If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out through writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.

Anais Nin





Friday, November 26, 2010

Islam and rational fear, and the throwing about of words


Draw a map of the brain when fear and anxiety are involved, and the amygdala -- the brain's almond-shaped center for panic and fight-or-flight responses -- looms large.
Fear is an adaptive response, essential to the survival of many species. This behavioural adaptation may be innate but can also be a consequence of conditioning, during the course of which an animal learns that a particular stimulus precedes an unpleasant event. There is a large amount of data indicating that the amygdale is strongly involved during the learning of "conditioned" fear. Shown to play a key role in the processsing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.

In humans and other animals, this subcortical brain structure is linked to both fear responses and pleasure. Its size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species. Research shows that specific phobias express in this region of the limbic system. A phobia is a fear which is caused by a specific object or situation. The fear may be by the actual presence of, or by, the anticipation of the presence of that object or situation. Anxiety, triggered by the fear, may approach the intensity of panic.


In cognitive psychology, the criteria for a diagnosis of specific phobia involves the following differential:
·         The patient experiences a strong, persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable. It is cued by a specific object or situation that is either present or anticipated.
·         The phobic stimulus almost always immediately provokes an anxiety response, which may be either a panic attack or symptoms of anxiety that do not meet criteria for a panic attack.
·         The fear is unreasonable or out of proportion, and the patient realizes this.
·         The patient either avoids the phobic stimulus or endures it with severe anxiety or distress.
·         Patient is under the age of 18, but must have had the symptoms for 6 months or longer.
·         Either there is marked distress about this fear or it markedly interferes with the patient's usual routines or  social, job or personal functioning.
The term Islamophobia dates back to the late 1980s, but came into prolific usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, to refer to types of political dialogue that appeared prejudicially resistant to “pro-Islamic argument."
Professor Anne Sophie Roald writes that steps were taken toward official acceptance of the term in January 2001 at the "Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance", where Islamophobia was recognized as a form of intolerance alongside Xenophobia and Antisemitism.
In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It purports to include the perception that “Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.” The trust’s website boasts the accomplishment-
 “Through the work of the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, Runnymede achieved tangible response from policy makers and the general public. For example, the Government approved the first state funding for specifically Muslim schools in late 1997, and there has been some improvement in media portrayals of Islam. The UK National Census in 2001 contained a question on religion.”

Ignoring for a moment the very dubious success of having isolated Muslims in order to accommodate polity, a quick look at the text of this supposedly victimized orthodoxy is in order. We shall assume that Muslims hold the words of the Qu’uran to be the word and command of their god, Allah, for them to follow of their intrinsic merit by virtue of their source.
"...now that a Book confirming their own has come to them from God, they deny it...they reply: 'We believe in what was revealed to us.' But they deny what has since been revealed, although it is truth...Say: 'Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel' (who has by God's grace revealed to you [Muhammad] the Koran as a guide...confirming previous scriptures)..will surely find that God is the enemy of the unbelievers.'...And now that an apostle has come to them from God confirming their own Scriptures, some of those to whom the Scriptures were given cast off the Book of God behind their backs...The unbelievers among the People of the Book, and the pagans, resent that any blessings should have been sent down to you from your Lord. " (Surah 2:88-, 98-, 103-)
"The only true faith in God's sight is Islam." (Surah 3:19)
And what is this pristine and invulnerable divine codification?
The Qu’uran proscribes:

"Slay them wherever you find them...Idolatry is worse than carnage...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme." (Surah 2:190-)

"Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it." (Surah 2:216)


"Seek out your enemies relentlessly." (Surah 4:103-)


"Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people...They desire nothing but your ruin....You believe in the entire Book...When they meet you they say: 'We, too, are believers.' But when alone, they bite their finger-tips with rage." (Surah 3:118, 119)

"If you should die or be slain in the cause of God, His forgiveness and His mercy would surely be better than all the riches..." (Surah 3:156-)


"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)


"Men are tempted [in this life] by the lure of women...far better is the return of God. Say: 'Shall I tell you of better things than these, with which the righteous shall be rewarded by their Lord? Theirs shall be gardens watered by running streams, where they shall dwell for ever: wives of perfect chastity..." (Surah 3:14, 15)

"Try as you may, you cannot treat all your wives impartially." (Surah 4:126-)


“Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)
"If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may fairly retaliate by breaking off your treaty with them." (Surah 8:51-)

"...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

"Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)


"If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

"Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

"Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

"Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:

Well, this hardly sounds the attitude that would lead one to accommodate your ideological “foes” with a school of their own, so they can be free from pestering!
While I most definitely do not support the discrimination, legal or social, of any person on the basis of their ethnicity or race, or place of origin, the protective attitudes of many regarding Islam fall well short of the criteria for a phobia.The argument that the practices of honor killing, death for apostasy, female genital mutilation, and the overall subjugation of women that occurs in Islamic nations and within Muslim enclaves is a matter of "cultural" tradition is meaningless. Religious customs help make up the culture. Holy writ that promotes hate will spawn hate in its followers.
Does fear of the above sound irrational to you?

I am not singling out Islam to distinguish it from other religions in its nature--it is, like all supernatural dogma, a mental virus. This virus has some frightening particulars, and the pernicious nature of religious moralism combined with the singularly brutal and regressive orthodoxy of this faith make it a perfect storm, a tempest of deranged behaviour and social attitudes. These traditions incubate in isolation, protected from the demands of society's cultural selection. And some think it wise to mandate its enclavement among children, the most vulnerable to cognitive infection?
Islam is an ideology. Rejection of an ideology is not, excecpt as ad hominem, classified as phobia. To call the opponents of an ideology phobic is a fallacy. All ideologies have their critics and opponents but we do not hear Christians calling the critics of Christianity Christianophobe, communists calling their critics communitophobe or Hindus calling theirs hinduphobe. The term "Islamophobia" is both technically and logically incorrect and misleading.  Nor do we refer to the Allies as Fasciphobes, Naziphobes, or Nippophobes. This is an attack on the source of criticism, resulting from a lack of ammunition to attack the critique itself.

On the whole, humans start establishing control over their offspring’s behavior by imposing fear as soon as, in some ways before, their progeny can comprehend. There is a reaction to fear that could be summed up as reflex (call it “Fight or Flight”).
A broad secular education can undermine dogmatic religious faith. Knowing this, many Muslims clerics will mandate their followers to isolate their children intellectually through homeschooling or enrolling them in religious private schools and Muslim colleges. Such children can reach adulthood without ever being challenged to think critically about their religious or political beliefs.  These children will have very little chance of breaking free of the bonds of their neolithic enculturation. The  Runnymede Trust has done these children and indeed all of Britain a disservice.
Stop saying Islamophobe regarding those who don't wish to accomodate a brutal regression, the neologism "Islamophobia" implies that Islam is not dangerous and the fear of it is irrational.

This claim is  not supported rhetorically sound or agreed upon clinically. There are many  logical arguments to posit the claim that Islam is dangerous. (click the link to read Neurilemma's brilliant and incisive article on the issue) Irrespective of whether the critics of Islam are right about  Islam's danger, the term“phobic” implies that  criticism has been already refuted and the irrationality of  fear of Islamic threat has been established, that the apprehension  is not a rational reaction but a mental disorder, a priori.
All ideologies have  opponents. It is myopic and arrogant, to say the least, for criticism of any ideology to be characterized as phobia.      

As Russell Blackford said in his recent article More on the Islamophobia question: 
"Even where racism has been fueled by doctrinal disagreements, as with Christian anti-Semitism, it is possible to distinguish between doctrinal disagreement and racial hatred. Admittedly, some dislike of Islam, or impatience with Muslims and their spiritual leaders, may have a quasi-racist character, grounded in parochialism and xenophobia, and perhaps a dislike of Arabs in particular. But Islam also contains ideas, and in a liberal democracy these are fair targets for criticism or repudiation."
Kenneth
As a post script, I'd like to quote Miss Neurilemma:
"
And another thing, this whole bit about ooh "we mustn't criticise Islam because its, like you know, its a religion and we must respect that and we must show religious tolerance because... " Yes? "Well because, its a religion and somebody once said its just not nice to question someones beliefs." Really, that's the reason? "Yes, that's the reason. " Well, no, rhetorical device, no, that's a load of bull, actually. Why must I stop my critical thinking faculties at the door of the church /mosque /synagogue/ temple? 

The answer is I shouldn't. But it seems some people think I should. People who do not think about things very deeply conflate racism with religion and are so scared that they will be called racist that they abandon their critical thinking abilities, if they have any, take what is written in the Press as their *bible*, no pun intended and follow the herd. So if the BBC says there is such a concept as Islamophobia, weak minded people will immediately switch off their brains, sink into the comfort zone of being told what to think and stop analysing exactly what constitutes Islam, over and above its claim to be the *uncreated word of *God* (as if that wasn't enough meat to get our teeth into right there, the *uncreated word of *God*, really?)"
Thank you, Emma-emma-emma.

7 comments:

  1. I don't want to tolerate religion any more. I want to rise up against it. I can see how it is a cancer eating away at the fabric of what our governments attempt to engineer as 'society'. Faith is still seen as a value by so many people in power who can't say their xtian faith trumps Islam for fear of upsetting those nice misogynistic, muslim people who want to isolate themselves within their middle age values. If faith is a virus then Islam is necrotizing fasciitis .

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  2. Indeed, Philip. There is no reason to continue to make excuses for it; we do not want to force deconversions, but policies of placation and accomodation must go. One law for all.

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  3. I ran into the same criticisms when I tried to discuss my feelings on the term 'Islamaphobia,' and why I feel that it should not exist. The manufacture of the term seems to me, a calculated effort to silence those with genuine criticisms of Islam, by lumping them in with bigots and racists.

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  4. Thank you for sharing that, Ms. Hill. As you well know, there is no practical intellectual defense of islam, so personal attack, dicreditation, ad hominem arguments are all that are available.
    I think there are probably cases that would qualify as real Islamophobia, but not as widespread phenomenon. If a person was terrified of say, Burqas, that might count. I need to check the DSM IV.
    Thanks again for commenting. I'm gonna go find a mulsim page to post this to.

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  5. What a great post. I’ve linked to it here: http://thelibertyphile.blogspot.com/2010/11/islam-and-rational-fear-and-throwing.html

    Another big challenge concerning Islam is what to do about the “X Factor”.

    It goes like this:

    Something questionable about Islam is pointed out.

    X is wrong, we don’t like X. But not all Muslims practice X or believe X. So that’s alright then! No need to talk about X!

    For X read “amputation for theft”, “death for apostasy”, “easy divorce for men”, “stoning for adultery”, “segregation of the sexes”, “polygamy”, “veiling of women”, “a Muslim can marry only another Muslim”, “suppression of other religions” etc.

    Or, even worse.

    Your wrong! X isn’t X. You have to understand the context, or even better read Arabic, and then you would see it’s really Y

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  6. Excellent and sicerely appreciated comment, exactly right.
    Also, with X:

    X just equals an injustice prescribed by in Sharia, KSS= Islamic orthodoxy, words of Allah.
    ∃KSS =X
    There are a bunch of Muslims who are ≠ X
    All (or almost all) Muslims=KSS (because Koran says so).
    There are a bunch of other people, the majority, who are also ≠ X, as well as ≠ KSS.
    I'll stop there a moment, I hear Al Sharpton.

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  7. allah approved misogyny is one of many severe problems with islam which is dangerous no matter how it is packaged...

    the twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

    see the links in the pdf version below for more accurate info about islam
    ==========

    islam is a horrible ideology for human rights

    5 key things about islam

    1. mythical beliefs - all religions have these (faith) because its part of being a religion: having beliefs without proof until after the believer dies. the problem is people will believe almost anything.

    2. totalitarianism - islam has no seperation of church and state: sharia law governs all. there is no free will in islam: only submission to the will of allah as conveniently determined by the imams who spew vapors to feather their own nests. there are no moderate muslims: they all support sharia law.

    3. violence - islam leads the pack of all religions in violent tenets for their ideology & history: having eternal canonical imperatives for supremacy at all costs and calling for violence & intimidation as basic tools to achieve these goals.

    4. dishonesty - only islam has dishonesty as a fundamental tenet: this stems from allah speaking to mohamhead & abrogation in the koran which is used to explain how mo's peaceful early life was superseded by his warlord role later.

    5. misogyny - present day islam is still rooted in 8th century social ethics: treating females as property of men good only for children, severely limiting their activities, dressing them in shower curtains and worse.

    conclusions ??

    there really are NO redeeming qualities for this muddled pile of propaganda.

    islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

    graphics version
    http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/5792/dangero.jpg

    1 page pdf version - do file/download 6kb viewer doesn't show fonts well, has better fonts header footer links, great for emailing printing etc
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_UyNP-72AVKYWNiNTFlYTEtMTA1ZC00YjhiLTljMDUtMDhhNDE0NDMzNmYz

    ReplyDelete