Great minds run in similar channels, or fools think alike

As a born-again agnostic, I don’t have much truck with “divine providence.” But every now and then events conflate in such a way that makes me doubt random chance.

On Friday, I tossed off a quick piece that ended with a link to the number of Nobel Prizes that have been awarded to Jews. I’m not sure why I chose that particular yardstick, but I did.

Later that day, Ken McCracken of (with whom I was privileged to co-blog over there for about a month or so) wrote a piece that took the same notion, and ran like hell with it. Showing the research chops and insight that are required to share a page with Will Franklin, Ken found an interview with an Iraqi “researcher” who is extremely upset with the disproportionate numbers of Nobel Prizes awarded to Jews vs. Muslims.

According to what Samir ‘Ubeid says, the Nobel Prizes should not be awarded strictly on merit. They should have quotas on them, to make sure that all peoples, all faiths, are appropriately represented. I suppose to him, that in 1989 the Prize should not have gone to J. Michael Bishop and Harold E. Varmus for their work in retroviral oncogenes (which has something fairly important to do with cancer research), but perhaps to Dr. Mohammed Durka-Durka Jihad for his ground-breaking work in the application of electrical stimuli to various portions of the human anatomy, and its consequent effect on human memory. (“If we apply the proper voltage to the genitalia for the right amount of time, the subject suddenly remembers their treasonous acts and will freely admit to them.”) Perhaps Dr. Jihad can split the prize with Dr. Bishop, since he’s not Jewish.

You know, we’ve pretty much trashed the notion of “social promotion” in our schools, and are moving back towards actually requiring the students to achieve measurable progress before they advance out of a grade. But like a bad penny, it seems that this idea has not died the death it so richly deserves, but has merely moved on.

I have very little respect for the “soft” prizes, but the “hard” ones — especially chemistry, physics, and medicine — really ought to stand out. And Samir ‘Ubeid’s notion of cheapening them just so his (and, by extension, his fellow Muslims’) feelings don’t get bruised just irritates the hell out of me.

You want a Nobel Prize, Mr. ‘Ubeid? Feel free to earn one.

Owning up to the real problem
The Catharsis of Crazies


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