Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ali Sina is still an idiot

Planet Hell - Nightwish

Ali Sina. That is the pseudonym of the founder of "Faithfreedom International", a website which describes itself as such:

Faith Freedom International is a grassroots movement of ex-Muslims. Its goals are to (a) unmask Islam and show that it is an imperialistic ideology akin to Nazism but disguised as religion and (b) to help Muslims leave it, end this culture of hate caused by their "us" vs. "them" ethos and embrace the human race in amity. We strive for the unity of Mankind through the elimination of Islam, the most insidious doctrine of hate. Islam can't be reformed, but it can be eradicated. It can't be molded, but it can be smashed. It is rigid but brittle. That is why Muslims do not tolerate criticism of it.

Second sentence and we already have a reductio ad Hitlerum. Associating Islam with Nazism is supposed to suddenly make it bad. ("Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore vegetarianism is bad!"). While this is effective for the simple-minded people this website is targeted against, it easily crumbles when used in a seriously philosophical debate(More on this further down). And then it uses bullshit phrases like "embraces the human race in amity". Muslims are a part of the human race. So when you say to eliminate them, you are not embracing the human race.

MIT professor Noam Chomsky says this:

"If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise." So criticizing Islam for its lack of freedom of speech and then saying that Islam shouldn't be given the freedom to exercise itself... is there any coherent way to hold such an opinion? Ask Ali Sina.

Moving on: so let's talk about the association with Nazism. Now, this is something which seems fairly obvious. Let's assume that Islam is in fact akin to Nazism. So what? What does that even mean? What is bad about Nazism? Is it because Nazis performed immoral actions? But when someone says that, he/she must define immoral. Thus, to use a comparison of Islam and Nazism as a means to degrade Islam requires a presupposition of a moral system. And in this case, this moral system presupposes that Nazism is bad. But therein lies the problem. How do we know this moral system is true? And this is why so many supporters of Ali Sina are Christians. Just check the demographics of the forums. But even among the atheists there, there is a presupposition of a moral system. A moral system which has not been proven to be true. Using an unproven moral system to disprove a different moral system (in this case Islam/Nazism) is utterly self-defeating. But all hope is not lost. See, a moral system, in order to be true, must necessarily be valid. And by valid, I mean in the sense of being logically consistent. For instance let's say I created a simple moral system with 2 propositions:

1. Eating candy is wrong.
2. Having sex is wrong.

Is this moral system true? I don't know. Is it valid? Yes, because it contains no contradictions. Now, let's look at a different moral system:

1. Eating candy is wrong.
2. Not eating candy is wrong.

Is this moral system valid? No, because it is logically inconsistent. And because it is invalid, it cannot logically be true. So as you can see, if someone can show a moral system is invalid, then the moral system is logically false. That is why one must work within the framework of that moral system in order to prove that it is false. Anyone with a basic grasp of philosophy knows that criticisms, of, say, deontological ethics, usually attempt to find a contradiction within the ethical system itself. For example, Kant's categorical imperative has been put to tough tests through trying to find maxims that can be universalized but still be contradictory. Same goes for the criticisms of utilitarianism. Supererogation and other criticisms of utilitarianisms arise from the ethical theory itself. If you go to a utilitarian and say "utilitarianism is false because you shouldn't treat people as a means to an end", he'll laugh at you. In the same way, if you use a moral system other than Islam to say that Islam's moral system is wrong, such an action is equally ludicrous. This is why I find inter-faith quarrelling to be inane and pointless.

My personal reason for not accepting Islam is that I find the assumption of free will to be contradictory with the assumption that God is omnibenevolent. (And of course, many other things, but this is the most prominent reason).

So when I hear someone like Ali Sina offering $50,000 to Muslims (is this offer open to atheists?) if they can disprove that Muhammad was:

a rapist
a pedophile
(had sex with a child)
an assassin
a mass murderer
a ruthless torturer
a terrorist
(I have been made victorious through terror)
a lecher
a misogynist

a narcissist
a thief and plunderer
a cult leader

a mentally deranged (was paranoid, heard voices, hallucinated of seeing jinns, Satan and angels, used to think he had sex with his wives when he did not, suffered from depression and had suicidal tendencies).


then I laugh. Looking at that list of things, the following are legal terms:

mass murderer
ruthless torturer
thief and plunderer

Which means that such a claim is ambiguous. What may be considered rape here in the United States, might be considered sexual assault in another country. For instance, exposing breasts in public here in the United States can make someone a "sex offender". But in Sweden, pornography can be displayed in public and nobody cares. Another example is having sex with a minor (the definition of minor varies among states as well). In the United States, a minor is someone under the age of 18. If an adult has sex with a minor, he/she has committed statuatory rape. But in other jurisdictions, the legal age is 16. So someone could be considered a rapist here in the United States, but not a rapist in Canada or something.

Murder is also another legal term. Murder is by definition unlawful killing. So the only way this claim works is if you presuppose a legal system other than Islam. But the moment you do so, the same problem as I illustrated previously arises; you must prove that your legal system is true!

Torture is yet another legal definition. Seeing as how the United States has a different definition of torture than the Geneva conventions, it is obviously to see how this can be obfuscated.

And finally, to call someone a thief means they committed an illegal act of stealing. Again, we get into legality issues once more. In some countries, to trick someone into selling something for a lot less than its worth is considered theft. In some countries, it isn't.

The point is, the reason nobody can disprove these allegations against Muhammad is because Ali Sina has not provided a consistent legal system which defines all of these terms. Because according to the legal system of Islam, Muhammad is not (and necessarily not) any of these.

But of course, anyone who believes in conscience theory, or any inferior "common sense" morality, they probably accept this argument of Ali Sina.

And then of course there is the humanist aspect. I'm against humanism, but I won't discuss it hear here. Maybe later. I think this is enough for now.

Kirbytime 9:5 ...fight and expose the hypocrites and fools wherever ye find them, and admonish them, ridicule them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of logic); but if they repent, and establish naturalism and practice rational thinking, then open the way for them: for Kirby is understanding and compassionate.

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