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Messages - Edip Yuksel

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671
Edip your avatar is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Thank you.

Yes, it is an avatar made by a Turkish artist. She made many more, but I liked this one the most for the following reason: it is a ladybug which is also called luckybug by some. It is a living divine sign delivering a numero-literal sign, which bugs the unappreciative. It puts a smile on gardeners' face as volunteer pest control worker. But, I may soon retire it and replace it with a lion.

Glad to hear that you think that you haven't lost your "sense of common sense," but unfortunately, all who lose it never doubt of their possession of it. (I confess that I have lost a portion of it :).

Peace,
Edip

672
General Issues / Questions / Re: Disturbing
« on: August 02, 2008, 09:25:42 PM »
Dear Jasmine:

Please read Manifesto for Islamic Reform at www.islamicreform.org

If you wish I can send you a free copy of Quran: a Reformist Translation, which refutes those fabrications.

Peace,
Edip

673
General Issues / Questions / Re: quick question about desires
« on: August 02, 2008, 01:20:50 PM »
Arnold, here the verses he/she is referring to:

4:135
38:26
53:3
18:28
20:16
25:43
28:50
45:23
6:150
45:18
6:56, 116
2:120, 145
30:29
etc.

Studying the verses where the following HaWaY is critcized and their contexts, it is clear that HaWaY is not harmless desires but they are desires, whims, pretentions or wishful thinking that contradicts knowledge and reality.

For instance, in order the blind themselves and others to the numerical structure of the Quran, many Turkish mullahs. A recent example: the former head of Turkish religious affairs did it infront of millions during a live debate against me on the TV. He claimed that Basmala did not have 19 letters; thus, he followed his wishful thinking and made up two extra letters through his imaginations.

Another example is the Pope. He pretends that he represents Jesus and God. Thus, he follows his HaWaY and unjustifiably assumes the right to forgive people in the name of God.

For instance,

Peace,
Edip

674
General Issues / Questions / Re: How should we interpret the Qur'an?
« on: August 01, 2008, 10:23:46 PM »
As for "becca" being a specific physical place in Jerusalem, i strongly disagree. It cannot be otherwise what would happen if we one day went on a spaceship millions of light years away from earth? How is it feasible we go on pilgrimage to earth every now and then? Since the Quran is meant for all times i say this is not what it means and if you check the roots for the word "becca" it has nothing to do with the name of any place at all. GOD Bless!

Dear John: What if such a space odyssey would never happen before and God knew it?

Peace,
Edip

675
peace all,

Basically, it means the different stages a Muslim who turns to the "Quran Alone" view goes though on their journey of increasing knowledge/discovery, with stage 5 being the highest level:

1. Questioning of sharia laws (but not of rituals and hadith)
2. Questioning of hadith (but not of rituals)
3. Questioning of rituals (but not of existence of those rituals, merely a revision of them)
4. Questioning of the very existence of rituals (including Mecca itself)
5. Questioning the existence of historical personalities (like nabis and rasul).


I disagree with your list brother Wakas. Any person can create such a list and put his current position as the highest level.

Any person who reaches at your 5th level has just moved from one extreme, that is, from gullibility in believing every story to another extreme, that is, gullibility of denying the existence of facts.

Besides, the list could be an accurate depiction of the path of some people, but I think it is an exaggeration. I have come to know thousands of the so-called Quran aloners and those who reach the 4th station are a minority, though a loud one. As for the 5th station, I have seen only a few who have lost their compass together with their common sense.

Your 5th station, which is disorienting, might lead to the 6th station, which is one below the highest: questioning the existence of French-speaking purple frogs. As for the highest 7th level: ask the jedi  :jedi:

Peace,
Edip

676
General Issues / Questions / Re: why do we do good deeds
« on: July 03, 2008, 09:27:40 PM »
We do good for self-interest and we should do good for self-interest, which includes the promotion of one's genes. Furthermore, we define the concept of "good" according to our self-interest and the range and depth of our good deed is proportional to our intelligence. Studies demonstrate that the more intelligent a species is the longer they can delay gratification for more benefit. Monkeys do better than birds, and we do better than monkeys.

See the following articles (I could not find the the most relevant article at the Science Magazine which I read last year, though):

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025080057.htm
http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9898270

Thus, humans sacrifice in their youth to get some benefits when they are retired. We care more about our family members since we expect care by them first, then we care about our relatives, neighbors etc. No wonder, the level of our care is proportional to the proximity of the subject of the care and the probability of return. The smartest people care about environment since the long term interest involves the well being of the planet, including plants, insects and the rest of the echo system.

God created us via a very ingeniously designed assembly line called the survival of the fittest, which has so far produced homo sapien as the top of the food chain. Thus, through our potential intelligence which has accumulated in our genes and through our active live intelligence, we can calculate and negotiate our individualistic and social tendencies and behavior to obtain optimum advantage according to the changing circumstances. In other wourds, our ethics is consequential. Though it is flattering for our ego to subscribe to the so-called virtue ethics or deontological ethics, I personally find them to be the disguised version of consequentialism.  As our emotions are canned responses learned from painful experiences including our ancestors, they have still reason (self interest) behind them. Thus, emotions are useful, and yet risky responses since they are well calculated to fit exactly to the stimuli, it is preferred when timely response is more important than precision. Doing good just because it is virtuous or duty works opposite to emotions; the time element and the individualistic consequences are almost ignored in such frame of mind. However, a virtuous or dutiful person cannot deny the fact that he or she knows that his or her act will benefit people and indirectly his or her well being.

God knows our nature, so throughout his books, He shows us both carrots (heavens) and stick (hell).

I recommend you reading, How Much Muslim Are You?:

http://19.org/index.php?id=14,44,0,0,1,0

Peace,
Edip

677
Findings:
Deep Down, We Can?t Fool Even Ourselves

By JOHN TIERNEY
The Newyork Times
July 1, 2008


In voting against the Bush tax cut in 2001, Senator John McCain said he ?cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate.? Today he campaigns in favor of extending that same tax cut beyond its expiration date.

Senator Barack Obama last year called himself a ?longtime advocate? of public financing of election campaigns. This month, he reiterated his ?support? for such financing while becoming the first major party presidential nominee ever to reject it for his own campaign.

Do you think either of these men is a hypocrite?

If so, does this hypocrite really believe, in his heart, what he is saying?

Fortunately, we don?t need to get into the fine points of taxes or campaign finances to take a stab at these questions. We can probably get further by looking at some experiments in what psychologists call moral hypocrisy.

This is a more devious form of hypocrisy than what was exhibited by, say, the governor of New York when he got caught patronizing a prostitute. It was obviously hypocritical behavior for a public official who had formerly prosecuted prostitutes and increased penalties for their customers, but at least Eliot Spitzer acknowledged his actions were wrong by anyone?s standards.

The moral hypocrite, by contrast, has convinced himself that he is acting virtuously even when he does something he would condemn in others. You can understand this ?self-halo? effect ? and perhaps discover it in someone very close to you ? by considering what happened when two psychologists, Piercarlo Valdesolo and David DeSteno, tested people?s reactions to the following situation.

You show up for an experiment and are told that you and a person arriving later will each have to do a different task on a computer. One job involves a fairly easy hunt through photos that will take just 10 minutes. The other task is a more tedious exercise in mental geometry that takes 45 minutes.

You get to decide how to divvy up the chores: either let a computer assign the tasks randomly, or make the assignments yourself. Either way, the other person will not know you had anything to do with the assignments.

Now, what is the fair way to divvy up the chores?

When the researchers posed this question in the abstract to people who were not involved in the tasks, everyone gave the same answer: It would be unfair to give yourself the easy job.

But when the researchers actually put another group of people in this situation, more than three-quarters of them took the easy job. Then, under subsequent questioning, they gave themselves high marks for acting fairly. The researchers call this moral hypocrisy because the people were absolving themselves of violating a widely held standard of fairness (even though they themselves hadn?t explicitly endorsed that standard beforehand).

A double standard of morality also emerged when other people were arbitrarily divided in two groups and given differently colored wristbands. They watched as one person, either from their group or from the other group, went through the exercise and assigned himself the easy job.

Even though the observers had no personal stake in the outcome ? they knew they would not be stuck with the boring job ? they were still biased. On average, they judged it to be unfair for someone in the other group to give himself the easy job, but they considered it fair when someone in their own group did the same thing.

?Anyone who is on ?our team? is excused for moral transgressions,? said Dr. DeSteno, a psychologist at Northeastern University. ?The importance of group cohesion, of any type, simply extends our moral radius for lenience. Basically, it?s a form of one person?s patriot is another?s terrorist.?

If a colored wristband is enough to skew your moral judgment, imagine how you are affected by the ?D? or the ?R? label on your voting registration. If you are a Democrat, you are more likely to think Mr. McCain hypocritically switched tax policies to pick up conservative votes, but Mr. Obama?s decision to abandon public financing probably looks more complicated. If you?re a Republican you?re likelier to figure Mr. Obama did it just so he could raise more money on his own, but you?re more willing to consider Mr. McCain?s economic rationales.

The more interesting question is how presidential candidates, and their supporters, turn into hypocrites. It has been demonstrated repeatedly in experiments that humans are remarkably sensitive to unfairness. We?ve survived as social animals because we are so good at spotting selfishness and punishing antisocial behavior.

So how we do violate our own moral code? Does our gut instinct for self-preservation override our moral reasoning? Do we use our powers of rationality to override our moral instinct?

?The question here,? Dr. DeSteno said, ?is whether we?re designed at heart to be fair or selfish.?

To find out, he and Dr. Valdesolo brought more people into the lab and watched them selfishly assign themselves the easy task. Then, at the start of the subsequent questioning, some of these people were asked to memorize a list of numbers and retain it in their heads as they answered questions about the experiment and their actions.

That little bit of extra mental exertion was enough to eliminate hypocrisy. These people judged their own actions just as harshly as others did. Their brains were apparently too busy to rationalize their selfishness, so they fell back on their intuitive feelings about fairness.

?Hypocrisy is driven by mental processes over which we have volitional control,? said Dr. Valdesolo, a psychologist at Amherst College. ?Our gut seems to be equally sensitive to our own and others? transgressions, suggesting that we just need to find ways to better translate our moral feelings into moral actions.?

That is easier said than done, especially in an election year. Even if the presidential candidates know in their guts that they are being hypocritical, they cannot very well be kept busy the whole campaign doing mental arithmetic. Besides, they are surrounded by advisers with plenty of spare mental power to rationalize whatever it takes to win.

Politicians are hypocritical for the same reason the rest of us are: to gain the social benefits of appearing virtuous without incurring the personal costs of virtuous behavior. If you can deceive even yourself into believing that you?re acting for the common good, you?ll have more energy and confidence to further your own interests ? and your self-halo can persuade others to help you along.

But as useful as hypocrisy can be, it?s apparently not quite as basic as the human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Your mind can justify double standards, it seems, but in your heart you know you?re wrong.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/science/01tier.html

678
General Issues / Questions / Re: A proposal.... what do you think?
« on: July 01, 2008, 06:05:17 PM »
Dear Dc:

I am open for overseas, especially Europe. But, there will be issue regarding time. I will be on vacation until August and I can take off October 4-12.


Peace,
Edip

679
General Issues / Questions / A proposal.... what do you think?
« on: July 01, 2008, 04:59:30 PM »
Dear sisters and brothers:

I invite you to get involved more actively in communicating the liberating and peaceful message of the Quran with public.

Personally, I decided to get more active and allocate some time for public lectures and debate. So, I will have two proposals.

1. Contact universities around you, to invite me to discuss Manifesto for Islamic Reform (See: www.islamicreform.org and the appendix section of Quran: a Reformist Translation). The invitation could be through a department, center or student club. I would welcome one-to- one debate format to lectures, but a lecture followed by a discussion session would be fine.

As for the second proposal, its about creating an efficient network of activists, and I will inshallah share the details of my proposal later.

Please let me know what you think. You may use 19@19.org or yuksel@yuksel.org for email. Since I am on summer vacation, you may reach me via my cell phone too: (Sorry, I did not intend to publish my cell phone number here. I forgot to delete it from this email, which was first shared with a limited group of people on my email list. So, I am deleting it.).

Peace,
Edip Yuksel

680
General Issues / Questions / Re: Nick Names
« on: June 16, 2008, 05:16:02 PM »
Ustahi:

We are talking in different languages and thinking in different modes. My question about freedom of will was soliciting an rational argument for its existence in a deterministic universe.

You are a poet, not a philosopher; you feel more than you think; you preach more than you learn from others; that is my first impression.

And, I think you have great chance to find many followers, since your words has the power and flexibility to suit their imaginations and emotions.

Peace,
Edip

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