Thursday, November 02, 2006

Islam and Science @ Nature   posted by amnestic @ 11/02/2006 02:34:00 PM

Nature is offering a free collection of articles on Islam and Science.

Kamal El Helbawi, who now lives in London, is a one-time senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood, and its former spokesman in Europe. In common with, arguably, most Muslims, Helbawi sees science and Islam as being in harmony, and he says that any government led by the Muslim Brotherhood will reverse decades of underinvestment in R&D. Is this a rose-tinted view or a genuine commitment? The answer may depend on the resonance of science and technology with the wider debates occurring in Muslim society. It may also depend on whether Islamist parties lean towards the Shia or Sunni schools of thinking (see 'A long tradition', page 24).

For Helbawi, science has three functions in society. First, it is a set of tools to help humankind enjoy a higher quality of life through new technologies or by solving problems that afflict the poor. Second, science and technology can be used to deter aggression, a justification, Helbawi believes, for developing a nuclear deterrent. And third, Helbawi believes that science has a role in strengthening religious belief. In his view, the Koran, in addition to being the word of God, was designed by God to convince doubters of the truth of Islam and of creation. "I urge all scientists to read the Koran, from which they will learn much about so many scientific topics," he says.

I'll get right on that.

Perhaps more compelling is the open letter from 114 Noble Laureates attempting to intercede in the matter of five nurses the Libyan government has all but decided to go ahead murder on accounta some kids caught AIDS while they were working in the hospital.