Monday, March 24, 2008

We Still Need an Anti-Islamic Manual—More Than Ever

In a comment to an article on Jihad Watch, a suggestion popped up that sounds so breezy and casual, but which is, as we have argued here before, probably the most crucial thing that needs to be done in our disorganized War of Ideas against Islam Apologists:

Namely, to produce and publish a definitive yet concise Manual of common arguments by Islam Apologists, and refutations of them. Alas, we are still far from realizing such a Manual.

This is how the reader put it, commenting on the main thrust of the Jihad Watch article, a recent Q-&-A by obfuscating Islam Apologists experienced by John Lewis, an anti-Islamic speaker, at Georgia Tech University—an experience that Robert Spencer notes he has had himself numerous times:

Perhaps another thing to do to prepare for the Q-&-A after your speeches is to hand out a flyer with the 10-most-common "arguments" and their refutations listed on it. That way, when the first Islamo-apologist starts droning on, you can cut him off with "That's #4 on the list. Next question?" Just a thought. Efficiency, and all...

The above suggestion of “A_Nonny_Mouse” is within its own limitations excellent, even if its casually breeze tone screams for more urgency and specification. For there is no “perhaps” about this. And furthermore, this should not be some little helpful hint merely for the use of Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Mr. Lewis, and “others”.

A Manual of specific ways to refute Islam Apologists is, in fact, a gravely necessary rhetorical tool-kit for everyone—from the relatively influential analysts just mentioned on down to less world-travelled more ordinary folks—who find themselves, here and there, either off-the-cuff or more formally, discussing, persuading, and arguing about this most pressing problem and danger in which Western Civilization finds itself mired.

And lastly, the breezy suggestion of “A_Nonny_Mouse” is too casually slapdash: We do not need some kind of refrigerator note hung up as a second thought by a little magnet, to be used at the next PTA meeting if we can remember to squeeze it in between our dentist appointment and our Pilates class. No: what is needed is a more comprehensive and intensive approach.

There are indeed many circumstances and contexts in which such a Manual is indispensible: from the seemingly innocuous situation of talking to a friend or neighbor across the fence or in the laundry room (for those millions of us not blessed to have our own private washer & dryer); or talking to co-workers on breaks; or having discussions with classmates in college; to writing letters to editors of news publications or to political representatives; to blogging on the Internet; all the way up to participating in Q-&-A sessions at speeches or conferences; and, higher than that, actually debating Islam apologists in public forums, before live audiences or also on the radio or on television.

In all these circumstances, we need much more than the casually breezy “flyer” of the “ten most common arguments”, slapped together perhaps over a cup of tea in the mind of “A_Nonny_Mouse”. What he or she broached is, within its limits, excellent and essential: but it is only the barest of bones of a partial skeleton of the full body that is direly needed.

What we need is a comprehensive, yet concise, Manual of the following:

1) All the points asserted by Islam Apologists (whether they be Muslims themselves, or Politically Correct idiots whitewashing and defending Islam)

2) Refutations of all the points listed in #1

3) Counter-Refutations of any refutations put forth by Islam Apologists to the Refutations of #2 (whether the refutations of the Islam Apologists be actually specifically refuting the Refutations of #2, or whether they be hypothetically imagined by us).

Conclusion:

Influential people like Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Andrew Bostom, David Horowitz, John Lewis, Bill Warner, Ibn Warraq, and others, have no excuse not to have already begun this project. At worst, their obvious disinterest in such a project is inexcusable; at best, their lack of imagination in comprehending the need for a Manual betrays a pathetic poverty of the mind.

Postscript: What a Manual is not supposed to be:

1) The Manual should not be a dumping ground for poorly-organized excesses of information and analyses of the Problem of Islam: the Internet is already overflowing with too much of this.

2) And, closely related to #1, the Manual should not be a general primer on Everything You Need To Know About Islam:

a) The Manual should already assume basic knowledge of basic terms, such as “hadith” and “tafsir” and “Caliphate” and “Sharia” and “Sunni” and “Shia”; and so forth. More esoteric Islamic terms than such as the aforementioned may be explained in the Manual, but only with ruthlessly brief definitions. Internal links may be used to refer readers who need to know more. Otherwise, potential Manual users should expend the necessary effort to supplement their ignorance;

and

b) The Manual is not about Islam per se and thus not about its luxurious jungle of history and literature and sectarian associations: it should be only strictly about Points of Islamic Apology and their Refutations. Period.

11 comments:

Memories of the Willow Tree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nobody said...

That's what I thought, from his use of an Islamic crescent & star as the JW symbol, as well as his positive fascination with the Qur'an ;-)

Incidentally, some have theorized that you are Leon the Pig Farmer. Are you?

Memories of the Willow Tree said...

We still need an anti-Bible manual more than ever. It's demeaning to Gays and Jesus said " I come not in peace but with a sword". Plus the Bible hates gays and condemns them to death.

Erich said...

willow tree's comment provides a helpful example of why we need an Anti-Islamic Manual (AIM):

"We still need an anti-Bible manual more than ever. It's demeaning to Gays and Jesus said " I come not in peace but with a sword". Plus the Bible hates gays and condemns them to death."

willow tree's comment is an example of one particular type of rhetorical tactic which Islam Apologists (whether they be Muslims themselves, or just PC MC defenders of Islam) like to employ: the "Tu Quoque" Argument.

Thus, the first thing the AIM would lay out is

1. exposure of the nature of the tactic, in this case Tu Quoque Argument, followed by
a. the inherent general deficiencies of the TQA (for example the primary deficiency, that while it may or may not prove to expose the specific parallel evils it claims to be exposing in its alternate target, this leaves untouched the original issue of whether the original target ALSO has those evils);

followed by

b. the specific deficiencies exemplified by the Islam Apologist in the concrete case being refuted.

Then the AIM follows with

2. Specific point-by-point refutation of the concrete example:

"We still need an anti-Bible manual more than ever."

This of course is merely a claim with no grounding or argumentation, hence needs no refutation.

"It's demeaning to Gays"

a. Turn the tables on the claim-maker and request evidence for this claim.

b. Present counter-evidence of the worse state of affairs in Islamic culture -- in current events, in history, and in founding texts (Koran and Sunnah + Shia texts). This counter-evidence needs to have the following qualities:

i. it must be ruthlessly concise
ii. it must be boilerplate and function as a cog in a machine, so that every time this particular issue is trotted out by Islam Apologists, the mechanism of refutation can simply be engaged at the push of a button so to speak. (Should a miracle happen, and an Islam Apologist actually proffer a cogent counter-argument to our refutation, the discussion can then move to a higher level of actual intellectual dialogue. This is exceedingly unlikely, given the Islam Apologists I have read and heard over the years.)

"and Jesus said " I come not in peace but with a sword"."

This again should be easy to refute with a boilerplate mechanism, which would include the fact that this is a figurative metaphor, not a literal command.

"Plus the Bible hates gays and condemns them to death."

Ditto. Particularly the Tu Quoque aspect would be unassailable, as it is only Muslims today who are continuing to put gays to death officially and to support death sentences for gays from classical legal texts, coupled with the fact that the modern West has secular institutions and structures and a massive sociopolitical culture surrounding and suppressing through culture and laws any tiny minority of Christian extremists who might wish to revive those dusty old Old Testament verses about gays. Any comparable force of secular pressure that could be adduced to pertain in any given Muslim country today would suffer from the following two debilitations:

1) it would be much weaker, since secularism itself is so weak among Muslims

2) it would be due to Western influence anyway, both under Colonialism and under more recent post-Colonialist influences.

I.e., the secularism that in the modern West helps massively to counter-act any "rough edges" in Judaism and Christianity is an innate Western development, and is far stronger in the West than in Muslim societies.

Nobody said...

If one used the same technique as pro-Islam apologists, one could simply ask Willow to prove it, rather than digging up a serious rebuttal to what's essentially a shot off the hip.

Something tells me Willow is just being an exhibitionist

Memories of the Willow Tree said...

"nobody said...

Something tells me Willow is just being an exhibitionist"

Prolly your racist devil that sits on your shoulder every night, telling you "hey dude all muslims are evil". Yet why is it that the Crusaders are in the Middle East? This is not a white mans area yet white man wants to take away their oil and water (Suez canal). White man is nothing but trouble, they slaughtered the American Indian, the Jews and now they are slaughtering the Muslims in their millions.

But I will be helping them in the next few weeks, I'm proudly serving humanity and traveling to NW Pakistan delivering aid and medicine and providing medical treatment with my 2 good Muslim buddies. Meanwhile you will be left here, snivelling over your daily hate speech blogs thinking of ways to imprison the non whites.
free your minds, peace.

Erich said...

nobody,

"If one used the same technique as pro-Islam apologists, one could simply ask Willow to prove it, rather than digging up a serious rebuttal to what's essentially a shot off the hip."

The problem is, not all Islam Apologists are as pathetically insubstantial as Willow. When they make claims like the one Willow did, and if we merely challenge them to substantiate the claims, many of them in fact do have a second line of attack. It unfolds something like this:

Islam Apologist: The Bible is demeaning to Gays.

Us: Provide evidence of your claim.

Islam Apologist: Cites Genesis 13:13 and 19:4-28 (the Sodom and Gomorrah story which although is mainly about an attempted homosexual gang-rape also carries with it an aura of condemnation of the generally sexually licentious society of Sodom); Leviticus 18:22-23 and 20:13 (the former calling gay sex an "abomination" and equating it with bestiality; the latter specifically calling for the death penalty against both male partners of gay sex). Also cites the New Testament, First Corinthians 6:2-11, where Paul lists the types of people who are "unrighteous" and who therefore "will not inherit the Kingdom of God" -- where, among "fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners (or kidnappers)" are also included two more types of people -- what translations of the two Greek words have translated as "effeminate men" and "abusers of themselves with men" or other translations have rendered these two types as "homosexuals" and "sodomites", or as "male prostitutes" and "homosexuals", or as "catamites" (i.e., young male prostitutes) and "homosexuals"; etc. Then in Romans 1:18-1:32, we have smack dab in the middle of the context of those verses clear references to gays and lesbians -- and the context in which they fit is an utter condemnation of certain types of people: "God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves." The general category of people Paul seems to be referring to here are pagans and polytheists (probably eminently Roman pagans/polytheists). The crucial verses here are 26-27:

"why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.
And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved."

So then what do we do? See, it's not so easy. Now we have to roll up our sleeves and get into a more difficult nitty-gritty of adducing various kinds of evidence to show that

1) Islamic texts are comparatively worse against homosexuality

2) Islamic laws and culture are also worse against homosexuality

3) Modern Western culture cannot be reduced to specific Bible verses, for

a) there is a massive secular culture surrounding the Bible in the West that is hospitable to homosexuality and inhospitable to homophobia (with important exceptions here and there, ironically from the Black and Hisptanic and Islamic communities mostly)

b) furthermore there is a lively debate among Western Christians (both followers and clergy) as to the whole homosexuality issue (with intense dialogue about the verses I quoted above, as well as more general dialogue about the need to show more respect for homosexuals)

c) and finally, the West has no laws criminalizing homosexuality while it increasingly has developed legal protections of homosexuals who suffer discrimination and violence. Even if there continue to be pockets of people and groups who are anti-homosexual, the vast majority of them commit no violence and operate only in the marketplace of ideas, where they have a right to their opinion too. The likelihood of a return to criminalization of homosexuality (between consenting adults of course) in the modern West is pretty much impossible -- unless Islam takes over, that is.


All this might sound like a big job to marshall together: but once the Anti-Islam Manual is put together, such large constellations of arguments + data will be in place as boilerplate refutations, easily engaged for these kinds of claims and counter-claims that Islam Apologists keep on raising over and over.

Nobody said...

Erich

I agree that the AIM is needed, but still disagree that he is typical of the type of person for whom it's needed. The example you provided of a tu quoque artist providing bible citations against homosexuality has not been done by Willow - all he does is say 'We still need an anti-Bible manual more than ever. It's demeaning to Gays and Jesus said " I come not in peace but with a sword". Plus the Bible hates gays and condemns them to death.' and leaves it at that - he doesn't cite Genesis or anything else. Just see his response to my comment.

I'm particularly thrilled by his resolve to pack up and go off to Pakistan. Assuming it's for real, I'd like a pat on the back for having sent a Muslim back to dar-ul-Islam. Initially, I thought that it was an anti-Muslim who wasn't happy with Spencer, but now I see that it's probably a Muslim trying to steer any curious reader away from Spencer.

Nobody said...

Also, I'm now convinced that it's NOT Leon

Erich said...

nobody,

"I agree that the AIM is needed, but still disagree that he is typical of the type of person for whom it's needed."

If the interaction were strictly one-on-one with nobody else actually or potentially listening or reading, and if we are reasonably certain of Willow's stupidity (which requires at least one or two attempts at communication before iron-clad verification) -- then I agree with you.

Otherwise, it doesn't matter whether Willow himself remains blissfully impervious to reasonable arguments, as long as the interchange occurs in a space where others may be spectators.

Secondly, and just as importantly, as I said before, once the AIM is created, refuting people like Willow can be done literally at the push of a button, since the refutations are boilerplate. So when we run into the Willows (who comprise a hefty chunk of the PC MC people out there), we can just click in the boilerplate refutations as they pop up.

With the PC MC people of relatively more sophistication, there would then be required either

a) a cluster of AIM boilerplates (each by topic linked to the other, triggered by the PC MC person's raising the typical counter-responses to our preceding boilerplate)

or, depending on how sophisticated the PC MC person is,

b) actually moving from the AIM's boilerplate refutations to a more nuanced discussion.

Of course, (b) requires more time and labor -- but that should be worth it, given the degree of sophistication of our PC MC interlocutor. (And a high degree of sophistication and intelligence does not necessarily mean the PC MC person is rational and fair: e.g., engaging someone like Ali Eteraz or Noam Chomsky would likely necessitate beginning with the AIM, but then moving on to deeper discussion, but both of those individuals would never transcend their mental pathology of Gnostic irrationality, and so the deeper discussion would never really be a discussion at all -- it would forever remain a spectacle we hope will be instructive for spectators -- just as the one with Willow types, but simply on a higher level.

PS: If Willow isn't "padding his resume" it sounds like he is going to Pakistan to actually lend succor to our Enemy. Sounds like treason to me.

crs said...

another FITNA

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2FDoc%3Fid%3Ddfcst2cq_1fz6jzvgx&langpair=pt%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=WBn1zZRrP_E