Islam & Science

Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy gives us a fascinating overview of Islam's long and variable engagement with science. "The question I want to pose—perhaps as much to myself as to anyone else—is this: With well over a billion Muslims and extensive material resources, why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the process of creating new knowledge?"

I was first intrigued by this question when I read Kim Stanley Robinson's alternate history The Years of Rice and Salt, which posited a world in which the Bubonic Plague wiped out 90% of Europe's population in the 13th Century, leaving the unified Islamic nations and China's Celestial Kingdom as the dominant world powers.