Sunday, July 12, 2009

the problem of induction

As I wrote that this blog won't only talk about rubbish politics of my country. So I remain obliged to my words. وہ وعدہ ہی کیا جو وفا نہ ہو. Today I read a very important topic which I thought worth discussing. We teenagers, especially those who have two three books on science, have a feeling that science is 100% rational and as humans progress science would also progress and at the end every thing would be demystified. So it's just a matter of time that science would be the final and only touch-stone of truth. Anything "scientific" will be true and anything "non-scientific" would be false.سچ تو صرف وہ ہے جس کو عقل سچ کہے۔. This is the whole idea which engrosses us as if it's a religious dogma. We don't read, so we are led astray.

If we look at the history of science we will see that science uses specific tools through which it deciphers fact or logic. On the most fundamental level these method include induction and deduction. I won't discuss what deduction is leaving it as a question for the reader. Just one sentence, it has inherent problems if you look at it.

Our discussion focuses on induction. Induction is a method through which scientists generalize an idea and expanding it over space and time. I might explain this through a "non-scientific" example, شاہد ہر جمہ کو نماز پڑھتا ہے، اس لیے وہ اس جمہ کو بھی پڑھے گا. The problem is that even if shahid offers prayer on every friday we cannot conclude that he will offer it on this friday. He might be going on a dance party or her sister's marriage! We cannot generalize this result. the result has a 50-50 probability.

Similarly, scientific induction works on a principle know as UN, not united nations but uniformity of nature. for example, let us take the newton's law of universal gravitation. Newton say's that if two bodies are in close proximity than will apply a force on each other which is (G*M1*M2)/r^2. where the constant G is again termed as the "universal" gravitational constant. Newton only tested his result on apples, stones and the heavenly bodies which could be seen through his telescope. But what he said was,"Because my laws apply equally good on apples, stones and few heavenly bodies, they are equally good for the whole universe". (An inductive statement similar to shahid friday prayer). Similar is the case with Coloumb's law, farady's law of electro-magnetism, et cetera. All these scientist use the the idea of uniformity of nature. All these laws take this for granted that nature is uniform. This idea was challenged in the 18th century by the philosopher David Hume.

Hume asked a very simple question. Many scientist use the method of induction but how can they prove induction to be itself a truth? A person might answer, "because induction has been working for the last 5000 year so can induct that it will continue to work in the future". But this is "begging the question", a logical fallacy. No can can say "I speak truth because i speak truth" similarly no one can say "I believe in induction because I inducted this result that i believe in induction". This is a circular argument.

This thought of Hume, known as the problem of induction, attacks at the root of science. Because if the way to truth is irrational then how can the truth by rational!

Many scientist tried to prove Hume wrong, most notably Karl Popper, but no one succeeded. Today the philosophers of science don't consider science to be rational. In fact science is no reality, it's an interpretation of reality.

Many people nowadays try to prove religion through science, but i think they don't know what the West itself is thinking . We shouldn't use science to prove religion as irrationality cannot prove religion. Akbar ala-badi correctly said:
فلسفی کو ڈھونڈنے سے خدا ملتا نہیں
ڈور سلجھا رہے ہیں، اور سرا ملتا نہیں۔

1)philosophy of science

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leadership and Pakistan

This has been one of my favourite topic to discuss on. But the urge to write this came from a Urdu prose:
امیرِشہر غریبوں کو لوٹ لیتا ہے
کبھی بحیلِ مذیب، کبھی بانامِ وطن
"The Rich plunders the belongings of the poor
sometimes on the name of religion and sometime through nationalism"

If you look on the pages of history this is the simplest theory of Pakistani leadership. I would leave Liaquat Ali Khan. (I'm afraid I would be caught under the blasphemy act of the constitution of Pakistan!). After him the story is similar if not the same. Khwaja Nazimuddin, Chaudhri Mohammad Ali, Iskander Mirza, Malik Feroz Khan Noon and then towards martial law.

Field marshal Ayub Khan, the self-nominated field martial, was the first person who made the illusion that civilians can't give anything of good to the nation. He took on the country and his first action was to abrogate the constitution presented by the civil government. Just imagine, an army man saying that politicans don't know how to run a country but a solider knows this. Even Aristotle would be crying in the Limbo! Than Ayub Khan presented his own constitution where he gathered all powers in himself. No law would be passed even if the whole parliament has a consensus. The president(i.e. Ayub Khan) had the power to dissolve the whole parliament with a single stroke of a pen. Then Ayub Khan went on war with the Indians in 1965. The war was on the Kashmir dispute and war experts say that we were wining the war. But as I said, army man are not politicians, Ayub Khan took a wrong diplomatic move by signing a treaty at Taskant, USSR. Ayub Khan also signed the Indus water treaty with India, which was simply selling our rivers without calculating the future implications of the deal. 2012 is being seen as a doomsday for Pakistan as our country is facing severe water shortages. In the end Field Marshal Ayub labeled his 10 years, again self-labeling, as the golden era.

The reason for writing upon President Ayub was not that I have some enmity against him, but other Army chiefs were similar. Even there opening remarks are similar:
اسلام وعلیکم میرے عزیز ہم وطنوں۔۔۔۔۔ آج پاکستان ایک نازک موڑ پر ہے۔۔۔۔۔

And then the story goes on. Everyone brings his own democracy, Aristotle might be crying. General Zia ul Haq, The leader of the Muslims! brought in 'Islamic democracy' and General Musharraf brought in 'Sustainable democracy' . Everyone rules for 10 years on average. Everyone brings his own constitution. Everyone wants war with India. The similarities are endless.

In the end everybody gives his long list of economic figures which even Adam Simth can't understand.

Though the Army rule broke the nation and caused unrepairable on the nation's psychology, the civil rulers were as bad as they were.

Starting with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was in Ayub's convention league but later made up his own party, the PPP was the first civilian chief martial law administrator. Mr. Bhutto divided Pakistan in "West" and "East". His politics was in west only. It was the army which later finished the job of creating Bangladesh. Mr. Bhutto started an Army operation in Balochistan which continues till today. The Balochis were suppressed and alienated. His education reforms totally destroyed education in Sindh. Though he is remembered for creating the constitution but he himself brought in five amendments.

Than the ten year period between 1988-1999 was a shear misery. It was like a ping-pong ball match. Two years Nawaz and 2 years Benazir and so on. The power play caused a great rift between Sindh and Punjab. It caused economic turmoil, political turmoil and social turmoil. The facts of these year are deplorable. Just to present some, HRCP tagged Benazir's first term as the "Darkest year of Human Right", Nawaz Sharif in his second term started a military operation in Karachi killing thousands of teenagers.

Hasan Nisar, a prominent columnist in Jang, says that the future of any nation can be calculated from its immediate past. We have seen what Pakistani leadership has done with us. It is our time to understand this 'power - psychology' and to crush the feudalistic, centrist, autocratic and nepotism which is prevailing in this power class. What's the use of a nation in which you don't have a share. Is this what our founding fathers had dreamed of? Ending with a beautiful poetry, as that's the only thing which we are left with!
خدا کرئے میری ارضِ پاک پر اترے
وہ فصلِ گل جسے اندئیشہِ زوال نہ ہو

یہاں جو پھول کھلے، کھلے رہے صدیوں
یہاں سے خزاں کو گزرنے کی مجال نہ ہو

خدا کرئے کے میرے ایک بھی ہم وطن کے لیے
حیات جرم نہ ہو، زندگی وبال نہ ہو۔

Note: Pictures taken from

Monday, July 6, 2009

Islamism and Empire

یہ میرا پہلا انگریزی سے اردو ترجمہ ہے۔ اگرکوہی غلطی ہو تو براے مہربانی کمنٹ کردیے۔ شکریہ۔

یہ مضمون آصف بیت نے لکھا ہے۔

ایک بحث کا آغاز ہو گیا ہے۔ یہ بحث ہے اسلام اور جدیدیت کے درمیان ہے اور اس میں دائیں جانب، بائیں جانب اور اسلام پسند تینوں ہی حصہ لے رہے ہیں۔ دائیں بازو کا خیال ہے کے اسلام ایک جدیدیت مخالف، جنونی نظام ہے اور 'آزاد دنیا' کے لیے سب سے بڑا خطرہ ہے۔ ان کی نظر میں اسلام مطلق العانیات کی فلسفی بنیادیں فراہم کرتا ہے ، یہ کمیونیزم اور فاشیزم کا ساتھی ہے، جو آزاد سرمایہ دار دنیا کے لیئے ایک خطرہ ہے۔ اس ضمن میں 'تہذیبوں کے درمیان تصادم کا فلسفہ' حقیقت اختیار کر جاتا ہے۔ یعنی اسلام اور مغربی جدیدیت دو مخالف نظام ہیں۔

البتہ، بائیں بازو والے منقسم نظر آتے ہیں۔ چن کا خیال ہے اسلام ' فاشیزم کے مماثل' ایک نظام ہے۔ شوشلئستوں کا خیال ہے کے ہم چند اسلام پسندوں کو توڑ کر جدیدیت پسندی کے دائرے میں لا سکتے ہیں۔ دوسری طرف، چن بائیں بازو والے اسلام کو 'استعمار مخالف' طاقت مانتے ہیں۔ وہ یہ بھی سمجھتے ہیں کے اس نقتہ پر اسلام اور بائیں بازو میں اشترق ممکن ہے۔ مثلاَ، برئٹش لیبر پارٹی ، کا کہنا ہے کے 'اس دور میں یہ ہماری بیں لاقوامی ذمہ داری ہے کے ہم استعمار اور نسل پرستی کے خلاف مسلمانوں کے ساتھ کھڑے ہو۔' اس کے لیئے برئٹش لیبر پارٹی اور مسلم اسوسیئشن آف برٹن میں ایک سکیولر اشترق ضروری ہے۔ مسلم اسوسیئشن آف برٹن ایک قدامت پسند تنظیم ہے جو عورت مخالف جزبات رکھتی ہے۔ پر اس مسلئے کو
تہذیبی ' کے ضمن میں رد کر دیا جاتا ہے۔Relativism'

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Karl Marx - In Short

Karl Marx

Marx is considered one of the greatest philosophers on the 19th century. Marx was born in an orthodox Jewish family, which had a long chain of rabbis on both side. Later Marx converted to Christianity to penetrate in the German Middle Class.

Marx's work can be understood in an evolutionary model. In fact, Marx was so inspired by Darwin that he once said, "I would like to dedicate my book(Das Kapital) to Darwin, if only he answers in affirmative". I guess Darwin never answered!

Marx theory works on the principal which is know as 'Dialectical Materialism'. Marx was a Hegelian. The idea of dialectics was created by Hegel. (This idea is also present in the Greek philosophy but it is ascribed to Hegel). The idea of Materialism is taken from Fuerbach.

Dialectics is a method of argument. In this method a person presents a thesis, an anti-thesis and lastly a synthesis come out of them. To understand this, let's take an example. Person A says that due to industrialization, comfort levels are increasing, more time is available for leisure, and better working conditions are available compared to the pre-industrial revolution.

On the other hand, person B disagrees. He says that because of industrialization pollution has increased, which leads to more diseases; unemployment has increased as machine are replacing human, and life has become more like a robot as everything is mechanized. This is an anti-thesis.

Now we need to find out a middle way. This is called synthesis. Informally, when a thesis and anti-thesis collide a synthesis is created. This process is dynamic in nature. It never stops. This is because every synthesis would later became a thesis that will again collide with some anti-thesis and become a synthesis.


Marx is of the views that it is economies which derive a human acts not ideologies. It is through money that man buys shelter, clothing and food. A man must work in some sort of economic paradigm to get these basic necessities. According to Marx, and other materialists, it is the man's act of acquiring money which leads to the formation of law and society.

When we combine both of these ideas, i.e. Hegelian Dialectic and Materialism, we get 'dialectical materialism'. According to Marx, any social formation consists of two branches - infrastructure and super-infrastrucutre. The super-infrastructure provides the ideological drive to a society. It provide the framework according to which the infrastructure would gain its characteristics.

The infrastructure includes the ways of production. This might include technology and labour. The infrastructue basically leads to the creation of wealth and this is where dialectic comes into play.

According to Marx as there are two types of values(wealth) - capital value and labour value. As labour value move towards zero due to change in material conditions, a class war ignites as rich become richer and poor become poorer. This class war causes a problem in the infrastructure that consequently questions the super-infrastructure. The clash between the two can be considered as a collision of thesis and anti-thesis. This infact results in a synthesis which leads towards a new social formation.

Some Questions?

What's the purpose of life?
Who are you?
Is man the measure of truth?
What is the importance of meta-physics?
Which way is humanity heading?

These are some of the questions we are going to discuss on this blog.