Science and Islam

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Science and Islam

Postby Peter Henderson » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:27 pm

Should be of interest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gksx4

The Language of Science
Watch:Next on:
05 Jan 2009, 21:00 on BBC Four

Synopsis:Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.

Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science - there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis.

For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili this is also a personal journey and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, he pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.

Credits:
Key talent Jim Al-Khalili Broadcasts:
05 Jan 200921:00BBCFour
05 Jan 200923:00BBC Four
06 Jan 200903:00BBC Four
06 Jan 200919:30BBC Four
06 Jan 200920:00BBC HD
07 Jan 200900:45BBC Four
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Re: Science and Islam

Postby Brian Jordan » Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:02 am

Peter Henderson wrote:Should be of interest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gksx4

he pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.
We shall see, but for now I'd rephrase it as something like "scientists who flourished during the Muslim empire"
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Re: Science and Islam

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:55 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:We shall see, but for now I'd rephrase it as something like "scientists who flourished during the Muslim empire"
Well, that covers the facts but not his slant on them. He attributes things to Islam which should properly be attributed to the time and the place. The whole thing, though, falls down because he never mentions the "dark ages" when, but for the Arabs, all knowledge from previous eras would have - supposedly - vanished. Without that contrast - right or wrong - with Christian Europe it just becomes another History Channel documentary. Next week, we get a "Muslim" polymath - who turns out to have been (Wikipedia) a captive of a Muslim emperor. Maybe he wanted to keep his testicles. We shall see.
Edit: in case you suspect religious bias, think Peter Abelard.
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Postby Brian Jordan » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:16 am

As expected, it hasn't got any better - everything to do with empires, precious little to do with Islam. As contributor Simon Schaffer said early on, thriving confident empires were fruitful grounds for innovation. Beyond that, there's little that's specifically Islamic. Apart from their need to precisely align their anuses away from Mecca whilst praying - it seems that for their devotions they needed a slightly more precise measurement of the diameter of the planet than the one the Greeks provided them with centuries before. Why the BBC needs to pump up the achievements made during the medieval Arabian empire, whilst ignoring the suffocation of reason by the medieval Roman church's empire at the same time, remains a mystery. Not.
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