Saturday, October 10, 2015

Glenn Greenwald on Sam Harris, New Atheism, and Liberal Values

by Salman Hameed

Glenn Greenwald's name these days is, of course, associated with Edward Snowden and the breaking of the NSA story. But he has been arguing for civil liberties for a long time. If you have an hour, check out this excellent interview where Glenn mostly talks about Sam Harris and his anti-Islam stance (towards the end, there is also a discussion on the Snowden affair). There are two things I want to highlight here. First, he correctly points out that going after Islam in the US in the existing climate is not exactly courageous, but in fact further serves to stoke fires of bigotry. An awareness of your audience and impact is crucial if you are writing for the public. Second, at the 27 minute mark, Glenn makes an excellent comparison of some of the anti-Islam rhetoric with the strategy of Neo-Nazi groups using Talmudic references for their own anti-Jewish propaganda purposes. Any way, listen to the full conversation - and also check out Glenn Greenwald's longer piece in the Guardian: Sam Harris, the New Atheists, and anti-Muslim animus.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Panel Discussion at Hampshire College: Historical and Contemporary Muslim Engagements with Science

by Salman Hameed

If you are in the area, please join us at Hampshire College this Monday evening for a panel discussion featuring three fantastic scholars: George Saliba, Asad Ahmed, Ehab Abouheif. The event is free and open to the public. This is also the launch of our new Science and Islam Videos Portal, but more on that in a separate post. Here are the details of the panel discussion:

Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS) Presents:

A Panel Discussion on 
Historical and Contemporary Muslim Engagements with Science

Panelists include: 
Dr. George Saliba, Columbia University
Dr. Asad Ahmed, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Ehab Abouheif, McGill University
Moderator: Dr. Salman Hameed

Monday, October 5th, 2015
5:30p.m., Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Hampshire College

The Muslim world is currently going through enormous changes. This is not entirely surprising, as more than half the population in the Middle East, and in much of the larger Muslim world, is under the age of 25. This is also the first generation to have been fully affected by the spread of mass education in the region and the global technological revolution of the past two decades. It is therefore not a leap to predict that this generation will interpret Islam and shape its relation to the modern world for decades to come, and that these interpretations will be influenced by global concerns and technological developments. This panel brings together three eminent scholars from the fields of history of science, Islamic studies, and evolutionary biology to talk about ways Muslims have engaged with the sciences both historically and in the contemporary world. This event coincides with the launch of an online portal, designed by SSiMS, that provides a content evaluation of approximately 200 online videos on the topic of Islam and Science (Please visit the portal site

Panelist biographies: 
Dr. George Saliba is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. Dr. Saliba is considered one of world's leading authorities on the history of Arabic and Islamic Science. He is the author of Late Arabic Scientific Commentaries: Their Role and Their Originality (2014) and Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (2007).

Dr. Asad Ahmed is Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ahmed specializes in early Islamic social history and pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, with a special focus on the rationalist disciplines, such as philosophy, logic, and astronomy. His current focus is the period ca. 1200-1900 CE, especially with reference to the Indian subcontinent.  He is the author of The Religious Elite of the Early Islamic Hijaz (2011) and Avicenna’s Deliverance: Logic (2011).

Dr. Ehab Abouheif is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology in Department of Biology at McGill University, Canada. Dr. Abouheif's primary research focuses on the evolution of ants and his articles have been published in prestigious journals, like Science. He is also the co-director of McGill Centre for Islam and Scienceand is actively engaged in dialogue over Islam and evolution.

Moderator: Dr. Salman Hameed is the Director of SSiMS. He is also the Charles Taylor Chair and Associate Professor of Integrated Science and Humanities at Hampshire College.

For more information on SSiMS, please visit

This event has been made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

New SkA episode: How the idea of extraterrestrials became scientific? (in Urdu)

by Salman Hameed

Here is our new episode of our Urdu series, Science ka Adda (SkA). We are now hoping get an episode out every first of the month. In this episode we talk about aliens:

We see aliens in the movies all the time. We do not yet have any evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. And yet, for most scientists, it is a distinct possibility in the universe. In fact, two developments in the 19th century - one in theory and one in technique - made the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence a scientific one. In this episode of Science ka Adda we look at those developments and ponder on the possibility of aliens on other worlds. For more videos in the series, please visit or join us on Facebook at .
Powered by Blogger.