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Thread: Would enlightenment have happened in Europe without Islam?

  1. Top | #21
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    I think you have to look even further back.

    The first university, the Universoty of Paris, was established so that texts out of Moslem Spain could be studied under Church supervision.

    When the Academy was closed in 529, many of the scholars and texts made their way east, returning to Europe via the Moslem conquest of Spain.

  2. Top | #22
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    Interesting thought. I agree.

    At one point Persia and Arabia was the place to be in science. There was a PBS show on the topic.

    Throughout history science goes where the money is. Science flowed from the Mid Eas to Europe.

    You can see the influence in art and music.

    One problem for Islam was a fear of printing presses making errors in the Koran which limited propagation into Europe.

    Newton used Persian astronomical data in his synthesis of mechanics. Most of the underlying ideas that became the calculus were in print along with formulations of Newton's Laws.

    In Europe science led to technology which led to efficiency which led to leisure time for thinkers to debate and write.

  3. Top | #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    So, wasn't the scientific climate of the Persians was already very strong and not greatly pushed around by religious concerns?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistoria...olden_age_was/

    Also, gotta say that the Persian language sounds really cool and Arabic sounds aggressive as hell. Kind of like French vs German or Dutch.
    Well, half of that is true! The ancient magi were no slouches at social control either.

  4. Top | #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Interesting thought. I agree.

    At one point Persia and Arabia was the place to be in science. There was a PBS show on the topic.

    Throughout history science goes where the money is. Science flowed from the Mid Eas to Europe.

    You can see the influence in art and music.

    One problem for Islam was a fear of printing presses making errors in the Koran which limited propagation into Europe.
    True facts, though the book did eventually migrate all the same. It's known that Martin Luther, though no friend to Muslims, saw their coming as the will of God (ie. punishing the prostituted Church), and was among the first Christian theologians to seriously study the Qur'an in Latin translation. More than that, he pushed to have it reprinted and put into wider circulation in 1543.

  5. Top | #25
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    In the show which was made in Venice an old book in a Venetian library was shown. It was a businessman's guide to doing business with Muslims. Etiquettes and protocols.

    I read a book about technology in the ancient world. When the Europeans were still slapping with their animals and pissing in the streets, Arabs and Persians were fairly sophisticated. Persia had an observatory that was the place to be for astronomy. Dormitories and lecture halls.

    Water aqueducts powered by windmills. Hospitals and sanitary living, at least in relative terms. A domed house with an opening at the top and a tunnel leading up into the house. The Venturi effect off air flowing over the dome creted low pressure in the house drawing cool air through the tunnel.

    I believe it was the 18th century wren conflict broke out in Islam in the Ottoman's between rationalists and fundamentalists. Science lost out and there was a purge.

    I read two books on Islam. Up to a point in history Islam was generally like Jews and Christians. A diversity of thought and interpretations. The Koran translation I read dated to around 1900 by a Muslim who we today call a moderate. He saw no conflict between religion and science, they deal with different domains.

  6. Top | #26
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    I thought the enlightenment happened because of the printing press. Books became a lot cheaper so anyone could read what a few wise men knew about and not just depend on those few wise men teaching them personally.

  7. Top | #27
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    There had to be enough leisure time and excess wealth to support philosohpers and intellectuals.

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    Excess wealth appeared to be a specialty of the Church.

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Parker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post

    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.
    You seem to think the enlightenment happened in spite of the Reformation.

    My point was that the logjam of thought maintained by the church was broken. That some thoughts or beliefs went the other way i.e. crazier is beside the point.
    These are good points. Luther's Reformation and the resulting Protestantism was largely anti-science and anti-intellectual, but that was because it was anti-Catholic and the Church controlled learning and scholarship. So, if one was going to attack the legitimacy of Church authority while still treating the Bible itself as valid truth, then promoting a more emotionally based non-intellectual populist form of Christianity made sense.

    Thus, even though Protestantism was and still is an ideological/philosophical enemy of reason and enlightenment values, it served to weaken the power of the Church which benefited all the Churches enemies, including intellectual progress. It is analogous to how Stalin helped the West defeat the Nazis by fighting them on a different front, even though Stalin and the Soviet Union he would create were philosophically antithetical to the West.

    Protestantism lacks a centralized social/political authority other than the Bible itself. So, while deference to the Bible and rejection of reason make Protestantism inherently anti-intellectual, it's lack of a mechanism to impose that viewpoint in an authoritarian way has prevented it from being the stopgap against post-Enlightenment progress that it's leaders and strongest adherents wish it could be.

  10. Top | #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Parker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post

    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.
    You seem to think the enlightenment happened in spite of the Reformation.

    My point was that the logjam of thought maintained by the church was broken. That some thoughts or beliefs went the other way i.e. crazier is beside the point.
    These are good points. Luther's Reformation and the resulting Protestantism was largely anti-science and anti-intellectual, but that was because it was anti-Catholic and the Church controlled learning and scholarship. So, if one was going to attack the legitimacy of Church authority while still treating the Bible itself as valid truth, then promoting a more emotionally based non-intellectual populist form of Christianity made sense.

    Thus, even though Protestantism was and still is an ideological/philosophical enemy of reason and enlightenment values, it served to weaken the power of the Church which benefited all the Churches enemies, including intellectual progress. It is analogous to how Stalin helped the West defeat the Nazis by fighting them on a different front, even though Stalin and the Soviet Union he would create were philosophically antithetical to the West.

    Protestantism lacks a centralized social/political authority other than the Bible itself. So, while deference to the Bible and rejection of reason make Protestantism inherently anti-intellectual, it's lack of a mechanism to impose that viewpoint in an authoritarian way has prevented it from being the stopgap against post-Enlightenment progress that it's leaders and strongest adherents wish it could be.
    Nice dissertation.

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