On waking up to a day where the two major stories were the death of Gore Vidal and the earth-shattering invention (perhaps, more accurately, discovery) of the water kit proposing to solve the global energy crisis, it is inevitable to speculate a bit on what Gore Vidal might have said on the pseudo engineering enterprise. Never has the transformation of water been so fascinating since Jesus of Nazareth executed the most titillating and my personal favorite miracle of turning water into wine to ensure that the festivities continue unhindered at a wedding at Cana. Had Agha Waqar devoted his apparently boundless talents to emulating the Biblical miracle, he would have earned my eternal gratitude and I am sure of many others. Vidal, commenting on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War, said, “This is not bad at all, except as prose”. So, as interesting as this water kit business is, it does seem to be some stretch to call this science. I cannot possibly improve upon the brilliant Doctor Pervez Hoodbhoy’s dissection of this quackery and how this is not science. Yet, it is not only the egregious assault on the laws of physics which is depressing but also our willingness to believe anything and at times everything.
While having to sit through the toe-curling embarrassment of the revolutionary inventor on primetime on almost all television channels, it was natural to wonder how difficult is it to do some basic background research for the television anchors, at the very least make “Google” useful. Especially for these warriors of the free media who will bring forth the most intimate of secrets of our politicians. Had they done a Google search they would have found out that Mr Waqar is not the first ‘scientist’ to stumble upon this, various ‘inventors’ all over the globe have discovered this as their ‘eureka’ moment and are now making a living of trying to sell these things on the internet. Some of this can be attributed to laziness; however, I think there is something more to it. One got a faint feeling that they were willing to give Mr Waqar a chance of continuing his claptrap for the reason that they wanted, for a change, to bring to light something positive, a ray of hope in these times of hopelessness etc. To ask him to bring scientific proofs of his ‘theory’ seemed unpatriotic to them, and what are a few laws of Physics compared with the love for the nation. I am sure driven by noble motives, yet displaying little regard for the basic methodology of science.
Coming back to Gore Vidal, he was at his best when he wrote: “We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.” In our case, we remember very little. Mr Waqar got more publicity in these few days than Dr Abdus Salam could manage to get in his entire life. The recent discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the role of Dr Salam in developing the theoretical framework did not manage to sufficiently excite very many anchors to allocate precious airtime. The first scientist to endorse the water kit was the greatly overrated and over-praised Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Here again, amnesia is relevant, not too long ago, this man came on national television to confess that he had facilitated nuclear proliferation. In a slightly more civilised country, this man would have been staring at a life sentence and not making foolish public statements. Yet, here all he needs to do is remind us that he is the “father of the bomb” and some gibberish about deterrence, India, West and Islam and is back to being a national icon.
One can understand the reasons that gave Mr Waqar the audacity to conduct this exhibition at the national stage. We have a history of treating nonsense with deference. Dr Samar Mubarakmand has made a habit of articulating that all of Pakistan’s problems can be solved by Thar coal and getting understanding, even awe-struck nods, instead of questions in return. When people are idiotic or malicious enough to pronounce after every earthquake and floods that it is our immorality that has been the cause of the natural disaster, they are not treated with the contempt that they deserve. Then there is the game of spotting the moon, every Eid and Ramazan, by octogenarians with advanced myopia. One Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission scientist published a paper proposing that the energy crisis can be solved if the Djinns are tapped as a source of potential energy, because they as you know are made of fire (the said scientist was subsequently arrested for having links with the Taliban, although I feel the writing of the said paper was enough of a reason to at least lock him up in an asylum). JG Ballard could not have made this stuff up in his most creative science fiction work. Zakir Naik and Harun Yahya take indecent liberties with science (particularly evolution and natural selection) and still manage to maintain a satisfactory sale of DVDs and books. The only attention Zaid Hamid deserves for his views on weather engineering, HAARP etc is medical attention.
In Pakistan, everything is a matter of belief, not only religion but politics and now science. You do not agree with someone’s politics, you believe in them. The ambit of the powers of the Supreme Court should not be analysed; you are supposed to believe in the Court. Don’t ask how corruption and terrorism will be eradicated in 90 (or equally arbitrary 19) days, just have faith. Conventional science is not particularly susceptible to this model of belief and would be considered ‘un-Islamic’. Mr Waqar has benefited from our television anchors, government personnel and luminaries from science who are desperate to have something new to believe, and have now found a quaint simplistic easy-to-believe ‘theory’. It is also somewhat befitting that one of the earliest endorsements of the water car project came from the Minister for Religious Affairs. We are closer to beginning alchemy and astrology classes in schools than we are to teaching evolutionary biology.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.
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mr. waqar should show this kit to Jamseed dasti
If everyone acts stupid and thinks that we really have a car running on DISTILLED WATER, my question is where will we be getting distilled water? Do we really have efficient methods and means of water distribution? It is a no no invention or I may say a false invention.
I can understand a car running on corruption may work absolutely fine for us :) Shameful to see people accepting such bogus reports without inviting their brains to first validate and reason this invention.
@Mohammad Ali Ilahi: My friend you are teaching others whereas you should mind to at least learn that there is something called objectivity. And it abundantly lacks in you which is depicted in your promotion of Ahmadism / Qadyanism here....I doubt you are promoting your own agenda here, yes hidden agenda!!!
Pak Media sells what public want to buy. Pls don't disturbed them they are sleeping due to a zaroori kaam...
@Mj: . "@Truth bites:....said that only a celestial Big Brother is preventing you from committing crimes and unethical actions. and that you would not behave morally were it not for the constant surveillance and threats of punishment." . There's always someone to spoil the fun. Were it not for the Big Brother, you can't imagine, things I would do!
This cracked me up. We "believe" in everything! Nicely put.
The people of Pakistan have become the laughing stock of the civilised world - we are in self denial about real heroes like salaam but worship individuals that would sell our secrets for the right price like AQ saab. It is for reasons like this that many Pakistanis living abraod pretend they are from Africa or India to distance themselves from the so called land of the Pure (better described as the land of the Mullah these days)
@Truth bites: Your comment betrays much more about you than you realize. You practically said that only a celestial Big Brother is preventing you from committing crimes and unethical actions. and that you would not behave morally were it not for the constant surveillance and threats of punishment.
@gt, secular and english poluted mind set like u have reached the pakistan on edge of disapearing and before its too late get the right path of islam..
@Anonymous: Well Hitler and Lenin were not calling people towards creator but were people of your mentality still they caused more misery than any religious entity If I start beliving in the evolutionary theories as suggested by author and give up faith there will be no distinction between mother and wife, so be careful this is what faith tells us
It's interesting how you weaved the criticism of science with the criticism of the judiciary, your favorite topic. Guilt by association or perhaps selective use of analogies? We take bits of pieces of a story, and then alter it or present it in a way to fit in a manner that we like. For you Hoodbhoy is brilliant (any wonder why)? but Samabarik a fool eventhough he has also been seen critically questioning waqar on tv.
One gets to smile and shake ones head in dismay at the same time after reading this.
@Dr. Haider Abbas: You seem to be very well educated and write everything which makes lot of sense, but do you realise that this 'engineer' has never backedup his claims with anything remotely that is called scientific, went directly to the media claiming that he needs aid from the govt to setup industry, showed a running car and expected every one to believe that it is running on water, arrogantly challenged an eminent scientist like Dr. Ata asking if he knew water is H20, claiming to file a defamation suit for questioning his 'water kit'. I hope, by now, you see that Einstein or Edison haven't done any cheap bulling like this.
@Zahid Qureshi: Try to read Greek mythology. Where gods like Poseidon and Athena were roaming around to claim/ adopt villages and build temples so people can worship them! Is this the same reason of our existence? We should worship and kill in the name of Craeature who ever disagree with us!
@Dr. Haider Abbas:
Please for the love of all that is holy don't compare Agha with the likes of Eienstein and Edison. The guy is claiming to conduct electrolysis on distilled water, no calculations to back up his claim and you don't see anything wrong with that?
@Zain: Zain Sahib, do you recall the fuss that attended the COLD FUSION, and its alleged promise, from 2 Utah scientists some years ago? There too, they claimed to have discovered some unique twists to generally accepted procedures in Cold Fusion, but were unwilling to share their "methods"! In science, one cardinal truth is reproducibility, i.e. a battery operates by the same principles in Utah, in Pakistan, in London, no matter who is operating it. Likewise, a new process, under protection, can be demonstrated to appropriate scientific authorities on demand. There are many such qualified people in Pakistan and abroad who can pronounce collective, final judgment.
Thank GOD the Kit would not be put to commercial use. Another water crisis with India has been thankfully avoided. Sigh......relief
In Pakistan, everything is a matter of belief, not only religion but politics and now science.
And when 'belief' falters, you have a 30 year old issue of READERS DIGEST.
Author alongwith Dr. Hoodbhoy and few other like minded should be put on the list of endangered species in Pakistan. Very brave of you Sir to call a spade a spade, in this madhouse we call Pakistan. May your DNA bless you!
@sabi: Hahaha real humor great @Domlurian: Excellent The hunter is now the hunted by the same demons that it itself created. Well it seems as if instead of attaining rationality the brain is sinking deep and fast into irrationality as if a black hole exists somewhere there too.
excellent. you leave me speechless.
Why don't you verify the things and then make a conclusions?
Instead of writing reams of articles, why doesn't someone experiment to check if what is claimed by the gentleman is true or not. Many things defy conventional common sense. Like Ice, a solid form of water is lighter than water. Warm water is transformed into ice faster than cold water etc etc.. Maybe the guys contraption is okay but he is not able to explain it to the world how it works without seemingly breaking the second law of thermodynamics. Recreate the experiment and see if it works and if it works, how it works. At least let us be rational in our approach to the problem.
@Zahid Qureshi: Just because science can not answer some questions does not automatically mean religion's answers are correct. I am sure you would not understand this statement but I had to say it anyway.
@Rationalist: He has just copied the question raised by a scientist in a scientific book
Im not supporting Agha Waqar but I do not want to blame him. If his claim turns out to be untrue, blame the media, blame the government but dont blame him. How many scientists in history have been labeled crazy when they have come up with new theories and advancements in scientific thinking?
Furthermore, eliminating significant amounts of corruption at the top tier of government is easily achievable within 90 or even 9 days. Have you every worked in an organization where there are strong checks + balances and zero tolerance for corruption? If you do, then you know it is possible.
Great piece as always Sir.
After going through all of this all I want is bottle of wine, even if it is turned out from water!
good article sir. eye-opener.
A very good article. There seems to be anti-democratic forces at work in Pakistan. That is why even science has been relegated to the domain of faith, where the unwritten rule is to 'accept and not to question.'
Et tu, Saroop? I thought this water-kit nonsense should have been well buried by now. You have disappointed your readers this week who were looking forward to one of your otherwise excellent contributions. Cheers.
@Truth bites: "@Ratinoalist: If you will read zahid qureshi’s comment you will realise that the point he has raised is not related to science. Think before you comment and not all things mentioned in old books become history." The question is, when his comment is not related to science, then why he is looking for the answer in a scientific book. It's true that old books don't become history in a literal sense but why to refer to an old book when a writer has already written an updated book on this very subject.
By the way great article Saroop. Really honest appraisal of the intellectual bankruptcy of this nation.
@Zahid Qureshi: "The point I am stating has got nothing to do with his new books read my comment again and what I am referring to in the conclusion of “brief history of time" I'm sorry if I couldn't get your point. If from "reason of our existence" you mean to say that how the universe was created; the same has been discussed in sufficient detail by Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss in their respective books whereas if you mean to say "purpose of our existence" then this question is not to be answered by science rather this falls under the domain of philosophy which, by the way, has already addressed this meticulously.
In Pakistan, everything is a matter of belief, not only religion but politics and now science.
Saoop, ". Yet, here all he needs to do is remind us that he is the “father of the bomb” and some gibberish about deterrence, India, West and Islam and is back to being a national icon." Pakistan atom bomb is licit,has a father-Muslim bomb1 Rest nuclear power's atom bombs are illicit.have no father.ifidel bomb!
@Ratinoalist: If you will read zahid qureshi's comment you will realise that the point he has raised is not related to science. Think before you comment and not all things mentioned in old books become history.
@Domlurian: Discus all you want to till even after the cows come but do not invest your hard earned money in this looney tunes project.
Please go and read a book. Based on your comments on ET (not just this article) that's the only advise I can give you. Any grade school science book will tell you that electrolysis can't be done on distilled water and that's what this Agha guy claims to use.
Moreover, I am not even gonna dignify your comment on Abdus Salam with a response.
Off course we can do it.
aga waqar and Imran Khan are identical in their mental sophistication, they can liberate pakistan from all its problems in 90 days
You seem to be more of a follower rather than intellectual. You clearly failed the histories example of Wright Brother two cyclists who made the first flight. Indeed I have seen area where their plane took off and then crashed. Einstein to his dying day completely denied the Heisenberg theory that today is at the heart of Physics, commonly called the uncertainty principle. Then there was that little man educated till 5th grade the father of all things electronics, namely Thomas Edison, the only man known to own the largest number of the patents in science around the world for products that worked, yet he failed miserably in other production. True the Engineer may be wrong as was Scientist who called Heisenberg a rat, yet Einstein himself for 18 years served as a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office who failed to even earn a TA's job. Yet he changed the history of Newtonian Science. Is the idea a quackery or its implementation. There are more Pakistani Doctors Professors in the US alone who went to backward colleges and polytechnics, one of them a former NASA engineer who attended a Polytechnic institute in Pakistan. Others have tried and failed, so may our Engineer but there is no call to abuse him, when you yourself should disabuse yourself about history of Science. Ideas's are dime a dozen, but few try them despite the expected ridicule from self serving parents of laws of physics, angry at others who failed within the implementation that which is in their minds. Our own physics seems an anomaly when we see the worlds beyond ours from the eyes of cosmologists. Its possible our virtuous scientist may had made a mistake for others have tried and failed, but by God as long as there are those who keep trying despite the ridicule one of them shall succeed in energy saving systems. . .
Ignorance when mixed with Faith and unverified beliefs, is a deadly cocktail.
@mr. righty rightist:
We should forget not only to Kashmir to 'bleed India' but Afghanistan also as a 'strategic depth'. What we have gained by the both above mentioned political intentions is that instead of bleeding India we have bled our 98% people to such an extent that they need to be taken to ICU ward of International Community Hospital. And, instead of gaining 'strategic depth' we have embraced strategic death in Afghanistan.
@Zahid Qureshi: Exactly the kind of mindset that is holding Pakistan back.
Ok look, no one is denying the 2nd law of thermodynamics. BUT what interests me most is the method engineer agha employed to seperate hydrogen molecules. In one of his interviews, one of his co's spoke about how they used resonance or built a resonance circuit to split the hydrogen molecules at a high frequency. I seriously want to see that circuit but because he has a patent he has every right not to share his secret.
What baffles me is why some people have such a crude view point here. Can't we let the pakistan science body fully analyze this prototype and see if it actually works or not before we start making conclusions??. Science is about unravelling mysterious logically, and not buckling our selves to old school traditions.
@Mohammad Ali Ilahi: Illahi Sahib, Tanoli represents in a nutshell, in all his insane spouting everything and everyone that is WRONG and diseased in Pakistan. These are the cancer cells that are correctly perceived elsewhere as destroying Pakistan and making it unacceptable in the comity of nations until such time as such mindsets are either reformed or entirely eliminated. There can be no compromise on this issue, and this is something Pakistanis of good intentions must seriously contemplate, and also how extraordinarily determined the outside world is to extirpate these sources of evil once and for all. No grandstanding can resist this determination, based as it is upon the ignorance and wickedness of interlocutors of such as we have mentioned above. They cannot begin to understand what their daily pronouncements do to ensure that a day of reckoning will visit them without fail.
Returning to the water car, it would be an excellent idea to promote the invention, because unless the foolishly wicked get their fingers & pockets severely burned under the aegis of AQ Khan and his Islamic propriety, they will not ever understand how they have been cheated by the standard bearers of Islamic morals. So never stand in their way, but let them follow the words of their ideal mard-e-momeen, and experience what happens!!
Ignorance can be cured with better knowledge and information but ignorance of being an ignorant has no cure. The water-kit fame Mr. Waqar has even issued a legal notice to Dr. Attaur Rehman for degrading his so called invention. Now this is something more problematic than the issue of science and logic and would become fatal if after all this Supreme Court takes sou moto notice and issue notices to Dr. Attaur Rahman and Prof. Hoodboy for not honoring Mr. Waqar and his water kit.
@Zahid Qureshi To your question of "reason of existence" the answer by science is: Our existence is pure chance. The Universe is expanding. Entropy will increase and the earth shall be gobbled by the Sun when it will burst by its own gravity. We shall crease to exist. Jagame maya. The whole world is an illusion. Frightening isn't it? Lets take refuge in religion.
@Ratinoalist: The point I am stating has got nothing to do with his new books read my comment again and what I am referring to in the conclusion of "brief history of time"
zahid quireshi is right...
also, lawz of thermodymics are broken all the time in space, itz called vaccum fluctuations. google it, dont giggle it.
so wut if our scientist broke it here in pakistan?
How can... a law be broken in a lawless country? I don't get it.
Sad. We are just so divisible now. I liked how your debate turned to an ethnic issue from a religious one.This shows that we have closed our brains from accepting anything that can defy our own thinking.
We want to live in a bubble filled with hypocrisy and false pride.
@mr. righty rightist: I say “You should completely forget Kashmir” and just see how you will progress.
What do you have to say to that?
They don't to hear the Truth ! They have been well educated to believe in their version of History and their greatness !
@Zahid Qureshi: Very ignorant and outdated argument. The purpose of existence is subsequent to existence and does not precede existence. It is a choice we make as humans on how to live our lives and this is perfectly acceptable in a non religious framework. This has been established in existential philosophies from Mulla Sadra to JP Sartre. Religion does not need to define purpose of life and neither should it be used to attack scientific facts.
@Zahid Qureshi: The first part leading up to the end was hilarious. You tried to elevate the view of something but instead ended up harming the view of that very thing. Be a "believer" in that, for sure.
Water came before the Lord and blushed.
How conveniently the writer forgot and failed to mention about the euphoria shown by federal government especially minister Khursheed Shah who in his excitement referred to NUST as NUTS. By and large I agree with the comments in your article except that you are unfairly critical of Imran Khan all the time.
My only suggestion is , please be an unbiased writer not become a PPP hack.
"Never has the transformation of water been so fascinating since Jesus of Nazareth executed the most titillating and my personal favorite miracle of turning water into wine "
Now this really is Divine inspriration for the Land of Pure ! Now the Arabs, who have been looking down at you , will come running for your new found Gold ! Now that this Land of Pure has obtained such miraculous abilty to turn water into source of energy greater than its ever been established before, it is likely to be a new centre of civilisation for next thousand years too ! By the way, can this Country start repaying all the debts that are outstanding first please as the rest of the world has too many problems at present, while they are going from strength to strength and finally please switch off the lights too, if you actuially have any electricity , then continue to dream on ! As this is a rather cruel dream , nothing else !
Thanks excellent article.
@ Mj, well said, Water-Kit Gate..
Rest assured, this sort of irrationality happens all over the world. Humans are inherently irrational creatures. That's what makes them different from the other animals and organisms on this planet. Dogs, cats, elephants, lions, whales, insects and plants do not care about imaginary things like ghosts, demons, gods, fairies, angels, Santa Claus and the after life - only humans do. The human brain is still in its early stages of evolution. It took millions of years for birds to be able to fly gracefully like they do today. Expect the human brain to take a similar amount of time before it becomes truly rational.
As a side note, we also had the case of Ramar Pillai and his herbal fuel in the 90s here in India. He was also all over the news for quite some time. Then he was proved to be a fraud. Today, hardly anybody remembers him. The same will happen with 'Engineer' Waqar.
You keep spewing your bigoted religious hated everywhere you can. Where is your reference that Dr Salam did not do anything? Huge projects like these are not achieved in days but take years which if you have studied any science you would have known already. For a third world country like Pakistan it was even more difficult as everything had to be done from scratch.
We are not just physically but mentally lazy too. I have tried to overcome my laziness and learned a lot in the process. Things do not come easy or by themselves we have to earn them. There are no short cuts, just like for a HSC one has to go to school for 12 long years no ifs and buts. In science it is lot of hard work, training and learning from the previous work of others in the field. All the new work has to go through peer reviews before anything is claimed. I have pretty good knowledge about the chemistry and physics of electrolysis of water. However, even though the claims were not sensible, I went to do some research to verify my thoughts. It used to take long to use books for reference but with the Net it only takes a few minutes to do preliminary scientific research using credible sites only. We are a nation which believes in miracles, OBL was not found, we never surrendered in E. Pakistan, but the US has surrendered in Afghanistan due to its planned withdrawal, the richest and most powerful country in the world is going bankrupt despite handing out billions to Pakistan, to name a few. We are looking for miracles not working hard to earn. We believe a person would come from up above and change our bad habits and plight of the country without us doing anything. Five years ago that person was the SC CJ and now many are looking toward IK.
The only solution to all these problems is the lack of faith.. We will soon be unleashing a car which runs on Sawaab!
Where Imran Khan fits in this whole discussion???
@ Ali Tanoli: What kind of giberrish have u been writing all along?? Dr. Qadeer Khan has been the biggest fraud in history of Pakistani science, who uses the cover of religion to defend his anti state acitivities of nuclear proliferation and has the mental state which endorses the water run car.. and you have the audacity to point fingers at Dr. Abdus Salam.. The father of Pakistan Space and Nuclear Organisation, the first Muslim Nobel Prize winner and whose contribution to the discovery of Higgs Boson particle is still being celebrated.. I fail to understand how Ultra ignorant people manage to find their way in such intellectual discussions =/
@Zahid Qureshi: "Stephen Hawkings is unable to answer this as mentioned in his book “brief history of time" A Brief History of Time is now history. I'd recommend that, before commenting on this subject, learn about the latest discoveries in science and read Stephen Hawking's latest book "The Grand Design" and "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss
"In Pakistan, everything is matter of belief, not only religion but politics and now science"This article is really an eye opener, but who educates the people. For that matter, even the educated embroilled with this kind of psyche.. Astonished to see even the MEDIA becoming too hollow n blind on this issue..
If I told you the real solution to all the Pakistan's miseries, will you dismiss me as the jingoistic rant of a nationalistic Indian?
I say "You should completely forget Kashmir" and just see how you will progress.
What do you have to say to that?
An excellent article. This scientific absurdity has already been converted into ethnic issue. Let's see when this hoax turns into a conflict between rightists and rationalists (or liberals for some people).
People who believe are much better than those who don't. If religious people are unable to answer to your satisfaction (not mine) evolution etc then there are many more questions scientists are unable to answer. To give you a flavor of your ignorance try answering the question related to "reason of our existence" without the help of religion. Stephen Hawkings is unable to answer this as mentioned in his book "brief history of time" Be humble and realise the fact that what we know is very less compared to what we dont know.
In agreement one´s own understanding is at risk.If what you agree with turns out to be false,then you have to correct your efficiency in comprehension.But when it comes to believing, always the one who makes you believe is at fault.A very admirable piece.
Praiseworthy effort to show light to people wandering in the darkness of ignorance and blaming "Yahood & Hanood" for own misdeed instead of taking corrective measures.
Who did it he is bad but who was not even intrested is hero to some what a pity,.
From the comments I have read in Dr. Parveez's article from even doctors, scientists and graduates debunking second law of thermodynamics, I am stunned to say anything. C. Nandkishore, Hyderabad, India
Who knows if Jesus of Nazareth palestine ever performed the miracle ???? and we knows there are perples being killed by westren christian who supposed to be were sciencists. and we knows Dr Abdul qadeer khan is our hero and he did make pakistan a nuclear power and we knows Abdul Salam did nothing for pakistan in his twenty years of Atomic energy commision chief.
There is some hope that the nation will become more skeptical in its approach, after the water-kit-gate (every affair in Pak. gets the suffix of -gate, why not this one?) is conclusively outed as a scam. But I expect too much. The same anchors, politicians, and 'scientists' who where cheerleading a charlatan will never come clean and apologize for shamelessly deceiving themselves and the nation. In a few weeks the episode will die a natural death and conspiracies about how the oil & gas lobby, amreeka, or the jews suppressed this great invention will inevitably spring up.