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Science teachers' views of science and religion vs. the Islamic perspective: Conflicting or compatible?



This paper reports a study that explores Egyptian science teachers' views on religion and science within the context of Islam. It also highlights an ontological and epistemological consideration of these views, particularly the ways through which Egyptian Muslim teachers understand such a relationship with reference to the Qur'anic/Islamic attitude toward science and knowledge. The study built upon Barbour's categorization scheme to guide the data collection and analysis and to guide the interpretation of the teachers' responses in the interviews. Informed by a multigrounded theory of the teachers' views of science and religion, and using Roth and Alexander's analytical framework to interpret how teachers accommodate the relationship between science and religion within their belief system, the findings suggest that participants' views of the relationship between science and a specific religion (Islam) confirmed the centrality of teachers' personal religious beliefs to their own thoughts and views concerning issues of both science and Islam. This centralization, in some cases, appeared to lead teachers to hold a conflicting relationship, hence to a creation of a false contradiction between science and Islam. Therefore, it could be concluded that teachers' personal Islamic-religious beliefs inform their beliefs about the nature of science and its purpose. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed95:281–309, 2011