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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Root Cause of Terrorism

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, writes in OpinionJournal about the inherent propensity to violence in Islam. Dr. Hamid now lives in the West and describes himself as a Muslim reformer.
It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.

Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals--who unceasingly claim to support human rights--have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.
We don't know whether or not Dr. Hamid's efforts to create a non-violent Islamic theology will succeed, but we wish him the very best of luck. Read the rest of his excellent article here.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The film at this link, which was aired on Britain's Channel 4, can really open your eyes. There's lots we haven't been told about the science behind the climate change hysteria, and much of what we have been told is wrong. This film includes commentary from many climate scientists and a co-founder of Greenpeace that rebuts the claims of the environmental extremists who are claiming that no legitimate debate is possible. The science is clearly explained and easy to understand.

It's a bit long (1 hr and 15 min), but well worth the time. A few key points:
  • The earth has warmed over the last 100 years. The change is about 1 degree F (or half a degree C).
  • Over the many thousands of years where data are available, the earth has been much warmer (and much cooler) than it is today.
  • The biggest determinant of earth's climate over those thousands of years is the effect of the sun. (Not surprising, really, since that's where almost all the heat comes from.)
  • The second biggest effect is from the clouds.
  • The main greenhouse gas is water vapor.
  • Most of the CO2 in the atmosphere is not from human activities, Volcanoes, for example generate much more atmospheric CO2 than human activity, and eliminating all CO2 contributions from man would not even affect the amount of CO2 in a big way.
  • Temperature and CO2 levels do track together over the very long term. However, the CO2 track is lagging the temperature changes by about 800 years. That indicates that, if there is a cause/effect relationship, temperature changes are causing CO2 changes rather than vice versa.
  • Global restrictions on CO2 production would condemn the poorest people in the world to continued poverty and early deaths.
  • Any dissent by climate scientists from the party line is met with threats, ad hominem attacks, and intimidation in order to maintain the fiction that no responsible person disagrees.
Here's an article about the film and the topic by economist Thomas Sowell.

Since the download of the film takes awhile, I'd suggest downloading Google's standalone movie player for it (link on the page). The link was provided by anonymous commenter "Ted" in a comment on the previous post Saturday Night Warming.

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