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  • What do we do about Hizb ut-Tahrir (pt1)


    by Sunny
    11th July, 2007 at 3:11 pm    

    On Comment is Free yesterday, former HuT member Ed Husain said this:

    Remember, the only difference between Islamists from Hizb ut-Tahrir and jihadists is that the former are waiting for their state and caliph before they commence jihad, while the latter believes the time for jihad is now, vigilante action, without state-driven leadership. We ignore Hizb ut-Tahrir at our peril.

    That is true but it is a big difference - ‘vigilante action’ usually involves violence, intimidation and coercion, but waiting around does not. And in a liberal democracy committed to freedom of speech/expression, people should be allowed to wait around for the end of the world if they want to.

    So what do we do with Hizb ut-Tahrir? This issue has been opened up again since the London/Glasgow attacks when David Cameron pressed Gordon Brown on why the group has not been banned yet. Should it be banned? Ed Hussain says yes, Yahya Birt says no.

    I was recently invited to write a short piece on this issue by the Our Kingdom blog.

    I end with:

    We should neither ban or ignore HuT but learn more about their past and their present activities, and openly challenging [sic] them at every opportunity. They should not be allowed to become part of mainstream discourse and Muslim organisations need to be encouraged to take a more active role in challenging their theological arguments. It’s going to be a long battle; quick-fix solutions may end up backfiring in our face.

    And we challenge HuT by exposing some of the absurdity in their constitution, as Brian Whitaker does today on CIF.

    I’ve done the same in the past with their past activities.

    And yet organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain remain completely unwilling to challenge HuT. Is it any surprise people are unconvinced the MCB wants to tackle extremism?


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    361 Comments below   |  

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    1. The Common Humanist — on 11th July, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

      Are they still banned from German University campuses?

      Anyways, at least people seem to have woken up to what the Islamists are about. Even the Today Programme has been to known to ask slightly difficult questions about the Theocratic Fascists in our midst.

      And if the penny has dropped with Today then there is hope for the rest of the UK!

    2. Jagdeep — on 11th July, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

      I remain to be convinced about a ban, but they are skirting close to the edge. They are straight up, filthy racist anti-semitic bigots, as well as being hateful of all non Muslims, but especially Jews. They have a history of peddling anti-semitic propaganda and preaching hate of all things non Muslim as well as preaching violence.

      If they can be nailed for being a party that advocates and supports violence, terrorism and racism then the case is made. A more nebulous idea of ‘hatred for the
      West’ is perhaps more difficult to qualify in any way.

      But I would trust people like Ed Husain to make the judgment call. Either way, start collecting evidence on the mofos now. The argument that they will just mutate and its better to keep tabs on them is a strong argument though.

      In the meantime, they should be treated by the media and all other organisations as they would treat Combat 18 of any other Stromfront type Nazi organisation. No more publishing their screeds, Guardian, no more licking their boots, Madeline Bunting.

      Oh yeah the MCB won’t do anything because they’re Islamists themselves, and some of their top men are in sympathy with the rhetoric of them, and they are two faced gutless hypocrites too.

    3. septicisle — on 11th July, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

      What we should do about HuT is simple: we take them on in the same way we should take on the BNP, by ruthlessly exposing what they stand for, by pointing out illogical their policies and beliefs are, not to say unachievable, and by most of all, not ignoring them and hoping that they’ll go away.

      Banning them is the simplest solution which requires the least work, and disingenuously comparing them to the Nazis like Hussain did in that article while not offering a single solution except them adhering to his demands will similarly not wash.

    4. Zak — on 11th July, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

      I’m very much in two minds about the HT, it’s well known they are very astute about the line they work on..much like the BNP the top leadership comes across at first glance as articulate and seemingly rational while at the grassroots they are a much nastier piece of work. At the same time, it’s true groups like them serve as potential incubators for the real Qutbis

      Your approach is probably the best one sunny, careful engagement to ensure they are exposed at every level and more importantly force groups like the MCB to either rise to the occassion or get out of the way.

    5. Roger — on 11th July, 2007 at 6:54 pm  

      “the only difference between Islamists from Hizb ut-Tahrir and jihadists is that the former are waiting for their state and caliph before they commence jihad”
      That’s rather a big difference, actually. As they aren’t going to get their state and almost certainly won’t regard any state that announces it is the caliphate as a proper caliphate they aren’t going to do start jihading for some time yet. What is the usual fate of HuT members as they lose interest in the group? They don’t seem to act as a channel to active jihadists the way some other groups do. In any case, the most important thing to do is to demonstrate that they’re talking nonsense even by muslim standards.

    6. Clairwil — on 11th July, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      No I don’t think they should be banned but I hope the security services are taking a keen interest in their activities. Let’s face it no-one would faint with shock if a few of their members ended up involved in terrorism.

      I accept that they are not a terrorist organisation but as Zak notes they are a potential stepping stone to something more dangerous. Radical right and left wing groups have been infiltrated and spied on many times over the years, I see no reason why Hizb should be any different.

    7. soru — on 11th July, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

      One way of looking at it this:

      1. HuT are the looniest islamists who are not actually on fire shouting ‘Allah’.

      2. they seem to sincerely believe that stuff about the caliph + state (some of them even expect Charles or Harry to revert and give them the go-ahead).

      One possible conclusion from those two facts is that the caliph + state argument is the strongest medicine in the cabinet, the one able to deal with cases of loonyism no other approach can handle. If al qaeda is cancer, HuT is radiation - kill or cure.

      The other is that it’s likely to be a lot easier, safer and cheaper to deal with things before they get to that point, instead of letting a medical equipment manufacturer sweet talk you into spending money on irradiating everyone who walks into the hospital front door.

    8. sid — on 11th July, 2007 at 7:51 pm  

      The Hizbut Tahrir are ridiculous. And I’m emphasising on the theme “ridicule” here. Worthy of ridicule. Banning them is giving them credence. It would be like banning the Raving Monster Loonies. It would take them from the ridiculous to the sublime.

    9. Don — on 11th July, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

      I’m with the consensus on this; monitor, expose, challenge.
      The position taken by universities is also worth considering. I think there is a case for uni’s excluding them (also BNP and any other supremacist groups) after an open debate.

    10. bikhair — on 11th July, 2007 at 8:05 pm  

      Clairwill,

      “No I don’t think they should be banned but I hope the security services are taking a keen interest in their activities.
      I accept that they are not a terrorist organisation but as Zak notes they are a potential stepping stone to something more dangerous.”

      I dont really agree with the above statement. I think there are many young Muslims in the UK especially who have known brothers who, back int he day, were apart of these groups and simply grew up.

      Many rabid people would argue that being a Muslim is a stepping stone to terrorism. If members of this group should be watched because of the potential that they have, why not watch all Muslims?

    11. Niels Christensen — on 11th July, 2007 at 8:20 pm  

      Just a clarification. HuT is banned i Germany, it’s is viewed as threat to the society, but the germans is a little bit sensible when it comes to exxtreme political organizations.
      In Denmark the spokesman last year has been jailed 2 months because of threats aginst jews (“kill then where ever you meet them”).
      Personally I find their language uncomprehensible. It reminds me of the small leftwing parties in the 70′ and 80′ who found paradise in China or Albania.

    12. The Common Humanist — on 11th July, 2007 at 8:59 pm  

      Niels

      Thanks for the info. Not just Universities. Well, well, given the Bundesrepubliks (Spelling? Am Lazy)
      strong free speech tradition am going to have to enquire as to quite what they said/did to get banned througthout Germany!

      [Scuttles to Library..........via....ok ok via wikipedia...there...said it. Phew!]

    13. KB Player — on 11th July, 2007 at 9:53 pm  

      I agree Today has been a little less dismal when speaking to the likes of HuT. What I would like a presenter to say is, “In this country laws are usually changed by piecemeal reform. Of all of the changes that you would like to make to the laws of this country, could you name the top five?” If instead of talking about sharia law or the caliphate (incomprehensible to non Muslims) they talked about banning of interest, or taking away some rights from women and non-muslims or whatever - ie if they got down to specific policies there would be a clearer view of what kind of organisation they are.

    14. Steve M — on 11th July, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

      It’s an interesting debate and a difficult subject. I think that the main argument for banning them, assuming they clean up their act and rhetoric in public, is that they can act as a ‘gateway organisation’, as argued by Shiraz Maher, a former Islamic radical, in his recent New Statesman article. That doesn’t really speak well for the ‘safety valve’ argument.

      The problem is that if one terrorist develops for every 1,000 ‘safety-valved’ kids, that could lead to consequences that are altogether more disastrous than those we have seen so far from BNP members. Would that one terrorist have become so with or without HuT? Darned if I know.

    15. Rumbold — on 11th July, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

      HuT should be closely watched by the security services and members prosecuted if they break British law. However, they should not be banned simply calling for a return to the Caliphate. I have no wish to live under a Caliph, but nor do I think that people should be criminalized for calling for such a system of government- if they want to live under such a constitution then they should be allowed to call for it, providing that they stay within the law. Opposition at the ballot box will defeat them.

    16. douglas clark — on 11th July, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

      HuT should not be banned, unless there is also a ban on the BNP. A plague on both your houses.

      They both have hateful policies, however they are tenable within our democratic process. Please ridicule either of them for they are, they are in fact, the same thing. A ridiculous idea that race matters and individuals don’t.

      Let us put Zahed’s brilliant post,

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1238

      at the forefront of our minds.

      Let us not be distracted by history, for history teaches us bigotry.

      (Oh God this is getting preachy, but it needs to be said, deep breath)

      The Protestant in Northern Ireland has a date, it is 1690. It has taken bombs, bullets and finally minds to get past that sort of reading of history. It has cost children, mothers and sons, for what exactly?

      An agreement, an agreement that any sane person could have become insane waiting for. That is the problem with the future, the past weighs it down. But when it comes it is like, bovvered? Not me.

      And that is what I understand Sunny, and all the rest of the authors on this site to be fundamentally opposed to. Waiting for sanity. It is a failed idea, we need to, now, embrace what Zahed said, let there not just be the Grand Canyon between the ideas of bad foreign policy and terrorism, let’s make it the Atlantic Ocean.

    17. douglas clark — on 12th July, 2007 at 12:14 am  

      Oh,

      And remember that most UK citizens thought Blair was out on a limb over Iraq.

      So, excuse the language, but why the fuck are we a target? If you alienate people who largely agree with you by blowing them up, what’s left?

      I went on the Scottish March against the Iraq War in Glasgow, there were a lot of people there. I’d guess at 100,000.

      Lots of non Muslims there, in fact the vast majority were non Muslims. (And I will not get into a debate with anyone who says otherwise)

      So, now Glasgow is a target, huh?

      So what have the daft bastards in the Cherokee done?

      They have destroyed common human loyalty. That is what they tried to do. AFAIK it hasn’t worked yet.

      Fuckers.

    18. douglas clark — on 12th July, 2007 at 12:18 am  

      Rollback,

      “They have tried to destroy common human loyalty”. I knew what I meant….

    19. A Ali — on 12th July, 2007 at 12:39 am  

      Those who call for the banning of HT are weak - they don’t have the confidence of the stregnth of their arguments and values.

      And those who claim they want to ridicule and challenge HT’s ideas are also weak and all talk and no action. I’ll say bring the great debate, don’t hide slogan such as ‘extremists and radicals’ and open all forums, TV, and radios. You can’t have debates hiding behind slogans and censorship.

      HT wellcomes sincere debates.

    20. Sunny — on 12th July, 2007 at 12:57 am  

      those who claim they want to ridicule and challenge HT’s ideas are also weak and all talk and no action

      What ‘action’ would you like? We’ve already exposed their activities and silly ideas.

    21. douglas clark — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:08 am  

      A Ali,

      Were you disagreeing with me? I think we should be told.

      Contrary to what you think, I agree with engagement with folk, but only if they are able to see the other side’s point too. Don’t make them weak, makes them strong.

      I will not engage in a fruitless discussion with folk who’s motto seems to come from Millwall supporters:

      “Nobody likes us and we don’t care”

      However, if you actually want to discuss it….

      Remember, the opposition is bigger than your groupiscule, to coin a word, whilst you sir have been coining an attitude.

    22. Chris Stiles — on 12th July, 2007 at 9:56 am  

      I dont really agree with the above statement. I think there are many young Muslims in the UK especially who have known brothers who, back int he day, were apart of these groups and simply grew up.

      Quite so - but a lot of them (including Ed Hussein) appear to be strangely naive about what they were joining.

    23. bananabrain — on 12th July, 2007 at 10:38 am  

      *claps loudly for jagdeep @ #2*

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    24. Usman — on 12th July, 2007 at 10:58 am  

      Hizb ut-Tahrir works for the return of the Caliphate in the Muslim world - an Islamic system of government with an accountable leadership, chosen through the authority of the people, in which the rule of law would replace the tyranny that currently exists. A recent study by the University of Maryland found that there was over 70 per cent support for this political vision in the Muslim world.

      For over fifty years, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been at the forefront of the political work in the Muslim world to end tyranny and dictatorship. Tony Blair’s proposal in August 2005 was intended to stop their non-violent political work to replace western backed dictators in the Muslim world. It is undoubtedly true that this organisation causes the government considerable political and diplomatic discomfort, in that their campaigning against dictators in the Muslim world, many of whom are allies of the government – such as General Musharraf and Presidents Karimov and Mubarak - exposes its hypocrisy.

      The former Home Secretary, John Reid, confirmed in Parliament, what for some time has been an open secret – that despite the pressure on the UK government to ban this organisation from dictators in the Muslim world, like President Musharraf and President Karimov, there has been no evidence whatsoever to link Hizb ut-Tahrir to terrorism or violence.

      At PMQs former home secretary John Reid pointed to two recent reviews of Hizb ut-Tahrir which concluded there was “not sufficient evidence” for it to be banned. He called on Brown to “stay absolutely on the course he set today and to stick by the law and the evidence and not by any arbitrary political advantage”. Reid added: “Can I tell him that nothing would be more politically disadvantageous than taking a case without evidence and then losing it…It would confirm all of the accusations made against us.” Brown thanked Reid - who stepped down from the cabinet at the same time as Tony Blair - for “the work he did as home secretary”, particularly in setting up new arrangements for dealing with terrorism.

      The prime minister agreed that “however distasteful remarks that are made by organisations are, we must proceed on the basis of evidence and we must work within the law”.

    25. Steve M — on 12th July, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

      Hizb ut-Tahrir works for the return of the Caliphate in the Muslim world - an Islamic system of government with an accountable leadership, chosen through the authority of the people, in which the rule of law would replace the tyranny that currently exists. A recent study by the University of Maryland found that there was over 70 per cent support for this political vision in the Muslim world.
      It sounds great but I’ll stick with secular democracy please.

      I suppose there’s no ‘tyranny’ in countries with an Islamic system of government, is there?

    26. bananabrain — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

      usman,

      you sound quite as plausible and reasonable as nick griffin. congratulations!

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    27. Chris Stiles — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

      Hizb ut-Tahrir works for the return of the Caliphate in the Muslim world - an Islamic system of government with an accountable leadership, chosen through the authority of the people, in which the rule of law would replace the tyranny that currently exists.

      How do you account for the tyranny that exists in the HuT constitution?

    28. Derius — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

      “Hizb ut-Tahrir works for the return of the Caliphate in the Muslim world…………..

      ………Hizb ut-Tahrir has been at the forefront of the political work in the Muslim world to end tyranny and dictatorship.”

      Usman,

      The Caliphate would be a dictatorship. So you are working to end dicatorships in the Muslim world and replace them with a ..er…dictatorship.

      What a manifesto. It gets my vote!

    29. Usman — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

      Steve M
      There is no Islamic government in the world today, hence in my comment ‘Return of the caliphate in the Muslim world’ is an indication that there is no caliphate at present.

      The tyrannies that exist in lands where Muslims live are secular run by incompetent western backed dictators.

      Chris stiles
      I refer you back to my earlier comment

      ‘At PMQs former home secretary John Reid pointed to two recent reviews of Hizb ut-Tahrir which concluded there was “not sufficient evidence” for it to be banned. He called on Brown to “stay absolutely on the course he set today and to stick by the law and the evidence and not by any arbitrary political advantage”. Reid added: “Can I tell him that nothing would be more politically disadvantageous than taking a case without evidence and then losing it…It would confirm all of the accusations made against us’

    30. Usman — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

      Derius
      For you to assume that the caliphate would be a dictatorship is out of your ignorance of what the caliphate is. Besides advocates of the caliphate make it perfectly clear that it should be established in the Muslim world, and if this is the aspirations of the people living there then they should be left to decide their own political destiny.

    31. Katy Newton — on 12th July, 2007 at 1:42 pm  

      70 per cent support for this political vision in the Muslim world.

      Yes, but you see I live in a secular democracy and I actually prefer that, with all its faults, to a Caliphate. I like the whole not being stoned for “blasphemy” thing. As do most people in the UK, including the Muslims that I know. I don’t WANT to live by someone else’s religious laws any more than you, Usman, want to live in a secular democracy.

    32. Usman — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

      Katy Newton
      I refer you to comment 24 paragraph 1 ‘return of the Caliphate in the Muslim world’ and also comment 30

    33. Rumbold — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      Would the Caliph be elected then Usman? What if the voters wanted a woman?

    34. The Common Humanist — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

      Usman,

      Your are a clerical fascist but a polite one at least.

      Isn’t it completely pointless having a UK branch of HUT??? I mean, 99.99% of the population find your ideas barmy or repugnant and the UK is going to be barren ground for an islamic revolution for ever.

      So why bother? Why not instead move from these terrible, oh so corrupt and decadent western secular democracy to a muslim country where you might actually have a chance at achieving a Caliphate?

    35. Chris Stiles — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

      Usman -

      I refer you back to my earlier comment

      That comment is rather irrelevant in this context. I don’t think they should be banned - as Jagdeep says above, they have become experts at sailing close to the line - watch them, and use every legal means to prosecute them if and when they cross it would be my recommendation also.

      To read you wax lyrical, one would believe that HuT are shining eyed pure idealists who, Prometheus-like, wish to bring us all a better world.

      Posit an idealised vision of HuT all you like, I would argue that they have to be judged on the policies they actually claim to be standing for, rather than some kind of utopian end result. The clearly anti-semitic, and - frankly - racist clauses in their own constitution clearly demonstrate that they aren’t exactly the Muslim wing of the Boy Scouts.

    36. Chairwoman — on 12th July, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

      Usman - It’s very easy to say that one would like to live in a Caliphate when there isn’t one.

      People are people are people, and what is said in the market place is often very different from what is said in the kitchen.

    37. bananabrain — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

      well, as they pointed out on asharq al-awsat recently, the muslim world which is supposedly 70% in support of a caliphate (and, let’s just remember, the actual original caliphate resulted in universal islamic government for a very short time indeed before everyone started fighting over it) is also on record as being very much in favour of the british government deporting its islamic extremists rather than giving them benefits and a safe haven to spread their feculent bilgewater.

      for which, of course, we - and the pizzas - have to thank our secular democracy’s commitment to human rights and free speech, so let’s hear it for free speech!

      except for sir salman, that is.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    38. ChrisC — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

      Usman wouldn’t get his nice social security money if he moved away now would he?
      Much cosier to play his little game at our expense!

    39. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

      heh good point chris.

      70% support for the Caliphate ha. do they mean 70% of Muslims here? or across the world? who did a survey of all the muslims in the world? Such Bollocks i never heard. Usman Clearly has never stepped outside of coventry or whever it is in britain he comes from - he’s certainly never been to the Middle east, and if the Caliphate ever came he’d have to rename himself Uthman.

      So many people with zero experience of the ‘muslim world’ i think they really are in fantasy cloud cuckoo land. 70% support for the Caliphate, such rubbish. There are far too many women with sense in their heads for that, return of the sex slavery concubine wielding Man as intermediary to God? NO THANKS. we’re not that stupid.

    40. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      and plus we have already had this discussion where everyone slagged Usman off but Arif politely asked him some very valid questions about the Caliphate which he couldn’t answer.

      what is valid is pointing out that many people ( for some strange) do see this as a panacea to our current ills. Yes people want accountable government - all of us do and I for one can’t see how the caliphate is a step towards accountable government ( or accountable in a sense that is at all meaningful in a God-less context)- obviously it is a step back. Now some disagree and HuT is simply a symptom. get rid of them and something else will pop up.

      The question is why does this particular offering ( Caliphate) so attractive to some people who are just as disillusioned with governance structures as the rest of us? Therein lies the wider ‘problem’ to ‘solve’.

      Also my dear Usman i would like to point out that many people i knew at university who blindly swallowed the Caliphate thing really didn’t know much about government or the failures of government. Or enough to know about it that they would rather live in Coventry than Mirpur or Sylhet, where govt. failure makes Britain look super efficient and kind. So how come it appealed to them then? Identity - is why - in those particular people’s case - and it fed a ‘vacuum’ - they were dissatisfied because they couldn’t find a middle ground, their parents were telling them not to be english, and they were still teenagers, and frankly, they were confused.

    41. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      (for some strange reason) i meant!

    42. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      anyway its very simple really take everyone who’s hankering after the caliphate to saudi arabia for an enforced visit of 2 months and that will erase the desire in no time. especially if they’re women.

    43. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

      “Muslim organisations need to be encouraged to take a more active role in challenging their theological arguments.

      HuT’s theological arguments are very difficult to ‘challenge’ if you’re trying to do it within a religious context - this is the main problem for Muslims really.

      Because if we are honest, what HuT is suggesting is not shocking theologically at all really, it simply is trying to recreate what prophet Mohammed did back in the day. So i think the difficulty is for Muslims to attack HuT without somehow in the process seeming to ‘insult’ Islam and the Prophet. The valid questions that Arif raised in response to Uthman way back - could just as well be applied to the Early Caliphate. Challenging any of HuT’s claims to the right to divine governance might also lead to challenging Mohammed who made such a claim himself - so you do see the difficulty.

      that’s the crux of the matter and it is difficult for non-muslims to come out and say this and be taken seriously ( or not seem like Islamophobes). Lots of ‘apostates’ and ex-Muslims know this of course, but in any case, the MCB will surely accuse them of being turncoats and who knows what.

    44. sid — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

      sonia #42:

      preferably in the status of a Bangladeshi migrant worker.

    45. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

      36. Chairwoman - you’re absolutely right. if HuT want to be taken seriously we should propose a little experiment. give up your british passport and go and live in iran for a bit. if they’re prepared to come back and explain how it is they think they will avoid such excesses and authoritarianism, they can come back and have their passports back, and they won’t be slagged off anymore.

      just see how many people go for that and that’ll show us if they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is.

    46. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

      Sid - precisely! As a migrant bangladeshi worker and not as an expat Brit with the protection of the Embassy. that’ll teach anyone.

    47. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

      35. chris - well said

    48. Eremos — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

      Banning the HuT would do two main things, which I’m against. Firstly it would give the impression to many that it is a legitimate organisation. It is not. Secondly any ban would allow martyr complex (in a non-Islamic sense) to set in. This would contribute greatly more people joining.

      Whilst I haven’t had a chance to read Ed Husain’s book yet, I’m worried that many are basing their ideas on events which are about a decade out of date. HuT has moved on a lot since their 90s college roots. They are more radical, more dangerous and more of a threat. If they were dealt with properly a decade ago, instead of pandering to PC ideals, we wouldn’t be discussing all of this now.

      For many young Muslims, the HuT is a “college thing”. At a formative time in their lives when many are trying to find themselves, the HuT offers strong, decisive role models. Although a minority may use this as a stepping stone to something more violent, most people just grow out of this phase. There are many people I know who were swayed by the idealism of HuT, but faltered when they left college for the real world. By banning this group, the “underground” feel maybe more than enough to keep their interest post-college.

      The way to deal with them is to challenge them ideologically. During my college days I did this often. What I found is that often the most zealous recruits are those with the least knowledge about Islam, politics, economics, well just about anything really. These guys are scared of real debate, but they love to give lectures. If they are challenge enough hopefully they will fade away.

      Just like to finish up with a point on MCB. These guys used to be on my I-can’t-stand-you list. However a recent meeting with Dr. Bari at their offices caused me to have a rethink. Whilst they may have had Islamist roots, they are an evolving organisation. Their various committees are testimony to this, as many Muslims who don’t care much for religion, join just to network. A key issue for the MCB is that not enough Muslims of different persuasions join adequately reflecting the diversity of the community. This may well be due to some of their past gaffs. If more Muslims joined, there would be more debate and discussion allowing for Muslims to do their own housekeeping i.e. cleaning up the whole HuT mess.

      (DISCLAIMER- the author would like to declare that he has registered shareholding in either the HuT or MCB businesses.)

    49. Eremos — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

      Shit!

      Trying to be witty has landed me in a mess. The disclaimer was supposed to read:

      (DISCLAIMER- the author would like to declare that he has NO registered shareholding in either the HuT or MCB businesses.)

      Bugger, bugger, bugger…

    50. sonia — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

      heh! funny typo.

      the other reason of course for muslims to be very wary of HuT is the apostasy thing, we’d be stuck for life.

      and yeah, banning HuT would be very non-productive as they’d simply just disappear underground

    51. Sunny — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:47 pm  

      Urgh, the argument is going down the same path. Brian Whitaker’s article points out parts of the HuT constitution which shows how they will become a dictatorship.

      Secondly, there’s no point citing those 70% numbers when most Muslims don’t know the extent of Shariah law, and just wanting to live along more Shariah lines doesn’t mean they want a Khalifah.

      For example, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in the UK have among the most religious freedom in the world. That allows them to live along religious lines without having to live in a religious state. Iran isn’t a western backed state and its still a dictatorship.

    52. Chris Stiles — on 12th July, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

      Because if we are honest, what HuT is suggesting is not shocking theologically at all really, it simply is trying to recreate what prophet Mohammed did back in the day.

      Which is exactly what points to the need for Higher Criticism of original texts (amongst the other fruits of a dialogue with philosophy).

      And that *is* something that mainstream Muslims can do - or at least lay the groundwork for. Not that it is going to be a particularly easy or short term project.

    53. Twining or Black in Blue — on 12th July, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

      May I make a comment, if it suits Usman. If we are to deal with HuT, then we deal with otther radicals in the same way, specifically the BNP. There is no room for any fascist movements if there is to be harmony and “hugs.” What do you think Katy and Jai?

    54. Jai — on 12th July, 2007 at 7:26 pm  

      give up your british passport and go and live in iran for a bit.

      Aha, but the problem is that some people would say that Iran and Saudi Arabia aren’t “real” Islamic states in the true spirit of Shariah, the Khilafat etc etc.

      By “some people”, I’m not referring to myself, by the way. But the above IS an argument some advocates of “true Islamic rule” would/could use.

      If we are to deal with HuT, then we deal with otther radicals in the same way, specifically the BNP…..What do you think Katy and Jai?

      The logic here is correct. If, hypothetically, one were to seriously engage with HuT in a democratic-process, freedom-of-speech, let’s-hear-them-out-and-give-their-opinions-due-consideration kinda way, then technically you would have to accord the BNP the same level of respect and credibility.

      The best way forward, as someone higher up this thread has mentioned, is to address HuT’s goals and ideas on their own individual (de)merits, and pick them apart one by one.

    55. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      Hello people, hi Sonia, it’s so lovely to hear from you again.

      Okay after reading all the threads from above I have identified a problem. People are giving their opinions on why they think the caliphate wouldn’t work, why it is wrong, etc. These are superficial arguments as the criteria to what someone thinks is good-bad, vice-virtue, moral etc is subjective to the ideals of an individual. Me and Sonia had a lengthy discussion on this point and amazingly we actually agreed on something for once (we hardly ever agree on anything).

      So in conclusion to discuss issues related to these superficial arguments is pointless as my basis for judging good-bad is most likely to be different to a lot of people on this thread and vice versa.

      However I have to say that I do agree with Eremos at comment 48. ‘The way to deal with them is to challenge them ideologically.’ This is where the discussion needs to be, on the basis itself, can the basis be rationally proven beyond doubt.

      So my stance is this: Islam is the best system, why? Because its from the creator of Mankind and the universe, and he is the only one that can give a system for humanity as he is the one that understands the nature of the human being best. I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong.

      As for the challenger, prove your basis what ever that basis may be, most likely secularism.

      Previously when having this debate, nobody was able to prove secularism, in any way, shape or form. Lets see if anybody can do so now.

      Thank you all for your time.

    56. Katy Newton — on 13th July, 2007 at 11:54 am  

      I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct

      Really?

      You can prove all of that?

      St Thomas Aquinas eat your heart out!

    57. Katy Newton — on 13th July, 2007 at 11:57 am  

      nobody was able to prove secularism

      You don’t think secularism exists?

    58. Chairwoman — on 13th July, 2007 at 12:06 pm  

      Usman - I agree with everything you say.

      Except for one tiny difference.

      The correct system, is the one handed down, from G-d, to Moses.

    59. Katy Newton — on 13th July, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      What’s WRONG with you people?

      The hand that guides the universe is not even a hand! It is a Noodly Appendage!

    60. Don — on 13th July, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

      Would this proof involve a banana at all?

    61. sid — on 13th July, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

      Usman, the Quran, the Talmud, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and all the Holy Books are written by “Inspired” men. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong.

    62. justforfun — on 13th July, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

      The “Dodgy Dossier” is a much maligned text from a great man, touched by god.

      It is unfortunate but the doubters alive today have caused god to act this way, and be it on their heads, -it will now take 300years at least for the truth to emerge that proves the “dodgy dossier” was a correct and holy text. I don’t invite - I demand you prove me wrong.

      I want it on record for our future descendants , that I “Justforfun”, believed every word of it and needed no proof but was willing to believe with faith alone. Can I have a school named after me now or at least some time in the future in recognition of this. The Justforfun Madrassa has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

      All I ask is that bananas be banned from all lunch boxes at this school, for obvious theological reasons - One can take no chances.
      This view is best summed up in what I request is the school moto. “Look after the little gods and big gods will look after you”.

      Justforfun

    63. sahil — on 13th July, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      Katy is correct, the universe is binded by the wheatish hand of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That webpage has all the scientific evidence on needs. Did you not see the clear mathematical relationships shown?? PS have a look at these brilliant interpretations of the facts:

      http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2005/exam-answers2-p1.php

    64. Roger — on 13th July, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

      “I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong.

      As for the challenger, prove your basis what ever that basis may be, most likely secularism.

      Previously when having this debate, nobody was able to prove secularism, in any way, shape or form. Lets see if anybody can do so now.

      Thank you all for your time.”
      Hod on there, Usman! You say that “you can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator” and then ask people to prove you wrong. Before people try to prove you wrong you have to show what you think right; so, start proving there is a creator and all that you claim follows from that.
      You think that people have been trying to “prove” secularism. Where, when and how? Secularism is the philosophy that the state and society should not be based on any religious belief. What is there to prove there? What do you think peope have failed to prove?

    65. Chris Stiles — on 13th July, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong.

      In other words, you don’t have proof at all - if you had proof you could lay it out. Instead what you are asking people to do above is to disprove your belief.

      Me and Sonia had a lengthy discussion on this point and amazingly we actually agreed on something for once (we hardly ever agree on anything).

      If you are referring to Sonia’s posts above, I don’t think her agreement means what you think it does.

    66. Soso — on 13th July, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

      I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong

      The past and current state of the Islamic world proves you wrong, but then you’re not big on irony, are you?

      I, too, believe that a creator exists, and that she is, in fact, a fat, black, Jamaican lesbian who absolutely despises mysogynistic males with beards.

      I welcome Usman to prove me wrong.

      The yearning for the caliphate, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with reviving Islam’s “golden age”. This desire, IMHO, is borne of scattered, residual memory fragments of a more peaceful time that existed before the trauma of Islam’s entry onto the world stage.

      Usman doesn’t pine for THE CALIPHATE; what he yearns for is that period of history when his culture, identity and psyche were still intact.

      He pines for the relaxed harmony and relative comfort so characteristic of that pre-islamic period of which he still has faint unconscious memories.

      For want of a more extensive, non-islamist vocabulary, and because islam forbids him access to this rich historical period, he hasn’t any choice but to refer to it as “The Caliphate”.

      Usman’s ultimate desire, then, is really one of ridding himself of Islam.

    67. Don — on 13th July, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

      No shortage of proof, Chris,

      http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm

    68. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

      Roger
      Thanks for your comment, and I agree, as I have made such a claim I should now proceed with the evidences. Also thank you for your definition of secularism, my point is that this concept is irrational, as this is an assumption that no religious doctrine can have any part in legislation, but this has no rational credability as the question of how the universe began or is there a creator/god has not been answered. That is why I say this is an irrational concept and an inappropriate base to then form a system of governance for human beings. Unless someone can prove otherwise.

      So the starting point of this discussion is: Is there a god/creator or how did the universe begin, what was there before any life.

      Firstly I want to make it clear that the discussion has to be based on what can be rationally proven and not on what science can prove. Reason for this is that science can only be applied on tangible realities and a creator or god is not something that can be put under scientific conditions and tested to produce results.

      To illustrate this point I will use the following example.

      A painting can be put under scientific conditions, which can then give a result on the frequency of light that is reflected from the paint, the density of the paint etc. But science can not prove that there was a painter that painted the painting. Rather that is a rational conclusion that is made and not a scientific one (that the painter exists).

      Science is very good in what it can test/tangible realities but not on that which is intangible/ can not be tested.

      Therefore the debate has to be based on what can be rationally proven.

      I will go through my argument step by step and would prefer the interaction of others, so don’t be shy people.

      I will begin by asking a question. Is there anything that exists without limits/infinite? i.e. the human being has limits in the height of which it will grow, in size, weight etc, the earth is very big but is still a measurable size hence is limited, the temperature of the sun is very hot but is still a measurable temperature, is there anything which is beyond limits or infinite?

    69. Rumbold — on 13th July, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

      Usman:

      Secularism is more about not letting religion dominate politics, rather than shutting it out altogether. The best early example of a secular state came about as a result of the colonial rebellion in a small part of the Americas. The rebels’ new system of government did not establish a national church, yet the legislation was still heavily influenced by the unsecular British constitution (read the ‘Federalist Papers’ for confirmation) as well as religion. “In God we trust” and so on. Therefore Usman, secularism is not a rejection of religion in politics but rather a sidelining.

      Legislation does not need to address how the universe was created. It is irrelevent (in legal terms)- though the property rights implications are interesting.

      You cannot rationally prove that God exists any more than you can disprove it. It is a question of faith; you can look for evidence to support either side, but it will never be conclusive.

    70. sonia — on 13th July, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      51 “Secondly, there’s no point citing those 70% numbers when most Muslims don’t know the extent of Shariah law, and just wanting to live along more Shariah lines doesn’t mean they want a Khalifah.”

      heh spot on sunny

      justforfun madrassa is a brilliant name - it should be a film!

      56. Katy - too right! Usman, precisely because of the point we agree on - that each individuals reality is subjective and social norms and all that, we need to realize that some people will take Muhammad’s claims as exactly that - the ‘Truth’, and some will think ah well that’s his subjective reality. You can say what you like, but your understanding of God is mediated through other humans. Unless you too have received direct revelations from God.

      anyhow we’ve been over this before, you really must not be getting it.

      Anyway, maybe Usman, I’ve seen God so i know better than you all. Maybe God has updated his commands since Mohammed, why not? and p.s. i am the LAST messenger, last one lied a bit ’bout that. but then they all do don’t they. so maybe you might want to take what i say with a pinch of salt.

    71. sonia — on 13th July, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

      usman heh :-) naturally the question of God is metaphysical, duh what do you think we don’t realise that? precisely, you cant prove or disprove it materially either which way.

      goodness we have got some mugs in town

    72. Jai — on 13th July, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

      Rumbold,

      “In God we trust” and so on.

      Not meaning to be pedantic my friend, but that phrase was added by McCarthy during the 1950s, although its actual origins are believed to lie in the American Civil War era. (Interesting article on Wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust ).

      However, the rest of your post #69 does make some very good points.

    73. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

      Roger
      It doesn’t make sense, rationally, logically or in any other way.

      “Well, we don’t know if god exists and even if he does he has no right to interfere in politics”

      This doesn’t make sense, maybe someone could explain it to me, then again maybe nobody can explain it, because its irrational.

      Answer the question, does god exist or not? If he doesn’t then how did the universe begin?

      To all those who have decided that I can’t prove god exists, why don’t you engage in the debate rather than go off on a tangent.

    74. Katy Newton — on 13th July, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

      i am the LAST messenger, last one lied a bit ’bout that. but then they all do don’t they. so maybe you might want to take what i say with a pinch of salt.

      Don’t make me build an effigy of you, Sonia.

    75. Katy Newton — on 13th July, 2007 at 6:38 pm  

      :-D

    76. Don — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

      Rumbold,

      ‘You cannot rationally prove that God exists any more than you can disprove it.’

      Absolutely. But as it is the theists who put forward the hypothesis, the non-theist is under no obligation to disprove it. We simply await the extraordinary evidence of this extraordinary claim. I don’t feel the need to assert that god does not exist, only that claims that he does are unevidenced, unpersuasive, and the concept itself unnecessary.

      To me secularism is to oppose the idea that this unsupported assertion of supernatural authority should play any part in the governance of the state. Any part, not just a sidelined part. How an individual responds to the universe is none of my business, unless that individual chooses to make it so. At which point we have a problem.

      Believe anything you choose, don’t dare impose it on others. Very few religious groups are able to resist the lure of power, of the possibility of translating their (doubtless sincere) convictions into public policy.

      Jai,

      Not a pedantic point, but going to the crux. That the USA went from an essentially and conciously secular state (witness Adams in the now famous Treaty of Tripoli, ‘As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…’ and numerous other remarks by Founding Fathers and early luminaries of a small nation astonishingly endowed with secular genius)to the machinations of McCarthy and the overweening power of evangelicals is a dark and depressing tribute to the determination of the faithful to bend the state to their metaphysical conceits.

      Usman,

      I respect the seriousness and courtesy with which you have presented your case, but I utterly disagree. Should we engage in this debate (which is very, very far off topic) I will use every weapon to hand, aye, even persiflage, to oppose your point.

    77. Roger — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

      Usman, replying to 68: First of all, science does not prove or claim to prove anything. Many scientists and philosophers of sciewnce claim that the test of whether atheory is scientific is whether it is falsifiable- whether it can be disproved. If it can’t it isn’t scientific.

      Your analogy of a painting rests on the fact that a painting, by definition, has a painter. You presuppose that there is a creator and so use a false analogy.

      “I will begin by asking a question. Is there anything that exists without limits/infinite? i.e. the human being has limits in the height of which it will grow, in size, weight etc, the earth is very big but is still a measurable size hence is limited, the temperature of the sun is very hot but is still a measurable temperature, is there anything which is beyond limits or infinite?”
      Certainly. There are an infinite number of numbers. There are an infinite number of numbers between 0 and 1. In fact, there are an infinite number of numbers between 0 and 0.1; even there are an infinite number of numbers between 0 and 0.01…
      There are an infinite number of sets of infinite numbers between any two numbers, no matter how infinitessimal the difference between them may be.

      73:
      What “doesn’t make sense, rationally, logically or in any other way”, Usman?

      “Well, we don’t know if god exists and even if he does he has no right to interfere in politics”
      Because we don’t know if god exists you have no right to make what you claim are god’s instructions reasons to interfere in politics or in anyone else’s private life. If you can give reasons for policies that will be accepted by nonbelievers, you may argue in their favour. However, you cannot expect anyone to accept that the fact you say god said we must do something is a valid reason for anyone else to do it.

      “Answer the question, does god exist or not? If he doesn’t then how did the universe begin?”
      And if he, she, it or they do exist, how did he, she, it or they begin?

    78. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

      Roger
      Thank you.
      I don’t mind you to disagree with me, I would prefer it if you disagree to be honest with you, but do so sincerely and not just for the sake of it, that’s all I ask.

      As I was saying, I would like this to be an interactive process rather than put swathes of text onto the thread. My question was can you or anybody else think of something which is beyond limits/infinite? There is a reason for asking this question and it will all fall into place shortly I assure you.

    79. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

      Sorry comment 78 at don not roger.

    80. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

      Roger
      Thank you also
      The infinite number. Is there such a thing? What is it? It doesn’t exist,

      Lets say for example there is a number lets make it 1. Then you keep adding 1 to it. At which point does it become infinite? No matter how many times you add one to it the number is still finite, even if you multiply it by the power of a trillion billion, the number you have will still be finite.

    81. Chairwoman — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:46 pm  

      And a gold star to Don, @ 76, for use of the word persiflage.

      The next task is to incorporate the word lignify into a comment.

    82. Don — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:48 pm  

      Usman,

      Please be assured that I am as sincere in my disbelief as you are in your belief.

      Briefly (it’s Friday evening and I have friends to meet) your question ‘…can you or anybody else think of something which is beyond limits/infinite?’ doesn’t seem to sit well with your insistence that this discussion should not be based on what science can prove.

      I have encountered many arguments which claim to prove the existence of god, some of them refined over centuries. I seriously doubt I will find a new and persuasive one on a blog; but if you are prepared to lay it out, I am prepared to listen.

      Perhaps we can pursue this over the weekend?

    83. Roger — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:49 pm  

      “Lets say for example there is a number lets make it 1. Then you keep adding 1 to it. At which point does it become infinite? No matter how many times you add one to it the number is still finite, even if you multiply it by the power of a trillion billion, the number you have will still be finite.”
      Certainly. On the other hand, what if you double it [or halve it}? You can do this an infinite number of times. I did not say that there was such a number as infinity. What I said is that there are an infinite number of numbers. The number of numbers between 1 and 2 is “beyond limits/infinite”

    84. Roger — on 13th July, 2007 at 7:50 pm  

      “The next task is to incorporate the word lignify into a comment.”
      Do typos count?

    85. Chairwoman — on 13th July, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

      Roger - I think that’s cheating :-)

    86. Chris Stiles — on 13th July, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

      Usman -

      You seem to be a mostly friendly chap - though your line of argument is rather jejune. You have a preset scheme of questions which unfolds a certain way, that much is clear.

      Unfortunately, as Roger starts to point out above, the questions you ask will inevitably not lend themselves to be answered with the clarity or epistemic certain which you desire (and your line of enquiry requires). We can continue on this vein, though I predict it will only lead to frustration on your part.

      -
      chris

    87. justforfun — on 13th July, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

      A Mobius strip - it has only one surface therefore … does it have no depth that can be subdivided? but yet it exists before our eyes or does it have depth beyond understanding, perhaps a portal to another dimension.

      Usman - My head hurts now - I give up - whats the answer to your question and what is the next question?

      Justforfun

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip

    88. Sam Giancanna — on 13th July, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

      Sunny,

      What about Tony Blair and his Lord of the Realm Black and Lady Barbie Doll Black taking a fall?

      Strange how you want just the MCB to tackle extremism but what about important news like this? Why isn’t that on your radar? Is it too politcal?

      Lobby Groups are corrupting politics and you talk about the MCB. What about serious issues like Lobby Groups funding MP’s, Senators, Congressman and giving them trips abroad for favours.

      Why did Tony Blair need to give talks at discredited media barons events? These people have twisted how the news is reported and you fail to focus on such issues why?

      I recommend you go to your natural home at Harry’s Place where you can Muslim Bash toghether whilst pretending that it is all the fault of those darn Maslims (spelling intentionally incorrect!)

      Tony Blair’s friend Lord Black for whom he went to speak at company events, set-up a board of neo-cons who wouldn’t question him as he defrauded shareholders, with a Prime Minister who has brought nothing but disgrace to his office and you sit here talking about the MCB instead of worrying about how democracy is being eroded. And you call this a politcs site. Oh P-L-ease.

      Why did Lord Black have leading neo-cons such as Pearle and Kissinger on his board? They were non-exec directors whose tool hundreds of thousands in salary for watching the company was being run correctly and you talk about HT and the MCB.

      Your obsession, now fairly unhealthy with Muslim issues whilst extremist of other faiths are able to cosy up to Govt Ministers and MP’s shows what your agenda is.

      I suggest you start raising money for Lord B’s fines and of course Lady B is an expensive model to run now that hubby is guilty.

    89. Usman — on 13th July, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

      Don
      No problem, I eagerly anticipate the debate with yourself when you have some free time. The point I was making about science is that its limitations to be only applicable to tangible realities makes it an inappropriate methodology of thinking for this discussion. By science I mean the strict empirical scientific method, to take that which is under scrutiny, put it under differing conditions, record results and then conclude findings. A creator or god is not something that can be tested and hence that is why the limitations of the scientific method make it inappropriate.

      Roger
      Again it works the same way. Lets take your example, You take a number, call it 1 for arguments sake. You half it, and you half it again, at which point would you have halved it an infinite number of times or doubled it? The point is that no matter how many times you half it or double it, it still would have been halved or doubled a finite number of times.

      If you agree that there is no such thing as an infinite number then it is irrational and illogical to say that a number can be halved or doubled an infinite number of times because you will always be halving or doubling a finite number by a finite number of times.

      For something to be infinite/ beyond limits, it by definition has to be beyond measure in anyway shape of form. For example take a piece of string with an infinite length, it has no beginning and it has no end. If you were to take away 1meter from it, have you reduced infinity? Or added a meter to it, have you just increased infinity? For this string to be infinite, means that you can not add anything to it otherwise what it was before was finite, and you can not take away anything from it otherwise what it was before was also finite, and the end result is also finite.

      Also for a piece of string to be infinite, it would have to be beyond measure in every way, in its length, thickness etc otherwise it would have limitations and hence be finite.

      Chris
      It can seem a little jejune at this stage but I assure you all will be revealed. You may be right that this endeavour may lead to frustration on my behalf, or it could strengthen or weaken my belief. Time will tell. I do appreciate the concern, thank you.

    90. Rumbold — on 14th July, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

      Jai:

      Please, always be pedantic. Otherwise there would be anarchy. Interesting point about “In God We Trust”.

      Don:

      As an atheist you are under no obligation to prove that God does not exist, but nor do I think that believers should have to prove that God exists. I agree that you should not impose your beliefs on others, but I am not sure about your assertion that belief in God is unnecessary; for some it is, but for others it fills a void.

    91. Roger — on 14th July, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

      Usman: Who said you ever stopped halving or doubling? You have an entire eternity to do both.

    92. Don — on 14th July, 2007 at 8:24 pm  

      Rumbold,

      Usman has volunteered to lay out his proof. And as soon as he and Roger have sorted out infinity to everybody’s satifaction, then I’m sure we’ll make a start.

    93. Usman — on 14th July, 2007 at 9:07 pm  

      Roger
      Okay you have eternity to divide and double, when will it become infinite? Yes you have in theory eternity to do so but at which point does it become infinite, because I presume you are saying that either it is infinite or can become infinite. Which one are you going with?

      But let’s take you example- you have eternity to do so.

      So what you’re saying without realising is that it will never get there

      Its like the infinite number, it doesn’t exist

      Rationally it is not infinite and will never become infinite as I have explained above in comment 89 no matter how many times you double or divide what you are left with is still finite.

    94. Roger — on 15th July, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      You do not actually need to count to infinity to know it’s there. The mere concept is enough. Do you suppose a number does not exist if someone has not yet thought of it?

    95. Usman — on 15th July, 2007 at 1:42 pm  

      Infinity exist as a concept, that is something that is beyond limits, something beyond measure.

      Can this concept manifest itself in numbers?

      Say for example you had an infinite number of marbles, if you were to half the infinite number of marbles, what would each half be equal to?

      Each half would need to be infinite, for there to be an infinite number of marbles,

      Say if you took a quarter from the infinite number of marbles what would each quarter be equal to?

      Again each quarter would have to be equal to infinity for there to be an infinite number of marbles.

      If you were to take this one step further and took 3 marbles away from the infinite number of marbles, those 3 marbles would need to be equal to the whole for there to be an infinite number of marbles.

      Like I mentioned earlier if it is possible to add or take away anything from something then it can not be infinite as that means what was there before was finite.

      If you were on an island and around you there is nothing but the ocean, if you took a cup and filled it with the water from the ocean you know that the ocean is finite as you have just reduced the amount of water in it.

      Some may argue that the universe is infinite. As the universe is the sum of all celestrial bodies (the sun, moon, planets, solar systems, galaxies etc) each of which is limited, the sum of limited things is self evidently limited. Furthermore as the distance between these bodies can be measured means that the universe is finite otherwise for it to be infinite the distance between them would also need to be infinite as explained above with the example of taking 3 marbles away from the infinite number of marbles would need to equal the whole.

      For something to be infinite means that it can not be measured, touched, contained.

      There is nothing in the universe that is beyond limits, some may say that we may discover something in the future far far away. If it is something that is tangible, can be measured, contained, touched means that it is also finite.

    96. Roger — on 15th July, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      Why not stick with an infinite number of numbers? Numbers are every bit as real as anything else- more real in the eyes of some.
      Yes, there are many infinities and some infinities are greater than others. The infinity of even numbers, by definition, has only half as many members as the infinity of whole numbers. The infinity of numbers between 0 and 1 is only a subset of the infinity of numbers. What of it? You can still use these different infinities.

    97. Anas — on 15th July, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

      The infinity of even numbers, by definition, has only half as many members as the infinity of whole numbers. The infinity of numbers between 0 and 1 is only a subset of the infinity of numbers. What of it? You can still use these different infinities.

      There are different sizes of infinity. The size of the set of integers, even numbers, odd numbers, etc, is the same; these sets are countable sets. That means if you had an infinite amount of time and paper you could enumerate/write down every member of the set. Then you have uncountably infinite sets like the real numbers, these sets can not be enumerated — even if you had an infinite amount of time!

    98. Usman — on 15th July, 2007 at 7:51 pm  

      The same works for numbers, or a number of numbers or a number of imaginary friends, and marbles

      Take the infinite number of numbers, Half them.

      If either half is finite the sum of the two halves will be finite. So both halves need to be infinite

      Take a quarter.

      If each quarter is finite, the sum of those quarters will be finite, so each quarter also needs to be infinite.

      Take 3 numbers away from the number of numbers, or even 1 number, what ever you have taken must be equal to the whole otherwise the sum of what you have taken away and what is left will be finite.

      If you are able to add a number to the number of numbers or take a number away, then it is finite because what you are left with is finite

      The manifestation of infinity or what it means for something to be infinite can not be comprehended by the mind as the mind itself is limited and can only understand things in a limited manner.

      Every thing within the universe is finite/Limited, numbers included, or number of numbers, or a number of number of numbers etc.

    99. Chairwoman — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:03 pm  

      Usman - I cannot comprehend algebra.

    100. Katy — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:16 pm  

      I’ve lost track, I’m afraid. Has anyone proved that God exists yet?

    101. Usman — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:21 pm  

      Algebra a branch of mathmatics that uses letters etc to represent numbers and quantities, comes from the arabic word al-jabr

    102. Don — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

      Nope, we’re still setting out terms. And they haven’t even started on the Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory.

    103. Chairwoman — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

      Usman - Although I already knew that, I appreciate the information.

      OK. I cannot comprehend the concept of Algebra. Many people have tried to explain it to me, but it is beyond my comprehension.

      Therefore, algebra is infinite.

    104. Usman — on 15th July, 2007 at 8:54 pm  

      Okay I see where this is going.

      My point was that because the mind is limited it can not possibly understand/ comprehend what the manifestation if infinity is,

      My point was not if someone can’t comprehend something its infinite. I apologise if I came across as such.

    105. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 10:56 am  

      Another quality all limited things share is that they are dependant on other limited things.

      So for example, a computer depends upon electricity and electricity depends upon a power station which has a magnet rotating in a metal coil. The rotation of the magnet requires the turbines to spin the magnet, the turbines spin because of the steam produced by the water boiling. The heat is produced by the coal burning and the coal required decay of wood under pressure, the tree that the wood came from required sunlight to produce photosynthesis in converting carbon dioxide into wood, and we can carry on. Thus we see that everything which is limited depends upon something else limited.

    106. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 11:42 am  

      Algebra a branch of mathmatics that uses letters etc to represent numbers and quantities, comes from the arabic word al-jabr

      yeah so what? what the hell has that got to do with the Caliphate?

      look, let me be honest. It seems pretty darn obvious that what fellas like you want is glory, let’s all admit, yes the Islamic Empire when it got going, (if you want to see an ‘empire’ responsible for the achievements of those within its boundaries) came up with lots of stuff in the intellectual achievements department. Sure. Clearly until we ‘admit’ that you people are just going to whine and whine and whine. I think anyway the fact that human intellectual achievements are dubbed to be ‘eastern’ or western is silly but there you go - its a cycle with people building on what knowledge went before them - but if what you want is acknowledgement, i suggest we all give you that acknowledgement. It appears that without appeasing your appetite for glorious history, you won’t be happy.

      heh, i can just see Usman’s opening speech for his Caliphate..” my treatise on Infinity..”

      hilarious.

    107. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

      My comment about algebra was in response to chairwomans comment. I know this has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

      The discussion of infinity has gone on a little longer than some may want it to I know but it was needed in my opinion so that people can pick faults in the argument, I’ll wrap it all up shortly.

    108. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

      So the discussion at this point is-

      Where or how did the universe made up of limited and dependant things come from, originate from, did it have a first cause? What different possibilities are there?

    109. Chris Stiles — on 16th July, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

      Usman -

      Have you actually read any of the previous attempts to do exactly what you are doing?

    110. Rosie — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

      Roger - “Well, we don’t know if god exists and even if he does he has no right to interfere in politics”

      Usman - This doesn’t make sense, maybe someone could explain it to me, then again maybe nobody can explain it, because its irrational.

      Ok this may be a bit long and involved for a first post, (hello!) but until Usman gets round to providing a definitive proof of God (I think he’s working up to the Ontological argument, sorry but it’s not definitive)the following is an expalanation of why God has no right to interfere in Politics:

      If God were to exist he would only be allowed to either forgive everyone, reward everyone or punish everyone, not forgive / reward only those who believed in him / pleased him. This argument’s been put forward repeatedly over the centuries but isn’t as well known as it should be. It uses Pascal as a springboard to refute not the existence of God, but the idea that we should mediate our behavior based on either a belief in him or a sense of agnostic doubt. In doing this it also argues that God has no right to interfere in politics (or in fact in anything).

      Pascal argued that a belief in God is more profitable than unbelief because if God does not exist the believer loses nothing but his life when he dies, whereas if God does exist, the believer potentially gains glory everlasting, redemption, eternal life or some other reward. Equally if God doesn’t exist then the unbeliever gains nothing upon his death, but if God does exist then the unbeliever can potentially be sentenced to eternal damnation, torture, re-incarnation as a republican, oblivion etc. and so loses. Therefore arguing purely from self interest one should believe in God. However there is a flaw in this argument. In arguing this way Pascal has to assume a God who requires not just a belief that He exists and that He created the world, but a God who also requires that one be grateful to Him for the act of creation, divine His will and carry it out. In other words one must serve God here on earth. The reasons for this will become clear later.

      Now God, if He exists, has the power to prove His existence with at least as much force as I can say that the keyboard in front of me exists. We can continue to argue exactly what this keyboard is made up of, how it exists and whether or not it exists independently of my knowledge of it, but all will nevertheless agree that this keyboard exists in some form or another, and so it is the same with God. Yet God has not done this, meaning that we have to obtain evidence for his existence that is roundabout and indirect, expressed in the form of various conjectures, often given the name of “revelations” that are un-provable and generally set down in texts such as the Bible and Koran. If He has acted thus, and it certainly appears that if He exists He has done so, then He has put the believer and the unbeliever on an equal footing because He has not compelled them into an absolute belief in His existence, merely offered them that possibility.

      Therefore the following proposition arises, God either exists or He doesn’t. Thus there is no convincing evidence in support of either hypothesis i.e. the believer cannot prove the existence of God, being able to merely assert on faith that He exists, while the unbeliever cannot prove the non-existence of God, considering him neither neccesary nor sufficient to explain the universe. If God himself accepts this situation, and being a pure and perfect being, omniscient and omnipotent, he has to, we now have a game where on one side is the full set of believers and unbelievers and on the other side God alone. Therefore according to the rules of the game (that God is omniscient and omnipotent) God cannot punish an unbeliever for his unbelief. This is because on this plane of existence it is definitely unknown (rather than definitely known) whether or not a thing, namely God, exists, all arguments for God’s existence or non-existence are merely assertions which are not verifiable. Therefore no just tribunal can pass judgement against anyone for denying the existence of a thing about which it is impossible to be certain whether or not it exists.

      Therefore either God is perfectly just, in which case He cannot assume the right to punish the unbelievers simply because they are unbelievers, (and therefore must neccesarily treat everyone equal and either forgive or punish everyone equally, yes everyone, even Hitler / Pol Pot / insert favourite evil person here) or else he will punish the unbelievers anyway, in which case he is not perfectly just and is acting in an arbitrary fashion. In other words God can do whatever He pleases. This is why Pascal must necessarily assume that one must not just believe in God but must also assert that belief, be grateful to God, love him and attempt to behave as if carrying out his divine will. In other words one is trying to placate an unjust and illogical God by second guessing Him and attempting to read the mind of God. However because we cannot assert even God’s existence or non-existence with an absolute degree of certainty here on earth, the motivations of God are unknowable and therefore we cannot know with any degree of certainty what will please or displease God, or whether he will give any special treatment to those who please him. Therefore attempting to carry out God’s Will here on earth, or asking him for forgiveness, is a thankless task as one cannot know the mind of God.

      If this is the case, then whereas what takes place “here” is certain, and has consequences here, it is uncertain whether those actions have any consequences “there,” if “there” exists, and also what those consequences will be. To restate: we cannot know whether or not God exists, and if God does exist and is perfectly just then he cannot punish unbelievers for their unbelief as He has given no convincing evidence of His existence. Neither can he forgive those who repent or reward those who believe. If God is not perfectly just then He can punish unbelievers for their unbelief, forgive those who repent, and reward those who believe, and so is behaving in an arbitrary fashion. If this is so then God can do whatever He pleases and can behave in any way He so wishes. If God’s behaviour in his treatment of believers and unbelievers is purely arbitrary then it necessarily follows that his behaviour in other areas can also be arbitrary. As such there is no guarantee that even if one dedicated ones life to the glory of God and did exactly as He wished you to do (even if you somehow managed to guess what this was) that upon your death He would not simply turn around and say:

      “I don’t like sycophants; to hell with thee!”

      From this it follows that while it is possible to postulate that life continues after death and it is perfectly logical to do so, the possibility that it does should not affect one’s actions here on earth. In other words modifying ones behaviour based on a belief about the beliefs of God, whatever they may be, is completely and utterly pointless. Therefore in considering how one should act one should only take into account the effect that one’s actions have here on earth. In other words whether or not God exists is a morally empty question and has absolutely nothing, zilch, zero to do with how one should behave on earth. It follows on from this that any moral or ethical code must be based entirely on the earthly consequences of ones actions without taking into account any expectation of continuation, forgiveness, reward or punishment in the next life that rests on a belief about the desires and beliefs of God.

      Thus God has no right to interfere in politics and a just political system cannot be based upon religious revelation.

      Of course this argument only works if there is no definitive proof of God’s existence, but if Usman comes up with one that can’t be disproved then I’ll eat my keyboard.

      Finis.

    111. Sunny — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

      Rosie, I might re-publish this as an article in itself. Would that be ok with you?

      Incidentally, I think what you’ve described above is the Buddhist position on God.

    112. Rosie — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

      Sunny- Quite possibly, but I’m a complete ignoramous when it comes to Buddhism beyond the four noble truths, and I’ve never taken the time to ponder on them too much, so I can’t really comment.

      Feel free to re-publish it, I’d be honoured. If you want me to write an intro for it I can do that tommorow.

      Off to the pub for a meeting now so must leave this conversation, but if you e-mail me I’ll get back to you.

    113. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      Rosie you have made assumptions on two principles. Firstly there is no proof that god exists, and secondly there is no proof that god has given a way for moral behaviour or how the relationships of human beings should be organised. And hence mankind must make their own laws to govern themselves. This would be true if there was a definite proof or explanation of how the universe came about and this is what I am trying to get to the bottom of.

      I have asked what the possibilities of where the universe came from are. I’m asking not telling. Like I have said earlier I would like this to be interactive rather than just put swaths of text on the thread. Once the possibilities are know then the credibility of each theory can be scrutinised.

      So one possibility is- The universe was created.

      What other possibilities are there?

    114. Sunny — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

      I have asked what the possibilities of where the universe came from are.

      The universe could have been created by some alien being doing a science experiement in their lab. Who knows, the ‘world’ may be much much bigger than what we know of.

      Rosie, yeah an intro might be good, and also cutting down some of the middle bit?

    115. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

      • Or At the beginning of all that is limited and dependant there is something that is Unlimited and Independent otherwise it would have been created and would be limited and dependant.

      This is one of the possibilities not the only possibility, the credibility of this can be scrutinised once all the possibilities have become know.

    116. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

      dont ask questions USman, you said you got the answers now out with it.

      anyway last time we all went on about this we agreed that even if we all agree that God exists till we know which one of his “memos” are really what he wants us to act on, we’re back to square one arguing what it is God wants us to do. And the simple fact is that there are many religions out there with lots of followers, most of them not acknowledging each other, and mostly disagreeing with each other.

      so there you go - even those who believe in God aren’t agreeing on what God wants -so where does that leave us?

    117. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      • Or At the beginning of all that is limited and dependant there is something that is Unlimited and Independent otherwise it would have been created and would be limited and dependant.
      • It was created by an alien doing a science experiment

      Anything else?

    118. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

      All in due time Sonia lets get proof of god out of the way first my dear

    119. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

      I’l be back later.

    120. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

      heh, there you go, gone to get proof of god, good luck hunting me dearie if god wanted us to know he existed then he wouldn’t surely have left to a bunch of dodgy blokes eh?

    121. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

      *apologies to all the dodgy blokes in town*

    122. Don — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

      Of course, if Usman does prove that god exists then the universe will cease to be.

    123. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

      heh good one Don

    124. Sunny — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

      Anything else?

      All that you see as being created is an illusion.

    125. sonia — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

      exactly, so while he is wondering who created the universe he might want to contemplate what that means if there isn’t an universe that’s been created. ho ho

    126. Sukhi — on 16th July, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

      Good to see this poisonous organisation and their ideology is being challenged.

      I don’t know enough about whether it deserves to be banned. Should it be shown to be fomenting racial hatred and advocating violence then I think it should be. I also hope that the advocates for this kind of Muslim extremism are confronted and denounced as the bigots and dangerous haters that they are at every opportunity. But most importantly I hope that it is by Muslims that they are challenged and defeated intellectually, morally and politically.

    127. Twining or Black in Blue — on 16th July, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

      “So my stance is this: Islam is the best system, why? Because its from the creator of Mankind and the universe, and he is the only one that can give a system for humanity as he is the one that understands the nature of the human being best.”

      Usman, he who cannot see others is blind; he who is blind may feel, he who may not feel rely’s on sense, (common sense), perhaps he can hear, but he who cannot feel cannot hear what is being said, and he who cannot hear cannot see reality. Therefore he is blind.

    128. Jagdeep — on 16th July, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

      “So my stance is this: Islam is the best system, why? Because its from the creator of Mankind and the universe, and he is the only one that can give a system for humanity as he is the one that understands the nature of the human being best.”

      Cheese and Onion Crisps Utopianism at its best!

      I believe Cheese and Onion crisps offer the best creation of mankind. It is therefore the only system for mankind.

      I mean, this is the utter ridiculousness on which the entire edifice of Islamist Caliphate bollocks is built. I believe it’s the best because I’m so brainwashed and braindead and it’s the best because I so say. So there. My religion is the best all others are inferiors therefore everything else is rubbish. It’s laughable. But also pathetic, because it shows a mind unable to cope with reality, cope with the modern world. It shows the minds of millions regressing into thumb-sucking foetal childish resentment and foot stomping with an inferiority complex. Like a cognitive dissonance between what they’ve been taught to believe, their ridiculous dogma, that the plain relevance and reality of the world. Stunted minds to a man. And people waste time debating the coming Empire of the Cheese and Onion Crisps.

      This stunted mind syndrome is at the heart of Islamist terrorism too, as a motivator and producer of self justifying hatred and resentment.

    129. Jai — on 16th July, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

      Anything else?

      The entire universe is divine in its essence.

    130. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 6:51 pm  

      The possibilities are these

      • Before all that is limited and dependant there is something Unlimited and Independent which created everything and nothing created it otherwise it would not be the creator
      • All limited and dependant thing are dependant on each other infinitely- ‘Infinite regression’ (sunny’s aliens are in there somewhere)
      • The Universe created itself without the help of anything.

      Lets scrutinise all of these to see which one is rationally correct.

      • The Universe created itself without the help of anything

      This is the most absurd theory. For something to create it must first exist. If something does not exist how it can create. If you have absolutely nothing you will still have nothing no matter how long you wait.

      • All limited and dependant thing are dependant on each other infinitely- ‘Infinite regression’

      So the computer is dependant on electricity, which is dependant on the power station, which is dependant on the turbine, which is dependant on steam, which is dependant on heat from burning coal which is dependant on the tree which is dependant on the sun etc infinitely, i.e. the universe has always been here and had no first cause, so all limited and dependant things are dependant infinitely so you can trace all dependencies and never get to the start because there isn’t one.

      The following analogy will demonstrate how this is false.

      Imagine a line of infinite dominoes i.e. it has no beginning. This is purely hypothetical so don’t get stuck on the example but the principle behind it.

      The infinite line of dominoes has no beginning. For the last domino to fall it needs the one before it to knock it over, and the one before that to knock that one over which is dependant on the one before it, infinitely, i.e. it has no beginning.

      Would any of the dominoes fall?

      The answer is none of the dominoes would fall as there is nothing to start it, because it has no beginning, If there is no first cause then how will any of the dominoes fall? They don’t.

      So take the computer, electricity, power station, turbines, steam, coal, tree, sun etc each of which are dependant on each other, if this line of dependency had no first cause then in theory it would not exist. But we know that they do exist so rationally there had to have been a first cause.

      So someone could argue that if the dependencies are in a linear fation then that would be true but if it was in a cycle it could exist in a cynical dependency similar to how the water cycle exists.

      So the seas are dependant on the rain, the rain dependant on the clouds, the clouds dependant upon evaporation of water from the sea, hence each part is dependant on the one before it in a cycle. This is how some say the universe preserves its existence, so the universe goes from a big bang to a big crunch.

      Question is what initiated the cycle in the first place? For instance if the seas require the rain before seas are produced and if the rain requires clouds for the rain to exist and the clouds initially require the seas to exist then we know that each thing cannot sustain the other without their originally existing a first cause. Otherwise the seas, clouds and rain wouldn’t exist. Nothing within the cycle is capable of bringing itself into existence so it requires something other than the cycle if bringing the cycle into existence.

      Similarly each finite thing within the universe cannot depend upon another finite thing within an elaborate cycle as is the case in the water cycle. In fact just as is the case with the water cycle there must be something other than that which is limited and finite to bring or initiate such a cycle.

      That is to say that a first cause i.e. something independent is still required to exist. So if the big bang depended upon the big crunch and that big crunch was dependant upon a previous big bang then if there was no start to the cycle then neither the big bang nor the big crunch would exist.

      Therefore things which are limited are themselves dependent upon other things and definitely they require something independent and unlimited to bring them into being in the first place.

      So now someone could say there is a contradiction here, as all things are dependant the creator is also dependant, who created the creator.

      My point is that all things that are limited are dependant, and what ever was the first cause can not be limited or dependant otherwise you get ‘Infinite regression’ (dependant infinitely) where the creator is dependant on something else dependant on something else infinitely and nothing exists or cynical dependency (dependant within a cycle) where again nothing exists as there is nothing to start the cycle.

      What does it mean for the creator to be infinite and independent? Like I mentioned earlier it is impossible for a limited mind to comprehend what it means for something to be infinite and independent. By rational justification the creator is infinite and independent.

    131. Jagdeep — on 16th July, 2007 at 7:05 pm  

      Yeah that makes a lot of sense Usman

    132. Twining or Black in Blue — on 16th July, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

      “Like I mentioned earlier it is impossible for a limited mind to comprehend what it means for something to be infinite and independent. By rational justification the creator is infinite and independent.”

      Usman, racists, bigots, and terrorists, (the BNP, The nation of Islam, AQ), have a limited mindset in my humble opinion. One of the fallacies of modernity is the current inability of these extremist groups to reform within faith.

      Do non-believers exist or not? And if they do, like me, are we simply inferior? I fear that a blind man who has the capability to open his eyes keeps them firmly shut. He sees only what he wishes to see. I do not feel you either see or accept other faiths.

    133. Chris Stiles — on 16th July, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

      My point is that all things that are limited are dependant, and what ever was the first cause can not be limited or dependant otherwise you get ‘Infinite regression’

      The first cause need not spring from a creator - the ‘infinite and independent’ can just be some external reality.

    134. Usman — on 16th July, 2007 at 7:55 pm  

      Hi chris, i’m a little busy at the mo, i will respond as it does need to be explained, please bear with me.

    135. Usman — on 17th July, 2007 at 1:42 am  

      Chris
      Thank you for your patience and I apologise for the delayed response

      The first cause is not independent of itself i.e. able to cause on its own but is initiated by the creator, If you take the creator out of the equation it means that the universe created itself which is absurd as mentioned earlier if you have nothing you will still have nothing, for something to create it must exist to create. If it doesn’t exist it can’t create.

      Did the creator choose to create or was it compelled to create? To assume that the creator was compelled to create would mean that the creator is dependant and hence also be limited, which in turn would mean that it is dependant on something else which is dependant on something else continuing in infinite regression and nothing exists. But things do exist so for things to exist there had to have been a first cause initiated by the creator which is infinite and independent i.e. not dependant on anything to bring it into existence or sustain it, who chose to create.

      As to the attributes of the creator these can not be commented upon from just understanding the reality of limited and dependant things firstly because that which is infinite can not be comprehended by a limited mind and secondly it would be like commenting on the attributes of a painter from simply observing a painting, what can be concluded by observing a painting is that there was a painter but not on the attributes i.e. the painter had green eyes and was 5ft tall (unless it was a self portrait).

      So what it means for the creator to be all knowing, all powerful, have no beginning, infinite can not be understood by a limited mind as it can only understand things in a limited context. The mistake that is made is that when trying to understand the concept of infinity, it is applied to finite things, and as soon as you do that you have just limited the infinite as was demonstrated with the example of the marbles and numbers above.

    136. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2007 at 6:34 am  

      Usman,

      AFAIK, the Universe is neither eternal, it was born around fourteen billion years ago, and neither is it infinite, it is still expanding. So it is very very old and very very big, but words like eternal and infinite don’t describe what we do know, or think we know, at least.

      If you’ve got the time, there are a couple of Podcasts that you might find interesting. Sounds fairly persuasive to me:

      http://www.astronomycast.com/cosmology/the-big-bang-and-cosmic-microwave-background/

      and

      http://www.astronomycast.com/extragalactic/more-evidence-for-the-big-bang/

      Given the humungous explosion this actually was by all accounts, it seems to me that the root cause probably blew itself to bits in the process. Which would probably explain the lack of a revealed creator.

      You really ought to try to answer the basic question that Rosie posted in 110.

      …——————————————-…

      What does it mean for the creator to be infinite and independent? Like I mentioned earlier it is impossible for a limited mind to comprehend what it means for something to be infinite and independent. By rational justification the creator is infinite and independent.

      Seems to me is your way of saying you don’t know either.

      Whilst I’d agree with you that we don’t know, it is an assumption of extraordinary human conceit that the whole bloody Universe was created just so’s folk could argue with each other on blogs.

      Still, we are all stardust.

    137. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:43 am  

      heh douglas, spot on -

      Whilst I’d agree with you that we don’t know, it is an assumption of extraordinary human conceit that the whole bloody Universe was created just so’s folk could argue with each other on blogs.

      and religious people could argue with each other WHO god really spoke to.

      usman’s premise is amusingly using a very linear causality sort of thinking, no reason to assume God or Its Creations would work to linear human logic is there? Again massive human conceit. Religions are all about human glory and conceit of course, flattering ourselves we’re God’s viceregents on this Earth. Pah.

    138. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:47 am  

      but more amusingly Usman is doing his own argument for a caliphate based on his warbling above.

      As to the attributes of the creator these can not be commented upon from just understanding the reality of limited and dependant things firstly because that which is infinite can not be comprehended by a limited mind and secondly it would be like commenting on the attributes of a painter from simply observing a painting, what can be concluded by observing a painting is that there was a painter but not on the attributes i.e. the painter had green eyes and was 5ft tall (unless it was a self portrait).

      so, usman can prove to us (!) god exists all he like, and that will still tell us nothing about what rules he wants us to implement, seeing as we know nothing about him, just that he created us, can’t look at us to guess what he’s like - so what was the point? simply knowing he exists doesn’t mean anything on its own does it? Usman seems to think that if God exists it is automatically certain that Mohammed was his messenger and that the Quran was god’s word and thats how we should work out our implementation plan. Quite a leap between proving God and proving Mohammed was telling the truth about God. ( as many Jewish and Christian religious figures will tell you Usman my old friend)

      sigh, there are some woolly headed folks around!

    139. Usman — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:48 am  

      Douglas

      Agreed, the universe is limited, I don’t disagree with you on that.

      Lets take the explosions for a moment.

      If the explosion was caused by that which has limits and dependant you fall into either infinite regression where you keep going back to each dependant thing in the line of dependencies and hence nothing exists because there is no beginning i.e. tracing the dependencies infinitely, or the universe created itself, which is absolutely absurd.

      If as you have mentioned the route cause blew itself up, then that indicates that it is limited and dependant and hence can not be the route cause as it itself was dependant on something else, and again you get infinite regression.

      The only rational answer to the origin of the universe is that at the beginning of all limited and dependant things there is a creator that is beyond limitations and beyond dependencies by rational justification otherwise you would get infinite regression or the universe created itself. But we exist, the universe exists, so therefore an unlimited independent creator exists.

      I will admit I don’t know what it means for something to be infinite, because the mind has limitations this is impossible. For example what does it mean for a piece of string to be infinite, with no beginning and no end? You can’t because as soon as you picture it you have just limited it, or an infinite number of marbles or anything else, as soon as you apply it to that which is limited you have just limited infinity. Because the mind can only comprehend things in a limited context it can’t possibly understand the manifestation of that which is beyond limits.

    140. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:48 am  

      i meant:

      “but more amusingly Usman is doing in his own argument for a caliphate based on his warbling above”

    141. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:48 am  

      ok i didnt close my tags in that last post.

    142. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:48 am  

      Usman will you address my point or not?

    143. Usman — on 17th July, 2007 at 10:56 am  

      Sonia
      I don’t understand you, first you were saying I can’t prove god and now you’re saying something else. Why is it that you have failed to contribute to this discussion in a civilised and productive way what so ever? If you disagree with me as to what I have said so far and you’re so sure about what you believe then refute my argument in a rational way.

      And if my comments are so distasteful to you no body is forcing you to come onto this thread.

      No need to get all emotional

    144. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:01 am  

      no usman what i am saying is this:

      let’s assume i accept you have Proved God. what i am saying is where do we go from there? you could then say yes God exists and this is what he wants ( call it x since you’re so fond of algebra)

      So too can I say that God exists and he wants us to do y.

      and x and y clash.

      what then?

    145. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:02 am  

      yeah you’re a bit thick really aren’t ya usman, didn’t understand what i was saying but you’re an expert on the complexity of the cosmos. wow.

    146. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:04 am  

      :-) im not emotional usman at all - i do enjoy slinging insults about though, great fun it is, and the fact that you think you’ve contributed something to this discussion makes me laugh even more.

    147. Chris Stiles — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:05 am  

      And if my comments are so distasteful to you no body is forcing you to come onto this thread.

      Because your arguments are all of the form:

      - For a god to exist, X must be true.
      - X is true!
      - Therefore God exists.

      Occasionally, asused less sophomo in the last two posts, X is near nonsense. It’s always the same thing though, you are just constantly shifting the assertion elsewhere.

      Additionally, I suspect a few people in this thread have actually read some of those books by early philosophers who tried to prove that God actually existed and find the more sophomoric level of argument exceptionally irritating.

    148. Chairwoman — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      “and x and y clash”

      There’s that algebra connection again!

    149. Usman — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:18 am  

      Chris
      And you disagree with me because?

      Look fine you disagree with me, even if the whole thread disagrees with me I’m not concerned to be honest with you, I have made my case for what I believe very clear on a rational basis. Now I’m waiting for someone to prove me wrong, find a weakness in my argument somewhere.

    150. Usman — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:30 am  

      And now I predict people to go off on a tangent and stoop down to Sonia’s level of slinging insults around and keeping themselves amused by weak and pathetic jokes. This is a sign of weakness

    151. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:40 am  

      :-)

    152. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 11:43 am  

      all bow down to usman please

    153. Jagdeep — on 17th July, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

      And now I predict people to go off on a tangent and stoop down to Sonia’s level of slinging insults around and keeping themselves amused by weak and pathetic jokes. This is a sign of weakness

      No — signs of weakness are a belief in innate superiority when definitively there is nothing to feel superior about, when a convoluted and stupid self justification for witless ideology is self declared as being of ‘rational’ origin, and getting upset and whining when a woman exposes your backward and innately child-like reasoning as little more than dribbles to justify wet-dreams of Islamic Imperialism.

      Especially when your wet-dream breeds nightmares of dissapointment and inferiority complexes, and you don’t even have the balls to respond to Twinings simple and devastating demonstrations of how you are a bigot and supremacist.

      Crybaby.

    154. Alex — on 17th July, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

      The fantastical shimmering vision of the Caliphate as the perfect antidote to corrupt rulers in the Muslim world is all well and good, but at heart, it is only that: a fantastical vision.

      I am still to be convinced that a Caliphate, with a chosen head, would solve any of the problems in the Muslim world. It would be too big a controlling entity, like a supra-Islamic version of the EU, but without the nation-state strata of power. The level of local offices needed per geographical region would require vast levels of power to be devolved down to local regions to the extent that the Caliph would be little more than a figure head with probably a form of investiture power, a bit like the queen in the UK.

      These regional areas would be so disparate as regards economy, culture and social set-up that the application of policy and legislation would have to differ between locales. This is where real power lies, not in overall metaphysical Sharia ideals from on high. This is the place where problems would ferment, where Shia majorities would insist on Shia governors, Druze provinces would insist on Druze muktars etc . . .

      As far as I am aware, the historical caliphate succeeded because it was very ‘hands-off’, changing little in most newly-gained territories, apart from creating a few mosques and skewing the tax system to benefit Muslims. In the modern environment, where policies and protocols need to be installed and planned to ensure region-wide transport systems, economic stability etc, governance would have to be practical, would have to be involved and ‘hands on’. And this is the point where the economic and social differences between, say Turkey and Uzbekistan, would render the idea of power residing at the level of the “Caliphate” largely void, and any religious basis for policy would be such a token veneer as to be irrelevant.

      The application of Sharia means a lot more than how to legislate on violent crime and family matters. Even a philosopher King would struggle to choose between different sharia perspectives on a matter, and I’m not even talking about the divergence between different schools of Islamic jurisprudence. In any case, sharia legal stability is not so regular as to announce, without a shadow of a doubt, that one particular method is the accurate Islamic way to approach the planning of a new reservoir. Huzb would have to find a way to regularise the historical wealth of sharia legal jurisprudence and locate their precedents — and this in itself is a whole new set of problems that could cause civil conflict about what is or is not Islamic — in order to govern in a relatively consistent way. Otherwise, those poor Sharia judges are going to be backed up till doomsday (as is happening in Iran). It took the UK about 700 years to do this. Good luck to Huzb with trying to do it sooner.

      Furthermore, such an entity would still have to co-exist with other units in the world. Just because there is a Caliph doesn’t mean he is automatically going to order troops into a civil war scenerio whether it is Muslim vs non-Muslim or Muslim vs Muslim. I would also suspect that the birth of such a political leviathan would be violent — there’d need a revolution far larger and more contagious that the Russian or Chinese, and I can’t see how that could come about in today’s environment.

      Then about forty years later, in this Caliphate, you’d start getting serious civil unrest, because once the old has been destroyed and all the dissenters killed, you’d suddenly realise you’ve not got the tools, the knowledge, the departments, the experience, the policy makers, the researchers etc … to govern something on such a scale to create the Caliphate vision desired.

      If the situation was different in the Muslim world, if the apparatus worked and governance was adequate despite malevolent dictatorship, you could just install an overarching strata of sharia-enthused Caliphate-ness and edge in the Sharia perspective. But the apparatus doesn’t work, that’s why there are the problems in the first place, that’s why, for example, unemployment is so high. If a car is broken, there’s no point in changing the driver or the owner. You have to fix the engine. And God aint going to do that for you, you need a mechanic. A good one.

      But Huzb aren’t talking about one car, they are talking about a vast lot hundreds of miles wide with thousands and thousands of broken cars. And they seem to think that everything will suddenly work if they replace the lot owners with some blokes armed with a set of medieval regulations for mending broken cart wheels.

      If Huzb was serious about making the caliphate a plausible idea, they’d recruit public policy post-graduates, transport specialists, economists, education specialists and engineers, and start discussing about what, exactly, what would improve people’s lives on the ground. Just getting rid of a corrupt ruler and the secret police, and installing a ‘chosen’ Caliph that rules a vastly disparate region, isn’t going to make a GDP rise, or create a score of decent jobs for a bunch of angry young Muslim men.

      But I suspect this isn’t the point for Huzb. The point, instead, is about being angry and finding a location for that anger, instead of thinking about why they may feel that way in the first place and what would be the best, most practical, way to absolve it.

    155. Alex — on 17th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

      Sorry, I should have used the consistant spelling: ‘Hizb’. Please excuse.

    156. Jagdeep — on 17th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

      Excellent Alex.

    157. Rumbold — on 17th July, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

      Brilliant Alex- and you did not get emotional either.

    158. Sid — on 17th July, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

      Millenarian Utopia-cults with their apocalyptic zeal, embodied by Osama and the Hizbis is rooted in the European post-Enlightenment idea of Progress. Hizbut Tahrir and Osama aren’t medievalists, rather they’re the by-product of the bitter failure of pan-Arab unity bastardised in the Qutbdian and Maududian ideology, coated in Modernist interpretations of Nation-State and the primacy of materialism.

      phew!

    159. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 1:43 pm  

      very eloquently put Alex and superb points

    160. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

      good one sid :-)

    161. Alex — on 17th July, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

      Hello Sid,

      I didn’t mean to argue that Hizb are medievalists, but more that they are trying to resurrect a political concept that would never work and, in some ways, created the present predicament.

      I think, you see, that there’s a lot of merit in the notion that the primary cause of the present situations in the Muslim world were created by the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire and the power vaccuums it left behind (I use the ME here because somehow I don’t think Hizb are thinking of Indonesia when they talk about their Caliphate). The West exploited these spaces dreadfully, yes, but it was the fall of the Ottoman Empire that allowed these power absences to arise. Pan -Arabism, whilst being a relatively thoughtful response to the post-colonial environment, also consolidated some of the problems by, say as Nasser did, victimising the old Pasha families, thus fracturing the sense of continuity and stability with what had gone before and annoying some traditionally powerful people, and excluding everyone who wasn’t an Arab. Suddenly, there’s a free for all, the West jumps in, rural tribes find themselves rulers, minorities start kicking up, and we end up with situations that developed into the atmospheres we have today.

      So the question needs to be asked: if the caliphate was such a good concept for all living under its roof, why did it sicken and die, and leave such a mess behind? And the answer is that it didn’t really work. It was ailing in the 16th and 17th century by the time of the Sultanate of Women. It had maybe 200 years of expansive government across the region before things began to stagnate and fall to bits. It over-expanded, there was no government in some areas, which then rebelled, and that was at a time when there wasn’t much governing to do by modern standards nor the kind of population figures there are today. Then when it collapsed and Kemal decided enough was enough, it left a big question mark in its wake.

      For Hizb to want to bring the caliphate back to solve these problems is non-sensical in light of this. It’s like saying ‘There’s a civil war in the Balkans, lets resurrect Tito.’

      Of course, my reading may be utterly wrong, and Hizb aren’t desparately trying to wipe the mould off a corpse. In which case, I’ll listen to alternatives.

    162. Rumbold — on 17th July, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

      It is unlikely that anyone will look to the Ottoman ‘Caliph’ as a model for Muslim unity. The two other great Muslim powers of the day were Safavid Persia and the Mughal Empire. The Persians were constantly fighting the Ottomans, while the Mughals (larger population than the Ottomans, and richer) thought of them as irrelevent parvenus, who had been beaten by their ancestors.

    163. sonia — on 17th July, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

      “So the question needs to be asked: if the caliphate was such a good concept for all living under its roof, why did it sicken and die, and leave such a mess behind? And the answer is that it didn’t really work.”

      Precisely

    164. Chris Stiles — on 17th July, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

      Chris
      And you disagree with me because?

      I disagree because I don’t think that your premises either rationally or logically follow from your initial assumptions, and I disagree with your initial assumptions. I also don’t think that your foundation in reasoning is such that you would necessarily understand valid counter-arguments to your conclusions or premises.

      What you are trying to do is a half-arsed version of the ‘First Cause’ argument that was explored by Aquinas and Al-Ghazali (i’m assuming that a watered down version of the latter is your ultimate source, given the terminology that you use).

      Go through this:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/

      When you have coherently argued repostes to all the objections, then perhaps we can talk.

    165. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:43 am  

      Usman,

      Did you listen to the pod cast things?

      I’m only asking, because they would suggest that God acts in ways that are incomprehensible to us mere mortals. We are, in that famous Star Trek moment, carbon based lifeforms. Yet carbon didn’t exist in the early Universe. Surely, a bit of an oversight by our Creator? Err.. We’ll just supernova some early stars, that’ll do the tick…

      Which is why we are stardust, without these early blasts we couldn’t exist. Zilch Carbon, or any of the higher elements we need to live..

      If the guy had all that worked out in his head, and he might have, I’m not denying that, then what of the randomness of the creation of life here? Contrary to what you are taught in Religion 101, the most successful life forms are microbes, been around almost since the Planet cooled down enough, and still with us.

      You could realistically argue that, if there is a God, that he is the God of microbes…….

      —————————————————-

      Could you please answer the point that Rosie made at 110?

      Whether a huge entity, all knowing, all seeing came about instantaneously or whether proto Universes developed out of nothing is frankly, a very moot point.

      There are two sides to that arguement too.

      But Rosies point is the fundamental one that needs to be answered. It a a superb piece of exposition, logic, and logical deduction. Especially from someone who was rushing to the pub. And said in a way that this poor, limited human mind could relate to.

      You dismissed it. Others will not.

    166. sarah — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:20 am  

      that has made a lot of sense usman

    167. sonia — on 18th July, 2007 at 10:45 am  

      good points douglas and chris. usman isn’t really engaging any of us anyway and i doubt he understood rosie’s post. (on my troubling hadiths post

    168. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:27 am  

      Chris
      You are the only one here who has engaged in this debate, for that much I thank you for your contributions and thoughts on the subject.

      If you do disagree with the premises, or initial assumptions, fine let’s go through them and see if they are as you claim incorrect.

      Thanks for the link but I don’t want a link to another site, let’s discuss, ideas with ideas.

      As for the rest of the people on here making daft points, bring some real arguments like Chris is doing if you can.

      The strength of civilisation is in its intellectual strength, refute my argument, rather that talking nonsense.

    169. rosie — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:36 am  

      Cheers Douglas!

      I’ve always had a special place in my gnarled wee soul for J.B.S. Haldane’s quote:

      “If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation it would appear that God has a special fondness for stars and beetles.”

      Usman is buggering about with the Ontological argument, the problem with that being that one is always working from an unprovable premise. Because of this it is easy to parody the argument, like thus:(from the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy)

      1. The creation of the world is the most marvellous achievement imaginable.
      2. The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
      3. The greater the disability or handicap of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
      4. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
      5. Therefore, if we suppose that the universe is the product of an existent creator, we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
      6. An existing God, therefore, would not be a being than which a greater cannot be conceived, because an even more formidable and incredible creator would be a God which did not exist.
      7. (Hence) God does not exist.

      Ontological arguments are fun to play around with, they’re the philosophers equivalent of running jokes. It gets even better if you consider that the very concept of God in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic sense is paradoxical:

      1) God is a pure and perfect being and thus is Omniscient and Omnipotent.
      2) if God is Omniscient He knows everything that He is going to do and will ever do.
      3)Hence God does not have free will because He cannot go against what he already knows He is going to do.
      4)Thus God is not Omnipotent because He does not have free will.
      5) God is not a pure and perfect being.
      6) Thus God does not exist.

      Or consider the other side of the equation:

      1) God is a pure and perfect being and thus is Omniscient and Omnipotent.
      2) If God is Omnipotent He can perform an action in the future of which he had no knowledge of in the past.
      3) If God can perform an action in the future of which he had no knowledge of in the past then he is not Omniscient.
      [see 5 and 6]

      Like I say, the philosophers equivalent of a running joke.

    170. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:54 am  

      Rosie
      Thanks for that,
      Now can you try and refute my argument please if you can. Find a weakness in it and refute it. My argument is not the anthological arguement, you would come to realise that had you read it properly.

    171. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      Usman
      Unfortuantely you have dismissed my ‘little piece’ of string.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip

      It is a manifestation of the infinite in the the realm of the finite. You can even make one if you want - its not difficult.

      Because the mind can only comprehend things in a limited context it can’t possibly understand the manifestation of that which is beyond limits.

      There is no need to think beyond the edge of the universe or into the infite future or past to hold the infite in ones mind. In your hands you have something with only one edge and one boundary. Think about it. It is perfectly understandable but hard work. To reach the edge, one first has to be on the only surface. One cannot be be on another surface as there are no other surfaces. Perhaps its the same for this universe. To find matter and have cuasal effect in this universe, you have to be of this universe and not outside. Now if God is the creator , he is outside this universe to have created it, therefore cannot effect what is inside this universe. Is he then a God or just a “creator”? A creator who cannot influence his creation is not a God - surely?. If he is the creator but not a God, why look to him for help and guidance. He cannot penetrate this universe to converse with us and guide us. We have only ourselves to guide us.

      Now is the universe analogous to a mobius strip? Perhaps - perhaps not - but it would explain why we see no evidence of God but we see plenty of evidence of the Creator. It all around us.

      Perhaps lose a little of this linear thought - a bit a of shamanism might help - and then after awile it will become apparent that we invented God ourselves to explain the Creator. It hard to immagine being abandoned, but abandoned we are and the sooner we realise it the better.

      “Good luck - Usman. I take your leave”

      “Now set a course for the setting Sun, helmsman”

      Justforun

      Of course what if God is of this universe? who then created it?

    172. sonia — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:25 pm  

      good one rosie

    173. Imran — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

      I want to take the time out of the discussion to comment on two accusations thrown at people like myself and Usman by various individuals. Firstly that we come in with a narrow mind that Islam is the truth and that nothing you say matters because we are closed off to your opinions. This is not the way that I would describe it. I was born in this country and have similar upbringing I guess to most of you. I have been influenced by my family, friends, society and media. The thought of organised religion did not fit in with my lifestyle. Live life to the max, do such and such by the time I’m 30 etc etc. But as you grow older things occur that don’t make sense.
      I began searching for answers to get me out of the rut. I met people who were practising the religion I claimed to belong to. They were telling me things but I was sceptical. I said things like “would it be true if this happened or that happened”. These were not sincere questions but a desperate attempt to try and prove it wrong because if true it meant that I would have to sacrifice a lot of the lifestyle I was living now. However many questions I asked, they were answered and I came to a point where it was my ego alone that was keeping me away. Eventually I accepted what for me is the truth beyond shadow of a doubt.

      This will now lead to the second accusation. That I was brainwashed. To that I can only answer this. I am an intelligent person who has the mental capacity to distinguish information that is correct and agreeable from that which is not. I have followed both walks of life. The secular and the “religious” and the latter is the one that can allow for tranquillity as it answers all the fundamental questions about life. I would also turn it into a counter accusation and say that it is you who are brainwashed because the points that you argue are all built from the forgone conclusion that god has no place in our lives. This is a premise that has been forced on you by a secular system that will not allow for any other opinion to become prominent as it would affect the very core of its belief.

    174. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:31 pm  

      Rosie - surely it just proves God is a woman and can change her mind so the arguement about is still valid, but just not complete.

      Ontological arguments are fun to play around with, they’re the philosophers equivalent of running jokes. It gets even better if you consider that the very concept of God in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic sense is paradoxical:

      1) God is a pure and perfect being and thus is Omniscient and Omnipotent.
      2) if God is Omniscient He knows everything that He is going to do and will ever do.
      3)Hence God does not have free will because He cannot go against what he already knows He is going to do.
      4)Thus God is not Omnipotent because He does not have free will.
      5) God is not a pure and perfect being.
      6) Thus God does not exist.

      Or consider the other side of the equation:

      1) God is a pure and perfect being and thus is Omniscient and Omnipotent.
      2) If God is Omnipotent He can perform an action in the future of which he had no knowledge of in the past.
      3) If God can perform an action in the future of which he had no knowledge of in the past then he is not Omniscient.

      God is a pure and perfect being and thus is Omniscient, Omnipotent …and can change her mind.

      Justforfun

    175. rosie — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:33 pm  

      Usman -

      Ok, so we’re talking the argument form first cause or cosmological argument here:

      “My point is that all things that are limited are dependant, and what ever was the first cause can not be limited or dependant otherwise you get ‘Infinite regression’ (dependant infinitely) where the creator is dependant on something else dependant on something else infinitely and nothing exists or cynical dependency (dependant within a cycle) where again nothing exists as there is nothing to start the cycle.”

      Objections to the argument from first cause:

      Objection 1: The universe just is - Bertrand Russell.

      Objection 2: we cannot prove causation: - David Hume

      All human knowledge can be divided into two categories. The first is relations of ideas, discoverable by the operation of thought alone (a priori reasoning) and without external referent, such as mathematical and geometric truths. The other is matters of fact, discovered through experience and induction (a posteriori reasoning). Matters of fact claim to report the existence of things but are always contingent.

      To take Popper’s famous example; the statement “all swans are white” is contingent because the existence of a black swan would disprove this statement. A person who has only ever seen white swans will however agree with the statement.

      His belief is based upon his impressions. Similarly our belief in cause and effect is a result of inductive inference based upon past experience. David Hume’s example is a billiard ball rolls in a straight line and strikes another which then moves. We witness this a few times and we infer that the first ball causes the second to move. However since we can conceive of a situation where this is not so our belief in cause and effect is contingent and is based not on rationality but on experience.

      There is no a priori justification for believing that the future will resemble the past, that the mind exists, that events have any connection with each other, that there is an external world, or that we can know anything about this world with absolute certainty.

      These conclusions (excepting the last one) are literally unbelievable, since human nature and custom disallows us from believing them when it comes to practical affairs such as living our lives. This however is not a fault with the reasoning, but rather a result of our own nature.

      The point is that cause and effect are contingent, we cannot prove that A causes B, only that A almost certainly causes B. If the very concept of causation is open to doubt then the concept of a first cause is too.

      The reason I talk about the Ontological argument is because of this:

      “What does it mean for the creator to be infinite and independent? Like I mentioned earlier it is impossible for a limited mind to comprehend what it means for something to be infinite and independent. By rational justification the creator is infinite and independent.”

      Well if you look at my objections to the Ontological argument the creator cannot be infinite and independent, if by infinite you include Omniscience (recoded as infinitely knowledgeable).

      These arguments have been going on for thousands of years and will probably never be resolved. From a priori reasoning one cannot produce a definitive proof for the existence of God, nor can one disprove his existence.

      While its fun to try the entire exercise is pretty futile.

    176. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:43 pm  

      Imran - I can only speak for myself.

      The secular and the “religious” and the latter is the one that can allow for tranquillity as it answers all the fundamental questions about life. Fair enough - but it is a misrepresentaion of secular.

      I don’t mind whatever ideas people choose to use to explain themselves and prepare themselves for their inevitable death. I just object to them discussing these things in the public arena and expecting others to conform to them and dictate the way society should function. I pray for the return of the days when religion was not a subject the British talked about. As those days seem to have passed and we seem not to be secular anymore, all that is left is Plan B, whatever that is. Is there a Plan B? Kismet - you’ve taken the nationality test - is there a plan B?

      Justforfun

    177. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

      To Rosie,

      I don’t understand the insistant need to quote others and what they think. You take it like its gospel. I could list a host of people who have said otherwise. It does not help the discussion. I am asking you to think and not regurgitate others. It is a simple concept once you think about. Things do not create themselves from nothing. Or to argue that they have always just been there begs the question of how did they get there. No cause then no affect.

    178. Chairwoman — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

      Imran - There is nothing “wrong” with being religious. Everyone has their own way of finding spirituality and tranquility, regardless of what they call it.

      My problem with Islam, and to a lesser degree, Christianity, is that there is this desire for everybody to join up, and the conviction that their way to paradise, redemption, whatever you want to call it is the only way.

      Usman

      “I don’t understand the insistant need to quote others and what they think.”

      Are the teachings of Islam entirely your original thoughts? If, as I suspect, they’re not, then aren’t you doing something similar?

    179. sonia — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

      imran:

      that you argue are all built from the forgone conclusion that god has no place in our lives. This is a premise that has been forced on you by a secular system that will not allow for any other opinion to become prominent as it would affect the very core of its belief.

      wrong - again more emotional ‘you’re against us’ thinking. the line of argument is a) that one cannot prove God, and then b) even if others accept that such a thing as God may exist - that there is no agreement on what God tells us his law is, e.g. that say the Sharia is indeed divine.

      Without such agreement, there is of course a place for people to have ‘God’ in their minds + lives - that is entirely their personal choice, but that does not equate to using this belief as a basis to justify certain laws. Lawmaking and social regulation needs to be something that is justified on the basis of how it affects us all - humans, animals, the earth etc. so on and so forth. Naturally there will be disgreement - and this needs to be sorted out in a mutual respectful manner. If i believe in some fairies, there is no point my saying ” well i believe in animal rights because the fairies told me so” because it will most likely not have any relevance to what anyone else thinks. So I’m not going to expect any consensus based on that fairy idea am I? So - it would make sense if i put forward another argument for animal rights - that might make sense to other people, e.g. from an ethical perspective that means something to other people.

      it is all about consensus - at the end of the day - when it comes to talking about governing our society.

    180. rosie — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

      Have to go to work now and talk about EU-China trade policy and total factor productivity… Fun!

      Usman - I quoted the Stanford encylopedia once because it has a nice parody, and I use Hume to illustrate the point that we only assume that cause and effect exist based upon our experiences. I’m hardly going to going to start claiming the argument for myself - just that it simply addresses your point.

      The two arguments about God’s omniscience and omnipotence are mine, although I’m sure they’ve been made many times in the past.

      You assume that things don’t just create themselves out of nothing. If this is so then, and I realise this is the five year old’s Sunday school objection, if God created everything then who created God?

      If God can create himself, then why not the universe?

      If God is infinite and eternal, then why not the universe?

      Anyway enough ineffability for now.

    181. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

      Can we have no trade with China until Tibet is free?

      I know my son can do without his toy with his ‘Happy Meal’ - I’m sure I could persuade him to make more sacrifices.

      Or has Tibet been forgotten?

      Just asking

      Justforfun

    182. soru — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

      My argument is not the anthological arguement, you would come to realise that had you read it properly

      Well obviously, your argument is:

      1. say stuff

      2. say ‘you can’t disprove the above’

      3. ignore all replies

      4. say ‘you haven’t disproved the above’.

      There’s probably some specific latin phrase for those debating tactics, but the point to realise is that the structure of the argument is completely independant of the contents of the actual ‘stuff’.

    183. El Cid — on 18th July, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

      The two arguments about God’s omniscience and omnipotence are mine, although I’m sure they’ve been made many times in the past.

      Hegel per chance?

      Thanks for the input Rosie. I enjoyed reading your contributions

    184. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:10 pm  

      Hopefully Tibet can one day return to the feudal system, complete with serfs, that everybody wants to live in.

    185. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      Y’know, what I really like about PP is that Sunny starts a thread on Hizb ut-Tahrir, and we end up discussing whether Mobius strips are real or not. Fascinating stuff.

      Although, on the subject to hand I was most impressed with Alex’s post at 161. It was indeed both excellent and brilliant.

    186. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

      Rumbold ?

      Justforfun

    187. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

      Just trying to point out that there has never been a ‘Free Tibet’, at least not for the majority of the population. The Chinese occupation has hardly been a picnic for the Tibetenese, but I am not sure what system Tibet would bring in if the Chinese left.

    188. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      Oops

      Alex’s post at 154 :-(

    189. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

      A society based on traditional social cleavages, however non-egalitarian, would be far preferable to living under the yolk of a occupation. This applies for both Communist Chinese occupation, in the case of Tibet or Neo-Liberal Christian Fundamentalist in the case of Iraq.

    190. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

      Rosie
      ‘If God can create himself, then why not the universe?’
      Correct, it is absurd to assume that something can create itself. However I am not making this claim, I am not assuming that the creator created himself, my point is that the universe is made up of finite and dependant things and hence is not capable of creating itself, as everything within it is incapable of bringing itself into existence, similar to the water cycle, every part of it needs the one before it, and one before it, so the sea needs the rain, rain needs the clouds, clouds need the evaporation of water from the sea but the sea needs the rain and so in a cycle etc. Nothing in the cycle can bring itself into existence and hence requires something beyond the cycle to initiate the cycle otherwise it would never begin and hence not exist.
      The other model is the linear model as I explained in an earlier post, if the line of dependencies is infinite what that means is that again nothing exists. The example I used of the dominoes above demonstrates this point.
      If you have a line of dominoes, for the last domino to fall requires the one previous to it to knock it over, now if this was to continue and there was no beginning no matter how long you trace it back, what it means is that none of the dominoes would fall.
      Another example to perhaps make it a little clearer.
      To get to tomorrow, we must pass through today, to have got to today we had to pass through yesterday, and yesterday we needed to go through the day before. Now if we continued this infinitely i.e. there was no starting point then that means that we would never have got to now to be here now.
      It is clearly established that all things in the universe are finite and dependant i.e. not capable of bringing them selves into existence. Now this is the part that is causing a problem.
      If whatever initiated the start of the universe was other than infinite and independent (not dependant on anything), it would be dependant on some thing else, some thing else, something else infinitely and you get infinite regression where nothing exists. But we know that we do exist, the universe exists so by rationally thinking about this means that there was a beginning to the universe and that it had to have been initiated by something which could not have been limited and dependant.
      “If God is infinite and eternal, then why not the universe?”
      Because the universe is made up of finite and dependant things and the sum of all limited and finite things is self evidently finite. As the universes is not able to bring itself into existence it is in need of something other than itself/ beyond the universe, which has to be beyond limits and independent for reasons explained above.
      Is it possible to comprehend the manifestation of that which is infinite and independent, by a limited and dependant mind? Impossible it cant be done, the mind can only understand things in a limited context and therefore can not appreciate what it means for something to be infinte.

    191. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      An occupation is obviously a bad thing, but it does not mean that if the Tibetan elite return to power, then the average Tibetan’s life will better off. Would you have wanted to live in Pre-Black Death Western Europe, or 18th century Russia, as a serf?

    192. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

      I see what you mean - Perhaps I meant a free Tibet in the sense that they should be free to be able to choose serfdom under a Living God rather than the serfdom under the PRC.

      Or perhaps they could have contined down the path that the current Dalai Lama had tentatively started of a constitutional democracy under a Living God. Sort of like our own constitutional monarchy , expect we make do with a “defender of the faith” rather than a real God.

      Have you read books about the Younghusband expedition into Tibet? - fascinating stuff such as his own account ( self promotion) and the “Duel in the Snow” by Charles Allen. Summary - the expedition had tragic consequences for Tibet - its defeat opened the door just enough for Imperial China get its toe stuck in the door after an abscence of 400 years and enough for Chinese propaganda to fool people into thinking Tibet is and always has been in China.

      Anyway I propose a toast to “benign serfdom in the PRC” - I suppose we all ought to get used to it - It may be coming to a country near us soon - who knows.

      Justforfun

    193. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:01 pm  

      Would you have wanted to live in Pre-Black Death Western Europe, or 18th century Russia, as a serf?

      How can that be possible when the occupation of Tibet happened in 1949?

    194. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      Justforfun:

      If people wanted to live that way, fine. Usually however, nobody ever asked serfs for their opinion. A constitutional monarchical democracy would indeed be a good way to go; the most perfect form of government. I have not read widely on Tibet, but thank you for the sources.

      Sid:

      Sorry, I do not understand your question.

    195. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:07 pm  

      How can Tibet have been saved from ” Pre-Black Death Western Europe, or 18th century Russia” when the invasion was in 1949?

    196. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

      Sid:

      I was giving examples of societies that had serfdom, as did Tibet, and asking whether or not they would have been nice places to live if one had been a surf.

    197. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      Or even if one had been a serf.

    198. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

      By equating pre-occupation Tibetan society with spurious charges of backwardness and obscurantism? I think that’s either being a little racist or over-generous towards Mao’s genocidal regime. Or both.

    199. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

      I have nothing but contempt for Mao and his reign. He was one of the most vile dictators in history, ranking alongside Hilter and Stalin in terms of cruelty (though not in impact on the wider world). Nor am I trying to defend the Chinese occupation. I am just wondering what system of government would emerge in an independent Tibet, since pre-1949 Tibet was a feudal serfdom.

    200. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:28 pm  

      India and spin offs (Pakistan and Bangldesh) managed to produce democracies in spite of being feudal societies as has Indonesia. No reason why Tibet wouldn’t.

    201. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

      I could be churlish and point out that two of your three examples are now military dictatorships, but I take your point. I am not saying that Tibet will reject democracy, just that there is a possibility that they will revert to pre-1949 standards. Also, South Asia under British rule saw the emergence of legislative assemblies and the rule of law (albeit imperfectly), so the systems were already in place in 1947, to a certain extent. China has done nothing like that.

    202. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      How very doctrinaire. It always amazes me when the I hear failed mass-political projects are always blamed on the intrasigence or “political immaturity” of the people rather than the failure of the ideology (Nazism, Neoconservative Democracy, Communism) itself.

    203. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

      “It always amazes me when the I hear failed mass-political projects are always blamed on the intrasigence or “political immaturity” of the people rather than the failure of the ideology (Nazism, Neoconservative Democracy, Communism) itself.”

      Have you perchance fallen into an alternate dimension and so are reading that universe’s version of ‘Pickled Politics’? Where do I even give the slightest succour to Nazism/Maoism/Communism?

    204. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:48 pm  

      JustforFun,

      “Bayonets to Lhasa” by Peter Fleming is also very good. (Iain Flemings brother, I believe)

      For an overall view of F E Younghusband, you can’t go wrong with:

      “Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer” by Patrick French.

    205. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:48 pm  

      back in this dimension, you’re comparing Communist Occupation in 2007 to be better than Tibetan Feudalism in 1949.

    206. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      Of books on Tibet, Peaks and Lamas by Marco Pallis (now many years out of print) is utterly superb.

    207. Chris Stiles — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      Usman -

      I don’t understand the insistant need to quote others and what they think

      We build off the knowledge of others. What is the point of making up specific and presumably novel refutations of a point that has been disproved already? You yourself are reciting a line of reasoning which presumably in part is based on things you have heard and read. If you start making weak cosmological and ontological arguments - we are perfectly at liberty to point out that the same arguments have been disproved elsewhere.

      You claim to have an *indisputable* argument (implicity in your use of the word ‘proof’), and it’s the indisputability of it that we contest. Take a look at that page - there are plenty of people who claim to have proved things to their own satisfaction, but here’s the kicker not all (or even many) of their peers agree with them. You on the other hand are claiming something that is incredibly harder to prove - without backing this up in terms of reasoning.

    208. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      “back in this dimension, you’re comparing Communist Occupation in 2007 to be better than Tibetan Feudalism in 1949.”

      Or rather, I am saying that both systems have serious flaws, so there is no gurantee that a ‘free’ Tibet would be that free. I do think that the occupation should end, but do not want a theocracy to succeed it.

    209. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

      Good question Rumbold - we should not take it as given that a liberated Tibet would be different from the pre Chinese invasion Tibet. However a quick look around would see that a repressive serfdom would not be re-instated.

      We can look at the Dalai Lama himeslf and his outlook, although he is getting old now who knows who will replace him. There will be problems with the return of refugees and their outlook compared to those who were forced to endure the Chinese yoke. One can look at areas that are culturally similar to Tibet and how they have fared. Ladakh for example - once a provice of Tibet and then a Kingdom in its own right. Culturally and ethnically the same as Tibet. It has faired well and retains its social cohesion inspite of being in Kashmir and on the Fault Line of the Mad Mullahs of Asia. I still look on my travels in Ladakh with affection.

      Others can answer this - Is Bhutan similar to Tibet? Unlike Ladakh it will no doubt have had more mixing with the Gangatic plain but I believe they still share many cultural links with Tibet. Both places seem populated by contented people, while Bhutan is transitioning from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy.

      Sikkim,although now part of India, was a culturally Tibetian place. However I believe it is no longer a Tibetian dominant society. Sid - Did I once read you have been to Sikkim? For many years Sikkim was a closed state of India, but I beleive it is now open to travellers.

      A glance at these other places would be enough to see that serfdom is not what would happen in a free Tibet.
      Problems - certainly. Theocratic serfdom - I doubt it.

      I did a quick google on current Ladahk so you could get a flavour of the place
      http://www.ladakhtimes.com/
      http://www.countercurrents.org/gen-dawa030406.htm

      Justforfun

    210. justforfun — on 18th July, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

      Douglas - “Bayonets to Lhasa” must have been the book I read years ago. I’ll look up the other one and put it on my Amazon list - Youghusband and Curzon - interesting to get into the mind of these late Victorians. Often many parallels with our friends across the pond and how to grapple with the damn natives :-)

      Justforfun

    211. Sid — on 18th July, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

      Justy, I went to school in Darjeeling and have travelled quite a fair bit in Sikkim and Nepal.

    212. sonia — on 18th July, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

      ah sid cool! i went to darjeeling last xmas - what school did you go to ?

    213. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

      Chris Stiles
      From the responses that you have given it seems that you are adamant that I am wrong, the premise of my argument is incorrect etc. A statement of your opinion or someone else’s opinion is hardly a refutation unless that opinion is backed up with evidences and reasons of why this is so.

      I’m not going to get into what is proof, what’s the definition of proof etc The argument that I have presented is very clear and simple. More importantly it is a rational argument, now if people choose to be irrational and insincere then that’s just unfortunate.

      I have given ample opportunity to all to find weaknesses in the argument and unfortunately for you, all have failed to do so.

      Fine disagree with me, I’m not concerned. You are an intellectual no doubt but you are not doing that intelligence any justice by refusing that which is clear as night and day.

      You are at liberty to assume that someone somewhere has refuted this argument, on the contrary, I have come across many strong in their disbelief, and have seen many heavy weight secularists who would make some on this blog look primitive in their arguments, smashed into pieces.

      Your earlier prediction was wrong, that this endeavour would lead to frustration on my behalf, I am not at all frustrated at the result of this debate, but more convinced and clear that what I have is correct. Can you say the same? You don’t have to answer that to me, I’ll leave you to think about that.

    214. Chris Stiles — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:26 pm  

      A statement of your opinion or someone else’s opinion is hardly a refutation unless that opinion is backed up with evidences and reasons of why this is so.

      And neither, dearest usman, is a statement of your own opinion a proof of anything unless it is backed up via a logical, coherent and rational set of arguments. In the sense in which you use the word ‘proof’ (a rational argument that is universally irrefutable), you haven’t proved squat. You could start off by addressing Rosie’s arguments, followed by showing how your argument addresses the general set of counter-arguments to cosmological and ontological classes of arguments (which would be standard philosophical practice).

      I suspect that in the past you have been able to browbeat people into temporary silence, and count this as victory. You could go some way towards refuting this by abandoning your attempt at Socratic dialogue and posting your entire argument from start to finish somewhere accessible.

      Your earlier prediction was wrong, that this endeavour would lead to frustration on my behalf, I am not at all frustrated at the result of this debate, but more convinced and clear that what I have is correct. Can you say the same?

      Yes, I can confirm that I’m increasingly convinced that my original opinion of you was in fact correct. And I’m very far from being crushed.

      Love and Hugs,

    215. Jai — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

      The strength of civilisation is in its intellectual strength, refute my argument, rather that talking nonsense.

      The strength of civilisation is in its compassion, fairness and integrity, not just in its intellectual power alone.

    216. Katy Newton — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

      What on earth are you all talking about?

    217. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

      And you chris, take care.

    218. Roger — on 18th July, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

      Been away for a bit, but I’m still waiting for you to deal with this, Usman:
      “I am confident that I can prove beyond doubt that there is a creator, and that the Quran is the revealed speech of the creator, and hence as it is from the creator everything in it is correct. This is my basis, I welcome anybody to prove me wrong.”

      Please put forward your arguments for these claims.

    219. Don — on 18th July, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

      Usman,

      I wanted to engage in this debate, but it got bogged down in discussion about the nature of infinity. I am neither a mathematician nor a cosmologist and so didn’t see much point in trying to definitively settle a matter which better minds than mine have debated for generations.

      I gather that your point is that the universe is finite and that this necessitates a non-finite entity outside the universe in order to bring it into being. I’d say that was a tenable but not inarguable position and, as has been pointed out, you have rather ignored some cogent counter-arguments. and at times been syllogistically wobbly.

      However, if we accept your point as a working hypothesis, I am primarily interested in how you make the leap from a non-finite entity beyond the scope of the understanding of finite beings, to the Quran as the inerrant and inarguable voice of this entity, and therefore the only appropriate basis for governance.

      So, strictly hypothetically, if we accept that there ‘exists’ a non-finite entity totally other to the physical universe (whatever that may be)then could you outline the next crucial steps which place beyond doubt the identity of that entity as that which chose to issue instructions on all aspects of life to a specific mammal at a particular time?

    220. Jai — on 18th July, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

      Usman,

      God will exist regardless of whether you are successful in convincing others of His existence and regardless of whether other people believe in Him. Beyond a certain point, these to-and-fro debates are pointless, and will not affect the reality of God’s existence or His attributes. However, I do expect that your underlying motivations (whatever they are) for wishing to advertise your apparently unshakeable belief in God and convince others of the same will affect how God regards your actions here.

      This debate is not progressing, so I suggest you move on to the next phase of your argument, namely proving the following:

      Islam is the best system, why? Because its from the creator of Mankind and the universe,

      For the record, though, I think that your religious beliefs are your own business and you are therefore under no obligation to convince anyone else here of their veracity. If you do nevertheless wish to push forward with this course of action and set your opinions up to be picked apart by some other commenters on PP, then by all means go ahead, although I wonder why you would wish to do so rather than keeping this a personal matter between you and God.

    221. Don — on 18th July, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      Jai,

      Snap.

    222. Jai — on 18th July, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

      Indeed, Donald…..”Great minds”, and all that…..

    223. Usman — on 18th July, 2007 at 9:24 pm  

      Don
      To be honest with you I was about to depart from PP for good, but came back just to see what responses have been posted.

      If you want to debate don I will give you the time of day, I feel obliged to as you have been absent from the last time you posted a comment. You have noticed how I have ignored certain people, this is not out of no having an answer but rather I refuse to discuss with those whose only response can be to slander and insult, the strength of an argument is not how rude you can be to your opponent but how credible the idea is. That is the reason for ignoring certain posts.

      As to these counter arguments you are referring to, could you please highlight which one and I will respond to it.

      Jai
      My aim is not to convert people, I can only explain why I think it is so, if someone accepts then all good if not then there is no compulsion to do so. By all means if people would prefer not to engage in dialogue on this matter I will not waste my time discussing the subject. So its up to you, if you want to debate, I’m open for debate. A civilised debate, not a slanderous insulting uncivilised one.

    224. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 9:28 pm  

      Don & Jai.

      A great double act!

      Usman does what he does, I think, because he has the revealed truth, and you and I don’t.

      Either he is trying to convert us, and thus save us - which is said to be a noble endeavour - or he is reassuring himself that he is right, despite evidence to the contrary, and the rest of us are wrong.

      Dunno.

      But you do have to admire the polite, and sometimes human way he posts. I think our Usman has two sides to him….

      I am still trying to get my head around the dominos though. Say they existed in some sort of ‘out of space time continuum’, would it be unreasonable to assume that it fell down out of its own crumbling belief in its own reality? Starting a chain of events that ends up in this very post?

      My head hurts, to quote Justy. But it actually is an impossible dilemma, there may have been an agent that started the Universe, or there may not. To believe that said agent spoke exclusively to Middle Eastern desert folk is stretching it, I think.

      To quote our friend, and I mean that, Usman. Prove me wrong.

    225. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 9:44 pm  

      Usman,

      We have cross posted. I hate that!

      You say you are not in the business of converting folk. Fair enough, strike everything I said above.

      But it is quite clear that you do believe that there was an agency in the creation of the Universe. Would you care to explain why he selected some folk in this gin joint in the whole of the Universe to speak The Word? And in ways that have allowed wide interpretations of His message?

      Not to mention conflict and death?

      Your post 223, et al, do not deal with any of the questions raised. You, sir, are most certainly anthropocentric. Would you like to share with me what you think the rest of the Universe is for? Portents from the sky perhaps?

    226. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

      Usman,

      Why did you say this?

      To be honest with you I was about to depart from PP for good, but came back just to see what responses have been posted.

      I happen to think you’ve had a fairer hearing on here than you’d get on many a site.

    227. Rumbold — on 18th July, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

      #209 Justforfun:

      Exactly. Glad to see that you are interested Curzon as well. He was one of India’s most underrated Viceroys (in terms of preserving India’s heritage).

    228. Don — on 18th July, 2007 at 10:40 pm  

      Usman,

      Thanks. As to the points where I think your argument was flawed, I think returning to those would be fruitless. For the sake of argument, and to move this on, I am willing to accept your proposal that a finite universe includes the possibility of a non-finite (or extra-finite) first cause. I don’t see it as a proven necessity, but I’ll accept it as a plausible proposition. As I have conceded, I don’t have the expertise to get all assertive about cosmology. Just a reasonably well-educated generalist.

      So can we move on to the next step?

      As for your reception on PP, I think ‘moderately robust’ covers it.

    229. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:25 pm  

      Don,

      Could you define for me what an extra-finite first cause might be? I know Sunny was being ridiculous, but the idea of an extra-universal mad scientist causing all this grief is amusing, to say the least.

      What is the next step?

      Where, or how, do we take this debate forward?

      By the way, I am enjoying it. You don’t get too many intelligent debates on t’internet, and when one comes along, it tends to be on PP.

      I do hope Usman isn’t pissed off. That would be a shame.

    230. Don — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:37 pm  

      ‘Could you define for me what an extra-finite first cause might be?’

      No,of course not. I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I knew what I was talking about.

    231. Twining — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

      Usman,but we don’t want to be convereted. Your aim to convert us makes you all the more wrong.

    232. Twining — on 18th July, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

      Converted even.

    233. douglas clark — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:01 am  

      Don @ 230,

      That was very funny, respect, and all this modern day hugs stuff.

    234. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:54 am  

      it was ..very funny indeed!group hug

    235. Usman — on 19th July, 2007 at 10:24 am  

      Douglas
      The domino’s analogy was to demonstrate infinite regression, to suppose that one of the dominoes in the line fell on it own would indicate 2 things. Firstly the string of events had a beginning, and if it was able to bring itself into existence it means it created itself, (i.e. the universe). Which is not possible.

      At the moment, the discussion is not on what are the attributes of the creator, who did he sent his message to etc, it is impossible to make such assumptions from the mere observation of creation but the discussion is on, is there a first cause? Maybe we can get onto that next when this has been thrashed out, if people want to that is.

      Don
      Neither am I a cosmologist or a mathematician, my argument is purely rational, based on what we can sense of reality linked to what we know about what we have sensed, which does lead to certainty. For example. You wake up in the morning to go work, you have your breakfast and all you daily stuff, and then you open your front door and you see a big boulder that was not there before. Now from what you know about boulders you can calculate what the possibilities are of how it got there, you would never suggest that the boulder got there by itself because you know that a boulder does not grow legs and walk around, but it was put there some how by something other than itself. And that would be a certain conclusion not a maybe it is or maybe it isn’t.

    236. Twining — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:10 am  

      Perhaps nature put the boulder there?

    237. Rumbold — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:11 am  

      Or perhaps it was sent in the Stone Age and had only just arrived.

    238. Usman — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:44 am  

      The boulder didn’t put itself there, it needed something other than itself to be put there, call it nature or what ever you want to call it, the boulder is unable to put itself there something else is needed, that’s my point.

      Sent itself from the Stone Age? Via post? Recorded delivery maybe? Okay lets be serious for a second, Boulders don’t do anything on their own they don’t move around on their own, but need something else to move them.

    239. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:44 am  

      “my argument is purely rational, based on what we can sense of reality linked to what we know about what we have sensed, which does lead to certainty.”

      famous last words? wow. certainty!

      i think you’re selling yourself short Usman - why restrict broadcasting your world-changing revelation to the audience on Pickled Politics? seeing as you’ve made strides in the philosophy of science and epistemological questions - why not tell the world?

    240. Jai — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:50 am  

      Usman,

      So its up to you, if you want to debate, I’m open for debate.

      You may have misunderstood me. I have no interest in asking you to justify your beliefs because I do not think I have the right to do so — as I said before, it’s a personal matter between you and God — in the same way that I see no need for me to justify my own religious beliefs to anyone else. Or to suddenly declare, unprovoked, that “I believe X is directly from God, and I bet you cannot prove me wrong”.

      My point was that, if you wish to declare your belief in the veracity of Islam and challenge other commenters on PP to attempt to undermine your beliefs — and again, one wonders why you would wish to do this — then you will be putting yourself in a position where other commenters here will do their utmost to tear your beliefs apart. They will mostly do this politely, and using rigorous intellectual arguments, but they will do it nevertheless. You may be understimating their willingness and capacity to achieve this.

      I suspect you may misinterpret this as being some kind of challenge to you, and it may therefore reinforce your resolve to challenge other commenters in response to “prove you wrong”. However, in reality it is just some advice for your own benefit, because there have been numerous precedents for such events on PP, and since it touches on deeply-held, cherished, often emotionally-loaded matters, people’s feelings have been known to have got very badly hurt. It is not necessary for one to set oneself up for such an eventuality if there is absolutely no reasonable cause to do this.

      And just to make it clear, the term “other people” does not refer to me. I don’t care what religious beliefs people hold, as long as they don’t attempt to impose them on me and as long as their beliefs don’t cause them to hurt innocent third-parties.

    241. Sid — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:04 pm  

      mars bar party anyone?

    242. Chairwoman — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      Usman et al - There seems to be a general lack of understanding here about spiritual values and beliefs generally.

      They can’t be rationalised because they aren’t rational. A person doesn’t follow a particular faith because they’ve had a QED moment, but because something about that faith sparks a sympathetic ‘something’ in them.

      If there was anything rational about religion, I’d have continued to practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, because the philosophy makes sense to me.

      Unfortunately it isn’t who I am, so I will just continue being Jewish, because it feels right.

    243. Sid — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

      Chairwoman, if you’d said that attempting to encapsulate spiritualism and metaphysics in rational terms based on a Judeo-Christian mindset, 200 comments ago, you might have saved a lot of time for a lot of people.

      But then you’re broader minded than most.

    244. El Cid — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

      I think Usman would have perservered regardless

    245. rosie — on 19th July, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

      Chairwoman - couldn’t agree more, spiritual beliefs are not rational and can’t be rationalised, the whole early Enlightenment project of attempting to provide a rational basis for religion was doomed from the start. The question I guess I raised is whether or not one wants to base a system of morality on a set of religious and spiritual “truths” or if one wants to base it on a set of rational premises.

      The problem then arises of whether it is desirable to base a system of morality on a set of rational premises and also what those premises should be.

      To be honest with you I don’t know which of these two alternatives is worse.

      Most systems of morality whether they claim to have a religious foundation or not seem to have little to do with rationality or spirituality / religion and instead work from “sentiment” and “instinct” on up. And the problem with that is the incredible difficulty of sperating out which sentiments or instincts are “natural” from what those which are culturally ascribed.

      Human life is messy in the extreme and moral absolutism - whether it comes from a rigid adherence to certain religious truths, or from a set of rationally derived premises - seems incapable of dealing with this.

      Incidentally I’m using rational here in the cartesian sense of starting from certain a priori truths and then working on up.

    246. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

      very good points from jai and chairwoman

    247. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

      and rosie - i do see what you mean, it’s really difficult, especially when trying to be reflexive about the normative judgements we make.

    248. justforfun — on 19th July, 2007 at 1:43 pm  

      Looking accross cultures around the world in the present and past, there is alot of commonality in the morality of people - while their religions vary considerably. Perhaps “morality” is just empirical.

      What is good for the tribe is moral.
      What is bad for the tribe is immoral.

      Then make up a religion that re-inforces this accummulated wisdom. As circumstances change - either the religion adapts or is replaced by force or persuasion. Or perhaps after a set of unigue circumstances, religion is abandoned for other ideologies that promote a morality that is good for the tribe such as :-
      Communism, Fascism, capitalism etc etc

      No need to look for God given truth and no need to try and work out the laws for a perfectly rational people, because perfectly rational people don’t exist - or at lease not all in the one place and in one tribe.

      And the problem with that is the incredible difficulty of sperating out which sentiments or instincts are “natural” from what those which are culturally ascribed.

      I would think all are culturally ascribed. A baby is a very manulative ‘Object’ and can be trained by a tribe to do anything and I pretty much mean anything physically and mentally possible. What we are trained to do is try and maintain our tribe’s well being and survival.

      The human mind has been in its present from for perhaps 100k yrs but it is only in the last 10k yrs there has been sufficient continous climatic stability for cummulatively ascribed cultural practices to bring us to the point we’re at at the moment, often by 1 step forward , two steps back.

      I would link this to a debate on a written constitution - we should not have one. It makes us prisoners in time to our forefathers. It would be preferable to invest in education, education, education and political activism and let each generation use this as the defensive wall for their civilization, rather than a paper document and an apathetic reliance on the good will of lawyers :-) .

      Back to my medication I fear.

      Justforun

    249. justforfun — on 19th July, 2007 at 1:48 pm  

      Jai - please apply to the FCO for a job. Your country needs you there, not in the City.

      Justforun

    250. Sid — on 19th July, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

      “Of all modern delusions, the idea that we live in a secular age is the furthest from reality … liberal humanism itself is very obviously a religion - a shoddy replica of Christian faith markedly more irrational than the original article, and in recent times more harmful.”

      -John Gray

    251. justforfun — on 19th July, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      One point of view - but not really “a shoddy replica” but an evolution. A ‘replica’ implies that there was a plan to build a seperate entity, rather than reform the existing entity.

      No matter - I understand the sentiment that liberal humanism has many hallmarks of a religion. One being unswerving desciples who swallow hook line and sinker every thing that is given to them by the priests of ‘liberal humanism’.

      “Skepticism” should be on the National Curriculum - what do you think Don?

      Justforfun

    252. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

      i don’t think anyone is suggesting that any understanding of morality or any kind of ethical thinking is ever going to NOT be normative. the point is that it might be useful to recognise that - and that it is something we need to be able to collectively discuss and decide amicably.

      Suggesting that everyone take the course of action I might favour - will then require me to put some points forward on why i think this is a good course of action. I will have to engage people on this - and would they do that if i said something like ‘oh you should do it because I said so, or Zenu the god said so’? Some might wonder what the relevance of that was. IF there is a relevance, then I need to show that, not just keep stamping my foot and saying but xenu told me so!

      in the end, because we live in a collective society where our actions impinge on each other, it would seem sensible to realise that.

    253. sonia — on 19th July, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

      an insightful post jff

    254. justforfun — on 19th July, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

      i don’t think anyone is suggesting that any understanding of morality or any kind of ethical thinking is ever going to NOT be normative.

      Not being into acedemic studies of morality and based on a quick wikipedia understanding -
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normative_ethics

      Isn’t this exactly what we are debating - what morality should be (implying we can change our minds etc over the generations) and what we do believe is moral - sort of revealed religion stuff and unchanging. The debate is really between the two. Some religions by the way allow for the first and some don’t

      - or is it some people like to keep an open mind and get a pleasure from it and some don’t and get a pleasure from certainty? Perhaps an open mind is a luxury that only the rich and secure can afford, while a closed mind is a necessity for tribal protection, even if it is not the best ‘Game plan’ using “game theory”

      Justforfun

    255. Jai — on 19th July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

      Justforfun,

      Jai - please apply to the FCO for a job. Your country needs you there, not in the City.

      Heh heh, you may well be right ;)

      It might not be such a bad life — sorting out disputes amongst the locals in-between lounging around in white suits and panama hats, sipping a Gin & Tonic on the veranda of a suitably large colonial mansion whilst watching the memsahibs playing croquet and arranging my next brandy-and-polo session with the despotic ruler of the local oriental princely state…..

      Top-ho, by Jove…..

    256. Rumbold — on 19th July, 2007 at 9:13 pm  

      “It might not be such a bad life — sorting out disputes amongst the locals in-between lounging around in white suits and panama hats, sipping a Gin & Tonic on the veranda of a suitably large colonial mansion whilst watching the memsahibs playing croquet and arranging my next brandy-and-polo session with the despotic ruler of the local oriental princely state…..”

      Happy days- when the sun never set on the British Empire (“because God does not trust the British in the dark.”).

    257. Twining — on 19th July, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

      USMAN, SO NATURE PLAYS A PART. NEITHER ISLAM, HINDUISM, SIKHISM, CHRISTIANITY OR BUDHISM OR JUDAISM PLACED THE ROCK THERE. NEITHER MY FREIND DID MOHAMMED, NOR KRISHNA, NOR GURU GOVIND SINGH, NOR BUDHHA NOR JESUS. PLEASE ACCEPT WE ALL EXIST, BUT NOT TO BE CONVERETED.

    258. Twining — on 20th July, 2007 at 12:00 am  

      CONVERTED I MEAN!

    259. Don — on 20th July, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

      Usman,

      Haven’t been able to engage as much as I wanted to - work has been frenetic. However, we just broke up for the summer, thank Thoth.

      The problem I have with your boulder analogy, as indeed with any analogies put forward, is that I have a reasonable working knowledge of how forces work on heavy objects. I know what a boulder is, where it should be and could construct viable hypotheses for why it is blocking my door.

      That is not the case when considering the state of affairs prior to the existence of the physical universe. I don’t even have a conceptual framework for that, I can’t simply say that x must have been the case prior to the Big Bang. I don’t know what rules or laws (if any) apply in that situation. Or whether ‘that situation’ is even a meaningful term. I got zilch.

      The best I can do, as I said in #219, is accept for the sake of argument your contention that the fact that the universe exists requires a first cause outside the physical universe. I can’t accept as proven your either-or logic because I don’t know if such linear reasoning even applies. I don’t think drawing analogies from the existing universe we (apparently) inhabit is helpful, because there is no reason to suppose that any aspect of our universe is reflected in the pre-universe. How can I accept that the universe creating itself is ‘absurd’ when I have no inkling of a clue what consituted ‘absurd’ prior to a physical universe with observable and measurable interactions? I don’t even know if ‘prior to’ means anything in this context.

      So, please, let’s move on to the next step.

    260. The Common Humanist — on 20th July, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

      Usman

      I think the basic point regarding this whole debate is that many people have deeply held beliefs and that these beliefs are many and varied.

      Because of your sincere and strong faith in the HUT stripe of Islam you either cannot or will not see that the only possible way for this variety to exist side by side without endless conflict is for no religion to be in a position of preeminence.

      It is very clear and obvious that the best place to hold strong religions convictions is in the, largely, secular West.

      Also, lastly, do you not see how your views, or rather the views of HUT, are seen as deeply deeply objectionable by the vast majority of people of all stripes within the UK and indeed in much of the World?

      Most people do not want to live in a sociological mueseum and that is something the clerical fascists in the world, or indeed clerical supremicists, are going to have to come to terms with and move on.

    261. douglas clark — on 21st July, 2007 at 12:54 am  

      Don,

      Even the Universe we do inhabit follows laws, at least at a quantum level, that are deeply counter-intuitive.

      It appears from this - just the first bit - ‘Deepening the quantum mysteries’.

      http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/quantum.htm

      that a frigging photon has self awareness! Or at least some sort of spooky pre-knowledge.

      Tell me it cannot be so! My pitchfork and torch are at your disposal.

    262. douglas clark — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:17 am  

      The Common Humanist,

      I don’t think Usmans views are deeply objectionable. I think he is as entitled to his views are you are to yours, or I to mine.

      What I do think is that we should see where this takes all of us. Perhaps he can persuade. Perhaps you can. Perhaps neither of you can.

      I agree with Don’s sentiment:

      “So, please, let’s move on to the next step.”

      Usman appears willing to put his ideas up for discussion, albeit he might be blindsided, but he might not. What the hell’s the harm in a discussion?

      What I like about this site is that someone like Usman can come and say his stuff, you can say yours, and I can say mine. That’s a good definition of a forum, last time I looked.

      We need forums, lest we all isolate ourselves.

    263. Usman — on 22nd July, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

      i will engage in the discussion soon, i have been very busy with other commitments and will continue when i have some free time

    264. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

      Usman,

      Well, I’m looking forward to it. This thread has fallen off even the Pickled Politics front page, but is is an important issue.

    265. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      Maybe “it is an important issue”

      Apologies. :-;

    266. Don — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:04 pm  

      It might be quite nice if this thread turned into a quiet backwater of amateur abstract philosophy. We could emerge after a decade or so of vague speculation with The Answer, to be met with universal acclaim. Shortly followed by aforementioned pitchforks and torches.

    267. Katy Newton — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:25 pm  

      Oh God or similar putative entity, how can this thread still be going? How?

    268. Don — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

      But the question ‘how?’ implies that the continuance of a thread requires a reason outside of that thread. Can we ‘know’ that for sure, or are we just assuming it?

    269. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

      Don,

      It would indeed be a blessing if we could continue this thread ad infinitum.

      You seem to be saying that there are professionals playing this game too! Bloody hell, do folk get paid for this?

      You, Usman and I could be on a fortune, I tell you…

    270. El Cid — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

      the eyes of the world are on this thread.
      don’t mess up now — this is big

    271. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

      Katy,

      Despite all my ministrations to be nice to you, Don’s point at 268 seems to say it all. Leave us our vowels! Lest we investigate means of removing your constonants.

      Update on your mums progress would be good, btw.

    272. Don — on 22nd July, 2007 at 7:50 pm  

      Yeah, since Katy got disemvowelling powers she’s been like Dark Willow.

    273. Katy Newton — on 22nd July, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

      It is a constant struggle not to use my powers for evil, I can tell you.

      Or just for fun. “Ha ha! Look at Don! He’s got no vowels!”

    274. Katy Newton — on 22nd July, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

      She’s going in tomorrow, Douglas, and I shall update everyone when I get back.

    275. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

      Katy,

      Thanks for that.

      BTW, disemvowelling might, just, make it to the OED.

      Yes, indeedy!

      Or Ys nddy, perhaps.

    276. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 9:54 am  

      Bitter experience as taught me not to trust turncoats such as former HuT member Ed Husain. So what if HuT is looney tunes with an Islamic bent, I can at least trust what they say. The same doesn’t apply to Ed Husain and his elk. And neither do I believe that fixing the security services or rigging the law against activities of HuT is a viable solution. Last week four men were sent to jail for essentially speaking their minds. Not good, very bad. I say let HuT spout their crap in an open arena and let the war of ideals rage via open and free debate. If the likes of HuT are to be taught a lesson, I want to be the one teaching it.

    277. Katy Newton — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:01 am  

      You don’t trust Ed Hussain’s elk?

    278. Katy Newton — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:02 am  

      What’s wrong with Ed Hussain’s elk?

    279. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:16 am  

      Ed Husain is a man with a hidden agenda that’s why I don’t trust him. Say what you like about the nutters of HuT but they are exactly what they say on the tin.

      Now when are we going to meet up for a drink and a chat?

    280. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:16 am  

      BTW: How is mommy dearest?

    281. soru — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:17 am  

      ‘Dark Willow’

      It was supposed to be disemvowelling, not disembowelling, did someone configure the software wrong?

    282. sonia — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:23 am  

      “turncoats”

      so it does seem to be all about group solidarity/gang mentality. ‘oh he squealed on us’ ..

    283. Chairwoman — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:44 am  

      Imminently off to the hospital.

      Please don’t let this thread be running on my return!

    284. sonia — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:45 am  

      all the best chairwoman!!

    285. Roger — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:49 am  

      “the fact that the universe exists requires a first cause outside the physical universe”, which in turn logically requires that cause to have a cause itself, Don.

      How do you know “Ed Hussein is a man with a hidden agenda”, Dude? His own open agendum, speaking from personal experience is that HuT membership and belief in its principles correlates highly with terrorist sympathies. For that matter, how do you know HuT don’t have a hidden aganda? Their open agenda is quite repellent enough to warrant criticism.

    286. El Cid — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      yeah, but what’s wrong with his elk? I want to know too. I think this could be crucial

    287. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

      12 Days.

    288. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

      Ed Hussein by his own admission was a fully paid up member of HuT. Now he isn’t. That ‘s 360 degree flip in the other direction. Like I said, I don’t trust turncoats. Mind you, I don’t like HuT even more but at least they are the devil I know.

    289. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:20 pm  

      Terrorist Elk, whatever next.

    290. The Dude — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:29 am  

      OK! OK! Everyone’s has had their fun. ILK!

    291. Usman — on 24th July, 2007 at 1:42 am  

      Don, Humanist, and others, I do apologise for my absence

      Humanist
      There is no such thing as a HuT Islam or other stripes of Islam such as moderate and Islamist interpretations etc Islam is one and only one, what surprises me when listening to opinions that a political version of Islam is a high jacked version, is that the opposite is true, that a secular version of Islam is what is an invented version as the history of Islam will testify and is a abnormal state of affairs to be the way it is at present, as to what the Muslim world wants and other related issues maybe we can discuss them in more detail later as it may derail the discussion.

      Don

      From your post I get the following impression, I don’t know what it was and am not in a position to speculate as there may be something out there that has not been discovered, or may possibly be discovered at some point.

      If particle X is discovered for example, the fact that it has been discovered means that it is limited and dependant, by the fact that it has been sensed some how in some way, so again we come to the same place, What was it dependant on, and what was that dependant on?

      My argument is not one of deductive logic, and this is the mistake which is made by those opposing the verdict that an unlimited independent creator exists with responses such as ‘well what was the infinite independent creator dependant on?’ the statement contradicts itself, if the creator is infinite and independent that means that it isn’t dependant and hence not created, as it is infinite it is beyond our ability to understand the manifestation of what it means for something to be beyond limits.

      From previous discussion we have come to the conclusion (well I have anyway) that everything that exists within the universe is limited and dependant, and these two attributes exist simultaneously, no one has been able to bring anything contrary to that, therefore that is what we are working with here and what we must base our conclusions on. Yes I agree with you that what is beyond the universe is something that we have no understanding of and it would be wrong for us to endeavour to try and comment on it from what we simply know of the universe. Like I mentioned earlier it would be like trying to speculate on the appearance of the one that placed the boulder in front of your door, there would be insufficient evidence to make such conclusions, so at most you could conclude is that it was put there by something other than itself, and the same with the universe.

      So if everything in the universe is incapable of creating itself and needs something else, and could not have been here infinitely, then the only rational conclusion that you can come to is that what ever was at the beginning of it all could not have been created or have limits for reasons explained in numerous posts above

      Is seems as though your disposition from years of not believing in a creator and the attitude that it can not be proven is what makes all other possibilities more plausible even though there is absolutely no rational reason to believe so. For example when you say that there is no reason for you to not believe that it created itself, think about this for just a moment, does it even make sense? For something to create itself means that at some point it did not exist. If it doesn’t exist how can it create?

      You could argue the opposite about me, as I have always had a belief in a ‘god’ the possibility of one seems more plausible to me, I wasn’t born with this understanding that I have now but have developed it through discussion over time, by further discussion the weakness of the argument can be highlighted if there are any.

      The definition of ‘Faith’ in Islam is that it is based on certainty and this is what is unique about Islam is that it has to be based on thought and not emotion, certainty can not be acquired in any way other than rational thought.

      I personally would like to continue this particular debate, but if you would like to move on to the next then that’s fine also. The ball is in your court.

    292. The Dude — on 24th July, 2007 at 10:03 am  

      Usman

      Terrorist Elk and the definition of “Faith” in Islam is a plausible possibility for a lot of us on this forum but that doesn’t stop HuT from being a bunch of nutters or me from using very poor english.

      One other thing. I’m Roman Catholic but this doesn’t stop me from either questioning the Bible or doubting the Pope. It just seem to me that faith and absolutes are very strange bedfellows.

    293. Chris Stiles — on 24th July, 2007 at 10:19 am  

      One other thing. I’m Roman Catholic but this doesn’t stop me from either questioning the Bible or doubting the Pope. It just seem to me that faith and absolutes are very strange bedfellows.

      Part of the problem is people believing that there is one universal epistemeology accessible to humankind that is applicable to ever situation.

    294. Roger — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:05 pm  

      “Ed Hussein by his own admission was a fully paid up member of HuT. Now he isn’t. That ’s 360 degree flip in the other direction. Like I said, I don’t trust turncoats. Mind you, I don’t like HuT even more but at least they are the devil I know.”
      He’s simply changed his opinions. What of it, Dude? Have you never changed your mind in your life? It isn’t a 360 degree flip actually; a 360 degree flip would leave him going in exactly the same direction as before. It isn’t even a 180 degree flip, which would mean he was going in exactly the opposite direction to before on every opinion. It’s merely a change in his interpretation of certain aspects of islam and how muslims should respond to the modern world. I’ll leave you to calculate how many degrees he’s gone, if you’re that bothered.

      Usman: there may be be one and only one islam; but there are a lot of arguments about just what that one and only one islam is though, and the opinions of others have a much validity as yours.
      The fact that you think everyhing in the universe is limited and dependent does not actually mean that it is, nor- even if it is- does it mean the universe is dependent on a creator, nor- even if it dependent on a creator- does it mean that that creator is not also limited and dependent. Logically we have two contradictory choices. We can say that everything has a cause. Therefore the universe has a cause, therefore the cause of the universe has a cause, therefore…and enter an infinite regression. Or we can say that there must be something that does not have an external cause, in which case it makes more economical to decide that the universe does not have an external cause and was not created. Any external uncreated cause- whether it be one step away or a trillion steps away- contradicts both statements.

    295. Katy Newton — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:15 pm  

      Don’t worry, Dude, I wouldn’t trust an elk as far as I could throw it :-D

    296. Don — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:32 pm  

      ‘… but if you would like to move on to the next then that’s fine also. ‘

      Yes, please.

      I am also concious that if we are still wrangling over cosmogony when CW gets back we are apt to have our butts kicked.

    297. sonia — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

      Usman, thanks for your reply, i would question you on this:

      “The definition of ‘Faith’ in Islam is that it is based on certainty and this is what is unique about Islam is that it has to be based on thought and not emotion, certainty can not be acquired in any way other than rational thought.”

      If this is indeed the case ( and I am not saying whether that it is or isn’t) perhaps someone needs to let all the muslims out there know this, so they won’t waste their time trying to inculcate some sort of “emotional readiness” in their kids to rituals etc. After all, if what you say is true, they should just wait till the kid is capable of rational thought, and boom, that’s that.

    298. bananabrain — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

      certainty can not be acquired in any way other than rational thought.

      really? well, i’m certain i like onion bhajis, although rationally i know they’re not very good for me.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    299. Jai — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      certainty can not be acquired in any way other than rational thought

      Except, of course, by direct personal experience. Otherwise it’s just speculation and hypothetical theorising, regardless of how plausible the chain of logic may seem.

    300. The Dude — on 24th July, 2007 at 11:41 pm  

      To Roger

      When Micheal Jackson changed from black to white, I didn’t trust him either. There is changing your mind, then there is changing YOUR MIND. You shouldn’t confuse the two. Mealnie Philips used to be a great human being once. Now she isn’t. You figure it out.

      To Katy

      Thanks for the warning and protect those freckles (and your mum) from terrorist elk.

    301. Usman — on 25th July, 2007 at 1:04 am  

      Roger
      This is where the problem is, the use of deductive logic, that everything is limited and dependant therefore the creator must also be limited and dependant. As I have mentioned in my previous post that the use of logic here is inappropriate. Logic will lead one to come to the conclusion that as everything is limited and dependant the creator is limited and dependant. Rational thought will bring you to the conclusion that as everything is limited and dependant there has to be something which is not limited and dependant otherwise you would get infinite regression or it created itself, rational thought will also lead one to understand as the creator is independent it is not created otherwise it would not be the creator. Rational thought will also refute infinite regression, and the universe created itself, by the use of previous information of what the reality of the universe is (i.e. that everything in the universe has limits and is unable to create itself).

      Logic has its uses in places such as mathematics, but has hidden defects when applied to everything, for example. Hydrogen is a gas at room temperature, oxygen is also a gas at room temperature, so therefore oxygen and hydrogen at room temperature produce a gas. Do you see the problem with this? Deductive logic will conclude that hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature produces a gas but Oxygen and hydrogen at room temperature form a liquid at room temperature. The correct conclusion would have been made when using rational thought in this matter and not deductive logic.

      This topic has been debated in some detail by now and I thank you for your contributions to it, for don’s sake I would like to move on to the next step. Unless you could explain why infinite regression could be correct, or the universe created itself is correct, rationally.

      Don
      It’s getting a little late got early start, so I will address the next step of the debate tomorrow.

    302. Don — on 25th July, 2007 at 1:11 am  

      Looking forward to it. I’m on my hols. As soon as the weather clears it’s Oban and Ullapool for me. Anyone had any flood issues?

    303. Usman — on 25th July, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

      Proof that Quran is from the creator.

      Every time a prophet has been sent from the creator, he was sent with miracles to prove that he is the prophet from the creator, the nature of the miracles was in line with what the people at the time were experts at.

      To illustrate this point I will give some examples.

      At the time of Moses (peace be upon him) the field of expertise the people were in was magic, so the nature of the miracles performed by Moses were of a magical nature, Moses challenged pharaoh to bring all his magicians to match his miracles, the magicians threw their sticks on the ground and via illusion made them to look as if they were moving, Moses threw his Stick and it turned into a snake which then devoured all of the sticks that were thrown by the magicians.

      At the time of Jesus the people were experts in medicine, so the nature of the miracles performed by Jesus(pbuh) were of such nature, so he brought the dead to life, cured the blind, the leper, blew into a clay bird which then became a real bird and so forth.

      At the time of the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) the Arabs at the time were experts at poetry, they would hold poets in high esteem, they would entertain each other with poetry etc. So amongst the miracles performed by the prophet Muhammed, the main miracle was of a linguistic nature, the Quran.

      The Challenge

      The Qur’an challenges humanity to attempt to match the reality of the Qur’anic text, the smallest chapter (surah) to be exact. In chapter 2 verse 23 the Qur’an states:

      “And if you are in doubt about which We have revealed to Our Servant then bring one
      chapter like it”

      In order to understand this challenge one must first understand the reality of the Qur’an. With regards to its language there are many features which render the Qur’an matchless, unique and miraculous. The main arguments with regards to its linguistic and literary superiority will be briefly explained below.

      The Main Arguments

      Unique Linguistic Genre

      The Qur’an achieves a unique linguistic genre by unifying rhetorical and cohesive elements of language in every verse. Most Arabic texts simply use cohesive elements with some use of language that attempts to please or persuade (rhetoric). Any change to the Qur’anic structure ceases to sound like a Qur’an and removes its communicative effect.

      Unique Literary Form

      The Qur’an is a literary form in its own right. It is can not fit into the forms of poetry, rhymed prose and prose. This is achieved by the unique combination of metrical and non-metrical composition, by not adhering to the rules of poetry and prose and by the use of literary devices that are unknown in Arabic prose. This is done within the scope of the classical Arabic grammar.

      Rhetoric and Eloquence

      The Qur’an can only be described as a ‘sea of rhetoric’. It employs more rhetorical features than any other text. Also, the Qur’an achieves an amazing accuracy of language with its choice of words and sentence structure (eloquence).

      Historical Argument

      It is a historical fact that the Arab linguists at the time of revelation (approximately 1500 years ago) were the greatest at appreciating Arabic literature. If the Arabs of the time were unable to challenge the Qur’an then what does this say about its authorship? Can it be the utterances of a human being?

      What Does this Mean?

      When questioning the authorship of the Qur’an in the context of the above arguments one must first understand who the Qur’an could have possible come from. There are a few options:

      1) An Arab
      2) A non-Arab
      3) Muhammad
      4) The Creator

      The Qur’an is matchless in its Arabic and beyond comparison amongst other literature. It defies sense for it to have been written by someone who could not understand Arabic. Think of a literary work in English e.g. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Could one without English have been the author? Do the same for literature in other languages. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Aristophanes’ Clouds and so on. It would not be serious to claim that such work could be achieved without access to the language itself therefore the first option of a non-Arab authoring the Qur’an can be safely eliminated. If the Qur’an was authored by an Arab then the test of inimitability would not pose a real challenge just as it does not in other languages. Whatever one writes another can write a little in the same style but the challenge has been attempted by leading authorities in Arabic throughout history and has left all exhausted. Whenever an Arab attempts a passage trying to imitate the Qur’an’s style and literary form he/she remains utterly elusive so we can safely state that the author of the Qur’an could not have been an Arab.

      Muhammad, was still an Arab like his brethren. It is also a matter of fact that the Prophet Muhammad was never accused of authoring the Qur’an by his contemporaries, even those who sought his death and ruin. Furthermore the hadith (recorded narrations attributed to the Prophet) are in a totally different style to the Qur’an. How can any man speak with two distinct styles over a 23 year period?

      What one person can do, someone else can match or do better. To this day no one has been able to match the quran or even a chapter consisting of few sentences.

      The only rational answer left is the Creator.

    304. Jagdeep — on 25th July, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      Usman, are you on a religious prosletysation drive here with all this nonsense about your religion?

      You do realise don’t you that there is loads of factual evidence about how the koran was written by men, hundreds of years after Mohammad died? The koran, like every other religious text in the world is man made, and there is nothing special about it. It is no more evidence that there is a creator than the existence of the keyboard I am typing on is evidence of that — as the fundament upon which you build a theologial politics of agitation and grievance and victimhood it’s like building a cult on the basis of the price of fish.

    305. Don — on 25th July, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

      Whoa, there. You still haven’t established that the putative creator interacts with the universe, still less that it has any interest at all in the moral and social structures of homo sapiens.

      ‘Every time a prophet has been sent from the creator, he was sent with miracles…’

      Not established. These are old stories with no evidence of their truth. There are several interpretations;
      a. Didn’t happen, just made up to impress the followers.
      b. Didn’t happen, story absorbed from earlier tradition.
      c. Sleight of hand, trickery.
      d. Natural event misinterpreted or exaggerated over time.
      e. Supernatural being suspends natural laws to influence a specific human interaction.

      ‘e’ seems the least plausible.

      I asked to move on, not gallop to the end.

    306. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

      good one don

    307. Usman — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

      Jagdeep
      If it is the work of a man then why is there no one that can match it? The smallest chapter in the Quran is 3 verses long, chapter 108- ‘surah al kauthar’ has only 3 verses. The challenge is over 1400 years old and no one can match it, bring anything to the same standard if you are in doubt. That’s the challenge. The Quran was compiled into book format after the death of the prophet, but if the author had been a human being then surely there would be someone who could match it.

      Don
      The ‘old stories’ I spoke of was to illustrate a point that they were sent with miracles at their time to prove they are messengers to their people with miracles that could not be matched by those who were experts in those fields of expertise, I know that doesn’t mean anything to us today because we haven’t sensed that reality. My point is that the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) had a miracle of a linguistic nature, and the people at the time were experts at poetry and held the Arabic language in high esteem. That’s all I was saying by those examples.

      Had it been the work of another human being then why has no one ever been able to reproduce something to the same standard? Challenge still stands today, is relevant today, and will continue to be so until someone can match it, and this is something that we can sense, I’m not talking about splitting the sea, I’m talking about the quran, a book, in Arabic, which is inimitable.

    308. Roger — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

      “certainty can not be acquired in any way other than rational thought.”
      I am absolutely and instictively certain that that is not true.

      “There is changing your mind, then there is changing YOUR MIND. You shouldn’t confuse the two.”
      Of course not, Dude; one requires the use of the shift key and the other doesn’t. How does Ed Hussein’s decision to interpret islam in a different way to the way he did before equate with hiring plastic surgeons to carry out long and painful operations?

      Usman: ” Deductive logic will conclude that hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature produces a gas but Oxygen and hydrogen at room temperature form a liquid at room temperature.” No they don’t. After hydrogen has oxidised they forma liquid- if they are present in exactly the right proportions, but unless there is an external cause they remain as two gases. Furthermore, given your dismissal of logic here, you were wasting your- and our- time by [falsely] claiming that there were logical reasons to think islam true before.

      “Every time a prophet has been sent from the creator, he was sent with miracles to prove that he is the prophet from the creator”
      There is one problem with all of your alleged miracles; there is no reason at all to think that any of them ever happened.

      Certainly other people have matched the quran; it’s simply that muslims refuse to admit it. Can you prodcue passaoges in the quran to compare- sticking to religious verse- with John Donne’s Holy Sonnets?

    309. Usman — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:57 pm  

      Roger
      This is mere wishful thinking, where are these so called verses? With so much incentive available surely someone should have come along and destroyed the credibility of the quran by proving it is the work of a human being because someone can match it, forget changing Islam to fit into a secular framework you could destroy the whole thing. But still, there is nothing, nothing at all.

    310. Usman — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

      Roger
      If you want to disagree on the existence of a creator, fine, but then show how infinite regression can be correct, or it created itself is correct, you have failed to do either. Deductive logic is inappropriate for reasons I have mentioned earlier, using the premise hydrogen is gas at room temperature and oxygen is gas at room temperature so together will form a gas at room temperature, is not necessarily true for reasons that even you have touched upon in your explanation, but the result is not deduced via deductive logic, that’s my point.

    311. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:15 pm  

      Had it been the work of another human being then why has no one ever been able to reproduce something to the same standard?

      That’s a matter of subjective opinion, and I’m certain members of several other organised religions would strongly disagree with this statement in relation to their own sacred texts. Anyway…..

    312. Roger — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

      You have it the wrong way round, Usman. You have to show that the quran is not and cannot be the work of a human being. Take a look at these: http://cs1.mcm.edu/~rayb/holy_sonnets.htm
      and see if you can find anything comparable in quality [I don't think they're any more true than the quran, but that's not what we're discussing] in the quran.

      Again, Usman. Either:
      You accept that there must be something that doesn’t have a cause. The principle of economy means that it is more likely to be the universe that doesn’t have a cause than anything else.
      Or:
      You accept the everything must have a cause; therefore the universe must have a cause; therefore whatever caused the universe must have a cause…ad infinitum. By saying both that the universe must have a cause and that whatever caused the universe doesn’t have a cause you are accepting two inexplicable concepts, whereas with either causeless universe or infinite regression you only accept one.

    313. Don — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:33 pm  

      Usman,

      I understood your point about the differing nature of the recounted ‘miracles’. I don’t agree, firstly because I wouldn’t call magic a ‘field of expertise’, secondly because many of the ‘miracles’ of Jesus were just ‘magical’ - walking on water, cursing a fig tree, water into wine and so forth - rather than curative. And thirdly I don’t think the merits of a book, aesthetic or otherwise, need be ascribed to a suspension of the laws of nature. It’s being unequaled is a matter of personal judgement.

      However, my main point was that you have jumped from a speculated First Cause, which may have initiated the Big Bang, straight to an interventionist god with specific attributes who sends messengers, dictates books, and has strong views on social conduct. You missed out a lot of steps.

      So two questions before we can even get as far as sacred texts.
      1. How do you arrive at the conclusion that a non-limited, non-dependant entity with no knowable attributes which is possited as existing outside the universe as we know it, interacts in any way with that universe?
      2. Even if it does, and I see no need for that to be the case, how do you conclude that it takes a particular interest in our species?

    314. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

      Deductive logic will conclude that hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature produces a gas but Oxygen and hydrogen at room temperature form a liquid at room temperature.” No they don’t. After hydrogen has oxidised they forma liquid- if they are present in exactly the right proportions, but unless there is an external cause they remain as two gases.

      Also, these phenomena can be predicted as a result of rigorous scientific experimentation and analysis which has been conducted beforehand, and the associated “rational thought” subsequently based on these experiments and scientific principles.

      It wasn’t a matter of “rational thought” being undertaken in isolation, and especially not based on rhetorical questions, guesswork, hypotheses and assumptions. The latter may apply to theoretical physics concepts such as string theory, which have their own internal logic but aren’t based on actual experimentation, observation, or physical proof, but it’s not applicable to some of the scientific examples that Usman has given as analogies.

    315. Jagdeep — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

      If it is the work of a man then why is there no one that can match it? The smallest chapter in the Quran is 3 verses long, chapter 108- ‘surah al kauthar’ has only 3 verses. The challenge is over 1400 years old and no one can match it, bring anything to the same standard if you are in doubt. That’s the challenge. The Quran was compiled into book format after the death of the prophet, but if the author had been a human being then surely there would be someone who could match it.

      Usman, one of Shakespeare’s great plays knocks it into a tinned hat.

      As would the best of Nabokov, Joyce, and Proust. And there are plenty of other religious texts that match it in their rhetoric. The Old Testament is funky. So is the Guru Granth Sahib. I imagine the Bhagvad Gita is rather excellent too. All you’re saying is ‘nothing can match it’. But you’re so ignorant and brainwashed that you wouldnt even know the things that beat it if they stood up in your soup and licked your chin.

    316. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:36 am  

      Jagdeep
      The Quran is a book in Arabic, the challenge is bring something to the same standard in Arabic. Shakespeare was not an arab and didn’t speak Arabic, his works can not be compared to the quran because his works were in English language and the challenge is bring something in Arabic to the same standard.

      Don
      If I was to tell you it wouldn’t benefit you as you don’t believe in these things, if the authenticity of the quran can be discussed first then that can come later.

      Why would the creator want to communicate with the human race? Again this is not something that we can come to a conclusion to on our own, we can’t decide why he would want to communicate to humans, why he created us, do you see my point? Again if the Quran is authentic then the answers can be found in there.

    317. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:42 am  

      Roger
      That’s not Arabic, so it doesn’t count.

      I’ve explained over and over again but still you are so stubborn you are adamant on intellectual dishonesty, you are certain on uncertainty, fair play to you, carry on.

    318. sahil — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:59 am  

      HEHE, so now arabic is the divine language? I’m finding all this logic very confusing. I think I’ll go some maths.

    319. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:12 am  

      there are plenty of people who have theorised in the past about the Quran - not being the work of one man - but a mish-mash of many things - ‘edited’ by one man perhaps. Now of course this is usually dismissed as islamophobic ‘made up things’. Recently i looked into it, and there is a lot of research to be done - into the literature of Arabia around the time of the Prophet. ( as a child they tell you that the prophet was illiterate, and emphasise the illiterateness of the pagan arabia environment) the interesting thing is precisely because the Bedouin were not literate, they developed their strengths in in verbal poetry.

    320. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:26 am  

      that’s the interesting thing i found out recently i mean

    321. Roger — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

      Well, no, Usman, the demand that people find something to match the quran is intellectually dishonest in fact. The reason the quran was first written down was because people were remembering different versions and so they had to write down the allegedly true one. If it was impossible to make something like it there would have been no need to write it down in the first place. People had been making verses like the quran already. They may not have done it on purpose, but they had still done it.

    322. Don — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:11 pm  

      Usman,

      ‘If I was to tell you it wouldn’t benefit you as you don’t believe in these things,…’

      I was hoping for a more substantial response.

    323. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

      Usman, the more you come out with this the more ridiculous you appear. A few rhyming stanzas and couplets in an old Arabic style suddenly becomes proof of a creator and the supposed unmatched something of the koran? Nonsense, it’s just another book of quotes, high and mystical rhetoric, mixed in with a medieval penal code, just like every other religious book ever written. There’s nothing special about it. And it’s certainly not evidence of a divine creator any more than any holy book is. You saying it is, is just the usual Islamic inferiority complex manifesting itself in an absurd assertion of supremacism, and routing a grievance and victimhood form of politics out of it is actually laughable.

      Give me Hamlet any day.

    324. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:15 pm  

      Usman,

      Is this the Chapter you are referring to?

      The Abundance of Good
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

      [108.1] Surely We have given you Kausar,
      [108.2] Therefore pray to your Lord and make a sacrifice.
      [108.3] Surely your enemy is the one who shall be without posterity,

      If so, it doesn’t translate particularily well. Y’know, as the highest piece of literature ever written.

      And your challenge is now being defined in very selective and subjective terms.

      For instance:

      Most people on this planet don’t speak Arabic, so don’t get a say. So, selective.

      Judgement of what is divine is personal, as is what constitutes good literature. And lit crit is no more of a democracy than religion. So, subjective.

      I happen to agree with you that the first cause is not understood yet. But the problem that all religious folk have is that as science gets it’s feet under it, you are left with a ‘God of the Gaps’ model. In other words ones ‘God’ is left to pick up what science cannot, as yet, explain.

      I take it you do agree that the Universe we inhabit started circa 14 billion years ago? That natural selection does explain evolution? If not, then we are in a whole different framework of discussion.

    325. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      Douglas Clark
      The translation of the meaning of those verses does not give a non Arabic speaking person an appreciation of the standard of Arabic of the Quran, but this is my point, the challenge is produce something to the like of it in Arabic, not in any language. If it really is the work of a man, then why is no one able to reproduce something to the same standard? The arabs at the time of its revelation were unable to do it and they were the experts at the language, so the question now becomes, who is the author?

      Muhammad(pbuh) was an arab, and the arabs were unable to do it, what one person can do someone else can match or do better and that can apply with anything that people can do. It could not have come from someone who was not Arabic speaking, to be able to produce high standards of literature one must be fluent in the language, so again where did it come from? There was nothing to the like of it before, and no one has been able to reproduce something to it after, not even within over 1400 years. Most people in the world are not Arabic speaking that’s true, but a lot are, and people have the aptitude to acquire it through effort and study, so the challenge still is a valid one

      Science, due to its limitations can explain how a tangible reality reacts to differing conditions for example under scientific conditions i.e. through the empirical method which is to test, record results and give conclusion on findings etc. Science can not go beyond that, no matter what particle is discovered science can only explain what I have already discussed, that it is limited and is dependant. If it was (beyond limitations and independent) it would be beyond the scope of science to comment on it as it is intangible and science can only deal with the tangible. Now the theory of evolution is only a theory, and it contradicts a belief in a creator, someone can not believe in two contradicting beliefs at the same time, furthermore evolution does not fall into the empirical scientific method and can’t be classed as science fact, its only a theory. Also the theory of evolution does not explain how the universe began and neither does the big bang, it doesn’t give any answers to it. Science or empirical method is inappropriate for the discussion due to its limitations.

    326. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

      “As a literary monument the Koran thus stands by itself, a production unique to the Arabic literature, having neither forerunners nor successors in its own idiom. Muslims of all ages are united in proclaiming the inimitability not only of its contents but also of its style….. and in forcing the High Arabic idiom into the expression of new ranges of thought the Koran develops a bold and strikingly effective rhetorical prose in which all the resources of syntactical modulation are exploited with great freedom and originality.”[H A R Gibb. 1963. Arabic Literature - An Introduction. Oxford at Clarendon Press, p. 36.]

      This statement coming from the famous Arab Grammarian H. Gibb, is an apt description of the Qur’anic style, but this genre is not simply a subjective conclusion, it is a reality based upon the use of features that are abundant in all languages. This may seem strange that the Qur’an has developed its own style by using current literary elements. However, it should be noted that the Qur’anic discourse uses these common elements of language in a way that has never been used before.

      This unique genre is part of the Qur’an’s challenge to mankind to produce a chapter like it. Preserved and recorded historical documents have shown that many attempted to meet this literary and linguistic challenge. Modern and Classical Scholarship have proven that these challenges failed to match the linguistic and literary reality of the Qur’anic discourse. Penrice acknowledges the Qur’ans literary excellence:

      “That a competent knowledge of the Koran is indispensible as an introduction to the study of Arabic literature will be admitted by all who have advanced beyond the rudiments of the language. From the purity of its style and elegance of its diction it has come to be considered as the standard of Arabic…” [John Penrice. 2004. Preface of "A Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran". Dover Publications.]

    327. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

      Usman, so what? More brainwashed Muslims proclaiming that the koran is this or that or the other. All you’re doing is cut and pasting brainwashed opinions that are meaningless and prove nothing but their own brainwashing and mediocrity.

      I know you are probably scared of the implications of this — the cognitive dissonance that would accrue from acknowledging that the absolute truth you’ve imbibed all your life and based your politics on is a house of smoke will be traumatic. There’s as much proof in a packet of cheese and onion crisps.

    328. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

      By the way Usman, you are further proof that those who say that Islam is little more than a vessel for Arab cultural imperialism have a very strong point. I’m not sure that I agree with them entirely, but you do put on a good show for them.

    329. Chris Stiles — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      The Quran is a book in Arabic, the challenge is bring something to the same standard in Arabic. Shakespeare was not an arab and didn’t speak Arabic, his works can not be compared to the quran because his works were in English language and the challenge is bring something in Arabic to the same standard.

      So what are you saying - that it’s intrinsically harder to write literature in Arabic? Or that Old Will was inspired himself?

      You realise you are providing a subjective proof and asking us to take as a universal truth.

    330. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

      “As tangible signs Qur’anic verses are expressive of an inexhaustible truth. They signify
      meaning layered with meaning, light upon light, miracle after miracle.” [Bruce Lawrence. 2006. The Qur’an: A Biography. Atlantic Books, p. 18]

    331. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:48 pm  

      Has anyone been able to reproduce something to the like of the Quran, in Arabic, even as short as 3 sentences long? Within 1400 years? If so, who and when?

    332. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

      “Has anyone been able to reproduce something to the like of the Quran, in Arabic, even as short as 3 sentences long? Within 1400 years? If so, who and when?”

      I think that you already know the answer to that Usman:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Beckham-My-Side-Autobiography/dp/0007157320

    333. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

      Usman,

      So the rules of the game are to produce an Arabic text that Muslims will accept as ‘as good as’ stuff written in the Koran? Would acceptance of that status for that new text not be blasphemous? In other words, it ain’t going to happen now, is it?

      Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps there are regular competitions thoughout the Muslim world to achieve just that objective.

      In any event, you have leapt from a position where I have some sympathy, we do not know for sure how the Universe started, and without a blink, we are now discussing texts. The Olympic Long Jump champion should be quaking in his boots.

      Just for the record, do you agree that the Universe is circa 14 billion years old or not? For which there appears to be around four strands of proof.

      It seems to me that you are not at all happy about natural selection so I’ll not even ask you to sign up to that one. Please, correct me if I’m wrong.

      Just as a btw, everything in science is a theory, subject to challenge. nothing is written on a tablet of stone, as it were. Despite the desire of many of our more prestigious scientists to maintain their particular status quo.

      Victorian scientists for instance thought that almost everything worth knowing had aleady been discovered and set the target for future generations to fill in the gaps that they hadn’t had time to cover. Talk about conceit!

    334. Sudip — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

      Usman

      Please change the record as I think its stuck and it has been for a while.
      If i ever was in trouble with the law, id love for you to be my barrister, would be great to see you wear down the jurors with nonsense

    335. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

      Rumbold
      That is not Arabic, and yes I know what the answer is, and that is no, no one, not one single person even with the help of others has been able to produce something to the like of the quran, in Arabic, not even 3 short sentences.

    336. Usman — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      Douglas
      Blasphemy doesn’t mean anything to someone who does not believe in it, there are Arabs who are not Muslim and could be hired by who ever wants to destroy the credibility of the Quran, and there is much incentive to achieve this, for example for those who are trying to force Islam to exist in a secular framework would have a lot less difficulty in trying to achieve their objectives, meet the challenge and you can destroy the whole basis of Islam completely. Not only change Islam but wipe it out from the face of the earth. But that isn’t the approach taken by these people, there is a reason for that, it can’t be done and history will testify to it.

      If the universe has been here for 14 billion years and there are proofs for this then that narrows the possibilities down to two, either it created itself, or it was created by other than itself which is infinite and independent. If the universe has been around for 14 billion or 24 billion years doesn’t really make a difference, the same argument is still valid. For it to create itself means at some point it did not exist, if it didn’t exist it can’t create. That only leaves you with one possibility left

      Like I have mentioned before, natural selection, evolution doesn’t answer the question of the universe and how it started, and neither is it science in the strict sense of empirical scientific method.

    337. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:47 pm  

      Usman buddy,

      A quick word of friendly advice, in order to pre-empt the bloodbath which will inevitably occur if this thread continues in its current vein. You’d be better off if you tried to explain exactly what it is about the Quran’s teachings and ideals (and the example of Mohammad as a role model, and his associated actions during his lifetime) which, in your view, indicates that there is a divine hand behind all this.

      The pseudo-scientific stuff, including highly subjective comparisons with other religious texts and statements about the Quran’s alleged inimitability, is a dead-end argument and will not convince anyone here of anything.

      Like I said before, you’re actually under no obligation to justify your religious beliefs to anyone, but if you really want to continue this debate on PP, then you’d be better served by discussing what it is about Islam’s ideals which make you cherish the faith so much and which inspire you to be convinced of God’s involvement. Just your own personal thoughts regarding what you think is so special about Islam’s principles, along with the impact that practising its tenets properly has on sincere Muslims.

    338. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

      Usman,

      But the vast majority of Arab speakers are Muslims are they not? They are highly unlikely to take the word of non Muslim Arab speakers as the final arbitration on whether or not a new text does, indeed, compare. Now, are they?

      The challenge, should one choose to accept it, is couched in terms where it would be impossible to succeed. A,’heads I win, tails you lose’, game. And deliberately so, I would hazard.

      The text that you have held up is not as exceptional as you might think. I am no biblical scholar, but words to that effect are in the Bible too.

      I’m glad that you agree that the Universe is old. Next would be to agree it is bloody huge. And very, very strange.

      I agree with you that natural selection doesn’t have anything to do with the the question of how the Universe started. Although it can be demostrated in a laboratory in an afternoon or so.

      The so called ‘Big Bang’ or inflation theory does have a lot to say about how it developed since that first few nano seconds of it’s existence. It is a fascinating story, if you are minded that way.

    339. Don — on 26th July, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

      Usman,

      Evolution is an observable fact, the theory of evolution through natural selection is a theory, but - as Douglas pointed out - theory has a very specific meaning in science.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

      As far as I know, no biological discipline attempts to explain the origin of the universe, any more than astronomers research epidemiology.

      I seriously hope that the irrefutable proof you offered us two weeks ago (my god) does not consist of ‘The Quran is the best piece of writing in Arabic’.
      That would be enormously disappointing.

      And not even best in regard to moral or philosophical content, but in the only mellifluousness of its verse form. You clearly stated that your proof would convince everyone beyond doubt - it was remiss of you not to mention that they would have to learn seventh century Arabic to the level where they could make sophisticated literary judgements - and then study the entire canon of Arabic verse.

      Frankly, I think that borders on sharp practice.

    340. Usman — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:15 am  

      Don’t you think it is a little odd that no one is able to give reference to any attempt at this challenge and beating it? After all the google searches many must have done and still nothing? 1400 years of this challenge and still nothing, nothing at all? Don’t you think that is a little odd? But then when people fail in a task they are hardly likely to broadcast it to the world now are they?

      The people at the time of the revelation were the experts at the language, and they could not match it and so attempted to kill the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) all they had to do was beat the challenge and that’s it, finish, game over. But they couldn’t do it. And no one since than has been able to do it either.

      I would go into detail about what makes the Arabic of the quran miraculous but I doubt any are willing to even read it so I will not endeavour to do so. If anyone wants to know I would recommend they do their own research.

      Look at the confidence of the author,

      ‘this is the book whereof there is no doubt’
      [Chapter 2, verse 2]

      Or they may say, “He forged it,” Say, “Bring then ten surahs (chapters) forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever you can, other than Allah.- If ye speak the truth! [chapter 11, verse 13]

      Or do they say, “He forged it”? say: “Bring then a Sura (chapter) like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if you speak the truth!”
      [chapter 10, verse 38]

      And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah(chapter) like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true. [chapter 2, verse 23]

      But if you cannot- and of a surety you cannot- then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith. [chapter 2, verse 24]

      Say: “If the whole of mankind and the jinns worked together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.” [Chapter 17: verse 88]

      Or do they say: “He (Muhammad) has forged it (this Qur’an)?” Nay! They believe not! Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur’an) if they are truthful. [chapter 52 verses 33-34]

    341. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:42 am  

      Ye gods.

    342. Chris Stiles — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:00 am  

      Usman -

      Couch your argument in terms that no one agrees with and you will always be successful. As roger says above:

      ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPREHENSIBILITY
      (1) Flabble glurk zoom boink blubba snurgleschnortz ping!
      (2) No one has ever refuted (1).
      (3) Therefore, God exists.

      Incidentally, you’ll find similiar verses and stanzas in every religious book [As an aside, it is actually amusing as to the extent to which your argument mirrors that of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King-James-Only_Movement - one could argue that the KJV was a similiar milestone in English literature - if not greater, given the vaster canon of English literature since].

      This actually goes back to an earlier argument I made - namely that Higher Criticism is something that has only just started in the case of Islamic texts and is a movement that has a lot of mileage in it. Admittedly, the current tendancy of various extremist factions (the various state sponsored religious authorities in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran) are inimicable to the more radical conclusions that such a movement might produce. Nevertheless it is something that will - and has to - happen - absent a sudden shift into medivaelism.

    343. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:08 am  

      Usman,

      No, I don’t think it is the slightest bit odd that:

      “no one is able to give reference to any attempt at this challenge and beating it? After all the google searches many must have done and still nothing? 1400 years of this challenge and still nothing, nothing at all? Don’t you think that is a little odd? But then when people fail in a task they are hardly likely to broadcast it to the world now are they?”

      You set the rules, and the rules are unbeatable. So what? The challenge is a spurious insult to intelligence, as I have already explained.

      Set up a ‘heads I win, tails you lose,’ game and I’ll guarantee I’ll win every time. Or lose every time.

      You don’t seem to get that idea, do you?

      The rest of your post is proselytising zealotry, frankly.

      I am honestly disappointed, as I think Don will be too, with this frankly pathetic attempt to argue a case. There are better cases to be dismissed than this one.

      Usman, I quite like you. Try to get out of the self referential stuff? Please?

    344. El Cid — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:25 am  

      tum-ti-tum-ti-tum
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes

    345. Usman — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:04 am  

      Chris
      That is not Arabic, my friend.

      Douglas
      I didn’t set the challenge and so did not decide the parameters of it either, unfortunately for non Arabic speaking people that is a disadvantage. However the challenge is still a valid one, many people do speak Arabic and people do have the aptitude to acquire it which would then enable them to appreciate it and have a go at the challenge.

      But even without having a command of the language, the fact that before this book there was nothing similar to it, and after it no one has been able to imitate it either. Something to think about, who could the author be? For anyone who sincerely wants to know then there are many avenues which one can use for further scrutiny and research.

      My job is not to convert, but to simply explain why I think it is so, I do apologise if you and don are disappointed, that makes three of us, I was hoping that there would be more of an intellectual challenge. The purpose of this for me was for my own development and I can confidently say that I am more sure and more convinced now then when this whole thing started.

      But thanks for the effort though still, and you Don, and you Roger with your infinite number of numbers.

    346. Roger — on 27th July, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

      Ho hum.
      The reason the quran was first written down was because people were remembering different versions and so they had to write down the allegedly true one. If it was impossible to make something like it there would have been no need to write it down in the first place. People had been making verses like the quran already. They may not have done it on purpose, but they had still done it.

    347. El Cid — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

      do-be do-be doooo, do-be do-be-do, do-be do-be dooo
      (name that tune)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroism

    348. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:13 pm  

      So Usman

      There is ONE universal truth and it’s contained in the quran and you hold the key.

      As a good catholic all I can say is that you had better hope Saint Peter isn’t guarding the pearly gate when (or if) you should happen to pitch. Like i said faith and absolutes are strange bedfellows and after reading some of your submissions to this thread, so are you. You’re very strange indeed.

    349. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:00 pm  

      Usman,

      Jack be nimble,
      Jack be Quick’
      Jack jumped over the candlestick

      It is the view of some of us, well me actually, that this is the epitomé of the English language. It has profound meanings well beyond the temporal, in fact it is the key to ultimate knowledge. That you, and lets face it, most of the rest of the human race, think it is just a nursery rhyme, fails to recognise the way this secret coded message has been passed down from mothers to sons and daughters across generations. The fact that something so elusive of meaning has a tenacity of existence proves, at least to the left half of my brain, that there must be a God.

      Prove me wrong.

      That is how ridiculous your challenge is.

    350. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:28 pm  

      Actually it’s:

      Jack be nimble,
      Jack be quick,
      Jack go under limbo stick

      And I’ll kill anyone who says otherwise.

    351. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:37 pm  

      Bert,

      You are quite clearly a schismatic revisionist. My Inquistors shall be around shortly, you will surely burn in Hell, I tell you.

      Repent now!

    352. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:35 pm  

      Ha,ha,ha! A limbo stick I tell you. So now Jack is a chicken shit afraid to getting burned by the stick of fire. Political correctness gone mad. Bert, you do know what are the two most dangerous word in the English Language? “Health and Safety”.

    353. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

      The Dude,

      Oh yeah, you are truly of the faith. Blessed will be your offsprity thingys, and all that follow them. We are the true faith! Let those that believe in Limbo die in Hell!

      Or at least have a jolly bad time, for a while.

    354. Chris Stiles — on 28th July, 2007 at 11:07 am  

      Chris
      That is not Arabic, my friend.

      It doesn’t have to be Arabic Usman, unless you want to claim that the Almighty is a monoglot.

      It just has to be good enough to have similiarly subjective claims made about it (and once we are all convinced, we can follow the Gospel according to William Shakespear).

    355. Usman — on 28th July, 2007 at 11:35 am  

      If the arabs pre islam were producing verses similar to the quran previous to its revelation then they would have no problem producing something similar to it when it was revealed or even comparing it to old texts.

      One of the disbelieving Arab poets of the time Walid ibn Al Mughira said after hearing the Qur’an:
      “By God: None of you is more conversant than I with poetry, melodious hymns, and songs, and by God never did I hear anything similar to which he says. It is so sweet, and so graceful that it remains at the summit with nothing to surpass it.”

      Alqama bin Abd al-Manaf confirmed when he addressed their leaders, the Quraysh:

      Oh Quraish, a new calamity has befallen you. Mohammed was a young man the most liked among you, most truthful in speech, and most trustworthy, until, when you saw gray hairs on his temple, and he brought you his message, you said that he was a sorcerer, but he is not, for we seen such people and their spitting and their knots; you said, a diviner, but we have seen such people and their behavior, and we have heard their rhymes; you said a soothsayer, but he is not a soothsayer, for we have heard their rhymes; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet, for we have heard all kinds of poetry; you said he was possessed, but he is not for we have seen the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping and whispering and delirium. Oh men of Quraish, look to your affairs, for by Allah a serious thing has befallen you.

      The famous Arabist from University of Oxford, Hamilton Gibb was open upon about the style of the Qur’an. In his words:

      …the Meccans still demanded of him a miracle, and with remarkable boldness and self confidence Mohammad appealed as a supreme confirmation of his mission to the Koran itself. Like all Arabs they were the connoisseurs of language and rhetoric. Well, then if the Koran were his own composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evident miracle. [H A R Gibb, Islam - A Historical Survey, 1980, Oxford University Press, p. 28.]

      As a literary monument the Koran thus stands by itself, a production unique to the Arabic literature, having neither forerunners nor successors in its own idiom. Muslims of all ages are united in proclaiming the inimitability not only of its contents but also of its style….. and in forcing the High Arabic idiom into the expression of new ranges of thought the Koran develops a bold and strikingly effective rhetorical prose in which all the resources of syntactical modulation are exploited with great freedom and originality. [H A R Gibb, Arabic Literature - An Introduction, 1963, Oxford at Clarendon Press, p. 36.]

      The beautiful style of the Qur’an is admired even by the Arab Christians:

      The Quran is one of the world’s classics which cannot be translated without grave loss. It has a rhythm of peculiar beauty and a cadence that charms the ear. Many Christian Arabs speak of its style with warm admiration, and most Arabists acknowledge its excellence. When it is read aloud or recited it has an almost hypnotic effect that makes the listener indifferent to its sometimes strange syntax and its sometimes, to us, repellent content. It is this quality it possesses of silencing criticism by the sweet music of its language that has given birth to the dogma of its inimitability; indeed it may be affirmed that within the literature of the Arabs, wide and fecund as it is both in poetry and in elevated prose, there is nothing to compare with it.[ Alfred Guillaume, Islam, 1990 (Reprinted), Penguin Books, pp. 73-74.]

    356. Usman — on 28th July, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

      Would you like to explain in detail what it is about the quran that makes it miraculous and inimitable?

    357. Usman — on 28th July, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

      would you like me to explain i mean

    358. El Cid — on 29th July, 2007 at 1:30 pm  

      No

    359. ambassadors — on 29th July, 2007 at 10:04 pm  

      I upon readin this whole discussion startin from bannin of HUT to the proof of the quran I have to say he has a valid point.

    360. ambassadors — on 29th July, 2007 at 10:06 pm  

      well done usman you’ve convinced me

    361. Sunny — on 29th July, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

      Would you like to explain in detail what it is about the quran that makes it miraculous and inimitable?

      No, please don’t. I’ve had enough of you copying and pasting already. This thread will now be closed before it wastes any more database space.

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