By Danish Shah
March 19, 2012
The argument begins
with this question: why should science and religion be kept separate? The
answer depends on what you believe; however, let me present my case in favour
of the separation of science and religion.
Science is the study
of nature and how it functions. The beauty of science is that when a theory is
presented, scientists of that field do not immediately agree with the
theoretical claims. Rather, they put the theory to intensive criticism and
tests. In many cases, the theories are disproved on the basis of counter
evidence or errors that are deduced. If the scientists are unable to produce
counter evidence or sufficient flaws in the theory, then supportive evidence is
analysed, keeping in mind that the plausibility of a theory depends on the
number of supportive empirical evidences provided by researchers.
In contrast, religion
is entirely based on dogmas, which in most cases cannot be denied, questioned,
critiqued or revoked.
The real problem
arises when religious scholars start claiming new scientific discoveries as
something that had been ‘revealed’ to them thousands of years ago. However,
this claim takes place only when the scientific discoveries are compatible with
their held beliefs. If the new discoveries, regardless of their significance,
are contradictory to their beliefs, the theory is out rightly opposed and most
of the time its researchers are persecuted, banished, and shunned. For example,
when Galileo supported the Copernican theory through his research and study, he
was charged with heresy and was persecuted.
He was later forced to withdraw his support for the theory in exchange
of a less harsh prison sentence.
From the time of
Galileo’s death in 1641, it took the Catholic Church some 350 years until 1992
to acknowledge that Galileo was indeed correct in supporting the Copernican
theory. For those 350 years, several generations were deliberately misinformed
and their chances of researching and building on Galileo’s findings were
However, Islam in this
case, does not seem to overtly counter science since the history of scientific
advancements in medieval Arabia is evident of this. It was more of the
religious followers; the clerics, the leaders who were at certain times against
scientific and rational thought. This notion is also supported by many modern
historians, such as E G Browne, George Sarton, Sayili, and a scientist such as
Dr. Neil deGrass Tyson. They have made this case by blaming famous medieval
Muslim theologians, Al-Ghazali and Al-Ashari, for causing the decline of rational
thought in Arabia.
historians’ blame on theologians is not unjustified; al Ghazali in his book
“The Decisive Criterion for Distinguishing Islam from Clandestine Unbelief”
implied that in case of conflict between reason and revealed text, priority
should be given to the former over the latter (al Ghazali 1961,195 = 2002,
112). Furthermore, while disputing with some of Avicenna’s (Bu Ali Sina)
teachings, he added a fatwa at the end of another of his books, “Incoherence of
the Philosophers”, declaring that everybody who teaches parts of Avicenna’s
more controversial topics is an apostate and can be sentenced to death (al Ghazali
Although it is true
that al Ghazali’s fatwa was not the only cause of scientific decline in
medieval Arabia, there were political and economical factors, as well. However,
when it comes to following a fatwa, the followers take it seriously, especially
if the fatwa is coming from an authoritative figure such as, Imam al Ghazali.
If anyone thinks that
these things don’t happen in today’s day and age, they would be wrong, as more
recently, there was a case of a British Imam’s attempt to reconcile the theory
of evolution with Islam. The result of his attempt was catastrophic for him. He
was stripped off of his Imamat, received death threats, was shunned from the
community and, worst of all, he was called an apostate. All this happened
because he claimed that the theory of evolution could be compatible with
religion, but sadly he was not given a chance to explain his standpoint.
As we are aware,
overwhelming evidence supports the theory of evolution; however, since it is
deemed contradictory to religious beliefs, it is outrightly opposed. Another
example would be the opposition to stem cell research, details of which cannot
be elaborated in this small space.
I have only presented
a few examples to show how religious arguments have interfered with scientific
progress. History, however, is filled with instances which are detrimental to
the progress of reason and rationality.
Can you imagine where
we would be if there were no religious interferences in scientific progress?
It is high time for us
to have a society that does not intertwine science and religion, as both these
subjects deal with different aspects of life and must be approached separately.
Source: The Express Tribune, Lahore
Interestingpart of ayn rand fountain head
http://secular-hindu.sulekha.com/blog/post/2012/03/how-to-rule-the-soul-fountain-head-ayn-rand.htminternal corruption, Peter
That’sthe oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men stillfall for it. Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet andif you hear him speak of sacrifice--run. Run faster than from a plague. Itstands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collectingsacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. Theman who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intendsto be the master. But if ever you hear a man telling you that you must behappy, that it’s your natural right, that your first duty is to yourself--thatwill be the man who’s not after your soul. That will be the man who has nothingto gain from you.