Friday, September 15, 2006

(A load of) Papal bull

From the BBC:

A statement from the Vatican has failed to quell criticism of Pope Benedict XVI from Muslim leaders, after he made a speech about the concept of holy war.

Speaking in Germany, the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things.

Pakistan's parliament passed a resolution on Friday criticising the Pope for making "derogatory" comments.

The Vatican said the Pope had not intended to offend Muslims.

"It is clear that the Holy Father's intention is to cultivate a position of respect and dialogue towards other religions and cultures, and that clearly includes Islam," said chief Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi in a statement.

But in spite of the statement, the pontiff returned to Rome to face a barrage of criticism, reports the BBC's David Willey in Rome.

The head of the Muslim Brotherhood said the Pope's remarks "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world".




As Captain Aubrey might put it, the Ducks have no horse in this fight.

16 Comments:

Blogger Duck said...

The earlier Pope was right. The Muslims of the 14th century were bent on world domination and the subjugation of the West.

So, you can't even quote the derogatory comments of historical figures without angering Muslims now? These people are more excitable than a swarm of African bees on PCP.

September 15, 2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

The entire Muslim world is angry? That's the default position, is it not?

Through the miracle of the Internet, I am filing this from New York City, where I spent a rainy day reading the Post and the Daily News, parts of the MSM that don't get a lot of attention from the blogosphere.

If we can still take the Daily News (and, less confidently, the Post) as the reflection of American Joe Blow opinion, then it appears that the Muslims have blown it with Joe. The educated classes have not gotten it, and maybe never will, but Joe gets it.

September 15, 2006 2:50 PM  
Blogger David said...

Geez, Harry, if I'd known you were in New York, I would have done something about it.

September 17, 2006 7:37 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

Are you still in NYC? I'm just across the Hudson river until tomorrow night ...

There are plenty of suras in the Q'uran establishing Islam as a religion bent on conquest. Why is anyone pretending they aren't there, or don't mean what they clearly say?

September 17, 2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It was just a flying visit to see my son get married.

By the miracle of modern technology, I took a week's vacation, spent half of it on airplanes and two-thirds of the rest sick from eating poisoned spinach in Florida.

I did make the wedding, though, at Manhattan City Hall, and that may be worth a column.

Also went to MOMA, at the insistence of my daughter who wanted to see Monet's 'Water Lilies' in the flesh. There's nothing like an entire gallery of abstract expressionist paintings to prove the essential shallowness of modern art and the profundity of Duckian criticism.

September 17, 2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger David said...

Have you seen that the name of the company responsible for the poisoned spinach is (and I swear I'm not making this up) Natural Selection?

September 17, 2006 7:37 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

I'm wondering when Harry gets done with his article on the state of modern art (this just in - modern art is still meaningless garbage), he might take aim at the organic food industry. Now if we irradiated fresh spinach we wouldn't have these problems, but we all know that radiation isn't "natural" (it really is), but e-coli bacteria is natural. So remind me why so many people are into natural, organic foods and against irradiation, pesticides and genetically modified crops?

September 17, 2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

A simplistic reason -- though one I think explains a great deal -- is that
American schools either teach antiscience (if religious) or don't teach science at all (if public) to some large fraction of the students.

The default position for going to high school is to avoid as much science as possible and fulfull your credit requirement with 'general science' or something similar.

Science isn't really so easy that a meaningful practical understanding can be imparted by spending 26 45-minute periods showing filmstrips to 15-year-olds.

The free market then steps in and provides an alternative science instruction, because people really are interested in the outcome, even though not concerned enough to invest any effort in learning about it.

And, of course, by a variety of Gresham's Law, the bad science drives out the good.

I concentrate on high schools, but the phenomenon extends up through graduate school.

September 17, 2006 11:25 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Nah, it's all part of our inner pagan emerging from the monotheistic rubble. Same with Gaia, "spaceship earth", PETA, Wicca etc. If you can't worship the Judeo-Chrsitian god anymore, then you find alternatives like food, animals, your bodies, the wind, etc. One thing so very cute (like an iguana) is that while you guys were convincing so many people to stop believing in God, you just assumed that everybody would become good little boffins and go through life guided by "first order evidence" and science properly taught by Harry. When was the last time any of you met a non-geeky teenager that talked that way?

You should have paid more attention to Belloc:

Always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse

September 18, 2006 3:08 AM  
Blogger David said...

Duck: You're almost certainly thinking of contemporary art or po-mo art. There's a lot of great modern art out there.

Actually, 90% of everything is crap, it's just that the pre-contemporary art has already been winnowed for us. When you guys come to western Mass for Ducktoberfest, I'll take you (after shooting) to MassMOCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. You'll see some good contemporary art, you'll see a lot of crap and (most importantly for the question of whether this stuff is really art) you'll see a lot of well-done art that is reaching for meaning, but just doesn't quite make it to good.

Topic? Oh.

It's like rich stupid people voting liberal or knowing which fork to use with which course. It is a signifier of membership in a group. If members have to drop dead every once in a while, that just shows what a great group it is.

September 18, 2006 6:41 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Back on topic. This is from the AP:

CAIRO, Egypt - An al-Qaida-linked extremist group warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that he and the West were "doomed," as protesters raged across the Muslim world to demand more of an apology from the pontiff for his remarks about Islam and violence.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum vowing to continue its holy war against the West. The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."


Islam, a violent religion. Where would anyone possibly get that idea?

September 18, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I have been reading some posts at City of Brass and linked Muslim blogs, and these Muslims are quite irritated if anyone suggests their religion has ever been associated with violence.

I believe they actually believe this, in the same way that genteel Southern racists sincerely believed they themselves were not racists because they would never have pulled on a sheet and burned a cross themselves.

As a mental construct, this is no nuttier than a Catholic believing in the Real Presence or a Hindu believing that an astrologer can do a better job of picking a spouse than he could himself.

But unlike other crazy ideas, the Muslim self-construct that nothing they do is subject to any kind of objection is extremely dangerous.

I have also noticed that, among Muslims who speak English, the second most commonly used word is respect. (From translations, it seems a fair guess that the second most commonly used word among Muslims speaking Arabic is death.) Their concept of respect has no point in common with ours and is more akin to the German idea of schrecklichkeit than any other belief held by westerners.

They really are not like us.

September 18, 2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I have been reading some posts at City of Brass and linked Muslim blogs, and these Muslims are quite irritated if anyone suggests their religion has ever been associated with violence.

I believe they actually believe this, in the same way that genteel Southern racists sincerely believed they themselves were not racists because they would never have pulled on a sheet and burned a cross themselves.

As a mental construct, this is no nuttier than a Catholic believing in the Real Presence or a Hindu believing that an astrologer can do a better job of picking a spouse than he could himself.

But unlike other crazy ideas, the Muslim self-construct that nothing they do is subject to any kind of objection is extremely dangerous.

I have also noticed that, among Muslims who speak English, the second most commonly used word is respect. (From translations, it seems a fair guess that the second most commonly used word among Muslims speaking Arabic is death.) Their concept of respect has no point in common with ours and is more akin to the German idea of schrecklichkeit than any other belief held by westerners.

They really are not like us.

September 18, 2006 1:53 PM  
Blogger M Ali said...

Muslims really need to grow the hell up.

September 18, 2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

That's very western of you, and I've said the same, but I have come to the conclusion that one or more preconditions have to come about before they can realize that.

One would be to recognize that the world does not revolve around them and/or their religion.

Is that a chicken-and-egg thing? How do we grow up, anyway?

By experience, perhaps. But if every actual experience you have has to be pressed between the rollers of a revealed text then it gets all the reality squeezed out of it, and the opportunity for growth, too.

In the previous post, referring to Martin Amis, he said something that struck me two ways. One thing it showed was that Amis has a very shaky acquaintance with Muslim ways of thinking, even if he knows a lot more of its theology than I do (anybody would).

What he did was to make a big deal about Satan the Seducer being the 'final words' of the Koran.

But the Koran does not have 'final words.' The suras are arranged in order of length.

The other thing that then struck me is how childish arranging scriptures by length is.

September 18, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

Very astute observation about the Q'uran's final words -- that assertion went right by me.

The other thing that then struck me is how childish arranging scriptures by length is.

Or perhaps a classic example of OCD. Think how different our world might be if big-pharma had existed ca. Mohammed.

September 19, 2006 1:35 PM  

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