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March 14, 2006

 Satire 
The Stick With Two Golden Ends
Arash Jalali  [info|posts]

"Gray! The world is gray, Jack!". That is how a corrupt director of CIA tries to explain the World to a "boy scout" colleague in a Hollywood movie. Well I for one would kill for some gray these days, because it's just all black; all goddamn black! "Why ?", you might ask. Well, you just bear with me a few more paragraphs and then you decide for yourself.

Scene 1 - You Goddamn French!

I am in a taxi heading to work. The traffic-jam has reached epic proportions in size. The usual impossible traffic has worsened ten-fold due to the new year shopping season. The driver, in an almost melancholy way, is shoving his taxi inch by inch through an already congested express way. He turns on the radio. It's the news: "There have been wide protests against the new labour law in France. The French police have brutally used tear gas and attacked with truncheons and plastic bullets to disperse the protesting students that had taken over the Sorbonne University." The news is being read by the announcer in a tone that subliminally makes you hate France and say to yourself: "Cradle of democracy! Yeah right! Goddamn hypocrite French!" But then the words truncheon and brutality poke my half-dead smoke-intoxicated brain. I remember the women beaten up by our own police only a few days ago. Not that they were trying to take over a University or anything. They were just marching peacefully honoring the only day in the year that at least in theory belongs to them. Now I don't know which one to hate more? Our own police for beating up defenseless women, or the French police that gives the Islamists perfect propaganda material to justify their own brutality?

Scene 2 - Liberating Firecrackers

I sneak out of office to buy some coffee. My mind is still busy thinking about work. All of a sudden there is this huge sound, "Booom!"; Was it a gun fire? Was it a bomb? No, it was a firecracker. Fortunately, I didn't wet my pants, but I am sure someone somewhere had a heart attack. This year the "opposition in exile" has called for the Iranian people to celebrate the last Wednesday of the year even more vehemently than previous years, "to show their discontent with the Islamic regime." You know, I can't decide which one is worse: to have Ahmadinejad's face to represent the face of Iran, or to have those idiots in Los Angeles-based TV's representing "the alternative". Firecrackers toppling nuclear Mullahs! Now that's what I call a good way to waste 75 million dollars worth of US funding for instilling democracy in Iran.

Scene 3 - Way to Go Johnny!

It's late in the evening and I am trying to relax a little bit, playing a little couch potato. No IRIB for me, thank you very much! I have seen enough hardliner Islamists for one day in the papers. Let's switch to the satellite channels. All right! It's BBC's "Hard Talk". And who's on? Wonderful! Mr.John Bolton, the one and only US ambassador to the United Nations. Let's see what he has to say:

  • The host (Stephen Sackur): "Doesn't it strike you that perhaps America's case against Iran is weakened as far as many in the international community are concerned; given the fact that when it comes to India, the fact that they developed a nuclear bomb, the fact that they have no part to play in the NPT and refused to be part of it, you just have given them a reward by saying that you will cooperate with them on their civilian nuclear program. What sort of message does that send?"
  • John Bolton: "I think the circumstances are different. I think India by definition, never having been a member of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, wasn't in violation..."
  • Stephen Sackur: "..so it's ok, whereas Iran, because it chose to sign up, is now in much bigger trouble! "
  • John Bolton: "Yes, I think there's a difference between lying and telling the truth. I think that's exactly right. India never joined the treaty and it was perfectly within its rights, not being a state in the treaty, to develop..."
  • Stephen Sackur: "So any nation that chooses to leave the treaty, as Iran could do in the near future, has a right to develop nuclear weapons, because then they are being honest."
  • John Bolton: "As I said, I think there is a difference between truth and [dis]honesty. I assume the BBC recognizes that. The Iranians committed, not to develop nuclear weapons, and they have been lying about their nuclear weapons program for close to twenty years..."
  • Stephen Sackur: "So in answer to my question, you see no problem there. You see no sense of hypocrisy, double standards.."
  • John Bolton: "Let me...Let me try and finish the answer. So when you say to yourself what does it tell you about the Iranian government that's been lying, concealing its work, obstructing the IAEA, what does that tell you about its intentions? I think that's a serious condemnation of Iran's behavior."

My goodness, does America actually pay guys like this to represent it in the United Nations? This guy just made me realize that the only thing worse than having an idiot as president, is to have an imbecile representing a hypocrite government that wants to "help me" get rid of that idiot president.

The Postlude

Just as I thought I had had enough "grayness" for a day, my brother comes to me and says: "Did you hear there were some unrest in Shairf today? They barried three bodies in Sharif University's mosque."

It's not enough that they had hundreds of thousands of people killed in the war, they are now trying to rub in it any poor bastard's face, who might try to even breathe the word "freedom". It's not hard to envisage the words coming out of their mouth: "We[!?] didn't have so many martyrs to now have a "momma's boy" like you chew on Big Satan's excrement!"

Note on the title: In Farsi, the expression "The stick with two golden ends" (Gold being a polite metaphore for feces), describes, among other things, a situation where someone or something is rejected and/or disgusted by both those who are his enemies as well as those who allegedly are his friends.
Comments
An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 14, 2006 04:15 PM [permalink]:

Well, there is one thing I don't understand. Why should we who are faced with such blackness give a damn whether the American policy towards India is "hypocrtical" in the complex world of democracy? WHO CARES?
The fact is that now America is on OUR side and would be supporting a regime change from these bastards to soemthing that is based on democratic and humanistic values and that would act as a firts core to let freedoma nd democracy crystalize gradually in our land, that is if our people would stop worrying about nonsense like internatioanl hypocracy in political details and start taking advantage of teh situiation and build up enough impetus for the change to come!
How is that? Because Arash more crazy than Women being beaten or rotten corpses being forced on the best technical university in Iran is people liek you who are faced with this everyday and still worry about American hypocracy visavis India.
This one is many orders of magnitude more jaw dropping.

Goli at March 14, 2006 06:07 PM [permalink]:

in answer to AIS, I am one student just like you, I live here in US probably just like you and hear these stories about beaten students in Iran and the crulity that is going on there. Yes,I know people are scared to talk about freedom.I lived there, I went to the school there and saw how easy they can change your future and play with your life if you don't do what they want. But I don't want some supernatural country come and tell me what I can or can't do with what I have in my country!! you are telling me America is on "OUR" side,whose side are you talking about? Iran doesn't need to get rid of one dictator and bestows to another!!! U.S doesn't help anyone if it doesn't bring him more benefits!! When Arash talks about beaten women, it is Iranians and Iran that he refers to,what change in the attitude can America bring to YOUR SIDE that doesn't includes violence and killing billions of innocents?Isn't this the result of what you want from the change of the regime?

Monika at March 15, 2006 08:09 AM [permalink]:

A Good Post. Thank you Arash.
I agree with Goli that unlike what AIS emphasizes [:The fact is that now America is on OUR side ], has no guarantee. Just look at the recent record of US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and its longtime crave to capture Iran. Would it greet us with chocolates if it ever, just ever, happen to get everything in its hands PEACEfully. I just doubt.
Let`s look more clearly at our situation:
At one hand we have our own government that, as Arash says, we cannot even tolerate hearing its News broadcasting. We see it lose our face in International World and get more and more sick and isolated.
On the other hand, there is the tempting democracy promised by the US. The US who threatens our government and backs us!
What do we do?
We are segmented. Some of us, that count the most, are 'seeing blinds'. They don`t care what happens or what decisions are taken, what is rejected. They never question and are stuffed, like a toy in the hands of the government.
Some are optimists. They look for an outsider to step in and help us in this trap! The full accomplishment of this sort seems an improbable possibility.
The rest, like Arash`s article, feel down by seeing that human values, conventions and ideas are trampled upon. They wonder what can save them and seek out for peace and order hopelessly. Most of such people hold no-important official jobs, they however prefer living unknown, such are many University Professors.
In my thoughts, when I dream of what the present Iran needs, I set it forth as this: People, people and people. They need Education. They should learn that they have Rights that should claim them from the oppressor. They should be taught that religion is worthy of respect if it motivates its adherents to live honest and moral lives, to be kind, respectful, and to contribute something to the betterment of society at large, not if it brings about some stone-headed fanatics. As long as people are being fooled and are lost, they cannot bring for themselves democracy of any kind, even if it is ready.

Arash Jalali at March 15, 2006 10:05 AM [permalink]:

Thanks AIS, Goli and Monika for your comments.

I can understand AIS's rationale. His position is that of a pragmatist; that if America's policy, regardless of how hypocritical it might be, is in the same direction as one's wish, i.e. ridding Iran of islamist hardliners, then one should not be so consumed with the question of how hyporcritical or genuinely humane their approach is.

Assuming that I have understood his position correctly, then I should say I object to that line of thinking, at least in this particular instance, based on two basic, and incidentally pragmatic, premisses:

1) A campaign, a war, a revolution, or other endeavors of the sort, no matter how noble their cause might be, cannot be successful if it fails in PR.

The term "battle for the hearts and minds", as coined by the Bush administration itself during the second Iraq war, shows the importance of the public relations side of the issue. America's way of approaching issues, which I guess is called by some as the "go get'em", "no nonesence" approach, fails in PR miserably. That, I think, has been one of the most basic problems of the American foreign policy. They are not ashamed to rub people's faces into the fact that they are a superpower, which sometimes even gives them a false sense of security, or sometimes even paranoia.

I as an Iranian, assuming that I strive for ridding Iran of its current problems, cannot have a bully like America as my ally. I am no Akbar Ganji, but even if I were, would I dare call America to be on my side? Well, not this America. If America really did care about democracy in Iran, the least it could do was to not feed into the populist apparatus of the Islamic regime.

2) Regardless of whether America is moving in the direction of ridding Iran of Mullahs, I think one should see a few steps beyond that stage where the Mullahs are actually gone. Have you ever asked yourself if the Iranian society, as a whole, and I mean the whole 70+ million of them, are in fact ready for a democracy? Well, trim Ahmadinejad's votes as much as you like, you would still end up with a rather big number. The same number that needs to be educated not bombarded, or else you will have the same result you got in Palestine with Hammas.

These arguments aside, I would really like to know your answer to a hypothetical question, if you don't mind. Let's assume you, being the informed individual that you are, are taken back in time to the early 1980's. Then, we still had a very hardcore version of the Islamic regime, and we had some force whose direction was in the same direction as you and I wanted, i.e. ridding Iran of Mullas. The name of that force was Saddam. Would you still prescribe the same approach as you do now? That since Saddam wants the same thing that we want, then he is on our side and we therefore shouldn't care so much about what a ruthless villain he is?


Craig at March 16, 2006 02:47 PM [permalink]:

"Iran doesn't need to get rid of one dictator and bestows to another!!! "

Why not? That's what you did in 1979. Pretty sure you did it a few other times in your long and glorious history as well! Weren't a few Shah's put on the peacock throne by Assassin's?

Iran has a couple millenia of experience with authoritarian rule. What Iran lacks experience in, is democracy. Don't be so quick to call the world's oldest (and greatest) democracy names when you've done such a pathetic job of providing good governance in your own country.

You've got an opportunity. What you do with it, is up to you. I suspect Iranians will blow it. Again. But that won't be MY country's fault. Just like it's not MY country's fault that the Iraqis are blowing it.

Not everyone blows it. Some people do create successful industrialzied democracies, given the chance.

But most people? Nah. They fuck it up.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 17, 2006 02:41 AM [permalink]:

Arash,

This whole cliche of America as bully and all that is really becoming outdated. how about putting some sense in your words?
Look, it's simple. battle of hearts and minds has nothing to do with diplomatic complexities regarding India. Are you blind? India is a de facto nuclear power. Its vote is important in the security council and is a majore international player now. What do you want America to do? Act like a retarded fool just to present itself as non-hypocritical in the eyes of a bunch of idiots to persuade them to show some grace from their high moral stances and maybe show enough kindness towardsthese poor Americans and accept their help? I have a better idea. How about you just wake up to reality and stop writing such nonsense?

Saddam wanted to annex Khuzestan to Iraq and he was a brutal dictator. the fact that you even compare that with the present situation shows how far in off side you stand. I can only feel sorry.

And one more thing. I am sick and tired of all this crap about how bad the situation in Iraq is. I can understand a bunch of Western leftist sissys honestly seeing the world that way but the like sof us? Iraq is in the path of becoming a democracy. The Iraqi case is a success. Sure America as done many mistakes but that is always the case. Hoe mnay such mistakes do you think took place during WWII or the cold war? Com eon! Wake up?
Iraq would sooner or later have been a bloiod bath the likes of which the world had not seen in years without the US presence there. You comapre the situation now with what? The idelaized dream or with eth only possible alternative in reality, civil war and ethnic cleansing? Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. I see a lot of violence. Because that's wherer the most important battles of the war against Islamism are being fought outright. But I see no catastrophe. Quite teh opposite.


Goli,

I leave you to ponder more on "billions dead" and "supernatural countries".

Arash Jalali at March 17, 2006 03:11 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
Just go count the number of offensive words you have used in your last comment. If you don't have anything to say you don't have to rant and shout and call me names. Believe me it is easy to find very harsh words to call you when reading your rantings. It's just that FToI is not about ranting and calling names. I write here because I hope I would get some sensible civilized feedback from someone who can control himself/herself at least for 2 minutes when typing a comment. If you have an uncontrollable compulsion to throw up foul language, then please go find another post, or better still another site to unload yourself. I see enough ranting screaming Baseejis here everyday.

Goli at March 17, 2006 02:16 PM [permalink]:

Creig,
I live in your country becaz I like a lot about it, but I don't like lots of things about it either. The fact that what happened in 1979 shows the strength of Iranians and I am proud of such a reveloution. They were looking for a better life, that was a result of them wanting something so strongly. Even though lots of powerful countries were oppoosed their need. U.S won't ever help any country unless it will bring him its benefits. You know that,I know that and it is natural. In life, especially in politics world noone give a damn to others when they have their own problems. But I still don't want U.S has anything to do with Iran's possible next reveloution. Because Iran is NOT an Iraq, Iranians have enough brains that they can control and govern their country. Still why do think U.S don't go to the war with Iran as easy as he started Iraq's war or Afghanestan War? I guess he should have enough reasons by now? Just like what Arash said Iranian can change their government whenevr they are ready and right now by looking at the recent presedential candidate, unfortuantely they are still not ready!!

Craig at March 18, 2006 12:00 AM [permalink]:

Goli,

Still why do think U.S don't go to the war with Iran as easy as he started Iraq's war or Afghanestan War?

I think the US *will* go to war with Iran. I've been saying so for about a year now. I think it's just a matter of time. I think the only thing that can avert it is an internal regime change, which is what the Bush admin has been hoping for, these last few years. I'd like to see that happen as well, but I'm not optimistic about it, and I never have been. For many reasons, which I won't get into here.

As for your other comments, I think you misunderstand what the US will or won't do. The US is not such a bad friend and ally as you make it out to be. The US has gone against it's own interests to help allies in the past, and will again, I'm sure. America is really not that Machiavellian. Some of the Europeans nations are, but not the US so much. Thankfully.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 18, 2006 06:38 AM [permalink]:

Arash,

The only thing I can find to have said to you is "wake up to reality and stop writing such nonsense" and "how far in off side you stand. I can only feel sorry."
The rest is not addressed to you but to this imaginary third person mentally handicapped average person out there whose reaction towards Amrican offcials' words you are worried about, those who are not as smart as you to understand its context... I just put in words what you assumed. If yopu find that insulting maybe you shoudl review your assumptions.
As for the tone it is deliberately chosen to be the same as yours in your article. read yours again, and see all the "idiots" and "imbeciles" you have put there. You don't like the tone, don't use it. Afterall I am not the one who is complaining.
And it is deliberate because I want to challenge the practice that as long as you say such words to certain "people" like Bush , the Americans, The monarchists, the zionists, wetsern capitalism...it seems to be alright and even more intelligently written, otherwise it would become rantings. Sorry, I don't buy that and indeed i am tired of seeing it all the time.
Simpel as that. You don't like it, don't read my comments.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 18, 2006 06:43 AM [permalink]:

damn the typos!

(..bad boy! bad boy! impolite again)

Ben at March 18, 2006 06:54 AM [permalink]:

["Just go count the number of offensive words you have used in your last comment. If you don't have anything to say you don't have to rant and shout and call me names."]

I actually counted them. (YEAH! I was bored)
And Arash, short of rhetorically asking if you were blind, AIS didn't call you anything...

AIS did ask if you wish America ["act like a retarded fool"] for pleasing ["bunch of idiots"] BUT that was a general description for its opposers and not a direct insult to you.

I do agree, however, that he was a bit blunt in his criticism by saying ["How about you just wake up to reality and stop writing such nonsense"]
(I myself was even blunter in my comments elsewhere)
And you had every right to be insulted.
But after all, he is allowed.. This is freedom of speech, the very thing FToI so persistently aspires for.

Ben at March 18, 2006 06:57 AM [permalink]:

Heh.. AIS.. we were writing almost at the same time, you just beat me by 10 minutes

Arash Jalali at March 18, 2006 07:26 AM [permalink]:

Dear Ben, AIS, and all other potential readers,
The harsh words I used in my post should be seen in context:
1) The category of the post is "Satire". One might call my satirical style distasteful, and that's fine.

2) The words that I used to refer to individuals were not directed towards you or any of the readers of FToI. Not even in a collective way, such as a nation, race, etc. It is directed at people/governments whose behavior, performance and positions I find greatly substandard (to put it mildly) especially when the caliber of their responsibilities is taken into consideration. If I see a common man on the street calling for a country to be wiped off the map, I might not call him an "idiot", maybe not even jokingly. But if the president of a country makes such a statement, I will definitely call him an "idiot" and I think the word should not even be taken as a means of insult, but as an accurate means to describe his state of mind. The same goes for a UN ambassador whose job is to represent his country in such a way that facilitates the formation of coalitions in support of, and not oppositions against, his country's position.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 18, 2006 03:35 PM [permalink]:

Arash,

I kow it was satire. you had a point, I disagreed and expressed it in th same way. As I said I am not the one who is complaining.
But th fact that you are supports what I said. Some "targets" seem legitimate. Others are taboo, and this sucks. sorry.

Ben,

indeed. Funny how these things happen all the time. I appreciate what you said anyway. :)

Ben at March 18, 2006 04:47 PM [permalink]:

Arash,
I actually didn't comment on your article so let me say this:
1) Scenes approach was interesting, I liked it and in my view it was tasteful.
2) I very much support your complaints about the ambassador. Not only for the same reasons but also because he represents the spirit of mind in the Bush regime which in my opinion is one of the worst the U.S. has ever had.
"They simply ain't gonna do no homework"
The list of major strategic and world security mess ups they are responsible for includes Iraq, Palestinians-Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Russia Pakistan, Egypt and the states of the Arab Peninsula.
I can elaborate on each if you wish. Does FToI have a foreign authors program? ;P

Here are just a few, very few -tip of the iceberg examples with minimal details:
A) Mess up with Iraq: Too many warnings, they gave Saddam too much time, which was enough for him to transport all of his WMD to Syria. Then when no "smoking gun" was found leftists had a "case". Between us (shhh) we all know that not only Saddam had WMDs, HE USED THEM.
Now he uses WMBs: Weapons of Mass Bullshit in his trail, turning it into a one man show that is more suitable to a comedy channel.

B) Mess up with Syria-Lebanon: So many murders by Syrian intelligence in Lebanon, obvious leads/witnesses that talk! Assads head was practically served on a silver plate. Of course the international proceedings against him are frozen ATM -Major U.S screw up.

C) Mess up with Palestinians-Israel: The U.S. knows Palestinians were educated for hate for years. Hamas being elected was not a surprise. Why do they keep insisting democracy is suitable for everyone. The U.S. must recognize that some nations are not capable of it due to brainwash.
Fact: Hitler was elected democratically.
Conclusion: Democracy isn't fool proof.

After the Israeli disengagement the U.S. also insisted to open a road between Gaza and the West Bank (despite Israeli protest) that would be free of Israeli observers.
As a result Israel experienced an increase in terror attacks after terrorists from Gaza moved to the West Bank.
U.S. also said nothing when almost 2 months ago Jordan allowed Hamas to reopen it's offices in Amman.
The U.S allowed the Palestinians and Egypt to open a free and uncontrolled border.
As a result many al-Qaeda terrorists are as we speak building a new base inside Gaza.


One might ask why I expect the U.S. to be the almost sole responsible for these. The answer is that in order to stay the only superpower the U.S. has to play its role and be active. There are many more examples. But in conclusion I can say that between doing everything and doing nothing, The worse a superpower can do is trying to stand in both these squares. Wavering indecisive U.S. will lose its grip and before it knows, someone else will take the wheel of earth.
The damage the Bush administration has caused the U.S. and the world is incredible.

So you see Arash, an ambassador with split personality and lack of confidence which easily stumbles at the cheap tricks a leftist BBC host can pull out of his sleeve, this ambassador is just the introduction.
I hope I didn't turn your day even darker or alternatively, coat your stick with even more gold.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 19, 2006 09:33 AM [permalink]:

I disagree.
The real damage has been done by earlier administration and these are the results. The Bush administration has had to confront Terrorism, UN and EU corruption and the severe internal opposition from the beginning and all of this coupled with an outdated but well secured mentality in American political system, especially the state department. All the results you mentioned are somewhere between everything and nothing because the rest of the western political system should immense inertia agains the dramatic change of policy that was needed to confront it and that the Bush administration and all its neocons did adopt. they still have to work within a democratic and burocratic system and when one side is not willing to play as the democrats and the EU has done things get this way.
I do not deny the blunders, but compared withe the real correctness of their policy vision these are secondary.
The real damage to world was done by Carter administration and hsi way of handling the revolution and hostage taking. Continued with the senior Bush horrible handling of Iraq after the first Persian Gulf war and reached its peak with Clinton. The 8 years of Clinton were such a catastrophe. For teh first time an American president did not have to face the cold war and this is his legacy. Afghanistan left to Taliban and terrorists, appeasemnt with Iran and PLO, allowing India and Pakistan to go nuclear and North Koreans get the Nuke and leaving Saddam to play with nuclear watch dogs and build up the WMDs you believe exited in the first place. The damage is also inthe mindset of the democratic party whose best pawn are people like Michael Moor and Howard Dean!

With all the mistakes and opposition the Bush administartion had by and large moved in the right direction for a change and if the Iran case is taken on seriously islamism could be defeated after all.

As for Bolton I don't see the big deal. The only thing he needed to do in such an interview is to give a neutral answer so it wouldn't be blown up by the media again. That is what he did and is quite enough.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 19, 2006 09:53 AM [permalink]:

oh yes, as for hamas power and the new base fro terrorism the American role is secondary at best. The need for democratization in teh middle east is urgent and the US as always has had to balance its position regarding the palestinians. I don't approve of it but that is the role the US plays anyway sometimes more skillfully and sometimes less.
But the hamas election in Gaza is the direct consequence of Israeli disengagement plan and something like this was what everyone expected to happen afterwards one way or the other and it is not hard to see that Israel made the move with full knowledge of its consequences... and I also belive it was the right move for Israel in teh long run.
So lets keep everything in its context, shall we?

Ben at March 19, 2006 12:44 PM [permalink]:

And in context we keep.
["The real damage..........and Howard Dean!"]
I agree with that above. As a matter of fact I didn't regard the specific actions of other administrations on the chronological timeline. My point was the strategic opportunities this current Bush administration has so bluntly missed in their own period.
You think Carter was even worse? Quite possible you're correct. I think this one is.

I don't see the U.S role as secondary at all regarding the Hamas victory because of its pressure toward democracy in this region, however, I fully agree the disengagement was a prize to terror and was a crucial parameter in their success. I shoud've said that too in my previous comment.
My point of view deriving from the U.S. part in the world as a cop dictates that their responsibility was magnified with every involvement they had in this region.
And they had plenty.
Also from this point of view which you can agree with or not, I put sole responsibility for the new Al-Qaeda terror base on the U.S. for pulling out her Soldiers from that border, for not pressuring Egypt to seal it. And for not presenting the Palestinian institution with obligation to fight terror in exchange for supplies.

Craig at March 19, 2006 10:03 PM [permalink]:

You think Carter was even worse? Quite possible you're correct. I think this one is.

Carter was the worst US President iun my lifetime. I was born in 1963. Nobody else is even close. He meant well, though... which is more than I can say for some other Presidents. But good intentions are no excuse for bad decisions, and ineffective leadership.

Babak S at March 21, 2006 10:24 PM [permalink]:

I'll have to allot a bit more time to comment on the original post and the following exchange in the comments started by AIS, but before then I have this to say about Ben's objection to the US policy to push for democracy in the Middle East: This is by far one of the most successful foreign policies of this administration and very much needed. In fact it was about 10 years overdue and the US only woke up to this reality after 9-11. As to your example of Hamas rising to power through election or Hitler, it does not follow from these that democracy is not suitable for certain people. The only thing that follows is that democracy is not just elections. Elections are means, one of the best among alternatives, to implement the basic idea of democracy, which is avoiding "arbitrary power." But they need to be complemented with other "checks and balances." Any successful democracy proves this point. Perhaps the US has pushed too much for elections, and now we have to live with the consequences, but the essense of the policy of democratization is correct.

Babak S at March 21, 2006 10:57 PM [permalink]:

Craig:

I understand your general idea that other nations are not responsible per se for another one's failures, but apart from its ethical aspects the issue of responsiblity has little relevance in an analysis of the history of efforts and movements toward democracy and freedom in a country like Iran. What's important practically is the influence or causal effects of other nations' policies. Iran had a constitutional revolution about a 100 years ago that introduced the parliament into the monarchy, and if you read the history of that era (many English accounts are readily available) I'm sure you'd be struck by a sense of surprise with how advanced and progressive those men and women who participated in that movement actually were, and how little influence the sort of religious extremism that now reigns in Iran had at the time. Unfortunately that is now gone and the religious fanatics have grown very strong. On the international level, this has to do with the cold war dynamics for the most part of the past 100 years. The US had chosen to counter communism with religion, since the alternative--the intellectuals--were mostly contaminated with the leftist agenda. The continuation of the democratic forces and ideas that brought about the constitutional revolution was pushed aside in this cold war era. If the US is not to blame, we must at least recognize that she had a role in it. I think this is understood by this administration in their change of policy to supporting democratization of the region. Personally, I hold the Soviet Union and the communist parties morally and intellectually as well as practically responsible--if such a thing is meaningful in international relations--for the failure of the democrtic movement of Iran. In the cold war conflict the US was at least on the side of democracy and freedom and despite her mistakes and mess-ups I take that as a great service to human kind. I only hope that the democratic movement in Iran, which has recently taken a serious blow by seeing its hopes go up in smokes with the failure of the so-called reform project, is not once again wiped out in the course of international compomises on issues like the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic.

Ben at March 22, 2006 08:44 AM [permalink]:

Babak,
Thank you for regarding this issue, I appreciate your opinions and have some thoughts over your response.

["Ben's objection to the US policy to push for democracy in the Middle East: This is by far one of the most successful foreign policies of this administration and very much needed."]
My only objection was to the idea that every nation of people can be democratic.
I firmly believe, out of my common sense and experience from what I've seen, that brainwashed people are not capable of sustaining democracy; Thus, I can't see the logic behind the U.S. attempt to push for democracy without preparing the ground for it first.
What's the point in making half job which has no foundations and will collapse shortly after you're gone? You might as well save your energy and do nothing because in these situations, a half completed task can make things worse.

["As to your example of Hamas rising to power through election or Hitler, it does not follow from these that democracy is not suitable for certain people. The only thing that follows is that democracy is not just elections."]
Of course, but elections represent the main theme of democracy.
Regarding the Hitler example: That was brought up to show that in a country that was already democratic, bad things can happen in the name of democracy especially since votes in a democracy can be volatiled and liquidated. A fickle public opinion can produce strange and unexpected results.
And my conclusion was that democracy isn't foolproof. Do you disagree with this particular conclusion? Do you think that democracy is foolproof?
Well, if you can't show me that democracy IS foolproof then how can you say that "it does not follow from these that democracy is not suitable for certain people."? -I don't see the need to distinguish elections. Iran had elections as well.

Regarding the Hamas example: The context was nation that wasn't already democratic And was under heavy brainwash (The main reason for why they're not democratic. Not even now).
I don't see how "it does not follow from these that democracy is not suitable for certain people."
How do you think "Sharia" brainwashed Palestinians are able of freedom? How do you see them breaking out of their box of thinking they were educated for, and strive for democratic elections themselves? Where is the basis in their society for it?


["Perhaps the US has pushed too much for elections, and now we have to live with the consequences"]
Indeed.. I agree.
Furthermore, now that you've brought it up, I think the U.S. must create a special two phase program for democracy incompetent nations:
Phase A: Educate them to be free in the democratic sense of the word.
Phase B: Only then, when they are ready, give them democratic elections.

["but the essense of the policy of democratization is correct."]
And that is why I don't rule out democracy in general. I only stated that some nations aren't capable of it due to brainwash.
If everyone involved in the Iranian regime decide to resign politics today and there will be democratic elections in Iran tomorrow the brainwashed civilians would just vote for the next dictator in duty.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 22, 2006 11:10 PM [permalink]:
Ben, first of all sorry for the delay in my answers. Its our new year and things are busy. :) Anyway, I agree with most of your latest points addressed to me and to Babak. You said you were concerned about teh opportunities this administration has missed. I completely agree with that. But these are all opportunities this administration has created, and it has been able to do that only through its new paradigme and vision of a democratic middle east. My objection is still in considering this administration to have been " one of the worst the US has ever had" or "incrtedible damage that it has brought to teh world". It is simply not correct. OK, now to your main point. I agree that for a people under brainwash, it is impossible to immidiately form a functioning liberal democratic system and that this could be dangerous certain times. But what is your solution? How can the people get effectively out of brainwash. Just annulling the previous ones by utter force is not sufficient (though it is sometimes necessary- like Germany after the Nazis or the Palestinians now... and many Iranians as well as you mentioned). they also need the actual experience of making choices and living by teh consequences, ie in a society that has democratic frameworks imposed on it nevertheless, but that is controled tp prevent the consequences get out of hand untill the bulk of the peopel are ready and mature enough to stan on tehir own feet. So in Iraq and Afghanistan indeed the US must continue preserve and controle the tense situation and the subtle balance as long as it is necessary. Again I agree that it can do much better than it is, but in principle the US policy is very much in this line. The administration refuses to set a time for moving out troops or any specified plan of retrieval (which the democrats, teh only other alternative, demand by the way!) The problem is taht unlike the mood after WWII, the world especially the West is not yet desperate enough , and at the same time it is not yet mature enough to act correctly without despair and so the US hands are more tightly bound compared to say Germany or Japan. As for Palestinians, yes the US push for democratization is indeed a pressure but that is not where the problem is. Th eproblem as you said is in all teh money that they get after a pety sham electiosn from all sides. But that is not a specific failure of this admisnitration, but the malady in US policy for many many years now. just look at US aids to Egypt! On teh other hand US has not taken charge in Palestinian authority has it has done in Iraq or Afghanistan now, or Germany before. Israel however has still much more direct power over the region. As nathan Sharansky has been saying all teh time, Israel has been almost as lax in not implementing real anti-brainwash hard hand policies among palestinians as it should have. Indeed Rabin's mistake was to bring back Araft to controle the palestinians in what ever way he wanted just to keep Israel out of this messy business and you can see th results. The thing about the new paradigme of Bush's adminsitration is a departure from this attitude at least in the large scale. It has not yet reached the stage of real policy in Palestine itself, true, but still it is the move in the right direction. I have question now. Are there evidence for Alqaida activity in Hams controled regions? If so it is a bit surprising. Hamas has been very careful in keeping its activities solell against Israel to ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 22, 2006 11:22 PM [permalink]:

Babak,

I definitely agree with you on the role of elections and its relation to the real idea behind democracy.
I also agree with your point about the rise of religious fundamentalism, the cold war influence and the part the left played in suffocating the democratic momentum gained during and after the constitutional revolution... and in the present time through this sham "reform" nonsense.

I just want to add an idea of mine. Communism especially andf the left in general by itself had a big role in awakening Islamic fanaticism and in shaping Islamism. I mean directly by its ideals and reactions and its fundamental hatred of capitalism and liberalism. I look at many essential features of modern Islamism and I see a new language for the now old communism. Actually a more consistent and powerful one, exactly teh same that Ntaional-Socialism was compared to hypocritical socialism. It is not widely known but the impact of Marx and communist anti-semtism in identifying money worship with the Jews was one of the most important bases of Nazi and now Islamic anti-semitism. (that nazis and commis hated each other is no surprise either. It is the nature of false and inconsistent ideologies to be nullifying each other. Only the truth is fully consistent and only the approach of open societies can strive towards it.)

The infulence it had on the fathers of Islamism like Shariati and Motahari, Qutb and Khomeini is undeniable.
Look at the main allies of the "Islamic" republic of Iran. they were mostly communists, like Cuba, North Korea, China, Venezuela....
And it all makes perfect sense.

Monika at March 23, 2006 08:56 AM [permalink]:

It`s intersting how things are so related to each other. I liked the connection you made with Communism and its influences. I find these comments so worthy because in them I find many answers that I find hard to question.
Also, I learn that in Politics one should not hold a special side and strong views. You need to look at things from different angels. Especially when it is spoken and talked over, you can relate things to each other. Well, my own side is that I repudiate every agency and never justify anyone. Maybe it is the same skepticism that Milan Kundera puts forward in his 'The Joke'; he concludes that one must blame history, not humans, for the crimes. The joke then no longer belongs to him; it is history's joke , and how can man escape history?

& Happy New Year to all Iranians.

Ben at March 23, 2006 07:12 PM [permalink]:
Hello AIS, Please, feel free to take your time ;) I shall attempt to address all the points we disagree on and also those which I feel I can contribute additional information: ["My objection is still in considering this administration to have been " one of the worst the US has ever had" or "incrtedible damage that it has brought to teh world". It is simply not correct."] My thoughts of this administration to be "one of the worst" is a matter of opinion and I believe that unless this administration succeeds in ridding the world from the loose ends it created (by honest mistakes), then in post factum, when we'll look back in say...15-20 years from now, and history will be the judge, this administration will be regarded as the scapegoat for the later terror/radical-Islam developments to such a degree that would pale the blunders of Carter. ["But what is your solution? How can the people get effectively out of brainwash."] Regarding my "Phase A" suggestion, my idea of how to implement it is this: Stemming in the fact that a large group of brainwashed people is a global issue and not just regional (especially since the use of terrorism in general and nuclear terrorism in specific could potentially hurt the rest of the world and not just the involved sides of a conflict, not to mention other actions of war), brainwashed people such as Palestinians must be dealt with as a global issue just as the greenhouse effect, world pollution and other matters are regarded. This requires a coalition of many nations to help the Palestinians create a strong, stable and progressed state: 1) A union of a dozen states or more should military neutralize hostile elements in the field and also outside of it. If this was implemented in Iraq you'd see Iran face a coalition of dozen angry countries or more just because it interferes in Iraq. (for general informaton: Iran is actively responsible for most of the insurgency actions against the Americans in Iraq -the very thing that tied the U.S. and causes them to face failure.) 2) Neutral state such as Switzerland should take upon the task of creating a complete and perfect constitution and set of laws (this is not a war per se, so they should loosen up a bit on their neutrality tho I doubt these selfish shellfish will ever agree to that). Supposedly a good start would be to take what the Swiss already have in their own country and fit it to the needs of the Palestinian reality. A temporary (Pre-democratic) legislative system for the Palestinians should also be created by the [Swiss] in order to dynamically shape their laws according to developing experience and needs. Riding on creation of laws, an appropriate educational system must be created by them, eliminating brainwash. 3) An allied country which would be abstained from being militarily involved should be crowned with the role of creating a judicial system for the Palestinians. 4) The executive system of police and military which will be created is supposed to be maintained by all of the coalition forces excluding the previous two. This system should actively fight terrorism, unauthorized arms and illegal actions, crimes.. It shouldn't be consisted of high percentage of foreign forces. Most of it should be consisted of Palestinians in order to help them learn how to sustain order themselves. *** I think this process could take 20 years or more to be successful, however, it requires such consistancy, determination and decisiveness, that I doubt it could eve ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at March 23, 2006 07:14 PM [permalink]:

And a happy new year to you!

Ben at March 23, 2006 07:15 PM [permalink]:

And a happy new year to you!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 23, 2006 08:21 PM [permalink]:

Monika,

yes indeed there are all these relations that makes the whole thing complicated but fascinating. I agree with you about keeping one's skepticism and indepence of mind. Totally. All I am saying is that right actions should be supported as well as those who take risks to do them all the time, especially when there is so much opposition against it.

Craig,

I'm sure you much more about the internal politics in the US, but from the point of view of an outsider like me Clinton is also a tough competition. :)
But seriously I agree with you about Carter. He is probably the one American that bares the most responsibilty for the mess the world is in today. By supporting Khomeini and his gang at the end, but most of all by his reaction to the hostage taking. It is hard for me to say this, given the fact that those animals who climbed the walls of the US embassy and took the hostages were Iranian, as were the iranian "public" back then suffering, by their own admission now, of acute group lunacy at the time, but it is the truth. Carter should have considered the hostages as casualties of war, taken the act as what it was: attack and capture of American soil, declared war and toppled the regime by force. then the war with Saddam, all the terrorism, boost of islamist mentality, 9/11,... all of this would have benn averted. Look at Israelis reaction to Munich hostage taking. That was the responsible and rational reaction. What Carter completely lacked and the US many times has failed to exert.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 23, 2006 08:31 PM [permalink]:

Ben,

as you said, there is no way such a thing can be done in the world today. But I wonder if all of that is necessary. I don't see the siginificance of say a Swiss formed constitution? :)
The internal dynamics of a society is more powerful than you think if it is set in the right course. What is needed is a set of minimal laws and constitutions. Then let the ssyetm evolve, faletr and gradually find its way. It will take much longer that way but it is possible. The main thing is the initial conditio nad implementation of that minimal set of rules that in such cases needs force, mostly from outside.but it is at least feasible in this imperfect world of ours.
As I said, in general I agree with the need for some special treatment and intermediary phase. I already mentioned my opinion about Iran in the same lines here

Thanks for the links , especially about Al Qaida in palestinian territories.

o and happy Purim and Pesach to you, ron, JFTDMaster and other Jewish and Israeli friends here. :)

Ron at March 23, 2006 10:53 PM [permalink]:

Thank you AIS, and a happy Norouz to all of you :)

Ben at March 24, 2006 04:21 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
It's not that "theres no such way it can be done" because it's impossible. It really is possible.
But it can't be done only due to the sheer human factor of the equation on behalf of the general progressed nations of the world which are as I mentioned: selfish and apathetic.
We have to keep that in mind. Because it will worth the waiting if by a miracle world public opinion changes.
My suggestion that a neutral country such as switzerland become involved in the creation of constitution, set of laws, legislative and educational systems derives from hoping to cause as fewer interests conflicts as possible and put these fields out of the hands of the militarily involved countries that with all good intentions can be tempted into doing impure actions due to excess power and beneficial interests.
Also, a militarily involved country that participates in these fields above might give opposers a good case against the whole program.
Thats why I think the presence of a mature neutral country is essential.

Regarding the power you associate with the internal dynamics of a society:
That is true for example if it happens in Iran.
But Palestinians aren't as competent as the Iranian people. It's not even the same league. Palestinians aren't even able to a fracture of what an average nation can achieve.
Because of that, in my suggestion, I meant to practically spoon feed them untill they grow up.
Alot of the Palestinian incompetence is a temporary result of internal power strugles, conflicts castrate minds of their public and young due to brainwash and more.
They can excel beyond this incompetence with time I think, but the many casualties that will be on the way isn't an acceptable burden. Not that anyone cares.

BTW, are you familior with the background of the Purim holiday?
It is relevant to our time.
The story is about the Persian minister called Haman who wanted to "wipe the Jews of the map". He didn't succeed and thats the reason for the holiday.
With the irony god and faith play on us, this Haman could be the very ancestor of mister Ahmadinejad. Don't you think?
This fact that Iran produced such evil again is a testimony for wretchedness.
Sad, very sad.

Ron at March 24, 2006 10:41 AM [permalink]:

Remember Ben, Haman was hanged along with his 10 sons...

Perhaps Ahmadinejad descends from one of his bastard children who got away...

It would make a great book anyways!

Ron at March 24, 2006 10:43 AM [permalink]:

Remember Ben, Haman was hanged along with his 10 sons...

Perhaps Ahmadinejad descends from one of his bastard children who got away...

It would make a great book anyways!

Ben at March 24, 2006 01:01 PM [permalink]:

Of course Ron.. and all those that want to kill us are bastards so your theory makes perfect sense.
dots connected?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 24, 2006 05:41 PM [permalink]:

Ben,

I knwo it is inrinciple possible, but in practice given the self inetersts of its inhabitanats it is not going to happen. so it is impossible and one has to look instead at solutions that are feasable in this world of ours.

About Purim. hmm... Haman was according to the Bible a descendent of Agag. that makes him an Amalekite and not a Persian. maybe you should read a bit first before making such bold remarks?

As for Wretchedness. . Ahmadinezhad as his likes are a minority who came to power through very complex inetractions 27 years ago and have been waging a war eversince against anything Iranian in the culture.
To say that Iran has produced such a thing is nonsense. The likes of him exist everywhere. This wretchedness is shared by all people and all cultures and all nations, including the Jews.

After all most of this holocaust denial Ahmadinezhad is using now is based on what a Jewish revisionist started ti say in teh first place.
So what?
There is even a possibility that Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi murderer of Jews and the chair at Wansee Conference where the "Final Solution" (Endlösungder Judenfrage) was devised, had partly Jewish ancestry. see here .

Again, So what? even if this is true?

Sorry, but this kind of talk is utter nonsense.

Ben at March 25, 2006 08:39 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
["I knwo it is inrinciple possible, but..........world of ours."]
Well then you should see that sometimes there is no solution.
We've been experiencing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict violence for years with many attampts of quieting it down. No results.
Can you think of anything better? I see the 2 phase solution in the way I described it (or with changes that don't mutate it too much) and this is the only solution I see. Sure I aknowledged it can't be down these days, but this doesn't mean that there necessarily exists another one.


["About Purim. hmm... Haman was according to the Bible a descendent of Agag. that makes him an Amalekite and not a Persian. maybe you should read a bit first before making such bold remarks"]
Bold remarks? Correct remarks! Haman was a Persian minister, in the Persian empire. Where do you see me EVER regarding his ancestry? maybe you should read my posts a bit first before making such bold remarks.


["As for Wretchedness..........cultures and all nations, including the Jews"]
You are taking words out of their rightful context because the wretchedness I was talking about was the intention to wipe Jews of the map (please read my post again.. you seem to require that) and you relate that wretchedness with "including the Jews".
Yes Iran has fallen to this wretchedness twice and Germany once -as far as it reached government.
There are many people in the world that want to wipe each other. But you attribute that to Jews over Jews and thats just not correct.
Even the Neturei Karta which are far fetched related to that don't want to wipe Jews, they follow their own interpretation of the bible that encourage them to oppose the existence of a Jewish state as long as the "Messiah" hasn't appeared.

["After all most of this holocaust denial Ahmadinezhad is using now is based on what a Jewish revisionist started ti say in teh first place."]
1) Zeev Jabutinsky and the founders of the Likud party and Israeli right wing were "Jewish revisionists" and theres no one further from Holocaust Denial than they are.
2) Revisionism of history is not a Jewish school.
Get back to me if you can count the Jews among them on more than one hand.
They were certainly not the first ones to start holocaust denial. And aren't the source for the holocaust denial claims.

It begs the question why you refered to them as the source for Ahmadinehjeds ideas.

And about the Nazi, yes it is possible.
It is possible that most of nonjewish Europeans and Americans are related to Jews by grandfather/uncle of grandfather or any other far family connection since Jews assimilate all the time in every nation they lived. It's a religion and not anything else.
You can convert to it or from it or be originated from it and become one of the holocaust deniers.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 25, 2006 04:29 PM [permalink]:
Ben, I still don't understand what your point is. The story of Purim is a myth, written much later probably during teh Seleucid reign and it is part of teh whole Biblical worldview. The ancestry of Haman is the actually the main thing here becuase Amalekites are the Biblical enemies of jews and they are the ones who are trying to annihilate them whenever they can. Persia and the Perisan court is just the setting. You are being a bit funny when you regard all this as historically valid, Haman being aperisna minister and all that. haman is a mythical character. The book is filled with historical inconsistencies and the only historical figure there is teh king. That's it. The basis is , as I have saied heer before, A baylonian myth which recounts how the chief Babylonian deities Marduk and Ishtar defeated and replaced their Sumerian counterparts Haman and Vashti celebrated as part of a spring festival. If there is any historical core of the events that isnpired the use of this old babylonian myth (use of Babylonian myths is the hallmark of the Bible, teh creation and the Garden of Eden, the Flood,the child Moses in the basket on river,.. tey are all originally Babylonian myths), any way any historical origin would have probably been in the problems of returning Jews with Samaritans and other inhabitants of the land around the building of the second temple in the land of Israel or maybe Syria as a Perisna Satrap and not in Persia proper. As I said the book is itself written much later and could have been addressed primarily toward Seleucides or Romans. This was also common practice in that time in the scriptures, using Babylon for referring to Greece or Rome, it is there even in the christian book of revelations. There is even a mention in Apocrypha (book called usually as "The Rest of Esther) of Haman which calls him Haman the Macedonian. Anyway ou can understand the message and inclusion of Esther only in relation to other parts of the Bible, especially the counterpoint voice it playes to teh exodus and the different salvations. To use this to assert that Iran has succumbed twice etc is a bit ridiculous really. It's good you mentioned Neturai Karta because they seem to disagree with you about their message or that of the idiot Islamist Ahmadinezhad when they have gone to Tehran and fully endorsed hisposition and defended it. My point is simple, i am not arguing about genealogical ancetsry. I am showing why such oversimplifications and categorizatiosn, what country feel to this how many times etc, is meaningless. The roots of anitisemtism are deep and complex and they arise in many different contexts and shapes. Islamism is antisemtic and violent. Nazism the same. So was Communism actually too. These are ideologies and people can succumb to tehm, including groups of people who can gain power over a region as a result of complex hitorical inetractiosn and even chance and impelment them. (And these people can include even Jews, yes and it has. I don't want to go intro this but some of the vilest accusations agains the jews was made by converted ex-jews say during teh mioddle ages. Paul was jew too. Marx too. There wass even a Jewish neo-Nazi aspirant...) you see Ben . You are right when you say this has nothing to do with lineage or birth. It has to do with ideas and groups of people. Nations like lienages are a more general term and is as absured to categorize them like you did as it is for geneologies. well almost! Attributing this ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at March 25, 2006 07:54 PM [permalink]:
AIS, You seem to contradict yourself. Indeed a myth is a possibility not only for the story of Purim, but also for the whole bible. Still, many myths hold some connection to actual events and I believe the Purim story to be much more accurate than the story of the garden of eden for example simply because there was less time for it to mutate. It's much recent on the alleged timeline. When I read your comment, I found it very peculiar that on one hand you call the story of Purim a myth, and on the other allow yourself to burst out to the open with statements about its origin, characters and relation, that have no grounds at all. Theories and subjective interpretations are also myths untill proven and you seem to forget that. Your only obsession is about reading. But what does it worth when you read wrong, conclude wrong or judge wrong? Examples? There you go, here are a few of your claims that can't be proven which you presented as facts or plausible and by these turned your own comment into a myth "just like" the story of Purim: 1) ["haman is a mythical character"] -How can you prove that? 2) ["The book is filled with historical inconsistencies"] -Well if you read so much I believe you can mention a few? 3) ["only historical figure there is teh king"] 4) ["A baylonian myth which recounts how the chief Babylonian deities Marduk and Ishtar defeated and replaced their Sumerian counterparts"] -Where is your proof that the connection isn't coincidental? 5) could have been addressed primarily toward Seleucides or Romans."] -Speculation? yes sir! ["There is even a mention in Apocrypha (book called usually as "The Rest of Esther) of Haman which calls him Haman the Macedonian"] Well now, I guess we really can't be sure (in the light of this) where he's really from.. Did you ever think of a reason why "The Rest of Esther" stayed "The Rest"? ["To use this to assert that Iran has succumbed twice etc is a bit ridiculous really. "] You can't prove or disprove the existance of these events and trying to interpret their origins too much is like becoming an Exobiologist just like you can't prove or disprove the existance of life on another planet. But the basis for a positive possibility of existance, both for these events and aliens, exists. I believe in the higher credibility of later events more than I do of earlier because of the detrition of quality in the time factor. And although I'd agree many facts there could've been distorted, theres no way the location would. It's just too big of a parameter in the story. To say the location was somewhere else would be like trying to claim the exodus was actually from Edom and not from Egypt. Bottom line is that whether this has some roots in real events, which I believe it does, it did happen in Persia. And now, rises in Persia a king, asking to wipe Jews. Second time that this kind of bullshit comes from Iran. That was my point. You made too much of a mess out of it. Besides of that: ["With the irony god and faith play on us, this Haman could be the very ancestor of mister Ahmadinejad. Don't you think?"] Thats what I said and we can't really verify something like this so it really doesn't matter if they are or aren't relatives. Apparently, if you don't write "CAUTION!!! I AM BEING CYNICAL" before the "controversial" sentence someones gonna take it personally. you read but don't understand. ["It's good you mentioned Neturai Karta because they seem to disagree with you about their message or that of the ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Shahrzad at March 26, 2006 03:37 AM [permalink]:

Iranian Student... you sound familiar, are you a gal or a guy?

Ron at March 26, 2006 10:40 AM [permalink]:

Off the topic really...but I have been curious whether govt. agents monitor websites like this for subversive activity. I really don't know the scope of govt. snooping in Iran, or whether they even care or not.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 28, 2006 04:02 PM [permalink]:
Ben, I will address the book of Esther and Neturei Karta, but first I want to correct one major misunderstanding here. Indeed I object to placing the blame on nations rather than groups. The issue is not numbers at all. Groups , the way I mean them, are identified with a set of ideas, goals and idologies. Nazis, islamists, communists, liberals.... all have identifiable agendas based on which they could be judged. A nation on the other hand is a much more complicated entity, identified by its history, land, common language and so on, not an agneda or ideology. So yes it is absurd to "blame" a nation for such things, while it is not necessarily so for a group with a specific ideology. The events that take place on the level of nations are too complex to be targets of blaming games. Many causes from very different origins must come together until events take place on a national or international level. I don't understand why you disagree. There are "groups" who push for violence. There are groups who are anti-semitic. There are groups who have a totalitarian agenda.... for complex and varied reasons such groups manage to get to power and commit crimes or wage wars. The blame goes on the perpetrators of those crimes, or those who fought for ideals that justify such crimes. To groups and individuals. Not to races, nations, countries, continents, or any other complex multifaceted ensembles of people. Is this so hard to understand? The reasons for WWI and II or for the rise of Nazis are varied and complicated. The same goes for the rise of islamism or communism. Why did Russia become communist? Or Germany Nazi? Iran an Islamic Republic or Afghanistan a Taliban state? Your world seems to be quite simple, I almost envy you: "They" were/are troublemaker nations. But who are "they" exactly, Ben? Jews born for generations in Germany, where they also part of the troublemaker German "nation"? Why not? Tell me, if German generals in WWI were a bit smarter or luckier and Germany hadn't lost the war, if the bankers in the US central bank were a bit smarter so the markets wouldn't crash in America, if Soviet Russian backed communist parties in Germany didn't paralyze the Weimar republic, if , if ... maybe Germany would have been the good nation in your book now, and who knows, maybe Hungary would have become the evil nation? or maybe France? They had the Dreyfuss affair, remember? Maybe the government who would have come to power in Paris amidst the mess after a hypothetical defeat in WWI would have been a bloody racist one, like the one Lupen is striving for today, and then they would have been the ones to send the Jews to camps in say, Algeria. Since the Jews would have been blamed as a "nation" for everything that went wrong in France? Are you really sure things wouldn't have evolved like that? Who are "They", Ben? How about Dissidents in Soviet Union? They were also part of the damned trouble maker "Red Commi Ruskis"? How about small landowners or farmers who were sent to Gulags? How about Iranian women who are beaten up by its Islamist regime. they are half of the "Iran" you consider as a trouble maker. (Or women in all Islamic countries for that matter?) How much of the blame goes to small childern who beg on the streets or wipe cars behind traffic lights? What is their role in this nation's second genocidal aims? how about the minorities? Dissidents? Atheists? Taxi drivers, how about them? What percentage of the blame goes to ta ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 28, 2006 07:20 PM [permalink]:
As for the Bible. Calm down. What is the matter? What is this about anti-Bible? Where did I say it is all nonsense? Why do you presume if something is not historical that it is nonsense? I am not anti-Bible. very much the reverse. I find it quite fascinating. Bible has a lot of historically valid information, especially when compared with other documents of its genre. It also has a lot of legends and myths. Why is this so surprising to you? There are two seperate issues here: 1) if the book is a work of fiction or a historically valid narration. 2) what are its origins. The book of Esther is believed by the majority of scholars to be a work of fiction, written in a much later date. The best assumption is around 100 BC which puts it in Greek times. As for its origins, the debate goes on. The book has the usual style of stories like 1001 nights. It is filled with exaggerations. The dates don't match. Mordechai and Esther couldn't have been alive in the time of Ahashverosh (Xerxes, Khahsyarsha) if taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar! There is NO account of such events in any historical document of the time, including historical sections of the Bible like Ezra and Nehemiah. there is evidence though of strife with samaritans and other peoples of the region after the resettlement of JEws in and around Jerusalem, teh building fo teh temple and the construction of walss around the city that also involved local rulers so that could have been a possible historical background. There is no record of a Vashti or an Esther, a Mordechai or a Haman in teh Perisn courts at all. there is howvere all teh similarities between the names and thsoe of babylonian and Elmaite/sumerian gods. (Humman, vasht or mashti). in Babylonian legends Ishtar and Marduk are also cousins. Hadassha is similar to a Babylonian word for "Bride" which was a title for Ishtar. Can they all be coincidence? yes they can. But there is a very good probability that there is a babylonian link and basis to teh story, especially since other major jewish festivities are based on similar festivities in the region based on agricultural pagan celebrations. See here as well. The assumption that later books of the Bible are more historical is not correct. Esther, Daniel. Job and Jonah are all later books of the Bible and they are all works of fiction. One other example is the book of Ruth. The most historical sections of the Bible are the books of Judges, Samuel and Kings. the five books of Torah (and the book of Joshuah which belongs to the same group but has been treated seperately becuase in it Moses is dead) contain a lot of historical facts but are mixed with legends and myth and finction as the basis of the predominent worldview of Judaism than as historical documents. the books of phrophets are from a different source and tradition usually and also contain a lot of historically valid informations though their concern is of course not history. The book fo Chronicles is also histoprical written probably by teh same author as Ezra and like it is more or less a historically valid book. As for Bibilcal writers view of Amalekites, this is not reading into their "intentions". The role of Amalek in the Bible is well known. Ask your Rabbi. Amalek is the anti-thesis of Israel and also according to rabbinic thought is behind all attampts to annihilate the Jews. See here too. Neturei Karta, well. I assume they know their own positions better than you. They also look l ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at March 29, 2006 07:22 AM [permalink]:
AIS, Following your comment from March 28, 2006 04:02 PM: ["Groups , the way I mean them, are identified with a set of ideas, goals and idologies"] When a decision maker (from either of us to a head of state) burden himself with too many obvious, insignificant, predictable and casual details: The bigger picture is missed. Your line between nations and groups also gets blurred in certain situations and thats why I think it's problematic. You could argue that a number of people is a group when narrowing the sampled idea that they share, however, when you change the subject, they disperse from being a group. Consider this: During WWII, Nazis and Japanese formed a coalition and cooperated. Does this mean they share the same ideal? Of course they don't. Besides that Nazis saw Japanese as inferior since they aren't of pure 'Aryan Blood' -bluntly another group. But the point of view of the observer is what matters. Being an American during that war, both Germans and Japanese form an 'Axis', a group, one front which against you'd fight. The diversion of division between Japan and Germany becomes secondary. So in general you'd combine them into one super-group and say: 'These guys hate me'. At this point, the distinction between the two sub-groups isn't necessary. Although it's possible, I don't wish giving more than one example and turning a complete paragraph into an examples backyard. The bigger picture is more important and the bottom line is that it really depends on your perspective whether a certain group, whether it's a nation or just 50 people can be attributed with catagorization. Our two approaches to that matter aren't that different if you think about it. I think the difference can be seen as your approach being from bottom to top and mine as top to bottom: You burden yourself with the sub-categorization of groups and find that the possibilities of grouping people are endless, then you justifiably claim that since a nation includes within itself alot of groups, it wouldn't be fair to generalize it as a group. I on the other hand first see the nation as a group and only then, only if necessary would harass myself with the issue of particular cases, individual people or outstanding groups within that certain nation. In both approaches perspective plays an important role, even in your approach, even if you won't admit it. And my point stands that I can choose to see Germany as a trouble maker since it was the birthplace for the forces that led the world into two major global wars. If I was a German, I would justifiably see the Nazis as the trouble makers rather than all Germans but that won't change the reality, that my nation, as a German, was unfortunately the greenhouse for evil troublemakers two times too many! From my own point of view, considering what the book of Ester says about Persia-Jews relations and also the latest remarks by the Iranian president, these were two times too much. Wretchedness in all its glory. Does it strike you as coincidence that same type of trouble making arise twice in Iran and another twice in Germany? I think not. "My world" isn't simple at all. I simplify it on purpose to see the bigger picture and then if necessary be distracted for the smaller and secondary issues. You on the other hand, can't seem to grasp the bigger picture although it's theoretically possible with your system, it seems to be too big for you. Here's an example for what I see as the problem with your grouping. Lets say you're ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at March 29, 2006 08:09 AM [permalink]:
AIS, In regards to your comment from March 28, 2006 07:20 PM: (I will address the Neturei Karta issue in additional comment) ["Bible has a lot of historically valid information, especially when compared with other documents of its genre. It also has a lot of legends and myths. Why is this so surprising to you?"] Not only that it's not surprising to me, I also stated that the bible is possibly consisted myths and some that had a connection to actual events in the first lines of my comment from: March 25, 2006 07:54 PM. But of course, right now, you'd be saying anything to discredit me when it suits you. Thank you very much! ["The book of Esther is believed by the majority of scholars to be a work of fiction, written in a much later date. The best assumption is around 100 BC which puts it in Greek times."] The funny thing is that every generation of 'scholars' think they got it right 'this time'. At some point in history, the 'majority of 'scholars' were sure the earth was flat. So what? My whole point in my previous comment which regarded that subject was that all the records you have of that period of the story that regard to that story are other stories. You're 'effectively' attempting to solve a 2 variables equation without a second equation. Being fed by same quality of sources to substantiate or disprove the "Book of Esther" will get you nowhere. You have no videotapes and nothing recorded electronically. Only the super-subjective reports of individuals that were super-subjected to degrition of quality because of the time that has passed. ["The book has the usual style of stories like 1001 nights. It is filled with exaggerations."] Thats a subjective opinion brought up in your attempt to undermine the book. Don't mix it with factual reasons. ["The dates don't match. Mordechai and Esther couldn't have been alive in the time of Ahashverosh (Xerxes, Khahsyarsha) if taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar!"] Now you're making a joke out of yourself.. Especially since you told me I lack the reading. Well, I did mine. Apparently you didn't do yours. There is no mention anywhere, ANYWHERE, that Esther was in captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. I dare you to find biblical references that say she was. Mordechai on the other hand could very well have been since the exile of the Jews was 70 years before the time of the story. He could've been a kid for all that matters. Do you agree that as a nephew Esther would've been much younger than him? AIS, you seem to be so over possessed in discrediting that story that you lose youself in hollow statements. ["There is NO account of such events in any historical document of the time, including historical sections of the Bible like Ezra and Nehemiah. "] Excuse me, that proves nothing. This sentence is pointless unless you mean to say that EVERY single one of the stories in the bible that hasn't got some account elsewhere is fabricated without connection to real events. ["There is no record of a Vashti or an Esther, a Mordechai or a Haman in teh Perisn courts at all."] You have their record in the book of Esther and you seem to claim a Persian records would substantiate events. At the same time you fail to explain why you'd consider Persian records to be reliable. Some scholar you are.. ["there is howvere all teh similarities between the names and thsoe of babylonian and Elmaite/sumerian gods. (Humman, vasht or mashti)."] This proves nothing since it's not uncommon to find people named after deities in Pa ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at March 29, 2006 08:42 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
As for Neturei Karta,
I already told you they are a loony cult. They only consists of 400 families in Jerusalem and about 1000 in the U.S. and probably aren't more than 10,000 people.
You seem reluctant to grasp the magnitude of the religious brainwash and you consider too much attention to their 'pearls of wisdom'.
The decree which attributes Amalek to Zionism was issued by one of their Rabbis called Weiss.
About many of their own decrees they disagree and fight because of the internal quarrels they are in. They are also divided amongst themselves into several factions (which the source for these are family trees and also divide caused by adherent to specific Rabbis). Some are less anti-zionist and would never consider Israeli Jews as Amalek.
Besides, the most 'unintellectual' thing you've done so far was to 'create' a connection between some Kartas calling Zionism Amalek, and the website you posted which includes interpretation to biblical references to Amalek which indicates Jews should kill those Amaleks who wish to annihilate them:
This was written by a Rabbi that has nothing to do with Neturei Karta and the only connection is in your own mind. Kartas aren't subjective to bible interpretations of Jewish Rabbis, I think they've already proven that very well.
My point also stands: They don't want to kill Jews. They want to dismantle the 'Zionist state'. Would you please be so kind and find me a reference where it's documented that they intent on killing? My prediction is that instead of finding me a reference you'll just excuse with something else and open another unnecessary topic...

["I can only assume that they know very well what that amounts to."]
You can't assume. They are crazy, just like the Iranian president. Same degree of insanity.
I'm telling you once again, they don't know who they're dealing with, they don't know who their friends are. These are people with a subjective-fanatic point of few about the bible which is closed within the borders defined by the founding Rabbis and which is taught to them from infancy.
You said they look grown ups to you, well, they aren't. A grown up mind has its own views of the world after it has gone through the process of learning. They never had that chance!

["Ahmadinezhad and his regime also demand the annihilation of Zionists. offically they have nothing against Jews either!"]
This is not true. The very essence of Islam is hating Jews (and being a pedophile if I may add) and last time I checked, Ahmadinajed was a Muslim.
You know yourself the statements regarding Zionism by Ahmadinejed are a veil to his intentions against Jews. Don't deny that. At least be fair.


["You can say all you want to white wash this, but the Neturei karta are calling for extermination."]
I see a distinction between what they mean when they say their statements and what their statements might cause.
Hamas leader in Palestinian T.V: "We will drink the blood of the Jews because their blood is the sweetest to a Muslim"
Can you match that with what Neturei Karta ever said?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 1, 2006 04:28 PM [permalink]:

Ben,

You still fail to see my main point. Yes you can group people in different ways, no arguing there. My point was how the groups are defined, by their agendas or other factors.
But I see a point. This is the way I could understand it:
Human society is partitioned into nations and there is sort of an unspoken agreement here that others won't care about the conditions of people and affiars in other nations than they would that of their own. So if one nation is in bad trouble it is more the responsibilty of its own members to set it right than others, even if for the membres it might involve great dangers and as high price, while as far as the "others" are concerned many little steps with no high price can provide big improvements. If you are born in a shitty one you have to pay the price no matter that you didn't create the conditiosn that way. That is more or less the way human society is working until now.
I undesranst it. It is not fair in its real sense but of course nothing is. That kind of fairness is a human ideal to strive for, not a feature of reality. people are born blind, with deseases, poor ... .
That explains teh general misery of one nation over the others and that is also the price of inaction of its members. But in catastrophies like the Nazis, Communists or Islamists, the crimes that are commited,. the genicidal features this goes beyond this ordinary level. Their rise is, as I said, the result of complicated "inter"-national events.
As for Iran, you keep citing Esther. It is no longer worthy of an answer if you like so much to insist on it. Fine. If it makes you feel better... .
The truth is, for others who might be interested in hearing it, Iran has had a violent history. You don't need one fictious record to make the point. there are countless others, of eyes bneing reaoped out and cities being sacked. But of course in reality non of them was a pre devised genocidal idelogical plan of extinction of one group. In that Iran has not that much experience, unlike the Europeans. Especially when it come to teh Jews. For such a violent history, the Jews were actually almost never targeted as the scapegoat as is usual in most places of the world- Not until these islamist bastard took the country hostage 26 years ago. That is what makes such comparisons even more irtrelevant and meaningless.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 1, 2006 05:41 PM [permalink]:
The Bible debate: You approach is incorrect. Here is your mistake: "Why are you so stubborn on arguing about something that I've already said: 1) Cannot be proven. 2) -hence a matter of opinion/belief." This is incorrect. Nothing can really be proven. The whole feature of science is to disprove, not to prove. Hnece if something is not proven, it does not follow that is a matter of opinion/belief. The question is something else altogether: Since you can't prove anything in the sense you mean(what is a prove? Maybe you should think about tah first. Proving is a bookkeeping affair, to arrange things that are equivalent to each other, so that if you accept one, the validity of others would follow. That is what proving is about. That is why it is never the issue for discovering the truth "out there". For that you make conjectures that are reasonable and look for evidence to "reject it". In the mean time, while they are not rejected, you start proving other statements that would follow "if" the initial claim was really "the truth", so that you equivalnce class can be increase in size. that would make applying your assumptions in different situations possible and it would provide more measures to reject the initial claims when the evidence is found. That's it.) So the right question at any point is this: given the diffrenet evidnce which of the possible "conjectures" is more reliable. Which one is the more rational to adopt. Now with this all you about the indterminacy of Esther becomes really irrelevant. Given the options it definitely more rational to reject the story of Esther as fiction that to accept it. the fact that neither can be 100% proven is completely irrelevant to thsi discussion. I found this remark in the light of what I said especially amusing: "["There is no record of a Vashti or an Esther, a Mordechai or a Haman in the Persian courts at all."] You have their record in the book of Esther and you seem to claim a Persian records would substantiate events. At the same time you fail to explain why you'd consider Persian records to be reliable. Some scholar you are.." you see Ben, we are debating the validity of the book of Esther in the first place! So the fact that the names arise in this book is of now help to us, don't you agree. One way the historicity of the book of Esther can be defended rationally is to find the same events, or something similar enough, retold in an independent source, a source without the whole pacakge of wordlview the Bible is written upon. It could be Persian or Greek for instance. This is common sense and ususla scientific and scholarly procedure and very rightly so. The fact that no other records has been found is very siginificant. If course if one is found tomorrow, then I will be willing to change my mind. that is also the feature of science and scholarly work, in conradistinctionto dogma, you change your view with the emergence of new evidence and results. That's aslo why scholars in later generations sometimes change their positions. There is no reason for deriding it as you did. (That is why your words are becoming more and more reminiscent of the approach of religious belivers who want to protect their faith against outside inconvenient doubts. I'm sorry to say this.) If you want to believe in it as historical, if it makes you feel better, Ben, go ahead. No one is stopping you. Just don't try to "excuse" it with such "arguments". One more point: You say: "You see, therein lies yo ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 1, 2006 06:00 PM [permalink]:

Nethurei karta,

You calim they don't understand what they are doing. Maybe you have telepathic powers to discern it. I don't know. To me they are grwon men and i acn only treath them based on their actions. Anyway all yous aid about their upbringing can be said about islamic fanatics as well. So what's your problm with them?
What you said about Islam and Jewish and mind reading technics are irrelevant. The Neturei Karta are asking for bloodshed and they knwo thsi very well. That's why they support the likes of Hamas and Ahmadinejad all the time.
As for Ahmadinejad and the regime, I can tell you this with confidence. If teh Jews did behave as Nethurei Karta want them to, as submissive second class dhimmis who wouldn't challenge anything including tehir huamn rights, the islamic republic of Iran would have nothig against them and won't bother them that much. Even now there are about 25000 to 30000 Jews living in Iran without being bothered. But they of course have to denounce Israel in every sentence they officialy utter and praise the revolution.
So I am not being dishonest here, it is honest truth. Neturei Karta and teh islamic republic of Iran share the same view towards Jews and Zionists and their relations. (There are more hardcore anti-jews, but they are not controled and not allowed to be part of the higher power elite in the system)


One more thing. Islam is a problematic religion because it is based on a dogma and demands faith in it. (that is what the name means). It si also a very violent religion and religious war is one of its foundations. So I am no fan of Islam. You can check all I have argued against it in this website from the past. But sucvh remarks as :
"["Ahmadinezhad and his regime also demand the annihilation of Zionists. offically they have nothing against Jews either!"]
This is not true. The very essence of Islam is hating Jews (and being a pedophile if I may add) and last time I checked, Ahmadinajed was a Muslim."
Are ridiculous and preposterous. (and quite funny :D)
Actually it sounds more and more like those gun-nuts american accented (as Shimon Peres once called them) fanatic nut case settlers' kind of sentence.

Sorry Ben, you are disqualifying yourself as a serous debater this way. I would like to use my time better than debate with people who use this kind of logic.
So please come back to rational arguments from now on.

Ben at April 5, 2006 04:04 PM [permalink]:
AIS, Following your comment about the bible debate from April 1, 2006 05:41 PM: First of all I would like to apologise the honest mistake I had for the two heroes relation and the timing. There are a few points of your argument I diagree with and will regard them ahead, but since they are mostly a matter of opinions they will only come second to the most important issue that holds this whole argument: Your basis claim which sounds logical for 'inconsistencies' in the book leaned on the impossibility that Esther and Mordechai lived in the time of Ahashverush if they lived during the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Only in your later comment you quoted the verses you rely on: ["This is what the Bible says: Esther Chapter 2: 5) In the fortress of Shushan lived a Jew by the name of Mordechai ben Jair ben Shimei ben Kish. a Benjaminite. 6) He had been exiled from Jerusalem with king Jeconiah of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar of babylon had carried away."] You see AIS, the problem which now in your quotation appears (problem which I noticed only after you quoted) is that of the translation: 1) The Hebrew word "ben" means "son". so the correct translation for this verse would be "In the fortress of Shushan lived a Jew by the name of Mordechai son [of] Jair son [of] Shimei son [of] Kish. a Benjaminite." 2) In the 6th verse the first word in your quote is "He" and thats an honest quotation to the English translated version. When I opened the book of Esther for verification I immediately noticed that the word "He" (in Hebrew: "Hu") isn't present at all. The first word in this 6th verse in the Hebrew version of the book of Esther is: "Asher". The English translation of this word is: "which" or "that". The connection between verses 5 and 6 is as follows: "ben Kish a Benjaminite which was exiled from Jerusalem" So you see, your whole argument is wrong. In that matter at least, there is no inconsistency. The bible gives the whole genealogy of Mordechai back to the time of his forefather Kish which was exiled by Nebuchadnezzar. Although you failed to find an inconsistency in this matter I'm sure you can succeed in finding one eventually. As I've said from the begining, I'm sure the bible is full of inconsistencies and twisted facts (for your delight) but even if you find a few, it doesn't disprove the stories relation to possible true events. Even the testimony of witnesses to a crime scene is sometime full of holes and it doesn't mean the crime never took place. ["It is more effective if you claimed that all the stuff about Nebuchadnezzar refers to Kish(!) and not to Mordechai. You have to twist and force read Esther 2:5 a bit. But when did a little twist here and there ever hurt a real religious apologist."] I couldn't claim that before because in general I agree the bible isn't exactly a book of facts and you didn't have to do much to convince me of possible inconsistency which btw I relied on your claim before you quoted the verses. Only when you directed me to these verses I saw the problem. As I've shown above, theres no need to force read or twist the story. The only twisted version of the story is the one in the translated languages. The word "He" dramatically changes the whole meaning of the 2 verses. The 'genius' which translated the 6th verse did a lousy job. No reading apologizing here. No sir.. I hope you see that because theres no possible way and no possible context or grammar that the word "Asher" could possibly mean "He". So I have a question ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at April 5, 2006 04:20 PM [permalink]:

AIS,
In regards to your comment from April 1, 2006 06:00 PM:

["Anyway all yous aid about their upbringing can be said about islamic fanatics as well. So what's your problm with them?"]
I've always said the Islamic fanatics are brainwashed. Do you agree?

You said that offically Ahmadinajed has nothing against Jews and is only against Zionism while we both know he hates Jews. In reality he, as a religious man of Islam is being ordered by his religion to hate Jews. That was point number 1, however, if you're going to make ridiculous claims about "officially"...
The pedophile mentioning just competes with the absurd attribution that you present his hate as officially toward Zionism only. What is official about his hate??? He officially hates Jews as well. He is an infamous holocaust denier, something the Neturei Karta selectively 'fail' to see, which by the way proves my point that they are not matures and for you not grown ups!
Oficially, Islam is a religion of hate toward Jews and a religion of pedophiles you said that such remarks were: ["ridiculous and preposterous. (and quite funny :D)"]. Well, can you explain why?
1) The Islamic scriptures are filled with hate toward Jews.
2) Since Muhammad married a child there are many Muslims in the world today doing the same thing to justify his deed. Last time I checked, someone which is having sex with a child is called a pedophile. And I don't think that after they marry these little girls they wait till they turn 18. Do you?
How many girls in the Islamic world were put to death for being raped by men that were influenced by legitimization Islam preaches to pedophiles?
Islam preaches it's followers that Pedophilia is OK. No question about it.

Not only this isn't funny.. It's sad!
So if you want to call me "fanatic nut case settlers" just for saying the truth, be my guest.. But you can't change facts...
So when you say:
["Sorry Ben, you are disqualifying yourself as a serous debater this way. I would like to use my time better than debate with people who use this kind of logic. So please come back to rational arguments from now on."]
The only one whos being disqualified is you because both these two issues I mentioned are true and are relevant to your own preposterous remark.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 8, 2006 04:05 AM [permalink]:
Ben, Yes. The Hebrew original uses "asher", but attributing this to Kish instead of the original Mordechai about whom the Bible was talking is not the natural reading. The format of: "X son of Y son of...son of Z [of the tribe of T] did something" is very common in the Bible and in all cases the "X son of Y son of ...son of Z" part is one unite which serves as the full introduction of X. Furthermore it is to X that the consecutive verb refers (and not to Z). Here, let's do an experiment. Here are a few of instances of the general formula. let's read them all to get the hang of this and then decide: Numbers (b'midbar) 16: 1) Now Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, betook himself along with Dathan ... to rise up against Moses.... Joshua 7: 1) The Israelites however violated the proscription: Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of that which was proscribed, and the LORD was incensed... Joshua 17: 3) Now Zelophehad son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh- there were no sons for him, but only daughters Judges (Shoftim) 10: 1) After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to deliver Israel and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim 2) and he led Israel .... Samuel 1 : 1) There was a man from Ramatam of the Zuphites, in the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite and for him were two wives, one named Hannah.... Esther 2 : 5) In the fortress Shushan lived a Jew by the name of Mordechai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, 6) who had been exiled from Jerusalem in the group.... No wonder that prior to modern historical discoveries that have set the kings in their correct historical order this verse has always been interpreted, during all the years and by all learned men of the faith, as referring to Mordechai (hence also the classic English translation I used last time). You had thought so too before all this, because that is the "popular" account you have heard since childhood. Where do you think that account came from and why was it the popular one? The writer could have specifically mentioned Kish in the next verse to avoid confusion. That has been done in the Bible in many other places. I think this debate has already become unnecessarily too technical. The main point is simple. The historical confusion (or the possibility there of) is just one clue. There are many others. For instance the similarity of the Purim custom celebrations with similar festivities in this time of year in the region, especially ancient Babylonia and ancient and modern Persia. Or the unexpected easiness with which this feast was accepted, although it was decreed by a winner of sex contest and a vizier. This is highly improbable since there is no mention of Purim in the Mosaic law. (compare it with Hanuka which is up to this day frowned upon one way or the other by religious and rabbinic authorities). Much more probable is the possibility that the Jews were already celebrating this pagan feast many years before this book was finally written, perhaps to somehow bring the feast in the orthodox mainstream view of the Bible. (Christian did the same with Easter, Muslims with pilgrimage to Mecca). Then there is all the exaggerations (a feast lasting 6 months?!), the literary parallels of the story. All the similarities between the events and characters to those ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 8, 2006 04:18 AM [permalink]:

A question BTW:

Before you asked me to give references. Then after I gave you one among a myriad (and from the Jewish Encyclopedia for that matter), you reply with something like what do scholars know anyway?
If that is your opinion, why do you ask for references? What would they be good for?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 8, 2006 07:25 AM [permalink]:
Ben, there is difference between Islam, Muslims and Islamism. Muslims are people, human beings, individuals each different from the other. They are not a homogeneous crowd . Such coarse grained generalisations lead us nowhere. Many of them view Islam as a set of traditional rituals and really nothing more. (That's why they could still be decent human beings and not ideological Islamic fascists) This is important since Islam is "transferred by birth as well as conversion. Islam is trickier. It is a religion. As a human cultural product it has various contradictory features, evolving and changing through history. As I said before, it is violent to its core, and it demands absolute surrender from its followers. That is its inner logic, but here is the catch: we are not bound by it. So from afar you can ask, absolute surrender to what exactly? It is a historically changing phenomena, with a rigid and problematic inner logic. Hating Jews is not an essential feature of Islam. This is neither correct in principle nor supported by facts of history. During the middle ages Jews lived in better conditions in Islamic lands than they did in Christian ones. In Spain, in Muslim Perisa and Egypt , in Ottoman empire, they lived in certain periods of times in relatively good conditions. (I am not denying discrimination, just showing that "hating Jews" was not an essential feature of Islam). Jews are a problem in Islam, as in Christianity (and actually less so than in Christianity since it was not so directly linked to it). That's because Islam acknowledges the Jewish version of history before its own emergence and then deviates from it. So Judaism is a potential threat to the foundations of Islamic claim to originality. But this is a different thing than "hating Jews as an essential feature". Such claims of originality need not be the main obsession of the majority of its adherers at any given time. Finally Islamism is the notion, ideology and basis of action, that Islam is not just a set of normal moral codes or a historical product but the absolute truth and more importantly the (only correct) alternative to every other worldview and practice in the world today. Indeed I'd agree that this is taking the essential claims of Islam to its logical limit, so in a sense you can say signatures of Islamism are already present in Islam. But it is still an emergent phenomena from Islam and not identical to it. It is perhaps the only logically consistent interpretation of Islam, which is capable of functioning a fundamental (modern) ideology. But as I said again Islam in reality, for those of us who are outside of it and can study it in its real form (contrary to what it claims to be ) a contradictory human historical product with myriads of faults and shortcomings. So a logical consistent ideological rendering of it is not really the same thing as itself! (That is the fascinating paradox. Moreover to see this you have to be outside of it !) Take your accusations of pedophilia. In Muhammad's time and culture it was probably not seen as a perversion. So in reality pedophilia need not be an essential feature of Islam in any sense, only a side issue that is carried on because it was present at its inception and got mixed into it. However for an Islamist (as well as a sexual pervert looking for excuses), the need for logical consistency + absolute faith in -non-historical and transcendental truth of Islam makes any action of its prophet not only legit ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 8, 2006 08:10 AM [permalink]:
Neturei Karta yet again Look, I understand your main point: Jews can't be Jew haters the way say Islamists can, mainly because they themselves are Jews. OK, there is some point in this. Yet reality and human nature are much more subtle than this relatively naive picture. Judaism , this is a simple personal model if you like, functions among human society and norms the same way Goedel undecidable statements act within formal systems. It can't be categorized completely by outside categories from its own and yet among all the myths, pros and cons, negative and positive sides, shortsigtednesses and deep thoughts, along its volatile historical journey, it does contains after all a certain essential truth that can't be pinpointed easily, a vision about the human condition that can't perhaps be formalized in any other way. So, if this picture contains any truth, one corollary would be that Jews comprise neither a religion nor a nation in the usual sense of the word. Therefore belonging , from a national point, by birth for example, does not necessarily precludes one from being an against that main fuzzy feature that really demarks it, The same goes for the religious aspect, the cultural aspect etc. Look at it this way. Being so hateful towards Israel in the case of Neturei Karta to actively collaborate and spiritually to support its fatal enemies is evidence for such deep perversion that , IMHO,it at least makes up for a big part of their lack of direct and hostile violent attacks on it. You want to attribute this to immaturity. I see something more sinister, something that shares the essence of anti-semitism. Lets approach it differently: (These are difficult grounds so bear with me) What groups are considered as part of this long historical identity (Jews) at any given time ? The answer can and does change. So think about this: A group is considered part of the Jews at some time. Maybe in the future and in retrospect it wouldn't be considered so anymore. In that case and in retrospect , could we assign the actions it undertakes against "the rest of" Jewry (of its time and "all of" Jewry of this future world) as "outside" antisemitic aggression? How out of line should it be to justify such a look? Example: Christians were Jews at the beginning of the religion, comprising a Jewish sect. Now of course not any more for a long time. Do you agree that Christianity has been one of the major sources of antisemitism in human history? Take Shaul of Tarsus for instance, He is usually known as St. Paul. In his time he was considered a Jew of course. This is part of his second epistle to Thessalonians: Thess 2: 14) For ye brethren became followers of the church of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews. 15) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men. 16) Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. Of course what he meant by Jews back then were the Pharisees who comprised one of the movements, While after the destruction of the Temple and lal ter bloody wars up to Bar Kochba finally lead to Pharisees and Rabbis to be the Jews. Was Paul antisemitic? The same can be said of some of Jesus comments about Pharisees as well. On the other side, for the too ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at April 8, 2006 11:31 AM [permalink]:
AIS, In regards to your comment from April 8, 2006 04:05 AM: As you've brought up the examples from Numbers, Joshua, Judges and Samuel, I've checked them with my Hebrew bible and it seems the word 'Asher' or any equivalent which would attribute the continuation of the sentence to the forefather does not exist. That makes the verse from the book of Esther unique to the examples from the other books and you can't throw it in the same pile. The 2 verses from the book of Esther are connected with the word 'Asher' that in the context of the sentence can be translated into 'whom' in English and actually this is one of the direct translation from the dictionary. Also I'd like to remind you there's (in the Hebrew version) no need to force read or twist. It's very clear the 6th verse refers to Kish. Actually, you have to force read it to say it refers to Mordechai. In the English version it's the opposite. In the past people used tribal relation and forefathers mentioning to regard a persons identity and so the examples you presented are very common in the bible, but they also have nothing to do with the verses from the book of Esther we disscussed above because you must change them (in the Hebrew version) if you wish that they'll sound like something that can be compared to the last verse you quoted, the verse from the book of Esther. From my point of view, the argument has become pointless because I may not be a biblical scholar but I do know my own language and the 6th verse of Esther chapter 2 refers to Kish. No doubt about it. I'd advise you to even not exclusively count on me. Go and ask a sample of say 3-5 Hebrew speaking people, maybe you can find them in your university or closest synagog. Maybe you can find them over the Internet. I will give you that: In English it really sounds as if the 'He' refers to Mordechai and for that I trust your mistake was honest and not intentional. I just hope you can understand it and climb down from your tree. I don't even ask for your apologies. ["as referring to Mordechai (hence also the classic English translation I used last time). You had thought so too before all this, because that is the "popular" account you have heard since childhood. Where do you think that account came from and why was it the popular one?"] Incorrect. It's not the popular account I heard from childhood. The kiddie versions of the biblical stories here are very slim and don't refer to the details. Just to the main story. Only when you brought up the verses did I see the grammar-context problem. Before that point I only relied on your words, counting on you to be balanced and fair. That was then. However I would admit, I never expected that the English version would be misleading, which in turn, made your misguided thesis 'possible' and in your words: 'popular'. ["The writer could have specifically mentioned Kish in the next verse to avoid confusion. That has been done in the Bible in many other places."] This is ridiculous. Tell me you didn't expect the writer to put a notice at the end of the verse. You simply don't understand that the word "Asher" doesn't have an exact translation into English. Sure the dictionary might have one, but the meaning changes according to the structure of grammar that the rest of the sentence has: before and after the word. The word 'Asher' binds the 6th verse with Kish rather than Mordechai, thus, turning your suggestion of clarification in the next verses by the writer: irrelevant! Besides, t ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at April 8, 2006 11:40 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
And my answer to your 'btw' question from April 8, 2006 04:18 AM:

You asked me this:
["Before you asked me to give references. Then after I gave you one among a myriad (and from the Jewish Encyclopedia for that matter), you reply with something like what do scholars know anyway?
If that is your opinion, why do you ask for references? What would they be good for?"]

AIS, you're taking it a bit out of the rightful context. Why? first of all, I didn't ask for references of scholars. When I asked you for references I said this: ["that Esther was in captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. I dare you to find biblical references that say she was."]
So you see, I explicitly asked for things that are written in the book of esther and not what scholars think.
Scholar have many a different opinions and you can't really be sure which one is completely true so I rely on scholars in a very limited way and I don't trust them always.
So when you brought references of scholars and analysts instead of reference of actual verses that I asked for, I said this:
["At some point in history, the 'majority of 'scholars' were sure the earth was flat. So what?"]
And not only this is true to the past, I believe that even today, alot of the things we -think- we know are not true and in the future will be discovered as errors.
My answer is that I asked for references from the scriptures themselves. You brought something I didn't ask for. At all.
When later, you did quote verses, it was in English with a crude and apparent mistranslation from the Hebrew bible.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 14, 2006 04:57 PM [permalink]:
Ben, Just some points of clarification: 1- Asher: I know what asher means and I know the sentence in the original Hebrew (thank you very much): "ish y'hudi haya b'Shushan habirah u'shmo Mordechai ben Yair ben Shim'i ben Kish ish y'mini asher haglah m'irushalayim 'im-hagola asher hagleta 'im Y'chaniah melech-Y'huda asher haglah N'vuchadnetsar melech Bavel." And it sounds the same as in English. It is simply not true that in Hebrew the "asher" can only refer to Kish and not to Mordechai. Not at all. As I said and gave examples, actually the normal reading would attribute it to Mordechai (as all the sages before modern times did!) and yes, the other verses I gave didn't have , each had a different predicate sentence structure, but they all shared the (relevant) common attribute that the predicate referred to the name of the person himself and not his ancestor. It is easy to show you wrong. for example the Talmud goes in detail and explains how Vashti , the queen of Achashverosh, is the granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar. According to the Rabbis of the Talmud her father Belshatzar inherited the throne of Babylon from his father, Nebuchadnezzar and ruled briefly after his death. The chronology of the three Babylonian kings is given in the Talmud as follows: Nebuchadnezzar reigned forty-five years, Evil-merodach twenty-three, and Belshazzar was monarch of Babylonia for two years, being killed at the beginning of the third year on the fatal night of the fall of Babylon (Meg. 11b). [Link] (which passes well with Mordechai being teh exile, Esther his very young daughter and Vashti also the daughter of the last king of Babylon (according to the Rabbis, Belshazzar was not actaully the last king) "R. Simeon b. Nahmani, when he came to lecture, began his lecture with the passage [Is. lv. 13]: ...Vashti the wicked, who was granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, who had burnt the house of God, shall rise Esther the upright...." (Tract. Megilla. Chapter 1. Page 23) [link] "The king [ie. Achashverosh] was the stable boy of Vashti’s father King Nebuchadnezzar” (Megillah 12b, babylonian Talmud) [link] (I leave the math again to you to see how old (and sexy) she would have been at the party, if we take the historical order and dates as well as your version of Kish being the exile from Jerusalem!!) This of course only makes sense if the Talmud assumes Mordechai to have been the exile in Nebuchadnezzar's time. Esther is the young cousin of Mordechai, and Vashti is the granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar who exiled the then young Moredechai. SO contrary to your claim that the sentence in the original Hebrew can only be read as you did, the learned Rabbis of the Talmud didn't do that ! but it is more than that. The Rabbis were especially sensitive to the nuances of the Bible, the verbs used and so on. They were so sensitive that even a simple repetition of a verb meant something special to them. There are many examples. The separation of dairy and meat foods , not just in eating, but in cooking and keeping, is derived because the relevant sentence in the Torah had been repeated more than once. There are many more examples. I give you another example about Pesach which should be one of these days now. There was a whole debate about the number of cups of wine to drink at the Pesach Seder by the Rabbis. Each cup of wine corresponded to a verb in a related verse in the Bible. They couldn't decide whether the number of proper verbs were 4 or 5. So t ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 14, 2006 05:03 PM [permalink]:

Corrections:
-Yes, the other verses I gave didn't have exactly the word "asher" in them...

-Esther his very young cousin

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 14, 2006 06:07 PM [permalink]:

One more:
the last king of Babylon (according to the Rabbis, Belshazzar was not actaully the last king)

I mean According to Rabbis, Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon. Historically that is not correct. (Nebunid was the last king)

Just a clarification.

chris at April 18, 2006 04:49 PM [permalink]:

What worries me about this entire "crisis" involving Iran's nuclear ambitions is that it feeds right into the Bush administration's hands. It's really a "no-lose" situation for them in this election year. If Iran "backs down" now, the Bush administration can claim it was their "leadership" that made Iran do so. If Iran DOESN'T back down Bush can claim there is a genuine foreign policy and "security" crisis that Democrats are ill- suited to deal with. "Security" then becomes a major issue in the '06 Congressional campaign and election and many Americans, not wanting any major changes while in a "war footing," will mindlessly put Republicans back in office. I wish Iranian leaders understood this a little better. At the very least their timing is suspect. If I could speak with them I'd tell them, "PLEASE wait until after November to start all the blustering!" You're handing Bush and the Republicans an opportunity that they will surely pounce on.

Ron at April 18, 2006 10:16 PM [permalink]:

Chris,

If your biggest concern regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions is who will sit in Congress then I envy you. Some of us in Tehran and Tel Aviv have things like, oh I don't know, nuclear holocaust to worry about...

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 19, 2006 04:19 PM [permalink]:

Indeed. Very well said Ron.

Ben at April 23, 2006 05:31 PM [permalink]:
AIS, You said you don't agree with force reading but it's force reading if you want 'Asher' to refer to Mordechai. It wouldn't be forced if there was a comma just before it but there isn't. Punctuation was added later and even then, no one put any before the Asher, it begins a new verse (which isn't like a new sentence). The "son of" examples you gave are irrelevant to the 'Asher' debate. None of them even have the same structure (or equivalent word to Asher), only the "son of" relation and that doesn't prove/disprove any claims, mine or yours. ["SO contrary to your claim that the sentence in the original Hebrew can only be read as you did, the learned Rabbis of the Talmud didn't do that ! but it is more than that. The Rabbis were especially sensitive to the nuances of the Bible, the verbs used and so on. They were..........is flat wrong! that's all.)"] AIS, religious decrees about separation of meat and milk (Kosher debates also of other foods), number of wine glasses in Pesach Seder, the order of the Seder itself and many other issues weren't just fixed by Talmud scholars and actually have differences between Jews of various origins. Especially between Ashkenaz and Sepharad Jews but you of course aren't aware of this because if you were, you would've never tried to claim of absolutism in the interpretations of the nuances in the Bible by learned Rabbis of the Talmud. So by adding custom made punctuation you could force read the verse as refering to Mordechai as you want, the question is if you want to, but remember that even the writings of the Talmud were differently interpreted by Jews from different places in the world. My reading of the verse is common sense, there's nothing flat wrong with it and I already told you to ask others. Only flat thing here is your superficial understanding of this matter I'm sorry to say. Indeed the Rabbis might have never noticed a problem that isn't there and probably because they understood the chronology better than you, why don't you catch a learned one and present him with these ridiculous riddles of yours? Honestly, they might give you a better understanding of this matter and save you the trouble of googling time and again and bringing me explanations from "Online Jewish encyclopedia" that have very little to do with our debate and cause you to open new sub-debates that are irrelevant and useless. ["So, for you the place and the plot are historically certain, other stuff (that are perhaps problematic to your insistence) could be myth or ornaments..."] Well, it seems that you don't really read my comments so maybe if I repeat it'll sink better: I said it's a sure outcome of mixed myths with historical events, mutual cultural influence and quality detrition through the time before the stories were written, that you'll have nuances between the story as it's being told in the bible and the real even (if it happened) and yes, that would create ornaments as well, and not because they're problematic for me, but for the whole story and most of which would probably be the outcome of the storyteller himself. You seem be very good at keeping your head in a squere position and make good use of the abundant studies about the subject that were done before you were born.. You're a great quoter -I'll give you that, But in the process you lose any objectivity and legitimacy because you never make your own analysis of the verses and stay satisfied with the studies that can if twisted support your theory. "[Y ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at April 23, 2006 05:53 PM [permalink]:

chris the herbs are used to make tea! not for smoking!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 26, 2006 06:03 AM [permalink]:

Ben,

I have made a very clear case about your claims. It is simple really.
You claim the book is historically valid, In order to do that you claim the verse that is histoically ridiculous has to be read differently and you claim further that that is the only way someone who knows and speaks Hebrew would read it. I showed you Rabbis of the Talmud who (all) read it the other way.
I gave you quotes which clearly suggest Achashverosh was a young stableworker of Nebuchadnezzar who was Vashti's father.
I gave you quotes that take Nebuchdnezzar to be her grandfather and great grandfather. (and yes, as far as I know, and it might not be as much Talmud is a vast corpus of work, it is fullof debates and disagrements in which each major Rabbi character acts as an independent schoold o thought and interpretation of the points in each debate. What is your point? what is the relevence?)

That is that. As far as I am concerned the issue is settled.
The book of Esther a work of fiction, is the only viable rational alternative to ba adopted unless under teh very unlikely event that clear and direct historical and archealogical evidence are found to corroborate the story.

Just as a last point. Th emain issue of discussion here is something deeper. You are arguing as a believer here. (you moreor less assume teh book is divinley inspired, eventhough you might not agree with the tradinioal orthodox view of its being in every letter, the direct word of God.)
Personallu, I find manything in the Bible and its tradition (liek Talmud, Zohar etc.) intellectually inspiring, ingenious and wirthwhile. But I shall never understand, how it is possible to "adopt" a tradition ( any tradition Judaism, Islam, Chrsitianity, ect.) as a "religion", to "live by it" , or to have "faith" in it. I can't understand it. It is beyond me! (Though I find the study of the (group) psychology of people who evidently do this quite fascinating!)
The only tardition I can "adopt" really is the critical tradition that is anathema to observing any particular "religion".
(I don't mind you or others being differnet, as long as your "religions" to do not threaten my way of life).

So that is the core of the debate. You come with a bias, you ask for the Bible to be "disproved" before you accept anything.
I know of this approach very well as I said before and it is rationally undefendable.
Bibel (or anyother specific religious tradition for that matter) make specific claims about events. The burden of proof is on them. This is the only viable rational, critical conclusion.

This is (probably) my last post on this issue. It has long become quite repetative and a bit boring to tell the truth)

Mohammad at April 27, 2006 04:18 AM [permalink]:

good post, Arash. what is stick with two gold ends in persian

Ben at April 27, 2006 07:00 PM [permalink]:
["I have made a..........is the relevence?)"] AIS, You never made a clear case simply because I had no claims as far as it goes for the absolutism of the validity especially of details (details that you tried to disprove), especially these that can rot. (mind you I insist the place and basic plot, the one you can sum in 4-10 words can't rot) I said that I believed the story was based on real events and I can't prove that no more than you can disprove and for that it's a matter of belief really. and not necessarily belief in the religion of that book but a belief that the basic documentation in the book is countable and especially when it goes for more later events. Because of the impossibility to prove/disprove, today, whether a certain event happened at a distant point in history without solid evidence, your attempt to disprove the story is ridiculous even more when you use verses from the same book (Bible) to disprove one of the books thats in the bible (!) If you claim the validity of the book of Esther is in question, then who says the other books are true enough to help you make conclusions? But most hilarious and similar was your use of Talmud interpretations that were written more than 1500 years ago: so on the one hand you claim an event from about 2500 years ago never happened and on the other you claim validity to teachings of about 1500 years ago, seems to me you lost your consistency there.. O.o The verse in debate can be easily edited to be read in more than one way with minor punctuations that could've been omitted in time but today they aren't there and thats a fact... If you want to force read it into something else thats your choice, sometimes there is a need to force read something with errors in it to find the meaning but I don't think it's the case here and so your version seems mistranslated. Now, theres a need to clarify something. Trying to show you that with your own examples, things can be understood differently, that you arrogantly jump into conclusions and that you only refer to what you think supports your idea I might've seemed religious to you while I'm not even close to being one. My root point was that you can't tell whether a story from 2500 years ago did or did not happen. Thats valid for anything, not just biblical research. I don't know if you're updated to the new findings of the new Judas gospel but from a strict historical point of view this poses many dilemmas to the validity of that gospel or the others. If anyone argues about these issues and no matter from which side of the counter that would be a total waste of time because none of these historical events can be absolutely proved or disproved. That turns any references you can make to a certain Talmud teachings or Persian documentation (if exists): useless. And it also corresponds with my other point that fields such as biblical studies, history and also literature and arts: never were, are not and never will be real science. One more thing: I didn't claim the book was historically valid. I said the plot in it probably has some connection to real event that has happend. The book is much wider than the basic plot, don't put words I never said in my mouth, it's wrong and not the only time you did it! I can count more than 3-4 times (without being meticulous) where you put words I didn't say or mistook me for someone I'm not. That's insulting and also very transparant that you needed to use that as a ground for the reset of any given paragraph ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 13, 2006 08:45 PM [permalink]:

Ben,
i didn't intend to continue this debate by repeating what I am saying.
but I saw this video by chance and its method and issues reminded me so much of our debate (and your objections!) that i couldn't resist linking to it here. :)
You see, you are right. I can't make the case the way you want it. No one can about any really meaningful and significant issue, because making a case that way is irrelevany, means nothing and proves nothing either. It is all about ratioanl and criotical decisions on what to reject and what to (for the time being accept) among rival explanations . ALWAYS.

Dr. Hovind 1

Dr. Hovind 2

Dr. Hovind 3


(Anyway I invite everone who feels depressed or down and needs some comic relief to take a look. The poor guy in teh video is evidently dead serious in his claims and accusations, but the whole things turns out to be just such an awfully amazing stand up comedy! enjoy. :)

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 13, 2006 08:49 PM [permalink]:

Sorry the first link was faulty. Here is teh correct one:

Dr. Horvit 1

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 13, 2006 08:56 PM [permalink]:

uurgh... horVIND...whatever! (who cares?)

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 14, 2006 01:53 AM [permalink]:

One more remark just to avoid misunderstanding:
Ben I didnot intend this as an insult or for making fun and I am not calling you a creationist or degrading you to that level. On the contrary, by using something as obviously wrong and meaningless as the standpoint of a creationist I basically want to show that some of your objections and expectatiosn of a "scientific" theory constitute the wrong approach to science and critical thinking.

Ben at May 15, 2006 10:25 AM [permalink]:

AIS,
Regarding your first remark: ["but I saw this video by chance and its method and issues reminded me so much of our debate (and your objections!)"]
And regarding your second remark: ["by using something as obviously wrong and meaningless as the standpoint of a creationist I basically want to show that some of your objections and expectatiosn of a "scientific" theory constitute the wrong approach to science and critical thinking"]

Let me say this: You come out of an assumption that biblical study is a science or a study that scientifically proved a certain base points on which you stand and that I 'have objections' to just as creationists have objections to scientifically proven facts.
That is hardly the case. Biblical study isn't a proper science and had never produced any facts for me to oppose/object to.
On the other hand, Creationists object to the study of the theory of evolution, which is an induction derived from biology which in turn is a real hard and tengible science.

Creationists claim against evolution because they fear it as a rival religion when it's not.
They also (as can be seen in the somewhat comical video) object calling evolution a fact because (they claim that) there are no evidence to support it and they call it a lie.
But we do have linked fossils and DNA connections between species that in effect are the hard evidence that evolution did happen, is happening even today and also can be initiated artificially by man.
In our discussion about the book of Esther neither of us had tangible evidence - to prove or to disprove and however I objected your views, I never called you a liar.
So I don't see how this video is relating to our debate and I cry out loud that theres no relation or similarity between my objections to your views and the objections creationists have to evolution theory. On the contrary, according to my long and detailed view in this chain, Creationists haven't got much in their hands to support their views (neither do atheists) because you can't tell whether something happened thousands of years ago without hard evidence and you also can't disprove it..
I can, however, assume you post it out of your theophobia which originates in deep frustration from your Iranian friends and I can understand that but I don't go any further trying to analyze your psychology like you do to religious people and I'm glad to be and declare myself to be neither in your belief system or the religous one.

AIS, the bible sometimes tells about what God did - miracles and magic and sometimes tells about events that happen between people. I tend to believe more to the later kind and never take anything for granted.
If a creationist would come today in this blog and say God created earth and all living things in 6 days I'd object his claim by presenting him with the same arguments and objections I used to reply your comments although your comments advocated to atheism.
My point of view is universal and object giving absolute dependability to creationism or to atheism and you fail to see that. Maybe on purpose (?) I don't know.. But you take advantage of that to accuse me of being with the religious side when I'm not. And that is insulting because I generally object their views.

P.S
If you feel depressed or down (which is the same thing) click HERE .

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 15, 2006 11:56 AM [permalink]:

Ben,

No I dodn't mean this link yo accuse you of being with the religious side, I think I said that before. I linked it because I stll think some of the objections you made are of a similar nature to the objectios the guy makes against evolution in a different context of course , and none of this is religious (like all the talk about lack of "good enough facts" to support the theories or that "scientist"s ("scholars") all sorts of things but none of them is fact (which is tryue but irrelevant), etc . (his reasons for making such objections is because of his reIigious fundamentalist beliefs, but that is not the only reason to make them) I agree that you can't "disprove" a certain event, but again this is not about "proving" something as a fact. Like the rest of science it is basically sophisticated and critically enhancing guesswork. You say your objections are not similar, I stll see many similarities.

As I said before I didn't mean it as an insult what so ever. I'm sorry if you were insulted. That was not the intention.

You are right about frustration with religious thinking. But it can be seen differently too. Maybe we who have seen religion at work and all its conssequences are more serious and sensitive to its follies even where it is not so obvious for someone who has lived in a free socity.

Anyway the guy was funny, wasn'y he? The audience were actually even more funny!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 15, 2006 12:10 PM [permalink]:

BTW, I see this all the time:

"My point of view is universal and object giving absolute dependability to creationism or to atheism"

and of course it does not make any sense at all. That's why i don't like this word atheist. It is not really meaningful. To show that the assumption of the need for a "god" to explain stuff is illogical and unnecssary, that it actually doesn;t explain anything, has no meaningful contribution to make to any discussion or research of thi nature, it does not make you an "atheist" or any other "..ist". it ust makes you a rational critical person. To give a meaningles label like atheist (assuming that now you "believe" there is no god) is perhaps a good psychologucal tactic but not a legitimate one.
Also saying that one is agnostic about teh "existance" of god is also not that logical as it sounds. What does existence mean at all when it comes to god? The issue is clear, either an explanatory blackhole like god adds a meaningful dimension to any explanation of the origins of the world or it is just there to suck in the ignorance about as yet not well explained phenomena. There is no two ways about it once you phrase the situation correctly without the use of isms and "believe" and all that.
Well it does NOT. If you want to use god in any part of an explanation, why bother with taht explanantion in teh first place? just say god did it and it was his/her will. god is the notion to un explain anything!
That's why all thsi talk of intelliginet design or seing the hand of god in fine tuning in big bang etc are such silly nonsenses. If you want god to be in the picture, why bother with all teh other complicated theories? he/she wanted it. simple! have you explained anything? of course not!

But nice try Ben. :)

Ben at May 16, 2006 10:18 AM [permalink]:
AIS, It's very easy to find similarities between anything and everything with a bit of imagination and you're doing it great. Your points of comparative interest in our discussion and the argument of the creationist in the video are too abstract and bluntly ignore the major differences between us. The guy in the video object to conclusions that are based on proven science. My objections were to your assumptions and theories which aren't based on any science and my same objections can be used to counter the claims of someone religious like this guy from that video. His objections are specialized for his own agenda. Mine are universal and general. I don't understand why you call him fundamentalist because your scale of definition doesn't make sense to me: If he is fundamentalist to you, then what are people that are willing to kill for their religion? would you add a 'super' before the fundamentalist? You said: ["I agree that you can't "disprove" a certain event, but again this is not about "proving" something as a fact"] Why do you change your opinion now so deep into the discussion? You did try to disprove the book of Esther.. ["Like the rest of science it is basically sophisticated and critically enhancing guesswork. "] Yes, theres alot of guesswork in science but in all sciences in the end, the guesses are proven one way or the other and confirmed if they are true. This is another way to show how biblical studies are so different than real science.. In biblical studies, You'd never be able to confirm any guess you did during the guesswork phase unless you find a hard evidence. And that is very rare. You should pounder on that.. I think you still regard this abstract and impractical field of study as real science.. You said: ["Maybe we who have seen religion at work and all its conssequences are more serious and sensitive to its follies even where it is not so obvious for someone who has lived in a free socity."] I don't agree with the seperation you're doing between 'religious' vs 'free society'. It's completely possible to form a religious AND free society. The U.S has proven that very well. Today it's less religious but if you consider a few dozens of years back in time the chunk of religious there was higher and the society was still free. Maybe you're perception of religious people got biased because of the 'religious' people in your country. The only problem is that Islam is not a real religion, hence, its followers aren't real religious people.. A very good article convinced me that Islam is in effect a cult. That makes its followers cultists in every aspect. To read article click Here. The article is probably biased but I must agree with alot of what it says and concludes. Most of it is common sense. In any case, today, Islam has already formed an accepted name of religion and so for the sake of politically correctness issue I guess it doesn't do much harm if you keep calling it a religion. No one can change its status today. But I'd like to ask you to keep in mind that there are crazy people in all religions and in a cult like Islam, when you combine it with born lunatics you get an explosive recipe.. Literally! So with all the horrors that caused you to be more sensitive and serious about the 'follies' of religions in general, I'd advise you to make huge separation between Islam and everything else. And now for your second comment, I never said you're agnostic about god and was only refering to you as an Atheist - that ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 19, 2006 02:31 AM [permalink]:

Ben,

No. In science you don't prove naything. That is and keeps remaining your mistake. There is no way you ccan prove anything, but you disprove stuff. (So I have not changed my opinion in teh middle of discussion. That has been my stance since the beginning.)
The similarities between your arguments and his are not imaginative but real. You say in case of evolution, it is proven by facts. Says who? Again, you can't prove stuff in science, including evolution. only disprove and evolution is not disproved. Actually it has been oen of the best theories in science because it has not been disproved while being of such immense explanatory power.
Most of his arguments about evolution not being provable by the facts presented is completely correct, but proves nothing! :)
for instance he says from bones you can infer only that it is dead, not that it is the surviving forefather in a survavile battle that is the basis of natural selection. Indeed that is true. Nobody can ever infer such a thing (or anything else) in a proven manner from this or any other evidence (one can get inspired though). You devise theories and then look for and find evidence to DISPROVE it if you can. Ok?
This argument of his is basically the same as your claim that from a passage in the Bible you can't prove anything. (true but irrelevant.)
He says the same about geological layers (and presents another theory for their formation, ie. the flood, whic of course does not stand many simpler tests!) and so on.
FInally he claims, by tracing evolution logically to its origins in teh big bang with all its unresolved problems, that evolution just like his christianity, is a religion. (bad choice of words, unlike his christianity evolution can in principle be disproved.). But teh argument is again basically teh same as yours when you say you have an opinion and I have one and since "unlike real(!) sciences" you can't prove by facts, so one is as good as the other. Don't you see you both are making the same wrong argument. The whole point is that opinions are not all the same. Some ae better than teh other and there is objectove rational criteria to decide this. That is what all the scinces (and other fiels of rational inquiry) ae all about.

I definitely recommend reading some Popper.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 19, 2006 02:41 AM [permalink]:

Other points:

Why do I call the guy in the film a fundamentalist? Because that is what he is! The word itself was coined at to refer to his type in the first place.

religion in America. Yes, but the reason why America was a free society was becaus ethey had deprived religion of the states power. And no matter how nice people want to put a spin on this, that wonderful achievment is, in principle, agains the spirit of ALL religions BECAUSE religions claim access to ultimate truth, so logically having power is a better choice according to every single one of them than not.
And you bet, for really religious people, in their minds and tehir families, freedoms that we talked about , were and are curtailed. Make no mistake baout that. Its just that the scope of their dominancxe doesn't go much further.

Islam as a cult? I basicaly agree, in teh sense that that is the way it has progressed, so in its genes (or memes) the essence of a cult was always present.
The same goes for christianity without a doubt. (actually even more, with all teh claim on teh need to be born again by chrsit as the only way to redemption. That is exactly what a cult is. It has been modified so much in modern times to dsitance itself from its nature that what now goes around as christianity in most places of the world (at least the West) could be in the enlightened versions be excluded from being a cult I guess. The same might be able in distant future for Islam if it can survive questioning teh authenticity of Quran and the acceptance of its historicity. It remains to be seen. (I am quite pessimistic though myself)


Sorry for calling you religious. I think I had missed the part you explained you were not. Sorry. :)

An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 19, 2006 02:48 AM [permalink]:

One more thing. being agnostic about gid (or magic or the "super natural" ... ) might sound like an opne minded attitude but is not a valid stance.
I give you an example:
If i state a "proof" (in sens eof finding equivalnces for an initial reasonable guess other wise known as "axiom", nothing more!) and in the last step all of sudden claim that "by a vouce from heaven and a coupel of magical incantations" this last step follows. and then you tell me that you are agnostic about teh validity of thsi approach (not the truth value of any claim), then you are WRONG. The approach is unacceptable.
God is an approach. the unexplained. So involking it in any explanatory role, in any ontological argument about the reality out there, is falt wrong and untenable.
No "I don't knopw", no "agnosticism" , no "I keep my options open"... will do the trick. Sorry. Its either this or that and nothing in the middle in this case.

Ben at May 19, 2006 06:14 PM [permalink]:
AIS, The very action of disproving a theory or a finding is the result of proving it wrong or proving the opposite as truth, so in essence Proving/Disproving is the same thing depending on which side of the discussion you are. Your continuous seperation between 'dis' and 'proving' in science just seems so ridiculous so if you want to insist that science is about 'disproving' I can go with that, but by disproving you're actually using the proving mechanism no matter how you turn it, it always comes to that. So it wouldn't be a mistake to say that you have to prove things in science, same as it wouldn't be a mistake to say that you have to DISprove. You said: ["But teh argument is again basically teh same as yours when you say you have an opinion and I have one and since "unlike real(!) sciences" you can't prove by facts, so one is as good as the other. Don't you see you both are making the same wrong argument."] I'm glad you brought up this point as it simplifies where you see the similarities and you can easily notice your mistake there: Dr. Hovind EXPLICITLY say evolution is a lie and he firmly expresses his beliefs that God is a fact. He DOES NOT refer to the two different approaches to the argument as 'opinions' like you say that I did. (and I don't know where you got this idea that he does) Following this, he bases his objections to evolution on biblical teachings and even quote here and there from the bible (something that wouldn't be valid in my own objections, as I said, book isn't a solid proof). In a completely seperate front he does try to DISCREDIT the scientific findings with ALTERNATIVE theories that can or can't be disproved depending on how you look at them (top or bottom approach). But still, even here he doesn't regard that as an opinion.. he presents himself as the one with the role of 'bringing the truth' upon the 'lies in the text books'. Our dear Dr tells you it's not a matter of opinion: he implies (bluntly!) that it's a FACT that evolution is false. The fundamentalist issue stands in our discussion as well as a point of view. I think you're wrong to tag Dr. Hovind as such. But it's possible depending on the scale that you use to create your proportions. Personally, I think your scale is wrong and not balanced. What is balanced? I guesss it depends on what you have in the center. Then you can determine what is the extreme in each direction, but again, the extreme is only relevant to the center, and the center is what you'd call 'normal' and that'd also be your point of reference. So when you call him a fundamentalist and assuming you're not, does that indicate you are normal, e.g the center of the scale? But what if you're not? I guess you need an outsider who isn't subjective to your own views to tell you that.. But then his scale could be the extreme of yours. So I keep that definition of fundamentalist to people that kill others for their beliefs.. And you still didn't answer me what YOU call them, where are they on your scale? ["Yes, but the reason why America was a free society was becaus ethey had deprived religion of the states power."] As you said before 'true but irrelevant'. Why? Because that doesn't change the fact that religious serve in the institutions of the U.S and although alot of them have the power or the legitimacy to affect the presence of religion in the different aspects of the country, they choose not to, and when they do, it doesn't necessarily end freedom. MY POINT IS: That it's not t ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 26, 2006 02:19 AM [permalink]:
Ben, 1- You say disproving is just another way of proving (the negation of the claim)? Nice. But this has been extensively disputed. You see you can call what I call disproving "proving" and vice versa. The debate is not about words you use. The reality is that there are two distinct kind of ...things. What you call them is not the issue. There is a fundamental difference between the two kinds of cliams and approaches. There are certain seertions, conjectures, theories what have you that you can disprove (or "prove by disproving") and there is another class of assertiosn etc that you can't disprove (or "prove by proving" or what other words you want to use). You want to call it proving by disproving? fine. I say the aim of scicne, what defines it, the only rational attitude towards the seeking of knowledge is by trying to "prove (their negattions) by disproving them". the other kind, to "prove by proving "positively say by induction or gathering evidence or presenting irrefutable facts etc etc etc.) is futile, and even dangerous. Again.Popper has a complete section devoted to explaining away this sophistry. (See for example" Realism and the aim of science") 2- I was not talking about his positive statements in what he "knows" as fact (and that is fundamentalism). My point was the way he was arguing against evolution. He actually says "Evolution is a religion too, because if you trace it to its logical origin you get to big bang and its "metaphysical" claims on where the world came from which nobody can know as facts and is mere speculation, and so evolutionists, don't say you are talking science and I am talking religion. We are both talking religion here." You also say we can't know these facts. SO its mere speculation and your theory is as good as mine. And you are both wrong, in the same way. Isaac Asimov once said something like this: Those who thought the earth was flat were wrong. tholse who thought the earth was spherical were also wrong (since it is more an elipsoid in shape), But those who think the second group were as wrong as the first are the most wrong of them all. 3-Fundamentalist was coined for chrsitians who took the Bible word for word literally as fact, including the creation story, flood and so on (including talking serpents and donkeys I guess!), because they wanted to return to the fundamentals of chrsitianity. I don't see what you are arguing against!? That is where the word came from. then it was extended to their cousins in the Islamic side (Islam is basically a militarized Chrsitian heresy anyway). What I call the killers? I don't know, killer fundamentalists? Ideological terrorists? Islamists? What does it matter?!! 4-yes the law in the US seperates the two and this comes from an areligious thinking, a liberal way of thinking. Not a religious one becuase religion (and christianity in partiicular) assumes it has the absolute truth in its possesion. If you already have the truth, then what is the point of a free society to debate and discuss? All teh modern liberal attitudes towards religion, which analyze the scripture and look for different meanings in it etc are the survival techniques of religions. they are absurd in essence, since the whole point of scripture was to reveal a hidden truth in the firts place. If this ione has to be discovered critically, so why the whole charade? The world was in front of use always, created by teh same God (or gods) allegedly? Come on. The religious people , the s ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at May 26, 2006 02:25 AM [permalink]:

Christianity was acult and is still acult. It was untill the WWII and the Holocaust basically a very dangerous malign cult. Now it is forced to become benign.
Islam is still a malign cult.
So what?
Christianity had been one of the most violent and inhuman sources of death, torture, inquisition and human misery for most of its existence on this earth.
You, as a Jew, would be extremely shortsighted if you want to forget that because of the current support of baptist (and otherwise) Chrsitians for Israel. They do it only because they are trying to convert you as fast as possible till their man-god savior comes and does away with Judaism and whatever Jews remain once and for all. What Chrsitianity has hoped, and hoeps for, for in its entire existence. It is its very essence. Now its is PC version.
Of course if the idiots can be used for a good cause for any amount of time, instead of causing misery - which is their nature- of cousre the have to be used. But that's it. Used. But fooling yourself into believeing the hypocracy hiding the enemy is very ill advised. The impacts of this in future can be horrible.

Ben at May 28, 2006 05:49 PM [permalink]:

AIS,
["Christianity was acult and is still acult"]
By which standards? I relied on that article I posted regarding Islam. Does christianity answeres -ALL- of the criteria? Of course not.. And that makes your accusation toward it as a cult misguided and false.
The perpetrators of the Holocaust were christians indeed but why do you bind their religion with the holocaust? The Nazi leaders were into UNchristian mysticism and heretical worship. They also killed non Jews. Where is the connection to christianity here? Probably only in your stormy mind. When they did murder Jews they did it because of race doctrine and not because God told them in their christian faith. Muslims do it because God told them. That is the difference right there.

You said:
["Christianity had been one of the most violent..........its is PC version."]
AIS, please don't tell me whats shortsighted from a Jewish point of view.. You have a lot to learn.
I NEVER said in any of my comments that I forget the (what you call) "violent and inhuman" history of christianity. But unlike you I take its causes within the proportional boundaries. Whatever horrible history this religion has, the human factor of it was much greater than the religion.
I don't even have to elaborate on that too much, just watch the differences between Christianity text books and Muslim.. Can you compare the incitement that is found in Muslim texts with that of Christian?
The only reason why Muslims don't share an equal or even worse history of tremendous number of casualties like in christianity is because they are plain stupid hedonists, they can't orginize themselves, they don't have discipline and their capacity to develope devastating technology is limited and not because they are peace keepers... If it weren't for the natural sources they rape, they would still be in the stone age having sex with camels and smoking their nargilahs in the desert without air conditioning.

Aside that, I know much better than you of the two way support some christians have for Israel on a religious basis.. Missionaries work here with full steam but that was the case for many years and nothing has changed. That isn't an existential threat. I would be shortsighted as a Jew if I gave this more importance and attention than the Iranian nuclear threat for example.. So taking advice from you, an Iranian, about what is shortsighted from a Jewish stance is very ill advised.
So really.. I don't fool myself regarding any christian support (I didn't even mention it. Only you did first) and if you think I am, than you only fool yourself.
And btw, I don't accept with your calling christians idiots. That wasn't in place.
If you think of them as such that certainly doesn't mean I do.

Ben at May 28, 2006 06:07 PM [permalink]:
AIS, You basically say disproving separates itself from proving by different conjections, theories and by the negation process. This idea is sadly misguided because the same conjections and theories aren't what you'd call 'different'. They are just the opposite for the same process of proving, and the same applies to the negation process. The hierarchy of these two sister-oposites is very clear. Proving shall always be above the other. I suggest you have a look where this expresses itself: Crime investigation or a courtroom for instance. You can't sentence someone without proving all the way to his/her criminal deed. Theres no disproving there and science is no different. Where it's sometimes a matter of life or death in both these fields (science or a courtroom) you must use the best of the two and in that case since they both are one and the same I'd prefer proving because it's more direct. In disproving you'll always have to ask the question in inverted direction and we're not playing trivia. Besides, what would happen in a crime investigation if the detectives were working by the disproving idea that you so much support? Would a suspect be considered as guilty until proven otherwise? (to disprove guilt) No.. You see, your method isn't working very well, so in reality, (in enlightened countries) a suspect would be innocent until proven otherwise. Now you might call it to disprove his or hers innocence. But the disproving of innocence only comes as a secondary to the proving of the guilt. It seems to me that using the disproving as a rational standpoint for scientific investigation would work, but you're scratching your left ear with your right hand this way. If I tell you I can fly and we know that I must have wings in order to fly, how would you disprove that? You must prove that I don't have wings. That is the same process. any conviction (between proving and disproving) would only be the same but in a mirror view and not different, in other words, any deduction (or negation or whatever you want to call it) would always work on the basis of proving because you can't deduct without a reason, logic, premade result behind it that would be the proof. What we're doing right now, each presenting his opinion on that matter is actually a proving process. We each focus more on our own point to be made, rather than disproving the other. You prove one thing and the others are automatically disproved. You disprove it and it tells you nothing about the others.. Regarding the creationist doctor from the video you said: ["He actually says "Evolution is a religion too, because if you trace it to its logical origin you get to big bang and its "metaphysical" claims on where the world came from which nobody can know as facts and is mere speculation, and so evolutionists, don't say you are talking science and I am talking religion. We are both talking religion here." You also say we can't know these facts. SO its mere speculation and your theory is as good as mine. "] Well AIS, maybe you should clean your ears a bit or watch the video you posted again because this is completely false :) I did say that the two theories (yours and mine) are just as good and that we speculate and that we can't tell facts, HOWEVER, that is not what the creationists say, especially when he calls evolution a lie, he says HIS theory is better (and even regards to it as truth!), he says evolution is NOT as good as his idea and beliefs. I think at some point you lost th ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]