Monday, April 4, 2011

The al Farisis Are Doing Fine

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Iran is top of the world in science growth

22:00 28 March 2011 by Andy Coghlan

Which country's scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238? The answer – Iran – might surprise many people, especially in the western nations used to leading science. Iran has the fastest rate of increase in scientific publication in the world.

And if political relations between Iran and the US are strained, it seems that the two countries' scientists are getting on fine: the number of collaborative papers between them rose almost fivefold from 388 to 1831 over the same period.

Is the Bible True?

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David Lose

Wait! Don't answer that question too quickly. If you do, you'll likely judge the Bible's veracity by categories established 1,500 years after it was written. Perhaps I should explain.

Disillusioned by the religious fervor that fed the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the early architects of what would later be called the Enlightenment demanded that all claims about the natural world be verified by the exercise of human reason rather than dogmatic pronouncement. In doing so, they distinguished between values (things one may believe but can't prove) and facts (things one can, and therefore should, prove). For these early modernists, both values and facts represented truth claims, but each of a different order. Over time, however, rationally verified facts -- and the scientific method to which they led -- became so productive and influential that it wasn't all that long until notions of truth became associated almost exclusively with facts.

A Greener Hajj

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Hajj is the largest pilgrimage on the planet, but if it is to endure, environmentally-friendly measures are needed.

by Ruqaya Izzidien

According to the Quran, humans are entrusted to be the maintainers of the earth and the only species able to burden this responsibility. If there is any place on the planet to which Muslims should offer this protection, surely it should be their holiest sites of Mecca and Medina?

However, during the Islamic pilgrimage, Hajj, most Muslims have to sidestep plastic bottles, used diapers and food packaging in order to complete their pilgrimage.

Kristiane Backer, a television presenter, author and eco-Muslim, explains that "most Muslims are not aware of the innate nature of environmentalism within Islam, just as, generally, most people aren't aware of the importance of protecting the environment".