Skip to comments.Reason vs. Religion
Posted on 10/25/2002 12:14:19 AM PDT by jennyp
The Recent Nightclub Bombings in Bali Illustrate Just What the "War on Terror" Is Really About
On the night of Saturday, October 12--the second anniversary of the suicide bombing of the USS Cole, a year, month, and day after the destruction of the World Trade Center, and mere days after terrorist attacks in Yemen, Kuwait, and the Philippines--two car bombs detonated outside neighboring nightclubs on the island of Bali, triggering a third explosive planted inside, and killing nearly 200 people (the majority of whom were Australian tourists), injuring several others, and redirecting the focus of the war against terror to Indonesia.
Also on the night of Saturday, October 12, the following bands and DJs were playing and spinning at several of Seattle's rock and dance clubs from Re-bar to Rock Bottom: FCS North, Sing-Sing, DJ Greasy, Michiko, Super Furry Animals, Bill Frisell Quintet, the Vells, the Capillaries, the Swains, DJ Che, Redneck Girlfriend, Grunge, Violent Femmes, the Bangs, Better Than Ezra, the Briefs, Tami Hart, the Spitfires, Tullycraft, B-Mello, Cobra High, Randy Schlager, Bobby O, Venus Hum, MC Queen Lucky, Evan Blackstone, and the RC5, among many, many others.
This short list, taken semi-randomly from the pages of The Stranger's music calendar, is designed to illustrate a point that is both facile and essential to reckoning the effects of the Bali bombings. Many of you were at these shows, dancing, smoking, drinking, talking, flirting, kissing, groping, and presumably enjoying yourselves, much like the 180-plus tourists and revelers killed at the Sari Club and Paddy's Irish Pub in Bali. Though no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the bombings, they were almost certainly the work of Muslim radicals launching the latest volley in the war against apostasy.
Whether the attacks turn out to have been the work of al Qaeda or one of the like-purposed, loosely connected, multicellular organizations that function in the region--groups like the Jemaah Islamiyah (an umbrella network that seeks a single Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore), the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (led by the nefarious Abu Bakar Bashir), Laskar Jihad (which waged holy war on Christians in the Spice Islands before mysteriously disbanding two weeks ago), or the Islam Defenders Front (which makes frequent "sweeps" of bars and nightclubs, attacking non-Muslims, and violently guarding against "prostitution and other bad things")--will ultimately prove to be of little consequence. What matters is that the forces of Islamic fascism have struck again, in a characteristically cowardly, murderous, and yes, blasphemous fashion that must register as an affront to every living human with even a passing interest in freedom.
The facile part: It could have happened here, at any club in Seattle. It's a ludicrous thought, of course--at least as ludicrous as the thought of shutting the Space Needle down on New Year's Eve because some crazy terrorist was arrested at the Canadian border--but that doesn't make it any less true. That doesn't mean we should be looking over our shoulders and under our chairs every time we go to a show. It simply means that it could happen anywhere, because anywhere is exactly where rabid Islamists can find evidence of blasphemy against their precious, imaginary god.
Which brings us to the essential part: The Bali bombings were not an attack against Bali; they were an attack against humankind. In all the jawflap about the whys and wherefores of the multiple conflicts currently dotting our collective radar screen--the war against terror, the war on Iraq, the coming holy war, et al.--it seems worth restating (at the risk of sounding pious) that the war against basic human liberty, waged not by us but on us, is at the heart of the matter. Discourse has justifiably, necessarily turned to complexities of strategy, diplomacy, and consequences. The moral truth, however, remains agonizingly basic. We are still dealing with a small but indefatigable contingent of radicalized, militant absolutists who believe that every living being is accountable to the stricture of Shari'a, under penalty of death. As Salman Rushdie wrote, in an oft-cited Washington Post editorial, the fundamentalist faction is against, "to offer a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex." If these were fictional villains, you'd call them hyperbolic, not believable. But they aren't fictional. Their code would be laughable if it weren't so aggressively despicable.
As headlines about Bali cross-fade into news of North Korean nukes, and there are further debates about the finer points of Iraqi de- and restabilization, it's crucial to remember that there is, in fact, a very real enemy, with a very real will, and the very real power of delusional self-righteousness. How to remember? Consider the scene of the attacks (as reported by various Australian and European news sources):
It's a typical hot, sweaty, drunken, lascivious Saturday night. People, primarily young Aussie tourists from Melbourne, Geelong, Perth, and Adelaide, are crammed into the clubs, mixing it up, spilling out into the street. Rock band noises mix with techno music and innumerable voices as latecomers clamor to squeeze inside. Just after 11:00 p.m., a car bomb explodes outside of Paddy's, followed a few seconds later by a second blast that smashes the façade of the Sari Club and leaves a hole in the street a meter deep and 10 meters across. The second bomb is strong enough to damage buildings miles away. All at once, everything's on fire. People are incinerated. Cars go up in flames. Televisions explode. Ceilings collapse, trapping those still inside. Screams. Blistered, charred flesh. Disembodied limbs. Mangled bodies. Victims covered in blood. Inferno.
Now transpose this horrible, fiery mass murder from the seedy, alien lushness of Bali to, say, Pioneer Square, where clubs and bars are lined up in the same teeming proximity as the Sari and Paddy's in the "raunchy" Jalan Legian district, the busiest strip of nightlife in Kuta Beach. Imagine a car blowing up outside the Central Saloon and another, across the street at the New Orleans. Again, it seems too simple an equation, but the fact remains that the victims were not targeted at random, or for merely political purposes. They were doing exactly what any of us might be doing on any night of the week: exercising a liberty so deeply offensive to religious believers as to constitute blasphemy. And the punishment for blasphemy is death.
There is an ongoing lie in the official governmental position on the war against terror, which bends over backwards to assure us that, in the words of our president, "we don't view this as a war of religion in any way, shape, or form." Clearly, in every sense, this is a war of religion, whether it's declared as such or not. And if it isn't, then it certainly should be. Not a war of one religion against another, but of reason against religion--against any belief system that takes its mandate from an invisible spiritual entity and endows its followers with the right to murder or subjugate anyone who fails to come to the same conclusion. This is the war our enemies are fighting. To pretend we're fighting any other--or worse, that this war is somehow not worth fighting, on all fronts--is to dishonor the innocent dead.
Like any of this mattters.
It does matter! It is invigorating to me to be able to discuss such a wide variety of topics - in so great a depth - with other people who truly care.
I suspect that is why Free Republic is addictive.
It matters. If you really think it doesn't, then why did you ping us to the illegal immigration thread?
So what does God want us to do?
I don't know, but if I was a betting man, and God is a loving Presence that cares about humans, than I would bet he doesn't want His Gospels to be used to justify hounding and murdering jews for another 1000 years.
And I would further bet that God doesn't want His Children standing smugly on ceremony, certain that their understanding of His Word is the one correct understanding--tut-tuting at all those nasty Nazi's and Crusaders and Inquisitors who murdered in his name, justified by His Word.
If the German Lutherans, who bore the brunt of the guilt in Germany for setting the stage for eliminationist sentiment, can do something to make moral repair and amend their Gospels, it isn't unwarranted to expect the the rest of the christian world could do so without dying of hemmorage.
Love never fails ( 1 Corinthians 13:8)
"Love never fails because those who place themselves under its governance are beautified by it. If you have a friend, or family member that is committed to the love of Christ, you know that love never fails."
"If you know anyone, living in... bitter circumstances---and they have not grown bitter, you know love never fails."
"In the cut and thrust of public life, is there someone you know, who never repays evil for evil? Love does not fail. If you know someone who spends her days giving care to people who have no way of paying her back, you know love does not fail."
"There is a temptation to think of force and violence as strong, and love as soft and weak. The opposite is true. Violence always fails. It cannot achieve what it sets out to achieve. It makes no friends, builds no characters. On the contrary it disintegrates personalities. Was Ghandi weak? Was Mother Theresa weak? Was Christ weak?"
"Love never fails."
Ever the burnt hand goes wabbling back to the fire. We already had this discussion on another thread.
Consider the case of the barber who shaves himself. I can make a court case out of this. Suppose the barber is a genuine person, genuinely being sued for false advertisement. How will the judge, using logic, determine whether this is false advertising? The barber was genuine in his commitment to his advertised claim, genuinely lives in the village in question, is genuinely a man who needs shaving. If the judge is constrained to logic alone, he must process the syllogism to determine whether the barber is guilty of false advertising.
As I pointed out previously, there are many real world examples of this problem existent in working programs, which we refuse to trash because they are expensive and useful, but which contain elements that unavoidably recurse in the matter of the barber's paradox. The example I gave you was from a language translator--most existing comprehensive language translators contain such entities--cyclic definitions that cannot therefore be resolved. A literal take on the dictionary would yield the same results. If you tried to expand a dictionary's definition by looking up and substituting all the definions in the dictionary for each word in a given definition, you'd get the same thing.
these problems aren't meaningless--they represent areas in an otherwise valid formally correct engine where you can't go with any hope of returning with a logical result. Since you can't vanquish them, and you can't resolve them, you can't say their universe is confined to either A or NOT(A), so the predicate (A AND NOT(A)) is unknown, and the principal of identity is undemonstratable. Furthermore, they are not meaningless, they are a behavior we can observe that tells us something we can act on to improve our circumstances ie. the code is hung up.
As a matter of intuition, I agree that the principle of Identity is a sound one to maintain, for most practical issues in the gross universe. As a formal basis for developing any overarching notions of how the universe works, it is useless, because it is, by or current lights, demonstrably wrong for things that are very small, and things that are very subjective, and things that are very unamenable to being usefully represented as sets, such as our charming selves' inner workings.
As you are prone to, you vastly overstate my case. If you are going to make any global assertions about the law of identity, it is you, and not I who has a burden of proof. I, of course, have never made anything remotely like explicit claims to an "irrevocable proof", simply because I haven't put "I think" or "I believe" in front of every statement--despite your attempts to make that reading of the question stick in our last thread on this subject. Since conditional acceptance of claims is the scientific norm in this century, no such warrant is required of normal speech.
These very assertions are type violations with themselves. They are, therefore, contradictions, and therefore, invalid. The viewpoint is faulty.
And this is just silly. Pointing out the existence of, say, the sentence "This sentence is FALSE", does not, in some mysterious way, somehow make the act of said pointing out paradoxical.
Love never fails, as long as love isn't asked to do much of anything useful. For that, you also need brains and ambition and loyalty and duty. Such as the duty of noral repair for damage that's been done in your name, with your adopted instrument of love.
The one thing that drives me out of the catholic church every time I try to attend is this attitude of moral blankness--jesus's moral whiteout of love. A little less love, and little more responsibility wouldn't hurt...bunch of feckless 60s flower children...grumble, grumble, grumble...
No, it is not. Stop making these absolutist claims about my position. I have had to ask this of you far too often. If we don't have an absolute understanding of the universe, then we also don't have an absolute understanding that the Law of Identity is universally correct, either as an ontological or an epistemological claim. It presently does not appear to be universally correct, in that we have innumerable counter-examples before us. It is correct, for those cases where it is correct--which is a small mathematically tractable subset of the entire universe--that's the best claim you are entitled to make at the moment.
This is an easy question to resolve without touching on the Law of Identity, however, this is not the question at issue.
The question at issue is, why does the one buckyball diffract with itself as if it had gone through both slits at once? This is called the problem of entanglement, and the later experiments inspired by Bell have verified this, as they say, non-locality of physical events, over and over. Einstein's "hidden variables" that would someday change this non-locality into an illusion (much to your relief) look like a pretty distant hope at this point.
No. We disagree sharply here. The acceptance of a domain of discourse is not necessarily an act of logic, to which the Law of Identity need be brought meaningfully to bear. It is an act of faith, whose anticedents can be quite vague and unreliable.
Once you accept a domain of discourse as governed by the laws of a specific realistic logic: elemental constraints, axioms of logic and predicates, you are governed by these axioms of logic, including the Law of Identity, for anything you want to discuss within that domain.
Outside that, the law of identity is just a fairly reliable, but not universal heuristic, not unlike your mother's admonition to brush your teeth, go to bed early, and don't believe the fast-talking salesman who says pigs can turn into swans in a instant.
For the readers who skipped your post, please read the following excerpts
The overwhelming majority of Moslem religious authorities who have spoken out on the subject, including those at the main mosque in Mecca and Egypts prestigious Al Azar University, either endorse or rationalize acts of terrorism. On a day when Americans were incinerated or buried under tons of rubble, Muslims from Nigeria to Indonesia, celebrated in the streets.
Genocide in the Sudan, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, religious persecution in Saudi Arabia, calls for another holocaust in mosques from Mecca to Gaza, the imposition of Islamic law in Nigeria, forced conversions in Indonesia, synagogues burned in France, Jews attacked across Europe these are everyday events, as Third World and much of the First slowly turns Islamic green.
The reason lies partly with our absurd foreign policy. We have declared certain Moslem nations to be our loyal allies including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. We would not want to offend these dear friends by saying something unflattering about their bloody, butcherly, dark ages faith.
Our shamful politicians in an attempt to be friend with Egypt, which considers Sudan her sphere of influence, we looked the other way for twenty years as they slaughtered millions of Christians. The entire horn of africa became the killing field for Christians. Since our government is not Christian, and the enemies are Moslem governments, they use their government resources to exterminate the Christians without opposition from us, the non-Christian nation!
"They're like Napoleon's army in Moscow. They have occupied a lot of territory, and they think they've won the war. And yet they are very exposed in a hostile climate with a population that's very much unfriendly."
"That's the case with the Darwinists in the United States. The majority of the people are skeptical of the theory. And if the theory starts to waver a bit, it could all collapse, as Napoleon's army did in a rout."
Consider the case of the barber...The example I gave you was from a language translator...
A link to this previous discussion on another thread would be most welcomed.
About 15 years ago, I wrote the software to control a high temperature optical fiber thermometor based on the Black Body phenomenon. It used Planck's Constant directly to derive the temperature from the photons emitted by the iridium painted tip of the fiber as it combusted. Other techniques using other, more traditionally built thermometers were used to verify the accuracy of my thermometer.
Planck's equation was consulted by the developers of the Eber's-Moll equations that describe how a solid state transistor works, before Intel implemented the very first of them to be used commercially. The very transistors that gate your computer onto the internet so you can be happily typing away here.
Planck's equation was fundamental in astronomy. We treated the stars as if they were Black Bodies, (which they are) for the purpose of simulateously deriving their actual magnetudes, temperatures, and distance, using Planck's Equation. This is why we can map the heavens with authority, and this mapping has been too extensively verified by secondary considerations, such as the relationships of stellar novas and interstellar dust concentrations, to be likely to be coming into question anytime soon.
It's barely conceivable that it's bad math or bad physics, but that's looking like a pretty poor bet just now.
Starting somewhere between post #700 and #1000, I think.
you deserve them.
It does matter! It is invigorating to me to be able to discuss such a wide variety of topics - in so great a depth - with other people who truly care.
do you have to disagree with everything i say? (just kidding) It matters because we are communicating, we are forced to think about what we are saying, forced to think about how to refine it, and to refine our writing skills. (for those that try and care) This is all to the good. I suspect that is why Free Republic is addictive.
This is a big problem for me. It is far too addictive. But it is a good thing. I've learned so much in the short time I've been here since I found this place.