"An essential question that everyone, Muslims included, should ask is this—why are Muslims among the worst performing groups (nations, societies, etc) anywhere on the planet? Name any area of achievement, any field of human endeavour—patents filed, literacy, quality of life, degree of civil or political freedoms, transparency, world-class universities, and so on. In every case, the nations of Islam are at or near the bottom in every category, and only barely beat sub-Saharan Africa in overall performance. How has this dreadful state of affairs come to pass?
The answer is simple—Muslims are intellectually paralyzed by their own philosophy.
In matters of the intellect, Muslims are a miserable failure. It isn’t because their genes are so different from everybody else’s. It’s because their philosophy (a.k.a. Islam) has sucked their minds dry from infancy onwards. In this respect, it is the best in human history, as no other philosophy has been so successful at institutionalizing failure among its followers. This onerous process begins at birth, when it is the tradition in many Islamic countries for the father to recite the Shahada (the Muslim declaration of belief) in the newborn’s ear. It’s all downhill from there.
To analyse philosophical differences effectively, one must first know the difference between the different branches of philosophy. Philosophy has five major branches, listed and generally defined as follows:
Epistemology—the methods that knowledge is found or made valid
Ethics—the cultural standards of good or ‘right’ behaviour
Politics—the application of ethics to social behaviour
Metaphysics—concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, and lastly,
Aesthetics (to be explained below)
In a nutshell, here are the differences between Islamic philosophy and the Judeo-Christian (a.k.a. Western) one:
Western epistemology = reason and the scientific method
Islamic epistemology = “revelation”, or whatever Allah sees fit to reveal
Western ethics = the sanctity of human life
Islamic ethics = the spread of Islam by any means whatsoever
Western politics = recognition of individual rights
Islamic politics = submission and totalitarianism
Western metaphysics = the universe, and all of existence, follows natural law
Islamic metaphysics = every event at every moment is controlled by Allah’s whim
Note on Muslim metaphysics: The expression “if Allah wills (it)” or “insh’allah” that you hear so often among Muslims is not a mere social convention or sign of respect for Allah—it is the craven fear of someone who thinks he has no control over his own destiny.
The last philosophical branch, aesthetics, needs a brief explanation.
Art, in all forms, is the selective recreation of reality according to the artist’s metaphysical values. The values are communicated non-verbally, of course, but very effectively. Just look at “The Scream” by Edvard Munch—everyone has had days like that! Or contemplate the sculptures of ancient Greece, where the human form was often portrayed as graceful, beautiful, and even triumphant.
Art is heavily censored in totalitarian societies; for fear that the artist’s values will conflict with the governing power’s values. In the Soviet Union, for example, only the glory of the collective, the group, and the state was permitted to be portrayed. It could be portrayed in many ways, but the subject matter was limited pretty much to glorification of the state. Many Soviet artists were jailed for art that deviated from that restrictive policy.
In Islam, the censorship is even more severe, and reflects the way they value, or rather, “disvalue” life, particularly human life. Except for plants, lifeforms are forbidden in Islamic art. Yes, there are some places here and there where “life” has sneaked in under the tent flap and is seen, but wherever the “purest” kind of Islam is practiced, it is never seen.
Islam makes the excuse that “only Allah can create life, and that achievement cannot be attempted by mere human artists.” The *real* reason is that Islam does not value life, especially human life, and it is terrified that some artist, somewhere, might try to smuggle in, via his art, some value forbidden in Islam.
In the West, the artist is free to project into his work anything he values, whether anyone thinks it makes sense or not. But “life” is highly valued by most Western artists, and it is a very popular subject of artistic work, in profound contrast with Islamic art.
That Muslims have a fine sense of what is beautiful is evident, despite the crushing limitations placed on them. If they but had the freedoms of thought and self-expression, which would require them to drop the shackles of Islam from their minds, then there is no doubt that they could excel in every branch of human achievement.
No one can say that Muslims are stupid. It's just that their minds have been destroyed under the continuous, unrelenting assault of a viciously anti-human philosophy. "
Reason or the Koran
"Islam had to choose between Reason and the Koran in the 12th century, when Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali, argued in 'The Incoherence of the Philosophers' against the very idea of laws of nature, on the ground that any such laws would put Allah's hands in chains.
According to al-Ghazzali, a piece of cotton placed in a flame does not darken and smoulder because of the heat, but because Allah wants it to darken and smoulder. After al-Ghazzali, the light of reason went out in Dar al-Islam, and Dar al-Harb slowly gained the advantage in all aspects of civilisation, especially science. See http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/12/islam_and_the_problem_of_ratio.html
Also Contradictions in the Koran at http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/
Islam's irrationality leads to terrorism.
Why Islam is fundamentally irrational and how this inevitably leads to terrorism:
"Finally, a leader has spoken about the real, essential differences in the struggle between the West and Islam, as it emanates from a contest within Islam itself over the most important things. With startling—indeed alarming—clarity, Pope Benedict XVI told his audience in Regensburg, Germany, that not only is violence in spreading faith unreasonable and therefore against God, but that a conception of God without reason, or above reason, leads to that very violence. To ensure everyone knew what he was talking about, the pope quoted from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, who was besieged by Islamic forces attempting to conquer Constantinople. The emperor denounced the effort to "spread by the sword the faith he [Mohammed] preached."
Although all monotheistic religions hold that, in order to be one, God must be omnipotent, this argument reduced God to His omnipotence by concentrating exclusively on His unlimited power, as against His reason. God's "reasons" are unknowable by man. God is not shackled by reason; He rules as He pleases. He is pure will. There is no rational order invested in the universe upon which one can rely, only the second-to-second manifestation of God's will.
God is so powerful that every instant is the equivalent of a miracle. Nothing intervenes or has an independent or even semi-autonomous existence. In philosophical language, this view holds that God is the primary cause of everything, and there are no secondary causes. Therefore, what may seem to be "natural laws," such as the laws of physics, gravity, etc., are really nothing more than God's customs, which He is at complete liberty to break or change at any moment. As Benedict points out, this is called "volunteerism."
The consequences of this view are momentous. If creation exists simply as a succession of miraculous moments, it cannot be apprehended by reason. Other religions, including Christianity, recognize miracles. But they recognize them precisely as temporary and extraordinary suspensions of the natural law. In fact, that is what defines them as miracles. One admits to the possibility of a miracle only after discounting every possible explanation of its occurrence by natural causes. In this school of Islamic thought, there are no natural causes to discount. As a result, reality becomes incomprehensible. If unlimited will is the exclusive constituent of reality, there is really nothing left to reason about, and the uncreated Qur'an is not open to interpretation.
The catastrophic result of this view is the denial of the relationship between cause and effect. In The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058–1111), perhaps the single most influential Muslim thinker after Mohammed, vehemently rejected Greek thought: "The source of their infidelity was their hearing terrible names such as Socrates and Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle." Al-Ghazali insisted that God is not bound by any order, and that there is, therefore, no "natural" sequence of cause and effect, as in fire burning cotton or, more colorfully, as in "the purging of the bowels and the using of a purgative." Things do not act according to their own natures but only according to God's will at the moment. There are only juxtapositions of discrete events that make it appear that the fire is burning the cotton, but God could just as well do otherwise. (This doctrine is known as occasionalism.) In other words, there is no continuous narrative of cause and effect tying these moments together in a comprehensible way. In attacking the Mu'tazilites, the Asharites, in the words of Mohammed Khair, wished "to free God's saving power from the shackles of causality."
Equally as damaging to the status of reason, al-Ghazali wrote in Moderation in Belief that reason is so infected by man's self-interest that it cannot know moral principles; they can only be known through revelation. Since reason is not a source of moral truth, concludes al-Ghazali, "No obligations flow from reason but from the Sharia [the divinely ordained path]." With this, he despatches Aristotle's Ethics and all other moral philosophy.
Man's job is not to love God. Man cannot love what he does not know. Man's job is to obey. Submit. Reason plays no role, and free will is denigrated. In his attack on philosophy titled Kuzari, Judah ha-Levi, a Jewish follower of al-Ghazali, reached the logical conclusion as to how man ought to approach the revelations of such a deity: "I consider him to have attained the highest degree of perfection who is convinced of religious truths without having scrutinized them and reasoned over them." (One wonders how one becomes "convinced" of something without having thought about it.) There could hardly be a more radical rejection of what Benedict calls "the reasonableness of faith."
Radical Muslims translate their version of God's omnipotence into a politics of unlimited power. As God's instruments, they are channels for this power. Once the primacy of force is posited, terrorism becomes the next logical step to power, as it did in the 20th-century secular ideologies of power: Nazism and Marxism–Leninism. This is what led Osama bin Laden to embrace the astonishing statement of his spiritual godfather, Abdullah Azzam, which bin Laden quoted in the November 2001 video, released after 9/11: "Terrorism is an obligation in Allah's religion." This can only be true—that violence in spreading faith is an obligation—if, as Benedict said in Regensburg, God is without reason.
The problem today is that the side of reason in Islam lost. The ultimate consequences of the rejection of reason and the loss of causality are playing themselves out across the Muslim world. As Fouad Ajami recently observed, "Wherever I go in the Islamic world, it's the same problem: cause and effect; cause and effect."
Full article at http://diplomatictraffic.com/opinions_archives.asp?ID=134
Mohammed the conman and Muslims the dumbed-down gullible dupes
"The Quran is a book of double standards. Indeed there are exhortations to Muslims to be kind to the poor, the traveler, the orphan and the sick. This is to be expected. If you want to start a religion you must preach something good or you’d not find anyone to believe you. You cannot preach only evil. In order to attract followers you must teach things that people like and can easily identify as good. Once they accept you as a prophet, guru or their spiritual guide, then you can do whatever you want and get away with it.
The difference between a true spiritual teacher and a conman is in their consistency. There are several teachings of Muhammad that can be compared to those of Jesus, but the teachings of Jesus are consistent while those of Muhammad are not.
Good words are dime a dozen. If they are not accompanied by good actions they are worthless. In fact the difference between a great man and a conman is in how much their word and deed differ. [...] Demagogy is the domain of all charlatans and they are good at it.
We find similar good exhortations in the teachings of Jim Jones who actually based his religion on “social justice”. He even adopted children from many races to set the example.
The problem with the good teachings of Muhammad is that they are reserved for fellow Muslims. When the hadith says “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself,.” it is talking about the fellow Muslims.
The brotherhood in Islam does not extend to everyone. The Quran (9:23) states that the believers should not take for friends and protectors (awlia) their fathers and brothers if they love Infidelity above Islam. In fact there are many verses that tell the Muslims to kill the unbelievers and be harsh to them. A clear example that Islam is not based on the Golden Rule is the verse (48:29): “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other.” This is the perfect definition of fascism.
There are many other verses that show the brotherhood in Islam is not universal. The non believers have no rights and should not be treated in the same way that Muslims are to be treated. The entire Quran is a breach of the Golden Rule. The Quran tells Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), do not befriend them (3:28), fight them and show them harshness (9:123), smite their heads (47:4), etc. Are these verses compatible with the Golden Rule?
Islam is the only doctrine that calls upon its believers to do evil to others for the simple fact that they are not believers.
According to Muslims it is not the Golden Rule that defines the good and bad, it is Muhammad who does it. They believe that what is good for Islam is the highest virtue and what is bad for Islam is the ultimate evil. This is the definition of good and evil in Islam. "
Raymond Ibrahim: Did the West usurp Islam's scientific/cultural birthright? No
and subsequent comments and discussion.
Islamic Nobel Prize Winners
See also links under Islamic Inventions, Innovationas and Intellectual Achievements and Rationalism at Everything you need to know about Islam