Saturday, December 29, 2007

Science, Islam, & Christianity

From Robert Spencer regarding Science, Islam, and Christianity:
On Christmas Eve, the Guardian published an odd commentary piece by Ajmal Masroor, the director of Communities in Action. It was odd because Masroor was openly proselytizing for Islam, wondering why former British Prime Minister Tony Blair didn't convert to Islam rather than to Catholicism. One doesn't usually see such open proselytizing in a major newspaper. In any case, in the course of his piece Masroor said this:

According to Blair, Islam "extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition". I agree, but why has he embraced Catholicism with its history of hostility towards science and is embedded with superstition?
Why indeed? I can't and won't speak for Blair, but the idea that Islam extols science while Christianity is hostile to it is historically and conceptually false. And it's an important question, not only for science, but also for the defense of the West in general against the civilizational challenge posed by the Islamic jihadists. In my book Religion of Peace?, therefore, I discuss it in detail, beginning with an explanation of the importance of the question from none other than Friedrich Nietzche, who once noted that “there is no such thing as science ‘without any presuppositions.’…a philosophy, a ‘faith,’ must always be there first, so that science can acquire from it a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist.”

It may be jarring to those who are accustomed to believing that faith and reason are perpetually at odds with each other, and that religion is an eternal enemy to science, but it is nevertheless a matter of historical fact that modern science has derived a great deal of its direction, meaning, limit, method, and right to exist from Christianity. It is likewise true, and probably just as jarring to those who assume that all religions are essentially identical in character, that Islam has not provided, either historically or in the present day, the same kind of impetus to its development. Read all …

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