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Saturday, November 11, 2023

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My fiancée went to MIT - 15 years ago they were all just apolitical nerds, now many of them seem to have gone bonkers - something in the water?

Perhaps the better question is why the Islamic world largely stopped contributing to science - which I think lies in political decisions taken historically (such as the persecution of the Mu'tazalites, who sought to balance the demands of reason and revalation) and its extreme legalism in its mainstream forms - this put a curtailment on what was permissible to study. The conception of the Koran as the literal word of God, God's 'greatest miracle' existing from before time itself, means that questioning the validity of any passage in the Koran is unacceptable to most Muslims (and no equivalent of Biblical textual criticism for the Koran has arisen for this reason - you'd be risking your life). I always intend to read more about this, it's such an important issue now. Mainstream Islam's weltanschauung seems to be ultimately inhibitory to the quest for truth. Eccentric forms such as Sufism struggle less from this curtailment explictly but being highly mystical believe the quest for truth about the physical world to be unimportant. People like Dawkins worry about fundamentalist Christians being anti-science (which is a reasonable worry, though I think he greatly exaggerates its threat to civilisation) but the Muslim world has far higher numbers of creationists than the West.

The reverse is true of the Jews - after assimilation and the Haskalah the Jews became an intellectual force in the West which in terms of the percentage of genius relative to the size of population has no comparison in any ethnic, national or religious group that I know of. Cultural pressures to be self-reliant due to the hostility they faced from gentiles as well as the traditional Jewish estimation of learning, transferred from prizing Rabbinic/Talmudic learning to secular topics, are I think largely behind this phenomenon. Thus I believe that no true lover of truth and civilisation can be anything other than philosemitic, and this is why the fight for Israel has now become the fight for our civilisation full stop - the Jews yet again take a central, unenviable role in history.

For illustration, in the UK Jews and Sikhs are more economically successful than the native British population, and the least successful groups are the Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and black Africans (around 10% of the UK Muslim population is black). Blacks descended from Caribbean immigrants are among the more successful groups, as are Hindus.

Inbreeding in the Islamic world certainly doesn't help: https://intellectualtakeout.org/2017/11/muslim-inbreeding-is-a-huge-problem-and-people-dont-want-to-talk-about-it/

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