Wednesday 16 April 2008
Exploring the universe via scientific means is a way of worshipping God, according to a leading Islamic cosmologist.
Dr Bruno Guiderdoni, an astrophysicist based in France, believes that there is a fundamental link between the pursuit of science and a life of faith. A convert to Islam, Dr Guiderdoni will explore the subject of Islam and science at a public event at the University of St Andrews tomorrow (Thursday 17 April 2008).
Speaking in advance, he said, "It is not possible to be a cosmologist without addressing fundamental questions about our origins and about our future. Exploration of the cosmos is a way of worshipping God.
"Einstein used to say that the most mysterious thing of the world is the fact that the world is understandable; that we can describe it by mathematics. For a believer, this is something obvious: we see the intelligence that God has put in the world."
Having embraced Islam in 1987, Dr Guiderdoni is also a scholar of Islamic theology. Another area of research Dr Guiderdoni is interested in is why the Islamic world seldom participates in scientific research.
He said, "In contrast with other cultural zones, the Islamic world seems to participate very little in the scientific pursuit of today, and to be struck by recurrent social and political disorders. Several authors have attributed these two facts to the same cause: the presumed inability of the Islamic faith to establish a sound relationship with the practice of reason, and consequently to enforce reasonable behaviours in societies.
"I am interested in this issue as a Western Muslim, who happens to be a professional scientist. Although ignorance, hate and violence do exist in the Islamic world, I believe that the spiritual tenets and intellectual resources of the Islamic faith actually prompt us to knowledge, love and peace."
Dr Guiderdoni will deliver the lecture to leading figures from scientific and theological disciplines throughout Scotland, as well as students and members of the public. The event is the third in the James Gregory public lecture series in Science and Religion - an innovative series co-organised by Professors Eric Priest and Alan Torrance from the diverse fields ofMathematics and Theology respectively.
Dr Guiderdoni lectures widely on spiritual and intellectual aspects of Islam and presented a series of programmes over a six-year period for French television called 'Knowing Islam'. He has published over 60 papers on issues of the current relevance of Islam and is also concerned with promoting interfaith understanding and challenging cultural mistrust.
"Images of the Muslim world today speak of violence, ignorance, and poverty," he said. "But when one looks at the tenets of Islam, one finds a peaceful religion that praises knowledge and love, and considers itself the last ring of a long chain of revelations of the same unique way God was worshipped by Jews and Christians," he said.
Dr Guiderdoni is Director of Research at the French National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). He currently serves as Director of the Observatory of Lyon and is a leading expert in cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution.
The lecture `Islam and Science' will be delivered by Dr Bruno Guiderdoni at 5.15pm on Thursday 17th April 2008 at the Younger Hall, St Andrews. The lecture is open to the public and free to attend.
For further details on the lecture series visit www.jamesgregory.org
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Professor Guiderdoni is available for interview via Fiona Bond, tel 01334 828111, email firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE LECTURE SERIES CONTACT
Professor Eric Priest, 01334 463 709, email@example.com
Professor Alan Torrance, 01334 462 843, firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:
IMAGES OF DR GUIDERDONI ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE - CONTACTS BELOW.
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, or email email@example.com
Ref: Science and Islam 150408
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