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Book review: An Illusion of Harmony, by Taner Edis

Taner Edis is a physicist who was born in Turkey to a Turkish father and an American mother. He had a secular upbringing and describes himself as an atheist who adheres to the values of the Enlightenment. In this insightful book he examines how religion has shaped attitudes of Muslims to science. He focuses mainly though not exclusively on Turkey, probably the most 'Westernised' Islamic country.

Historically, Islamic countries were impressed by Western technology and sought to acquire its benefits for themselves. To a considerable extent they succeeded, but they did not adopt the secularising mindset that had led to these advances in the West. They wanted the improvements in living standards that science provides but they rejected the accompanying secularism. Hence pure science, as opposed to applied science, is still at a poor level in Islamic countries. [More]


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