I have made my comments at The Times news article on the subject. If I, as a youngster, brought my Newtonian telescope lens-in-progress into school, and because it looked like it was wrapped in putty, would I, in this day, be arrested as a possible distributer of bomb material? And as for the much made of comment that Ahmed “… didn’t explain properly what it was and they felt compelled to arrest him,” why the fuck should he explain anything? He didn’t do anything wrong. It was a friggin’ clock. Would a disassembled iPhone also be seen as a threat? Even the notion that what he did and built was ‘something wrong’ is fantastic. His English teacher needs to go back to remedial science class in junior high. Morons.
This is the realization of Carl Sagan’s fears:
… a celebration of ignorance.
From Sagan’s A Demon-Haunted World (1996), a world filled with the worst elements of religion, even if it not called religion:
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements — transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting — profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us — then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.
The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
This is why, despite my good wishes for the well-intentioned religious around the world, and my own community (although not my church) at UUAC Sherborn, I continue to support and identify with the Richard Dawkins Foundation. By the way, check out the beliefs of UU members based upon a national survey summarized below:
Incidently, that’s from the congregational page of nother UU congregration in Falmouth, MA. That’s hardly a rip-roarin’ endorsement of theism, and less of monotheism.
Hat tip and thanks once more to to Dan Satterfield for alerting on this issue.
There’s a post about Ahmed’s experience at richarddawkins.net as well.
And Shaun Tanner from Weather Underground did a post about Ahmed which includes interesting comments on shaming and vulnerability.