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June 25, 2007

A Muslim Explains Why Other Faiths Are Not Free To Pray In Muslim Countries

Oh, it's delicious.

Since he likens faith in Islam to the firm knowlege of true mathematics and science -- Muslims preach 2 + 2 = 4, whereas Christians claim 2 + 2 =3 and Hindus believe 2 + 2 = 6 (Jews believe 2 + 2 = a nice round number of Muslim children whose blood should be drank, presumably) -- this Discovery piece on Islam vs. Science bears reading.

“This tendency to use their knowledge of science to ‘prove’ that the religious interpretations of life are correct is really corrupting,” he tells me. Soltan, who got his doctorate at the University of Northern Illinois, works in a small office that’s pungent with tobacco smoke; journals and newspapers lie stacked on his desk and floor. “Their methodology is bad,” he says. Soltan explains that Islamic scientists start with a conclusion (the Koran says the body has 360 joints) and then work toward proving that conclusion. To reach the necessary answer they will, in this instance, count things that some orthopedists might not call a joint. “They’re sure about everything, about how the universe was created, who created it, and they just need to control nature rather than interpret it,” Soltan adds. “But the driving force behind any scientific pursuit is that the truth is still out there.”

...

Chaabouni recalls the early days of her career, in the mid-1970s, when she saw children afflicted with disfiguring diseases. “It was very sad,” she says. “I met families with two, three, four affected siblings. I wanted to do something about it, to know how to prevent it.” There was no facility for genetic research at that time, and for two decades, she lobbied government officials hard for it. “We wanted better conditions and facilities. They also saw we were publishing in international [peer-reviewed] journals. I think the policymakers finally understood the value of developing research.”

...

Over the last 30 years, Chaabouni has also seen how people who once resisted her message have begun listening. Once, genetic counseling or even coming in for certain treatments almost amounted to a social taboo; now, it is becoming more accepted, and things that were once simply ignored or not spoken of—such as autism in children, which is being identified more commonly—are more often out in the open.

For all that, Chaabouni still sees how her advice sometimes clashes with her patients’ beliefs. Like many Arab and Muslim countries, Tunisia has a high incidence of congenital diseases, including adrenal and blood disorders, that Chaabouni has traced to consanguinity.

“It’s a custom here, and in the rest of the Arab world, to marry cousins, even first cousins,” she tells me, though the practice is becoming less common. “Of course, that means they share a lot of genes from common sets of grandparents.”

In other fields, pure research does not get support; in medical genetics, even practically applicable knowledge can spark conflicts with Islamic culture. “Taking a blood sample to study abnormalities is not a problem,” Chaabouni says. “That’s just investigation. The problem is when you take the results of research into the clinic and try to give genetic counseling to patients. Then you have people who won’t accept the idea that they have to stop having children or that they shouldn’t marry their cousin.”

Here's something that should bother even a secular liberal, but won't, because this is their "authentic culture:"

What about, say, evolutionary biology or Darwinism? I ask. (Evolution is taught in Egyptian schools, although it is banned in Saudi Arabia and Sudan.) “If you are asking if Adam came from a monkey, no,” Badawy responds. “Man did not come from a monkey. If I am religious, if I agree with Islam, then I have to respect all of the ideas of Islam. And one of these ideas is the creation of the human from Adam and Eve. If I am a scientist, I have to believe that.”

But from the point of view of a scientist, is it not just a story? I ask. He tells me that if I were writing an article saying that Adam and Eve is a big lie, it will not be accepted until I can prove it.

“Nobody can just write what he thinks without proof. But we have real proof that the story of Adam as the first man is true.”

“What proof?”

He looks at me with disbelief: “It’s written in the Koran.”

It should be noted that Christian IDers justify their beliefs with actual science (though it's erroneous and informed by a forbidden premise -- "if the non-supernatural explanation isn't immediately obvious, it's well-nigh conclusive evidence of the supernatural theory" -- it's still science, if flawed).

They don't simply "It's in Genesis. Googe it. QED. Duh."

Thanks to dri for the video, via LGF, and Instapundit for the Discovery article.


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posted by Ace at 07:45 PM

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