Islamic Affinities with New Sciences and Technologies
Science and Technology (ST) understood as mechanical Newtonian physics and industry has indeed bypassed Muslim societies - and that’s a good thing. Because with the new ST Muslims can become full participants rather than passive recipients. From the 1960s and 1970s, a few Muslim thinkers sounded the alarm about ST (e.g., Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Ismail Faruqi, and Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas). They were aware that Muslim societies were trying to catch up and join a system of knowledge and technological tools that were both ontologically opposed to Islam and harmful to Muslim cultures. At the same time, thinkers in the West were horrified at the implications of ST for the natural world and for human freedom (e.g., Theodore Roszak, Jerry Mander, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul). Today, from intellectual discourse to popular culture and movies, the idea that the old science and technology has gone wrong is easy to find and accept.