The acceptance of modern science in general and biomedical sciences in particular played a momentous role in the formation of modern Iran in the first half of the twentieth century. Western science was the only legitimate global language of social reform; it was modified but never transformed beyond recognition, by the local dialect of the Iranian modernists. Semi-colonial modernist reformers found ways to focus on specific aspects of a particular science and adapt such aspects to their own concerns about modern life. But the political and sociocultural dominance of colonizing Western countries strained them to accept that science constituted the only basic requirement—in terms of its underlying logic and practical applications—for progress. Indeed, the Iranian modernists were eager to reform Iran as rapidly as possible. But they were not, as some historians have suggested, blindly smitten with “Westernization” or captive by technology or science in many ways alien to Western countries.
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