Re: Islam and extropianism

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 10:58:42 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Hmm, I am starting to suspect that you have not read up much about
> Islamic countries. Look at the aggressive industrialisation of Turkey,
> Egypt and Iraq for example. To a large extent that might be traced to
> arab socialism of course and it was actually used as a way for leaders
> to *gain* power in opposition to more traditional religious groups,
> but there has been a large drive in the arab world at least towards
> greater education. You seem to assume that nearly all Islamic
> countries are run by religious leaders rather than politicians; this
> is not true.
> See the Islamabad Declaration on Science and Technology:
> While there is definitely inertia in adopting new technology in many
> Islamic countries, I doubt it is because they are run by "rabid
> antitech nutballs" - that is not a description that would fit the
> Saudi family. There are serious problems with civil liberties that
> are in my opinion the strongest reasons for technological inertia and
> underdevelopment, but they are not primarily of a religious nature.
> Given the other stuff you wrote, I get the feeling you are rather
> convinced there is no intelligent life outside the Western cultural
> sphere? :-)

Thanks, Anders, for this thoughtful and reasonable analysis. I suspect you
are correct. Here in America (at least) we tend to be bombarded with
stereotypical notions of what Islamic countries are like, mostly by a
sensation-hungry news media. This leads to a number of problems in
perception, and to an ignorance about the larger world that often leads to
further problems. Put into a proper historical perspective, we here in the
West owe a great deal to Islamic culture, and it's a shame that recent
political machinations have placed us in an adversarial position with them.
I wonder sometimes if our antipathy is simply a manifestation of a fear of
what our own future could look like . . .

Neal Blaikie

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