” European Enlightenment” By Mirza Ashraf

PRELUDE: After seven centuries—from 11th to 18th century—because of thinkers, philosophers and scientists, the Europeans witnessed the age of Enlightenment. But the world of Islam from 13th century to the present day lost its progress, because there was no development in philosophical and scientific knowledge. This article is a continuum first four articles on History of Knowledge. Together they throw light on the progression of knowledge in the West, which is life and soul of today’s Western Civilization.    Knowledge multiplies by the principle of reciprocity ~ Ashraf

A History of Knowledge-Explosion — Part V

Second Explosion: THE ENLIGHTENMENT 

Summary: After the first explosion of knowledge that emerged in Athens of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many other Classical Greek philosophers, the second explosion occurred in northern Europe at the end of the wars of religion and the rise of Galilean science. Starting from the eve of French Revolution and all through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, an era of Enlightenment emerged. Many great scientists and philosophers helped create an ‘age of genius and new knowledge.’ Some of the best-known thinkers were Newton, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Voltaire, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, and many more, who made an everlasting mark on the history of knowledge. They explored the implications of the new sciences, humanities, and religious upheaval, which led them to reject many traditional beliefs and ways of seeking knowledge. Seeds of Enlightenment, sown in the seventeenth century, flourished into a period of revolutions and explorations. Most importantly it created a revolution of mind, which sought to reconstitute ethics of morality on rational basis instead of spirituality. Scientific attitude of rational inquiry replaced the previous intellectualism of thought and action. It shaped the idea that the methods and concepts of science should be applied in all domains of inquiry. This change became the key to Enlightenment which put human beings, more firmly important than ever before, at the center of the whole universe. The Enlightenment quest was driven by the belief that entirely on their own, human beings can know all that needs to be known, and in knowing understand, and in understanding gain the power to choose more wisely than ever before. The fusion of natural science and philosophy resulted in the Enlightenment ideals that placed highest value on scientific inquiry, reason, human natural rights, liberty, equality, freedom of thought and expression, and on diverse worldviews. MIRZA ASHRAF

To read full article please visit: https://independent.academia.edu/MirzaAshraf




” China Has A Plan To Rule The World” By David Ignatius

(Eye opening article by David Ignatius. While we are busy analyzing Trump’s tweets, China is moving ahead with its far reaching ambitious plan for Eurasia, spending one trillion dollars on the project-One Belt One Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.f. sheikh)

Trump’s “America first” strategy has facilitated China’s buildup, unintentionally. The administration’s rhetoric on fair trade has been strong, but the actual gains have been modest. Meanwhile, Trump has shredded the Trans-Pacific Partnership and stepped back from other U.S.-led alliances — opening the way for China’s new network of global institutions, including the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan for Eurasian trade and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to finance Chinese-led projects.

The scope of China’s challenge to the American-led order is described in two unpublished and unclassified studies commissioned by the Air Force.

One study argues that China’s Eurasian reach is beyond that of the 1947 Marshall Plan, which cemented American power in postwar Europe. The report estimates that the OBOR framework would provide up to $1 trillion in Chinese support for more than 64 countries, while the Marshall Plan provided about $150 billion in current dollars, mostly to six countries. The report describes OBOR as “a program of unprecedented size and scope with the strategic intent of constructing a Chinese-led regional order in Eurasia.”

China is building the infrastructure of power. The study describes, for example, how Beijing is financing a string of ports in the Indian Ocean region, including in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Burma, Djibouti, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. The proposed investment is nearly $250 billion.

China has also invested $13.6 billion in Greece, buying control of the port of Piraeus and big shares of Greek utilities and fiber-optics companies. “Greece serves as a strategic beachhead for China into Europe,” notes the report.

The Asian infrastructure bank, meanwhile, has approved $16 billion in projects in 10 countries, including long-standing U.S. allies such as Egypt, India and Oman. And the Chinese are building rail lines to Europe and every part of Asia, allowing them to bypass U.S.-controlled sea lanes. China already has 40 rail routes to nine European countries.

American dominance has been built partly on the primacy of our scientific and technological laboratories, which have drawn the best and brightest from around the world. But the Chinese are challenging here, too. China is building at least 50 joint-venture science and technology labs with OBOR countries and plans over the next five years to train up to 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers, the study notes.

Full Article

Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring

Interesting article in NYT shared by Nasik Elahi. Any shake up in Saudi Arabia that breaks up the ossified mentality is a good thing for the Muslims in general. I think prince is better off focusing on domestic reformation rather than getting into foreign policy trap of confronting Iran which is being ginned up by our Administration. Thomas Friedman supported Iraq war and would not mind supporting misadventure in Iran. (fsheikh)

Is it possible to reform the theocratic monarchy that has distorted Islam for a generation.  And what kind of impact will that have on the Muslim ummah. ( Nasik Elahi)

NYT Article

“Scientific Proof Is A Myth” By Ethan Siegel

(Some of us  have argued on the pages of TFUSA as if evolution is beyond any doubt. The author of this article argues that scientific proofs in support of theory of evolution and other theories are transitory and it is a matter time that these proofs turn out to be just a myth. fsheikh)

You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravity. You’ve also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks, planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.

Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.

Art by Karen Teramura, UH IfA with James O’Donoghue and Luke Moore

Reality is a complicated place. All we have to guide us, from an empirical point of view, are the quantities we can measure and observe. Even at that, those quantities are only as good as the tools and equipment we use to make those observations and measurements. Distances and sizes are only as good as the measuring sticks you have access to; brightness measurements are only as good as your ability to count and quantify photons; even time itself is only known as well as the clock you have to measure its passage. No matter how good our measurements and observations are, there’s a limit to how good they are.

Full article