An article on punishment for adultery in Iran
#1
Hi,

I recently read the following article:
http://coastaldigest.com/index.php?optio...&Itemid=57

While reading it, I realized that the author is trying to defend the actions of the Iranian government using irrelevant stuff. I noticed the following logical fallacies:

1. No True Scotsman (Islam does not permit torture and the present-day Islamic countries don't follow all the teachings of islam)

2. Ad hominem ('However, countries like US, UK and others who have joined the global outcry against Ashtiani’s sentence, should better have a look at the alleged ill-treatment their forces are meting out to civilians on the Iraqi soil first.')

3. Appeal to authority ('As far as Islam is concerned, yes, adultery is an offence that is punishable by stoning to death.')


Are there more fallacies in this article? Can the ones listed here be grouped under any other set of fallacies?

The author argues that the Western media has consistently involved in biased reporting against Islam, therefore, it is possible that all that is said about this case is not true. Is this a valid argument or a case of ad hominem?
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#2
There seems to be another fallacy, which can safely be said to lie at the heart of most religions.

Anthropocentric fallacy : (There is no way that Islam, which does not tolerate torturing even animals, will advocate such torture on human beings, who are the ‘Ashraf-ul-Maqlooqaat’ (the best among the creatures of God).

Anthropocentrism is antithetical to cultural naturalism, and historically, it does appear that the road to sectarian bigotry is first paved with 'human exceptionalism'.
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#3
There are a few more fallacies here, in addition to the ones Jabir and Arvind pointed out.

Just this paragraph alone:

Quote:As far as Islam is concerned, yes, adultery is an offence that is punishable by stoning to death. But torture… there is no place for torture in Islam. We personally do not know whether Ashtiani is at fault or not. Neither do we know personally that she has been ‘severely tortured’. We read what appears in the media. Therefore, one can neither point a finger towards Ashtiani nor agree blindly that she is being tortured brutally.

1. Straw-man. The argument is not that Islam approves of torture, but that Sakineh was allegedly tortured. If you are to declare that the reason she could not have been tortured is because Islam does not approve of torture, then you need to also prove that the people who subscribe to Islam always go exactly by what the scriptures say. This is impossible because the scriptures are deliberately contradictory on many levels.

2. Cherry-picking, which is a fallacy of anecdotal evidence. It is false that "there is no place for torture in Islam". The very concept of hell is designed to indicate to those who reject Islam that they will be tortured for eternity. Torture is the foundation of Islam (and Christianity).

There are many areas where torture of unbelievers in Hell is mentioned. But there are specific instructions in the scripture asking Muslims to torture non-believers themselves without waiting for divine intervention. Here are a couple of them:

Surah 8:12
Remember Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them."

Surah 47:4
When you meet the unbelievers in the Jihad strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens.

Surah 5:33-34
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet and alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, merciful.

Alternate translation of Surah 5:33:
Those who wage war against God and His Messenger and strive to spread corruption in the land should be punished by death, crucifixion, the amputation of an alternate hand and foot or banishment from the land: a disgrace for them in this world, and then a terrible punishment in the Hereafter . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

Surah 5:33 was meant as law, not as part of a story or in the context of some other reference. It was laid down as law by Muhammad.

(I admit I took these quotes from sites professing to expose Islam, so if they are out of context or are misrepresented, please forgive my oversight).

3. Appeal to Ignorance (personal incredulity)

Surely we cannot all "personally" know everything about many of the things that we all profess to know about. Having first-hand information is not a requisite for knowledge.

4. Hypocrisy fallacy ( does not mean that the author is wrong on both counts, merely that the author is inconsistent). If we need to have first-hand information about the torture of the alleged adulterer before believing it happened, it is logically consistent to expect a similar need to "personally" know that allah does not condone torture (not by reading a book written by a medieval mystic). But of course, that is where faith comes in.

This is just from the paragraph I quoted. There are surely others that I have missed. I'm not even going to bring up the 9/11 inside job references, and the references to Bush's war in Iraq.

The one additional thing that is important to note here is that it is not just the supposedly anti-Islamic western media that is talking about the torture that Sakineh has allegedly undergone. The primary claimants are her son and lawyer. The first time they claimed this was in August when Sakineh confessed on TV that she was an accomplice to her husband's murder. The son claimed that she was tortured for 2 days before that TV appearance where she was forced to confess. After that incident the son was not allowed to see Sakineh for a month, during which time the torture accusations started coming in from media reports. After these reports, Sakineh was put on TV again to say that she had not been tortured, which the son immediately said was a forced statement that she was making to avoid torture.

Finally, just the fact that for months she was under the threat of being stoned to death qualifies as torture. Mental torture, but torture nevertheless. Its enough to make a sane person go crazy. Any person arguing that Sakineh was not tortured must either be a sociopath or infected by the virus of religion.

Edit: A more technical form of the criticism of the use of Islamic ideology to defend the proposition that the media is lying about the accusations of torture is a form of syllogistic fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogistic_fallacy
Specifically, the existential fallacy and the fallacy of necessity.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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