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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Islam's self-esteem problem

Another minor glitch in the crude computer simulation we call "the Universe." NASA Administrator Charles Bolden describes his priorities, as given to him by the President: "[P]erhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

Yeah. Like "Gilligan's Island" becoming a cultural icon, that would never happen in a real universe or a properly debugged simulation. Obviously the "Head of the Space Program" routine mistakenly got a pointer to data intended for the "Deputy Assistant Undersecretary State Department drone" object.

Transterrestrial Musings has a brief post on Bolden's remark asking "What isn't wrong with Sharia law?" I commented:

Islam’s self-esteem problem is that Muslims have lots of phony self-esteem. The Koran tells them that they’re Masters of the Universe, and those other people designing computers and inventing vaccines should bow down to them. The dissonance between what they’re taught and what they see is extreme. It probably deters them from doing things that would create real self-esteem (patent offices in Islamic countries sometimes go a year or more without issuing any patents). Obama via Bolden’s contribution to the problem is very minor, but it is a contribution.

Of course the West has made phony self-esteem public policy. But it’s effects seem to have been limited. The relative ineffectiveness of public policy is widely seen as a problem, but to me it’s a safety feature.

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