Monday, February 24, 2014

Chatting about astronomy on PTV World

by Salman Hameed

When I was in Pakistan this past December, I had a chance to participate in a morning chat show on PTV-World. The video is now available for the show (thanks to Nabeel Tirmazi for that) and I have embedded it below. One thing to note: regardless of the topic, it is almost impossible not to talk about religion in Pakistan. Therefore, you will see that this topic came up repeatedly in the conversation. That said, it is good to see that there was also a genuine interest in astronomy amongst the hosts of the show and that we talked about comets, nuclear fusion, and Mars at breakfast time. I'm a proponent of keeping science and religion separate (Stephen Jay Gould's Non-overlapping Magisteria - NOMA) and I tried to make the case here as well. However, it was funny that the guest who followed me, straight-away launched into saying that religion and science are the same things. But not only that, he went to make a reference to Mecca being at the center of the world (for my critique of that, see Why are Muslims calling to replace GMT with Mecca Time?).

In any case, I enjoyed the conversation. In fact, our astronomy discussion continued for another hour after the show. I hope PTV-World brings in more science programs.

Here is the video (it is in English):

World This Morning-Dr. Salman Hameed & Dr... by worldthismorning


Anonymous said...

Good luck there was no 'astrologer' guest to share his 'expert' opinion about celestial phenomena. At Karachi Astronomers Society, we have an understanding NOT to participate in any TV show with an 'astrologer' as a co-guest to share his damaging ideas regarding astronomy. If they need to do a program on astronomy, it HAS to be entirely scientific. We can however get along with religious input into science at it can be a driving force for youth to pay attention to science, like verses in Quran about origin of life or need for exploring universe etc. Plus we find it a safer approach to promote coexistence of our scientific work with religious circles in Pakistani society. The construction of KaAStrodome observatory in Nov 2013 in a crowded urban neighborhood was indeed a daredevil approach by our team and its safety will always be our greatest concern. So far we have found people extremely welcoming for the idea of an observatory in their area.

Anonymous said...

#Religion can provide you with an inspiration to ask questions and the answers come from scientific methodolgy#
Very beautiful answer. Could not agree more.

Anonymous said...

Very nice interview. I am greatly impressed by the line of questioning done by anchors. Fact that you can have a meaningful discussion on Astronomy so early in the morning on a Pakistani show .. is amazing!

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