To:     Guardian CiF
Re:     Different ethnic perspectives on the history of science
Date:  Wednesday 30 January 08


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In response to "Arabic science that prefigured Darwin and Newton", by Jim Al-Khalili

Link to article and thread at The Guardian.


It seems to me that the flower of "Islamic" science blossomed and DIED many centuries ago and, not withstanding its academic interest, has "relatively" little relevance to the development of European science.

The Islamic world's most important contribution was in passing on ancient Greek (and with it, Babylonian) science and discoveries from India and China to medieval Europe, where Islamic discoveries, such as pulmonary circulation, were not taken over from Islam, but rediscovered; thus the credit going to William Harvey, because it was his discovery of it which profoundly influenced further developments.

As an aside, we would do well to give more attention to how revolutionary ideas and discoveries are received "at the time" (sometimes being completely ignored or forgotten, as happened with much "Islamic" science), and WHY, since it has great relevance to our own times. William Harvey's discovery, for example, met with much resistance from the medical establishment, which, from self-interest, wanted to stick with Galen. It took many years (i.e. a new generation of physicians), before it became generally accepted.

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