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Old 08-04-2009, 08:41 PM   #201
Flintstone
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Let me help you out on a basic common sense moral: "Do onto others as you would have others do onto you." A more spiritual/religious version of that would be "Everything and everyone was created by the hands of GOD, so treat them accordingly." I would venture to say that this simple precept is rather universal in nature.
Sorry for flooding, but don't believe this precept is THAT universal in nature. But anyway thank you for helping me out .
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:28 PM   #202
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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In my dojo, as in my family, "do onto others as you would have others do onto to you" applies. That means that EVERYBODY in my dojo MUST train with EVERYBODY else. The dojo environment is a wonderful venue to learn to blend with others and accept differences while working together. If a person is not willing to do that, then he/she needs to find another place to train.
Marc,

A lot of what you say makes sense and resonates with me. Then we get to a statement like the one above which confuses the heck out of me.

It sounds like your interpretation of the Golden Rule is, "Do unto others as I would have you do unto me" instead of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Those who observe negiah are not violating the Golden Rule in any way. They simply choose to observe a degree of personal space and self-isolation that is outside the norm of our society. That's a pretty tough road to travel on. It's hard to be different. I don't know that we need to make it any harder.

I agree that the dojo is a great venue to learn how to blend and accept differences. I don't see how your position on this issue jives with that philosophy. Seems like having someone like that in your class would be a great opportunity to put that concept into practice. And I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that experience led your student to reexamine their religious assumptions on the matter over time.

Well anyway, I think the horse we've been beating died a number of posts ago. I think we'll have to "agree to disagree" as you put it. I'm sure I'll be visiting your dojo in the not too distant future and look forward to meeting you when I do.

...rab

Last edited by Rabih Shanshiry : 08-04-2009 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:44 AM   #203
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Me too. I don't see a problem. Just that you keep puting religion on the same sack as anything else. Religion is not negotiable, whether the religious guy says so or not. That bold letters are the point. That's why it's a "religion" and not a "preference".
But your religion has no authority over me, so to me the rules of your religion are no more than your preferences as a religious person. As long as I don't convert to your religion, I don't see why I would accept it's authority.
This really is a recurring theme in discussions about religion. On the one hand, religious people fail to grasp that to the non-religious person their beliefs are no different than any other belief (voting preference, freedom of speech is good, Clynelish is good whiskey, etc.). On the other hand, non-religious people fail to grasp how massively important religion is to religious people and how much it is part of their personal identity.
It's a bit ironic actually: I'm not religious, but I did attend a Catholic school for twelve years. And in most cases I find myself defending religion, because in my specific case these discussion mostly consist of non-religious people saying stupid stuff about religion.

Back to the issue at hand, I could not care less about the reason why someone would not want to train with women. If it is because of religious beliefs, I'll show respect and tell you that's not the way we train here. If it's because you're a sexist, I'll show you a lot less respect and tell you that's not the way we train here. It's quite simple really: if you don't want to play by the rules, you don't get to play.

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Are you the kind that won't go out with me because I don't drink alcohol and by drinking orange juice I'm hurting your sense of fun and thus mining our friendship and corrupting the group? Very well it may be the case...
No, you can drink anything you like. The question is if you're good company. Although if you're driving, I'd sure prefer you to drink orange juice.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:02 AM   #204
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
That won't stop me from calling you (again, not you Marc) intolerant, segregacionist, etc. simply because you're preventing me from training based on religious beliefs.
And you would be correct in calling me that, so I wouldn't mind. Liberalism, pluralism and laicism are indeed "isms" and they do segregate. The problem is that most liberals, pluralists and laicist don't like to accept that, because the they are 'tolerant', 'pluralist', etc.
It's a strange world out there, you know...
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:45 AM   #205
Abasan
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Only human beings make religion difficult. By constantly looking at the little things and losing the big picture.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:09 AM   #206
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
Only human beings make religion difficult.
that strikes me funny. do you know someone who is not a human being?
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:15 AM   #207
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
I agree that the dojo is a great venue to learn how to blend and accept differences.
But not any and all diferences. Or should we allow people to practice judo in our aikido classes?
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:17 AM   #208
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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But not any and all diferences. Or should we allow people to practice judo in our aikido classes?
as long as they don't start doing that internal stuffs!
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:32 AM   #209
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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But your religion has no authority over me, so to me the rules of your religion are no more than your preferences as a religious person. As long as I don't convert to your religion, I don't see why I would accept it's authority.
Not trying to convert you or make you accept anyone's religion authority. Never in my intention. But yes, we agree that you are segregating based on religion. And someone will sue you for that. Not me for sure .

And yes, this horse is dead several centuries ago.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:00 AM   #210
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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But yes, we agree that you are segregating based on religion. And someone will sue you for that. Not me for sure .
Perhaps someone will sue me*, but I don't think the judge will agree with them (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.):
- I clearly stated the dojo rules, it's their choice to accept them or not to train.
- I'm not segregating on religion, but on actions (not training with women). The fact that the motivation behind these actions is religious, is irrelevant. If I were refusing people just because they are muslim (or whatever) even when they are willing to abide all the dojo rules, then I would be discriminating and could be rightfully sued.

* I don't have a dojo, nor am I a teacher, so I guess I'm safe for now.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:10 AM   #211
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Perhaps someone will sue me*, but I don't think the judge will agree with them (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.):
- I clearly stated the dojo rules, it's their choice to accept them or not to train.
- I'm not segregating on religion, but on actions (not training with women). The fact that the motivation behind these actions is religious, is irrelevant. If I were refusing people just because they are muslim (or whatever) even when they are willing to abide all the dojo rules, then I would be discriminating and could be rightfully sued.

* I don't have a dojo, nor am I a teacher, so I guess I'm safe for now.
Are you talking public money here? Not a lawyer too, but I'll put my money on you loosing the trial.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:16 AM   #212
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Marc, my only point in this whole discussion is that religion is not to be argue about, but to embrace it or not at all.

But when you talk about religion, it's an accept or shutup thing. Because that's the nature of religion / faith. Not negotiable.
Rubbish! The adpotion of religious beliefs and practices is a personal choice, and as such is open to as much discussion as somebody's choice in cars

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
You can't call yourself a muslim if you are a drinker. Not negotiable. And that's all I'm trying to say.
That's very interesting. I wonder what you would say to the senior member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain who advised a friend of mine that the best way to proceed on his wedding night would be to give his new wife some alcohol so that the marriage could be successfully consummated?

I have come across so much religious hypocrisy in my life (from many different religions) that I consider your statement that religions are to be unquestioned is extremely dangerous.

One thing I will never do is to stop questioning everything - I'd be less of a person if I were to do that!
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:17 AM   #213
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I'm sorry, Ruth, for not making myself clear. English is not my mother tongue as I guess you all already noticed by now

I mean, of course I question about religion. Is this acceptable or not? Do I find that particular rule extravagant, old-fashioned or not? That I can do. And believe me that I do. But at the end of the day, you take it or leave it. You cannot be a muslim and get drunk every other day. Period. No matter if I find it outdated, strange, or whatever. It's the rule. That's what I say.

If that guy is an orthodox Jew and cannot touch women, that's all about it. He just cannot do it. You like it or not. Nothing will change it, unless he stop being an orthodox Jew. That's all.

If the teacher chooses not to accomodate to his particular needs, he's in his right to do so (if he's not getting public money and the dojo is his own). But that doesn't do much for the integration, since Aikido is NOT about religion, but about understanding, blending and harmonizing. The religious guy can understand, but cannot blend with the touching women part. He simple CANNOT, no matter he want it or not. It's not hard to understand.

If the dojo rule was to party every friday by drinking and eating an all pork BBQ... would you buy some lemmonade and some beef for the accomodation of the muslim guy training with you? What's the difference?

As I said before, the horse is dead some 1500 years ago. Sterile discussion we are having here.

Best.
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:55 AM   #214
Marc Abrams
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Marc, my only point in this whole discussion is that religion is not to be argue about, but to embrace it or not at all. You can't call yourself a muslim if you are a drinker. Not negotiable. And that's all I'm trying to say.

Paraphrasing you, I am very fortunate to have worked in a company that allowed me to travel a good deal and also to live in those places in long stances. Talking years here. I'm talking places like Turkmenistan and Indonesia. In the former, if you're not a practizing muslim you're entitled to jail. Chuchs are burned down, Chistians are burnt alive, etc. Indonesia, on the contrary, has 4 or 5 official religions and tolerance is heavy (save for the mandatory exceptions). I maintain those friendships with people from different cultures, countries and all of that. No problems with them. But when you talk about religion, it's an accept or shutup thing. Because that's the nature of religion / faith. Not negotiable.

It's your right to believe that everybody must train with all the other EVERYBODY. If that supposes a barrier for me, I simply will not join. Not me, you understand, an hypotetical me. That won't stop me from calling you (again, not you Marc) intolerant, segregacionist, etc. simply because you're preventing me from training based on religious beliefs. You're not accepting my religion in your dojo, and that's all my point. And I believe that was not the point O'Sensei wanted to make clear (if there was a point he wanted to make clear).

Such a dojo and/or sensei is clearly laicist as in Janet's "Again, by definition setting up an institutional bias that separates people into categories is an 'ism.' "

Best.
Alejandro:

Here is where we agree to disagree. I entirely accept your right to practice and believe in your religion. I am not preventing you from training in my dojo. That is your interpretation of your beliefs that either allow you to practice in my dojo or not. What you described above in those countries in intolerance. I am remarkably tolerant and accepting of differences. My asking people to work with everybody is simply putting that idea into practice.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:03 AM   #215
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Here is where we agree to disagree. I entirely accept your right to practice and believe in your religion. I am not preventing you from training in my dojo.
Again, don't get me wrong. I'm playing devil's advocate here. As I said, I practice with everbody.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I am remarkably tolerant and accepting of differences. My asking people to work with everybody is simply putting that idea into practice.
As would be to ask me to eat pork? That's simply an impossibility. Were you remarkably tolerant you would allow an hypothetical me to join and train only with men. They will understand. If not, neither you or your students are remarkably tolerant. But let's agree to disagree. This is not my case, and I'm getting tired of the whole devil's advocate thingy.

Best.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:25 AM   #216
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I think there is a difference.

Our social norms in the U.S at least, don't really line up with this religious restriction.

Where as not eating pork...meh...not a big deal.

To me it all has to do with the concept of harm.

IMO, there is some harm that is caused to the women in the dojo by this religous practice, and therefore, I would probably not allow it to happen.

Where as with Pork...don't see the harm that is done by not eating it.

That said, I will find a big eye opener when I head to Afghanistan to work with tribal folks. From what i am told, alot of my relationships I will build will be over drink and food.

I am a vegetarian and have not eating any meat for over 9 years. It is considered rude to turn down food that is offered to you in many cultures.

That is something I am going to have to deal with as well.

Is it better to violate my own belief and principle for the greater good, or can I some how mitigate it to a common ground?

Don't have the answer, but I am in enough of these situations in the U.S. and a religous liberal and vegetarian where I am constantly subjected to the religous and dining practices of others that I have to work and socialize with.

I never ask or expect anyone to make accomodations for me. I simply bow my head and quietly go about my own business.

That is a part what comes with the territory when you spiritual and religous practices are not the norm.

Get used to it, and don't expect other folks to accomodate yours. Besides it makes for good spiritual practice on your behalf.

If you don't like it, go found your own "we don't touch females dojo". It is your right to do that!

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:23 AM   #217
Abasan
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
that strikes me funny. do you know someone who is not a human being?
Well not really, but what I meant was, we like to make things difficult for ourselves. In the end we forget that its all about love.

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Old 08-05-2009, 02:33 PM   #218
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

At the end of the day you're still discriminating the guy for his religious beliefs. Me? I will try to accomodate him. If not enough men, too small a group or whatever reasson that prohibit me to do so, I'd simply talk to him very clear and most likely than not, he'll understand and leave, or skip the class or mitori geiko-ing a lot.

No big deal.

Ey, Kevin, I won't be starting such a dojo. I'm extermely liberal concerning religion !
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:10 PM   #219
aikilouis
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Alejandro,
I don't know if your latest interventions are just a way to defuse the controversy or if you are sincere and think it's really no big deal after all, but I find the subject crucial because it defines the basis on which the teacher/student exists in the study of aikido.

As Joep previously explained what some of us reject is a certain behaviour towards a portion of a dojo's membership, no matter what the motivations behind it might be. It is not an anti religious stance, it is an stance against a form of dehumanisation.

The no touch rule some extremist religious groups impose is already insulting enough in the public sphere when justified by a "superior" motive like faith, but it becomes downright inacceptable in a dojo, in the role of guests and students and definitely not in a position to redefine the rules of the house.

The argument of the tolerance to other cultures doesn't hold water very much because here again, every evil behavious can be justified by the blind obedience to cultural prescriptions. It could actually be a positive gesture to point out the destructive effects of some social norms.

Finally I find disturbing the idea that faith allows to give up any sense of responsibility and excuse any transgression of the rules of life among humans. It is a clever strategy when motivated by political goals to play that card and count on the timidity of the opposition to close their eyes and swallow the pill. Also, when one adopts the integrist view and says "those who don't follow the rules to the letter are not true believers", one slips quickly into a generalised witch hunt because one can always be more authentic than the neighbour and interpret the rules in an increasingly extremist way, at the expense of all freedom.

PS : concerning the hypothetical suits against a "discriminating dojo", I don't know how it is in Spain, but in France the complaint would be quickly dismissed.

Last edited by aikilouis : 08-05-2009 at 04:15 PM. Reason: spelling + clarity

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Old 08-05-2009, 05:34 PM   #220
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
At the end of the day you're still discriminating the guy for his religious beliefs. Me? I will try to accomodate him. If not enough men, too small a group or whatever reasson that prohibit me to do so, I'd simply talk to him very clear and most likely than not, he'll understand and leave, or skip the class or mitori geiko-ing a lot.

No big deal.

Ey, Kevin, I won't be starting such a dojo. I'm extermely liberal concerning religion !
No, I don't think it fits the definition of discrimination really. It is simply a incongruent set of values in which you must make a choice do so "no".

It is one thing to say "If you cannot train with women, you cannot train here". (Not discrimination)

It is another thing to say "you can't train her because you are a Arab, Jew, Black, or otherwise". (Discrimination)

The Boy Scouts of America successfully defended against allow girls to be Boy Scouts, Atheist, and Homosexuals to participate.

It would seem kinda silly for me to join a Bacon Eating Club then say that "I want to be a full member but I am a vegetarian and don't eat bacon, it offends me, can you make me something else to eat, and Oh...please buy another grill, cause my food can't be cooked on your bacon grill.!"

Also, it would be silly of me to join a religous based organization that requried me to take an oath to pledge loyality to a higher being, and then say..."oh I won't do that part".

Then when they say "well you can't be a part of our club cause you don't share our values"...to then cry "Discrimination!"

In a way, it is the other way around...I am actually discriminatiing against their beliefs and practices and bring my own beliefs and forcing them on them.....how ironic!

I am all for equality...trust me, I am a card carrying liberal unitarian! LOL!

But I also do not believe that we need to have a completely homogenous society that cannot say "no" and everyone has the right do have their own affinity groups that CAN discriminate if they so choose.

I think aikido as a philosophy is pretty darn open and excepting.

We shouldn't have to limit or bend our beliefs in the name of "Blending" or "Harmonizing" in order to accomodate everyone.

If the person can't find a to meet us in the "middle ground" then do we really need to hurt our own values in the name of Harmony?

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:54 AM   #221
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
No, I don't think it fits the definition of discrimination really. It is simply a incongruent set of values in which you must make a choice do so "no".

It is one thing to say "If you cannot train with women, you cannot train here". (Not discrimination)

It is another thing to say "you can't train her because you are a Arab, Jew, Black, or otherwise". (Discrimination)
Hi, Kevin.

I find this example a logical falacy. Let me put it like this:

1. Saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here is discrimination based on religion.

2. If you cannot train with women then you cannot train here.

3. If you are a muslim or an orthodox jew then you cannot train with women.

4. By Modus Ponens of 2 & 3: If you are a muslim or an orthodox jew then you cannot train here.

5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion.

That's my reassoning. So, based on semantics your example looks plausible, but based on logics, that's a falacy.

I won't join a "bacon eating club" if I'm a vegetarian. That's in the name. But why cannot I join a "martial arts school" if I'm a muslim? There's no contradiction there! What's "martial" have to do with "religion"? Not talking about koryu here. I mean, "beacon eating" has much to do with "vegetarian", but "martial" ahs nothing to do with "muslim".

Ludwig: It's not a matter of diluting the matter. Really. It's just that I'm playing the role of an orthodox jew or strong muslim here, when I'm neither one or the other. My "religious" views, if any, are frankly liberal, so, so, so much close to agnosticism than to anything else. So, really, I shouldn't care about this. But since my wife is a muslim, I'm somewhat concerned and sensitive with the whole matter.

Best.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:59 AM   #222
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
I find this example a logical falacy. Let me put it like this:

1. Saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here is discrimination based on religion.

2. If you cannot train with women then you cannot train here.

3. If you are a muslim or an orthodox jew then you cannot train with women.

4. By Modus Ponens of 2 & 3: If you are a muslim or an orthodox jew then you cannot train here.

5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion.

That's my reassoning. So, based on semantics your example looks plausible, but based on logics, that's a falacy.
Were it not you're making a logical falacy of your own, as we have:
1. Saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here is discrimination based on religion.
4. If you are a muslim or an orthodox jew then you cannot train here.
from which does not follow
5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion.
because you have not proven that he is actually saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here, although it is the consequence of his rule that everyone trains with everyone.

You argument as it is now, can be translated to
1. Saying (if M then NT) = D.
2. If NW, then NT.
3. If M, then NW.
4. By Modus Ponens of 2 & 3: If M, then NT. (Correct.)
5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: (If M then NT) = D (Fallacy.)

With M = muslim or orthodox jew, D = discrimination, NW = not to train with women, NT = not to train.

Last edited by jss : 08-06-2009 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:06 AM   #223
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Sorry, Joep, I don't follow you.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:34 AM   #224
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Sorry, Joep, I don't follow you.
The problem with your argument is that you do not prove that "saying everyone should train with everyone" is equal to "saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here".
Granted, from "saying everyone should train with everyone" logically follows that "muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here", but that does not make "saying everyone should train with everyone" the same as "saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here". And that's why your "5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion." does not work.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:00 AM   #225
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
The problem with your argument is that you do not prove that "saying everyone should train with everyone" is equal to "saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here".
Granted, from "saying everyone should train with everyone" logically follows that "muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here", but that does not make "saying everyone should train with everyone" the same as "saying that muslims or orthodox jews cannot train here". And that's why your "5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion." does not work.
C'mon, that's just minor semmantics. What about this:

1. "Muslims and orthodox jews cannot train here" is discrimination based on religion.

2. Who cannot train with women cannot train here.

3. Muslims and orthodox jews cannot train with women.

4. By Modus Ponens of 2 & 3: Muslims and orthodox jews cannot train here.

5. By Modus Ponens of 1 & 4: This is discrimination based on religion.
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