Video Evaluations

Evaluations on the Portal are both examinations of one particular digital work as well as examinations of the contemporary discourse on natural science and Islam on videos.  As scholars, we are aware that these discourses, whether presented by preachers, secular critics, or fellow academics, are part of larger narratives.  These larger narratives may play out nationally, regionally, or internationally, and may include Muslims from a variety of groups, or non-Muslims.  Occasionally the materials offer anti-Islam or anti-scientific topics.

The videos are from a variety of genres.  Feature-length documentaries (and the clips created from them) are perhaps the smallest subset of materials.  Lectures, presented by speakers with doctorates in academic settings, are more frequently found.  Both of these are often long videos, and their evaluations tend to be brief, as most have gone through fairly rigorous scrutiny before.

Lectures by preachers are another common genre in the longer videos.  These are often exceptionally difficult to evaluate because their length means that the number of instances of materials needing to be considered is large.  It is not uncommon to find clips of these lectures on the Portal instead.  Clips offer the advantage, for both viewer and evaluator, of addressing a single topic in a fairly short format.  Even preachers and other popular speakers who frequently fail to present either science or Islam appropriately may nonetheless have clips with good scores, since each video is evaluated on its own merits.

Debates or panel discussions are another possible genre.  These may include discussions among academics, among preachers or among interested others, or any combination of these.  Evaluations of these formats often address each speaker separately in order to engage each individual on their merits.

The most common form of video evaluated is a video blog, or vlog.  These also take a wide variety of formats, and unlike the genres mentioned above, may include comedic material.  Comedy is notoriously difficult to identify and evaluate.  At the same time, comedy is today at the forefront of much social commentary, and discussions of science can be incorporated into it.  When these include both natural sciences and Islam, they become part of the pool from which we draw to make evaluations.

It is fairly common for vlogs to generate other vlogs that critique or respond to them in some way.  To the extent possible, we make every effort to cross-link videos that are meant to critique or respond to another video.  In some cases the responses provide excellent surveys of the science the original video should have addressed.