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Old 29 Nov 2017, 04:16 AM   #681389 / #1
Hermit
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Default A Saudi Arab Spring in Winter?

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has big plans for change in Saudi Arabia. He seems to have started to clear the way for them by imprisoning 200 or so of his potential opponents in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Now he needs to defang the religious police, and before that he'll have to deal with their backers, the Wahhabists who have been the backbone of the Saudi kings since 1744.

Last year 153 people were executed for breaking Saudi laws. I wonder how many will meet that fate in 2018. And what plans, if any, does the crown prince have for the thousands of guest workers that live in SA in abject misery? Still, one step at a time might be a wise way to proceed, and the first step or two have been made. Mohammed bin Salman is in his early thirties, and seems determined to drag his country into civilisation. If he does not get assassinated or ousted in a coup, he has a long time to effect change for the better.
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Old 30 Nov 2017, 01:34 PM   #681501 / #2
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I'm very cautiously optimistic about SA, as I watch the so called leader of the so called free world try to drag our country back a few centuries.

I've read that Prince MBS, as he's sometimes called, approves of Trump but I assume he's just doing that for political reasons. If he's dumb enough to think that there is anything rational about the way Trump acts or thinks, then MBS doesn't leave me with much hope.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 03:22 AM   #681564 / #3
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The Arab "Spring" turned out badly basically everywhere.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 04:50 AM   #681573 / #4
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
The Arab "Spring" turned out badly basically everywhere.
Yes. Basically because it was controlled from the bottom up by Islamic fundamentalists. Therein lie three crucial differences. The Saudi Arab version is
(1) from the top down
(2) specifically aimed against Islamic fundamentalism
(3) a reform of governance rather than an attempt to bring it down via a revolution

If it works out as projected remains to be seen, of course, but unlike the earlier events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain its failure is not a foregone conclusion.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 06:44 PM   #681605 / #5
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The Arab "Spring" turned out badly basically everywhere.
As Hermit as pointed out, this is very different from what happened in the other countries. That is the only reason that gives me some hope. This prince does seem a lot more progressive than his predecessors, although that's not saying much considering we're talking about SA.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 01:45 AM   #682440 / #6
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The Saudi royals made a devil's bargain with the Wahhabists to gain control of Arabia. I'm not optimistic that the new King can buck them without bringing down his own house. Also, people with power rarely give it up willingly, and any real reform would require him to ultimately do so.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 03:55 PM   #682449 / #7
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I think the present Saudi government's initiatives at reforms are having the support of the youth and public. Chess, for example, was vilified by saudi clerics as satanic, but the recent world rapid chess championship in riyadh went very well over there without issues, due to sound public support amongst youth and intellectuals.

The saudi government's recent decree allowing women to drive too shows its focus and zeal on national reformation and getting rid of outdated practices and ideas.

This can have positive repurcussions in the Islamic world too for the better.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 10:08 PM   #682455 / #8
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Originally Posted by espritch View Post
The Saudi royals made a devil's bargain with the Wahhabists to gain control of Arabia. I'm not optimistic that the new King can buck them without bringing down his own house. Also, people with power rarely give it up willingly, and any real reform would require him to ultimately do so.
Yeah, they might fail. My point is that they are at least trying--they're moving away from radicalism.
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Old 05 Jan 2018, 11:07 PM   #682581 / #9
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Chess, for example, was vilified by saudi clerics as satanic
Idiotic even for clerics. What, spending time learning chess would have taken time away from learning how to repress/abuse people with religious horseshit?

Someone has to be totally insane to willingly spend time in an islamic country. I would have to be taken to one by force.
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Old 06 Jan 2018, 02:37 AM   #682587 / #10
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Welcome development, rather than exporting terrorism and fundamentalism to all countries in the world and not just oil.
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Old 06 Jan 2018, 04:21 PM   #682605 / #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajay0 View Post
Chess, for example, was vilified by saudi clerics as satanic
Idiotic even for clerics. What, spending time learning chess would have taken time away from learning how to repress/abuse people with religious horseshit?

Someone has to be totally insane to willingly spend time in an islamic country. I would have to be taken to one by force.
There was a time when the Islamic world was more progressive and liberal than the west.

The arabs introduced Indian mathematics in the west, but it was met with opposition by christian fundamentalists as satanic, even though it was certified as fruitful by Pope Sylvester.

Zero, which probably sprung from the Buddha's Shunyata or emptiness philosophy, was condemned by Christian fundamentalists as satanic, though it was eagerly embraced by the Arabs with no issues.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cr.../#.WlJJJF00zIV


When it was finally accepted in the west after many centuries after it was first brought there, the numeral system with zero and other mathematical concepts brought there by the arabs, greatly advanced western science and mathematics along with its accounting system .
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Old 06 Jan 2018, 06:08 PM   #682607 / #12
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That was then. I am talking about now. Therefore interesting, but I see no reason to alter my statement.
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Old 06 Jan 2018, 07:07 PM   #682608 / #13
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That was then. I am talking about now. Therefore interesting, but I see no reason to alter my statement.
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if the west had adamantly refused to learn from the arabs back then !

The west probably would still be in the Dark ages even now, and probably even ridiculed by the arabs and rest of the world, for their lack of intelligence, culture and civilization.

Therefore, I would say it is better to keep an open mind free of prejudices. You never know what new changes and innovations might come up even now from the least likely corner, that can be a game-changer.
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Old 06 Jan 2018, 08:17 PM   #682609 / #14
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I would have been far more impressed by a civilization that had never, ever invented religion. Of any kind. I wonder far more about that. Without such silly shit clogging up people's brains, being contradictory to the type of advancement you talk about, even deliberately impeding it in many cases, think about about where the entire world might have been by now.

We could have had a real paradise, as opposed to billions being obsessed over fictional ones.
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 06:10 AM   #682622 / #15
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I wouldn't go that far, but the overall ramifications of religion have surely been the bane of out development for thousands of years now. We learn slowly.
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 12:35 PM   #682625 / #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackrabbit View Post
I would have been far more impressed by a civilization that had never, ever invented religion. Of any kind. I wonder far more about that. Without such silly shit clogging up people's brains, being contradictory to the type of advancement you talk about, even deliberately impeding it in many cases, think about about where the entire world might have been by now.
I don't know if that would have been possible for a premodern society.

But I think that in some premodern societies, their intellectual elites may have gotten at least halfway there. Like in the Greco-Roman world from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the Crisis of the Third Century. Also in the more recent centuries of premodern China.

Richard Carrier has written a book, "The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire", describing how philosophers, doctors, engineers, and others had groped toward a scientific methodology. However, that effort was interrupted by the Crisis of the Third Century. Economic slumping, galloping inflation, strife, civil war, secession of the Empire of the Gauls, and Zenobia's conquests of the Middle Eastern parts of it.

But the Empire survived, and emperor Diocletian tried to stop further economic decline by fixing prices and locking people into their professions. This was the beginning of serfdom. Emperor Constantine supported the Xian Church because he found it to be well-organized, and thus suitable for keeping in control of the Empire. Later Emperors gave it more support, outlawing all religions and all sects but the officially endorsed flavor of Xianity. Not only paganism was suppressed, but also Xian sects decreed to be heretical.

The philosophers liked Neoplatonism, something which featured mystical experience and revelation and the like. The old scientific efforts were gone, though existing work was at least partially preserved.

The early Xians disliked science, considering it folly to try to find out what God had not revealed to us. Some theologians, however, were not completely hostile, but they treated the science of their time as a sort of received doctrine, not something to expand on.

-

So we depend on what medieval Xian scribes decided to preserve, and a lot of technical stuff didn't make it through -- not enough juicy anecdotes. They liked Plato, so we have most of what he wrote, but they didn't like Atomists and Epicureans, who were pretty much atheists. Lucretius's book On the Nature of Things barely survived.

But when western and central Europeans discovered the works of Aristotle, around 1200 CE, they got very interested, and a few centuries later, they ended up starting the Scientific Revolution. Along the way, they tried to argue that scientific inquiry was theologically acceptable, as opposed to being a waste of time or downright heretical.

-

Richard Carrier has proposed that science depends on three values: curiosity, empiricism, and progress. Curiosity: it must be desirable to learn new things. Empiricism: evidence from observation and experiments is the big decider. Progress: it must be possible to learn new things and build on what one has learned.

He notes endorsement of all three in the early Empire by much of the intellectual elite, and the rejection of all three by early Xian theologians.

So there is a gap of over a thousand years between the early Roman Empire and the restarting of scientific inquiry in Europe.
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 12:48 PM   #682626 / #17
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I would have been far more impressed by a civilization that had never, ever invented religion. Of any kind. I wonder far more about that. Without such silly shit clogging up people's brains, being contradictory to the type of advancement you talk about, even deliberately impeding it in many cases, think about about where the entire world might have been by now.

We could have had a real paradise, as opposed to billions being obsessed over fictional ones.
A reactionary attitude also indicates a closed mind and operating out of a conceptual box, the very thing religious societies are supposed to create as per you.

Antoine Lavoisier, popularly known as ' the father of modern chemistry', was similarly guillotined by French reactionaries due to his association with French aristocratic councils, overlooking his great contributions to science.
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 02:13 PM   #682628 / #18
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So you are saying that science has never been impeded by religion, and that it doesn't happen today? I'm only speculating what it would have been like if it had never been done. By anyone.

Admittedly, climate change denial has economic reasons in reality, but those promoting it play on those who think it was all made up. Though why anyone would make up climate change is a mystery.

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Old 07 Jan 2018, 05:54 PM   #682632 / #19
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So you are saying that science has never been impeded by religion, and that it doesn't happen today? I'm only speculating what it would have been like if it had never been done. By anyone.
I was just saying that operating exclusively out of conceptual models or frameworks, whether religious or secular or ideological or economic or otherwise, indicate a closed mind, incapable of perception of the whole, and making errors because of this disconnect.


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Admittedly, climate change denial has economic reasons in reality, but those promoting it play on those who think it was all made up. Though why anyone would make up climate change is a mystery.
See, Trump has economics and money as foremost in his eyes, because that enabled him to have his way in America, no matter how scandalous or outrageous, and getting away with it. Apparently he thinks the same policy would work for him in the presidency, with the world or in international relations.

It was the money-centric model that lead him to live the good life, not activism, scholarship. social work or even charity for that matter. So why should he entertain a different theory or conceptual framework on life even if some protest or say otherwise!
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 08:03 PM   #682634 / #20
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You did not actually read what I said. I was not asking why anyone would deny climate change. The motives of the polluters are absolutely clear.

I was asking what reason there would be for falsely claiming climate change is real. I.e. making it up.

Hint: that doesn't happen, but the deniers seem to think it does. My question was: why would someone make it up? What would it gain them to fabricate climate change if it didn't actually exist?
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 10:32 PM   #682635 / #21
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Well, to avoid a different disaster?

Say you thought Peak Oil has been delayed, but not averted. So you think we need to develop and switch to renewables before carbon energy sources become too scarce to allow that to happen. So you emphasize research that says carbon from fossil fuels will cause global warming.
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Old 08 Jan 2018, 04:51 AM   #682638 / #22
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Fabricate and emphasize are two different things. Is the research being emphasized valid or not? If the former, it should be emphasized.
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Old 08 Jan 2018, 06:19 AM   #682644 / #23
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You did not actually read what I said. I was not asking why anyone would deny climate change. The motives of the polluters are absolutely clear.

I was asking what reason there would be for falsely claiming climate change is real. I.e. making it up.
The answer is present in my post itself.

The same goes for those who say that it (climate change) is all made up. They have a similar money-centric conceptual model and gravitate to those who stands up vigorously for it.

All this talk about greenhouse warming and pollution is fine, but it won't bring in the green, right, as per Trump and his backers. So let's dump it all in favour of the true green, and make corporate America rich and powerful again ( using the scapegoat of a rising China who threatens to take the number one spot as it had in centuries past) and consciously disparage those tree-hugging hippies and eco-scientists who are making all this climate change drivel.

If you have an objective, you can churn out all kind of seemingly credible propaganda to disparage and vilify those who stand opposed to it.

Of course, the propaganda now seems farcical in the face of clear abnormal weather patterns which is taking a toll on the west, but there will still be a few gullible who will keep on swallowing it due to the efficient propaganda and conditioning mechanism, and that will be enough for reelections.

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Old 08 Jan 2018, 01:54 PM   #682649 / #24
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The answer is present in my post itself.
Where? You keep talking about the motives of the polluters and other deniers, which are obvious to everyone. If you are making huge piles of cash from polluting the earth, of course you are going to want to keep doing it and disparage those who say it is destructive for life on earth.

I am talking about the motives of those scientists who say climate change is real. Why would they do that if they did not truly believe that it is a danger? I am asking why anyone would deliberately claim climate change is true if they don't really believe it is. What would be the goal? To avert a disaster that they don't really think exists? For money? They could get far more cash being yet another pet "scientist" of the polluters.

Climate scientists get accused of having ulterior motives and of not really believing what they claim. I'm just pointing out the idiocy of such an accusation. What would the climate scientists gain by lying about it?
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Old 08 Jan 2018, 03:58 PM   #682651 / #25
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Climate scientists get accused of having ulterior motives and of not really believing what they claim. I'm just pointing out the idiocy of such an accusation. What would the climate scientists gain by lying about it?
Of course they have nothing to gain by lying about it, and this is quite evident to the climate change denial propagandists as well, who have better access to all the information. It is the masses who have to suffer the effects of climate change, not the corporate classes who can use money and expensive technology to escape from its ill-effects.

If Trumps seashore mansion or resort goes under rising sea levels or gets wrecked by a superstorm , he does not have much to bother due to his other mansions and resorts. But not so for the common man who is rendered homeless.

In a nuclear war, the american president or the european heads of state can shelter themselves swiftly in a secure underground bunker somewhere in the mountains. Not so for the common man who have to face the full heat of it.

It is this sense of security that goads the climate denialists to pursue their agenda callously at the expense of the common man.
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