BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Tu Quoque Fallacy: Or Atheists Are Murdering, Homicidal Maniacs Too

Image from Empire Wire

Sometimes I wonder if religious people think I am just picking on them for the sake of being contrary. As in "Mary, Mary quite CONTRARY how does your garden grow?" Because I do comment a lot on religion, its history, its processes, its political agendas and its claims of cultural superiority, this may seem to some to be contrariness. Like other people who are skeptics, agnostics, free-thinkers, or atheists, I think it is necessary to intellectually challenge belief systems, especially if these belief systems appear to act out of kilter with their expressed tenets. So there is a considerable amount of time spent by these skeptics, of whom I am one, examining the history of institutionalised religions to see how their actions stack up beside their creeds. Talk to many a christian or many a muslim and they will ensure you that their religion is peaceful, loving and the highest expression of godly endeavour.

There seems to be a kind of cultural or religious blindness when it comes to being able to either acknowledge the terrible things which have happened to humans through religions, or a denial that their religion or god belief, could result in anything but love, prosperity and kindness. So, if a sceptic mentions things like the crusades, the witch trials, the inquisition, or various wars fought with the concept of the respective god or gods leading the charge, one is inevitably faced with a religious person stating something like this: - "Well, that is true, but those people weren't REAL christians, muslims, hindus, buddhists, jews. (Insert religious belief here.) Then the skeptic feels compelled to point out the "no true scotsman fallacy" which goes on for a few pages until they eventually tire from trying to explain it, or the religious person shuts down and pretends that it isn't happening.

Well, I am here to say that they are and were true christians, muslims or whichever religion they claim. Unless they claim to be gods, perfect and all knowing and incapable of fault or flaw, then they ARE true christians and muslims. They are just muslims or christians whose actions of which you do not approve. There is no guarantee that religious people are going to act or behave any better than anyone else. There is, of course, the hope that they will, which is why many people become religious in the first place through a desire to become a "better person" perhaps better than they saw themselves as being previously to conversion. With these comments by a sceptic comes the inevitable retaliation from a religious believer that atheists are ALSO terrible people who went on killing sprees in Russia, China and (insert any nation which doesn't follow the model of the free market economy here.)

The initial reaction by many a sceptic is to point out the tu quoque fallacy associated with a comment such as this. That is, that saying YOU TOO HAVE DONE TERRIBLE THINGS does not address the issue of the terrible things that human beings have done to each other in the name of religion. What it does do is salve the conscience of the religious believer as they can then feel justified to sit back with a kind of smug superiority emanating from the idea that they are in some way, not as bad as those people who also did horrible things. So, the use of the tu quoque fallacy doesn't actually solve anything, and one would not expect that it should, as it is a fallacy after all, but in a world where people have the idea of only two teams and that if one team is right, and that therefore the other team must be wrong, it becomes a way to supposedly save face without addressing the issues as to WHY human beings do the terrible things that they do to each other.

So, the tu quoque fallacy works like this. The religious believer states something like: - "But look at what the atheists did in Russia and China. Look at the terrible bloodshed that is evidenced in those authoritarian regimes. Look at the brutality and the oppression of religion that occurred." And my reply is - "You are right. People committed terrible acts of violence and repression against the traditional cultural system in Russia and in China." People did horrendous things during the cultural revolutions in both Russia and China. There was brutal violence. There were bloodbaths of horrific proportions. I would also like to point out that these horrific acts, especially in Russia, occurred as a revolution against institutionalised religion. In fact, many of the so-called revolutions in Europe including the French Revolution, were cultural revolutions against institutionalised religion and the power it represented.

So, what do I mean by "institutionalised religion?" Institutionalised religion is where the religion of the nation, in the case of Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, condones and promotes the existing social and cultural order. The existing social and cultural order was expressed as a monarchy through which the religion derived its power. Synonymously, the power of the monarchy was sanctioned and dependent upon the power of the church. In essence, a combination of church and state. The church supported the monarchy as its power was held in trust by this hierarchy and the monarchy supported the church as its power was held in trust by the religion. Accordingly, the monarchies in Europe under this system of the combination of church and state, each dependent upon the other for its political power, had carte blanche to do whatever they wished. Both partners in this arrangement, the church and the monarchy, continued to get extremely rich under this " you scratch my back and I will scratch yours" political model. They were religious states, (not including China, though the cultural revolution in China has similarities which I may not have time to express on this post.)

So, the orthodox, conservative hierarchical culture was maintained by the church. The kings got to reign and the churches got richer and more politically powerful. It was a great combination and a very successful model if you happened to belong to the hierarchy of royals, or the hierarchy of religion. As the fat cats got fatter, those on the bottom of the food chain got thinner, leaner, meaner and angrier. Basically the monarchies in Europe were hierarchies with the monarchy and the church at the top of the pyramid and a nation of serfs below; many of whom were starving and impoverished. It was the classic feudal system where everyone knew their place and no one was to step outside of their place in the hierarchy. Religion told people that their suffering in this world was the will of god and that better things awaited them in the next world if they just got on with their lives and didn't complain or make a fuss.

People were encouraged to be stoics and to accept that suffering was good for their immortal souls. Eventually, the people began to realize that the monarchy, and the people in the hierarchy of religion, the class system of princes, princess and nobles that it supported, that it didn't seem a requirement for these elements to suffer; just the people on the bottom of the food chain. And that no matter what happened, they were going to stay on the bottom of the food chain, with no political or economic power, and no way to improve their lot in life. Their destiny in life was predetermined by the religious hierarchical powers that existed and they either had the option to put up or shut up. That they decided to revolt against a regime in which they saw held no future for themselves or their generations is part of history.

It was a bloody and violent revolution against the institutionalised power structures supported and propped up by the religious state. Unfortunately, the revolution with its high ideals then went on to be but a parody of that which they revolted against. They replaced one dictatorial regime with another. But the taste of institutionalised religious political power lingered long in the mouth of many russians to the extent where I will speculate that wherever they saw evidence of its existence, they rooted it out and removed it in a bloody and violent fashion.

So, what's is the point? The point is that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is why the recently formed nations like the US, Canada, and even Australia decided in the foundations of their nations, that religion would NOT be allowed to be a dominant political force supported by the state. That there would be no more kings and queens who could claim the "divine right of kings" as per religious teaching, and that there would be nations of men (and eventually women), who would decide through reason how their nations would be run and organized. Where the right to a religion is protected, but where the right to impose religious law upon others through political means is NOT part of it. Please note that the Declaration says nothing about rights secured by Christianity.

It bears repeating: "... Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ... That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The founding fathers founded a nation which would not have to, theoretically, revolt against institutionalised, religious, political power. Let's hope they are right.


Paul Mc Cartney - "Back in the USSR" - Live from Red Square


Link

60 Comments:

Blogger Larry Gambone said...

A more sensible comparison would be to compare violent crime rates of agnostics, freethinkers, committed atheists with that of believers. A second possibility would be to compare violent crime rates of countries that have few believers with those who have a lot of believers. Of course, our Babble pounders wouldn't do that because they would come out on the losing side of such a comparison.

19/3/07 1:47 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Whenever the Terror comes up, I say that I don't approve of it but . . . I understand it.

I also say that the only reason the Terror is notable is because the "wrong" class of people were being arbitrarily executed. For literally centurires, lower class Frenchmen could be killed for "crimes" as small as poaching a rabbit (tho' you'd THINK that rabbits, seen as pests by farmers, would be OK to kill -- but you'd be wrong). The aristos arbitrarily killed lower class people for centuries and centuries, but when it was aristocrats being killed it was the Terror.

It doesn't surprise me that when atheists who fight a long and acrimonious struggle against a long-standing system of oppression and brutality that when they get into power they repeat the crimes that they fought against. It is all they know, it is all they have ever known. The communists in Russia and China committed the crimes they did because . . . violence was all they knew.

But it was taught to them by the upper classes -- the aristocrats and the church. The violent legacy of traditional hiearchies were played out by atheists, in the system of domination that they have, over the past few millenium created.

It will take centuries, perhaps, for the world to get over it's post-religious phase. For a long time, even after we've discarded religion, we'll be expressing the actions of religion in our lives. In this sense, it will be similiar to post-colonialism -- the colonists are gone, but the system and experiences from the colonial era continue to play themselves out.

19/3/07 5:41 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

I believe poverty is the root of all acts of war. Poverty drives all kinds of war, be it civil, insurgent, revolution, imperial, etc. Places like the Gaza Strip and many places in Africa are bathed in poverty and fertile grounds for fight each other.

Religion was born out of a human desire to explain and control their surrounding elements. When the rains did not come resulting in the people having to endure a season with insufficient food, they sought control. Since they could not control the weather directly, they used their powers of thought and imagination to devise a means of control. The gods were born and, finally, when the skies opened up with rain and the fields flourished, humans had their answer.

During the height of the Roman Empire, when the masses were dependent on the graces of an Emperor they grew poorer. Those living in the countryside still had to sustain themselves, but now they were required to pay a state a tax. During hard times, the tax burden multiplied their lack of self-sufficiency.

Many peoples were under the control of an Emperor, who was far removed from their direct influence. It was during this time that many prophets showed up to give people hope for a better life. The most famous of them is Jesus who preached almost exclusively to the poor.

Today, the fighting is going on in poverty soaked locales where the people have little hope for a better day. They have nothing but time, frustration and anger with which to foment fighting.

Those in power can harness the power of poverty by attacking the poor bastards or using them for their own selfish motives. It has been done in the past when religious leaders made packs with monarchies to support each other. It is also being done today.

The United States attacked Iraq because it was an impoverished nation holding great stores of wealth in the form of natural resources. Terrorism is the powerful taking advantage of dirt-poor people for fulfilling their own selfish motives e.g. Fattah, Shari’a, etc. Industrialized nations left Africa stripped and devastated. Those who can rest power use the rest who are soaked in poverty to gain their own selfish goals.

Poverty is the root of most of our problems. Unfortunately, the solutions to poverty cost too much.

20/3/07 12:39 am  
Blogger L>T said...

In the US the fundimentalist Christians have gone so long with out having their Ideology challenged, that it's shocking to some of them when you do it. They immediataly see any criticism as an attack or persecution. They are taught that Satan is lurking around waiting to steal their souls. & they really believe it.

When I see the polls that put atheists at the bottom of the popularity list. It makes me feel bad but I understand why we are the mosted despised minority.

Because we are seen as being closest to the devil. This is what this kind of prejudice is all about. We are considered more evil then any other minority. People like us are thought to be the most dangerous & must be gaurded against.
This seems like an exaggeration, but it isn't really. Not in the US anyway.

20/3/07 12:56 am  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

There is a representative east of SF who recently mentioned he's an atheist. The first time anyone has done so!
Perhaps the debate on religion and how it continues to run afoul of the law in so many ways they criticize will start making a shift all societies need......

20/3/07 2:55 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

goader,

Well, I don't think that you're right. Until fairly recently, wars were fought primarily by wealthy aristocrats. The Viking conquests, say, weren't motivated by the poverty of the Scandanavians but by the boredom of the upper classes who would go "aviking" as a means of entertainment. Likewise, medieval wars were generally started by princes seeking to address points of honor while expanding their territory -- war was very much a pasttime of the wealthy.

Sometimes poverty does play a role, especially combined with a war-like people. The successive waves of invasion into the Western Roman Empire were sparked by bad weather, that lead to bad harvests, which lead to poverty which lead to invasion, roughly speaking. And to some extents the Great Revolt and Bar Kochba's Revolt amongst the Jews in the Roman Empire was caused by poverty (the Jews were being taxed twice -- once by the Romans for secular reasons and then by their religion; the Jews were the most taxed people in the Empire). And obviously Sparatcus' slave rebellion was inflamed by the poverty of the slaves. But most Roman wars were wars of expansion, pacification or retribution. Neither of the Punic Wars, f'rex, were caused by poverty -- but two rich countries who wanted to get richer and understood it had to be over the other guy's dead body. The conquest of Greece was done merely to expand Roman wealth and power. The conquest of Gaul was done to expand the wealth of the wealthy, and to gain retribution on the Celts for past injuries, etc., etc.

During the medieval period, furthermore, generally speaking the peasants didn't fight. Untrained and unarmed, they had very little battlefield value in the first place, and it didn't really matter to most peasants which brutal, stupid barbaric aristocrat ruled them. The fighting was done by aristocrats and, then, starting during the Renaissance, by aristocrats and mercenaries. It wasn't until the Napoleonic Wars that "the people" fought in wars.

So, I don't think it really can stand up to analysis that most wars are fought because of poverty. Most wars are fought because of the greed of those that already have wealth and power, and this has largely been true throughout history.

20/3/07 4:49 am  
Blogger Goader said...

I am trying to think which wealthy aristocrats fought any wars. Yes, Alexander the Great fought and so did Napoleon and any great leader would have been out on the battlefield. As for the run of mill aristocrats, I don’t think too many of them joined in the fighting.

Maybe knights would have been the closest group to be called aristocrats who routinely fought. Calling them aristocrats is stretching the truth though. I think of them more as the upper-middle managers in today’s multinational corporations. They delude themselves (with the help of their bosses) into believing they are in the upper class. Most, however, are stooges for their overlord bosses—much like the knight in the middle ages.

It is true, and I did note, that wealthy people are sometimes motivated to overtake the poor, or more accurately contain them. The wealthy would use the local poor as soldiers, much like in our time, but the point is the poor always seem to be involved.

We seem to deny or push from conscientiousness how rampant poverty is in this world. We don’t see it because the conservative, right-wing mainstream media, which controls most of the information we receive as news, keeps it out of our view. It is to their benefit that we remain fat, happy and ignorant of world affairs.

The Spartans were a warrior nation; one must note that when comparing them to most other nations. As good a military strategist as Alexander the Great was, minus the fact that most of those he conquered were poor, he would have not so great. The Greeks and Romans used conscripts, which were professional soldiers. Although they were well paid and taken good care of, they were not aristocrats. You were correct in saying most of the poor at time couldn’t have cared less who conquered them. Unless and until taxation became too much of a burden then they would have lived their lives with little concern of Rome or whomever

20/3/07 6:50 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Beep, Let me ask you a question, scince this is your blog--
What bearing do you think the historical violence of Christianity should have on my personal Christian walk?
I'm not being snark, truely curious...

20/3/07 7:39 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

goader,

You lost me when you said it was a stretch that knights were aristocrats, hehe. Knights most definitely were aristocrats. From around the time of the Carolingians, knights held land and knights became nobility. In Britain, peerage was more restricted, but virtually all knights were also peers (because they were the only ones who could afford the horses and armor required for knighthood). Your knowledge of Greek fighters also seems sketchy -- the Greek warriors are the veritable definition of aristocrat, and to fight as a hoplite you had to be a land-owning man in most city-states (to qualify as a citizen), and had to buy their own armor and weapons . . . which no poor person could afford.

I don't think I'm underestimating the effects of poverty. But war is a rich man's business, overwhelmingly. War creates a lot of poverty, poverty doesn't really create that much war. Poor people don't have the energy or equipment, traditionally, to wage war.

20/3/07 7:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE larry

I agree that comparisons are a good way to make the case.

But I wasn't really trying to show how "good" or how "bad" we are in comparison to theists. Merely that those "atheistic revolutions" they like to talk about with such glee, were the result of religious and political power which even THEY would have risen up against.

The Russian Revolution wasn't caused by "evil atheists", it was a reaction to the oppression by the monarchy and the religious powers that kept them there.

That whole Platonic crapola about how kings and queens were predestined by god, (divine right of kings) to rule and that everyone must obey them was promoted and supported by the christian religion which grew fat and powerful as the result.

Religion has historically made itself indispensible to the powers that be, whether they are kings and queens, emperors, or presidents. In this way it achieves and gains more political power for itself and ensures its existence. I wanted to point out to people that the Russian Revolution was the result of political power and religious power sleeping in the same bed.

20/3/07 8:25 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE chris

"It doesn't surprise me that when atheists who fight a long and acrimonious struggle against a long-standing system of oppression and brutality that when they get into power they repeat the crimes that they fought against."

It doesn't surprise me either. And I mean this according to whenever a group of people retaliate against what they perceive to be a brutal or uncaring regime.

I think of Africa and some of the terrible african dictators who have wrought havoc and suffering upon their people and I suspect that they learnt at least some of these "tricks" from how they were treated under colonial rule.

I am not about to say that colonial rule is responsible for ALL of it, but in many cases, the native inhabitants were treated like scum or cattle to be worked till they died. Little wonder that in a quest for power, people end up making the same mistakes.

RE goader and poverty

I agree and disagree. (How unusual :)

There are many factors which lead to war, some of them are economic, some are religious and some of them are based in greed.

In reality, poor nations can't go to war - at least not a war in the traditional sense, but it is mostly true that it is poor people who are required to fight them.

20/3/07 8:36 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

LT:

Personally, I think that the US turned a dangerous corner about 50 years ago with the "under god" and in "god we trust" stuff. It set a precedent which wasn't part of the founding fathers intent.

So now there are a couple of generations of people who think of these instances as being from the foundation of their nation.

So, my opinion, for what its worth, is that was the watershed moment. And it encouraged whoever had a half-baked idea about a god to claim that god sanctions their politics, their economic plan, their social program etc etc.

It seems to me that many americans can't take a dump without thanking a god for passing the toilet paper. For goodness sakes, some americans even wear "god prescribed undies"!

As soon as Australia puts "under god" in our official documents, (if they ever do),I am moving to New Zealand.

RE coffee:

I am glad that a couple of people are coming forward in the US and stating their non-belief. Religious belief, in my opinion, should NOT be precribed by the state.

That combination of church and state is a dangerous one and has historically lead to a lot of trouble.

20/3/07 8:55 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

"What bearing do you think the historical violence of Christianity should have on my personal Christian walk?"

If you live in the US and you believe that the US is a "christian nation", everytime the US acts as a political force in the world, it is also acting as a christian force. It means that the army, airforce and the navy all act as a christian political force. If people want to demand that the US is a "christian nation" then all its actions will be considered as such.

From a personal walk point of view, maybe the words of Mahatma Gandhi are food for thought - "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

20/3/07 9:07 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
I am trying to think which wealthy aristocrats fought any wars
I assume royalty falls under that heading?
http://www.answers.com/topic/hundred-years-war
http://www.answers.com/topic/wars-of-the-roses
http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-english-wars
http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-french-wars-and-battles
http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-spanish-wars
http://www.answers.com/topic/dutch-wars
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Portuguese_monarchs
& that's just Europe.

20/3/07 9:15 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Right you are Chris Bradley; knights indeed were aristocratic, that is why I said, “Knights would have been the closest group called aristocrats.” Thank you for affirming that fact. Typically, knights were sons further down the lineage and were aristocrats mostly in name. That might have been one reason they became knights, to reaffirm their social standing, and yes they had family money to buy suits of armor.

Thank you again for pointing out the hoplites fought as Greek soldiers, but you might confuse people by stating so adamantly, “they were aristocrats and that is that.” Like many knights, hoplites had access to money and so one could argue their aristocratic lineage, but let us be cautious not to overstate their aristocracy.

As you so graciously pointed out, I made mention of the tentativeness of these fighters being strictly aristocratic. The hoplites came mostly from the middle class and I have already covered the knights.

I see you are having a little difficulty comprehending the points I made concerning the poor, poverty and war, or fighting i.e. skirmishes. Be patient, keep reading, and contemplate the ideas with an open mind. You will get it.

Thanks again for reaffirming my argument and adding the points about peerage.

20/3/07 9:21 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader:

Let's see if I can squeeze a few in between Alex and Napoleon. In no particular order, mind; Any number of Cesars, Henry I, II, III, IV & V, Richard I, II & III (Richard the Lion Heart - crusades - yuck), Charlemagne, Charles VI (France) and many other French Kings. Then there's various Czars and Keisers, not to mention nearly all the Scottish clan Cheifs and Kings and so the list goes on. Wealthy aristocrats, each and every one of them.

Then there's the fact that wars don't happen without funding, which usually comes from wealthy aristocrats......

20/3/07 9:28 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Yes KA, as you astutely point out I did indeed mean royalty, which is why I mentioned Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and left it open-ended.

Between you and Chris, you are making me blush. I seek not to be prideful, but ya’ll make it difficult to remain humble when you back up my points with reaffirmations. Gee wiz you too Ted, thanks again guys.

20/3/07 9:37 am  
Blogger Mikayla Starstuff said...

I have tagged you to list 5 things that feminism has done for you :)

I am thankful to feminism for...

20/3/07 9:49 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
I seek not to be prideful, but ya’ll make it difficult to remain humble when you back up my points with reaffirmations.
Yeesh, don't break your arm patting yourself on the back.
My response (& ted's) was (probably) to this:
As for the run of mill aristocrats, I don’t think too many of them joined in the fighting.
Do define 'run of the mill', if you'd be so kind. Barons, duchys, etc?
I'd think you were just a wee bit more humble if you said "Oops!" a little more often.

20/3/07 9:52 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader:

Ok, I see what you mean. Obviously however, you either overlooked the clan chiefs or don't know much about Scottish culture?

If you look at some of the links and names provided however, and at the armies they commanded, you will see titles like; Earl of Warrick, Duke of Kent, Duke of Cornwall. In fact, you can pick any, duchy, earldom or lowly barony. You see, it was the local lord's job to maintain a standing army and lead them into battle for, and in some cases against, his King and they maintained their own knights and squires.

All of the armies of the Brittish and French kings I mentioned bristled with "run of the mill" aroistocracy and during the crusades, every young aristo, whether English and Norman, was expected to play his part.

Here's the list of "Notable Casualties" from the battle of Agincourt (Henry V vs. Charles VI) from Wikipedia:

* Antoine of Burgundy, Duke of Brabant and Limburg (b. 1384)
* Philip of Burgundy, Count of Nevers and Rethel (b. 1389)
* Charles I d'Albret, Count of Dreux, the Constable of France
* John II, Count of Bethune (b. 1359)
* John I, Duke of Alençon (b. 1385)
* Frederick of Lorraine, Count of Vaudemont (b. 1371)
* Robert, Count of Marles and Soissons
* Edward III, Duke of Bar (the Duchy of Bar lost its independence as a consequence of his death)
* John VI, Count of Roucy
* Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (b. 1373)

They look to be Counts and Dukes for the most part. Do they count? (haha...)

20/3/07 10:11 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Goader,

Er, I thought you point was that wars were caused by poverty, not wealth. That my point was that wars were caused by, and until recently have been fought by, the wealthy.

Were I you, apparently, I'd make fun and say that you've been converted to my opinion that it's wealthy people that make with the fighting and not poor ones. Instead, I'm going to point out that you're not appearing to make any sense.

20/3/07 10:44 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Let's see if I can settle this. (Little hope of that, lol)

Wars are fought in the main by poor people, for rich people's agendas.

The majority of people actually doing the fighting are poor. The majority of people making the fighting decisions are in the main, rich.

20/3/07 11:23 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

BBIM,

Until around the Napoleonic Wars, that wasn't true. It was pretty much rich on rich violence, with armies of aristocrats and/or mercenaries doing the fighting.

The majority of the people doing the dying were poor, however.

20/3/07 12:06 pm  
Blogger Daniel said...

Look, Beep, and all this time I thought a tu quoque was a brightly coloured, flightless bird found in the Amazonian jungle.

Regarding the true nature of mankind, I have been having some rather gloomy thoughts lately about this topic. The evidence provided by history suggests to me that we are little better than nicely dressed savage beasts.

Nukes dropping on Iran would confirm my suspicions.

20/3/07 1:38 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE daniel

My suspicion is that a toucan is really an invention by plastic surgeons in order to promote rhinoplasty.

This is why the latest advertisements for rhinoplasty begin with a toucan uttering the famous tu quoque fallacy: -"YOU TOO have a big nose."

Ok, that was just plain silly.

I suspect that we nicely dressed savage beasts if it serves our self interest. Or what we can perceive as our self interest.

20/3/07 2:49 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Chris:
Instead, I'm going to point out that you're not appearing to make any sense
& here I thought it was just me.
Pretty slick technique there, ey? When someone points out the flaws in his statements, he takes credit for that by calling it a 're-affirmation' of his points.
Of course, when somebody thinks they're gawd's gift to intellectual discussion, I suppose that occurs w/some frequency.

20/3/07 5:19 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

KA: When someone points out the flaws in his statements, he takes credit for that by calling it a 're-affirmation' of his points.

Either that or he goes quiet and pretends it didn't happen...

20/3/07 7:55 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

It seems the monkey cage rattles with self-righteousness. I can see the snotty little clan over in the corner conniving to get the new guy who dares offer anything different and out of their comfort zone. Perhaps if they spent more time debating and less time fisking (that god-awful ADHD practice) and telling the rest of the world how wrong it is the argument might progress.

I will pick up from BBIM’s mediation with the idea that wealthy interests create and fund wars, while the poor fight in them. I agree with this general premise. I will add that wars today have taken on different meaning than in the past. When the phalanx was popular, the sides were well defined. Today, those lines have dispersed into guerrilla and kamikaze tactics. Teenagers and their younger siblings run around shooting their perceived enemy and blowing up themselves. They have little hope of learning any other way until the rest of the industrialized world stops worshipping the mighty profit margin.

The free market system must seek a paradigm shift to break its addiction to profits. The current growth business model requires a third world labor market to thrive. I believe we are in the beginning of that paradigm shift with South America perhaps leading the way.

Someone intimated that I said poverty or the poor cause war, which is not what I said. Poverty is the root of war. The root is the dirtiest part; that which remains underground striving for sustenance and holding up everything else. The cause of war gets in to a completely different discussion, which was broached in the previous post about “the Monkey Cage.”

The fighting today is located in pockets around the world, and those pockets sit in poverty-stricken locales. (One will not find Cheval in the midst of insurgency.) It is true the wealthy goad (love that word) the poor souls on. Just as bad are the likes of bin Laden (another rich bastard) who uses the poor young folks around them to forward their aims, once again in the name of religion.

P.S. KA, I apologize for the asshole remark and the sh*t part too. Yes, I feel guilty having stooped to name-calling. I will, however, stay with the pompous ass claim, I do not think even you would deny that one;-) Oh, and the Hail Mary’s are done.

20/3/07 9:42 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE goader

"It seems the monkey cage rattles with self-righteousness. I can see the snotty little clan over in the corner conniving to get the new guy who dares offer anything different and out of their comfort zone."

Nah. Don't feel especially picked upon. Most people who frequent this blog are used to disagreeing with people. Heaps of them disagree with me too. Most of the time I couldn't care less. Only rarely, I get my curlers in a twirl, but I have only had to delete 2 comments, I think, since I have been running the blog.

Most people will argue like mad, but they keep it pretty civil.

RE: "The free market system must seek a paradigm shift to break its addiction to profits. The current growth business model requires a third world labor market to thrive."

I actually agree with you on this. In fact, there are probably many things we agree upon, but religion won't be one of them. ;)

20/3/07 9:57 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader: What you said was this; As for the run of mill aristocrats, I don’t think too many of them joined in the fighting.

I think we've proven that wrong for you, so I take it you now concede the point?

20/3/07 10:25 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

I am exploring literature to clarify or correct my position on the extent of involvement in past wars of the run of the mill aristocrats. The hoplites are a good example to research as they were mostly from the middle class. One question to answer is what the middle class was at that time.

The Original post “The Tu Quoque Fallacy” seemed to say that all religious groups bear blame for past and present radical killing in the name of one’s religion. The author goes on to expend considerable text to explain the role of the poor i.e. serfs, peons, etc, in various uprisings.

My point is to expand on the theme of the involvement of the poor by suggesting a scheme or motive of the upper class to preserve poverty. As I stated in my initial comment, “Those in power can harness the power of poverty by attacking the poor bastards or using them for their own selfish motives. It has been done in the past when religious leaders made packs with monarchies to support each other. It is also being done today.” We see it when the wealthy bin Ladens or the leaders of Hamas use the poverty around them as weapon to gain their own power. The more noble activity would be to work with the majority poor to build infrastructure and educate their children. Rather than work to lift up the poor those in power preserve poverty to use its energies for selfish motives.

The so-called good guys wealthy (read the U.S.A. and others) do the same thing, only their motives benefit you and I more than the motives of the bad-guys wealthy. We shop around the world for the cheapest labor; we attack Iraq for its store of resources, we are careful to keep the poverty in balance in places like Gaza and Mexico.

This is a bit off subject, but look what we (the U.S.A.) did during the war between Iraq and Iran. We supported both sides to varying degrees; the aim was to keep the war balanced so neither side would “win.” Something in me thinks that is despicable behavior, but it happened and my beloved country did it. There have other instances like the Iraq Iran war, which we have manipulated to our benefit. Did you or I do it, no, the wealthy power mongers did. Somehow, though, it seems we all should accept a degree of complicity.


We are complicit today concerning our own standard of living. If the paradigm shift I suggested were to take effect tomorrow, our collective standard of living would drop precipitously. If Wal-Mart could no long brow beat poor supplying nations to minimize their costs can you imagine what that would do to our cost of living? Bring that up during conversation and watch everyone squirm a bit and then promptly change the subject.

20/3/07 11:39 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader:

I am exploring literature to clarify or correct my position on the extent of involvement in past wars of the run of the mill aristocrats.

The names you've been provided with will make a good start for you then.

As to the rest you've got there, I think I'll wait until this little point of contention is cleared up, one way or the other.

21/3/07 12:19 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "The Original post “The Tu Quoque Fallacy” seemed to say that all religious groups bear blame for past and present radical killing in the name of one’s religion. The author goes on to expend considerable text to explain the role of the poor i.e. serfs, peons, etc, in various uprisings."

You need to reread the post.

21/3/07 12:21 am  
Blogger Goader said...

BBIM—

Re: You need to reread the post.

You “seemed to say that all religious groups bear blame for past and present radical killing in the name of one’s religion” as evidenced by the following:

You begin by establishing that people easily deny that their respective religions engage in acts of violence; rather they are peaceful in nature. You go on to say:

“[T]here seems to be a kind of cultural or religious blindness when it comes to being able to either acknowledge the terrible things which have happened to humans through religions, or a denial that their religion or god belief, could result in anything but love, prosperity and kindness.” “…one is inevitably faced with a religious person stating something like this: - "Well, that is true, but those people weren't REAL Christians, muslims, hindus, [sic] buddhists, [sic] jews. [sic] (Insert religious belief here.)”

“[W]ell, I am here to say that they are and were true Christians, [sic] muslims [sic] or whichever religion they claim.”


Additionally, you seem “to expend considerable text to explain the role of the poor i.e. serfs, peons, etc, in various uprisings,” as evidenced by the following:

You discussed the hierarchical systems established when the monarch and the pope winked at each other when you say, “…those on the bottom of the food chain got thinner, leaner, meaner and angrier.” “…It was the classic feudal system where everyone knew their place and no one was to step outside of their place in the hierarchy. Religion told people that their suffering in this world was the will of god and that better things awaited them in the next world if they just got on with their lives and didn't complain or make a fuss.”

“[P]eople were encouraged to be stoics and to accept that suffering was good for their immortal souls. Eventually, the people began to realize that the monarchy, and the people in the hierarchy of religion, the class system of princes, princess and nobles that it supported, that it didn't seem a requirement for these elements to suffer; just the people on the bottom of the food chain. And that no matter what happened, they were going to stay on the bottom of the food chain, with no political or economic power, and no way to improve their lot in life. Their destiny in life was predetermined by the religious hierarchical powers that existed and they either had the option to put up or shut up. That they decided to revolt against a regime in which they saw held no future for themselves or their generations is part of history.”

“[I]t was a bloody and violent revolution against the institutionalised power structures supported and propped up by the religious state. Unfortunately, the revolution with its high ideals then went on to be but a parody of that which they revolted against. [sic] They replaced one dictatorial regime with another.”

Whoever said attorneys are zealous has not engaged an atheist in debate!

21/3/07 1:52 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
It seems the monkey cage rattles with self-righteousness. I can see the snotty little clan over in the corner conniving to get the new guy who dares offer anything different and out of their comfort zone. Perhaps if they spent more time debating and less time fisking (that god-awful ADHD practice) and telling the rest of the world how wrong it is the argument might progress.
Wow, someone's not too good about taking criticism.
Here's more about fisking:
http://www.answers.com/topic/fisking
I hope you don't mind if I continue to use it - because I shall.
I actually thought you started out very well, but fumbled in the middle, & started in w/all those author's intrusions to cover your oopsies.
P.S. KA, I apologize for the asshole remark and the sh*t part too. Yes, I feel guilty having stooped to name-calling. I will, however, stay with the pompous ass claim, I do not think even you would deny that one;-)
Well, soon as you descend from the saddle of your abstract Clydesdale, & join us here down in the wet dirt, you'll find I am neither pompous nor ass. (hehehehe)
Also, perchance you should change your moniker to 'goaded' since it's so easy to.
(Sorry, it's just SO MUCH FUN, I'm having a grand old time)

21/3/07 3:29 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Consider Goader the Good descended, plenty wet and dirty and poised among you. Being not a vantage point to which I am accustomed—down here among you—may I ask what it is you wish of me? Per chance, you seek that I explicate my argument to your satisfaction? If so, I have not sufficient supplies for such a stay. Is it that you wish to see me level? Then consider your wish granted. Now, unless there is something else I shall mount my steed where the air is fresh and the view familiar.

21/3/07 4:28 am  
Anonymous ted said...

No, you can't go yet, you still haven't addressed my fisking of your comment. All I want to know is if you think any "run of the mill" aristocrats fought in any wars?

21/3/07 4:43 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

This exchange reminds me of Parliment debates.

Testosterone clean-up in asile 3!

21/3/07 4:55 am  
Blogger Goader said...

All right Ted, I stand corrected on the run of the mill aristocrats: the Klan chiefs, the dukes and princes, the Caesars etc. However, not Richard the Lion Heart, after all is was a dick!

21/3/07 5:03 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

goader,

You lost me again almost immediately. Not because of your name calling (which I've come to expect a certain amount of on the Internet) or your claims that you're the poor little boy getting beaten up by the big kids (which is something else I've come to expect, from both sides -- I guess most folks on the Internet have felt that way). You lost me when you started bringing up examples. They're all post-Napoleonic.

Napoleon Bonaparte popularized mobilizing the citizenry for war. Every country in the world now apes this. Gone are the aristocratic armies of yore, and now, since the early 19th century, yes, the poor overwhelmingly fight rich people's wars.

I would still say that poverty doesn't create war, but the greed of the wealthy, however. The people who start wars are almost uniformly, still, quite wealthy when they do it.

21/3/07 5:39 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Chris—

I couldn’t have said it better myself. We could have used you a while back to steer some people (we know who they are, am I right) back on course. I tried to tell them that, although the poor are not the cause of wars, they wind up doing most of the fighting in them. Further, by maintaining poverty, the wealthy seem to have an endless supply of poor people to do their bidding.

I’m better now, but thanks for the sympathetic thoughts concerning being picked on by the kids that live around here. I’m trying to fit in but it’s not easy when you’re new and all. Hey, maybe we can hang out sometime. I hear a lot of people hang out down at the Lefty Directory; it's supposed to be a pretty cool place. Maybe we’ll find us some chicita blogitas; I bet they can really defrag some hard drives.

21/3/07 7:31 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
Being not a vantage point to which I am accustomed—down here among you—may I ask what it is you wish of me?
Just act as if you're among peers - & while I'd venture most of us here have access to an extended vocabulary, as the artist Rothko once said, "Silence is so accurate."
Also, as per Lao Tzu: "Those who say much know little, those who say little know much."
Upon which I should perchance shut my yap (but probably won't).

21/3/07 8:46 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Sadie:

Settle petal, a little fun is all. A debate is a debate where points are made and/or conceded. Beep provides a fantastic forum for it and has some rippers here, from time to time.

Mind you, I have thought about running locally, but I'd probably run up against someone like Beep or KA and get creamed...:)

Goader:

We weren't discussing his general disposition, but I agree with you. Unfortunately though, he has to be included. He did take many "run of the mill" aristos with him. A good thing too because they had to raise his ransom...

I also agree with Chris and yourself in that the men on the ground these days tend to be a lot poorer than they once were. I also have to agree that it's the rich that fund the wars and that they do so to further their own agendas, not with any thought of making the world a better place.

KA: Upon which I should perchance shut my yap (but probably won't).

Lol! Hear, hear! Nor shall I...:)

21/3/07 9:26 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Then allow Lao Tzu to affirm my argument.

Lao Tzu writes:

Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take life lightly.

Having to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.

21/3/07 9:40 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
Ummm...not to be pedantic (or maybe I am)
http://classics.mit.edu/Lao/taote.2.ii.html

Chapter 75

"1. The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors. It is through this that they suffer famine.

2. The people are difficult to govern because of the (excessive) agency of their superiors (in governing them). It is through this that they are difficult to govern.

3. The people make light of dying because of the greatness of their labours in seeking for the means of living. It is this which makes them think light of dying. Thus it is that to leave the subject of living altogether out of view is better than to set a high value on it. "
Which version are you using?

21/3/07 9:53 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE goader:

The clue to what the article is about is in the title.

"The Tu Quoque Fallacy: Or Atheists Are Murdering, Homicidal Maniacs Too"

Very often theists will get a bit antsy if an atheist mentions the wars where religion has played an integral part. Things like the crusades, the inquisition, Napoleonic wars of conquest etc.

If they admit to the fact that religion has and does play an important part in historical violence, the usual counter is then, but atheists have also gone on murdering rampages. Look at what happened in Russia! So, this is where the Tu Quoque Fallacy is committed.

Rather than say, "yes, you are right, some horrible bloodthirsty wars have occurred with religion being a strong factor in the killing sprees", they try to use the fallacy of "but you too have done terrible things" - rather than address the issue of religion and violence.

I wanted to make it clear that pointing the finger at another group does nothing to deflect blame away from the historical violence of various religions. In other words, the issue of violence in the name of religion, needs to be addressed.

The Tu Quoque Fallacy was inadmissible in the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazis for this very reason. Pointing the finger at the other side and trying to say that they also did terrible things, does not ameliorate the terrible things done by your own side.

Now I find it very difficult for theists of ANY persuasion to 'fess up to the violence which has been historically part of their religious political models. They are either unwilling to do so because they believe that violence committed in the name of religion is sanctioned by their god and is therefore ok and all aboveboard, or they believe that their religion has nothing to do with any of the violence which occurred.

If they believe that their religion had nothing to do with any of the violence that occurred, they are less likely to attempt to make use of the "you too fallacy."

Now, I am quite willing to address the issue of violence against institutionalized religion and I did so in the article using the Russian Revolution as an example.

I am willing to accept that the violence in the Russian Revolution against the monarchy and the Russian Orthodox Church which politically supported the monarchy, was violence perpetrated against organized religion.

I am able to say that terrible things were done. That it was brutal and that it was vengeful and bloodthirsty.

Theists seem to be unable to acknowledge the historical violence evidenced in their religions. And it is about time that they took a good hard look at it.

21/3/07 11:00 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Krystalline Apostate—

I see this is your forte.

It seems to be a poem encapsulating all of chapter 75, interesting.

I am impressed by your apparent command of the text.

I, on the other hand, can only interpret it, as would a layperson.

Having spent some time in a dojhang myself studying under Master Yung Ho, as for this I respectfully bow and defer to you.

21/3/07 11:14 am  
Blogger Goader said...

BBIM—

Well said and I hesitate to add anything.

21/3/07 11:23 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

goader,

Well, I guess I didn't understand your point then. I thought you were saying that poverty caused war, not that in modern times the poor fight most wars. The first is untrue, the second is indisputable fact. ;)

KA,

You quote the Old Man? Can I have your babies? ;)

21/3/07 12:53 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

No one is allowed to have unprotected sex in the vicinity of my blog, as per the rules of the management.

21/3/07 3:05 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Poverty can and does cause revolutions.

21/3/07 3:06 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

BBIM,

Uh, yeah, you're right. I could talk about the context in which I said what I said, but that'd be being a little punk. You caught me dead on wrong. OBVIOUSLY in the modern world a lot of wars are caused by poverty. ;)

21/3/07 5:08 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

CB:
You quote the Old Man? Can I have your babies? ;)
I'm a Lao tsi (old man) myself - but maybe we should wait until the 3rd date? ;)

BBIM:
No one is allowed to have unprotected sex in the vicinity of my blog, as per the rules of the management.
That's okay, we both have our own blogs for that.
Thought I had you pegged as a voyeur, but I've been wrong in the past. ;)

21/3/07 5:15 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Passes out full-body condoms

http://www.condomania.com/images/H-BGC_2_dt.jpg

21/3/07 7:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Beep Beep,
I haven't heard you on Paltalk for along time, hope to hear you there soon,,From CYNICAL

22/3/07 1:47 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Lol! Hear, hear! Nor shall I...:)

Ted, you crack me up! Come visit my blog.

22/3/07 2:00 am  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

"In fact, many of the so-called revolutions in Europe including the French Revolution"

Just curious, if it was not a revolution, what was it?

22/3/07 4:03 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Hey cynical

Good to see you. Yes, I have been slack. I have become a "blog addict." I hope you are well and say hello to folks for me. :)

22/3/07 8:40 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE under

No one likes to include the French. That is why it is stated as "even the french revolution."

That was a joke, btw.

22/3/07 8:42 am  
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