Iranian Leaders Want to Purge the Social Sciences September 3, 2009

Iranian Leaders Want to Purge the Social Sciences

It doesn’t look good for students in Iran trying to get a legitimate education:

Ayatollah Khamenei said this week that the study of social sciences “promotes doubts and uncertainty.” He urged “ardent defenders of Islam” to review the human sciences that are taught in Iran’s universities and that he said “promote secularism,” according to Iranian news services.

“Many of the humanities and liberal arts are based on philosophies whose foundations are materialism and disbelief in godly and Islamic teachings,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at a gathering of university students and professors on Sunday, according to IRNA, the state news agency. Teaching those “sciences leads to the loss of belief in godly and Islamic knowledge.”

He’s talking about philosophy and sociology, but the same idea would apply to areas like math and science as well. When you understand reality, you have less of a need for religion-based superstition.

During Mr. Ahmadinejad’s first term in office, his administration forced out many professors and replaced them.

“I think that they don’t like maybe new ideas to get to Iran,” said an Iranian academic now living outside the country. “They don’t like social and cultural figures in the Iranian society to become very popular. That is the aspect which makes problems for them.”

There’s an understatement if ever I heard one.

The entire article is frightening. It explains what can happen when religion trumps democracy and education. That’s the enemy we all need to be fighting against.

(Thanks to mountainhumanist for the link!)

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  • “promotes doubts and uncertainty.”

    This very phrase has been thrown around verbatim in this country for years by the religious in regard to science education. I feel bad for Iran, but even worse I feel like we in America can look to them right now and see a possible future for ourselves. ‘Promoting doubts and uncertainty’ is religious speak for ‘promoting critical thinking’ – as if rational thinking is somehow a negative thing.

  • Neal O

    Teaching those “sciences leads to the loss of belief in godly and Islamic knowledge.”

    Well please make them compulsory then, all grades, any age and anywhere!

  • Promoting doubt and uncertainty is a good thing!

  • Richard Wade

    “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” –Volatire

    Nothing ever improves, no new benefit ever comes to us until some brave person faces and walks all the way through their doubt and uncertainty.

    Doubt is for grown-ups. Certainty is for children. Religion promotes and perpetuates the immaturity that clings to certainty. If Iran wants to go live in the seventh century, good riddance. I feel sorry for their young people, but it’s up to them to turn their country around. Nobody else can. Every country has the government it deserves. Iran and the other retrograde nations will continue to steal and exploit the benefits that the 21st century cultures around them have developed, but they will have nothing to contribute. They’ll have to be very careful; foreign innovations show that old ways weren’t so great. They can plant the seeds of……… doubt!

    In the same way, the anti-science fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. gladly accept the gifts of longer, healthier lives, better food and better technology that those who dare to doubt bring to them, but they’ll never accept the responsibility to support the doubt-promoting education that made those gifts possible. They’re spoiled brats.

    Advertisinglies is right. The Middle East, also known as The Kingdom of the Past, is America’s future if we do not stop the very same cultural implosion that fundamentalism is promoting.

    Think it couldn’t happen here? Are you certain of that?

  • Sagan’s_Ghost

    So, they have been in contact with the Kansas Board of Education?

  • Jon

    Can we purge the Iranian leaders, Atheism and Hemant along with the social sciences?

    I think that would be a reasonable trade-off.

  • anonymouse

    I didn’t know Liberty University was in Iran!

  • “No other investment yields as great a return as the investment in education. An educated workforce is the foundation of every community and the future of every economy.” – Brad Henry

    They are shooting themselves in the foot and destroying their own future, for what? A religion that once had a tradition (ijtihad) of enquiry, independent interpretation and exploration. So sad. So stupid.

  • Oh…Iran is looking more and more like the USA. The Right has been trying to get rid of crazy liberal ideologies that are ruining our country….Art, Music, oh, which covers History……

    Silly people.

  • I recently got back from a trip to Iran. Actually being there shattered some pre-conceived notions I had about the place.

    I’m writing a series of blog posts about my visit, starting with this one:

    I spent a lot of my time talking to people there, on buses, in teashops and just on the street. Iranis are really friendly, and happy to talk to outsiders about conditions in their country. I found very little support for the regime, they’re just enduring it till they have to.

  • Also, Hemant, your blog hasn’t been blocked in Iran… yet. PZ Myers’ blog has been blocked. I guess the Irani internet censors haven’t found you as offensive as PZ so far, but this post should change their minds eh?

  • It isn’t all bad. Iran now have a female minister.

  • Alexis

    Just yesterday I read two other articles expressing the same sentiment…One concerning historical scholarship into Mormonism at Brigham Young and the other from a former U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Yoi! and Double Yoi!

    And a teacher commented on Pharyngula that a parent had chided her “Don’t teach my child to think” because thinking only opens them to the devil.

  • Spurs Fan

    It is sort of incredible how many far-right Christians would criticize Iran, but still agree with this line of thinking.

  • Gibbon

    Considering how nationalistic and proud of it’s history Iran is, this is rather surprising. It’s likely though that this is part of the clamp down in the wake of the protests, since a lot of the protestors were students.

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