Thursday, March 05, 2009

BBC Radio program: Islam & Science - part 3

Here is the third episode of the BBC radio program: Islam & Science (about episode 1 here and about episode 2 here - too bad teh audio is not archived). This episode talks about the clash of modern science with Islam and also about Muslim scientists who find inspiration in their work from their religion. Couple of quick thoughts:

Right in the beginning, I really like Taner Edis' description of how Muslims deal with modern science and modern Islam: they take fragments from both - in such a way that it allows them to function in the modern world without necessarily seeing any conflict between the two (for a more detailed description, read his excellent book An Illusion of Harmony). I also appreciated his point that Muslims all over the world are currently experimenting with different ways of being Muslims. So it will be interesting to see what form of Islam or Muslim practices will be around in a few decades.

The episode also features scientists who feel that religion enriches their science (not from the content perspective - but rather from an inspiration perspective). Though to be sure, the episode correctly demolishes the whole enterprise of finding science in the Quran - really popular since the late 70's. But I wish they had also talked about scientists in the Muslim world doing science for the sake of science - or for solving challenging problems - without any religious motivation.

Overall, this has been a valuable series. At least we get a personalized glimpse of the complex ways in which Muslims are dealing with moderns science.