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June 26, 2009

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Don Warrington

I don't think the situation in Iran is as clearly delineated as you and Krauss do.

Neither side in the dispute is advocating the dissolution of the Islamic Republic and the substitution of a secular/atheistic state. All of the candidates were approved by the imams and are certainly part of the "system." And all of course are Muslims.

There's no evidence either that one side is more "scientific" than the other. The fact that Iran is on the verge of nuclear weaponry under the current administration should be evidence that they can apply scientific principles (admittedly with help from the outside) and get workable results. The Iranians do this in other fields as well; a friend in Africa put me on notice that an Iranian firm was the prime contractor on a dam in Mali.

The biggest problem in Iran--and the one that led to this debacle in the first place--is that the clerics are at the top of a patronage driven economic system that takes too much wealth out of the economy. Had Ahmadinejad managed to pry at least some of that loose, he would have won re-election handily.

But we all know that it doesn't take a group of clerics to have a patronage driven economy or political system. All it takes is a group of people who can centralise economic power in their hands. In this country we are moving in that direction with the nationalisation (actual and effective) of large portions of the economy, and at last check the clerics (liberal and conservative) have been relegated to "faith based" corners of the government.

The thing that secularists don't quite get is that, in a purely materialistic world, the only thing that count are the results. Secularists tell us that their fear is that science will stop if theistic people get the upper hand. The evidence shows, however, that the theists are certainly capable of getting results, and what will happen is that the results simply will not be to their taste. And that's their greatest fear.

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