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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Those Goddamn Sandy Hook Truthers Got Their Hooks In Denard Span

If you don’t know what a Sandy Hook Truther is, take a moment to read Max Read of Gawker’s illuminating look into their strange world. Basically, they are people who believe that the Sandy Hook shooting was actually some kind of elaborate hoax perpretrated by the government, because everything is an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the government in the eyes of these crazies. YouTube videos alleging such a hoax have been popping up all over the internet, poisoning the minds of people like Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span.

Pay no attention, Span.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:49 PM | 369 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: denard span, gun control, nationals, sandy hook, truthers, twins

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   301. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4350303)
What you're describing sounds more like Wahhabism to me, rather than being applicable to Islamic culture as a whole.


This is an excellent summation. Islamic culture is not Wahhabism. Thank you.
   302. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 06:57 PM (#4350306)
that there is too much of a hair-trigger response of "bigotry!" when someone dares criticize a non-Western culture.


I called it bigotry because it uses an ignorant understanding of and conflation between both religion and culture to paint an entire culture as "backwards looking" and unlikely to foster innovation or advancement when the generally accepted historical record shows how wrong that stance is. He implied directly in #290 that countries with Muslim cultures are backwards and poor due to their Muslim culture. #296 is precisely correct in saying "What you're describing sounds more like Wahhabism . . .rather than being applicable to Islamic culture as a whole." The bigotry comes in using that sole definition of Islam to describe their entire religious and cultural history. #296 also put much more directly and clearly what I've been trying to argue, that from a factual standpoint it's a tendentious reading of the entirety of Muslim culture, especially when you're comparing say 17th century Spain with 17th century Mughal India.

eta: And to be clear, I not only think but know that many modern Islamic fundamentalists would have wanted to tear down and destroy almost all of the major Islamic cultures for being way too open to change and difference and innovation. It's ascribing their nutjob interpretation of the Quran to all the brilliant and varied forms of Islam both historically and today, and stating that it's the singular most important thing that's lead to the comparative decline of the Islamic world.
   303. The Good Face Posted: January 18, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4350311)
Assuming you don't want this site to just be a liberal circle jerk, I would think that you would want the conversation to include more snappers and less Kehoskies to improve the intellectual level of the discourse. The way you just treated snapper, I don't see why he (or anyone like him) sticks around.


That's a mighty big assumption.

   304. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 18, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4350330)
I am glad for sites like that this that allow for deeper discussions about various topics such as history of which I am fan. My one criticism would be one which has been mentioned a few times in that instead of getting to the reasons why a certain viewpoint might be wrong, there can be a tendency to figure it would be easier to score points by name calling and insults. I realized even though I love to read these discussions that it can be intimidating when one wants to post because of the possibility of a torrent of crap one could get splattered with whether it is justified or not.
   305. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4350335)
Islamic culture is not Wahhabism.

No, but polygamy and severe restrictions on women are found in non-Wahhabi Islamic culture. Don't think you're going to play well in the modern age while hanging on to that.
   306. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4350347)
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Sam.

for the sake of honesty, I *do* side with Grenada and the learning centers of al-Andalusa historically, against the reactionary forces of militant Catholicism which was driving the Reconquista in the Iberian peninsula. I do this for the same reasons I side with the Greens over the mullahs in Iran, and the secular rationalists over the Tea Party reactionaries in today's US political arena. I side with learning and culture over reactionary religious fundamentalism by default. In the example given, culture and learning were represented best by the waning Muslim caliphate and opposed by the religious zeal of "Christendom." I don't think it's an academic fallacy to side with rationality where at all possible.


I think this is entirely reasonable. Indeed, I feel the same way, although I confess to having some difficulty admitting it because of a sense of protectiveness of those who I consider more directly my ancestors (though they're really not--my ancestors come from eastern and northern Europe as far as I know). I just felt like insulting either side from the comfortable perch of several hundred years on was a bit ungentlemanly.

This comment was two-fold. First, it was a direct rebuttal of the "we can write off the entire Golden Age of Islam because they were just cheating off of previous work and had no original thinkers" line of argument Snapper was running with. My point in that regard was to remind him that the long slog of history is constant recycling and rebuilding of previous work, and that European "culture" was hardly built from scratch in that regard. In the second part of that fold, I intentionally called out Aquinas because 1) I think Aquinas is poorly cribbed notes on Aristotle and 2) it was a direct body blow to Snapper due to the Catholic connection.


Yes, that was one that bothered me with no real justification.

the advancements of the post-Enlightenment era have less to do with the fact that we're "culturally Christian" or whatever, and more to do that the German Enlightenment destroyed Christendom and Islam in a way that Islam has yet to accept.


The post-Enlightenment era yes. The Enlightenment itself not necessarily, but it would take a long time to discuss that. Certainly you're right to draw the parallel, or lack thereof, between the nominally Christian and Islamic worlds and their acceptance of modern philosophy's marginalization of religion in determining morality and ethics. The middle ages show that Islam has no monopoly on attempting to quell certain kinds of progress, and also that Christianity has no monopoly on aiding and abetting progress. I think that the character of a religion--liberal and progressive or conservative and repressive--has more to do with technological and geopolitical forces than with the tenets of the religion itself, inasmuch as there's such a thing as "the tenets," which isn't necessarily all that much. The Bible, especially in the Old Testament, says a lot of things, as we all know, that most Christians today don't practice, and would be widely shunned if they did. In the 12th century, Islam may have been more open, and in the 21st century, Christianity (broadly, not absolutely and in all cases, obviously) is. The clear reason why is that in the 12th century the Islamic world was "on top" technologically and economically, and knew it was. It wasn't scared and befuddled and feeling the need to retrench to core values. Now a prominent part of it, and by far the most prominently covered by the media, is feeling that way, while the dominant and most visible part of the predominantly Christian world (which also isn't all of it) is feeling secure in its economic and political ascendency, so it can loosen up and allow atheism, women's rights, etc. The character of the religion didn't have a lot, or anything, to do with those developments, but rather has reflected them.

I say that as someone who considers himself somewhere between agnostic, Christian, and "believes in essentially all religions," but also with a strong atheist streak, which is to say befuddled, but in an open minded way.

No worries. The pits get bloody sometimes.


Thank you for your forgiveness.
   307. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4350360)
I am glad for sites like that this that allow for deeper discussions about various topics such as history of which I am fan. My one criticism would be one which has been mentioned a few times in that instead of getting to the reasons why a certain viewpoint might be wrong, there can be a tendency to figure it would be easier to score points by name calling and insults. I realized even though I love to read these discussions that it can be intimidating when one wants to post because of the possibility of a torrent of crap one could get splattered with whether it is justified or not.


I think a lot of the barbs an insults that the regulars throw at each other are often misinterpreted by non-combatants as more mean-spirited and personal than they actually are. If you want to know whether or not I feel I know you well enough as a human being for our intellectual or academic internet debates to move beyond "a guy on a website" to "one of the many imaginary friends I've made on the internet over the years," ask yourself "has Sam ever called me an idiot or otherwise insulted me?" If I haven't, I probably don't know you or trust you well enough to take the gloves off and treat you like a true, old-school Usenetter.

I vehemently disagree with an asston of #### Snapper says. I still think of him as a friend. Even when he's so gobsmackingly wrong as in this thread. As for use of the term "bigoted," I don't know of a better term to describe what I've seen over the last couple of pages or argumentation, and I've been told by many a rightward leaning friends that it's stupid and PC to use weak language to describe what you see in the world just to save "feelings" or risk "offense." YMMV, of course.
   308. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4350362)
No, but polygamy and severe restrictions on women are found in non-Wahhabi Islamic culture. Don't think you're going to play well in the modern age while hanging on to that.


What we're seeing with militant Islam and it's current explosion of violence is exactly the reactionary kneejerk of repressive, "conservative" religious culture being faced with modernity. The "west" has had a few hundred years to sort things out somewhat slowly, and notably, when we went through our massively violent anti-modernity phase (more or less the Protestant Reformation...ish) the level of tech was such that a few dedicated throwbacks couldn't kill hundreds, thousands or millions in a single flash.
   309. BDC Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4350363)
This comment is not really directed at anyone in particular, but at the common notion that some civilizations are "ahead" or "behind" others, "leading the way" or "falling behind." I think that people have a great need for spirituality, and sometimes forego material progress in favor of other, less tangible rewards. I was struck recently, reading Greg Woolf's recent book Rome, by his treatment of St Augustine and the notion that for many Roman citizens in the late Empire, the City of God really did become more important than building the next monument or villa, or making the next fortune, or owning the next huge bunch of slaves. I would never apologize for the insanely evil stuff some religionists do, but I think it's a wholly understandable and satisfying notion that some groups at times choose contemplation over getting and spending.
   310. CrosbyBird Posted: January 18, 2013 at 09:15 PM (#4350371)
the advancements of the post-Enlightenment era have less to do with the fact that we're "culturally Christian" or whatever, and more to do that the German Enlightenment destroyed Christendom and Islam in a way that Islam has yet to accept.

But why? Is there not something to the idea that Christianity, even if it had to be dragged by force into modernity, eventually changed because of cultural differences? Why didn't the secular folks in the Islamic world force the same sort of acceptance on Islam?

Or was it simply luck and geography? Does systematic worldview-changing insight just randomly happen, like a cultural mutation? Could a great leap forward like the Enlightenment have just as easily happened in the Islamic world?

I lack the historical knowledge necessary to be much of a participant in this discussion, but I'm genuinely curious. If not cultural differences, then why did things shift?
   311. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4350375)
The Enlightenment itself not necessarily, but it would take a long time to discuss that. Certainly you're right to draw the parallel, or lack thereof, between the nominally Christian and Islamic worlds and their acceptance of modern philosophy's marginalization of religion in determining morality and ethics. The middle ages show that Islam has no monopoly on attempting to quell certain kinds of progress, and also that Christianity has no monopoly on aiding and abetting progress. I think that the character of a religion--liberal and progressive or conservative and repressive--has more to do with technological and geopolitical forces than with the tenets of the religion itself, inasmuch as there's such a thing as "the tenets," which isn't necessarily all that much.


I think this is the nub of the argument, and I agree with you. I think a lot of people in the west conflate religious identity with the intellectual history of "the west" and the "progress of western civilization." I think Snapper is particularly bad about this. Having thought it through a bit, here's my attempt to sum up what I take the Eurocentric view, as espoused by Snapper, to be, and why I think it's wrong.

Eurocentricism tends to view the intellectual and cultural history of Western Civilization* as a sort of pendulum motion, geographically. It starts in Athens with the Greeks, moves west to Rome and the empire where it attaches to Christianity, then swings back east to Constantinople where it held out until the Islamic invasions scattered it to the winds. Western Civilization, in this view of history, was then dormant during the "Dark Ages" as Islam ruled the Mediterranean world, until Christendom pulled itself back up by its bootstraps, drove the invading alien hordes from Europe (the Reconquista) and rebuild itself and the glory of the West during the Renaissance. Then comes the Enlightenment, then the Germans, then modernity, etc. I believe this view of history is fundamentally flawed.

Western Civilization didn't disperse when Constantinople became Istanbul. It simply detached from Christianity and attached to Islam for a period of about a thousand years. The centers of the western tradition didn't fade out when Mehmed II took the Bosporus, it simply attained another sponsor for a mellinnium. Our history isn't a pendulum back and forth across the northern Mediterranean. It is a circuit of the Sea itself. From Athens, to Rome, to Constantinople/Istanbul, to Baghdad, to Grenada/Paris, to London and forward. Islamic history isn't a competitor to the history of the West. Islamic history is part and parcel to the intellectual history of the West. There aren't three threads of history - European/Western Civ, Islamic civ and "Eastern" civ (i.e. China.) There are only two. European-Islamic Western tradition, and the eastern tradition(s.) (Yes, I am intentionally ignoring the history of the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa.)

The Renaissance wasn't a phoenix like rebirth of the Roman tradition in Europe. It was just another migration of the Athenian tradition back around the Medi from Islamic North Africa back into Christian Spain/France/Italy. The only reason we pretend otherwise is because in 1453 the official seat of our civilization transferred religions. If you can break yourself of the casual habit of identifying our intellectual history and culture with a religious identity, I think this becomes obvious.

*I use that construction specifically
   312. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 18, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4350379)
I basically agree with your 311, Sam.

As for Crosby's 310, I do think that there may could been something about the religions involved that either caused or allowed the enlightenment to happen where and when it did, but I don't know. It's hard to investigate a question like that when opening the matter for discussion risks immediately triggering a political conflagration. The enlightenment happened long enough after western Europe had passed the Islamic world technologically that there isn't any historical test case. There's no reason that I know of to think that if the technological positions were reversed, something like the enlightenment wouldn't have happened in the latter rather than the former, presumably with the accompanying liberalization and modernization of the religion. I think that the changes to the practice of the religion would definitely have to happen, though. Philosophy follows technology.
   313. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4350386)
But why? Is there not something to the idea that Christianity, even if it had to be dragged by force into modernity, eventually changed because of cultural differences? Why didn't the secular folks in the Islamic world force the same sort of acceptance on Islam?


I don't think there's a notable difference in *degree* of reactionary blow-back. I think the primary difference is in the timing of the blow-back, and the level of mayhem throwbacks can reek on the world at large due to the technologies of modern asymmetrical war. I also think the only reason the Westboro Baptist Church isn't as violent as al-Queda is exclusively due to the fact that the west has spent the last 500 years defanging Christianity whereas Islam has spent the last 500 years in decline, and as all empires in decline tend to do, embracing reactionary nostalgia to salve the shame of not being a dominant world culture any longer.

In short, I think it's the chance of history, not a particular factor of Abrahamic Religion Sub 2 vs Abrahamic Religion Sub 3.
   314. zenbitz Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4350394)
France had a population 5 or 6 times that of England, and was far wealthier. They had no chance to match them militarily.


But the British empire was vastly more successful due to the inherent superiority of Protestant culture over the Catholic. #snapperLogic
   315. zenbitz Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4350402)
Homework over the 3 day weekend: Everyone read "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson. See you tuesday!
   316. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4350404)
I think this is the nub of the argument, and I agree with you. I think a lot of people in the west conflate religious identity with the intellectual history of "the west" and the "progress of western civilization." I think Snapper is particularly bad about this. Having thought it through a bit, here's my attempt to sum up what I take the Eurocentric view, as espoused by Snapper, to be, and why I think it's wrong.

Eurocentricism tends to view the intellectual and cultural history of Western Civilization* as a sort of pendulum motion, geographically. It starts in Athens with the Greeks, moves west to Rome and the empire where it attaches to Christianity, then swings back east to Constantinople where it held out until the Islamic invasions scattered it to the winds. Western Civilization, in this view of history, was then dormant during the "Dark Ages" as Islam ruled the Mediterranean world, until Christendom pulled itself back up by its bootstraps, drove the invading alien hordes from Europe (the Reconquista) and rebuild itself and the glory of the West during the Renaissance. Then comes the Enlightenment, then the Germans, then modernity, etc. I believe this view of history is fundamentally flawed.

Western Civilization didn't disperse when Constantinople became Istanbul. It simply detached from Christianity and attached to Islam for a period of about a thousand years. The centers of the western tradition didn't fade out when Mehmed II took the Bosporus, it simply attained another sponsor for a mellinnium. Our history isn't a pendulum back and forth across the northern Mediterranean. It is a circuit of the Sea itself. From Athens, to Rome, to Constantinople/Istanbul, to Baghdad, to Grenada/Paris, to London and forward. Islamic history isn't a competitor to the history of the West. Islamic history is part and parcel to the intellectual history of the West. There aren't three threads of history - European/Western Civ, Islamic civ and "Eastern" civ (i.e. China.) There are only two. European-Islamic Western tradition, and the eastern tradition(s.) (Yes, I am intentionally ignoring the history of the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa.)

The Renaissance wasn't a phoenix like rebirth of the Roman tradition in Europe. It was just another migration of the Athenian tradition back around the Medi from Islamic North Africa back into Christian Spain/France/Italy. The only reason we pretend otherwise is because in 1453 the official seat of our civilization transferred religions. If you can break yourself of the casual habit of identifying our intellectual history and culture with a religious identity, I think this becomes obvious.


Wow.

Constantinople became Istanbul in 1453, so how could Christianity have "attached" itself to Islam for a thousand years after that?

And of course by 1453, Constantinople wasn't anything close to the cultural center of the West, Christianity, or Europe. It had shifted completely to the west and north to the aristocratic landholds and emerging nation-states. The religious "center" was Rome. The west was finally able to stop the Ottoman advances not long after, and not long after that came the expansion of the west to the Americas. The Protestant reformation took place in Northern Europe, a thousand miles from Constantinople. The Bosporus was a complete afterthought from which the West had long moved on.

Which isn't of course to say that there wasn't some interaction between the cultures and even some fusions, but to call the tradition European-Islamic Western isn't descriptive, it's ideological.
   317. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4350405)
Homework over the 3 day weekend: Everyone read "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson. See you tuesday!


Does reskimming it work if we've already read it?
   318. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4350407)
Constantinople became Istanbul in 1453, so how could Christianity have "attached" itself to Islam for a thousand years after that?


I acknowledge this was sloppy writing and conflated the general history of the Islamic Caliphates with the history of the Caliphates post-Istanbul.
   319. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4350409)
Which isn't of course to say that there wasn't some interaction between the cultures and even some fusions, but to call the tradition European-Islamic Western isn't descriptive, it's ideological.


I've acknowledged the error of conflating the history of Islam with the seige of Istanbul. I maintain the general arc of the _intellectual_ history of the west as going through Baghdad, rather than competing with Baghdad.
   320. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4350413)
Homework over the 3 day weekend: Everyone read "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson. See you tuesday!


Forget it, if I have to read one more treatise on fruit fly breeding I'll strangle a geneticist.
   321. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:40 PM (#4350417)
And since we've spent the day attempting, albeit somewhat orthogonally, to pry Snapper and Sugar out of their hermetically sealed bubbles of cultural assumption, here's a link called Can non-Europeans think? From al-Jezeera! Try not to pee yourself in fear of the Other, boys.
   322. CrosbyBird Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:17 AM (#4350424)
And since we've spent the day attempting, albeit somewhat orthogonally, to pry Snapper and Sugar out of their hermetically sealed bubbles of cultural assumption, here's a link called Can non-Europeans think? From al-Jezeera! Try not to pee yourself in fear of the Other, boys.

I would think it is a somewhat obvious point: the dominant culture in a particular area considers its own stuff to be "stuff" and the stuff that comes out of other cultures "other people's stuff." This isn't some special European tradition, it's everyone's natural tendency.

When choosing a place for dinner, we go to the "Mexican restaurant" or the "Chinese restaurant" or the "Thai restaurant" but never the "American restaurant." "American" food is the default, because we're in America. Do Italians go to the "Italian restaurant" or just the "restaurant"?
   323. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4350432)
When choosing a place for dinner, we go to the "Mexican restaurant" or the "Chinese restaurant" or the "Thai restaurant" but never the "American restaurant." "American" food is the default, because we're in America. Do Italians go to the "Italian restaurant" or just the "restaurant"?


Philosophy is not like dinner options. A claim to universal truth that must, by necessity, subvert and dominate all other theories of truth, is not like saying Americans just call American food "food."
   324. Delorians Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:59 AM (#4350444)
"I think a lot of the barbs an insults that the regulars throw at each other are often misinterpreted by non-combatants as more mean-spirited and personal than they actually are. "

If that is true, then I probably misjudged the group in 298, I apologize. I truly enjoy reading and learning here, 311 being a prime example.
   325. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 19, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4350446)
I called it bigotry because it uses an ignorant understanding...


Much of what we call bigotry is really just ignorance. And much of what we call ignorance actually is bigotry.
   326. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 02:29 AM (#4350447)
Much of what we call bigotry is really just ignorance.


If there is one thing Snapper tends not to be, it's ignorant.
   327. OCF Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:49 AM (#4350453)
I've actually taught a course (intended for prospective high school teachers) on the history of mathematics. It's all a broad-brush overview and appreciation, not any sort of careful examination of sources. And this is focused narrowly on mathematics rather than broadly on all scholarship. A few items from that course:

• Take a snapshot of the world in around 1000 or 1100. Look at five cultural regions: the Western Christian regions, the Eastern Christian regions, the Muslim regions, India, and China. Make a few broad observations about things like common languages (each region did at least have its own common language of scholarship), degree of political unification and centralization, and so on. Then ask things about mathematics in each region. (Understanding of course that all five regions had tiny pinpricks of scholarship within oceans of illiteracy.) Who has access to (and the ability to extend) the legacies of the likes of Euclid and Archimedes? (If you really want to study Euclid in the year 900, Baghdad would be a good choice of city.) Who uses a base-10 positional number system and has the methods (OK, algorithms) to compute with those numbers? That would be China, India, and the Muslim world. Who is the most distinguished or influential mathematician between 400 and 1000? Between 1000 and 1200? For the West, I take no one for the former and Fibonacci for the latter; for the Muslim world I take Al-Khwarizmi for the former and Omar Khayyam for the latter, and yes, both of them were Persian. If we are to say that after about the year 1500, nearly everything that matters is going to happen in just one of these five regions, it's sure not obvious that it will be the West. (I do not attempt to explain the reasons why that happened. Mostly, that's because I really don't know the answer.)

• The importance of Fibonacci is that he was an Arab-trained scholar (he learned his stuff in North Africa) who then brought Al-Khwarizmi and base-10 numbers to Western Europe.

• For the purposes of advancing scholarship in a particular city or region, there are advantages in being a multicultural crossroads. The Alexandria of Eratosthenes or Heron or Ptolemy was a multicultural crossroads. Baghdad in the House of Wisdom era was a multicultural crossroads. Paris in the mid to late 17th century was a multicultural crossroads. Spain was a multicultural crossroads when it mattered for translation.

• The astronomy and trigonometry experts of the House of Wisdom period in Baghdad successfully synthesized Hellenistic sources (e.g., Ptolemy) with Indian sources (e.g., Aryabhata).

• Say what you will about the Reconquista of Spain - for the most part, they didn't burn the libraries. The acts of translation that brought both Greek (via Arabic) and Arabic works into the Western word were centered in Spain. And scholars from many backgrounds mattered, including Jewish scholars who were relatively likely to be able to read Arabic.

• As mathematical scholarship in Europe picked up forward momentum through the 17th century, a curious dichotomy arose. There was an expressed ideology of scholarship that placed Euclid and deductive geometric reasoning on the highest pedestal. At the same time, the real advances were driven by something entirely new: manipulative symbolic algebra, and the willingness to push that perhaps harder than deduction and proof could keep up with. That didn't come from Euclid, and it only very, very distantly came from Al-Khwarizmi. It was really Europe's own innovation.
   328. Greg K Posted: January 19, 2013 at 05:54 AM (#4350457)
Interesting discussion, even if it didn't go in the direction I expected when I went to bed last night.

So many opportunities shunned in favour of the grand debate - Islam, was it all worth it? No takers on the move into Celtic kingdoms (I did find the Britain-impregnable notion kind of funny in that it's one of the more frequently conquered portions of Europe over a large part of the medieval period). MCoA's analysis of the explosion of British power in the 18th century is mostly passed over without comment...I guess because it doesn't easily fit into the "culture determines all" historical perspective. Hopefully OCF's mathematics history takes.

It's probably personal preference but I enjoy history the narrower it gets. Once you start talking about things as broad and vague as cultural which take place over centuries and apply them to places as geographically, socially, ethnically, (and dare I say) culturally diverse as Europe, or the Middle East...well you fast reach the point where you're sacrificing precision. It becomes more a political discussion that's merely using history as the host venue.
   329. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:03 AM (#4350458)
Assuming you don't want this site to just be a liberal circle jerk, ...

Ha ha. That's funny. Are you new here?

Anyway, there's nothing funnier than watching a bunch of lefties try to outdo each other with self-righteousness when someone has the temerity to suggest that all cultures aren't equal. Suddenly, they become like those dreaded Tea Party mouth-breathers who "ignore facts and evidence."
   330. Lassus Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:12 AM (#4350459)
Holy jesus, you are really boring.
   331. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:24 AM (#4350460)
Holy jesus, you are really boring.

Physician, heal thyself.
   332. formerly dp Posted: January 19, 2013 at 08:57 AM (#4350470)
Even if only for the pot-shots at Zizek, the article linked in #321 is worth the read.

Some really great posts in this thread, #327 and #311 in particular. Not the direction I expected the discussion to take...
   333. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4350477)
If there is one thing Snapper tends not to be, it's ignorant.


One can be very well read and very well informed and still ignorant of any number of important things. I certainly am, especially of much of what's been discussed in the last couple of pages of this thread. Snapper's problem is that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. (Joe's problem is that he doesn't care what he doesn't know.)
   334. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4350482)
Americans just call American food "food."


Just out of curiosity, because I'm not black (though it goes without saying that some of my best friends are, or at least were back in junior high & high school ... no doubt they still are, actually, but unfortunately I haven't seen them in decades), do black people refer to soul food restaurants, or do they just call them restaurants?
   335. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4350508)
Who is the most distinguished or influential mathematician between 400 and 1000? Between 1000 and 1200? For the West, I take no one for the former and Fibonacci for the latter; for the Muslim world I take Al-Khwarizmi for the former and Omar Khayyam for the latter, and yes, both of them were Persian.


I just want to jump in here and point out that calling out the fact that these men were both Persian is akin to calling out that Fibonacci was Italian. Yes, they were Persian. They were also Muslim. The idea that Ghiy?th ad-D?n Abu'l-Fat? ?Umar ibn Ibr?h?m al-Khayy?m N?sh?p?r? was Persian rather than Arabic in no way undermines the fact that he was a world-historic scholar who was himself Muslim and thrived during the heights of the Islamic Golden Age.
   336. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4350515)
Say what you will about the Reconquista of Spain - for the most part, they didn't burn the libraries. The acts of translation that brought both Greek (via Arabic) and Arabic works into the Western word were centered in Spain. And scholars from many backgrounds mattered, including Jewish scholars who were relatively likely to be able to read Arabic.


This is a good point, and one I concede to overselling for rhetorical sake. My point, at the heart of the matter, is that the Renaissance happened because the Reconquista reconquered Arabic centers of learning on the Iberian peninsula. The European intellectual awakening of the second millennium CE was built "on the shoulders of" the Islamic intellectual awakening of the Golden Age. Just as Newton stood on the shoulders of Copernicus, Copernicus stood atop Ibn al-Shatir. That doesn't detract from the genius of either of those men, simply acknowledges that learning and culture in the world did not disappear from 400-1000 CE.
   337. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4350523)
No takers on the move into Celtic kingdoms (I did find the Britain-impregnable notion kind of funny in that it's one of the more frequently conquered portions of Europe over a large part of the medieval period).


That tangent was specifically about the British Empire, and once England industrialized (or began that path) and built the Royal Navy, it was nigh impregnable until bombers came along.

MCoA's analysis of the explosion of British power in the 18th century is mostly passed over without comment...I guess because it doesn't easily fit into the "culture determines all" historical perspective. Hopefully OCF's mathematics history takes.


For better or worse, a lot of these types of conversations take the form:

{A, B, C..., Q} debate grand, arching narratives for three pages.
X stops by and drops detailed, rigorous knowledge in a post.
None of {A, B, C..., Q} have a better response than the knowledge post, so it goes "ignored."

This is often exacerbated by the fact that more often than not I am one of the primary interlocuters in the initial debate, and my style is generally brutalist and unrigorous (less charitably, lazy and sloppy), but usually in line with what MCoA will eventually post. MCoA is rarely if ever lazy or sloppy, so there's a standard process of sorts where I'm the bruising blocking back making a hole and then he comes dancing through as the star RB and gets all the glory. Or, again less charitably, that I'm a bull in the china shop and he has to come in occasionally and sweep up my messes.

His post and OCF's are not ignored, at least not by me.
   338. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4350524)
do black people refer to soul food restaurants, or do they just call them restaurants?


The people refer to soul food as soul food.
   339. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4350526)
Snapper's problem is that he doesn't know what he doesn't know.


If I may be so bold, Snapper's problem is that he begins with an assumption that all that aligns to any concept of a universal good or truth must descend by degrees from his conception of God, and will ignore and dispute any attempt to argue that something descended from a religion other than his can be, in any true sense, good or right. Snapper *always* starts with the religious assumption, and moves from there into what can be the case in the world, IMHO.
   340. BDC Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4350527)
they didn't burn the libraries

the Renaissance happened because the Reconquista reconquered Arabic centers of learning

I've just been reading Reynolds & Wilson's Scribes & Scholars, which doesn't strongly support either of those claims. (EDIT: Neither Muslims nor early Christians burnt libraries, at least as an intellectual habit. Nor did the Spanish burn libraries during the Reconquista. Burning libraries is a scandalous but exaggerated part of polemic history.)

(Reynolds & Wilson do amply acknowledge Arabic scholarship and translation, particularly as important in preserving parts of the Greek tradition. But Arab and other Muslim scholars had very little influence on the Latin tradition.)

Late-antique and early-medieval Christians didn't burn classical texts, or at least hardly at all, according to Reynolds & Wilson. Christians were much more likely to burn other Christian texts that smacked of heresy. Classical texts were lost mainly from neglect (the infrastructure and economy didn't support their continual recopying in the years 500-800 or so, and Christians weren't interested in much minor classical literature), and partly because of the change in media from scroll to codex (something that ought to be monitory for anyone who wants to digitize books and throw the paper away).

And "the Renaissance" was one of several, following on similar revivals in the 9th and 12th centuries. Evidently almost no classical Latin learning available to the Carolingians has subsequently been lost (though some texts unavailable to them, notably Catullus, later came to light). The Renaissance of the 15th century happened (says Stephen Greenblatt in The Swerve, for instance, following a venerable line of argument) because Italian humanists got interested in the books that were mouldering in scattered copies in monastery and other libraries in England, France, Germany, and Italy, and started intensive recopying of them. The role of Spain was pretty minor in this process.
   341. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4350536)
This comment is not really directed at anyone in particular, but at the common notion that some civilizations are "ahead" or "behind" others, "leading the way" or "falling behind." I think that people have a great need for spirituality, and sometimes forego material progress in favor of other, less tangible rewards. I was struck recently, reading Greg Woolf's recent book Rome, by his treatment of St Augustine and the notion that for many Roman citizens in the late Empire, the City of God really did become more important than building the next monument or villa, or making the next fortune, or owning the next huge bunch of slaves. I would never apologize for the insanely evil stuff some religionists do, but I think it's a wholly understandable and satisfying notion that some groups at times choose contemplation over getting and spending.


I missed this early, but it's a great point. In this vein, I'll point out that I sort of man-crush on Francis of Assisi as much as I cringe at the thought of Aquinas. I also quite enjoy Augustine, for the most part. You may take this as you will, even if you want to read it as "I even have some Catholic friends."
   342. Morty Causa Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4350542)
The question the objections attempt to pinpoint doesn't concern denying that the Arab world was a great and burgeoning cultural center at one time; it's about what happened to that. Why did that Arab progressive culture stagnate, falter, and retrogress? Did the Muslim religion have a depressing impact or didn't it?

Or is that not a properly accurate way to characterize what happened? Judging from its mindset now, at least looking at the high profile representatives and their pronouncements, it seems at least partly justifiable to conclude, at least as a threshold matter, that the Muslim (and the Muslim Arab) world is stuck on stupid, and this can't but have an effect when it comes to scientific, artistic, and cultural matters.

The Christian part of Western Civilization somehow got over that "dark age". It found a way to jump that hurdle. It found a way to pay lip service to the religious strictures, that gradually but incrementally etiolated the religious oppression. Or, if you prefer, it found a way to thrive in the cognitive dissonance cultural matrix that came into being, as it evolved. The mindset that happened and developed was able to sufficiently avoid the repression and move on with cultural development. Why hasn't the Muslim Arab world? Is it the Muslimism or is it something else?
   343. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4350552)
The question the objections attempt to pinpoint doesn't concern denying that the Arab world was a great and burgeoning cultural center at one time; it's about what happened to that. Why did that Arab progressive culture stagnate, falter, and retrogress? Did the Muslim religion have a depressing impact or didn't it?


I will answer this definitively with a "no." I think you're flipping the arrow of causality. The Islamic empire didn't fall because of some excessively regulatory factor of the religion itself on "progress" and change. The Islamic faith has degraded into it's current state, where Wahhabism is sort of the primary focal point, because the empire faltered and culture and learning declined.

Why don't you ask this same question about Rome? Did Rome fail in 400 CE because of a fundamental limiting factor of Christianity? Why did Roman progressive culture stagnate, falter and retrogress for half a millennium? Did the Christian religion have a depressing impact or didn't it?

Again, I will answer definitively, "no." Both empires fell because empires fall.

The Christian part of Western Civilization somehow got over that "dark age". It found a way to jump that hurdle. It found a way to pay lip service to the religious strictures, that gradually but incrementally etiolated the religious oppression. Or, if you prefer, it found a way to thrive in the cognitive dissonance cultural matrix that came into being, as it evolved. The mindset that happened and developed was able to sufficiently avoid the repression and move on with cultural development. Why hasn't the Muslim Arab world? Is it the Muslimism or is it something else?


The European/Christian "dark age" or Early Middle Ages begin in roughly 400 CE with the fall of Rome and lasted until 1000 CE. This ignores Byzantium and Constantinople which has a different timeline altogether. The "dark ages" were then followed by the long slog of the High Middle Age where Europe clawed back toward cultural dominance that lasted until roughly 1400, which is where we typically define the Renaissance and true cultural ascendency from Europe to begin. (All dates are rounded to 100s, so don't hack my ankles on the details here, please.)

The Islamic empire is typically understood to have faltered with the Mongolian sacking of Baghdad in 1258. This ignores the Ottomans and Istanbul which has a different timeline altogether. If we round that to a clean 100 again, we'll call the fall of the Islamic empire 1300.

European Dark Ages: 400-1000, or 600 years.
European Middle Ages: 1000-1400, or 400 years.
Total time between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the reconstitution of culturally ascendant Europe: 1000 years.

Islamic Dark Ages: 1300-???
Islamic Middle Ages: ???-???

If we give the Muslim world the same timeline as Europe:

Islamic Dark Ages: 1300-1900
Islamic Middle Ages: 1900-2200 (please note the future end date there!)

Also note that during the rough transition from Euro Dark to Euro Middle, we had - gasp! - and explosion of religious warfare launched from Europe toward the power centers of the day (the Caliphates.) We call them "the Crusades."

As we are moving into the rough transition period of our posited move from Islamic Dark to Islamic Middle (1900-2000s), aspects of Islam are launching holy wars against the powers centers of the day (the "Satanic" west and the "great Satan" America.)

We could probably play a bit of reindeer games with expectations of faster transition from Dark to Middle to Renaissance for Islam, post-empire, due to modern communications and globalization in general, and I think we're definitely seeing that happen in the world today, in real time. Basically, Islam seems to be fast tracking from Dark to Renaissance and skipping the "high Middle Ages" altogether.

The problem is that at the same time modern technology has given the most recalcitrant elements of Dark Age Islam the ability to murder hundreds and thousands at a time, and to project their murderous, reactionary rage across the planet. So the same globalization that feeds a fast-track of modernization into the Muslim world also facilitates the explosive backlash against modernity to expand 1000 fold. Imagine if Urban II had access to nuclear weapons! That's basically the problem we're facing with Iran, right now. Imagine if Bernard of Clairvaux could direct insurgencies across the globe with a flip of a laptop and a satellite phone! There you have our problem with al-Queda.

I think the basic problem is that westerners expect the Muslim world to pop out of their cultural decline magically and suddenly become, well, modern westerners overnight, a expectation that is driven more by fear of what the recalcitrant throwbacks can do in the meantime than by any real thinking through of the problem as a historical narrative.
   344. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4350579)
We could probably play a bit of reindeer games with expectations of faster transition from Dark to Middle to Renaissance for Islam, post-empire, due to modern communications and globalization in general, and I think we're definitely seeing that happen in the world today, in real time. Basically, Islam seems to be fast tracking from Dark to Renaissance and skipping the "high Middle Ages" altogether.


Committing the original sin of commenting on my own comment, I want to annotate this thought a bit. Another complicating factor that differentiates timelines and processes, outside of tech, communications and globalization, is the fact that the period of Islamic "dark ages" were also a period where Europe was dominating the Arab and Islamic world as colonial powers, a fact that is absent the European "dark ages" outside of Spain/Andalusia.
   345. CrosbyBird Posted: January 19, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4350586)
Philosophy is not like dinner options. A claim to universal truth that must, by necessity, subvert and dominate all other theories of truth, is not like saying Americans just call American food "food."

I see what you're saying. I suppose that I took for granted that any claim to a universal truth is pretty much bullshit, and viewed philosophy more as an exploration of possibility rather than some sort of metaphysical fact.
   346. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4350594)
I see what you're saying. I suppose that I took for granted that any claim to a universal truth is pretty much ########, and viewed philosophy more as an exploration of possibility rather than some sort of metaphysical fact.


Understood, but I think even with the European pomos and post-structs, I'm not sure that's a particularly valid assumption.
   347. CrosbyBird Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4350595)
I think the basic problem is that westerners expect the Muslim world to pop out of their cultural decline magically and suddenly become, well, modern westerners overnight, a expectation that is driven more by fear of what the recalcitrant throwbacks can do in the meantime than by any real thinking through of the problem as a historical narrative.

Is that not a reasonable fear? I don't know that the rest of the world can comfortably sit back and let the Muslim world "work out the crazy" (relatively speaking, of course, because there's plenty of crazy in other religions too) on their own. This isn't some sort of cultural bigotry. I'd be just as frightened of the Westboro Baptist Church if they were flying planes into buildings and blowing themselves up in public.
   348. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4350598)
Is that not a reasonable fear? I don't know that the rest of the world can comfortably sit back and let the Muslim world "work out the crazy" (relatively speaking, of course, because there's plenty of crazy in other religions too) on their own. This isn't some sort of cultural bigotry. I'd be just as frightened of the Westboro Baptist Church if they were flying planes into buildings and blowing themselves up in public.


Yes, it's an absolutely reasonable fear. It's a terrifying fact about the modern world, in my opinion.

And no, you're not being culturally bigoted. You're addressing the facts of the world, as they exist today, and working through them in a reality-based manner. A nuclear armed Iran is more dangerous to world civilization than Urban II was during his life, because Urban II didn't have access to nuclear warheads. The world today is too interconnected, and the damage radicals and reactionaries can do in the small spaces in between civilization, are unique to our times.

But what you're doing here is distinct and different, entirely, than Snapper's previous line of argument that paraphrases to "Muslims lost power in the world because Islam's a deficient and blasphemous religion that fails to allow full human growth in Providence."

EDIT: and to follow on, the single worst way to address this problem is to acquiesce to the barbarians' definition of terms and wage a "clash of civilizations" against "Islam," rather than engage in a cooperative campaign with all of the elements of Islam that aren't barbarian to isolate and defang the Dark Ages hangers-on.
   349. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4350643)
Let's not forget how much death and destruction happened during Europe's wrenching conversion to modernity. Even ignoring the post-Westphalian great powers conflicts, you're looking at one religiously inflected war in the 30 Years War that was largely sparked by a religious schism between Protestantism and Catholicism. Up to 40% of Germans were killed in that war. The death toll might have been as high as nearly 12 million, more than higher than any war in Europe other than the the World Wars at a time when the population was far smaller than it was later. In comparison, the current fight between fundamentalists and those who view Islam as compatible with modern life has no similar conflagration. People like Snapper are just misunderstanding this as a fault of Islamic culture because of historical ignorance and the fact that the Muslim world (and pretty much all of the ex-colonial world) is being forced to make changes over a few generations that took Europe several centuries.

Also, I realize that Islamic is handy shorthand for the region we're talking about, but we should really be clear that we're talking about Northern African/Middle Eastern/Persian history, given the continued vibrancy of Islamic culture and economy in India and Southern Asia until the era of colonialism, and that of the Ottoman empire until the 19th century. Which is one reason why I ended up getting involved in the argument with Snapper, because he didn't seem to understand that the Ottomans, for example, peaked centuries after he claimed Islam had fallen into the dark ages and clearly behind Christian Europe.

edited for clarity.

eta: And concur on most of what Sam said in 348, but I'd point out the Crusades killed at least a million people. We forget exactly how brutal and bloody that period was, which leads us to think that today's religious conflicts are magnitudes worse when they're really either not as bad or "only" as bad.
   350. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4350656)
Let's not forget how much death and destruction happened during Europe's wrenching conversion to modernity. Even ignoring the post-Westphalian great powers conflicts, you're looking at one religiously inflected war in the 30 Years War that was largely sparked by a religious schism between Protestantism and Catholicism. Up to 40% of Germans were killed in that war.


And for the record, I find it problematic to draw a hard line between pre-Westphalia European conflicts and the World Wars. The difference is one of technology and the scale of automated killing, not of motive. Modernity did not come fully born, bloodless and bathed in soft light into this world. The wars of the late 19th and 20th centuries were the blood that established post-Enlightenment culture in Europe and the world, as the old standards of medieval "Christendom" faded and failed. It's ridiculous to think Mediterranean Islam is going to make that same transition without a fight.

Also, I realize that Islamic is handy shorthand for the region we're talking about, but we should really be clear that we're talking about Northern African/Middle Eastern/Persian history, given the continued vibrancy of Islamic culture and economy in India and Southern Asia until the era of colonialism, and that of the Ottoman empire until the 19th century.


Truth. I will endeavor going forward to write specifically of Mediterranean Islam, as opposed to Ottoman or Khanate Islam.

I'd point out the Crusades killed at least a million people.


Agreed. I was making an attempt to not oversell the destructive violence of the Crusades, lest I be once again confused of just picking on Catholicism.
   351. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4350677)
What? I get browbeaten any time I've mentioned the MSM doesn't do its job.


Pretty sure it's only a small minority that thinks the MSM does a 'good' job. (It probably does in fact do 'its job', its job being to pat the status quo back into place.)

I felt like I was taking crazy pills in 2002-2003. "Hello? Are we really going to do this? This seems like a horrible idea." And it's not like I had some special insight or wisdom. But even some pretty liberal friends of mine were convinced, in part, I'm sure, because there was so little dissent aired in the mainstream media.


There was indeed little dissent aired, and most of the vociferous dissent was abroad. (Democrates, especially in the Senate, failed to do their duty.) The worst of it, imo, was the almost non-existent fact checking done. If you were paying reasonably close attention it simply was not possible to believe there was a preponderance of evidence that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. What 'evidence' was offered was entirely on the order of "see? Here's a building with the kind of fencing around it you'd use if you wanted to manufacture weapons of mass destruction."

RE: 34, "Truthers" and the like aren't skeptics. They believe hard in their conspiracy theories. Very few consipiracy theorists will accept any evidence that contradicts their beliefs, no matter how massive or convincing. They are the very opposite of skeptics. Otherwise, I agree that skeptics are a good thing.


I did spend a little over an hour researching one evening after coming across a couple of 9/11 'truthers'. Some of them really do work the science, and one of their main assertions is that jet fuel can't burn at hot enough temperatures to melt steel, ergo explosives were required to bring down the towers, ergo explosives WERE used.

What that doesn't account for is that you don't need to actually melt steel in order to weaken it enough to bring down a building. Unless you're aware of that, it's easy to see why someone credulous could be gulled into believing the planes alone weren't enough to bring down the towers.
   352. CrosbyBird Posted: January 19, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4350701)
I did spend a little over an hour researching one evening after coming across a couple of 9/11 'truthers'. Some of them really do work the science, and one of their main assertions is that jet fuel can't burn at hot enough temperatures to melt steel, ergo explosives were required to bring down the towers, ergo explosives WERE used.

What that doesn't account for is that you don't need to actually melt steel in order to weaken it enough to bring down a building. Unless you're aware of that, it's easy to see why someone credulous could be gulled into believing the planes alone weren't enough to bring down the towers.


That's a pretty weak defense. If you're taking the position that the steel has to melt in order to bring down the towers and jet fuel doesn't burn at a hot enough temperature to melt steel so GOTCHA!, you're not really "working the science." It's also not merely ignorance of science, but ignorance of logic.

9/11 truthers are worthy of contempt for their lack of intellectual rigor, if nothing else.
   353. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:13 PM (#4350743)
Jett fuel can indeed get hot enough to melt it. But for hem thwy mean melt as in take it down to a liquid form which would be impossible even if you used explosives. Also love this thread. Sam even you drive me nuts i really enjoy reading what you have posted here.
   354. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4350757)
Snapper's problem is that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. (Joe's problem is that he doesn't care what he doesn't know.)

I know. If only I was a liberal …

***
For better or worse, a lot of these types of conversations take the form:

{A, B, C..., Q} debate grand, arching narratives for three pages.
X stops by and drops detailed, rigorous knowledge in a post.
None of {A, B, C..., Q} have a better response than the knowledge post, so it goes "ignored."

This is often exacerbated by the fact that more often than not I am one of the primary interlocuters in the initial debate, and my style is generally brutalist and unrigorous (less charitably, lazy and sloppy), but usually in line with what MCoA will eventually post. MCoA is rarely if ever lazy or sloppy, so there's a standard process of sorts where I'm the bruising blocking back making a hole and then he comes dancing through as the star RB and gets all the glory. Or, again less charitably, that I'm a bull in the china shop and he has to come in occasionally and sweep up my messes. — Sammy The Neck-Stabber

Before that last paragraph, I didn't know a barf bag was needed when reading BBTF. Now I know better.
   355. Tripon Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4350761)
Hey Joe. Learn some new shtick. Your entertainment is lacking at the moment.
   356. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4350765)
Hey Joe. Learn some new shtick. Your entertainment is lacking at the moment.

Ironic complaint, coming from someone whose main shtick is to nip at my heels.
   357. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 11:54 PM (#4350789)
Ironic complaint, coming from someone whose main shtick is to nip at my heels.


How about this for a nip at your heels, Kehoskie. Remove the bit you added to the quoted text @354 or have me get it removed for you. We've had this ####### conversation, son.
   358. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 20, 2013 at 01:19 AM (#4350816)
LOL. It's too late for me to edit #354 — which you knew when you posted your comment — but I wouldn't do so even if I could. It's really comical watching you spew invective at this site but then whine about innocuous jabs and jokes sent your way. Are you now pretending that "neck-stabbings" hasn't been one of your recurring jokes/threats here?
   359. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2013 at 01:24 AM (#4350818)
No, you simpering ########, there's simply a basic standard of behavior anyone with any knowledge of internet debates abide by, and the primary one is you do not modify quoted text. But you're incapable of basic standards, aren't you Joe. Useless sack of ####.
   360. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 20, 2013 at 01:30 AM (#4350819)
No, you simpering ########, there's simply a basic standard of behavior anyone with any knowledge of internet debates abide by, and the primary one is you do not modify quoted text. But you're incapable of basic standards, aren't you Joe. Useless sack of ####.

Uh, I didn't "modify quoted text." Your comment was quoted verbatim, with only an attribution added at the end (as has been done here countless times before).

But anyway, it's funny watching you lecture others about maintaining a "basic standard of behavior" while repeatedly using profanity that Jim has specifically requested not be used at his site, including the use of profanity in the course of launching ad hominem attacks that don't move the conversation forward.
   361. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 20, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4350920)
But what you're doing here is distinct and different, entirely, than Snapper's previous line of argument that paraphrases to "Muslims lost power in the world because Islam's a deficient and blasphemous religion that fails to allow full human growth in Providence."

EDIT: and to follow on, the single worst way to address this problem is to acquiesce to the barbarians' definition of terms and wage a "clash of civilizations" against "Islam," rather than engage in a cooperative campaign with all of the elements of Islam that aren't barbarian to isolate and defang the Dark Ages hangers-on.


Nice to see you completely misrepresenting my positions while I'm off living my life.

My theological objections to Islam are no different to my theological objections to Calvinism or Buddhism. I think they're all deficient as religions. That doesn't mean they don't contain some truth, but they all lack something. But that's not the discussion we were having.

Neither Calvinism nor Buddhism has proven an obstacle to economic progress, scientific innovation, and individual liberty. Islam has.

To be perfectly clear, the area first conquered by the Arabs/Muslims was the richest area in the western world for at least a thousand years before the conquest. Anatolia/Syria/Egypt/Mesopotamia were richer than Europe under the Greeks, richer under the Romans, richer under the Byzantines. But under Muslims rule that ceased to be true, fairly rapidly. By 1000 AD, Western Europe was able to have a good deal of success invading and occupying areas in the Arab/Muslim heartland, where 250 years earlier they couldn't keep Muslim pirates from raiding near Rome, and a Moorish army reached central France.

The long term decline of Islamic areas versus Western areas, economically and scientifically is a fact. Given that fact, the supposition should be that culture has a major impact on that.

Now, I'm off to Church and to my parents, so you can continue to misrepresent and slander me unabated.

   362. BDC Posted: January 20, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4350947)
Neither Calvinism nor Buddhism has proven an obstacle to economic progress, scientific innovation, and individual liberty. Islam has

This would be news to the many Muslims who teach at American universities and make good money, invent stuff, and are as free as anybody else.

If your point is that a nation like Iran features a weak economy, bad universities, and a repressive government, fair enough. But I don't think that has much to do with religion per se. You could have said the same thing about Protestant Alabama 50 years ago.
   363. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 20, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4350976)
Have you done calculus recently? Astronomy?


Can you provide a citation for the Islamic invention of calculus? Because nowhere in any text have I ever seen this.
   364. Greg K Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4350979)
Can you provide a citation for the Islamic invention of calculus? Because nowhere in any text have I ever seen this.

I always thought it was Indian. Though as implied several times in this thread that does not necessarily mean it wasn't Muslim.
   365. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4350983)
Indian and Indonesia *are* Muslim cultures.


A few hundred million hindus might take exception to that characterization. The Moghuls may have conquered, but they were also, in their way, assimilated.
   366. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4350987)
Or was it simply luck and geography?


Actually, they do play a role. The political and geographic fragmentation of Europe was helpful in allowing divergent views to arise.
   367. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4350988)
I always thought it was Indian. Though as implied several times in this thread that does not necessarily mean it wasn't Muslim.


Other forms of mathematics, yes. But calculus, while it had some forebears and hints in earlier works, does not really come to full invention and fruition, as near as I can tell, until Liebniz and Newton.

I mean, everything derives from what came before it, but if you reach the point of ascribing string theory to the Caliphate, then invention means nothing.
   368. Greg K Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4350993)
Actually, they do play a role. The political and geographic fragmentation of Europe was helpful in allowing divergent views to arise.

I've been thinking this whole thread, Niall Ferguson's "The West and the Rest" addresses these issues.

But I haven't up to this point, mostly because I don't find Ferguson to be the most convincing historian around.

If I recall correctly I think political fragmentation is one of Ferguson's (ugh) "killer apps" that allowed the West to be dominant after 1500.
   369. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4350994)
Neither Calvinism nor Buddhism has proven an obstacle to economic progress, scientific innovation, and individual liberty. Islam has.


Islam has not. This is why I feel comfortable referring to your position as bigoted.

The long term decline of Islamic areas versus Western areas, economically and scientifically is a fact. Given that fact, the supposition should be that culture has a major impact on that.


And this is why I feel comfortable referring to your position as bigoted. You have a bee in your bonnet about Islam in a way you don't have a bee in your bonnet about other religions.

Now, I'm off to Church and to my parents, so you can continue to misrepresent and slander me unabated.


I have been quite clear when I paraphrase and summarize your positions to state that I am doing exactly that. And it's not like the debate disappears into the ether such that you can't come back in a day or so later and continue to represent your side in your own words. In fact, you've just done as much. Please get off your martyrdom complex.

Otherwise, enjoy the theater. Is it a musical this week?
   370. Jim Furtado Posted: January 20, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4350995)
This thread is closed to commenting. You can continue spinning on the merry go round over in the dedicated OT-P thread.
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