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Great minds run in similar channels, or fools think alike

As a born-again agnostic, I don't have much truck with "divine providence." But every now and then events conflate in such a way that makes me doubt random chance.

On Friday, I tossed off a quick piece that ended with a link to the number of Nobel Prizes that have been awarded to Jews. I'm not sure why I chose that particular yardstick, but I did.

Later that day, Ken McCracken of willisms.com (with whom I was privileged to co-blog over there for about a month or so) wrote a piece that took the same notion, and ran like hell with it. Showing the research chops and insight that are required to share a page with Will Franklin, Ken found an interview with an Iraqi "researcher" who is extremely upset with the disproportionate numbers of Nobel Prizes awarded to Jews vs. Muslims.

According to what Samir 'Ubeid says, the Nobel Prizes should not be awarded strictly on merit. They should have quotas on them, to make sure that all peoples, all faiths, are appropriately represented. I suppose to him, that in 1989 the Prize should not have gone to J. Michael Bishop and Harold E. Varmus for their work in retroviral oncogenes (which has something fairly important to do with cancer research), but perhaps to Dr. Mohammed Durka-Durka Jihad for his ground-breaking work in the application of electrical stimuli to various portions of the human anatomy, and its consequent effect on human memory. ("If we apply the proper voltage to the genitalia for the right amount of time, the subject suddenly remembers their treasonous acts and will freely admit to them.") Perhaps Dr. Jihad can split the prize with Dr. Bishop, since he's not Jewish.

You know, we've pretty much trashed the notion of "social promotion" in our schools, and are moving back towards actually requiring the students to achieve measurable progress before they advance out of a grade. But like a bad penny, it seems that this idea has not died the death it so richly deserves, but has merely moved on.

I have very little respect for the "soft" prizes, but the "hard" ones -- especially chemistry, physics, and medicine -- really ought to stand out. And Samir 'Ubeid's notion of cheapening them just so his (and, by extension, his fellow Muslims') feelings don't get bruised just irritates the hell out of me.

You want a Nobel Prize, Mr. 'Ubeid? Feel free to earn one.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Great minds run in similar channels, or fools think alike:

» Doug Ross @ Journal linked with If the New York Times were a real newspaper...

» Don Singleton linked with If you want it, earn it

Comments (21)

Excellent post JT.... (Below threshold)

Excellent post JT.

Your point highlights, bold face, large types the essential problem, which is religion has failed to progress with science. Science is moving forward, but religion is very slow to come along. Islam is being practiced as a 7th century religion, thus holding back the potential greatness and technological advances of the Middle Eastern people that they had shown the world until the domination of Islam in that culture.

Christianity has also been slow to 'evolve' and still lags behind science by several years (but not mellinia, like Islam). Stem cell research is my example here for the Christians. Nevertheless, until Islam loosens it choke hold on the ability of the Muslim world to progress and evolve, there will be no Nobel Prizes awarded to Muslim 'thinkers' for innovation in the Sciences - and you are spot on regarding their 'innovations in the Humanities'.

I am surprised that a Musli... (Below threshold)

I am surprised that a Muslim scientist would covet such a prize, the endowment for which was established by a "westerner". Unless it has something to do with dynamite which of late seems to be an essential part of local political debate in the Muslim community. I am sure the world of Islam could find a wealthy benefactor to endow a prize designed to be as prestigious as the Nobel with Muslim researchers given priority consideration.

Imhotep, Christi... (Below threshold)


Christianity doesn't lag behind Science through your example of stem cell research. You won't find very many Christians that are against that. EMBRYONIC stem cell research, however, and indeed you will find strong opposition. Most Christians are against abortion, and to start harvesting stem cells of embryos (even those that are planned on being destroyed) will lead to the creation of embryos, ones that have the potential to become humans, simply for the harvesting of stem cells. Stem cells and their potential benefits might be sound science, but many would oppose the road of getting there. Kind of like Micheal Bay's movie the Island. Creating life only to destroy it for the benefit of others. But then again, embryos aren't human to many. THey're just a clump of cells...

I have no doubt that a way ... (Below threshold)

I have no doubt that a way will be found to twist the Nobel science awards too, the way the Oscars, Time's Man of the Year, Pulitzers, the Nobel Peace Prize and membership in the UN Human Rights Commission have been twisted to advance the agenda.

Let's go with that sublime torture idea - it fits right in with the "Vlad the Impaler" theme park now rising in Romania. I nominate a "Mengele" - or a Nobel in medicine - for those fine artisans of the lost art of impaling without a quick death.

Also soon I'm sure, embassies will be firebombed until AQ Khan get his recognition in Physics, or Chemical Ali in his field. But until then, nothing can match the Nobel to Arafat in the category of "Numbing insanity in the pursuit of cultural diversity".

Giving new meaning to the term: "Swedish meatballs".

Is there an emoticon for "S... (Below threshold)

Is there an emoticon for "Standing Ovation"? 'Cause if there was...that's the one I would use.

I'm glad you touched on the topic of social promotion within our schools --- another failed Liberal academic brain fart.

Thanks for making my point ... (Below threshold)

Thanks for making my point clearer, Duncan.

Centuries ago, it was the M... (Below threshold)

Centuries ago, it was the Moslem/Arab world that was leading the way in science, technology, etc., while Christian Europe was stagnant.

But now it's just the reverse.

So does anybody know how this happened?

OregonmuseA lot of... (Below threshold)


A lot of those "moslem/arab" advances in the ancient Caliphate empire were, indeed, done by Jews and Christians -- dhimmis under their moslem masters.

Has anyone ever analyzed or... (Below threshold)

Has anyone ever analyzed or connected the sudden fall of the Soviet Union with its mass exodus of the Jews in the early 1980's and forward -- and the corresponding increasing strength and vitality of the USA with a remaining large proportion of the Jewish population? (And with only fewer remaining Jews in Western Europe, they are sliding quickly down.)

Oregon Muse, that is the u... (Below threshold)

Oregon Muse, that is the underlying thesis in my original post.

My understanding is the Reformation of Christianity and the Western Church allowed science to advance. Not without killing and wrongfully imprisoning/punishing those attempting to advance science; all because it went against the 'word of God' and Biblical science.

Imhotep, I didn't... (Below threshold)


I didn't prove your point at all. Christians value the sanctity of life. This isn't an argument about burning witches or the validity of the Inquistion or even Galileo. As far as life is concerned, I would argue that most Christians are against the callous harvesting of human life. The difference of opinion comes from what constitutes human life, an embryo, or when a baby takes its first breath outside of the room. I don't see a science vs. religion argument here, but an ethical argument. I see it as no different than "harvesting" the organs from an unwilling participant. Ofcourse, we go back to what constitutes life, a debate that has raged between abortionists and Christians for a long while now...

The story of the Jewish peo... (Below threshold)

The story of the Jewish people is about God's providence. The good the bad and the ugly. In the end will you worship God, God/Jesus, Allah/Muhammed, Random Chance, Rationalism/ Science or Yourself?

Imhotep,The availa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


The availability of the Bible was long suppressed by the Western church after Christianity became the official religion of Rome. By keeping people ignorant of what the Bible actually teaches, a few were able to subvert it's teachings in order to gain riches and power. Because human nature so strongly seeks advantage in obtaining riches and power, even the Apostle Paul struggled against false teachers in his day. It's the widespread translation and availability of the Bible that has transformed Christianity.

The problem for this generation of Christians is that the Bible does teach that human life starts before birth, and I know of no scientific study that shows otherwise. The question is then a legal one. When does human life gain the protection of the law? If laws are made through the political process, then every citizen has the right to express their beliefs in how they vote and through contact with their elected representatives.

Science itself is founded on a tenet of faith that can't be proven by science. That tenet is that the universe is governed only by natural laws and the those laws are understandable by humans. Anything that leads to a conclusion to the contrary is not scientific. That doesn't mean it's not true, just that it's not scientific. The God of the Bible is certainly able to hide Himself from human wisdom if that were His intent. According to I Corinthians 1:21, that's exactly God's intent. In situations where science can't supply an answer that stands up to rigorous examination, then many people choose to relay on the wisdom of the ages. That seems logical to me.

Hey, lets not start arguing... (Below threshold)

Hey, lets not start arguing scripture. Christian, Agnostic and other scriptures following Christ's time on earth are varied and have their own shadowy history, as does the many written forms of Islamic documents.

I see great parallels between the faulty logic of this twisted Islamist and the multitude of "liberal"
-I think loonbats is a better nomer than moonbats- folks that have poisoned our educational and social service systems with such tripe.

Is it no small wonder that at least one group - our own loonbats - support the poor downtrodden Palestinians and Islamic masses?

Oops, as do, not does!... (Below threshold)

Oops, as do, not does!

Christians value the san... (Below threshold)

Christians value the sanctity of life.

Except those of people who commit certain crimes. Or for sperm. Or pre-fertilized eggs. Because the Catholic Church teaches that those, too, are "life" that should be protected, but "most Christians" disagree.

Of course, you're entitled to pick and choose which teachings you want to believe in, and which ones you ignore. You're also free to decide that your definition of life differs from the Christian definition, though sometimes there's overlap. Sometimes you support ending a life, and sometimes you support continuing it. You make a lot of personal choices in what parts of your religion you choose to believe, and what parts you wholly ignore.

But don't you couch that behind the blanket statement that "Christians value the sanctity of life", when it's clear that the truth is that they value the sanctity of life that they choose to.

Not to mention your implication that Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and others who support a woman's choice do not value life.

Hey, lets not star... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Hey, lets not start arguing scripture

I don't think I'm arguing scripture when I point out that no science I know of refutes the Christian belief that human life starts before birth, and thus, the point at which a human receives protection under the law is a political question, not a scientific one. Who than claims citizens don't have the right to vote their own beliefs whatever the source of those beliefs?

Christian, Agnostic and other scriptures following Christ's time on earth are varied and have their own shadowy history, as does the many written forms of Islamic documents.

Including "Agnostic" in the above sentence is a strong indication that you don't know much about scripture. If that's not the case than please clarify.

Mr. 'Ubaid for some reason ... (Below threshold)

Mr. 'Ubaid for some reason forgot to mention that Yassir Arafat won the Nobel Prize, which was no doubt part of the greater zionist plot.

That was a very effective way to get many westerners to stop taking the prize seriously.

Except those of pe... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Except those of people who commit certain crimes. Or for sperm. Or pre-fertilized eggs. Because the Catholic Church teaches that those, too, are "life" that should be protected, but "most Christians" disagree.

The Roman Catholic religion believes that life begins at conception, and thus, sperm and unfertilized eggs are not human life. The Bible teaches that murder is a sin, which is not the same as justifiable killing. Even among liberals, I find few who argue that a person cannot take the life of another in defense of their own or in defense of someone else's life. Thus, the statement that "Christians value the sanctity of life" while at the same time supporting capital punishment and self defense is not hypocritical.

The woman's right to choose to kill the unborn person in her womb is not a right found in nature, religion, or in U.S. law until it was invented by the Supreme Court. Christians have the right under the law to oppose that invention by all lawful means. That opposition is manifest as support for pro-life politicians to the extent of populating the Supreme Court with justices who will un-invent a woman's right to choose. Maybe that will never happen, but the abortion issue and other's like Gay rights have stymied the liberal agenda in other areas where there would otherwise be much more support. Areas such as economic justice, the environment, energy, urban sprawl, public transportation, and more. That's what happens when courts impose "rights" that should be decided by the political process.

Geez Mac, I deserve to be s... (Below threshold)

Geez Mac, I deserve to be slapped for that malaprop.

Gnostic, not Agnostic.

Geez-o-Peet. Must have been still bouncing JayT's born-again agnostic line from the top when I let my fingers fly across the laptop.

Mea Culpa!

HEEELLLLLOOOO!, Hey folks I... (Below threshold)

HEEELLLLLOOOO!, Hey folks I don't know what planet you're living on but I work for the federal gevernment and promotions and prizes are tightly scrutinized by a Diversity Action Workgroup to ensure "fairness" of distribution among people of different races/gender/sexual orientation yadda yadda yadda. You're acting like this is a radical concept. It's alraedy firmly established here in the US. Deal with it!






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