User talk:Aeonian

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[edit] DFTT


[edit] Regarding the vote

Does reading this affect how you cast your vote? If so/if not, what's your reasoning? Thank you. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:14, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

No, and why would it? Lord Aeonian (talk) 01:50, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Just trying to form a better view on how to vote, and what people's reasons are for voting the way they did. Thanks, anyways. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:17, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Islam

Liberals broadly take five positions:

  1. Reformable (mostly), let's fix it.
  2. Unreformable (mostly), let's try to fix it.
  3. Reformable (mostly), but interventionism is bad.
  4. Unreformable (totally), and interventionism is bad.
  5. Islam is cool, kids!

Which, if any, do you accept? Why? (Also, critique my ideological map if necessary.) Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 00:53, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

I support a pan-Arabist anti-theist state which combats religion (and ignorance as a whole) with an education system focusing on critical thinking and reasoning skills rather than rote learning or "college preparation," in my opinion those logic skills are the foundation of all life skills and people will a solid basis in them could and would be able to educate themselves further if needed, i.e. for the workplace.
What the theist sympathizers and "reformists" don't understand, or perhaps don't like to admit, is that religions are cultural constructs and the prevalence of orthodox or liberal viewpoints will depend on the larger cultural context. We can clearly see this by comparing the dominant schools and opinions in Islam during the Medieval period with the current, post-Salafi revival aqidah. A more self-contained example would be Muslim communities in the West vs the same communities in Muslim countries - in the West, Muslims tend to adapt their religion to fit the cultural norms around them. Of course Muslims in Muslim majority countries do the same, but the cultural norms around them will be closer to Islam itself by merit of the often (sometimes explicitly) theocratic tendencies of democratic governments elected by religious majorities.
The point of all this is that religions are ultimately cyclical. Let's imagine the Western liberal "reformers" succeed in making the majority of Muslims adhere to whatever they think is progressive, the problem would be that such progress is ephemeral. Restoring the Islam from the Golden Age would only imply an eventual collapse into some new brand of Salafism. Now, one might say, "if religions behave as culture does, than surely singling out religion itself is futile." The problem here is that the Abrahamic religions provide the moral premise for many of the nasty cultural attitudes the West ignores decries. It is true that believers may conform to the culture around them (perhaps due to ignorance), but the realm of reinterpretation instead of dismissal falls to a handful of progressive theologians among a majority of conservatives. In any case, the most religious individuals in society invariably fail to adopt the cultural norms at the same pace as the less religious.
Or, in much simpler terms, people can ignore or deny all they want but eventually someone like Muhammad al-Ghazali or Ibn Wahhab will come along and actually read the texts to see what they say and not what the reader wants to hear. And since the texts themselves were created by their own cultural context...what are you gonna get? Seventh century khaleeji morality, that's what. Among the reformists are people like Hassan Radwan, who flatly acknowledge that the Qur'an is man made and point out its flaws and moral issues as a result. This type of 'progressive' Islam may be resistant to Salafi revivals...but Radwan calls himself an 'agnostic Muslim' and openly says he remains Muslim because it's all he knows. If such agnosticism took hold in great quantity, the following generations would simply abandon religion all together.
Also, a word for the West: In the Americas and such, where Christians are far more liberal, it may seem difficult to imagine a return to Middle Ages Christianity. You may know many very progressive Christians and so on. Ah, but the 3rabs are much wiser! For this was the picture of Arabia 900-1100 years ago. If the West should lose its economic and cultural dominance...what do you think will prevent a revival of conservative Christianity? Individual rationality or some sort of anchored liberal morality? Hah! Lord Aeonian (talk) 02:31, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
Going to need a big citation about that last paragraph. CorruptUser (talk) 02:38, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
For what? Do you believe North and South American Christians could never embrace a much more conservative form of their religion in the future? So did al-Razi, Omar Khayyam, etc :) Lord Aeonian (talk) 02:44, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
That Middle Age Islam was tolerant/liberal. Maybe in comparison to "CONVERT OR DIE, HEATHEN SCUM!" Europe, but non-Muslims were still second class citizens, slavery was still rampant, etc. CorruptUser (talk) 02:57, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Well, let's see what al-Ghazali, widely considered one of main figures in the end of the Golden Age theology and thought, was complaining about. You can read a good translation of his autobiography Munkidh Min al-Dalal here. Let's see what he has to say about the academic and intellectual climate, in his philosophy section Divisions of the Philosophic Sciences:

Mathematics comprises the knowledge of calculation, geometry, and cosmography: it has no connection with the religious sciences, and proves nothing for or against religion; it rests on a foundation of proofs which, once known and understood, can not be refuted. Mathematics tend, however, to produce two bad results. The first is this: Whoever studies this science admires the subtlety and clearness of its proofs. His confidence in philosophy increases, and he thinks that all its departments are capable of the same clearness and solidity of proof as mathematics. But when he hears people speak of the unbelief and impiety of mathematicians, of their professed disregard for the Divine law, which is notorious, it is true that, out of regard for authority, he echoes these accusations, but he says to himself at the same time that, if there was truth in religion, it would not have escaped those who have displayed so much keenness of intellect in the study of mathematics.

Next, when he becomes aware of the unbelief and rejection of religion on the part of these learned men, he concludes that to reject religion is reasonable. How many of such men gone astray I have met whose sole argument was that just mentioned. And supposing one puts to them the following objection: "It does not follow that a man who excels in one branch of knowledge excels in all others, nor that he should be equally versed in jurisprudence, theology, and medicine. It is possible to be entirely ignorant of metaphysics, and yet to be an excellent grammarian. There are past masters in every science who are entirely ignorant of other branches of knowledge. The arguments of the ancient philosophers are rigidly demonstrative in mathematics and only conjectural in religious questions. In order to ascertain this one must proceed to a thorough examination of the matter." Supposing, I say, one makes the above objection to these "apes of unbelief," they find it distasteful. Falling a prey to their passions, to a besotted vanity, and the wish to pass for learned men, they persist in maintaining the preeminence of mathematicians in all branches of knowledge. This is a serious evil, and for this reason those who study mathematics should be checked from going too far in their researches. For though far removed as it may be from the things of religion, this study, serving as it does as an introduction to the philosophic systems, casts over religion its malign influence. It is rarely that a man devotes himself to it without robbing himself of his faith and casting off the restraints of religion.

The second evil comes from the sincere but ignorant Muslims who thinks the best way to defend religion is by rejecting all the exact sciences. Accusing their professors of being astray, he rejects their theories of the eclipses of the sun and moon, and condemns them in the name of religion. These accusations are carried far and wide, they reach the ears of the philosopher who knows that these theories rest on infallible proofs; far from losing confidence in them, he believes, on the contrary, that Islam has ignorance and the denial of scientific proofs for its basis, and his devotion to philosophy increases with his hatred to religion.

Besides the preponderance of non-religious intellectuals and the "many men who have gone astray" because of them, we can also turn our gaze to the artisans such as al-Ma'arri or Omar Khayyam, who praised the hedonistic lifestyles of the Abbasid and Umayyid rulers and openly mocked the religious. And were these poets hated or ostracized? Far from it! Their fame was widespread and even today some of them are considered among the finest Arabic writers. Now you may ask is there proof besides poems and personal accounts? Well, we could take a look at something like paper, which examines the percentage of Arabic books about various topics other time. During the Golden Age period scientific and philosophical literature was at a height, and afterwards religious literature took precedence. Would that have been possible under modern theocracies like Saudi Arabia? Nope.

We can also look at the forms of Islam which dominated. Al-Ghazali and friends devoted a considerable amount of time to attacking rationalist maddhabs like the Mu'tazilia school, which valued reason even over the Qur'an (a classic example is the question of the Qur'an's creation - the Qur'an implies it is uncreated and existed forever, yet the Mu'tazilia contended that Allah could not have always existed alongside his own speech, since it must logically follow from him in time). And yet even al-Ghazali himself was a Sufi, a follower of a sect which argues that religious literature is metaphorical and open to many different interpretations; and he was also a man who greatly respected the Christian scholar he studied under in his youth. You can also look at the Muslim philosophers themselves, like al-Farabi, who argued that religions, while divine, were merely simplistic analogies for the masses and unneeded by the philosophers.

While social attitudes may not have been as progressive as the modern West, the Arab would was undeniably leading the world at the time - and intellectuals like al-Razi wagered that religion itself would go extinct among Arabic speakers within a few generations, along with its cultural baggage. But it didn't - instead, people transitioned from tolerant Sufism to intolerant Hanbalism, from celebrating poets and intellectuals to burning their books in the late Middle Ages and to the very present. Lord Aeonian (talk) 03:34, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Except for the Sufi nutters that were going around defacing "pagan idols". Never forget the Sphinx... As for leading the world at the time, it was certainly more 'progressive' than Europe at the time, which as I mentioned was in the middle of a genocide of pagans so thorough that virtually no one today even cares that it happened. Truly a high bar to beat.
It also ignores the geopolitics of the middle east; Islam's relative tolerance of minorities was the result of two things. First, it was the result of Mohammed not being a fool and learning from the mistakes of Persia and the Byzantines, where they both had repressed minorities too hard which led to constant rebellion. The second being that Islam was itself a minority in the lands it conquered until roughly 200 years later, meaning that it would've been a really bad idea to piss off the locals too much.
In comparison, medieval Islam was morally superior to Christianity, but it still had a huge number of faults. Brutal tactics for brutal times. Islam became the majority religion through a combination of importing muslim families from Arabia into newly conquered territories (aka, colonization), better economic status due to the Dhimmi system which in a pre-industrial society meant that minorities tended to have fewer kids survive to adulthood, and the whole "tax credits for conversion" thing. CorruptUser (talk) 06:07, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
I think you're really missing the point completely. The point is that religious communities can and have gone from a liberal state to a conservative state. There is no inevitability of cultural progress towards some moral goal. Lord Aeonian (talk) 06:57, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
I understand what you are getting at, that society can go "backwards". I just don't think that the Islamic world was nearly as liberal as the apologetists (apologists? apologeticists?) claim.
The crux of the issue isn't that a society "develops" or "undevelops", but rather that morality is itself based on what the environment a society is in allows for. We have the views we have about sex today because we live in a world where condoms and penicillin are a thing. We have things like "stable food supplies", without which constant warfare with your neighbors during famines would induce rather tribalistic viewpoints. So when Islam had its golden age, it was because the environment and technology was such that it was capable of having a golden age. I'm going to make the conjecture that the reason the Islamic world couldn't recover from the Crusades/Mongols was the Bubonic Plague, which disintegrated the Mongol Empire as well by cutting off the trade routes, and thus the Silk Road ceased to bring the wealth it once did, which triggered the Age of Discovery in Europe, and thus the Islamic world went broke. CorruptUser (talk) 08:06, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
While it is true that Pax MongolicaWikipedia's W.svg did come to an end mainly due to the spread of bubonic plague, it is also worthwhile pointing out that not everything is reducible to, nor determined by, the structural perspective of historical materialism. Policy also makes a differenceWikipedia's W.svg. And for the record, while the Umayyads and (most notablyWikipedia's W.svg) the Abassids did enjoy some comparatively great approaches to religious tolerance, ain't nobody got an edge on the Mongols. Just saying out of friendly trivia reasons; not taking a side in the discussion. Carry on, gentlemen/-women. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 08:20, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

While you're at it, take a look at this: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It lists Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz! ~ Aneris 09:06, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

I don't have a formal education in the humanities; history was a hobby, not a major. So that last part, uh, what. Had to actually look it up. I think you just called me a Commie, which I don't think is what you meant. The "mode of production" is one part of society, yes, but it is far from the only part. I'm positing that morality an evolution of sorts, where the morals "evolve" to fit changing niches. CorruptUser (talk) 19:33, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
Morals do evolve, in that they change. The fallacy would be assuming they are moving in any direction over the long term. Lord Aeonian (talk) 23:32, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
I'd say as technology becomes more advanced and the potential for destructive abuse increases, a morality that ensures a stable peace becomes more and more a necessity. Though that's not to say future civilizations need to be leftist or progressive; authoritarian societies can be stable too. (talk) 01:47, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Christianity doesn't seem to be sliding back to conservatism

But Islam did/is/has/etc. You proposed that this is because of economic decline, yes? Then would it make sense to provide more aid to the region in hopes of solving unemployment etc.? FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 23:35, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

From above;
Now, one might say, "if religions behave as culture does, than surely singling out religion itself is futile." The problem here is that the Abrahamic religions provide the moral premise for many of the nasty cultural attitudes the West ignores decries. It is true that believers may conform to the culture around them (perhaps due to ignorance), but the realm of reinterpretation instead of dismissal falls to a handful of progressive theologians among a majority of conservatives. In any case, the most religious individuals in society invariably fail to adopt the cultural norms at the same pace as the less religious.
Economic success is a short term bandaid on an underlying problem. Lord Aeonian (talk) 23:45, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

[edit] So...

Putting aside the endless discussion about the nature and history of religion, you said you'd support a "pan-Arabist anti-theist state which combats religion (and ignorance as a whole) with an education system focusing on critical thinking and reasoning skills". A nice enough idea(l), but how do you envision it becoming a reality? (talk) 01:05, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

I don't see an easy/probable way to accomplish that at the moment - I just know what will work, as opposed to Western hyper-tolerance, Soviet/Chinese style "burn all the mosques," etc. I would like to add that in 1912, no one thought or saw a way for Russia to turn into a Marxist superpower, but it happened anyway :) Lord Aeonian (talk) 01:42, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
Lol @ "Western hyper-tolerance". When it comes to Christianity, maybe. (talk) 02:12, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
I'm not talking about fringe idiots who think Sikhs and Muslims are the same and all of them terrorists, I mean on average. Lord Aeonian (talk) 04:26, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
Hah, I think you're vastly overestimating the average Westerner's knowledge awareness of the existence of Sikhs. (talk) 05:11, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Excuse Me

I hope you don't mind my intruding but could you please explain your point of view on us Westerners? I'm not looking to start a fight or anything, I'm honestly curious about your viewpoint. Thanks for your time. MyNameIsMudd (talk) 02:27, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

I think Western culture is hyper-tolerant, cowardly, self-centered, euro-centric (dare I say colonialist?), hypocritical, patronizing, and generally pathetic. Look no further than the SJWs and regressive left, who conveniently embody all of the above at once. And examples such as Levi Ackerman are truly insufferable. Lord Aeonian (talk)2:59, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Is there anything I can personally do to be better in your opinion? MyNameIsMudd (talk) 03:16, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Sure. Fight against the things I mentioned. Many Westerners do already. Just not enough. Lord Aeonian (talk) 04:04, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Alright. Thank you. MyNameIsMudd (talk) 04:07, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Mistaken reversion

Sorry about the reversion in the Saloon Bar. I'm not sure what happened. Please restore your entry if you're so inclined. Sorry about that. Bongolian (talk) 21:27, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

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