Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia: transcript.

So I've been puzzled about the position of Islam on scientific inquiry. Well, it appears that Ahmadinejad has some usefulness after all:

"In our culture, the word 'science' has been defined as 'illumination.' In fact, the 'science' means 'brightness' and the real science is a science which rescues the human being from ignorance to his own benefit. In one of the widely accepted definitions of science, it is stated that it is the light which sheds to the hearts of those who have been selected by the Almighty; therefore, according to this definition, science is a divine gift, and the heart is where it resides.

"If we accept that 'science' means 'illumination,' then its scope supersedes the experimental sciences, and it includes every hidden and disclosed reality. One of the main harms inflicted against science is to limit it to experimental and physical sciences; this harm occurs even though it extends far beyond this scope.

"Realities of the world are not limited to physical realities. And the material is just a shadow of supreme realities, and physical creation is just one of the stories of the creation of the world. Human being is just an example of the creation that is a combination of the material and the spirit.

"And another important point is the relationship of science and purity of spirit, life, behavior and ethics of the human being. In the teachings of the divine prophet, one reality shall always be attached to science. The reality of purity of spirit and good behavior, knowledge and wisdom is pure and clear reality. It is -- science is a light. It is a discovery of reality, and only a pure scholar and researcher, free from wrong ideologies, superstitions, selfishness and material trappings, can discover the reality."

It would appear that his version of Islam overgeneralizes the reach of science, thereby rendering it ineffective. If purity and ideology are the defining characteristic of the scientist operating within Islam, then it's the inquiry of the priest-as-scientist. It's contempt prior to investigation.

Having said that, I am not yet done with the transcript, so this post may be edited later.

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