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ERIC Number: EJ873779
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1871-1502
Science, Religion, and the Quest for Knowledge and Truth: An Islamic Perspective
Guessoum, Nidhal
Cultural Studies of Science Education, v5 n1 p55-69 Mar 2010
This article consists of two parts. The first one is to a large extent a commentary on John R. Staver's "Skepticism, truth as coherence, and constructivist epistemology: grounds for resolving the discord between science and religion?" The second part is a related overview of Islam's philosophy of knowledge and, to a certain degree, science. In responding to Staver's thesis, I rely strongly on my scientific education and habit of mind; I also partly found my views on my Islamic background, though I enlarge my scope to consider western philosophical perspectives as well. I differ with Staver in his definition of the nature, scope, and goals of religion (concisely, "explaining the world and how it works"), and I think this is the crux of the matter in attempting to resolve the perceived "discord" between science and religion. The heart of the problem is in the definition of the domains of action of science and religion, and I address this issue at some length, both generically and using Islamic principles, which are found to be very widely applicable. The concept of "reality," so important to Staver's thesis, is also critically reviewed. The philosophy of knowledge (and of science) in Islam is briefly reviewed in the aim of showing the great potential for harmony between the two "institutions" (religion and science), on the basis of the following philosophy: science describes nature, whereas religion gives us not only a philosophy of existence but also an interpretative cloak for the discoveries of science and for the meaning of the cosmos and nature. I conclude by insisting that though science and religion can be considered as two worldviews that propose to describe "reality" and to explain our existence and that of the world; they may come to compete for humans' minds and appear to enter into a conflicting position, but only if and when we confuse their domains and modes of action.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A