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The question I want to pose—perhaps as much to myself as to anyone else—is this: With well over a billion Muslims and extensive material resources, why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the process of creating new knowledge? To be definite, I am here using the 57 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as a proxy for the Islamic world.
It was not always this way. Islam's magnificent Golden Age in the 9th–13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine. The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body's circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities. But with the end of that period, science in the Islamic world essentially collapsed. No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven centuries now. That arrested scientific development is one important element—although by no means the only one—that contributes to the present marginalization of Muslims and a growing sense of injustice and victimhood.
What people call the scientific method, he explains, is really the Islamic method: “All the wealth of knowledge in the world has actually emanated from Muslim civilization. The Prophet Muhammad said to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. The very first verse came down: ‘Read.’ You are required to try to know something about your creator through meditation, through analysis, experimentation, and observation.”Discover[ /ex]
The Islamic world looms large in the history of science, and there were long periods when Cairo—in Arabic, El Qahira, meaning “the victorious”—was a leading star in the Arabic universe of learning. Islam is in many ways more tolerant of scientific study than is Christian fundamentalism. It does not, for example, argue that the world is only 6,000 years old. Cloning research that does not involve people is becoming more widely accepted. In recent times, though, knowledge in Egypt has waned. And who is accountable for the decline?
El-Naggar has no doubts. “We are not behind because of Islam,” he says. “We are behind because of what the Americans and the British have done to us.”
Elsewhere, he notes the Prophet’s references to “the seven earths”; El-Naggar claims that geologists say that Earth’s crust consists of seven zones. In another passage, the Prophet said that there were 360 joints in the body, and other Islamic researchers claim that medical science backs up the figure. Such knowledge, the thinking goes, could only have been given by God.
Critics are quick to point out that Islamic scientists tend to use each other as sources, creating an illusion that the work has been validated by research. The existence of 360 joints, in fact, is not accepted in medical communities; rather, the number varies from person to person, with an average of 307. These days most geologists divide Earth’s crust into 15 major zones, or tectonic plates.
Some related threads.
The article also goes on to talk about how the earth quake and resulting title wave which killed hundreds of thousands of people was done as a punishment by god. What we seem to have here, and the Discover article does menchen, is people are taking what is written in spiritual text, and bending what is happening in the world to confirm the spiritual text.
So that brings the question as to why.
To me the "why" first seems to be a way to keep some political control. Religion has held political power through great periods of history. Now is little different in some parts of the world.
The free flow of ideas has been inhibited in the past. I see the answer to the worlds problems could go two different ways. The scientists can find solutions to our problems using science, or there will be no scientific answer and the answer will come with a very great loss of life by way of famine, plague, or any other number of horrible events that the world was not able to prepare for because there was not a free flow of ideas to solve the problem.
If you have taken the time to read this please feel free to post your comments.
[edit on 12-9-2007 by RedGolem]
Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
I think religion has been impeding science for hundreds of years. I wonder how far along we'd be now if Galileo and Copernicus weren't persecuted for their theories,
Originally posted by DamnedDirtyApes
I believe that religion acts as an anchor to science. It is what they have to do to stay in business. Once people realize that they are a business like anyone else, they will find themselves out of work. I am not a proponent of organized religion.
Originally posted by Indellkoffer
I don't think that the modern scientific system arose out of Islam. Rather, it's a direct outcome of Aristolte and something called "Aristotolean logic." That's the forerunner of the medieval study of logic and science.
Originally posted by DarkSide
This is why religion is harmful to man. All modern day muslim countries would fare much better if they separated church and state. Europe is a prime example, if the church had remained in power we would still be in the dark ages, fearing hell and a god that doesn't exist.
It was not always this way. Islam's magnificent Golden Age in the 9th–13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine. The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body's circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities. But with the end of that period, science in the Islamic world essentially collapsed. No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven centuries now.