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Thread: Why is history so Euro-centric?

  1. #1 Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?


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  3. #2  
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    History as taught in Europe (or offshoots) tends to be Eurocentric. History taught in China tends to be Sinocentric. History taught in India would tend to focus on India. Get the point?


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    History is often the story of "us" or "we" and the direction of that narrative depends on who fits these definitions, when teaching history i sometimes refer to the English as "us" when i in fact am not English. All in all there is no shame in learning centric, unless you flat out manipulate the truth, such is the case of Clyde Winters, do not even bother looking him up, but he is a rabid afrocentrist.
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  5. #4 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?
    I'm wholly comfortable that you are completely wrong on the first point. I have strong reservations about the second point. Would you like to justify your assertions?
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  6. #5 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    Because Europe represents the cradle of civilization and the entire history of USA starts from Europe.
    P.S. the biggest scientist and eminent historical people WERE indeed in Europe.... Einstein, Hitler, Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Newton, Maria and Pierre Kiri, Huygens, Alexender The Great, Nobel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Plato, Tesla, Pushkin....etc

    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
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  7. #6 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    It is important to recognise that history is based upon our current interpretation of what we know of actual past events. That is quite different from saying it is based upon actual past events.
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  8. #7 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    It is important to recognise that history is based upon our current interpretation of what we know of actual past events. That is quite different from saying it is based upon actual past events.
    My bad.... True.... I expressed myself badly. But my question remains, @VitalOne why do you say that

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    What do you base that on? How is history racism?
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  9. #8 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    Because Europe represents the cradle of civilization and the entire history of USA starts from Europe.
    P.S. the biggest scientist and eminent historical people WERE indeed in Europe.... Einstein, Hitler, Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Newton, Maria and Pierre Kiri, Huygens, Alexender The Great, Nobel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Plato, Tesla, Pushkin....etc

    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    While I don't agree with most of VitalOne's points. Your post does display a clear Eurocentric bias.

    When you say "biggest scientist and eminent historical people", this is a subjective interpretation based on your own cultural upbringing. Mao is much more important to the Chinese people than any of those figures are.

    I could name a slew of important non-Europeans. It is perhaps valid to say most of the more important scientific discoveries have come out of the West in the last 400 years, it is nonsense to place writers, musicians, and philosophers on any pedestal. You grow up exposed to nothing but Western art so you assume other form of art simply doesn't exist. The artistic history of the rest of the world goes just as deep as anything Europe has produced. Sometimes deeper, with works like Gilgamesh and the Book of Songs predating any surviving Western writings.
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  10. #9  
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    Well, the modern world as we know him today was basicllay "designed" by europe- the model of state, liberalism, nationalism and etc. Most of the sceince "invented" in europe, but there were many discoveries of non-european- for example, the number zero first began to use in india. Many of the modern medicine is based on the medicine of the Arabian Empire in the the 9th-11th century.
    The European Nations began to explore and conquer the world, so the map designed that europe is the center. Christianity was very popular in europe, so in a religion world- europe is the center.

    Because of all this reasons, we are Eurocentric

    By the wat, before europe "raise to power"- the middle east was the great power- look at the 1500 B.C to 500 B.C and you will see many middle east empires.
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  11. #10 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    Because Europe represents the cradle of civilization and the entire history of USA starts from Europe.
    P.S. the biggest scientist and eminent historical people WERE indeed in Europe.... Einstein, Hitler, Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Newton, Maria and Pierre Kiri, Huygens, Alexender The Great, Nobel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Plato, Tesla, Pushkin....etc

    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    While I don't agree with most of VitalOne's points. Your post does display a clear Eurocentric bias.

    When you say "biggest scientist and eminent historical people", this is a subjective interpretation based on your own cultural upbringing. Mao is much more important to the Chinese people than any of those figures are.

    I could name a slew of important non-Europeans. It is perhaps valid to say most of the more important scientific discoveries have come out of the West in the last 400 years, it is nonsense to place writers, musicians, and philosophers on any pedestal. You grow up exposed to nothing but Western art so you assume other form of art simply doesn't exist. The artistic history of the rest of the world goes just as deep as anything Europe has produced. Sometimes deeper, with works like Gilgamesh and the Book of Songs predating any surviving Western writings.
    Well, yes, I did say "the biggest" and maybe I went a little too wide with that, but be realistic and compare European and North American "great people". I think you'll find I'm right about some things. And considering Gilgamesh and similar world achievements, I was kind of speaking mostly about the relation Europe-US. But yes, Asia has an enormous influence in world history, I do not deny that, all I am saying is that Europe took all those peaces if world history and sewed them together....
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"
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  12. #11  
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    What history do we value to look at? Of course Europe rightly steals the spotlight if we value concertos and formations of riflemen. I think it fair to say the whole world has learned to value basically what Europe was and is about.

    On the other hand, we now know that thanks to brutal genocidal policy and superhuman harem/rape system, approximately 1/200 people today descend from Genghis Khan himself, and most of us probably carry some genes of his soldiers. Compare dickless little men like Alexander or Napoleon. Europeans must convince the world that Gengis didn't really accomplish anything of lasting value.
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  13. #12  
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    1- Where did the first man to calculated the circumpherence of the world come from?
    2- Where did the first man who's ship to circle around the world come from?
    3- Where did the first global(and evil) world empire, whose armies occupied other people's lands on all inhabited continents and on which the sun never set come from?
    4- Where was the airplane invented? And where did the frist man to fly around the world come from?
    5-Where did the engineers that started the Panama canal and Suez canal come from?
    6- Were did the first and second World wars that killed or affected people around the world start from?
    7- The first man to Orbit the world(Yuri gagarin)?

    Are we being sexist by covering more breakthroughs made by men thoughout history, or is it that we cover what was, and that old societites happen to be sexist?

    If you study the pre-1000 BC history, how much book material do you have about Europe's history compared to Egypt and messopotamian civilizations? Is that anti-European racism that there happens to be a lot to cover in the near east regions but not much to new stuff to go with in Europe during the same time period?


    This being said, history is also written by the victor, and/or a local people, according to political considerations of a given time.

    If the Axis would have won WW2 we would know all about the jewish declaration of war against Germany in the early 30s, how the US strangled Japan in economic warfare, be comemorating the evil bombing of Drezden and denouce the detention of japanese in US concetration camps, etc, etc, basically some of the same events would be cover differently and some events would be covered while they are not today, while others would not be covered while they are today
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  14. #13 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?
    I'm wholly comfortable that you are completely wrong on the first point. I have strong reservations about the second point. Would you like to justify your assertions?
    No, I am completely correct

    al-Haytham, an Arab from Egypt, born in Iraq was the one who invented the modern day scientific method

    His Book of Optics got translated into Latin in the 1200s and Roger Bacon read it. Roger Bacon cites Ibn al-Haytham by name in his texts, and Ibn al-Haytham texts detail the scientific method, as well many other things.

    This is a confirmed historical fact, but al-Haytham is not really ever mentioned in history class at all, instead Roger Bacon, Galileo, and other Europeans are mentioned

    The base 10 system, number zero, trigonometry, parts of calculus, and nearly everything in mathematics were invented by non-Europeans, mostly Arabs, Indians, and the Chinese. In my Number Theory class that I'm taking right now, a lot of the things come from non-Europeans, like the Egyptian fraction formula and Chinese Remainder theorem. Even the words algorithm and algebra come from Arabic.

    Without the number zero and the base 10 system doing math is a lot more difficult.
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  15. #14 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    Because Europe represents the cradle of civilization and the entire history of USA starts from Europe.
    P.S. the biggest scientist and eminent historical people WERE indeed in Europe.... Einstein, Hitler, Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Newton, Maria and Pierre Kiri, Huygens, Alexender The Great, Nobel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Plato, Tesla, Pushkin....etc

    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    If history wasn't Eurocentric then Ibn al-Haytham would be as famous as Newton or Galileo, he is not, and usually never listed nor mentioned when people mention the "greatest scientists"

    If history wasn't Eurocentric then Zhu Shijie would be more famous than Blaise Pascal

    If history wasn't Eurocentric then Aryabhata would be as famous as Archimedes

    This is what I mean when I say history is Euro-centric, and not about actual past events, about "whites only" past events
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  16. #15 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?
    I'm wholly comfortable that you are completely wrong on the first point. I have strong reservations about the second point. Would you like to justify your assertions?
    No, I am completely correct

    al-Haytham, an Arab from Egypt, born in Iraq was the one who invented the modern day scientific method

    His Book of Optics got translated into Latin in the 1200s and Roger Bacon read it. Roger Bacon cites Ibn al-Haytham by name in his texts, and Ibn al-Haytham texts detail the scientific method, as well many other things.

    This is a confirmed historical fact, but al-Haytham is not really ever mentioned in history class at all, instead Roger Bacon, Galileo, and other Europeans are mentioned

    The base 10 system, number zero, trigonometry, parts of calculus, and nearly everything in mathematics were invented by non-Europeans, mostly Arabs, Indians, and the Chinese. In my Number Theory class that I'm taking right now, a lot of the things come from non-Europeans, like the Egyptian fraction formula and Chinese Remainder theorem. Even the words algorithm and algebra come from Arabic.

    Without the number zero and the base 10 system doing math is a lot more difficult.
    "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants" - Isaac Newton

    even if the giants are non-european, most of the last inventions(1500 A.D-This Moment) had been invented by europeans, and that is what we remember. and considering the fact the you are learning about those non-europeans scientists, I won't say that history ingores those people.

    Right now I am learning in high school(I am not in UK/USA). In the last year we learned about the Arabian Empire- inculding the scientists that you menthioned. So I guess it's depends on the education system and it's contents.

    Many of the Arabian science is based on european science- for example, After the war between the Arabian Empire and the Byzantine Empire(around 830 A.D), many books translated into arbian from greek- those books, which transferred to Baghdad's library were the foundations of the Arbian Science. In addition, many of the arabian writings were based on the greek writings.
    and all this I know from my high school lessons. So history does not ignore them- your country does.
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  17. #16 Re: Why is history so Euro-centric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impactor
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?
    I'm wholly comfortable that you are completely wrong on the first point. I have strong reservations about the second point. Would you like to justify your assertions?
    No, I am completely correct

    al-Haytham, an Arab from Egypt, born in Iraq was the one who invented the modern day scientific method

    His Book of Optics got translated into Latin in the 1200s and Roger Bacon read it. Roger Bacon cites Ibn al-Haytham by name in his texts, and Ibn al-Haytham texts detail the scientific method, as well many other things.

    This is a confirmed historical fact, but al-Haytham is not really ever mentioned in history class at all, instead Roger Bacon, Galileo, and other Europeans are mentioned

    The base 10 system, number zero, trigonometry, parts of calculus, and nearly everything in mathematics were invented by non-Europeans, mostly Arabs, Indians, and the Chinese. In my Number Theory class that I'm taking right now, a lot of the things come from non-Europeans, like the Egyptian fraction formula and Chinese Remainder theorem. Even the words algorithm and algebra come from Arabic.

    Without the number zero and the base 10 system doing math is a lot more difficult.
    "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants" - Isaac Newton

    even if the giants are non-european, most of the last inventions(1500 A.D-This Moment) had been invented by europeans, and that is what we remember. and considering the fact the you are learning about those non-europeans scientists, I won't say that history ingores those people.

    Right now I am learning in high school(I am not in UK/USA). In the last year we learned about the Arabian Empire- inculding the scientists that you menthioned. So I guess it's depends on the education system and it's contents.

    Many of the Arabian science is based on european science- for example, After the war between the Arabian Empire and the Byzantine Empire(around 830 A.D), many books translated into arbian from greek- those books, which transferred to Baghdad's library were the foundations of the Arbian Science. In addition, many of the arabian writings were based on the greek writings.
    and all this I know from my high school lessons. So history does not ignore them- your country does.
    That's partially true, but I'm not talking about recent history, I'm talking when learning history prior to 400 years ago before Europeans took over

    I'm not saying Europeans shouldn't be in history, I'm saying history should just be about the actual past events, independent of any race or nationality. If Europeans really discovered something first then it should be known, but if non-Europeans discovered something first then it should be known. This is just history, the actual past events. Not "European history" or whatever.

    Also Ibn al-Haytham broke away from Greek philosophers and questioned them. He was the first true scientist who used the scientific method nearly 1,000 years ago, he claimed that light is made up of particles, travels in straight lines, and wrote over 200 books.

    So what's the reason that Ibn al-Haytham isn't as famous as European scientists? I'm sure if Ibn al-Haytham had been a white European he would've been at least as famous as Francis Bacon

    I didn't learn any of those things in high school (in the US), it wasn't mentioned
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  18. #17  
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    Lots of science was discovered by non Europeans. However, that is somewhat irrelevent if that science was not passed on.

    The history of modern science began with Galileo, who applied empiricism. His example was followed by a continuous stream of later scientists who advanced upon his findings and expanded scientific knowledge to the present day.

    Earlier scholars from Arabic nations did not do this. Their influence was limited, mainly by the lack of widespread communication between nations. I do not intend to belittle these great men, but due to the circumstances of their times, they did not have the impact of Galileo, Hooke, Newton, Pasteur, Einstein etc.
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    Well... not Galileo exclusively, you must take into account context, it was the time, the people not the person.
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    You are correct. However, Galileo appears to be the first to apply fully the modern concept of empiricism. Copernicus preceded Galileo, and his influence was massive. However, Copernicus did no empirical studies, and hence could not be considered a 'scientist' in the modern sense. Leonardo da Vinci also preceded Galileo, and Leonardo did, indeed, carry out a small amount of empirical research. However, his importance was in other arenas. Galileo was the primary pioneer of the modern scientific method, even if he was influenced by others (mainly Copernicus). For this reason, it is convenient to designate the life of Galileo as the start of the modern era in science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Lots of science was discovered by non Europeans. However, that is somewhat irrelevent if that science was not passed on.

    The history of modern science began with Galileo, who applied empiricism. His example was followed by a continuous stream of later scientists who advanced upon his findings and expanded scientific knowledge to the present day.

    Earlier scholars from Arabic nations did not do this. Their influence was limited, mainly by the lack of widespread communication between nations. I do not intend to belittle these great men, but due to the circumstances of their times, they did not have the impact of Galileo, Hooke, Newton, Pasteur, Einstein etc.
    You are wrong, because of your Eurocentric education you've been misinformed and don't know it

    Ibn al-Haytham is the first empiricist, and Europeans like Roger Bacon and Kepler got empiricism from Ibn al-Haytham. Europeans like Roger Bacon and Kepler frequently cite Ibn al-Haytham by name in their texts.

    Ibn al-Haytham did these things in the 1000s, using experiments and mathematics to prove things, constructing a projector camera obscura, claiming that light travels in straight lines, falsifying the emissions theory, etc...

    Nearly all historians agree that Ibn al-Haytham started the scientific method and empiricism, and that Europeans read his Book of Optics
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  22. #21  
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    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.

    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.

    Galileo preceded Bacon and Kepler, and they are much more likely to have been inspired by Galileo than Ibn al-Haytham. Even though Copernicus preceded him, and inspired him, Galileo was the first of the modern scientists, using the experimental method. However, after Galileo, a burgeoning number of western scientists followed, using empirical methods and uncovering discoveries at an ever increasing rate.

    Ibn al-Haytham was definitely the first to use something approaching the modern scientific method. But he lived almost 600 years before Galileo ignited the scientific revolution. If his influence was so great, then why was there no scientific advance over that time?
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  23. #22  
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    Hahahaha.....
    I think history is China centric.

    Better to let people centuries later answer the question history is XXX centric.
    What we think is just what we think, not the whole truth.
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  24. #23 Thom Hartmann on Talk Radio rants about races 
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    The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney: Lars Larson, Thom Hartmann, Talk Radio

    http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2...alk-radio.html

    this article has nothing to do with his race things - i hate the vietnam war too

    today i think he said the American indians weren't really interested in wiping out whole cultures as the whites were or as maybe the jews wiped out the Canaanites,even though the indians did do some bloody things to each other like maybe the sioux did attack sac and fox villages

    do you think this is true?
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  25. #24  
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    To Holmes

    Not on your nelly!
    Human cultures share some things. Greed is strong. European culture involves a series of land wars, in which national leaders, usually kings, try to use military might to steal territory from others. Tribal groups round the world did the same.

    To Wang

    Re China-centric.
    A very good point. All nations tend to emphasize their own history. The degree to which history is Euro-centric may be exaggerated by the simpe fact that most of us here are European and, at school, learn our own history. You would have got a different point of view, and one that was equally valid.
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  26. #25  
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    i doubt if it is

    history? taught by?

    colleges i think teach the alphabet was created by greek or whoever

    or was that algebra by arabs?



    us history is Yankee centric not Confederate

    divisions within divisions?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    VitalOne

    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.

    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.

    Galileo preceded Bacon and Kepler, and they are much more likely to have been inspired by Galileo than Ibn al-Haytham. Even though Copernicus preceded him, and inspired him, Galileo was the first of the modern scientists, using the experimental method. However, after Galileo, a burgeoning number of western scientists followed, using empirical methods and uncovering discoveries at an ever increasing rate.
    Wrong again

    Roger Bacon was born in 1214
    Galileo was born in 1564
    Kepler was born in 1571

    Ibn al-Haytham's Book of Optics was translated to Latin the 1200s, Roger Bacon cites Ibn al-Haytham by name in his texts, and Roger Bacon is known as one of the first European empiricists

    Kepler cites Ibn al-Haytham in his books related to optics, and Galileo had read lots of Kepler's books

    The only reason you insist that Galileo is the "real" founder of the scientific method is because you insist on using racism instead of historical evidence to determine what history is

    Nearly all modern historians agree that Ibn al-Haytham is the founder of the scientific method

    Ibn al-Haytham was definitely the first to use something approaching the modern scientific method. But he lived almost 600 years before Galileo ignited the scientific revolution. If his influence was so great, then why was there no scientific advance over that time?
    He didn't have much influence over Arabs, the Arabs didn't seem to care that much about what Ibn al-Haytham did
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  28. #27  
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    To VitalOne

    Ok, I admit I made a mistake with Roger Bacon's chronology. It makes no difference. Let me quote Stephen Hawking :

    "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

    This is the consensus opinion of those who study the history of science. I am not deriding the work of the arabs, who did excellent work. As I have said repeatedly, the problem was communication. Their writings were not widely disseminated in Europe, and the early European scientists, like Galileo, operated largely in ignorance of the work of those arab scientists. Indeed, much of the early scientific work in Europe involved painstakingly repeating what had already been discovered by those arabs. eg. Newton's work on optics. The early European scientists would not have repeated that work if they knew of the arab results.

    If we want to argue possible origins of science, we can go right back to the ancient Greeks. Aristotle did excellent empirical work in zoology. Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the world (he knew it to be a sphere) to amazing accuracy. However, they did not inspire later scientists to carry out proper scientific work. Indeed, the reverence for Aristotle probably inhibited further scientific progress.

    However, if we want to look at the origins of modern science, the first one to use its methods was Galileo. He was probably the most influential, driving his successors to using the methods of modern science. The work of arabs was, as I said, excellent, but did not drive ongoing development, due to lousy communication.
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  29. #28 Re: Thom Hartmann on Talk Radio rants about races 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes
    The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney: Lars Larson, Thom Hartmann, Talk Radio

    http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2...alk-radio.html

    this article has nothing to do with his race things - i hate the vietnam war too

    today i think he said the American indians weren't really interested in wiping out whole cultures as the whites were or as maybe the jews wiped out the Canaanites,even though the indians did do some bloody things to each other like maybe the sioux did attack sac and fox villages

    do you think this is true?
    i meant that as a new post
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  30. #29  
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    You were maybe thinking of Sir Francis Bacon, Skeptic. The first secretary of the Royal Society and one of the first to articulate and advocate the scientific method amongst fellow scientist.
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    Tired and sleepy

    You are right. Ouch!

    I wondered how I could have got the dates so wrong. Francis Bacon wrote the first modern account, in English, of something close to the scientific method as we understand it today. He was a contemporary of Galileo. However, he did little original scientific work on his own, being more of a writer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    To VitalOne

    Ok, I admit I made a mistake with Roger Bacon's chronology. It makes no difference. Let me quote Stephen Hawking :

    "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

    This is the consensus opinion of those who study the history of science. I am not deriding the work of the arabs, who did excellent work. As I have said repeatedly, the problem was communication. Their writings were not widely disseminated in Europe, and the early European scientists, like Galileo, operated largely in ignorance of the work of those arab scientists. Indeed, much of the early scientific work in Europe involved painstakingly repeating what had already been discovered by those arabs. eg. Newton's work on optics. The early European scientists would not have repeated that work if they knew of the arab results.

    If we want to argue possible origins of science, we can go right back to the ancient Greeks. Aristotle did excellent empirical work in zoology. Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the world (he knew it to be a sphere) to amazing accuracy. However, they did not inspire later scientists to carry out proper scientific work. Indeed, the reverence for Aristotle probably inhibited further scientific progress.

    However, if we want to look at the origins of modern science, the first one to use its methods was Galileo. He was probably the most influential, driving his successors to using the methods of modern science. The work of arabs was, as I said, excellent, but did not drive ongoing development, due to lousy communication.
    Galileo's work in telescopes and optics only came out much after Kepler's books on optics were released, which were based off Ibn al-Haytham's earlier work

    Historical evidence clearly points towards Alhazen being the originator of modern science
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    VitalOne

    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.


    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.
    I think you mean that it wasn't widely disseminated in Europe. And, since Europe is where most of the whole revolution took place, that would make the person who brought it to Europe seem almost more important than the guy who actually invented it.

    It's kind of like how Bill Gates didn't write DOS, but DOS put his name on the map, because he's the guy who pitched it to IBM. I have no idea what the name of the guy who actually wrote DOS is. The man certainly deserves to be remembered too, but who remembers him? Anyone?


    However, if we want to look at the origins of modern science, the first one to use its methods was Galileo. He was probably the most influential, driving his successors to using the methods of modern science. The work of arabs was, as I said, excellent, but did not drive ongoing development, due to lousy communication.
    If nothing else, he at least showed what it was capable of, by generating impressive results from it, and thereby showing everybody how valuable it was.

    Here we can draw another parallel as well. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, but he was the first to mass produce them. I don't even know the name of the guy who invented them. Do you?


    ....It would be nice if history remember inventors better....
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    Like Sheldon said physics are generated from physika in ancient Greek, and physics is the center of all kinds of our science world. This is a tradition tracing back 2600ys.
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    Although Europe is given credit(rightfully) of having the most number of inventors, philosophers, scientists, it is not necessary that similar discoveries hadn't been taking place else where. Newton and other eminent scientists may have discovered great laws and postulated fascinating theories, but it is true that much of it had already been disocvered in Asia especially India and China atleast 7-8 centuries before them. But these people never spread this golden knowledge because of their own belief-systems and cultural differences.

    Besides these discoveries were developed as part of the religious and cultural backdrops and not particularly for common people or for the spread of knowledge. The cultural structure was such that comman man would not have been able to understand the true meaning of the scientific discoveries unless it was incorporated into religion under the guise of rituals and beliefs.
    So the knowldege never spread and hence the credit was never given to these inventors.

    On the other hand, Scientists in Europe aimed for progress in technology and science by spreading their discoveries far and wide, publishing them and inter-acting with fellow scientists. Moreover, common man in Europe was more able to grasp these discoveries and put it to use in everyday life there by uplifting the standard. This further gave an impetus to scientific growth.
    Later on Europe conquered most of the world. Europe was the birth place of the renaissance and America didnt even exists as a nation then. Asia was going through dark ages. So Europeans got a strong-hold over scientific discoveries. And hence the maximum scientists and philosophers are found in Europe.

    But if we observe now, the scenario has changed. Realistically, after World war I U.S.A. is the cradle for scientific discoveries and countries like India, China, Japan are far ahead in the game than Europe.
    "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic

    But if we observe now, the scenario has changed. Realistically, after World war I U.S.A. is the cradle for scientific discoveries and countries like India, China, Japan are far ahead in the game than Europe.
    I don't think this is necessarily true. The USA has certainly been the center of scientific progress since WWII. However, China and India are not yet equal with Europe when it comes to scientific research. Just look at the LHC in Switzerland.

    Japan is certainly a powerhouse these days and has very good universities.

    China's universities are getting rapidly better, but they aren't at the same standard as the West yet. Moreover, most research in China is concentrated on matching research that the West has kept separate from them.

    I have no doubt India and China's research output will match and probably surpass Europe's in the next few decades, but I don't think they're there yet. I just have to think about the papers I've read. I frequently see authors from Germany, France, UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, and most of all the USA. However, I have rarely read publications coming from universities in China and India. Moreover, coming from a biological science background, most of the biotechnology firms and private research is pretty much only found in the West (particularly Germany, France, and the US) and Japan.
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    Actually, after the USA, mainland China is now the second largest source of published papers on scientific research. This from a report in New Scientist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Actualy, after the USA, mainland China is now the second largest source of published papers on scientific research. This from a report in New Scientist.
    The New Scientist article ignores that Chinese research still has a relatively low impact. The main reason why China has massive publication levels is they have a huge base of Chinese language journals. I do think they're an up and coming powerhouse though. I wouldn't be surprised if they do start having a major impact in a decade or two.
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    hmm...i see you point. Well all i meant to say that it is no more Euro-centric.
    The LHC is definitely a good point. The argument about China and India was regarding the fact that they too have come into this area pof scientific progress.
    In any case, Erope has the economical, cultural and historical backing for sustaining an appreciable rate of discoveries and theories. Afterall..it all comes down to money.
    USA has the most so they have the most number of accolades when it comes to progress in the modern world post WWII
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    Although Europe is given credit(rightfully) of having the most number of inventors, philosophers, scientists, it is not necessary that similar discoveries hadn't been taking place else where. Newton and other eminent scientists may have discovered great laws and postulated fascinating theories, but it is true that much of it had already been disocvered in Asia especially India and China atleast 7-8 centuries before them. But these people never spread this golden knowledge because of their own belief-systems and cultural differences.

    Besides these discoveries were developed as part of the religious and cultural backdrops and not particularly for common people or for the spread of knowledge. The cultural structure was such that comman man would not have been able to understand the true meaning of the scientific discoveries unless it was incorporated into religion under the guise of rituals and beliefs.
    So the knowldege never spread and hence the credit was never given to these inventors.

    On the other hand, Scientists in Europe aimed for progress in technology and science by spreading their discoveries far and wide, publishing them and inter-acting with fellow scientists. Moreover, common man in Europe was more able to grasp these discoveries and put it to use in everyday life there by uplifting the standard. This further gave an impetus to scientific growth.
    Later on Europe conquered most of the world. Europe was the birth place of the renaissance and America didnt even exists as a nation then. Asia was going through dark ages. So Europeans got a strong-hold over scientific discoveries. And hence the maximum scientists and philosophers are found in Europe.

    But if we observe now, the scenario has changed. Realistically, after World war I U.S.A. is the cradle for scientific discoveries and countries like India, China, Japan are far ahead in the game than Europe.
    Where's the evidence.

    And where did you arrive at this conclusion that "common man" was more able to grasp the discoveries, when literacy was a rare thing?

    This is a reason intellectuals were known as Men of Letters.
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    The evidence is in the ancient and spiritual texts of India and China too which date back centuries before scientific progress in Erurope.
    Also i recommend the book: "The Tao of Physics" by Fritjof Capra, An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism.

    I meant the comman man in Europe was more intellectually and culturally able to grasp scientific progress than the one in India or China, where education was available and limited only to select groups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    The evidence is in the ancient and spiritual texts of India and China too which date back centuries before scientific progress in Erurope.
    Also i recommend the book: "The Tao of Physics" by Fritjof Capra, An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism.

    I meant the comman man in Europe was more intellectually and culturally able to grasp scientific progress than the one in India or China, where education was available and limited only to select groups.
    No, you're not understanding.

    The common man in Europe was illiterate and uneducated, they toiled their entire lives, they weren't intellectually stimulated.

    You also make this incorrect assumption that because a society is technologically advanced, so are its citizens. Take the example of America, an extremely advanced society where less than 20 percent of the population understand basic science, and that's with compulsory ed.
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    yes i agree with the fact that advancement dosen't relate to literacy.

    But in Asia, especially in India education was available only to the "upper castes"...and denied to everyone else. Hence it never spread. The scientific knowledge was handed down the generations in the upper castes and in the process science lost its meaning and what remained was religion and rituals which were once scientific in nature but now purely religious. So even here, once again scientific theories were lost.

    In Europe people strived for Scientific advancement. They didn't care neither did they have any discrimination regarding religion or caste. They interacted with other intellectuals and eventually theories became known.they were published..distributed..made use of in day to day lives as nothing but scienctific advancement.
    "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
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  44. #43  
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    Although Europe is given credit(rightfully) of having the most number of inventors, philosophers, scientists, it is not necessary that similar discoveries hadn't been taking place else where. Newton and other eminent scientists may have discovered great laws and postulated fascinating theories, but it is true that much of it had already been disocvered in Asia especially India and China atleast 7-8 centuries before them. But these people never spread this golden knowledge because of their own belief-systems and cultural differences.

    Besides these discoveries were developed as part of the religious and cultural backdrops and not particularly for common people or for the spread of knowledge. The cultural structure was such that comman man would not have been able to understand the true meaning of the scientific discoveries unless it was incorporated into religion under the guise of rituals and beliefs.
    So the knowldege never spread and hence the credit was never given to these inventors.

    On the other hand, Scientists in Europe aimed for progress in technology and science by spreading their discoveries far and wide, publishing them and inter-acting with fellow scientists. Moreover, common man in Europe was more able to grasp these discoveries and put it to use in everyday life there by uplifting the standard. This further gave an impetus to scientific growth.
    Later on Europe conquered most of the world. Europe was the birth place of the renaissance and America didnt even exists as a nation then. Asia was going through dark ages. So Europeans got a strong-hold over scientific discoveries. And hence the maximum scientists and philosophers are found in Europe.

    But if we observe now, the scenario has changed. Realistically, after World war I U.S.A. is the cradle for scientific discoveries and countries like India, China, Japan are far ahead in the game than Europe.
    I think this is incredibly insightful, but I don't think the difference was primarily culture, just the availability of one technology. I think Europeans aimed for these objectives because the printing press made them attainable, not because their culture had any innate advantage in this area. The Catholic Church tried to suppress a lot of things, as did many of the highly religious masses, but you can't stop an idea from spreading after a sufficiently large number of copies have been made.

    If the information contained in a new theory is valuable for practical purposes, more books on the topic will continually be published until the mainstream has no choice but to admit that they have been proven wrong. Had a renaissance been attempted in Europe prior to the invention of the printing press, it would surely have failed for the reasons you cite above.
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    oh yes....i agree. That is a very important aspect..the printing press.
    Very true.
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    Why ?

    Because "History is written by the victors" (Brasillach).

    And Europe pretty much dominated the world in the last 3 centuries.
    With China and Brazil rising, History will change again and be more global.
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    Contemporary science is largely based on discoveries made from the 1600s onwards in Europe. That's my understanding, anyway. Most people, I think, are aware that modern scientific thought goes back further than that, and to more far-off lands, but I hardly see why it's necessary for the modern entomologist to ponder over the spontaneous generation of flies on meat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    VitalOne

    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.


    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.
    I think you mean that it wasn't widely disseminated in Europe. And, since Europe is where most of the whole revolution took place, that would make the person who brought it to Europe seem almost more important than the guy who actually invented it.

    It's kind of like how Bill Gates didn't write DOS, but DOS put his name on the map, because he's the guy who pitched it to IBM. I have no idea what the name of the guy who actually wrote DOS is. The man certainly deserves to be remembered too, but who remembers him? Anyone?


    However, if we want to look at the origins of modern science, the first one to use its methods was Galileo. He was probably the most influential, driving his successors to using the methods of modern science. The work of arabs was, as I said, excellent, but did not drive ongoing development, due to lousy communication.
    If nothing else, he at least showed what it was capable of, by generating impressive results from it, and thereby showing everybody how valuable it was.

    Here we can draw another parallel as well. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, but he was the first to mass produce them. I don't even know the name of the guy who invented them. Do you?


    ....It would be nice if history remember inventors better....
    I quote this because it's a brilliant point that seems to have been glided over. Also, because the debate has subsided but I think it's still relevant so, in the style of other forum dwellers >bump<

    I have been frustrated myself because even though I have been in school for almost fourteen years, I know very little about history outside of Europe, Australia and America. I know a tiny bit of history from other places, but all from a very European perspective. What I'd really like to see is a history that is, like good science, unbiased by environmental differences. I.E is as true and unbiased a view of world history as can be produced, without focusing on one culture over another but mapping the development of all cultures out in order to represent humanities journey through time. That is the sort of history I envision, and learning simply from a biased perspective is limiting.
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    view from atop the shoulders of giants who are standing on a raft floating down a torrent of media, from the scribes of biblos and libraries to mideivel monks to the printing press and dictionaries to radio, tv and this internet
    pulses of communication in the gathering flood

    fersure
    whither hence?
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    The focus shall again shift to Asians though it is on Europeans now.Beware Asians!!!
    believer in ahimsa
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRachaelFish View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    VitalOne

    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.


    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.
    I think you mean that it wasn't widely disseminated in Europe. And, since Europe is where most of the whole revolution took place, that would make the person who brought it to Europe seem almost more important than the guy who actually invented it.

    It's kind of like how Bill Gates didn't write DOS, but DOS put his name on the map, because he's the guy who pitched it to IBM. I have no idea what the name of the guy who actually wrote DOS is. The man certainly deserves to be remembered too, but who remembers him? Anyone?


    However, if we want to look at the origins of modern science, the first one to use its methods was Galileo. He was probably the most influential, driving his successors to using the methods of modern science. The work of arabs was, as I said, excellent, but did not drive ongoing development, due to lousy communication.
    If nothing else, he at least showed what it was capable of, by generating impressive results from it, and thereby showing everybody how valuable it was.

    Here we can draw another parallel as well. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, but he was the first to mass produce them. I don't even know the name of the guy who invented them. Do you?


    ....It would be nice if history remember inventors better....
    I quote this because it's a brilliant point that seems to have been glided over. Also, because the debate has subsided but I think it's still relevant so, in the style of other forum dwellers >bump<

    I have been frustrated myself because even though I have been in school for almost fourteen years, I know very little about history outside of Europe, Australia and America. I know a tiny bit of history from other places, but all from a very European perspective. What I'd really like to see is a history that is, like good science, unbiased by environmental differences. I.E is as true and unbiased a view of world history as can be produced, without focusing on one culture over another but mapping the development of all cultures out in order to represent humanities journey through time. That is the sort of history I envision, and learning simply from a biased perspective is limiting.
    Seeking out truely unbiased accounts of history is no easy task, whether this be of Europe or indeed anywhere else in the world. The problem you are up against here is a very common one, that of the writers own prejudices. Each of us has a nationality, a background, influences that make us who we are and writers are no different in this respect.
    All of the writers of history have been burdened by this type prejudice, which means you simply cannot rely on single accounts.

    This is the best way to approach history by looking for as much, reliable, evidence as you can find, in this way you can help to eliminate potential bias.
    One of the great things about history though is, there's just so much of it. Also history is interconnected events that happened in one continent can directly relate to events that have happened in others. Take for example the second world war,much has been written on this subject because people are so interested in what happened and also learning lessons from what happened. Of particular interest about this subject though, is that it is about a global conflict with significant events happening all over the world. Most of the history written on the subject has been written from the perspective of those most keenly affected.

    So to find accounts that relate to different parts of the world you need to look for sources from people that are affected by, or have a special interest in, that regions history.
    Another thing you may want to consider here is looking for sources writtin in different languages, if we remember that the US, Australia and the UK all use what is essentially the English language then we can assume that the history of these countries is going to be very prominent amongst all the totality of history that has been written in English.

    But also it is relatively easy to find out about the history of many non American, European or Australian countries by just finding out about the history of the many European countries that had Empires. Perhaps discovering about Spanish history can lead to a greater understanding of most South America. Again what we are seeing here is the interactions between the history of European and non European countries.

    Another very good way to learn about history, and one which I highly recommend, is to go and visit different parts of the world, go to the museums and libraries, go and speak with people that live there, also see the important historic sights, a great and fun way to learn and gain first hand experience.
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    Why is History Eurocentric?

    -Lack of extensive written records in South America and Africa until recently (relatively recently..circa 1400 for South America)

    -The invention of the printing press in Germany in 1440 by Gutenburg
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    Historical accounts are at the most 50% or less accurate. The historians write those things that will go down well with the current pilitical setup and inspire???? further generations. The rest of history is lies and myths.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Historical accounts are at the most 50% or less accurate. ... The rest of history is lies and myths.
    This is based on what, exactly?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    A vital reason I think, would be that the printing press was invented in Europe, which means that books were more widespread, therefore recording history in greater detail and making it more well known in Europe.

    "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
    Sir Isaac Newton

    In my own opinion there is no greater mathematical Principle than that which is x - x = 0. This shows that matter can be created from nothing as long as the total product of the matter's mass & energy equal exactly zero.
    The only question is, "Where did all that antimatter go?"

    Favourite Elements: Sodium, Neodymium, Xenon
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne View Post
    even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?
    Really? Surely you've heard of Euclid for one thing... as for the scientific method who came before Francis Bacon, Descartes and Newton (to name just a few)? And i'm not even entirely sure what you mean by writing systems since European languages derive from Indo-European.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devon Keogh View Post
    A vital reason I think, would be that the printing press was invented in Europe, which means that books were more widespread, therefore recording history in greater detail and making it more well known in Europe.
    Actually funny you should mention that, the printing press originated in China in about 10th century.

    (there is an interesting link here: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall.../inventor.html)
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    History is about winners, importance and power. It's a history of who "won" and why they did. That's why it's Euro/Amero-centric. No one wants to learn — or to teach! — about historical "dead ends" and the losers who participated in it.

    That's why the history of exploration includes Christopher Columbus's struggle to boldly venture west across the Atlantic Ocean to the soon-to-become great America, rather than Gil Eanes' struggle (just a few generations before Columbus) to boldly venture south beyond Cape Bojador to Sub-Saharan Africa — even though the ease of sailing west from Cape Bojador was the key to Columbus discovering America. Remember? Columbus failed in his attempt to sail westward from Europe, so he sailed south first (toward Cape Bojador — although history books probably don't mention it), which is why he landed in the Caribbeans instead of the North American continent. But few history books mention Eanes or Portugal's quest for Sub-Saharan Africa because it was of little lasting importance, even though Europe colonized it and Europe and America obtained slaves from it — they eventually abandoned it. It was the "moon shot" of its time, but now it's the vermiform appendix of World History — a dead end.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    History is about winners, importance and power. It's a history of who "won" and why they did. That's why it's Euro/Amero-centric. No one wants to learn — or to teach! — about historical "dead ends" and the losers who participated in it.

    That's why the history of exploration includes Christopher Columbus's struggle to boldly venture west across the Atlantic Ocean to the soon-to-become great America, rather than Gil Eanes' struggle (just a few generations before Columbus) to boldly venture south beyond Cape Bojador to Sub-Saharan Africa — even though the ease of sailing west from Cape Bojador was the key to Columbus discovering America. Remember? Columbus failed in his attempt to sail westward from Europe, so he sailed south first (toward Cape Bojador — although history books probably don't mention it), which is why he landed in the Caribbeans instead of the North American continent. But few history books mention Eanes or Portugal's quest for Sub-Saharan Africa because it was of little lasting importance, even though Europe colonized it and Europe and America obtained slaves from it — they eventually abandoned it. It was the "moon shot" of its time, but now it's the vermiform appendix of World History — a dead end.
    That's a rather narrow way to look at history; had we not recorded the adventures of Gil Eanes you would be justified but Gil Eanes is obviously a part of history otherwise you wouldn't have been able to read about him in the first place; the reason Columbus is viewed with a higher regard is the same reason people think he traveled west because he thought the Earth was flat - they don't actually know anything about it (and let's be fair the discovery of America even if it was by accident isn't something light, Columbus isn't remembered as a winner by most historians just some guy who failed to reach Asia). If you mean history books endorsed by educational institutions than maybe - i'm not entirely familiar with the educational system in America but to look at 'history' as a subject in school is narrow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    And i'm not even entirely sure what you mean by writing systems since European languages derive from Indo-European.
    Ind-Eiropean is a language family, not a writing system. All European scripts (and the vast majority around the world) ultimately descend from Egyptian via various ancient Semitic scripts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    And i'm not even entirely sure what you mean by writing systems since European languages derive from Indo-European.
    Ind-Eiropean is a language family, not a writing system. All European scripts (and the vast majority around the world) ultimately descend from Egyptian via various ancient Semitic scripts.
    I'm well aware of what Indo-European is (I was talking about the first alphabetical system, although it appears I was wrong anyway that first appeared in what is today the Middle East, nevertheless the Latin and Greek alphabet have been an enormous influence on the world).
    Last edited by Trivium; September 23rd, 2013 at 02:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    History is about winners, importance and power. It's a history of who "won" and why they did. That's why it's Euro/Amero-centric. No one wants to learn — or to teach! — about historical "dead ends" and the losers who participated in it.
    That's a rather narrow way to look at history;
    Even more so, I see History taught in schools as the "historical method" used to explain why the world is as it is today. Charles Darwin used the historical method in 1859 to explain life on earth today. Henry Maine used the historical method in 1861 to explain modern systems of justice. (The historical method was particularly popular back then.) So, maybe a "dead end" in history remains in school curriculum because it's interesting or because it contributed something important to the world today, but both teachers and students simply don't have enough time to teach/learn about the dead ends in history.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne View Post
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    The best book I ever read about why the world is as it is.... is the Pulizer Prize Winner:



    IT IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I EVER READ... really !

    I this awesome book Jared explains basically it all... why some countries and empires are succesful, why others fail. How it is possible for (example) Aboriginals in Australia still lived in the stoneage, while the rest of the world was killing eachother using gun powder and sailing the world in large ships. The rise and fall of empires,... reason? Opertunity... diseases.... and more.

    A wiki link to the book:
    Guns, Germs, and Steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A short review about the book on amazon says this:
    In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
    Trust me here.... if you are a lover of history like me... READ IT!
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    It depens on which period you are talking about
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    I know history is euro-centric. I would say that it is Europe's turn to get perspective. After thousand or so years this will not be the case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post

    The best book I ever read about why the world is as it is.... is the Pulizer Prize Winner:

    IT IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I EVER READ... really !

    I this awesome book Jared explains basically it all... why some countries and empires are succesful, why others fail. How it is possible for (example) Aboriginals in Australia still lived in the stoneage, while the rest of the world was killing eachother using gun powder and sailing the world in large ships. The rise and fall of empires,... reason? Opertunity... diseases.... and more.

    A wiki link to the book:
    Guns, Germs, and Steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A short review about the book on amazon says this:
    In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
    Trust me here.... if you are a lover of history like me... READ IT!
    I must say that I'm highly suspicious of any idea that has too much explanatory power. The reason is because most of the ideas that purport to explain too much of human history in a single shot have turned out to be nutty (like the Communist theory of history, for example.)

    Diamond simplifying human accomplishment down to simple geographic advantage seems to leave out a lot of the cause and effect of everyday life. It avoids the foible of assuming racial superiority to be the cause, at least, since that one is the least likely to be correct. That should be obvious, given the number of times in history that power has changed hands between different racial/ethnic groups. Arguably the Mongols would be the supreme race, then, because their empire was the largest. Or maybe the Egyptians, because theirs seems to have lasted the longest, and left behind the biggest buildings.

    I think, then, that Diamond's accomplishment is that he has broken ground on finding new explanations. His own explanation just has too many gaps in it to be left as it is. For example: suggesting that the reason people in the Americas had not progressed as far in animal husbandry was because they didn't have any workable animals to domesticate - that kind of fails. Buffalo were probably no less wild than the original cows of the old world. Cows we see today are docile because they've been domesticated for thousands of years, and their genome has been changed.
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    I have read a couple of Diamond's books and I think Guns & Germs was his best one.
    I don't think his book Collapse about why societies choose to fail is quite as good because I think he tries too hard to save us at the end of which turns the book into an odd sort of an appeal to "save the humans." I think you will know what I mean if you read that one.
    The appeal does not really damage the rest of Collapse that much though, and he has presented an interesting view of socio-economic history in it.

    Was Guns'n'Germs overgeneralized? Maybe, but that is what theories are intended to do. Even Galileo's work on gravity had so much variation in his measurements that you would lose the whole idea if you got bogged down on the details to much.

    Unfortunately it is very hard to set up an experiment to test Diamond's ideas and the only way to validate them seems to be with post-diction instead of prediction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    I have read a couple of Diamond's books and I think Guns & Germs was his best one.
    I don't think his book Collapse about why societies choose to fail is quite as good because I think he tries too hard to save us at the end of which turns the book into an odd sort of an appeal to "save the humans." I think you will know what I mean if you read that one.
    The appeal does not really damage the rest of Collapse that much though, and he has presented an interesting view of socio-economic history in it.

    Was Guns'n'Germs overgeneralized? Maybe, but that is what theories are intended to do. Even Galileo's work on gravity had so much variation in his measurements that you would lose the whole idea if you got bogged down on the details to much.

    Unfortunately it is very hard to set up an experiment to test Diamond's ideas and the only way to validate them seems to be with post-diction instead of prediction.
    Hmm. I agree Guns etc was his best book...the type of book I wish EVERY American teenager would read to really broaden and consider their perspective about history, assumptions about Western dominance, race, religions etc.

    I rather enjoyed his Collapse book as well--though we know now some of his examples were wrong--particular the declines related to Eastern Island. I thought the last chapter(s) were the strongest though--a resonating message that tied the whole book together and gave it meaning. But I'll admit my strong bias here--I think the chorus of uncontrolled global capitalism is completely drowning out Diamond's message and putting our grandchildren and global environment as great risk--I think it highly likely our ancestors will truly hate us for what we knew and our unwillingness to act on it.

    --

    I would have been nice in this thread to have a more cross cultural view. If, for example, I were growing up in Indonesia, would my history lessons really be Eurocentric?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    Because Europe represents the cradle of civilization and the entire history of USA starts from Europe.
    P.S. the biggest scientist and eminent historical people WERE indeed in Europe.... Einstein, Hitler, Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Newton, Maria and Pierre Kiri, Huygens, Alexender The Great, Nobel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Plato, Tesla, Pushkin....etc

    P.P.S. Why do you say history isn't based on actual past events?
    lolwut? The medieval arabs, ancient Chinese, ancient Indians, etc. all made concepts in which modern Western science is based. You mention Alexander the Great, but Genghis Khan's empire was larger and had more influence. And Hitler was a scientist? lol..

    And yeah, algorithms were invented by a European, those things that don't matter much to computer science and a host of other things, right? lol..
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    And yeah, algorithms were invented by a European, those things that don't matter much to computer science and a host of other things, right? lol..
    Your last post was rather confusing or were you being sarcastic?

    But do know most words starting with "al" such as algebra or algorithm came from the Arab/Persians.

    --
    I think it's rather myopic to consider the Hellenic/Greek culture "European." Their culture was at a cross roads of several prominent cultures in its creation, soon spread and developed from Africa to Southern Europe and Persia and continued to all cultures across a broad region until now.
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    그렇다, 왜? ..
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    Its been rather a long time since I graduated high school, but perhaps the biases of public school officials play a part. I remember that in my school, a one year course in American history was required, as well as a one semester course of blatant propaganda called "Americanism vs Communism". World history, on the other hand, was an elective course and not well attended.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danhanegan View Post
    Its been rather a long time since I graduated high school, but perhaps the biases of public school officials play a part. I remember that in my school, a one year course in American history was required, as well as a one semester course of blatant propaganda called "Americanism vs Communism". World History, on the other hand, was an elective course and not well attended.
    I would personally say, World History would be a more attrractive course to attend. I hope you did.

    I have no children of my own. I have a nephew. And though he is not my direct,... he is my most semi-direct and I feel responsible for him. When he was 9 he has to do a presentation. He wanted to do it about WW-2 (he played those PS2 games),... but that subject was taken so he did it about WW-1. A subject he knew nothing about. Ofcourse knowing lots about it, we helped. Living in The Netherlands, not far from Belgium, the drive over was short. We went to Belgium, visiting the stonified trenches of WW-1, Monuments at the Ijzer. Stuff like that. As a parent or family member you are totally responsible for the education your children.

    As most often it seems State education fails.
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  73. #72 Why is history IN THE US eurocentric? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne View Post
    What's the reason that history usually only mentions European mathematicians, scientists, inventors, etc...even though the scientific method, writing systems, and most of mathematics were invented by non-Europeans?

    Is history just a form of racism? Shouldn't history just be about actual past events?
    *When I say "history" I mean historical narrative; history is the same no matter who you are or where you come from.

    I was just talking with my friend from China the other day about how different history here is from history in China- almost like 2 separate narratives. All in all, whoever said that history is most commonly the story of "us" is right. HOWEVER, I what I admit I don't understand is how history in America is so eurocentric. I understand out government came primarily out of Britain, but we're such a diverse nation of immigrants- why is OUR history eurocentric? I can understand France's history or Greece's history classes being eurocentric, but it makes no sense for ours to be.

    Anyways, I totally agree- I just did some research today and found out about all the different achievements of the Chinese- the Chinese could go head to head with Europe at almost any point in history and yet while we could be learning about Sun Zhu we are learning about Julius Caesar for the thousandth time.

    To be fair, the historical narrative in this country is not just eurocentric. We learn so much about Egypt, while learning nothing about the Indus Valley Civilization.

    And also, JennLonhon or whatever your name is, a) the cradle of civilization is actually the Middle East, not Europe. AND up until about 400 years ago, China was the most opulent, advanced civilization in the world (look up Hung Zhou in the 1300s).
    b) the Native Americans discovered America first and without them America today would not be the same. American history starts with Native Americans.
    c) the only reason you say European intellectuals/artists are "bigger" is because
    1)your education was eurocentric
    2)Europeans built upon the discoveries of non-Europeans (and usually those who establish the foundations for new things such as algebra are not remembered as well as those who add on to it)
    3)Europe's most important contributions to science, math, lit, etc are recent
    4)Advancements in math, science, lit, anything always happen faster as time goes on. Think about it, it took humans thousands of years to create the wheel, now we have new more technologically advanced cars coming out every year. So Europe has made a lot of advancements because it is easier to build upon a foundation than it is to build the actual foundation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic View Post
    yes i agree with the fact that advancement dosen't relate to literacy.

    But in Asia, especially in India education was available only to the "upper castes"...and denied to everyone else. Hence it never spread. The scientific knowledge was handed down the generations in the upper castes and in the process science lost its meaning and what remained was religion and rituals which were once scientific in nature but now purely religious. So even here, once again scientific theories were lost.

    In Europe people strived for Scientific advancement. They didn't care neither did they have any discrimination regarding religion or caste. They interacted with other intellectuals and eventually theories became known.they were published..distributed..made use of in day to day lives as nothing but scienctific advancement.
    a) no religious discrimination because everyone was Christian
    b) there was class discrimination in Europe that's why none of the great European thinkers were dirt poor.
    c) China and other civilizations strived for scientific achievement too but we don't learn to much about that
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    VitalOne

    I do not deny the work done by Ibn al-Haytham. The problem was communication. His work, unlike that of Copernicus and those who followed Copernicus, was not spread widely in Europe. Sure, a few scholars would have known of it. But only a few.

    The work of Galileo (inspired by Copernicus) and those who followed him in using empirical methods, was widely communicated to the scholars of Europe, and led to a flourishing of academic study using the scientific method.

    Great work was done by Arabic scholars even before Ibn al-Haytham. It was not their fault that their work was not as widely disseminated as it deserved.

    Galileo preceded Bacon and Kepler, and they are much more likely to have been inspired by Galileo than Ibn al-Haytham. Even though Copernicus preceded him, and inspired him, Galileo was the first of the modern scientists, using the experimental method. However, after Galileo, a burgeoning number of western scientists followed, using empirical methods and uncovering discoveries at an ever increasing rate.

    Ibn al-Haytham was definitely the first to use something approaching the modern scientific method. But he lived almost 600 years before Galileo ignited the scientific revolution. If his influence was so great, then why was there no scientific advance over that time?
    it took humans thousands of years to make the wheel and now takes us one year to make better and better cars. the foundations of anything, especially math and science, are always harder to establish than whatever is built upon that foundation.
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    In addition to what I had pointed out already, I would like to ask, the language we are using now to communicate, where did it originate from?
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