Thursday, February 17, 2011

At the annual AAAS meeting in Washington D.C.

I have just arrived in D.C. for the annual AAAS meeting. This year's theme is "Science Without Borders". I will definitely have posts from the conference. But here is one of the cool things: Nidhal (Guessoum) will also be here - so we will have an IRTIQA mini-get-together.

You can check the vast vast program of the meeting here. I'm on a panel The Challenge of Teaching Evolution in the Islamic World. It meets tomorrow (Fri) from 3-4:30. The panel is organized by Eugenie Scott of National Center for Science Education and she will also be the moderator (Joshua Rosenau was the original moderator - but apparently, he thinks that family is more important than these panels :) ). Other panelists include Jason Wiles and Taner Edis (he also writes at Secular Outpost). It should be a lot of fun. If you are attending the meeting, come to the session.

Nidhal is on another panel that is dear and close to my heart: The Implications of Finding Other Worlds. It meets on Sunday from 1:30-4:30 and Nidhal is presenting Islamic Views on Extraterrestrial Life. Others on the panel include Jennifer Wiseman, Seth Shostak, Howard Smith, and Wesley Traub. This looks a fantastic panel. I will attend this session - and this will be a nice preparation for my class on "Aliens" (the class meets on Tuesday - so this will give me just enough time to digest information).

More coming up later...


Snuze said...

Wow! I would love to be there to attend all these amazing talks. I am sure you and Prof. Nidhal will do swimmingly well and all the best!

And have fun!

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks Snuze!

Ali said...

I wish I can attend your meetings. Sounds like a loads of highly interesting stuff. Would love to hear more about your presentations, Salman and Nidhal. I hope you can brief us, Irtiqa addicts, about your presentations.

Would have been fantastic if I can be there physically. But you can only be at one place at one time (unless you are an electron? Ha-ha).

Dr. M. Akbar Hussain said... astronomer teaching evolutionary biology...sounds interesting. Is Mr. Adnan Oktar invited too? ;-)
Btw astrobiology and evolution together make a perfect pair. May be we can also include string theory/multiverse to make a powerful 'threesome' :-D

Kate said...

Hi, Salman -

Looks like an incredible meeting full to the brim with a wide variety of topics, speakers, and workshops/panels. Must be hard to choose between them at any given moment (and then you hit the wall, anyway, where you can't take in any more information and you just need to space out - at least, that's been my experience even at the most fascinating and exciting of conferences). Do you know if any of the panels or presentations will be available afterwards in video or text format? I didn't see any info on that on the website, but would assume it would only be for attendees.
Anyway, hope you, Nidhal, and your other colleagues have a fantastic time. Look forward to hearing more about it!

Salman Hameed said...


Some of the sessions (including ours) are being audio-recorded. I don't know when they will be available (they may already be up somewhere).

This your old broken record. I'm not sure if this will fix things, but let me make two comments: First, if you click on the program, you will see that I'm not "teaching" evolutionary biology. Second, the way academia works is that one has to be published and evaluated by the experts in their field - irrespective of one's degree. In fact, having a degree and spouting nonsense is exactly equal to the nonsense by a person not holding a degree. For example, Hugh Ross has an astronomy degree, but much of the stuff that he says is nonsense. On the other hand, Paul Davies is a physicist - who has also published articles related to biology and philosophy - and those have been accepted by the peers in the biology and philosophy communities. Heck - even you can submit articles in biology, astronomy or whatever field you like. The acceptance of your paper will depend on the experts in those fields.

So the criticism of Harun Yahya is not that he is not a biologist - but rather that much of the stuff that he has written is utter rubbish. So it is always good to stick to the arguments.

Dr. M. Akbar Hussain said...

Who is criticizing? I am myself a paediatrician by profession and an astronomer by option. I greatly value those who have multiple interests and do lateral thinking and can make a useful contributions in different subjects. Afterall Thomas Edison wasn't a physicist or a qualified engineer per se for example. And why do I visit your blog daily? It has topics of my interest that I wouldn't find anywhere else or at least not from a reasonable lot like yourself or Nidhal.

Ali said...

Hi Akbar,

"... an astronomer by option."
I like your idea. But, how do I qualify to be one? :)

Ali said...

Hi Salman,

Please don't take things too seriously. I would have just ignored the "broken record" type comments.

I don't care who you are or what you do, I just want to read sound arguments and views on interesting stuff. And as long as you can do that, I will appreciate what you do. Astronomy is not what I studied but I would still argue with you guys (you and Nidal) on topics of astronomy (or anything else also on this blog) if I have a different view to present. So, hope you guys take it easy.

Salman Hameed said...

"Who is criticizing?"

Ah - but if you place Harun Yahya's name in the same sentence (or right adjacent to it) - then I do consider it as an insult :)

But thanks for your clarification! I appreciate it.

Dr. M. Akbar Hussain said...

So naughty of you ;-)
Adnan Oktar a.k.a. HY has a point of view, though wrong most of the time. It was a good opportunity to invite him to an event of such a scale to show the completeness of a discussion with opposing points of views over a subject. Definitely a point of view supported by facts always wins. Just a thought.

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