Science and Religion around the World

Science and Religion around the World

Science and Religion around the World

Science and Religion around the World

Synopsis

Because the claim of universalism is associated with Western science, it is often taken for granted that, when exported, scientific knowledge simply diffuses unchanged into other regions. But what really happens when the science of one culture encounters that of another or becomes enmeshed in a different set of values? All too often scholars of science and religion have focused their attention almost exclusively on the Christian experience, mentioning Jews and Muslims only in passing. At a time when religious ignorance and misunderstanding have lethal consequences, such provincialism must be avoided. The wide range of possibilities in the study of science and religion makes it particularly desirable to look at both fields not parochially but around the world, and the goal of this book is to expand the knowledge of science and religion beyond its largely Christian base to include not only the other Abrahamic faiths but the indigenous traditions of Africa and Asia.

Excerpt

The past quarter-century has seen an explosion of interest in the history of science and religion. But all too often the scholars writing it have focused their attention almost exclusively on the Christian experience, while sometimes mentioning Jews and Muslims in passing. At a time when religious ignorance and misunderstanding have lethal consequences, such provincialism must be avoided. Thus in this pioneering effort we go beyond the Abrahamic traditions to examine the way nature has been understood and manipulated in regions as diverse as ancient China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. We do not, however, slight Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the literature devoted to the place of science in those cultural traditions. For these monotheistic religions a division into ancient and modern periods, in separate chapters, has been adopted for convenience, though we recognize the arbitrariness of any attempt to fix a sharp divide marking the distinction—even in Europe, where the seventeenth century witnessed a remarkable expansion in the quality and scope of scientific activity. In contemporary societies, it is often taken for granted that science goes hand in hand with secularity and undermines religious authority in the process. For this reason we are including a chapter in which historical connections between science and un belief are explored.

Because the claim of universalism is associated with Western science, it is often assumed that, when exported, scientific knowledge simply diffused unchanged into other regions, which have either been receptive or not, as the case may be. But what really happens when the science of one culture encounters that of another or becomes enmeshed in a different set of values? The issue here is not whether laws of nature corroborated within one scientific culture might fail if applied elsewhere. It would be ridiculous to suggest that the laws of aerodynamics that apply when a plane flies over . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.