Tag Archives: religion

How reason may be ignored and ideologies embraced or discarded

Robert Henderson

The English philosopher Tony Flew  died in 2010. The academic subject around which he wove his life  should have made him less vulnerable to false reasoning. That in turn should have armour plated him against being captured by ideologies.  In fact he was a sucker for ideologies and twice threw  over ideological beliefs for other ideological beliefs.  His intelligence and erudition did not prove any guard against folly.

I knew  Flew when he was still comparatively young when I was a student of Keele  U in the late sixties and early seventies. At that time he  was in his late forties  and held the Chair of Philosophy at the university.

Perhaps the most important guide to his character is the fact that he twice performed a volte-face on fundamental beliefs, the first being his political shift.  Strangely, his mainstream obits  made very little of the fact that he was a man well to the left of centre until his early thirties, one of the original “Angry Young Men” in fact.  I dare say that will come as a great shock to many of those who only knew him as an old man.

The second ideological shift came late in his life when having been a fervent atheist in the Richard Dawkins’ mould throughout his adult life, he suddenly announced in 2004 that he believed there were solid grounds for believing there was a God. There was a considerable irony in this because of his devotion to David Hume, a man who scandalised many on his deathbed, including that old rake Boswell, by maintaining his unbelief.

There have been suggestions that he was not entirely compos mentis at that stage of his life and that he may have been exploited by Christian groups. However, judged by his public announcements, writing and public appearances,  he seemed to have enough about him mentally at the time (2004) when he announced his move from atheism to a form of deism to remove any concern that he was a senile old man having his name used by others.  Whether he was still mentally sharp is another matter, for his reliance on the argument from design because of the revelations of DNA research was frankly feeble for  DNA provides no greater difficulty for doubters of an undirected or created universe than for example does the complexity of the human eye. Its use suggested someone borrowing an idea because they no longer had the mental vitality to argue a matter through.

Tony Flew’s position on atheism was intellectually unsound because like the religious he was being dogmatic without adequate grounds for his dogmatism.  The strongest philosophical position on whether there is a being we might call God is agnosticism.

While it is reasonable to dismiss all religions as man-made artefacts because (1) they all rely on the supernatural, something  for which there is no objective evidence, (2) particular varieties of religious belief tend to pass from parents to children, for example, Roman Catholic parents will tend to have children of the same faith, (3) religions tend to congregate in specific territories and (4) religions tend to reflect the cultures from which they arose.

What is not reasonable is to assert is that there is definitely not a being with the attributes of a God. This is so for a beautifully simple reason: the very fact of existence.  That fact demolishes the argument that it is up to the believers to prove there is a God for the fact of existence creates the possibility of one, a possibility which has the same status as the possibility that there is not a God.

The question of whether there is a God is unanswerable rationally. We could in principle discover if our universe had been created by an active intelligence, but that would not answer the question ultimately for  the problem would then arise of who created the creator and so on ad infinitum: the problem of infinite vicious regression.

There are further problems: while it might be possible to prove that the universe had an immediate creator, it would be impossible to prove that it had no beginning or end or that it came into existence at a particular point through no directed agency, that is, it simply arose. The former case would fail because it would involve proving that the universe had lasted for an infinite period and the infinite cannot be measured, and in the latter case,  no proof could be produced which would rule out the possibility of a creator, because there would be no way of demonstrating that what was perceived to be the spontaneous and undirected production of the universe was not in fact the result of a creator whose existence was as yet hidden.

Because of these considerations the rational position is that the universe may or may not have been the result of active creation by an intelligence with the attributes we assign to the concept of a God.

As an academic philosopher, I think it would fair to say that his strength lay in explication rather than original thought.

Prof Flew is frequently described as a libertarian. Well, libertarianism is a house with many rooms. The judgement that he is a libertarian is almost entirely, perhaps entirely, based on his commitment to laissez faire economics and a small state along Hayekian lines. Whether that makes a person a libertarian is a matter of debate. What is certain is that on some central liberation issues – freedom of expression (you either have complete freedom or a range of permitted opinion), the legalisation of drugs and the right of the citizen to own and carry weapons – he was definitely not a libertarian.

On others, such as education, one must decide whether a strict educational regime is compatible with libertarian ideals or whether the true libertarian should favour something more akin to what used to be called progressive schools which adopt a policy of  laissez faire.  It is worth adding that his hero as a political philosopher was Hobbes, one of the most authoritarian of philosophers in the modern period, a rather strange philosophical guide for a libertarian.

Another great irony of his life was his failure to see the incongruity of  wholeheartedly embracing laissez faire economics and the small state,  whilst spending almost all his working life working for taxpayer funded institutions and drawing a pension, which ultimately funded by the taxpayer.

Sadly, by the time I reached Keele in 1969 Prof Flew’s life there was a far from happy one. He found it difficult going on impossible to come to terms with the much freer academic atmosphere of the sixties.

Is the English Defence League (EDL) the real deal?

Robert Henderson

The decision by the EDL  leaders Tommy Robinson*  and Kevin  Carroll to leave the movement  has been so abrupt that it raises severe doubts about the nature of the EDL.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10363174/EDL-Leaders-quit-over-concern-about-far-right-extremism.html).

The resignations of Robinson and Carroll are made all the stranger because both men were enthusiastically purveying  the normal EDL  line at a rally in Sheffield on 21 September, only 17 days before their resignations were announced  (http://www.englishdefenceleague.org/tommy-robinson-in-sheffield/).  Here are a few samples statements made by Robinson at the rally:

“At what point does diversity become takeover?” (enter video at 1 minute 50 seconds)

“English girls in Sheffield are being groomed and raped… by members of the Islamic community”  (3 minutes 21 seconds)

“We don’t want any more mosques in this country”  (4 minutes exactly)

“People will no longer stand by and watch their towns and cities being taken over” (3 minutes 30 seconds).

It is rather difficult to square such comments with Robinson’s claims so soon afterwards that he now thinks the EDL is no longer  the vehicle to combat  Islamicists because it has been, he claims,  taken over by right extremists .

These recent Sheffield comments become  even stranger in the light of his Newsnight resignation interview on the day of his resignation when he says in response to a Paxman question that he decided to leave the  EDL in February 2013 – see http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=744_1381276885  – enter at 4minutes and 4 seconds). Robinson needed an exit strategy but this was just about as clumsy a one as it would be possible to construct. If he had really wanted to go as early as March why wait for six months?

Caroll’s Sheffield speech was primarily about the double standards of the police when treating Muslims and non-Muslims, but it included what looks like in retrospect a piece of howling cynicism   when Caroll boasted to the crowd that “We are getting bigger and stronger everyday”. (Enter the video at 12 minutes and 58 seconds –  http://www.englishdefenceleague.org/kevin-caroll-in-sheffield/)

 The ostensible reasons for the  resignations

During his various media appearances announcing the resignations Robinson said “I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive.

“I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24442953).

But he also laid  emphasis on the threats to his family and the fact that he was judged by what the more extreme members of the EDL did, viz: “When some moron lifts up his top and he’s got the picture of a mosque saying ‘boom’ and it’s all over the national newspapers, it’s me, it’s when I pick up my kids from school the parents are looking at me, judging me on that.

“And that’s not what I’ve stood for and my decision to do this is to be true to what I stand for. And whilst I want to lead the revolution against Islamist ideology, I don’t want to lead the revolution against Muslims.” (Ibid).

The problem with these reasons is that they have existed throughout the four years of the EDL’s existence.  That does not mean his fears are invalid but we do require an explanation from him as to why they have suddenly become intolerable.

Nonetheless, it is not implausible that Robinson  in particular may have simply tired of the harassment and worse he has experienced.   That the harassment has been considerable we know because  many  publicly reported instances of marches being hamstrung or stopped altogether and the frequent arrests fo EDL members.  But there is also what goes on without getting into mainstream media reporting.  In his  recent Sheffield speech (enter the video at 5 minutes 44 secs)  Robinson  said that as a consequence of being charged with criminal damage valued at a paltry £30 (something he is still waiting to go to court about), the police obtained warrants to search his parents’ house and his house, the officers who arrived at his house he said were armed with machine guns. Robinson also  spent 18 weeks in prison earlier in the year and with three young children he does have reason to fear for their safety.

Is all not as it seems? 

There is a well tried and tested intelligence service  technique of  setting up a front organisation which ostensibly provides a platform for those opposed to government policy or just the way society is organised.   The idea is that the front organisation acts as a light to a moth and attracts dissidents. This allows the security service to both monitor and manipulate those considered politically dangerous to the status quo.   The manipulation may be anything from infiltrating agent provocateurs to persuading  a dissident by one means or another to change their ideological tune.

What are the signs that point to a front organisation? Such things as rapid formation,  a ready supply of money both initially and as the organisation progresses, organisational skill and a failure to make any progress towards attaining  its claimed ends despite making a good deal of public noise.  MigrationWatch UK strikes me as a  classic example  of a front organisation – see http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/is-migrationwatch-uk-a-security-service-front-organisation/.

The other and very obvious  used security ploy is to infiltrate an existing dissident group and attempt to monitor and manipulate it.

Which is most likely in the case of the EDL? Well, it rose quickly and has displayed a certain organisational aptitude. It runs a decent website and can get marches, rallies  and demonstration up and running with sufficient people to raise them above the risible, especially when their performance is put in the context of the considerable harassment they have suffered both from the British authorities and the hard Left.

To those facts you can add the concentration on Muslims and the elements of political correctness in in their repeated claims that the EDL welcomes all creeds and colours and that they are a human rights organisation. A Machiavellian case can be made that it suits the  British political elite to have a “working class” protest group which concentrates on Muslims (because  it diverts attention away from the general question of mass immigration and its consequences) and plays the multiculturalist tune as it marches.  Such a case could also be made  for the political elite finding it useful to have an ostensibly independent grass roots  political movement opposing Islamist groups as a distraction from the insidious and much more damaging gradual imposition of Muslim ways on British society as the British elite generally give way bit by bit to Muslim demands. A  good example is the recent permitting of Muslim pupils to wear a beard, something  which is forbidden to non-Muslim pupils at the school (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10374528/Bearded-Muslim-schoolboys-barred-from-class-allowed-to-return-because-of-human-rights.html).

But on balance  I doubt whether this is a security front organisation because it simply is too uncontrolled.  If it is a front organisation it has not been very successful in channelling dissident behaviour.  Not only that but  most of the possible advantages for the political elite which I  listed above arise just as readily if the EDL is simply what it says it is, a spontaneous grass roots,  mainly working class movement.

How likely is it that the EDL will have been infiltrated by the police or the security services? You can bet  your life that it will have been.  Will the state  have been controlling the EDL leadership? Quite possibly, not necessarily from the first but at some point when they had found a lever to control the leaders.

A strong pointer to what may have  happened is  Robinson and Caroll’s  new association with (but not joined) the Quilliam Foundation, a body  which describes itself as a think-tank tackling extremism in all its forms, although its focus is heavily on Islamicist actors.   When Robinson and Caroll’s resignation were made public they appeared with two of the senior members of Quilliam, the chairman and co-founder Maajid Nawaz (a one time Hizb ut-Tahrir  member)  and Usama Hasan, Quilliam’s senior researcher in Islamic studies. Both Nawaz and Usama come from an extremist Muslim background. The narrative provided by both Quilliam and the two ex-EDL leaders is that it was engagement with Quilliam which led to the resignation of Robinson and Caroll, viz:

Quilliam is proud to announce that Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, the leaders of the anti-Islamist group, the English Defence League (EDL), have decided to leave the group. Having set up the EDL, infamous for its street protests, in 2009, they wish to exit this group, because they feel they can no longer keep extremist elements at bay……

Quilliam has been working with Tommy to achieve this transition, which represents a huge success for community relations in the United Kingdom. We have previously identified the symbiotic relationship between far-right extremism and Islamism and think that this event can dismantle the underpinnings of one phenomenon while removing the need for the other phenomenon. (http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/press-releases/quilliam-facilitates-tommy-robinson-leaving-the-english-defence-league/).

The fact that Quilliam are involved  is decidedly interesting  because they have been seen by some as Home Office stooges as a result of the large amounts of public money pumped into the think-tank after its foundation in 2008. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/12/tommy-robinson-quilliam-foundation-questions-motivation) .  There have also been rumblings about the large salaries drawn by the  senior members of  Quilliam, for example, Nawaz paid himself £77,438 in 2012 (ibid).

Quilliam’s Home Office funding ended in 2011 and its overall income dropped severely putting it into the red (ibid). When the Guardian tried to get an up to date set of accounts  they were ‘told by a press officer: “There is only one print copy and that that has gone missing.”’ (ibid)

The Guardian article suggests that the embracing of Robinson and Caroll by Quilliam may be a ploy to increase funding both through the publicity they are now receiving and because by widening their natural remit to include “right wing extremism”, viz:  “In 2010, when it began to look like Islamist extremism was slightly on the wane and there was an interest in far-right extremism, some people were slightly cynical that the Quilliam Foundation had originally said they were the specialists in Islamism but suddenly started to want to do work on far-right extremism as well. Some people feel that was a cynical land-grab to keep them in the media. But they are a thinktank that has to raise money and has to be visible.” (ibid).  This could well make them flavour of the month again with the Home Office.

What is in it for Robinson and Caroll?  Apart from taking them out of the EDL firing line, assuming they are genuinely worried about that, it could give them, especially Robinson,  an entry into the media and even access to public funds. Imagine a future for them in which they become the “right wing sinner who repenteth”.  Stranger things have happened, think of John Bercow moving from Monday Club enthusiast to his present devout political correctness.  Or it could be that Robinson and Caroll are merely being led to think that they have such  prospects and will be dropped soon, their utility to the politically correct project being judged to be exhausted.

The future of the EDL

The EDL website has a remarkably sanguine official view of the resignations , viz:

“We are grateful to Tommy and Kev for their hard work and dedication in helping to set up such a large and strong organisation as the EDL four years ago. We can easily appreciate the pressures and strain their leadership of the EDL has placed upon Tommy and Kev, not just personally, but also on their families and those dear to them. Not many people could have stood firm in the face of death threats, assaults, police intimidation and state interference. While we regret their decision to leave the EDL, we can understand their reasons and we respect them, as we hope everyone else will.

The EDL was founded for a reason. We had a cause in the beginning and we continue to stand by that cause now. We cannot at this moment say with any confidence what form the EDL will take in the future, but we can say with firm conviction that the EDL will continue to oppose militant and extreme Islam. We will further endeavour to apply our Code of Conduct and reject all Nazis, all extreme right wing organisations, and those who express racism either on our Internet forums, our Facebook pages or on the streets at our protests.

In these times of change, we are determined to fulfil our declared mission and carry on. Our next demonstration in Bradford will therefore go ahead as planned, with a number of guest speakers as well as the regular speakers and including ex-members of our armed forces. The EDL will continue its ideological struggle against Militant Islam and we collectively will not Surrender!” (http://www.englishdefenceleague.org/tommy-and-kevin-resign-from-the-edl/).

To put it mildly that is not a viewed shared by many EDL members judged by the comment on the various social media.

But the flight of Robinson and Caroll  from the EDL is not the main problem for the movement. The main problem is that EDL has always been ideologically confused. This is because the party tries to fit its aims within a politically correct envelope on anti-racism. Here is an extract from their mission statement:

“The English Defence League (EDL) is a human rights organisation that was founded in the wake of the shocking actions of a small group of Muslim extremists who, at a homecoming parade in Luton, openly mocked the sacrifices of our service personnel without any fear of censure. Although these actions were certainly those of a minority, we believe that they reflect other forms of religiously-inspired intolerance and barbarity that are thriving amongst certain sections of the Muslim population in Britain: including, but not limited to, the denigration and oppression of women, the molestation of young children, the committing of so-called honour killings, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and continued support for those responsible for terrorist atrocities.

Whilst we must always protect against the unjust assumption that all Muslims are complicit in or somehow responsible for these crimes, we must not be afraid to speak freely about these issues. This is why the EDL will continue to work to protect the inalienable rights of all people to protest against radical Islam’s encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims.

We also recognise that Muslims themselves are frequently the main victims of some Islamic traditions and practices. The Government should protect the individual human rights of members of British Muslims. It should ensure that they can openly criticise Islamic orthodoxy, challenge Islamic leaders without fear of retribution, receive full equality before the law (including equal rights for Muslim women), and leave Islam if they see fit, without fear of censure. “(http://www.englishdefenceleague.org/mission-statement/)

There are two problems with this stance. The first is what constitutes a moderate Muslim, not merely as things are,  but in a future in which the Muslim population of Britain will almost certainly be considerably larger,  both absolutely and as a proportion of the British population.  For any sincere Muslim there can be no question of moderation as we would understand the term in Britain, no equivalent of faint hearted Anglicanism where to mention God is felt to be decidedly vulgar,  nor a ready acceptance of criticism of religion.

There will be Muslims who eschew violence and Muslims who embrace it, but many of both the violent and non-violent would be comfortable with a state in which Islam was the faith of a majority of the population and in consequence placed in a privileged position. There would not have to be a formal Islamic theocracy, as there is not in Pakistan,  merely Islam as the majority religion with the state turning a blind eye to the oppression of non-Muslims.

The implications of this is that there could never be a movement which is simply opposed to the most extreme Muslim elements, because  potentially all Muslims will support the imposition of Islam as  not merely the dominant religion but the dominant way of life.

The second difficulty is why just Islam?  Islam may be the most aggressive and high profile minority  group at present, but they are far from being the only threat to the British way of life. Mass immigration generally constitutes such a threat, for heavy settlement of particular ethnic and racial groups, aided and abetted by the pernicious embrace of multiculturalism by the British elite, has produced what are in effect colonies in Britain of groups who have no wish or intention of assimilating or even integrating to a substantial degree.  Each of these groups seeks privileges for itself  which it frequently receives from an increasingly frightened political elite who fear any honest public discussion of what has been done through mass immigration will result both in inter-ethnic violence and public anger directed at themselves.

Many who have been drawn to or will be drawn to  the EDL  in the future will be generally hostile to mass immigration and its effects. Thus, it is improbable that the EDL will ever be able to be a single issue– anti-Islamist movement   promoting the multicultural message.

How will the EDL develop? It could simply become an increasingly marginalised group such as the BNP of National Front. However, it differs from  such groups in one potentially very important respect, namely, it is overtly representing England. That could give it greater staying power than the likes of the BNP  because it is filling a very real political void, that of a grass roots movement representing,  however imperfectly,  the resentments and fears of the English.

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*There is considerable dispute over Tommy Robinsons’s name. It is definitely not his true name, but whether his true name is  Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Andrew McMaster or Paul Harris is a matter of some debate.  Yaxley-Lennon is probably his true name. For the purposes of this essay I shall  call him Tommy Robinson.

The Universal Terrorist God

Robert Henderson

God, who goes by a large number of aliases including Yaweh, Jehovah,  Allah, The Almighty and Him, has been on the run since the beginning  of   time as men have sought to bring him to book for his innumerable  terrorist   actions, including all “natural” disasters, wars, famines and diseases.

All attempts to treat with God over many millennia  have failed and the question is being asked “Does God have any coherent or  realisable  demands of  Man?”

Taxed with this problem, the Rev Dr I M A  Believer   said “God’s ways are mysterious and not for Man to question.  It is all part of  His divine plan”.

An unbeliever, Mr  Thomas  Doubting,  would have none of this. “One only has to look around the world to see what a nonsense this God idea is. Christians say he is a loving God, a good Shepherd and  Muslims say he is all merciful, while Jews have believed just about everything about their God  at some time in the past 3 millennia,  including believing He has chosen them as His favoured people.  Try squaring that with these disasters.

“As for the rest of religion, you run the gamut from folks believing that rocks and rivers have spirits in them to the likes of Buddhists who say there is no God, merely states of existence. If all that’s sending a coherent message to Man I’m Charlie Chaplin.”

A UN spokesman said: “Vast attempts have been made to appease God by  slavish worship and sacrifices over the past millennia, but all that  has achieved is to show the truth of Kipling’s verse ‘Once you have  paid the Danegeld/You never get rid of the Dane’. Our major problem is that it is not clear what God’s demands are as He sends out so many conflicting messages. It is unclear whether he has any rational or  consistent demands. “

Dissenting voices have also been heard regarding the causes of “acts of God”.  A structural engineer Mr Al Putogether  blames the  series of disasters on poor design. “Just look at how poor the construction of Man is. He   can only walk upright by adopting a permanent falling tactic  and   women   often die in childbirth because the baby’s head is too big for the mother’s pelvis.  And what about viral  diseases? They just mutate all on their own.  Then there’s the big one: genetic coding which is mistranslated to give mutations.  And is it beyond the wit of an omniscient being to avoid the ageing process and senile dementia?   Clearly no one is in proper control.”

Mr Putogether was backed up by a fellow engineer, Mr Lou Tension. “Everything we see is jerry built.  You’ve got  a planet where molten lava keeps breaking through the  crust. What  kind of safety cover is that? Hasn’t God heard of negative feedback? Then there are these damned tectonic plates which just keep slipping about and causing earthquakes. And what about the oceans and the weather? Where’s the quality control? Where are  the safety fail-safes?  How come we have tidal waves and hurricanes?  What’s so great about things like the last Asian tsunami?  Jeeez… that  was just a low technology action using nothing more than crude  earth shifting and water. Hell, I could come up with something better over lunch!”

 

Following  the  media claim that God  is  in frequent communication with the one-time  President of the United States of Moronica, George W Moron,  ex-President  Moron said “God talks ter me plenty but he don’t tell me everythin’ an’  sometimes he tells me things I ain’t ter tell anyone else.”

Retired British PM Margaret Thatcher told BBC News that “Terrorists must never be   appeased,   even if they are God”.

Questioned on the latest “act of God”, all religious leaders said it  was  either “His mysterious will” or the consequence of “bad karma”.

A Papal spokesman issued a statement denying that the Catholic Church was merely “the temporal arm of God” and had no control over God’s actions.  However, the spokesman refused to condemn God and said that His  actions must be put in the context of Man’s past behaviour. The  spokeman  ended by emphasising that “He will not be going away”.

Last night the digital TV station Angelspan broadcast a message they  claimed was from God: “My will be done, whatever it is, and ‘acts of  God’ will continue until it is done!”

Angelspan said that the message had been left in the mind of their  political editor by the well established God method of transmission: Revelation.

Experts are agreed that future acts of terror by  God were certain, it was a case not of whether but when.

Islam is simply incompatible with liberal democracy

Baroness Warsi’s attempt to portray Britain as a nation of Islamophobes* raises an interesting question: is it unreasonable to be an Islamophobe or is it simple self-defence? To be afraid of a genuine danger is not bigotry.

  The problem with Islam is that the Koran itself is incompatible with our society, a fact that is made double difficult because  for Muslims the Koran is the  literal word  of  Allah.  Therefore,  the Muslim does  not  have  the opportunity so common within Christianity to “interpret”  the  more inconvenient texts into a harmless banality.

From  the  point of view of English law  the   problem   with  Islam  is  this,  the religion promotes  behaviour  which  is    illegal  in England.  Hence,   it is not a question of a  few  Muslim   extremists   falsely  believing  things  which   are   incompatible with English law,  but the  Koran itself   which  is the source of the belief. let me illustrate this with a  few quotes from the Penguin translation of the Koran   by Nessim Joseph Dawood.

Dawood was an Iraqi Jew brought up in Baghdad. Arabic was his first language. His translation was made in the mid-1950s before the present extreme animosity between Jews and Muslims existed.  It is reasonable to see Dawood as someone who is not hostile to Islam and consequentlty has nbon axe to grind by producing translations designed to show Islam in a bad light. .  His introduction to the translation makes this clear:  “The Koran is the earliest and by far the finest work of Classical Arabic prose. For Muslims it is the infallible word of God, a transscript of a tablet presereved in heaven, revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel.” Now for the quotes:

 ‘Because of their iniquity, we forbade the Jews the  good  things  which  were  formerly  allowed  them;   because  time after time they debarred others  from the  path of Allah;  because they practice usury  –   although they were forbidden it – and cheat  others  of their possessions.’ (Chapter (sura) entitled ‘Women’ – sura 4).

 ‘Men  have authority over women because  Allah  has  made  the  one superior to the other,  and  because    they  spend  their wealth to  maintain  them.  Good    women are obedient.  They guard their unseen  parts    because Allah guarded them.  As for those from whom  you fear disobedience,  admonish them and send then  to  beds  apart and beat them.’  (Chapter  entitled   ‘Women’  – sura 4). 

  ‘As  for the man or woman who is guilty  of  theft,    cut  off  their  hands to  punish  them  for  their   crimes.  That is the punishment enjoined by Allah.’    (Chapter entitled ‘The Table’ – sura 5).

 ‘As  for the unbelievers,  the fire of Hell  awaits  them.  Death shall not deliver them,  nor shall its   torment be ever lightened for them.  Thus shall the  thankless  be  rewarded.’  (Chapter  entitled  ‘The  Creator’).

 ‘Prophet,  make  war  on the  unbelievers  and  the   hypocrites and deal vigorously with them.  Hell  is  their home.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).

  ‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them,  besiege them,   and  lie in ambush  everywhere for them.’  (Chapter               entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).

“Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.” (Chapter  The Table – Sura 5)

“Believe in none except those that follow your own religion.” (Chapter The Imrans – sura 3)

‘Believers, do not  choose the infidels rather than the faithful for your friends. ‘ (Chapter Women – sura 4)

‘Unbelievers are those who declare: ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ (Chapter The Table – sura 5)

“The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies.” (Chapter Women – sura 4) 

“The only true faith in Allah’s sight is Islam.He that denies Allah’s revelations should know that swift is God’s reckoning.” (Chapter entitled The Imrans –  Sura 3)

  ‘You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace  the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an  idolatress…’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ – sura 2).

  ‘Believers,  retaliation  is  decreed  for  you  in  bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a    slave,  and  a  female  for  a  female.’   (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ -sura 2).   

  ‘Remember the words of Lot, who said to his people : “Will you persist in these indecent acts which no other nation has committed before you? You lust after men instead of women. Truly, you are a degenerate people.”‘(Chapter  The Heights -sura 7).

In  that small selection – and the Koran is  jam-packed  with similar  injunctions  – we  have  anti-Semitism,  homophobia,  sanction for the subordination of women and the right to beat  them  and   general calls to strike  down  non-Muslims.   In   short  the Koran contains much which is illegal not  only  in  terms of the behaviour  it sanctions for Muslims, but also in terms  of  breaching the laws  regarding  racial  incitement.

The genesis of  Christianity and Islam are very different. Christianity spent several centuries as a persecuted religion. This eventually resulted in a quietest mentality whereby the religion was practised in the main  as a private devotion which did not challenge the state. The emperor Constantine  then made it the state religion of Rome in the early fourth century   whereby it became an instrument of state. This brought it under another form of control.

Islam’s development was the reverse of Christianity. From the first it was an aggressive, expansionist religion which spread itself through war. It was an elite ideology which  lacked the refining period of persecution experienced by Christianity to make it meek.  It remains so to this day.

*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/8272933/Baroness-Warsi-Islamophobia-seen-as-normal.html

Reason is not the primary driver of Man

Man, at least in his modern secular First World form, has the illusion of free will. That is unsurprising because he is a highly intelligent and self-conscious entity with a discrete personality and an ego and it is natural for such a being to think that the choices they make are free choices insofar as they act without overt constraints from other people, their biology or brute circumstances. In fact, free will is an illusion not as a consequence of the constraints of human biology or the nature of the universe Man inhabits but as a consequence of the fact that the concept is a logical nonsense.

Imagine the most powerful entity which can exist: the omnipotent, omniscient god. Such a being can not have free will because it must have a discrete intelligence which is conscious of its existence, in short a conscious mind. Any such mind will require motivation otherwise it would never act, it must have desires, it must have what we would call a personality. Consequently, the omnipotent, omniscient god would be in the same general existential position as a man, that is, bound by its own mentality.

Of course Man is in vastly more constrained circumstances than the omnipotent, omniscient god. Human beings live within the general constraints that apply to every other organism. We copulate, eat, drink, and sleep, fight, respond to weariness perform our bodily functions in the same way that an animal does, without any great thought. We feel desire or necessity and act on impulse.

Within our bodies a great system of checks and balances – repair mechanisms and the automatic systems needed for an organism to function – continue without our conscious control or even our awareness of the functions being accomplished. Hormones and enzymes control not only essential functions but our emotions and desires. Physical illness or wellness determines how we behave.

What we experience in our minds is a very different thing from what actually comes through our senses. All we can perceive is what our biology and experiential “programming” allows us to perceive. We can only see or hear within certain wavelengths of light and sound. Our senses change in their efficacy throughout life. All external stimuli are filtered through our brains and are the brain’s best guess at what has been perceived, hence the ease with which we mistake things either through insufficient data (for example, something seen in shadow) or through the brain matching sense data with something we already know, for example, when we see a man’s face in a cloud.

Our mental world is subject to congenital differences which affect behaviour. These range from differences in mental capacity and special talents to brain defects and injuries. Someone born with Downs Syndrome, severe epilepsy or autism perceives the world very differently to someone born without such conditions. Their capacity for rational behaviour is much reduced because their level of understanding is reduced. The most severe example of innate disablement of the rational are those people born without the development of the frontal lobes, the acephaletic. These unfortunate individuals occasionally survive and behave in a manner which seems to be entirely without conscious reason.

We also know from much experience that injuries to the brain or the effects of disease or ageing can have the same effect as innate abnormalities. Those who suffer brain injuries sometimes develop behavioural traits which are completely different from what they had before. They may become more violent or more subdued, lose their initiative or develop new talents or inclinations such as artistic impulses. Frontal lobotomies subdue behaviour. Age leads to declines in rationality ranging from loss of short term memory to full blown senile dementia.

In our brains we store a myriad of memories which act as both primers for action and the means to take action. We see someone we do not like and respond with open hostility or caution. We meet a situation which appears to be dangerous because we have previously met it or a situation which resembles a danger we have imagined and feel fear and act accordingly. We see someone we love and act favourably towards them. Of course, our memories do much more than provide immediate or particular behavioural responses for they also shape our general character within the confines of the basic, genetically determined personality.

What constitutes a learned response? Not a simple thing to define. Keeping your hand away from fire after you have been burnt is obviously such. Going from A to B along a familiar route is another. Putting a cake in an oven at a particular heat for a particular time a third. But suppose I  master the philosophy of Kant. If I explain his philosophy without commentary to someone that might reasonably be described as a learned response in the sense that I am merely regurgitating what I have learnt. Yet it is also true that the act of comprehending Kant goes beyond mere memory and the effort of remembering what Kant’s philosophy is after it has first been learnt is a very different thing from recalling a piece of “inert data” such as the date of the Battle of Hastings.

Mental calculation is, of course, more than prolonged self-conscious intellectual consideration. It is what happens when someone calculates the distance to throw a ball or how to place pieces in a jigsaw or spontaneously comes up with a clever pun, as well as the sustained mental thought which led Newton and Einstein to develop their physics or Aristotle his logic.

Somewhere in between lies the great mass of considered utilitarian mental  calculation such as computer programming and applied mathematical  computation and the everyday  ability  to  see contradictions and connections  and to generally engage in  logical reasoning.

We function as organisms at various levels. We do some things without conscious thought: we breathe, produce hormones and enzymes, and circulate the blood, digest food and so on. Our biology produces basic states of mind such as hunger, fear and sexual desire over which we have little control although we are conscious of the states of mind. Then come conscious choices which are designed to give us pleasure or at least satisfaction; we decide on an activity which we know will produce pleasant sensations or avoid unpleasant ones. Finally, we have rational thought designed to solve particular problems.

Man, or at least Man in advanced modern societies, flatters himself that he is a rational being whose behaviour is the consequence of consideration. (Even without free will, a self-conscious being could still operate rationally within the confines of its existential circumstances). In fact, most human behaviour is not rational in the sense of being self-consciously decided after having weighed the pros and cons of what to do or of trusting what we perceive to be the rational decisions of others, whether by engaging in self-decided emulation or through the suggestion or order of another.

Most of what we do falls into three classes of behaviour: the repetition of rational behaviour which has previously proven successful, or at least not harmful, what our biology tells us to do, for example to drink, or as an unconsidered response which is a consequence of whatever constitutes an individual’s basic personality, for example, traits such as timidity, aggression, affection. Even when we self-consciously decide on future action, our decisions are mediated by our knowledge of what has happened before, our biology and our personality traits, both innate and developed.

Men are frequently faced with conscious decisions which they are unable to decide rationally because they lack the knowledge or intellect to do so. Sometimes they fail to make a decision because of fear. In all these circumstances the individual does one of three things: (1) he makes a decision simply to make a decision, (2) he follows the herd or (3) he allows himself to be manipulated by another individual.

Most of this (to various degrees) automated behaviour is at worst harmless and at best positively desirable – it would be an impossible world if we had to seriously consider every deliberate action before acting, not least because it would be utterly exhausting. But it can be damaging. Even when acting self consciously, humans are quite frequently in the grip of ideas which are in themselves objectively wrong or at least have no certain truth. Moreover, those afflicted with such ideas often know at some level their beliefs are suspect – the reason that believers in religions or secular ideologies are generally very keen on suppressing any questioning of their beliefs is because they know in their heart of hearts that they will not stand up to questioning. Yet men adhere to such ideas and act upon them  even though their reason tells them that they are questionable or even plain wrong because they are emotionally satisfying in themselves or they are group values from which the individual gets emotional satisfaction from sharing in the group experience.

Alternatively, group pressure may produce a state of mind whereby the individual does not actually believe something but is conditioned not to question it because at some level the mind has marked such questioning as dangerous or inappropriate. In our own time political correctness produces such feelings in many.

Where a set of ideas form an ideology the effect is particularly pernicious, both because of the multiplication of error and because the tendency to adopt a religious attitude towards the ideas is heightened, for to deny one part of the ideology is to question its general veracity. (By an ideology I mean a mental construct which consists of a menu of tenets which the adherent applies without regard to their utility or truth). The observance of the ideology becomes an end in itself. All ideologies are inadequate to a lesser or greater extent, because they are menus of ideas which are (1) incompatible and/or (2) based on premises which are objectively false or at least debatable.

An example of (1) is the attitude of libertarians to immigration. On the one hand they complain of the illiberal consequences of mass immigration – political correctness, laws which discriminate against the majority, restrictions on free speech and so on – on the other they advocate an  open border immigration policy. The two policies  are self-evidently incompatible.

An example of (2) is Marxism, whose claims of objective truth were routinely and consistently demolished by reality, the consequences of which were ever more fanciful revisions of Marxist theory to fit the evolving non-Marxist world.

 Sociological Constraints

Man is constrained by sociological laws of which he is only dimly aware. When a general election is held in Britain Members of Parliament are elected for one of 646 constituencies on the very simple basis of who gets the most votes in the constituency. There is no multiple preference voting, just a single vote for one candidate. As a platform for the study of human behaviour it is splendidly uncluttered.

Because people are voting for an individual it might be thought that the voting pattern throughout the country would vary tremendously because people would be voting on the record of the government and opposition in the previous four or five years, the parties’ stated policies if they form the next government, local interests, how the sitting MP has performed and the perceived quality of the other candidates in the constituency. In fact the voting pattern is always remarkably uniform throughout the country. If the swing from the Government is on average 5% throughout the country, there will be few if any constituencies which show a swing of less than 4% or more than 6%. This uniformity does not vary greatly with the size of turnout.

It is impossible to supply any plausible explanation for this behaviour based on the idea that Man is rational. One could see how a small population might be influenced by peer pressure and word of mouth but not a country of sixty million. Nor is it the consequence of modern mass media because the phenomenon predated television and the Internet. If I had to hazard an explanation it would be this: different personality types are distributed throughout populations in certain proportions as the consequence of natural selection working to ensure that human society functions. Each personality type will tend to behave in the same way. Hence, the aggregate societal effect in response to a particular stimulus will be relatively stable. When people vote in a General Election they produce similar voting effects because the personality types are distributed similarly throughout Britain and consequently people throughout the country respond to circumstances in a similar fashion. In other words, personality traits trump reason.

A less obvious example is the trade cycle. There is no certain explanation for why such a cycle should exist, but it is possible to provide plausible explanations for the ebb and flow of economic activity, for example, that there comes a point in the trade cycle whereby most individuals have purchased everything they want within the constraints of what they can afford and consumption lessens which in turn reduces economic activity which creates a further impetus to reduced consumption as people worry about the future. Equally, it is plausible that when the down side of the cycle has gone on for a while demand increases because goods need replacing and as consumption slowly grows confidence increases triggering further growth.

What is not so easy to provide is a plausible explanation of why the population acts uniformly enough to regularly create such a cycle. How could it be that the large majority of a population routinely respond in the same way? The answer again probably lies in a stable distribution of personality within a population.

What evidence is there for personality being so distributed throughout a population? Well, from our own everyday experience we all know that there is a range of personality types who are met in any reasonably large group, but quantifying such knowledge in an objective manner is to say the least problematical. Whether we have any “objective” statistical evidence at present largely depends how much credence is placed on psychometric tests which supposedly determine personality. Having seen them used to select people for employment I am sceptical of their predictive power, because all too often their assessment of personality fails to match the person‘s performance. More trustworthy although less focused is the information from psychological experiments. Many psychological experiments show personality differences obliquely, for example, the famous experiments of Abrahams in the 1950s on peer pressure and The Stamford prison experiment of the early 1970s. They showed recurrent patterns of obedience and disobedience and of a willingness to abuse and to accept or resist abuse.

Intelligent Design is creationism in pseudo-scientific disguise

In the beginning was the argument from design.  This claimed that God’s existence was made manifest  by the intense intricacy, utility and beauty of the world, a state of affairs its advocates said could never have happened by blind chance but only through an intelligent creator. Analogies with God and watchmaker were most popular. The most famous advocate of this idea in the English-speaking world was the Rev William Paley who spent immense time and effort  either side of  the year 1800 attempting to prove his case.

The argument from design crashed into the intellectual  roadblock of Darwinism and the general growing rationalism of  the nineteenth century. The religious responded by covering  the argument with  a carapace   of metaphysical explanation  couched in scientific language . Their arguments took two forms. They either ran along the lines of “the human eye  cannot  possibly have evolved because how do you get from no eye to an eye through  natural selection?” * or claimed that the world, including apparent examples of evolution,  could be perfectly well explained by either God setting off a system which evolved to His plan.

However, some still hankered after immediate creationism. Some just left it at that and said faith proved it to be true. But some  decided to justify the creationist argument using rational  forms if not rational means. So they began to say that it was a theory just like Darwinism. They began to produce   arguments couched in   scientific language  but essentially non-scientific because what they claimed could never be objectively tested. Often what they claimed required the Darwinists to prove a negative, for example, to show that this or that feature could not have arisen by means other than natural selection.  In short, scientific creationism bears the same relationship to science as democratic centralism does to democracy, the answer in both cases being none.

But the scientific  creationists had a problem – they just could not keep God out the picture. But the more intelligent amongst them realised that introducing the Christian  God and  Genesis into the argument made them and rationality strangers in the eyes of most and so they  re-packaged the belief without  Jehova and the Bible and called it Intelligent Design  (ID). It  is scientific creationism in disguise, Christianity without the Bible as it were.

Contrary to what  the  ID/creationists claim, there is ample evidence that Darwinism is correct.   We have the fossil evidence of  long runs of evolving organisms such as the horse and pig – an ID advocate would have to believe either that the intelligent designer created each individually or that the intelligent designer set the world off on a course in which everything would evolve to a pre-ordained pattern.

We also know from organisms occurring naturally that variations in a species are commonplace and from animal breeding that organisms are quickly malleable and can be manipulated through selective breeding within a few generations to enhance desired traits. Controlled experiments have also demonstrated  that agents such as radioactive materials and heat can create mutations.  In addition, geneticists have begun to identify the genes which control biological development and behaviour, which explains how  variation occurs.

Rapidly increasing understanding of genetics has  shown that all organisms are genetically linked, in some cases surprisingly very closely.  This  strongly suggests but does not prove evolution – it is conceivable but improbable that each organism could be individually designed. .

Common observation tells anyone that  the natural world has at the least not been directly  designed by an intelligent creator. We can tell this from the Heath Robinson nature of organisms. These, far from being highly engineered examples of organic perfection, contain within themselves just the type of development one would expect from evolved organisms: structures which are clearly adapted from structures with different functions. Look at a flatfish such as a plaice. Its mouth and eyes etc  have been twisted round through about 90 degrees to allow the fish to place its previously vertical body  sideways in the water. The twisting is very obvious and the result crude and not as one would expect from something deliberately designed.

It is of course possible, as I have mentioned above, that every organism is individually created or that the whole of evolution has been the consequence of an event such as the working out of a computer programme. However, there is no evidence whatsoever for this and in principle there could never be because it would be impossible to provide objective evidence that it was the truth for the same reason one cannot provide evidence of a God: there is no way of demonstrating that such knowledge was more than a fantasy.

The God problem for ID/Creationists

Imagine that ID is the truth. The ID/Creationists have a bit of a problem. They are, to the best of my knowledge, all Christians. Yet if their God is responsible for creating the world he cannot be the God of love, whose first priority is the wellbeing of Man.

When Darwin was an old man he  said something along to the effect that when he contemplated the natural world he shuddered at the thought of a mind who could have created something so barbaric.   What God of love would create predators, many of which eat their prey alive? What God of love would  visit so much suffering by way of disease? What God of love would make organisms grow old and defunct rather than letting them die when vigorous? What God of love would create natural disasters such as floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes?

If the ID/creationists are truly sincere  in their belief in a creator they must conclude that their god is, in human terms, psychopathic.

* The mechanism for the evolution of the eye by Darwinian means is easily demonstrated.  The starting point are a few light sensitive cells (some living animals have such things). . These  prove useful and more cells develop in succeeding generations. Then a protective cover develops. This gradually develops into a lens and so on until the eye as we know it is formed.

The geneticist Steve Jones (D Tel 31 August)  described research on the nerve transmitter serotonin. The research shows that a receptor for serotonin  on the surface of brain cells  varies in quantity from individual to individual. The fewer you have the more likely you  are to be anxious and nervous. Strong correlations exist between schizophrenics and religious believers and the number of receptors they have – the fewer the number of receptors, the greater likelihood of either state of mind existing.

As Jones puts it “The molecular lock into which serotonin key fits is, it seems, Beezlebub’s own protein, for to inherit a decent dose of  it is as good a vaccine against belief as was compulsory school assembly.”

What is the rational position on religion?

With believers and avowed atheists energetically  locking horns as a consequence of events such as the Pope’s visit and Stephen Hawking’s latest offerings on  God to no certain purpose what, if anything, is an  objectively  rational position to take with regard to religion?

 It is reasonable to dismiss all religions as man-made artifacts because (1) they all rely on the supernatural, something for which there is no objective evidence, (2) particular varieties of religious belief tend to pass from parents to children, for example, Roman Catholic parents will tend to have children of the same faith, (3) religions tend to congregate in specific territories and (4) religions tend to reflect the cultures from which they arose. 

Atheism is intellectually unsound because like religious belief it is being dogmatism based on assertion.  The strongest philosophical position on whether there is a being we might call God is agnosticism. 

What is not reasonable is to assert is that there is definitely not a being with the attributes of a God. This is so for a beautifully simple reason: the very fact of existence.  That fact demolishes the argument that it is up to the believers to prove there is a God for the fact of existence creates the possibility of one, a possibility which has the same status as the possibility that there is not a God.

 The question of whether there is a God is unanswerable rationally. We could in principle discover if our universe had been created by an active intelligence, but that would not answer the question ultimately for the problem would then arise of who created the creator and so on ad infinitum.

There are further problems: while it might be possible to prove that the universe had an immediate creator, it would be impossible to prove that it had no beginning or end or that it came into existence at a particular point through no directed agency, that is, it simply arose. The former case would fail because it would involve proving that the universe had lasted for an infinite period and the infinite cannot be measured, and in the latter case,  no proof could be produced which would rule out the possibility of acreator, because there would be no way of demonstrating that what was perceived to be the spontaneous and undirected production of the universe was not in fact the result of a creator whose existence was as yet hidden.

 Because of these considerations the rational position is that the universe may or may not have been the result of active creation by an intelligence with the attributes we assign to the concept of a God.

Islam knows no compromise

The importance of Terry Jones’ threat to burn Korans is not his crass exhibitionism.  Rather it lies in the fact that Jones’ behaviour is  a symptom of the catastrophic failure of the American elite to accept the reality of Islam, a failure which causes them to represent the creed as simply another religion no different in principle to, say, the Quakers or Methodists, and consequently a matter for private conscience alone.  This blindness is encapsulated in the absurd liberal mantra that “Islam is a religion of peace and love”. As someone who has taken the trouble to read the Koran let me give a flavour of this supposed paragon of non-violence and political correctness:

Koranic Quotations

‘Because of their iniquity, we forbade the Jews the good  things  which  were  formerly  allowed  them; because  time after time they debarred others  from the  path of Allah;  because they practice usury  – although they were forbidden it – and cheat  others of their possessions.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Women’).

‘Men  have authority over women because  Allah  has made  the  one superior to the other,  and  because they  spend  their wealth to  maintain  them.  Good women are obedient.  They guard their unseen  parts because Allah guarded them.  As for those from whom you fear disobedience,  admonish them and send then to  beds  apart and beat them.’  (Chapter  entitled ‘Women’).

‘As  for the man or woman who is guilty  of  theft, cut  off  their  hands to  punish  them  for  their crimes.  That is the punishment enjoined by Allah.’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Table’).

‘As  for the unbelievers,  the fire of Hell  awaits them.  Death shall not deliver them,  nor shall its torment be ever lightened for them.  Thus shall the thankless  be  rewarded.’  (Chapter  entitled  ‘The Creator’).

‘Prophet,  make  war  on the  unbelievers  and  the hypocrites and deal vigorously with them.  Hell  is their home.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Repentance’).

‘You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an idolatress…’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’).

‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them,  besiege them, and  lie in ambush  everywhere for them.’  (Chapter

entitled ‘Repentance’).

‘Believers,  retaliation  is  decreed  for  you  in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave,  and  a  female  for  a  female.’   (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’).

That is a very small selection of the vast number of  Koranic exhortations to Muslims to behave in ways which would chill the blood of the politically correct.

In principle, Muslims can never be loyal subjects or citizens of any nation or discrete political entity because Islam enjoins its adherents to give their allegiance only to Allah. This is a more extreme theological position than that of Catholics whose temporal allegiance is to a man, the Pope, although the doubts raised about Muslims’ loyalty today are similar to those raised by about Catholics in the past when the Papacy had real political power. .

Islam also has profound developmental differences from Christianity. The latter grew organically over three centuries as a persecuted religion before Constantine made it the state religion of Rome. Those three centuries of persecution made Christianity a pacific movement and its conversion into the state religion of Rome ensured that any fanatical proselytising tendencies were kept in check.

Islam on the other hand became a politically dominant religion immediately and from the outset was extremely aggressive. In addition, Islam has a Holy Book which, unlike the Bible, is supposedly the work of a single person relating the direct word of God. This makes anything other than a literalist interpretation next to impossible.

Most importantly for the present day, Islam is a totalitarian creed. There is no distinction between the religion and the rest of life. Islam touches every aspect of life in the most intimate way.  It is politics, the law, economic life, culture and customs.

Most dramatically, the desired end of devout Muslims is that the world should be peopled entirely by Muslims who are bound together in a single human entity. For the Muslim there is no concept of peaceful and equal coexistence between Islam and non-Muslims as a desired end.  Islam accepts that as a matter of practical necessity that coexistence may be necessary where Islam does not have the immediate power to enforce its will, but wherever it has the power the will is enforced and non-Muslims are either driven out of the state through direct state action or the inaction of the state to prevent t laissez faire persecution or pressured to turn to Islam. At best non-Muslims in majority Muslim states can expect an inferior status, both legal and social.

The upshot of this mentality is a resolute refusal to compromise. At its most extreme this results in terrorist acts such as 9/11 and 7/7. But it is naive to say “it is only a tiny proportion of Muslims who are terrorists” because the support of  terrorist acts is pyramidal. At the top are the bombers. Below them the bomb makes. Beneath them the providers of money, safe houses, munitions. Under them those willing to demonstrate. Finally, comes the mass of people who take the IRA complicit line of “I don’t agree with their methods but….”.

The refusal to do anything other than follow the dictates of their faith can be seen in Muslims involved in the proposed 9/11 site mosque. They  have shown no willingness to compromise in any way let alone display any sensitivity to the feelings of non-Muslims. This is par for the course as the normal behaviour of Muslims is to insist upon their will while ignoring the will of non-Muslims.

The majority of Americans may think or at least say in public that Jones’ behaviour is beyond the Pale, but the vast majority of Americans find highly obnoxious the demands Muslims in the USA routinely make, for example the 9/11 mosque and  their constant assaults on free expression whenever any criticism of their religion occurs.  The fact that a fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim is indicative of the intense concern Islam is generating in the USA.

The problem with condemning unreservedly Terry Jones is that it drives further a wedge which has already gone deep not only into the USA but Western society generally, namely, that caused by the incessant appeasement of Muslims by Western governments. People such as Jones may be crass in their behavior, but they are expressing a widespread fear and anger which elites are ignoring. At bottom, what is called Islamophobia by Western elites is simply the natural reaction of any people to having their territory, both physical and intellectual, invaded.  Because of that elite failure and betrayal, Jones should be seen as a useful if unwitting catalyst who has  forced a subject hated and feared by liberals –  the mess created by mass immigration and multiculturalism –  into public view.

I will leave you with this thought. The official estimate of Muslims in Britain is two million. That estimate is almost certainly an underestimate because  official estimates of ethnic groups invariably are. There are probably three million.   If one in a thousand turn terrorist that is 3,000 terrorists. That would represent a far greater threat than ever the IRA did simply in numbers. The Muslim threat is amplified by the fact that unlike the IRA, they have no restraint.

Robert Henderson

12 9 2010

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