Hoodbhoy makes two comments about the scientific endeavor and "attitude" of Islam:
Likewise, and relatedly:
Science is fundamentally an idea-system that has grown around a sort of skeleton wire frame—the scientific method. The deliberately cultivated scientific habit of mind is mandatory for successful work in all science and related fields where critical judgment is essential. Scientific progress constantly demands that facts and hypotheses be checked and rechecked, and is unmindful of authority. But there lies the problem: The scientific method is alien to traditional, unreformed religious thought. Only the exceptional individual is able to exercise such a mindset in a society in which absolute authority comes from above, questions are asked only with difficulty, the penalties for disbelief are severe, the intellect is denigrated, and a certainty exists that all answers are already known and must only be discovered.
What Hoodbhoy does not see -- as many do not in the realm of merely secular science, social or "hard" -- is that the tectonic attitudinal shift comes at the point of the organizing principle of conventional religion, anthropologically speaking. Until this happens, Islam will simply be another expression of what mimetic theory describes as the "primitive sacred."
In the quest for modernity and science, internal struggles continue within the Islamic world. Progressive Muslim forces have recently been weakened, but not extinguished, as a consequence of the confrontation between Muslims and the West. On an ever-shrinking globe, there can be no winners in that conflict: It is time to calm the waters. We must learn to drop the pursuit of narrow nationalist and religious agendas, both in the West and among Muslims. In the long run, political boundaries should and can be treated as artificial and temporary, as shown by the successful creation of the European Union. Just as important, the practice of religion must be a matter of choice for the individual, not enforced by the state. This leaves secular humanism, based on common sense and the principles of logic and reason, as our only reasonable choice for governance and progress. Being scientists, we understand this easily. The task is to persuade those who do not.
And this is why the Christian faith is not merely another world religion, but a categorically different and superior expression of God's self-revelation in "Jesus Christ and him crucified." The Holy Spirit in the Christian faith in general and the Catholic Church in sharp particularity made science possible. As Girard says, "We didn't stop burning witches because we invented science. We invented science because we stopped burning witches."
For a fine explication of this, see Gil Bailie’s lecture on the Gospel of John (tape 10).