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The past was not like the present; the future will be different

CONTENTS

Zen & Understanding the Middle East

Introduction
Sellers' Market
Will to Believe
Rules of Thumb

"The truth is out there "
Use & misuse of words
False information signals more false information
Technical whiz-bang
Understand the Context
Lies, More Lies, Damn Lies and Newspapers
Beware of Generalizations
Theology and scripture
Misleading Statistics
Smoke in your eyes
What is Missing?
Myth versus fact versus narrative
The past was not like the present; the future will be different

Fallacy Recognition in the Middle East

Fallacies and Arguments
Cause and Effect
Slippery Slope
Gambler's Fallacy
Ad Hominem
Authority
Beliefs
Appeal to Novelty
Appeal to Emotion
Appeal to Tradition
False Dilemma or Black and White Thinking
Special Pleading
The Spotlight Fallacy
Who is to Say?

Fallacy Handbook

The past was not like the present; the future will be different

The human mind is so constructed that we assume that the past and future were and will be like the present. We have no other experience, and no other standard by which to judge. This is one of the "idols" that Sir Francis Bacon described in his "Novum Organum" - it is an idol of the tribe, that is, a distortion of perception due to the fact that we are human, and judge everything by our standards. It gives rise to a great many errors.

The world my-grandparents was born into did not include automobiles, radio, electric light, penicillin, sulfa drugs, telephones, televisions, tanks, nuclear weapons, computers or i-pods. They were subjects of the Turkish Sultan and the Czar. Ottoman Turkey was still a world power. The Suez Canal was pretty  new. The British flag flew in the farthest corners of Asia and everyone thought the Sun would never set on the British Empire. France and Germany were eternal enemies.

Our grandparents thought differently than we do, and they could not foresee the world as it is today. Families had many children, but only a few of them might reach adulthood. In the United States, the mean life expectancy of a person born in 1880 was 39.6, and in the Middle East it was somewhat less. About a quarter of all children died before reaching one year of age. The armed forces of the United States were segregated by color, and the school system was segregated. The greatest experts of the day offered "proof" of the biological inferiority of the "Negro race." In Jerusalem of 1880 there was no railroad and no running water and no electric lights of course.

Near the end of the nineteenth century, one observer noted that the number of horses in Western cities was growing at a tremendous rate, and predicted that the cities of the future would be clogged with horse droppings. It is somewhat difficult, when attempting to understand history, to get into the minds of people who lived at that time.

The world our grandchildren will be born into will be different from our world. We cannot predict all the ways in which it will be different. It is safe to say that alliances will change, demography of different countries and groups will change and cultures will change. We cannot take for granted that the Arab and Muslim peoples will always be enemies of the Jews of Israel, or that the United States will always be an ally of the State of Israel. Alliances and enmities are not eternal and rarely last more than a few generations. In 1970, Gamal Nasser was still vowing that he would never recognize Israel and never make peace with Israel. Less than a decade later, his successor was addressing the Israeli Knesset and calling for peace.

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Israel-Palestina  (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine,Zionism... Israël-Palestina Informatie gids Israël, Palestijnen en Midden-Oosten conflict... Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a European perspective  Dutch and English.

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