In this post, I shall focus only on historical facts and will not be making any definitive moral judgment on the current war between Hamas & Israel.
Without a doubt, the name Palestine was used before the founding of the state of modern Israel in 1948. There are maps from the 19th century which have the name Palestine printed over the region of the Holy Land. However, the name Palestine was used to describe a geographical area rather than an independent state or a region defined as a specific administrative region.
The word Palestine was derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who migrated to the Mediterranean coastal plain between Tel Aviv-Yafo and the Gaza Strip in the 12th century BC. These Aegean people have no genealogical connection recent Palestinian people. The Philistines disappeared from history after they were destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia 2600 years ago. The Jews who were exiled to Babylon resettled in the land under the Persian Empire and reestablished Jerusalem as their capital. The Romans who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD and crushed the last Jewish revolt (the Bar Kokhba revolt, 132-136 AD) applied the term Palaestina to Judea in order to erase any Jewish legitimate claim to the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from this Latin name. Continue reading “Was there a Palestinian State in History? The Historical Facts”
Conventional wisdom would like us to believe that science has triumphed over Christianity because science relies on objective knowledge while Christianity relies on blind faith based on ecclesiastical authority. In solving the recalcitrant problems of life, educated people should rely on the cool and dispassionate judgment of the scientist based on careful research in the laboratory instead of the authoritative pontification of the priest from the pulpit. As Bertrand Russell wrote, “The triumphs of science are due to the substitution of observance and inference for authority. Every attempt to revive authority in intellectual matters is a retrograde step.”
According to critics, Christianity relies on myths without factual foundations to impress emotionally vulnerable believers who accept myths according to the shifting impulses of the heart. In contrast, science relies on rigorous and detached analysis to offer reliable and objective knowledge of reality. The proponents of “strong scientism” argue that something is true, rationally justified, or known if and only if it is a scientific claim that has been successfully tested with a proper application of scientific methodology. To be sure, the confidence of scientism has recently become more tempered as a result of scientists themselves failing to gain consensus on the fundamental theories of physics and cosmology. What has emerged is a more modest “weak scientism” which acknowledges that there could be truths known through other means. Nevertheless, “weak scientism” continues to insist that knowledge gained outside of science is certainly less robust and that science remains the ultimate authority in the quest for knowledge. Continue reading “Michael Polanyi on Science as Personal Knowledge”