The comparative reception of scientific naturalism in Great Britain and the Arab World, 1860-1930.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 09:13 by Ahmad Muhammad. Hassani
The advancement of the natural sciences, particularly geology and biology the second half of the nineteenth century, affected traditional modes of thought concerning the origin of man, his mental and moral faculties, and his religion. My purpose in this study is to analyse the reception of this scientific movement in both Great Britain and the Arab World during the period 1860 - I950 as presented mainly in the contemporary periodicals. It deals with the impact of scientific naturalism on certain religious and moral issues and the reaction, or response, of certain writers who participated in the debate over these issues, This analysis reveals western influence on the Arab intelligentsia in terms of scientific thought and metaphysical philosophy. The thesis is divided into two sections. The first is assigned to English writers, and the second to the Arab intellectuals, A historical chapter precedes each section, Two other similar chapters appear in each section: one is assigned to the conflict between science and religion, and the other to the conflict between traditional and new concepts of morality. The concluding chapter provides a comparison between the Western and Eastern writers concerned, and underlines the consequences of the analysis. I have confined myself, in this study, to an examination of the scientific literature which appeared in Syria (including Lebanon and Palestine;, Egypt, and Iraq where the impact of the West first took place. Among all evolutionary doctrines the principle of progress was the most attractive to the Arab writers, both Christians and Muslims, Although some writers rejected scientific naturalism and others advocated the complete acceptance of Western thought, the majority saw compromise between the old and the new as the key to progress. Muslim modernists suggested a new interpretation of the Quran and a return to the earliest Islamic teachings, while the Protestant writers did so concerning the Biblical doctrines.