Sunday, 29 December 2013

Liberal Idea #3 - Education is the Key to Progress

Since, according to Liberalism, there is nothing intrinsically prone to wickedness in human nature and since we are essentially rational beings, social ills must caused by ignorance and dysfunctional social institutions. It is these bad institutions and social structures which lead people to do bad things. Poverty, inequality, and injustice (the first 2 being aspects of the 3rd) are the real engines of crime, conflict, and misery. Eradicate poverty and inequality and improve justice and we will become better people. There will be no crime because people will have what they need and as inequality is reduced, envy of others and the desire to steal from them will reduce too.

In order to solve social ills people must be educated to use their rational faculties to understand the causes of social problems and to acquire the means to solve them. They must become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Liberal education which aims to break down prejudice and discrimination is essential to this effort. People must learn to respect each other, whatever their differences, and this will foster peaceful and productive societies.

Upon these foundations of human plasticity, rationality and the external source of social ills Liberalism bases one of its most tantalising features: historical optimism. Since there is nothing intrinsic to human nature which leads to wickedness and since the means to improve the social institutions can be rationally deduced and spread through education, we can expect there to be a gradual improvement in the condition of mankind. Hence we can expect the future to be better than the present. This is historical optimism. In fact, so optimistic is this outlook that many have foreseen humanity eventually attaining perfection. Consider this from the Marquis de Condorcet,
The aim of the book that I have undertaken to write, and what it will prove, is than man by using reason and facts will attain perfection...Nature has set no limits to the perfection of the human faculties. The perfectibility of mankind is truly indefinite; and the progress of the perfectibility, henceforth to be free of all hindrances, will last as long as the globe on which nature has placed us. (Outline of the Progress of the Human Mind)
Similar sentiments were echoed by the Americans for Democratic Action in 1962:
...the goals of liberalism are affirmative: not only the fulfilment of the free individual in a just and responsible society at home but a world where all people may share the freedom, abundance, and opportunity which lie within the reach of mankind - a world marked by mutual respect, and by peace. [my emphasis]
If only people will behave rationally and adopt the liberal ideology and programme these are the results that can be expected.

This is a solution-oriented creed; the belief that for any social problem there can be found a rational solution. William Beveridge in his planning for the British welfare state identified five giant evils: Squalor, Ignorance, Idleness, Want, and Disease. These, and many others besides, are the problems that liberalism has sought to remedy. (The Beveridge Report 1942) The provisions of the report set out plans for overcoming these evils. Thus was instituted a welfare system that can claim many victories but which, as of 2013, also claims a massive proportion of Britain's national income (with no end in sight for the massive spending or the elimination of the problems which at times appear to be Hydra-headed). Nevertheless, the historical optimism of liberals springs ever-hopeful. In fact, to be a hope-filled person is to be among the good and the just as far as liberals are concerned. Anyone who thinks differently is just a crabby curmudgeon.

Without education none of the above is possible. Education not just of the young but of everyone. Education to teach people of the benefits of rationality and the solutions that reason reveals to us.

The two concepts of an infinitely malleable human nature and the power of education and social reform enable liberals to discard the evidence of thousands of years of human history and the less optimistic picture that it presents. Having cast this evidence aside they can then argue that once social institutions have been perfected, discrimination and inequality abolished, that human nature (as we call it) will lose its noxious aspects. This is a human nature conjured out of ideas, not the one rooted in the visceral reality of semi-animals vying for survival and advantage and greater control over their environment - an environment that in each individual case includes all other people.

Of course we are not only beings with an individual nature, we also exist as members of larger wholes: relationships, families, communities, companies, nations and other collective entities. We are partially dependent on these collectives and both served and constrained by them. We are engaged in a constant process of balancing an urge towards greater individual autonomy against both our need and desire to be accepted as members of these larger wholes. This is our inescapable condition.

The science and reason that Liberalism originally advocated have both taught us a great deal - including a great deal about human nature. But many of those calling themselves liberals today still cling to the false notion of human nature of early liberalism in what is a wholly irrational manner. They do this because they fear the consequences of changing their views in case their utopian ideals also require modification. But that is a very irrational position to take and is largely antithetical to the original doctrines and aspirations of Liberalism. To adopt a rational, scientific approach but refuse to change your theory in light of the evidence is a pretence of rationality. Naturally, it is a very human thing to do, one arising from our nature, an example of feeling overriding reason.

Our groupishness is one of the major obstacles to our rationality. Because we depend on our groups for so much we are very reluctant to jeopardise our position within them. For a liberal to acknowledge that our nature is not wholly plastic and changeable is to show disloyalty to his/her reference group. The liberal position has thus become yet one more dogma instead of a working hypothesis.

Liberal idea #2 - We are Rational Beings

Liberalism grew up within the rationalist school of thought of 17th century Europe. Reason was held to be humanity's most distinctive attribute, the one that most clearly identifies us as human and not simply animals. We can act in accordance with rationally derived plans and principles which override our animal impulses. Liberalism is confident that acting in accordance with reason (and particularly through the rational endeavour of science) humanity can comprehend the world and solve its problems. The history of science, technology, and economics since the birth of Liberalism would offer plenty of support for this hope.

The liberal stands for the authority of reason in all matters. There is no authority which cannot be questioned; no opinion that cannot be challenged; no subject that cannot be examined in the cold light of reason. The authority of reason demands that everything be tested by the standard of reason. There is no custom, prejudice, sentiment or belief that should escape its resolute eye. The authority given to reason endows the liberal with an attitude that is both sceptical and optimistic.

You will no doubt have noticed that this depiction of the liberal attitude is somewhat out of date. Liberalism claims to be a rationalist philosophy, as indeed it originally was. One wishes that it would be more rational now. Liberals today are all too happy to gloss over the irrational in order to maintain "respect" for cultural differences; to make allowances for the "disadvantaged"; to save the foolish from facing the consequences of their folly; to promote dubious research which supports a liberal agenda and to suppress solid research which contradicts it; in short, the end now justifies the means as far as many liberals are concerned. This cynicism is given a gloss of respectability because the liberal is seen to be the advocate of the weak and and the poor. As a consequence, liberalism is mired in double standards, relativism, and logical incoherence. In fact, to insist on greater rationality and logical coherence is, to many liberals, to be something other than liberal.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Tu Quoque - A Common Fallacy of the Left

Tu Quoque (literally “you also”) is a very common fallacy which I see committed again and again on comment threads. This fallacy is remarkably common in the comments that I see coming from left/liberal perspectives and I think there are underlying reasons for this which I’ll examine later. I hope that once you have this fallacy established more clearly in your mind you will be able to identify it more easily when it’s used by someone in an argument. Once you see an argument as fallacious you need waste no more time trying to counter it but simply point out that it is a fallacy and await a more logical response to your original point.

First of all, lets define a fallacy and then the tu quoque type of fallacy. One of the best sites for exploring fallacies is where you will find definitions and examples of all types of fallacies.
The rules of correct reasoning go back to Aristotle. He was both “the first formal logician—codifying the rules of correct reasoning—and the first informal logician—cataloging types of incorrect reasoning, namely, fallacies. He was both the first to name types of logical error, and the first to group them into categories. The result is his book On Sophistical Refutations.”

First an example: I make the assertion that Muslim slave traders were a constant threat to the peoples of Southern Europe throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. That assertion is either true or false; either it can be justified with evidence or it can’t. The tu quoque response might take the following form: European slave traders were a constant threat to black Africans during the 17th century. 

As you can see, the argument does not address the truth or falsity of the original assertion but instead sidesteps it and tries to put the person on the back foot by making a charge of implied hypocrisy. Whether or not European slave traders were a threat to black Africans has no bearing on the truth of the original assertion but the person against whom the tu quoque is deployed often feels a need to defend themselves from the charge of (implied) hypocrisy and a diversionary game ensues in which the original argument is forgotten. Thus tu quoque is a form of Red Herring. The argument gets "lost" but no logical refutation has occurred.

Fallacies are instances of faulty reasoning. The fallacies that we’re concerned with are errors of reasoning. In the example above, both the first accusation and the second accusation are supported by evidence and are in that sense both true. Neither is a fallacy. The fallacy occurs when the second accusation is used as a counter-argument to the first accusation. It is the mistaken reasoning which is the specific meaning of  “fallacy” we are talking about. It is a violation of logic.

This tu quoque fallacy is in my experience committed a lot by liberals and I think there are some identifiable reasons for this:

Firstly, liberal thinking grew up in the context of a Christianity which was preoccupied with acknowledging the fault in ourselves (original sin). As it says in Matthew 7: 3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye..”

One result of this teaching was illustrated very clearly in a recent presentation made by Karen Armstrong (an ex-nun and professional apologist for Islam). In commenting on the 9/11 atrocities she said, “We did this…I like to turn the finger against myself first.” This is her comment on jihadism in general, “We’ve all done terrible things.” Both of these statements are demonstrably false: We were not responsible for 9/11, the 19 hijackers and their backers were. And no, we have not all done terrible things. To say so is to falsely blacken millions of people with crimes they have never committed nor even considered committing.

What Karen Armstrong illustrates is a preoccupation with our own guilt (even when we are innocent). There has undoubtedly been a place for introspection and the desire to root out evil in our own hearts; it has developed certain moral attributes in Christian cultures that are lacking elsewhere, but taken too far and it becomes a morbid and suicidal impulse. This impulse chimes very sonorously with the implied charge of hypocrisy in the tu quoque argument.

Secondly, the charge of hypocrisy has been both justified and useful for liberal reformers. As in the example of Thomas Day making scornful remarks regarding the American Constitution when signed by men who owned slaves, the charge of hypocrisy is a powerful weapon in getting those with power over others to examine their consciences with respect to their avowed principles and their actions. It has been the well-spring for many social changes that have given life in the West its peculiar advantages and freedoms.

When a liberal levels the charge of hypocrisy against you (in the form of tu quoque) he very likely sees him/herself following in this tradition of exposing hypocrisy.

Thirdly, the Left is very focused on what are seen as the great wrongs of Western culture. They have developed thousands upon thousands of critiques; rhetorical weapons, analyses, theses, theories, jokes, articles, paintings, posters, bumper stickers, satires, poems, pop songs, operas, etc etc all aimed at undermining the position of Western civilisation. (of course, they readily scoff at the very concept of “Western civilisation”) and puncturing its self-confidence. The underlying message of all the above is that “we” are in the wrong; we don’t have a leg to stand on; we are morally bankrupt; hideously corrupt and corrupting. By contrast to us, the rest of the world is noble and innocent. We have no right to criticise anyone. Liberals distrust any form of self-congratulation in the West or the belief that we have created a culture which is “better”. Such an attitude is seen as a source of jingoism and a platform for imperialism.

With this backdrop to his thinking; with this unexamined assumption regarding the condemned nature of western culture the liberal believes that the tu quoque argument always hits the nail on the head because it points to our own wrongs. This is why he feels particularly clever and justified when using it. 

The tu quoque fallacy is often delivered in the proverbial form: “the pot calling the kettle black.” But just look at it: the blackness of the pot has no bearing on whether the kettle is black or not. The kettle is either black or it isn’t.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Liberal Hans

Nazi-inspired fear and loathing of Jews
You probably don't need me to tell you that the mainstream media and mainstream society are very reluctant to view Muslims critically. There is a general distrust of anyone wanting to look objectively at Islamic doctrine or the roots of Muslim atrocities within the canonical texts of Islam - where, of course, they can be found in abundance. Even reports of Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in the Muslim world, or even in the West, are politely ignored.

This seems to be connected to a general reluctance to view a designated minority in a critical light. The liberal consensus, informed by cultural Marxism, has identified Muslims as members of a designated minority which confers upon them certain rights: protection from criticism; protection of their beliefs (however abhorrent); exemption from critical scrutiny; deference to Muslim views of themselves and their perception of the world; a willingness to excuse any violence or intolerance on the part of Muslims as "understandable" in terms of the oppression they live under (including oppression and "discrimination" from non-Muslims in the West).

Absurd as these are they are well-defended homilies in the mainstream media and among mainstream politicians (e.g. David Cameron and Senator John McCain). Perhaps their very absurdity is the key to what drives them.

They seem to be connected to a fear of unleashing hatred and persecution of outsiders or minorities. They do not want to be part of that in any way…and rightly so. For many, this reaction is informed by the Nazi persecution of the Jews; probably felt particularly strongly in Germany and other countries where Jews were shipped off to death camps. It is the paradigmatic case in recent times of systematic and widespread persecution/genocide. It has become a liberal truism that hatred and discrimination are always wrong and always lead to undesirable consequences. Hatred and prejudice are always seen as things we must guard against in ourselves. However, they are not so often seen as things we must guard ourselves against.

Laudable as this reaction is in some respects it creates a reluctance to acknowledge the malicious behaviour of Muslims or to allow a natural response of revulsion to atrocities committed by them.  It is a well-spring of the many exculpatory pronouncements which aim to distance the majority of Muslims from the acts of “extremists”. Also it feeds a reluctance to examine too closely the vast body of evidence linking Islam and Muslims to violence and oppression towards non-Muslims. Rather it fosters an appetite for the many forms of deceit practised by Muslims and non-Muslim apologists. It may help to explain why liberals are so easily satisfied with illogical moral equivalence and similar fallacies.

This behaviour reminds me of a story from the collection of the Brothers Grimm called Clever Hans. Here is the story:

Hans's mother asks, "Where are you going, Hans?"
Hans answers, "To Gretel's."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's. "Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel gives Hans a needle.
Hans says, "Good-bye, Gretel."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay wagon, and walks home behind the wagon.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
"Gave me a needle."
"Where is the needle, Hans?"
"Stuck in the hay wagon."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have stuck the needle in your sleeve."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
"Where are you going, Hans?"
"To Gretel's, mother."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's. "Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel gives Hans a knife.
"Good-bye, Gretel."
"Good-bye Hans."
Hans takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
"Gave me a knife."
"Where is the knife, Hans?"
"Stuck in my sleeve."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have put the knife in your pocket."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
"Where are you going, Hans?"
"To Gretel's, mother."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's. "Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel gives Hans a young goat.
"Good-bye, Gretel."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans takes the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he arrives home it has suffocated.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
She gave me a goat.
"Where is the goat, Hans?"
"Put it in my pocket."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have tied a rope around the goat's neck."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
"Where are you going, Hans?"
"To Gretel's, mother."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's.
"Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel gives Hans a piece of bacon.
"Good-bye, Gretel."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans takes the bacon, ties a rope around it, and drags it along behind him. The dogs come and eat the bacon. When he arrives home he has the rope in his hand, but there is no longer anything tied to it.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
"Gave me a piece of bacon."
"Where is the bacon, Hans?"
"Tied it to a rope. Brought it home. Dogs got it."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have carried the bacon on your head."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
"Where are you going, Hans?"
"To Gretel's, mother."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's. "Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel gives Hans a calf.
"Good-bye, Gretel."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
"Gave me a calf."
"Where is the calf, Hans?"
"Put it on my head. Kicked my face."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have led the calf, and taken it to the hayrack."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
"Where are you going, Hans?"
"To Gretel's, mother."
"Behave yourself, Hans."
"Behave myself. Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, mother."
"Good-bye, Hans."
Hans comes to Gretel's. "Good day, Gretel."
"Good day, Hans. Are you bringing something good?"
"Bringing nothing. Want something."
Gretel says to Hans, "I will go with you."
Hans takes Gretel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the hayrack and binds her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother.
"Good evening, mother."
"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"
"At Gretel's."
"What did you take her?"
"Took nothing. Got something."
"What did Gretel give you?"
"Gave me nothing. Came with me."
"Where did you leave Gretel?"
"Led her on a rope. Tied her to the hayrack. Threw her some grass."
"That was stupid, Hans. You should have cast friendly eyes at her."
"Doesn't matter. Do better."
Hans goes into the stable, cuts out the eyes of all the calves and sheep, and throws them in Gretel's face. Then Gretel becomes angry, tears herself loose and runs away. She is no longer Hans's bride.

 The pattern in this story is of Hans doing something wrong and being told what he should have done in the circumstances. But he simply applies the lesson unthinkingly and mechanically to the next situation. He fails to recognise that the lesson from the previous incident does not apply to the new situation.

I think liberals are making a very similar mistake when they apply all their well-meaning attitudes to Islam. They fail to recognise that the position of Muslim minorities in the West today is not comparable to the situation of Jews in Nazi Germany. They fail to see that there is actually a huge campaign, fought on many different fronts, aimed at putting Muslims and Sharia law in control of their countries. A statement like this is proof-positive to the average liberal that minority-hating paranoia is at work.

However, the average liberal will also studiously avoid looking too deeply into the new situation to see what drives Islamic culture; what it did in the past; what it presently does with regard to its own minorities; what senior Muslim spokesmen and strategists say that Muslims should be aiming to do in non-Muslim countries.

Hence instead of real thinking we get this facile nonsense:

I wonder if the Christians of Nigeria, Pakistan or Egypt find this amusing?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Twinning Churches

A good friend of mine has suggested to his church that they twin with a church in a part of the world where churches are suffering persecution (e.g. the Islamic world by and large). By forming this relationship they will be connected with the people likely to suffer persecution and will therefore be made directly aware of it. If the twinned church does come under attack it will not be some distant statistic that the mainstream media doesn't even bother to report but a personally relevant event. This will provide a strong learning experience.

This kind of action will appeal (in fact will be difficult to turn down) to many liberally-minded people who would generally avoid saying "boo" to a goose in case it was a "hate crime".

It sounds as if the church (in this case a very liberal/left group of people) is willing to consider the idea and pursue it. This could be a very good thing for all kinds of churches, meetings and congregations to do. It is low risk, low cost, and builds direct connections between those needing to be better informed and those whose very lives may provide the learning experiences.

For ample evidence of the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Muslim world see Raymond Ibrahim's excellent new book "Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians" or visit his excellent blog:


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Islam: A Warning from History

I created the leaflet below and went to a local convenience store where I stood outside and asked people if they would like to have one of my leaflets. I only asked males in the 30 - 60 age range. Not one person wanted to take one or ask me what it said. The numbers involved were quite small so I don't want to generalise too much. Even so, the level of blanking did surprise me. I had expected to be hectored and argued with and possibly shoved around but I did not expect people to refuse to engage with the subject so completely. My impression was that people don't know about Islam, they don't want to know about it; they just want to ignore that whole subject for as long as they can. I came away thinking that getting the substance of Islamic doctrine across to people is going to require a more indirect approach. Most people cannot stomach it undiluted and straight. I reproduce the leaflet in its entirety below:

ISLAM: A Warning from History

Those sounding the alarm about the spread of Islam today are often accused of “Islamophobia”, engaging in “hate speech”, or even of trying to stir up persecution against Muslims.

But is concern about the growing strength of Islam in our country really unreasonable and without foundation? Just look at the picture above…

In the 1930s people failed to stand up for the Jews in the face of Nazi persecution. Today we fail to stand up for the victims of jihad – including those likely to become victims in the future.

All around the world today, yesterday and the day before people are being killed for no other reason than the fact that they are not Muslims. Do you think perhaps it’s time that you took a look?

Understanding Islam

Muhammad is the key to Islam. Islamic belief and law is based on the example of Muhammad. He declared himself to be a prophet and then began persuading others to accept  his declaration. The Koran contains words that he claimed to be revelations. His words and behaviour are the basis of Islamic doctrine.

Muhammad divided the world into Muslims and kafir (any non-Muslim). Muslims are required to struggle against the kafir in order to establish Islam’s dominance. Muhammad said, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war." Koran 9:5

Jihad is the process of achieving this goal. It can be waged through warfare, subversion, immigration, economic warfare, creeping Sharia, etc.

For his first 13 years Muhammad preached a tolerant message which borrows heavily from Judaism and Christianity. He gained only 150 followers. He was weak. This is known as his Meccan period. Koranic verses from this time reflect this weakness and tolerance: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Koran 2:256

After this he became a warlord in Medina and turned to violence, plainly contradicting the earlier message.  He averaged a jihad attack every 6 weeks until the end of his life.

His following grew at the rate of 10,000 a year during this period as he offered both worldly success through conquest and the prospect of rewards in the afterlife – especially for dying in the process of spreading Islam (the Muslim concept of martyrdom). He also threatened people with death for not becoming Muslims which proved very “persuasive”.

The Koran is divided between these two periods: Meccan and Medinan: The former tolerant, the latter violent. Islam contains messages of both tolerance and  intolerance.

Dip into the Koran and you will quickly discover it is peppered with hatred for kafir.

Islamic doctrine in action

One episode in Muhammad’s career is the massacre of the Banu Qurayzah.

In March 627 AD, the tribe known as the Banu Qurayzah were besieged and isolated by their Muslim attackers led by Muhammad. They twice offered to leave their stronghold but Muhammad refused their request. He insisted they surrender unconditionally and subject themselves to his judgement. Compelled to surrender, the Qurayzah were led to Medina. A third (and final) appeal for leniency was made to Muhammad by their tribal allies, the Aus. Again Muhammad refused. Muhammad ordered the men to be beheaded.

About 800 men were led to trenches dug in the market of Medina and there they were beheaded; their decapitated bodies buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched. Male youths who had not reached puberty were spared. Women and children were sold into slavery, some being distributed as gifts among Muhammad’s companions. Muhammad chose one of the Qurayzah women (Rayhana) for himself. The property of the Qurayzah was divided up among the Muslims as booty. (1)

Rather than renouncing this behaviour, Islam bases law and religious rulings known as fatwas  upon it. In  2012 a Muslim cleric (Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni) ruled that captured women could be used a sex slaves for jihadist fighters in Syria. This fatwa is in accordance with Muhammad’s example above. (2)

In April 2013 this ruling went into action when a 15 yr old Christian girl was captured in Syria by jihadists.  According to Agenzia Fides, "The commander of the battalion 'Jabhat al-Nusra' in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam became mentally unstable and was eventually killed." (3)

In Syria and elsewhere, jihadists are also continuing Muhammad’s tradition of beheading captives. These acts are extremely shocking but are all in accord with Islamic doctrine. (4)

Kafir as protected people under Islam

You may have heard that Jews and Christians have a protected status in Islamic societies. The meaning of this can be traced back to Koran 9:29 and the Conditions of Omar which were based upon it.

The Conditions were devised in order to establish rules about the treatment of Jews and Christians under conquest.  They actually put in place a temporary and conditional cessation of violence. Those living under the Conditions were known as dhimmis, which means those living in humiliation.

In order to feel themselves humiliated, dhimmis had to pay a poll tax called jizya; they were not allowed to defend themselves against a Muslim; they could not build or repair places of worship; they had to dress recognisably as dhimmis; they could not occupy positions of authority over any Muslim. If any dhimmi caused offence to a Muslim through, for example, mocking Muhammad, the whole dhimmi community was fair game for attack. Just history? No…

In Pakistan there exists a small Christian minority. Charges of blasphemy against them are common and a rumour is sufficient to trigger an attack against a whole community.

In March 2013, because one Christian was accused of blasphemy, some 3,000 Muslims attacked the Christian Joseph Colony of Lahore, burning two churches and 160 Christian homes.  In 2009 in Gojra, eight Christians were burned alive, 100 houses looted and 50 homes set ablaze after another blasphemy accusation. (5)(6)(7)

Thousands of miles away in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq the same pattern occurs – as it does everywhere a kafir minority exists. 

In September 2013 reports emerged that the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters were forcing the roughly 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village in south Minya province to pay jizya .

All Copts in the village, “without exception,” were forced to pay the “protection” money, just as their forefathers did nearly 1400 years ago when the sword of Islam originally invaded Christian Egypt. Some who refused were killed. (8)

In some cases, those not able to pay were attacked, their wives and children beaten and/or kidnapped. It’s the same in Syria and Iraq.  Failure to meet The Conditions of Omar in any way makes the whole community a justified target for attack.

Next time you hear a Muslim spokesmen talking about the “protected” status of non-Muslims, remember what it really means.

Kafir not yet under full Muslim subjugation can also show dhimmi behaviour, as when President Obama said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” (9)

Islam’s Rule of Numbers

Where Muslims are a minority they reflect the peaceful Meccan face of Islam. Where they are a majority the aggressive Medinan face surfaces.

When Muslims are in a minority, and relatively weak, as was Muhammad in Mecca, they talk of tolerance. This is the situation in many European countries. As their numbers grow, the threats and incidents of violence increase, as do demands for concessions to Islam.

When Muslims reach 50% of the population violence reaches its maximum. (e.g. Nigeria) As the proportion of Muslims grows above 50% the violence gradually reduces because the kafir are subdued and the number of targets for attack reduces too (e.g. Pakistan).  When Muslims are 100% there are no more targets and the violence returns to zero. This is “peace” as Islam understands it (e.g. Saudi Arabia)


(4)      Google “Syrian soldiers beheaded”
(9)      26 Sep 2012 - At the U.N. General Assembly

Further Reading

An Inquiry into Islam

Political Islam

Bulletin of Muslim Persecution

The Religion of Peace

Jihad Watch

The evidence in this leaflet is only the tip of the iceberg. The examples given can be multiplied hundreds of times over. Did you know there have been over 21,000 jihad attacks since September 2011? (10)

Monday, 19 August 2013

A Brief Analysis of the Islamic System

Islam is a system for eradicating all unbelief (in Islam). Islam is a system of rules which encapsulates the behavioural example and spoken words of Muhammad as prophet. Islam is therefore a system for eradicating all unbelief in the prophetic status of Muhammad.

Islam begins with our existential problem: what are we doing here and what happens when we die?

In common with many belief systems, Islam treats the afterlife as a given, it is not something that is seen to require justification. Many people (probably the majority) find it hard to imagine their own non-existence. They therefore feel there must be some way in which they persist after death. For the sake of this analysis we don’t have to dispute the truth of this idea either way. Muhammad based his belief system on the assumption that there is an afterlife and he terrified people into certain patterns of behaviour using this assumption. He amplifies the natural fear of death to provide the emotional fuel for his system, a system which is ultimately directed towards his own aggrandisement.

Muhammad claims to have revelations sent directly from God (Allah) via the angel Gabriel. Muhammad says he has been given the role of God’s messenger. Allah is said to control every detail of life and death. He decides who goes to Paradise and who goes to Hell when they die. He is the supreme power and must be taken very seriously. Muhammad claims to be able to tell people what they must do in order to find favour with this supreme power.

Very cleverly, Muhammad says that the first thing people must do in order to find favour with Allah is to believe that he is Allah’s messenger. This becomes the basis of the Muslim declaration of faith, the shahada. “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

So the logic runs like this:

·         I am Allah’s messenger
·         I can tell you what to do in order to save yourself from eternal torment
·         The first thing you have to do is accept that I am Allah’s messenger

This is Islam’s core belief, as stated in the declaration of faith, and the logic is totally circular. Without this core belief none of the rest of Islamic doctrine would have any significance.

In declaring himself to be the mouthpiece of Allah, Muhammad is able to build on this foundation. He can even say things about himself as if they are being spoken by Allah. For example, “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” (Koran 33:21)

Muhammad is also able to say, via Allah/Gabriel, that to obey him (as messenger) is to obey Allah (as author of message).
"And We have sent you (Muhammad) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is sufficient as a Witness. He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then We have not sent you as a watcher over them." (Koran 4:79-80)

There are more than 25 occasions in the Koran where this assertion is made.

Muslims are therefore enjoined to both emulate and obey Muhammad.

They are also forced to be totally loyal to him. Once people have “signed up” to the core belief there are a whole set of rules to ensure they don’t go back on it. For a start, the rule regarding apostasy is clear: if you leave Islam you die. “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol 9 book 84 number 57) To try and persuade someone to leave Islam is also punishable with death.

The Koran is used as the mouthpiece of Muhammad’s desire to avoid criticism: “Those who insult God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them.” (Koran 33:57)

Muslim scholars are unanimously agreed that insulting, mocking, or belittling Muhammad is a grave sin, an act of apostasy and kufr (unbelief). These (not murdering innocent people) are the worst sins in Islam. See for a detailed, scholarly account from an Islamic perspective.

Various people and objects are given a sanctified status which adds to the unassailability of the core belief. The "Holy" Koran, a perfect golden copy kept in heaven; constant references to Muhammad and his companions with the "peace be upon him" invocation; cleansing rituals; halal rules; the uncleanliness of outsiders etc.
These measures are designed to protect the core belief. Blasphemy, apostasy, mockery, unbelief are all couched in terms of disrespect towards Muhammad.

Having established a group that subscribes to the core belief, Muhammad obviously needed to dress up his will-to-power as something sacred and worthwhile. The various prayer formats, rituals, festivals, and dress codes are part of this layer of the system. Binding people together through participation in shared repetitive behaviours is a component of many forms of social organisation. Islam is no exception. It also serves to demonstrate and reinforce loyalty to the group, a group that is ultimately identified with the character (and will-to-power) of Muhammad.

Dress codes also serve to delineate clearly between insiders and outsiders. This taps into the strong tendency toward out-group derogation seen in minimal groups research and the blue eyes/brown eyes studies beloved of the diversity industry. See further discussion of these here.

Muhammad was also aware that people may show an outward display of loyalty but inwardly they hold a different view. These are the people designated as hypocrites in Islam. They are those who are not truly loyal to the group inwardly as well as outwardly. Muhammad tried to intimidate such people with dire warnings about the consequences when they came to Judgement Day.

This is obviously different to the non-Muslim use of the term “hypocrite” which denotes a person who preaches one thing but practises another. It concerns inconsistency between one part of a person’s character and another and is related to personal integrity. In Islam there is no personal integrity, there is only submission and loyalty.

So Muhammad has succeeded in building a group of followers who are bound to the core belief through life and death rules regarding the upholding of his status and an assortment of rituals to help them bond with each other. Plus, there are severe warnings for those who pretend to be loyal but are inwardly not.

These measures trigger the Loyalty/Betrayal foundation outlined in "The Righteous Mind", thus giving these social pressures a moral feel. The rules and invocations regarding sanctity trigger the Sanctity/Degradation foundation. For more on this see here...

Respecting the sanctities of Islam is also a way of demonstrating group loyalty and full assimilation into the system. To the extent that non-Muslims (eg. today's left/liberal establishment) show respect toward these sanctities they are also showing a degree of group loyalty and partial assimilation into the system.
The system is not going to serve Muhammad’s desire for self-aggrandisement if it remains small and irrelevant. The system must expand in order to achieve this. For 13 years Muhammad tried to expand his system through preaching and persuasion. He got virtually nowhere. At the end of 13 years he had 150 followers.

He therefore developed the idea that “fighting unbelief” in whatever way possible was an important duty of Muslims.

Muhammad thus creates a new layer to the system. This layer is concerned to impose the core belief on outsiders. Persuasion is always a component but the threat of force is a far more potent weapon.  This graph by Bill Warner shows the different levels of success associated with the preaching and warfare phases.

Progress of Islam - Thanks to Bill Warner CSPI
Outsiders are given 3 options:

  1. become insiders and allow Muhammad’s system to assimilate them. They do this by the declaration of faith, the shahada, thus signing up to the core belief.
  2. live as semi-assimilated people who live under rules of subjugation and potential annihilation (dhimmis). This is really a slow death assimilation.
  3. death.
As the number of insiders (Muslims) grows it becomes possible to impose the core belief on more and more outsiders, either eliminating them or turning them into insiders.

Insiders are told to be kind to one another and harsh towards outsiders. This is a bonding message and a way of directing discord away from the system and towards outsiders. Outsiders are demonised as the worst of creatures, the sons of apes and pigs etc. They are destined for eternal torment and are to be despised. Muhammad often speaks of their fate as humiliating and shameful, thus playing on the honour and shame culture. So wretched is their condition and prospects that jihad is actually a blessing brought to them by Muslims (you can’t get much more self-serving than that!).

The strong group loyalty serves another function as it gives each member a strong sense of belonging. This is important from an existential point of view. Belonging to a group with shared beliefs is probably the best way of staving off existential angst. This also creates a further prohibition (as if one were needed) against leaving the group.

Jihad and martyrdom (at least the bastardised version of martyrdom that Islam uses) are elevated into the best rewarded behaviours for insiders. To die fighting to impose the core belief is the surest way of attaining paradise and avoiding hell. Thus a strong reward system is established for the most self-destructive and aggressive behaviour. Those who die in this way are lionised and their behaviour sanctified. This is the source of Islam’s apparently fearless warriors. It’s not actually that they are fearless, it’s simply that they have been persuaded to fear something more than their own death.

This produces a body of insiders dedicated to the elimination of any opposition or doubt regarding the core belief. Islam becomes a system for the eradication of unbelief (kufr). And, as stated above, the unbelief is ultimately about Muhammad’s status as set out in the shahada..

To the extent that the system is successful in achieving its goal of imposing the core belief, then the perceived validity and truth of the core belief to insiders and outsiders is strengthened (if they are that successful they must have God on their side). This perceived vindication of the core belief spurs outsiders to convert and insiders to eliminate or convert yet more outsiders. This energises the system yet further and strengthens the core belief. It is a very powerful system of rapacious conquest.

The attitude of hatred and persecution cultivated towards outsiders means that the prospect of becoming an outsider is made as unattractive as possible. It also becomes a demonstration of group loyalty to show intolerance towards outsiders, thus avoiding the charge of hypocrisy.

As the spread of Islam makes life increasingly cruel and intolerable, the compensatory attractions of the afterlife become ever more important. Paradoxically, this feeds back into a reinforcement of the core belief and intolerance of dissent.

The logic goes like this: life is miserable and vicious and the afterlife is looking increasingly like the only happiness I’ll ever find. How do I ensure I get there? I must do what Muhammad told me to do. Muhammad told me to impose the core belief and if I die fighting to do so I’ll definitely go to paradise.

What we have in Islam is therefore a rapacious system of strong insider bonding where aggression is directed towards outsiders in order to either eliminate them or turn them into insiders who will behave in the same aggressive way towards other outsiders. The belief at the centre of this system is set out in the shahada and it is ultimately this belief (a belief resting totally on Muhammad’s self-declared status) which is imposed by the system. Given that Muhammad is the author of this belief and the system established to deliver its dominance, Islam is ultimately the expression of Muhammad’s will to power.

Muslims are therefore submitting to Muhammad's will-to-power not Allah's will. Muhammad used Muslims for his own purposes and Islam, as the expression of his will-to-power, still uses Muslims in the same way.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Refusing Galileo's Telescope

When I say "Islam", they hear "Muslim". - Eric Allen Bell


There is a story from our changing vision of the universe which parallels our current difficulties in seeing the realities of Islam. This story concerns the transition from a geocentric (earth-centred) view of the universe to a heliocentric (sun-centred) model of the solar system during the 16th and 17th centuries. This transition was so radical that not only was the earth no longer considered to be the centre of everything, it was also open to question as to whether there even was a “centre of everything”.

Despite being completely wrong, the geocentric model of the universe made perfect sense to those who held it. It explained what they could see of the sky by night and of the sun by day. This is very much like the liberal orthodoxies of today with regard to Islam and Muslims. Liberal explanations of the behaviour of Muslims and Islam as a whole make sense of people’s observations (to some extent) but they miss out information which is not immediately visible but which nonetheless is crucial for understanding reality. That is the subject of this essay.

The Ptolemaic system

When you ask a child if the earth travels around the sun or the sun around the earth there is a high likelihood that they will tell you the sun travels around the earth. This seems intuitively obvious to them. They see the sun move from one side of the sky to the other during the day and the position of shadows changing accordingly. The sun certainly appears to travel around the earth. But as we grow up we are taught that the apparent motion of the sun is caused by the daily rotation of the earth about its axis. We thereby gain an understanding of reality which is not easy to come by with common sense alone.

Prior to the 17th century most astronomers would have told you that the sun travels around the earth; they would have told you that the earth was the centre of the universe and that not only the sun but everything in the heavens rotated around the earth. Just look at the night sky, they would say, and see how the stars all move in unison but are fixed in relation to one another, this proves that the earth is at the centre of everything.

Beginning with these assumptions, a complex model of the universe was built with the earth in the centre and the planets set in concentric crystal spheres with the stars set in the outermost sphere. Greek philosophy dating back to Plato had determined that the sphere was the most perfect form and, since heaven must be perfect, it was only logical that the planets and stars were set in spherical forms. This also led to the conclusion that the planets must move in perfect circles and astronomers spent centuries developing extremely complex models which could account for the apparently elliptical orbits of the planets in terms of perfect circles. The planets do in fact move in elliptical orbits.

Immutability was also a logical attribute of the heavens because, being heavenly, they were perfect and perfection could not be altered as it would thereby become imperfect. So how were observed changes in the sky, such as comets, to be accounted for? The sphere in which the moon was set represented the innermost limit of the unchangeable, perfect universe and everything within the Lunary Sphere was not perfect and therefore changeable. Comets were therefore understood to be occurences within the Lunary Sphere.

This cosmology also sat well with other ideas about the nature of the world and the nature of heaven. Aristotle’s concept of the “Great Chain of Being” represented the whole scale of life, starting right at the top with God and moving downwards to the lowliest forms of life. This accorded Man a place in the chain of being between God and the animals, a position with which he could feel satisfied. It also had an explanation for the tendency of things to fall towards the earth. Since the earth was the centre of all things, it naturally attracted all things towards it.

The Ptolemaic Universe

This view of the cosmos prevailed for approximately 15 centuries. It afforded people a sense of knowing the cosmos and their rightful place within it. The Aristotelians were a dominant intellectual force during this whole period and the Ptolemaic cosmos formed part of a larger explanatory system known as Aristotelianism; a system covering politics, ethics, physics, law, education etc. No less a person than Alexander the Great was taught by Aristotle personally.

Challenges to the Aristotelian universe


During the first half of the 16th century, Nicholas Copernicus gradually allowed his ideas of a heliocentric solar system to leak out. He provided a theoretical challenge to the geocentric model. This did not arouse all that much attention. Outsiders deemed to be eccentrics or even heretics are generally ignored – or worse. Giordano Bruno, who admired Copernicus, was burned at the stake in 1600 for asserting that the universe was infinite.

The New Star of 1572

In early November 1572 a “new star” appeared in the constellation of Cassiopeia. In fact a star had exploded becoming a far brighter object in the sky. It did not explode in 1572 but some 15,000 years earlier, the light only reached the earth in 1572. So what were the Aristotelian astronomers to make of this? The heavens were perfect and immutable so the change must be occurring in the Lunary Sphere they thought. How could this be checked?

Tycho Brahe points to the "new star" with a recent image of the supernova remnant

Fortunately an astronomer called Tycho Brahe had spent his life studying the stars and developing more and more accurate instruments for making astronomical measurements. He determined that the “new star” was well outside the Lunary Sphere where change was not supposed to occur. The Ptolemaic system had suffered a serious blow. Nevertheless, as Bruno’s death above attests, entrenched opinion was still very strong and capable of exercising its will with utmost severity.

There was a further “new star”, or supernova as they are now known, in 1604 and similar conclusions were reached.

The Moons of Jupiter

Galileo Galilei is one of the best known figures of scientific history. In 1608 he adapted the telescope for astronomical observations and two years later he noticed that Jupiter had its own orbiting satellites or moons. He could see four. This information provided Galileo and other astronomers with a very significant insight, one which literally shook the foundations of their universe: the earth was not the centre of everything.

Just imagine yourself in a world that you had taken for granted was the centre of the universe, a view which had prevailed for 15 centuries; imagine the sense of stability, anchorage, the status of being at the centre of all things and suddenly you discover that you are not. That’s what Galileo’s discovery implied.

What Galileo had discovered was a system, a group of objects in organised relationships to each other. This system had a planet at its centre and four moons orbiting around it. That provided the crucial insight. The existence of this system was not visible to the naked eye but with the aid of the correct instrument, a telescope, it could be clearly seen.

This discovery landed Galileo in hot water, not only with the Catholic Church but also with the Aristotelians. The hostility of the Aristotelians towards Galileo never abated and the Church forced him to abjure the moons of Jupiter in 1633.

His story has long provided Western civilisation with a legendary story of ignorance trying to suppress knowledge; of orthodoxy attempting to change reality simply by refusing to look at it. Some accounts of the episode say that various contemporaries of Galileo were unwilling to look through his telescope for fear of what they might see.


Galileo also went on to study the phases of Venus which proved that Venus travelled around the sun. This led to the adoption of the Copernican model of the solar system and we now refer to this transition as the Copernican revolution. So the grip of orthodoxy finally loosened and the Church now looks back with shame to this episode.

We are now engaged in a similar battle between knowledge and orthodoxy. This time the battle is between those who have seen the Islamic system for what it is and those who refuse to look through Galileo’s telescope. The forces of orthodoxy today consist of established liberal thinking.

Now call me fanciful if you wish but this viewpoint is not so very different from the geocentric view of the universe, though in this case the universe we are talking about is the universe of values. Liberals even tend to assume that all people will gradually gravitate towards their way of seeing things; that is, towards liberal values. We see this kind of thinking at work when liberals assume that history is gradually moving in their preferred direction. President Obama is fond of saying that those opposed to his viewpoint are “on the wrong side of history”, as if history has a predetermined destination and anything at odds with that is on the “wrong side”. We also see this thinking at work when people argue that Islam is where Christianity was 500 years ago and that if allowed to take its course it will arrive at exactly where we are now. This thinking definitely betrays a sense that everyone will gravitate towards the liberal position.

That’s really just an aside, what I really want to focus on is the new insight that the counter-jihad movement has gained into the nature of the Islamic system. We are probably unique in the history of societies facing the threat of Islamic conquest in having a detailed forewarning of the nature of the system we face. And yet there are so many who refuse to look at the nature of that system. They are the counterparts to Galileo’s contemporaries who feared to look through his telescope and some, like the hard left and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, are the equivalent of those who intimidated people to restore the state of ignorance. It seems we are always destined to live with a faction of people who brand others as heretics and resort to mob rule.

On the nature of systems

Just as the internal dynamics of Jupiter’s system gave the game away for astronomy so too do the internal dynamics of the Islamic system for us today. Let’s have a look at the nature of systems and then look at some specifics of the Islamic one. This system, like Jupiter’s, is not visible to the naked eye but with the help of the correct viewing equipment you can clearly see it. Once you have seen it, as the counter-jihadists have done, your thinking undergoes a Copernican revolution.

Systems are organised wholes which are greater than the sum of their parts. They are made up of smaller sub-systems or components. They consist of organised complexity.

Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems are those which are based on relationships between mechanical components. They are designed and assembled by people and are also controlled by them. In some cases they can be automated. A bicycle is a system of mechanical components which is a dead mechanical structure but combined with the energy and intelligence of a cyclist it and the rider become a dynamic whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. Also, if the rider just sits on the bike he/she will fall off but once in motion the whole system achieves a dynamic equilibrium.

There are some mechanical systems which are not assembled by people: Jupiter and it's moons is a system of mechanical relationships governed by the laws of motion.

Computer systems

Computer systems are very complex and consist of computer hardware, software and data. The system will consist of thousands of sub-systems and components both at the hardware level and the software level. The thing that really determines how a computer system will behave is the software, the computer code. It is through the computer code that people are able to specify in detail what the system should do under a whole variety of different conditions. It is the code that determines whether the computer operates as a gaming machine or a word processor. Within either of these broad operational categories there are thousands of sub-systems which contribute to the operation of the whole.

Computer systems at their core are systems of relationships between data. In order to do anything a computer system must carry out operations which base decisions on comparisons between data items in one location and those in another. They do this extremely quickly but that is fundamentally what they are doing.

Living systems

Living systems are even more complex and consist of biological components and sub-systems that contribute to the existence of the whole organism. Respiratory systems, digestive systems, nervous systems, sensory systems, cellular systems are all examples of the kind of sub-systems operating in living organisms.

Another key feature of living systems which distinguishes them from mechanical or computer systems is that they are self-created; they have evolved into what they are. They also have the ability to self-regulate or self-organise and they can replicate themselves.

In order to create copies of themselves living systems make use of genetic code. This code provides the instructions for building every system and component of the whole organism. What the organism will be and what sort of survival strategies it will use, the way it will self-replicate and self-expand is written in this code.

One example of a living system is the rhododendron bush.

Rhododendrons are an invasive species which gradually create an ever-widening area which is exclusively inhabited by rhododendrons. Once a dense thicket of bushes is established nothing else can grow there, the dark canopy blocks all the light. This quality of rhododendrons is written in their genetic code. It is part of their nature.

Rhododendron Bush

The Islamic system

Islam is a system. It is a recognisable set of behaviours persisting through time. Just like a species of animal or plant it has distinct patterns of behaviour, a strategy for survival, and a strategy for self-replication and self-expansion. It is composed of millions of sub-systems which contribute to the operation of the whole. That whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Like the computer system and the living system its behaviour is encoded in some form and that code is distributed throughout the system.

In the case of Islam, the behaviour of the different sub-systems and the system as a whole is encoded in the canonical texts: the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira. These texts represent the source code for the system. Interestingly, this source code also provides rules for how it is to be translated. Once it is translated it forms the organising principles for the system as a whole. For example, the Koran is not ordered chronologically and in order to decode it properly you have to refer to the Sira to find out what episodes in Muhammad’s life the different parts of this code refer to. Once you know this you can understand the code much better. You also need to look at the Hadith and the reliability criteria for each of these narratives in order to cross-check and elucidate pieces of the Koran and Sira and vice versa.

The source code also spells out the rules for dealing with contradictions between one set of code and another. The rule is that later code always over-rules earlier code. This is the Law of Abrogation and it is one of the most important pieces of the code because it tells us how Islam is ultimately destined to behave towards us. To distinguish the later from the earlier code we study the Sira.

Obviously this is quite a complicated job but all the work has been done for you just like a computer program that has been written and tested and you just have to learn to use it. So too with the Islamic code, you can read a fairly simple explanation of it and grasp its import pretty quickly. You mustn’t be intimidated by computer nerds or Islamic scholars! It’s all very logical and you can easily understand how it fits together. Once you have an understanding of the code, you can then see why Islam and Muslims are the way they are. Just as the genetic code for the rhododendron bush illuminates why it lives the way it does.

Having studied the system code of Islam, we know that it is an invasive system, a pattern of living which renders an area hostile to all other patterns of living, just like the rhododendron: invasive, exclusive, unyielding. We also know its prime directive: to dominate the world.

So, to observe the moons of Jupiter we use a telescope and that reveals the existence of the Jovian system. To observe the Islamic system, we read its source code and the built-in rules for interpreting that code into system code. Unless we look at this system code we are easily fooled by a plethora of superficial details and the soothing messages of Islamic apologists.

Unknown unknowns

Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was famous for saying that there were known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. His political opponents loved to ridicule him for this observation but it actually says important things about the different states of unknowing.

Donald Rumsfeld

The profoundest ignorance is that which arrogantly assumes that most of what is important is known already whereas an appreciation of the unknown and of what is not even known to be unknown shows humility and respect.

Before the supernova of 1572, the possibility of a “new star” was an unknown unknown. Once the event had occurred it became necessary to answer some questions about it in order to test the existing theory of cosmology. Was what we thought to be true really true? The news of this event took about 15,000 years to reach the earth travelling at the speed of light (300,000 kms per second).

We have a situation today where liberal thinking holds sway in the West. In many ways this is a good thing for there are many good aspects of liberal thought. Nothing is perfect however and liberal thought is no exception. One of the big failings of liberal thought today is probably rooted in its widespread acceptance, and that failing is its assumption that liberal thinking is more widespread than it really is. Richard Landes has called this Cognitive Egocentrism and he describes it in the following terms:

The projection of one’s own mentality or “way of seeing the world” onto others, e.g., the teenager who is obsessed with sex, and assumes the same about everyone else. In the current situation of globalization, cognitive egocentrism has its greatest impact in the political relationships between people coming from civil societies and those raised in prime divider societies. Since the basic political principle of Prime divider societies is “rule or be ruled,” “do onto others before they do onto you,” political actors from those cultures assume the same zero-sum, domineering intentions in their opponents (the “enemy”). Since the basic political principles of civil societies is “I’ll give up trying to dominate and trust you to give it up as well,” “if I’m nice to you, you will be nice in return,” assume positive-sum attitudes in their opponents (the “other”). The current situation testifies to a dangerous mis-apprehension that works to the distinct disadvantage to civil society. The media, in particular, as the representative of civil society, emphasizes its role as empathizer, often failing to defend civil society, even exposing it to danger.

Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism (LCE)

The projection of good faith and fair-mindedness onto others, the assumption that “other” shares the same human values, that everyone prefers positive sum interactions. In a slightly more redemptive mode, LCE holds that all people are good, and if only we treat them right, they will respond well. This is a form of empathy that… aspires to the radical victory of justice, and robs the “other” of his or her own beliefs and attitudes. It projects onto rather than detects what the “other” feels.

Thus Western liberals inhabit a world in which their typical habits of thought and belief are seen to be operating in peoples where actually they don’t. This fallacy sits at the heart of their perception of the world. It is a habit of mind which is unreflective and fails to take sufficient account of unknown unknowns.

On September 11th 2001, passenger aircraft were pressed into the service of a system developed in the Dark Ages for the conquest of the world under one god. Prior to this event, the Islamic system was an unknown unknown to most people (many knew of the existence of Islam but not the Islamic system). Just like the 1572 supernova, these aircraft carried important information about the nature of reality.

Some took note of the event and began to ask questions. They turned to the source code of Islam and looked for explanations for the attack. Others remained firmly locked within their own version of the Ptolemaic system, liberal thought, and explained the event in terms of inequality, discrimination, lack of respect, neo-colonialism, poverty, lack of education. Liberals clung to their cognitive egocentrism like a baby blanket.

But those who turned to the source code discovered the existence of a system just as Galileo had revealed the existence of a system (in fact a sub-system with profound implications for the nature of the system as a whole). The existence of this system changed everything, just as Jupiter’s system had knocked the earth from its position at the centre of the universe. It told pioneers like Bat Y’eor, Robert Spencer, Bill Warner and Mark Durie that we were faced with a system that radically changed our position in the world. Everything did not revolve around us and our way of thinking at all. There was a system that had its own organising principles, its own strategies for self-expansion and self-replication, and its own goals.

Unfortunately Western liberals continue to see Muslims as discrete individuals with rights to religious freedom rather than as members of a system (this problem was expressed very succinctly by Eric Allen Bell when he said, When I say "Islam", they hear "Muslim". It is true that each Muslim is an individual, a definable system composed of sub-systems, but each Muslim is also a component, a sub-system within a superordinate system, one with emergent properties of self-organisation. The system in the case of Islam is like a vast war machine. It is this perception of Muslims as members of a larger system with quasi-self-organising properties which has radically altered the worldview of the counter-jihadists. It is this fact which we struggle to communicate to our contemporaries who continue to live in the equivalent of a Ptolemaic universe. They thus tend to see the counter-jihadists as malevolent people with some irrational mistrust of people different to themselves. They continuously make fools of themselves by calling us racists, for example. They are also easy prey for the Muslim spokesmen who can seduce them with soothing words about inter-faith dialogue and co-existence.

The counter-jihadists know, having studied the system code, that Islam does not intend to engage in co-existence any longer than it has to. Any co-existence is purely illusory and tactical. The counter-jihadists also know that what individual Muslims think about the meaning and destiny of Islam is largely irrelevant since the meaning and destiny of Islam is clearly (once decoded) set out in the system code. Individual Muslims come and go but the system code remains.

The counter-jihadists have tried to show Western liberals the existence and meaning of the Islamic system just as Galileo tried to show his contemporaries the existence of Jupiter’s moons. And just as his contemporaries equivocated, avoided and procrastinated when it came to looking through his telescope, the forces of orthodoxy today (Western liberals) are doing exactly the same.

The question for us is how soon can we persuade Western liberals, and especially our elites, to look through our telescope and see the system that we have discovered. At present they seem more inclined to make us abjure the existence of this system, just as the Church forced Galileo to abjure the existence of Jupiter’s moons. On the positive side, more and more people are having a look and once they look we have a very high conversion rate.

Will more people summon up the courage and have a look at reality or will they refuse Galileo’s telescope?