Islam in Science: Scientific Study Making Comeback

Avicenna at workA recent feature in The Economist looked at the renewed interest in science in the Islamic world. While in 2005, the story says, Harvard University produced more scientific papers than 17 Arabic-speaking countries combined, there have only been two Nobel laureates from among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims — one in chemistry and physics. The story considers that this disparity is due in part to Islam’s hostility toward science and that rote thinking takes precedence over critical thinking.

Read the full story here.

But there is a change happening, the feature continues. The flow of money for scientific research is increasing in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, and with that increase is seen more scientific papers (though, the story notes, quantity does not always mean quality). The subjects with the practical benefits seem to do best, because “value for money matters.” Engineering, agriculture sciences, medicine, and chemistry are the most popular. The story closes with a look at how science interacts with the Q’uran and how Muslim scientists reconcile their faith and work.

Even with the growth and acceptance of scientific study in the Muslim world, the story concludes that “the kind of freedom that science demands is still rare in the Muslim world.” It is the hope of these scientists that the political shake-ups in the Middle East “could promote not only democracy, but revive scientific freethinking, too.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a reply