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An Illusion of Harmony: Science And Religion in Islam Hardcover – January 2, 2007
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Taner Edis, a physicist educated in the allegedly most secular of Muslim countries, Turkey, asks how this came about and whether there is any chance that science, as westerners understand it, could ever become as much a part of Muslim societies as it has in western countries and, as he notes, a few others, like Japan.
Not to give away the ending, but, no, not likely.
Because Islam is based on a sacred text, and because almost all Muslims remain committed to a fundamentalist conception of the text's inerrancy, Edis must start by asking what, if anything, the Koran says about science. Answer: not much, but because of a predilection for finding all things in the sacred words (Koran and hadith), the scholars spend a lot of energy trying to find it.
After setting the stage, he then asks how leading Muslim thinkers have conceived of science and its relation to the restrictions of the Koran. Of course, at this point, Edis might have stopped. Once restrictions are imposed, science slows down or stops. Though Edis, unlike some other commentators, speaks respectfully about Islam, this requires a certain indifference to the elephant in the room -- Islam has not contributed anything to modern science.
It contributed to medieval science, but that was a different animal.Read more ›
Modernity implies technology, and technology depends on science. But science relies on observation, continually modifies and refines its own conclusions, and accepts only natural explanations. This is in direct contrast to the dominant strains of Muslim epistemology, which give pride of place to revelation, especially the final perfect revelation embodied in the Quran, and to faith in an all-powerful God active and manifest in the world. Edis describes a wide range of attempts to resolve this conflict, from the rise (and fall) of Kemalism, to medieval style attempts to subordinate science to theology, to the promotion by those who should know better of the pseudoscience of creationism and Intelligent Design.
The conflict between science and faith is of course not peculiar to the Muslim world, and in his final section the author discusses this conflict in more general terms as he speculates about how it will develop in the future. Here again, his appraisal is much more nuanced than one might have expected from a self-proclaimed Enlightenment rationalist, leaving believers and unbelievers alike with much to reflect on.
This is an honest book that is objective and Taner (of Turkish descent) does not say more than is needed to make his point. Muslims who read this book will of course be disturbed by some facts of historical Islam, but won't come out offended or feel like the author was aiming to ridicule Islam, because he writes in a calm, objective manner. He's after facts not slander.
Islamic creationism and reactions from Islam to science through time are the core focus of the book.
Here is a short synopsis of what is contained within the book:
Discussion of Islam in Turkey
Historical Islamic Views of Science
Different Views of Science from Modern Islam
Scientific Progress and Technological Advances in Muslim Countries
Speed of Technological Progress and Comparison to Western Scientific Progress
Examples of Islamic Creationism and Critiques of Maurice Bucaille, Harun Yahya, and other Islamo-scientific apologetics
Islamic View of History and Social Sciences and their Applications
Islam's Reaction to the West and Modernization (Resistance and Acceptance)
Conservative and Liberal Islamic Views of Science
The Author's Personal View of Science and Belief Systems
This book should be read with Bucaille's Book ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All Turkish science is based on the Koran leaving no room for Darwin or physics. If it can't be found in the Koran, it can't be studied.Published 19 hours ago by dlh
A strong critique of the position of science I Islam. It's credentials substantial because author is a scientist and a secular muslim. Read morePublished 18 months ago by ali
This book has been completely debunked by Mohamed Ghilan (a neuroscientist). There are a lot of points to make so I won't go into details here, but here's the link:... Read morePublished on July 24, 2014 by Yousuf
An Illusion of Harmony. Science and Religion in Islam
By Taner Edis. (2007)
The author was brought up in Turkey but is now Professor of Physics at Truman... Read more
The Clearest disproof'v the absens'v science/scientific discourse in Islam, is the utter lack'v it amungst its early adherents. Which companion'v muhammad exceld in mathematics? Read morePublished on April 26, 2011 by Ma'ArrE
An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam by Taner Edis
An Illusion of Harmony by Taner Edis is a well-written even-handed book about the level of harmony... Read more
The tensions between modern scientific conceptualizations of the world and traditional supernatural accounts have a unique dynamic in Turkey and in other Islamic lands. Read morePublished on February 27, 2009 by Thomas Adam L.
This explicitly non-Muslim author examines the attempts contemporary Muslims are making in scientific fields. Read morePublished on November 12, 2008 by Ayman