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Haji 2003

Science: Islam's Forgotten Geniuses

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In the Book of Animals, abu Uthman al-Jahith (781-869), an intellectual of East African descent, was the first to speculate on the influence of the environment on species. He wrote: "Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."

There is no doubt that it qualifies as a theory of natural selection - even though the Book of Animals appears to have been based to a large extent on folklore rather than on zoological fact.

 Jim Al-Khalili is professor of physics and public engagement in science at the University of Surrey.

Tomorrow night, he delivers the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize lecture, which will be webcast live at 5.30pm at royalsociety.org/live, and will then address the invite-only Telegraph/Novartis Scientists Meet The Media reception at the Royal Society in London.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtm....xml&page=2

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if muslims invented all this stuff how come they didn't use or develop any of it?

The effects of Christianity’s openness to innovation and Islam’s resistance to it reverberate through many fields. Even in medicine, while the Islamic world points proudly to many early physicians and medical theorists, it was not a Muslim, but Belgian physician and researcher Andreas Vesalius who paved the way for modern medical advances when he published the first accurate description of human internal organs, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) in 1543. Why wasn’t a Muslim able to do this? Because Vesalius was able to dissect human bodies, a practice forbidden by Islam. What’s more, Vesalius’s book is filled with detailed anatomical drawings—but also forbidden in Islam are artistic representations of the human body.
Edited by Lester

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You'll be pleased to hear that things are changing.

While Christian fundamentalist Bush prevented stem cell research, Iranian surgeons have been using stem cells in various types of surgery.

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no. government doesn't have to either ban or subsidize everything. in most cases they should do neither as the private sector can do what they want with their own money free of government constraints.

but the linked articles point stands: heralding the muslim scientists of yesteryear only brings in to sharper focus the decline of the sciences in islam as many of these innovators were not permitted to capitolize on their own discoveries

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in most cases they should do neither as the private sector can do what they want with their own money free of government constraints.

Just as extremist Muslims of the al-q variety put people off Islam, so I think this very laissez faire view of the market endangers capitalism.

There is a case, IMHO for public funding of blue-sky research and the US military is a good example of that. Also there are aspects of DNA research etc. that I think are better owned by everybody or within the public sector.

Anyway I think you are pushing an agenda that has gone past its sell by date.

As the US economy comes off the rails and hard-working Americans realise that open competition with the even harder working Chinese and Indians is bad news, so I think you will find calls in the US for rolling back free markets will become louder. They're coming over loud and strong on the comment section of the Dow Jones marke[Edited Out]ch website right now.

When this does happen I think you will find the US in need of an ideology with which to defend its new protectionist stance and it will find the environment and workers' rights lobbies to be useful allies.

Democrat president would just help the process.

Going back to the topic of this thread, I just wanted to point out that it was possible for medical advances etc to take place in an Islamic society and present day Iran shows that this is still possible.

I think you are onto a losing argument if you wish to demonstrate that the superiority of a society is evidenced by the scientific advances that they make.

The problem is of course that you can have some pretty nasty societies that come up with a lot of scientific achievements.

The Aztecs were very advanced but had taken child sacrifice to new heights (no pun intended). Nearer to the present, the US space programme is hugely indebted to the Nazi rocket programmes.

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Hajji2003,

Your post is mostly sound, however, I want to address one point:

As the US economy comes off the rails and hard-working Americans realise that open competition with the even harder working Chinese and Indians is bad news

Just to be clear, factories are not shipped to India and China because people work harder there. Or, at least, that is not a primary reason. Factories go there because it's so much cheaper. Why is it cheaper? Because wage norms are lower. Why? Because cost of living is so much lower. Why? Because these countries don't have as highly developed infrastructure. Infrastructure gives a higher standard of living for the people, but adds, implicitly to the prices of things, because of the ongoing cost of maintaining this infrastructure. In India and China, infrastructure is poorly developed, and standards of living are generally poor. Because of this, it is much less expensive to do business in China and India. This movement of factories depends ultimately on the midery of Chinese and Indians. Economic liberals will tell you fairy tales about how these factories are good for China and India, because they pay wages higher than the average (these monetarists tend to duck questions of whether this actually leads to higher standards of living, however, once higher costs of living are factored in). However, this is a distortion. If there was a real, significant raising of people's standards of living in these countries, business would get more expensive there, and the entire benefit of manufacturing there would cease.

One of the other myths propagated by economic liberals is that lower prices are always good. If lower costs are achieved through domestic application of technology to realize costs savings in production, this is true. However, there is a limit to this line of thought. The fact of the matter is that protectionism is needed in order to ensure that costs of manufactured goods do not fall below the natural minimum cost required to at a minimum, maintain the current level of production given the costs of infrastructure in the country.

Does this mean that you can't have imports for items you can't grow or make in your own country? No. Variety is OK. Does this mean that foreign countries cannot manufacture the same things and export them to our countries? No. However, it is necessary that free-trade protection measures, through tariffs are instituted to ensure that the prices of these items are appropriately corrected to relfect the difference in costs of living and production in our nations versus overseas. There can be competition to allow choice for consumers, but first priority has to be the protection of the economy which gives those consumers money to consume in the first place.

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okay guys lets stick to the topic with all due respect.

haji-

I think you are onto a losing argument if you wish to demonstrate that the superiority of a society is evidenced by the scientific advances that they make.

then why shold we care if islam made any discoveries in this field? after all, it is apparently no reflection on the society.

the point stands: islams eearly scientific discoveries were lost to the ages because the scientists were not permitted to develop these ideas for reasons like the one given above: they weren't allowed to study human anatomy, so others did and were given proper credit for those advancements.

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okay guys lets stick to the topic with all due respect.

haji-

then why shold we care if islam made any discoveries in this field? after all, it is apparently no reflection on the society.

One of the reasons why this topic appears in the press and is considered 'news' is because over the past few centuries, in the West, is that there has been very little acknowledgement of the contribution that Islam has made to science and other fields.

That ignorance means that people are more inclined to support wars against Muslim countries because they believe that by doing so they will bring the societal framework needed in order for those societies to make progress.

Islam already provides that framework, thank you very much.

You said earlier:

Vesalius's book is filled with detailed anatomical drawings but also forbidden in Islam are artistic representations of the human body

You may find the following site illuminating:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/welcome.html

The treatise consists of an introduction followed by five chapters on the five "systems" of the body: bones, nerves, muscles, veins, and arteries - each illustrated with a full-page diagram. The chapter on the skeleton was also illustrated with smaller diagrams of the cranial sutures and bones of the upper jaw with the positions of the teeth indicated. A concluding chapter on compound organs, such as the heart and brain, and on the formation of the foetus, was illustrated with a diagram showing a pregnant woman. The full-length illustrations (with the exception of the pregnant woman) have numerous labels in a mixture of Arabic and Persian. One of the two copies now at the National Library of Medicine is the earliest dated copy of Manṣūr ibn Ilyās's illustrated anatomy. It (MS P 18) was completed on 8 December 1488 (4 Muharram 894 H) by a scribe named Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad working in Isfahan. Whether the scribe also executed the illustrations as well as copying the accompanying text is unknown. The second copy at NLM (MS P 19) is undated and unsigned, but the nature of the paper, ink, and script suggests that it was executed in the late 15th or very early 16th century, also in Iran.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/p18.html

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One other point.

One of the essays in this book: Science Teacher Education: An International Perspective (Science & Technology Education Library) (Hardcover) by Sandra K. Abell (Editor)

makes the point that, the old British educational system (in India) was set to achieve colonial aims, which did not promote individuality or intelligence, as a result the curriculum and textbooks focused on memorising and passing examinations. The empire mainly needed clerks and bureaucrats and that's what the school system was designed to produce. The emphasis in education was on the humanities.

That would have affected medical education for a large number of Muslims from the mid 19th century until the mid 20th.

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Teacher-Educ...2979&sr=8-1

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Unfortunately those of us living in the West are raised with a paradigm that says science and religion can't co-exist. What many don't realize is that its Christianity and science that can't co-exist, not islam. If anything it was islam that encouraged so many of our scientists to go out and seek knowledge of the natural world. Traditionally muslims have never had a separation of science and religion.

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haji- the thread title is islams forgotten geniuses. why were they forgotten? because islam didn't encourage them and in fact represed them. if they hadn't they wouldn't have been forgotten!

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haji- the thread title is islams forgotten geniuses. why were they forgotten? because islam didn't encourage them and in fact represed them. if they hadn't they wouldn't have been forgotten!

I believe your italic word is not correct. Islam is a belief which is acted by its followers. To say like that is just the same that to say: "christianity rejected galileo's truth" while in fact that the church at that time that did it

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Islam is bulit on sound scientific foundations and alhamdullilah many advances in medicine and engineering are being done by Muslim scientists. Pursuing scientific knowledge for the benefit of mankind is a form of worshiping Allah and must be encouraged! :D

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Islam is bulit on sound scientific foundations and alhamdullilah many advances in medicine and engineering are being done by Muslim scientists. Pursuing scientific knowledge for the benefit of mankind is a form of worshiping Allah and must be encouraged! :D

Unfortunately other people don't see it the same way. With the rise of fundamentalism and wahabi-ism half the muslim population are being held back from higher learning (women) and the other half are being severely restricted in which circles they are permitted to study in.

To say like that is just the same that to say: "christianity rejected galileo's truth" while in fact that the church at that time that did it
I would have to disagree. What is a religion to non believers if not what the believers make it out to be. At that moment in History, it was Christianity that was opposed to Galileo.

The same applies to Islam. The Quran itself is unchanging but the interpretation of it flows with time. Islam is not the same religion it was 1000 years ago, 100 years ago or even 10 years ago.

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Unfortunately other people don't see it the same way. With the rise of fundamentalism and wahabi-ism half the muslim population are being held back from higher learning (women) and the other half are being severely restricted in which circles they are permitted to study in.

I don't know what you are talking about. In Iran (my country at least), women are outnumbering men in medicine and engineering schools. And in what fields are people being restricted in? If these things are prevalent in any form in Muslim societies, I fail to see how this relates to Islam in anyway.

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The same applies to Islam. The Quran itself is unchanging but the interpretation of it flows with time. Islam is not the same religion it was 1000 years ago, 100 years ago or even 10 years ago.

That my friend is your ignorance speaking

Care to enlighten us on how the islam we are following is not the exact same as it was 1500 years. Have there been any changes in laws, ritual practises and so on. No offense but this is kinda why atheists annoy me. You only see what you want to see when it comes to people religion

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I don't know what you are talking about. In Iran (my country at least), women are outnumbering men in medicine and engineering schools. And in what fields are people being restricted in? If these things are prevalent in any form in Muslim societies, I fail to see how this relates to Islam in anyway.

When was I talking about Iran. Go to Saudi Arabia and have a look see.

Care to enlighten us on how the islam we are following is not the exact same as it was 1500 years. Have there been any changes in laws, ritual practises and so on. No offense but this is kinda why atheists annoy me. You only see what you want to see when it comes to people religion

This is why most religious people in this forum annoy me. They never read what you have written and always try to find some ground to argue about something.

It is not what people see but what you show them.

"Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."

It doesn't matter what Islam says. It is people's interpretation that matters. A religion is only what the followers make it out to be. If a fundamental unchanging truth exists within the religion, then it is most definitely not apparent, nor does it have any implications on what Islam is today. How many sects are there in Islam and when were they founded? (rhetorical to stress my point)

Also I am not an Atheist, but I will argue against anyone who takes a bad stance.

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^^^So like I said since you WEREN'T able to provide examples of changes in scriptures, laws, rituals and so forth I concede that the islam we are following today is the exact same aqueedah as of what it was 1500 years ago.

Now if you mean we have evolved more progressive outlooks on those same matters of religion, then that too would be a debatable matter

Edited by koroigetsuga

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haji- the thread title is islams forgotten geniuses. why were they forgotten? because islam didn't encourage them and in fact represed them. if they hadn't they wouldn't have been forgotten!

Perhaps you are trying to say that the Muslims (Not Islam) didn't encourage them and in fact repressed them ?

(salam)

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^^^So like I said since you WEREN'T able to provide examples of changes in scriptures, laws, rituals and so forth I concede that the islam we are following today is the exact same aqueedah as of what it was 1500 years ago.

Now if you mean we have evolved more progressive outlooks on those same matters of religion, then that too would be a debatable matter

My example was the evolution of sects. I stupidly thought I would not have to explain. Their very existence is due to a change in perceived Laws and the significance of rituals, politics and general outlook of the religion.

In practice they are wildly different, and even fundamentally there are differences. Just look at the difference between Sufiism and the religion practiced under the old Taliban regime.

I suppose you are just defending your own sect, but Islam is much more than that.

Perhaps you are trying to say that the Muslims (Not Islam) didn't encourage them and in fact repressed them ?
Point of view. Edited by Poobert

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When was I talking about Iran. Go to Saudi Arabia and have a look see.

So since one country has its issues, are you telling me that somehow the system of Islam itself is to blame?

My original statement was the Islamic position on the issue of science education. No matter what any self-described Muslim societies do to the contrary, I don't see why that discredits or creates any issues with the Islamic viewpoint. Simply put, just because humankind can't reach the high standards Islam puts forward for us, does not mean that Islam is not right.

I see you are someone who is interested in intellectual discussion, so please don't fall into the common trap of linking the actions/behaviors of Muslim people/societies with Islam itself. If you have issues of whether Muslim societies are following Islam properly, that is a separate debate and we as Muslims discuss this all the time. If you want to argue about whether Islam itself is not the right path for us, please bring your proof. We dare you.

It is not what people see but what you show them.

"Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."

The only one who can know our true intentions about what we say and do is Allah. Hence the reason we need Islam.

It doesn't matter what Islam says. It is people's interpretation that matters. A religion is only what the followers make it out to be. If a fundamental unchanging truth exists within the religion, then it is most definitely not apparent, nor does it have any implications on what Islam is today. How many sects are there in Islam and when were they founded? (rhetorical to stress my point)

Also I am not an Atheist, but I will argue against anyone who takes a bad stance.

The world is not perfect and the fact that 100% proper Islam is not practiced anywhere in the world simply proves that we humans are finite and flawed in our capacity, and that we as humans need Allah (swt) for support. If any society/individual was perfect, people would not need Allah and the entire religion of Islam would not be necessary. But obviously Allah didn't plan the world to be like this...

Just because we as humans are too finite and limited in our capacities does not discredit the fundamental and unchanging truth in anyway. Do you really have such a faith in mankind with his limited capabilities to be capable of handling an infinite truth?

Having blind faith in mankind is indeed a sign of atheism, because that is demonstrating that a God is not necessary and that we as humans can do perfect justice. And come on, is that really true...

Edited by Shia Engineer

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