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Guilticulturalism infects museums.

December 15, 2010

I just read an article about a museum exhibit currently at the New York Hall of Science entitled “1001 Inventions” which is basically a bit of propaganda promoting the idea that Muslims made huge contributions to science.  I actually bookmarked the website awhile ago and had forgotten about it.  In the NYT article, Edward Rothstein articulates what I knew after looking through the website  — “There are serious problems with this exhibition.”

The exhibition, though, wildly overdoes it. First, it creates a straw man, reviving the notion, now defunct, of the Dark Ages. Then it overstates the neglect of Muslim science, which has, to the contrary, long been cited in Western scholarship. It also expands the Golden Age of Islam to a millennium, though the bright years were once associated with just portions of the Abbasid Caliphate, which itself lasted for about 500 years, from the eighth century to 1258. The show’s inflated ambitions make it difficult to separate error from exaggeration, and implication from fact.

This exhibit is very popular.  Why?  Guilt again.  Guilticulturalism to be exact.  Any criticism of radical Islamists and of the promotion of hate by Muslims must apparently be countered with an inflation (or outright creation) of positive contributions by Muslims.

Perhaps because one tendency in the West, particularly after 9/11, has been to answer Muslim accusations of injustice (and even real attacks) with an exaggerated declaration of regard. It is guiltily offered as if in embarrassed compensation, inspired by a desire not to appear to tar Islam with the fervent claims made by its most violent adherents.

Science museums have shared that impulse. An Imax film at the Boston Museum of Science is almost a commercial travelogue about science’s future in Saudi Arabia; and the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey has presented a traveling exhibition about Muslim inventions, that, like this one, mixed fascinating information with promotional overstatement.  (Edward Rothstein, NYT)

I suspected as much.  Isn’t it bad when you can’t even trust a science museum to get the facts correct?

Even the graphics on the website lie.

Galen used gut strings first.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Eman. permalink
    October 28, 2011 7:40 pm

    Isn’t your husband Muslim? And aren’t your kids half Pakistani? Mommy hating her babies? Tsk tsk, where is social services..

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