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Nobel Laureate Wiped From Pakistan's Textbooks As Heretic 445

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-erased dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alexander Abad-Santos writes that in any other country, the late Dr. Abdus Salam would be a national hero: he's the Nobel laureate in physics who laid the groundwork for the biggest physics discovery in the past 30 years--the Higgs boson. But that isn't the case in Pakistan, where Salam has been wiped from textbooks and history for not being fundamentalist enough. 'He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by Taliban militants who view its members as heretics,' says Sebastian Abbot. 'His grand unification theory of strong, weak and electromagnetic fields opened the gateway for the discovery of bosons and laid down the basis for this quantum electrodynamics project,' writes Anam Khalid Alvi for Pakistan's Express Tribune. But Pakistan can't celebrate his achievements, since Ahmadis like Salam are and were prevented from 'posing as Muslims,' and can be punished with prison and even death. By contrast, fellow Pakistani physicist A.Q. Khan, who played a key role in developing the country's nuclear bomb and later confessed to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, is considered a national hero. Khan is a Muslim."
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Nobel Laureate Wiped From Pakistan's Textbooks As Heretic

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  • Meow (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:18PM (#40595801)

    I've always thought the Ahmadis (there's actually two Ahmadi sects) are appealing to Western converts. They talk a lot about pluralism, etc, and seem to mean it. Alas, they aren't quite as progressive as I'd like on LGBT rights. A lot of their commitment to pluralism probably comes from being persecuted in traditionally Muslim countries.

  • Re:Soon to be -1... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:19PM (#40595821) Homepage Journal

    It's coming soon to the U.S. Don't think they want this sort of thing to happen to Texas schoolbooks.

    Texas, Kansas and perhaps another few states. Radical fundamentalism isn't just for Muslims and it's no stranger to setting progress back throughout history.

    OK, the moons I saw around Jupiter were going around the Earth, too.

  • Re:Ah don't worry... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mashiki (184564) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:24PM (#40595883) Homepage

    280 people killed in the last killed by muslim terrorists between June 23 and June 29th. 1173 people killed by muslim terrorists in June alone. 19,187 terrorist attacks by muslims since 9/11. [thereligionofpeace.com]

    Depending on what stats you're using, between 18,000 and 24,000 people die every year from lightening strikes. Depending on how busy the "religion of peace" is they can exceed that in a year, they did that two years ago.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:28PM (#40595937)

    It was electroweak unification. Important enough.

    (So far, all attempts at grand unification have failed, including Einstein's.)

  • Re:Ah don't worry... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:29PM (#40595941)

    Actually, NOAA [noaa.gov] has been having a "war on lightning" for some time now. And they can filter money into their buddies' pockets - do you think that S.A.M.E radios are free? Does it cost nothing to build a storm shelter?

    Deaths due to lightning, annually: 24,000 [lightningsafety.com].

    (As NOAA will tell you - if you can hear thunder, you could get zapped - get your ass inside and stay in until 30 minutes past the last thunderclap. Thank you.)

    Deaths due to terrorism: varies wildly [economist.com]. Pick an arbitrary year, like 2010, and your "more" is a factor of 3, approximately. Some years, it's only a factor of 2. Given all the deaths this year in Iraq, I suspect that the figures will be large.

  • Re:Ah don't worry... (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:41PM (#40596067)

    Actually lightning fatalities are about 24,000 a year.

    http://www.vaisala.com/Vaisala%20Documents/Scientific%20papers/Annual_rates_of_lightning_fatalities_by_country.pdf [vaisala.com]

    The fact that you could have just used google to find that instead of trying to spread vitriol says a lot about you.

  • by nschubach (922175) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:58PM (#40596249) Journal

    The Bible has it's fair share of questionable text [skepticsan...dbible.com]. So...to be fair, it all depends on who reads and teaches the document. If you read any book as the truth and fact, you are in for a very dark world. One thing I've learned about religion in general is that you have to take the words with a grain of skepticism to even start to be a rational person. (I've chosen to flow on the side of non-belief myself, but whatever.)

  • by jheath314 (916607) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:11PM (#40596413)

    I would argue that on top of the sectarian issues in this particular case, there is a major lack scientific achievement in that region of the world. Dr. Abdus Salam is one of only two Nobel laureates from a Muslim country. Islamic Universities have a shockingly low output (only 300 out of the 1800 universities in the region have even _one_ faculty member who has ever published anything. Compare that to Western Universities where typically every faculty member will have publications.)

    Part of the problem might be the rote learning paradigm that dominates in the middle east. Free inquiry and critical thinking are probably discouraged in a region dominated by so many authoritarian regimes. However, I would argue that one of the main reasons science has failed to flourish in Arab-Islamic countries is the legacy of one man: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali [skeptoid.com].

    Al-Ghazali helped codify and unify several competing schools of Islamic thought, binding them around the central premise of rejecting outside influences to concentrate on spiritualism and devotion to God. While European philosophy focused on understanding the material world, al-Ghazali focused instead on the supernatural. After the Crusades destroyed the Islamic world's scientific Golden Age, al-Ghazadi's anti-scientific philosophy held sway and kept the region from experiencing the kind of Renaissance that moved Europe out of the dark ages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:33PM (#40596691)

    The beliefs that make KKK whacko don't come from Christianity

    Clearly you have never read the Bible or the KKK's hate literature. There's considerable overlap - look up the Heresy of Peor, for example. God rewards Phinehas and all his seed for the extrajudicial murder of Zimri, who has committed miscegenation. Or check out the Prophet Ezra's viewpoint on race-mixing - the KKK is right in line.

    and they're not backed by any kind of government.

    At some points in US history, the KKK has run governments - such as the Indiana state government in 1925, for instance.

    They invented their own crazy

    The only "crazy" they invented on their own was the curious idea that Christianity wasn't founded by Jews.

    Fortunately they're dwindling in numbers.

    Amen to that, brother.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:46PM (#40596811)

    You mean like Great Britain's theocracy?

    It hasn't been a practical theocracy for a while, but the Queen is the head of the state church and the Church of England has representation in the House of Lords.

    [there that will stir things up a bit]

  • Re:Ah don't worry... (Score:4, Informative)

    by sneakyimp (1161443) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:00PM (#40597913)

    I compared the United States to Saudi Arabia. Last time I checked, they are both countries. What's more, and somewhat interestingly, the United States sells an enormous amount of weaponry to Saudi Arabia and doesn't really give them a hard time about the human rights issues. We are complicit in the hegemony of the Saudi Royal family more than any other country in the world. One might say the US and SA are thick as thieves. My comparison of the two is meant as an analog to the religious issue because the United States is arguably the most Christian nation in the world and Saudi Arabia the most Islamic. The US is somewhat more diverse religion-wise, but is predominantly Christian. I believe the comparison is a fair one and the similarities (and political ties) are too extensive to be dismissed so easily.

    But, if you want to get technical, you have to admit that US Citizens can also be killed by the US government without any trial whatsoever [latimes.com]. If you are not a US Citizen but happen to live in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen or Sudan or a variety of other places the United States has targeted, you can also be killed there via drone attack. Your flimsy assertion that one can only be killed "primarily by lethal injection" conveniently ignores the entire scope of death dealt out by agents of the United States government. Also, if you insist on focussing arbitrarily on the means of death meted out by our judicial system in the United States, then you must acknowledge that you can opt to be killed by lethal injection, hanging, electric chair, or firing squad in various US states. There is also some debate as to how painful (or terrifying) death by lethal injection might be. Until recently in Arkansas, the components of this deadly cocktail were determined at the discretion of the Department of Corrections and not by any objective standard of human decency or medical expertise.

    The war in Iraq was never a crusade

    What the hell does that mean to you exactly? The word "crusade" is infested with conflicting connotations. Most connotations I can discern seem entirely apt. I would argue it is remarkably similar to the original Crusades both in its rationale, its conception, and its results.

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