Saturday, November 27, 2004

Into the dark

In the November 18 issue of Nature, two Pakistani scientific administrators, Atta-ur-Rahman and Anwar Nasim, call for Islam to return to the tradition of "enlightened moderation" that characterized Islamic culture from the 8th to the 15th century. Six of the eight poorest nations on Earth are primarily Islamic, they say, and Islam in general is drifting toward fundamentalism and extremism.

Central to the called-for renaissance is renewed emphasis on scientific education and research, say Atta-ur-Rahman and Nasim, and they reach out to the West for cooperation and interaction. It would be wonderful to think that the United States would answer their call, but unfortunately it seems that we are moving away from "enlightened moderation" towards our own brand of anti-science fundamentalism.