Amid much ridicule, a conference was recently held in Britain to prove that Earth is flat. This conference was held last year too and attended by some people who claim to be scientists and by some who base their views on religion. Their theories violate everything that scientists have proven following a long historical conflict that was settled by technology.
Those who cited the conference and considered it a reference are like those who repeatedly cite conspiracy theories to prove that Earth is flat; man did not land on the moon, NASA is a mere tool of propaganda which the Americans invented to use against the Soviets, the Earth does not rotate, AIDS is a lie and cancer is a man-made diseased for commercial purposes.
Those who echo such theories are a petty minority in the West, and the majority of people poke fun at them and is entertained by them. Meanwhile, projects to discover and invade space are still ongoing.
In our current materialistic world, science has the upper hand. Science is what divides the world into winners and losers, the capable and the incapable, the donors and the donor recipients and the militarily strong and the vulnerable.
No matter how opulent a society is, like our case was during the previous phase of oil wealth, it cannot progress without a comprehensive scientific project. Our scientific incapability is a major reason in our backwardness no matter how big our airports, cities and highways are and how many laborers and servants we bring from across the world. All these are unfortunately imported cultural and developmental projects that did not establish for a developmental scientific project that handles developing and teaching intensive sciences as they were based on securing easy welfare.
There are skeptics and people who refuse scientific advancement and they will continue to be a part of our lives but they are not an obstacle today like they were until a recent phase when they fought teaching science because they feared from it over religion and faith. The real challenge is in spreading science and developing it and transitioning into a society that relies on it.
No matter how opulent a society is, like our case was during the previous phase of oil wealth, it cannot progress without a comprehensive scientific project.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
We need to reconsider the old approach, the concept of education and its role in the society. We need other brave measures that focus on exact sciences and make them the core of our developmental project and that adopt advanced global standards as our standards for progress.
Scientific minds in South Korea are what make the country at the forefront today, like the case is with all major industrial countries. The crucial difference is in scientific advancement which can save time and fulfill the ambitions of developmental plans. Singapore did not only succeed because it’s a strict government with a modern administrative system but also because it focused on education, specifically on sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The successful results achieved by this small country are amazing compared with countries that have more capabilities and natural resources and that are in its geographic and political surrounding.
We are before a great opportunity for change by benefitting from the positive atmosphere brought by Vision 2030 and thanks to the clear desire to achieve change not just in the higher roles of the state but also in the street and not just in the Gulf but also in the entire region.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed