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Science In Islamic Countries 1289

biohack sends us to Physics Today for a thought-provoking article on the status of and prospects for science in Islamic countries. The author, a Pakistani physicist, posits that 'Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong.' The author makes a few strong conclusions, many of which are relevant to the general debate between science and religion. From the article: "Science finds every soil barren in which miracles are taken literally and seriously and revelation is considered to provide authentic knowledge of the physical world. If the scientific method is trashed, no amount of resources or loud declarations of intent to develop science can compensate. In those circumstances, scientific research becomes, at best, a kind of cataloging or 'butterfly-collecting' activity. It cannot be a creative process of genuine inquiry in which bold hypotheses are made and checked."
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Science In Islamic Countries

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  • by pseudorand ( 603231 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @02:51PM (#20826815)
    > In those circumstances, scientific research becomes, at best, a kind of cataloging or 'butterfly-collecting' activity. ...you insensitive clod.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:11PM (#20827137) Homepage Journal
    Well, another thing is, the only physics they seem intent on studying, are those concerned with 'blowing things up'.

    It is a limited field of study, and it seems most of the 'scientist' studying this phenomena are consumed along with their first experiment. Few papers are written post-experiment.

  • by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:13PM (#20827159)
    Your dates are imperfect indeed, but simply because you're using an inferior number system. Had you written the dates in their original, true, and proper form, i.e. XVII and XVIII century they would be correct. Your post truly needs to be modded down to .

    Now then, on to the discussion: Really, what has arab world contributed to the science world?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:24PM (#20827299)
    They just moved lower down the head, and use a much larger knife now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:31PM (#20827425)
    Seems like the Muslims DO have a nice history of scientific work. Let's recap.... Surgery Have patient kneel Chop off head Study remains Aeronautics Train people to fly planes without landing instructions Fly planes into buildings Study the results Sociology Have woman speak out of turn Beat woman to death Study remains Religion Study a MAN who was clearly pissed at the Catholic Church and reacted as such Study a MAN who was illiterate, yet was able to write a literary work on substantial materials such as leaves Study a MAN who performed no documented miracles Study a MAN who was a bigamist, pedophile, and murderer Logic Write a book that Include in that book instructions to never question the book's authority Kill anyone who questions the book (See Surgery above) Ethics ... ... Oh, just forget it. Muslims are so wrapped up in their self-absorbed, self-centered quest for world domination that being dominated by the Chinese actually sounds like a GOOD plan just about now.
  • True Words (Score:3, Funny)

    by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:36PM (#20827499)

    Science is fundamentally an idea-system that has grown around a sort of skeleton wire frame--the scientific method. The deliberately cultivated scientific habit of mind is mandatory for successful work in all science and related fields where critical judgment is essential. Scientific progress constantly demands that facts and hypotheses be checked and rechecked, and is unmindful of authority. But there lies the problem: The scientific method is alien to traditional, unreformed religious thought. Only the exceptional individual is able to exercise such a mindset in a society in which absolute authority comes from above, questions are asked only with difficulty, the penalties for disbelief are severe, the intellect is denigrated, and a certainty exists that all answers are already known and must only be discovered.

    That describes the fundamentalist Christian-dominated home town so well I want to hug this guy.

    The problem with fundamentalists is that they value the knowledge and beliefs of people from thousands of years ago over any progress we have made since.

  • What? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @03:49PM (#20827727) Journal
    You mean there's no proof for the 72 virgins? Damn, thought I had an avenue there for a second.
  • by thegnu ( 557446 ) <thegnu@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @04:57PM (#20828847) Journal

    but there's no valid comparison between literalist Christians in the U.S. and literalist Muslims in Saudi Arabia or Iran. There's a huge gulf there.

    I'll say! [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:What? (Score:2, Funny)

    by SoulRider ( 148285 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @05:17PM (#20829231)
    Its not 72 virgins, its 72 vegans...someone wasnt paying attention that day.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @05:19PM (#20829271)

    and think about what we call our numbers that can represent things like 0 and -1....

    Freedom numerals.

  • by Highrollr ( 625006 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @07:11PM (#20830761)
    Under Stalin's rule, Cerenkov and Tamm won the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physics, as did Landau in 1962 for work carried out under Stalin, and Basov and Prokhorov in 1964.

    Was it for time travel?
  • by oatworm ( 969674 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @07:38PM (#20831021) Homepage
    They have the same UID, but they're on three different boxes... something about NFS, load balancing, and redundancy or something like that. I'm still trying to figure out why He deleted his "Jesus" account and then recreated it three days later. Very strange. Perhaps He was rootkitted? I'll go check the logs...

    # tail bible.log

    22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.
    22:18I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:
    22:19and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
    22:20He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.
    22:21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints. Amen.
    Hmm... going to need to go farther back... this could take a while. I'll come back to you, 'k?
  • Ironic (Score:3, Funny)

    by BlackSabbath ( 118110 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @08:39PM (#20831663)
    I find it ironic that the most vehement posts against Islam's scientific backwardness come from a country where a significant proportion of the population literally believe that the earth is 6000 years old.

    Personally, I can't wait until all these overrated fairy tales are accorded the same level of respect, and have the same level of influence on social and political life, as Ashtarte, Zeus and Ra.
  • by Jeian ( 409916 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @01:04AM (#20833435)
    Nonsense. Everyone knows that there's no homosexuality in Muslim countries (in Iran, at least).
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:33AM (#20834373) Homepage
    If I could've fit some more dollar signs in there, I would have. :)


    I really really wanted to replace the "c" with the Cent symbol, and also tried substituting Euro symbol, but Slashdot does not accept either. OK I get that the introduction of the Euro postdates Slashdot itself, but why the heck include the Yen over the Cent???

  • by Carthag ( 643047 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @07:46AM (#20835199) Homepage
    He's right you know. I'm atheist and I've killed myself already because I didn't have any reason to live in a world without meaning.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN