[ExI] are all cultures equivalent?

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 13 21:50:11 UTC 2009

--- On Mon, 4/13/09, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> "Dan" <dan_ust at yahoo.com>
>> Category error in my view:
> Bullshit.

I'm not bs-ing.
>> Islam is an abstraction or an aggregate.
> Bullshit

I disagree.  It lumps too many people together -- people who likely have different views and different ways of acting on these views.  Were this not true, then every last person falling under the aggregate would think and act pretty much the same.  I don't see this.  Do you?  (This is no different than other such aggregates like Christian, vegetarian, conservative, or transhumanist.)

>> What does act is an Islamic person
> A Person infected with a virulent mind virus called
> "Islam".

Seems a backhanded way of admitting individuals act.
>> Muslims have made what some of us might consider
>> positive contributions.
> But not in the last 800 years.

I disagree.  I know Muslims today who are in technical fields and who otherwise make positive contributions.  I think one could make the case that it's not their specifically Islamic beliefs that're driving their contributions, but that'd require more analysis and would weigh against a blanket condemnation of all Muslims.
>> But what's the point of this discussion?
> To find the truth.

I doubt that given your tone.

>> Also, it seems quite clear that Muslims are able to
>> take up Western
>> technologies and ideas and use them for their ends.
> No you are quite wrong, they're not even very good at
> copying. A few Muslim
> countries through a lucky geological break happen to be
> sitting on top of a
> lake that contains 2/3 of the world's oil and so are rich,
> but
> that hasn't stopped Nigeria, a Muslim country with lots of
> oil, from being
> the second poorest country on Earth, beaten only by
> Mozambique, another
> Muslim country.  Continuing on our list of the poorest
> countries in the
> world we have Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Congo,
> Bangladesh, Angola and
> Afghanistan, all are predominantly Muslim countries. Do you
> really think it
> is just a coincidence all if them are Islamic? I mean
> political correctness
> is all very well but I don't think it should take
> precedence over logic.

I'm not being politically correct here -- or ideological considerations of that sort don't drive my thinking.

That said, there does seem to be something to what you say, but what about the resource curse?  This is where societies with plentiful natural resources tend to have less economic growth and development.  Now, in this case, much of the Islamic world in North Africa and the Middle East was also under oppressive internal rule for a long time.  So it already started out behind the curve and then the resource curse, if it's plausible in this case, might have locked it in.
> Let's look at a subset of the Muslim world, the Arabs.
> There are over 250
> million Arabs and they have most of the world's oil, but
> nevertheless the
> GNP of the entire Arab world is less than that of Spain, a
> country with no
> oil and a population of only 40 million.

See above.

> One reason for
> this may be that the
> number of books translated into Arabic over the past
> thousand years is about
> the same as the number of books translated into Spanish
> just last year.

This might have less to do with Muslims per se than with their ruling elites.
> I freely admit this is an entirely subjective statement but
> in my personal
> opinion Islamic culture sucks.

I wouldn't disagree -- from a personal perspective.  I mean I don't particularly seek it out.

>> Maybe I missed something...
> An entirely reasonable hypothesis.

Yet another example of the overall tone here.




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