In this hour, Steve Paulson presents a round-up of scholars who track scientific developments in the Muslim world. First he speaks with Taner Edis, a physicist at Truman State University whose books include An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam. Edis says the state of science is dismal in the Muslim world today.
Next, Ziauddin Sardar, a London based scholar and cultural critic, agrees, to a point. He tells Steve what's needed now is "an Islamic science" and explains what that is. Sardar's memoir is Desperately seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Skeptical Muslim.
Then, Nidhal Guessoum, an Algerian born astrophysicist who teaches at American University in the United Arab Emirates, agrees that contemporary science in the Arab word is abysmal, but he looks back with great pride at the Golden Age of Islam and talks with Steve about what happened.
After that, Anousheh Ansari became the first Muslim woman to venture into space when she traveled aboard the International Space Station. She talks about her trip with Jim Fleming and writes about it in her book My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer.
Following that, Steve Paulson travels to Turkey to report on Harun Yahya, Islam's leading creationist, who runs a sophisticated media empire and has considerable influence. He also has critics.
And finally, after all the debates about the Musli world, it's refreshing to look back at one of the world's great mystics - the Sufi poet Rumi. Rumi lived in the thirteenth century in what is now Turkey and left a remarkable cache of poetry and spiritual wisdom. He's one of America's best-selling poets, thanks to the efforts of his long-time translator, Coleman Barks. Anne Strainchamps talks with Coleman Barks about Rumi's insights. [Broadcast Date: December 15, 2010]