Should “…white males should heartily and repeatedly go f*** themselves,” be considered a violation of Quora’s Be Nice, Be Respectful policy?

This question again? Gawd.

Yes it should, and I’m told it has in fact been dinged by BNBR. Can we move on now?

How do I identify a militant atheist?

I am blessed to have lived in a country with a state religion—which ends up tantamount to no religion at all—and in an aggressively secular country. So while I may have had the zeal of Voltaire in my teens about atheism, I no longer get, nor particularly care to get, strident atheism such as abounds in the US.

That’s strident atheism, to make a distinction my confrere Michael Masiello makes.

Why not Magister, Michael, as I usually call you? Because this time around, I’m dissenting, and that calls for fraternity rather than tutelage. 🙂

I dissent, because while I understand the distinction made by Michael between atheism and antitheism, it is not a distinction of any great age, and not one I would impose on the question. I haven’t read of the antitheist Soviets, for example, just state atheism.

And of course that’s why I find the notion that militant atheism is inconceivable to be a cavil. Of course there have been militant atheists. If we take the maximalist definition of “militant” used by other respondents, I don’t know what else to call the killing of 28 bishops and 1200 priests from 1922 to 1928 in the name of Leninism (Religion in the Soviet Union – Wikipedia). If we take the less lethal, but to my mind no less valid notion of militancy as the systematic suppression of religious practice and destruction of religious sites, the Soviets excelled in militant atheism as well.

And to my mind, an activist destroying a religious symbol to protest religiosity, still counts as militancy and not just stridency. What Femen did in chainsawing the public square crucifix in Kiev to protest Pussy Riot (Femen – Wikipedia), for example, might have been militant atheism, anti-government protest, or any number of other things. (Mostly, I think what Femen does is simply inane, but I’m not their target audience.)

So if militant atheism involves organised acts of actual violence against believers (if you want to differentiate militancy and stridency in that way), is that a current issue? If it is, it’s mostly limited to North Korea, China, maybe Cuba. And to tell a militant atheist, you’re looking for the willingness of the atheist to commit violence to advance their agenda.

Does that excuse belligerence and contempt, from either side? Not in my book. YMMV.

Go in peace.

Has Melbourne been the financial center of activities for advocates of annexing Greek Macedonia to FYROM?

Oh, fuck.

Let’s put it this way. And for the purposes of this answer, I’m going to assert that there is indeed a distinct Makedonski minority in Greece, rather than refer to FYROM overtly.

If you were an ethnic Macedonian living in Florina/Lerin or Kastoria/Kostur, you had the option of embracing a Greek identity and rejecting a Makedonski identity, or of asserting a Makedonski identity.

If you did the former, your motivation to leave Greece for other pastures would be no greater than for any ethnic Greek living in Northern Greece.

If you publicly asserted a Makedonski identity in Greek Macedonia, which included at minimum speaking Macedonian in public, and at maximum advocating the union of your territory with FYROM, your life would be made uncomfortable, to greater or lesser extents. And you would have greater motivation to leave Greece for other pastures.

So a lot of ethnic Macedonians from Greece with a Makedonski national conscience ended up in Australia.

So did a lot of ethnic Macedonians from Greece with a Greek national conscience.

It was not pretty. There were violent disputes within families. The anthropologist Loring Danforth wrote the account of what went down in Melbourne (The Macedonian Conflict), and it’s terrifying. In the ’90s, there was literal bomb throwing on both sides.

The crucial point here is, if you’re an ethnic Macedonian from Greece with a Makedonski national conscience, you are far likelier to be vocal about that in Australia than you are in Greece. You’re also far likelier to spend your money, to support any activities supporting the assertion of a Makedonski national conscience in Greece.

That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s not even an accusation of anything. That’s just fact.

At the time of the bomb throwing, the Australian media was full of third parties snarling that these people should fuck off back to their own country and fight their stupid battle there. At least one commentator (I wish I remember who it was; it might even have been Danforth) pointed out that there is no battle within Greece: it’s because they were in Australia that they felt free to wage a battle.

Oh, and the “Slavomacedonians” of Australia are my fellow citizens, and I have no beef with them. Even though the beef did prevent me dating one…

Full Disclosure: Victor Friedman, advocate for the Macedonian language and well known bugbear of Greek nationalists, has treated me to absinth in his flat while working in Melbourne. In the eyes of some, that might recuse my testimonial…

Are linguists more likely to have a musical background?

Zeibura S. Kathau has a rather more perceptive and fine breakdown on this than I’d hope for; vote #1 Zeibura S. Kathau’s answer to Are linguists more likely to have a musical background?

I’ll just add two observations.

  • Of my fellow PhD students in linguistics, one was a composer and pianist, one a bassist, one an orchestral violinist, and me, who at least attempted to compose once. That’s out of a sample of I dunno, 20.
  • In my day job in Schools IT policy, we have 8 people in the consultancy. Outside of me, the CEO is a folk mandolinist, the CTO a bassist, and the Comms guy a sax player.

So I suspect that musicians don’t just gravitate to linguistics. But I do also suspect that people interested in formal systems gravitate to also working with other formal systems. Though that’s nothing like as thorough an analysis as Z-Kat suggests.

I’ll note a potential counterpattern. There were a fair few refugees from computer science (as it was then) to linguistics in my cohort too; I was one of them. My master’s supervisor observed to me that when computer people came to linguistics, they did not want to do syntax or formal semantics, as she expected. They did the fluffiest linguistics they could stand: discourse analysis, for example, or historical linguistics. If they wanted to do formal symbolic analysis, after all, they would have stayed in computer science.

Who are some well-known Quorans who keep getting passed over for top writer?

Not merging this question, but:

Laura Hale’s answer to Who is the most followed/viewed/prolific Quoran that has never been awarded Top Writer?

A disproportionately Indian list, no matter what your criteria (and Laura Hale goes through several). Her criteria do not factor in being passed over several times running; Laura?

What does the oldest translation say: was the Son Of God a Carpenter or a Stonemason?

I’ll register some confusion at Robert Semple’s answer that it’s a day labourer; I’ve read Crossan too, and I don’t remember that.

I’m not disputing it; Crossan is pretty dense.

What’s stuck in my head is what the Jesus Seminar decided (and Crossan was a prime move behind it, but not the only one): they were inclined towards interpreting it as “builder”, because of the number of building references in Jesus’ parables and sayings (capstone, not a stone upon a stone, etc).

Note that the Greek word used in the Gospels, tektōn, shows up in English: archi-tect (literally chief tektōn), tectonics.

If the King James Bible is the only valid version, where does that leave non English translations?

I’ve tried to reword the question to what OP Sam Rizzardi intended (“what do King James Only proponents think…”); but QCR knows what he intended out of the question better than OP does, clearly. *sigh*

There are different flavours of King James Only, as explained at King James Only movement – Wikipedia. Not all versions hold that KJV is divinely inspired, and most are opposed to modern textual scholarship (moving away from the Textus Receptus for the Greek); they would find allies in the Greek Orthodox church. In most versions, KJO says nothing about languages outside of English.

Going through the flavours.

  • “I Like the KJV Best”. Likes it for style, doesn’t actually make any big theological claims. Indifferent to other languages.
  • “The Textual Argument”. Prefers the older redactions of the Greek and Hebrew texts that the KJV used. Would be fine with e.g. the Vulgate for the same reason.
  • “Received Text Only”. Thinks the older redactions of the Greek and Hebrew texts are providentially selected. Again, would be fine with e.g. the Vulgate for the same reason.
  • “The Inspired KJV Group”. Holds that the KJV translation itself was divinely inspired. Does not necessarily say that translations into other languages might not be divinely inspired; though I assume they don’t expend a lot of energy exploring that possibility.
  • “The KJV As New Revelation”. Holds that the KJV translation supersedes the original Greek and Hebrew themselves, because it is literally a new revelation from God. Would therefore reject all other translations, unless they are translations from the KJV direct. Called Ruckmanism after Peter Ruckman.

Where does it leave non-English translations? #1 doesn’t care. #2–#3 wants them to be textually conservative. #4 is agnostic about them (though it would at minimum expect them to be textually conservative as well). #5 rejects them.

Why is the carol “peace on earth and good will to all men”, when the Luke 2:14 says “to men of good will”?

OP, but I’m answering a question raised elsewhere by Zeibura S. Kathau.

Luke 2:14? The source of the confusion is a manuscript variant.

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία[ς].

The version I as a Greek grew up with has “good will” in the nominative, εὐδοκία. “Peace on earth, among people good will.” That’s Erasmus’ text, which is the established Greek Orthodox text (the Receptus).

It kinda looks odd, and modern editions of the Greek go instead with the genitive reading in manuscripts, which is also what the Vulgate has: people of good will, hominibus bonae voluntatis.

The wording “good will to all men” comes from someone looking at the old Receptus Greek text.

Which is what the King James did: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

What’s interesting is what contemporary English translations do with the genitive of εὐδοκία:

  • NIV: and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
  • RSV: and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.
  • The Message: Peace to all men and women on earth who please him

See what’s happened there? The contemporary interpretation is that it’s people of Good Will alright; but it’s not their own Good Will. It’s God’s Good Will. People in God’s eudokia.

Why Turkey doesn’t form a Turkic Union instead of joining the European Union?

Mehrdad, I feel bad when I pass on A2As from you that I can’t answer. I can’t answer this either, but let’s analyse this.

Why was the EU formed? Really, for political reasons: with the hope that a closer financial, and then political union between France and Germany would prevent World War III. That agenda has in fact been embraced by a lot of people, who really do think of themselves now as European in Europe. It’s also been implemented very arrogantly, but that’s another discussion.

The exclusion of Turkey is probably a mistake, but if you’re going to build a United States of Europe, you do need a foundation of cultural commonality. I prefer to regard cultural commonality as a family resemblance kind of thing: the German and the Turk have nothing in common, but the Greek and the Turk have a lot more in common. But the deciding vote isn’t the Greek’s. (And the Greek’s vote for yes is not so much out of affection for the neighbour, as it is a “keep your enemies close” thing. Sorry.)

So. What about the Turkic Council that User-13062983365168259472 mentions?

It exists, but it is mainly cultural, it is not political or financial.

Culturally, Pan-Turkism is already a success; you don’t need a structure to teach people they are Turkic, the way the EU needed to teach people they are Europeans.

Politically? Erdoğan can influence Turkic nations without needing to resort to a formal arrangement; a formal arrangement would probably bind him into consensus too much, and make Turkey a primus inter pares, rather than what he’s likelier to prefer.

Economically? You’ve heard the arguments already: Turkey is doing very well, and the other Turkic nations would need Turkey more than Turkey needs them.

So I’m guessing that’s why.

But Mehrdad, I now have to ask you an indelicate question.

If there is a Turkic Union…

… what does Iranian Azerbaijan do? 🙂