September 2007 Archives

Ahmadinejad and the Baha'is of Iran

September 24, 2007

Typical political response: when asked about the treatment of Bahá'ís in his country, Iranian President Ahmadinejad's answer completely dodged the question. Nevertheless, his answer spoke volumes — I'll let you interpret for yourselves. Whilst searching for any tidbits from today's "debate," I also ran into an interesting article about President Ahmadinejad and the secretive Hujetieh society to which he belongs, whose primary purpose seems to be the destruction of the Bahá'í Faith.

Evolutionary Link to Morality

September 20, 2007

Excellent article: Is ‘Do Unto Others’ Written Into Our Genes? (NY Times). Very interesting reading. They have a link to an interesting morality survey that is an essential part of the story. These questions are probably a little more difficult to answer "properly" (true-to-self) after having already read the article. Thus I went with my gut reaction on each. Here's how I scored, compared with "conservatives" and "liberals", in evaluating the authors' five categories of morality:

  • Harm: more important in my moral scheme than for either con or lib on average (lib almost as high)
  • Fairness: again higher, with more distance, but still closer to lib than con
  • Loyalty: much less important to me than con, but somewhat more than typical lib
  • Authority: I was pretty surprised by this one – much lower than either!
  • Purity: again I was surprised by this one. I value personal chastity and "godliness," but I try hard not to judge others based on different "purity" values (more likely to judge others based on the first couple of categories above, un-surprisingly). Was much lower than either. I'm surprised to see that libs have more value on purity than cons!

Presenting: Happy Valley and Mac vs. PC

September 11, 2007

For your entertainment / pleasure, two YouTube links for brilliant entertainment:

  1. Monty Python: Fairytale of Happy Valley, part 1
  2. South Park Mac vs PC

Can a Muslim Be a Good American?

September 9, 2007

I'm sure there are plenty of people who have debunked this already, but I'll add my take. I received a forwarded e-mail that asked this question and proposed a set of ridiculous assertions pointing to an answer of "no." This came from a family member and normally I just ignore his messages. I couldn't bite my tongue on this one though.

Simply put, I have known too many good Muslims not to respond to the many misconceptions and incorrect assertions in the points that follow.

On Organizing a Response to Linguistic Violence Against Religion

September 5, 2007

Responding to an e-mail discussion that started with the article Islamic Fascism: The Propaganda of Our Times.

There is little doubt that the language we use and hear shapes our perceptions — and action — in the wider world (cf Sapir-Whorf hypothesis). Is it accurate to call someone who is a "terrorist", who is a Muslim, and who is motivated by his religious beliefs, an "Islamic terrorist?"

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