. "4 Wisdom: the Best Gateway to Understanding--Mostafa Mohagheh Damad ." Science as a Gateway to Understanding: International Workshop Proceedings, Tehran, Iran. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Science as a Gateway to Understanding: International Workshop Proceedings Tehran, Iran
In Islamic literature, science has been divided into two groups: useful and harmful. The former leads to the development and promotion of human society, while the latter causes corruption on Earth and the destruction of humans and nature. Science is useful as long as it makes mankind humble toward the magnificence of being, and useful science goes hand in hand with spirituality and ethics. On the other hand, harmful science engenders man’s arrogance to a degree that he neither shows any regard for his natural environment nor for his fellow man.
It is because of the aforementioned scientific arrogance that modern man finds no reconciliation with the earth and the very environment in which he lives. On the contrary, he pollutes and destroys it ever more; man’s arrogance is a result of his excessiveness in the sciences.
The excessive belief in the sciences, or put differently, a dry and petrified scientific attitude devoid of any spiritual background, an interpretation of the world from the narrow angle of the natural sciences, is the main reason for the destruction and corruption of mankind’s natural environment. This is the most conspicuous result of the industrial developments of the last few centuries. Science has brought forth man’s unlimited arrogance. In modern culture, science has replaced religious belief and thus has become man’s true master.
It was Auguste Comte, the science-praising French philosopher, who first divided the development of our knowledge into three historical phases: first, the divine or godly phase; second, the philosophical or abstract phase; and third, the scientific phase (Comte, 1853). In the divine phase, man attributes all phenomena and all changes in the world to God’s will or to supernatural forces. In the philosophical phase, man’s intellect becomes capable of experimentation and the art of abstraction, thus relating the development of natural phenomena to forces that are themselves hidden, but whose effects are apparent. In this stage, man searches for a subjective and final explanation for the natural world. In the last phase, which is scientific and experimental, both man’s reason and