Faster, Please!

Fanatical Scientists

You have to read all the way to the bottom, but it’s an interesting article anyway, and it’s worth the time to get to this:

Dr Irfan al-Alawi, director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, has just completed a 130-page report into the links between radical Islam and science.

‘In our study we have documented notable cases where the phenomenon of radical Muslim doctors is well known,’ he writes. ‘These individuals suffer from divided minds, in which their professional duties clash with their ideological fantasies. They are driven not by faith, or by training, or by professional standing or aspiration, but by an ideology of fundamentalist separatism.’

Maybe our understanding of true believers will be advanced by the war, and maybe not. All those people who were amazed to find medical doctors running a terror cell, there was no excuse for that. Walter Laqueur noticed, some thirty years ago, that there was a disproportionate number of MDs in terrorist organizations, and Sherlock Holmes was well aware of the propensity of (even) brilliant scientists to turn to crime, as in the case of his nemesis, Dr. Moriarty. So we shouldn’t be surprised.

Still, there are many who still think that “science” is somehow a protection against fanaticism. Which it isn’t, any more than wealth is (those of you who still believe that terrorists are the way they are because of poverty and misery should report for reprogramming in the morning).

What can protect us against fanatics? The power to defeat them, and the will to use it. And constantly reminding us of Machiavelli’s dictum: “Man is more inclined to do evil than to do good…”