Friday, 22 November 2013

Unanswered questions

This blog post has moved here

It seems there are some questions that are too difficult for certain people to answer.

The first one is with regards to Hamza Tzortzis and his views on sex with 9 year old brides.  Having sat in front of an audience and told them that under the right circumstances it is okay for an adult male to have sex with his 9 year old bride he now seems very coy about discussing the issue.  The only brief correspondence we had on this subject involved Hamza emailing me privately to tell me he has the right to take down unauthorised copies of the footage, and suggesting I “do the right thing” and take the video down “before things get messy on youtube”. Of course in public he claimed he'd do no such thing.  He did, at one point on Twitter, say that the video clip does not represent his views on the matter and that he was “currently writing a paper” to clarify, since then all has gone quiet and no such paper has appeared.

The second one is with regards to Adam Deen.  He uses the following (borrowed) arguments against the problem of evil which he is satisfied with peddling:
  • Allowing humans to do evil things is a necessary part of giving us free will to choose not to do evil things.
  • Without God there is no such things as objective good and evil, nor morality and immorality, so there.
  • Humans suffer of natural ailments as a test.
*Note: Those arguments were presented far too eloquently and were thus paraphrased.

However if you remove humans from the equation in order to remove the “it’s a test” claim, and instead of using words such as “immoral” or “evil” we simply point out that there is a horrendous amount of animal suffering in the world caused by other animals, suddenly Mr Deen likes to drop the subject.

This animal suffering includes male otters holding the heads of baby seals under water while they force them to ensure sexual acts, a practise which often leads to the seal pups drowning; Kimono dragons injecting their prey with a slow acting poison which takes days for the animal to die, and giving the Kimonos the opportunity to start dinner before their victim is actually dead; and certain types of wasps which inject caterpillars with their eggs which then eat their way out of the caterpillar over time; traumatic conception; and countless other examples of animal suffering that could easily be avoided by an all-powerful entity or, in many cases (such as the slow death of Kimono dragons’ prey), a mere human with a gun.

And so once establishing that compensating these poor animals after they are dead is not a form of mercy we ended up at a simple question
  1. If animals do suffer and Allah is all-powerful and the most merciful, then why does Allah allow animals to suffer due to the actions of other animals when simple alternatives are possible (e.g. fast acting venom).
  2. If animals do not suffer, then why should we keep the RSPCA (Royal society of prevention of cruelty to animals) or various other charities that are set up to heal stray animals injured in accidents or by other animals?
I’d be happy to know the answer to this question, but it seems that the only thing Mr Deen does competently is to avoid answering difficult questions.

So if ever you are in a public forum with either of these religious apologists and have the opportunity to ask a question you may want to consider using one they dislike answering.

Hamza Tzortzis: How does one objectively determine if a 9 year old girl is “physically capable” of receiving an adult sized penis without the test damaging or traumatising her?

Adam Deen: If Allah is the most merciful then why is there so much unnecessary animal to animal suffering in the world, and if there is no such thing as animal suffering then why did you say we should keep the RSPCA?

Yeah, good luck with getting an answer to one of those...

*Update: I've collected all of Adam's responses to me regarding this subject.  I've read through them and do not see an answer to my question.  I've asked him to give me the number of the response he feels answers my question but so far no response.  Adam's responses are here.


  1. Looking at Deen's Twitter posts over a period of time its clear that in reality he is a bluffer. He assumes intellectual and moral high ground on the basis of his religious delusion but seems incapable of presenting any real coherent argument as to why his religious delusion, its justifications and paradigmatic rationalisations are superior to non religious reasoning. Like many deluded religious apologists he is doomed to spend the rest of his life attempting to prove the veracity of his delusion, mostly to his dishonest self. The rest of his life will not be long enough. He will have to be content with fooling himself and attempting to fool others with a sharper wit than his own and bluff out his remaining days. Still, he is an amusing and vaguely comical character and not the 'Islamic player' he imagines himself to be.
    Converts are always flawed individuals. Its the flaw which drives them to seek answers to the sense of unease they have in themselves which they imagine will be relieved by the act of believing in whichever religious delusion attracts their narcissistic ironic egoism.
    Tragic and revealing that he couldn't even reference his own twitter 'answer' to TheRationaliser's needling question. Even sadder, apart from the suffering of animals he is incapable of dealing with, he sees human suffering as a 'test' by his Allah.
    Deen's Allah apparently 'tests' the fortitude of HIS human creations against the suffering they encounter throughout their life on planet earth as a means of qualified entrance to HIS eternal 'paradise' after death. (A vaguely Darwinian struggle for survival in eternal bliss?) Entrance to paradise depends upon the moral ethical and spiritual resiliance displayed throughout the individual's life in the face of their suffering, even though Allah, being omniscient, knows the result of HIS test before the individual being tested has been created. If the result of Allah's test is known to HIM before the individual's life is tested on planet earth then Allah's test is completely redundant, though the suffering is still real. Deen tests our and his own credulity and fails on both counts.
    The notion of the 'test' is a silly attempt to rationalise away the lack of free will within the Islamic paradigm in a universe created by an omnisicent god.
    The ultimate irony for the deluded Deen is that he won't be disappointed when he doesn't wake up in 'paradise' after his death... because he will be dead and all his aquisitive 'spiritually materialistic pass the the test suffering' will be his own to piously savour in anticipation of the eternal life he does not know he is not going to encounter. Lost in his delusion he seems half dead already.
    He should acquire a pet dog whilst still a puppy, a bright breed, and nurture it- as a 'fellow being'. It will teach him more about being a sentient creature living on planet earth than his comical religious delusion ever will. 'Life is only real if you are.'

  2. It looks like Adam's position is that animals do not suffer, so I'd have liked to see his response to your Q2 (I don't see where he answered it). However, there is a sahih hadith where Muhammad says Allah thanked and rewarded someone who gave water to a thirsty dog to ease its suffering and that it's good to help animals!

  3. If I was Muslim I'd then maybe say the animal suffering is a test as an opportunity to help another creation and we should when the opportunity arises. But there's all sorts of things like the examples in your blog we humans can do nothing about.

    I think morality questions can be dealt with generally by saying that we have evolved to have empathy. When we see someone who is not brain damaged and is capable of empathy failing to show it, we are angry with that person and brain damaged, mentally ill or not, we also shun them, behaviors that make sense in evolutionary terms. "Why should an atheist do good?" is then a question with an unsound premise. We do it, and get angry with those who don't, because we can do no other, we have evolved to care and be angry and/or wary at those who through illness do not or who override such inclinations. There is no "should" in the sense of some metaphysical force of good and evil.

  4. For any bored people who read my comment, to be more precise, when we do good we are following our natural empathy, and when we choose not to do the good thing we are not. When I see someone who hasn't and say "that's so wrong" or "he should / ought to have done x", I actually mean I wish he had done x because I have empathy for the 3rd party, and I am to some degree angry at and wary of the person who did not display empathy. When I wonder "Should I do x good thing or the selfish thing?", I am simply weighing the strength of my empathy in that situation against other considerations, and for most of us our empathy comes top perhaps most of the time.


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