At last an end to the religious debate…
Periodically, the intellectual conflict between science and religion comes to a head in the form of a debate and the results of such debates are often quite interesting and lead into areas of enlightenment that are surprising. Those who say scientists should not take part in such debates are fascists, morons and idiots.
I classify myself a lapsed-Catholic agnostic atheist (that is someone who fundamentally does not believe in god, but as a good scientist cannot prove or disprove his/her non-existence, it’s a very good form of rhetorical macramé), as such the debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Ken Ham CEO of the Creation Museum piqued my interest.
At 2½ hours it is quite a long debate, but you need to go through it all to get a real flavour of the thing, the excerpts simply do not do it justice. As you would expect, neither side expected to win over their opponents, but this was a genuine debate for serious stakes, with the minds of children in classrooms at stake.
I have a strong interest in biology. I actually started a biology degree but switched to physics. I have some issues with Darwinism. No I am not a creationist but I tend to think the views of folk like Lynn Margulis got side-lined and I can’t stand Dickie Dawkins. OK Margulis was mad as a box of frogs on some stuff but whatever! She was almost certainly right with symbiotic development of eukaryotic cells. And then some weird stuff in evolution is down to maths more than just pushy little replicators slugging it out (that’s quite a good joke, actually – though not at a club at 2am which is packed with sluggy and pushy little wannabe replicators). Yes, slime molds are fascinating examples of self-organisation. They ain’t pretty but neither are engine rooms. I have a maths book somewhere which deals with the way they organise. Apparently it is dead easy to write a computer program to model them. Basically they operate more like a society than a single organism. Truly bizarre but then so is a jellyfish which you can stick in a blender and then can spontaneously reform.
Biology is very strange. And we are only now starting to be getting the full sp and it is hideously mathematical (and I like maths). A maths student I knew at university was doing a PhD on cancer angiogenesis – cancers developing their own blood supply! I saw his talk on it and left feeling not 100% – and I was not alone. Like I said down in the basement there are some very unpleasant things. To say nothing of the woodshed. I guess at some level I kinda thought if I stick with biology I might get a disease named for me (and probs a very unpleasant one) but physics! Ah, you can get a star named for you. I was a romantic youth. Still am.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dissing Darwin who had a truly profound insight into the Universe. But of course he didn’t get the full toffee apple – nobody ever does. Not even Newton and in many ways Darwin was biology’s Newton. Before him it was all myopic vicars hunting butterflies and pinning them up or some such. Chemistry is mainly buggering about and trying to make epic pongs – which is why we have mainly left it to the Germans. As a kid I did a chemistry masterclass thingie in the Easter hols at Newcastle University and some student at some point had scrawled in a way that suggested some form of abysmal moral torment the phrase, “Chem is wank” on my desk. Oh, it’s useful and I’m glad other people do it but A-level was my limit and I guess seeing my teacher blow the bejesus out of the fume cupboard doing the thermite reaction (now banned in schools) straightening his tie and saying in very calm tones, “Um, quite a vigorous reaction” was enough. But this is getting off topic. It was hilarious though. And he was a good teacher. 25 years later I recall that lesson. If only we’d had facebook then that moment would have been immortal.
This blog has collected a load of comments by creationists from tweets, blogs and whatever. The unmitigated pignorance of them astounds me. It isn’t so much they are wrong. They are in the words of Wolfgang Pauli, “nicht ganz falsch”. They are not even wrong. Hey ho! Let’s go!
@Yhwh_TheLord so then why do women have babies if we can just evolve fRom um whatever you think we evolved from?
You to old to believe in evolution. If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys. are they the stupid that couldn’t evolve?
I’ve never seen an animal or a micro organism become a human. So that evolution shit is out the window for me.
Evolution is atheism. It’s not science, but an impossible, unrealistic, unbiological, invented process in order to remove God from equation.
And it goes on. And on.
So why am I blogging it? I have a long-term hatred of what can be called the science/religion debate. Putting the two in opposition has never made any sense to me. It doesn’t stop folk though. I’m sat having lunch at Lenton Hall University of Nottingham in 1993 and this git sidles, yes, sidles up to me and gets chatting. Well he’s a missionary and he rapidly turns around the meet and greet into, “Well if you come back to my room I have an excellent 20 minute defence of religion against science.” I politely but firmly declined. Should I have added that many people on my physics course were religious? Nah, that obvious fact never works with these folks. Then there was the head of the Christian Union who used to organise five-aside footy and at half-time once came out with, “You know in many ways God is like a football”. What fatuous guff! How precisely is God like a football? I mean some of the greatest minds of all time have wrestled with the question of the existence and nature of God and he comes out with that utterly meaningless toss! So fuck you Descartes! God is like a football because Robin said so (he was a twat BTW – an epic twat – a twat’s twatter of a twatting twat). There was a nervous silence and a lot of folk looking at their boots until someone suggested we just get on with the second half – thank God! Need I say quite a few of us were Christians. Not me but a few of the lads. They were even more deeply embarrassed. God is like a football – oh Pity Me! (a village in County Durham BTW).
There is no real clash between science and religion because fundamentally they are about different things. I can tell you (roughly) how a hydrogen bomb works but a priest can tell you whether it should be used. It’s very much like asking a plumber about the wiring. This is not to say I don’t have ethical viewpoints and it is not to say the priest might not have a strong interest in scientific matters (note vicars and flutterbies -as my Gran used to say) it is just that they aren’t the same thing and when people attempt to conflate religion (or especially quasi-religions such as National Socialism or Communism*) with (usually pseudo) science very bad things tend to happen.
Science says how things are and how to do ‘em. It should have next to no input in the moral dimension. It doesn’t say what ought to be done. That is for all of us as moral human beings to decide. By the same token religion (and moral stuff in general) ought to take note of science and not see it as a threat. Moreover the fusing of the two is a terrible idea and the instrument of totalitarians because it makes us objects to play with in the lab. And an invented (note I reffed Pseudo science earlier) lab at that. Science and religion fill two very different human needs and arguing the toss about which is better is like arguing whether pizza is better than Coca-Cola. You might ask a bishop in a moment of spiritual doubt but you’d ask an engineer or physicist if your PWR looked shonky. And vice versa. And the same applies to all religions (or moral codes) as it does to the sciences. You wouldn’t (even though she was a scientist) ask a botanist to look at your iffy PWR any more than you’d ask a nuclear scientist to tell you the best way to get rid of the crop-infection on your farm.
Science versus Religion is possibly the greatest nicht ganz falsch in the history of thinking. Yet it goes on.
* The Sovs were not exactly into “racial realism” but did some bizarre stuff. They had women volunteer to be inseminated with gorilla semen because Stalin wanted to cross-breed a race of invincible Planet of the Apes style warriors and workers. And yes, I do mean they genuinely volunted for the socialist cause which is the really spooky bit. Utterly bent out of shape. Here’s your monkey baby says the midwife before taking it off to the research facility 214 for “studies”. Of course it didn’t work because “perverse science” is never “correct” in any sense of the word. The very idea that Darwinism leads to communism is twisted because communism lead to Lysenkoism and attempts at disgusting cross species mating (which can’t by definition work anyway – OK up to a point it can: mules, ligers etc but human/gorilla is really pushing the envelope). Anyhoo it doesn’t take away from my point that science is morally neutral. It is. It can be twisted though. Not to put too fine a point on it this is exactly why we need different modes of thought – not just science or pseudo-science. That is why religions and other moral concepts exist and need to. Because to put a very blunt point on it any quantity of knowledge on the structure of the atom or the structure of DNA says nothing about why you shouldn’t rape, murder or steal. That is a moral question and just as religion should keep out of science science has nothing to say about religion or morality and nor should it try to. And as to “science” impinging on politics – God help us!
You won’t get me now or ever to swear on the Bible, the Torah, the Qu’ran, the collected works of JK or anything else.
My word is my bond. Simples.
I would shed blood, tears and toil to defend my village (on the outskirts of Manchester) and if people of any faith or none (such as me) bled, sweat and toiled with me to save my England and their England then I would gladly be at their side – regardless of their faith. Our country is far from ideal but it ain’t Somalia. And that is worth fighting for. I mean the only time I was a pirate was playing the Sid Meier game “Pirates” and that was on a Commodore Amiga.
I would try to avoid dying for my country* but if push comes to Noel Chavasse I’d like to think I would stand. I would probably be bloody useless on the frontline but I would stand. I’m more a backroom lad. But that is by the by and every spear needs a shaft. And I am part of the shaft.
Yes, I, un-baptised heathen though I am, would fight, kill and die for England. It is my country. And there are much worse places to come from. I could have been Yemeni – that would have been hilarity wouldn’t it?
I don’t believe in God (well I am a Spinoza-ish pantheist – sometimes) but asking me to swear an oath to God is just wrong. And it is wrong because the meat of it is swearing something I do believe in (such as telling the truth ot being a loyal soldier) but but swearing it by something I don’t believe in would make a total mockery of an oath I would wish to swear with utmost solemnity. Not least because if I went into battle I also wouldn’t want the person next to me to have sworn an oath he or she didn’t believe in either…
I don’t believe in God. I do believe in the defence of the Realm. If I became a soldier, sailor or airman why should I have to add on a belief in something I just don’t believe in and moreover would not that make my deep oath utterly meaningless? Anyhow, why can’t agnostics fight! Or atheists? Why does disbelief in God mean disbelief in everything?
* “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” General George S Patton.
One school policy to rule them all; unless you are an aggrieved Muslim father in which case all bets are off.
That’s right. Yet another dhimmi appeasement.
A Muslim father has removed his six-year-old daughter from school in protest at her teacher who confiscated her Islamic necklace.
Despite the fact that school regulations
do did not permit the wearing of necklaces, Islamic or otherwise. But Islam is a special basket case isn’t it. So Tariq played the only card he holds in his hand – the offended Muslim trump. And did it work? Well what do you think?
The Year 2 pupil was told to take off her taweez – a chain containing verses from the Koran – after she was caught playing with it at Nottingham Academy last Monday.
A disciplinary action, surely. You can’t be paying attention in class if you’re fiddling with an item of jewelery you shouldn’t be wearing in the first place.
As a result, Britain’s biggest school have now made a U-turn on their uniform policy, which dictates pupils can only wear one plain pair of metal studs, and say she can now wear the jewellery in class.
A singular act of cowardice from the school. Religious offence dictates a change in school policy and the school is now guilty of undermining a member of its own staff for upholding the original, sensible rules and keeping discipline in the classroom. Way to go Nottingham Academy. You’ll be putting halal meat on the school menu for everyone, including non-Muslims, to eat next. Oh, wait. There’s a good chance you already do…
But now the school has shamefully caved in that should be the end of the problem, yes?
However, Mr Tariq has still pulled his daughter out of lessons for over a week after he branded the teacher’s actions an ‘insult to Islam.’
Give these idiots an inch and they take a mile of piss. Verbally disciplining his darling daughter and removing a necklace equates to a religious hate crime? Seriously?
He is now demanding that she be placed in a different class away from the teacher who banned her ‘sacred’ locket.
Well the school caved in once so why not issue another outrageous demand to see if the school rolls over even more quickly? The law of unintended consequences anyone?
Yesterday Mr Tariq said: ‘My daughter was really upset about it when she came home – she was in floods of tears.
How traumatic! What is the world coming to when a
kuffar teacher corrects a distracted Muslim child in the classroom?
‘This is very sacred to her and to our religion. It should not be taken off Muslims and it is something she holds very dear indeed.
All secular schools must kowtow to Muslim demands or else. Islam is a special case so your rules do not apply to Muslims and don’t you forget it.
‘To have it taken off her for the entire day and be shouted at by her teacher like that is an insult to our religion.
Diddums. Kids get disciplined by their teachers every day but their parents don’t usually create about it or try to turn it into a religious hate crime.
She said she had only been itching her neck and had got the taweez out to scratch her neck.
Why would she need to take the entire thing out just to scratch her neck? Or isn’t it Islamic to simply reach behind and scratch?
‘But the teacher thought she was playing with it and swinging it about.
Probably because that is precisely what the girl was doing.
‘The whole thing really upset her and I don’t think she is happy in the class any more.
Kids attend school to be educated. Not being happy with teacher from time to time is par for the course. Discipline in the classroom isn’t a popularity contest and nor should it ever be. Until Miss Tariq learns that “no” means “no” she’s going to remain unhappy. It’s a shame her father failed to teach her that before she started school. But then he clearly doesn’t understand what “no” means either. Nor does the school apparently.
I think it will be better if she moves to a different class so I have taken her out of school until we can get this issue resolved.
I think Tariq should be prosecuted for keeping his daughter out of school and depriving her of part of her education in an attempt to blackmail said school into giving in to his delusional demands.
The academy has now agreed that Saniya can wear the item on religious grounds – except in PE and swimming.
Saniya, who lives with her parents in Bakersfield, Nottinghamshire, said: ‘I wear it every day. My taweez means a lot to me and I think she should have asked my parents before making me take it off.’
It was teacher’s fault! And now I can play with my necklace in class whenever I want and not suffer the consequences because they would be an insult to the beliefs of my, and my parents, Dark Ages religion including the bits they make up as they go along.
Headteacher Steve Jones said: ‘After speaking to Mr Tariq about his daughter, we decided Saniya could keep her necklace on in school, under her polo shirt, apart from the PE and swimming lessons.
He’s talking like the child is a special, one-off case. Here’s news for you Steve Jones, she isn’t and she won’t be. Not now you have sold out your school rules. You should have told Tariq to go up himself. Instead you have let an Islamic genie out of the bottle that will be used against other schools now that you have set a precedent.
We would always consider exemptions on the basis of religious principles.
Then why bother having a school policy at all if any Tom, Dick or Tariq can come along and bend it to suit their own religious prejudices?
Indeed, in Saniya’s case, we were able to reach a compromise with Mr Tariq.’
So the child can remove the necklace but only when the father dictates to the school she can? And this is called “compromise” is it?
Other parents gathered at the school gates gave mixed opinions on the incident.
One mum, whose son goes to the school, but did not wish to be named, accused the head of caving in and bending the rules.
Bending the rules in this way is a smack in the face to everyone who abides by the rules. I wouldn’t want to send my kids to any school that prefers to undermine its own staff and policy to suit the unreasonable demands of one religiously intolerant individual.
She said: ‘It is ridiculous that they felt threatened enough to change the rules like this.
If it was a lad with a Christian cross and he was messing with it then I am almost certain the rules wouldn’t have been bent to let him wear it.
And, quite probably, would have been told not to misbehave in class if he went home and whinged to his parents about it.
At the end of the day if the girl is messing with the chain and it is distracting her or others from working then that’s why the rules are there.
Quite. If this lady gets it why didn’t the school?
Another father said: ‘I agree it was wrong as it does mean that much to them as a religion.
Actually it doesn’t mean any such thing. If it did the Muslim professionally aggrieved posse would have potted this supposed “insult” by challenging school policies regarding “sacred” necklaces long ago. I suspect the Nottingham outbreak was down to a one man band. Expect this “sacred necklace” crap to go viral.
However, they have said she can wear it in class now – so surely that should be the problem resolved.
I have a sign that says Beware Low Flying Pigs he can stick at the bottom of his garden.
“In a society that believes in nothing, fear becomes the only agenda. Whilst the 20th century was dominated by a conflict between a free-market Right and a socialist Left, even though both of those outlooks had their limitations and their problems, at least they believed in something, whereas what we are seeing now is a society that believes in nothing. And a society that believes in nothing is particularly frightened by people who believe in anything, and, therefore, we label those people as fundamentalists or fanatics, and they have much greater purchase in terms of the fear that they instill in society than they truly deserve. But that’s a measure of how much we have become isolated and atomised rather than of their inherent strength.”
Dr Bill Durodié is an Associate Fellow of the International Security Programme (ISP) for Chatham House
The above quote is a brief excerpt from Adam Curtis‘ 2004 classic documentary “The Power of Nightmares“ on how black propaganda can create a fantasy of self-delusion which ultimately seduces the body-politic of its producer. This is a compelling interpretation of the history of the creation of Al Qaeda as a phantom enemy to fill the gap caused by the fall of the Soviet Union.
The US Networks have refused to show it, so while it may be familiar to our UK readers, it has probably not received the audience it deserves outside of the UK.
Regardless of whether you believe his interpretation is correct, it is an interesting analysis of the road to Baghdad.
To prevent Cats from accusations of copyright infringement, I will not post links, but I watched all three episodes this afternoon courtesy of Google.
The dhimmification of Birmingham’s police force is on track.
Two brothers in law who went on a sponsored walk wearing comedy mankinis had to be picked up by police – after they were pelted with stones and eggs by residents who told them ‘this is a Muslim area’ and demanded they leave.
Yes, you read that right. Two people who were going about their lawful business were prevented from doing so after coming under a cowardly attack. They committed the crime of wearing silly swimwear on an English city street and walking their dogs for charity.
Shome mishtake shurely?
This is Britain! Things like that don’t happen!
But they do, don’t they.
Be accused of “islamophobia” and you can all too quickly become acquainted with the inside of a police cell. Display overt
racism Anglophobia by throwing stones, other missiles and verbal abuse at filthy kuffar innocent members of the indigenous public gets your law abiding victims removed from the area they were inno0cently passing through by the very agency that should have protected them by controlling a lawless mob – West Midlands Constabulary.
jizyah taxes at work.
Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk eight miles from Solihull to Birmingham city centre wearing the outfit featured in 2006 film Borat to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home. But they ended up being escorted by officers after they were attacked as they passed through the Sparkbrook area of the city, claiming police said they had offended local Muslims during Ramadan.
Offending Muslims by pursuing a harmless and lawful enterprise during ramalamadingdong?
Is that a crime?
Hurling stones and racial abuse?
Isn’t that a crime?
They were driven through the area as locals hurled abuse at them – calling them paedophiles. Mr Ellis’s wife Victoria, 36, had followed the pair’s journey in a car, with the couple’s five young children.
Public order offences and hate crimes committed by a favoured and protected minority, thy instances are legion and thy law enforcement officers devoid of testicular body parts.
She said: ‘We were basically run out of the area. We had stopped at a supermarket car park to give the dogs a drink as it was a hot day, and we were suddenly surrounded.
The men were taking off their jackets and threatening to fight Jason. I have seen nothing like it in my life before. The children were terrified as within minutes a crowd of 30 or 40 men assembled.
‘They began throwing stones and eggs at us. They were shouting at Jason saying that he was a pervert and a paedophile, and one of them called me a dirty white s***.
‘They told us that they hated dogs and told us to get out of the car park. The children were petrified and asked why these people were calling me a s***.
‘One egg narrowly missed hitting my 12-year-old son, Jason, leaving him petrified and even passing cars ended up being hit by the eggs and stones. The abuse was appalling.
Menacing and threatening behaviour and incitement to commit violence. Throwing missiles with intent to intimidate regardless of what injuries may occur. Racist and sexist abuse. A breach of the peace at the very least. The arrests will come thick and fast as soon as the cops arrive at the scene.
‘We called the police and they came straight away. I asked the police what they were going to do to help us but they just said it was because of sensitivities over an EDL (English Defence League) march and Ramadan.
It wasn’t the Muslims. It was the fault of the EDL. Well of course it was! Who else could possibly be blamed for Muslims behaving in a criminal fashion? Certainly not the Muslims.
Of all the police’s feeble excuses for ignoring criminal behaviour from RoPers this has got to be the most spineless one I’ve heard in some time. Surely that’s the job of the left leaning, muslim apologists?
‘We didn’t even know there was an EDL march planned for that day – we had nothing to do with it. Our family just love dogs, we’ve homed a rescue dog and we wanted to raise money to help the charity.’
It shouldn’t have mattered. Neither should the attire of the two men doing the walk for charity have mattered.
But local butcher Irshad Armani, 22, said: ‘It was disrespectful for the men to come here half-naked. This is a Muslim area and we don’t want to see that.
Then turn away and mind your own damned business you intolerant buffoon. And WTF is a muslim area? Since when did Sparkbrook relocate to Pakistan? If I told a tabloid journalist I live in a “white area” and then accused muslims passing through of “disrespect I’d be hauled before the local beak and charged with a hate crime faster than Irshad could howl “Islamophobia!”.
‘People were fasting and we do not want to see anything considered impure or dirty during such an important month. That is why people were so upset by it.’
So that gives muslims an excuse to intimidate and assault people does it?
Islam does not put muslims above British law even if they think it does. Islam does not make muslims special even if they think it does. We don’t give a kippers dangly bits how offended muslims are by Brits doing lawful Brit things on Brit streets during ramalamadingdong. Most certainly not when muslims do things like this and this on the streets of Britain in the name of their intolerant and hateful religion. They turned being offended into a fascist industry.
Iqbal Khan, 25, a carpet shop owner, added: ‘They came here saying it was for charity, but what they were wearing barely covered their private parts.
Muslims do tend to get rather agitated when it comes to dress code, don’t they. Suggest that burqas should be banned because many Europeans find them offensive and oppressive and all hell breaks loose. Muslims seeing a couple of Brummies wearing swimming cozzies for charity and, you’ve guessed it, all hell breaks loose.
‘We see people come and go doing charity around here – black, white, Asian – but it is not appropriate to do it in a bad way, dressed as they were, especially when this is mainly an Asian and Pakistani area.’
Black, white, Asian? So Asian is a colour now is it? As a point of interest how many Asians of Chinese or South East Asian extraction were part of the Sparkbrook Massive? And where the hell does Iqbal Khan and his ilk get off telling people how they should dress when they don’t like the same authoritarian pointy stick thrust up them?
Mr Hendry said: ‘A man who was in a nearby hairdresser came over and started having a go at us and then a guard at the supermarket and the manager came out and joined in.
I take it we’re not talking Morrisons, Tesco or Asda here…
‘It was disgusting behaviour. I was furious. I was angry with the local people for how they reacted and we tried to explain it was just a bit of fun, to raise money for charity.’
You’d get more sense out of a brick wall than try to reason with minds deeply entombed in a psychotic religious cult straight out of the Middle Ages Middle East and unpolluted by enlightenment.
The police escorted them all back to Birmingham Dogs’ Home because there were two groups of men waiting at the end of the road.
Because religious mob rule on the streets of Birmingham isn’t in the
politically correct public interest to stamp out. Unless it is a mob of one Bible thumper handing out leaflets about how gay sex is sinful.
He added: ‘But it was also frustrating to have to be escorted as it made us feel like we had done something wrong. I am shocked and disgusted that this should happen in our city.
A shame West Midlands Constabulary don’t feel the same way. They should be scammelling embarrassed at being so useless.
‘It was like something you see on TV. The idea behind the mankini walk started off as a dare and then we decided to make it a reality and do it to raise money for charity.’
‘We have a love and passion for dogs and we both wanted to do it to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home.’
Mrs Hendry added: ‘I grew up to respect people irrespective of colour or creed as have my children. But this was totally appalling and has made me so angry that this should happen during an event to help a charity.’
Unfortunately Mrs Hendry and her group broke a cardinal rule – you cannot offend or disrespect muslims. Ever.
However Raja Ahmad, 46, a local shopkeeper, said: ‘The men were partially dressed and it’s not really appreciated around here by the Asian or the English community.
So how many white faces were part of the Sparkbrook Massive then? Or on the streets hurling abuse as their victims were driven away under police escort?
‘The police moved them on and they said they were covering their modesty but it upset a lot of people in the community.’
Diddums. Grow up and get over yourselves. Your regressive religion and aggressive arrogance makes me want to vomit like Mr. Creosote.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to reports of tensions on Stratford Road in Sparkhill at around 2:50pm on July 20 due to a group of men wearing fancy dress whilst on a charity walk.
‘Officers attended and worked closely with those at the scene to resolve the situation peacefully in order to ensure no unnecessary or unintended upset was caused.
Resolved the situation by appeasing the aggressors. West Midlands Constabulary thy name is dhimmi.
‘Police left the area around 25 minutes later and there were no further calls to the location.’
Because arresting muslims for criminal behaviour is racist and likely to cause unnecessary and unintended upset to religious bigots who recognise no law but sharia?
So West Midlands police punish the victims instead by restricting their freedom to walk certain public streets.
You useless, lazy bastards!
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
- William Butler Yeats.
Yeah, like whatever because you don’t need a blood-dimmed tide when you have this…
David Alexander, 39, of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, was shocked when he looked over and saw the image of Christ appear above the dashboard of his friend’s car.
Having said that I am sceptical about the second coming in Seaton Delaval because I’ve been there and the the odds on finding three wise men and a virgin in that neck of the woods must be extrememly long.
Mr Alexander, who works as a support manager for a data marketing analysis firm, said: “I was sitting in a friend’s car on Sunday night.
“We were about to set off when an image manifested itself on the driver’s side of the windscreen.
“I could see a face staring back at me – it looked just like the Turin Shroud – except it looked like Jesus was smiling back at me.
Ant & Dec Themselves were unavailable for comment. They had a prior engagement on a taco in Yucatan.
Or possibly the wall of a Chinese take-away in Sunderland* (same article). Having said all that Alan Pardew reckons NUFC might win the Europa Cup. It would appear belief in miracles is alive and well in my native land.
*If God incarnated in Sunderland to look upon His Creation we are all, to use a technical term, fucked. At least they seemed to have fun (whilst it lasted) in Sodom and Gommorrah but Sunderland has been joyless buggery since the year of our Lord 1179.
Our favourite Trainee King is on top simpering form today on his tour of the Middle East. Talking to those lovely chaps in Qatar, he has let it be known that he is so fascinated by Muslim culture that he has been taking lessons in Arabic for the last six months, so that he can read the Koran in it’s original form.
Well best of luck with that Your Hopelessness. The man who tried to teach you Welsh, once told me that you have about as much natural ability in learning languages as a poached egg.
“I tried to learn it once but I gave up. It goes in one ear and out the other.”
Yes some of us have already spotted the gaping chasm between your left and right earlobes, Your Obtuseness.
This is all a warm up for him becoming the Defender of Faiths when he finally Zimmer frame assisted ascends to the Throne of course. And we can look forward to more Peers of the Realm of this Calibre. I’m sure.
Meanwhile, his Consort, (Keith Richard’s mum) was having a chat with the ladies of Qatar. Seems they are rapidly moving from the 7th Century and are almost approaching the 17th… They’ve got jobs! Well not quite real ones, more home shopping really. But hey it’s a start isn’t it?
I could be a slippery slope though for you Qatari males if you don’t keep an eye on them you know. Mobile phone parties today, Ann Summers Hen do’s tomorrow. “No it’s an electric toothbrush Ali, honest! You know how much you love my smile. It’s the only thing that isn’t covered up”.
…and another for them.
A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.
I don’t recall that being included in the national curriculum.
Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.
Where’s he been living? Under a rock? In some dark cave? Has he never watched TV or read a newspaper?
Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’
As mitigating circumstances go this one is thinner than a stick insect’s todger. Worked like a charm though, didn’t it.
Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.
Used to result in a four to seven-year prison sentence. The precedent this moron of a judge has just set into law has handed paedos of a particular hue a get out of jail free card. What the Scammel happened to ignorance is no defence? What happened to justice? I’ll tell you what’s happened to it. Our wonderful judiciary just cut off the blind old biddy’s head with that sword of hers and shoved the scales down the hole in her neck!
But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.
I guess Rashid dressing up to look like a schoolboy and standing in the dock clasping his hands in front and staring contritely at his feet did the trick, eh?
Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.
It was all the girl’s fault. She wasn’t done up in a tent like a human letterbox so Rashid didn’t have a choice.
Gimme a frigging break! This is Britain we’re talking about, not some medieval shithole. We don’t have Sharia courts here.
They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.
They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.
Yeah, he was so naive, passive and lacking assertiveness he had the forethought to pre-book a room in the hotel.
The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.
Wait. What the…?
Let’s perform a little re-wind.
…you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.
Not so naive and immature he didn’t know about condoms and what they are for. Clearly not much of a lily-white ingénue then. Yet the judge chose to ignore that this paragon of Islamic values went equipped.
I’d say the only naive and immature tosser in the courtroom was Judge Stokes because he’s been had over good and proper.
Rashid then returned home and went straight to a mosque to pray.
Because praying to a Dark Ages warlord who had a nine year old bride is what you do after having sex with a child in a country that locks up paedophiles. Or at least used to.
He was arrested the following week after the girl confessed what had happened to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers.
It’s a pity the silly girl didn’t confide to her very sensible friend before she met Rashid in the flesh, so to speak.
He told police he knew the girl was 13 but said he was initially reluctant to have sex before relenting after being seduced.
The accused was so reluctant he went to the expense of booking a room and nipping into a chemist for a pack of three. I say chemist since I’m assuming that procuring johnnies from a dispenser in the hotel lavvy is haram. Or he could have got them from a third party of course.
Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
The name of a school that labels a seven year old a racist for asking another child an innocent question about his skin colour gets splashed all over the papers. So how come the name of the “school” that teaches its male pupils that women are scum and can be treated as scum gets a pass? Surely this poison should be weeded out, not protected?
After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.
At which point he was so full of remorse for breaking the law he gave himself up to the police. Oh, wait. No he didn’t.
In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.
I’d just love to see the last Ofstead report on this school. I wonder if it was a glowing, politically correct one? I can’t wait to see Ofstead explain how rampant Islamic misogyny passed under their radar, accepting, like the judge did, that Rashid isn’t a lying little scrote. I take it that these Islamic schools are inspected like other faith schools are. If what Rashid said is true, how many more madrassas in the UK wipe their arses with the national curriculum while under Ofstead’s purview?
When Judge Stokes said Rashid ‘must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut’, defence lawyer Laban Leake said reports suggested Rashid had a ‘degree of sexual naivety’.
Clearly, Rashid wasn’t the only one going round with his eyes shut…
The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community and on this occasion this was perpetuated by his home life.
No shit, Sherlock! Are we going to see the same largesse handed out to a boy, formerly cloistered in a Catholic school, grooming thirteen year olds and having sex with them?
Then why has Rashid been allowed to get away with it?
‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.
But apparently it’s too far to say that Rashid had a mobile phone and a Facebook account which means he had access to the internet. With all the news about Muslim child grooming gangs and teachers running off abroad with underage pupils being splashed around the media and internet how can he not have known?
Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided. Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’
Bangs head on table. It’s not “curious” shit-for-brains, it’s scammelling scandalous! All those frigging gender equality laws the legal profession print money from vigorously support are being trodden into the mud and all Stokes can say is that it’s curious? Is he high on crack cocaine or something? Is he so blinded by political correctness that he can’t see where this will lead?
But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.
Then why isn’t Rashid busy avoiding dropping the soap in a prison bathroom? He groomed and had sex with an underage girl. That is a prisonable offence.
‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.
So Rashid is being given this outrageously lenient sentenced for ignoring madrassa teaching?
Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’
Unless some dhimmified Judge is willing to make an exception when it suits him?
The law my left buttock! British law has become a travesty, a joke, a sham. It is unfit for purpose. Judge Stokes should hang up his wig and gown in shame. Letting a paedophile go because he went to the wrong school is an unacceptable defence. and the sentence handed down has no place in any civilised society.
I am no legal expert (“we have noticed Paul”), but I do want to give an hint about what I am on about when I mention the words “Feudal law” or Roman law or modern law – it if be wrong….. well see later for my “get out of jail” card on that.
Before I say anything more I had better state that one can have serfdom without feudalism (for example the Emperor Diocletian established de facto serfdom by declaring that peasants could not leave the land – and many other legal systems had done this before him) and one can have feudalism without serfdom (places like Sark, feudal to only a couple of years ago, were not known for serfdom).
“Feudalism” is (if it is anything – other than just a word) a system where people swear loyality (they make an active choice) it is a MILITARY thing at base, and “feudal” law is about (fundementally) such blood contracts (after all one is swearing to defend someone to the death – one’s own death, and the other side of this contract, the obligations of one’s lord, has to be fundemental also) are based on tradition and custom – made into formal law. That is why (by the way) “Feudal” law can be different in different places – different old customs and traditions.
“Feudal” law can not, logically, be anything else (than old customs and traditions presented as formal law). as if this law can be changed by “the Prince” (either a Roman Emperor or a modern “legislature”) then they can not be part of a contract – as they are, effectively, “above the law” (because the can change it whenever they feel like doing so).
One swears to defend one’s lord to the death and he (or she – for a fedual overlord can be female) swears to unhold the law (as, for example, Henry the First of England did in his formal charter of 1100 – in order to get the people to rally to him against his older brothers) – if the “the law” is simply whatever they say it is (as with a Roman Emperor or a modern Parliament or other legislature) then this is not Feudalism – any more than the “my honour is loyality” of the SS was the warrior code of Northman (indeed, as Tolkien noted, to pretend that there is no difference between honour and loyality – and to hold that loyality is unconditional, i.e. that one will do dishonorable things if ordered to do so, is a direct and deliberate MOCKERY of the traditional honour code). One swears to to defend one’s lord to the death (one’s own death) in return not for “protection” (that is a Roman view of law – or a modern one – after all if one is promising to shed one’s life’s blood for someone else personal protection is not the main thing in play), but for JUSTICE for the upholding of tradition and custom. Seen as a manifestation in this world of divine and universal justice (different in details from place to place – but not in fundemenal PRINCIPLE and, for the same reason, not changing fundemenally over time). This is why the oath is a sacred thing – based on the creator of the universe and the natural law itself.
“All theory Paul – what does this mean in PRACTICE?”
First for Roman law (i.e. late Roman law – the law of the Empire). For this I will turn to “Justinian’s Institutes” (Cornell University Press 1987). By the way this is only a tiny part of Roman law of the time – there were many volumes of the writings of previous law officers and the legislation of Emperors (actually the truth of the so called “Code of Justinian” is that most of it is not from Justinian and it is not a code, the “Twelve Tables” back in 450 B.C. may or may not have been a code, but the endless rules and regulations that Romans lived under more than a thousand years later certainly were not a code).
In this work it is stated (Book Two, section one “The Classification of Things”) that neither the seashore or rivers can be privately owned.
So no private beaches under Roman law – and no protected fishing (or protection of water supply from rivers) either.
Anyone may fish where they like – and no private person or association (what Romans would call a “collegia” – spelling alert) may restrict water supply by stating that it is private (they can do that with a well – but not with a river).
In the modern age such thing as Spanish law (that holds that no river is private) and even supposedly Common Law New Zealand (where the last Labour party government nationalized the sea shore) follow the idea that neither rivers or the sea shore (the beaches) can be private property.
It is very different under Feudal law – the notion of “private property” may not be formally stated (that depends on the exact type of “Feudal” law we are talking about – for example it was stated under the law of Norway) the King (as lord of lords) may (or may not) formally “own” everthing – but he certainly can not BEHAVE as if he does (more on that later).
And rivers and beaches can be de facto owned under Feudal law.
For example under Scots law (inherited from their local version of feudal law) right up to 1845, if you wanted to sell something you gave a public display of what it was – remember most people could not read.
And if you wanted to sell private fishing rights (something that can not exist under Roman law) you, as well making a speech before witnesses (plus anyone who wanted to turn up to the river to watch the former owner of the fishing rights sell them to someone else) you handed over a fish.
For land it was some earth (on the site you were selling – again before witnesses), for the hunting rights of birds it was a bird (again….) and so on.
Also under Roman law the owner of a transport service (say someone who makes their living with a couch or carts) or the owner of an inn (or other establishment of business) could not turn away a customer – could not “discriminate” against them (to use modern language) as the owner of a transport service was a “common carrier” and the owner of an inn provided “public accomidations”.
Feudal law does not even know what “common carriers” and “public accomidations” are.
If you owned a cart (or some such) you could transport people or goods. And if you owned a building you could put people up (in return for payment).
But you did not have to do so – if you did not want to.
Owning a cart did not make you part of a special caste that served the state (indeed the term “state” does not really fit into feudal thinking – it is a Roman term or a modern term).
Ditto if you owned a building and put people (if you had a mind to) in return for money, that did not mean you were a special sort of animal called a “public accomidations” person serving the needs of the state (whatever “the state” is supposed to be).
But all the above misses the point anyway……..
As the point is – if Justinian (or some other Emperor) had decided (on a whim) to change the above “legal principles” they could (they were above the law – and could make the law whatever their WILL wished it to be).
If a feudal overlord said one day “I have decided to change the law – after all the law is whatever I say it is”. People would have thought they had gone mad – they might even have called a priest to fight against the demon or devil that had taken over the mind of their lord.
Of course one would fight to the death to save the life of one’s lord – but the lord had no rightful power to “change the law”. After all that would mean a power to overthrow custom and tradition – the manifestation in the land (the spirit of the land) of the law of God, the natural law of the universe. This might manifest itself differently in different lands (depending on the customs and traditions of that land and people), but the fundemental principles of the law were divine and universal.
Of course Roman legal thinkers (like Greek Stoics and Aristotelians before them) also accepted the existance of natural law – but they held that state law trumped it.
“Feudal” thinking (when understood the concept of “the state” at all – which it did not really) held the exact opposite.
The King might give orders in battle and war (and so on) – but if his orders went against the law, they were void (at least to a man of honour). That is why “the spirit of Nurenberg” (“I was only obeying orders”) might be fine from a Roman point of view – but does not make any sense from a “feudal” one.
The lord may call upon you to fight to the death – indeed he should not have to call (you should do that without him asking). But he may not order you to rob or murder someone else – to commit an injustice.
Of course terrible injustices (mass murder, rape and so on) might still occur. But if someone said “what I did was lawful because the Prince (or council or….) told me to it” then they simply showed (even to a person with no learning at all) that they simply did not understand what the words “right” and “law” meant – and were, at best, insane.
Canon Law (church law – and it is impossible to understand “feudal” law without understanding the influence of religion upon it – whether Christian or PAGAN) held the same view – see Brian Tierney’s “The Idea of Natual Rights” (Emery University 1997).
Like Roman Law, Canon Law held that there was positive law (the commands of the Prince – of council in a Republic like Venice) and natural law.
But (like “feudal” thinking) it turned the Roman law thinking on its head.
Far from “positive” law trumping natural law – natural law trumped the “will of the ruler”.
Hence more than a thousand years of Church-State disputes (or disputes between Canon Lawyers and Roman Lawyers – in spite of them, in many ways, shareing the same tradition) they looked at things in reverse ways.
“That was just because the Church wanted to declare what natural law was – as a power grab”
Partly YES – but the Church always made a distinction between Christian practices (the rules of the Church) and the universal laws of God – that applied to nonChristians as much as to Christians (indeed even to nonChristians AGAINST Christians).
Of course some Popes and so on were corrupt scumbags guilty of every crime known to man – but some were not, and even the worst of them held that there were things they should not do (even if they did them) the idea that their WILL was law, would have been denounced as the vomit of the Devil (even by the worst Popes.
Canon lawyers (like “Feudal” ones) would have regarded the pretensions of modern Parliaments (and “human rights” courts) to change fundemental law as they see fit – as, at best, insanity and (more likely) as clear evidence that these “legislatures” and “judges” were agents of the Evil One.
And one must not think that such people were stupid or filled with silly fancies. Many of the Popes and theologians of the past were profound legal thinkers and philosophers – not every Pope spent their time chasing girls and murdering rivals (and even the oness that did often did good work also).
Still back to “Feudal” law – and a single example to come to the end of this post……
I draw from “A Summery view of the feudal law, with the differences of the Scots law from it; together with a dictionary of the select terms of the Scots and English law, by way of appendix” (John Dundas 1710).
As a general rule of thumb – the older an account of “feudal” law the better. As old accounts are more concerned with just laying the thing out – not (like Maitland and his, Blackstone influenced [no wonder the Founding Fathers of the United States despised Blackstone - with his doctrine that whatever Parliament declared was law], crew “explaining” what law “must” be i.e. whatever the state, Parliament, says it is).
Difference number 80.
“By the Feudal law no Man is forced to part with or sell his Few [fief of land] or any part of it.
By our law [i.e. law made by Parliament and so on] a vassel may be forced to give some part of it for High-ways and if his Neighbour be building a Park, or Inclosure, he may be forced to sell an adjacent corner of his Grounds to him, to perfect it”.
This is much like the so called “Edict of Quierzy” (877) which repeated the “old right” that not even a King of France could take the land of one person and give it to another (or himself).
To a Roman lawyer this makes no sense.
To a modern lawyer (such as that scumbag Maitland – and I am right to call him a “scumbag” after all he claims that no Act of Parliament “has ever been passed” that was irational or evil, so there is no need for any judge or jury to oppose an Act of Parliament as being against natural justice, a concept he scorns anyway – I could name a hundred Acts of Parliament passed before Maitland wrote that Devil-vomit lie, that were utterly evil and against basic natural justice) it makes no sense also.
As Maitland says, mocking the upholders of the “speculative dogma” of natural justice “We can (its upholders seem to say) concieve that a statute might be so irational, so wicked, that we would not want to enforce it; but as a matter of fact, we have never known such a statute made.”
Pages 107-108 “A Sketch of English Legal History” G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London (1915) chapter five (written by Maitland rather than his coarthor Francis Montague) on “Statute and Common Law”.
Oh you dog Maitland, you pig – may you be burning, even as I type these words, for your lies. What of the Statute of Labourers that tried to reduce all peasants (including those who had always been free – such as the people of Kent) to serfs? Much in the manner of the Emperor Diocletian. Or the Stature of Artificers under the first Elizabeth that tried to turn all people (bar the rich) into de facto slaves – forbidden to practice any other trade than that of their father, and forbidden to leave the parish of their birth? What of the “Black Act” (passed as late as the 1700s) that punished some two hundred crimes (some quite minor) with death?
What of so many other Acts of Parliament – both so irational and so wicked that no one (other than a monster) would uphold them?
However, I hope the idea of law as trying (in the circumstances of time and place) to give effect to the principles of jusice (NOT the WILL of the ruler or rulers – in the mannor of the late Roman Empire or of Thomas Hobbes and his “Legal Positivists” with their Hell vomit doctrine that whatever the “legistlature” declares is law) makes a some sense to libertarians.
As for my errors – no doubt many and terrible……
I offer the words of John Dundas.
“If this Treatise should happen to be less correct, the Reader would be pleased to give himself the trouble to mend the Errors, and excuse what is amiss, this Book being given to be printed by a certain person when the Author was our of Town, and knew nothing of the publishing of it, not having designed so soon to send it abroad into the world.”
… that your dear blogger here is now an officially ordained minister of religion. Seriously. I mean really seriously. This cost nothing and for $5 I can get a letter of good standing that enables me to conduct marriages in several US states and some European countries (not the UK). Unless the couple are gay, lesbian or transgender of course (perhaps depending on place – I dunno). The celebrant of course can be any of the above. The Primate of all Ireland (I just find the title funny) himself can be gayer than a tree full of monkeys. Can’t be a woman though. The General Sin-Odd says “No!”
And yes, loads of them are Friends of Dorothy. My brother did archaeology at Durham University and that has a big Divinity School. Utter hive of buggery. Once went to a party there and it was all public school geezers in full evening-dress handing around amyl-nitrate. It was the last night of the Proms. Botting to the rhythm of “Britannia Rules the Waves” was not something my comprehensive school education prepared me for. We made our excuses and got kebabs instead.
Anyway, as an ordained Minister in the The Church of the Latter-Day Dude I do find it odd that I can fill out a web form and marry heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples (the later as far as I am aware). To be honest I find it odd that I can legally marry anyone, anywhere. But it shows something.
The religious organisation I work for (the Quakers) are (after tedious debate – and they make an Ent-moot look “hasty”) want the ability to conduct homosexual marriages. They can’t under law despite being one of the few religious organizations in the UK permitted to conduct heterosexual marriages. So, as I have argued before here, to little effect, this is not a gay rights issue as much as a religious freedom one (they are not alone: Reformed Judaism and most Methodists and a few others are also on this team).
A few months ago an edition of “The Friend” – the Quaker paper popped through the door and carried a very nasty story from Birmingham. A lesbian couple of Quakers wanted a civil partnership. They wanted to get married but they couldn’t, obviously. They wanted it, their church was fine with it (we have gay and lesbian couples round here all the time) but da state says, “nyet”. So they look for having a civil partnership at their place of worship instead… Council says that’s a change of use so requires a health and safety evaluation and that’ll be 800 quid… Because the council regards a CP as different from a wedding for the porpoise of taking ze piss. Possibly they had the monies ear-marked for a “celebration of diversity” but I don’t know and that would be too delicious to even speculate upon.
(Actually I can’t – I haven’t been arsed to send-off the $5 – probably ultra-dudist, that – but I shall – I can provide the dressing gown and the creature feet – you bring a White Russian – deal?).
And then we can go bowling.
And the Dude abides.
This started as a comment on this.
I got to about 5 mins too! essentially it seemed to be taking the moral rather than the hard-edge. I personally regard the existence (or otherwise) of God(s) as a genuine philosophical question. By which I mean one with an objective answer*. If we reduce it to a nanny in the sky judging whether we’re naughty or nice then it becomes meaningless. Because if we think like that then we are denying reality. That is not a statement by me on God’s existence or otherwise. It’s deeper than that. I suspect strongly a lot of folks believe that the belief in God’s existence is more important than God’s existence. You see what I’m getting at? They were arguing the toss as to whether morality is possible without God(s) and it had taken a decidedly instrumentalist approach. Without God(s) can we be moral? A meaningless question as posed and answered. I would have had vastly more respect for Cardinal Pell if he’d said, God exists as revealed in the Bible and he says act like this and not like that rather than weasel himself into a sort of we have to believe in God or all Hell breaks out because you see that would also work if God was merely a polite fiction.
Essentially a moral argument either for or against God is circular. Pell requires God for morality, morality exists and therefore God does. Did we create Him? That is a potentially interesting question in a Spinoza-ish way. Dawkins requires the non-existence of God for the same reasons and I bet if I’d watched more he would have been quoting the Old Testament and I think Deuteronomy and Leviticus would have figured.
But no Pell argued that religion is nice (not the same as arguing it is true) and the questioner when I could take no more was full of the same. But what really turned me was Pell’s argument that Christianity (by which he meant Catholicism being a cardinal and all – so fair play) emancipated women. It wasn’t that long ago folk had to smuggle contraceptives into the Irish Republic. Hell’s teeth the IRA once had a debate. You see they’d figure the best way to add the sulphuric acid starter to a fertilizer bomb was in a condom but could they countenance the use of an immoral object? Tricky this morality lark isn’t it? I found this truly peculiar because as a kid I had a couple of condoms. Yes, I did. They were in a Golden Virginia ‘baccy tin. My survival kit as advised by Brian Hildreth. That was years before I even found girls vaguely interesting. The tin lid was pierced to form a heliograph – I was that sad. In a survival situation your condoms are useful water-carriers. I suspect a survival situation with comely lasses on some desert island is not exactly one you want to be rescued from anyway.
If anything truly emancipated women it was sex without kids.
*Even if we can’t figure it out (and we haven’t) it is still an objective question like Dark Matter or the Solar Neutrino problem. Or (and this is the monster) the interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
After the “Joseph” post, a post on Islam.
Not in praise of Islam in today’s context (although some people may see some relevant point), but in the context of the world in which it became important and powerful.
This was not the Classical World – the world of Ancient Greece and the Roman Republic. Where people (in many places – although far from all) were either free or slaves.
Slavery certainly existed in the world in which the Muslims went forth on the path of conquest (just as it existed among the Muslims themselves) – but the world they faced was a world where the vast majority of people were semi serfs. Tied to the land, or tied to their urban occupations (tied from birth).
The first thing to go had been the right to keep and bear arms (the classical mark of a free man – in both Ancient Greece and Republican Rome, just as with the Celtic and Germanic tribes). Octavian (“Augustus”) had got rid of most private ownership of, and training in, arms. Useing the argument that he was saving Rome from the dangers of civil war (the repeated civil wars of the Imperial period – where different factions of the army backed different Emperors somehow do not count as civil wars I suppose).
So the Ancient World abandoned the central principle of that great work of classical literature “Starship Troopers” – “everyone fights” (meaning everyone who is to be considered a citizen must be prepared to fight).n And I am not being, entirely, sarcastic – after all Robert Heinlein (the author of Star Ship Troopers) got the idea from Aristotle. In the “Politics”, Aristotle explains how the idea of the armed citizen is not just Greek, how (for example) the men of Carthage are allowed to vote or stand for public office unless they have first accepted military service (of course this rule was later abandoned by Carthage – with tragic results).
Most “citizens” of the new Rome (which now meant the entire Classical world) had no military weapons and were not trained in their use.
Later more and more regulations and restrictions (and higher and higer taxes) were imposed on these “free citizens” – till, in the time of the Emperor Diocletian, they basically became cattle. Tied to the land (if they were peasants) or to their urban occupations (sometimes in state owned factories).
And it even became acceptable to keep these “free citizens” in chains (physcial chains) if it was expected they were going to run away (i.e. no longer farm the land – but run off to the barbarians, or whatever).
And, of course, flogging and all forms of torture (under the Republic only to be applied to slaves) gradually (over the years and centuries of decay) became accepted ways of relating to most ranks of “free citizens”.
Nor were things fundementally different with Rome’s great enemy – the Persians.
The Pathians seem to have tolerated the Greek and other civilizations they became overlords of. But the new (or restored – depending on one’s point of view) regime of the Persians established a new civilization.
With (yes you guessed it) hereditory castes determining a person’s fate in life from birth (much as in Hindu India – accept under the banner of Zorastrianism).
Under the Persians there was also a de facto religous monopoly (how could there not be – the Magi of Zorastrianism were also the magistrates and officials), apart from in the “land of the King” (basically Babylonia – where the King of the Persians ruled directly) where a wide measure of religious tolerance (for Jews and others) was practiced.
The Romans, after the conversion to Christianity, also moved towards a defacto religious monopoly with the persecution of all other forms of belief.
Some Christian Emperors (such as Valentarian) believed this was unChristian. But Emperors eventually adopted the position that it was their role to discriminate against nonChristians – indeed to persecute even fellow Christians over differences in theology.
Of couse in the 7th century the hatred this persecution of Christians by other Christians produced was to have fatal consequences for the Byzantines in the Holy Land – for many Christians (of persecuted types) went over to the Muslims in the middle of the key battle (the fact that these Christians were ethincally Arab was also a factor of course – but Pagan Rome, and Christian Emperors who did not practice persecution NEVER faced defection in the middle of a battle – not even to barbarians of the same ethnic group as troops on their own side).
Augustine, amongst other theologians, provided useful arguments about how using violence, including torture, in matters of religion was not really anti Christian. How did Augustine refute the Hebrew, Amoraic and Greek texts? Well he could not really read any of these languages, so he did not have to.
Ah dear Augustine – it was, of course, him who was one of the leading theologians to ridicule ancient science. And to mock the idea that people could choose to behave decently, none of this “Pelagian” free will for Augustine (that was as bad as being able to read Greek or Hebrew or Amoraic – you know the langugage that that Jesus bloke spoke, why someone interested in the Amoraic words of the Jesus bloke [or the Greek writings of the people who knew him] might be so absurd as to actually visit the land he lived in, which, of course, the wise Augustine never did ). Predestination, and human efforts are doomed, all the way – that is Augustine (he was a true father of the Dark Age).
To me it is no accident that the first theologian in England in the Middle Ages to stress the study of Greek and Hebrew, Roger Bacon, was also interested in submarines, aircraft (and so on) – contray to what is often thought there is no contradiction between a love of ancient learning and hopes for a better future. On the contrary it is the book burners (those who wish to destroy the learning of the past) who tend to be the people who strangle the future.
Of course the Western Roman Empire had collapsed by the time of the comming of Islam (although the Byzantines ruled in most of what had been Roman Africa – as well as in Sicily and other parts of Italy). However, the Germanic regimes that had taken over the rest of the Roman Empire in the West had kept the Roman sytem.
Most of the population reduced to de facto serfdom – a population where the “everyone fights” rule (of free citizens of the Classical World, or of the Germanic world itself) was ignored. Is it really any wonder that the Muslims found it fairly easy to conquer vast populations – even thought their own numbers (at first) were small?
The populations the Muslims took over had been treated as cattle for centuries – both in the East and the West, so conquest just meant a change of masters (not a loss of the freedom they did not have anyway).
And the Persians?
With them it was even worse. Insane social/religious experiments (for example trying to share out “all goods and women”) had almost destroyed the Persian Empire (torn it apart into chaos and civil war) long before the Muslims arrived.
The followers of Muhammed (a member of family of traders) might plunder the goods of other people – but they had no truck with denying the rights of private property amongst themselves.
At least where it came to goods – Islamic law as concerning LAND is more contested, which was to prove a major weakness in Islamic civilization, in comparision to that of the emerging “Feudal” law of the West. Such as the Edict of Quierzy of 877 which restated that even a King of France could not take a fief of land from the children of the person who held it, and give it to someone else – which meant that a Western King was a different sort of thing than a Roman Emperor or an Islamic ruler.
Western Kings might rob. rape and murder people – but these remained CRIMES even if the King did them (as King John was to discover), just as a Western King might have mistresses, but not a “harem” and his heir was expected to be from a marriage (not a slave girl).
A Western King might be a terrible hypocrite and criminal – but there was an objective standard to judge them by (unlike a Roman Emperor) and (again unlike a Roman Emperor) independent land holders with large numbers of armed (and trained) men, to hold them to account. “The Emperor’s will is law” would be an outrage to a mind of the Middle Ages.
And as for the powers of the “barons” themselves – a lord who overstepped the mark with free peasants might well get a longbow arrow in his face, at least in later period England (but other forms of death in other places). Remember even in England at the hight of the “Norman Yoke” only half the population were serfs (which means the other half were not). And the Kings of England (and the various lords) were desperate for armed (i.e. free) men to increase their own power, at home and overseas (that is the whole point of “bastard feudalism” – but it goes back a lot further). As early as the time of Henry the first (son of William the Bastard) the King was already desperatly reaching out to Englishmen to fight his Norman brothers (litterally his brothers) and marrying a direct decendent of Alfred the Great to bolster his claim to the throne.
So indeed “everyone fights”. And the Black Death meant the de facto end of what serfdom there was in England – whatever the demented statutes of Parliament said.
But Islam in the 7th century did not face the Kingdoms of the Middle Ages.
It faced the Persian despotism (desperatly trying to recover from its own madness), the despotism of the Byzantines (really the late Roman Empire – although after their defeat by Islam, what survived of Byzantine civilization was to change…) and the recently (well a century or so) arrived Germanic overlords of places like Spain – where the old Roman system (i.e. most people are cattle – unarmed) remained basically in force.
The Muslims were in a way a throw back to the Classical World – “everyone fights” (indeed believers had a religous duty to train and fight). And, amongst themselves, believers (at least in the early stages of Islam) had rights – they could not be treated as cattle (as the “free citizens” of the late Roman world, or of the Persian world, were).
There was even, again in the early stages, an intense Islamic interest in Classical learning and science – and scholars (Christan, Jewish and Muslim) made progress in these areas (although progress rather over stressed by BBC programmes) that was unmatched (at that time) in the Byzantine Empire or the Western Kingdoms.
For the Muslims (at least at first – and for the most part, there were nasty exceptions such as the ruler who burnt what was left of the library of Alexandria) did not know they were supposed to reject the learning of the ancient world (not build upon it), whereas too many of the Christians and too many of the Magi did reject it – because they thought it represented the civilization they had replaced.
Of course, within a few generations the Islamic world started to reject Classical learning and science more than the folk of the Western Kingdoms did.
However, the story of how that came to pass will have to wait for another time – or another person to tell it.