Thursday, January 24, 2008

Huckabee isn't the only one who's crazy....

The following was taken from the Wikipedia entry on Ibn Baaz, the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia:

"Between 1993 and 1995, various newspapers and magazines published accounts that ibn Baaz, whose duties included the presidency of the administration for scientific research, had said that the Earth is flat. Baz strongly denied that claim, describing the allegation as a "pure lie" and saying that he only denied Earth's rotation." Full text here.

Now, bin Baz's disciples contested the accuracy of the above anecdote, and it may have been taken out of context. However, it is my belief that if your words can ever be twisted to imply any sort of doubt about the Earth's rotation and your primary expertise is on the Quran, then maybe you've gone beyond your purview and you almost certainly sound like an idiot.

This sort of reminds me of Mike Huckabee on evolution. Whether or not he actually questions it is sort of suspect, but the fact that it's suspect means it's too ambiguous for me. Why is it that people with no science background feel they can contest whole bodies of scientific work? It's not as if evolution is really up for debate among people who examine those sorts of things, and the argument that it's a "theory" and therefore unproven and unfit for teaching sounds to me like saying we shouldn't teach the Pythagorean theorum. (Also a theory). If any of you come up with a right triangle where a squared plus b squared fails to equal c squared, let me know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

more on CEDAW

just an addition to the last post -

the US has not ratified CEDAW. Neither has Somalia, Iran, or Sudan.

there is no discrimination against women in the laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian Commission on Human Rights appeared before a United Nations panel on CEDAW recently. They disputed any notion that women are the victims of discrimination in the Kingdom. (Saudi ratified CEDAW, with the condition that shari'a would prevail if there was any contradiction between the text of CEDAW and Islamic law. This allows the government to circumvent most of the demands of the convention).

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and they cannot travel alone without permission of a male guardian. Yaroslav Trofimov gets one of the Wahhabi establishment on record saying that the Quran is silent on the question of driving in his book, Faith at War. I am unsure of the justification used to prevent women from driving, since CEDAW is pretty clear the question of inequitable drivers' license distribution.