Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Nobel Prize winner and the terrorist

One man dedicates his life to scientific research. The other man dedicates his life to religion and retribution.

Every year at this time, the Nobel committee picks its winners in the sciences. And every year at this time, we have our terrorist-du-jour splashed across the pages of the newspaper.

It is a study in contrasts: in free will, in rationality, in happiness, in pride, in accomplishment, in ramifications for the rest of society.

One man magnificently creates with the contentment of the creator.

The other man stews in his irrationality, looking for innocent people to murder and destroy.

One man's mind is riveted upon the facts of reality, getting a constant rush from his daily achievements and learning much from minor setbacks in his experiments.

The other man demands respect for his utter irrationality, demands that others drop to their knees and elbows five times a day to worship the unreal, demands that others join him in negligence and deference to the unseen, demands that others join him in surrender to domination, demands that those who are different be exterminated.

One man goes by the name Konstantin Novoselov. He and the co-winner of the Nobel prize in physics, Andre Geim, did revolutionary work with graphene, forming super-thin sheets of carbon in the form of graphene just one atom in thickness. Graphene is 100 times stronger than steel. The prospects for you and I and business are virtually endless: much faster computer circuitry, much stronger and lighter airplanes, see-through touch screens, far greater flat-screen TVs, more powerful cell phones and solar cells, and much more.

The other man goes by the name Faisal Shahzad. He was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for trying to bomb innocent people in Times Square in NYC. He calls himself a "Muslim soldier," and he laughed at his sentencing, threatening Americans with more from his mystical "brothers" in arms. He demands all of the things I mentioned above for his superstitious brethren.

The two men are a study in the contrast of facts and faith.

And the conclusion of propriety is a clear as the technology and secular revolutions.

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