[ExI] Religions and violence [Was Re: Sarah Palin]

darren shawn greer dgreer_68 at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 24 10:28:30 UTC 2010

> Islam has followed a course more in line with religious conservatism.
> That this has held Muslims "back" from the "blessings" of modernity,
> seems a reasonable conclusion from what we see of the Muslim
> "condition" today. So the Muslim culture seems inclined to live by
> traditional values and to not manifest the same enthusiasm for
> cultural change via technology as the West. And yes, I see this as a
> consequence of the inherently conservative nature of the religious
> practice -- Islam -- which is at the center of Muslim lives.

Rapacious war-loving capitalism fueled by industrial productivity aside (if that is even possible) I see the issue here as a philosophical one. One of the more pernicious by-products of increasing moral and cultural relativism in the west has been to foster an unsavory political correctness that makes it difficult to confront directly dictatorships and barbaric behavior perceived as arising from cultural differences or practices.
The trick is finding and enforcing moral/legal standards that apply to all cultures equally, but that does not violate relativism, which is necessary for humanity to move forward and unite the species in common goals, such as technological progress, social equality, etc, etc. When a group of people reject those common goals in deference to their traditional beliefs, we simply don't know what to do with them. I can say with some degree of certainty though that when people reject modernity with acts of violence and barbarism, the one thing you don't want to do is officially declare war on them, which sanctions their acts as legitimate thanks to our own barbaric philosophy of thinking the taking of life within the context of ideological conflict is justified.


> Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2010 15:38:04 -0700
> From: jrd1415 at gmail.com
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Religions and violence [Was Re: Sarah Palin]
> 2010/7/23 John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>:
>> I believe you can think of a
>> cultural factor that is astronomically more likely to be the source of that
>> HUGE Nobel deficit among the Islamic than bagels, but will not admit it
> My speculation:
> The Jews are successful because their historical coincidences
> pushed them in the direction of mercantilism and finance capitalism.
> History shows that these two economic practices promote modernity and
> greater productivity. The Jews have thus become rich by devoting
> themselves to practices that enrich themselves and the wider world.
> And they employed that wealth in practices -- education and culture --
> which further enhanced both their wealth and pursuit of progress. So
> far it's mostly good. I'll leave elaboration of the downside -- the
> depredations of war-loving rapacious capitalism fueled by the
> abundance of industrial productivity -- to "the reader".

> But -- and you knew this was coming -- where is it written that
> smartness, or wealth, or Nobel Prizes is the metric by which to judge
> one group "better" than another?
> [Nobel invented the "death material", sold it by the ton, at
> apparently a substantial profit, to the power elite of various
> sovereign "nations" eager to employ it killing and destroying their
> way to dominance over their competitors. Now this does not bear
> directly on the issue: Jews progressive,smart, and constructive vs
> Muslims stagnant, brain damaged, and destructive. But if one
> considers the downside, rebranding the Nobel prize as the Capitalist
> Megadeath prize, then that 165 to 6 comparison doesn't quite feel as
> impressive as before.]
> So where are we? Islam ended its militarily advance in Europe with
> the Western pushback in Spain in the west and Vienna in the east,
> settling into a period of consolidation and stability. Then the
> West, facilitated by finance capitalism, took up the imperialist
> mantle, and starting in the mid 1300's, began conquering the world.
> They tried to conquer the Muslim lands as well, but with only mixed
> and temporary success, and with the sort of defensive pushback -- from
> the Muslims this time -- one would naturally expect.
> It's no crime to want to live the way you and yours have lived since
> before you can remember. The inventor of the better mousetrap, the
> Collateralized Debt Obligation, or the tractor is not morally superior
> to the cat owner, the guy who keeps his money in his mattress, or the
> guy who plows his field with an ox.
> When I was a youngster, there was a notion floating about that
> intelligence was the criteria for who was "superior". (It was a
> thinly-veiled racist notion, reflecting the American view that blacks
> were intellectually inferior. I spotted the underlying racism and its
> fallacy, which inevitably led to a question, "What ***IS*** a valid
> basis for judging one person superior to another? I'll let you all
> assemble your own criteria, but it ain't intelligence or wealth.
> The Western world is in full-throated Muslim-hating mode, with medias,
> governments, and cultural groups all going at it pedal to the metal.
> Can't blame anyone for getting caught up in that. It's a human
> failing, alas. But the reality is the Muslim world is weak and
> backward -- but no longer poor -- and has been on the defensive now,
> defending itself against ***WESTERN AGGRESSIVENESS*** for a thousand
> years. Their militancy is defensive and justified.
> Demonization is poor preparation for an accurate assessment of reality.
> I've no beef with John Clark, he's excellent on scientific matters,
> but on this particular social issue, well,... clearly we disagree.
> I've spent too much time on this, so however clunky and disjointed it
> may be, this is how I'm leaving it.
> Best, Jeff Davis
> I know it is a weakness of human nature to become
> emotionally invested in inconsequential tribal spats,
> but people who want to be transhumanists need to be
> able to get past that almost as a prerequisite. In fact,
> a good portion of the transhumanist ideals are all about shedding this behavior.
> j. andrew rogers
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