John Lilburne's journal about Peter Singer and John Keegan.



About John Lilburne







2044 K Thu 11 Oct 2001

It has been a month since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

There is an interesting article on page 13 of The Age by Peter Singer, "DeCamp professor of bioethics at Princeton University". (I could not find it on their internet site). Here are some extracts from his article:

The secret to beating fundamentalism

... On the evidence available, those who carried out the attacks were not motivated by a concern for the world's poor, or a desire to achieve greater global justice. They were motivated by their religious beliefs. ...

What are the chances that Bush will engage in an intensive effort to educate people around the world in the reasons why we should treat supposedly sacred religious texts as human creations, no less fallible than other human creations? Or that he will seek to puncture belief in heaven, about the only thing that could make it rational to fly a plane into a building, killing yourself along with everyone else? ...

It is interesting to compare it to what I wrote in this journal on 12 September:

The author Tom Clancy was interviewed on CNN, making the point that suicide bombers tend to be religious, motivated by hopes rewards after their death. This also came through in a movie I saw a few weeks ago, The Siege. So I think one of the responses will be a call for a more rational approach to religion.

Singer's seems to regard all religion as irrational. Since Bush reads the bible and his faith helps him make decisions, Singer writes "So he is in no position to criticise anyone else for holding irrational beliefs about God or the afterlife." I would agree his solution of educating fundamentalists. But I believe the education needs to be in a more rational approach to religion, rather than what I think would be his approach of "no religion".

Here is a frightening quote from an interview I saw last night, on Foreign Correspondent, with Sir John Keegan:

Keegan: Oh I should think that Osama bin Laden when he goes down to say his daily prayers, says please God bring me nuclear weapons. And he's trying very very hard to get hold of them. And it won't just be one nuclear weapon, they'll let off six at the same time in six of the world's greatest cities.

He is a military historian and I have read a couple of his books.

One of the main stories today is that the Australian Kangeroo's rugby league team has refused to tour England. Another is that a third person has died of Anthrax in Florida. Yet life seems to go on as normal, with me completing this morning's essay for Metaphysics and going to a lecture this afternoon.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 11 October 2001.


Links to other sites:

Interview with Sir John Keegan on Foreign Correspondent