A guest post by Darrell Harb
What you didn’t know about the treasures of the Islamic mind could fill a book, but to save you buying it here’s a summary:
“Islamic science continues to advance at a rate comparable to [that of] climate science,” concluded the CIA report
We all admire our climatologists for the one scientific discovery they’ve made so far (man-made global warming, or AGW) in the short 100-to-200-year history of their field, and we hold high expectations for the sequel.
And rightly so.
Meanwhile, though, rumors of the death of Muslim science ~700 years ago have been greatly exaggerated. Scientists in the Islamic world might not be quite as prolific as they were in the Middle Ages, but they still add something to human knowledge every 50-60 years. So the next time someone identifies the United Nations’ IPCC with “the world’s leading scientists,” politely remind him or her: they’re only leading the Western world!
Jihad simply means ‘a neat way of doing something; a clever way of solving a problem.’
Scientists and mathematicians use the word all the time in the Islamic world. Deniers love to take it out of context and put a scandalous spin on it, but there’s nothing nefarious about it at all.
In 2011 a cross-disciplinary team of alchemists, algeneticists and molecular albiochemists at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University announced it had finally explained away the evolution of the eye.
Can you name the inventor of Pascal’s Wager?
Like most Westerners, you probably said Greg Craven. Surprisingly, though, the thought experiment goes all the way back to 990 AD, when the Persian philosopher Abu al-Hassan al-Amiri wrote his Kitab al-amad ‘ala’l-abad.
But unlike its craven and fallacious Christian reboot, Al-Amiri’s argument for theistic fidelity was perfectly valid.
That’s because the Koranic hell isn’t just a bad place to live. It’s a really, really bad place to live.
Considering we didn’t even have the power drill, the electric cattle prod or the industrial meat-grinder back when Allah was real, it’s a remarkable feat of the imagination. A reader has no choice but to admire His sheer inventiveness even as He details the itinerary of agony that awaits one.
For Muslims, God is 100% committed to customer excruciation. If you denialize that, you’re in store for an adventure in the receiving end of sadism that will make Abu Ghraib under Saddam look like Abu Ghraib under American occupation.
By comparison, the Bible’s attempts at eschatological blackmail “read like something written by a Batman villain’s intern,” as Megan McArdle might say.
The ‘scientist,’ Bible-basher and Qur’an-basher Richard Dawkins concedes that Jews share a common ancestor with apes but insists—contrary to what Islamic scholars discovered 1100 years before the birth of Darwin!—that they’re not directly descended from them. Prof. Dawkins’ assault on 14 centuries of science might be vindicated someday (anything’s possible) but in the meantime it should be seen as a hypothesis, not a fact, according to no less a maven than the non-Muslim Mark Maslin.
Jews “evolved from apes,” says a monograph by Prof. Maslin which goes on to confirm the existence of penicillin.
UPDATE Professor Maslin himself—doyen of climate anthropology—has weighed in and settled the origins controversy to the satisfaction of all credible people.
‘You cannot […] disbelieve that [Jewish] people evolved from apes,’ decrees Maslin, in a magisterial treatise that’s being called an overdue up-yours to Dawkins-worshipping infidelusionists (not to mention a vindication of everything Allah has been trying to reveal through our thick skulls for the last 1400 years).
In order to buy the ‘descent from a common ancestor’ cop-out [see below], logic (says Maslin) would require you to ‘disbelieve in penicillin’!
Pray tell, my penicillin-denying conspecifics:
What exactly do you think is oozing out of yon P. notatus? What would you call that spreading slick of magic mold juice that appears to be mitigating the mitotic mojo of most microbes?
Name the fungal byproduct identified by Fleming in 1928 for its rôle in pathogenic cock-blocking. You have one minute.
Maslin won’t run from a debate. If you disagree with his science he’ll happily defend his politics.
Liquid caloric? Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole?
No, let me guess:
It’s The Sun, right?
Risible. And you wonder why today’s really top-notch science speakers—the Menn, the Maslins and their notch-mates—are willing to ‘Talk Politics But not Science’ with you and your ilk!
Your ilk makes me sick.
Scientists blame our irrational fear of terrorism on statistical illiteracy.
For instance, we all know that up to 3,000 Americans were killed by Islamic terrorism in the worst year, 2001; yet this death toll is minuscule when seen in proportion to the facts—facts like:
- The post-9/11 Iraq War killed 600,000-1,000,000 innocent Iraqis. (Source: Lancet.)
- Science expert Kofi Annan estimates climate change is killing 300,000 people each year.
- While it’s not clear why Annan believes this, who he’s referring to or whether he has any idea what he’s talking about, uncertainty is not your friend. Far from it. The science of uncertainty (a young field pioneered by Stefan Lewandowsky) tells us that our lack of certainty actually increases the risk of Annan’s claims being true.
- Furthermore, there were 50 million climate refugees in 2010 according to a 2005 UNEP report… and unless the world learns its lesson fast, the same humanitarian catastrophe (possibly involving the same refugees, possibly new ones; scientists aren’t sure) is scheduled to happen all over again in 2020!
- While scientists can’t rule out the possibility that if you live in America you might be killed by Islamic terrorists, they point out you’re 4 times as likely to die every time you fly. Especially if the plane is hijacked by Muslims.
- For each 1 (one) person who died as a result of Islamic terrorism in America last year, over 1,200 people died as a result of Islamic terrorism in the Muslim world. Yet somehow we continue to see Islam as dangerous.
- Scientists say this is because we watch Fox.
Islamic society is surprisingly progressive on social issues! For instance:
- Freedom of religion is a sacred right no matter which of the three you follow. In a Muslim country someone like Barack Obama would never have to pretend he was a Christian.
- Muslims believe in the intrinsic dignity of the handicapped and are appalled by our custom, in the West, of allowing blind people to be led around by dogs.
- The Prophet Muhammad might not have been a dog person, but he wasn’t exactly a people person either. And from the comfort of the 21st century it’s all too easy to condemn the killing sprees he led against both species. But what we forget is that back in those days, the Arab world could often be a bit of a violent place. Far from merely being a man of his times, though, Muhammad is actually considered a pioneer in the anti-discrimination movement—a patron saint, as it were—for the indiscriminate nature of his massacres.
Western science has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with Islam in understanding the denial (kufr) problem. 1400 years ago—and with greater sophistication and less confusion than the Lewandowskys and Oreskeses of the world—the Archangel Gibreel spelled out the diagnostic criteria for no less than than eight subspecies of kāfir. These classes, vividly if not lovingly described in the Holy Qur’an, correspond roughly to what we would call 1. deniers, 2. denialists, 3. disinformers, 4. misinformers, 5. contrarians, 6. skeptics, and two other types we haven’t even got names for yet!
Recent advances in telephoto lenses and robotics enable us to get a closer look at pigs than ever. And don’t worry, there’s no risk of actually touching them. Muslim scientists have now found evidence that the animal is a semi-digitigrade ungulate—and that its “trotters” are just another variant on exactly the same pentadactyl template expressed in the hands and feet of Mammalia as seemingly diverse as the monkey, the dog and the human Jew.
You probably think it was Naomi Oreskes who first imported the idea of consensus into science. Right?
That myth is understandable, given that Western science showed a complete and contemptuous lack of interest in majority opinion until 2004. But it was Islamic science, not climate science, that first abandoned evidence in favor of consensus… a full 700 years earlier! Consensus science was, in fact, the final (and therefore most triumphant) invention of the Golden Age of Islamic science and marked an abrupt transition to the current—much gentler—period of expansion in Muslim knowledge.
Another “discovery” you might attribute to Professor Oreskes is the fact that a small handful of Jews is capable of holding back an entire society by sowing uncertainty. But did you know they’d already been identified as ‘merchants of doubt’ in a ḥadīth (a collection of the Prophet’s sayings) back in the late 8th century AD?
It used to be assumed that the Koran’s advice about alcohol had something to do with the unedifying symptoms of intoxication, particularly in persons incapable of handling the piss responsibly.
This explanation was ruled out just a few years ago, when Muslim nurses at a UK hospital refused to use an alcohol-based hand wash. What their brave protest reveals is that the Prophet’s objection was not to the physiological effects of ethanol in aqueous solution, or not just to them, but to the very hydroxyl group (-OH) that defines it qua chemical compound.
Why exactly Muhammad didn’t care for the molecule is a question on which even the British nurses could offer no assistance. (But then, the guy was a couple of kangaroos short of a mob.) The extraordinary thing, however, is that he knew enough chemistry to have an opinion in the first place. Given that Western science at the time still hadn’t accepted atomic theory, the Koran’s implicit grasp of such concepts as the carbon chain, hydrogen bonds and functional groups recommends it as one of the intellectual gems of world literature.
Islam was a religion of peace, open-mindedness and moderate alcohol consumption until it was hijacked by radical extremists like the Prophet Muhammad.
About the author
Darrell Harb, an acquaintance of Climate Nuremberg’s founder, describes himself not as a Muslim but as “an objective seeker of truth who have spent my career comparing the world’s great belief systems purely on their merits.”
Dr Harb forcefully denies allegations of antisemitism, saying: “Some of my best friends are Jew! After all, I grew up on the Upper East Side [in Manhattan]—right at the heart of the global Jew machine. How could I not have Jew friends?”
Climate Nuremberg was glad to give Dr Harb an organ with which to share his (personal) take on Muslim society because it’s always been our editorial position that the more sleep you lose over Islam, the less effective you will be when it comes to worrying about real problems. Like climate change, global warming and climate disruption.