Age of Intolerance or Age of Ignorance?
Photograph courtesy of Steven Depolo
Milia Ali is a writer from India. On May 8, 2016, she wrote an article for the Daily Star titled “Age of Intolerance.” In the article Milia exclaims that she is aghast at the evil she sees worldwide today—a type of evil that she says “science and technology have failed to free us from the basic instincts of bigotry, intolerance and vengeance.” She sees that “Our contemporary world is characterized by conflicts, religious fanaticism, racial abuse and socio-economic injustices. Each year, thousands are mercilessly killed, discriminated against and marginalized only because their beliefs do not conform to those of their detractors.” So what is Milia’s solution? She tells us that “…it’s time for another Copernican revolution—one that aims at toppling well-entrenched biases and beliefs and emancipating the human mind.” For her such a revolution will somehow catapult modern man from his barbarism. To the average person, Milia’s call seems quite noble. After all, Copernicus has become a veritable icon in the minds of people around the world. He is the epitome of someone who stands against “entrenched” forces to bring about a new and better way of looking at ourselves and improving society. More specifically, Milia believes Copernicus is the hero par excellence because he allowed mankind to escape what she believes were the “entrenched biases and beliefs” of the Catholic Church that was holding everyone back from progress. Have we not heard this story over and over again? The Church, because of the Galileo affair, becomes everyone’s favorite piñata. Accordingly, everyone appeals to the need for “another Copernican revolution” as their panacea for escaping whatever turmoil they are presently experiencing in the world. Like Milia, they know society is ‘going to hell in a hand-basket’ but they can’t quite put their finger on the actual cause, which is why Milia resigns herself to making only a general appeal to “emancipating the human mind” as the cure for these societal ills, but she offers no specific medicine to do so. In other words, she knows there is a grave problem, but she doesn’t know how to fix it.
So let’s give Milia the answer. It starts with understanding the real nature of the Copernican Revolution that she is touting as her cure-all…