De-Lurking on the Net

February 16, 2015

Should wider world continue surrendering to religion whether radical or otherwise ?

Filed under: Faith,Science,World — Geekay @ 1:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Today, we learnt Coptic Church adherents of Egypt have been beheaded in Libya by ISIS. The middle east is turning rest of the world into an unstable world where not only outside faith people(Kuffars) are getting beheaded, raped, butchered but also many of those who live in the Islamic lands itself.   Current strategy seems to be nudging some of these countries towards banning the funding and declare them terrorists groups and sporadic bombing.

sisi&CopticChurchMan

The fight against radical Islam remains in abeyance. One of the problem is the differing policies of  most countries .  Starting with west – it does not declare openly the new war on  radicalism as it  does not want to define the contours of radicalism. It chooses to condemn in mild tones to some countries like India where it knows that criticism will not undermine the relations but otherwise takes the  conversation private with the respective country like Saudi etc. I do not think these private conversations will help in the long run. The west remains ill prepared to monitor the indoctrination level  by the Imams/Maulvis or teachers in school by framing a law. Anjem Chaudhri comes to mind. Not only the killer of Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo but the new guy, Brusthom Ziamani,  arrested on way to murder another army cadet had been inspired  by the Anjem’s thoughts along with Abu Hamza. The material on net also remains available. Perhaps, it remains available not only for the indoctrination of radical elements but also for helping the spy agencies to monitor the people who access this.  Countries like UK have allowed the independent Islamic education where integration and becoming patriot to the land one is living in is not the focus of  education but to make pupils more adherents to the faith just like followers in Mosque are drilled into doing something for saving their faith by invoking the supposed insult (against prophet or Islam) or crimes against the fellow Muslims. The victimhood card remains the hallmark even of the intellectuals of Islam.  So, when should non-Muslims feel alarmed? Should they worry  “When someone is expressing the feelings of  muslims being the victims or only when there are open declarations of hate against others. The linkages to incitement expressions is very hard to prove. Perhaps, that is why Anjem remains elusive to jail. So, degree of radicalism needs defining for conviction.

The Islamic countries till date have been open supporters of  not only allowing  the fundamentalists ideologies like Wahabism or Deobandies to flourish among their midst  but they also fund the followers of these ideologies. Taliban used to get funding from Saudi, USA, China. Saudi continue the funding of Madrassas in South Asia –India (Kashmir and other parts), Pakistan, Bangladesh. The funds for Jama’at-ud-Da’wah ‘s chief Hafiz  Saeed comes from Pakistan establishment  and also privately from people ‘s donations in Pakistan. This person was linked to Mumbai Carnage of 2008. Iran supports the Hizbollahs and Hamas besides the Syria, Iraq and the new group  in Yemen. The Muslim brotherhood also gets funding perhaps from Jordan even though it is on the receiving end in Egypt after Morsi’s (last President) ouster. Saudi remains averse  towards it. However, the Muslim brotherhood not only has controlled ministry of education in Jordan for last 17 years but has received  funds raised by charities in the name of Palestine. It is considered a terrorist group in one country like Egypt, Saudi, UAE, Baharain but not outlawed by others like Jordan, Qatar. It was feared that brotherhood has taken root  in many British campuses ( London University campuses), so in 2014 David Cameron had ordered a review of activities of Brotherhood.

                                            Following ‘Peshawar Massacre’ of school children, there was a lot of soul-searching going on in Pakistan. But some elements there are just too powerful. The media invites them all for discussions and they soon change the discourse of the nation. The fight against radical elements start slipping even before it begins.  Here is the list of 2012 in Pakistan of banned Islamic groups. The list has grown only since then but against most of them there are no actions as they continue to thrive among local and intellectual support on media. The prevaricating Jordan on fundamentalism has been bitten suddenly like Pakistan, by the burning of its pilot which has inflamed the Jordonians into taking some action. Saudi too wants to support the action against IS and so is the Turkey, Iraq and the west. This has not prevented IS to continue the game of killing the captured assets. The resoluteness against IS is one thing but when it comes to dealing with radicalism at home in each of these countries, every govt find themselves in conundrum. They want to deal but do not want to inflame the existing saner elements of Islam. There are very few liberal voices within the Islamic fold and they become target of bigots as soon as they present their views or their sane reasoning. The others outside the faith are not allowed to have any voice. They quickly get labelled as Islamophobes. In any case the Islam has to begin a reformation within itself but it can never do that. There is a fundamental problem. In Islam, Christianity and Judaism, there is a concept of  immutability meaning  God does not need to gain knowledge; he knows all things, eternally and immutably so an infinite and changing God is inconceivable . Now, if that is so, how can the Islam begin to accept the knowledge outside Islam in science or from other faiths. This is the crux that makes one tenet of Islam call itself holders of true Islam and other tenets as non-Islamic. No wonder there is such a big fight with Islam where Ahmedi, Shia etc are all considered non-muslims by Sunnis.  I am not sure, why it is not affecting the followers of  Judaism, Christianity. Perhaps, Judaism, Christianity allows dissenters within its fold and it allows more tolerance of those who refuses to listen and follow to the dictates of the orthodox Rabbi, father, priests, Pope etc.  Hinduism is all-embracing & accepting all. They have in their temples even photos of Jesus Christ, Budhdha, Guru Nanak(Sikh).

Religion should not be relevant today but it continues to thrive. If one were to look at the attributes of God in Chrisitianity, one of the attribute says God is omniscient means it has all the knowledge, perhaps similar to what Allah is considered to have. If you think about this, then you think first of all knowledge is changing and expanding all the time. So, when today not only we know the BigBang took place but we can simulate the universe at the time of BigBang i.e. 14 billion years ago. Here is the simulation of BigBang done after 6 months of  number crunching on a super computer. Perhaps, the God was not there at the time of BigBang.

BigBang

Because if God was there at time zero i.e. time of BigBang then it must have existed in some material form, gas, rock or liquid – perhaps it must have gone into some star, planet, dark hole or dark matter that holds galaxy together. If that was so, how could God move from that existence onto Planet earth or heaven where ever it is. Most likely, it should still be where it always was. Presumably like thoughts of  Plato, God has been similar to human form (based on Genesis 1:27) and only came to existence only after humans evolved. Earth is only 4.6 billion years old and earliest humans 55 million years old. Since human have finite shape and size so, God will also be like that only. It is physically impossible to be everywhere (omnipresent – another attribute of God). So, if there is finite size of brain, then it can not know everything. If it is physical in nature means of finite size than it can not be everywhere.  Let us assume it is present in every cell of living creature after all Hindus say it is present in “Kan Kan” means in every molecule. If that was so, perhaps it was present at time zero and will be at the infinite time when there will be no humanity on Earth. First of all our galaxy Milky way and its nearest galaxy Andromeda are heading towards collision in 4 billion years time.

Andromeda_Collides_Milky_Way

If it escapes that collision then we have Sun ready to engulf it in 7.6 billion years from now when Sun’s fuel runs out. Will the God disappear as earth or God ‘s abode heaven disappear? If that is true that means God has end too and it is perishable too.

BigBangUniverse

So, if God is in every molecule than it must be either in nucleus or in the orbits around nucleus . If it is in biological cell, then again it could be in nucleus (DNA) or the cell area outside nucleus. So, if it is present in nucleus, then it must be a part of DNA, RNA or who knows God may be just letter of  DNA or a gene expression. If it is outside nucleus, then it could be just an an atom, ion or molecule of protein, harmones, enzymes etc. But, since the cognizance in human brain takes place when we have memory and processing capacity of brain, so how will God do processing when it is merely a part of molecule, a whole molecule or combination of the molecules. The processing by brain requires communication between neurons(brain cells). So, if it knows everything then it has to be in brain cells alone and not in every cell or molecule as the religions claim and it can not be infinite as neurones will require continued supply of blood with oxygen means survival of neuron depends on the presence of a body. If it requires a body that means the existence of  God has to be finite as body is of finite size. So, it can not be infinite. It also means the God can not be  omnipresent if it is finite and  if it has limited faculties, then It can not be omniscient. It can also not be immutable, if knowledge keeps changing all the time. The fact is the God was created when people thought of miracles and there was no knowledge to understand the natural phenomenon like volcano eruption, earthquakes, famines and floods, diseases etc. Perhaps, it is time for people to move on from God  as most govts. are unable to chart out a course of  freeing the man from the clutches of Godman of whatever faith – radical or liberal .

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April 10, 2014

Is it possible to resist the allure of Space Research?

Today, I was reading how India’s  mission to Mars has reached half-way stage in its journey. I was happy to see the mission succeeding and reaching a milestone . This mission has a limited objective like searching methane in martian environment. It achieved one other objective that missions can be low cost and still succeed but I was wondering why humans are so obsessed with space while there is so much on earth remains  unexplored, unexploited and rather more necessary. 'Red' letter day: India's Mars mission crosses halfway mark

I guess the answer to this lies in number of observations –

1.  The sky above is always so visible and since it remains an unconquered territory so it ‘ll continue to pose a challenge until there is something left. On earth barring deep sea or deep earth, man has gone everywhere so there is nowhere it can go. So, humans can not easily build on the tales of Robert Scott. Edmund Hilary etc.

2. The science bodies have also lobbies within most govts and they(planetary science) get most funds allocated for their pet projects. Since the prestige and visibility of  space research remains foremost, they get most attention from govt who usually after haggling still allocates the biggest fund to space research see this report .

3. The other research projects are fragmented and too numerous and since not having a  big enough voice on one or two prestige projects, so they can not compete with the space research budget.

4. The interlinking of many countries on space projects also mean that certain degree of space spending is guaranteed  but the plethora of other science projects are usually competing with each other rather than cooperating . Of course there are exception on nuclear research ( Nuclear Fusion reactors) and fundamental science projects like “Hadron Collider” in France, Switzerland etc.

But this spending on only one  area of research does not have to be. There are plentiful  impossible challenging missions on planet earth itself e.g. sending a sub or human in a sub into the deep see to mine the expensive minerals. China control the rare earth elements. The world needs more sources for the same than just relying on one country. Can there be minerals picked up from deep sea which can be converted into  rare earth elements. Chinese were given the license for  deep sea mining last year by  International Seabed Authority. The number of licences issued to prospect for minerals now stands at 17 with another seven due to be granted and more are likely to follow. They cover vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.Similarly there can be plentiful opportunity to invest money in unusual projects like underwater cities or using plantation ( phytoplankton) for health and food, algae that  can be converted into crude oil or  bio-fuel, Ocean thermal power plants or basing  storage power plant at the sea bed  itself. Perhaps, a project can be started  in claiming the land near the coast by shifting sand from desert, boulders from mountains etc. Japan, Dubai etc has already done this but as there are low lying lands across the world are plentiful and  such land has remained unprotected from not only the rising sea water  but also any occasional typhoon, cyclone or Tsunami . It has plentiful sea and not much on land warehousing space built . Perhaps everything from food grain to chemicals can be stored in the sea or even the the marine food (like fishes caught) etc can also be kept in deep sea . Whenever needed they can be lifted etc. Due to less sea temperature, it will be possible to exploit not only temperature but plentiful space in sea. What I wonder however is this – since all countries need employment generation.

No global leader has a clue about employment generation. They do not talk about employment generation through funding of new science projects or new technology or like the projects mentioned above.  Space programs may seem necessary but I guess far more necessary is employment opportunities for billions across the world. India itself need 12 million new jobs every year just to stand still. Somebody discusses it here in his blog. Leaders still do not believe in any exceptional funding on science or new technologies to generate new jobs. Without this, the employment generation can  just grow marginally with each economic cycle from recession to growth . There is tendencies  in countries of stealing the jobs from one other by a new round of protectionism . This parochialism can be most seen at election time. President Obama wanted to stop the jobs outflow from US to other countries in software or manufacturing and was promising to bring  jobs back from the other countries. This is nothing but  protectionism  which is antithesis of globalism and if the world is returning to age gone by when protectionism was rife then it will not be doing itself any favour.

June 23, 2013

Fixing International Job Creation Problem

Where are the jobs? Can panacea be so far away?

A few days back, there was a news from India that says that million engineers are struggling to get job. Recently, in a BBC discussion on science, I heard about the British immigration oversight in denying the entry of young Scientists to UK. Well, it did not surprise me totally. Often, the politicians across the world are glib talkers about the problems. If their advisers also lack vision and solutions, then country or any state within it will only stay at same economic activity if its economy does not get  eroded. Here is a discussion between two advisors – one to Mr Obama and one to Mr M M Singh, the Indian PM. While the advisor to Mr Obama is overselling the initiatives the US govt is taking in bringing various stake holders together to create jobs, the advisor to the Indian PM leave the impression that he has become by now a wily politician himself. The same person 20 years ago used his vision to transform the Indian telecom sector but now his proximity over a long period of time to top politicians has turned him into defending govt policies rather than talking about the new initiatives the govt has taken or will take soon.

How to create jobs is the biggest problem the world face. The job creation depends most of all on developing and employing new technology means it needs science inputs. The biggest example have been development of fracking (extracting oil) in US just like earlier it was the development of internet itself in which now millions are employed world over. There are tech jobs (knowledge economy) and non tech jobs which can be gradually be turned into tech assisted jobs or moved to a country where none exists.

The job creation does not merely need policy tinkering but also state involvement. In the earlier period of India’s development, India’s socialist PM, Mr Nehru inspired from USSR built industries (steel production, turbines, railway engines, defence items), science institutes, dams etc but since USSR no longer exists. So that inspiration is gone from world over. After Mrs Thatcher came on to the scene in UK transforming its economy, it has left the other inspiration that state should not involve in economic activity as it does not do a good job. So, the drive for privatisation has taken root the world over. India also believes in this philosophy now, so much so that it is gradually reducing the state stakes in the well run state owned companies. But in place of creating new industry from that dis-investment money it is just disbursing that money into poverty elimination programmes etc.

Some of the new jobs, in  the global economies could happen in these undeveloped  or under-developed areas –

gene therapy, epigenetic, stem-cell therapy, repairing DNA damage to treat cancer through modified virus, developing medicines using bacteriophage, manufacturing antibiotics, proteins(recombinant pharmaceutical proteins) & hormones via other animals, bacteria etc, developing synthetic biology, rare metal mining including deep sea exploration, dealing with hazardous waste recycling such as with bacteria including nuclear waste, developing land fertility, seeking control of pesticides or replacing these with alternatives so as to control the spread of cancer, water harvesting(rainfall) by creating new reservoirs, bunds etc and generate drinking water from sea using RO (reverse osmosis) and solar energy and thus removing draught conditions ( building mini regional water grids), deploying equipment for capturing energy loss(heat) at thermal plants, manufacturing artificial blood, normal organs using 3d printing technology and human stem cells, organ transplant industry, nanotechnology, medical diagnostics(scanners, dna analysers), new sensors and signalling equipments, robotics for hazard material handling, lasers in industrial (surgical, cutting etc), building safe (encrypted data transmission – optical fibre network including routers), building new defence industries(robotics), developing IT internet security industry and old tech tasks of converting all the existing written texts into online ones, creating targets for computerisation of govt machinery and legal justice system(it may help cutting down on delayed justice), develop local cloud servers companies, building freight corridor infrastructure (railway) etc – 2. Since the IT activity only helps other activities, so it is important to find those other activities where IT could be deployed. One area is where big databases are now employed such as genomics which is a field progressed from genetics.

It is not that no tech innovation is taking place in India. Here is the news about how the low cost high tech innovation is helping India improve its health. To get the jobs for million of engineers and others, you need a vision which is a mix of Mr Nehru, the socialist and Mrs Thatcher, the capitalist. It means state should start those economic activity where private sector is unable to go – it is often the innovative areas or areas where economic dividends are not going to come to fruition in short span of time or even apparent at the outset.

Schematics of a reverse osmosis system (desalination) using a pressure exchanger. [Photo Credit: Wikipedia]
1: Sea water inflow, 2: Fresh water flow (40%), 3: Concentrate flow (60%), 4: Sea water flow (60%), 5: Concentrate (drain),
A: Pump flow (40%), B: Circulation pump, C: Osmosis unit with membrane, D: Pressure exchanger

Margret Thatcher philosophy is also needed later to free the state from economic activity once that state owned activity is flourishing, it can then be sold into the hands of private sectors and the released capital be deployed into another new activity. New innovations are taking place all the time but as those innovation in science and technology is taking place in west and west does not believe in getting involved in economic activity, so most of the time, the technology waits until someone from private sector is willing to risk their capital. While the rest of the world waits for any such innovation to be established in west. It is therefore imperative in east particularly China and India to innovate so that technology can come to the market faster by active state involvement.

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