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Reply to commenter A. Pavel

Reader comment on item: La Rage et l'Orgueil

Submitted by M Bond (United States), Apr 18, 2005 at 02:51

Your response is anemic and confused, several points follow:

1) Your apparent assumption aside, I have a genuine and enormous respect for the contributions and work of Daniel Pipes. By my judgement he's proven himself to be highly accomplished across a variety of disciplines which inform Muslim and Arab interests, among other disciplines as well. I was not countering or supplanting Pipes's assessment of Fallaci's work entirely, rather I was attenuating it, indicating partial agreement while noting there is something more in her work as well, something that should not be so readily dismissed, even if it is a "something" that is not readily quantifiable or reducible to a factor within a simple stream of logic or some ratiocinated, deductive process.

2) Please note that you posted your reply contemporaneous to Theo Van Gogh's murder and near decapitation. That you're willing to elide "little things" like that (e.g., honor killings, European demographic problems concomitant with large and growing Muslim populations seemingly unwilling to assimilate within an EU styled multicultural ethos and forms of governance) speaks poorly at best of your willingness to apprehend and responsibly grapple with all the prominent issues that need to be faced.

3) That you reference The Enlightenment while also asserting that the scientific quality that subtends the soft sciences is equal to that same quality which supports, informs and helps forward the hard sciences is, apparently, your assessment, but it is your assessment only, nothing more than that. For example, how many varieties of positivism, especially so within social science disciplines - the softer sciences - have fallen by the wayside to one degree or another since The Enlightenment? Comte in one vein and Marx in another come readily to mind, but that is merely a beginning, and the intellectual histories of various positivisms is merely one broad and significant issue you'd need to deal with in order to more soundly forward your argument. Science is science; but there is a more muddled ideology that might be labeled scientism, one that presumes rather more than genuine scientific claims warrant.

4) Your attempted arrogation of authority stems from an ad hominem dismissiveness, itself largely based on a completely invalid presumption of emotionalism. In using the term "passion" I did not equate it with emotionalism either explicitly or implicitly. Fallaci's jeremiad reflects passions that are both warranted and at other times excessively emotional, so be it, but the latter does not negate the former. Neither her status as a non-scientist nor her profession of mere reporter - i.e., member of the Enlightenment's Fourth Estate - invalidates her primary concerns.

5) Introducing yourself as a scientist for purposes of claiming authority, (instead of for purposes of imparting substantial scientific information and data) is a rhetorical trick reminiscent of the worst and stereotypical exemplars of the First and Second Estate of the Enlightenment period, not the Fourth or Fifth Estates which have, shall we kindly say, prospered since that era.
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