General discussion


Dialogue by Intellectuals

By XEntity ·
Intellectual discussions, in days of old, were in mahogany rooms filled with smoke and polite chatter. The warm glow of incandescent lamps cast across the humored faces of distinguished middle aged men in high back leather chairs upon which their sport coats ride up on occasionally. Their shirt collars were open and wilds of hair curled out of their shirt as well as around their thick black rim glasses. Cigars smoldered in half full ash trays sitting cockeyed atop folded newspapers. This is the setting of a retro intellectual conversation.

Today, conversations on a host of topics are carried out not in the same manner but rather over the internet without a face-to-face dialogue which is somewhat informal and most certainly undisciplined.

Most honest intellectuals, besides being humble, will remark that there is a sense of decorum, a rigor, to elevated thought and subsequent dialogues; much of which was taken from those old swanky mahogany rooms. A well humored intellectual will realize that reason and commonsense are quite apart from each other. Reason is the ability to go beyond awareness and develop understanding but commonsense is when a reasonable argument appeals to our God-given sensibilities.

When it comes to truly deep issues there is a strong temptation to retreat to unreasoned beliefs often wrongfully calling it commonsense. To deal with this the ancient Greek philosophers attempted to establish formalized human reasoning using unassailable rules of logical deduction. These Greeks would stand upon flat elevated rocks as an orator to those who gathered. In more current times, intellectuals would sit in high back leather chairs and smoke pipes in dimly lit mahogany rooms and exchange views. And today, many who profess to be intellectual sit in dimly lit rooms as the glow of a computer monitor cast shadows across their face. The only sense of their identity is perhaps hidden in an avatar rather than in their proclamations of character.

Many people today have lost sight of not only the other human but the purpose of such conversations. These conversations are not as much to espouse a viewpoint, gain followers, or confirm a belief but to discern the strength or weakness of a particular view point. There is an art to carrying an intellectual conversation.

The successful intellectual conversation is unlike ordinary run-of-the-mill chatter. One has to bring recognized credibility into the dialogue and a foundational base from which the dialogue begins. Often proper names with surnames are used in reverence another?s views. During discourse when presenting an opposing opinion, one often caveats the dissenting opinions with respectful language that softens the objection. Such language may include ?There is another view on that point?? or ?I would like to provide an alternate perspective? in lieu of ?I disagree??, ?you are wrong?, or other language that diminishes the other person?s significance or contribution. Rarely are first person pronouns used as ego is ideally removed from the dialogue and the focus is placed on the information and knowledge exchanges. For example, ?My studies?? may be rephrased as ?The understanding I have come to know ? ?. Unfortunately, there are those who ego is to argue simply to hear their own voice. These people are so busy listening to themselves that they have little time to form original thoughts. The goal is to debate without heightened language. More important than the language, acumen, and respect is the keen awareness of fundamental Theorems, Principles, and Laws that intellectual discourse relies on. Some of the most basic are:

Ockham's Razor
Competent Analysis
Innocent Humor
Da Vincian Principles
Creative Thinking
Critical Thinking
Common Thinking

There are styles and methods that are not acceptable to use in intellectual discourse which include:

Building Prejudicial Arguments
Inappropriate humor

To be proficient in carrying an intellectual dialogue one must not only be studied but also trained and practiced. That which is reasoned must use a variety of available tools. These tools respect other views and can strengthen one's own argument. The structure to reason involves both mathematics and words. Most often the language is translated into mathematics but mathematics can demonstrate behaviors that must be translated into words.

Deeply religious people mistakenly equate the hearts and minds of humans divisively to emotion and reason respectively. They fail to realize that the Bible encourages intellectual conversations as long as they are centered rightfully on the knowledge and wisdom that God grants humans. In executing such dialogues one has to employ the rigors of integrity, intellect, resourcefulness, and love. By incorporating these attributes into the dialogue and sharing meaningful understanding and growth can mature and everyone becomes 'refreshed'.

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perhaps it is stupidity

by faradhi In reply to Perhaps he does'nt know h ...

which I define as a wanton disregard of the truth. There is a chance, however slim, it is ignorance.

Thanks for detailing where Islam and Judaism part ways. I know it was surrounded Abraham but never can remember all the details so I am reluctant to talk about it with out researching it.

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Right now, ignorance is running dead last.

by deepsand In reply to perhaps it is stupidity

As for Abraham, it was he who, in a round about way, can be held partially responsible for the hasty and most unprofessional execution of Saddam Hussein.

The Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, one of Islam's two most important religious holidays, marking Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, was imminent, and the Shia were loath to wait until after its passing for the hanging of Sadam.

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re: "the hasty and most unprofessional execution of Saddam Hussein"

by Absolutely In reply to Right now, ignorance is r ...

Agreed. What's more,

Did Saddam Die For Our Sins?
Barry Lando
January 09, 2007

Barry Lando is a former CBS "60 Minutes" producer and journalist with Time-Life. He is the author of Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush (2006).

The disappearance of Saddam Hussein means that a lot of current and former top officials in the United States and other Western governments can breathe easier. The story of the West?s complicity in many of the tyrant?s most horrific crimes will remain untold, at least by the one man who could have spelled it out most clearly.

The purpose of the Special Iraqi Tribunal was supposedly, like the Nuremburg Tribunal, to educate Iraqis and the world about Saddam and his barbarous regime. That at least was the fiction. But the crime for which Saddam paid with his life?the torture and execution of 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail?was a trifle compared to the dictator?s far more vicious acts. On the other hand, no foreigners were implicated in those killings, which is just what the Americans, who set up and rode herd on the tribunal had in mind. In fact, one of the regulations of the tribunal, constantly overlooked, is that only Iraqi citizens and residents can be charged with crimes before that court.

Foreign leaders and businessmen certainly had a hand?by omission and commission?in the second case which is now continuing without Saddam (the charges against him have been dropped ). It?s based on the charge that he and his lieutenants carried out the genocidal slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980?s, which includes the gassing of men, women and children. With the key actor missing, the trial will now lose all interest for the outside world, and even for most Iraqis. But the damning fact is, as Saddam?s forces were carrying out their liquidation of the Kurds, American officials from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations blocked attempts of the U.S. Congress and the U.N. to condemn the Iraqi tyrant. They had similarly squelched earlier efforts to condemn Saddam for his chemical attacks against Iranian troops.

U.S. officials not only claimed to have no specific knowledge of Saddam?s ruthless attacks, but refused to even meet with Kurdish leaders with first-hand evidence of Saddam?s barbarities. Saddam had been America?s de facto ally in what would become a bloody eight-year war against Khomeini?s Iran. The United States fed the conflagration, providing billion dollar loans, weapons and satellite intelligence that enabled the Iraqis to precisely target Iranian troops with chemical weapons. Ironically, even after the war had ended, the Bush White House?with its eyes fixed on Iraq?s huge petroleum deposits and potential markets?continued to defend and push trade with Saddam?s regime.

In fact, according to a memo written by Alexander Haig, Ronald Reagan?s Secretary of State, it was the Carter White House in 1980 which encouraged Iraq?via the Saudis?to invade Iran in the first place. Since Jimmy Carter has always denied that charge, it would have been interesting to hear Saddam expound on the issue. Iran had originally requested that Saddam?s invasion of Iran?which led to the deaths of more than a million people on both sides?also be considered one of the crimes by the tribunal. The request was turned down.

On the other hand, tribunal officials had indicated that one of the major atrocities that would be dealt with was Saddam?s slaughter of tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Shiites in Southern Iraq following their uprising in 19**. They were answering the repeated public calls for rebellion by President George H.W. Bush. They didn?t realize Bush and his pragmatic Secretary of State James Baker didn?t really mean it.

When it looked as it the insurgents might actually succeed, the American president turned his back. The White House and its allies wanted Saddam replaced not by a popular revolt which they couldn?t control, but by a military leader, more amenable to U.S. interests. So, as the United States permitted Saddam?s attack helicopters to decimate the rebels, American troops just a few kilometers away from the slaughter were ordered to destroy huge stocks of captured weapons rather than let them fall into rebel hands. How enlightening it would have been to hear Saddam recount his feeling of relief when he realized that President Bush p?re was actually going to help him stay in power.

Forget the trial. What if, instead of the Special Tribunal?or along with it?Iraq had established a Truth Commission such as South Africa did following the fall of apartheid? Saddam might have explained to what degree feckless U.S. diplomacy was responsible for his concluding there would be no reaction from Washington if he were to invade Kuwait in 1990.

It would have been equally intriguing to hear Saddam expound on his relations with the French, who sold the dictator a nuclear reactor in the 1970?s, though it was clear he was after WMD. Or what about Saddam?s views of the German governments?east and west?who closed their eyes as scores of German industries also helped Saddam build his chemical arsenal. Saddam might have had a few words to say about the British under Margaret Thatcher, who were equally eager to cash in on the Iraqi arms bonanza?Thatcher?s son included.

Or, we could have gone back to the beginning?to the charge that the CIA was involved in organizing the first act that brought Saddam into the limelight: his participation in the botched 1958 assassination attempt against Iraqi President Qassem, who had proved too nationalistic and close to the Soviets for American and British Cold War tastes.

No, not to worry?there?ll be nothing embarrassing out of Saddam?not since his neck snapped as he plunged through the trap door in Baghdad?unless, somehow, he managed to write or transcribe his memoirs. Now that thought might still make for a few sleepless nights.

Copyright ? 2007 Barry Lando

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Those sleepness nights may yet come to pass.

by deepsand In reply to re: "the hasty and most ...

As was the case following the fall of Nazi Germany, countless documents were seized from various Iraq governmental offices. And, despite the fact that our Administration has been loath to allow access to them, to the point that most remain untranslated, some details have begun to leak out.

For example, it is now known that, very shortly after the fall of Baghdad, it became known, from captured documents, that Saddam had in fact planned on not using conventional warfare as a means of defending against an Allied invasion, but rather what became to be known as an "insurgency." To date this discovery remains known to but a few.

Did GWB know of this when, on 02MAY03, he landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended?" If not, why not? If so, do we now have to determine the meaning of "major" before judging his veracity?

A minor historical footnote, perhaps; but, who knows whats lurks in those dark storage areas where all of those captured documents lie, awaiting the light.

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Many 'commas' in that post.

by Absolutely In reply to Those sleepness nights ma ...

I propose a boycott of that particular piece of punctuation for reasons that should be obvious to all.

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I presumed a sophisticated audience.

by deepsand In reply to Those sleepness nights ma ...

Needless to say, had I been addressing a less qualified reader, I'd have made it ever so much simpler.

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by XEntity In reply to WOW I am impressed

My original piece did not make any sexist remarks, it simply conveyed an historical image (something of the past) of an intellectual conversation. This was then dissected into pieces by a woman with a chip on her shoulder. I simply pointed out she should appreciate how far women have come with a graphic illustration where she could be.

My my Christian views are pretty much inline with Matt 5. I am far more versed in Islam than you may think. Try reading Sura 112 then compare that to John 1:14. That is direct denial of the Judeo\Christian Bible.

Your Christian position is incorrect. Read Matthew 7. One does not condemn. You are to correct others but must make sure yourself is right. You blew that one.

However, Matthew 7:6 may be more appropriate for this forum.

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I have tried to correct without condeming

by faradhi In reply to Really...

I am certain of my facts and wrote them to correct you without judging or condemning you.

What part of Sura 112 do you have a problem with. Is it the one God part you are having difficulty with? Or, could it be that None Equals him?

Further, I was addressing your comments in the entire thread and not just your original post. I thought that would be clear by my comments to an intellectual such as yourself.

As for the attempt your attempt to make this a scriptural debate. The bible is full of metaphors and allegory along with factual accounts. However, most christians of diffrent faiths disagree in what is fact, what is allegory and what is metaphorical. Therefore, I avoid such debates. As long as someone states they believe that Christ is their savior, I take them for their word and move on.

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I remember this part!

by maecuff In reply to Really...

I remember when Mr. Miami justified judging others by pointing to the bible.

And you even brought up Geobub. But you all aren't the same person, right? Wonder when Geobub will show up and defend you?

Advice? Wait a day or two, because it's going to be too obvious if he shows up any sooner. You'll lose credibility.

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At 16:07, PST, 29 minutes prior to your post Mr.Miami magically reappeared!

by deepsand In reply to I remember this part!

And, not as GeoBub, but as himself!

Can you say Cybil?

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