Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This blog going "Irtiqa"

Yes, the times they are a-changin'. The original purpose of this blog was simply to post some science & religion news stories for some friends who were interested in the topic. But the blog has now been going for a little over two years and more people have joined in for conversations. Thus, this is a good time to make some changes - starting with the name. It is my sad duty to tell you that this blog (Science & Religion News) will now be out of the competition for the most mundane blog-name ever. Instead, the blog name is changing to Irtiqa : A Science & Religion Blog. The web address though is still going to be the old one - so no need to make any changes to your readers/feeders etc.

Why Irtiqa?
Irtiqa literally means evolution in Urdu. But it does not only imply biological evolution. Instead, it is an all encompassing word for evolution of the universe, biological evolution, and it is also used for biological/human development (example, from an embryo). On the one hand, it has caused confusion in debates over biological evolution in South Asia, on the other hand, it provides a nice integrative name for a blog that addresses issues of science & religion interaction. Of course, it also meshes well with my work in astronomy (star formation and evolution of spiral galaxies) and on understanding how Muslims are dealing with biological evolution and on the rise of Islamic creationism.

I don't know what lesson to draw from it, but I find it interesting that while the Wikipedia entry on Irtiqa acknowledges its literal meaning of evolution in Urdu, its main focus is on the title of an album by a Pakistani rock band, Entity Paradigm (EP). That is ok - I have that album too. But I think Irtiqa has a meaning broader than simply being the name of an album (not that there is any thing wrong with that). For example, here is an earlier post about Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's views on Islam & evolution - and his use of the word Irtiqa. (so wiki-lords: Please, add more to your entry on Irtiqa)

Are there going to be more changes to the blog? Yes, the template will probably change - but I will still avoid too much clutter and keep it reader-friendly.

But at the end, thanks for to you all for visiting and reading the blog.



hedge said...

Woo! Now I know, uh... *two* words in Urdu. I like the layers of meaning of the new name. Also, I wonder sometimes how much of a role semantics has in how people respond to ideas like evolution.

Salman Hameed said...

And there is also a good chance that many Pakistanis may not be aware of the Urdu word for evolution (they may only use the english word) - so you may be able to impress them further :)

I agree about your point about the role of semantics. It creates confusion. And if there is already some hostility to the idea, then one makes little effort to clear up the confusion. I think a similar confusion exists (or existed) over the German word for evolution - which can also be used for development.

Butters said...

Keep up the good work :)

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