Book Review of The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History
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It briefly discusses the differences between science practiced in Europe in the last half of the nineteenth century differed from superficially similar ¨science¨ before that time. This touches, in my mind, on the topic of Islamic science, i.e. discussions of al-Razi and al-Biruni and Islamic civilization´s advances, etc. My position is that, without taking away from any of the historical geniuses who were able to discover facts about the universe and without denying that societies in the past employed these advances where they were able, the modern scientific enterprise is almost entirely different on the social, epistemological and organizational levels as to make comparisons with earlier efforts meaningless. A previous review in this blog deals with this topic as well. One of the keys to good science and good public health is freedom from government and popular coercion. In this book, censorship mandated and encouraged by the United States government in its efforts to prosecute World War I resulted in poor public health efforts. Pandemic influenza is serious business, and we must press leaders at all levels to prepare a respose to a pandemic when it comes. For Muslim organizations, should we at least have a discussion now regarding things like gathering for jumu'a and funeral prayers rather than wait for the pandemic to strike and then have these discussions when emotions will cloud our judgments?