The Nobel Prize, Islam and China

This is just a quick post to share a bit of info I just came across and thought was interesting.

A while back Richard Dawkins stirred up a bit of controversy when he tweeted, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” I originally tried to address that with a bit of humor.

I came across a bit of information, ooh, about five minutes ago, that reminded me of that little brouhaha.

No one, after 12 years of Chinese education, has any chance to receive a Nobel prize, even if he or she went to Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge for college…. Out of the one billion people who have been educated in Mainland China since 1949, there has been no Nobel prize winner…. This forcefully testifies [to] the power of education in destroying creativity on behalf of the [Chinese] society.

Diane Ravitch quoted Yong Zhao quoting Zheng Yefu in an article currently on the New York Review of Books website, “The Myth of Chinese Super Schools.”

Now, I’m off to visit the Musée de l’Institute du Monde Arab, entirely by coincidence, so I’ll have to leave the editorializing to you.

  1. What does education in china affect the chance at getting a Nobel

    • fojap said:

      Yong Zhao seems to suggest that too much testing, too much emphasis on rote learning, not enough questioning and not enough creativity is not good for innovation but good for test scores. At least, that’s according to Diane Ravitch’s discussion of his book. The book looks interesting.

      As far as relating it to Dawkins’ comment, it would suggest to me that there are a lot of factors going into who does Nobel Prize winning work, and religion must only be one. After all, there are relatively few Chinese Muslims (2%) and quite a lot of atheists.

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