آؤ ذرا لہر و ہوا دیکھنے چلیں
ساحل سے ذرا کچھ لینے چلیں
جیب میں اشیاء نہ کہیں ملیں
بس آس کا علم ساتھ لے کے چلیں
آؤ اس راہ پر قدم تو رکھیں
باب الحوئج سے ذرا ملنے چلیں
ہاتھوں سے تڑپتی آنکھوں کو ملیں
کچھ اشک ذرا کوثر تک چھوڑنے چلیں
دل کھول کر اس کریم کو مخاتب کریں
واسطہِ عظیم پھر دیتے چلیں
بےبازو سے ہاتھ جوڑ کے کہیں
اس چھپے کو سامنے رکھ کے چلیں
سانسِ سکون لے کر اب آگے بڑھیں
آؤ منتظر اب سفر طے کر کے چلیں
In the Name of God بسم الله
Bayaan e Muntazir
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By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSurah Yusuf
Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) advised Pharoah to hoard grains during the years of plenty. I think this episode is a noteworthy one because it shows how a State can intervene in the marketplace in order to improve the welfare of the wider population.
But as we shall see below, the government intervention that Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) instigated favoured some sections of the population over others - it was not neutral in terms of how it spread gains and losses across the population.
While there is other material in the Qur'an that deals with transactions within the marketplace between individual participants - this story stands out in terms of its focus on state intervention.
I'll be coming back to this issue later - but I think it informs the discussions we have about Islam and contemporary socio-economic theories. In particular, I think it illustrates that Islam does see the State as an active market participant and that in an Islamic state, the role of government is not one that is hands-off or laissez-faire.
What policy options did Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) have?
We should not take the story as presented 'for granted'. In reality, the Prophet (عليه السلام). had a range of choices open to him, and thinking those through helps us better understand the reasons for the policy he undertook and the reason why.
No government interference
Let's start with the simplest and easiest option that Pharoah's government could have pursued once they knew that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (as predicted by the Pharoah's dream which was interpreted by Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام).) .
Pharoah could have left the entire issue to the 'market'. During the years of plenty, the price of food would have fallen and people would have enjoyed a higher standard of living. For example, the lower grain prices could have led to people rearing more cattle and their diets would have improved with more meat.
However, during the years of famine, grain prices would have risen and those people who had accumulated assets in the years of plenty would be able to pay the higher prices in the famine years. Those who had not had such assets would have starved.
This assumes a fairly high level of self-discipline on the part of the population, but as Milton Friedman would say, the people would have been 'free to choose'.
Light interference - provision of information
A common policy option nowadays, where people do not want direct government intervention is to recommend improving the provision of information to the population who will then be better able to make the correct decisions for themselves. The government could have mounted an information campaign during the years of plenty and told people to hoard food themselves, hoarding when there is no shortage is allowed in Islam.
However such attempts to influence awareness about the famine to come and changing peoples' attitudes so that they saved more than they were used to, would likely have run against increased social pressures on people to do the opposite. For example typically in societies as wealth increases there is social pressure to spend more, in this case, for example, have more lavish weddings.
Also providing information would have been a practical benefit for the better off e.g. those with storage capacity, but not so good for the poor (who would not have room to store grain, for example).
The government (using a bit more intervention) could have given tax breaks to people who owned granaries, to help the poor who needed such facilities. Again this solution would be to focus on market-based interventions and simply alter the working of the market using incentives. Current economic theory holds that people discount future risks very heavily i.e. they don't perceive them as much of a threat as they should. So, for example, just telling people they should save for a pension does not work.
So we can likely predict that the solutions described above would not have worked had they tried them.
This is what they actually did.
In times of plenty, Pharoah's government did not let prices fall as would have happened under free market conditions. They kept prices higher than they otherwise would have been because the government intervened and took excess stocks of grain out of circulation.
All people (rich and poor alike) had no option but to pay the usual higher prices - effectively, the government was taxing everyone, but this was not seen as a loss by anyone because the prices were no higher than usual.
The government stored the grain centrally and then they decided to release the grain according to their own policies.
Assumptions made by Prophet Yusuf's government
If you leave people to their own devices they may not make the best decisions (whether they are rich or poor), this could be due to: People do not have the resources to cater for future shocks (mainly the poor) People do not have the discipline to address future shocks (applies to both the rich and the poor) The government can make better decisions than individuals acting in their own self-interest because: The government can have access to more and better information than individuals do The government may not be as susceptible to a lack of self-discipline
Of all the policy options open to Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) he advised Pharoah to pursue the most interventionist one. Some people may be tempted to call this socialist or communist, but I think those terms carry a lot of excess baggage, so I won't bring them into the discussion.
What I think can be safely inferred from his choice of policy is a fundamental principle that could inform economic policy in any Islamic state.
Facing an external shock to the Egyptian economy, he went for the option that would cause the least pain to the worst off in society. Other policy options would have caused more pain for the poorest but somewhat less for the better off.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSince the inception of Islam, there had been various sects competing for prominence; many had died out, and the two major ones were Twelver Shia and the Sunni fiqh.
Then suddenly from the start of the 19th century to the end of that century, we have the emergence of Ahmadiyya, the renewal of Ismailism and the creation of a new faith entirely, Baha ism. Go back a hundred years, and we can add Wahhabism to this list.
That's an unusually fertile period of spiritual spontaneity by any measure. Or is the explanation for such flowering of faith more mundane and that it was perhaps guided by vested foreign interests or indeed even stimulated by them? Because what marks out that period, from the ones that preceded it was the growing recognition by countries from outside the middle eastern region that it was an important geographical location in itself and also for its proximity to the wealth of India. That latter point is important because there is little disagreement that British foreign policy towards the middle east paid due cognisance to the views and interests of the Government of India - of course that is a pre-independence Government, so wholly controlled by Britain.
Abdul Wahhab developed what is commonly referred to as an austere interpretation of Islam, one that denounces the rituals and beliefs that he felt had accreted over the centuries. There is a rich vein of (conspiracy) theories, easily found on the internet, that in his travel to Iraq in the early 18th century he could have come across British agents (specifically a 'Mr Hempher'). Certainly, the British East India company had been well established at that time, and a British consulate had become established in Iraq in 1802. Less widely commented is the fact that the famous Danish/German explorer Carsten Niebuhr travelled to Arabia in 1761.
But leaving conspiracy theories aside, it's possible to develop an argument about foreign involvement based on ideas that are far less controversial. Britain may not have been a midwife to Wahhabism, but I think people of all geo-political persuasions would agree that Britain was a helpful nanny.
The person with whom the British did have extensive dealings, was Ibn Saud, who had entered into a pact with Abdul Wahhab in 1744. According to British sources it was he who persistently approached Britain for support and was generally rebuffed. Saud was a political leader who continued to promote the Wahhabi philosophy after the death of its founder. Saud was no cleric. But he was shrewd enough to mould the ideology as the basis for providing a motivation for conquest and a glue that would hold his fighters together. British records show that he took responsibility for hiring and firing clerics based on his political agenda.
My source for this and some other information about Wahhabism that is presented here is a Ph.D. dissertation submitted to King's College London in 2002 by Hassan Syed Abedin, titled, "Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the great game in Arabia, 1896-1946".
Ibn Saud (who would in due course be given the British title 'Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire') was ultimately successful in his goal of receiving support from Britain in 1914 when Britain needed to have someone distracting the Ottomans so that they could devote fewer resources to World War I taking place in Europe.
Prior to that it's argued that Ibn Saud had spent considerable efforts in achieving a status similar to the one held by Mubarak Al Sabah, the emir of Kuwait. This ideal status would have meant that Sauds and their territories would have been subjects of the Ottoman empire, but who would be given the protection of the British.
This version of events does not look very good for Ibn Saud, presenting him as someone who is willing to do business with non-Muslims in order to undermine a Muslim ruler and he'd serve a useful role in helping Britain with the following objective:
Crewe private telegram to Hardinge, Viceroy of India, November 12,1914, cited in Busch Britain, India and the Arabs: 1914-1921, p. 62.
Further, east we find the rise of the modern-day Nizari Ismailis, whose Aga Khan in the mid 19th century created a new role for himself in providing services to the British Empire (Aga Khan I would receive an annual British pension of £20,000 per year). Mihir Bose (a noted writer on the subject) says that the Aga Khan had to plead his case for some time before the British took him seriously, since they wanted to be sure that they were backing a local ally who'd present them with better value than the alternatives. His grandson Aga Khan III would be bestowed the title of 'Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India'. Their esoteric faith was totally at odds with the one promulgated by Wahhab, but regardless of that difference served a useful purpose.
Regardless of the support he gave, the British were aware of the hypocrisy of his religious position:
Sir Charles Napier to Governor-General of India, Earl of Ellenborough, 1843
The period around the 1840s is interesting for the following reason, as the following letter from makes clear:
Purohit, T. (2012) The Aga Khan Case (religion and identity in colonial India). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
The writer of the letter is Major Henry Rawlinson, the military officer who worked for the commission in Persia from 1834 to 1838 and subsequently served as political agent in Qandahar. So the British were interested in there being dislocation in Iran at around this time, because of a perceived threat to their interests in Afghanistan.
Which makes the genesis and development of the third religion covered here, all the more interesting.
At roughly the same period, the mid-nineteenth century we also see the rise of the Bahai faith in Iran. Mirza Ali Mohammad was born in 1820 and was executed in 1850. A focus of his attention was economic inequality in Iran. There were clear political implications as noted by the middle eastern commentator Juan Cole:
The socio-economic aspect of the Bab's teachings are also explained here:
Mansoor Moaddel (1986) The Shi'i Ulama and the State in Iran. Theory and Society, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Jul., 1986), pp. 519-556. This extract: p526.
This socio-religio-poliitcal impact of a new faith did not go unnoticed by the colonial powers of the time and gained ground as a result of their support as a means of destabilising the Qajar dynasty.
Shahvar, S. (2018) ‘Oppression of Religious Minority Groups in Times of Great Upheaval in Late Qajar Iran: The 1892 Persecution of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish Origin in Hamadan Based on Two Newly Discovered Letters’, The Jewish quarterly review. University of Pennsylvania Press, 108(2), pp. 225–251.
Going further east we find the third innovation in the Muslim religion towards the end of the 19th century and one that would lead to charges of being the creation of a new religion entirely. The Ahmadis would destabilise Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.Their support for the British in India is expressed in their texts:
There is a reason for this approach, unlike the established religions of the Indian sub-continent the leader of this new religion needed legitimacy. By acquiescing to the needs of the invaders he sought to achieve that. For the established religions doing the same would have been challenging because they would have lost the legitimacy of their many existing followers, the new religion with far fewer followers had much less to lose in this respect, but potentially a great deal more to gain. This logic is mirrored throughout the business world. Existing businesses often do not want to change, because they risk losing their existing customers, who may not find such a change attractive, new firms however have no existing customers to upset. The same applies in the field of ideology, if you want radical change - start afresh.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaPutting 2 and 2 together
I have some knowledge of what social entrepreneurship is and like most of you I have read the story of Prophet Nuh in the Qur'an and Bible. At this point I would start googling like crazy to build up the argument, but I decided to take a short-cut and asked chatgpt the following question:
Can Noah and his construction of the ark be considered a form of social entrepreneurship?
Now there are aspects of social entrepreneurship that are important that chatgpt has missed out, and to be honest they are pretty crucial to the link between his story and the concept of social entrepreneurship and I'll add them later. So I asked chatGPT:
How does social entrepreneurship differ from entrepreneurship?
This is taking us in the right direction. Looking at each of the above bullets in turn:
Prophet Nuh ((عليه السلام).) was focusing on social change (saving people from sin) and obviously had an environmental goal in mind (overcoming the dangers posed by the flood). Social entrepreneurs target marginalised groups and Prophet Nuh ((عليه السلام).) was going for people who were sinners. The new product he had created was the ark His metric for success was the number of people saved.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
For Muslims, the questions around Riba are focused at the level of the individual because we want to know what we can and cannot do. This post looks at the broader societal issue. The conclusion is that riba and the business of lending can increase economic inequality between different segments in society.
Assuming an Islamic state has an overriding need to address economic inequality - it cannot accede to the provision of credit in a manner that we are used to in the West.
What is interest?
This may seem obvious. but it's worth exploring since the result can generate new insights.
Interest is a price charged by a lender to compensate them for not having the use of the money that they are lending. Interest can also be compensation for the fact that the money they have lent will be worth less in the future than today because of inflation Interest can also reflect a premium charged by the lender in order to account for the fact that some borrowers will not pay them back. The interest charged to the individual borrowers can vary because they vary in terms of their risk to the lender. Less risky borrowers are charged less and riskier ones are charged more. The last point is not immediately obvious to everyone it is important however and we shall come back to it.
Access to credit
In a free market, there are all sorts of lenders (e.g. seeking different levels of return and willing to take different levels of risk) and all sorts of borrowers (e.g. those with good 'credit scores vs. those with poor ones). Those with a good credit record can borrow more and more cheaply than those with a poor record. This may be because those with a good record have a history of making repayments on time and so on. And this is where we have our first macroeconomic effect.
People who are poor and find it difficult to buy food and pay rent will invariably find it hard to keep up with their debt payments and if they don't pay their creditors on time, they will have a bad credit record. As a result, either they will not have access to credit at all or if they do, they will have to pay a higher price for it (a higher level of interest). This sounds crazy, but it is true. Credit is one product where the poor will generally pay more than the rich and it is certainly a product where those who need it to survive (rather than buying luxury goods) may not have access to it at all.
Therefore in a society where there is credit, there are two mechanisms by which social inequality is increased, lack of credit to the poor and expensive credit where it is available. There is a third mechanism by which inequality is increased. If rich people have access to credit and the poor do not, the rich may bid up the prices of assets so that they become even more unaffordable to the poor. A real-life example of this is the UK property market, at the time of writing this post. Many young people are 'priced out' of the UK housing market because people with access to credit (e.g. investors) have bid up the prices of property.
No easy solutions
It would, however be naive to believe that the solution should be that lenders make credit available to all and at e.g. similar rates of interest. As we saw above interest performs a number of functions and one of these is to compensate lenders for risk. If lenders are forced to lend to the poor and at interest rates lower than they would normally offer, this may lead to losses for them.
There is another reason why there are no easy solutions. If someone has poor financial circumstances, then offering them more credit and associated interest payments could add to their problems rather than improve them. Credit unions, which do not seek to make a profit and are run for the benefit of their members offer a partial but not a complete solution.
Involvement of the State
If the market is unable to lend without increasing inequality then we must consider the role of the State, the criteria it uses to make loans and how it manages demand if interest is not a pricing mechanism that it wishes to use. This may seem radical and an intervention that is far too statist and dirigiste some might even describe it as socialist or even communist.
To put the above into context it's worth considering the role of the State when it comes to regulation of finance. It is notable that Martin Wolff a columnist writing in the Financial Times (the UK financial industry's newspaper) says:
He arrives at this conclusion via an analysis of financial crises and not via the lens of inequality that I have used.
It's worth examining some of the points that Wolff makes, they are widely considered to be true:
This is a perennial issue, high levels of regulation stymie the returns that the financial sector can make and there is subsequently a call from economic liberals to remove the 'shackles', a new problem then arises, bailouts are needed and accompanied by new regulation.
the latter being justification for a bailout.
So state intervention in the financial markets is not an anomaly in a wholly capitalistic system. At the moment such intervention is justified given the damage that a bank run would cause for the whole economy.
It's not outrageous therefore that if the welfare of the poor is considered to be important, the availability of credit for them and the terms of such finance should be of concern to policy makers.
Practicalities of intervention
One way of arriving at a solution is to consider why people need loans in the first place.
It is clear that sometimes people need to borrow money to increase their earning power. Loans for such purposes are obviously a 'good thing'. This is one end of a spectrum and the State should intervene to provide such loans at 0% interest, thus making them completely halal. However, an effect of such intervention could be to encourage colleges to raise prices, so where government is effectively subsidising a sector it may also need to intervene in terms of the prices it is willing to pay. The same applies to goods such as medical services. Buying a car. Now we are moving along the spectrum, is the car for enjoyment or for work? The latter could attract state funding, the former is less likely to do so. For enjoyment, people should be educated to understand that there is no alternative to saving up.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
Multiple discovery also referred to as simultaneous invention - is where the same innovation is discovered by people working independently from each other. The notion suggests that individuals do not necessarily possess unique insights, but rather the presence of various environmental and cultural factors will engender innovation. A specific individual therefore has no specific genius that sets them apart from others. An alternative hypothesis is that specific inventions have been the work of lone individuals.
The question arises whether this debate links to our understand of God and man.
Who gets the credit?
The following problem is all too common when it comes to inventions:
Shama, G., 2019. The “Petri” dish: a case of simultaneous invention in bacteriology. Endeavour, 43(1-2), pp.11-16.
People like to be recognised for their efforts and there is always an issue when someone else lays claim to having invented the same thing at the same time or perhaps even earlier. But is the claim on the part of one individual to knowledge that no one else has misplaced?
Gratzinger, P.E., 2011. Was the Telephone Obvious: An Inquiry into Simultaneous Invention. Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev., 13, p.71.
Why does it matter?
An early work on this issue I think explains the importance of simultanous discovery and its broader implications.
Ogburn, W.F. and Thomas, D., 1922. Are inventions inevitable? A note on social evolution. Political science quarterly, 37(1), pp.83-98.
And the link with God?
The literature in this area does not seem to have touched on the link with God, so here's my take. The story could go in one of the following ways.
Whether simultaneous invention exists or not has nothing to do with our understanding of God (i.e. this post is working on a false supposition) If innovations are determined by the social environment and not reliant on a 'genius hero' - this might lend support to the idea that knowledge exists independently of any individual person and is resident in a supernatural being If innovations are due to 'genius heros' would this discount the notion of a deity?
Ogburn and Thomas give the example of the steam engine as being an innovation that had many 'parents':
And their work is summarised as follows:
So according to the social determinism perspective:
Simonton, D.K., 1978. Independent discovery in science and technology: A closer look at the Poisson distribution. Social Studies of Science, 8(4), pp.521-532.
However, Simonton's empirical analysis seems to have been inconclusive:
And there is a challenge to the notion of duplicate inventions.
For the theist, would the a priori position be that the hero innovator is less likely to be a phenomenon compared to simultaneous and independent innovation since the latter points to knowledge existing outside the domain of a specific individual?
There is more on multiple discovery here:
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
Buying and selling in the market place may provide advantages to minority groups at the expense of the majority. A State that represents the majority may need to act in order to address the imbalance in a manner that may seem on the face of it to be discriminatory.
The impact of buying and selling in the market place
The problem with money and markets is that they strip exchanges between people of all social and cultural content. In market-based exchanges, you can buy/sell with complete strangers. This has its benefits and particularly for social/cultural/ethnic/ religious minorities within a society, the market provides an almost anonymous means of interacting with the majority.
The impact of social networks
In fact, the story can even become worse for the majority because the denser social links/networks between members of a minority may mean that they can exploit higher levels of trust between each other and thereby compete more effectively in the market-place.
Over time, of course, this economic disadvantage may lead to significant differences between the wealth of the majority and minority communities.
In the diagram below is your multiculti, fully assimilated, and integrated, fully equal nirvana. Everyone interacts with all others regardless of their colour or other distinguishing characteristics. There is one group (pink) who are the majority, and the others are minorities.
One group of people (coloured brown) realise that they come from the same village back home, they have a shared culture, heritage and so on, they start to spend more time together.
Trust within minority groups
These commonalities enable this specific minority to establish bonds of trust between themselves that are stronger than the ones that exist between people of different groups. So they decide to interact with each other more than they do with other groups.
Role of religion
The issue is even more acute when they share the same religion because then they are more likely to share the same values - which are even more important when it comes to building trust.
Accidentally, I drew the first picture in a way that helps illustrate another point. The minority group accrues another advantage, where it can become a 'boundary spanner' e.g. between two different societies (the red line). That advantage is less likely to be open to the majority groups in the two countries in which this minority lives.
The economic impact
There is an obvious economic angle to these social relations, since the bonds of trust help reduce the friction of doing business, in fact, trust is more valuable in some industries (the ones with more risk and potentially more rewards).
Minorities outperforming majorities
A social aspect to their interaction therefore has economic repercussions. Left unchecked a minority group will gain an advantage over others. Societies can persist with the multi-culti fantasy for years.
But at some point there will be a reckoning, there always is. Obvious trigger points are when the majority face economic dislocation and see how much better minority groups are doing. You can 'hope' that this time there won't be - but that has not been the case over the previous millennia.
Longer term implications
Historically there are lots of examples of this all around the world and the end is never a happy one - with the majority usually seeking to address the problem via physical force. The challenge for societies is for them to offer minorities certain rights but at the same time put in place restrictions on the extent of their participation in the economic life of society so that they cannot dominate the majority.
In an Islamic society where distinctions between groups are not based on race, but rather of belief, this means that there has to be what seems like discrimination against non-Muslims, but which, is in fact, a sensible means of avoiding longer-term conflct between the majority and minority.
An illustration of the problem in terms of resources
The picture below illustrates the above idea.
The blue circles represent the majority in a society, each person gives an item of resource to the person immediately to their south and also one to their south-west. And they do so without regard to the 'colour' of the other person. Let's assume this is a very egalitarian society where the affiliations of individuals are completely ignored. The pink circles represent a minority and they behave in the same manner. However the yellow circles behave slightly differently, they give one item of resource without any discrimination to whoever is to their south, but instead of giving one item to the person to their southwest, they give instead to someone of their own tribe/religion/ethnicity/language group/cult or whatever other basis of commonality that they have established. Such an arrangement can be informal and communicated only to the group members - something which is helped by their being a minority in a society. Members of the yellow circle are able to identify each other due to their going to the same places of worship or gentlemen's clubs or 'lodge'. Such interaction may legitimately lead to higher levels of trust between members of the yellow group and their discriminatory behaviour could be argued to be inherently rational i.e. it makes sense from a business perspective.
Economic performance of members of the yellow group may, as a result of this behaviour be better than that of other groups. It may seem to them that their accumulation is due to their greater intelligence, business acumen or another positive trait. There may well be elements of those present, but their discrimination in favour of their own group could certainly be an important factor.
Such discrimination on their part can mean greater rewards for members of their own group and it may not be visible to outsiders, other than the realisation that this group of people are relatively better off than others.
Is discrimination by the State a valid response?
Any response by the majority to address this imbalance, e.g. by imposing restrictions on the economic or other activities of the yellow minority group is likely to attract charges of discrimination.
Because such communications cannot be done discreetly, communicating with the whole of society requires broadcasting to everyone rather than taking the narrowcasting approach the minority group pursued when they decided to discriminate in favour of their own group. Such narrowcasting is possible because the minority group are able to communicate with each other discreetly and in a manner that excludes everyone else.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
Just because something is not created via the scientific method, does not mean it can't be useful - implications about how we think about religious precepts.
Serendipity (pot luck)
I have previously remarked upon how, in some fields of human endeavour where the scientific approach is held to be the ideal, in reality human scientific and technological discoveries has often been the results of luck and even mistakes.
Social science 'theories'
There is a corollary in the field of the social sciences which also emphasise the value of the scientific approach to generate knowledge. In this domain the anomalies are various frameworks and models that are widely taught and even used, but which have no basis in rigorous scientific research.
The famous work by Abraham Maslow on motivation and his resulting 'hierarchy of needs' is very widely studied and used. He posits that human motivation at the fundamental level is driven by physiological needs, and once these are satisfied (he did qualify this in later works) people try and address safety needs and then, social needs and self-esteem and finally self-actualisation.
But Maslow did not come up with this through any research that would hold up to scientific scrutiny.
Does the lack of a scientific approach invalidate a model or framework?
Yet the Maslow hierarchy is productively used by professionals in a variety of industries, managers, MBA students and others in universities. For example, people use it to understand why consumers buy certain products.
The same issue applies to Bloom's taxonomy in the field of learning and also Elmo's buying funnel in the area of marketing. The three laws of robotics have their basis in science fiction and in the area of web searching there is no scientific basis for the information-navigational-transactional categories that are used.
The implication from this is that while ideas and knowledge may ideally be the result of the scientific approach I.e. hypothesising and then testing, there are many instances where this is not the case. In the area of the social sciences and management the value of some types of knowledge seems to rest on their 'face validity', do they make sense to the individuals who are presented with them and can those individuals make better sense of their external environment as a result of using these tools and if they can, that is good enough.
Implications for religion
The same principle could surely apply to various aspects of religion. There may be no scientific proof underpinning various religious ideas, but if they have face validity, if they help the individual make sense of their external environment and manage it, surely that is good enough?
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