Stories about debate

Can science be compared with religion?

If one doesn’t know how to evaluate evidence or determine if a conclusion lies beyond the scope of any given evidence and if one cannot judge the strength of a theory, he is like a young child who should not play with fire. If he does, he may burn his hands – in this metaphor, his beliefs. So religious scholars are right when they prevent us from playing with science which questions beliefs. Some people say that science and religion can never be compared. Religion would boast to “know everything” even if it is wrong and would undermine the understanding of ...

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To wear or not to wear a niqab

It is no surprise that both our top blogs this week have talked about the face veil. In the first one, our blogger wrote about a social experiment she conducted by wearing a niqab for a day. The other blog talked about the controversy surrounding a picture of a veiled woman holding up a bra. Here are some of the reactions to these pieces: “’Female figure is a source of evil and therefore should be kept strictly hidden. All girl children be taught to be ashamed of their own bodies. Any reference to female anatomy meets with a response of disgust, ...

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Is science closer to the truth?

A dangerous notion appears to have invaded our minds; that science is merely a buffet of opinions, and it is entirely up to us accept the information that appeases us, and reject what we find unpalatable. That’s not how it works. When you go to a doctor’s office, you take his prescription and follow it precisely. You don’t argue with him about why he prescribed Bromazepam instead of Lorazepam, or announce that you’re going to take 12 tablets a day as opposed to two that the doctor has advised you. You acknowledge that your doctor, being an expert in medical science, ...

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Religion or science: That is not the question

The argument begins with this question: why should science and religion be kept separate? The answer depends on what you believe; however, let me present my case in favour of the separation of science and religion. Science is the study of nature and how it functions. The beauty of science is that when a theory is presented, scientists of that field do not immediately agree with the theoretical claims. Rather, they put the theory to intensive criticism and tests. In many cases, the theories are disproved on the basis of counter evidence or errors that are deduced. If the ...

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Political moralization is not the way

A politician will stand on the pulpit and thousands of people will watch, as he or she weaves a story about the past. For some, it will be Ayub Khan’s decade of development, for others it may be an issue or a cause like Kashmir or Balochistan. Regardless, the gestures and punches that will be emphasized will all constitute an act of moralization. For democratic societies, political moralization, in its greater sense, undermines democratic political culture because it discourages debate and discourse. Democratic systems are based on the concept of competing ideas and institutions against a moral framework that allows for a system ...

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Dawkins made it to my sociology class

Growing up in a society that discouraged asking too many questions, I often wondered what it is about modern western education that the conservative right is so scared of.  Reading the news and following politics on television and online has helped me understand how our policy makers think and what issues matter to our general public. If you have done the same, you will know that every effort to modernise our educational system and make it more culturally and religiously neutral has met with stern resistance from political, religious and other factions of the society. But one day, while sitting in ...

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LUMUN: Students learn the truth in a language they can’t debate in

What’s the point of debating if the person opposite you can’t understand a word you’re saying? In my previous piece, how at model United Nations (MUN) some kids were shaken by the sheer scale of competitiveness – a rampant obsession with coming first across the country. This is why events like these, which bring together such a diverse group of people from across the country, are so useful. You can glean so much from the way people interact, or in this case, don’t. I’m going to talk about the Lahore University of Management Sciences model United National (LUMUN) again, because this ...

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Banning concerts is not a solution

Tracing back the history of Pakistani pop music is tricky. Wikipedia describes Runa Laila as a veteran among pop sensations; Nazia Hassan and Zohaib Hassan are ranked after her.  Today, Pakistani pop music is one of the most popular genres in South Asia and also with the South Asian diaspora around the world.This fact has been accepted with much grace and enthusiasm by the majority, but there are always hindrances posed by certain hard-liner groups, changing governments and Islamic fundamentalists, who frequently have issues with Pakistan’s vibrant and thriving mainstream and underground music factory. Following Ziaul Haq’s military coup, ...

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Don’t drag Islam into every debate

A wife: Not an adversary, not a subordinate, not a superior, but a companion – an equal, with a role that may be different, but equal. A marriage: A coveted relationship based on mutual respect, companionship, love, and joy. This is how it is supposed to be; this is how Islam sees it. Is that always the case in reality? No. In a disturbing percentage of cases, it is not. Is Islam to be blamed for this, or any religion for that matter? No. Are patriarchal cultural tendencies responsible for it? Often, yes. Why is it then that in almost every article, blog, documentary, book, or piece ...

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The president’s immunity

The question of whether President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity against criminal or civil proceedings requires an analysis of Article 248 of the Constitution. This states that: Article 248 (1) : The president shall not be answerable to any court….for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions. The article goes on to state that: Article 248 (2): No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office. Article 248(3): No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the ...

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