First kill all the scientists!

Muslims were told by Mohammed to seek out the Jews and kill them. He also showed hostility to the Christians. This is the basis for the irrational hatred shown towards Jews and Christians by Muslims even today, especially by Islamists who make their hatred of Jews and Christians a political issue. From Nigeria to Egypt and to Iraq, Christians are under attack by various extremist groups, Boka Haram in Nigeria, Sunni against Copts in Egypt and Shia against Chaldeans in Iraq. In Shia Iran the Ayatollahs are supporting the development of nuclear weapons in order to destroy the hated state of Israel. But, they are making a major mistake, instead of attacking Christians and Jews they should be attacking the forces of secularism. Since Christianity is in decline in the West, and Judaism is a small minor religion, they should not fear them, rather they should fear the forces of secularism that are winning the war against religion in the West. And in fact they do fear this and that is why they are against Western secular concepts, including human rights and rights for women, from creeping into their Islamic culture. If the Islamists really want to strike a blow against their major enemy they should, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, “first kill all the scientists!”

It should be obvious that science has been at the forefront of the development of modern secular states since the 19th century. No country that has not adopted rigorous scientific disciplines in its schools and universities has flourished economically or militarily. The phenomenal growth of huge modern industries, including computers, cellular phones and software has depended on the basis of scientific training. The application and exploitation of energy is also fundamental to the affluence of secular countries. Only countries where scientifically based innovation can flourish will continue to be viable in the future. Also, the religious make a big mistake when they claim that they have a system of conviction that is far superior to that of the secular. From Sir Francis Bacon, who introduced the concept of scientific method, to Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Priestley, Maxwell, Edison, Pasteur, Einstein, Watson and Crick, and many, many more, science has a great corpus of knowledge and a glorious tradition of international devotion.

The Islamists commonly refer to the western Christian nations as “Crusaders” not fully realizing that Christianity is now no more than a shadow of its former self with no real power. Noone in the West wants to go on a religious “crusade” against Islam. What they want to do is to see Islam and the Muslim countries modernize and become more moderate and accept fair treatment and tolerance for minorities, including women. This includes adopting the now universally accepted standards of human rights and women’s rights that are a feature of secular western countries. However, that is very unlikely to happen. Even after the US “liberated” Afghanistan from the Taliban, the majority of women there still wear the all-encompassing chador. All over the Muslim world old habits of Islam are re-emerging, and women particularly are becoming more and more closeted and covered. The old hatreds are resurfacing with a vengeance and violence is never far from the surface in any Muslim country. Consider that in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya there are constant incidents of car bombs, sectarian attacks and death.

In Syria, the Arab uprisings have segued into a civil war. The UN attempts at a ceasefire are not only useless but quite ludicrous. There is no chance that after 10,000 deaths the Syrian people will give up their fight against the Assad regime and there is no chance, short of being forced out, that the Assad regime will give up power. There will be a continuing war by proxy in Syria, in which the forces of Sunni Islam, supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, are pitted against the forces of Shia Islam, represented by the Syrian Alawites, Iran and Hizbollah. I say let them fight it out. Eventually after many years, maybe hundreds of years, the Muslim countries will become civilized and secularized. Until then scientists beware.

About the Author
Jack Cohen was born in London and has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He moved to the US and worked at the National Cancer Inst. and then Georgetown Medical School. In 1996, he Moved to Israel and became Chief Scientist of the Sheba Medical Center. He retired in 2001 and worked as a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Medical School for 5 years.