Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and COVID-19

The anti-blasphemy laws in Pakistan date back to British rule and were undoubtably made for political, not religious, purposes. However they are largely supported in Pakistan. As this BBC article point out:

A large majority of Pakistani people support the idea that blasphemers should be punished, but there is little understanding of what the religious scripture says as opposed to how the modern-day law is codified.

Many believe the law, as codified by the military regime of General Zia-ul Haq back in the 1980s, is in fact straight out of the Koran and therefore is not man-made.

The laws now includes provisions for people making derogatory remarks about Mohummed, among other things. There is no basis in Islam for this and those who have studied the real history of Islam know that Mohummed was extremely tolerant and forgiving of those who treated him badly.

The problem in Pakistan, and many of the neighbouring countries including Afghanistan, is that by and large, the population is ignorant of the real Islam. There’s a fervour where each person wants to show that they are more pious than the next one. It’s as if to say “You condemn people who bad-mouth The Prophet but I kill them, therefore I’m a better Muslim than you”. There were protests when the government attempted to modify the laws.

I read of an Inman in the USA who was communicating with an Inman in Afghanistan was shocked at the level of ignorance of someone who was supposed to be teaching Islam. The Afghani freely acknowledged his lack of understanding but said he had never had a formal education. He invited the American over to help them. The US Inman finally went and travelled out to the remote community and was very disappointed in the level of understanding of the population and went on to train people who could teach the real religion.

So what has this to do with COVID-19?

I have written before (for example here) about how what passes for science now is not really science but science as a belief-system. Certain people have established themselves as the ‘high priests’ of science and are listened to with a fervour that many religious leaders could only dream of. The problem is, that as in Pakistan, the ‘true believers’ are usually completely ignorant of what real ‘religion’ is.

There is philosophy of science. It is in the realm of philosophy because in order to study science as a process you have to be outside of the process to study it. From this vantage point we can assess statements such as ‘what constitutes scientific proof’. Most people, and even most scientists (let alone doctors who aren’t even trained in science) are completely ignorant of real science but, like their Pakistani counterparts, the really ignorant ones are the people who want to shout out that they are the most intelligent because they follow ‘The Science’.

When we consider the question of scientific proof, it used to be the case that proof was established through double-blind, peer reviewed experiments. Now, it has been broadened to include things like computer modelling. But computer models are highly unreliable. For instance a model of how COVID-19 is going to spread assumes you understand much more than we really do, and then any model is only as good as the numbers that are ‘plugged’ into it.

People are ignorant of the real deficiencies of computer modelling but the reason why it can’t be questioned is because if you question it you are like the heretical Pakistani who questions the blasphemy laws.

We see this accentuated with mask wearing. Those who support ‘science’ gladly wear masks and will condemn people who don’t. How long before a non-mask wearer gets assassinated and the courts let the killer off?

By Philip Braham on .



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