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A Disturbing Essay on Islamic Scientific Development

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posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 06:37 AM
How about Algebra? Did that make man devolve? After all it came from an Arab Muslim and it's the reason computers exist today.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 06:49 AM

Originally posted by dontreally
You want a good book on this subject, read Robert Reilly's "the closing of the Muslim Mind: How intellectual suicide created the modern Islamist crisis".

I have been looking for my next book to read. This sounds interesting.
I'll have to see if Barnes and Nobels can get it. Thanks.

Originally posted by Zatox
why are people so threatened by Islam?

Maybe because of how women are treated in 'Islamic countries'. Maybe because little girls in 'Islamic countries' get shot in the head for wanting to learn to read. Maybe because women who are raped in "Islamic countries' are then flogged and punished for being raped and 'causing adultry'. Maybe because Christian pastors in Islamic countries (Iran) are sentenced to death for not converting to Islam. Maybe because in Islamic countries 'morals police' roam around beating up women who dare show an ankle or a wrist. Maybe because in Islamic countries (Saudi Arabia), Christians aren't allowed to bring bibles or rosaries in to the country and their religious freedoms are stomped on. etc etc ..... So why wouldn't non-muslims be threatened by Islam? Afterall .. fundamentalist Islam itself threatens non-muslims .. and even threatens other muslims ...

This is what makes it truly the right religion, because the world is against us. Allah akbar!

Dude ..the world dislikes ANY fundamentalist religion because it's so absolute, so obsolete and so in-your-face. Not to mention the fact that the world sees all those 'behead those who insult Islam' signs being held up by uber-enthused followers of Islam and we find that a barbaric and backwards mentality.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 06:54 AM

Originally posted by Misbah
How about Algebra? Did that make man devolve? After all it came from an Arab Muslim and it's the reason computers exist today.

Got anything a little more recent than the year 850 AD??

BTW .. The Egyptians, Summerians and Babylonians all used algebra.
The greeks in Platos time used it as well. So it wasn't 'invented' by a Muslim.
The word 'algebra' comes from Muslims .. but not algebra itself.

History of Algebra

The roots of algebra can be traced to the ancient Babylonians,[3] who developed an advanced arithmetical system with which they were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The Babylonians developed formulas to calculate solutions for problems typically solved today by using linear equations, quadratic equations, and indeterminate linear equations. By contrast, most Egyptians of this era, as well as Greek and Chinese mathematics in the 1st millennium BC, usually solved such equations by geometric methods, such as those described in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, Euclid's Elements, and The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art. The geometric work of the Greeks, typified in the Elements, provided the framework for generalizing formulae beyond the solution of particular problems into more general systems of stating and solving equations, although this would not be realized until mathematics developed in medieval Islam.[4]

By the time of Plato, Greek mathematics had undergone a drastic change. The Greeks created a geometric algebra where terms were represented by sides of geometric objects, usually lines, that had letters associated with them.[1] Diophantus (3rd century AD), sometimes called "the father of algebra", was an Alexandrian Greek mathematician and the author of a series of books called Arithmetica. These texts deal with solving algebraic equations.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 07:18 AM
As another pointed out in this thread, a definition of "progress" has to be made. Humans tend to be a wide spectrum being and what is progress to one will be heresy to others.

Of what use is an iPad to an Anutan? Does a Yora worry about getting nuked? Does a Mafa teach his kids algebra? I would wager that would be a negative on all counts. Does this mean that these people do not know how to live and love, care for each other? I would wager that family ties and commitments run much deeper than those in the "progressed" world.

Yes. Progress. With the rise of console games, television and other technological advances the households have actually devolved. Sitting around a table with family has taken the largest hit and now have been, for the most part, relegated to "special occasions and holidays".

Who are we to say that an Anutan cannot enjoy the happiness we enjoy because we are "progressed". What does progress mean and what are its terms?

As a side note and just my opinion, both Christianity and Islamic followers yearn for when things were much simpler. Both look back and stunt progress because in the terms I see as progress in, progress can be damaging to social structures.

A simple example. Next time you see a teenager texting a person tell them to call instead and see how far that gets you. Though the technological progress allows for the person to talk at distance there is a destruction of personal interaction and that is regression at personal levels. Even though actually talking to a person is an exchange of much more information in tones, inflections and reactions in real time, they choose to not use this progress. Why? I would also wager that the answer is much deeper than "it's progress".

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 08:42 AM
reply to post by charles1952

I believe he makes quite valid points. Considering the deplorable conditions in many Islamic countries today, it would be difficult in the extreme to call them "advanced". One place my husband deployed, he told me the locals were doing their laundry in a nasty, muddy water hole that literally had sewage in it.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 09:07 AM

Originally posted by freedomSlave
I would say all religion devolves us , look at the crusades , look at the witch hunting , the inquisition, look at the people who look like they are having seizures on the floor while talking in tongues , to the acceptance of pedophilia in the catholic churches from it's members who still follow it . islam is no better than nazism , catholics , christians , jews , ladder saints .

ETA they have seemed to all have brought out the worst of humanity through out time
edit on 20/4/13 by freedomSlave because: (no reason given)

and so does atheism, ala Pol Pot Mao and Stalin.

Its a petty little game isnt it.
Lets all throw stones and pretend we are all better than the other ones we dont like.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 09:21 AM

Originally posted by LadyGreenEyes
reply to post by charles1952

I believe he makes quite valid points. Considering the deplorable conditions in many Islamic countries today, it would be difficult in the extreme to call them "advanced". One place my husband deployed, he told me the locals were doing their laundry in a nasty, muddy water hole that literally had sewage in it.

And what is the main reason behind a lot of the deplorable conditions? It couldn't be because many of these places have been bombed to death over the last few decades? And if your husband was deployed there it wasn't for a picnic was it?

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by Bluesma and many others

Dear ATSers,

I took about seven hours off for sleep, returned to this thread and discovered treasures. You are all wonderful! I was worried that we would get carried away with heated opinions, anger and insults, but I see now there was nothing to fear.

I'd like to offer some general responses. If you think I'm missing something important, whistle.

it seems to me that religion in general has shown itself to be a scientific and technology limiting factor in societies throughout the world and history.

Maybe some more than others, or maybe some more at different points in it's history
(there were times when Christianity was more powerful, and much more restrictive also).
I think the author was examining Islam compared to other religions as opposed to religion versus non-religion. But your point is still a good one. It seems the essay focused entirely on Islam v. Christianity and Judaism, leaving out everything else. It might have been because of space limitations. But I think a better reason is size and scope of the religion. The categories of Non-religious, Islamic, and Christian, account for 70% of the world's population. Add in Hinduism and you reach 84%. There really aren't many large players. Note that Judaism, at less than 1%, has had a relatively huge impact on the world of science. Bluesma, properly wonders, however, whether that's a plus.

What calls my attention is the assumed judgement here, that scientific and technological progress is always "good",and any influence which slows or hinders it is "bad".
It's absolutely correct that a culture that values nothing but science has lost it's heart, it's passion, it's humanity. But isn't it also true that a society which runs from science has lost it's mind? Shouldn't there be a blend of the two? We can have both sewing circles and string theory, coming of age rituals and Iridium cell phones. Individuals may then choose how to create their lives. But I believe the author's position is that Islam does not offer that choice, that Science is limited and not encouraged, something to be warily approached.

Bluesma then, considers the subject of happiness:

I'd like to look closer, zooming in on this assumption made... Are the most technologically advanced societies filled with happier people? Perhaps we need to establish what we mean by happy. Some might call it physical comfort, some might call it an inner emotional fulfillment. Some might be physically comfortable, and trying to stuff an inner emptiness that is emotional based consumption, instead of physical need.

I am not so sure anymore that we are correct in the assumption. When I see people living in squalor in third world countries, and yet they grin, they laugh, they gather together and sing and support each other.
Perhaps we have become dependent on modern conveniences, but I'm relatively sure the "people living in squalor in third world countries" would grin and laugh even more if they had electricity, clean water, functioning sewers, dentistry, and life expectancies longer than 50 years. Again, the correct path involves both valuing particles and people.

Just my opinion. Islam might be a religion which slows technological progress, just as many other religons are.
Christianity and Judaism seem to encourage technological progress. Perhaps we're biased, but I think most weterners and ATSers would prefer science to non-science.

But people do not turn to religions for that kind of fulfilment anyway.
As I was told earlier in the thread, Islam is a set of laws governing every aspect of a believer's life. You can't turn to it, you're surrounded by it. In other societies, science does it's job and religion does it's job.

You know, Bluesma, I feel badly about this post. It's much less of a response than what you deserve. (Heck, it's not even good writing.) You did an excellent job pointing out another aspect of this issue and I'm grateful to you for it.

With respect,

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 10:00 AM
reply to post by Credenceskynyrd

Dear Credenceskynyrd,

I think we overcook this notion that Europe at a certain time was "dark"< while the Islamic world was a beacon of light- far from that straightforward
And the cause of the darkness? That period is usually measured from the destruction of the Roman empire. The world's leading civilization collapsed just before 500 A.D. That had a very disruptive effect on the world. Then the conquests of the Muslim armies began and extended as far as Spain. Trade from parts of Europe to the East was cut off. These things did not occur because the Roman religion was opposed to science.

With respect,

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 10:02 AM
reply to post by charles1952

This is not an "Islam" bashing thread. I believe it is right on target except the scope is narrow! I believe we could say the same thing about every major western religion. I see religion and human nature at work. Human nature/psychology was never taken into account. Religion like Utopian Communism (my term) never took into account human nature applying ideology.

We as humans have the capacity to ruin a good thing by injecting our emotions and or the psychological beliefs of our personality into dogma driven by religion or politics.

When I wanted to understand what it was like to live under Islamic rule I looked at Islamic Law. Once reading this I understood that Islam is more than a religion but a political control system centered on the Koran.

read them and you will understand why societies move backward under Islamic rule.

These are the Islamic Laws according to the Fatawa of Ayatullah al Uzama Syed Ali al-Husaini Seestani. This is the English Version of Taudhihul Masae'l, translated by the World Federation of KSI Muslim Communities, P.O. Box 60, Stanmore, U.K. HA7 4LQ. See also a downloadable version of this book in HTML Help format.

edit on 21-4-2013 by fnpmitchreturns because: clarify

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 10:30 AM
reply to post by coruptedsector2

Dear coruptedsector2,

I would understand this way of thinking if we were talking about radical Islam, but you can say the same for radical christianity. . . . why not just condemn the root of all human advancement, religious dogma. Knowing scientifically how the universe expanded, then accreted into form, or knowing genetically we didn’t evolve from one man and one woman, or understanding the weather is dictated predominantly by Sol, why in 2013 do people still believe in these religious fallacies.
I'm not entirely sure I understand you. By radical Islam, I assume you mean something believed by a very small percentage of Muslims. If so, then the the vast majority of Muslims welcome and appreciate Science. How then does a group of over a billion people, with vast wealth, produce so little in the Scientific fields?

If you condemn religious dogma in general for stopping scientific progress, how do we explain the Father of Genetics, Friar Gregor Mendel? Or the Father of Astronomy, Canon Nicolaus Copernicus? (A canon was similar at the time to a monk.) Or even the existence of Universities, which were created through Europe by the Church?

Mass amounts of genetically inferior intellect are now pulling down our global society with it.
Oh, goodness. Do you mean to say that people who are atheists have genetically superior brains? I hadn't heard that one. I'd like to know more about that.

With respect,

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 10:48 AM
reply to post by buster2010

Dear buster2010,

I hope you don't mind if I intrude on your conversation with LadyGreenEyes.

And what is the main reason behind a lot of the deplorable conditions? It couldn't be because many of these places have been bombed to death over the last few decades?
I believe the point of the essay was dealing with Islamic scientific advancements over long periods of time. Of course, being bombed doesn't do your infrastructure any good, but even before the fighting were there Apple stores, cell phone towers, community colleges, and sewage treatment plants all over the countryside? I don't think Afghanistan was a thriving, modern nation before the US, or even the Soviets, arrived.

I'm still stunned by the idea that there has been only one Muslim who has ever won a Nobel Prize in any of the Sciences. That seems to me to be the equivalent of flipping "heads" 50 times in a row. It just can't be chance.

With respect,
edit on 21-4-2013 by charles1952 because: Spelling

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 10:59 AM
I haven't read this thread beyond the OP, but thought this might be relevant:

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 11:13 AM

Originally posted by freedomSlave

I think we are getting there slowly as technology advances.

I just wanted to stick my nose in long enough to say, 'think again'.

As technology took us into the space-age, religion, which continually evolves, just changed form.

Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

edit on 21-4-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 11:44 AM
reply to post by Bluesma

Technically speaking, it wasn't just Athens, but also Jerusalem (to cite the popular dichotomy) which gave rise to the modern world we live in today.

Some people like trashing religion because of the effect it has had, whether in the wars of religion, persecutions, or stifling intellectual curiosity; yet at the same time, it was the liberating effect of protestant theology which primed European consciousness for the enlightenment. It didn't just happen in a vacuum: there was a metaphysical scaffolding which enabled this development to occur.

Galileo, Descartes, and especially Isaac Newton, all looked at the world with religious eyes. Specifically with Judeo-Christian eyes.

My point with all this, is that religion deals with values and interpretation of reality. Science is merely fact telling, experiments, etc. Once you talk about values, you move to philosophy, and religion is that communal mechanism which brings common minded people together in worship and praise.

Dogma is something that can't be avoided. There's not a single aspect of life where we do not utter some dogma, subscribe to some belief which is without it's difficulties (such as the dogma of evolution). Because life is so obviously beyond our ken to fully understand, religion makes room for the irrational - the right brained, wholistic perspective - where we come together as equals in worship.

Islam has many merits, and as a religion, it has great potential. Unfortunately, however, as it is currently practiced and understood by the mainstream in the Sunni world, it's effect is mostly constrictive on intellectual growth. It's not the fault of the west that seemingly every Islamic country lags behind in economic development. It's Islam. Until Muslims recognize the limits they've imposed on themselves and seek to liberate themselves from the limiting aspects of their theology and metaphysics, they will continue lagging behind the east and the west. They need a reformation.

There is one exception. Turkey, which had the advantage of an Ataturk, is on the road towards economic parity with the 1st world. Turkey can serve as an example, for Egypt, Iran, etc, for how secularism can be integrated with a religious society.

I'm not in the least bit versed in the theology of modern mainstream Islam as practiced in Turkey, but I'd imagine it's scholars have introduced ideas which make Islam and Shari'a compatible with the epistemological backbone of the enlightenment.
edit on 21-4-2013 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 11:45 AM

Originally posted by charles1952
I think the author was examining Islam compared to other religions as opposed to religion versus non-religion.

Your points on that were well taken. For me, however, I am not ready to swallow so quickly the idea that Christianity has been less limiting of scientific progression in the past.

This is where I am going to be lazy, it is a rainy Sunday, and I apologize, but I have seen some graphs in th epast that showed the decline of technological and scientific growth in society during times of Christian growth in power (in Europe). The fact that now, it is reaching a point of "winding down" or losing it's foothold as a major world religion (with Islam rising to take it's place) it is expected that NOW you will see it is less limiting of scientific (intellectual) growth. But back when it was rising (during the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch burnings...) I don't think you'd find the same.

I guess I am trying to express my vision that once a religion reaches that point of power it spreads, dilutes, becomes less fanatic and less restrictive with time. Islam shall probably do that too.

It's absolutely correct that a culture that values nothing but science has lost it's heart, it's passion, it's humanity. But isn't it also true that a society which runs from science has lost it's mind? Shouldn't there be a blend of the two?

Oh yeah! That would be the ideal wouldn't it? Balance, equilibriuum...
Yet I personally do not perceieve that as something that has been achieved by any society, at least not currently.
Do you?
I tend to see the world as a collection of societies all in their own state of disequilibriuum, and each, over time, swinging back and forth, from being too much of one to too much of another...

I suspect it is, in fact that excess which begins to attract the opposite... a highly religious- based culture will become attracted to a highly scientific- based culture. And though their meeting may take on the appearence of a clash or conflict, I suspect it is based in the needs of the humans who make up both. War brings about great mixing of cultures, and blood...... Those who racing ahead get slowed down, those who were trapped in the mud begin to arise....

Perhaps there are moments in time, in which a balance between science and religion, intellect and emotion, individualism and collectivism is reached, but I doubt they last long between swings of the pendalum.
We as individuals reach such states from time to time, and the next day we are again, either too "intellectual" or too "emotional".

I get into the debate about science as being so fool proof and above being abused- I think it can be used to abuse in the same ways religion can! We have all sorts of example sof experiments done on humans (the Nazi's, and Japanese did, MkUltra....), and ethical concerns ignored and trashed (controversial revelations concerning pharmaceuticls and aliments...). -A society too scientifically focused can do it's damage too.

In other societies, science does it's job and religion does it's job.

Okay, I didn't see this before, when I asked whether you perceive some societies having a balance.
I disagree, however. I think that the evidence of scientific abuses and detrimental products of such societies (psychological disorders, dependance upon drugs, and other substances, problems born of hyper consumerism /debt, lack of cultural cohesion...) show that religion was not doing it's job in such societies.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 12:03 PM
iranian, pakistani and other muslim nuclear physicists disagree with that essay.

Obama may agree when you look at the united states, but hes from kenya...

EDIT: regarding other religions and or religious orders, jesuits definitely disagree.
edit on 21-4-2013 by FraternitasSaturni because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 12:28 PM
reply to post by charles1952

I'd just like to interject that the Meso-Americans knew astronomical facts and could make predictions such as occultations while the Europeans were still thinking the Earth was at the center of the Universe, but you never hear about that much but instead we hear that Copernicus brought us the Heliocentric model even though they still hadn't worked out how planets actually orbited the Sun.

There are other instances... like Columbus discovering the New World when in fact there is evidence that the Norse were here before him. Also, how do you "discover" something that is already occupied?

There are other examples but I think you get my idea.

History is written with a Eurocentric bias and I have thoughts that maybe the Nobel Prize authorities still to this day have a bias.

I could be off... but that is just an observation that I can see.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by mideast


The Muslim world wasn't always like it is today, and I think this thread is looking at it from that modern perspective. True, it's an overwhelmingly conservative religion (what religion isn't?), but at times when Europe was completely wrought with war, the Muslim world was doing pretty well. Hell, they had their own renaissance in which the European one was mostly based off of.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 01:37 PM
reply to post by charles1952

It is true that many Islamic scholars received their knowledge from other cultures. Greek, Hindu, Persian, and Chinese ideas all played a role in the development of Islamic scholarship. Islamic scholars improved upon the knowledge that they had available to them. Al-Battani(Albategnius) improved upon Ptolemy, perfected spherical trigonometry, and provided the most accurate values for the length of the year and for the Earth's axial tilt up to that time. Abu Musa Jabir(Geber) was an Arabian alchemist. He prepared strong acetic acid and weak nitric acid. He described ammonium chloride. He improved upon dyes and varnishes and improved techniques of refining metals. Most important, he was the first to describe his experiments clearly and carefully which laid the groundwork for the Scientific Method. Alhazen wrote on Optics with far greater clarity than anyone before him. Lastly, I will mention Al-Khwarizmi. Any serious student of history knows that he picked up the notion of "zero" from the Hindus. It was the Europeans, themselves, who created the name "Arabic Numerals". He used the concept of "Zero" to write numbers with positional notation. He did invent Algebra.

All knowledge is universal; it has been adopted and sometimes improved upon by the culture that adopts it.

I also find the idea that Islam having a deleterious effect on the intellectual mind naive and ignorant. Early Christians were utterly hostile to pagan learning and that point of view continued for well over 1000 years. Justinian I of the East Roman Empire forcibly closed Plato's Academy. Throughout the Middle Ages there were only a handful of Christian rulers that encouraged learning. On the other hand Islamic rulers of that era either encouraged learning or did not interfere with it. Mamun the Great established the "House of Knowledge" in Baghdad and this action had a significant historical effect for Western Europe. Islam played a major role in preserving the ancient knowledge until Western Europe was ready to receive it. Europe itself was a materially backward region that was not to be compared with the Wealth and Culture of the great empires of Asia. It was the Age of Exploration along with the printing press(Chinese invention) that gave Europeans the ability to reach the astounding and impressive heights that it did.

I find the comment regarding Nobel Prizes to be very amusing. Those prizes were established during a time of massive European colonialism(along with a healthy dose of racism and air of superiority in the early 20th century). The few independent nations of the old world were under continuous European pressure and interference. There was little time for intellectual pursuits in those harsh times. It has not let up to this day. Between the two world wars, the cold war and the post 9/11 world few areas of Islamic majority have the time, resources, and peace to compete for largely worthless Nobel Prizes. This does not mean they do not have the knowledge.

In closing, I find the essay to be flawed. It is historically inaccurate. It is biased. Islam is not perfect but it is not as detrimental as the essay leads it to be.

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