Some quick comments on the latest 'shit Dawkins says on Twitter' row.
Some of you may have noticed the row over Richard Dawkins' latest comments on Twitter, where he took an arbitrary swipe at the achievements of muslims (all of them):
All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 8, 2013
His comments, and subsequent defence of them, have been hammered by everyone from The Telegraph to the New Statesman to the post-nihilist ultra-left. I don't have much to add in terms of debunking his comments. Rather, I want to pick up on Dawkins' claim racism is limited to claims of an "innate inferiority of intellect" of some group.
By coincidence, I've been reading David Theo Goldberg's 'The Racial State'. I'm only part way through, but there's an excellent historical account of the emergence of racial thought which illustrates the current example well. Goldberg argues that in the history of racial thought, which emerges more or less with modernity in general, and the modern state in particular, there have been two main currents: naturalism and historicism.
Naturalism refers to the idea of inherent biological differences between 'races'. Typically these would be hierarchical, with 'whites' at the top, though there are some dubious variants of 'different but equal' knocking around parts of the far right. This is what Dawkins, and pretty much everybody, recognises as racism. When people say 'I'm not racist, but', this is usually what they're disavowing.
Historicism refers to the idea of cultural superiority, of more advanced civilisations. In principle, backwards, uncivilised people could attain civilisation if they abandon their backwards culture and adopt the civilised standards of the West. No claim to innate superiority/inferiority is made here.
Goldberg illustrates this with an argument between Thomas Carlyle and John Stuart Mill, in essays - originally published anonymously - on 'the negro question'. Written in the mid-19th century, Carlyle typifies the naturalist position, while JS Mill critiques him from the historicist one.
The point here is that there's a long history of enlightened, paternalistic, liberal racism, to which Dawkins' comments are endogenous. His bluster about 'sociologists' arrogantly defying the dictionary1 therefore only reveals his ignorance of the history of 'race', which has always been a social category bound up with state formation and colonialism, in both its historicist form and when it's had scientific, naturalist pretensions.2
- 1LOL, Dawkins appealing to an infallible textual authority rather than reasoned argument.
- 2e.g. see Mr Enlightenment himself, Immanuel Kant.
Ex-muslims arguing about
Ex-muslims arguing about Dawkins:
Now Im not one for supporting
Now Im not one for supporting dumb ass Professor Yaffle Dawkins, but his interlocutor on this particular Twitter tiff was fellow posh boy Hasan, who every liberal and leftist has run in defence, has said pretty much the same thing, wrapped it up in 'community' and preached with millinerain gusto, as if all muslims are some homogenous historical entity outside the context of other forces.
"I watched this programme [“Science and Islam”, BBC4] and I really enjoyed it: a well-made programme, presenter very good…and yet I watched it with a sense of despair and a sense of sadness. Because this programme was pure history, every contribution was from the past, and the elephant in the room is the current Islamic contribution to knowledge and science and learning. Where was that in the series of programmes? It wasn’t there because fundamentally there isn’t one. That is the tragedy of our community today."
"It is no surprise then that when you look at the Muslim world you see that we 1.2 billion Muslims have just 10 Nobel prizes to our name….and our Jewish brethren who we spend so much time fighting and arguing with, 12 million Jews in the world, they have 150 Nobel prizes to their name….We are not under-armed, we are under-educated."
- Mehdhi Hasan.
There's a difference between
There's a difference between racism and Islamophobia. Races don't come with a certain set of beliefs; Islam does. And so, if Dawkins is criticizing Islam for a lack of intellectual achievement (recently, at least---note that he tips his hat to previous Muslim acheivements) his claim could be about the effect the belief system has and not the effect being of a certain race has. Indeed, if Dawkins' comment about Muslims is racist, then what race is he talking about? Arabs, Persians, Indonesians (there are more Muslim Indonesians than there are Muslim Arabs), Africans, Caucasians, etc.? Clearly, to conflate attacks on Islam with an attack on a particular race is itself a mistake that reveals an underlying Islamophobia---or, at least, Islamo-ignorance. Most of the criticisms of Dawkins on this point (including the above) have neglected to recognize this distinction and are thus confused and misleading, reinforcing an erroneous idea about the nature of Islam.
funny how some people are
funny how some people are more interested in quibbling over the definition of "race" than in addresding what Dawkins actually said. frankly "course I'm not racist, Islam isn't a race!!!" is the sort of shit Ild expect from the EDL.
Dawkins' comments are reactionary drivel targetted at a group who are already the targets of all sorts of shit from the media, legal and political establishments. zoning in on the definition of "racism" is missing the fucking point.
Just want to be clear on
Just want to be clear on something. So I get that race is an effect of racism, but what is the distinction which allows certain criticism of culture, practices, ideas, ideologies to effect a 'race' and therefore be considered racism? When it is "bound up with state formation and colonialism?"
Please take this in good faith: how can one be critical of Islam when it is the subject of state racism, without being a racist too? Or is it simply not possible? Does the content of the criticism make a difference, or is it simply the case that you are a racist mouthpiece of the state if you choose to be a vocal critic of a particular group at a moment in history when it's the subject of state racism? Please help clarify.
Well I'm not sexist but I'm
Well I'm not sexist but I'm sure there must have been more male Nobel-Dynamite-and-Arms money laureates than female ones mm-mm-mm which just goes to show you mm-mm doesn't it mm? Eh? Of course there is one essential difference between races and sexes which would have given dull-witted Dawkins (a confused crypto-vitalist who dreams he is a materialist) an even better loophole, in that races don't actually exist as natural kinds. But who takes establishment a-holes and their confirmation bias seriousy anyway FFS?
As Shlomo Sand, professor of history at Tel Aviv Uni said in The Invention of the Jewish People: To account for the popularity of race theory in the centers of Western culture, we must consider the European sense of superiority' based on rapid industrial and technological development in the West and center of the Continent, and how this was interpreted as reflecting biological and moral ascendancy. Furthermore, the progress made in the developmental sciences gave rise to comparative fantasies linking the life sciences with social studies and history.
I think it's fair to say that historically more Jews have been well placed to take advantage of the dynamite money than Muslims. And it's mostly given for scientific efforts, so here we have another in the endless series of iterations of a materialist dogmatist (who has not himself won any dynamite money and is never likely to) persecuting some heretics for not committing themelves fully enough to the new scientific world religion. He reminds me of Ian Paisley.
snipfool wrote: Please take
Fair questions. I think there's several things here.
1. Dawkins wasn't even making a criticism of Islam (on the face of it), he was doing a dog whistle swipe at 'the world's muslims' at large. So if you want to criticise Islam, be specific about practice X or belief Y. Afaik when Dawkins lays into Christianity, he tends to do close scriptual readings and the like
2. Still then, there's the issue of timing. It's remarkable how many people (e.g. random workmates with no direct interest) have suddenly taken an interest in Russia's LGBT record. Now, that's not to say you can't be genuinely critical here, but it's funny how it crescendos at the peak of the Snowden row, when a few years back when we were about to bomb Iran everyone was going apeshit about homophobia in Iran (Jasbir Puar is good on this). Ditto the fascination with vague, ill-informed swipes at "all the worlds muslims" in the wake of like 30 odd firebomb attacks on mosques, a big government push to up racial tensions, and a minor far-right resurgence.
3. So I think the best rule of thumb would be to support specific, concrete struggles on the ground. That would solve a lot of the problems straight off by bypassing the whole speaking for others thing. So where there are workers movements being repressed by Islamists, or feminist/queer activism in the Islamic world, highlighting those struggles and draw out the criticisms they make.
4. I think this might reflect a general problem with new atheism, which attacks the symptom (religion) and not the cause (a heartless world), and often therefore ends up being a cheerleader for that world. James Butler's good here: www.piercepenniless.tumblr.com/post/57779541776/marx-contra-dawkins
On the 'muslims aren't a
On the 'muslims aren't a race' thing, this has been done to death elsewhere. As others have said:
(1) It ignores the main point of how dogwhistle racism works. 'Pakis' aren't a race (an abbreviated nationality), nor are 'immigrants' (a residential status) or 'asylum seekers' (a migration status). I'm sure we're all familiar with racism aimed at those groups.
(2) Dawkins' statement is so arbitrary as to be incomprehensible as anything but this kind of dogwhistle swipe. e.g. (a) he's comparing an elite academic institution to a general population, (b) he's not controlling for education level or GDP or any number of other variables, (c) he's arbitrarily selecting the time period where (historically) Christian countries have dominated world affairs (the previous 500 years would have been Islam, Qing China etc), (d) he's arbitrarily choosing a culturally and historically specific measure of success (the nobel prize) which itself only covers 20% of the period he's allegedly interested in etc etc. It's really quite amazing how many logical leaps and flaws he crammed into 140 chars for someone so interested in reason and logical thought. So much for "a simple fact"1
(3) The 'muslims aren't a race' thing has a whole implicit theory of race which is just wrong. Essentially it relies on the premise that racism is a response to the fact of race, rather than 'race' being an effect of racism.
(4) There's also a problem here with treating 'all the world's muslims' as a bloc, which echoes the whole 'clash of civilisations thesis' (which incidentally has been torn to shreds by academics in the field but has proved enduringly popular in the media and popular discourse). This is a more subtle thing though and i'm mentioning it as an afterthought.
Edit: Anyhow, my main point here was to link this to Goldberg's analysis, which imho makes a convincing case that racism has always been more than simply claims to innate inferiority.
Quote: funny how some people
So, instead of actually engaging the actual point made (by myself and others), you claim that it sounds like something someone from the EDL would say. First, that is just an ad hominem argument that fails to address the point (see below). Second, people from the EDL are probably not bright enough to draw a distinction between racism and Islamophobia.
More importantly, you fail to actually engage the argument. The argument is that it is not helpful to discuss Dawkins' comment as a racist comment since to do so reinforces the very misrepresentation of Islam that is so common in the West. This misrepresentation is the identification of Islam with being Arabic. But anyone that knows about Islam knows that this identification is erroneous in both directions. There are Muslims that are not Arabs (in fact, there are more non-Arab Muslims than there are Arab Muslims) and there are Arabs that are not Muslim.
Moreover, your claim that this point "misses the fucking point" is itself left completely unsubstantiated. And your claim is shown to be incorrect by the fact (already pointed out) that there is a substantial difference between racism and having prejudice against people of a certain religious tradition. The difference is that races don't have beliefs; but religious people do. And that is a substantial difference. Being Muslim is about having certain beliefs (an ideology); being Arab (or Persian, or Indonesian, or African, etc.) is not. The upshot is that if you criticize Dawkins for being racist with his comment, then your criticism is a straw man. Smart people will see that you are not being careful enough and they will dismiss you. It's better to criticize a view for its actual content rather than employ a haphazard mischaracterization. I really do expect better from the authors at (and the readers of) libcom; but perhaps my expectation is just too unrealistic.
@ecosophy Are you defending
Are you defending Dawkins?
Because whether or not he is a racist, he has nothing to offer on the subject of religion, or Islam in particular.
Quote: (1) It ignores the
It is true that there are terms that are not strictly racial, but that have the same basic effect, when they are used. 'Pakis' or 'immigrants' clearly are used in a way that is virtually identical with racist terms. But it doesn't follow from this that 'Muslim' or 'Islam' have the same effect. To identify someone by their religion is (usually) to identify them by their beliefs. And this contrasts with identifying them by some characteristic that they don't have any control over (like skin color, nationality, geographical origin, sex, etc.). People can be held responsible for their beliefs and they should be so. But people cannot and should not be held responsible for their skin color. So, your point 1 falls flat, logically speaking. Your premise is correct, but it doesn't entail the conclusion you draw, since it is a false analogy.
So, here you claim that Dawkins' comment is clearly a "dogwhistle swipe". I take it that by this rather loose language you mean to say that Dawkins' use of the term 'Islam' is really more like the EDL's use of the term 'Pakis'. Your reason for this is that Dawkins' claim "is so arbitrary". It is arbitrary for 4 reasons, which I believe constitute good criticisms of Dawkins' tweet without having to play the racism card at all (which is a straw man for reasons, I have already given). Your first point is that he's comparing an academic institution with a general population. I agree with you that this is an unfair comparison. Your second point is that his comment is not based on a scientific sampling. In a way, this is really the same as the first point since the reason that the comparison is unfair is that it is comparing apples and oranges and that is a problem with how the samples have been gathered. Your third point is the same, from a logical point of view, since it is again about how he selected his samples on which to draw his conclusion. Your fourth point is different since it questions the value placed on the target characteristic (nobel prize winners). But that's also a substantial criticism, from a logical point of view. What this all boils down to is that you are criticizing Dawkins for not taking a proper scientific approach with this particular claim. And that's a great criticism of Dawkins in this case.
But instead of leaving it at that, you use the above (stand alone) points to substantiate the claim that Dawkins was being careless in his language and intended his use of 'Islam' to be (like) a racial slur rather than a term for identifying a religious group. Given all of Dawkins' concern with religious belief, it seems much more plausible that he intended to identify and criticize Islam the religion with his tweet. And it seems much more plausible to criticize him (as you do above) for being unscientific than it does for him being racist.
This is an interesting point and it seems basically correct to me. Race is surely a social construction. And as such, sometimes religious group become an ethnicity (Jews, Catholic and Protestant in N. Ireland, etc.). But that has not happened with Islam, at least not at a global level. As with Catholicism and Protestantism in N. Ireland, perhaps this racialization happens in certain locations, where social identities and religious belief line up very closely. But, generally speaking, those that have studied Islam would not be happy with the idea that Islam could be identified with one race, since the fact of the matter is that there are many different ethnicities that have embraced this global religion. And there is a lot of internal diversity in Islam. To be sure, one of Dawkins' fatal errors in his criticisms of religion is that he doesn't take into account its diversity. But by conflating Islamophobia with racism, you make a similar mistake. And your argument ends up being a straw man.
Yeah. That's my point. Islam is a very complex and diverse religious tradition. This is why the New Atheists' critiques are all straw men. So, let's be better than they are and make substantial arguments (as you do in point 2 above) rather than repeating their mistake.
I would not defend Dawkins on
I would not defend Dawkins on the subject of religion. I agree that his comment was irrational and unethical. My point is that those that claim that the problem with Dawkins' comment is that it is racist are wrong. The problem is that it is Islamophobic. And to conflate Islamophobia with racism against a certain group, is to misunderstand the nature of Islam. Hence, such a conflation is itself a manifestation of Islamophobia. Also, and more importantly, pulling the racial card here is just a straw-man argument that critical thinkers will dismiss out of hand.
Now you might think that it doesn't matter what the argument is, if we agree on the conclusion. I would disagree. The argument matters just as much as the conclusion. If we give fellow radicals a pass on their poor arguments or sloppy thinking just because we agree with the conclusion, then sloppy thinking will become the norm.
ecosophy, I’m interested in
ecosophy, I’m interested in precisely why you think Dawkins was being unethical.
In your opinion, should Dawkins be held at least partly responsible for the responsibility the UK State has taken upon itself for ‘holding people responsible’ for their Islamic beliefs?
Does ‘Islam’ not include Middle Eastern Muslims? Is Dawkins’ reference to ‘Islam’ somehow explicitly NOT about a grouping which, like it or not, most people living within the current Western propaganda system would automatically identify as Middle Eastern in origin? Or was it somehow the point of Dawkins’ latest ‘emission’ to draw attention to and to correct this? Given that same genocidal propaganda system, it is, to say the least grossly irresponsible for a public figure to attack the religion of those who are being slaughtered. Presumably if you’d had a popular public platform in the 1940s say, you would not have used it to attack the Jewish religion even though you realised that you weren’t being racist, technically?
This is sloppy, since logically it does not necessarily follow that misunderstanding or ignorance with respect to an issue is a manifestation of an irrational fear or hatred of it, unless you mean that people confusing racism with Islamophobia are doing so because of the effects of propaganda, in which case I agree with you.
Quote: those that have
Yeah, but come on, really when the vast majority of Britons and Americans picture a Muslim, they're picturing an Arab. And the right plays on this: "Oh, we're not racist, we're opposed to radical Islam. We're not anti-immigrant, we're anti-Shariah law..."
It's not that I don't think you're making some good points in an academic sense. Of course our analyses we shouldn't conflate race with religion. Of course Muslims are a very diverse group of people.
But don't you think someone like Dawkins should have the common sense to try to make sure that his comments don't feed into the sort of sentiments referenced above? A failure to do so--especially from someone who claims to have his interest into rationality and objectivity--seems to me to reflect an underlying racist sentiment, especially compared to how he approaches his criticisms of other religions, Christianity in particular.
Aye. Dorkins is a clever
Aye. Dorkins is a clever cloggs. He knows exactly what he's up to and he knows exactly how his comments will be taken and used by any racist fuckwit who happens to read his shit on twitter. His Middle Ages caveat won't wash either.
'New atheism' is disgusting.
'New atheism' is disgusting. More like a new brand of fascism. This is a group that includes Sam Harris, who suggests 'we' (Western civilization) may have to nuke the entire Middle East in order to save our lives.
Forgive my cynicism about
Forgive my cynicism about Dawkins but I remember him when he was just a superstar academic, one of the rent a smart geezer to talk about science on the TV set. I seem to remember his vociferous objections to religion - which he may well have had already - started when budget cuts to academia denuded his own departmental budget and he started railing about funding for apparently "useless" study, such as theology and Medieval French poetry. Obviously the pro and anti Medieval French poetry lobbies were never very vocal. Where my cynicism really kicks in is my suspicion that he makes far more money and is far better known as a professional atheist than as a professor at Trinity. Not to mention the extreme ego stroking he must get as the Alpha Dog of militant atheism. I expect he's quite relieved that Hitchens is dead and he no longer has to jostle for that position.
Dawkins is undoubtably a clever man and, as far as I know, does nothing to distance himself from or challenge the rabid racist and sexist behaviour of some of his followers, which is almost cult-like in their adoration of him. I've found myself on the receiving end of abuse by his followers on twitter, who've come at me as response to a snarky comment - the irony apparently lost on them that they were defending his words (to the effect) that Islam is barbaric to women by threatening me, a woman, with various acts of barbarism in order to get my thinking straight.
He knows what he's doing and when he makes comments on Islam, he may well play with words and say that he's not being racist, merely criticizing religion, but he knows full well that he's feeding into wider racist sentiments. And then Dawkins is back in the newspapers, which I imagine sells a few more copies of the God Delusion, a few more T shirts and his appearance fees go up a bit more.
All of this argument is wet
All of this argument is wet twitter bollocks.
*** Drunk Response ***
Quote: ecosophy, I’m
I have already answered this question implicitly in previous posts. My claim is that Dawkins' problem is not racism, but other aspects of his position. First, as Joseph points out in his comment on his own piece, Dawkins' claim is a wildly unscientific one, and as such it is both unsubstantiated as well as misleading. This is why his tweet was irrational.
Second, Dawkins' claim manifests a misunderstanding of the nature of Islam, since he misidentifies it as the cause for the lack of the lack of Nobel Prizes in predominantly Muslim countries as compared to Cambridge. This is the fallacy of false cause since the cause could very well include socio-economic conditions, as most leftists would point out. But Dawkins' willingness to attribute this lack of scientific achievement to Islam (rather than other conditions) arises from the fact that he believes it to be an anti-intellectual and anti-scientific tradition.
However, a reading of Islamic history shows that this is just not true. Islam has a very deep and and sophisticated intellectual tradition. There is nothing inherent to Islam that makes it inimical to the scientific enterprise. This is true of Judaism and Christianity as well, although Dawkins would have us believe that all Christians are like the Westboro Baptist Church. Dawkins makes the same mistake here that he makes elsewhere: he doesn't really understand Theistic belief. Many religious studies scholars and philosophers of religion have rebuked him concerning his straw-man characterizations of religion (Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith and Revolution is one example). And yet, he persists with the straw-man argument. This is not just irrational, but unethical. It's not a fair treatment of the religion.
I'm not sure what this question is about. And I certainly don't believe that 'holding people responsible' for their beliefs has anything to do with the State. What I mean when I say that we can hold people responsible for their beliefs is that (when they are adults) they decide what to believe (or, at least, they could decide what to believe) and so they are responsible for their beliefs in a way that they are not responsible for their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. And so, when fundamentalist Christians claim that they don't believe in evolution or human caused climate change, they are responsible for this belief. If the belief is evidently incorrect, they should be roundly criticized in the public forum. But people should never be criticized for their race, sex, etc. So, being a member of a group with a certain belief system is quite different than being a member of a group based on race, geography, sexual orientation, etc. This is the one thing that I agree with the New Atheists on: religious belief should be criticized when it is manifestly irrational (e.g., Creationism). But allowing public criticism is one thing and having the State do something about it (shutter) is quite another.
Of course, Islam includes people that live in the Middle East. But not everyone that lives in the Middle East is a Muslim. There are quite a few Christian Arabs (and Druze etc.). Moreover, there are more Muslims in Indonesia than there are in the Middle East. Islam shouldn't be identified with being Arab. When you conflate Islamophobia with racism, you conflate the two. Moreover, the fact that the "Western propaganda machine" identifies 'Islamic' with 'Middle Eastern' is no reason for people on the left to perpetuate that misunderstanding. As for why Dawkins said what he said, I am not sure why and I haven't defended his comment. I have only attacked the lack of intellectual rigor in the facile arguments attacking him. To attack a bad criticism of a position is not to defend the position.
Yes, I do believe that the conflation of Islam with a race is a result of "the propaganda machine" (to use your words). And this conflation is a mistake, as you seem to agree (perhaps). But I would also say that Western Islamobia is based on misrepresentations of the nature of Islam. Among those misrepresentations would be the fact that people equate being Muslim with being Arabic. This is not the only misrepresentation, but it is one that is part and parcel of typical Islamophobia. So, while it is true that one can misunderstand something without having irrational fear of it (indeed, one might misunderstand something that is dangerous as actually being safe), in the case of Islam, misunderstanding has played an important role in perpetuating Islamophobia. The New Atheists have perpetuated that misunderstanding. But this forum perpetuates the misunderstanding as well by repeating, yet again, the inaccurate identification of Islam with race.
Oh for fuck's sake. And it's
Oh for fuck's sake. And it's backed up with a quote from the High Priest of New Atheism himself.
Dawkins is probaby the only
Dawkins is probaby the only person's works he/she has ever read. That Dawkins quote applies very much to the poster him/herself. The 'one particular book' being one of Dawkins own.
Chilli Sauce wrote: Yeah, but
I would imagine that the vast majority of people in the UK picture Pakistanis when they picture a Muslim.
ecosophy wrote: So, instead
you know nothing ecosophy, they've been saying "we're not racist, we just oppose militant Islam" the whole time, literally since they where founded
Quote: This is an interesting
The process of world power centers culturally, violently, and physically forcing a group bound together by one arbitrary characteristic is the creation of a race as a social phenomenon. This is why the Irish became a distinct race, historically, and then transformed in some major capacities again, (into whiteness) because their identities, through their own actions and the actions of many millions others, gave them social power, degrees of control, etc. So Dawkins' and many others, ignorant ass "dog-whistle" swipes (what a term!) are the same kinds of processes that seek to "line up" a set of beliefs with a social identity.
(As a minor note, it wasn't because all the people who held Jewish beliefs got together and said let's be a race. It's because society in many ways and places, in those same kinds of centers of power, associated that particular religion with innate qualities. Kind of like how Dawkins is saying Muslims don't win Nobel prizes, and are tearing at the fabric of our civilization, kind of like how many people from Ford to Hitler felt the Jews were a parasitic conspiracy bent on destroying capitalist-democracy/the third reich).
You're almost there, look a little closer.
Serge Forward wrote: ‘Aye.
Serge Forward wrote:
‘Aye. Dorkins is a clever cloggs. He knows exactly what he's up to and he knows exactly how his comments will be taken and used by any racist fuckwit who happens to read his shit on twitter. His Middle Ages caveat won't wash either.’
Well the above follows my own train of thought on the subject (though I seriously don’t give two hoots for Dorkins or his opinions).
However I am not comfortable with ‘I hear what you say – but I know what you really mean’, which I think runs through some of this discussion. This surely is the same line pushed by apologists for Israel who claim all criticisms of the state are motivated by covert racism?
Dawkins is a man that eagerly
Dawkins is a man that eagerly accepts his role as the good old uncle of New Atheism, while ironically behaving like a dogmatic religious fanatic at every opportunity, maligning 'the other' as a matter of course, that, to his mind, if they ceased to exist or just knuckled down and behaved as a good, practical white man then the world could exceed tenfold in logic come next Tuesday.
He views extremists and people who pretty much just 'do' religion for the sense of community, as the same thing - which is easily as problematic as any fundamentalist's ideas.
It feels like the anarchist/communist groups get themselves in a knot about how to think about these things properly because they too to some degree have accepted a great deal of antitheist views in the rush to challenge the wackier sides of the religious scope. Please, do criticise Dawkins for being a horrible racist, no one is going to doubt your 'No Gods no Masters' enthusiasm for doing it.
The OP premise that Dawkins
The OP premise that Dawkins 'racism' is based on the historic rather than the essential. Is that the case? He also thought 'wonderful' a presentation that Stephen Pinker did about high IQ's of Ashkenazi Jews linking it very much to a genetic component and some wild and wonderful reasons for that being the case.
Kureigo-San wrote: Please, do
Interesting that actually anarchists don't seem that arsed about religion anymore as a malevolent force. Probably because it has little power in the countries/communities they speak from.
ecosophy, although I don’t
ecosophy, although I don’t quite see how any of us are absolutely free to choose our beliefs (capitalism, patriarchy, etc. can be quite persuasive in constraining them) I am in broad agreement with you on the subject of people being held responsible for their beliefs and the effects they have on the world around them. This is why I asked:
In this question I am simply suggesting that you take into account the domestic and international context in which we are having this discussion. I am asking: Do you believe that Dawkins’ repeated public effluvia add intellectual respectability to or in any other way support the genocidal and (Nuremburg) aggressive policies of the NATO powers in the so-called Middle East? I could also ask if you believe that Martin Heidegger’s support for Hitler added academic respectability to the Nazis, even though he didn’t openly espouse biological racism, since the parallels are glaring. And if so, could not a logical argument be put forward that because of this, Dawkins’/Heidegger’s position could reasonably be considered de facto racist? Would an historian one hundred years from now give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt (probably in a footnote) given the soft, warm mountain of millions of dead Muslims he is standing on very ‘rationally’ pointing his finger and shaking his little fist at what a bad idea Islam clearly is in terms of promoting rational, scientifically creative behaviour?
What do you mean by ‘race’?
I think criticizing dawkins
I think criticizing dawkins on the basis of an alleged racism is missing the point. Whenever you do that, people like ecosophy will criticize you with stretching the word's meaning and in fact rightly so.
What is strange to me is that so many people have missed the inherent imperialism in Dawkins claims. It is the old "white man's burden" claim a la Kipling from 19th century... Imperialism is legitimate because these muslim societies are brutal, violent and ignorant so, they are inferior - and hence deserve to be ruled by a civilizing western state. Of course this is only one step from the racist eugenic politics but it is yet NOT racism itself; it is pure and simple imperialism.
Does that mean that Islam is innocent? This is also a false question. Islam does not create violence but the nationalist reaction to imperialism in the Middle East does. If the middle eastern nationalisms are reacting and organizing their military-state apparatus behind an islamistic facade it is because they are weak and incompetent - unable to produce a new vision but increasingly clinging on to old formulas from faded away ages; it is because those political movements/parties like AKP in turkey or MB in Egypt are responding to a crisis which destroyed the credibility of secular bourgeois alternatives ranging from Kemalism to Stalinism against the US/Europe hegemony in the middle east. In one word, the middle eastern regimes -borders of which are drawn by the "rational" english and french imperialisms- are desperately hopeless to preserve their increasing meaninglessness in the face of growing social-political-economic crisis.
But if Islamism as a political movement is backward surely Dawkins also is backward: he belongs to that 19th or 18th century apologism of imperialism "imperial college" rationalism. Crude evolutionism of a crude pre-eugenic.
Thanks for your reply to my
Thanks for your reply to my questions, Joseph. Sound.
What use is this distinction? Why don't you see those justifications for imperialism as racist justifications?
Mr. Jolly wrote: Kureigo-San
point 10 of the AF's aims and principles would seem to suggest that some anarchists, at least, are still pretty arsed about religion..
First, lets get something out
First, lets get something out of the way:
Trinity Nobel laureates
Chinese Nobel laureates
Those Chinese, ey? What's their excuse, huh?
Seriously, the assertion that a self-selected bunch of white, christian, mostly male Scandinavians prefer to give prizes to mostly white, mostly male and mostly christian recipients is proof of anything in particular, seems to me to be absurd. Of course we need to add into the picture the respective institutional power of different educational institutions (all the Chinese science laureates based in US or UK & France for e.g.) and the concentration of capitalist enterprises willing to fund research, but still the very idea is absurd.
Mikail's post links well with Pennoid's imo. Imperialism instrumentalises racism, not the other way around. If you tried to follow the logic of the Irish becoming a race apart ("white negros") and then becoming later (post US Civil War) "white", through the internal logic of racism alone, you'd never make sense of it. As soon as you put it in the context of the instrumental needs of either imperialism or the local decomposition of the class along ethnicised or racialised lines, the underlying logic becomes obvious.
Quote: snipfool wrote:
Because I think a debate on racism is tucking us in a futile debate on whether race and religion are compatible categories or not. It is clear that Dawkins is condemning people on the basis of their beliefs -which can change- rather than genetic qualities attributed to them. The problem is, this does not make Dawkins more acceptable - at least for communists/anarchists. His assumptions are directly in line with the general imperialist vocabulary of the British type and imperialism does not have to be racist at least directly. It can of course denigrate the subjected people. However as the 19th century imperialism liked to justify itself, this denigration can be on paternalistic terms. "We as the advanced nation of the world ruled by the science are destined to rule over thy nations for the sake of your further evolution" was the traditional imperialist argument of the 19th century.
As democracy lose its credibility especially with the rise of technocratic governments all over europe there is a parallel trend of rising popular islamist parties all over the middle east. This process of gradual deterioration of the post-1945 political discourse is leaving nothing but military might and technocratic rulers as the sole source of power. Look Italy and Greece for instance. For months during the most intense periods of the crisis those countries were ruled by technocratic governments. And even in Germany similar debates on the necessity and virtues of technocracy are coming to surface: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/08/12/germ-a12.html
So as the Bourgeois self-confidence is shaken to its foundations day by day, we can see the signs of return to those old fears of "ultra-democracy" or "radical mindless masses". Remember how the bourgeoisie was scared of the masses and their "fanatical instincts" in beginning of 20th century and 1920s especially. So it is not shocking that for a lot of "respected" bourgeois liberals the idea that even if the governments are not democratic they should at least be "reasonable" or scientific and logical.
Is not it ironic that some of the most popular governments in the Mediterranean basin are those of islamic ones securing electoral victory continuously? So we should not be surprised by the way Dawkins' counterpoised fanaticism (read "Islam") versus the science. This is by now almost an ancient dichotomy first developed by the British conservatives like Burke against the "fanatical" radicalism of the french democracy. Of course I am not suggesting that Islam is "better"; of course movements like AKP or MB are counter revolutionary. My point is as the facade of bourgeois democracy crumbles we see that there are simply two alternatives inside this system: a lunatic popular government or a technocratic unpopular one, both clearly imperialist by their orientation. I think Dawkins style "atheism" and furor over his shit is merely reflecting this situation. Racism is simply to narrow a term to discuss that.
Mr. Jolly wrote: Kureigo-San
In my experience, many many people calling themselves anarchists have adopted the popular atheism Vs religion shtick. You don't have to look very far to see it. Including entire organisations as well, like AF: (principle number 10)
"We oppose organised religion and cults and hold to a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change society through our own efforts. Worshipping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation / liberation. We reject any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force. We work towards a society where religion is no longer relevant."
The use of the paradigm that 'something isn't real if it can't be measured by scientific means' is a telling sign of this org very much buying into the notion that science is diametrically opposed to religion and that it is its natural enemy. This attitude is really very prevalent and is at the core of our friend Dawkins' espousals.
Auld-bod wrote: Serge Forward
i think that Dawkins is not criticizing Islam, he is insulting Muslims, when people do the same with israel it definitely tends to antisemitism
ocelot wrote: Mikail's post
I don't know enough about that history of Irish racism, sorry. I'd find it useful if you expanded on this example, but you don't have to of course. Nonetheless I appreciate that imperialism and racism must be historically bound and that imperialism uses racism - that is what you mean by "Imperialism instrumentalises racism", right? I don't mean that racism exists coherently and independently, and then imperialism takes place in light of it- rather that that 'old racisms' can be abandoned and 'new racisms' created in order to help aid imperial goals.
What I don't see is how it makes sense, or why it's useful, to talk about imperialism as 'only one step' from 'full' racism as if they're clearly delineated, nor how one can say that the example reasons given to 'legitimise' imperialism (these muslim societies are brutal, violent and ignorant so, they are inferior) aren't simply racist.
I don't buy that Dawkins is not a racist but an imperialist. Something of worth might be added by noting that he's an imperialist, but doesn't that just make him a racist imperialist? Either I'm just not getting it and don't know what I'm talking about, or I'm splitting hairs. But I thought it was mikail that was splitting hairs originally.
edit: seen your reply mikail, will look later, cheers.
anipfool, I think what I want
I think what I want to say bottom line that simply saying Dawkins is a racist also collapses into that same liberal trap of "unethical" vs "ethical". There is no common ground between a communist and bourgeois stand point so they can not be reconciled in an "ethical" common ground. In my opinion there is no acceptable and sound liberal possible.
The problem with Dawkins then must be looked for not in what is "ethically" unacceptable, but what is acceptable for the wide public in his discourse. In today's term what is acceptable in Dawkins is the way he argues FOR "reason" against the "fanaticism". This is an old riddle of bourgeois society only exacerbated today in multitude of forms. Islam is bad for liberal democracy because it is fanatical. scientific technocracy and moralism is good because it is pragmatic and civil for some.
As revolutionaries we can not let fanaticism go under so easily :) Neither give up science for a blind and obscure religious dogmatism. And the problem is not that these are not reconcilable in a coherent revolutionary practice/theory. In my opinion the problem is this fake duality represents only the practical duality of the current imperialist tensions and the lack of self-confidence on the part of the ruling class. So the problem in islamic societies is not that muslims are irrational. The problem is that islam in current politics can nothing but a pure imperialist venture - irrational in one sense since it does not and can not offer any future except death and extermination. So Dawkins is partially right when he says historically islamic intellectuals had great achievements. But what he don't understand is his atheism is also irrational in the political sense, that it offers nothing but submission to the "genius" of imperial academy. - I think it is fair to say that the great western academy is born into and fed by imperial conquest and pillage. This heritage was once something the western states claimed buried but it seems it is rising its head again with the deep crisis of the states everywhere.
Just look at the stupid and crazy historiography recently developed -or regressed - on "Empire". There is definitely a barren romanticism for old formulas even in US! Of course I don't want to imply that Dawkins is a secret admirer of King George III but basically, we see a desperate effort to build a coherent political world view on the part of the elites and a revival of long dead crude materialism -just like islamism of the 19th century type- may be an expression of the bankrupt state of imperialism and the capital.
I don’t know if racism has
I don’t know if racism has always been essential to imperialism, even in regard to slavery. It certainly seems to be central to western capitalist imperialism, with the pseudoscientific and nationalist associations etc that Mikail referred to.
But I don’t think racism is an unnecessary distraction from real concerns. I think there is enough time to discuss it in the way we have been, including the silencing effect it still seems to have in left libertarian circles. But I think the issue of 'which came first imperialism or racism?' is really a distraction from the current need to disrupt the psychological support given to imperialism by the racism of the populations in the imperialist centres. While it’s obviously essential to historically and globally connect the dots, from the perspective of those Muslim communities now under attack, in the UK at any rate, I don’t think finding the correct anti-imperialist analysis is the most pressing issue in terms of local organising atm. I think there are better ways we could engage with ethnic struggles.
Anyway fuck Dawkins. He discharges bile and vitriol in the most irresponsible way for profit. Imperialism and racism are both founded upon a fundamental indifference to other people. And so is Dawkins.
factvalue, I understand your
I understand your immediate concerns and I respect that. But coming from a middle eastern country, a muslim family, and living in the west, I can say that the importance of the issue requires a deeper analysis for a firmer position. For instance, moderate islamists in Turkey have just imprisoned hundreds and killed five during and after the Gezi revolts. What to do with that? Look at Egypt if you want to see an even more complex question.
Unfortunately there is no immediate easy solution to this problem - I fear simply discrediting the Dawkins and excluding him from the bubble of legitimate political atmosphere will not help the muslims living in the west - though I am not against that: we need to go way further than that.
hey mikail, Coming from the
Coming from the background I came from trust me I understand how essential sound analysis is for orientation, empowerment in struggle but the Mosque and community centre near me were burnt down recently and the Muslim people that I know here are concerned about defending themselves in the immediate present. They see challenging white supremacists while living alongside the invisibility of white racism to most whites and protecting their families in their local area to be of greater tactical concern than connecting with the world historical moment right now. Libertarian communist activist outreach is not really on the agenda here, although I have pushed my take on anarchist communism as much as possible in the past, of course.
KarlJohanson wrote: If more
Jesus christ man. So about 25% of the worlds population are barbarians? If this were truly the case I might join the EDL tomorrow from across the pond. Of course religious fundamentalism of any stripe is reactionary but do you really think this is the "norm" for anyone practicing Islam? In the west when religion/Christianity had control of society (the "dark ages" as some people call it) the atmosphere was quite repressive. The middle east in general didn't experience the enlightenment so obviously when religion/superstition is in control of the state or when Sharia Law is enacted it's going to look like the west when Christianity had it's way with society. In my opinion the organized structure of Islam is more reactionary than Christianity because unlike Christianity much of the teeth of fundamentalism are still in tact. Most notably the teeth of state enforced "morality" based in religion and codified patriarchal relations. Many Muslims are held captive by this just as the Christian population were held captive by the church's dogma centuries ago and to some extent, in the west, still are to this day.
Muslims in Iran are doing a good job of fending off the sort of atmosphere you see in Saudi Arabia but even then it's being done in a more bourgeois manner. Lets not forget capitalism's role in pushing Islamic fundamentalism to fight democratic movements which threatened capitals interests. It's all very complex. There are millions of Muslims who are seeking to "modernize" Islamic culture and there are indeed Muslims who seek to maintain the absolute rule of fundamentalism and then there's capital with its geopolitical motivations which has distorted the picture with coups, proxy war and all out war within Muslim regions.
I can't do the topic proper justice, I'm simply trying to point out why your post is so backwards.
Kureigo-San wrote: Mr. Jolly
I think it's pointing to the fact we need to use materialist analysis rather than idealism to change the world.
factvalue; I fear that we
I fear that we somehow could not respond each others' concerns. I am not against your sympathies towards your Muslim neighbors. And I would definitely agree that Islamophobia in England and Dawkin's remarks are related. These are very important issues. No doubt. But I still think the issue about Muslims today is not a neo-nazi type of racism on the margins but something central and very fundamental about the contemporary politics.
mikail, I agree with you
I agree with you about the centrality of racism within western political discourse, it would be hard to miss it. I think it’s more important at the moment to address the immediate consequences of this within Muslim communities than to engage with it mainly by creating theoretical or ideological examinations of the local-global connections. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk to people about the big picture but just that we should make sure we are using our analyses to help people understand what is happening to them, rather than vice versa. We should put forward analyses by addressing the experience of the people most affected rather than by concentrating our efforts on creating a convincing theoretical synthesis while they are being attacked on the street. But yeah, I think you and me are talking past each other a bit here.
Kureigo-San wrote: Mr. Jolly
I have two friends that consider themselves class struggle anarchists who are christians and a muslim friend who is hard left. Their interpretation of scripture is a personal one and I really see no reason to think that they are fools, nor should anyone else, quite the opposite. It may be hauled up there somewhere in the AF constitution, but it seems from my context, from another time and place, and a rather crotchety point.
I keep hearing that not all
I keep hearing that not all Muslims are Arabs, and that Indonesia has more Muslims than the middle east. I don't want to totally invalidate this idea, it has importance in many contexts, but I think it misses something big:
Islam is a kind of arabo-philia. If you go to Indonesia you will see that, in general, the more Islamic an area is, or a family claims to be, they more they will try to dress "arabically", the more they will practically worship any kind of consumer products imported from the middle east, "Arabic" fashions, any kind of Arabic foods, and the Arabic language itself. It will be widely assumed that a Muslim from the middle east is more ethical, wise and holy than a black or south Asian Muslim.
Any thing that is thought to be Arabic in origin will be considered more or less elevated or holy or magical among Indonesian Muslims. Keep in mind that god only speaks Arabic, that is the language he made the Koran in. Muslims go on the pilgrimage, the Haj, and guess where that is ? Muslims nationwide consider the Arabic language to more or less be theirs as Muslims, even though most of them don't speak it fluently.
The more strictly Muslim a group is in "moderate" Indonesia, the more they claim to believe that society and personal life should be more organized according to the modes of Arabia, in the time after Mohammed's victory there. In the Indonesian Muslim imagination, the Arab world, when at its "best" is the uncontested embodiment of Islamic civilization and practice.
I would be willing to bet this is not only the case in Indonesia.
Regardless of his motives,
Regardless of his motives, living in Turkey, I have no issue with the content of what Dawkins said. No matter what we yell and scream, what Dawkins says is, factually, completely correct. Yes, very few Muslims won nobel prizes and yes, throughout capitalism Muslim societies had been quite backwards when it comes to science. And also yes, Muslim societies were scientifically incredibly advanced during the Middle Ages, when the Europeans were burning books, witches and scientics.
Islam isn't a race, it is a religion. Not all Muslims are Arabs, and not all Arabs are Muslims (and I am not talking about a negligable quantity here: the number of Copts, Maronites and other sorts of Arab Christians combined is near 20 million, which makes about 5% of the world Arab population). Islamophobia, however, is a form of racism, because it is directed against certain ethnic groups who are thought to be Muslims, not Muslims directly. A white Muslim in England, for instance, would never be a target of an Islamophobic attack, although a Hindu Indian well might.
Is there anything Islamophobic in what Dawkins said? In the sense that he doesn't directly attack or insult anyone for being a Muslim, or assumes any ethnic or racial groups are Muslims, no. Of course it depends on his motivation - we don't know how he actually thinks. For all we know, he might be a racist wanker, meaning Pakistanis when he wrote that comment.
Although the idea of historicist racism, mentioned in the original post, is certainly a left-liberal idea. The idea that backwards, uncivilised people could attain civilisation if they abandon their backwards culture and adopt the civilised standards of the West had been the single most powerful ideology of capitalism. Why the West? Because capitalism was born there. What did it mean for the other countries to abandon their "backwards culture" and attain "civilization"? It meant abandoning their previous modes of production in favor of capitalism. There is nothing racist here, this is pure and simple capitalism. Why? Because this idea has always been as adoptable by Westerners as it had been by the members of the "uncivilized" peoples, modernizers of the economy, introducers of the bourgeois democratic values and so on and so forth. Cromwell, Jefferson and Robespierre weren't the only bourgeois revolutionaries: there were merely the first. Starting with Toussaint Louverture, certain sections of the so-called "uncivilized" populations started getting politically very active with the idea of catching up with the West and practicing bourgeois democratic values, such as Andres Bonifacio in the Philippines, Enver Pasha in Turkey, Sun Yat Sen in China, Mirza Khan in Iran and many South American leaders such as Jose Marti, Simon Bolivar, Emilliano Zapata etc. This idea has formed the backbone of many 20th century bourgeois ideology in many non-European countries. One stereotypical example is Kemalism, another is Maoism etc. The reason this idea can't be described as racist is because it is compatible with the nationalism as well as the racism of the bourgeois ideologies outside the West as well. This idea is much further in the core of capitalism then ordinary racism.
So what can we say about Dawkins' remarks in the end? That he doesn't question capitalism. Well, yeah, he doesn't, he's a bourgeois scientist.
Come on, this is
Come on, this is ridicuous.
The very form of the argument - the THEY that not only de-individualises and amalgamates, but transcends time itself - is racist.
Back in the 90's (iirc?) there was some hoo-ha in the US over a track the rapper Ice-T had released called "Cop-Killer" which even made its way into a censorious mention in one of the then president George Bush (Sr)'s speeches. In a documentary made some time after, the interviewer asks Ice-T whether he's concerned that the president feels such antipathy towards him personally. T laughs and replies - "He doesn't even know I exist, as a person. Bush and the establishment don't see black people as individuals. To them we're all just part of one big nigger with multiple heads and legs and stuff".*
Whether under the label of blacks, women, muslims, whatever, the ascription of individual characteristics to a de-individuated mass-collective Other is in itself racist. Dawkin's tweet makes it very clear that to him "the world's muslims" are all just part of a muslamic "one big nigger". To try and read anything else into the comment is to give the fuckwit too much credit.
* from memory, not an exact quote in every detail.
Leo wrote: Regardless of his
Basically I agree with this, though I very much doubt that Dawkins "might be a racist wanker, meaning Pakistanis when he wrote that comment". Maybe a previous tweet by Dawkins might help to indicate his position (link changed to one that works as Maryam Namazie's blog appears to be down):
In which, amongst other things, Maryam Namazie
I don't think anyone here qualifies for membership of 'the pro-Islamist left', but it might be a good idea if people stopped to think about whether they're using some of the same arguments.
Edit: Another tweet from Dawkins:
So Dawkins is being attacked by activists in Britain and defended by secularists in Pakistan.
See also this interview1 with a nuclear physicist from Pakistan:
'Islam and science have parted ways'.
Quote: To them we're all just
In the end we are all just a great beast to be tamed. Just recently finished re-reading 'The Many-Headed Hydra',Rediker and Linebaugh's intersectional history of Atlantic resistance. It seems to be in the library but I should put it up on pdf, it's riveting.
Mark. wrote: Dawkins is being
Right, and in Pakistan political Islam is one of *the* major social forces whereas in the UK 'anti-Islam' is almost exclusively a fig leaf for street-level fascism, racial violence, and groundless paranoia about Sharia law taking over. The problem with Dawkins isn't that he's too critical of Islam, it's that the kind of illogical, homogenising jibes he throws about feed into the far right 'stop Islamification of Europe' type discourse (see his qualified praise of Geert Wilders and EDL members for instance - so he's not unaware of the resonance), while adding nothing to the critique of religion (let alone the society which sustains it).
Joseph Kay wrote: The problem
I'm no great fan of Dawkins and I'd say that's a reasonable argument to make. No doubt he should be more careful about what he says and how it might be interpreted. I don't think that makes his statement racist though, more like evidence of a kind of basic insensitivity.
Fair enough to criticise that then.
Well that's kinda the main
Well that's kinda the main point I was getting at. Racism tends to get narrowly defined as what Goldberg calls naturalism, i.e. claims of innate inferiority. Hence 'I'm not racist, but *dodgy cultural racism*', David Starkey's 'the whites have become black - but not biologically, culturally' etc. While Goldberg focuses a lot on colonialism (so far, I haven't finished the book), he argues that visceral, violent naturalism *and* paternalistic, condescending historicism together constitute racism. I think he goes on to argue that contemporary historicism takes the form of colourblindness (i.e. race is now in the past, the people mentioning race are the real racists). I've found this analysis quite helpful so I wanted to draw attention to it. Dawkins is the most topical foil.
Yes, I assumed the Dawkins
Yes, I assumed the Dawkins tweet was mainly something topical to hang the argument from - which I don't have any particular issue with - I'm just not sure Dawkins is a great example to use. I'd guess, without being sure, that his main motive here would be supporting secularists in the Muslim world, including that part of the Muslim world that's in Britain, rather than conscious or unconscious racism. Which doesn't necessarily mean that he does this very well. I haven't really followed arguments about Dawkins though, so I'm open to other opinions.
ecosophy wrote: Race is
Islam has surely been racialized over the past decade or so. Dawkins's certainly does it. His comments make no sense otherwise (What does he know of Indonesian history during the European Middle Age? Does he really think that Indonesia, Iran, and Morocco have the same level-effective education system, levels of investment in technology and scientific research and that they're interrelated by basis of "religion"?) Saying that racializing Islam makes no sense assumes that race itself makes any "sense." Its not like bridging most of Africa and Asia into the Orient has any logic outside of imperialism. What is the Black Race? There is the Mande ethnic group (that's further subdivided into the Mandinka ethnic group or the Dyula ethnic group) or the Hausa or Shona ethnic group each with different current and traditional religions, languages, customs, histories, even facial characteristics, and so on. It can't be their skin color because Sri Lankans and Australian aborigines have dark color and they're not classified as "blacks people." Many African Americans have lighter skin then most people in South Asia or even (non-black) Latin Americans. Dawkins doesn't take into account 'internal diversity' because that's the basis of his Powelite culturalist racism.
Also Islamists themselves want to socially construct and replace "Arab Civilization" and so on with "Islamic Civilization" so the dynamic between the two sides fits quite nicely.
Their beliefs can't change outside of imperialism in his worldview because they are essentialist qualities general to all not subject to Westernization (that is imperialism). Its social darwinism and hence white nationalism and I don't see a reason for this distinction neither. Racism and imperialism are interrelated and theres no requirement to follow the liberals.
Leo wrote: The reason this
This is individualizing racism. The dominant ideas of society are those of the dominant class. In a white supremacist world it only made sense that national bourgeoisie of the colonies would internalize white nationalist concepts and thought even if they then used it for their own purposes.
There is nothing unusual about Dawkins being defended by a Pakistani "secularist" any more then that, as was mentioned, one of Dawkins's top Muslim critics said the exact same thing about Muslims and the Nobel prize as Dawkins. These are educated Westernized upper class persons and its no more unusual then a Soviet educated technocrat living a friendly or neutral country in "third world" during the Cold War saying that the Soviet system is the height of modernization that is to be emulated. Pakistan is on the precipice economically and socially and US militarism has further destabilized it politically so just as the Imperial professor fears the great fanatical mass so does this well-off journalist (who frames the class conflict in terms of religion because thats the current political discourse in the country) have legitimate cause for concern.
fleurnoire-et-rouge wrote: Oh
"-Since when have you turned away from the holy book?"
"-Ever since I learned to read this here book. [LENIN]"
Decent response from incoming
Decent response from incoming New Humanist editor
It may be just a coincidental
It may be just a coincidental juxtaposition, but there's also something more than a little stomach-churning about the "new atheists" like Dawkins being smug about how enlightened the "enlightened" West is, with all its commitment to secular virtues like democracy and pluralism, at the very time when the West is publically exposed as supporting the military coup and massacres of unarmed islamist civilians in Egypt at the moment. "Restoring democracy" John Kerry calls the actions of the Egyptian military. Jesus fuck. You'd have to say the global credentials of the superior "secular, democratic" values of the West over the "benighted" muslims of the Middle East, are not looking too hot atm...
More shite from the atheist
More shite from the atheist "community".
He basically says "extremists" are the majority within Islam.
Folks may be interested to
Folks may be interested to read Richard Dawkins perspective on the recent 'Nobel Prize-Islam-Trinity College' related controversy. On balance I take him on his word about what he was trying to get at in the original twitter, others may understandably come to other conclusions. Either way it’s worth a read:
I'm sorry...I don't get
I'm sorry...I don't get it....Dawkins, to me, is a bigot not a racist...he is commenting on a religious/cultural group as misunderstood by another religious/cultural group that he belongs to...even though he believes his god is dead or never existed in the first place...I have a dear friend who is Jewish ...they see their religious/cultural beliefs as being a race... I say they are European at which they get quite mad and not speaking Hebrew themselves I'd say they are not semetic which only infuriates them further so I avoid the subject as much as possible...these people suffer prejudice define glut but to my way of thinking this is not racism....I allow of course that I may be completely wrong and am open to being corrected....
teh wrote: There is nothing
Hmm. Here's another article from a Pakistani secularist site (taken from the CEMB thread). I don't know enough to say how accurate it is.
Science and Muslims: myths & clichés
Mr. Jolly wrote: Interesting
As far as I can make out this is quite different with anarchists from the arab countries, at least. There's also quite a bit of interest in reconciling anarchism and Islam, but either way questions of religion and secularism seem pretty central.
Edit: As regards the left and secularism here I found this article interesting, if maybe a bit dated:
At least 40 are meeting in
At least 40 are meeting in Istanbul, perhaps a dozen in Ankara and others in İzmir, Eskisehir, Antalya, İzmit, Gebze, and can you name other places?
Choccy wrote: Decent response
Good article but the comments are depressing.
A couple of posts from the
A couple of posts from the 'between a veil and a dark place' blog:
How can we discuss Islam in better ways? A response to Alex Gabriel on Dawkins and Islam
The racism of the white wolf who cried Islamophobia