The Guardian provides a forum for the fairy-tale of 'Islamic Science'

It’s time to herald the Arabic science that prefigured Darwin and Newton

In this era of intolerance and cultural tension, the west needs to appreciate the fertile scholarship that flowered with Islam

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Jim Al-Khalili

Watching the daily news stories of never-ending troubles, hardship, misery and violence across the Arab world and central Asia, it is not surprising that many in the west view the culture of these countries as backward, and their religion as at best conservative and often as violent and extremist.

I am on a mission to dismiss a crude and inaccurate historical hegemony and present the positive face of Islam. It has never been more timely or more resonant to explore the extent to which western cultural and scientific thought is indebted to the work, a thousand years ago, of Arab and Muslim thinkers.

What is remarkable, for instance, is that for over 700 years the international language of science was Arabic (which is why I describe it as “Arabic science”). More surprising, maybe, is the fact that one of the most fertile periods of scholarship and scientific progress in history would not have taken place without the spread of Islam across the Middle East, Persia, north Africa and Spain. I have no religious or political axe to grind. As the son of a Protestant Christian mother and a Shia Muslim father, I have nevertheless ended up without a religious bone in my body. However, having spent a happy and comfortable childhood in Iraq in the 60s and 70s, I confess to strong nostalgic motives for my fascination in the history of Arabic science.

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A learned man, this doctor Khalili. What may drive him to peddle these often debunked Arabic fairy-tales?

One commenter, the first one on the blog, doesn’t buy any:

CommiePrick
January 30, 2008 2:13 AM

Utter nonsense, Arabic science was by and large a simple rebranding exercise of existing bodies of work from India and China, coupled with looted classical research and researchers taken with the expansion of Islam. Time and time again Arab claims do not stand up to scrutiny – the concept of zero ‘borrowed’ from Buddist Mathematicians etc.

If only their application in plagiarism was matched in genuine scientific inquiry and the development of their society.

* How true!

Source

* The Myth of Islamic Contribution to Human Civilization

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17 thoughts on “The Guardian provides a forum for the fairy-tale of 'Islamic Science'”

  1. So are we saying we would just now be putting man on the moon had it not been for muslim scholarship? Hahahahahah

  2. Note the hi-tech, Heath Robinson, camel driven device in the photo background?

    Looks like a state of the art, world’s best practise megaphone contraption, designed by an islamic scientist to amplify the muslim call to prayer all over Oxfordshire.

  3. The revisionist history coming from Koranists just never ends. “The Holocaust never happened”, “Islam invented everything worth inventing”, etc. Even Stalin’s Russia had some limits in this regard. Next, we will be hearing about how Islamic Gallileo Abbas and Ahmed Einstein (!) were and that without them none of us would be here.

  4. Ha! Saw Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) on TV tonight. Pure torture.

    With a half-smirk and a superior ‘holy’ expression, he said that the guitar was invented by Muslims and reached the West via Spain.

    Somehow, I do not believe him. He is such a liar. He again denied that he ever said that Salman Rushdie should be killed. He did. Definitely. I can still visualize him – he was wearing a long white gown and a white cap. It was shown on TV. The programme should still be in the archives. But, suppose it will remain buried.

    Tonight, still wearing his ‘holy’ look, he explained that Islam is peaceful and that the meaning of the word ‘Islam’ means ‘Peace.’

    Bulldust! The interpretation of ‘Islam’ is ‘absolute submission or resignation to the Will of God’ according to my Penguin Classics copy of The Koran. And according to other sources.

    Does anyone know where the guitar originated? Was it India?

  5. These are brain poisoned humans. Muslims invented sword to behead non muslims and muslims. Muslims invented stones to throw during Hajj and to kill women. Muslims invented knives to mark Ashura. Muslims invented Buruga to cover women. Muslims invented marrying girls of six and having sex with nine years. Muslims invented a fake religion, which says “there are humans an Jinns living in this world”. Muslims invented camel urine to cure diseases. The final scientific research by muslim is underway, which is to find the best way to lie and kill non muslims and bring Allah to Europe with Mohammed with millions virgins.

  6. Izzla-mo Fo’bik, I have the same Penguin Classics copy as you, 1979 reprint. I’m
    after the one that Bush and Blair have, where Islam is a religion of peace (etc), but
    I can’t find it anywhere.

  7. We all know Islam enlightened the world and brought us wonderful scientific discoveries, art, philosophy and EVERYTHING!

    Talking of everything good deriving from Islam, on a programme about musician Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) last night, Yusuf came out with the claim that Spain was indebted to Islam for Islam’s invention of the guitar. Does anyone know if there’s any truth in this?

    Wonder how long it will take Aussie Muslims to claim they invented the Hills Hoist.

  8. Mullah Lodabullah,
    I can’t find the bits about peace either, but I can find lots and lots about killing infidels.

    I think Bush and Blair have the copy “Islam for Dhimmis.”

  9. Islam does not advocate music. It is against their Quranic principles because Prophet Mo didnt like poets and poetry as one particular Meccan lady poet sang couplets insulting him. He ordered her killed. So, it is absolutely doubtful that the guitar was ever invented by the Islamists. They would have been deemed kuffar then and we all know what is the punishment for them!

  10. Mike Mossberg, I know you reading this forum, please contact me, because I can’t find your contact details.

  11. halo there you all…
    someday, after you all find death, you will very sorry for not being muslim. i guarantee that 1000%

  12. im sorry for what i said before to you all.
    now, ijust wanna say:there’s only one god in whole world. Real God for every mankind: muslims, christians, etc.
    im a muslim, i dont know you are christians or jews or even do not believe in God, if you are good people, why you waste your energy just to insulting islam? why you not just do deep analisys about your own religion or your beliefs??? well, i agree too that not all muslim are good person. not all of you too are bad person. right?

    NOW, im not going discuss bout my islam or my quran or my Muhammad, i dare you all to discuss about GOD OF OURS. a talk with grey cells of brain. yes, brain.

    these are my clue bout the thruth:
    QUESTION 1: WHERE IS GOD?

    SOMEWHERE UP THERE IN THE SKY? NO!

    GOD NOT UP THERE,
    GOD NOT DOWN HERE,
    GOD NOT BEHIND SOMETHING,
    GOD NOT COME,
    GOD NOT GO,
    GOD NOT IN FRONT OF SOMETHING,
    GOD NOT IN SOMETHING,
    GOD NOT OUT OF SOMETHING,
    GOD NOT FAR,
    GOD NOT NEAR,
    GOD NOT IN ANY DIMENSIONS AND TIME,

    BUT,

    EVERYTHING IS IN GOD!

    DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I TRY TO EXPLAIN TO YOU??

    IF NOT, SOMEDAY I WILL COME AGAIN HERE AND DISCUSS IT WITH YOU. JUST DONT HATE ME FOR THIS OK. SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH, COZ IM INDONESIAN.

  13. Listen folks…..The only thing invented by Islamics and still in use by them today is plagerism!

  14. BBlanffein,
    this is of-topic but i will provide an answer. I don’t think the translation means “end of the world”, rather “end of this epoch” and thus “the beginning of an another”. I don’t think very much is written on it, and very few are even aware of the existence of this Mayan prophecy – there is also some question of the date given – most give the data you have written but this is also uncertain. I don’t wish to belittle the “believers” – maybe it is true, maybe not – we will just have to wait and find out. Anything else is beyond our capabilities and knowledge at present. There are some novels – scifi – written on this theme e.g. “Raising Atlantis” by Thomas Greanias – these might provide additional sources of information. Sadly Richard Feynman, the Noble prise winning physicist is no longer with us – he was one of the many people who figured out how to translate the Mayan hieroglyphic script. He might have had an illuminating observation on the Mayan quote – who knows .

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