Why do religious people distrust science?

Published: May 6, 2012

Many of the modern day scientific and technological advances can be traced back to medieval Arabia. PHOTO: REUTERS

There was once a thriving culture of reason and scientific thought in medieval Arabia. It was a region where religion was taken very seriously, however, science still flourished and took root. Many of the modern day scientific and technological advances can be traced back to that part of the world. 

This article, however, is not about glorifying the past. It is an attempt to deconstruct the reason behind why modern day religious people, specifically Muslims, have a deep-rooted distrust for science, given that the Muslims from medieval Arabia were seemingly more open towards it.

The answer may be a bit complicated, but not totally elusive. If one looks back at history before the 12th century CE, science was advancing in the Arabian region during the Middle Ages.

From the 12 century CE onwards, however, due to religious intrusions and/or wars, the Islamic world started shifting from a society of reason and intellect to one of dogma and vagary. As we know, when dogma takes the steering wheel, reason takes a back seat and eventually gets thrown out of the car.

Even with all the dogmatism and declining reason, science as a subject matter, didn’t lose all its popularity in the Muslim world until the 18th century. However, some historians have a different take on history from that realm.

According to them, Islam had nothing to do with the Arab and Persian scientists of medieval Arabia; they were scientists who just happened to be Muslims, not that they were scientists ‘because’ they were Muslims.

Another historian George Saliba claims that Mu’tazilites were the ones who sowed the seed of reason in medieval Arabia. Since Mu’tazilites gave preference to reason over dogma, they were not liked by the traditionalist Muslims and were even called heretics by some Muslim clerics.

Although from the 13th century onwards, the popularity of science has declined to a point of non-existence in the Islamic world, other major religions were still tolerant towards it.  By the end of 19th century, however, the remaining popularity of science started receding from rest of the Abrahamic-religious world as well.

Arguably, almost all-modern scientific progress can be attributed to the 19th century. For the first half of that century, science wasn’t vehemently opposed by any major religions.

However, one scientific theory based on research and evidence, shook the foundation of religious dogma like never before. In1859, a naturalist came along and wrote a book based on his research and findings about the natural order of life and its progression. The book was called The Origin of Species and the notorious (in religious sense) naturalist was Charles Darwin.

Darwin theorised that all life, including that of humans’, evolved from common simple organisms via the process of natural selection. Natural selection, in very basic terms, is a process of selection of traits that enables organisms to adapt to their environment in order to increase their chances of survival.

Since this theory questioned the core belief of creationism (albeit mostly in Christendom) and also challenged the belief of an exalted place for humans in the world, the devoutly religious got offended. They started discarding the theory without studying or researching what the theory actually postulated.

Furthermore, in the 20th century, other advances in sciences especially in astrophysics, genetic and molecular biology, palaeontology, evolutionary anthropology, etc. have caused a great deal of cognitive dissonance among the religious hardliners. Since modern scientific discoveries question or challenge the dearly held dogmas and beliefs of the religious, they will never trust science.

Moreover, we know religion is completely based on faith and does not require any empirical evidence. Many ultra religious, albeit due to no fault of their own, don’t even know what empirical evidence actually is, simply because they never had to deal with evidence to believe in the first place.

Therefore, when evidence is collected by the scientists through hours of research and analysis proving or supporting a scientific theory, are presented to them, they trash them or simply ignore them. If one asks them to provide counter evidence or a counter theory, they come up blank.

So to answer the question, why are the devoutly religious people distrustful towards science, the answer could be as simple as these famous words: ignorance is bliss.

Read more by Danish here, or follow him on Twitter @Danisshhhh

In your opinion, are religion and science at odds with each other?

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Danish Shah

Danish Shah

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

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

  • Hassan

    The article is not bad but I’m afraid it’s a way oversimplified explanation of a much more complex debate. Furthermore, you seem to imply majority (if not all) Muslims do not believe in science and I can safely vouch that this is not the exact case. Recommend

  • Arsalan Shams

    Religion and science are opposite things,one demands blind adherence while the other promotes rationality and logic.The extreme fixation with religion has made many Muslim societies lag behind in the science and technology.When any ideology starts impeding critical thinking and rationality,a regressive society like ours results.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    Scientific illiteracy among the religious is the problem. Not the religion itself.

    My humble advice to them is “Educate yourself first, then talk about science… and stop mixing your favourite holy book with everything!”Recommend

  • Faraz Khan

    Religious fanatics like the tv mullahs get maximum tv airtime to spread their homophobic,misogynistic,retrogressive propaganda whereas the ideas of people like Dawkins,Hitchens or Sam Harris get no coverage in our media. When rejection of evidence and reason is celebrated as a virtue,than it’s no wonder the state our society is in.Recommend

  • Aamir Aftab

    Our society censors,blocks,bans anything that offers a contradictory view to what we’ve been fed since birth in the name of religion.We enthusiastically reject alternative viewpoints,the only opinion that can ever be right is the one a maulvi or aalim propagates. It’s high time that these religious fanatics were stripped of the immense power our people have given them.They’ve only used religion to keep pakistan backwards. Religion and science are incompatible things.Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    It’s better that religion is kept out of science labs, science books and most importantly school curricula. When it comes to science, a no-holds-barred approach should be used for teaching kids. Thoughtful blog.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    They will only trust science when it suits them.

    Moreover, we know religion is
    completely based on faith and does not
    require any empirical evidence.

    Exactly! It seems that some religious folk are so insecure they will go to extreme lengths to prove that their religious scripture has correct scientific predictions/facts, apparently unknown to the scientific community at the time.

    Never mind the fact that these revelations are as vague as a horoscope reading from a newspaper, and can thus be interpreted to strengthen anyone’s argument. Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    Great read, by the way! Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    As you have pointed out Science began to falter in Muslim lands in 12th century onward, here is a long and detailed essay on what happened to the science in Islam world. It also discusses George Saliba’s work. Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science
    link text
    Arguably, almost all-modern scientific progress can be attributed to the 19th century.
    I’m sorry but this is not the case. Do not forget the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, and by the way, scientific method was theorized and conceptualized by Sir Francis Bacon. Modern science was born in Renaissance and the age of enlightenment. Its birth can not be merely attributed to the 19th century.Recommend

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

    Science and religion are the two opposite ends of a spectrum, one relying on faith and the other on proof. A scientific fact and a religious dogma cannot coexist without generating some kind of cognitive dissonance, where you work frantically to compartmentalize religion and science.

    For instance, dualism is a a religious concept that a soul may endure after the body itself has died.

    This is completely at odds with science, which states that the soul or mind exist because of the physical components of the central nervous system that sustain it. If the responsible neurons degenerate and die, our emotions, memories and senses die along with them. Just like if you smash your hard-disk, all unique personal data contained therein dies with it…it doesn’t float away to a data heaven.Recommend

  • What The

    It would have been better if, before writing this, you had actually taken the time to visit some senior Islamic scholars and get their views on science. Your piece would have been very different if you’d done that.Recommend

  • Hammal Baloch

    Darwinism should be part of syllabus in schools. Science denounces religions. Recommend

  • S

    Religion and science do go hand in hand to some extent. Science may falter but religion goes on and on and on. It’s like where science ends, faith begins! Also our own religion has given many scientific explanations and evidences. What science discovered recently was present in the Quran when it was revealed. I’m a Muslim and I believe in science. Oh, and everything beyond it. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Science and religion are at loggerheads only when one tries to enter into the other’s domain. Science seeks to uncover the secrets of the material world, while religion is supposed to help one lead a better, more virtuous life. The problem is when a religion says that every single scientific fact discovered (or yet to be discovered) is explained in its holy scriptures, and seeks to become a guide book to all aspects of life – not just in the spiritual domain. In such a case, obvious contradictions are likely to create polarization among the inquisitive and the faithful – which is what you have in the Islamic world. Hinduism is probably more philosophy than religion at certain levels, seeking to explain even God in metaphysical terms, while at others, pure devotion and faith are an equally acceptable means to salvation; since there is no single path or doctrine or punishment for deviation, there is no need (or acceptable scientific approach) to contradict it either. However, the scientific advances that can be dated to the same period (Math, Astronomy, Surgery etc) are seen within the secular domain, and therefore do not discredit religious thought; (of course, now there are some silly people who try to explain that the Pushpak vimana was the first airplane etc – but they are a very small minority and carry no weight).Recommend

  • Parvez

    Wondrful read. Your summation is very pat and final.
    Science is universal, it is not constrained by language, borders or society while religion is, it should not be, but sadly it is. Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    The faithful trolls will start their blabbering in 5..4..3…Recommend

  • Umer

    I don’t know how you could claim that religious people distrust science. Wasn’t it the Saudi Grand Mufti Bin Baz who discovered the world was flat and said that in one of his fatwas?Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    Odd, and I thought that it was us, the Muslims who made/helped most scientific breakthroughs. We even invented the most efficient numbering system to date! These 1, 2 and 3s you learned in kindergarten are actually Arab numerals. They are not as “unislamic” and “western” as you think.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Gullible_Nomore Gullible Nomore

    @Big Rizvi:
    And what is “islamic” about these numerals? Just because some “muslims” discovered or formulated them does not make them ISLAMIC. If that was the case then Gravity and solar system must be attributed to Christianity since Newton and Galilleo were Christians? Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @Hammal Baloch:
    Funny that you mention that, actually, in Pakistan’s 11th and 12th grade biology books, evolution is taught as a FACT! not a theory. Which was very surprising to me since those chapters are just glossed over…Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    An old and rather useless debate, which we had very much settled earlier.

    Science and religion are contradictory but there is no difference or disagreement between science and Islam. Islam is not blind religion. True science merely explains and confirms Islam.

    This is so clear that it should be obvious to any Miuslim. Why do we keep going back to this question? Is there anybody who can disagree with that truth?

    (I am not interested in the opinion of unbelievers because Allah has said: to them their way, to me, mine)Recommend

  • Reddy

    @S:
    article was written for you and your ilk,anyways enlighten us with the things that are part of your religious book you think related to the science,in fact every major invention or innovation in this world predates the word islam itself

    @Big Rizvi:the answer could be as simple as these famous words: ignorance is bliss.
    why don’t you ask the arabs, what do they refer to their numeral system…they call it “hind numbers” at least they have a courtesy which is bit alien to the most pakistanis..algebra, trigonometry are the direct translations of aryabhatta and many more people from Gupta’s dynasty. Recommend

  • http://Germany Mandeep Vaid

    If Einstein sends me a telegram and I receive it, then he had definitively proven the particle nature of light, that the light is a wave.” (Niels Bohr, Nobel-prize 1922)

    On the other hand, I have been sent God`s blessings from renowned Pirs and Gurus in the last 43 years. Neither me, nor my vast religious family has ever received any ray of light of their God!Recommend

  • Ashar

    I think the writer, in stead of giving a food for thought to his readers wants to build a predetermined opinion about the subject above, and unfortunately his knowledge is very very low on the subject.

    More than 700 verses of the Holy Quran deals with the subjects of Science. Leadings scientist have accepted the illustrations of the Holy Quran hundreds of years after it was revealed to Holy Prophet SAW. For a good reference the contemporary work of Haroon Yahya and Noor Baqi can be seen, which I am sure our friend author of this blog would have never heard of.

    Quran has given impetus to the Muslim scientist to follow the course. They were scientist because they were muslims not vice versa.

    The reality of nature has already been revealed, science is only exploring it and because of so many shortcomings in human faculties the theories are often refuted by the next generation scientist who come out with new ones. However, the realities explained in the revealed knowledge stands un-refuted, some of them have been explored and a lot is out there un-explored that science have to work upon.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Big Rizvi:
    Odd, and I thought that it was us, the Muslims who made/helped most scientific breakthroughs. We even invented the most efficient numbering system to date!
    I am sorry to disappoint you, that is not the case. The numbers that are known as Arabic numerals for short are actually Indo-Arabic numerals (you still own them as people from the sub-continent, but then you don’t really see yourselves that way). The Arabs were an efficient conduit for transferring knowledge from India to Europe. A simple proof for that is the direction that numbers are written. While all of Arabic is written from right to left, why do you think Arabic numbers go from left to right? Most of this information is in the public domain and is easily confirmed.Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    My last statement “ignorance is bliss” is being proved right with some of the comments here. I thank those commenters for carrying on their ignorance. Recommend

  • http://Karachi Mariam

    Religious people dont believe in Science?! HAHA. U must think all religious people live in caves then!
    Dont focus science on just Darwin theory. It is still a theory. Religious people ofcourse believe in science, just not Darwin theory because they are as u said, religious, and naturally believe in God. Very arrogant writer I must say for pouring his frustration out in this article, vaguely summarizing and oversimplifying basically that all religious people REJECT science.. wht?? Which part of the world are u living in? Not accepting Darwin theory isnt regressive, its accepting Darwin theory that is regressive. From the beginning of life on earth people have made up different versions of religion in the need to believe in a God, some kind of God, even the most illiterate people of past times felt the need to worship a God, so they made Sun and moon and stars as their Gods. How arrogant of u to summarize science in one thing, the Darwin theory. Even in the Quran the advancement of science in certain nations has been mentioned.Recommend

  • azhar88

    I do not like the word religious as it puts a label to ur outward apparent spiritual state, but ur state and stature with Allah is only known by Him. that being said the Quran is not at war with science or reason. If you read the Quran you will find many instances where it tells you to look at the creations of Allah around you to see His attributes. The quran also encourages you to reason; does it not say at numerous times in the Quran kay kya tum sochtay samajhtay naheen. And as far as modern science goes then again its not the absolute truth because if it is considered to be absolute truth then scientific thought and progress would seize to exist. As i see it science is the a way to discover the mechanisms of God’s creation.Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @Usman Ahmad:
    I never said modern science can ONLY be attributed to 19th century, my use of the words ‘arguably’ and ‘most’ and joy ‘all’ is evident of that.Recommend

  • Pollack

    @Hassan: “Muslims do not believe in science and I can safely vouch that this is not the exact case.”

    Maybe you can vouch for yourself, your family and friedns but not for everyone else.Recommend

  • Pollack

    @Big Rizvi: So Einsteins theory of relativity is Jewish and Raman effect is Hindu? Unfortunately your mindset is very common. Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Ashar

    ‘Quran has given impetus to the Muslim scientist to follow the course. They were scientist because they were muslims not vice versa.’

    Science is older than Christianity which is older than Islam.Get real. Recommend

  • Syed Asad Mahdi

    Religion was an attempt by our ancestors to understand the origins of our universe and life itself. The fact is religion is threatened by Science, on one hand science encourages people to ask questions and even challenge the most fundamental concepts of it while on the other hand questioning religion is not very appreciated, religion is based on blind faith and it can only lead us into darkness.Recommend

  • vickram

    Not all religions are opposed to Science.

    In Sanatana Dharma (also known as Hinduism), the highest disciple – the man who seeks Truth and Knowledge – is called a Seeker. Only a Seeker gets enlightenment. Everyone is expected to find answers himself, within himself, in his own way. This is a highly individual religion, not a congregational one.

    In Sanatana Dharma, there is no religious text which says, ‘I have done the thinking for you, all you have to do is to just follow what I say’. Here,you are encouraged to ask questions; you are expected to find answers yourself. It promotes curiosity, logical reasoning and scientific temper. When you are encouraged to constantly challenge the existing modes of thinking, new philosophies, including scientific, ones develop. Recommend

  • Waqas Ahmadou

    A liitle Knowledge of science makes you away from ISLAM
    in depth knowledge of science keeps u closer to ISLAMRecommend

  • http://india Mumbai Dude

    Religion = blind faith on holy books and God
    Science = everything must be established by facts. No one is sacred. Even the laws of Einstein are being continuously tested for their accuracy.
    The light of science WILL DESTROY blind faith and religion. Thats why religious folks are scared of science.Recommend

  • Truth

    Its an interesting case, but very simplified…..

    Religion and Science are not on Odds, in fact, Quran says, “SEEK WHAT EVER LIES IN EARTH & SKIES”…Referring the message of Research and exploration.

    Science , reasoning and intellect has been a core tool among many Muslim groups particularly among minority Islamic sects and this is why we could see Scientists like Avicenna ( Ibn Sina), Farrabi, Khusrow, Haitham, Jabbir Hayyam, etc. and in modern times Dr. Abdus Salam….They all belongs to minority groups, their roots emphasized over scientific studies, while majoritarian either remain busy executing them due their belonging to other factions….But when it comes to claim for MUSLIM contributions, By and large proud to quote these scientists, while ignoring the fact that their original groups remained under persecution.
    The contribution to Science during Fatimids dynasty in early days is remarkable…Fatimids established first university called “Al-Azhar” in Cairo and so forth and Ottomans somehow tried to keep the previous glory in later times….Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @Mariam:
    Either your grasp on english language is weak or you had your hand over your eyes the entire time you read this article. With that said, no where have I said believing in Darwinian theory is the sole criteria to be considered scientifically advanced. All i said was, that the theory of evolution was one of the reasons behind faithful starting distancing themselves from science. Read fully and analytically before jumping to the conclusion. Thanks!

    @Vikram
    My knowledge on Hinduism isn’t very vast thats why I specifically mentioned Abrahamic Religions.Recommend

  • Ashar

    @Cynical:
    Well, it is a news for me that christianity is older than Islam.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Waqas Ahmadou:
    So Parvez Hoodbhoy, Niel Tyson, Richard Dawkins et al must really be devout Muslims?Recommend

  • politicaly incorrect

    @Ashar
    ‘Well,it is news for me that christianity is older than Islam.’

    I don’t blame you, after all it’s not a criminal offence (legally speaking) to be ignorant.

    Prophet Muhammad was born on 26th April,570 CE. Now do your math.

    In fact Judaism,Zoroastrianism,Budhism,Hinduism etc are even older than Christianity.Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Cynical

    Islam was mankind’s original religion. How can Christianity be older than Islam? Please understand Islam in its true spirit, not just what you are told about it by some so-called Muslims.Recommend

  • Critical

    @Ashar:
    Here comes another person who claims that Science is obtained from Quran….I’ve seen persons talking about the same line in previous blogs…But when I asked them to quote a verse from Quran and the scientific theory which originated from it….They didnt answer..

    One intellectual in the name of Rex Minor explained me that the science from Quran was not extracted because it was in Arabic and all Pakistanis should read Arabic…
    But when I asked that when 26 countries spoke Arabic and currently there might be atleast 1000 PhDs in Arabic language and Quran is 1400 yrs old..How come noone could do it…
    He beat around the bush and then forgot to answer me at all….

    Now Ashar, Please answer me….
    Please give me the Quranic or Hadith verse which explains the scientific phenomenon which we use in 21st century like theory of gravitation,relativity,mutation etc…
    I need the exact verse so that I can confer with few of my arabic colleagues….

    Also please note that if a scientist is muslim doesnt mean that his knowledge from Quran…If thats the case,then Newton’s law of motion came from Bible and Einstein’s relativity theory came from Torah….Recommend

  • http://CA Mo

    As someone mentioned before, this is a great article but over simplified.

    But I would concur with the author that the religious people are the ones that are a source of problem and not the religion itself. If Religion had remained personal until very recently, there wouldn’t have been such an impasse between the two sides.
    being a muslim, i can talk about my islamic faith… I dont see a distinction between religion and the sciences, instead I believe that one strengthens the other for me. The answers to many things in science are cleared by religion, and things in religion are cleared by science. I do look for advice from religious scholars, and books, as I am not a scholar in any sense, but I use that knowledge and apply common sense to it and actually see whether it fits with my bigger understanding of Islam- which is personal. Similarly if someone asks for advice, I give them and only if they ask me. I dont go about like some of these so called alam-bardaars of islam and threaten people into submission or force the message of islam down someone’s throat.

    Disclaimer: I am no religious scholar, but I have studied or tried to study religion, similarly I am not a scientist, but am a student of science. Recommend

  • Mo/CA

    As someone mentioned before, this is a great article but over simplified.

    But I would concur with the author that the religious people are the ones that are a source of problem and not the religion itself. If Religion had remained personal until very recently, there wouldn’t have been such an impasse between the two sides.
    being a muslim, i can talk about my islamic faith… I dont see a distinction between religion and the sciences, instead I believe that one strengthens the other for me. The answers to many things in science are cleared by religion, and things in religion are cleared by science. I do look for advice from religious scholars, and books, as I am not a scholar in any sense, but I use that knowledge and apply common sense to it and actually see whether it fits with my bigger understanding of Islam- which is personal. Similarly if someone asks for advice, I give them and only if they ask me. I dont go about like some of these so called alam-bardaars of islam and threaten people into submission or force the message of islam down someone’s throat.

    Disclaimer: I am no religious scholar, but I have studied or tried to study religion, similarly I am not a scientist, but am a student of science. Recommend

  • Mohammad Umair Khan

    Few things I want to share with the writer and readers.. Firstly no scholar denies science, its only those with partial knowledge to that out of ignorance, that too in positive spirits as they think its like strengthening of faith. But I have never seen a true scholar deny science, instead what they deny is ALLAH’S dependence on science, well He is Independent of everything.
    Remember it is ALLAH who fertilizrs the egg in a womans womb as proven by science and it was ALLAH who gave Hazrat Maryam AS a son (Hazrat Esa AS) without a father, hence proven.

    Moreover I have read someone claiming that Christianity is older than Islam, well sorry you are wrong. Islam is the oldest religion. Its kalima is the kalima of Hazrat Adam AS the first man created. Islam is also referred to as Deen e Ibrahimi (religion of Ibrahim AS) a prophet who came to this world before Hazrat Esa AS, infact Hazrat Esa AS was a Muslim himself and proclaimed the same kalima as we do, “Laa ilaaha illal-laah”.

    Hope I helped… Recommend

  • gimelzwa

    Are people really so naive to believe that science is any more immune than history to be compromised and even falsified by the establishment for political purposes of determining a prefabricated and distorted version of reality for the masses of people? When we put blind faith in what the scientific establishment declares to be truth, are we not just doing the same thing as the masses of religious people do when they blindly adhere to the officially accepted religious world view that was sponsored by the financial and political establishments of the past?Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    not in Hinduism.Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @gimelzwa:
    lol! Scientific work and studies are published in scientific journals to be analyzed widely. No regime or political power has a stronghold over science. An american scientist can hypothesize something, which could be strengthened by evidences collected by a german; which could later be falsified by Pakistani…Same cannot be said about any religion. As criticizing religion can get a death sentence.Recommend

  • malik

    Qu’ran already mentions Big Bang Theory; the Book has predicted the arrival of Internet; the Book mentions that the earth is a globe while everyone thought it was flat. The Holy Book contains details of principles of aviation and also talks about Quantum Physics and the theory of relativity. (I am told that the Holy Book contains the word ‘week’ 52 times and ‘day’ 365 times.)

    Since all the scientific principles and discoveries are already mentioned in the Holy Book, it’s a waste of time and money to set up R&D centers to invent new things. That’s the reason religious people are upset with this breed called ‘scientists’. Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Big Rizvi:

    Odd, and I thought that it was us, the Muslims who made/helped most scientific breakthroughs.

    Arab Muslims simply conquered civilized and scientifically advancing nations. This resulted in destruction of rational thought in those nations. What’s claimed to be Islamic science is in reality the diminishing scientific output during the transformation from rational society to a theocratic society.

    We even invented the most efficient numbering system to date! These 1, 2 and 3s you learned in kindergarten are actually Arab numerals.

    They are Indo-arabic numerals. The Indian number system passed on to Arabs through trade routes. BTW, what do you mean by “we invented”? Indian numerals weren’t invented by Muslims or Arabs in any sense of the word.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @vickram:

    In Sanatana Dharma, there is no religious text which says, ‘I have done the thinking for you, all you have to do is to just follow what I say’.

    Hinduism is probably the only religion which challenges people to contradict its views.

    In Hinduism, truth is fundamental. Truth immortal since it exists on its own merit and doesn’t depend on any external force for sustenance. Similar is the nature of god. Denial of truth is tantamount to denial of god. Since an immortal god cannot sustain on falsehoods that have limited life.

    Anyone claiming to propagate religion by suppressing truth and promoting ignorance are contradicting themselves.Recommend

  • Silent Observer

    In my opinion, Muslims have no problem with science as it only reinforces our belief that Islam is indeed from God as everything revealed in it has been proven true by science.
    Scientists don’t believe anything, they are either certain to a certain degree whether a theory will hold or not (through careful observation) or they can speculate about a theory. That is the big difference between religion and science. Scientists don’t claim to know everything or anything for that matter whereas religion, which is based on faith, claims to know exactly everything.

    Scientific theories are not laws that are set in stone. Falsifiability is a distinct characteristic of science. Scientists do not “prove” anything. They simply present the result which supports or rejects a hypothesis. Science helps us understand the physical world around us. It has nothing to do with God, religion, or any other metaphysical entity.

    The problem with us Pakistanis is that we keep our thinking so confined that there is no room for an outside thought. Secondly, religion can only be opposed by another religion, science is not the opponent, it is but a tool that reveals the truth, and if our religion is true then we should not be afraid of it. According to a famous saying “Religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame”. As far as I am concerned, science and religion have the same objective, revealing the truth, so where did the opposition come from?

    The problem with all the religions today whether they be Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, or Judaism is that as soon as a new scientific discovery comes out to which they do not have a logical and empirical rebuttal or evidence, they immediately re-interpret their religious text to align with the new discovery and claim they already knew it.Recommend

  • Saima

    Y’all need to read Sayyid Hussein Nasr. Until then you can’t claim knowledge of science or it’s relationship to religion. Recommend

  • Faris

    Actually, THIS ARTICLE IS FALSE. This article say ‘especially muslims’ distrust science. ON THE CONTRARY, learned muslims who study the quran FULLY, actually BELIEVE and encourage science because THE QURAN ITSELF IS COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENCE. therefore scientififc knowledge only strenghten the faith of those muslims and non muslims who study the quran.Recommend

  • http://www.iknockknock.com silentvoices

    Nice piece of writing but i think we cannot generalize this concept that all religious people have a kind of distrust with science, there are people in all religions and they were in past too which had distrust with science but in past if one will study the life of scientists who did research and inventions in different fields was religious.

    regarding Islam and Science i think some historian said as the writer of this article mentioned that there were muslims scientists who happened to be muslims is not correct too like bu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham (965 in Basra – c. 1040 in Cairo) was a prominent scientist and polymath from the ‘Golden Age’ of Muslim civilization and he belongs to a muslim religious family…

    We can say Islam as a religion has a different approach towards science … From an Islamic standpoint, science, the study of nature, is considered to be linked to the concept of Tawhid (the Oneness of God), as are all other branches of knowledge. In Islam, nature is not seen as a separate entity, but rather as an integral part of Islam’s holistic outlook on God, humanity, and the world..

    Islam as a religion encourage its followers to study the signs of universe and in Quran one can find many verses which encourage Muslims that the ponder in signs of universe and it has a lesson for them, i think a scientist is more religious than common people because during his research he become more closer to nature and nature disclose lots of secrets on him ..

    We muslims now changed our priorities, now science technology and research is not our priority thats why we are no where in field of science and research …..Recommend

  • Ashar

    @Critical:
    I have already given the lead in favour of my statement. It seems you have not read my entire comments. The two writers I have referred can easily be searched at google. Then you would be able to know exactly which verse refer to which scientific process.

    In Surah Rehman Allah has told us about two streams of water, oneis salty one is sweet, flowing beside each other having no physical barrier between them, still not mixing with each other, it was until the middle of last century that no body could understand that verse unless it was physically observed that there are places where it is happening for centuries. And what about embriology, Astronomy and so many fields of science, please get the book of Dr. Halock Noor Baqi, which is available in Urdu as well. Harun Yahya runs a very good website.

    As an example in answer to your question, you can see Surah Yaseen as well where the movement of heavenly bodies is discussed.

    And there is a lot to learn, despite of fact that Quran is not primarily a book of science but it proves that it is a divine book revealed by the creator of everything and this is the reason whatever is illustrated in it is perfectly right. Recommend

  • naive

    Darwin’s theory of evolution is a conspiracy of crusaders to debunk Islam.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Since it appears that all future scientific developments are already present in the Holy Quran, will someone pls let us know what they are (and the larger scientific community as well) – we can start validating these prophecies in true earnest instead of wasting time in trying to discover/ invent everyhting from scratch. I can guarantee to you that everyone will convert to Islam after that. Or is it that you need the answer to frame the context?Recommend

  • Vigilant

    The only reason i see is incomplete understanding of religion or science…..devoted religious person does not mean he fully understands it….. Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    @Everyone: Um, no. I was not associating anything with religion. Since when did I start pointing fingers at theories and associated with religion? There doesn’t seem to be anything sacrilegious about numbers. Recommend

  • Critical

    @Ashar:
    Thanks Ashar Bhai for your response…

    However,I tried to google “Dr. Halock Noor Baqi” but wasnt able to fetch any results…

    Could you please do me a favor?? I’m a lazy bloke to find the exact verses you told..
    You said about heavenly bodies and Surah with 2 water not mixing etc..
    Could you please tell me the exact verse of the Surah and the underlying theory so that I can look up to it…

    This would not only benefit me..but will stop the ranting for the anti-religion bashers….

    Eagerly expecting for your response…Recommend

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

    Malik,

    Some of your claims are inaccurate. You should re-check your information.

    Interestingly, my horoscope in the newspaper successfully predicted a significant transaction today, and has been accurate many times before too. I’m still reluctant to believe that these columns have been sent forth by a deity, or at least been inspired by one. I usually attribute them to chance or the forer effect.Recommend

  • Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • Reddy

    @malik: “the Book mentions that the earth is a globe while everyone thought it was flat”
    i don’t know which book you are referring to but if it’s Quran, it clearly states longest distance on earth is distance between sunrise and sunset point,mountains act as pillars on earth ,same book says earth and every creature ever lived on in it envisioned and created in 6 days but the person or god responsible for the monstrous phenomenon forgets to point out that earth is a sphere,he even forgot to introduce animals like cats ,dogs(just 5000 yr old species) and even humans in those 6 days.you better start reading quran.Recommend

  • Faris

    @malik:
    you got that right bro, quran contains science, thats why the quran is miracolous.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Whatever science says is not always carved in stone, science makes mistakes and reverts its statements from time to time … Im surprised at the athiestic thinking in my fellow Pakistani citizens… Im a muslim and I do rely on Science to make life better for us all but I firmly beieve in my Islamic faith. Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @Kaalchakra:
    This piece is not a debate, it is an attempt at finding the reason behind the declining popularity of science among the faithful. Seems like you read “science” and “religion” in the title and jumped to conclusion.Recommend

  • ryuzaki333@hotmail.com

    the article is cogently written about the muslim glorification and reason stuff but still lacks behind in elaborating more causes of such scientific distrust we all know that many of these religious chauvinist are against science but still they associate this hatred because of its origin in the west Recommend

  • LUMS

    Huge generalization. U need to meet Dr. Arif Zaman. Recommend

  • Faris

    @ryuzaki333@hotmail.com:
    oh yeah chauvinist ? sorry bro, we muslims found compatibility of our religion’s holy book with science, and science only strengthen our faith, not the other way round.and for that reason we dont distrust science, science is part of GOD’S law.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Faris:
    So the tale of Adam and Eve must be somehow explained in science. Oh wait a monute, that is not the case. Scientifically speaking, there’s no way a single couple could generate so many offsprings to have such a huge diversity in the gene pool.Recommend

  • Yasir Anzar

    @Faraz Khan:

    If scientific work of a knowledgeable man who subscribes himself to any particular faith is attributed to his faith in stead of his painstaking years of scientific work,
    then HAIL Judaism for Quantum physics as Einstein was Jewish.
    Hail Christianity for Calculus as Newton was Christian
    Hail Christianity again and again and again, as over majority of discoveries and innovations in past few hundred years were accomplished by Christians.

    Subscribing to any particular faith has nothing to do with Scientific work any man do regardless of his subscription to any particular faith. Recommend

  • Faris

    @Gullible Nomore:
    yes it can. anyway, you got a better idea huh ?Recommend

  • Yasir Anzar

    @Silent Observer:

    “Scientists don’t believe anything, they are either certain to a certain degree whether a theory will hold or not (through careful observation) or they can speculate about a theory. That is the big difference between religion and science. Scientists don’t claim to know everything or anything for that matter whereas religion, which is based on faith, claims to know exactly everything.”

    Apparently, you do belong to field of science or studied scientific subject at a graduate level (not that you have to belong to any field of science to understand how scientific method works) to claim that scientists don’t claim to know anything or they can just speculate a theory. Please don’t tell me you have a degree in arts, business admin or accounting, and you claim to know everything about how science and its methods work.

    Religion is under microscope for past few decades. Christianity has been a massive victim so far due to popular cases like Kitzmiller vs Dover School District, Edward vs Aguillard, Mclean vs Arkansas. But, Islam is a latest victim. It’s only been few years due to globalization and access to internet which is allowing people to access the information quickly and make their point right away. Since the newly addition of Evolution in Biology courses of Pakistan, I can’t wait for new scientific revolution in Pakistan either.

    Science and scientific method is the only neutral and self correcting way of thinking that can allow person from any religion to work together due to its neutral nature. Faith is shackles to person’s reasoning and doesn’t all person of different faith to come together to work on common issues. In fact, it hinders them to a point where it could abrupt into violence. Recommend

  • Yasir Anzar

    @Faris:

    It is impossible to believe that Humans were populated by one couple (one man and one woman)….that they had sons and daughter,…and those sons and daughter (brother and sisters) had sex with each other to keep increasing the population.

    Its scientifically impossible to have such variation in gene pool. Human would go extinct in less than 2 generation.

    The only plausible and scientifically proven explanation is EVOLUTION which is also taught as fact in Biology of courses of 11 and 12th grade of Pakistan Board schools. Evolution explains with empirical evidence how humans are evolved and it also provides greater pool of genetic variations.

    Ministry of Education – Government of Pakistan has added “Evolution” as a Fact in their 11 and 12 grade board curriculum. Chapter 24 is completely devoted to understanding evolution. source: http://www.moe.gov.pk/Recommend

  • observer

    @Kaalchakra

    I am not interested in the opinion of unbelievers

    Unbelievers you are not interested in.
    And believers are not allowed another opinion (that is why they are called believers).
    So the AXIOM stands PROVEN.

    Congratulations.Recommend

  • 3rdRockfromtheSun

    Extreme science flies one to the moon, extreme religion flies one into a building.

    @ all those pouncing on Kaalchakra – look up the meaning of the word ‘Sarcasm’ in the dictionary!Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @vickram: All Religions are based on fears .Reason can not flourish where fear resides.

    Religion by promoting/glorifying dogmatic thinking, sentimentalism and specific codes of morality ,promotes distorted logic( distorting facts to fit your faith) and discourages free thinking and curiosity.
    Science in such stifling envoironment can not prosper. I do not think Hinduism forms an exception in this regard. Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Faris: You wrote :yes it can. anyway, you got a better idea huh ?

    Single couple producing off springs and then siblings mating with each other to produce entire human race ??? . Isn’t evolution the more logical answer. Recommend

  • Faris

    sorry danish, but the mutazilites aint the best camp, the middle is the most perefect one, and that is the Asharites, which is more comprehensive and wide in its understanding, such as Ibrahim AS body not burned by the fire, or contemporary corpses of muslims that is uncorrupted by soil when their graves are excavated years after their burial. or the excavated bodies of human beings showing evident signs of torture although they have not being tortured previously and have only been buried ina short period such as hours or days. How could you explain that. The mutazilite theory will probably give no space for such, only the bahriyyas and ashariyyah does, only the bahriyyas are too ignorant of logic and human effort. Bahrism promotes FATALISM, Mutazilism promotes ARROGANCE. Only the Asharite theory that ALLAH SWT is behind normal occurences and could sometimes change that rule to exhibit miracles for human view and understanding.Recommend

  • Faris

    @elementary:
    oh really ? evolve from what ? bacteria ? hahahahah, then how come theres still bacteria, how come it isnt evolved into something else at least if it hasnt got it takes to be human ? Recommend

  • Faris

    @3rdRockfromtheSun:
    extreme science also gives chance to an individual to recognise the presence of a CREATOR.Recommend

  • Faris

    @elementary:
    I think you are WRONG. Fear does constitute in a religion, but total fear is only used by those religion which really doesnt make sense, or incompatible with science. That aint the case with Islam, because it is TOTALLY compatible with science.Recommend

  • MAS

    @Critical

    Please read this book, i hope you will find answers to your questions. You will also find exact verses of Quran in this book.
    http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/quran/qms.pdfRecommend

  • Khurram Khan

    My one line comment: Before Islam/Quran the subject Science was not invented.Recommend

  • Ozymandias

    @Usman Ahmad:
    That’s why he said ‘arguably’.Recommend

  • elementary

    @Faris:
    evolved from bacteria? where did you get this from? life evolved from unicellular to multicellular and then diversified into more complex forms.Humans are very late arrivals on planet earth.Life had already evolved to complex forms like dinosaurs which domianted earth for 30 million years.
    with regards to your second question? Not all life form evolved to a more superior species some remained as they were merely adopting to their envoironment allowing them to survive.

    Even amongst humans not everyone evolves to maturity,some remain fairly primitive in their thought process:) Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @elementary:

    All Religions are based on fears .Reason can not flourish where fear resides…….I do not think Hinduism forms an exception in this regard.

    A Hindu is free to criticize and question any religious edict or philosophy, any act of its prophets or sages or any dogma or custom. That’s the reason even the wide spread caste based bigotry is in last stages in India and that too within three generations of independence. A Hindu is allowed to do anything as long as he is honest with himself and accepts its consequences. You see, neither fear of hell or temptation of heaven drives Hinduism.Recommend

  • Abhi

    @Big Rizvi:
    Naah
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals
    Those are hindu numerals not arabic numerals.
    The reason they are more commonly known as “Arabic numerals” in Europe and the Americas is that they were introduced to Europe in the 10th century by Arabs of North Africa, who were then using the digits from Libya to Morocco. Europeans did not know about the numerals’ origins in ancient India, so they named them “Arabic numerals”.[5] Arabs, on the other hand, call the system “Hindu numerals”,[6][7] referring to their origin in IndiaRecommend

  • Abhi

    @Faris:
    Do they believe in evolution as well ???Recommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    Religion asks you to believe in dogmas which do not have any scientific evidence ,follow a specific set of moral codes without questioning and promotes an emotional response to facts (sentimentalism).All this very severely curtails faculty of critical thinking.

    To be allowed to crawl out of this quagmire without any harsh repercussions is certainly appreciable ,but why get into it in the first place.With the help of rational thinking you are able to eventually steer clear of these dogmas,but there may be great many number out there which may not be as fortunate. Recommend

  • Faris

    @elementary:
    yeah, I think those who call themselves ‘elementary’ realize they keep thinking on the elementary level of human concious level, haha.

    thatas exactly what I meant, bacteria is singlecelullar, if you believe in evolution than bacteria or any other singlecelullars are the origins of everything living. Your statement about the dinos dont prove anything, and the fact that humans appear late when life on earth were already sophisticated, doesnt destroy the hyphotesis that if humans evolve, then the origin would be singlecelullars. If you refute that than you believe humans just POP out of nowhere. And since you dont believe in religion I assume, that’ll make your way of thinking rether laughable. But since I believe ALLAH SWT created humans, it makes perfect sense, I dont believe humans pop out of nowhere. haha LOLRecommend

  • Faris

    @Abhi:
    nope. ALLAH SWT created Adam fully ‘evolved’.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @elementary:

    Religion asks you to believe in dogmas which do not have any scientific evidence

    My point is that Hinduism does not fall under that rule. A good example is when Aryabhatta scientifically and mathematically disproved prevailing dogmas like flat earth, sky revolving around a static earth, existence of pseudo planets to explain eclipses etc., he was accepted after critical evaluation and his methods are practiced till date.
    In contrast, someone like Galileo was persecuted by church and god knows what happened to Iranian scientists under Arab rule.

    An interesting fact;Aryabhatta’s 5th century astronomical calculations were found to be more accurate than the calculations of 18th century European astronomers. Recommend

  • elementary

    @Faris: you are the one who believes that humans popped out of nowhere which as you said is rather laughable.
    we think humans evolved from more primitive forms.Origin of all life including humans is unicellular.Recommend

  • elementary

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: I take your point that you are not persecuted for not believing any dogma ,which is certainly commendable and nurtures the hope that you will eventually come out of all dogmas.Stripping religion of all irrationality will bring it down to it’s very core the spirituality which not only is acceptable but in many ways desirable.

    However my point is that introduction of these dogmas in the early childhood limits their ability to think and they may grow up with a distorted logic without realizing it and may never question it,this certainly has harmful effect on them as individual and overall on the society. Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    If indeed hinduism was open for criticism, like the way you claim, then there shouldn’t have been mass protest against the movie ‘fire’ in the 90s. Satti would not still be practiced, etc. No religion is closer to any truth. Just because some individuals adhering to that religion have been rational doesn’t make that religion rational.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Gullible Nomore:

    The movie protest doesn’t have any long term social significance. If it were released today, nobody would even notice.
    Sati and such are prehistoric practices that existed in many societies in the world, but,came into prominence in India during and due to the muslim invasions. That’s why it exists mostly in North Western India.Except for the rare one off cases, it’s extinct.
    Point again is that the customs were criticized, evaluated and discarded. More importantly, your examples are social issues and not related to religious or intellectual tolerance/open-mindednessRecommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    All religions have the same justifications. Its not the religion, its the culture. Or my personal favorite: its not the religion its the people who give it a bad name. Wasn’t Babri mosque incident fueled by religion? Or how about the gujrat riots? Just by ‘speculating’ that something like that won’t happen again, does not mean it actually won’t. No religion is immune and clean from its share of criticism and atrocities, respectively. More indians are criticizing religion because india is becoming less religious not because devout Hindus are becoming more tolerant or rational. Steven Weinberg has put it beautifully: ‘With or without religion good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion’. Recommend