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Ars Disputandi

Volume 6 (2006)
issN: 1566–5399
Roxanne D. Marcotte
iNivinsi+v oi
QiiiNsi.Nn, .is+n.ii.
Islam and Science
By Muzaffar Iqbal
(Ashgate Science and Religion Series), Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002;
xxii + 372 pp.; hb. £ 52.50, pb. £ 22.50; isnN:
0–7546–0799–2/0–7546–0800–x.
[1]
Islamand Science presents anarticulate andconcise historical introduction
to intellectual developments that have shaped Islamic civilization, both religious
and scientific. The work attempts to ‘construct a coherent account of the larger
religious and cultural background’ in which the Islamic scientific tradition came
into existence and to explore the ‘vexingly complex’ issue of its decline. The
main thesis is that scientific traditions ‘arose from the bosom of a tradition of
learning that had been grounded in the very heart of the primary sources of Islam:
the Qur’an and Hadith.’ The latter are reports of the deeds and statements of
the Prophet that became the sunna, or tradition of the Prophet. Before addressing
difficulties that such a thesis raises, let us first provide an overviewof the structure
of the 11 chapters.
[2]
The first chapter covers the emergence of an Islamic scientific tradi-
tion during the first two centuries of Islamic civilization: both the emergence of
new religious sciences, with the study of Qur’an and hadiths, and the presence of
scientific traditions (atomism of the theologians, astronomy, medicine, alchemy).
Chapter two introduces the Qur’anic foundation that linked events occurring in
nature to the Qur’an central message and that established a ‘nexus between the
physical cosmos and the metaphysical realm’ that was to become the heart of the
Islamic scientific tradition. The third chapter describes the advent of the transla-
tion movement and the theological (kalam) debates over the rational explanations
of Islamic doctrines that helped shape the religion/science connection. Chapter
four explores this ‘fundamental nexus’ between the Islamic scientific tradition
and the fundamental doctrines of Islam, mainly in metaphysics (cosmology), a
nexus that the ‘very structure of learning from which natural sciences emerged’
guaranteed. The work defends the idea that the Islamic worldviewpermeating so-
ciety provided the ‘built-in mechanism for wedding these sciences to the heart of
Islamic thought,’ such that the ‘reality of Islam’ constituted the vertical axis, while
the different ideas and intellectual disciplines constituted the horizontal axis. The
fifth chapter sets out to introduce counter-examples (astronomy, medicine, geog-
raphy) to the decline thesis, proceeds to refute a sociological explanation (Toby
E. Huff), and claims that only a scientific tradition grounded in the fundamental
doctrines of Islam can explain the existence of a thriving Islamic scientific tradi-
tion later than the 12
th
century. Chapter six reviews the transmission of scientific
c July 17, 2006, Ars Disputandi. If you would like to cite this article, please do so as follows:
Roxanne D. Marcotte, ‘Reviewof IslamandScience,’ Ars Disputandi [http://www.ArsDisputandi.org] 6 (2006), paragraph
number.
Roxanne D. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science
knowledge fromthe Islamic world via the translation of Arabic scientific works to
the West and its capital importance for the development of the Western scientific
tradition.
[3]
The seventh and eight chapters explore the complex, interconnected and
diverse forces of the last twocenturies, associatedprimarilywithcolonization, that
changed the Muslim world in four fundamental ways: the disintegration of the
umma, or community of Muslims (political transformation), the lost of the primacy
of Arabic as lingua franca, the replacement of the traditional system of education
with a Western educational system, and the introduction of a Western political
system and its institutions. These changes are responsible for the decline of the
Islamic scientific tradition. They introduced a new kind of discourse, whereby
science is ‘no more the integral unit of the Islamic tradition,’ but becomes ‘an
autonomous and powerful entity, independently and defiantly charting its own
course’ with its own ‘theology of nature and a world view competing against
other worldviews.’ The ninth chapter presents apologetic discourses on the har-
mony between science and Islam as the product of the ’colonized’ discourses of
indigenous Muslim reformers of the late 19th century. Chapter ten criticizes ‘Is-
lamization of modern science’ projects, a new genre of scientific exegesis of the
Qur’an, for their ‘profanation of the religious texts,’ since the Qur’an cannot be
interpreted ‘in the light of a knowledge that is always changing.’ The last chapter
calls for a reconnection of Islam and science ‘through a central nexus which is
the unitive function’ that was and should constitute the basis of any Islam/science
discourse.
[4]
Written from an insider’s perspective, the work will undoubtedly fuel
debates over the nature of the relationship between Islam and science, both the
one that existed in the past and the one that should exist today. The author is not
a philosopher, a historian or a sociologist of science, nor a historian of ideas, but
a Muslim chemist and writer who is aware that his tentative conclusions ‘might
not be shared by certain historians of science’ in Islam. A closer examination of
the work may explain why this might be so.
[5]
A first methodological difficulty the work encounters is rooted in a
conceptual confusion over what constitutes the ‘Islamic scientific tradition,’ since
it includes: Islamic ‘religious sciences,’ esoteric traditions influenced by vari-
ous Greek hermetic and alchemic traditions, medieval theological cosmologies,
medieval philosophical speculations (theological, metaphysical, ontological, cos-
mological), various theological discussions about time, causality, motion, and
creation and their attempts at harmonizing theology and metaphysics, an Is-
lamic aesthetic experiential component (architecture), and specifically scientific
disciplines (astronomy, medicine, mathematics, physics). An all-encompassing
notion of Islamic scientific tradition can then provide support for the main thesis,
encapsulated in such statements as ‘the Qur’an is the foundation upon which
everything Islamic is built . . . the primary source, the essential textbook’ of all
knowledge, both religious and secular, that emerged fromthe Islamic civilization.
Such claims become the basis for what is then taken as demonstrations of the
existence of an inherent ‘nexus’ between Qur’an/religion and all sciences, both
Ars Disputandi 6 (2006), http://www.ArsDisputandi.org
Roxanne D. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science
religious sciences and the specifically scientific (secular) disciplines. Holding
that certain Qur’anic beliefs were at the heart of scientific explanations and that
methodologies developed by the religious Qur’anic sciences provided some ele-
ments of the methodology usedby natural sciences is quite problematic. The work
fails to properly explain why most scientific works did not refer to the Qur’an.
Stating that what infused their works was the metaphysics of the Qur’an, which
implicitly assumes the existence of a relationship between metaphysical knowl-
edge and the scientific traditions, is not a historical or a scientific explanation.
The premises of such arguments can only lead to the more serious problem of
drawing erroneous conclusions that ascribe to the Qur’an and its central message
the role of establishing a ‘nexus between the physical cosmos and the metaphys-
ical realm’ as objects of a scientific investigation. If one argues that the Hebrew
Bible is similar in this regard, how would one account for the lack of scientific
impact in the Jewish tradition. The work assumes that there was no distinction
between Islamic metaphysical principles and the scientific tradition. In the clas-
sical period, Islam infused all aspect of the intellectual activities of Muslims as
well as the scientific tradition, by providing the latter with its core Islamic meta-
physical principles from which it was not divorced. The history of such sciences
as mathematics, biology, astronomy (or the new sciences of molecular microbi-
ology, genetics, astrophysics, etc.) in the Islamic world cannot be reduced to or
explained by appealing to Islamic metaphysical principles. The work illustrates
the difficulties that a non rigorous use of what constitutes a ‘scientific’ tradition
can generate.
[6]
This brings us to a second methodological problem that is rooted in
the presentation of evidence. The work’s account of the development of sciences
in Islam provides fodder for the main thesis. Examples provided to illustrate
the process of appropriation, translation and naturalization of new knowledge
abound, e.g., for the religious sciences and for theology, but the work falls short
of convincingly illustrating and demonstrating that this was the case in the realm
of natural or theoretical sciences to the extent that only what was Islamic was
retained and naturalized. This was certainly not the case with al-Khwarazmi or
Ibn Hayyan whose works were certainly more influenced by ideas that were non
Islamic, e.g., Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Persian, Babylonian. Equally problematic
are unsubstantiated claims that the sciences of early Islam developed a Qur’an
methodology that was used by the scientific tradition. The work also adduces
examples of theologians (mutakallimun) who workedon ideas that embracedlogic,
epistemology and cosmology, failing to note that the latter were all at the service
of their theological metaphysics, e.g., their atomism to account for an Islamic
understanding of the world and of God’s actions. The work notes that the Islamic
scientific tradition was only one part of the larger context of the Islamic tradition,
or what it calls the ‘cultural matrix’ that gave it birth, but maintains a reductionist
assumption that every scientific development in the Islamic world was shaped by
Islam and its worldview and glosses over much of the more complex issues that
lie at the heart of the historical development of scientific traditions in the Muslim
world.
Ars Disputandi 6 (2006), http://www.ArsDisputandi.org
Roxanne D. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science
[7]
The source of these methodological problems lies perhaps with the
work’s holistic approach that places the Qur’an (revelation) and the sunna of
the Prophet at the heart of the religion/science nexus, in order to argue that an
‘intrinsic nexus between various levels of existence transforms the multiplicity
of appearances into a unity. The ultimate foundation of their interrelatedness
at the level of cosmic existence is their ontological dependence on God.’ This
ontological unitive principle, derived from the Islamic notion of unity (tawhid), is
projected onto all facets of human experience (ethics, moral, metaphysics, sociol-
ogy, politics) that extend to the ‘numerous internal links between all branches of
knowledge in Islam as well as the process through which an integrated and holis-
tic theory of knowledge had emerged from the twin sources of revelation and the
tradition of the Prophet of Islam.’ This particular holistic approach accounts for a
number of problematic claims that the Islamic scientific tradition was ‘intimately
connected with the worldview created by Islam and so thoroughly rooted in the
Qur’an’s and that the same Islamic metaphysical truths that produced Islamic
medieval metaphysical discourses (theology, cosmology, philosophy) were – and
are still – capable of producing Islamic sciences. Such claims are controversial
from historical, sociological and epistemological perspectives, but this does not
prevent the author to affirm that ‘for a creative exploration of the relationship
between Islam and modern science, one needs to examine modern science from
the perspective of the Islamic concept of nature taken as a whole and within its
own matrix which is based on the revealed text, the Qur’an, and supplemented by
the Sunna of the Prophet of Islam.’ Less ideological is the forthcoming Bennacer
El Bouazzati’s ‘The Formation of the Scientific Tradition within Islamic Culture’
(in Mohammed Abattouy (ed.), La science dans les sociétés islamiques, Casablanca:
Publications de la Fondation du Roi Abdulaziz pour les sciences humaines et les
études islamiques, 2006).
[8]
In his ‘Islam and Science: A false Statement of the Problem’ published
in Islam & Science: Journal of Islamic Perspectives on Science (Dec. 2003), Gutas
has, perhaps, best illustrated the problem that this type of approach encounters
in its attempt to ascribe some sort of historical ‘agency’ to religious beliefs, i.e.,
to Islam and its metaphysical worldview, over scientific activities. Islam and
Science holds that a society dominated by Islamic values, nourished by the teach-
ings of the Qur’an and the hadiths, provided the impetus for the development
of the rich Islamic scientific tradition and thus incorrectly suggests that religious
beliefs/worldviews, i.e., Islam, can be the main driving forces behind the devel-
opment of a scientific tradition. This was certainly not the case in the West where
the rise of the scientific tradition occurred without the metaphysical principles of
the Qur’an and the sunna. The work notes the impact of foreign (Greek) knowl-
edge, but argues that the advent and decline of the Islamic scientific tradition
owes everything to the presence or absence of the Islamic/religious worldview.
On the contrary, theological and metaphysical worldviews that religious tradi-
tions produce and postulate neither produce science, nor scientific explanations.
Theological and metaphysical explanations are by definition ‘scientifically’ non
demonstrable and, therefore, not part of a scientific method or explanation. The
Ars Disputandi 6 (2006), http://www.ArsDisputandi.org
Roxanne D. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science
work’s theological and metaphysical explanations fail to take into account any
sociological, economical, or political factors in its explanation of the development
(rise and decline) of a thriving scientific tradition, with research projects, funding,
institutions, and patronage.
[9]
Efforts to demonstrate the existence of an inherent ‘nexus’ between Is-
lam and science constitute part of the ‘ideological’ underpinning of the work.
Arguments for the role of this nexus to explain the vitality and the decline of
the scientific traditions in the Islamic world are used to suggest that a revival
of this original medieval religion/science symbiosis provides the conditions for
the establishment of the needed ‘new nexus.’ The ideological underpinning of
the work constitutes the hallmark of a familiar holistic revivalist (fundamentalist)
discourse. At the heart of all revivalist projects is an ‘idealized’ version of Islam
that the ‘vanguard’ (term used in the work and made famous by Sayyid Qutb,
one of the leaders of the holistic revivalist project of the Muslim Brotherhood)
attempts to re-actualize and implement via the establishment of an Islamic Soci-
ety/State. In this work, Islam’s idealized role is projected onto the development
of scientific traditions. This is made evident with the implicit prescriptive solu-
tions for the revival of a truly Islamic scientific tradition: (i) the revival of the
umma (political entity), (ii) a return to Arabic as lingua franca of the Islamic world,
(iii) the reintroduction of the traditional (religious) system of education, and (iv)
a return to an Islamic political system and its (traditional) institutions. Islamic
sciences will once again thrive when scientists will be educated and trained in an
‘organic’ and living Islamic tradition (read: a re-Islamized society). Islamic be-
liefs and worldviews will become producers of an Islamic scientific tradition once
the Qur’an and the sunna reintroduce this ‘matrix’, productive of knew Islamic
knowledge. Once more, the problemof agency attributed to Islamin the medieval
period resurfaces as the conditions for the naturalization of new knowledge be-
come the re-Islamization of Muslim societies, through education. The work rests
on the (false) assumption that Islam, or any religious tradition, was and, more
problematic, can be the driving engine that produces a scientific tradition.
[10]
The work provides a useful historical overview of the development
of different intellectual traditions and debates in Islam, but it does not provide
philosophical discussions on contemporary issues or on their philosophical impli-
cations (e.g., theory of evolution, theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos
theory, stemcell research). Such contemporary debates are deemed a mere ‘histor-
ical anomaly’ in Islam. Islamis unique. These religion/science debates are foreign
to Islam and only occur today because of a lost of the original religion/science
‘nexus.’ Once reestablished via the ‘new nexus,’ this anomaly will disappear. For
similar reasons, Islamcannot be classified in any of the traditional typologies (e.g.,
Ian Barbour) that try to explain the religion/science relationship. Again, Islam is
unique. The work is a Muslim’s ‘urgent and creative response’ to the ‘triumphant
force of modern science that seeks to replace all worldviews other than its own,’
i.e., the Islamic worldview. On the whole, the work does not quite succeed to
overcome the intellectual paucity of contemporary studies on the religion and
science debate in Islam. The work, however, provides a useful review of existing
Ars Disputandi 6 (2006), http://www.ArsDisputandi.org
Roxanne D. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science
scholarship on various scientific (religious, philosophical, theological, natural sci-
ences, etc.) traditions that took place in the Islamic world and of some of their
historical developments. A work that explores the philosophical problems that
arise with the contemporary Islam and science discourse has yet to be written.
Ars Disputandi 6 (2006), http://www.ArsDisputandi.org

http://www. metaphysical. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science knowledge from the Islamic world via the translation of Arabic scientific works to the West and its capital importance for the development of the Western scientific tradition. associated primarily with colonization.org . [4] Written from an insider’s perspective. . A closer examination of the work may explain why this might be so. The author is not a philosopher. both the one that existed in the past and the one that should exist today. causality.’ The ninth chapter presents apologetic discourses on the harmony between science and Islam as the product of the ’colonized’ discourses of indigenous Muslim reformers of the late 19th century.’ esoteric traditions influenced by various Greek hermetic and alchemic traditions. and specifically scientific disciplines (astronomy.’ since it includes: Islamic ‘religious sciences. both Ars Disputandi 6 (2006). cosmological). whereby science is ‘no more the integral unit of the Islamic tradition. ontological. both religious and secular. medieval theological cosmologies. a new genre of scientific exegesis of the Qur’an.’ The last chapter calls for a reconnection of Islam and science ‘through a central nexus which is the unitive function’ that was and should constitute the basis of any Islam/science discourse. interconnected and diverse forces of the last two centuries. [3] The seventh and eight chapters explore the complex. but a Muslim chemist and writer who is aware that his tentative conclusions ‘might not be shared by certain historians of science’ in Islam. . an Islamic aesthetic experiential component (architecture). the lost of the primacy of Arabic as lingua franca. the replacement of the traditional system of education with a Western educational system. medieval philosophical speculations (theological. Chapter ten criticizes ‘Islamization of modern science’ projects. nor a historian of ideas. independently and defiantly charting its own course’ with its own ‘theology of nature and a world view competing against other worldviews. or community of Muslims (political transformation). the primary source.’ since the Qur’an cannot be interpreted ‘in the light of a knowledge that is always changing. They introduced a new kind of discourse. motion. and the introduction of a Western political system and its institutions. mathematics. encapsulated in such statements as ‘the Qur’an is the foundation upon which everything Islamic is built . that changed the Muslim world in four fundamental ways: the disintegration of the umma. a historian or a sociologist of science. An all-encompassing notion of Islamic scientific tradition can then provide support for the main thesis.ArsDisputandi.Roxanne D. [5] A first methodological difficulty the work encounters is rooted in a conceptual confusion over what constitutes the ‘Islamic scientific tradition. the essential textbook’ of all knowledge. various theological discussions about time. that emerged from the Islamic civilization. and creation and their attempts at harmonizing theology and metaphysics. These changes are responsible for the decline of the Islamic scientific tradition. physics). Such claims become the basis for what is then taken as demonstrations of the existence of an inherent ‘nexus’ between Qur’an/religion and all sciences. medicine. the work will undoubtedly fuel debates over the nature of the relationship between Islam and science.’ but becomes ‘an autonomous and powerful entity. for their ‘profanation of the religious texts.

In the classical period. Islam infused all aspect of the intellectual activities of Muslims as well as the scientific tradition. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science religious sciences and the specifically scientific (secular) disciplines.org . e.Roxanne D. translation and naturalization of new knowledge abound. genetics. astronomy (or the new sciences of molecular microbiology. The work’s account of the development of sciences in Islam provides fodder for the main thesis. [6] This brings us to a second methodological problem that is rooted in the presentation of evidence. by providing the latter with its core Islamic metaphysical principles from which it was not divorced.g. or what it calls the ‘cultural matrix’ that gave it birth. Persian. The work assumes that there was no distinction between Islamic metaphysical principles and the scientific tradition. If one argues that the Hebrew Bible is similar in this regard. but maintains a reductionist assumption that every scientific development in the Islamic world was shaped by Islam and its worldview and glosses over much of the more complex issues that lie at the heart of the historical development of scientific traditions in the Muslim world. which implicitly assumes the existence of a relationship between metaphysical knowledge and the scientific traditions. Ars Disputandi 6 (2006). Examples provided to illustrate the process of appropriation. is not a historical or a scientific explanation.g. The premises of such arguments can only lead to the more serious problem of drawing erroneous conclusions that ascribe to the Qur’an and its central message the role of establishing a ‘nexus between the physical cosmos and the metaphysical realm’ as objects of a scientific investigation. The work illustrates the difficulties that a non rigorous use of what constitutes a ‘scientific’ tradition can generate. e. etc. This was certainly not the case with al-Khwarazmi or Ibn Hayyan whose works were certainly more influenced by ideas that were non Islamic. how would one account for the lack of scientific impact in the Jewish tradition.ArsDisputandi. Greek. Stating that what infused their works was the metaphysics of the Qur’an. Babylonian. biology. The work fails to properly explain why most scientific works did not refer to the Qur’an. e.) in the Islamic world cannot be reduced to or explained by appealing to Islamic metaphysical principles.. astrophysics. http://www.. The history of such sciences as mathematics. The work also adduces examples of theologians (mutakallimun) who worked on ideas that embraced logic.g.. their atomism to account for an Islamic understanding of the world and of God’s actions. Holding that certain Qur’anic beliefs were at the heart of scientific explanations and that methodologies developed by the religious Qur’anic sciences provided some elements of the methodology used by natural sciences is quite problematic. for the religious sciences and for theology. failing to note that the latter were all at the service of their theological metaphysics. Indian. Egyptian. The work notes that the Islamic scientific tradition was only one part of the larger context of the Islamic tradition. Equally problematic are unsubstantiated claims that the sciences of early Islam developed a Qur’an methodology that was used by the scientific tradition. epistemology and cosmology. but the work falls short of convincingly illustrating and demonstrating that this was the case in the realm of natural or theoretical sciences to the extent that only what was Islamic was retained and naturalized.

La science dans les sociétés islamiques. is projected onto all facets of human experience (ethics. politics) that extend to the ‘numerous internal links between all branches of knowledge in Islam as well as the process through which an integrated and holistic theory of knowledge had emerged from the twin sources of revelation and the tradition of the Prophet of Islam. 2006). Casablanca: Publications de la Fondation du Roi Abdulaziz pour les sciences humaines et les études islamiques. Islam. metaphysics. sociology. nourished by the teachings of the Qur’an and the hadiths. nor scientific explanations. Theological and metaphysical explanations are by definition ‘scientifically’ non demonstrable and.’ Less ideological is the forthcoming Bennacer El Bouazzati’s ‘The Formation of the Scientific Tradition within Islamic Culture’ (in Mohammed Abattouy (ed. but argues that the advent and decline of the Islamic scientific tradition owes everything to the presence or absence of the Islamic/religious worldview.e. moral.). derived from the Islamic notion of unity (tawhid). one needs to examine modern science from the perspective of the Islamic concept of nature taken as a whole and within its own matrix which is based on the revealed text. The ultimate foundation of their interrelatedness at the level of cosmic existence is their ontological dependence on God. but this does not prevent the author to affirm that ‘for a creative exploration of the relationship between Islam and modern science. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science [7] The source of these methodological problems lies perhaps with the work’s holistic approach that places the Qur’an (revelation) and the sunna of the Prophet at the heart of the religion/science nexus. and supplemented by the Sunna of the Prophet of Islam. in order to argue that an ‘intrinsic nexus between various levels of existence transforms the multiplicity of appearances into a unity.org . perhaps..e. The Ars Disputandi 6 (2006).. i. On the contrary. not part of a scientific method or explanation. [8] In his ‘Islam and Science: A false Statement of the Problem’ published in Islam & Science: Journal of Islamic Perspectives on Science (Dec. philosophy) were – and are still – capable of producing Islamic sciences. therefore. Such claims are controversial from historical.ArsDisputandi. cosmology. i. over scientific activities. sociological and epistemological perspectives. Islam and Science holds that a society dominated by Islamic values. provided the impetus for the development of the rich Islamic scientific tradition and thus incorrectly suggests that religious beliefs/worldviews.Roxanne D. This was certainly not the case in the West where the rise of the scientific tradition occurred without the metaphysical principles of the Qur’an and the sunna. theological and metaphysical worldviews that religious traditions produce and postulate neither produce science. best illustrated the problem that this type of approach encounters in its attempt to ascribe some sort of historical ‘agency’ to religious beliefs. The work notes the impact of foreign (Greek) knowledge.’ This particular holistic approach accounts for a number of problematic claims that the Islamic scientific tradition was ‘intimately connected with the worldview created by Islam and so thoroughly rooted in the Qur’an’s and that the same Islamic metaphysical truths that produced Islamic medieval metaphysical discourses (theology. 2003). Gutas has. can be the main driving forces behind the development of a scientific tradition. http://www.’ This ontological unitive principle. the Qur’an. to Islam and its metaphysical worldview.

org . Islam is unique. At the heart of all revivalist projects is an ‘idealized’ version of Islam that the ‘vanguard’ (term used in the work and made famous by Sayyid Qutb.Roxanne D. For similar reasons. or any religious tradition. with research projects. was and. Ian Barbour) that try to explain the religion/science relationship. one of the leaders of the holistic revivalist project of the Muslim Brotherhood) attempts to re-actualize and implement via the establishment of an Islamic Society/State. Again. Islam’s idealized role is projected onto the development of scientific traditions. The work. (iii) the reintroduction of the traditional (religious) system of education. chaos theory. through education. Once more. and (iv) a return to an Islamic political system and its (traditional) institutions. Such contemporary debates are deemed a mere ‘historical anomaly’ in Islam. theory of relativity. but it does not provide philosophical discussions on contemporary issues or on their philosophical implications (e. more problematic. the problem of agency attributed to Islam in the medieval period resurfaces as the conditions for the naturalization of new knowledge become the re-Islamization of Muslim societies.. Islamic sciences will once again thrive when scientists will be educated and trained in an ‘organic’ and living Islamic tradition (read: a re-Islamized society). (ii) a return to Arabic as lingua franca of the Islamic world. can be the driving engine that produces a scientific tradition. however..g. [9] Efforts to demonstrate the existence of an inherent ‘nexus’ between Islam and science constitute part of the ‘ideological’ underpinning of the work.e. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science work’s theological and metaphysical explanations fail to take into account any sociological. Islam cannot be classified in any of the traditional typologies (e. the Islamic worldview. provides a useful review of existing Ars Disputandi 6 (2006). theory of evolution. The work rests on the (false) assumption that Islam.’ i. productive of knew Islamic knowledge. institutions.’ The ideological underpinning of the work constitutes the hallmark of a familiar holistic revivalist (fundamentalist) discourse. economical. the work does not quite succeed to overcome the intellectual paucity of contemporary studies on the religion and science debate in Islam. On the whole. stem cell research).g. In this work. quantum mechanics. http://www. [10] The work provides a useful historical overview of the development of different intellectual traditions and debates in Islam.’ Once reestablished via the ‘new nexus. funding. This is made evident with the implicit prescriptive solutions for the revival of a truly Islamic scientific tradition: (i) the revival of the umma (political entity). and patronage. Islam is unique. The work is a Muslim’s ‘urgent and creative response’ to the ‘triumphant force of modern science that seeks to replace all worldviews other than its own. These religion/science debates are foreign to Islam and only occur today because of a lost of the original religion/science ‘nexus.. Islamic beliefs and worldviews will become producers of an Islamic scientific tradition once the Qur’an and the sunna reintroduce this ‘matrix’. Arguments for the role of this nexus to explain the vitality and the decline of the scientific traditions in the Islamic world are used to suggest that a revival of this original medieval religion/science symbiosis provides the conditions for the establishment of the needed ‘new nexus.’ this anomaly will disappear. or political factors in its explanation of the development (rise and decline) of a thriving scientific tradition.ArsDisputandi.

natural sciences. theological. etc.) traditions that took place in the Islamic world and of some of their historical developments. Marcotte: Review of Islam and Science scholarship on various scientific (religious. A work that explores the philosophical problems that arise with the contemporary Islam and science discourse has yet to be written. philosophical. http://www. Ars Disputandi 6 (2006).ArsDisputandi.org .Roxanne D.