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Comment: Re:Mirror image (Score 5, Interesting) 642

The qualification of Muhammad as a sex-mad warlord is, on both counts, not something that is readily apparent from scripture, or recorded historical accounts.

Seriously, you know that little about what's in the Qur'an? How can you be so ignorant on the subject? Muhammad was quite literally a warlord. An army leader. The "sex-mad" part is of course a subjective appreciation, but it suffices to say his proposition and practice of polygamy was non-standard at the time.

The alleged pedophilia is, it seems to me, a selective application of modern mores onto ancient history.

Irrelevant. He was either a pedophile or not. By the accounts of the Qur'an he was. Next thing you know you're gonna deny that slavery was practiced in the United States and you're gonna insist that we call it something else lest we have a "selective application of modern morals onto ancient history". Facts are facts, you can be more or less judgemental of them depending on how flexible your moral code is, but that doesn't change the underlying truth.

If we did the same to Christendom or Judaism or basically basically any other -ism, I expect we'd find that in those circles back then it was (also) pretty regular practice to consider women adults (in the sense of ready for sexual relations) after their first menstruation.

You're severely confused. Aisha's marriage is supposed to have happened before womanhood. That's part of the islamic teachings. And the source for many islamic authorities' teachings that girls can be given into marriage as early as 2 years young. Not only morally dubious by the standards of the day, but the source of hideous moral atrocities today, in parts of the world where Sharia is the law, the only law

In addition I never shy away from casting moral judgement on past events using modern standards and I think nobody should. Slavery was wrong then. is wrong now. It matters less what religion commended it.

Likewise, there is no shortage of violence and brutal killings in the history of Christianity and Judaism. And similar to Islam, there continue to be extremist, violent and racist, fringes to those religions to this day.

Islam's violence is far from a fringe phenomenon. Please feel free to condemn all violence equally but do not take me for a fool and tell me that Islam's teachings are equally dangerous to Christianity. At the very core they're all equal, but Christianity has been dragged kicking and screaming into something that's closer to the 21st century than the middle ages where vast portions of Islam still reside.

All that being said, IoM is a pile of steaming crap. I doubt anyone here disagrees. But it's not a pile of crap because of any major historical errors or for misrepresenting islam (by much). It's complete crap because it lacks any artistic value.

At any rate, the makers of IoM are not scholars and have no authority to make any claims in these matters.

Yes. And you should not speak on IoM because you are not a filmmaker or film historian and you should have no say in the matter. How about that?

How about judging the message less than the messenger? A pile of crap, or a masterpiece, is either one or the other irrespective of it's author.

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 1) 730

by georgeb (#45515231) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

The point of the matter is not whether the power is real or not, strong enough to become noticeably undemocratic or not. The point is al those seats are not elected. Kudos to the House of Commons for trying to reform the upper chamber, but the fact remains you have a structure that is anchored in a deeply undemocratic past. Even if all the Lords Spiritual had a purely formal role (which they don't - they have the right to vote) this would still be unacceptable in a democracy. The members of the parliament are all supposed to be elected officials whose function should be to serve the society. They are paid officials and their seats cost money in ways that go well beyond their salaries. Having a guaranteed seat in the parliament is not only an issue of power, it's also an issue of guaranteed social status, monetary benefits and indirect political influence.

The very fact that you take such a lax attitude towards this reminiscent historical injustice speaks volumes, and I'm not just talking about you, this is an attitude prevalent in the UK (I travel for business a lot there, more than half my business is with the UK). I'm sure it's not a pressing need to rectify it because the size of the issue has been diminished over time. Here's hoping it goes away completely, but I believe you can't get rid of such an injustice completely as long as you cling to the image of a hereditary monarchy as being something good; monarchy is a huge injustice in and of itself, even if you somehow manage to isolate it from political power completely.

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 1) 730

by georgeb (#45514337) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

You'd think you're reasonably OK, but may I remind you that a significant number of positions held in the upper chamber of your parliament are granted for life; and another significant portion to the clergy. A certain church's clergy.

Combine that little fact with the following: a) the monarch bestows lordship; b) the monarch is also the head of the little church whose clergy has granted seats in the house for which lordship is required.

Now tell me, what has that got to do with democracy, because I for one cannot determine anything even remotely democratic about any of the above. I will believe your monarch has no powers (now or ever) when the whole House of Lords has been abolished.

Comment: Re:All the other OS, too. (Score 1) 352

by georgeb (#45420785) Attached to: The Second Operating System Hiding In Every Mobile Phone
Yes. And, I repeat, this is not what the article is about. It's also conceivable (I'll leave plausibility aside) for a hard disk controller manufacturer to embed firmware code that activates when a block of data containing a pre-defined byte sequence is written or read, and bricks the hard disk. Useful? Maybe, if we're paranoid enough then all vendors are evil, all ISPs cooperate with NSA, all computer repair shops are in the government's pockets. The article is not about any of this however, and it's claims seem far more serious (and now, upon reading some really useful comments here, I also think it's mostly BS)

Comment: Re:All the other OS, too. (Score 5, Interesting) 352

by georgeb (#45411859) Attached to: The Second Operating System Hiding In Every Mobile Phone

I think you misread what the author is saying. The problem is not the fact that communications originating from your phone are potentially insecure (the situation you're trying to compare with the DSL modem and the myriad routers). The problem is that, the author alleges, the smartphones are primarily controlled by the baseband processor firmware; according to the author this piece of code is the governor of everything that happens on your phone. That means, with the appropriate base station changes, anyone can access your phone while sitting in your pocket, can activate the cam, the microphone, can access the contents of it's memory card, etc.

I do not fully trust the author because as far as I understand the baseband processor is supposed to control only the radio and nothing else. That means wifi, gsm and bluetooth. I don't understand why the baseband would have to deal with anything else, and why it would be the master processor and not just a blackbox "device" that the main OS sees and communicates with, in a properly isolated fashion. But then again I'm not knowledgeable enough to be certain about any of this.

If the article is correct then this is one of the scariest things I've read in a long time.

Comment: Re:These are videos of crimes ... (Score 2) 201

by georgeb (#45199453) Attached to: PM Calls Facebook Irresponsible For Allowing Beheading Clips

One thing to keep in mind is that these are videos of crimes. That is certainly the case in the Mexican excample that I saw cited.

Is there any case where a beheading is NOT a crime??? Not only should any decent human being consider such videos way outside any TOS for any website, but posting them should be a crime too. How come the same standard apply here as in the case of pedophilia? If owning a pornographic image/video involving minors is a major crime, how can there possibly be any argument that distributing beheading videos should be legal, tolerated, encouraged, anything really...

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 217

by georgeb (#34626500) Attached to: Scientists Decipher 3-Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils

As far as evolution goes, I think a God that doesn't take into account changing environmental conditions isn't a very smart God. So evolution and creationism can coexist, at least in my view.

If you redefine the creationist "theory" then yes, you probably can accommodate both. However this is not what creationists claim.

For the record, most christians are not creationists. Even the catholic church accepts evolution as a fact.

I mean, think about it, everything had to originate from something, right?

You cannot postulate that and immediately create an exceptional clause for your god. Either everything had to come from something, therefore time is infinite and the fundamentals of matter and energy have always existed, or you accept that something can arise out of nothing, in which case it's either one or more creator gods or (you can cut out the middle man here) the whole universe.

If you cannot see the problem here, then don't worry. This should not concern your everyday life. But also take this into account: if you were to prove by logic alone that at least one god has to exist (which you did not prove, trust me), that does not say anything about the nature of that god, let alone that it's your god and not one of the hindu gods, greek gods, etc. Also doesn't prove anything about it's morality, it's intent (or even capacity for intent), it's concern with everyday life of humans.

In the everlasting words of Mr. Hitchens, you still got all your work ahead of you.

But then again, why should anyone be concerned with proving a god's existence in a rational, logical matter, when they've got faith to replace that?

Imagining there's some power higher than us just seems obvious.

Imagining the sun goes round the earth just seemed obvious to the pope too. Do you take your obviousness over scientific evidence with all your everyday experiences? Sometimes common sense is not as trustworthy as people take it to be.

Comment: Re:"Acknowledges" ... (Score -1, Troll) 175

by georgeb (#33857910) Attached to: Iran Acknowledges Espionage At Nuclear Facilities
Pentagon: Hey there Mahmoud, how's it going? Dude, look over there, see that nuclear plant? We totally infiltrated that.
Tehran: No you did not! We have strict security protocols, no spy would ever get access to that facility?
Pentagon: Oh yeah? Are you sure about that? Coz my boys over here beg to differ. See, we have all these documents...
Tehran: Let me take a look...
Pentagon: Here.
Tehran: Oh... you know what? These things are real... we'd better execute the chief of security. Oh, by the way. Barack, thanks for disclosing this. We wouldn't have spotted it without your help.
Pentagon: Don't mention it dude.

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