Sunday, June 19, 2011

An excellent article on Islam and Science in the Chronicle of Higher Education

by Salman Hameed

This is perfect timing. On the eve of the Science, Culture, and Modernity conference in Sharjah, Steve Paulson has an excellent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Does Islam Stand Against Science? I think the article does a great job of synthesizing different views and voices on the topic to illuminate some of the complexity associated with the topic. Both of your Irtiqa contributors are quoted in the article, along with our friend Taner Edis, who blogs at Secular Outpost, and several others who are working in this area.

If you have time, you should definitely check out this article. I'm going to post the first couple of paragraphs here, and then you can read the rest on the Chronicle website. In the mean time, I have to get some sleep as I have just arrived in Dubai:

Does Islam Stand Against Science? 
by Steve Paulson 
We may think the charged relationship between science and religion is mainly a problem for Christian fundamentalists, but modern science is also under fire in the Muslim world. Islamic creationist movements are gaining momentum, and growing numbers of Muslims now look to the Quran itself for revelations about science.
Science in Muslim societies already lags far behind the scientific achievements of the West, but what adds a fair amount of contemporary angst is that Islamic civilization was once the unrivaled center of science and philosophy. What's more, Islam's "golden age" flourished while Europe was mired in the Dark Ages.
This history raises a troubling question: What caused the decline of science in the Muslim world?
Now, a small but emerging group of scholars is taking a new look at the relationship between Islam and science. Many have personal roots in Muslim or Arab cultures. While some are observant Muslims and others are nonbelievers, they share a commitment to speak out—in books, blogs, and public lectures—in defense of science. If they have a common message, it's the conviction that there's no inherent conflict between Islam and science. 

This is a long article and you can read the full article here.


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