It is so turned around these days.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Richard Dawkins offers his own delusion.

"Saddam Should Have Been Studied, Not Executed"
is the title of Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) latest article in the LA Times. His article suggests that we need to take the time to study him to find out what makes him tick. This seems to me to be a contradiction to Dawkins own worldview in the sense that he wants to find out what gave him his evil "values." Why? This is coming from a man who marginalizes any notion of values and those who hold values. Especially those values derived from a delusional God. This is nothing more than Dawkin's attempt to gain some sympathy from liberal progressive anti-capital punishment crowd, while trying to gain support for his own brand of atheistic "religion." I would rather him say that he would like to study people who display altruistic behavior. I think we could learn allot more from them. But realistically how do you "study' these people either good or evil? I feel that the findings from each study would be pretty much the same. That being "not much." So give it up Mr. Dawkins. I would rather see your "Christian hating" ...oops I mean atheistic.... media tour in an effort to gain new converts to your church, than read this delusional nonsense.


At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you had a brain, you wouldn't know what to do with it. You ignore Dawkins other reason, that Saddam was the central witness to much of recent Iraq history. Executing him wipes out the opporuntity to learn more from his own accounts.

Try to think. Try really, really hard.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

No need to insult, but that is to be expected. Your defense of Dawkins makes no sense. Is Saddam the only person who can comment on recent Iraqi history? Surely not. There are plenty of other people who could qualify as being central witneses to this.

"Executing him wipes out the opporuntity to learn more from his own accounts."

Like I said before, if Dawkins really cared about this then why does he not suggest we do this to our most altruistic individuals as well?

It seems to me that Dawkin's idea flies in the face of serving true justice.

Try to be nice. Try really, really hard.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

Hussein's execution was a mistake because it turned him into a martyr for the Sunnis. I'm certainly not sad to see the man go, but I think it only serves to further destabilize the region. The Maliki government is now proven to be just another Shi'a party striving for dominance in Iraq. The leaders of most of the rest of the Middle East, dominated by Sunnis, are PISSED. This may accelerate the downslide into a regional Sunni-Shi'a religious war.

Scientists (mainly anthropologists and population biologists) DO study altruism. So do economists ... extensively. It is, fortunately, relatively easy to find and access subjects in this matter.

Ruthless dictators are not so easy to come by. Why shouldn't we look at the face of evil and study it? Why shouldn't we find out what triggers these abominations to manifest so hopefully those triggers can be minimized?

I think you're letting your opinion of Dawkins' aggressive atheism cloud your judgment in this instance.

On another note ... MANY Christian groups, including the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (hardly liberal progressives), oppose the death penalty. In fact, I find it hard to reconcile Christian theology with support of the death penalty. I'm an outsider, but it seems clear to me that Christ was a pacifist who proclaimed that God would judge in the next life. He FORGAVE those who murdered him.

It seems to me that the "liberal progressive anti-capital punishment crowd" is acting much more Christ-like than the right-wing "Christians."

At 9:01 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

I don't think supporting capital punishment is at all in conflict with Christian teaching. I think serving justice should trump anthropological study any day. I guess my question is what is there to study that we can't study in our everday killers and murders. It just seems like a silly notion to me.

At 5:36 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

I think you are making a common mistake. You are equating "forgiveness" to "justice." By that line of reasoning we should forgive a bank robber but then not punish him. Our punishments need to fit the crimes. I don't think there is anything un-biblical about punishment. I'm sure as a parent you would agree with that. So with that being said, would you not agree that killing Sadamm barely scratches the surface of justice considering all of the murder he was responsible for? We can forgive him but that doesn't mean that he gets a pass on justice. Morality can not exist in a void. It needs to be accompanied with love, compassion and justice.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that killing him may have increased his prestige to muslims, but as unstable as the region is, do you really want him in a prison? Where he can still be an inspiration to the insurgents from there. And at this point there was only one way to ensure that he won't cause anymore trouble, and that what they did.


At 6:43 PM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

Burl & BJ,
I think the timing and circumstances of Hussein's execution are the big problem. Apparently his Shi'a captors were taunting him during the execution. That's a big part of the Sunni outrage all over the Middle East. Also, if you've seen the video, you must admit that the man handled his execution stoically. Saddam's lynching poured gasoline on the already raging Sunni-Shi'a conflict in Iraq and threatens to spread it beyond Iraq's borders.

The government of Iraq is not legitimate because the elections were a farce. The Sunni - 20 to 30% of the population and a majority in several Iraqi provinces - did not participate in any meaningful way. Iraqi courts serve Shi'a vengeance, not the law. Maliki at least condones and most likely actively supports death squads that are murdering Sunni civilians that have nothing to do with the insurgency. We're supporting one group of thugs in an ugly gang fight, not a democratically elected government.

I really don't think Saddam was much of an "inspiration" while in prison, Burl. He was captured and shamed. His stoic defiance of his Shi'a executioners to the bitter end has turned him into a martyr ... and nothing can change that image now that he's dead. Now he's a legend, not just a man in a prison cell.

Here's a prediction for you (and sorry, BJ ... a lot of this doesn't have much to do with your original post): a further big degeneration in the Iraq situation will occur when the "trial" of Ali Hassan al-Majid - "Chemical Ali" - is complete. He will also be lynched. The question is ... who will do it? The Kurds want him for the Anfal genocide campaign of the '80s. The Shi'a want him for his brutal suppression of their '91 uprising after the Gulf War (when Bush Sr. urged them to rise up and then left them to die by the thousands). The Shi'a and the Kurds are currently working together - for the most part. There certainly are some tensions already. Chemical Ali is such an emotional figure for both groups that control over his execution could divide them. Maybe the Shi'a will give him to the Kurds because they got to kill Saddam. Maybe. We'll see.

Back to Dawkins' idea ... no, I don't think we'd really get much useful information that we couldn't also learn from studying common criminals and "everyday" murderers. I just don't dismiss the idea outright. My main objections to Hussein's SUDDEN execution are outlined above. I'm certainly not saying that he didn't deserve it.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

I never thought that punishment wasn't consistent with Christianity, BJ. There's that whole "Hell" thing. LoL I just wonder if CAPITAL punishment is consistent with Christ's teachings. The hierarchy of the largest Christian denomination on Earth seems to agree with me, and the Catholic Church certainly isn't liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

I personally oppose the death penalty for all but the most extreme circumstances. Saddam Hussein certainly fits my criteria for the death penalty ... but his judgement was tarnished because it was clearly biased. Justice was served, but the process by which it was served was horribly corrupted.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some problems with this. I agree, Saddam did deserve his penalty, absolutely. But I can see the reasoning behind utilizing such a rare person first.

But realistically how do you "study' these people either good or evil? I feel that the findings from each study would be pretty much the same. That being "not much."The ignorance of this astounds me. What is known about the human mind and its functions is minuscule compared to the other organs of the body. It is even smaller in the area of criminal/psychological research. A figure such as Saddam as a subject for interview, scan, and analyzation would be invaluable. Dictatorial type leaders have yet to be studied in depth, up close. How amazing would it have been to be able to critically look into the workings of men such as Mussolini, Alexander the Great, Hitler. Not even scientifically, alone the POV of the leader of a country is completely different from that of a citizen, even a smaller-level government operative. He would have offered us a whole new load of perspectives, motivations, and so on. Everyday killers, when compared to serial killers, are EXTREMELY different. I would bank money on the theory that dictatorial, vicious leaders have an even more complicated makeup. They need the sociopathity of a serial killer with the wit of a conman and the drive of a politician. Serial killers are secretive and have a direct physical hand in the deaths, while leaders are in the limelight during their organized killings and have no direct physical hand in it.

So give it up Mr. Dawkins. I would rather see your "Christian hating" ...oops I mean atheistic.... media tour in an effort to gain new converts to your church, than read this delusional nonsense.Atheism is not 'Christian hating'. If you can't tell, atheism is someone who does not believe in a higher power and does not practice a religion. It is not exclusive to 'Christian hating'. Maybe this view came form the fact that Christians have gotten more publicity in defending their beliefs against the 'plight of atheism', therefore the debate has mainly been between those two groups.
On another note, there are plenty of other religions, groups, fanbases, and general media figures who go on tour for their specific area. Just because Dawkins' is atheistic means it is delusional nonsense? Sometimes I watch or listen to televangelists or marketing scams or recruitments and they make absolutely no sense. Yet, it is okay because God is with them? No. Anyone can tour with any subject they want and are versed in, whether the majority of the population agrees with it or not.

PS- Atheism is not a religion.
Atheism does not have a church.


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