[ExI] Religions and violence.

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Tue Aug 3 03:23:47 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2 Aug 2010, samantha wrote:

> Being in a community is wonderful precisely to the degree that you can trade
> to benefit with others freely.  It allows specialization and WIN-WIN across
> the board when that freedom of action is fully respected.   Of course it is
> beneficial to have others around.  That does not mean that the collection of
> all supersedes the very needs and rights of the individual which are the
> context of any benefit derived. 


> The crisis came precisely from massively violating individual rights and
> freedom NOT from upholding them.

Ok, if you say so. I wish I had more time to investigate this but I 
didn't. The only thing I am pretty much sure is that money don't 
miraculously disappear, which makes me suspicious about someone getting 
his pockets well stuffed. But maybe I am prejudized.

> > Why you think so? My individual opinion is always relevant, but
> > realistically, it will not always be paid attention to by other people.
> I should have said that your individual right and decision about what to do
> with your own life and property is not relevant under your scenario.  Not
> merely your opinion.   Rights are not a matter of opinion only.

Actually, my scenario is that interests of individuals and a community 
should be balanced, if possible. That's theory. In real life it depends on 
power distribution and good wishes. And it simply cannot always be done. 
One can learn to live with this or try to change the community.

> > > The first error is even allowing such "authorities" in the first place.
> > > But
> > > by the Hitler quote above that you admire I suppose you are in principle
> > > find
> > > with any claimed "voice for the community or collective" "authorities".
> >
> > Great. First of all, who should disallow such authorities? You mean, there
> > is somebody on this planet who has the right to insist how people in other,
> > independent countries should make their own choices? How is this different
> > from what those bad authorities do? Because it is "us" telling "them" - so
> > this is better than "them" telling "us"?
> The "authorities" are fine as long as they have no power whatsoever to force
> their opinions on individuals.  I mean that even in a single country no other
> person or group of persons has any right to insist you do what they wish
> rather than what you wish unless what you wish directly violates the rights of
> others.   The international case is just an extension.


> There is no right to chose someone to take away your rights.  I think you know
> better than to assume that one can always stop the rising of oppressors.  So

Sure, I know. I've studied such cases a little bit, because I was 
interested how this actually happens.

> if not enough people effectively oppose a government that runs roughshod over
> human rights of the people then none of the people have anything really to
> complain about and it is OK?

To me it is either people oppose their gov (because they have reasons and 
they want it) or they don't. If they do something, and they give hopes of 
being better than their gov and they have sufficient number of supporters 
(active and passive), then helping them may change things for better. This 
is what took place in Afghanistan, I believe, where there actually was 
anti-taliban militia/guerilla.

But if we have no real opposition there or just few unhappy individuals, 
than I cannot see any realistic way of doing anything. Other than helping 
them run away if they are in danger.

> We may not have the right to invade another country to impose our values on
> them.  However we had best be damn clear about what our values are and use
> them to judge cleanly what is and is not acceptable behavior of governments
> and authorities.


> > My personal limits are, when there is a country wide hunger and
> > concentration camps (or when there is another suggestion that masses are
> > being forced to something they don't like). However, from what I see, in
> > such case almost nobody blows the whistle (and this repeats over and over,
> > during last 100 years).
> So as long as the lights are on, most fed and most out of prison any other
> abrogations of human rights are just fine with you?

I think if lights are on and majority is fed, then this is majority's job 
to clean their own house. If they don't feel like it's important or don't 
know how, I may give them some suggestions. If I am good enough for 
suggesting, I mean.

If abuses take place, nothing will improve until they themselves decide to 
improve. If you start pushing them too hard they will simply close up 
their minds to any argument. Ok, there are special cases when this works, 
but I think in most of the cases nothing gets better with such approach.

> > > > As I have mentioned in one earlier post, such overreaction is a sign of
> > > > weakness or lack of confidence. This might be connected with possible
> > > > cultural shock, that Islamic world experienced after WW2.
> > >
> > > Are you making excuses for an inexcusable breach of human rights?  Why? 
> >
> > Am I excusing them? If I say, for example, that drug abusers and criminals
> > come from dysfunctional families, is it excusing?
> No.  But then it is not condemning either.

It is easy to condemn. BTW I thought it was a given that I support human 
rights. But OK, I condemn abusers but not societies that host them. I 
don't have enough information to condemn the whole community.

Which is the point of the whole discussion, it seems.

> > One can deal with criminals, and new ones will keep coming. If you don't
> > want to understand the roots of the problem, you will not solve it. Prove me
> > wrong. Really, I will be delighted to improve.
> I don't buy that criminals only arise from broken homes and other less than
> optimal conditions.  If you are asserting they do only so arise then the
> burden of proof is on you.

Criminals can come from many sources. One of them are dysfunctional 
families. If I don't want to pay attention to this, it's just what I hear 
from time to time ("hang the bastards" etc). However the problem remains. 
It's like not treating illness but rather give someone cold water because 
he has high temperature. There are many sources of crime, which are like 
many ills of the society. Shouldn't we search and treat illnesses, one by 

But instead the public opinion calls for cold water. Sure, water is ok but 
not as a treatment. And all of this resembles a shamanic ritual of worst 
kind rather than doing what should be done.

The whole reasoning applies to this "other" kind of criminals, too (just 
in case you didn't notice).

> > There was (and is) a lot of unexcusable breach of human rights in a number
> > of countries. Some (not all) of those countries are Islamic. There are also
> > countries, from which I don't hear about such breaches and again, some of
> > them are Islamic. So, bad things happen in some Islamic countries and don't
> > happen in some other Islamic countries.
> Yep.  The US abuses human rights quite a bit.  And I agree that it is not at
> all an Islamic problem and that not all Islamic variants are problematic.  The
> main discriminator of when Islam is bad may well be when there is not
> sufficient separation between religion and government.

Right. I subscribe to this idea too.

> > > > I have no intention of moving this debate anywhere. Mr Clark, if you
> > > > want to
> > > > escape from belief, you cannot use belief-based arguments. So, if you
> > > > would
> > > > like to prove that God does not exist, you should use rational
> > > > arguments.
> > > >       
> > > *sputter*  It is up to asserters to prove God does exist. Not the other
> > > way
> > > around. 
> >
> > You can prove me whatever you want. Either God's existance or nonexistance.
> > You are welcome. When you actually show me the proof, I will accept it (if I
> > find it acceptable - my criteria are crearly stated, I think).
> You can't prove a negative.  It is up to the asserter.  What part of that do
> you not understand?

I think I understand you quite well. Now, please you try to understand 
this: I've heard of no decisive argument neither pro nor against. And in a 
situation when I have no decisive argument, I really don't get all this 
fuss about making up my minds anyway. Especially that I see no urgent need 
for it. And because of lack of proper data this is no different than 
throwing a coin.

This is all that I am asserting. I don't see anything to prove here 
because I only assert that there is 50-50 chance.

> The failure to decide is the failure to actually grasp what is at stake and
> examine and conclude based on one's understanding.  It is more about a type of
> cowardice than about fairness or wisdom.    It does not matter how many people
> do or do not think like you or whether you find them likable folks or not.

Sometimes it is better to be called a coward than to make wrong decision. 
I have no way of logically decide which decision to make. So I am a 
coward. No problem for me. You didn't convince me.

> > > What?  That leads me to think I am wasting my time typing this.
> >   
> Pretending that proofs from some branch of mathematics are the type of thing
> required to make up your mind in this very unmathematical realm shows a lack
> of understanding and imposition of requirements before reaching conclusions
> that are inappropriate to the domain.

Well, group theory simply came to my mind first. I am terribly sorry for 
this. If you don't like it, I am sure we can agree on something else. I am 
happy with any mathematical theory you like, mostly because I believe they 
all are built in similar fashion. They start with assumptions and they use 
logic to build upon them. If using logic I could come to something, I am 
ok with this.

Otherwise, it seems like you insist that I make an act of faith (either 
to become believer or atheist). Scarry, especially if you would like me to 
become atheist.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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