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Taner Edis: Department of Physics, Truman State University, Kirksville MO, USA. Saouma BouJaoude: Center for Teaching and Learning & Science and Math Education Center, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.



In the past centuries, most Muslims have encountered modern science as a Western import. To avoid being overwhelmed by the military and commercial advantages enjoyed by technologically advanced nations, Middle Eastern Muslim societies had to begin adopting modern knowledge. As westernization started to shape social structures and institutions as well as technologies, conservative Muslim responses to modern science typically became conditioned by the demands of cultural defense. Many Muslim thinkers argued that upholding the religious character of Muslim civilization meant borrowing technology but rejecting the perceived materialism pervading the conceptual frameworks of modern science. This defensive approach remains prominent in present Muslim thinking about science. Almost all religiously-oriented Muslim thinkers take harmony between science and Islam for granted, but in practice, conservative Muslims often express deep reservations about the naturalistic perspectives dominating modern science. Especially in the popular literature, religiously motivated distortions of science are common. Darwinian evolution is a particular target of rejection.


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