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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the 685.98-and-1-nights dept.

girlwhowaspluggedout writes:

Hoping to be a pioneer on the Red Planet? First seek permission from your local cleric. Dubai's Khaleej Times reports that the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the UAE has ruled that promoting or being involved in a one-way trip to Mars is prohibited by Islam. The fatwa appears to be a response to Mars One's call for volunteers to make the pioneering trip to the red planet.

According to the General Authority, 'Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam. There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death.' Because of the inherent dangers of the trip, those who choose to go there are likely to die for no 'righteous reason,' thus incurring 'punishment similar to that of suicide in the Hereafter.'

The Khaleej Times further states that the General Authority fears that some of the volunteers, among whom are 500 Saudis and other Arabs, may be interested in traveling to Mars to escape punishment or to avoid standing before Allah for judgment. The General Authority decreed that 'this is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything.'"

[ED Note: Likening the one-way-ticket to suicide does make some theological sense, but I am saddened that the Authority does not consider space exploration a "righteous reason" to risk one's life. In times past, many great explorers hailed from Muslim societies, and were part of what made them great.]

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by regift_of_the_gods on Friday February 21 2014, @03:40AM

    by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:40AM (#4048)

    Huff is a sociologist who spent much of his career studying the roots of modern science across several cultures, in particular Europe, China, and the Arab world. His latest book 'Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution' has attracted some interesting reviews []. Huff acknowledges that the Arabs and Chinese were at least as scientificially advanced as Europe as of the late Middle Ages, yet the Scientific Revolution occurred in Europe starting in the 16th century. He argues that Europe's institutions were more conducive to continuous scientific and technological advancement, compared with those of China and the Arab world.

    The linked blog article contains an interesting online dust-up between Huff and another historian George Saliba, who thought that Huff was a typically myopic Westerner short-changing the historical achievements of the Arabs and Chinese.

    I haven't read Huff's or Saliba's books. I recently came across a review of Huff's book in a two-year old issue of American Scientist that I had lying around (the reviewer there was fairly critical of Huff's work as well).

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