Friday, August 16, 2013

Critics: Muslims Have Few Nobel Prizes; Muslims Are Killing Muslims

Are today's Muslims fratricidal low-achievers? Are Muslims unique in their lack of achievement and propensity for fratricidal violence? Are there other religious and racial groups which share these traits with Muslims?

It has become fashionable among Muslims and non-Muslims alike to bash followers of the Islamic faith for their lack of achievement and propensity for fratricidal violence. Some criticize Muslims for having won only 10 Nobel prizes since the prize was launched in 1901. Others lambaste Muslims for killing each other. Let's examine both of these charges in some detail below:

Muslims as Low Achievers:

Renowned atheist scholar Richard Dawkins has recently disparaged Muslims by pointing out that the entire Muslim world has had fewer Nobels (10) than Cambridge University's Trinity College (32).  He is not alone in attacking Muslims for their lack of achievements; I have heard this from many Muslim critics for many years.

What Dawkins and other critics, including well-meaning self-critical Muslims,  fail to mention, according to Christian Science Monitor, is the fact that other large (billion-plus) religious, gender and ethnic groups have won even fewer Nobels than ten won by Muslims: Hindus (four),  Chinese (eight) and Africans (nine).  Or the fact that women have only won 44 Nobel Prizes, compared with 791 for mostly white men.

It is important to note that today's Muslims and other ethnic-religious groups with very few Nobel prizes have grown up under the shadow of colonial and neo-colonial rule which followed the Industrial Revolution and preceded the launch of Nobel prizes in 1901. Going back in history, it was the Industrial Revolution that created technology which led to the ascendance of the West and the colonization of the East. It marked the beginning of a major shift in economic, military and political power from East to West.

Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor explains it as follows:

"Dawkins, as an educated man, should be well aware of the legacy of colonialism and of simple poverty…. When the Nobel Prize was founded in 1901, the vast majority of the world's Muslims lived in countries ruled by foreign powers, and for much of the 20th century Muslims did not have much access to great centres of learning like Cambridge. The ranks of Nobel Prize winners have traditionally been dominated by white, Western men - a reflection of both the economic might of the West in the past century, preferential access to education for that class of people as well as a wonderful intellectual tradition ."

Dawkins' tweet did acknowledge that "they (Muslims) did great things in the middle ages". Clearly,  the history of humanity is not just 100 years old. It did not begin with the launch of Nobels in 1901. It stretches much further back. The defining work of Muslims in earlier centuries (8th to 13th century)  built the foundation on which modern science and today's Nobel Laureates stand. It included development of decimal number system (still called Arabic numerals), Algebra (Al-Khwarizmi), the concepts of scientific method (Al Biruni)  and algorithms (Al Khwarizmi), first camera (Al Haitham), Medicine (Avicenna),  first human flight (Ibn Firnas), astrolabe (Al Frazari) etc.

In "Lost Discoveries" by Dick Teresi, the author says, "Clearly, the Arabs served as a conduit, but the math laid on the doorstep of Renaissance Europe cannot be attributed solely to ancient Greece. It incorporates the accomplishments of Sumer, Babylonia, Egypt, India, China and the far reaches of the Medieval Islamic world." Teresi by his description of the work done by Copernicus. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a Persian Muslim astronomer and mathematician, developed at least one of Copernicus's theorems, now called The Tusi Couple, three hundred years before Copernicus. Copernicus used the theorem without offering any proof or giving credit to al-Tusi. This was pointed out by Kepler, who looked at Copernicus's work before he developed his own elliptical orbits idea. A second theorem found in Copernican system, called Urdi lemma, was developed by another Muslim scientist Mu'ayyad al-Din al-Urdi, in 1250. Again, Copernicus neither offered proof nor gave credit to al-Urdi. Columbia University's George Saliba believes Copernicus didn't credit him because Muslims were not popular in 16th century Europe, not unlike the situation today."

Fratricidal Tendencies Among Muslims:

Muslims are killing Muslims, say the critics. This begs the question: Is this something unique among Muslims? Who kills 30,000 Americans each year? Is it not Americans? Who is responsible for the 40,000 reported homicides in India (actuals are likely much higher) every year? Is it not fellow Indians? Mostly Hindus?

Who killed Gandhi? Was it not Nathuram Godse, a fellow Hindu? Who killed Yitzhak Rabin? Was it not  Yigal Amir, a fellow Jew? Who killed Abraham Lincoln? Was it not John Wilkes Booth, a fellow American?

The fact is that almost every nation-state has had periods of excessive violence such as civil wars.  Fratricidal deaths have accounted for the great bulk of deaths in almost every nation since the beginning of time. Such deaths have occurred in great numbers in almost every society since Adam and Eve's son Cain is alleged to have killed his brother Abel. Every period of great change in human history has been almost always been accompanied by massive violence that Muslims are experiencing now.

Anti-Muslim Bigotry:

Dawkins' comments appear to be motivated by growing anti-Muslim bigotry in the West, especially because he prefaced them by saying "Who the hell do these Muslims think they are?"  But the fact that he singled out Muslims for criticism and ignored other groups who have achieved even less seems to indicate that he holds Muslims to a higher standard than others, including Blacks, Chinese and Indians who are almost as numerous. I'd prefer that Muslims see as a challenge rather than be offended by it. At the very least, it signals that Muslims are not being subjected to what George W. Bush once described as "soft bigotry of low expectation".

The Challenge for Muslims:

Are Muslims taking the challenge thrown by Dawkins seriously? The answer is a qualified yes. They are beginning to do it.

Pakistan has had an impressive 50 per cent increase in the number of research publications during just the last two years, going up from 3939 to 6200. This has been the second highest increase worldwide. SCimago, the world's leading research database, is forecasting that if this research trend from Pakistan continues, then by 2018, Pakistan will move ahead 16 notches in world ranking, from 43 to 27, and for the first time ever, will cross Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand in Asia, according to a report in The Nation newspaper.  Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Malaysia are other Muslim nations which figure prominently on SCimago rankings.

As to the violence, it is likely to continue for a while longer as vast swaths of the Muslim world sort out their differences on fundamental questions of the role of religion in society and government and settle on a model that delivers what the Muslim world needs most: good clean and responsive governance. Fortunately, there are successful models within the Muslim world in countries like Turkey and Malaysia.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Obama, Islam and Science

Educational Attainment in India and Pakistan

Biotech and Genomics Advances in Pakistan

Pakistani Students Studying Abroad

Pakistan Manufacturing Tablet PCs

Military's Role in Pakistan's Industrialization

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan's Defense Industry Goes High-Tech

Pakistan Launches UAV Production Line at Kamra

Pakistan Going Mainstream in IT Products

Pakistan Launches 100 Mbps FTTH Access

Pakistan's $2.8 Billion IT Industry

Pakistan's Software Prodigy

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Pakistan Graduation Rates Higher Than India's

Pakistan Conducting Research in Antarctica

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan


Anonymous said...

Hindus have won 7 Nobel Prizes . also 1 deserving recipient recognized by The Nobel Committee - MK Gandhi.

RN Tagore
CV Raman
VS Naipaul
Amratya Sen
V Ramakrishnan
Subramaniyam Chandrashekhar
Hargobind Khorana

Hopewins said...

Did you see Dawkins' response?

He says: "Why mention Muslim Nobels rather than any other group? Because we so often hear boasts about (a) their total numbers and (b) their science.


Well? Do you have anything to say?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Well? Do you have anything to say?"

Dawkins must be either deaf or selective in hearing if he hasn't heard Indians' boastful claims about their size and inventing everything under the sun. It can only be explained if he is among the promoters of India in the West.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "The defining work of Muslims in earlier centuries (8th to 13th century) built the foundation on which modern science and today's Nobel Laureates stand. It included development of decimal number system (still called Arabic numerals), Algebra (Al-Khwarizmi), the concepts of scientific method (Al Biruni) and algorithms (Al Khwarizmi), first camera (Al Haitham), Medicine (Avicenna), first human flight (Ibn Firnas), astrolabe (Al Frazari) etc"

But these great people were all either Persian, Arab or Kurdish.

What possible connection could the achievements of these great people have to do with us Pakistanis?

You say "Muslims did all that". But this is demonstrably a false idea. For example, we could extend this and say that the modern world today is a creation of "Christians". Would it then be acceptable for Goans or Karachi-Christians or Philippinos to say, "we created the modern world", merely on the basis that they are Christian?

Please explain to us HOW Pakistanis can claim anything based on developments in West Asia?

What is the connection?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "What possible connection could the achievements of these great people have to do with us Pakistanis?"

Read the title of the post and its contents again. It's about MUSLIMS who have been targeted by Dawkins.

D. said...

Dawkins is an intellectually dishonest imbecile. He lacks the intellectual honesty to criticize Zionists and Israel -- where the whole justification is based on religion -- and focuses instead on bashing the politically acceptable targets of Islam and Christianity.

If Dawkins opened his trap against Israel, he would quickly be labeled an anti-Semite and relegated to the dustbins of academia.

Anonymous said...

"Muslims are killing Muslims, say the critics. This begs the question: Is this something unique among Muslims? Who kills 30,000 Americans each year? Is it not Americans? Who is responsible for the 40,000 reported homicides in India (actuals are likely much higher) every year? Is it not fellow Indians? Mostly Hindus?"

Why have you not included your best friend China?
They have a terrific record of maximum state execution in the world.

Either you are dense or willfully ignorant. The reason why everyone, with glee, mentions muslims killing muslims is because muslims are totally silent about it, while making hue and cry for 1/100th of the killing done by Americans. The hypocrisy and double standards of muslims has no limits.

Salman said...

Exellent work Riaz. Only you could have done it for us.

But this needs the attention of millions. Real challenge is to find ways to get such posts read by millions if not billions.

D. said...

The claim that Islam needs to evolve like other religions is false. All religions, including Islam, already have a breadth of interpretations. What is happening is that the countries which have adopted a more laissez faire interpretation to (any) religion have progressed scientifically. We can discuss the causality and correlation of this phenomenon, but the single most important correlation with scientific advancement is rule of law, governance, and protection of personal rights, including intellectual property. All countries -- Muslim or not -- which lack the above attributes have remained backwards.

An intellectually honest assessment would highlight rule of law, governance, and personal rights -- not religion -- as the determinant of scientific progress.

Anonymous said...

What is the reason that other religions have "adopted a more laissez faire interpretation" where as Islam is still sitting in the seventh century. Doesn't this itself answer the question you are trying to give.

Anonymous said...

"Are today's Muslims fratricidal low-achievers? "

In 2005, for american companies in India, India got them more patents than all of arab countries from 1980 to 2005. You be the judge Riaz Shahib.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "In 2005, for american companies in India, India got them more patents than all of arab countries from 1980 to 2005"

The population of all the Arab countries combined is about a quarter of the population of India.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: " where as Islam is still sitting in the seventh century"

What you call "Islam" is 1.5 billion people with many different interpretations in different Muslim countries today.

Some are thriving democracies with rule of law while others are absolute monarchies.

None is in the 7th century. Most are doing better than India with higher rates of literacy, lower poverty, less hunger and better sanitation. None have the kind of caste Apartheid, open defecation and female genocide that characterizes life in India.

Hopewins said...

He is a young, educated man unnecessarily blaming Muslims for being the victims.....

Well? What is your response?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Well? What is your response?"

I generally agree with most of what he accuses Muslims of. I do think Muslims are certainly guilty of a lot of hypocrisy.

Amjad said...

As always, another good piece of research and writing -- my heartfelt compliments.

Anonymous said...

The population of all the Arab countries combined is about a quarter of the population of India.

India in one single year 2005 got more patents that ALL arab countries combined in the preceeding 25 years!!

Arabs have a quarter of population of India but a larger GDP than India still the gap is staggering.

Incidentally Indians helped arabs a lot especially Egypt.

Look up Helwan HA300 the arab world's first and only fighter jet.The test pilot was an Indian.

Also a lot of technical help was given by India.Egypt btw has always supported India vis a vis Pakistan.There is a reason India is today a

Anonymous said...


Nehru partially financed to plane post UK embargo on the project post 1956 suez crisis the flight testing was done on Indian HF-24 Marut and India provided both test pilots as well as trained egyptian AF test pilots for the same. Had the program not been cancelled it would have been a terrific success.

Egyptian nationalists still fondly remember Nehru's help and friendship of Gamal Abdel Nasser including threatening to pull out of commonwealth if the invasion of Egypt in 1956 was not immediately reversed!

Egypt ALWAYS support India and was the prime reason India is today an honorary observing member of the Arab league.

Anonymous said...

"I generally agree with most of what he accuses Muslims of. I do think Muslims are certainly guilty of a lot of hypocrisy."

That was very nice of you. However this is what most western critics of muslims also say.
On a different note, do you agree with Hussain Haqqani that Pak never utilized their friendship with USA (during 1947 to end of cold war) like the way Taiwan and South Korea did. That is , use the technological expertise of USA to build education or manufacturing expertise.

Why is that USA helped India in building IIT Kanpur, but did not do the same for Pakistan? Does this tell about the priorities.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Why is that USA helped India in building IIT Kanpur, but did not do the same for Pakistan? Does this tell about the priorities."

Obviously, you and Haqqani do not know the history US-Pak cooperation in may fields including education, infrastructure, agriculture over the years.

Many of inst of higher learning were established with US help...IBA with Wharton Business School, PIDE with Harvard Business School, Univ of Agriculture with UC Davis, etc.

Besides, huge dams and world's largest contiguous irrigation system were built in Pakistan with US help during the Green Revolution.

Both India and Pakistan benefited from US aid for Green Revolution, and through Atoms For Peace to build nuclear capacity during the Eisenhower Admin.

In fact, India was the world's biggest recipient of US economic aid even during the Cold War. But Us also helped Pakistan significantly in 1960s.

US has been very helpful in building Pakistan's human capital over the years.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "ndian HF-24 Marut and India provided both test pilots as well as trained egyptian AF test pilots for the same. Had the program not been cancelled it would have been a terrific success."

Here's the harsh reality of India's defense production capability, according to NY Times:

"The submarine explosion revealed once again the vast strategic challenges that the Indian military faces and how far behind China it has fallen. India still relies on Russia for more than 60 percent of its defense equipment needs, and its army, air force and navy have vital Russian equipment that is often decades old and of increasingly poor quality.

The Sindhurakshak is one of 10 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines that India has as part of its front-line maritime defenses, but only six of India’s submarines are operational at any given time — far fewer than are needed to protect the nation’s vast coastline.

Indeed, India has fewer than 100 ships, compared with China’s 260. India is the world’s largest weapons importer, but with its economy under stress and foreign currency reserves increasingly precious, that level of purchases will be increasingly hard to sustain.

The country’s efforts to build its own weapons have largely been disastrous, and a growing number of corruption scandals have tainted its foreign purchases, including a recent deal to buy helicopters from Italy.

Unable to build or buy, India is becoming dangerously short of vital defense equipment, analysts say...."

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Here's the harsh reality of India's defense production capability, according to NY Times.."

This is correct. The government-owned defense companies are a MESS, not just in India, but also in our country.

But it was not always like this.

Keep in mind that before it was nationalized, Hindustan Aeronautics was a private company that was making British planes for the Royal Indian Air Force. In those days, it was an efficient and capable company.

It takes some time for the government to destroy a company, so it is quite possible that Hindustan Aero was still a capable company in the 1950s (Egypt, Nasser era).

The TOTAL ruin of the company began after the tie-up with the USSR to produce MiGs. From that point on, it just became a massive, corrupt, inefficient, politicized and rent-seeking parasite.

And this is its pathetic state today.

The same is true of our PAC. PAC is just a waste of money. They just assemble Chinese parts, overcharge the taxpayer, and pretend that they are saviors of the nation.

Anonymous said...

Well it seems to have belatedly dawned on the government.Our nuke sub is built in large part by contractors like L&t and Tata.

But the thing is Pakistan doesn't have L&T and Tata to pick up the slack so is stuck with PAC for the forseeable future....

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Our nuke sub is built in large part by contractors like L&t and Tata. But the thing is Pakistan doesn't have L&T and Tata to pick up the slack so is stuck with PAC for the forseeable future...."

You are demonstrating your ignorance by the above statement. PAC is Pakistan Aeronautical doesn't build subs. Pak subs are built at Karachi Shipyard.

Pakistan's major defense manufacturing companies are owned and operated by Pakistan's military. According to Business Monitor, Pakistan's defense industry contains over 20 major public sector units (PSUs) and over 100 private-sector firms. The majority of major weapons systems production and assembly is undertaken by the state-owned PSUs, while the private-sector supplies parts, components, bladed weapons and field equipment. Major PSUs include the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) and the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory. Multinational presence in Pakistan is limited, although joint production or engineering support in the development of certain armaments has recently occurred with companies such as DCN International and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group.

Read more at:

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Pakistan's major defense manufacturing companies are owned and operated by Pakistan's military."

This may the biggest advantage we have over India.

India's defense PSUs are always in CONFLICT with their military. The military does not want to buy from them, yet they lobby their defense ministry to force their shoddy over-priced products onto India's military. The fighting between the two is constantly in the newspapers.

This does not happen in our country. Since our military effectively controls our defense PSUs, our military's requirements always come first.

In fact, this is why our PSUs do mainly assembly and why our (Chinese) tanks & planes are delivered so much faster than their Indian counterparts.

The Indian PSUs try to do their own thing according to their own whims, regardless of what the military wants or things. This leads to shoddy, outdated products, cost over-runs and time delays. The Indian military is only left complaining about this, but they cannot do anything, as they do not control their defense PSUs.

This is a key difference between our setup and India's.

This is why our 'Al Khalid' project was completed so much faster and inducted smoothly, while India's 'Arjun' project dragged on forever and was eventually not even inducted completely.

Anonymous said...

It is to be remembered that 6 out of 10 Nobel Prizes won by muslims were for peace and not one of seven hindus who won, won it for peace. Just a fact.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times Nobel Laureate economist-columnist on Ibn Khaldun's lessons for Microsoft and other established powers:

The trouble for Microsoft came with the rise of new devices whose importance it famously failed to grasp. “There’s no chance,” declared Mr. Ballmer in 2007, “that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”

How could Microsoft have been so blind? Here’s where Ibn Khaldun comes in. He was a 14th-century Islamic philosopher who basically invented what we would now call the social sciences. And one insight he had, based on the history of his native North Africa, was that there was a rhythm to the rise and fall of dynasties.

Desert tribesmen, he argued, always have more courage and social cohesion than settled, civilized folk, so every once in a while they will sweep in and conquer lands whose rulers have become corrupt and complacent. They create a new dynasty — and, over time, become corrupt and complacent themselves, ready to be overrun by a new set of barbarians.

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to apply this story to Microsoft, a company that did so well with its operating-system monopoly that it lost focus, while Apple — still wandering in the wilderness after all those years — was alert to new opportunities. And so the barbarians swept in from the desert.

Sometimes, by the way, barbarians are invited in by a domestic faction seeking a shake-up. This may be what’s happening at Yahoo: Marissa Mayer doesn’t look much like a fierce Bedouin chieftain, but she’s arguably filling the same functional role.

Anyway, the funny thing is that Apple’s position in mobile devices now bears a strong resemblance to Microsoft’s former position in operating systems. True, Apple produces high-quality products. But they are, by most accounts, little if any better than those of rivals, while selling at premium prices.

So why do people buy them? Network externalities: lots of other people use iWhatevers, there are more apps for iOS than for other systems, so Apple becomes the safe and easy choice. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Is there a policy moral here? Let me make at least a negative case: Even though Microsoft did not, in fact, end up taking over the world, those antitrust concerns weren’t misplaced. Microsoft was a monopolist, it did extract a lot of monopoly rents, and it did inhibit innovation. Creative destruction means that monopolies aren’t forever, but it doesn’t mean that they’re harmless while they last. This was true for Microsoft yesterday; it may be true for Apple, or Google, or someone not yet on our radar, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Richard Dawkins’ “atheist anti-religion” agenda has noticeably become increasingly focused on Islam & Muslims; his online statements (recently including his Twitter account ) have now become so extreme that a great deal of them are essentially indistinguishable from the bigoted, ignorant nonsense pushed by the English Defence League leadership and the main US-based anti-Muslim propagandists such as Robert Spencer etc.

Riaz Haq said...

Are Muslims more violent than others?

Looking over the last century, the bloodiest in human history, it’s an equally strange argument to make from a Western, Christian-majority nation. As University of Michigan Islam scholar Juan Cole (Informed Comment, 4/23/13) points out, of the more than 100 million war deaths in the 20th century, something less than 2 percent came at the hands of Muslim-majority nations. Most of those dead came in wars where non-Muslim nations played a significant role—such as the Iran/Iraq War, where the United States aided the aggressor Iraq, and the Afghan Civil War, where the Soviet Union was a major military force.
Cole also explains that “murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States,” which is especially violent for a wealthy nation.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Detroit Free Press piece on Muslim contributions in the United States:

It has been said that ignorance and prejudice go hand in hand. If anyone can prove that statement true, it’s Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Following a litany of inflammatory questions about the contributions of American Muslims, some lawmakers have amped up calls for his resignation. While publicly renouncing his bigoted views is important, it is also necessary to reject them because they are riddled with falsehoods.

On Facebook last month, Agema shared a widely circulated blog that highlighted the charity work of the Catholic church before asking a series of mocking questions about Muslims. Some included: Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital? Have you heard of a Muslim orchestra? A Muslim marching band? Have you witnessed a Muslim charity? Can you show me one Muslim signature on the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, or Bill of Rights? Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?

The questions were intended to be rhetorical, with an implicit answer of “no” resounding after each one. Muslims, Agema believed, had not done any of these things. But a closer examination of history proves that Muslims have done many of them. They are an important and integral part of America’s national fabric and contribute in many meaningful ways to its success and growth.

■ American Muslims have a substantial presence in the health care industry. The Islamic Medical Association of North America, one of many such organizations, estimates that there are more than 20,000 Muslim physicians in the United States. Similarly, an analysis of statistics provided by the American Medical Association indicates that 10% of all American physicians are Muslims. While no Islamic hospitals exist in the United States, per se, several Muslim-based health clinics do. And let’s not forget that the hospital itself is not an American invention — it’s an Egyptian one. For that matter, the father of modern surgery wasn’t an American Protestant pioneer, either, but a 10th-Century Muslim physician from Spain, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi.

■ Criticism over the absence of Muslim orchestras in the United States rings hollow, as well. Few orchestras are comprised exclusively of members from one particular faith, and many are organized along ethnic or other lines. The National Arab and New York Arabic Orchestras are two examples of groups whose members include numerous Muslims. Similarly, marching bands are obviously affiliated with high schools or universities, not mosques or churches, and surely Muslim students make up these musical groups, which, as it turns out, trace their roots back to the military bands of the Muslim Ottoman empire. The violin, too, finds its origins within the 10th-Century bowing instruments of Islamic civilization.

■ Muslim charity groups in the United States are too numerous to catalog, though the Bay Area Islamic Networks Group, the UMMA Clinic in Los Angeles, the Chicago-based Inner-City Muslim Action Network and Dearborn’s ACCESS are examples of groups that provide crucial services and empower the underprivileged. In 2013, the Muslim charity Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) was rated among the top 10 charities in the United States....

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of an interesting discussion on debates of Imam Al Ghazali (AlGazel)vs Ali Sina (Avicena) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) during Omayyad and Abbasid periods:
he eleventh-century Arabic-language skeptic Al-Ghazali, known in Latin as Algazel wrote a diatribe called Tahafut al falasifa, which I translate as “The Incompetence of Philosophy.”

Algazel’s attack on “scientific” knowledge started a debate with Averroës, the medieval philosopher who ended up having the most profound influence of any medieval thinker (on Jews and Christians, though not on Moslems). The debate between Algazel and Averroës was finally, but sadly, won by both. In its aftermath, many Arab religious thinkers integrated and exaggerated Algazel’s skepticism of the scientific method, preferring to leave causal considerations to God. The West embraced Averroës’s rationalism, built upon Aristotle’s, which survived through Aquinas and the Jewish philosophers who called themselves Averroan for a long time. Many thinkers blame the Arabs’ later abandonment of scientific method on Algazel’s huge influence. He ended up fueling Sufi mysticism, in which the worshipper attempts to enter into communion with God, severing all connections with earthly matters.
there’s a lot more to this that you’re missing.

the true debate was between ghazali and ibn sina, known as “avicena.” “averoes,” ibn rushd, (see my notes on him below) came later. ghazali’s “incoherence of the philosophers” was a full-blown, line by line, refutation of ibn sina’s major works.

ibn sina (avicena) did much more than just face off with al ghazali. his life’s work was to mesh greek philosophy with monotheism. this was incredibly important because it saved christian civilization the trouble. this debate between ghazali and ibn sina had several hundred years of historical precedence in the islamic world, and it would continue after both their deaths. this process of synthesis took quite a few iterations of “islamicization” (read: “monothisation”) of greek thought, starting first with the translation of greek texts into arabic and persian, and ending not only with their study, but their eventual enveloping into a monotheistic world view. bare in mind, while all this was going on, europeans were farming dirt and cutting each other’s heads off at the beginning of the dark ages.

ibin sina is considered to be the master of this synthesis of monotheism and greek philosophy – ibn rushd, who came after, was able to use ibn rushd’s work, whereas only one man before ibn sina came close to the achievement (al farabi). when ibn sina’s works entered the christian world, he served up the hundreds of years of work that muslim philosophers had done to make greek thought palatable to a monothesitic reality. at that time (the end of the european dark ages), christians were far more punishing to heretics than muslims – if you had dropped greek thought into europe without the work that ibin sina had done, anybody who had read it out loud would have had their balls chopped off shortly before being burned at the stake. such a seed would have never had the chance to grow.

The difference between Christian/Western civilization’s progress (Al-Ghazali influenced Kant later on) and Islam’s is that, when we challenged pure reason with theology/spirituality in the philosophical ring, our theology won. Not hard to do since ours was a more strictly guarded and authentic tradition. It was all straight from the mouth of the religion’s founder.


My own response on the subject in the same forum some time later during a discussion on Ibn Rushd (Averroes),

Riaz Haq said...

Two-thirds of the stars have Arabic names. We use Arabic numerals. Words like Algebra and Algorithm are from Arabic. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, discusses how Islamic scholars contributed to the Islamic Golden Age and how over time independent reasoning (ijthad) lost out to modern institutionalised imitation (taqleed) present in the wider islamic society today.

Riaz Haq said...

From Huffington Post:
Here, the Huffington Post Germany presents eight things we owe to great Muslim civilizations.

1. Algebra

Many Westerners, Germans in particular, are proud of their feats of technology and engineering. But where would engineers be without algebra?

The mathematical system became known in Europe in the twelfth century, when British Arabist Robert of Chester translated the writings of Arab scholar Al-Khwarizmi. Al-Khwarizmi, for whom algorithms are named, is known as the developer of modern algebra.

2. The toothbrush

Islam was the one of the first world religions to place particular emphasis on bodily hygiene. The Qur’an includes instructions for ritual washing. It is no wonder, therefore, that dental hygiene also grew in popularity as Islam did. Admittedly, the ancient Egyptians are thought to have chewed on twigs from the “toothbrush tree.”

However, the twigs, also known as “miswak”, only became known to a wider public when the Prophet Mohammed regularly used them to brush his teeth. While there is no mention of miswak twigs in the Qur’an, they are mentioned many times in writings by Muslim scholars.

3. Marching bands

Military marching bands date back to the Ottoman Mehterhane. These were bands which played during the entire battle and only ceased their music-making when the army retreated or the battle was over.

During the wars with the Ottoman Empire, the bands are thought to have made a considerable impression on European soldiers – after which they adapted the principle for their own use.

4. The guitar

The guitar, as we know it today, has its origins in the Arabic oud – a lute with a bent neck. During the Middle Ages, it found its way to Muslim Spain, where it was referred to as “qitara” in the Arabic of Andalusia.

It is said that a music teacher brought one to the court of the Umayyad ruler Abdel Rahman II in the ninth century. The modern guitar developed as a result of many influences, but the Arabic lute was an important predecessor.

5. Magnifying glass/glasses

Not only did the Arab world revolutionize mathematics – it also revolutionized optics. The scholar Alhazen (Abu al-Hasan) from Basra was the first person to describe how the eye works.

He carried out experiments with reflective materials and proved that the eye does not sense the environment with “sight rays,” as scientists had believed up until then. He also discovered that curved glass surfaces can be used for magnification.

His glass “reading stones” were the first magnifying glasses. It was from these that glasses were later developed. Furthermore, Alhazen wrote important scholarly texts on astronomy and meteorology.

6. Coffee

Coffee is the best known of the Muslim world’s exports. While it originated in Ethiopia, it soon found its way over the Red Sea to the Arabian peninsula, where it grew in popularity.

It is thought that an Ottoman merchant brought the bean-based beverage to London in the 17th century. Venice gained its first coffee house in 1645, while Germany got to know the drink following the retreat of the Turks from Austria in 1683. Legend has it that the Sultan’s soldiers left sackloads of coffee behind.

7. Hospitals

The first modern hospital with nurses and a training centre was in Cairo. In the Ahmed Ibn Tulun hospital (named for the founder of the Tulunid dynasty), which was established in the year 872, all patients received free health care – a Muslim tradition which was institutionalized with the advent of the hospital.

8. Surgical Innovations

The Andalusian-born doctor Albucasis (Abu al-Kasim) was one of the most significant medical figures of the Middle Ages. In the more than 30 volumes he wrote, the tenth-century Arab scholar described how important a positive patient-doctor relationship is, and argued for the same standard of medical care for all, regardless of social class.

Riaz Haq said...

What if I told you that Islam once produced the world's most scientifically advanced and intellectually productive civilization?

It's true, and you'll probably hear more about it, this being 2015, the United Nations International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, in which Islamic science will be showcased.

Many Americans might find far-fetched the idea that Islam spawned the most advanced and sophisticated civilization of its time -- especially now that some Islamic sects slaughter thousands of innocents in their bloody campaign to spread tyrannical Sharia law.

Yet Islam's Golden Age, extending from the 7th century to the 13th century, flourished while Europe and Christendom wallowed in the Dark Ages. Western society was considered a backwater, if considered at all.

Islam generated impressive advances in medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, optics and philosophy. It created cities, observatories and libraries, and it engaged in far-flung commerce well before Christopher Columbus set sail.

Credit Islamic genius for the magnetic compass and navigational innovation, for algebra and the refinement of the numbering system that originated in India, for papermaking and the scientific method. While Greek and Roman learning faded in the medieval West, Islamic scholars were preserving and enlarging it -- long before the European Renaissance or Age of Enlightenment.

All this and more will be spotlighted during the International Year, which will open Jan. 19 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and will aim to raise awareness of light science and its importance to mankind.

And by doing that, it necessarily will have to highlight Islamic achievements. For example, the opening event will focus on the multiple accomplishments of the 11th century polymath Ibn al-Haytham in optics, mathematics and astronomy. The Golden Age will get more attention Sept. 14 during a conference on its impact on "knowledge-based society."

So, what went wrong? How did Islamic society fall from one so open and inquisitive to the repressive and closed one that has produced few scientific advances and staggering intolerance?

Historians have offered complex and conflicting explanations that seem to fall along two lines: (A) It's our fault. Or, (B) it's their fault.


Riaz Haq said...

Why do all the planets have Arabic names?

Where did much of math come from?

Algebra? Algorithm?

Niel deGrasse Tyson explains Islam 800-1100 AD

Astrolabe, Celestial Navigation

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, discusses how Islamic scholars contributed to the Islamic Golden Age and how over time independent reasoning (ijthad) lost out to modern institutionalized imitation (taqleed promoted by Al Ghazali) present in the wider islamic society today.

And then revelation replaced investigation and Muslims declined.

Riaz Haq said...

Three US and four Pakistani universities have agreed to collaborate on research on energy, water and agriculture.

The US will provide $127 million for the establishment of the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS).

The partnership will harness applied research and find innovative and practical solutions for Pakistan’s energy, water, and agriculture and food security challenges.

The details were revealed on Monday by a US embassy group at a roundtable discussion with journalists. Officials also shared details the upcoming inaugural meeting of Education, Science, and Technology Working Group (ESTWG).

The projects are to be launched on Wednesday at Planning Commission and National University of Science and Technology Islamabad and will be led by a US delegation along with Pakistani government officials.

While giving an overview of the programme, US Embassy Assistance Coordinator Brian Aggeler said the ESTWG is the sixth and newest working group under the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue, which is diplomatic framework for sustained engagement between both countries.

US Cultural Affairs Officer Judith Ravin said the programme is in line with the four Es of collaboration (economy, education, energy and extremism).

“It is an opportunity for these universities to maximise their capital and touch entire higher education sector,” Ravin said.

Under the CAS programme, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and University of California, Davis will collaborate in agriculture and food security. In the energy sector, NUST and University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar will jointly work with the Arizona State University, while Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro will work with the University of Utah for water projects.

USAID Education Office Deputy Director Garth Willis said revised curricula, financial assistance and laboratories will be established for the chosen universities through a competitive process.

Under the programme, scholarships, exchange programmes and leading networking activities will be provided. Similarly, construction, rehabilitation and up-gradation of CAS facilities are also part of the programme.

Riaz Haq said...

By Akbar Ahmad

One of the right-wing tropes about Islam in Europe, which is making alarming inroads into the mainstream, is that it represents a "culture of backwardness, of retardedness, of barbarism" and has made no contribution to Western civilization. Islam provides an easy target considering that some 3,000 or more Europeans are estimated to have left for the Middle East in order to fight alongside the Islamic State. The savage beheadings and disgusting treatment of women and minorities confirm in the minds of many that Islam is incompatible with Western civilization. This has become a widely known, and even unthinkingly accepted, proposition. But is it correct?

Let us look at European history for answers. At least 10 things will surprise you:

1. Contrary to common belief, Muslims did not first arrive in Europe with the intention of conquering it.

A small military contingent landed on the southern coast of Spain in 711 in response to the pleadings of the Jewish community, which faced harsh persecution under the Visigoth rulers. The arrival of the Muslims and their victory prevented what New York University Professor David Levering Lewis terms "the final solution." Christian leaders like Count Julian, whose daughter had been dishonored at court, had also been requesting Muslim intervention. It is precisely this reason, the support of large sections of local society, that allowed the Muslims to so easily establish their domination over Al-Andalus.

2. By describing Muslims as "backward", "retarded" and "barbaric," it is suggested that they are not capable of balancing their religion with rational thought. Yet Muslims had already attained a balance between the two positions centuries before other European societies.

The debate between faith and reason that had been agitating Muslim philosophers and had begun since the birth of Islam and its first encounters with Greek philosophy found one of its most sophisticated votaries in Ibn Rushd, or Averroës, in 12th century Andalusia. Averroës' translations and commentaries on Aristotle and Plato so influenced scholars like Thomas Aquinas that he and others across Europe, assuming his name needed no elaboration, referred to Ibn Rushd simply as "The Commentator."

3. The first man ever to fly was the scholar Ibn Firnas near Cordoba in the 9th century.

Its streets were lit and there were baths, gardens and libraries everywhere. The main library was estimated to have 400,000 books when the largest library in Europe, in Switzerland, had 800 volumes. Visitors came from all over the continent to marvel at Andalusian civilization, and a nun in Saxony called Hroswitha described it as ''the ornament of the world.''

5. Islam is frequently accused of being intolerant and rejecting harmony with other cultures and religions. Yet Muslim Spain or Andalusian civilization offers one of the most shining examples of harmony, peace and prosperity between different religions in the history of Europe.

At one point the capacity of people of different faiths to live and work together in Andalusia was illustrated by its ruler Abd Al-Rahman III in the 10th century. His chief minister was Jewish and his ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I was the Catholic Bishop Racemundo. The Spanish term La Convivencia or Coexistence describes that time in Al-Andalus. Harmony at the political level engendered creativity and prosperity. Others saw it differently. Muslim tribes fresh from the deserts and mountains of North Africa looked on Andalusian society as decadent and corrupt. They destroyed Madina-at-Zahra, the beautiful royal town built in the hills near Cordoba considered the gem of Andalusian architecture. Scholars like the great Rabbi Maimonides and Averroës were forced into exile from their beloved Cordoba.

Riaz Haq said...

"Athiests" Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins Trolling a child in the name of #Islamaphobia #IStandWithAhmed … via @Salon

Let’s say you want to be a narrow-minded bigot but you think far too highly of yourself to be lumped in with the trucker-hatted hoi polloi. You, after all, know the meaning of hoi polloi. You do the Saturday Times crossword puzzle in ink. You’re not some dumb hick. You’re an arrogant troll because you’re smart. That’s why you love Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher, because they make having terrible ideas seem boldly intellectual!

Over the weekend, both Dawkins and Maher eagerly leapt to question the motives of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen who was handcuffed and arrested for suspicion of bringing “a hoax bomb” to school when he showed up with a homemade clock. Mohamed’s story — one in which a school system that already had a history of questionable sentiments toward Islam had an overreaction to a scientifically Muslim curious kid — has become an international news story, culminating Mohamed receiving an invitation from the president to the White House. But where some have seen an outpouring of support for an inventive 14 year-old kid, others have wondered if there isn’t something a little more… suspicious going on here.

First, Bill Maher, who’s already clearly stated that “Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas,” asserted on Friday’s “Real Time” that “This kid deserves an apology, no doubt about it. They were wrong. But could we have a little perspective about this? Did the teacher really do the wrong thing?” He drew applause when he said that the clock “looks exactly like a f__king bomb” and demanded that “Someone look me in the eye right here and tell me, over the last thirty years, if so many young muslim men… haven’t blown a lot of s__t up around the world…. It’s been one culture that’s been blowing s__t up over and over again.” Just a reminder: cultures don’t blow s__it up; extremist members of cultures do.

Then, full time crap-stirrer Dawkins took time out from retweeting fawning accolades from his fans on Sunday to just, know, ask some questions, posting a link to a YouTube clip from Thomas Talbot claiming Mohamed’s “a fraud” who didn’t invent or build the clock in question. The 74 year-old Dawkins didn’t dispute that it was wrong to arrest Mohamed, saying, “The real scandal is that he was denied his RIGHT to call his parents when being interrogated. The police violated the law.” But he did seem concerned about the alleged “fraud.” “If this is true,” he asked, “what was his motive?”


Skepticism and curiosity are vital and sadly lacking nutrients in our daily public discourse. But it’s unfortunate that an intellectual who once had the power to provoke insightful, challenging debate has in recent years turned into a sour crank, eager to leverage his brand as a prominent atheist as an excuse to go big on Islamphobia and congratulate himself on his horrendous views on sexual assault. And it’s pathetic that Maher and Dawkins are wrapping themselves up not in the rigorous quest for knowledge they claim to stand behind but their own petty prejudices and fears — and they’re basically the same baseless, dumb crap you could get from a doofus like Sarah Palin. The difference is that their schtick has its following not among the “Duck Dynasty” watchers but the C-Span ones. And even as they peddle ignorance, they have the arrogance to believe themselves incapable of it.

Riaz Haq said...

This "peaceful Hindu" myth has been shattered repeatedly throughout history, not just in the recent past in Gujarat, Delhi, Ayodhya, Kashmir and elsewhere.

Here's a 2015 piece by Aaakar Patel:

We have never had a problem spilling our own blood, for instance. The Marathas conquered Gujarat, and still hold on to Baroda. This was not a peaceful or democratic takeover.

Ashok flattened Kalinga and massacred thousands of Oriyas. Nobody disputes this. It wasn't a lack of visa or tolerance that stopped him from attempting the same in China or Burma or Australia. It was natural borders. North Indian dynasties had little geographic space in which to conquer 'foreign', meaning non-subcontinental, territory.

In the south, there are other examples. In the same period that north India was invaded by Muslims and England invaded by France, the Tamilians under the Cholas invaded southeast Asia because they were among the few Indian dynasties with a competent navy.

All of this is known and I am not revealing anything new. But it is remarkable that despite this, most Indians and even ministers of the Union Cabinet, believe myths of such childish simplicity.

Another piece by Rahila Gupta:

A presence of 1400 years is surely long enough to put down roots; there were nearly 10,000 cases of recorded crimes against Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe members in 2007 and we know that most crimes do not get recorded in India because of a corrupt and brutal police force; many Indians are still reeling from the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, one of several over the years; and only last year vicious attacks in Orissa left at least 60 Christians dead. It is little wonder that in the recent elections in India, many parties and political candidates defined their agendas in opposition to the BJP (Bharatiya Janata party), the political face of Hinduism.

Riaz Haq said...

From The Milli Gazette by Sumit Paul:

Adi Shankar was so paranoid to “save” his great Hinduism that he wrote a treatise in Sanskrit justifying the weapons and even “ritualistic sacrifice” to the deities. To him, Shankar’s Trishul (Trident) and Durga’s so many weapons in as many hands were exhortations to the devotees to emulate their deities in every respect, especially in terms of violence. That’s why he’d lay down the conditions that in philosophical discourses with Buddhist monks and scholars, whoever would lose, would have to resort to self-immolation. Many Buddhists monks immolated themselves having been defeated by the redoubtable, but extremely cunning Adi Shankar. Orientalist David Gardley opined that “Since deities are often the mental manifestations and imaginary projections of a race, community or a homogeneous group, it superimposes its own thoughts, views and ethos on the deities”.

The very mentality of the followers of Hinduism has been violent, blatantly violent at that. There’re instances recorded by the great historian and professor of history at Dhaka University Professor Ramesh Chandra Majumdar when Hindus, especially Hindu-Brahmins of the Eastern India, massacred non-Brahmin Hindus when Muslim invaders passed through their villages! Such desecrated Hindus had no right to live, believed the Brahmins and quoted from their antiquated scriptures, why gods wanted to annihilate such defiled Hindus (Oxford University Essays on Hinduism, 1965). It’s but obvious that its deities also became like that to suit this violent streak. Hinduism, “the existing paganism” (Edmund Blunden’s phrase) always approved of violence, justifying it as a measure to thwart challenges from outside and within.

History will bail me out that the Deccan plateau was red with blood of the Shaivites and Lingaites. Shaivites claimed that it was Lord Shiva’s divine order to kill the followers of the opponent sect. And that’s why he brandished his trident. Krishna, if at all he existed (though chances of his existence are very very bleak), was the main cause of Kurukshetra that witnessed unprecedented bloodshed. That’s the reason, scriptures of Jainism consign him to Raurav, the seventh and the lowest hell. When a religion believes so much in sanguinary myths and violent ways through its deities, how can it claim to be non-violent and peace-loving? Peace’s at loggerheads with such blood-thirsty faith. Brutally speaking, Hinduism institutionalised violence.

However hard the Hindu apologists may try to explain away why their gods and goddesses are shown brandishing weapons and oozing blood from mouth as in the case of Kali and other demi-gods, they can’t convince any sane mind. Even a child will refuse to be convinced by their imbecile logic and insane arguments. The bottomline is, Hinduism like many other faiths is violent and opportunistic.

Riaz Haq said...

1 vision, 3 countries: #Turkey, #Pakistan, #Malaysia. New #TV channel will be in #English, with any non-English programs to be recorded, dubbed or subtitled in the English language. English is widely understood in countries where #Islamophobia is rampant.

In starting a new television channel, the main requirement is content. In a 24-hour, seven-day a week broadcasting range, television content must remain fresh and continuous to capture and retain the interest of viewers. Repeated programs often lose audiences.

News coverage can provide some fresh content on a daily basis, but a news channel was not what the leader visualized last year. Besides, there is no point adding one more Muslim news channel to the list of successful channels already operating globally such as Al-Jazeera, TRT World and Arab News TV.

The aim of the new channel should be not only to reach out to the wider Western public, which has little knowledge of Islamic history and social values, but also millions of TV viewers in East and Central Europe, the Far East and Central Asia who have been out of the loop on Islamic history due to their peculiar national and political circumstances and selective coverage of satellite and internet-based TV broadcasting.

From the content point of view, if the resources of the three countries are pooled together, there will be no deficit of broadcast material. What will be required is converting most of the existing comedy, cultural dramas and documentaries into English for a global audience.

In order to be effective, one of the three state broadcasters from Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia should be given the role of a coordinator to frame the terms of reference for ensuring balance and standardization of content.

TRT TV is well placed both in terms of resources and content to take a leading role, working in collaboration with the experienced PTV in Pakistan and the relatively new RTM TV in Malaysia.

Collaboration is vital

Parallel with this work, the telecommunication authorities in the three countries should also agree to allocate at least two transponders on their national satellites to enable their nationals to watch the current on-air broadcasts of the partner countries in their home countries.

For example, Turkey can lease out one transponder each to PTV World and RTM TV1 on its Turksat 40E satellite to enable Turkish and foreign viewers in Turkey to watch the current programs of these partner media houses. In return, Pakistan should allocate two transponders on PakSat to TRT World and RTM TV1 for Pakistani viewers to be able to watch Turkish and Malaysian state television broadcasts.

Similarly, Malaysia can enable PTV World and TRT World to reach its domestic viewers through the use of the Malaysian state satellite. This will, of course, require a trilateral agreement between the telecommunication authorities to mutually extend these facilities to each other on a reciprocal basis.

This arrangement will also require compliance with the international principle of not using another country’s territory and resources, in this case, the host national satellite, to launch a sustained media attack against a third country with which the host country enjoys good relations.

Mutual hosting will also encourage the state broadcaster in each country to improve the quality of its content, as well as production because if its programs do not appeal to a broader international audience, the viewership of the new channel will decline and may even threaten the viability of the project.

A majority of television viewers in urban areas are comprised of cable subscribers. This is not only a smart way of avoiding ugly dish installations on rooftops but also an effective way to ensure regular servicing and upgrades.

Riaz Haq said...

Why India failed to produce a Second CV Raman?
Jul 5, 2022 — Reasons for the failure of Indians to win Nobel Prize after RAMAN are discussed. ...

Richard Dawkins has gone so far, he's lost even his atheist friends
Mr Dawkins’s unwillingness to treat anyone who disagrees with him as though they had even half a functioning brain cell is putting off even his own supporters.

Most British scientists cited in study feel Richard Dawkins misrepresents science
Oct 31, 2016 — Controversial British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is well-known for his criticism of religion, but a new Rice University study of British scientists reveals that a majority who mentioned Dawkins’ work during research interviews reject his approach to public engagement and said his work misrepresents science and scientists because he conveys the wrong impression about what science can do and the norms that scientists observe in their work.

Virginia Raines said...

How 'Pepe the Frog' went from harmless to hate symbol
Oct 11, 2016 — The darker corners of the Internet turned a cartoon frog into a hate symbol.

Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right
Jun 5, 2021 — I remember watching clip after clip of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens debating Christians, Muslims and "purveyors of woo," ...

What happened to Richard Dawkins? - Overland literary journal
Feb 18, 2020 — What happened to Richard Dawkins? How did an acclaimed scientist and public intellectual transform himself into the dreary boor regularly popping up in your social media feed with yet another drunken uncle tweet about gender or race?

Dawkins, you might say, has aged like milk, except that’s not exactly true. As a matter of fact, he’s always been like that. He’s not the one who has changed – the world has.

The New Atheism Dawkins helped forge related to philosophy rather as Nu Metal pertained to music. In retrospect, they’re preposterous and embarrassing but, in their day, both presented themselves as cutting edge, even progressive.

How the toxic went mainstream - Pursuit
Aug 21, 2019 — By adept use of social media, including memes, far-right and white supremacist ideologies are gaining currency and making extremist and divisive language part of everyday life.

The White Meme's Burden - jstor
by L Jeffries · 2018 — alt-right, white supremacists, Internet memes, Ben Tillman ... biologist Richard Dawkins created the term in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene,.

The “Great Meme War:” the Alt-Right and its Multifarious Enemies
by M Dafaure · 2020 — In this essay, I discuss how the alt-right has brought back into fashion traditional tenets of the reactionary, xenophobic, and often racist far-right, as demonstrated by George Hawley, and how it has managed to make these tenets appear as novel, provocative, and updated to the 21st century U.S. society and digital environment. I argue that to do so, alt-righters relied heavily on the creation, and sometimes reappropriation, of enemy images, with the ultimate goals of provoking outrage, instilling fear and/or hatred towards specific groups, reinforcing a sense of belonging within their own community, or more broadly manipulating collective perceptions and representations, first online then in real life. Indeed, the election of Donald Trump was hailed by the online alt-right as one of their major successes. With the help of irony, subversion, and often carefully engineered propaganda-like messages and images, the alt-right, it boasts, “meme’d into office” the Republican candidate. This paper consequently leads to an analysis of real-life repercussions of such adversarial rhetoric, notably through examples of recent far-right domestic terrorism in the US, and to a reflection on their place in an age of post-truth, fake news, and alternative facts.

The Alt-Right: The Rise of Internet Demagogues

Virginia Raines said...

Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation? - The Guardian
Jun 9, 2015 — The scientist and bestselling writer has become the face of a new crusading atheism. But even his closest allies worry that his online provocations do more harm than good

The New Statesman on Twitter: "The closed mind of Richard Dawkins
The closed mind of Richard Dawkins - his atheism is its own kind of narrow religion, writes John Gray.

The Atheist Movement Needs to Disown Richard Dawkins
Sep 17, 2014 — Atheist author, biologist, pioneer of the term "meme," and noted sexist curmudgeon Richard Dawkins let fly a firestorm of tweets about rape this past Friday. Those, along with his statements from the past couple of years about this and other issues, make for pretty strong evidence that Dawkins is no longer the figuredhead the atheist movement needs or deserves.

Never tweet, Richard Dawkins: Famed atheist now signal ...
Feb 1, 2016 — Never tweet, Richard Dawkins: Famed atheist now signal-boosting Nazi propaganda. Dawkins keeps demonstrating that there's no tweet too low ... Famed atheist and of-late-anti-PC crusader Richard Dawkins is again in hot water ... In carelessly pushing white supremacist propaganda, ...

Richard Dawkins has become a overrated cultural ... - Reddit
Aug 26, 2021 — Richard Dawkins has become a overrated cultural commentators who's views on religion are shown to be shallow.

Riaz Haq said...

The Atheist Movement Needs to Disown Richard Dawkins

Increasingly, Dawkins only makes headlines by provoking outrage over his handling of sexism, racism, and pedophilia, instead of his thoughts on biology. It's time for his followers to take away his megaphone and hand it to someone who's on message.

Followers of Dawkins’s antics may remember the 2011 scandal wherein Rebecca Watson, founder of female-focused atheist site Skepchick, asked men to refrain from hitting on her while in an elevator because it made her uncomfortable. Her request, tragically, caused Dawkins to lose his mind. He posted a sarcastic letter to “Muslima,” a fictional Muslim woman, telling her to “stop whining” about how hard she has it as a Muslim woman. Dawkins later apologized, albeit snidely.

The “Muslima” incident wasn't his only brush with Islamophobia. Dawkins arguably dislikes Islam even more than he dislikes false accusations of rape. (Let’s just hope he never catches wind of a Muslim person pursuing a rape allegation.) Dawkins tweets about his disdain for Islam—excuse me, the objectively correct “fact” that Islam is wrong—several times a day. On Twitter, he’s taken potshots at Muslims for not having enough Nobel Prizes (take that!), and compared Islam to Nazism.Outside of Twitter, Dawkins has stated that he “[regards] Islam as one of the great evils of the world.” Once again, this is not the provocative, fresh opinion Dawkins obviously thinks it is. It’s a boring, conservative opinion espoused by millions of people who want an easy answer to the question of why bad things happen in the world. “Islam is bad” is the opinion of a cable-news pundit whose videos your conservative dad constantly forwards you in emails with the subject line "FWD: FWD: fwd: FINALLY SOMEONE IS NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT!!!"

Dawkins appears to have adopted the sexism and other forms of narrow-mindeness he purports to hate in religion (plus bonus defenses of pedophilia), proving his own mantras wrong with every new opinion he posts. Read Dawkins’s Twitter at any time for tweets about “objective reality” interspersed with paranoid tweets about Islam, and of course his regularly scheduled uninformed opinions on rape culture. Although he is gradually losing sympathizers, the so-called “new atheist” movement still holds him in too heroic a light. In his time, Dawkins did groundbreaking work in the field of biology, but his relevance—especially in social matters—is fading quickly. If the new atheist movement wants to move beyond outdated idols preaching old-fashioned discrimination, they need to disown Dawkins—or, at the very least, subtract themselves from his more than 1 million Twitter followers.