Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Islam and Science workshop presentations – London 2013

July 27, 2015

Bismillah. I have been working on the report for the “Islam & Science – The Big Questions” (of science and Islamic theology) Task Force that I convened in Istanbul in February 2015, chaired by Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, by the grace of God.  The Task Force report will be published in a few weeks, God-willing.

This reminded me that we had not sufficiently circulated the presentations from our “Islam & Science” workshop in London from 2013, some of which the current Task Force builds on.  So, here are the presentations from that workshop, as well as the final report. These should be of interest to anyone interested in cutting-edge discussions about Islam and science, religion and science, etc. University students should find these presentations a useful resource, especially for their own dissertations and theses. Enjoy!

front page of Islam Science Workshop

1- Ibn Sina – Ehsan Masood

2- Science and Religion – Jean Staune

3- Islam and Modern Science – Nidhal Guessoum: slides unavailable, but you may view a similar lecture with similar slides here (Faraday Institute, University of Cambridge)

4- 1001 Inventions Exhibition – Yasmin Khan

5- Science Policy and Politics in the Islamic World – Athar Osama

6- Theories of Evolution – Jean Staune

6a- Lying in the Name of God – Jean Staune

7- Evolution and Islam – Nidhal Guessoum: slides unavailable, but you may read one of his articles on the topic here

8- Islam and the Theory-Fact of Evolution – Usama Hasan

9- Islamic Cosmology – Bruno Guiderdoni

10- Islam Science Ethics – Usama Hasan

Islam and Science Workshop 2013 – Final Report

 

Islam and Science Workshop – London 2013 – A Summary

February 22, 2013

Bismillah.  This is a cross-post from http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/events/islam-science-workshop-2013/

Quilliam, in association with the Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris, the American University of Sharjah and Muslim-Science.com, organised and hosted an international workshop entitled “Islam and Science: A Reasoned Approach” for students and young researchers, 18th-20th January 2013 at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

The participants consisted of 23 people selected by submission of essays on Science-Religion topics and/or their suitability as “disseminators of ideas” following on from the workshop. These 23 participants included three people from France, the USA and Egypt. There were a total of seven speakers at the workshop: three from the UK, two from France and one each from the UAE and Pakistan.

Introduction – Friday 18th January 2013

The workshop began with a screening of the 1-hour documentary film, Science and Islam – Dialogues for the 21st Century, which was produced by the Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris and featuring interviews with 22 leading scientists, theologians, philosophers and thinkers about the interfaces between religion and science in general, and focusing on Islam in particular.

This was followed by a presentation by Ehsan Masood, author of the BBC series-accompanying book, Islam and Science: A History, a presentation entitled Ibn Sina (Avicenna) – The Man Who Knew Everything, about the life, work and influence throughout Islamic and Christian history of this early Muslim polymath. A lively discussion followed about Ibn Sina’s philosophy and methodology and the scientific rationalisation of miracles.

Saturday 19th January 2013

Prof. Jean Staune (Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris) started with presentation on Science and Religion in the World today & New Paradigms of Science, in which he summarised the major developments in 20th-century science such as relativity and quantum theories in physics, Godel’s theorem in mathematical epistemology, and De Duve and Conway-Morris’ ideas of direction, non-randomness, and convergence in biological evolution. He showed how these “new paradigms” have influenced the discourse in “Science and Religion”, and how this field has become a growing academic discipline in its own right with chairs at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. This was followed by Prof. Nidhal Guessoum (American University of Sharjah), who gave a general overview of the main topic, Islam and Science, showing why “modern science” (particularly “methodological naturalism”) poses a challenge for traditional religious views and discussing the various contemporary Muslim responses to the challenge, ranging from Nasr’s “Sacred Science” and Sardar’s “Islamic/Ethical Science” to Salam’s “Universal Science”, ending with his own “Averroesian Harmonization.”

Yasmin Khan (former curator at both the Science Museum and the British Library) spoke on The 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the Science Museum, London: Engaging the Public in a Multicultural History of Science, a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of commissioning the most successful touring exhibition in the history of the Science Museum, with a screening of the exhibition’s central 15-minute film, 1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets, starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari.

Dr. Athar Osama (of Muslim-Science.com) complemented the day’s philosophical, theological, historical, civilisational and public-outreach themes with a sobering presentation on Science Policy in the Muslim World Today: Challenges and Prospects, focusing on governmental public policy and investment in science education and research and an analysis of the funding and work of COMSTECH, the OIC’s arm for science and technology.

Sunday 20th January 2013

Dr. Jean Staune gave a fascinating presentation on the Theories of Evolution. The philosopher of science showed multiple lines of evidence that evolution is an indisputable fact, but one that should not be confused with Darwinism. Based on the research of leading palaeontologists such as Conway-Morris and on the work of Nobel laureate De Duve and others, Staune insisted that the current Darwinian theory of evolution is incompatible at best, and presented ideas implying that evolution is a process leading, sooner or later, to beings like us with a consciousness of their own existence and the ability to seek God.

This was followed by a joint presentation on Islam and the Theory/Fact of Evolution by Prof. Nidhal Guessoum and Dr. Usama Hasan (Quilliam). The presentations included theological and scriptural arguments supporting evolution as well as a history of evolutionary ideas within Muslim civilisation since the 9th century CE from Al-Jahiz and the Brethren of Purity through to Rumi and Ibn Khaldun, a history recognised by a number of historians, Muslim and non-Muslim ones. Also covered was the acceptance of biological evolution by 19th/20th-century Muslim theologians such as Husain al-Jisr (nicknamed “the Ash’ari of our times” by Afghani), and ‘Abd al-Sabur Shahin, a well-known scholar of Al-Azhar. Current Muslim resistance to scientific facts was illustrated with historical precedents of misreading the Qur’an to make inflexible but erroneous assertions about scientific matters, such as Ibn Kathir and Shanqiti’s insistence that the earth was created before the heavens, Suyuti’s insistence that the earth is flat and Ibn Taymiyyah’s assertion that cattle (sheep, goats, cows and camels) were created in heaven (which would imply that modern-day followers of Ibn Taymiyyah who insist that humans were created in heaven and descended from there must also believe the same about those four species of mammals).

The sessions by Staune, Guessoum and Hasan illustrated well the irony that whilst modern biology, built on evolution, has succeeded in mapping the entire human genome as well as the DNA of thousands of other species, and new fields emerge such as astrobiology and the origin-of-life research looking at deep-sea volcanoes, many Muslims (and Christians) continue to debate whether or not evolution (including that of humans) is a fact, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence.

Dr. Bruno Abdelhaq Guiderdoni (Director of the Lyon Observatory) gave a fascinating presentation on Islam & Cosmology: Yesterday and Today, based on the mind-boggling discoveries of modern astronomy, including the existence of exo-planets in earth-like habitable orbits around stars other than the sun. In his lecture, Dr. Guiderdoni stressed the need to read the “Book of Nature” along with the “Book of God” and to maintain the inseparability of science and ethics. The discussion included topics such as the possibility of a multiverse and the question of extra-terrestrial intelligence and life-forms.

Dr. Guiderdoni’s emphasis on ethics led nicely to the session by Dr. Usama Hasan on Islam, Science and Ethics, in which he presented the theory of Maqasid al-Sharia (The Universal, Higher Objectives of Islamic Law) as an Islamic framework for ethics suitable for “Universal Science.” The framework is based on the Islamic principles of justice as minimum, compassion as maximum, promoting benefit and avoiding harm. The theory was illustrated with reference to ethical questions around family planning, abortion and organ transplants.

The workshop concluded with an open and long discussion session involving all participants, further exploring the ideas presented at the workshop and possible next steps to take the exciting conversations forward.

Islam and Science Workshop 2013

November 27, 2012
Bismillah.  This is a cross-post from http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/events/islam-science-workshop-2013/

Islam & Science Workshop 2013

FINAL CALL: Deadline extended to 9am on Monday 14th January 2013

Quilliam, in association with the American University of Sharjah, Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris and Muslim-Science.com, are pleased to announce a workshop entitled, “Islam and Science: A Reasoned Approach” for students and young researchers to be held on 18th-20th January 2013 at a prestigious location in Central London, UK.

This event will be the latest in a series of educational workshops that have previously been held in Algiers, Paris and other locations. A “reasoned approach” will be taken to Islam and Science: one that is well informed, balanced and constructive. The workshop will represent a unique opportunity for Muslim students and young researchers to discover the contemporary field of ‘science and religion’ through lectures by, and in-depth discussions with, internationally-recognised thinkers and experts in this field, including Prof. Nidhal Guessoum, Prof. Jean Staune, Prof. Bruno Guiderdoni, Ehsan Masood, Dr. Athar Osama and Dr. Usama Hasan.

Participants can attend the workshop by invitation only. There will be 20 invitations and in order to be selected, potential participants must complete and submit this application form (also below) and an accompanying essay on a subject that directly relates to the general theme of the workshop and to the topic of ‘Islam and Science.’

The eligibility criteria to apply for an invitation to the workshop are as follows:

• Participants must be either senior undergraduate students, graduate students, or young researchers (post-doctoral fellows or equivalent).
• The essays submitted by potential participants must be 1000-2000 words in English with an abstract of roughly 150 words.
• The essays must present an argument representative of the author’s opinion. They must be written in an academic style and include bibliographic references for every citation or factual statement, while avoiding being a summary or compilation of ideas expressed by other people.
• Potential participants should try to be consistent with the “reasoned approach” of this workshop and project on the theme of “Islam and Science.” In their essays, potential participants must avoid excessively focusing on “separationist” approaches which relegate religion to people’s private lives and science to the material world, or “concordist” approaches which “find” specific science in the scriptures and end up merely trivialising Islamic culture and its relationship to science.
• All essays must be submitted by email to workshop@QuilliamFoundation.org by 9am on Monday 14th January 2013. Essays received after this time will not be considered.

• Telephone interviews may be conducted to complete the selection process and to verify participants’ interest in, and familiarity with, the subject.
• The best essays may either be presented verbally by their authors during the workshop or published on the project website.The 20 participants who demonstrate their aptitude to fully benefit from the workshop will have all of their expenses paid (including transport, hotel accommodation and catering) and receive valuable educational material (books, articles, DVD, etc.).

Application Form
Islam & Science Workshop in London
18-20 January, 2013

Full name: ………………………………………………………………………..
Date of Birth: …………………………………………………………………………………..
Postal Address: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Telephone Number:…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Current educational / employment status:……………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Academic Qualifications (include college and university attended): …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Email Address: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Website (if applicable): ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Important: Please attach this form to a short essay of between one thousand and two thousand words, include an abstract of roughly one hundred and fifty words, and send to the following email address: Workshop@QuilliamFoundation.org by 9am on Monday 14th January 2013.

LECTURERS:

Nidhal Guessoum: Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Associate Dean at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates; he has published several books on science with direct or indirect relevance to Islam, as well as dozens of scholarly papers in astrophysics and numerous articles on science, education, and culture. He has also organized two conferences (and co-edited the proceedings) on the application of Astronomy to Islamic problems.

Bruno Abdelhaq Guiderdoni: Director of the Observatory of Lyon (France), his main research being in galaxy formation and evolution, with over 100 papers published in the field. He is also a prominent Muslim figure in France; from 1993 to 1999 he was in charge of a French public television program ‘Knowing Islam’; he is a member of the Board of Advisors of the John Templeton Foundation.

Ehsan Masood: Science policy expert, writer, teacher, journalist, and broadcaster. He is the editor of Research Fortnight and Research Europe and teaches at Imperial College London. Masood’s latest book is Science and Islam: A History, in which he tells the story of how science developed during Islam’s imperial period, from 800 to 1500; the book was the official tie-in to a three-part documentary series on BBC Television presented by the award-winning Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey.

Jean Staune: with degrees in Philosophy of Science, Mathematics, Paleontology, Political Science, Computer Science, and Management, he has taught at two Pontifical universities, in China at Shandong University, and is currently an adjunct professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne; he is also the founder and General Secretary of the Interdisciplinary University of Paris, and has published several best-selling books on science, philosophy and religion in France.

Usama Hasan: Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies at Quilliam, he has a PhD, MA & MSc from the Universities of Cambridge and London in Theoretical Physics and Artificial Intelligence, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Also a traditionally-trained Imam with certification in Qur’an and Hadith, he is the author of a number of translations and academic papers in the fields of Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic law and ethics. He is a regular contributor to mainstream, international media.

Athar Osama: Science and innovation policy consultant and advisor. He is the founder of Muslim-Science.com and the Pakistan Innovation Foundation.

Others TBC