What it means to be secular in an age of extremism

Sep 12, 2016

By Ishaan Tharoor

Last month, a series of local bans enacted by French mayors on the wearing of “burkinis” — a type of body-covering Islamic swimwear — generated global furor. Images of armed French police forcing a burkini-clad woman to partially disrobe on a beach outraged observers elsewhere. The whole thing, critics argued, smacked of hypocrisy and sexism.

A top French court ultimately ruled that the bans constituted an insult to “fundamental freedoms,” but a majority of people in the country — as well as in other major Western European nations — still support such measures. At the head of the pack is French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has been conspicuous in his defense of these controversial bans and indignant at criticism from fellow Westerners.

This week, Valls penned an op-ed that was published in the Huffington Post, taking exception to an earlier story in the New York Times that featured the voices of Muslim French women speaking out against the bans and what they perceived as anti-Muslim discrimination and prejudice within France.


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118 comments on “What it means to be secular in an age of extremism

  • This troubles me, in reality of course I would hope that people would be able to wear what they like, but I feel for women who are forced to wear this by their culture (those that is who would rather not).

    What I would say to those women who feel they have a generally free choice in weather or not they wear burka’s etc. is if you are genuinely free to choose without your culture pouncing on you then in solidarity with your sisters who feel they cannot, you should choose to make a political statement and not wear the burka you would choose to until those of your sisters who feel they have no choice. When the religious pressures are relieved enough so that Muslim women everywhere are genuinely free to choose then everyone can wear what they want without social censure. Until such a time, then they should (with no compunction in the law) be polity and gently asked why they choose not to help their sisters. If they state essentially that their sisters are morally reprehensible for choosing to not wear more modest clothing then they should again be politely called out for supporting a misogynist religion, but told they are of course free to wear what they like.

    Open to criticism on this one I think, any thoughts?



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  • @OP – A top French court ultimately ruled that the bans constituted an insult to “fundamental freedoms,” but a majority of people in the country — as well as in other major Western European nations — still support such measures.

    While lawyers play at being politically correct and bandy words about tolerating the intolerable, the majority of the European population do not regard “imposing religious oppression on women”, as a “right”! Nor do they regard, “in your face” fundamentalist religion as belonging in relaxed holiday situations such as bathing beaches.

    The core problem, is that the burka and the burkini are asserted statements of religious oppression, with burkinis as a wholly unsuitable garment for swimming and sea-bathing, being introduced to European beaches for religious reasons.
    They are a repressive Muslim assertion of a view strongly opposed to modern liberal European values, with dogmatic religious requirements taking precedence over practical and safety issues.

    The issues were discussed at length here earlier:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/08/both-sides-are-wrong-in-the-burkini-wars/#li-comment-210280



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  • Billions of females who just happen to have been born into the Muslim tradition are in the invidious position of being conditioned to dress in a uniform way whilst simultaneously being instructed not to do so.

    But it’s a pleasure to see women who use their sartorial creativeness to avoid or modify the dress codes imposed on them; I saw a group of young women last year who were wearing head scarves of various beautiful pastel shades which complimented each other and their wearers.

    But why make-up all this eyewash in the first place; as if anthropogenic climate disruption wasn’t enough to contend with. That’s your actual rhetorical question that is.



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  • @OP – the New York Times that featured the voices of Muslim French women speaking out against the bans and what they perceived as anti-Muslim discrimination and prejudice within France.

    That is the problem!
    Any criticism or refusal to accept requirements of Sharia law, is claimed to be anti-Muslim discrimination and prejudice, – just like criticism of attempts to inflict fundamentalist Christianity on others, is described as “bigoted religious discrimination”!



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  • Reckless,

    Creating laws to tell women what to wear is as oppressive as men telling women what to wear. If there is controlling psychological abuse in the home then spending money on a campaign to support women being so imposed upon is the path. In the UK there have been superb adverts informing girls and women what constitutes oppressive behaviour by men in relationships. We need to man up and support women’s rights within their own cultures. Dirigisme IS the problem. We utterly confound the message otherwise.

    The problem is also about oppressed women.

    Those happily oppressed women, masochists, by another name, are lost causes. Adults have a right to choose. We do though want to minimise their influence on the younger generation reducing their rights to choose.

    We need to work to make communities more permeable offering individuals their full rights due from the state. We need to be much braver than a burka, burkini ban. We need a social program, widely publicised, to offer adolescents support for their access to rights and freedoms. We need to work harder on how the state supports the rights of the child. The French ban on groupist religious dress in schools is a perfect start.



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  • Once people move from a secular approach and to pander to religious delusions, religious groups show their pseudo-morality and intolerance of others in violence.

    In this instance it is Muslims who were attacked!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-37336050

    An Indian woman has said that she and her 14-year-old cousin were gang raped and two relatives murdered, after being accused of being Muslims who ate beef.

    The woman, 20, told the BBC that four men carried out the attack in northern Haryana state two weeks ago. She denied consuming beef.

    She said the men beat her uncle and aunt to death in their home in Mewat.

    Many Hindus consider cows sacred and the slaughter of the animal is banned in several states, including Haryana.

    The suspects have been arrested and charged with rape and murder.

    However police have told reporters that there is no evidence to suggest that cow protection groups were involved in the attack.

    Although the alleged rape took place two weeks ago, news of the incident has only just come out.

    “They [the accused men] said that we ate cow meat and that is why we were being disgraced [raped]. They even threatened to kill me and my family if we ever told anybody what happened to us,” the woman told BBC Urdu.



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  • Ah ! The temptations of the female human flesh ! In Victorian Britain even the tables legs had to be covered for fear of offending the Christian prudes. Remember pictures of those bathing huts on wheels where the women could bathe in their woolly swims suits without ever walking down the beach? There is a telling passage in James Joyce’s Ulysses where the hero, almost, but not quite, catches a glimpse of a good looking woman’s calf as she boards a bus. Not to be !

    It seems to me that all the religions I know something of, are oppressive to humanity in general, and in particular to women.

    If I was a sunbather on a beach, I would much prefer to look at a good looking woman in a burkini than that some fat beery northern European man slowly toasting his white skin to skin cancer. But then I don’t sun bathe !



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  • Hypocrisy 101-
    Sadiq Khan- Muslim Mayor of London says that women should not be told what they can or cannot wear,
    whilst banning bus ads showing a girl in a bikini. It may be a fine distinction that he’s banning the ad and
    not the actual wearer but once again we see Islamic supremacy being flaunted.
    Wonder where he’s going next, in the increasingly sharia republic?



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  • In this instance it is Muslims who were attacked!

    Muslim or not, eating beef would be the motive for the attack I believe.
    There is a whiff of the Muslim victim card about this. But I may be wrong…
    The global jihad is making Muslims more unpopular as it progresses.
    Never mind the ‘moderate’ argument, they have to accept that theirs is
    the ONLY ‘religion’ killing on a mass scale.



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  • JimJFox #9
    Sep 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    In this instance it is Muslims who were attacked!

    Muslim or not, eating beef would be the motive for the attack I believe.
    There is a whiff of the Muslim victim card about this. But I may be wrong…

    I posted this to illustrate religious fanaticism in general.
    On a secular basis, Muslims are as entitled to eat beef as anyone else.
    It is the Hindu fanatics who are using their “sacred cows” as an excuse for them and their god-delusions, to go murdering and raping those they brand as “sub-human” – and therefore available for abuse in revenge on behalf of their “offended” god-delusions!

    It is the usual religion based attack on an “out-group”, with the “vicious nastiness is good”, – if it is wearing a religion badge!

    Much of the non-Hindu population in India, is Muslim.



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  • I’ve posted this on another thread before. Adding the second sentence this time, for what it’s worth.

    “Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.”

    To put it bluntly: practically the entire female population of patriarchal societies suffers from some form of Stockholm syndrome. Not that things are so much better in our supposedly egalitarian western societies. PR, marketing and whatnot pay tons of lip service to egalitarianism. But this has very little to do with the (by now perhaps no longer smoky) back-room, secret power brokering.

    But the male-female asymmetry is not the only case where some form of Stockholm syndrome is to be found. In every case where a small self-styled, and often parasitic, elite manages to pull the wool over the eyes of a vast majority, the same syndrome is to be found. Probably has something to do with the fact that the percentage of psychopaths (those psychopaths with enough brains to avoid being thrown in jail) in the small self-styled elites is at least ten times as high as in the general population (10% vs 1% is one relation I have read about).

    One effect on the Stockholm syndrome sufferers is that they react with severe emotional rejection when, say, daughters who have realized that what they are being told is a load of bull rebel, the mothers go into severe denial because the cannot accept that they might have also been able to rebel, but didn’t do so. Nobody like to be shown up as an idiot, so denial runs riot.



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  • The linked article is apologist, but seriously, are the pictured garments suitable costumes for swimming of sea bathing???

    Or are they potential death-traps, as loose wet fabric drags the bather under, or inhibits leg kicks?

    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/ashley-csanady-back-off-the-burkini-the-state-has-no-place-in-the-wardrobes-of-a-nation

    Most physically demanding or sporting activities, have appropriately scientifically, functionally, (not religiously), designed clothing, for the purpose.



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  • Mr DArcy #7
    Sep 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    If I was a sunbather on a beach, I would much prefer to look at a good looking woman in a burkini than that some fat beery northern European man slowly toasting his white skin to skin cancer.

    But probably not, if she was floating face-down in the waves in waterlogged clothing!



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  • Is this really an issue of the bad idea of waterlogged clothing while swimming? I doubt if most of these immigrants can swim in the first place. There is no such thing as swimming lessons in North Africa. If safety was really the primary issue here we’d be insisting that all immigrants (and citizens too) pass a swimming competency test before they set their pinkie in the Mediterranean.

    The burkini, like the hijab represents something that the French and other Europeans hate; subjugation of women and coercion of them prompted by religion and patriarchal culture.



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  • Women and men should be able to wear what they like within reason. I frown on nudism but could live with it. I also think that since we primarily identify people by their facial features and skin color ( whether it’s fair or not) I am aginst facial coverings in public. But I would worry about suicide bombers wearing bulky clothing if I liven in Europe and even here. Probably only a very small fraction of Muslims are going to be murderers ( usually innocent Muslims are targeted). But a small fraction of a billion people is quite a few which makes it hard to criticize the laws. Until the Islamic societies crack down on and defrock(?) and imprison the clerics and others who promote hate and justify murder in the name of Allah we will continue to have these problems



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  • LaurieB #16
    Sep 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Is this really an issue of the bad idea of waterlogged clothing while swimming? I doubt if most of these immigrants can swim in the first place.

    I think that’s the point when discussing beach-wear!
    Anyone wandering into the sea is likely to be swept off their feet by waves, or encounter currents which can take them out to sea.
    Many Mediterranean beaches shelve quite steeply into deep water.

    Having no understanding of the dangers, is no basis whatever for deciding what is appropriate clothing! –
    But then “faith” does not require practical understanding of real issues – as was illustrated in last year’s Hajj stampede, or boarding heavily overloaded boats!



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  • @phil rimmer #5
    Sep 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Hi Phil,

    I agree I don’t support a ban on any clothing, in law. Sorry if I was unclear I have conflicting thoughts about this. I have a feeling that progress can only happen when social pressure is brought to bear. If Burka’s were simply a fashion trend and let’s face it there have been plenty of fashion trends equally as ridiculous. Then my position would of course be wear what you like (with reasonable exceptions- such as in courts for security identification etc). And I’m conscious of the fact pouncing on the victims of this masochistic is a double whammy for those who are forced to wear the burka. Not only do they need to cover up but a portion of the rest of society is going to pounce on them, spit on them and treat them appallingly for being unfortunate enough to be born into a regressive religion.

    However I was watching an Austrailan show with audience participation (usually directed at a few politicians and celebrities) Q&A in which a Muslim women spoke out, saying how free she was and how wearing the burka was her choice etc. Now I grant her this, in her case this may be so but what really got me upset is not one of the left wing politicians or celebs thought to say something to the effect of “That may be so in your case but what of your sisters for whom it is not the case?” or “And what is the reason you feel you need to be so modest? Are you saying women who are not covered are somehow morally inferior or sexually promiscuous? Is this what you are teaching to your daughters?” None of the Muslim men where challenged on their expectations that women should be considered the reason for their lustful thoughts and desires.

    The thing I liked about university was the combative nature of it, it forced me to back up my claims (where I could) and made me change my mind about a great many things. So while I would never support a burka ban I would support respectful but firm public disagreement with any Muslim man or woman who vocalized in favor of masochistic dress codes. There is an issue and Muslim women need I think the equivalent of the bra burning of the 60’s and 70’s. But open to being convinced otherwise, not sure if I’m onto something here or just being emotional.



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  • A4d
    Of course the burkini is a safety nightmare in the water. Look around next time you’re at the beach. There are women wearing any number of garments that are long and/or bulky. They wade around and get them soaked. Is anyone objecting to this? No. It’s just somewhat risky but there are many somewhat risky behaviors going on at beaches everywhere.

    The burkini, a Muslim beach uniform, has not been designed with safety in mind. Safety is beside the point. It is the bare minimum of clothing that a bunch of control freak, puritanical, brainwashed people can tolerate. It announces that the wearer and her people are morally pure, special, and proud of that. Like the hejab, it announces that they are Muslims first and I’m not sure where French nationality will fall on their list. Those women and their families on the French Mediterranean have a chip on their shoulders as big as the sky. They’ve been pushed around by the French for several centuries and now it’s going to be burkini in your faces, Frenchies!!



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  • Phil

    Creating laws to tell women what to wear is as oppressive as men telling women what to wear.

    The French ban on groupist religious dress in schools is a perfect start.

    So is the ban on groupist dress in schools good because it’s children? Would you agree to extend that ban to the university level? I think at this point it only restricts to the high school level.

    Is this as far as the laws on clothing should go?



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  • I think the ban on any beach wear might be a bad idea. How to define what is dangerous is going to be a nightmare, if that is the intention.
    I’m sure the women who choose to wear the burka and go in the water have been near water before.
    We can’t solve the worlds problems at the beach.



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  • Didn’t we just have a thread on this? No ban! If there is a safety issue then you can prohibit it on that basis. France.—There is a (sick) nationalist movement (National Front) going on over there, gaining ground since Brexit, and would be emboldened by a Trump presidency. Australia too is getting worse.



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  • LaurieB #20
    Sep 12, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    A4d
    Of course the burkini is a safety nightmare in the water. Look around next time you’re at the beach. There are women wearing any number of garments that are long and/or bulky. They wade around and get them soaked. Is anyone objecting to this? No. It’s just somewhat risky but there are many somewhat risky behaviors going on at beaches everywhere.

    The sea is a dangerous place!
    Stupidity from others is not a basis for challenging good advice.

    At the coast near me there is a 100foot cliff which has “NO DIVING” notices along the rail by the footpath at the top.

    At high tide the water at the foot of it is 2 or 3 foot deep!
    At low tide the platform of rocks is fully exposed!
    Anyone ignoring the instruction, or feeling rebelliously defiant, MIGHT be lucky enough to end up in hospital, but recently a fully dressed teenager was swept off a nearby pier by a wave and drowned!

    The burkini, a Muslim beach uniform, has not been designed with safety in mind. Safety is beside the point. It is the bare minimum of clothing that a bunch of control freak, puritanical, brainwashed people can tolerate.

    The other aspect of this, is that male fathers/husbands/owners/siblings, of these burkini clad bathers who you describe as a bunch of control freak, puritanical, brainwashed people, are likely to be accompanying them, so we have to ask if such people can safely be let loose on a beach among other people wearing normal beach wear?

    As I pointed out @#6, “disrepected” god-delusions have a habit of requiring their repressed puppets (who in this case, are only allowed to see females in bags), to enforce their taboos on those failing to comply, by means of assaults, rapes, murders, etc. as happened at a festival in Germany.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12085182/Cover-up-over-Cologne-sex-assaults-blamed-on-migration-sensitivities.html

    and Sweden.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/04/swedish-music-festivals-hit-by-reports-of-rapes-by-migrants/



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  • Laurie

    Would you agree to extend that ban to the university level?

    No! Don’t infantilise adults. Its bad enough as it is in university. Adults don’t get safe spaces. If students cannot be taught properly because there is an impoverished feedback with the lecturer, they need to learn this.

    Is this as far as the laws on clothing should go?

    Yes. Treat adults as adults. Personal responsibility IS the need here.

    I would rather my children had not seen women wearing bondage gear on the streets of London. But they gotta learn that some women value themselves so low, think themselves so responsible for male bad behaviour or are shamed by their bodies. At least that other sort with leather and studding is mostly game playing…not so worried about that.

    Uniforms for children to show they are everyone’s equal and have ALL the rights the others have are perfect. This was always the intention of a uniform, to disrupt internal grouping (rich and poor etc.) and promote the largest grouping possible.



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  • Reckless,

    Agree, agree.

    Bra burning. Yep it had a useful symbolic quality.

    There are many interesting accounts of women wearing then shunning then returning to wearing the hijab. They find themselves uncomfortable with the exposure. This is undeniably due to early cultural exposure to shame. Personal comfort is a reasonable position. But it is not perhaps the most moral position. By not seeking a safer (portable) space for themselves, but rather demanding that the male gaze is moderated and decent, that Muslim men in their own cultures behave abominably to women licensed by this inversion of responsibility, they opt out of their part in the civilising process that is mostly about male behaviours.

    I want women to be braver than this acceptance of shame.



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  • @RecklessMonkey#19

    “None of the Muslim men where challenged on their expectations that women should be considered the reason for their lustful thoughts and desires.”

    I’ve read about this lowest cesspit of argumentation in other words too often. This is where I go thermonuclear. These are supposed to be adults, and part of becoming adult is not to throw a temper tantrum (like a two-year-old – or younger?) when you can’t have the lolly, or things to that effect. Are they so blind as to not realize how they are characterizing themselves? They’re basically saying they all psychopathic rapists without the least self-control over themselves. But then patriarchal societies do tend to produce the most pathetic bunch of whiny mommy’s boys.



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  • A4d

    25

    we have to ask if such people can safely be let loose on a beach among other people wearing normal beach wear?

    Groups of young men need watching in these situations and that means our Western guys as well. There’s more than just religion egging them on. Several factors can come together to prompt rape. Think fraternity houses here in the States. These disasters happen here with our guys who have access to young women for sexual relationships and they are probably aware of the high legal penalties that we have here for the crime of rape and still, it happens.

    These Muslim immigrant guys are a higher risk of committing rape if they come from a society where access to relationships with women are nonexistent and if they think they can rape and get away with it and then put these guys in a situation where suddenly they are in the presence of attractive young women who wear (from their perspective) hardly any clothing, showing more female skin than they’ve ever seen in their lives, no authorities and not even older men of either culture to reign them in, and as a demonstration of their machismo to their peers, what do you think will happen?

    For an interesting read on rape and the factors that prompt the behavior I recommend:

    A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual CoercionMay 1, 2001
    by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer

    This is the book that made me realize that I wasn’t just dealing with a minor disagreement with my fellow feminists, but that there might just be a chasm between us.



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  • Of course when considering the integration / non-integration of immigrants, we should also keep in mind, that flood of immigrants into Europe is caused by US/UK inept intervention in Iraq, the arming of rebel anti-Assad groups by foreign powers in Syria, and the utterly inept military intervention in Libya which brought down the Gaddafi regime!
    All of these allegedly “repressive regimes”, had been keeping the fanatics in check, before the West – Hell bent of regime change, “liberated” ISIS from this “repression”!

    I have pointed this out in various previous discussions, but now we see that a parliamentary investigative committee, has confirmed this view on Libya! (Bush and Blair’s blunders are already well known)

    Civil wars and terrorism – instigated by meddling foreign governments backing and encouraging rebel groups, and then launching inept military interventions to support their sponsored rebels!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37356873

    A UK parliamentary report has severely criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    The foreign affairs committee accused the then PM David Cameron of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign.

    It said the intervention had not been “informed by accurate intelligence”, and that it led to the rise of so-called Islamic State in North Africa.

    The UK government said it had been an international decision to intervene.

    The action had been called for by the Arab League and authorised by the UN Security Council, the Foreign Office added.

    An international coalition led by Britain and France launched a campaign of air and missile strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in March 2011 after the regime threatened to attack the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

    Once again foreign armer rebel groups are the vanguard forces for the manipulators of “regime change”

    But after Gaddafi was toppled, Libya descended into violence, with rival governments and the formation of hundreds of militias, while so-called Islamic State, also known as Isil and Daesh, has gained a foothold.

    The committee’s key conclusions include:

    Through his decision making in the National Security Council, David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy

    The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight

    It saw no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence

    The limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya

    Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at lesser cost to the UK and to Libya

    British troops should not be deployed to Libya in a training role until the Government of National Accord has established political control, stabilised internal security and made a formal request to the UK Government for such assistance, which should then be considered by the UK Parliament



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  • Laurie #29

    I have ordered the book. Your qualified recommendation was enough. Pinker’s opinion helped but this personal review clinched it.

    I highly recommend this book if your looking to justify sick and twisted minds and cause even more trauma to people who have been rapped., after reading it I thought I would go and look into “100 ways to justify murder” (after all survial of the fittest is nature hey?). One in 4 women are rapped in their life time, I wonder if Randy and Craig would say to their daughter if they had been rapped “its ok honey, its just biology, did you know that when your ovulating, you wear that skirt I don’t like you to wear”.

    This book is disgusting, I can’t believe anyone printed it let alone agree’s with it-unless they share the same mindset.

    Those folk who deny our evolutionary past, demand that we are simply encultured tabulae rasae, are the most dangerous of wish thinkers. We weren’t made in God’s image and gone to the dark side through an infusion of evil thinking….



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  • What makes France think they can fix stupid? Remember these people have not jumped the hurdle of THE ENLIGHTENMENT. Let them wear what they want, so long as they do not pursue official Sharia law, or blow something up. Or better yet don’t let your government ship in enemy combatants from countries where we are currently destroying everything.



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  • Craig Domin #32
    Sep 14, 2016 at 10:16 am

    What makes France think they can fix stupid?

    France has a long history of colonialism in North Africa, where they ruled such people before independence.

    Remember these people have not jumped the hurdle of THE ENLIGHTENMENT.

    Some of them are French educated or French citizens, others are not, – or are resentful ex-colonials trying to cast off French culture.



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  • All of these arguments seem to swirl around the exposure of skin, especially genitals or breasts. Anyone who finds nudity to be revolting or evil seems to have a mental disorder. Yes, a well toned body that is not grossly overweight is more attractive. But nudity per se is not evil. People in nudists camps or nude beaches do not go through convulsive acts of terror and endless rapes. So what is the problem with nudity???



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  • Phil

    The review:

    I highly recommend this book if your looking to justify sick and twisted mind

    Fantastic. Just…just great! I don’t blame you for ordering the book based on that review.

    Can’t wait to hear your review of the book. It would be cool to have a thread open to discuss this. It’s contentious (to some) and would make for a good discussion. How about Question of the Week?

    Rape; Evolutionary adaptation or byproduct (spandrel), or is it just a tactic in the maintenance of the patriarchy that keeps women in their places through fear and sexual humiliation?

    The material in the book prompts the same reaction that I get from my statements on infanticide. Shock and horror and then blunt denial. So interesting.

    Maybe Dan will read it with us! 😀



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  • cbrown

    Anyone who finds nudity to be revolting or evil seems to have a mental disorder.

    That seems a little too strong. This clothing issue is dictated by culture. It’s learned. Amount and style of clothing is all mashed together with feelings of tribal affiliation and gender and class and sexual feelings are prompted by someone who is judged to be sexually attractive and the amount of skin they are showing.

    Everything goes along just fine until we find ourselves in a different culture where they have different ideas of what more or less clothing means. It can be jarring. When I’m in Paris I have to get used to the public nudity in their advertisements and public art. This doesn’t exist in my native environment of (puritanical) Boston in New England. On the other hand, when in North Africa I am disgusted with the hejab and other forms of veiling there. I can assure you that in neither location do they give a damn what I think about the situation.

    How is this any different that being presented with a food item, proudly offered by a talented cook in a different culture and then gagging because we’ve been taught that it’s not something that humans should eat. I’ve been presented with sheeps’ brains, sheeps’ testicles and cows hooves, all of which I personally find to be grotesque items that should never be in my presence never mind in my mouth. Our families and cultures inform us from early on, what is food and what is not. It’s very difficult to surrender the intense feelings that these food and clothing items elicit. I’d have to be starving near to death to eat a testicle.

    The immigrants in France have a very different idea of what is acceptable clothing for women. These cultures are so far apart in this particular aspect of culture that I can’t see how they will reconcile their differences. It won’t go well.

    Hopefully we won’t see immigrant entrepreneurs setting up BBQ carts selling sheep testicle brochettes any time soon (while wearing burkini).Straw that will break the French camel’s back. 😀



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  • Laurie,

    I am quite cautious about evo psycho accounts, not because they are evo psych, but because evidence is almost impossible to gather reliably. Truth is that though this mightn’t be the real story there is every chance the real story would look something like this. The wish thinking dissenters simply have no reason on their side.

    Yes, Dan. Here’s something to get your teeth into…



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  • Laurie,
    If we think about the foods we eat as Westerners, some of it is really revolting. I try not to think too much while I’m eating.
    As a mulit-culture person, I’ve eaten some weird food. I had some “strange” food on a British ocean liner.
    The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m eating veggies.
    As far as clothing or nudity is concerned, I wouldn’t like to see my neighbors nude. But that is my choice.
    When in Rome, do what the ,,,,,,,,,,,,never mind.



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  • “Anyone who finds nudity to be revolting or evil seems to have a mental disorder.”

    Good post, Laurie!

    CBrown, one must always consider context when arguing a point. I agree with you, up to a point. But consider this: I once saw a documentary about a couple who walked around the house nude. They had two small children. And they made love in front to the kids too. Now nudity is not revolting or “evil” in itself. Neither is sex. But in that context, the couples’ exhibition of nudity and sex are (to me) revolting and (in all likelihood) destructive forms of behavior.



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  • Phil

    evidence is almost impossible to gather reliably.

    The point is well taken. I have an appreciation of speculation at the high levels of evo science. It should be made clear that it is speculation when that is happening. The problem is when that is not clear and I can’t decipher what is solid, established fact from what is an idea that is possible or probable to some unknown degree.

    I just delight in attending events where people at the top of their fields just sit around shooting the shit, as we say. These are much more interesting to me than to just attend a lecture with one person going on about their topic of interest. I do go to those too but they don’t compare with the discussions.

    The best speculation that comes out of evo psych or any other field is, to me, inspiring and sometimes it’s even enthralling!

    So, do be cautious. I’d be disappointed if you were not.



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  • alf

    I wouldn’t like to see my neighbors nude

    Errrr…yuck. I can relate. Except for that attractive young couple in the gray house…oh well, we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

    Think of what a horror show our Walmarts would be. O_O

    alf, Was the strange British food kidneys? haha



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  • Phil, Laurie, alf—

    We are definitely not born a blank slate. That is obvious to anyone with half a brain. Why is it, Phil, that you are so adamant in your rejection of a priori “knowledge” (the pure, perceptual intuitions of causality, space, and time) and yet believe, and rightly so, that we are the products of our evolutionary past?

    And why such utter disdain for Jung?

    “Evo-psycho accounts.” What’s that?



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  • I can only report my impression on what appears to me to be a serious disconnect as to who among Muslims is supposed to uphold the “tradition” of the country of origin when Muslims live in western countries. About 99.9% the women is my impression, here in Germany. The cry-baby whiny mommy’s boys are all for our western clothing, at least this side of any place where swimming is concerned.

    Here I must confess that my personal experience with swimming pools and beaches is very dated. A slight hint might be gathered from a provisional statistic that the number of people with refugee background drowning has unfortunately spiked considerably here in Germany. The ability to swim has also nose-dived among children in Germany for reasons that can be laid squarely on the mat of one political persuasion (think of people who have a manic drive to cut costs). The spike in refugee deaths is very likely due to their having had much fewer opportunities to learn to swim in their native countries (they are light-years away from sending competitors to the swimming of the summer Olympics)

    To return to my point above, the “honor” of a given Muslim family apparently resides entirely on the chastity of its female members. But the cry-baby whiny mommy’s boys are allowed to do much, if not everything that catches their fantasy.

    I have it from a close friend who has years of experience in Brazil that there too the “boys will be boys” mentality collides with the “girls must emulate the virgin Mary” or something to that effect. There also, apparently the total incompatibility of the two concepts does not penetrate the skulls of once again utter morons. Maybe what these skulls are made of could lead to absolutely indestructible tanks, or ships (btw, attack a WWII battleship with today’s weapons – then hope that your ship is very fast (some of the WWII monsters did over 30 knots), because any naval unit without an aircraft carrier would be shredded).

    If anyone is uncertain what I mean with cry-baby whiny mommy’s boys (machos are smack in the middle of the cess-pit), think of the “it is impossible that what happened (etc.) is my fault. It MUST be someone else’s fault.” A very widely, if not entirely to be found mental – I guess actually disease – in the parasitical “manager” caste. The reason why the US has the highest percentage of lawyers per capita, with no other country even remtely close, and never mind the even higher percentage of mob lawyer types.



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  • Whether you are comfortable with nudity or not, the simple fact is there is no intellectual reason to display disapproval. We all have to control our reactions to others’ appearances just as we do to what others are happy to eat.

    But the insistence upon body shame cannot ever intellectually be allowed to stand without that shame shaming the proposer.

    As parents we were totally relaxed about our children at any age encountering images like that of Amina Tyler reading. Encountering an emburka-ed women I would have always felt happier explaining the fetish away.



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  • Dan

    “knowledge” for once locked in a little prison of scare quotes. Throw away the key, Dan. There is a reason science in all its little divisions uses professional vocabulary, often for each division. Narrow and precise little words that keep us from a myriad of wrong assumptions and connections. I don’t know how often I have complained about “know” and “knowledge”. It seems a lot and each time it seems like another reset.

    (Causality isn’t intuitive for the umpteenth time. Correlation detection is. Causality is a learned heuristic about correlation sequences. The data with young babies confirms this.)

    Jung. I read Anthony Storr’s little book on Jung then, becoming involved for a time with the Van Der Post family suffered a surfeit of his material via Laurens VDP. I now feel it is for you to sell me a single meritorious idea. I found not a one.

    Naked and having sex??? Strawman, Dan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology



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  • Laurie.

    Evo Psych. I am absolutely thrilled by this stuff too and gobbled up Desmond Morris books as much for this aspect as any. It is a young science and I am happy to call it a science though it will be decades before it beds down. Its most promising confirmations may come from its ability to form unexpected predictions that can then be revealed perhaps by epidemiological means.

    Though not really evo psych David Attenborough presented the first half of a BBC R4 on the state of play of the (newly termed) “Waterside Ape” theory due to Hardy and Morgan. I must say this is slowly getting better and better as more and more confirming discoveries are made. Elaine Morgan’s (2nd wave!) feminist insight and huge properly scientific determination may make this another crowning glory for 2nd wavers. (3rd Waver’s; The Truth shall set you Free… not your wish-thinking.)

    For those allowed…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v0hhm



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  • Phil—

    Nudity IS revolting in some contexts, and would be even in the most free-spirited and open-minded cultures, and is not revolting in others. Pretty banal and basic.

    Knowledge. I don’t agree with you about knowledge, never have.

    Causality is intuitive knowledge, and it is innate in the human mind; so there. A sensation does not give us an object. Understanding is required for that. That understanding is innate in animals with brains.

    To use your words: I don’t know how often I have complained about this. It seems a lot and each time it seems like another reset.

    Evolutionary psychology. I don’t know if this applies, but, as I have said before, I am instinctively reticent with regard to social scientists. To make a science of social behavior is to my mind inherently dangerous. Consider the appropriation of Darwin by racists and you will begin to understand my concern. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t fault Darwin. But social theory dressed in the the robe of hard science should be handled with extreme care and be ready to err on the side of a curious ignorance rather than hard undisputed fact.



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  • The salient point, I feel, is that the debate on burkinis be taken in context.

    The ban on burkinis is the tip of the iceberg, “something” that can be done about the larger problem that no-one wants to articulate for fear of being called extreme right wing or worse.

    I will articulate the fear that is in the air: today burkinis, tomorrow sharia law.



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  • What contexts?

    I know. You knew and still you used it.

    Causality. Evidence? I got mine.

    You asked me a question about a priori “knowledge”. I answered. Why did you not notice my answer? Understanding that we disagree on this polysemous word, why did you not here take the time or have the consideration to rephrase your question like ask what should I call it then? A priori what??? Why revisit this bone of contention? Mine wasn’t the repetition.



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  • Dan

    To make a science of social behavior is to my mind inherently dangerous. Consider the appropriation of Darwin by racists and you will begin to understand my concern.

    We all worry about science being used for evil purposes. Yes, it could happen and it has happened in the past. Should we squash scientific investigation because of some evil shits and what they’ve done in the past? No. We have to be vigilant, that’s what. I know this is raw because of the racist, homophobe, sexists, jew haters etc that have come out of the woodwork here now that Trump has issued an invitation with fanfare for them. He’s a despicable human being for doing that. I don’t blame you for being on guard against this, given your family history and all. But what choice do we have? At least we’ve seen how bad things can get and how easily swayed the basket of deplorables really can be. So disappointing really.

    I am reminded of an article written by Richard about the sex selective abortions and how they are skewing the ratio of boys to girls in certain countries. He asks us not to blame science for providing the technology for this practice. Blame the culture and the people for having a strong preference for boys rather than girls.

    Here’s the article. I don’t know why this came up on boingboing and not just off this website here. Odd.

    From:

    http://boingboing.net/2011/06/18/richard-dawkins-sex.html

    Section from his article:

    But is she right to blame Western science and governments for making sex selection possible? Why do we blame science for offering a method to do bad things? Science is the disinterested search for truth. If you want to do good things, science provides very good methods of doing so. And if you want to do bad things, again science provides the best practical methods. The ability to know the sex of a fetus is an inevitable byproduct of medical benefits such as amniocentesis, ultrasound scanning, and other techniques for the diagnosis of serious problems. Should scientists have refrained from developing useful techniques, for fear of how they might be misused by others?

    In the book that I mentioned above, Natural History of Rape those authors are trying to come to an understanding of that behavior through the lense of evolutionary theory. If we don’t understand the deepest motivations for this and other behaviors then how can we deal with it in the present?



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  • Laurie, Laurie:

    I agree. I agree. But I didn’t say anything about “science” being used for evil purposes; that is par for the course, obviously; that would have been stupid; I said I was suspicious of “making a science of social behavior.” That was what I said. Why am I always misunderstood? 😉

    Phil

    Context: the exposed body is fine, but not fine when someone’s ten year old son’s piano teacher whips it out. (That happened to my late brother.) I said my comment was banal and basic, didn’t I?

    Causality. Sensation alone cannot produce awareness of an object. Living organisms without brains cannot trace a sensation back to a source. Animals with brains can do this, and so this (understanding) is therefore a function of the brain. (Just think about that.)



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  • Reckless Monkey #1
    Sep 12, 2016 at 3:00 am

    This troubles me, in reality of course I would hope that people would be able to wear what they like, but I feel for women who are forced to wear this by their culture (those that is who would rather not).

    There Is one big problem with all of this and that is it is only a few years since French nuns in a predominately Catholic country happily? wore habits that were just as confronting to non-Catholics and for similar reasons.

    It was to promote the virtuosity (Eve like) of Catholic women who accepted the Bible’s claim that women bore the responsibility for stuffing everything up and were required to do penance.

    The ultimate solution seems to be to disclaim all gods in kindergartens and upwards.

    I was frightened out of my wits by stories of ‘the boogy-man’. He has to go as well. This would take a generation- too late for me.

    The Catholic god is hanging by his fingertips at the end/beginning of the Universe. The Mormon god was a good try at avoiding a jail term and is easily refuted. Other gods such as the Protestant god are little more than nice thoughts and the Muslim god is too much like the Jewish god of the Old Testament- jealous and full of wrath and vindictive hate (and like the Jewish god, an invention of Jeremiah), formulated to serve the purposes of one man, now a venerated prophet.

    Time I think to lump them all together with Thor and Zeuss. Unfortunately the French have history but they are at least trying something.



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  • For any behavior I can:

    Create a falsifiable hypothesis

    Create an experimental design to test the hypothesis

    Run the experiment and collect data

    Organize and analyse the data in ways that are useful

    Draw conclusions

    This is standard procedure in any scientific investigation. What does it matter if I am studying photosynthesis, DNA, GMO’s, dogs’ sense of smell, behavior of ants or behavior of humans? I don’t see why it would be different.
    I”m not sure why you want to hold human social behavior out of the reach of scientific investigation.



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  • Phil,

    Okay. How would you explain this statement if it didn’t apply some kind of knowledge, and what word would you substitute in its place?

    “I see my hand.”



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  • @Laurie 57

    Another straw-man, as Phil would say. I am not expressing concern about science being “used for evil purposes”, as I said. And nothing is beyond the purview of scientific investigation.

    What I said:

    “Social theory dressed in the the robe of hard science should be handled with extreme care and be ready to err on the side of a curious ignorance rather than hard undisputed fact.”



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  • Laurie # 57

    “I’m not sure why you want to hold human social behavior out of the reach of scientific investigation.”

    I don’t want to hold anything – at the moment; but…

    HAMLET
    “Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”
    ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
    Nor customary suits of solemn black,
    Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
    No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
    Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage,
    Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
    That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,”
    For they are actions that a man might play.
    But I have that within which passeth show,
    These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

    As Shakespeare through Hamlet most eloquently reveals the question:

    How do we begin to measure the interior universes of our humanity?



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  • Dan

    I said my comment was banal and basic, didn’t I?

    It was another strawman. That was a provocative sexual act. Encountering a naturist piano teacher who has lost track of time is an innocuous thing by contrast.



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  • Dan

    Social theory dressed in the the robe of hard science should be handled with extreme care

    I agree. But this is not the metaphysics of social theory, it is rooted in a more physical reality. More to the point it is up against fantasy accounts. It may not be this particular process but it will be a process of this form. We are driven by baths of neuro-transmitters sometimes. My clever and beautiful ex-wife was scary for two weeks a month. (Or I was not man enough to accept and live with this vivid and fierce twin).

    These are facts we have to learn about others and ourselves if we are to allow a cortical tempering of the beast. It took two early relationships to have my stupid violent thoughts trained out of me by kindly ex-partners. I still have them occasionally but they no-longer have a direct connection to my arm muscles and vocal chords.

    We need to work with such ideas. What if men are like this? What if women are like this? We every day choose against our brain stem (thank you ACC) and stay the raised hand. We need to awaken people from their trap of not recognising their physical heritage, not to simply give way in the face of it, but to properly understand the struggle we have every moment to live together with it.



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  • If wearing a burkha is a requirement for a woman to appear modest, would some muslim imam please provide a list of acceptable clothing for a man to appear modest….. Does it vary by the culture ? Or is there no requirement for the men to appear modest ? If not, why not ? I notice many religious sects, where the men can dress like the general public (jeans and a shirt) so they blend in, but the women have to stand out as “different”, and wear floor length outfits, unusual headgear and hair styles etc. (See Amish, Mennonite, etc.) What IS it about womens’ hair that drives some men of these cults crazy ? As for me, I like freckles…..oh yeah, curves are very nice too.



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  • Phil

    Someone said that nudity was not evil or offensive. I said of course it isn’t, but like everything else, it depends on context. Your “naturist pianist” is just one context among others. So no straw man!!

    You have a problem with “knowing” as a word. So, again:

    How would you explain this statement if it didn’t imply some kind of knowing, some form of knowledge, and what word would you prefer, would you substitute in its place?

    “I see my hand.”

    “But this is not the metaphysics of social theory, it is rooted in a more physical reality.”

    Awful straw-man. And based on the almost religious fixation with the brain that you have exhibited, and for other reasons, I would be very suspicious and wary of any conclusions which claim to be based on iron-clad scientific facts about the human personality and the varieties of human nature and behaviors. Science can not plumb the interior depths of humanity, that which “passeth show.”

    You’re pissing me off.



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  • Dan

    Phil doesn’t want to talk about “I see my hand”. Don’t be pissed off!

    Let’s just all go over to the bonobos thread and talk about female sexuality. Don’t try to tell me that it’s not infinitely more interesting than “know” and “knowledge”.

    I always appreciate a little Shakespeare though. 😉



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  • Dan

    I said of course it isn’t, but like everything else, it depends on context.

    and

    Nudity IS revolting in some contexts

    What contexts? NOT in the contexts of a gross and inappropriate sex act. What were you thinking!!!?

    I’m not going through “knowing” again. Its not fair on any of us. Frowny face.

    This stuff is not about Social Theory, though it impacts us personally, psychologically , socially and culturally. Social Theory is this stuff-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_theory

    This takes the human animal as a given and its attributes merely as observed in apparent behaviours. You will notice right at the end the hint of social evolution that links via E.O.Wilson and Tindbergen to Sociobiology. This is trying to introduce some of these ideas into an area mostly resistant.

    Unlike sociobiology, evo psych frames these things well away from the contentiousness of group selection and addresses the behaviour and experience of the individual in the social, sexual and cultural context. This makes it far more tractable from mainstream evolutionary theory, but usefully also imposes an necessarily moral/immoral judgement call on personal behaviours.

    Importantly it was Bill Hamilton that set both hares running…Dawkin’s too with a mechanism for eusociality from kin selection and its later useful misfiring.

    Awful straw-man.

    ? No, really. ?



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  • Dan

    I would be very suspicious and wary of any conclusions which claim to be based on iron-clad scientific facts about the human personality and the varieties of human nature and behaviors.

    and

    We every day choose against our brain stem (thank you ACC) and stay the raised hand.

    But that choosing is where Shakespeare lives. This is where there are measureless caverns plumbed by art. We’ve talked about this. Understanding what we can of the rather simple beast we ride gives us a better hold of the reins.



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  • Anterior cingulate cortex. I’ve talked of it many times. Its our error detector. It more makes us human than just about anything. It is uniquely equipped to help us think again. Its a simple capacity with a profound effect. It also makes us laugh.

    Answer my “knowing” question, please.

    Please respect….”no”.



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  • Phil and Laurie

    “What contexts? NOT in the contexts of a gross and inappropriate sex act. What were you thinking!!!?”

    I sometimes feel like I’m going insane. I don’t understand this. There is NOTHNG obscene about the human body. It is a beautiful thing. But appearing nude is also an act. Therefore, in some contexts, the naked body can be viewed as offensive. Please tell me what is so off about my boring and obvious statement.

    My hand….Okay.— I’ll stop with that.

    Laurie, those bonobos are cute! I just saw a family of deer on the road. “Female sexuality.” What would you like to know?

    Maybe (maybe) I am confused about evo-psycho and presented a straw-man point about social theory, but what do you think of some of these these points (below)?

    “It took two early relationships to have my stupid violent thoughts trained out of me by kindly ex-partners.”

    Maybe you were doing better before, or lost something. I know of a great American actor – perhaps the greatest actor ever – who had his anger removed through the psychic bloodletting of a psychoanalyst. He was no longer a compelling actor. Something was gone forever. A neuropsychiatrist prescribing an implant might produce similar results. If they are anything less than tortured, artists and creative people in general should steer clear of neuropsychiatrists.

    Here’s someone who makes sense:

    “We should recognise that not all coherent questions about human nature and conduct are scientific questions, concerning the laws governing cause and effect. Most of our questions about persons and their doings are about interpretation: what did he mean by that? What did her words imply? What is signified by the hand of Michelangelo’s David? Those are real questions, which invite disciplined answers. And there are disciplines that attempt to answer them.

    “The law is one such. It involves making reasoned attributions of liability and responsibility, using methods that are not reducible to any explanatory science, and not replaceable by neuroscience, however many advances that science might make. The invention of “neurolaw” is, it seems to me, profoundly dangerous[…]

    “Brain imaging won’t help you to analyse Bach’s Art of Fugue or to interpret King Lear any more than it will unravel the concept of legal responsibility or deliver a proof of Goldbach’s conjecture; nor will it show you why justice is a virtue and cowardice a vice. And it cannot fail to encourage the superstition which says that I am not a whole human being with mental and physical powers, but merely a brain in a box.”

    “If philosophy could be replaced by neuroscience, why not the rest of the humanities, which had been wallowing in a methodless swamp for far too long? Old disciplines that relied on critical judgment and cultural immersion could be given a scientific gloss when rebranded as “neuroethics,” “neuroaesthetics,” “neuromusicology,” “neurotheology” or ‘neuroarthistory’ (subject of a book by John Onians)”

    — Roger Scruton, Visiting Prof. of Philosophy Oxford and University St. Andrews



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  • Dan

    I know of a great American actor – perhaps the greatest actor ever – who had his anger removed through the psychic bloodletting of a psychoanalyst.

    Was he happier?

    Whatever, he had at least two lives for the price of one. Or is our “success” how we cross the finish line?

    Scruton. My most hated modern conservative philosopher. Most of his arguments are fire hazards.



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  • Secular versus extremist

    Look at this shocking interview. No ban on all Muslims, obviously. But people like the interviewer here (without the veil) should definitely not be allowed in this country. Hopefully more brave ex-Muslims like this woman with the veil will emerge. She should wear a veil; death threats, I would imagine. (I think she’s a doctor.)
    Disgusting cult. A vile religion. I hate to say it, but it’s true.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BzkJVk7nqw



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  • She may not be a terrorist but she is basically a murderer. Advocating murder (stoning women under sharia law) is tantamount to being a murderer oneself. She is a savage.



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  • Hypocrisy 101-
    Sadiq Khan- Muslim Mayor of London says that women should not be told what they can or cannot wear,
    whilst banning bus ads showing a girl in a bikini.

    Lying idiot 101
    Those ads were banned after public protest that it was promoting body images that were impossible for most women to obtain, even if the advertised product was used. So pretty basic Advertising Standards Authority violation right there, even before we get into psychological effects on women and young girls who see the advert.

    “TfL’s new advertising policy, which does not include all images of people in their underwear or swimming gear, is only expected to affect a handful of the 12,000 adverts a year which run across the network, including at bus shelters and on-street sites.”



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  • Dan

    Advocating murder (stoning women under sharia law) is tantamount to being a murderer oneself. She is a savage.

    I think the same about 60% of Americans advocating judicial murder,

    The most punitive nation on the plant, only slowly changing.

    Teens with life sentences without parole. What were people thinking? When I last looked at comparative rates of teen incarceration I found only one in Finland, in prison, a 15 year old awaiting transfer to a secure remedial home for youngsters.



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  • Phil,

    I was so appalled by that lady in the film that I wrote what I did without thinking, as I sometimes do. Yes, you’re right. Capital punishment here in the US and life sentences for teens is pretty awful too. The system is rotten. But I haven’t come across too many Americans who believe in stoning women and certainly not for adultery, or cutting thieves’ hands off! There out there, I am sure; in fact quite a few Americans believe that rapists should be castrated. — But not for religious reasons, and certainly not for adultery! This is, at its worst, a violent, savage cult we’re talking about – like the Westboro Baptist Church, except the latter is not representative of Christianity as a whole. Those people should have all been arrested, by the way. Child abuse. Moreover, Christianity today, as Dawkins said, is benign in comparison to Islam. Anyway, the young lady in the film is simply vile and disgusting, and that kind of extremism, which is quite prevalent, that kind of stupidity and irrationality, sickens me. I had a reaction. But take my suggestion to ban people or arrest people with a grain of salt.



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  • But I haven’t come across too many Americans who believe in stoning women and certainly not for adultery, or cutting thieves’ hands off!

    Corrected sentence:

    But I haven’t come across too many Americans who believe in stoning women for adultery, or cutting thieves’ hands off!



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  • I fully understand, Dan. I do wish the US would get its skates on over this. Then we can better challenge the deep inhumanity of sharia when our own act is decent. I think the US will miss becoming a theocracy, though it recently sailed rather close to that iceberg. The un-nuanced, punitive mindset is built on these kind of sentiments and dogma.

    To blight a poor, young teen’s life over drugs is one thing. To have your hand cut off is another. At least you have a another hand….

    “On the Run”. Alice Goffman.

    Regarding the presenter. I think she was panicked about how she would appear. In a private exchange things might well have been more tolerant (maybe not, but maybe). This is how the bullies work, they are social terrorists who can get others to do their work out of their own fear.



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  • Ran out of time editing this.

    “On the Run” comment. I have failed to interest any single American in reading this book on other forum’s. There seems a blithe disinterest in learning about the details and consequences of zero tolerance policies so universally loved and approved of. Guilt it seems is either binary or its too much like hard work.



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  • On capital punishment, may I offer one molecule of hope? I do detect a ripple of awareness here that our war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure. Americans are admitting that decades of this smack down approach has left us in terrible mess. The public is now demanding reforms, finally.

    I hope that if Hillary is elected and, too much to hope for I know, a Democratic congress, we might squeak out a few progressive reforms. I hope c.p. is one of them.

    This Nov. my state, MA is voting to legalize pot (or not) and I hope that we will vote again on the death with dignity law as well. These are just state measures but when enough states vote for progress then eventually the whole country gets dragged along right behind us.

    The drug addiction crisis here is on the news several nights every week. People really see that zero tolerance failed. Police chiefs come on the news and explain that they do not arrest people for possession any more. The jails are stuffed to the gills and the courts are backed up with these cases and it sends good people into the court system from which they emerge broken for the rest of their lives.

    Capital punishment will come into the public’s sights when a horrific case attracts the attention of the 23/7 “news” cycle. That’s what it takes to get anything done here. Not that we could do it with a rational committee reviewing archaic old laws and deciding that the electric chair and lethal injections belong in the dark ages. No, that would make too much sense! We must have media circus first!!



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  • Good article. Not surprised about the Clinton name. Tough on drugs and crime worked for politicians in the past. Now that drug addiction is no longer a “black” problem as article says, politicians are changing their tune. 10-15 years of heroin addiction in the cushy suburbs has our young people dropping like flies. The middle class white suburbanite voters are demanding action. Now we have political adds that promise results from one and slam the opponents for their backwards ways. No real statements about what to do except for some towns decision to not arrest for possession. Treatment isn’t mentioned because I think they don’t know what to do and where to get money.

    Given all of this, I’m not surprised that Hillary will get right on the popular bandwagon. The state of New Hampshire has been hit badly by heroin overdose deaths. I haven’t listened to her speeches there but I’ll just bet she promised them the moon on this problem.

    When heroin was a ghetto problem we never heard about it. Now that white kids are dying it’s like it was just invented yesterday. White kids toying with harmless drugs was swept under the table, that is, until they got ahold of one that started killing them. Black kids doing those same drugs and others less harmful got busted with no mercy. We need an overhaul.



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  • Your article sucks, Phil. That was Bill Clinton. Are the Clintons joined at the hip? No mention of the “candidate.”

    Texas is a red state. The author obviously prefers Trump. (Recently, however, the Dallas Times endorsed Hillary, a historic endorsement. First time in many years.) I don’t trust any reporter who would attack Hillary at this point, who would do that in the face of this particular election, where a climate denying neo-facist lying scumbag is running in a tight race. Leave her alone. She’s the best we got. And why don’t they ask her what she thinks of that crime bill instead of slandering her and distorting her record?

    By the way, Bill was heckled about his crime bill, and according to him, it saved lives. Black on black violence was rampant and there was a crack epidemic.



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  • Here was my source.

    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/01/a-more-or-less-definitive-guide-to-hillary-clinton-s-record-on-law-and-order#.TMWXMbXSu

    I think I said things clearly, and fairly. Hillary is on the move from a fairly lame brain acquiescence with the punitive zeitgeist.

    Black voters vote against there own best interests. They feel they are on show to display how moral they are just like white folks. Its this abominable American fetish for badges of goodness and buying into the crap narratives of the deserving poor and deserving rich.

    Who am I villifying?



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  • Fine. I’m getting uptight. I still think she”s basically a good, respectable and honorable woman. (Your source is one of thousands. Her record on crime is a matter of interpretation. Negative bias towards the Clintons in journalism is almost always present.)
    You asked me not to push the hand/knowledge issue. I respected that. I don’t want to discuss this anymore. Not until this harrowing election is over. Discuss it with other members. I’m done (I think).



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  • Dan….chill.

    My last to you on this. From my source (which I used months ago against that if not Sanders then Trump chap.)

    Update 3:42 p.m. 05.07.2015

    On Wednesday, Bill Clinton conceded that the era of “mass incarceration” — which Hillary Clinton vowed to “end” in a speech just last week — can be traced back to the policies of his presidency. In an apparent effort to get out ahead of any political liability stemming from the prison boom of the last few decades, he acknowledged that “any policy that was adopted while I was president, in federal law, that contributed to [prison overpopulation ], should be changed.”

    In the light of this opening para this-

    Your source is one of thousands. Her record on crime is a matter of interpretation. Negative bias towards the Clintons in journalism is almost always present.

    seems…well…paranoid.

    Trump wounded Clinton and had a mini surge in July with this-

    “Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police,” Trump said. “Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society, a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent, share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country. They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.”

    Since then her support for legislative reform on this has become more muted.

    This is politically astute but sad.



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  • Sanders supported the 94 bill. This is just unfair. That’s all it is.

    HR 4092 – Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – Key Vote
    National Key Votes

    Bernie Sanders voted Yea (Passage) on this Legislation.

    A majority of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for the 1986 law that created the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. And in 1994, it was the CBC that saved President Clinton’s crime bill after an unexpected loss on a procedural vote.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/no-hillary-clinton-has-never-supported-white-supremacist-violence-against-black-c



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  • I love it that politicians learn and change. As we see from Mr Hillary Clinton’s renouncing his own legislation.

    Bernie Sanders now-

    Millions of lives have been destroyed because people are in jail for nonviolent crimes. For decades, we have been engaged in a failed “War on Drugs” with racially-biased mandatory minimums that punish people of color unfairly.

    Black folk vote against their own self interest all the time. BLM is a slow waking up, but muddled with far too much emphasis on racism (which charge can sometimes not be made to stick) and not enough challenge to the right wing political/economic US skew that perpetuates disadvantage effortlessly and victimises the poor.



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  • Let’s wrap this up, Phil ol’ boy—

    Both Bill and Hillary accept that, in retrospect, the crime bill was probably misguided. They have learned and changed too. Sanders supported the bill, as did many black leaders. Maybe those black leaders thought it was a good idea at the time. They aren’t stupid.

    Why do you say Mr. Hillary Clinton? Was that a mistake or a sexist innuendo?

    She hasn’t fostered the anti-police atmosphere. Straw-man, as you now. He blames her for everything and they believe him. It is true that she isn’t talking too much about police brutality and racial profiling these days. But she has to be politically astute and calculating. Look what she’s up against. His supporters do not care about facts! DT’s supporters are true believers. She needs to win. (Maybe she secretly agrees with Trump to some extent about the anti-police atmosphere, even though she didn’t foster it.)

    I don’t have anything else to say. Trump just accused Hillary of starting the birther movement and accused her of founding ISIS. Vicious liar. So cut her some slack. She needs to win and is facing Trumpists who, again, are impervious to facts.

    I may have missed your points above. You are subtle and I am fatigued and out of sorts, can’t think straight. Do you support Hillary?

    (Do I make sense? Feeling off-center.)



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  • Dan

    Do you support Hillary?

    For president? This time?

    You bet. We agreed. Nothing’s changed. I’m for welfare states but warn against their flattening risks. We can be subtle and considered. Mindless endorsement is mere faith and we both know where that leads…

    An anti sexist comment. (Jeez, it seems everyone’s out to get you!) I was delighting in the Whitehouse having a First Gentleman. I was remembering my confusion that my mother would receive letters addressed to Mrs. John Rimmer.



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  • P.S. One more thing, Phil. She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. She’s getting it from both sides. Some on the the left and center are attacking her for supported a racist crime bill. Trump says that she fostered the anti-police atmosphere and scores political points. What would you do? She’s in a tough spot. I think she’s handling it just fine.

    Good point, right?

    Just read your comment. We meet again!

    “Welfare state”? Are you being ironic? Isn’t that an outdated term and one used by Archie Bunker types? We need medicaid and social security and medicare and a better health system and more investment in public education. Welfare state. As you know, that should not replace measures and reforms to lessen the need for public assistance.



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  • Welfare State

    A British term. Americans wouldn’t be expected to have heard of it, or to know what it actually meant. Phil, a brief summary for Dan might help. Hint, Dan: it ain’t “communism”.



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  • “On Wednesday, Bill Clinton conceded that the era of “mass incarceration” — which Hillary Clinton vowed to “end” in a speech just last week — can be traced back to the policies of his presidency…” –Phil’s source.

    Not true. He couldn’t possibly have conceded that. “It is unfair to suggest the bill was central to the problem of mass incarceration. The vast majority of the carceral state had been put in place long before.”



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  • He couldn’t possibly have conceded that.

    But the expediency of politics…

    There is almost no extra harm in over apologising, when the facts are plain, and much to gain.

    Besides Bill doubled down when already there was countervailing evidence.



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  • I just came across this article talking about the New York fashion week featuring a host of models walking the ramp in designer Hijabs…

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/models-hijabs-history-york-fashion-201747916.html?ref=gs

    My first reaction was… “hey do we really need to glorify this piece of headgear? But then I thought, maybe, just maybe, this might bring more women out of the burka and on to the ramp. A kind of emancipation perhaps. But I am not too sure.

    On the same note, I live in India, in one of the larger cities and very close to a school run by a Christian organisation. The students are from Hindu, Muslim and Christian families, and the Muslim girls are allowed to wear a burka over their school uniforms.

    It rankles me to see this happening to these girls, many probably yet to reach their teens, but what makes me glad is that notwithstanding the burka, at least the families of these kids are sending them out to study, and that too, to a school that is not a ‘madarassa’ or a ‘girls only’ school where they learn math, science, english literature…. Some day, I sincerely hope, with education, these girls will change a lot of things that is just not right for them.

    It also makes me happy that, in my country, a sizeable number of Muslim organisations have been outspoken and critical on the activities of ISIS and other terrorist organisations, (some have received death threats for this), a sizeable number of Hindus condemn attacks on those who eat beef (I noticed this being mentioned in the discussions here). There have been a couple of court rulings that have overturned conventionality and religious rules and ordered that women be allowed entry in certain places of worship (both Hindu and Muslim) where traditionally they were banned.

    But I think the world over, much as we would like to be secular we just end up being pluralistic.



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  • @Dan, phil,
    since about post #46 by phil – very subjective gut feeling, so something I’m not comfortable with at all! – I have the feeling that the subject named in the title of the thread has faded more and more into the background – in your combative duels, at least. Which the thread has basically become since about Dan#58. I’ve whined about something like this before in another thread (I think the BS one). But I will whine – or even growl – about your getting sidetracked to other issues that you may have discussed on other threads, which are a bit oblique to the original theme of this thread. And then – a term I learned in a different site (I am an Internet baby in many ways, which I find not to be a total disadvantage) machine-gun posting. Haven’t checked every post for it’s precise time stamp, but reading four, or five, or more – occasionally short, but not always so – posts by one site member does raise my (grey) hackles. And again, the side-tracking (as far as I can see) – well – wastes space. Dan, I haven’t found phil’s hobby that compares to what I believe yours to be (possibly due to my minimal experience here) – but mention Schopenthingy here and I might go into wolverine mode. Tired wolverine usually, considering when I log in here …



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  • @GK
    You’re point is well taken, GK. I hear you. I will try to find old threads to use when I get into stuff w/ Phil. I’ve been doing that, but not consistently. Hard. Sometimes it just happens. Threads are like that; but I hear you. (Whoever brought up evo-pscho started it. And I didn’t bring that up.)

    I hope you’re well.

    Best,

    DR



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  • Grump.

    I went back to the (end at least) of the BS thread itself. I’m very happy with its focus on Schopenhauer. I think Dan’s insistence that S was onto something with the Noumen and Will helped me imagine what those might actually be. I now genuinely believe these have credible correlates with the pre-phenomenal quantum universe and the second law of thermodynamics. For myself this brings a happy conclusion. I suspect for Dan, the questions won’t end…but my thanks to him. I appear to have got a lot out of it.



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  • To Dan #55:

    Context: the exposed body is fine, but not fine when someone’s ten
    year old son’s piano teacher whips it out. (That happened to my late
    brother.)

    Of course, the way our society is now, that would be dangerous to most children psychologically. But if nudity was accepted as the normal way of life, the child would not be affected just puzzled by the strange behavior.



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  • To Dan #40:

    But in that context, the couples’ exhibition of nudity and sex are (to
    me) revolting and (in all likelihood) destructive forms of behavior.

    The main reason that the exhibition of sex and nudity is revolting to you is the social milieu in which we live, NOT because all that is truly evil. That social attitude all began with the fable of Adam and Eve in Genesis. I wonder when we can all discard those erroneous beliefs?



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  • The decidedly exhibitionist 1960’s and 1970’s, at least as it seemed at the time, had a rather immature childlike quality to them. The moral insights to go with this sudden freedom weren’t really in place then. I think they are (religion notwithstanding) more or less in place now… in some places. The Northern European “Body Indifference” is burgeoning. It waxes and wanes but always with a more adult and more everyday attitude. The overheated US Beavis and Butthead snickery attitude that comes from a “schizophrenic” indoctrinated body-fear/revulsion crossed with free market porn valued at $14bn in 2001, lags painfully.

    Body indifference, tolerance of others, simply chosing not to notice like Calvino’s Mr Palomar, is safer than a repressed yet still prurient Miss Manners’ disapproval. Reducing what things are inherently sexy is no loss at all. There is always fetish clothing… that alluring veil.



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  • Cbrown

    Sex and nudity is not revolting to me, and there is something wrong with all these religious people who are revolted by it, and see it as evil or whatever.

    Right. I get it. But you seem to be saying (#105) that everything is relative to culture: we could, conceivably, find ourselves in a society or culture where lying, stealing, cheating and murder was considered the norm, where all forms of treachery were considered praiseworthy.

    I agreed with you, but brought up the superfluous point (55) about context, that nudity is also behavior; molestation destructive, presumably in all cultures; as destructive as destruction itself. The behavior. Not the body; not sex.

    “…the child would not be affected just puzzled by the strange behavior.”

    That’s kind of a strange point, isn’t it? Merely puzzled by molestation? What about the parents? Would they be immune too? That would be just as “insane” to us as the people who think nudity in and of itself is “evil and offensive”, to use your words.” But we would be right. You can’t violate someone without psychic ramifications.

    It was a very, very simple point, almost ludicrous in its simplicity. I hope you got my meaning. I hope I expressed it clearly. — There is almost nothing (including all sexual matters) that should be seen in a vacuum, in a theoretical or culture-less, context-independent vacuum.

    The idea, however, that some behaviors (such as rape and incest and molestation) are destructive in all cultures – and I think they are – to the victims –is, perhaps, not quite as obvious.

    Peace



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  • cbrown, Phil—

    P.S. I have observed that my power of communication has been weakened these past few weeks by stress. (The election and other things.)

    Let me quickly reiterate.

    “The main reason that the exhibition of sex and nudity is revolting to you is the social milieu in which we live, NOT because all that is truly evil. ”

    The “exhibition” I spoke of, which was quoted out of context (straw-man), was exhibition by parents (in our culture) who make love in front of their young children. I think that is wrong. Exhibition is wholesome and can also be inappropriate and harmful. Can this be a fine thing in other cultures? Yes, I suppose. But exhibiting oneself to a young person against his or her will (a form of molestation) is WRONG, or should be wrong, in ALL cultures. Again, a simple, banal comment about context.

    Saying that exhibiting nudity is in itself wholesome, and that any argument to the contrary is a reflection of religious indoctrination, and one’s orientation vis-a-vis a given cultural milieu, is not terribly meaningful.

    Everything, in a sense, can be considered an act. Even breathing can be offensive. If you inhale and then exhale in someone’e face, it’s offensive.

    There. I think that was more succinct. (Phil, my friend, tell me if that makes sense. I’ve been terribly discombobulated.)

    I do agree, cbrown, that this horror of sexuality, and the repression that goes along with it, is one of the many sickening and insidious aspects of Christianity and other religions. Freud helped us out with that a bit.

    I’ve read a lot of your comments and I do share your deep resentment and concerns about religion.

    We can learn from other cultures who have a much better attitude about all this, as Phil suggested.

    I would say that if everyone was walking around naked (which is fine), we’d become desensitized.



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  • 109
    Pinball1970 says:

    I still think the choice of dress in this case is two fingers up to the west.

    We cannot ask these women to take it off, but lets not forget what is going on.



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  • Pinball1970 #109
    Sep 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I still think the choice of dress in this case is two fingers up to the west.

    I think you are right in this case!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-37382318

    A Muslim woman from Australia has told how she was forced to leave a beach in France for wearing a burkini.

    Zeynab Alshelh, a 23-year-old medical student, told Australian media she had travelled to Europe to show solidarity with local Muslim women.

    Footage broadcast on Channel 7 showed local people saying they would call the police if she didn’t leave.

    The ban on burkinis in several French Riviera towns was overruled in August by the top administrative court.

    Local mayors who brought in the laws said the full- body swimsuits were a symbol of Islam and potentially provocative after the July terror atrocity in Nice.

    Ms Alshelh said she and her family travelled to France to learn more about the situation and see if there was “anything that we can do to help these girls just live a normal life”.

    That would be “normal” as, a “normal Islamic life” in a bag!

    Ms Alshelh said she didn’t feel she had been “inflammatory” by going to the beach. She said she “just went as a tourist”.

    “I looked at the beach and you just want to swim.”

    . . . and if we look at the picture of her in her unsuitable baggy burkini so called “swimming costume” on the link, it is obvious just how ironically comical this claim is!

    Ms Alshelh had told Channel 7 that the view that Muslim women who choose to cover their hair or face are oppressed was false.

    “I just find it ridiculous,” she said.

    “It is a symbol of my faith, it is a symbol of my religion, it is a symbol of Islam and to go out there and wear the hijab, it helps people focus on what’s inside rather than what’s on the outside.”

    She went all the way to France to make an incident for the media, in response to the indoctrinated god-delusion inside her, feeling offended!



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  • a: Stockholm syndrome.
    And
    b: We had this kind of crap in Germany after 1933 (up to 1945 – well, actually, the crap remained for several decades after 1945 – and, for that, didn’t appear out of a vacuum before 1933!). The only true heirs of the WWII Nazi garbage are Muslim fanatics. In the 1930’s, and definitely the 1940’s, there were Arab allies to Nazi Germany. She may actually believe the garbage she spouts, but she is no better than the Nazi brood mares (Goebbels’s wife, who had six children and murdered them all before the fall of Berlin, as an example). Has she ever questioned her male “belief” compatriots as to why they do not feel compelled to adhere so strictly to analogous dress codes? I might feel a slight sympathy with her ignorance, as the male Muslim crap desperately tries to keep the female part as ignorant as possible – if ignorance it is. But as per Alan4discussion’s post she lived in Australia, so she should have had the possibility to think for herself. I would say she totally blew it. Pathetic.



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  • GrumpyKraut #111
    Sep 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    a: Stockholm syndrome.

    But as per Alan4discussion’s post she lived in Australia, so she should have had the possibility to think for herself. I would say she totally blew it. Pathetic.

    So after endorsing the enslavement of women in Muslim theocracies and in paternalistic Muslim communities, she will probably go back to Australia where secular law allows HER to choose what she wants wear!

    she lived in Australia, so she should have had the possibility to think for herself.

    Of course “thinking for one’s self” is an educated skill, which does not come readily to the indoctrinated mind, where entrenched uncritical servile thought habits and obedience, have been reinforced five times a day for years!



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  • To Dan #107:

    That’s kind of a strange point, isn’t it? Merely puzzled by
    molestation?

    Molestation?” I think the issue or issues here are more complex than we have the time to discuss fully here. As a start how does one define “molestation.” It seems that there must be intent involved. There have been many children at nudists camps that have not been “molested” in any way. Is a nursing mother considered as molesting her infant? An in depth analysis is needed before we can have a knee jerk reflex reaction to known or unknown imaginative situations. The whole negative behavior of many people to these issues seems to revolve around a sort of crazed reaction to human sexuality, and this has a Christianized core based on the Genesis tale of Adam and Eve.



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  • @ Dan “The main reason that the exhibition of sex and nudity is revolting to you is the social milieu in which we live, NOT because all that is truly evil. ”

    There is no such thing as nudity. That’s why we call it the birthday suit. Most of us don’t wear it at the beach because it’s wrinkled, creased, crumpled, flabby and stained with age spots, and varicose veins. Currently there are no laws for wearing a disgusting bare body in public. But there should be. It’s an abomination in the sight of God and nauseating in the sight of mere mortals.



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  • @Alan4discussion#112

    “Of course “thinking for one’s self” is an educated skill, which does not come readily to the indoctrinated mind, where entrenched uncritical servile thought habits and obedience, have been reinforced five times a day for years!”

    If it were just that the indoctrinated minds only had their (recent) origin in that cesspit of ignorance spreading (mainly) east from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean! A part of that cesspit has been transferred west of the Atlantic more recently (those Calvinistic-derived invaders of what is now New England of about 400 years ago), and has become virulent since about, say, January 1981. And as far as that is concerned, what psychopath / sociopath Maggie T propagated the odd year earlier in an island off the west coast of Europe is nothing else than a disguised version of Christianity’s sickest official offshoot, Calvinism. (The unofficial offshoots became virulent during WW I up to WW II).



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