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Thread: Would enlightenment have happened in Europe without Islam?

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    Would enlightenment have happened in Europe without Islam?

    Some claim that the Renaissance would not have happened without the Golden Age of Islam as a beacon of science and learning.

    Thoughts?

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    The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th century.
    The Islamic Empire heavily patronized scholars. The money spent on the Translation Movement for some translations is estimated to be equivalent to about twice the annual research budget of the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council.[16] The best scholars and notable translators, such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq, had salaries that are estimated to be the equivalent of professional athletes today.[16] The House of Wisdom was a library established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq by Caliph al-Mansur.[17]
    During this period, the Muslims showed a strong interest in assimilating the scientific knowledge of the civilizations that had been conquered. Many classic works of antiquity that might otherwise have been lost were translated from Greek, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Phoenician civilizations into Arabic and Persian, and later in turn translated into Turkish, Hebrew, and Latin.[5]
    With a new and easier writing system, and the introduction of paper, information was democratized to the extent that, for probably the first time in history, it became possible to make a living from only writing and selling books.[45] The use of paper spread from China into Muslim regions in the eighth century, arriving in Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) in the 10th century. It was easier to manufacture than parchment, less likely to crack than papyrus, and could absorb ink, making it difficult to erase and ideal for keeping records. Islamic paper makers devised assembly-line methods of hand-copying manuscripts to turn out editions far larger than any available in Europe for centuries.[46] It was from these countries that the rest of the world learned to make paper from linen.[47]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

    This is all happening when Christians were destroying acquired knowledge and burning libraries.

    And as we still see today US fundamentalist Christians are anti-science and book banners, just short of book burners. If they had control they would start burning libraries again.

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    I don't know much about the influence of Islam on Europe, but I suspect the Enlightenment was more of a product of a growing economy and technical innovation (e.g. Printing Press). Eventually the conditions allowed for a huge intensification in personal study, resulting in kind of pseudo-scientific gains (natural philosophy).

    In short, more information and shared understandings were made available, which acted as a precursor to a major intellectual revolution. Prior to that I don't know how robust science or philosophy really was, even in the Middle East.

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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post



    During this period, the Muslims showed a strong interest in assimilating the scientific knowledge of the civilizations that had been conquered. Many classic works of antiquity that might otherwise have been lost were translated from Greek, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Phoenician civilizations into Arabic and Persian, and later in turn translated into Turkish, Hebrew, and Latin.[5]
    With a new and easier writing system, and the introduction of paper, information was democratized to the extent that, for probably the first time in history, it became possible to make a living from only writing and selling books.[45] The use of paper spread from China into Muslim regions in the eighth century, arriving in Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) in the 10th century. It was easier to manufacture than parchment, less likely to crack than papyrus, and could absorb ink, making it difficult to erase and ideal for keeping records. Islamic paper makers devised assembly-line methods of hand-copying manuscripts to turn out editions far larger than any available in Europe for centuries.[46] It was from these countries that the rest of the world learned to make paper from linen.[47]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

    This is all happening when Christians were destroying acquired knowledge and burning libraries.

    And as we still see today US fundamentalist Christians are anti-science and book banners, just short of book burners. If they had control they would start burning libraries again.
    That may have been the case in Muslim countries during the dark ages in Europe, but the question was: how much of this scientific activity in Islam, if any, actually contributed to the enlightenment in Europe?

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    Many Greek texts sent west from Constantinople, as the old Greek empire fell to the Moslems played a role.

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    But did this play a part in bringing about enlightenment, or did it just save material that would otherwise have been destroyed by the Church?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    That may have been the case in Muslim countries during the dark ages in Europe, but the question was: how much of this scientific activity in Islam, if any, actually contributed to the enlightenment in Europe?
    Impossible to know.

    There are no experiments that can be done.

    But what can be known is Islamic culture had a great respect for science and literature while Christian Europe did not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    But did this play a part in bringing about enlightenment, or did it just save material that would otherwise have been destroyed by the Church?
    I think so, but who knows. Could you've had enlightenment without the Reformation? I don't think the Reformation would've happened without those documents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Parker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    But did this play a part in bringing about enlightenment, or did it just save material that would otherwise have been destroyed by the Church?
    I think so, but who knows. Could you've had enlightenment without the Reformation? I don't think the Reformation would've happened without those documents.
    Why the Reformation? Maybe indirectly by the violence and wars that it caused. The Reformation essentially made Christianity *more crazy*. Luther was explicitly against using reason, and opened the door for modern fundamentalist Christianity.

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    Rather than the reformation. I was thinking more in terms of the advancement of science.

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