Religion or science: That is not the question

Published: March 19, 2012

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. PHOTO: AFP

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 greatly affected.

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 scientists 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.

However, the 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 Ghazâlî 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 Ghazâlî 1997, 230).

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.

Danish Shah

Danish Shah

The author is an IT professional by day and a quasi couch/facebook/twitter activist by night. He tweets @Danisshhhh (twitter.com/Danisshhhh)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • nadeem mehmood

    Science and religion are contradictory.One requires an open mind given to logic and reason,the other demands a closed off,unquestioning mind.Recommend

  • hassan khan

    well its BELIEF . you cant do anything.. for now scientific claims are changing rapidly.. new claims are exact the same which are written in Quran.. this gives more confidence to followers that Yes Quran is words of God.Recommend

  • hassan khan

    Never has it happened that anything from Islam is contradictory to any scientific fact.. It can never happen…Cuz Quran is the word of God, the Creator and who knows better than the creator? Obviously no one..!
    Albert Einstien said, “Religion without science is lame & science without religion is blind”Recommend

  • zeeshan khan

    @nadeem mehmood:

    Science emphasizes research and empirical evidence.Religion requires an unwavering,unquestioning blind belief.The maulvis and ulema violently emphasize ” it’s our way or the hangman’s noose”.Recommend

  • hassan khan

    can u tell any contradiction in ISlam and modern scientific fact? @nadeem mehmood: Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Pakistanis who speak of a conflict between science and Islam are deluded. Science is still changing, learning, growing. The more it learns, the more it looks like parts of the Quran. Once science is fully developed, it will be indistinguishable from the teachings of the Holy Quran.Recommend

  • Waqas Khwaja

    @hassan khan:

    “Religion without science is lame & science without religion is blind”

    from the same letter which you got the above quote from

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”

    and

    Although, neither Einstein nor his parents were religious people, he did in fact attend the Catholic primary school. But at the age of 12 he was already questioning the truth of the stories written in the Bible. “The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression”

    so please do not use the name of Einstein for your purpose Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    Blockquote

    Blockquote> However, the 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 Ghazâlî 1961,195 = 2002, 112). Blockquote

    Blockquote

    If priority is given to former (meaning reason) then how is this against science?Recommend

  • Waqas Khwaja

    @kaalchakra:

    Sir does that mean we should abandon inquiry and put our faith, that we have the ultimate knowledge, moreover there are many things which religion and Science do not agree upon, for example evolutionary biologists will have you believe that the story of Adam and Eve is not true and we are infact dependents of an Ape like creature, And as it happens, arguments and evidence seemed to support them. Nor is science claiming a Divine for the creation of Life, or consciousness, however the religion view is in complete contrast. Recommend

  • Hashmi

    Islam is the origin of all sciences. All modern science stems from Islam and MuslimsRecommend

  • Ebtesam Khalid

    No comments about rest of the religions but Islam is all about scientific truths!Recommend

  • Murtaza Ali Khan

    Science and religion are indeed apart. In my opinion, the best practice would be that if a theory is devised in science, it should be put in scientific inquiry and subjected to criticisms, if no counter evidence is found, then all evidence in support of the theory must be examined. If the evidence examined is valid, we can consider a theory is true in the scientific manner.

    ONLY AFTER this, we can then put this theory and then consider any religious evidence, that is if any mention of the theory is present in religions. The resources there are your scriptures etc. If there’s mention, then we can confirm that yes, that theory is valid, both by scientific viewpoint and the theological viewpoint.Recommend

  • Waqas Khwaja

    @Hashmi:

    you have probably never heard of Pythagoras, Epicurus, Democritus, etc. etc. expand your vision a little mate, it does not hurt at all, might benefit you :)Recommend

  • http://myspace.com/taravadu Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Vienna,March 19,2012
    Even Osama Bin Laden lived by the support of scientific
    bounties that came in abundance. I wish Pakistan has more
    young intelligent men like Danish. I wish they get strength
    to save Pakistan and its 180 million population´s future.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna Recommend

  • Altaf Gohar

    I think the human evolution theory is just a theory. It has not been proved yet. when it is proved then we should have to compare it with Quran.Recommend

  • Shoaib Mir

    The respective domains of science and religion are most arguably separate. However, Religion clearly suffers from megalomania as in claiming divinity on the one hand and not even offering any sound explanation of many of its claims on the other. Worse still it behaves like a veritable dictator who doesn’t tolerate any criticism and expects total submission to its whims without any question. It’s as if either you are with ‘us’ or you are ‘not’ in this world! It doesn’t feel the compulsion or have the moral courage to admit any flaw, discrepancy or error even when it’s obvious to everyone.

    At worst it doesn’t have any rules by which it plays or that govern its game yet Religion would not hesitate to change the goalposts if challenged or threatened by scientific discoveries. In this respect, religion behaves like a poacher or a plagiarist. Unlike religion, Science doesn’t suffer from such crass narcissism. Its rules are universally acknowledged and in letter as well as spirit are the Laws of Nature. Scientific method\thought based on empiricism is perhaps the zenith of human intellect that drives all development, progress and creativity.Recommend

  • kashif manzoor

    Desperate from ET to preach secularism albeit in vain.Recommend

  • http://noreenshams.blogspot.com/ Noreen Shams

    Science is to decipher insight knowledge which is already revealed by our Religion Recommend

  • intelektual

    Science very often speaks of the great Unknowns, of parallel universes and multiple dimensions .. time and inter-dimensional travel and all the open libreral & so called rational minds have no trouble with them ! sure aliens would be a stretch but most unknowns all scientist agree without much proof & with a hell lot of Faith but Creationism and Religion needs to be Justified within the limits of known scientific boundries any Faith in religion at all is Blind and any disagreement is Fundamentalisim !

    Allah, The God, The Alpha & Omega operates in a dimension that is much beyond human & scientific realm & understanding, Quran has at sevral occasions told of 100,000 years of a day ! What science argues to be millions of years ! can be the 7 days in Heavens ! simply because humans and the solar system percieves time in a different manner ! And Adam was not created in this dimension either but was much later bannished here !Recommend

  • Parvez

    In the context of Pakistan it really matters not if religion and science exist together or separately, its absolutely academic. What matters is that religion and politics can not and should not exist together because it is down right destructive.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    This two magesteria theory of separating science and religion is not only completely impractical, but utterly illogical.

    For starters, it would imply that there’s a field that science cannot study and analyse, and subsequently pass a verdict about its authenticity: religion. That does not work for a scientific mind, which is borderless….it’s an unrestrained quest for the truth.

    And it doesn’t work for religious people either. You cannot make claims about “scientific miracles” of the scripture where science seems to confirm the religious beliefs, but call for separation of science and religion where your beliefs defy the scientific position.

    Scenario A: “Science says we came from the Big Bang, and my religion confirms it. That proves that my religion is true.”

    Scenario B: “Laws of physics do not allow the splitting of sea as described in my religion, but that’s okay. I don’t believe in mixing science with religion.”

    Why bring science into A, but not B?Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    hassan khan,

    The fact that science is constantly updating and refining itself is not its weakness, but a strength.Recommend

  • azhar88

    science changes from time to time. what may be considered absolute truth today might seem foolish a hundred or so years down the line. science is not the absolute truth. it is an approximation of the world that we see through human eyes only. Recommend

  • Mir

    Religion is set of beliefs intertwined with myth and mysticism. Myths in many instances take support of science, just for the matter of fact if we have look at hinduism, budhism in contemporary times they take a support of science. The religion should not be mixed with religion at all or in other case it will create hurdles and hinderences in scientific progress, if there would have been rational thinking in muslim world there would have been more universities in muslim worlds than in US. When society believes in certain dogma to core then it is not open to changes and hence becomes intolerant and less rational in thinking and as a result science does not develop there, so we don’t see intellectuals, artists inventors and scientists as celebrities but the warlords, religious leaders and feudals become celebrities in that society.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Intelektual,

    Parallel universes and alien beings are objects of some controversy within the scientific circles, but there are not unreasonable. God, on the other hand, has not even progressed beyond the status of a “hypothesis” within science.

    This is because the God hypothesis doesn’t answer anything. It simply replaces the question of universe’s purpose and/or reason of existence, with an even more complex question of God’s purpose and/or reason of existence. Following the principle of Occam’s razor, this hypothesis is kept off the scientific table.

    It’s not a conspiracy that 93% of the scientists of the National Academy of Sciences have turned out to be atheists.Recommend

  • Urooj

    @Altaf Gohar:

    It’s funny, you saying that, because as far as theories go, even “gravity” is a theory. I see you don’t find any trouble believing in that, even though it isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an. What? Are you going to pick and choose? (P.S. Look up what a “theory” actually connotes in science).Recommend

  • Dali

    No one has evidence of life after death. Sure if we call stories written thousands of years ago as evidence, then we don’t have much to go on about.
    Religion was important at a time when there was no institution uniting everyone – rich poor, strong and weak – under one moral and ethical umbrella.
    I believe if The Prophet (pbuh) was alive today, he would have been a evolutionary bioligist, and a pretty good one too.
    You see religion tends to smudge the essence of these great people. What they were talking about was to rid one self from all images and authority and only then the mind would be able to think and see clearly.
    Of course we now see religion being nothing more than a socio political organization trying desperately to govern the bleak.
    I am glad to see such issues brought to light and would like to see some serious discussion around this topic without harassing or hurting anyone’s belief systems and i am not talkin about the new age or spiritualist pop facade going on these days.
    Science has the capacity to include a much larger population of beings in discussion, where as the per-requisite for talking to a religious gathering is to have something in the heart known as faith/belief on….. well….. imagination of a particular type.Recommend

  • Khan

    Could not agree more on Urooj’s comment for Altaf Gohar. How did you come up with the idea that evolution is “just” a theory? In the jargon of science, a theory will always be a theory no matter how much proof you gather for its correctness. And a law will always remain a law. Evolution is now proven and you can find some good documentaries on the internet which show the evidences for it. For starters, just type “why evolution is still a theory?” on google and you will get your answer.

    As for the people chanting about all science coming from Islam, stop deluding yourselves.Recommend

  • Altaf Gohar

    All the people who have questions on Islam please visit http://www.questionsonislam.com, Ask what ever you want. you will get a convincing answer by Ulama.Recommend

  • Agnostic

    To all those people saying science supports Islam should open their eyes. There’s a channel on Youtube by the name of Theislammiracle, and it debunks all “scientific proofs” in the Quran.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    No bad at all. The author premises are 100 percent wrong and are only laid out in support of the article. Religion and science are separate; with different names and separate functions. Religion scriptures contain science as they include philosophy, mathematics, ethics and moral standards.

    Science, however, is devoid of the religion and this is how it is meant to be. Science is not static and is subject to revisions with new discoveries as human brain unfolds its treasure of knowledge which was imbedded in him at the tme of birth. Humans are an intelligent design, very different from the origin of animals, and definitely did not evolve from African apes. Darwin theory has been laid to rest in view of advances.made in science during the last century; any similarity of a human with a primate is conincidantle,

    Any conflict of clergy with the man of science or new discoveries had always undertones of politics and this the author like many before him have been ignored, attributing it to science versus reigion. come on, we are in the 21st century and we are today able to make more use of our brain than in previous centuries.

    Rex Minor .Recommend

  • http://Lahore Junaid Alam

    It may be acceptable to try to prove to a non-Muslim the status of Qur’an by telling him how it has hinted at many scientific facts many centuries ago, and so it is the divine revelation; but to “deduce” science from Qur’an is pretty much like misusing and abusing it–it asks you to reflect on the observable universe and within yourself, which is an indication that it is itself telling that science lies out in the universe and in man’s existence, not in Qur’an.

    But that also doesn’t mean that now everyone should be proving Qur’an with a logic–science doesn’t change; logic changes from person to person.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Rex Minor:
    You keep trolling all over the ET website, but not even once have you provided any proofs for your claims that Theory of Evolution is dead or that humans use 10% of their brains. Please be kind and provide us “ignorant” folk some evidences that may change our worldview and bring us back to the true light. Thanks!Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Rex Minor,

    “Darwin theory has been laid to rest in view of advances.made in science during the last century; any similarity of a human with a primate is conincidantle,”

    Lol. Keep saying that and keep your fingers crossed…it might come true. It’s improbable, but one can always hope.

    Knowledge of evolution is being practically applied today in medicine, horticulture, animal breeding, genetic engineering and biochemistry. It is as close as being laid to rest as the germ theory.

    You don’t have to believe in evolution, but let’s not manufacture lies to support your position. This is the reality that you may have to deal with at some point: link. (read “scientific support” section)Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @Dr. Amyn Malik:
    It was meant to say that even when Ghazali seemed rational in his thought, he was wholeheartedly opposed by other clerics, in the particular case of that quote you mentioned, by
    Ibn-Taymiyyah. Who was, among Ghazali, one of the leading Imams of that time.Recommend

  • netofunk

    A good article. But, I don’t agree that science and religion are separate items. I used to. I no longer do. I would simply say that I think religion IS a science, albeit one that has failed. Why have we kept it around? I think it’s because unbelievers and scientists have failed to argue for it’s replacement. I think that’s changing. Recommend

  • netofunk

    @hassan khan:
    you must understand that you declaring your faith and NOT providing an actual argument for the validity of your declaration of faith. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I find Pakistanis incredibly insecure about their choice of religion (unlike Arabs and Turks), leading them to constantly search for substantiation through select scientific discoveries that can be explained by reading and generous extrapolation of the contents of the Quran. However, there are glaring errors that are always glossed over; a simple example is that of the development of the embryo, which is described to develop from a sperm which gets converted into a clot of blood, then gets a skeleton, and is then clothed with flesh; in reality bone development happens after flesh and other organs come into the picture. Other inaccuracies include details of how the sun sets in a pool of muddy water, and mountains hold the earth down and prevent earthquakes. Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    From Aristoltle to Galileo to charles Darwin ,men of science have always had bitter oppsoiton to the point of persecution, from dogmatic beliefs.As europe emerged from the dark ages and moved away from dogmatic, “all knowing” religion, science started to experience exponential growth and stories of persecution became gradually extinct.
    East however chose to move in the other direction ,digging their heels deeper into religious dogmas,they actively sought to kill the spirit of free enquiry,and aimed to limit and channel the curious minds,which unsurprisingly lead to the demise of science in this part of the world. Recommend

  • faraz

    For 1000 years mullahs claimed that according to the verses of Quran, earth lies in the center of universe and everything revolves around it. But Galileo and Kepler destroyed this concept. Now mullahs are looking for verses that could show that earth revolves around the sun. Faith in religion is by definition devoid of logic and induces a mental paralysis; there is no solution to denialRecommend

  • swa

    @kaalchakra:
    this surely is coming from someone who has no idea what he is talking about… you need to study science to know that it will never be fully “developed”. i being a scientist know it. but it may be a difficult for you to get Recommend

  • swa

    a question to all the people out there claiming that all the research that is being done using up insane amounts of money and man power all over the world is useless as it is all in the quran…WHY is it that random Americans and Europeans tell us about them and only then we realize it was in Quran all along… why is it never the other way round.. why couldnt muslims come across penicillin and save the world?
    i am a reasonably religious person but i do believe science and religion must not be mixed. Quran gives us a way of life. teaches us how we should live in society and interact and how we must treat others. nobody cares about that instead all of us start claiming that Quran is science manual… Recommend

  • ….

    I don’t understand why religion religion come in between scientific advancements. I’d like to be able to have my faith in the energy we call Allah, say my prayers, fast and benefit from the immense number of spiritual uplifting rituals. At the same time I’d like to continue reading about the galaxy, the workings of the human mind, evolution etc. Faith has never told us to be closed minded, instead it has made seeking knowledge compulsory for both men and women.Recommend

  • Altaf Gohar

    I think we should not compare religion particularly Islam with Science because Quran is not a scientific book. it is a way of life for human beings. Moreover Quran invites human beings to explore the universe. Allah is above all sciences he doesn’t need any physics laws. If we take the example of Prophet Jesus, he born with out father and when Mariam came to her people, Prophet Jesus himself spoke to the people in his very little age that he is the prophet of Allah and only then those people believed on him. So the people who believes on science could not believe that how can a person take birth with out father and how can a person speaks when his age is less then a month. So Allah is above all sciences.Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Loneliberal PK:
    Parallel universes and Alien are just controversial & reasonable !! how if I may ask ? What reasonable and normal scientific example or phenomenon justiofies them !!

    And God is just a hypothesis based on the difficulty of the questions it raises !!!
    that’s highly irrelevent and flawed logic ! Because what I think Science or any knowledge is and should be about, is knowing and finding out the truth ! does not matter how incomprehensible for a tiny human mind it could be ! no matter how tough a question it raises.. The intelligent and adaptable design of life is an open evidance to a very detailed and organized, much more smarter Planner & the Perfect executioner thats just simple rational thought process if “Origion of life” were a big bang induced random anomoly life would not have gone on in all its majesty as can be wittnessed today..
    Reson of existance is not science but Philosophy religion answers that as well Science simply does not have the tools…

    Also the reason for atheistic acceptance in scientific community has alot to do with the 14th till 16th century Church and Renaissance. Muslims Scientist never turned Atheist historically because they accepted and knew the whole & wider truth ! Also Quran has been a source of scientific research for a really long time !
    Yes the atheistic/agnostic approach is more lucrative to all now simply because our religious Scholars have much like the Roman Church abandoned reason and logic and are using religion !Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    You, my friend, want to have the best of both Worlds. You want to believe that Science is correct and that Religion that you are part of, which directly contradicts Science when it comes to matters of Evolution, also is not wrong.

    As a result, you are coming up with arguments which suit the purpose. But, the sad thing about truth is that only one way of thinking can be true. Its either Science or Religion.

    Another reason why you want both of them to be true is that you believe that it is truly God’s word. If it indeed God’s words then how can, even parts of it, go against Science and established logic? That would invalidate Religion, at least Islam, and prove that something you have believed in your whole life is utter falsehood.

    Its basic Human Psychology.

    Pick your sides, friend, come over to my side, the side of Science and rational thinking. The going is tough but truth is way better than anything else.Recommend

  • Noble Tufail

    well written Danish .. great work indeed. Scientific and religious reasoning processes are in extreme antagonism to eachothers. Yet if they happen to support a similar concept .. it will be nothing more than a random co-incidence. Recommend

  • Insomniac

    Science is a fact and religion has to be understood accordingly.Recommend

  • Indian

    @Author: Well written.
    I agree with you only in a case when Religion will not interfere into Science, it can be ‘Religion And Science’,
    but whenever and wherever Religion will interfere into Science, it will be ‘Religion or Science’.

    @Loneliberal PK:
    Your comments are ‘a must read’. They are sensible and knowledgeable.
    Keep posting.Recommend

  • Mr. Toojik

    —– I am of the opinion——–, Homage to pay the origin is religion and knowing the origin is Science and Religion!!!

    ——————————————————————————————————–By Engineer Baig Ali.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    swa

    Don’t be so proud. Pride hath a fall. Are you are smarter and wiser than all those great scholars over the last thousand years?! Will you risk your akhirat based on some men’s word that they themselves acknowledge can change within the next hour?! Who is the greatest man ever? Not a scientist.Recommend

  • Reddy

    @hassan khan:”Never has it happened that anything from Islam is contradictory to any scientific fact” is that sarcasm or being ignorant.earth is flat,sun sets in the muddy water, evolution was a myth,big bang theory was another hot air bubblegum theory by Zionists,every species on earth was envisioned and created by allah in 6days but some how person responsible for all the creations on the earth and earth itself thinks earth is flat.Recommend

  • Reasoner

    Science and Religion are poles apart !
    Scientific claims can be empirically verified whereas Religions are based on dogmas !
    Throughout history scientists have been persecuted by mullahs and church, renowned muslim thinkers and scientists Ibn-e-Sina and Farabi were termed apostates by Al-Ghazali !
    Bruno, a sixteenth century philosopher and astronomer was declared heretic by church and first imprisoned and then burnt to death !
    Most of the great thinkers and scientists such as Einstein, Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Sagan were either atheists or agnostic ! Recommend

  • Reasoner

    How did famous muslim thinkers and scientists were treated:

    1- Famous arab thinker and writer Al-Kindi was publicly flogged during Caliph Mutawakil’s times !
    2- Al-Razi was served a very harsh punishment, his head was thrashed with his own book many times and as a result he lost his eye-sight !
    3- Ibn-e-Rushd’s books were burnt and he was exiled from Qurtaba !

    One should read Dr. Hoodhbhoy’s following book to learn more on topic under discussion !

    http://mashalbooks.org/site_data/books/science/06/musalmanaurscience.pdfRecommend

  • antony

    @kaalachakra, “Who is the greatest man ever” Definetely scientist ISac newton for millions , Einstien for millions, for religious people ,it could be Jesus , Krishna or as for you Pbuh!.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    antony

    Nobody considers Jesus or Krishna greatest. You were right you would have been insane to move to Pakistan. Scientifically conducted surveys have established Muhammad the best and the greatest.Recommend

  • Nasamajh

    I heard it somewhere that approximately 70,000 fields of study sprout from the Quran..
    for that you have to learn to read between the lines!!

    It is Islam that gave me the courage and pressed me to explore this universe..those who say that Islam puts restrictions on their thoughts I request them to try to understand Islam themselves by reading about it and not by relying on the hearsay..!!Recommend

  • Reasoner

    @kaalchakra: Could you please advise which ‘scientific survey’ you are referring to ?

    Prophet Mohammad was a religious personality, and Muslims consider him the best, however how can you declare that ‘Nobody considers Jesus or Karishna greatest’ ?

    P.S. This blog is about Science and Religion not about religious personalities ! Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @kaalchakra:
    “scientifically conducted survey”? You mean the same science which changes every so often and is plain stupid? So by that standard, the survey you talk about has to be bogus as well, no? Besides, can you PLEASE provide some citations for those ‘scientific’ studies/survey please? Thank you so much!Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @intelektual:
    So you’re talking about raising difficult questions and pursuing the truth, alright, let me ask you some difficult questions and lets see how you answer them. Where did God come from? How did he come about? If God is all knowing then he knows whether you are going to heaven or hell even before you were born, if so, then why did he put you through this ‘test’ you call life, knowing what your end result is going to be? Why an all powerful overlord wants praises 5 times a day, ‘nauzubillah’ does he have some kind of inferiority complex? Go ahead answer these please, and please no open ended faith based answers; provide some scientifically testable arguments or evidences.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Guys, please try to understand Islam in its true sense. Then you will see how scientific, how beautiful, and how beneficial to society it is. The problem is that because of your own problems your are unable to see it in its true sense. Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Nasamajh:
    You’re talking about not believing in ‘hearsay’, sure more power to you! But then why, at the begining of your comment, did you mention that you ‘HEARD SOMEWHERE’ about 70,000 fields of study sprouted from Quran? Contradiction supreme!Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Anoop:You wrote:”You, my friend, want to have the best of both Worlds. You want to believe that Science is correct and that Religion that you are part of, which directly contradicts Science when it comes to matters of Evolution, also is not wrong“.

    “Harmonious life is a combination of impulses derived from instinct ,mind and spirit.
    You can not develop one at the expense of others” B Russell.
    Rational thinking becomes brutality and destructive force unless informed by love which is the essence of spirituality.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    the problem with people now a days is they read few religious books and few articles of science on WIKIPEDIA and think that they know everything. Islam is not just a religion it is DEEN (which means way of life) ISLAM is complete and Quran is the word of ALLAH. Now the author is trying to say that keep Science and Religion apart. Yes you can keep hinduism and buddhism apart from Science as in this case Science is more superior than hinduism and buddhism But ISLAM IS NOT LIKE hinduism and buddhism. Islam is complete FAITH. If you read Quran carefully and I mean not just translation but try to read Islamic History and All the Ahadis and Sahih Bukari and relate each and everything then you will come to know that you can find chemistry,physics, maths, science, economics, marketing, astrology, botany each and everything in QURAN. ALL the answers can be found in Quran. So you can not keep Islam and Science apart as Science is sub-set of Islam. Its a very long debate and this article is very vague, lack of examples and sorry to say Author has never read Quran and its translation in detail.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @kaalchakra: You wrote”Nobody considers Jesus or Krishna greatest.”
    You may think you are doing service to Islam by such absurd comments,you are actually tarnishing it’s image even furthur.
    This is a protest from another muslim; either speak sensibly or you could do a greater service to islam by just keeping quiet.Recommend

  • Reddy

    @kaalchakra:i don’t know which la la land you live in,since you stooped to so low in attacking other religions which pretty much takes away any ambiguities on your mental condition.there was a world which existed before Islam, in fact pretty prosperous world,from the number system to pi value, rice to all the spices that exist today,silver to diamonds all of them predates Islam,in fact there isn’t a single thing in this world either initiated or invented by so called Islamic civilizations.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Gullible:

    “You mean the same science which changes every so often and is plain stupid? So by that standard, the survey you talk about has to be bogus as well, no?”

    In that case, why believe anything that science tells you?

    Maybe tomorrow they’ll say that the antibiotics (the fruits of medical science) you’ve been taking are actually poisonous, so you should stop taking them right now. Sure, you’ll be risking dying an excruciating death from infection, but that’s better than trusting science which changes everyday, right?

    Maybe Newtonian laws are just a sham. Maybe cigarettes and alcohol are really good for your health. Maybe we breath carbon dioxide, not oxygen. Why believe the scientists?

    I’m afraid science isn’t an opinion.
    A scientific position is based on expert knowledge and evidence.
    Your position is based on ideological stubbornness.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    elementary, you are right. I am sorry. The correct statement would have been that nobody who is rightly guided and follows the true deen considers krishna or jesus greatest. People following false paths, changed or superceded religions obviously will do silly things.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Mohsin:
    “Science is a sub-set of Islam”, OH REALLY? When was the last time scientists discovered something by merely looking at the Quran, or derived some revolutionary technology only by reading the Quran?
    1) Laws of motion – not in quran
    2) Law of gravity – not in quran
    3) General theory of relativity – you wish!
    4) Breakthrough of antibiotics – NOPE!
    5) Space travel – NADA!
    6) Microchips, computers etc. – you guessed it, it aint there!
    7) Theory of evolution – oh it is there of course, lol
    8) Speed of light – dream on!
    9) Water cycle, as in evaporation – Only in Zakir Naik’s head
    10) oh yea the Big Bang is in quran – yea if you’re deluded and know nothing about the Big Bang theory, then sure…
    Catch my drift?

    You talk about Maths? Ever wonder why ancient Hindus were the masters of Mathematics? Of course you didn’t. Greeks were pioneers of philosophy and many scientific claims made in Quran. Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Loneliberal PK:
    You got my comment all wrong, i was being sarcastic in response to one Mr/Ms.Kalchakra. The reason being, the religious would respect science only if it caters to their beliefs but otherwise its just wrong, weak or what not. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Mohsin

    Thanks for making your point so cogently. This site is infested with misguided people who think science is the answer to any of Pakistan’s problems. Science is ok as far as it goes, but Islam is SUPER SCIENCE. Islam gives everything a society needs. That is where Pakistan’s focus must be – to explore all the unexplored avenues of Islam, read all those books not yet read, codes not yet decoded. There is so much more to be gained from understanding God’s word than from running after other people’s biased opinions.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Ah, my bad Gullible! Didn’t realize it was a sarcastic swipe at somebody else’s ignorance.

    My previous comment works for all those ignoramuses who don’t trust science only where it’s ideologically inconvenient to do so.Recommend

  • Humanist

    @Mohsin:
    The problem with people like you is that according to your tall claims it seems you have read Quran,Islamic History, all the Ahadis and Sahih Bukari and have related each and everything and you have found chemistry,physics, maths, science, economics, marketing, astrology, botany everything in QURAN. But, I fail to understand how being intolerant towards others’ opinions and passing judgements without any sound proof like “sorry to say Author has never read Quran and its translation in detail” is a way of life?
    Please teach me some Deen Mr. Mohsin Deendar.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    @elementary:

    Some Mullah or a Christian nutcase coming on TV and telling us the Evolution is a lie is not spirituality.

    They do this because Science invalidates what they have believed to be the ultimate truth.

    Isn’t search for the ultimate truth, thereby science, the very definition of spirituality?

    Islam and Christianity, I am afraid are Religion, asking for blind belief. Thats not spirituality.

    Mod: Please approve my comments. Recommend

  • Zeeshan

    Those who disagree with the author, may be this helps you.

    Well Science encourages questioning….objections……logical reasoning……and providing corresponding supportive & counter evidences, so it keeps on getting refined all the time……and there is nothing like the ultimate truth or a fact in Science. This very dynamic nature of Science isn’t the weakness but the strength of science actually.

    Whereas religions are closed and fixed entities……they ask people to shut their mouths and brains and believe in whats revealed to them in their holly books. People interpret religions and their teachings the way they want and as a result we have people with their holly than thou mindsets. They would state some of the Scientific discoveries the ones that are compatible with their religions thus boasting about their holly books where as downright reject and ridicule the scientific knowledge that goes against their holly scriptures.

    The author wants them to be simply kept independent of each other…….not mixing the two so that the progress of science which is dynamic in nature doesn’t get affected negatively by religion, which in itself static in nature.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Mohsin:Could you guide me which verse in quran would Alexander Fleming have concentrated on to discover Penicillin , which hadith if explored furthur would have lead to invention of bulb, which part in islamic history needed to be understood properly to make invention of internet possible.
    And if it’s all in Quran why do other people keep discovering these things ,who don’t even read it.
    Not a single scientific discovery /invention in last seven hundred years by people who read Quran(Muslims)( Quran is the most widely read book in Muslim world right?).
    Your claim is ludicrous.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Kalchakra,

    I hate to disagree with you.In my opinion neither Science nor Islam can cure the inherent weaknesses of over 180 million people, who have neither a common language nor a common culturea, other than their claim that the majority of them are muslims. They are unique and rely on translations of Quraan, without having studied arabic language or philosophy.They have a democracy, individuals are allowed to cast their votes during election time. Vote for what?

    Pakistan needs structural reforms, educational reforms and social reforms. If they want to understand Islam or have interest to decode what is stated in Quraan, then they must introduce arabic language as a compulsary subject in the schools, Two hundred years of colonisation was a loss of time and therefore their current struggle to overcome the backlog is understandable. Carry on regardless is not an option.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • kaalchakra

    Rex

    You have hit upon the key ‘weakness’, if one can use that word, of Pakistan – that the nation does not teach Arabic for the first fifteen years of every child. That unfamiliarity with the well of Islam keeps Pakistanis ignorant and asking questions like – where this in the Quran is this or that, when the book does have everything Pakistan may ever need.

    It’s mystifying why some ‘Pakistanis’ are so deathly afraid of making Arabic compulsory, or making Arabic the national language. Children will always learn their ‘native’ tongues at home so that could not be a concern. Sometimes it seems that many Pakistanis want to live in Pakistan but would rather be ‘South Asian’ or the new tern – “Easterners” – whatever that means.

    Had Arabic been Pakistan’s national language, by now the nation would have fulfilled its destiny to a great extent. Let’s hope Imran Khan is able to make a difference here. Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Loneliberal PK: I admire your mind,but I’m losing my considerable respect ,for you,as you seem to try to convince people are border line morons,pl,do not brandish and cross sword with imbecilesRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @kaalchakra: in your survey of twisted guys led by Kalchakra and Ali Tanoli,Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Loneliberal PK:
    @Reddy: what do you think?,why ask some one else,got to be true,ask KalchakraRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Loneliberal PK: I give up!,you are in your eliment or in zone,unstoppable like Roger Federer .Somebody stop this logic,it is killing me’Mejay Jeno Do’Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Gullible Nomore: Why are so cruel on these simple good people,have you no pity,or compassion,or any decency?At least show some concern for me,I’m having pain in my belly because of you,they do not even realize how they are making fool of themself.I can not laugh no more.PLEASE.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Gullible Nomore:
    forgive him today,he has been bent out shape by that supreme light of enlightment,all knowing mighty Kalchakra,He is the new Budha,opps! wrong he does not like Kafir gods.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @kaalchakra: Please help us decoding for us,we inferior soul need your decoding,we beg you,pl,pl,pl,take pity.’Ham aap ke Sharan mey aaye hai’,Save us.We are lost without your helpRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Loneliberal PK: It was lot of fun,kidding besides,you are always a breath of fresh air in the sea of weeds,sorry to say that,I never use put down,where it is not deserved.Keep up the good work,nice day for sure,.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com harihar mani

    @Rex Minor: I liked your write up until you came to introduce Arabic in Pakistan,what are you friend or foe?As if Pakistan has not enough problem,you want them to be more fanatic without Arabic?,have you lost your marble?Shame on you,you have no clue,what;s going on.Take a bow!Smart one!Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Anoop: I stand by what I said.
    Knowledge unless guided by love has the potential to destroy humankind.
    Love of self and self related things is instictive,when it transcends self and universalizes to embrace all others it is spirituality.Recommend

  • Critical

    I think all u guys have ur undies up in a bunch by arguing between religion and science
    You must know the fact that what is written in religion is their day’s science….The religious leaders were in fact scientists who researched about science in gurukuls and madrassas…

    Some of them were crack ones like the ones who said that earth is flat while others did discover but know that the common men of that generation werent mature enough to understand them,so wrapped mysticism with their theories

    For eg,in hinduism,people are advised not to take non-veg foods and pray in temples during full moon and new moon…and scientifically,its now proved that humans tend to be more violent on these days due to the gravity pull by the moon
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-460050/Theres-violence-moons-say-police.html

    Just imagine had someone explained the gravity of moon to a common man in 6000 BC..He would have been a accused as a mad man and heretic…always invent stories for your theory and put god into it to make people believe.This has been consistent in all religions

    Scientific theories are broken down almost everyday..For eg,Light was initially said as particle,then experiments proved that it was a wave not a particle…but then again,it was proved that it was both a particle travelling in wave manner….
    Newton’s physics and all other concepts were dismantled overnight by Einstein…and everyone is trying to disprove Einstein too….

    I do agree that Quran has many scientific concepts…But it encompasses all that was present in 7th century..like all other scientific theories,these can be broken in the near future….I think every rational muslim will agree this…
    Yes,I do agree that there could be many hidden scientific facts in Quran..but one should also be ready if the facts written in Quran is broken by future scientists…
    After all,in science,everything is a theory until you prove it

    P.S.Hope the mods publish this….Recommend

  • http://nil raheela

    Absolutely agreed with Loneliberal PK.. INTELLECTUAL THOUGHRecommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Anoop:
    I stand by what I said.
    Pure knowledge has the potential to destroy humankind,unless guided by love.
    Love of self and self related things is instinctive:when it transcends self to embrace all others it is spirituality.
    I hope I made myself clear.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    harihar mani

    Are you jealous that once Pakistan turns itself into an Arabic speaking nation, its unified and correctly educated people will leave India in the dust? You should not make it so obvious.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @kaalchakra:
    So in your opinion had arabic been Pakistan’s national language all our troubles would be non-existent? hmmm. So with this logic all arab countries would’ve been utopian! Oh wait, they arent though, as a matter of fact, some of them are in a pretty bleak state. D’oh!Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    h mani,

    There is nothing sinister in my proposal, other than the view that non arab muslims must learn arabic language so as not to misintrpret their religion or be misled by village priests or Quraan translations. I have difficulties to express my german thoughts in English language—- English being relatively a poorer language.

    Besides i guess that Eastern languages such as those spoken in Pakistan are suitable for story writing about a romance or a tragedy but not to interpret divine words.

    Kalchakra

    The knowledge of arabic language will deprive them of blaming the clergy for misdeeds in the country. I guess they prefer to rely on village priests to tell them what the Quraan verses for them. I am not sure about Imran Khan, but Mulah Omar is definitely going to take them in this direction. The guy speaks fluent arabic and is a priest as well.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • intelektual

    @Reddy:
    Earth being flat and sun setting in muddy waters are not Islamic but Christian concepts Quran is very Clear about orbits and Solar system ! Evolution of primates into Humans we do Not at all agree on not even scientifically ! Big Bang is ok and 6 days in Heavens are not the same as 6 days of our mortal time !

    @Gullible Nomore:
    First off! I did not talk about raising difficult questions, that was someone else’s argument that I merely replied to!
    Secondly the questions you asked have got not anything at all to do with “Physical Sciences” neither physical science is a broad and capable enough subject to understand and comprehend God !
    All the questions you raise are philosophical and that to religious philosophy..
    I answer your questions in next post in a few minutes..Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Gullible Nomore:
    Ans 1 & 2: God is Pure Energy as referred by Quran as “Noor” Energy exists and all the matter is made from energy hence matter was created by Energy, which itself is not created nor can be destroyed! God always has and always will be ! everything that has an end can rationally be believed to have a beginning as we experience in this Mortal Realm but The Only Being Who has no end has no beginning either ! Science theorizes on multiple dimensions and time dilations these concepts perhaps would be useful for you to understand what Quran has taught us Muslims.

    Ans 3: “Free will” ever heard of it! God knows all very true but we know nothing that is the point! Knowing nothing what we do, out of our free will makes us deserving of heaven and hell …
    Also there is “Duwa” and other ways that can change your fate altogather..

    Ans 4: God does not want nor needs our prayers for himself ! The point is He disserves to be prayed by us as our limited way of recognizing Him as our creator and pay our respect! The point is again us! Our existence is His Creation and all the other luxuries as well hence being thankful we pray and not doing so would be insolent and wrong of us and we could be punished for our insolence..Recommend

  • Raj

    Does any religion mention internet, emails, online newspapers, live telecast etc.?Recommend

  • Nasamajh

    @Gullible Nomore:

    hahahahaha.. very vigilant!!

    For me the authenticity of my source is beyond any doubt!!! However, I said so because I heard it in a gathering of very learned people but unfortunately I am getting confused whether it was said by my uncle or my professor, who were both present there and both are learned enough to be trusted without any doubt.. That’s why I wrote it that way..

    Btw thanks for pointing it out..it’s going to help me in choosing my words carefully next time..Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @kaalchakra: I do not need to answer you,Gullible nomore has given you suitable retort,that is good enough for me.Recommend

  • http://kenyanjustice.blogspot.com/ Raziya Mohamedali

    @zeeshan khan: Actually the Holy Qur’an repeatedly exhorts it’s readers to ‘travel through the earth and see the end of the people who would not believe’. Therefore, our faith tells us to acquire knowledge which is incumbent on every Muslim man and woman. Now, what the Pakistani Mullahs seem to be preaching is just the opposite, i.e. close your minds and don’t think for yourselves. Instead let them do the thinking for the masses!

    On top of that, should someone oppose them or question their belief, then only God can help you from their thuggery. They issue fatwas left, right and centre with no basis whatsoever. Like the one that Zeeshan is talking about regarding the hangman’s noose.

    For his and everybody else’s information – there is no punishment on this earth for so-called apostasy. Since there are numerous verses of the Holy Qur’an regarding there being no compulsion in religion which applies to ALL MANKIND including Muslims and then there is another one regarding a person who will believe and then not believe and then again become a believer and again disbelieve and he dies as such. Allah will deal with him in the hereafter.

    This verse definitely negates the Mullahs call for blood regarding apostasy, doesn’t it? After all a person would never get the chance to become a believer again after becoming a non-believer if his life was cut short by the blood-thirsty Mullah, would he?Recommend