Friday, February 02, 2007

Islam and Modern Science

Wow, how to characterize a couple of things. First, this is a lecture by Seyyid Hossein Nasr, given at MIT, no date, claims to be an accurate transcript taken by the Pakistan Study Group. Nasr talks about how Islamic historians of science, the precious few of them, must reorient Western science within an Islamic world view. (He also does the standard leapfrog of "We did it first.") His metaphor is that of digestion: Islamic historians of science must take Western science and "reject" what it doesn't want, just as the human body "rejects" indigestible food.

Anyone have a problem with that?

He also argues that science is not value free, and that's why science has to be reoriented within Islam. Then he claims that science has a deleterious effect on the young, and consequently, it has to be managed carefully or they'll stop saying their prayers.

And I'd so hoped that I'd found a rational, objective Islamic thinker.

Fortunately, there's help via Wikipedia:

Underdetermination (sometimes indeterminacy of data to theory) is a term used in the discussion of theories and their relation to the evidence that is cited to support them. Arguments from underdetermination are used to support epistemic relativism by claiming that there is no good way to certify a theory based on any set of evidence. A theory (or statement or belief) is underdetermined if, given the available evidence, there is a rival theory which is inconsistent with the theory that is at least as consistent with the evidence. Underdetermination is an epistemological issue about the relation of evidence to conclusions.

Looks like Islamic science will claim underdetermination as its rightful entry point into Western scientific thought and practice.

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