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.
As I've asked you before, how is the law of identity employed to teach me the motor skill of bicycle-riding? The law of identity can help me process the question of whether it makes sense to go bicycle riding today, but it cannot help me apprehend bicycle riding. Bicycle riding skill is a continuous domain activity of the right brain. It is not in any mathematically sensible way divisible into sets, so set-theoretic constructs like (A AND NOT(A)) have no obvious meaning or application here. The law of identity is about discrete domains, which you can divide up into sets you can put labels like A and NOT(A) on. That is one the reasons my inner workings are not subject to the law of identity: I can be both happy and not(happy) over the very same event, and the very same time. I am too complex, and too riddled with inherent type violations (like my ability to think about thinking about thinking about something) to be constrained, en toto, by the rules of logic. I am large, I contain multitudes.
Just when I think nobody is paying any attention. I was being frivilous, and now that I think back on it, part of me may have been testing. When I get discouraged I do that sometimes, without really focusing on it consciously. Like recently somebody asked me in an offhand manner to do some math in my head, I just kind of thought about it for a second, got a sort of a feel without really figuring it out, and just spit out a number. It was wrong but exactly double. That statement was made in that kind of state, frustrated with some of the conversations I've had recently, wondering why I bother.
And that was the perfect link, you obviously know me well enough to know I'd agree with it. For whatever disagreement I may have with content, I can't argue with the process. They know what they are about. That is all anybody can ask.
As predicted, you are all over the map with your posts, filling them with irrational nonsense that is anything but the subject at hand. Assertion upon assertion, with no content at all to back them up. This is the only statement you have made that actually means anything. You, who would argue for mathematics, science and evolution, believe what you believe as an act of faith!
I rest my case, it is the Faith of donh. Fine. Weave and dodge and dance all you want. There is nothing I can say logically that will convince you, because your view isn't based upon reason, it is based upon a faith. What you are saying is you believe what you believe because you want to, it is an act of faith.
Live there if you want, I don't want to.
Let me point out, as politely as I can, that this is obvious nonsense. I have submitted a dozen explicit use examples, which were quite obviously on the point of the subject to hand: the scope of the Identity Law, about which I have gone on at substantial length, not one counterexample of which you have managed to answer effectively except with sarcastic piffle, such as your explanation of the barber paradox that the barber doesn't grow a beard. Or with the same sort of omnibus vague dismissiveness this is an example of.
This is the only statement you have made that actually means anything. You, who would argue for mathematics, science and evolution, believe what you believe as an act of faith!
Yes, that is precisely correct. Unless you are ready to submit the formal written proof of the law of gravity, or any other laws of natural science, I accept that gravity works as a matter of inductive faith in the consistency of what was previously observed or successfully explained. From one quite reasonable point of view, shared widely by natural scientists, I might add, the difference between this and faith in God's Plan is only a matter of preference (which, again, you cannot provide a proof of the necessity of) for more accessible, objectively sharable material evidence.
If you had anything other than faith at the fundamental base your acceptance of reason itself, you would have caughed up the formal proof of, say, the Law of Identity, the first time I asked for it. Without a formal proof, you are accepting things because of inductive arguments and evidence, which themselves have no formal deductive base--we accept that they work on faith. Nowhere is there a proof of the adequacy of inductive reasoning, and science is riff with old examples of inductive reasoning, accompanied by massive confirmations which, nonetheless, proved inadequate eventually; most especially including the inductive reasoning, and inductive history of successful examples of the use of--that make us confident that we should trust--formal Aristotalian deductive logic.
because your view isn't based upon reason, it is based upon a faith
This is a false dichotomy. Submit your formal proof that reason excludes faith, or vice versa.
This is Randian cant, without a hint of common sense to it, much less any demonstrated proof. Preachers and professors of theology reason all the time--way too much for my tastes, in fact. Just as scientists commit acts of faith all the time. Are you under the impression that any of our great scientists were driven by logic to found new branches of science? Sciences are founded by acts of faith--logic only comes along after the fact to aid in determining the accuracy and scope of the miraculous insight. Before Newton's synthesis in "The Principia", the laws of classical physics were not available for examination using the tools of logic. Only after Newton's insight could bench-checking and verification be performed.
Logic does not ride bicycles, logic does not have empathy, logic cannot remember what it felt like to go to school for the first time, logic does not engage in dream-state visual tone poems about apples falling from trees, or elevators falling in gravity wells, and derive laws of the universe from them.
Only inexact, fuzzy-brained, mathematically uncompliant, logically indifferent creatures such as ourselves can do that.
I rest my case,
I'll believe that when I see it.
it is the Faith of donh. Fine. Weave and dodge and dance all you want. There is nothing I can say logically that will convince you, because your view isn't based upon reason, it is based upon a faith. What you are saying is you believe what you believe because you want to, it is an act of faith.
Once again we are in total agreement, at a high decibel level. Outside the domain of formal proofs, anything you believe requires a measure of faith in something. If you don't have deductive proof, you have faith. Worse still, you believe in deductive proof because of faith founded on successful examples in use ie. induction. To my knowledge, no one has ever submitted a proof that wasn't inductive, of the principal that A=A.
Any time you wish to make me eat my words, just submit the non-tautological, formal deductive proof that A=A, or of the law of gravity, or of the law of entropy, or any other natural law.
I agree, transforming a Mosque with women and children into a war inciting place means that it is not a religion but a political force desguised with pseudo-religious tenets. There is no church like sanctuary in Islam, all is fought between mosques and churches.
Your "common usage" differs from the dictonary usage (which I posted and you ignored) and any usage that I grew up with in my Protestant family. It would seem your "common usage" is not so common.
Your "encycopedic evidence" contradicts rather than supports your view as anyone able to read can tell. Your evidence from some apparently Catholic publication states "...Pharisaism became practically synonymous with Judaism" NOT 'Pharisaism is synonymous with Jusaism'. Even if this source had said what you claim, you'd have to convince me to accept it as an authority on the definition of "Pharisee". I can't remember that last time I referred to a Catholic encyclopedia for matters of fact rather than Catholic dogma.
How long will you stand on this petifogging issue before you manage to think of something meaningful to say?
Until my fascination runs out with someone who can deny 1+1=2, metaphorically speaking.
Apparently you are supposing that there are somehow 2 buckyballs created out of one, which, if true, may be construed as a violation of identity I suppose. However, quantum physics does not say that a 2nd bucky ball is created. It merely describes the properties of the buckyball as being such that under the right conditions, it (as a single 'identifiable' entity) passes through both slits. This isn't unique to buckyballs, but is property of all matter, easily demonstrable only with very small particles, and with photons.
The way matter interacts on a quantum level may seem different than the world of classical physics that we commonly experience, but it is most definitely not a violation of any logical precepts.
It's an interesting spin, but you are definitely in a class of your own to interpret the wave nature of matter as violating the law of identity.
From this day forth, on the wise advice of donh, I will delete the word "practically" whereever it is found.
"Doctor, he's practically dead" now equals "Doctor, he's dead." Cremate him.
"Captain, we're practically to port" now equals "Captain, we're to port." Disembark.
"Sir, the enemy is practically in range" now equals "Sir, the enemy is in range." Fire!
"Mr. Vice President, you've practically won this election" equals "Mr. Vice President, you've won this election." Victory speech!
"Bob, you're practically a father" now equals "Bob, you're a father!" Change its diaper.
"Donh is practically a mule, he's so stubborn" now equals "Donh is a mule, he's so stubborn." Hee haw.
Precious? Uhh, you got me there. Alamo-girl is precious. But what does that have to do with anything?
Your posts have indeed been informative; they are also provocative (e.g. #1350.) Thank you!!!
Speak for yourself, and yourself alone.
Well, we weren't, but thanks anyway. There were several very interesting statements in the article, but I don't care anymore.
Got that right. Only 'practically' everyone else in the world of mathematics and logic argrees, except those that are wrong.
and every single time this is pointed out to you, you reify the law of identity into a law of nature. It is your error that you insist upon making, and then, in turn accuse others of making.