Whistle Down the Wind
Published on: July 9, 2013
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  • Peter

    “….that Muslim minds have thus been “crippled.” That is Akyol’s word, not mine or Brooks’s.

    “I said no such thing, and anyone can look it up.”

    Well, you should have said it as it objectively seems to be the case.

  • Peter

    As usual, Dr Garfinkle provides a fair and clearheaded analysis.

    The discussion of the extent to which the Islamic understanding of cause and effect impacts the Muslim person’s ability to think logically, practice disciplines such as engineering or study physics has been running for many years. The Regensburg Address hints at the apparent tension, and Dr Garfinkle points out traditional Jewish views on the subject of the need for constant divine participation as a kind of maintenance of the laws of physics.

    As a longtime Middle East resident, who has worked with Muslim engineers and technicians, may I note here that I have never met one who did not assume that if he dropped a hammer on his foot it would hurt.

    In the country where I have been living for the past 22 years, there is a campaign to reduce speeding on the roads, on the grounds that it causes traffic accidents. Clearly a case of applied cause-and-effect theory.

    However, there is a sense in which acknowledgement of cause and effect runs parallel in the culture with a certain sense of fatalism, a keen sense of depending on divine providence, and a belief that cause and effect cannot be assumed — or should I say that repeated events should not be presumed to represent a dependable pattern. Thus, it is often said that although the

    • Well put. Many Arabs don’t doubt causality until they have to think about it. Then almost anything might happen.

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