Saturday, June 19, 2010

Religion and Scalability

I once listened to a noble prize winner lecturing on biotechnology. An important question was raised by the audience about the harm that could be brought by biotechnology. In reply to the question, the noble prize winner compared biotechnology to a knife, stating that you could kill and cook with a knife, the choice is yours. What he missed out was, that you could at most kill a few people with a knife but with biotechnology you could wipe out the entire human race.

Religion and for the most part tradition has always been against scalability which has generally been brought about by technology. Microphones were called haraam at one point. Similarly many islamic schools did not allow the use of guns in war as it wasn't considered a tradition of islam. This helped the muslim world from becoming scalable in its methods of production. There are some fields where scalability is highly dangerous and then there are others where scalability is useful.

The acceptance of al-gazel and the rejection of averroes may seem irrational and misguided but from an evolutionary perspective, al-gazel was the most robust where as averroes was the more optimized and rational. al-gazel did bring a robustness to islamic way of life which has in many ways blossomed a beautiful culture stuck in time. Being stuck in time may not be as pointless and futile as is presented by rationalists.

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