Monday, February 20, 2006

The wages of fundamentalism

This is a good article on the Taliban in every country - evidently a byproduct of evolution: The Wages of Fundamentalism.

From the article:
There are warning signs, however, that American science is losing its edge, and may even have peaked. One reason is that as religious and political fundamentalism tighten their grip, they are beginning to sap America's intellectual vitality.

Yet history shows that fundamentalism leads only to stagnation and disaster.

Christianity in the Roman Empire led to half a millennium of dark ages, ending only with the rediscovery of Aristotle in the 12th century. ... And Islamic fundamentalism beginning in Baghdad around 1067 led to a millennium of backwardness, which still afflicts the Islamic world.

By contrast, the very history of modern Europe - the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the modernist battles of the 19th century - may be characterized as the victory of rationalism and science over religious dogmatism.

Turkey has tried to rid itself of fundamentalist Islam twice - and failed twice.

Above everything else, Europe is not fundamentalist. This is why, in their hearts, many Europeans have misgivings about Turkey's entry into the EU. Europe has no shortage of problems of its own making, and has no need to import fundamentalism of any variety.

Just a reminder that any sort of ideological Christian fundamentalist entrenchment is likely to result in conditions as bad as those of the "barbarians at the gates," whether real threats like fundamentalist extremists abroad, or imaginary threats like evolution, obscenity, environmentalism, or liberalism (which was, after all, the offspring of the Enlightenment and the foundation of our nation - prior to the term's corruption by the 80s right-wing media machine).


  1. McKades11:37 PM

    Interesting post. I read a book entitled the Crusades through Arab eyes. It was largely a summary of Arab historian's views of the Crusades and somewhat unrewarding. However, the editor wrote a thought-provoking conclusion.

    He pointed out that most would see the end of the Crusades as an Arab victory, but what he saw was the triumph of fundamentalism. Before the crusades, the arabs were scientifically and intellectually far more advanced than the barbarians from the west. As time wore on, the crusades brought the new ideas to the west, planting the seeds for the Renaissance. In contrast, for the arab nations, victory seemed tied to a turn inward, towards faith, and against reason.

  2. As I recall, it was the Arabs (and Persians before them?) who absorbed and essentially preserved the learning of the ancient Greeks during the Dark Ages. Odd, then, that Christian fundamentalism would help launch the Renaissance, while at the same time launching Islam in the opposite direction.