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The new jihadis

May 7, 2019

 

 

We've seen them on the telly, we've read about the outrages - beligerent, autocratic, intolerant, misogynistic, homophobic, science-denying extremists devoted to a literal interpretation of ancient texts and myths who present an existential threat to our democracy and our environment. They're not hiding in caves on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, they're not fleeing justice, they're not locked up in Syrian prisons; ladies and gentlemen - the Liberal/National Party and their corporate cronies.

I am not drawing a false equivalence here. The Tories don't behead people, they don't throw gays from roof-tops. They're a tad more subtle, but no less despotically inclined and in practice, in a world facing environmental collapse, they are far more dangerous, and the purpose here is to highlight the danger they pose.


Historical context

 

Dynasties and empires don't last forever - Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, British, they're all gone. The Arab world's Golden Age lasted 200 - 600 years (depending upon the source) from 825 in Baghdad where scholars from various cultures translated the collected wisdom from their known world into Arabic. That alone saved many classic works of antiquity from being lost. The Golden Age not only collected the knowledge of India, China and ancient Greece but also made significant new contributions to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, medicine and geography.

 

Fast forward to the contemporary world. Jews, 0.2 percent of the world population, have won a quarter of all Nobel Prizes (180+). Muslims, who are one quarter of the world population have won two in physics and one in chemistry (seven have won the Peace Prize and one for literature). Forty-six Muslim countries combined contribute just 1 percent of the world’s scientific literature. Spain alone translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years. About 65 million adult Arabs are illiterate, two thirds of them women. Investment in research and development in Muslim countries does not exceed 0.5 per cent of gross national product, well below the world average. There is a plethora of additional comparative statistics readily Google-able. There are also many rationales for this turn-around, from the standard facile apologia of "it's all the West's fault" through the Mongol sacking of Baghdad to studies of politics, culture, economics and other factors.

 

"The decline of scientific activity is the rule, not the exception, of civilizations.*"

 

In the late 9th century the anti-rationalist Ash’arite school arose, one of the orthodox schools of theology in Sunni Islam, heralding the decline of Arabic science. 

 

A more medieval mindset emerged, one that de-emphasized curiosity and stressed blind faith. ... Life’s answers were already available in the holy texts; there was no need for further investigation. This outlook hobbled science in the Islamic world for centuries.”  Ross Pomeroy, realclearscience.com

 

There's so much material available on this topic it can hurt your brain but the primary riff in this post is the attacks on science in Australia under this L/NP "government" and its possible consequences.

I've visited five Muslim countries - Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and marvelled at their antiquities that required enquiring minds for them to be realised; and then wondered at how so little had been achieved since due to the subserviance of free thought to an all-pervasive dogma.

 

Those countries, as fascinating and as hospitable as they are, are not models for us to emulate. Yet, at a time when a man-made object has escaped the heliosphere for the first time, as we explore the universe from distant galaxies to the nature of  the sub-atomic particles that it is all composed of we have at our nation's helm a collection of belligerent zealots who not only ignore science but denigrate and sabotage it. They are the jihadis of neo-liberalist dogma de-emphasizing curiosity and stressing blind faith. Their deities are wealth and power and the wealthiest and most powerful are the most deserving and the most pious. Like jihadis they attack, tear down and destroy anything that conflicts with their ideology, pumping out propaganda by NewsCorpse's phone hackers from the dingy basements of Holt St.

 

The c-word

 

This Coalition is a caliphate comprised of crooks. It's a coagulation of corporate cronies, conmen, charlatans, carpetbaggers, crackpots cutpurses and climate criminals.

 

It's also incompetent; a coterie of churls, contrarians, coprolites and cack-handed calamities, cranks and cauponates.

 

And coal is their icon.

 

Inert fossilised carbon that fuelled 18th and 19th century industry, it's a remnant of long-lost verdant forests and a suitable emblem for backwards-looking, clueless environmental vandals. 

 

During their current term these jihadis have nobbled scientific enquiry, particularly in regard to climate science, they have criminalised dissent in the public sector and attacked citizen-initiated challengers (GetUp) to their archaic orthodoxy, they have marginalised and divided and kowtowed to its high priests - the masters of corrupted commerce in the banks, media and mining.

 

Australia ranks 50th on international internet performance comparisons - below Thailand (21st), Bulgaria (23rd), Pakistan (36th) and Kenya (43rd).

 

Government expenditure on research and development (GOVERD) decreased from 0.42 per cent of GDP in 1994–95 to 0.21 per cent in 2014– 15. Australia ranks 20th out of 37 OECD+ countries for the relative level of GOVERD (excluding expenditure on R&D tax incentives). This is around the OECD+ average, but well below the average for the top five nations in the OECD+ (0.33 per cent of GDP in 2014–15. Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System 2016

 

In Maths and Science Australia ranks in the middle of the pack in school results while the Government coddles elite private schools with tax-payer subsidies for orchestra lifts and boat sheds.

 

The OECD Skills Outlook 2017 puts Australia in the bottom 25% of countries in skills in tech, advanced industries and skills to access global value chains.

 

Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. By adding emissions from exported coal to our domestic emissions, Australia's carbon footprint trebles.

 

Opportunities for new industries in renewable energy are foregone while China earns billions from photovoltaic cell technology developed by the UNSW.

 

The UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) announces that one million of the planet's eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans, and Morrison responds by pledging to slash "greentape".

 

We are being held hostage to the dig-it-up-and-ship-it-out mentality of a regime with no vision, no ideas. FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is their only recourse. They attack innovation while the world passes us by - they celebrate their stupidity by sledging electric vehicles while the world's car manufacturers plan for the phasing out of the internal combustion engine. These utter fuckwits are boosting a model for our country - marooned in stranded technologies, importing fossil fuels at enormous cost because the world demand has ossified; unable to build our own vehicles and unable to import any because no one is making them anymore. This utter nonsense is spruiked by a smirking ad-man with the attention span of a goldfish whose only talent is to talk under wet cement.

 

Replete with flat-earthers, creationists and religious nutters they are just as convinced as any Jihadi that god is on their side - bending a knee each Sunday to robed necromancers swathed in incense or gibbering in tongues at a cash factory trading as a religion they are convinced this planet was gifted to them and their kind to exploit for themselves as their god's annointed ones-  pending their gold passes through the pearly gates, and who knows, with awaiting virgins perhaps.

 

Australia in the 21st centry? Visit the Middle East and experience what Australia is in for if these Tory Taliban are not blasted out of the Government benches. 

"The Coalition will also create a Manufacturing Modernisation Fund that will stimulate at least $160 million worth of business investment in new technologies and processes so manufacturers can grow and employ even more people." Scott Morrison.

 

$180 million. The amount spent by Morrison on a photo stunt at Christmas Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

*On the lost Golden Age and the rejection of reason  New Atlantis Journal of Technology and Society

 

Arab Human Development Report 2002 - UN Development Programme

 

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study - Australian Council for Educational Research

 

Why the death of the Liberals’ liberals is bad news for Australia - The New Daily

 

Big Coal's network of influence over the coalition government - Greenpeace


'Missing in action': hunt goes on for Coalition's invisible environment minister - The Guardian Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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