A Response to Damian Howard, Rana Dajani

SERRC —  February 19, 2015 — 9 Comments

Author Information: Rana Dajani, Hashemite University, rdajani@hu.edu.jo

Dajani, Rana. “A Response to Damian Howard.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 3 (2015): 43-44.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1WC

Please refer to:

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Image credit: LWYang, via flickr

In response to Damian Howard’s reflections (“Some Reflections on Stefano Bigliardi’s ‘On Harmonizing Islam and Science’”, 2014) on Stefano Bigliardi’s piece, I have two points to make.

1. I quote Howard:

If, as Bigliardi suggests, they are favourable to the idea of biological evolution (which, I think we have to admit is not present as an idea in either the Qur’an or the Bible) can that in any way enhance their religious outlook, beliefs and practices? And if not, why not?

I disagree on two counts. 

On the first count, I do not want to look into the Qur’an for evidence for scientific facts. Having said that, I can see verses in the Qur’an that actually support evolution. Therefore, in this context, the Qur’an is different than the Bible. I have given an example in my article in Zygon (Dajani 2012).

On the second count, as a new generation scientist my explorations, especially in the science of evolution, lead me to appreciate the elegance and simplicity of how species evolved. That, to me, is ultimate proof to a greater power who sets simple rules to create complex systems over time.

2. Howard (2014, 51) proposes three categories to describe the relationship between science and religion—in this case Islam. I lean towards 3 b in how I approach science. To me, an ongoing dialogue exists between religion and science. Where one (religion) seeks to guide how to live our lives, and the other (science) deals with discovering how the world works. Both cross over each other. For example, science seeks to understand the higher functions of the brain and what conscience means. One, then, ultimately enters into the realm of religion. Therefore, my approach to both religion and science is an ongoing journey of discovery—the relationship is fluid. It flows like a stream (which fits the description stated by Howard):

Hence, there is a real and pressing need for dialogue and mutual critique. But it’s not about achieving “harmony” once and for all as in cognitive propositionalism but a constant dialectic of mutual interrogation. Which is rather a good description of one’s actual experience of the field. There is no final answer, no ultimate stability (51-52).

This is the path I propose Muslim scientists should adopt.

References

Dajani, Rana. “Evolution and Islam’s Quantum Question” Zygon 47 no. 2 (2012): 343-353.

Howard, Damian. “Some Reflections on Stefano Bigliardi’s ‘On Harmonizing Islam and Science’”. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no.10 (2014): 50-52.

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