May 7, 2018
Unlike our discussion with scheduled guests, live streams with Ali and Armin will be streaming live publicly. On these live streams, we'll take pre-requested questions from our Patrons (Mossad's Shoe tier +) and questions from anyone present during the live chat if we run out of Patron requested questions. We also might be joined by some of our Patrons as co-hosts (Jew Lover tier +).
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Hi Armin. I’d like to know if you think recent events have cost Linda Sarsour credibility. Like her women’s march openly supporting Farrakhan. She seems terribly anti-Semitic to be and doesn’t seem to be friendly with apostate Muslims. Do you think she will lose support from the center-left?
Here is one I thought of:
Do you think that mocking religious beliefs reduces suffering in the world? If so, why?
Anyway, good luck with the show, and thanks for doing it! 🙂
1: Armin, you often explain your preference for promoting leaving Islam altogether, as opposed to reform or substituting another ideology like nationalism.
i) have you found that this option is much more viable for young people, as oppose to middle-aged and older people who have spent their whole lives as Muslims and either feel its too late to change their mind (sunk cost fallacy) or are simply so entrenched in the ideology/community/culture etc. that they simply cannot or will not part with their beliefs. ie: under what circumstances would you encourage reform or the adherence to another, while still false, less harmful ideology.
ii) your preference for leaving Islam completely as opposed to a more piecemeal rout is justified by the assertion that any other ideology (nationalism, reformed Islam etc) is still a 'bull shit story'. In Yuval Noah Harrari's book Sapiens he suggests that most human activity is based on these kinds of narratives; human rights, secular values etc. are also just stories we tell ourselves. We would agree that these stories are much better than Islam, however, is we are dealing entirely in a space of narrative, then we are really on a continuum of narratives, with some better than others. I don't expect this re-conceptualization to change your preference for the ex-Muslim movement but I'm wondering if you can defend your position in this context, which at first would make it seem like any movement in a positive direction (including reform) would be a good thing, but your position would be to draw a line on the continuum and say that it should be crossed otherwise the movement is not really worth it.
2: Ali, you have spoken about being a free speech absolutist. Whenever this position is defended I always hear the phrase, 'sunlight is the best disinfectant.' It is a great metaphor but is still just a metaphor. I wonder if you can bring it into much more concrete terms: how does bring ideas 'into the light' 'disinfect' them? this seems to rely on a 'truth shall set you fee' sort of principal, that upon hearing the truth, people will have no choice but to prescribe to it. Put this way, it starts to break down in light of people's ability to continue to believe plain falsehoods even in the face of mountain evidence. the very existence of religion for example, or climate change denial etc. While I don't mean to question free speech in principle, how can we be so confident that it will truly lead towards the truth and not the opposite? In other words, to continue the metaphor, we can explain the chemical process that is disinfecting, I'm wondering if you can convert this explanation back to the sphere of free speech.
Have you read Kanan Makiya's "Republic of Fear" about Saddam Hussein's Iraq and what do you make of it? Also, what do you make of Christopher Hitchens and Nick Cohen's support for the Iraq War, which were largely based on Makiya's arguments. More broadly, when the cause of anti-Totalitarianism and the cause of anti-Imperialism are in direct conflict, how do you prioritize them?