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Islam contribution to science

Reader comment on item: [U.S. Intelligence: ]"Moslem States Represent a Potential Threat to World Peace"
in response to reader comment: Islam's contribution to global conditions

Submitted by M'Hamed CHETTALI (Belgium), Feb 16, 2006 at 04:20

Dear AllDanes,

Unfortunately, we are unlikely to emulate Ibn Rush and Moshe ben Maimon. For to be friends and differ, there are some minimum prerequisites. We started a discussion, but it can't be fruitful unless there is willingness on both sides to set aside dogmas, fanatism and prejedices. Fankly, I can't care less if the Muslims did not have a contribution to Western civilization, and science in particular. Nevertheless, I recommend you read Robert Briffault's Making of Humanity. Here are two passages:

For although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the paramount distinctive force of the modern world, and the supreme source of its victory - natural science and the scientific spirit. (p. 190).

The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence. The ancient world was, as we saw, pre-scientific. The astronomy and mathematics of the Greek were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclimatized in Greek culture. The Greeks systematized, generalized, and theorized, but the patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation, experimental inquiry, were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. Only in Hellenistic Alexandria was any approach to scientific work conducted in the ancient classical world. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs. (p. 191).
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