EDGE: An In Depth View of The Culture of Science in the Muslim World
*This session is in English
I will first need to define and distinguish between “culture of science”, “scientific literacy”, “public understanding of science”, and “scientific performance”. I will then present data on “scientific literacy” (the quantity and quality of the knowledge of science held by the average citizen) in the world and in our region (to the extent of the availability of such data), and then focus on the “culture of science” (“the appreciation, adoption, and application of scientific principles at the individual and societal levels”), again presenting recent studies that have been conducted, both in the world and (to a limited extent) in our region.
I will discuss why both a “scientific literacy” and a “culture of science” are important in today’s world and how the ideas and principles they carry are needed in the wider social context. I will then review the situation in the Arab-Muslim world: technology vs. science, utilitarian views of science, religious constraints, etc.
I will review models that have been proposed for assessing the “culture of science” in a given society: the educational attainment in science measure; the educational time/distance model; the “global” science culture index; the individual and societal science culture indices, etc. I will then present the factors that hinder the development of the culture of science in a given society: censorship by social powers and authorities (political, religious, administrative); self-censorship; the impact of social media; the culture of entertainment; etc. In passing, I will refer to the “two cultures” and to the “science wars”.
Finally, I will then decry the dearth of data and studies on these important issues in the Arab-Muslim world today. And I will conclude by presenting a few recommendations for the development and dissemination of the culture of science in the Arab-Muslim world.
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