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Eminent Lives in Twentieth-Century Science and Religion

With chapters on: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, Edward O. Wilson

Edited By Nicolaas A. Rupke

Can science and religion coexist in harmony? Or is conflict inevitable? In this volume an international team of distinguished scholars addresses these enduring yet urgent questions by examining the lives of thirteen eminent twentieth-century scientists whose careers were marked by the interaction of science and religion: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, and Edward O. Wilson. The richly empirical studies show a diversity of creative engagements between science and religion that defy efforts to set the two at odds.

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MARTIN RIEXINGER Abdus Salam (1926-96) 317

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Abdus Salam: A Nobel physicist from the Muslim world MARTIN RIEXINGER In 2003 the United Nations Human Development Programme (UNHDP) published the second report on human development in the Arab World, entitled Building a Knowledge Society. Although "blame the West" rheto- ric permeates the document, it avoids the self-pity that characterizes much of the contemporary discourse in the Islamic World. Instead the authors draw attention to the fact that the Arab World is almost totally cut off from the progress of modern science. In addition, they stress that with respect to science the Arab countries lag considerably behind non-Mus- lim Asian Third-World countries (UNHDP 2003, 69-73). A 2006 study of scientific publishing in several Islamic countries arrived at similar con- clusions: only Turkish scientists publish at a rate equal to non-Muslim countries with a similar per capita GDP (Butler 2006). The authors of the UNHDP report explicitly blame domestic factors for the dismal state of affairs, citing besides political disinterest and social structures that en- courage conformism the rigid interpretation of Islam as one factor inhib- iting creative research and free thought (UNHDP 2003, 81-83, 111-127, 153-155). Pakistan is not included in either of the two studies, but it is reason- able to assume that the results equally apply to the country with the sec- ond largest Muslim population in the world, because literacy rates are lower there than in all Arab countries with the exception of Yemen, and in particular also in comparison to Turkey and Iran. Nevertheless, the...

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