And I do know of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” stuff.  A good book to read on this is “A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion” by Stephen Eric Bronner.

But still, as I see the suicide bombings of Isrealis, they are the techniques of resistance for the Palestinians against the state-terrorism of Isreal.. which often targets innocents.  To get a better understanding of this, you can read “The Case against Israel” by Michael Neumann.

BFS

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Posted: 31 May 2006 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Re: one-sided view ?

[quote author=“Barry”]Actully, I am fully aware of the problem of terrorism and do not condone it.  And I do know of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” stuff.  A good book to read on this is “A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion” by Stephen Eric Bronner.

But still, as I see the suicide bombings of Isrealis, they are the techniques of resistance for the Palestinians against the state-terrorism of Isreal.. which often targets innocents.  To get a better understanding of this, you can read “The Case against Israel” by Michael Neumann.

Well, Barry, I agree with you when you say you don’t condone terror, but then why do you also call suicide bombings “techniques of resistance”? That is, of course, the fallacious rhetoric of the suicide bombers. As I think you would agree, two wrongs don’t make a right. If suicide bombers only targeted clearly culpable Israelis there might be a point to be made there. But as they are in almost every instance targeted against people who are entirely innocent, suicide bombings are crimes just as heinous as any other pre-meditated murder.

It would be bad enough if they were random murders done by individuals. That they are apparently political policy is clearly even worse. And that’s the case whatever the Israeli policy happens to be.

The irony here is that I am no fan of Israeli policy. Since I do not view the Hebrew Bible as the word of god, I do not see that the Jews have any special claim to Israel. And I do agree that many Israeli policies have been repressive, wrong, and at times racist.

It seems clear to me that blame is equally spread on both sides at this point.

I also think that this discussion is somewhat distant from the main issue of Secular Humanism ... to return to the subject at hand, many Moslem writers have often seen it convenient to use offensive symbology to attack Jews. They have even, in political covenants, used overtly racist forgeries as justification for murder. So I do not see the Moslems in general as any purer than the Christians or Jews in any of this. Hence we should not have any particular squeamishness about investigating Moslem religious clams, or lampooning them when they deserve lampooning.

I hesitate to put it in these terms, since there are clearly innocent Moslems just as there are innocent Christians and Jews. But we are forced to speak in generalities when we are talking about wholesale cultural reactions to things like the cartoons.

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Posted: 31 May 2006 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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In short reply…

No, I do not think this talk is periferial to humanism… because humanism is not just about religion (Jews or Muslims), but about politics (Israel and Palestine).

And secondly, I agree that killiing innocents is immoral for Isreal AND Palestine (both Hamas and Zionism are about killing or otherwise dissapearing Jews or Palestinians).  But there is one MAJOR difference.  Isreal is the aggressor of this battle from statehood on.  The Palestinians are the victims of Zionism.  I do not think the actions of these two peoples (regarding killing) are equally immoral any more than were killings done by Native Americans verses the European Colonialists.  Both the Palestinains AND the Native Americans were fighting for home and survival.  That is not the same as imperial colonialism.

BFS

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Posted: 31 May 2006 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Re: In short reply…

[quote author=“Barry”]And secondly, I agree that killiing innocents is immoral for Isreal AND Palestine (both Hamas and Zionism are about killing or otherwise dissapearing Jews or Palestinians).  But there is one MAJOR difference.  Isreal is the aggressor of this battle from statehood on.  The Palestinians are the victims of Zionism.  I do not think the actions of these two peoples (regarding killing) are equally immoral any more than were killings done by Native Americans verses the European Colonialists.  Both the Palestinains AND the Native Americans were fighting for home and survival.  That is not the same as imperial colonialism.

I don’t see how such an argument is supportable. The Jews used to live in Israel, then they came back. Who was fighting “for home”? Jews believed that this was their home that was taken away from them. Many Jews came back after the Holocaust. Who was fighting “for survival”? Judaism was nearly eliminated in that horror.

Now, for sure, the Jews occupy Israel. They are fighting for actual homes now, just as much as actual Palestinians. There is total moral parity on those grounds.

The fact is that this land has been traded back and forth between Jews, Moslems and Christians for centuries, millennia. To say that one group is “fighting for home” while another is not is to be blind to half the conflict.

It is also to give credence to the idea that the land “belongs” to one people of one “blood” or religion, and not to another, which is clearly false. It’s being romantic doesn’t make it any truer than when German skinheads yell, “Deutschland fur deutschlander, auslander raus.”

As it is now, the land clearly belongs to some Jewish people, to some Moslem people. In the past it has been more Moslem, it has also been more Jew. So what? That doesn’t justify the murder of a single innocent.

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Doug

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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