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Comment: Re:Reopen the accounts (Score 1) 532

"Islam" needs to split and differentiate. The extremists want to claim their Islam is the only true Islam, and the only valid Islam, hence the killing of apostates and various other Islamic groups and people who happen to be on their hit list. But because Islam is still very conservative, it doesn't have that sense of self-reflection and self-criticism, where it stands outside itself and says, you know what, this monotheistic One True Way puritanical thing we conservative types like so much, is bullshit, it doesn't work in practice. The sooner Islam acknowledges in its theology that the puritanical Truth it clings to is a fiction, because in reality, nobody agrees on the one true doctrine, in reality, people are all different, then the sooner young "heroes" in search of adventure and militancy, can stop using Islam as a militant pretext, and stop dragging ordinary people into it, ie. the regular people who happen to be born in to Muslim or South Asian or whatever cultures. The trouble is, the Iranian and Saudi leadership both base their authority on Islam, and conservatively cling to it, cling to the notion that Islam is Pure and therefore, their leaders are right and pure and just. And instead of it simply causing a bit of cognitive dissonance, it has festered to the point that they now have ISIL. As a 15th Century European theologian remarked as he watched two holy armies attack each other on the field, "well, they can't both be right." So criticising and attacking Islam is necessary to get people to start to decide which Islamic version they want to be part of. If doing this causes some small minority to decide their favourite version is the ISIL one, then so be it. The sooner Islam fragments into multiple versions, the sooner the majority can stop sleepwalking into supporting laws which kill apostates and blasphemers, ie. stop the moderate majority finding themselves siding with the extremists simply because they all want to perpetuate the myth that Islam is one true thing, and only one version can exist, thus obliterating the various minority versions who are often the more liberal sects.

Comment: Re:We Need A New FDA Warning Label (Score 1) 180

by Bongo (#49027617) Attached to: US Gov't To Withdraw Food Warnings About Dietary Cholesterol

So people can try a diet/lifestyle for themselves and see how it goes, being sceptical but still trying it. Some people try LCHF and become fans of it. Some become vegans and become fans of it. The hard part is that it takes decades to figure out if it works for you, and even then you can't be sure. People say, oh I'm vegan and feel amazingly healthy... at the age of 30. Yeah, but how will it work out for you in 30 years' time? Some people run marathons to lose weight, and after their 30th marathon they are still overweight and say, well, obviously I need to run a few more! Personally I tried LCHF and found unexpected good results (emotionally, mental focus, energy levels, etc. and weight). But that's my impression of my experience of what seems to work for me, and YMMV.

Comment: Re:Unsettling science (Score 1) 180

by Bongo (#49027601) Attached to: US Gov't To Withdraw Food Warnings About Dietary Cholesterol

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."

Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?

Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Comment: Re:Ban censorship, except the stuff that offends m (Score 1) 228

by Bongo (#48924073) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

Well many of these regimes talk about free speech as if it was a "Western" thing, but it only happened to arise there.

Free speech is a universal principle, and the reason it is universal is that the individual human being is not a Moslem or an American or Chinese, he or she is a human being. The individual. And that's who has the rights. This is why Mullahs or Bishops shouldn't be able to dictate what you say.

Then, again considering all people across the planet, what things are universally limits on free speech? Well, children, across the world, need to grow up in a safe environment and likewise, adults, all over the world, don't want to be caused to stampede out of a cinema, and so on.

Modernity is universal, a principle discovered in certain countries, but you don't hear anyone claim that Islam can't be taught in Germany because it was invented in Arabia. No, they pretend to universal influence also. So the principles have to work for everyone, and that means, criticising those who try to impose pre-modern standards onto the modern world.

Comment: Re:Capable, sure (Score 3, Insightful) 329

Also, the interpretation step performed by the first two is considered a corruption.

The third is purest and best and absolute, whilst the first two are seen as corrupted.

That's why they can use the same god but still trump all the rest.

So the ideal is, never allow Islam to be corrupted, never, by anything or anyone. Never allow reinterpretation or criticism.

Comment: Re:As a former muslim (Score 3, Interesting) 880

by Bongo (#48599519) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

The trouble is, modern civilised life doesn't really come online until every individual has rights.

Any empire can create peace within its borders, and any Imam or Priest can declare, "when the whole world is under the One True God, then there will be peace."

Whether the empire's leadership is currently moving for aggression, or moving for non-aggression, whether they are attacking, or biding their time to gain political influence, these are merely strategic issues, the aim remains the same, that there is One and only one true way and everyone else who resists is damned to hell.

If you're gay, if you're a woman, if you're the wrong race, or hold the wrong beliefs, then off to hell you go. Because you haven't been given equal rights.

For reasons unknown, the West made it to some semblance of modernity.

Currently, there is a concerted and deliberate effort by the leaders in the Moslem world to push to an Islamic revival, and ISIL is just one branch. The point isn't that the extremists are only tiny a minority (thousands v. 1.6 billion), the point is that the extremists are in positions of leadership and are trying to drag the majority of normal people, including all the Moslems, into a world war. It includes emphasising all the violent doctrines at the expense of the peaceful ones.

The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, written to oppose "Western" notions of human rights, and which says, yes you have human rights, BUT ONLY the ones permitted by Islam", that was written by the leaders of these Muslim countries. It is the Islamic leadership in its various branches which is causing the problems and dragging the 1.6 billion Moslems into it.

Comment: Re:Denmark has a bigger problem than that (Score 1) 488

by Bongo (#48367069) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Helping people become liberal and desiring of human rights, is an issue which has gotten entangled with ethnocentric nationalistic (what people call "far right") views.

Unfortunately this has meant that the multicultural movement has avoided questioning the far right wherever it is found (Europeans do not have a monopoly on being racists). This in turn has given more ammunition to the European far right to promote racism against foreigners. It is quite tragic really.

The only place to resolve this is to simply promote universal human rights for everyone. This is what many modern thinking Muslims are doing for example, they are questioning their own group's racism, sexism, homophobia, and tribalism, as well as European far right tribalism. Human rights are and should be universal. True for all. But it does seem to be happening, and the Myth of the Muslim Tide is, as the title of that book suggests, immigration is not a scary monster.

But it is important to note that European liberal multiculturalism has tended to label immigrants as being made of groups, and this has only made it harder for liberals inside those groups to escape the conservative entrenched opinions inside those groups, and to get out and support liberal values like equality for women.

Sorry if this post sounds a bit garbled, I am trying to address three points at once, to promote liberal values.

Comment: Re:In spite of this and other similar phenomena... (Score 2) 140

by Bongo (#48334151) Attached to: Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

Well, if they are adamant, I doubt they can back it up.

Having said that, you might read Eben Alexander, an academic neurosurgeon, who would have also agreed that consciousness is the brain.

But one day he fell ill with a severe case of bacterial meningitis, and whilst in a coma, he had vivid complex hallucinations.

When he woke up, he had a problem. His brain had been ill and could not, as far as he knew as a neurosurgeon, his brain could NOT have allowed him to hallucinate anything. His complex brain was in a mush of bacteria, so how come he experienced vivid bright complex dreamscapes with music and people and valleys and thoughts? Where in his brain was that being produced, if his brain was basically shut down, as he understands it?

So now he thinks that consciousness exists also on other levels apart from the physical here.

If you can possibly stomach the titles of his books, at least then you can see what he is basing his views on.

But also don't forget that the consciousess-brain link is considered a hard problem, at least by those who don't wave it off. We know that consciousness and the brain are related, neurones fire when you see shapes, but we don't know how something like sentience ever just emerges out of the brain.

Imagine you build a robot which is as complex as a human, and has software which can respond to its environment and make social interactions and basically be as sophisticated as a human. I think this is quite possible. But here is the issue: it would not need to be sentient. If it is just a machine running a program, why does it need to be sentient? It could do everything, physically process inputs and create outputs, without any need for an observer, someone experiencing the show all the time.

Why are you sentient? What possible advantage is there to you having an experience of existing? The machine, your body, doesn't need an "experiencer". Why aren't you just a machine responding to the environment, "in the dark" as it were. My camera does not need to be sentient to recognise faces, why do I need to be sentient?

So the thing is that, sentience is just strange and we don't know what it is, even though it is our most basic quality.

But anyway, all claims need high scepticism, and an open mind.

Comment: Re:Obviously. (Score 1) 695

There is also some overlap between people who are liberal, humanistic, and value science. So naturally, protecting the planet is both a science question, and an ethical/humanistic question.

But what humanistic people sometimes don't notice, is that there is a long path to trek towards becoming humanistic. We don't know how humans develop, but we know it takes a long time. Consider the Suffragettes, who started out in something like 1892, and yet even today we still don't have equal rights for women in the most developed nations. Extend that to protecting wildlife across the whole planet, even in areas where humans are living with tribal, agrarian, or empire based values/outlooks, and you'll see there is a long way to go to get to "climate justice".

This is where humanistic outlooks have it a bit backwards: most of the work isn't in the so-called first world reducing its emissions, it is in the developing world continuing to grow both materially and socially so that the whole planet becomes populated by humanistic humans. Then you can redistribute wealth as much as you want, because we will all equally and genuinely care.

This isn't to say, don't try to develop cleaner technology, but politically, remember, most development will be social, on a planet where the vast majority, especially in the developing world, still believe in 1500 and 2000 year old myths and base their moral and political decisions on those outlooks.

These people are not going to be wooed into changing their morality towards cooperation at planetary scales, on account of some science.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.

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