March 13th, 2006


Looks like I got an answer to a question...

That being, how did Islamic culture, which was so prolific in the fields of philosophy, chemistry, math et al. centuries ago, sink into its current pit of barbarism?

Web reaction to the article "How Islamic Inventors Changed the World" includes this from TigerHawk, which has this quote from the Wikipedia article on ibn Rushd aka Averroes:

His most important original philosophical work was The Incoherence of the Incoherence (Tahafut al-tahafut), in which he defended Aristotelian philosophy against al-Ghazali's claims in The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa), himself arguing against the earlier Aristotelian, Avicenna, that it was self-contradictory and an affront to the teachings of Islam.

With the wave of fanaticism that swept Al Andalus [the Iberian peninsula, as its Islamic conquerors called it, vide Spanish Andalucía] at the end of the 12th century following the Almohads conquest, his high connections could not preserve him from political trouble and he was banished to an isolated place near Córdoba and closely monitored until shortly before his death (in Morocco). Many of his works in logic and metaphysics have been permanently lost in the ensuing censorship.

Those inventions? They're all very old, indeed, from the Middle Ages and before.

Somehow the West has managed to come out from under that sort of religious fanaticism. I hope it continues to do so.
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