IOWA CITY, Iowa, May 25, 2012 – In the U.S., debates about science and religion in the classroom tend to focus on American public high schools, where local school boards argue about Darwin and the Bible.
But as the recent controversy at University College in London showed earlier this academic year, there are considerable tensions and debates among Muslims about the degree to which science challenges fundamental tenets of Islam.
The project is managed by Shakir Mohammed from the AIC’s office in Washington, D.C. Mohammed grew up in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. on a scholarship to study business management. He stayed on after earning a Master’s in International Development and Environmental Sustainability, and worked for the City of Pittsburgh’s Business Department for three years before joining the AIC.
To address the growing concern about Islam and creationism (among other issues), Shakir launched the first of six seminars on Islam and Science at the University of Iowa last month. The seminar series is also funded by the John Templeton Foundation, which takes a proactive approach (some would say too proactive) in the debates about religion and science.
As a former Templeton-Cambridge Journalism fellow, with particular interest in science and religion, I was invited to be on the first panel. (I’ll be posting a video with highlights from the panel in a follow up post.) I’m also interested in the history of Islamic science, particularly its huge influence on European philosophy and science in the Middle Ages.