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Thread: Why Islamdom declined after remaining dominant for 1000+ years?

  1. #1 Why Islamdom declined after remaining dominant for 1000+ years? 
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    Islam arose in Arabian deserts as an ideological force under which Arabs united for the first time in their history. Soon after, Islam swept all across the known world. Within few decades, Islamic Forces swept through Persia, North Africa, Spain, parts of India, Central Asia etc and created the greatest empire the world had ever known.Islamic Superpowers/greatpowers remained global leaders for centuries...

    Islamic Civilization arguably holds the best success ratio among ALL human civilizations in recorded history...Lets look at last 2000 years..Out of 1400 years of its history, Islam remained global dominant civilization for 1000+ years...that is, 70%+ time of its entire existence! NO other civilization even comes close to this! Only close contender is West...In last 2000 years, Christian West remained dominant civilization for barely 600 years (1st to 3rd century AD, 1600s onwards)...this is merely 30% time of its existence in last 2000 years...Islamic Superpowers/Islamic people remained global leaders of humanity from 7th to 18th century. Islamic Superpowers and Great powers like Early Islamic Caliphate, Ummayad Empire, Abbasid Empire, Ottoman Empire,Mughal Empire, Timurid Empire, Safavid Empire etc dominated much of known globe during this time era..just like British, Germans, French dominated much of globe after 18th century..Islam established the world's first global civilization (a feat which only two cultures have achieved---Christian West, and Islamic Civilization)....

    Muslims laid the foundations of global spread of science, culture, arts, technology for the first time in human history..That is why Islam is often called as 'the first global civilization' of human history. Before that, civilizations remained regional. Muslims brought knowledge of Mathematics, Science, Arts from India..and passed it on to Europe. They translated and studied Greek texts and improved them (later Europeans learned about these texts from Arabs). They brought gun power from China and innovated it in their weapons. Muslims learned paper-making from Chinese and passed it on to Europe. They got Greek works, translated them, worked on them, and caused them to spread in Europe...Islamdom remained the center of known world for centuries..Islamic Civilization had massive physical and cultural presence on every single continent of the known world for centuries..a feat no other civilization was able to achieve prior to rise of Islam (Romans never went deep into Asian lands)...All of this activity and global expansion laid the foundations of global spread of arts, science, technology, culture, and innovation...West took it to new level after industrialization in 18th century...


    After 15th century however, Islamic World started to slow down and Europeans started to rise. Islamic World maintained its global lead in wealth, economic might, and military prowess by 18th century but eventually was over-taken by already rising West in 18th. Islamic World has remained in utter darkness in 19th/20th century however. These two centuries have shaped our modern world the most, yet Muslims are no way to be seen...whether its economic front, social front, or scientific front. This is inpart due to Western colonialism that dominated most of Islamic World in last two centuries..but this begs the question- what happened?

    The classical (and wrong) view of Western historian was that after Mongol invasion of 13th century, Islamic Golden Age was over. This view is however rejected by most modern historians. Mongols might have ended "Arabic Golden Age" (which it didn't btw) but Islamdom continued to expand and thrive for centuries to come.

    In my readings of history, I have found that the discovery of new-world was what eventually caused Islamic World to decline.Europeans found new wealth in the form of Americas. This new wealth was incorporated in Western societies to create science for commercial use. With new trade routes and free wealth coming from Americas, Europe eventually out-competed the mighty Ottoman Empire..and eventually the rest of the world. Though, offcourse, there are many political, social, and economic factors...but lets not make it too long.So what do you guys think? I believe that if it wasn't for the discovery of new world, Europeans would not have been able to withstand the Ottoman power...which would have remained wealthy as it controlled all the major trade routes of the old world.

    Discuss...

    (Note : I know that words like 'Islamic Civilization' aren't the best way to describe Muslim World, as it wasn't a part of one unified civilization..but then again, same can be said about "West" etc. So lets not dwell into that debate...)


    Last edited by Windjammer; July 28th, 2013 at 08:06 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Islamic Civilization arguably holds the best success ratio among ALL human civilizations in recorded history...
    That's because it was the bloodiest and most violent.


    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
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    Compared to who.....

    Anyhow, it was a lot more than their successful military conquest that made them particularly successful. A lot more things were at play including: A word girdling system of trade enhanced by a simple Hindu/Arabic numbering system; wide spread adoption of wind power mills and water pumps dramatically increasing food production; strict sanitary standards about personal hygiene, what meats to eat, and burying of the dead that improved health; a common written language; a common pilgrimages and events that not only bolstered trade, but exchange of ideas and served as a powerful unifying force for all Muslims; a system of law that was revolutionary for being relatively fair and resolved issues of inheritance both of which included substantial rights for women; options for non-Muslims to pay a tax and be allowed to live peacefully -it was relatively easy for a Christian or Jews to live in Baghdad and other large Islamic cities through the Islamic Golden Age so long as they didn't try to spread their faith.

    I disagree with the OP however about the duration of Islam's greatest successes. During the Golden Age, roughly 750 to 1250, Islam was relatively open to new ideas and in large part adopted the phrases from the Koran and Hadiths about pursuing knowledge being Allah's will--which of course Arab and Persian scholars did by translating Greek works and greatly expanding them into new areas (e.g., empiricism, knowledge of optics, algebra etc). By the 13th century though most of Islam was turning more towards anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism that discouraged free thinkers; they made little progress after that point, even as Europe was starting to industrialize and benefiting from a deluge of new knowledge from Islam and the Greeks.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; July 28th, 2013 at 03:42 PM.
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    Never forget climate: It has a tendency to destroy civilizations and populations in it's variety.

    After the sudden cold snap of 536 ad:
    Eruope's and Asias populations crashed, from cold, famine and a series of plagues, leaving it's old governments and communications in ruins. Europe fell into the scattered tribal low population dark ages. The manorial system was abandoned, and farming all but ceased.
    So to did the chinese civilization suffer.
    A vaccuum was created.
    The door was open for Islam as North Africa and the middle east had not been effected as much by the cold weather.

    see:
    Extreme weather events of 535
    Dust Veil of AD 536
    RealClimate: 536 AD and all that
    535 AD - Volcano Krakatoa Explodes - The Dark Ages Start - Science is put on hold.
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    Religious fanaticism (Muslim, Christian, or anything else) tends to be the main enemy of progress in any civilization.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    I disagree with the OP however about the duration of Islam's greatest successes. During the Golden Age, roughly 750 to 1250, Islam was relatively open to new ideas and in large part adopted the phrases from the Koran and Hadiths about pursuing knowledge being Allah's will--which of course Arab and Persian scholars did by translating Greek works and greatly expanding them into new areas (e.g., empiricism, knowledge of optics, algebra etc). By the 13th century though most of Islam was turning more towards anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism that discouraged free thinkers; they made little progress after that point, even as Europe was starting to industrialize and benefiting from a deluge of new knowledge from Islam and the Greeks.
    Well, that is the classical point of view of (biased) Western historians, which is now being rejected even by Western historians themselves.

    Even after Mongol invasion, Arabs continue to flourish in science, mathematics, arts, and astronomy etc atleast for next hundred or more years!

    Also even when (if) Arabs declined, other Islamic superpowers/greatpowers continue to flourish and expand globally. Even in the start of 18th century, Islamdom was way ahead of Europe in terms of over-all military prowess, over-all economic output, and wealth. Islamic Mughal Empire of India alone held 25% of total global GDP output and an army larger than any European power. And Mughals weren't even the center of Islamic Power...It were the Ottomans who had been successfully competing with giants like Persians, Europeans, Austrians, and Russians etc!

    Though Europe was performing better from sometime, it was only in 18th century that it finally took over Islamic World and became global superpower..Its kinda like today...China is performing better than the U.S, and is ahead of it in many fields, but "over-all", U.S still remains the superpower while China is behind...it'd take Chinese another 50, 100 years to over-take U.S decisively, if that even happens to begin with. Lets look at the world of mid 17th century...who was the superpower of the world? Yes, the Ottoman Empire...and it was just one of many great superpowers/greatpowers of Islamdom at that time...

    The rise of Europe started in 16th century...gained full speed in 17th century but it still was behind Islamdom...and it only took-over Islamdom in 18th century...

    Regarding your view of Arab decline after Mongol invasion, read George Saliba's latest work on this, which precisely discuss the thesis that whether Arabic Science, arts, innovation, and technology declined after 13th century Mongol invasion or not....

    Here is a small introduction of 30 minutes where George Saliba discusses his works and explain how there is tremendous amount of empirical and historical evidence that go against the classical theory of "Arabic Scientific lead declined after Mongol invasion"...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsZU_gMTSrM
    Last edited by Windjammer; July 28th, 2013 at 08:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Islamic Civilization arguably holds the best success ratio among ALL human civilizations in recorded history...
    That's because it was the bloodiest and most violent.
    Many would argue they were less barbaric than uncivilized Europeans....

    Weren't it Muslims who tamed Westerners and civilized them by giving them ideas of knowledge, passing to them the Indian-Arab numeric system, introducing them to the concept of personal hygiene, introducing them to hospitals, and many other things...

    Read Muslim accounts of Crusades...Arabs were antonished how barbaric, backward, unenlightened, and unclean crusaders were..while Crusaders on the other hand were astonished by advance Islamic Civilization..at the hand of which they faced defeat after defeat after 1st crusade... As Karen Armstrong put, eventually, West had to bow down to Islam and learn from it..since its civilization was vastly stronger and more advance than that of Europe at that time..

    Though later, Turkish invasions and conquering of mainland European lands for centuries really Fcuked up Europeans' view of "Muslims" ..lol..

    Though Muslims have had their own share of barbarity and destruction...specially in India.
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    Christian nations discovered and exploited the new world. They also found naval routes to the East, bypassing the traditional Islamic monopoly on overland trade routes between East and West. Wealth from trade and colonization poured into the Christian nations' coffers, and the Islamic nations were left behind.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Compared to who.....

    Anyhow, it was a lot more than their successful military conquest that made them particularly successful. A lot more things were at play including: A word girdling system of trade enhanced by a simple Hindu/Arabic numbering system; wide spread adoption of wind power mills and water pumps dramatically increasing food production; strict sanitary standards about personal hygiene, what meats to eat, and burying of the dead that improved health; a common written language; a common pilgrimages and events that not only bolstered trade, but exchange of ideas and served as a powerful unifying force for all Muslims; a system of law that was revolutionary for being relatively fair and resolved issues of inheritance both of which included substantial rights for women; options for non-Muslims to pay a tax and be allowed to live peacefully -it was relatively easy for a Christian or Jews to live in Baghdad and other large Islamic cities through the Islamic Golden Age so long as they didn't try to spread their faith.

    I disagree with the OP however about the duration of Islam's greatest successes. During the Golden Age, roughly 750 to 1250, Islam was relatively open to new ideas and in large part adopted the phrases from the Koran and Hadiths about pursuing knowledge being Allah's will--which of course Arab and Persian scholars did by translating Greek works and greatly expanding them into new areas (e.g., empiricism, knowledge of optics, algebra etc). By the 13th century though most of Islam was turning more towards anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism that discouraged free thinkers; they made little progress after that point, even as Europe was starting to industrialize and benefiting from a deluge of new knowledge from Islam and the Greeks.
    I really hate to side with you on the issue of multiculturalism, but probably in its early stages, when it was still a force of unity between diverse groups of people, it was probably gathering lots of ideas from lots of cultures that were joining it. After that stage, it turned outward into a force of conquest, and of the course the victims of conquest aren't able to contribute as freely to the way of thinking of the empire that conquers them.

    There's more opposition to allowing their ideas to spread, because they're supposed to be the slaves/serfs. For them it's supposed to be a one way street. They get enlightened by Islam. Islam gets to exploit them. Islam doesn't want to get enlightened by them.

    To accept enlightenment from forced converts is to lend credibility to their infidel ways. But to accept enlightenment from those who joined the movement voluntarily (in the early stages), is less of a threat to the ideal. If they join voluntarily, then you can argue that, in some sense they were always Muslim and just didn't know it yet, so the ideas they bring to the table are kind of Muslim already.
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    But the order of things really didn't turn out that way. They started with conquest, than settled down to a pretty tolerant society embracing many ideas including ancient works and dramatically expanding those ideas as well as developing many of their own and many of those ideas inturn stabilizing their stronghold on culture and economic power. They didn't really turn anti-intellectual and against their own free thinkers until they came under pressure from the Mongols and Europeans after the 12th century. (Sorry windjammer--do up any list of accomplishments and it mostly fizzles by 1300 compared to earlier). Perhaps it was a similar but longer lasting version of the trend we saw in the US after 9/11, when we went from Muslim being well tolerated in the US, to many Americans becoming openly hostile towards Muslims (a shameful reflection of our fickle prejudices).
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  12. #11  
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    Reading over wiki's brief history, I can see that it was always turbulent.


    Islam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaI guess what I'm getting at is that sometimes after a conquest the vanquished are adopted as full members of the group, and sometimes as inferior members. If they're adopted as inferior members, their ideas will likely not be allowed to spread very far.

    Probably a big reason why Greek came to be dominant academically in the old world for a long time, and why the Greeks are credited with so many discoveries, was because Alexander had a habit of adopting the people he conquered as full members. Treating them as equals. Other more domineering groups would just burn the books of the defeated.

    I'm suggesting that, somewhere along the way, Islam changed from an incorporating expansion to a domineering expansion. And that would have spelled doom for their intellectual advances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    (Sorry windjammer--do up any list of accomplishments and it mostly fizzles by 1300 compared to earlier).
    Well, my post talked about over-all Islamdom and not only Arabs; Also, my OP is not confined only to scientific achievements of Muslims....

    Arabs didn't just 'fizzled out' all of a sudden but definitely slowed down..but Islamdom continued to expand (now under the leadership of the Ottomans..along with other Muslim empires in Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia, Persia etc)...Islamic World remained global superpower of the world in terms of military strength, economic output, and wealth till around mid 17th to 18th century...

    It was in mid to late 18th century that Islamic Superpower (The Ottoman Empire) suffered its first major defeat after it lost territories to Russia....
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    I was watching something about the Inca (from debunk of ancient aliens) - where they pointed out that the Inca claimed to be the first civilization ever. If they found ruins from a previous civilization, they'd say the gods built it.

    Islam also thought it was breaking new ground, with Muhammad being the "last prophet", and all that. Perhaps the Mongol invasion was simply the first time their mighty empire had ever lost territory to a foreign power. The people would be traumatized, thinking 'wait.... that's not supposed to happen...."

    Trouble with thinking Allah favors you on the battlefield. How do you explain it if you lose? So the culture would have begun to move in a militaristic direction, if only to avoid awkward questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I was watching something about the Inca (from debunk of ancient aliens) - where they pointed out that the Inca claimed to be the first civilization ever. If they found ruins from a previous civilization, they'd say the gods built it.

    Islam also thought it was breaking new ground, with Muhammad being the "last prophet", and all that. Perhaps the Mongol invasion was simply the first time their mighty empire had ever lost territory to a foreign power. The people would be traumatized, thinking 'wait.... that's not supposed to happen...."

    Trouble with thinking Allah favors you on the battlefield. How do you explain it if you lose? So the culture would have begun to move in a militaristic direction, if only to avoid awkward questions.
    Interesting..

    Another view of this might be that when Muslims first lost, they became very conservative regarding religion. "We are not being good Muslims...thats why we lost to infidels"..this could have been the narrative of Islamic World. But history suggests no such evidence...

    Islam is not just a religion like Christianity...it is a comprehensive ideological force that has religious, social, legal, economic, political, spiritual, and militaristic aspects. Islam has always been a militaristic religion and this is probably one of the reason why it has been the most successful religio-social force of history. But militaristic aspect of Islam is part of the it, not the whole faith. There is alot more to it.
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    [QUOTE=Windjammer;447452]


    Islam is not just a religion like Christianity...it is a comprehensive ideological force that has religious, social, legal, economic, political, spiritual, and militaristic aspects. Islam has always been a militaristic religion and this is probably one of the reason why it has been the most successful religio-social force of history. But militaristic aspect of Islam is part of the it, not the whole faith. There is alot more to it.
    The issue isn't whether a given belief is central to the faith. The issue is whether it's a falsifying tenet. Something that, if it's refuted, the whole faith collapses because the failure of that claim to bear out provides proof that the rest must also be false. Even a very minor issue can be a falsifying tenet.

    If early Islam believed that it was never going to lose territory to conquest, and then it did, that could have triggered a huge crisis of faith throughout the empire. The only solution would be, as you mentioned: to propose that maybe Muslims weren't being righteous enough in the eyes of Allah. .... which could become a vicious cycle if they keep getting defeated, as they have over the last century.

    Christianity, on the other hand, has never expected to be always victorious. Their god got beaten, whipped, and then nailed to a cross. That makes it pretty hard to have any real expectations about victory in combat.
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    Christian lore is peripheral to the faith. Any number of non-bible claims like the holy grail, spear of destiny, divine right of kings...... special holiness of the Latin Vulgata Bible. Any number of those claims can be false and most Christians wouldn't feel their faith was in any serious crisis.

    The question is: can Muslims' faith handle the kind of defeat that's been dealt to their society throughout this last century? Or does Allah need to always win because he's the greatest? I don't know. Have to find a Muslim so I can ask them.

    What made me leave Mormonism was one of these falsifying tenets. Kind of, anyway. It wasn't a core belief, but one that had to be true or the whole religion was false. One of the upper leadership gave this talk telling us missionaries the way to get a "testimony" of the truth was to go out and bear testimony even if we didn't actually believe it yet. Supposedly the upper leaders aren't supposed to be able to lead us astray (because God would stop them), and well...... that recommendation seemed a bit dishonest. Like a way of brainwashing oneself by committing to a story and feeling the need to stick with it. And God didn't stop him from saying it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The issue isn't whether a given belief is central to the faith. The issue is whether it's a falsifying tenet. Something that, if it's refuted, the whole faith collapses because the failure of that claim to bear out provides proof that the rest must also be false. Even a very minor issue can be a falsifying tenet.

    If early Islam believed that it was never going to lose territory to conquest, and then it did, that could have triggered a huge crisis of faith throughout the empire. The only solution would be, as you mentioned: to propose that maybe Muslims weren't being righteous enough in the eyes of Allah. .... which could become a vicious cycle if they keep getting defeated, as they have over the last century.
    Hmmm...interesting. My studies of Islam have pointed to no such evidence where 'invincibility' is regarded as a falsifying tenet of the faith..Though it could have become part of Muslims' collective psyche...

    I mean, Muslims (Arabs actually) pretty much remained undefeated for 500 years straight or so! Few battles, few thrones here and there were part of the narrative..but over-all, Muslims always won wars, over-ran others, and conquered different people...This might have given the idea that "Allah" is with us and we can't be defeated. But even then, this idea would have evolved only among Arabs..The later part of Islamdom's domination of world was led by Turks..and I don't think Turks had this idea of "Allah is with us, we can't be defeated"...
    Christianity, on the other hand, has never expected to be always victorious. Their god got beaten, whipped, and then nailed to a cross. That makes it pretty hard to have any real expectations about victory in combat.
    haha funny how you put it...

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The question is: can Muslims' faith handle the kind of defeat that's been dealt to their society throughout this last century? Or does Allah need to always win because he's the greatest? I don't know. Have to find a Muslim so I can ask them.
    Again, Muslims are getting the heat because they have seized to be good "Muslims" as their glorious "ancestors" were..who dominated the world for centuries and centuries! This seems to be the standard response of puritanical Muslims. Thats why you have this global Islamic revival in our age..where many Muslims are practicing their faith with great zeal and rejecting the 'corrupting' Western influences etc...

    But Islamic Reformers have also talked about modernization and how Muslims need to modernize to face the challenges of the 21st century. Ergo, modernization shall be done by remaining within the realm of Islam...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The question is: can Muslims' faith handle the kind of defeat that's been dealt to their society throughout this last century? Or does Allah need to always win because he's the greatest? I don't know. Have to find a Muslim so I can ask them.
    Again, Muslims are getting the heat because they have seized to be good "Muslims" as their glorious "ancestors" were..who dominated the world for centuries and centuries! This seems to be the standard response of puritanical Muslims. Thats why you have this global Islamic revival in our age..where many Muslims are practicing their faith with great zeal and rejecting the 'corrupting' Western influences etc...

    But Islamic Reformers have also talked about modernization and how Muslims need to modernize to face the challenges of the 21st century. Ergo, modernization shall be done by remaining within the realm of Islam...
    This kind of makes it sound like what you're saying is the many Muslims think if they're beaten on the battlefield it's because they aren't good Muslims?

    Which was my point. Christians can more easily accept that they may lose on the battlefield and still not be bad Christians. The earliest Christian "martyrs" were considered to be good Christians, even though they were getting rounded up and slaughtered by the Romans.

    If Muslims equate defeat on the battlefield with loss of Allah's favor, then that would explain why they can't just let it rest that they've lost so much land in the last century. They can't just give up on expelling Israel, even though there's no plausible way that Israel could ever be removed. They've got to continue pushing on an impossible war, or admit that either:

    A) - They're not good enough Muslims

    or

    B) - Allah doesn't care about Israel's presence.


    Sooner or later, they're going to have done all the Burka pushing, Eastward Praying, and other Muslim stuff they can possibly do. Then what? One likes to hope that at some point they'll feel confident they're being good Muslims again. But what happens if they reach that point and Israel is still there?

    Or will they just never reach that point? As with all behavior oriented religions, there's always something left that can be improved.
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    It is a logical error to assume that all of islam is united, ever was (3 generations after the messenger), or ever will be.
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    It depends on what they are to be united about. They disagree about somethings, and then agree about others. They still kill each other over land, so it's not like the disappearance of the West would cause all Muslims to join hands and sing "Kumbaya".

    But to suggest that any group of Muslims anywhere isn't humiliated by the existence of Israel is just plain silly. Of course they are. The Dome of the Rock is in Jerusalem. Israel has defacto control over Jerusalem. It's impossible to be a Muslim and be happy with that.

    And not necessarily because they hate Jews. Jews are "people of the book", which isn't such a bad thing in Islam. But Israel is buddy buddy with the secular West.
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    It's also rather silly to imply that Christians, just because they think Jesus died on the cross, are immune to looking inward and blaming its own for failures. History is full of examples from many being put to death as heretics or accused of witchcraft after something bad happened-even in the modern context with prominent evangelicals blaming immorality of people for natural disasters etc.
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    This Muslim Empire was never the biggest. In terms of land area, the biggest empire was the Mongol Empire of the 12th and 13th centuries, in which the golden horde over-ran and conquered a massive chunk of the Earth. They had most of Russia, all of China, a lot of India, Syria, Iraq, Iran and a whole bunch of smaller nations in and around that area.

    In fact, the Mongols took over big chunks of what is referred to in this thread as a Muslim Empire. That makes it clear that this hypothetical empire was not continuous for 1,000 years. I think it incorrect to talk of a Muslim Empire, anyway. It was a series of political unions, of various sizes and compositions, which ended in WWI with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's also rather silly to imply that Christians, just because they think Jesus died on the cross, are immune to looking inward and blaming its own for failures. History is full of examples from many being put to death as heretics or accused of witchcraft after something bad happened-even in the modern context with prominent evangelicals blaming immorality of people for natural disasters etc.
    "Immune" would be a bit much. Yes. Christians are certainly not immune.

    The difference is that Christians are not inescapably driven to it. They're driven to it, but not inescapably. A Christian can just as easily decide that "God is testing us.". The story of Job out of the old testament actually gives irrefutable theological credence to such claims. (A story about a person who was said to be perfectly righteous, but whom God subjected to horrible misfortunes as a means of testing him.)

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    This Muslim Empire was never the biggest. In terms of land area, the biggest empire was the Mongol Empire of the 12th and 13th centuries, in which the golden horde over-ran and conquered a massive chunk of the Earth. They had most of Russia, all of China, a lot of India, Syria, Iraq, Iran and a whole bunch of smaller nations in and around that area.

    In fact, the Mongols took over big chunks of what is referred to in this thread as a Muslim Empire. That makes it clear that this hypothetical empire was not continuous for 1,000 years. I think it incorrect to talk of a Muslim Empire, anyway. It was a series of political unions, of various sizes and compositions, which ended in WWI with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
    Yeah. They did so right around 1250 AD, about the same time as Islam's Golden Age started to come to an end.

    After that, all those heretic scientists and philosophers were suppressed, the Ottomans took control, and Islam retook its territory, and pretty much continued conquering (or at least holding its own) from that point on until the 18th century.
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    The free speech, I have read many islamic dominat tried silence the critic from people even it is true, fact and probably help the community.

    Many religions than muslim more open to the debat to thier teacher or prophet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    This Muslim Empire was never the biggest. In terms of land area, the biggest empire was the Mongol Empire of the 12th and 13th centuries, in which the golden horde over-ran and conquered a massive chunk of the Earth. They had most of Russia, all of China, a lot of India, Syria, Iraq, Iran and a whole bunch of smaller nations in and around that area.

    In fact, the Mongols took over big chunks of what is referred to in this thread as a Muslim Empire. That makes it clear that this hypothetical empire was not continuous for 1,000 years. I think it incorrect to talk of a Muslim Empire, anyway. It was a series of political unions, of various sizes and compositions, which ended in WWI with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
    No one talked about "one", unified Muslim empire.

    My OP talked about "Islamdom" or say "Islamic World" ....

    When we say that "West" is dominating the world for last 300 years or so, we don't mean "one" western empire...but simply we mean that sometimes, British were most dominant, then french, or at times..even Germans..and now Americans...but over-all, all these powers come from "The West"...

    Similarly, Islamic Empires like Early Islamic Caliphate, Ummayads, Abbasids, Ottomans, Mughals, Timurid Empire, Safavids, and Afsharid Persian Empire etc etc remained global superpowers/great powers from 7th to 18th century...

    These powers competed with each other just like Western powers competed with eachother in 19th/20th century..but thats not the point. I talked about "Islamdom" over-all...

    West only started to "rise" in 16th century, with the help of Science, Technology, and Scholarship from Islamic World at first, and 18th century onwards, Western world took over Islamdom...and in 19th/20th century, West simply dominated Islamic World just like Muslims dominated West before for centuries...

    Even by mid 18th century, Islamic World was undisputed economic super-power of the world...Afsharid Persian Empire alone held 24% of total global GDP output in 1740..and that was only one Islamic Power at that time...Ottoman Empire, Muslim Kingdoms of India, Central Asia, and Far East aren't even included...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The question is: can Muslims' faith handle the kind of defeat that's been dealt to their society throughout this last century? Or does Allah need to always win because he's the greatest? I don't know. Have to find a Muslim so I can ask them.
    Again, Muslims are getting the heat because they have seized to be good "Muslims" as their glorious "ancestors" were..who dominated the world for centuries and centuries! This seems to be the standard response of puritanical Muslims. Thats why you have this global Islamic revival in our age..where many Muslims are practicing their faith with great zeal and rejecting the 'corrupting' Western influences etc...

    But Islamic Reformers have also talked about modernization and how Muslims need to modernize to face the challenges of the 21st century. Ergo, modernization shall be done by remaining within the realm of Islam...
    This kind of makes it sound like what you're saying is the many Muslims think if they're beaten on the battlefield it's because they aren't good Muslims?

    Which was my point. Christians can more easily accept that they may lose on the battlefield and still not be bad Christians. The earliest Christian "martyrs" were considered to be good Christians, even though they were getting rounded up and slaughtered by the Romans.

    If Muslims equate defeat on the battlefield with loss of Allah's favor, then that would explain why they can't just let it rest that they've lost so much land in the last century. They can't just give up on expelling Israel, even though there's no plausible way that Israel could ever be removed. They've got to continue pushing on an impossible war, or admit that either:

    A) - They're not good enough Muslims

    or

    B) - Allah doesn't care about Israel's presence.


    Sooner or later, they're going to have done all the Burka pushing, Eastward Praying, and other Muslim stuff they can possibly do. Then what? One likes to hope that at some point they'll feel confident they're being good Muslims again. But what happens if they reach that point and Israel is still there?

    Or will they just never reach that point? As with all behavior oriented religions, there's always something left that can be improved.
    Brilliant line by you, sir.

    Thats exactly what I feel. No matter how "good" Muslims become, there will ALWAYS be something that can be improved....and hence the cycle continues.

    I hope Muslims give up on Israel. I hope there is a two-state solution to the conflict...

    I don't know why Muslims see Israel as such a big thorn in the eye..I mean, Israel's area is just ~20,000 sq km or so....Muslims have more area in Europe as "Muslim majority states" (Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia etc) than the size of Israel.

    I know the importance of Jerusalem..but still, rational approach demands that Muslim World focus on development, political stability, scientific/technological production/efficiency, and economic prosperity rather than craving for Jerusalem...but then again, rationality is not always the way to go with religious masses...
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    We could argue definitions all day. Many European and Asian nations began as empires. France, for example, as the Frankish Empire. If you go back in time, you find that the typical empire was the size of a single nation in today's world. That is because they began as a conqueror bringing under his sway all the smaller tribal areas, till he had an area equivalent, for example, to Germany. The conqueror then calls himself an emperor, and who will deny him?

    Ther biggest empire in land area was Mongol. The biggest empire in terms of population is present day China, since it began as a number of smaller countries, all conquered by a single emperor, and most of China's history has been under a single emperor. Today it is governed by a central communist committee, but that makes it no less an empire.

    I think you are giving the Muslim empires too much credit. If you used the same criteria, you could call western Europe a 1,500 year Christian Empire. Not true, of course, but neither is it true that there has been a 1,000 year Muslim Empire. Just a fragmented bunch of political unions, which was also true for Europe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    We could argue definitions all day. Many European and Asian nations began as empires. France, for example, as the Frankish Empire. If you go back in time, you find that the typical empire was the size of a single nation in today's world. That is because they began as a conqueror bringing under his sway all the smaller tribal areas, till he had an area equivalent, for example, to Germany. The conqueror then calls himself an emperor, and who will deny him?

    Ther biggest empire in land area was Mongol. The biggest empire in terms of population is present day China, since it began as a number of smaller countries, all conquered by a single emperor, and most of China's history has been under a single emperor. Today it is governed by a central communist committee, but that makes it no less an empire.

    I think you are giving the Muslim empires too much credit. If you used the same criteria, you could call western Europe a 1,500 year Christian Empire. Not true, of course, but neither is it true that there has been a 1,000 year Muslim Empire. Just a fragmented bunch of political unions, which was also true for Europe.

    I think you need to re-read my OP and the following post. I clearly explained in my post earlier that I do not believe in some 1000 year continuous Muslim empire (read the post # 26)...I talked about Islamdom, not some one, unified empire of Islam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The difference is that Christians are not inescapably driven to it.
    Niether are Muslims. Trust me Kojax I worked side by side with dozens who'd been through some of the worst situations imaginable while living in Iraq over the past few decades (I still correspond with several). They didn't turn fanatical and at no time did anything or said anything that suggested they thought it was a failure of faith. If anything Muslim's simply accepted their bad turns in life as the "will of Allah" and if anything did less introspection than most Christian Westerners would have under the same circumstances. Most do not think their doctrine compels them to look at their own faith for fault anymore than modern American Christians do. The issue is the minority of the Abrahamic fundamentalist who interpret parts of the doctrines that way AND get themselves into power positions to prosecute their own--whether that be the Spanish Inquisition, the Taliban, and many other examples.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    it no less an empire.

    I think you are giving the Muslim empires too much credit. If you used the same criteria, you could call western Europe a 1,500 year Christian Empire. Not true, of course, but neither is it true that there has been a 1,000 year Muslim Empire. Just a fragmented bunch of political unions, which was also true for Europe.

    So if we spoke about a unified "The West", citing examples of England, France, Germany, the USA, Canada, Australia, (and if we feel like being exhaustive we could mention Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium....) And note that these powers often work together. Where does that grouping stand?

    Are the Islamic states less united, or more united than that group?


    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post

    I don't know why Muslims see Israel as such a big thorn in the eye..I mean, Israel's area is just ~20,000 sq km or so....Muslims have more area in Europe as "Muslim majority states" (Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia etc) than the size of Israel.

    I know the importance of Jerusalem..but still, rational approach demands that Muslim World focus on development, political stability, scientific/technological production/efficiency, and economic prosperity rather than craving for Jerusalem...but then again, rationality is not always the way to go with religious masses...
    The irony is that if they were to focus on the things you just mentioned, and keep at it for about 50 years or so, they'd probably improve their world wide standing enough that they could put an end to the Israeli state.


    It's not actually that hard. Just have to copy the tactics that Martin Luther King used when black people wanted to end apartheid in the USA. But it requires discipline. It requires the adults to be in charge, and the children to somehow be made to shut up and be quiet. (Anyone who thinks a bomb will move their cause forward is - in the truest sense- a child.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    The difference is that Christians are not inescapably driven to it.
    Niether are Muslims. Trust me Kojax I worked side by side with dozens who'd been through some of the worst situations imaginable while living in Iraq over the past few decades (I still correspond with several). They didn't turn fanatical and at no time did anything or said anything that suggested they thought it was a failure of faith. If anything Muslim's simply accepted their bad turns in life as the "will of Allah" and if anything did less introspection than most Christian Westerners would have under the same circumstances. Most do not think their doctrine compels them to look at their own faith for fault anymore than modern American Christians do. The issue is the minority of the Abrahamic fundamentalist who interpret parts of the doctrines that way AND get themselves into power positions to prosecute their own--whether that be the Spanish Inquisition, the Taliban, and many other examples.

    Were those people oppressed by other Muslims, or were they under direct oppression from non-Muslims?

    If it's another Muslim doing the oppressing, then it naturally makes sense to consider it the "will of Allah" (At least it is the will of one of Allah's followers.) Certainly slaves all throughout the history of the empires, nation states, or whatever, must have been taught to believe that their lot was just.

    I think what is going to be hard for Muslims around the world is understanding: why is Allah favoring the infidels?
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    I think what is going to be hard for Muslims around the world is understanding: why is Allah favoring the infidels?

    Not sure why you think this is. It's the fastest growing large religion (though mostly by birth rate). The Western powers have been mostly kicked from their holy lands (Bin Ladens great triumph). It's nations have more political and economic independence and power than they had in centuries. If anything they are doing very well right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's also rather silly to imply that Christians, just because they think Jesus died on the cross, are immune to looking inward and blaming its own for failures. History is full of examples from many being put to death as heretics or accused of witchcraft after something bad happened-even in the modern context with prominent evangelicals blaming immorality of people for natural disasters etc.
    "The Crucible" as an example? Although a play it's roots are planted in the Salem Witchhunts.

    Joan of Arc, is another example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think what is going to be hard for Muslims around the world is understanding: why is Allah favoring the infidels?

    Not sure why you think this is. It's the fastest growing large religion (though mostly by birth rate).



    It's easy to win a birthrate contest when the rest of the world isn't even trying.

    Why don't they have a poverty contest with us while they're at it?




    The Western powers have been mostly kicked from their holy lands (Bin Ladens great triumph). It's nations have more political and economic independence and power than they had in centuries. If anything they are doing very well right now.


    And Dubai now holds the record for the tallest office building in the world. So the Arab world isn't doing too badly I guess.

    Maybe the way they'll deal with Israel is by pushing back the date of it's removal into the far future? Then Allah can be waiting to remove them in his own due time?

    That has the advantage that the bluff can never be called. Kind of like how Christians have been waiting eagerly for the second coming of Jesus Christ for almost 2000 years now, and many of them still think it's going to be during their own lifetime, just like it was supposedly going to happen during the lifetime of their ancestors 1000 years ago. It's one of those claims that never stops being plausible no matter how many times it fails.

    A religion can't survive if any one of its canonical claims is ever falsified, but they can hold on by the most threadbare of evidence and be ok.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Why don't they have a poverty contest with us while they're at it?

    Shouldn't really apply prominently Western cultural biases to other people? But you'll find it's a lot more than Dubai that's incredibly wealthy even by that measure. I think a lot of the impression stems from US involvement in the worse places that happen to be Muslims--while somehow ignoring involvement in prominently Christian nations just as desperately poor in the Western hemisphere.



    Maybe the way they'll deal with Israel is by pushing back the date of it's removal into the far future? Then Allah can be waiting to remove them in his own due time?
    Yes that's how most Muslims see it...Allah is in no hurry. Meanwhile at least they are held by people's of the book.

    That has the advantage that the bluff can never be called. Kind of like how Christians have been waiting eagerly for the second coming of Jesus Christ for almost 2000 years now, and many of them still think it's going to be during their own lifetime, just like it was supposedly going to happen during the lifetime of their ancestors 1000 years ago. It's one of those claims that never stops being plausible no matter how many times it fails.
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    any of us raised in the judeao/christian culture are "children of the book".
    that don't mean that we won't kill each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    any of us raised in the judeao/christian culture are "children of the book".
    that don't mean that we won't kill each other.
    They killed each other in the "BOOK"
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    From what I know the religon of Islam does not stress on advancing by scientific knowledge. Islam believes strength of ethics and conquest by force is allowed in their religion. The muslims got confused. They thought conquest by force is being intolerant towards the conquered. In India when Islam failed to add anything worth it failed and lost to European powers who had found out an alternative to religion:SCIENCE. To be fair the hype created by todays Europeans of having made all the discoveries is just marketing. The Arabs laid foundation of Science and Math and helped Europeans out of the dark age as they call it.
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    To be frank, I do not believe a word of the OP. Islamdom did not have any dominant empire(s) over 1,000 years. Or at least, no more than Christians. Both Christians and Muslims had a whole series of empires - some small, and some big.

    I was reading up on King Canute the other day. That dude was from Denmark and was a Viking. He conquered England, Denmark, Norway, South Sweden, the Western Isles of Scotland, the Orkneys, and the Shetlands. He was an emperor, and his realm was an empire, albeit a small one. It lasted 20 years and fell apart when he died. Since Canute was Christian, that was a Christian Empire. That was one of dozens of Christian empires over a period of 2,000 years. Nor was Canute's the only Christian Viking empire. Others covered a lot of the Mediterranean, and even up into Russia.

    Today, the USA could be called the biggest Christian empire of all, with 90% of the population calling themselves Christian, and 320 million people, over a larger land area than any Muslim empire. That dwarfs any Muslim empire. The biggest empire during the period discussed by the OP was the Mongol empire, which was multi-religious. The biggest empire with just one dominant religion was the Russian empire under the Tsars, which was Christian.

    The last Muslim empire was the Ottoman Empire wich lasted to the end of WWI. This means the OP was wrong on timing too. The Ottomans mean the series of Muslim empires lasted a lot longer than 1,000 years. As did the series of Christian empires.
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    The Middle East used to be the big place everyone wanted to conquer. All the ancient great empires were either middle Eastern themselves, or claimed their fame on the basis of their holdings in the middle East. The Persians (Iran), Babylon (Iraq), the Assyrians (Syria... I think?) The Greek Empire wasn't serious business until Alexander took over Persia.

    Even Rome quit bothering with Europe after a while, and moved its capital to Constantinople in 315. We Europeans like to think of that period as the "fall of the Roman empire", but really.... the move to Constantinople was quite voluntary. They probably wouldn't have let the City of Rome get sacked in 450 if it had still been their capital. Even by the age of the Mongol empire, half the reason the Mongols didn't conquer Western Europe is just because they didn't think it was worth their time.

    My point is, it really says very little about Islam for all of these advances to have originated in their territory - given that their territory was the Middle East. They would have had to have been very daft not to have been at the cutting edge of science if they lived there.
    Last edited by kojax; August 30th, 2013 at 03:21 PM. Reason: ... was too long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post
    ...Islamic Civilization arguably holds the best success ratio among ALL human civilizations in recorded history...Lets look at last 2000 years..Out of 1400 years of its history, Islam remained global dominant civilization for 1000+ years...that is, 70%+ time of its entire existence! NO other civilization even comes close to this! Only close contender is West...In last 2000 years, Christian West remained dominant civilization for barely 600 years (1st to 3rd century AD, 1600s onwards)...this is merely 30% time of its existence in last 2000 years...Islamic Superpowers/Islamic people remained global leaders of humanity from 7th to 18th century.
    I would say if you write such things,... you would need to clarify your definitions first. What is a civilisation? A civilisation is much more then just its religion. It holds cultural factors too. To say Islam has been dominant for 1400 years, is boldly neglecting the countless individual leaders, countries, politics and what more... during those 1400 years. You can not drown a straightline from the beginning of these 1400 years till the end. If I could do that,... I would simply say Christian civilisation exists for several thousands of years,... perhaps starting with the Jews in Egypt,... or simply at the birth of Jesus,... hereby also ignoring al the individual leaders and kingdoms alone the way.You would also be ignoring many other historical facts. It is true Islam was grant in the beginning, with many fancy gadgets and inventions too.... But early Islam acquired most of its starting knowledge from earlier civilisations like the Greeks. Alot of this knowledge got lost for the West, and then relearned in later times.

    Islamic Superpowers and Great powers like Early Islamic Caliphate, Ummayad Empire, Abbasid Empire, Ottoman Empire,Mughal Empire, Timurid Empire, Safavid Empire etc dominated much of known globe during this time era..just like British, Germans, French dominated much of globe after 18th century..Islam established the world's first global civilization (a feat which only two cultures have achieved---Christian West, and Islamic Civilization)....
    Lets talk about succesrate... What determines your succes rate? The ability to wage war and expand? The Aboriginals arrived in Australia approx 50,000 years ago. Sofar as we have been able to find out,... they did not disappear during that time to be replaced by other peoples. I would say 50,000 years is much longer then 1400 years. I say the Aboriginals had a pretty succesful civilisation, although they never left the stoneage and build grant monuments, and untill Westerners stepped in and screwed it all up for them.The Aboriginals of Australia also have the longest continues religion in the world!!!

    Muslims laid the foundations of global spread of science, culture, arts, technology for the first time in human history..That is why Islam is often called as 'the first global civilization' of human history. Before that, civilizations remained regional. Muslims brought knowledge of Mathematics, Science, Arts from India..and passed it on to Europe. They translated and studied Greek texts and improved them (later Europeans learned about these texts from Arabs). They brought gun power from China and innovated it in their weapons. Muslims learned paper-making from Chinese and passed it on to Europe. They got Greek works, translated them, worked on them, and caused them to spread in Europe...Islamdom remained the center of known world for centuries..Islamic Civilization had massive physical and cultural presence on every single continent of the known world for centuries..a feat no other civilization was able to achieve prior to rise of Islam (Romans never went deep into Asian lands)...All of this activity and global expansion laid the foundations of global spread of arts, science, technology, culture, and innovation...West took it to new level after industrialization in 18th century...

    Yes I already mentioned the Greeks. I did not read ahead or else I would have put that here. The point though is from that cultures and civilisations inherit from eachother. I think the West may be glad the Islamic world inherited alot from the Greeks. If they had not, the world would be a totally different place these days. Alot of knowledge has gone missing over the centuries. I am not sure about paper-making. The Egyptians made paper too. Probably the greatest loss of knowledge in ancient times was the destruction of Great Library in Alexandria. I always thought it got destroyed once,... but I bothered looking it up on wiki:
    Quote Originally Posted by WIKIPAGES
    Although there is a mythology of the burning of the Library at Alexandria", the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction over many years. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD, the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in 391, and the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642.
    After 15th century however, Islamic World started to slow down and Europeans started to rise. Islamic World maintained its global lead in wealth, economic might, and military prowess by 18th century but eventually was over-taken by already rising West in 18th. Islamic World has remained in utter darkness in 19th/20th century however. These two centuries have shaped our modern world the most, yet Muslims are no way to be seen...whether its economic front, social front, or scientific front. This is inpart due to Western colonialism that dominated most of Islamic World in last two centuries..but this begs the question- what happened?

    The classical (and wrong) view of Western historian was that after Mongol invasion of 13th century, Islamic Golden Age was over. This view is however rejected by most modern historians. Mongols might have ended "Arabic Golden Age" (which it didn't btw) but Islamdom continued to expand and thrive for centuries to come.

    (Note : I know that words like 'Islamic Civilization' aren't the best way to describe Muslim World, as it wasn't a part of one unified civilization..but then again, same can be said about "West" etc. So lets not dwell into that debate...)
    I did that, though not by intent. I just did not read ahead.

    What draw me too this topic is the title. You mentioned it yourself basically, it is not one long continuation of events. And I mentioned this too. This is done not because I happen to be a western, but because the world simply does not work like that.
    You mention the Mongols,a good example. How long would you say they were dominant? 150 years? Ghenghis Khan made them rise pretty quickly, although in size they only peaked after his death. But a mere 150 centuries later basically no trace of them can be found. Well that is what most people think. In Russia they (known as the Golden Horde) remained in power for much longer, but they integrated themselves into Russian society only to die out not too long ago in 1847.... (see wiki: Golden Horde - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

    You are given oppertunities as a civilisation. For the western world, being handed a complete continent that never had to deal with your diseases, was such an unknowing oppertunity.

    I mentioned the Aboriginals earlier, with a reason. They never got beyond the stoneage, because they never build cities. When you have cities, you can work on agriculture. When you have agriculture, some people will have time to kill, work on art and inventions. And when that happens you will have time to progress technology. Once you have writing, you pass knowledge down too other generations.
    So why did the Aboriginals never do this? My guess is that it has to do with the specific environment and the survival needs. The weather, the deserts, things like that.

    But it shows atleast why civilisation fall or become dominant. In the past it was much easier for another civilisation to become technologically advanged then other civilisations, because of the lack of global communications. And when that happens it is simply a matter of time, ones two of these meet, that the other becomes more dominant and removes the other civilisation. I do not recall ever reading that a less advanged civilisation destroyed a much more advanced one. If that ever specifically occured,... it would have been due to environmental factors.

    Inmagine landing on The America's, the locals giving you a disease and bringing it back to Europe. It could have wiped out Europe in a matter of years. Fact is that Europe had been dealing with diseases for a long time. Dirty crowded cities, sometimes wiping out large parts of Europe. The plague, brought too Europe from China.

    If there is one factor that drives a civilisation, it is politics. Christianity has politics to thank for its existance. Emperor Constatine (227-337: Constantine the Great - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ), a Saint these days, but my guess is that his main motivation making Christianity dominant, was politics. The will to remain in power and control the masses. He paved the way for Christianity, because why would the Christians fight him, if he was one of them?

    The failure to act politically in favor for your civilisation,... has been to downfall for many civilisations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    What draw me too this topic is the title. You mentioned it yourself basically, it is not one long continuation of events. And I mentioned this too. This is done not because I happen to be a western, but because the world simply does not work like that.
    You mention the Mongols,a good example. How long would you say they were dominant? 150 years? Ghenghis Khan made them rise pretty quickly, although in size they only peaked after his death. But a mere 150 centuries later basically no trace of them can be found. Well that is what most people think. In Russia they (known as the Golden Horde) remained in power for much longer, but they integrated themselves into Russian society only to die out not too long ago in 1847.... (see wiki: Golden Horde - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )
    In fairness, the bubonic plague wiped out most of the Mongols' royal family. An ironically, the plague, in turn, was probably helped to spread by the trade routes that they had set up, so they consequently got hit really hard by it.
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    starter post is so full of own BIAS likeliness... that said because every empire comes to an end.. there is never one factor... but simply said they are outdated....
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    and people who stil think Europe could be conquered but they just didn't want to... or found it not worthly... I would say to them go visit a doctor... there was a whole time battles and fights ... so claimint they found it not worthly pls...
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    Windjammer i will tell you the real and the main reason of this debate.... you asked about the reason of the islamic world's declined ?
    because they left " the islam" ...the arabian people didn't do anything ...all what they did that they was practice " the real islam " after that the next generations left the real " islam way" so the conclusions were "weakness" " decline" "disappearence"........ windjammer you asked about why the islamic worlds declined ..i gave you the answer the real and the only answer so i hope i saturated curiosity
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamri abdelkhalek View Post
    i will tell you the real and the main reason of this debate.... you asked about the reason of the islamic world's declined ?
    because they left " the islam" ...the arabian people didn't do anything ...all what they did that they was practice " the real islam " after that the next generations left the real " islam way" so the conclusions were "weakness" " decline" "disappearence"........ windjammer you asked about why the islamic worlds declined ..i gave you the answer the real and the only answer so i hope i saturated curiosity
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    1. How do you define "real Islam"? I assume it is the particular branch and interpretation of Islam that you personally believe in; is that correct?

    2. What evidence do you have for this "real and only answer"? How do I know it not just your opinion?
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    first..i mean with real islam " the moderate islam" no extravagance no radicalism and no complacency.
    with name of god the most gracious the most merciful:

    Thus, have We made of you an Ummat(society) justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.
    صدق الله العظيم
    albaqarah ( the cow) 2.(143)
    2.if you know any other muslim go and ask him your second question

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    this a debate? just i have seen some rasicm right now lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by electromag View Post
    just i have seen some rasicm right now lol [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    Have you? Where? And why are you laughing about it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by electromag View Post
    this a debate? just i have seen some rasicm right now lol
    I haven't. Would you please point it out if you did by post number?
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    What happened around the 1500s? The renaissance! Europe stopped believing in God and started believing the world was in their own hands. they started believing in themselves. Christoper Hitchens was right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DangerNature View Post
    What happened around the 1500s? The renaissance! Europe stopped believing in God and started believing the world was in their own hands. they started believing in themselves. Christoper Hitchens was right.
    Stopped believing in God? Did you not hear about the Reformation?
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    there is no such thing as Islamic civilization or Western civilization. the anatolian/balkan front is where the idiots are sent to die. today afghanistan.
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    Islam declined because Portugal figured out how to sail around them for the slaves and drugs and spices.
    Losing control of the trade routes meant the Caliphate went bankrupt and poor countries don't have much spare cash to invest in research, arts or technology.

    (Note that for a while Portugal became the great world power based on the control of the spice and slave trades but lost it through political mismanagement.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Islam declined because Portugal figured out how to sail around them for the slaves and drugs and spices.
    Losing control of the trade routes meant the Caliphate went bankrupt and poor countries don't have much spare cash to invest in research, arts or technology.

    (Note that for a while Portugal became the great world power based on the control of the spice and slave trades but lost it through political mismanagement.)
    I believe I remember that. Was Spain part of this also? Sorry history learned 42 years ago tends to not stick when not used...
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    From a theological angle, I've heard its harder to a be a fundamentalist Christian than a fundamentalist Muslim, due to the the inconsistencies in the Bible. So basically all muslims are fundamentalists, but the faith is written very clearly so you have more freedom in that, and its more consistent with rationality. So in the early centuries, they were the people advancing math and science, and prior to the enlightenment, europeans were seeing their advancement, and questioning their own ways. This lead to the breaking free of the religious dogmas that were holding back Europe entirely. It may be its harder for Muslims to break away from fundamentalist dogmas, because in many ways they impose less restraints on the thinking of the individual.
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    @TridentBlue:
    From a theological angle that might be true, but the economic facts explain cultural development far more easily as well as far more generally.
    Last edited by dan hunter; February 2nd, 2014 at 02:12 AM.
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    Trident blue

    If you think Muslim teachings are more logical than Christian, you need to read more. The Koran is just as riddled with inconsistent and self contradictory statements as the bible. There was an article on this several years back in the American Skeptic magazine. Very enlightening.
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    Skeptic: So what do you think made the early Islamic civilization so much more advanced than Europe at the time? It makes sense to me that their culture simply alowed for more rational inquiry than dark ages Christianity, and that was tied to their religious beliefs, which now allow for less rational inquiry than secular society.
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    There was a period of decline in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Muslims, for a time, retained the old Greek teachings and even made some advances, including an early form of the scientific method. However, it did not last.

    If we look over 2,000 years, I do not see the Muslims as being more advanced. A brief period of scholarship towards 1,000 AD, yes. But that is all. Their special advances sadly were not spread very widely. And both Muslims and Christians had many empires over that time, plus some empires (like the Mongols) which had nothing to do with either. The major advance came in Europe dating from the work of Copernicus and through to the present time. Muslims made little contribution to this.

    My own very skeptical point of view is that religion, whether Muslim or Christian, is overall a brake on progress. The resistance to advances in knowledge shown by religicos of either view acts to inhibit any great minds expanding human knowledge. For example : Leonardo da Vinci carried out many studies which we would call scientific today, but kept it all in a secret notebook which was not found till a long time after his death. He stated in the notebook that this was done to prevent him being harmed by the church. Leonardo, as one example, was the first person to correctly state the cause of marine fossils in the European Alps. He said it was because that part of Europe was below the sea once. Total blasphemy according to the church beliefs of the time.
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    skeptic, unfortunately my knowledge on this time in history is informed more by pop culture than be history, but the picture I have of the sort of the early dark ages is the "Name of the Rose" picture, where the Europeans had access to the classic Greek works, but were suppressing them as blasphemous, while the Muslims were actually recording more.

    The key question remains for me, why Europe? Why did the enlightenment (and scientific revolution) happen there and then? You point to religion as a brake on progress, which I agree with, but I think its worth mentioning that they were all religious back then, even the ancient Greeks with their great thinkers also had their gods.

    One narrative I heard was it was actually travelling traders who set the stage. (This might tie in a little with what Dan was saying.) People with rare skills, who travelled both in the Christian and Muslim world needed to condemn neither faith, and thus couldn't really fully accept either faith. (which both call on you to condemn the other) They formed a sort of secret society out of trade necessity, and when enough people got talking, the good ideas started rolling.

    But what you do you think? Why did the enlightenment happen where and when it did?
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    To TB

    Why did the enlightenment happen where and when it did?

    Not my area of expertise. I did read up on it once, a while back, and the idea presented was that it was a series of things coming together. I suspect that the invention of movable type was the biggest impact.
    This was around 1450, a little before the explosion of ideas that became the enlightenment. Marco Polo had returned from China over 100 years earlier, and brought back ideas related to printing. Printing had improved as a result, but Gutenberg was the man who took those ideas and made moveable type.

    Widespread printing technology meant that literature became (relatively) cheap, and works of literature could be spread to everyone who could read. However, those historians who claim to be experts would not accept a single cause.

    I should also add that printing developed and became cheaper and cheaper. This eventually led to the printing of recreational literature for the masses, such as novels. Prof. Steven Pinker believes this widespread reading encouraged empathy, since it forced people to see matters through other people's viewpoints. Such increased empathy induced lower levels of criminality and lower levels of sadistic 'justice'. This also was a vital part of the enlightenment.
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    Skeptic, That was actually a really really good point, and it makes a lot of sense. What blows my mind (as an IT guy) is the thought that the advent of a scientific secular culture is tied to the printing press, basically one of the first pieces of information technology. We think of the "information age" as being really recent, but when you look at the role of the printed word, you can actually see it through a new lens, as this long journey that took hundreds of years, involving both culture and technology, two things evolving simultaneously, totally dependent on each other. That's an amazing way of looking at thing, thanks for sharing.
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    Great real discussion. I am avidly reading!
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    You should take pride, as an IT person, in being a part of the second great information age. The printing press made an astounding difference, but modern information technology is pushing things to orders of magnitude greater. The late and great economist, Prof. Julian Simon, once said that human progress was tied to the human ability to innovate, and the main restricting factor was simply the number of educated people. The internet and global communication is creating a world of (potentially) 7 billion educated people, rising to 9 or 10 billion, and we can expect progress to continue accelerating.
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    Interesting as these suggestions are, I raise a word of caution. They are nothing more than plausible speculations. They quite lack any of the rigour that would be required of a scientific theory. They might be true, but I see no convincing evidence to support them.
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    To John

    You may note that I said the 'experts' in this field ascribed it to many events, not one. For example, it followed the recovery period after the first great black plague epidemic in Europe. This had major social consequences, including the freeing of the serfs. Perhaps that also contributed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Interesting as these suggestions are, I raise a word of caution. They are nothing more than plausible speculations. They quite lack any of the rigour that would be required of a scientific theory. They might be true, but I see no convincing evidence to support them.
    John, I think something to remember is that what has actually happened throughout history could be viewed as the interactions between all the sub-atomic and atomic particles that compose all of us (and our ancestors), and maybe this fundamental level alone is what is real, maybe it alone is not a reduction or simplification. But at the same time, that's way, way too much information to even try to think about. So I think its important that we seek more simplified narratives, to get insights which don't involve us trying to think about more than we can handle. Such insights always must start as somewhat of a simplification, but at the same time, we can see some simplifications - if not absolutely true - are closer to the truth than others.

    If we are committed to truth as scientists, than perhaps the most important truth we must grasp is our own inability to grasp the entirety of the truth. That leaves us looking at what narratives may give us the most insight, as imperfect as they are. I think in some cases, open minded speculation can get us a lot closer to the truth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    TB

    You should take pride, as an IT person, in being a part of the second great information age. The printing press made an astounding difference, but modern information technology is pushing things to orders of magnitude greater. The late and great economist, Prof. Julian Simon, once said that human progress was tied to the human ability to innovate, and the main restricting factor was simply the number of educated people. The internet and global communication is creating a world of (potentially) 7 billion educated people, rising to 9 or 10 billion, and we can expect progress to continue accelerating.
    Okay, so I had to go out, but I was thinking of your post. (Lots of noise here in WA, Seahawks just won Superbowl) But my question is, if the printing press was this transformative technology that changed our culture (and the preponderance of evidence agrees with you that it does), what do you think the NEXT step in our culture, that's ultimately going to come from the Internet is? Where are we going here? Please, think and comment. I look forward to hearing more thoughts on this, I've been thinking about it all night.

    Where are we going as a culture now? What do you think is next?
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    An interesting question. But one with so many ramifications, it is hard to know even where to begin. I suspect that a reasonable response would invite the writing of a book, and a very thick book at that!

    Obviously information will become easier to obtain, and will be dispensed to more people. This will bring more of the planet's population into the numbers of contributors to progress. Widespread, and increasingly more sophisticated computing will make the processing of information easier too. Some outcomes will be revolutionary. Imagine, for example, information being used to generate almost any biological result from gene therapy. After all, genes are "just" information, too.

    Revolutionary change could happen in many, many different sciences. The world of tomorrow will be very different.
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    Oh c'mon, throw me a bone... a little more than that. I think we can all agree we're doomed to be a bit speculative with a question like this, but I was hoping you'd speculate a little more than that. You made a really convincing argument, (and the more I look at it the more I think it was a bullseye) that out culture is in many ways a function of our information technology capacity, our ability to know. So what is our culture going to look like in 60 to 70 years? Of course we don't know, I was just hoping to hear more of your opinion.

    As for me, I still don't know where I stand. You really opened up some interesting perspective for me I hadn't thought of before, and my mind is still churning late into the night, really thinking about it. But I will post my speculations here too, as soon as they solidify a little bit.
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    I can speculate till the cows wander home on their own. In fact, I have a serious fault in that I speculate too much.

    I was reading in an episode of ARC magazine a couple days back a comment on such speculation. It said (and this is common sense as well) that experience shows that the most accurate predictions of the future are those that start with existing trends and project them.

    There are lots of existing trends that can stand projecting.

    One of my favourites is robotics. We are at the beginning of an exponential growth in ever cheaper and more sophisticated robots. I speculate on many such changes. Imagine a worm shaped robot that drills through the Earth searching for exploitable mineral ores. Multiply by 100 million such worms burrowing down to, perhaps, 20 kms below the surface, and think about how many new resources will be uncovered. Imagine small robots moving through fields of crops, removing weeds and killing insect pests, analysing the soil, and directing the meticulous and exact introduction of water and fertiliser exactly where it is needed. No broadcast spraying, and no harsh tilling of the soil, but with crop yields ten times per acre what we get now. Hunger defeated forever. Children taught by specialised robots that deliver love along with their lessons. Old people cared for hand and foot by specialised robots.

    Imagine medicine. Total knowledge of what every gene does, and every person having a total genome analysis. Every illness fully understood with totally effective individualised treatments. The very concept of growing old defeated for ever.

    Imagine space travel. Highly advanced ion drive engines capable of accelerating a craft to a tenth of light speed. Colonising new star systems after decades of interstellar travel. Over a period of thousands of years, humanity extends its reach to hundreds of new star systems. And keeps right on going.

    Imagine everything that happens being recorded and recoverable. No such thing as an unsolved crime, or a memory permanently forgotten. With all crime solveable, crime disappears.

    Imagine every human receiving all the necessities of life, plus luxuries beyond our current conception, even if they choose never to work.

    I could go on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TridentBlue View Post
    If we are committed to truth as scientists, than perhaps the most important truth we must grasp is our own inability to grasp the entirety of the truth. That leaves us looking at what narratives may give us the most insight, as imperfect as they are. I think in some cases, open minded speculation can get us a lot closer to the truth.
    Two completely disparate points:

    I have seen some persuasive arguments in this and other forums that say science does not seek the truth; that is not its function, or goal. I'm intrigued enough by those arguments provisionally reject your assertion here.

    The level of evidential support for a speculation such as the one we're discussing appears as low as that which is offered by cranks and woos who deny Einstein, or favour ET visitors, or argue for ID, etc. We appear willing to accept this for interpretations of historical events. Why? I'm not sure. Several possibilities spring to mind, but they are also speculative. I simply cannot imagine the well known sceptics on this forum accepting such casual arguments without demanding appropriate peer reviewed citations.

    I've observed this phenomenon for some time, but it only really registered consciously when thinking about skeptics comments. My first reaction was - "Yes indeed. That seems very likely." But then it struck me that I was doing so, not because the evidence pointed that way, but because it "seemed like a nice idea". And I realised that was no different from the approach taken by, for example, Robbitybob. I imagine you have seen his biased posts.

    That seems dangerous to me.
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    @Skeptic. Most accurate predictions based on current trends are still wrong most of the time. More accurate might not matter much if the level of accuracy is generally very low.

    A stocktrader in Toronto who had a name for making accurate predictions told me the secret to making accurate predictions was to make lots of predictions, and then when one of them actually turns out to be right make sure everybody knows that you predicted it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    @Skeptic. Most accurate predictions based on current trends are still wrong most of the time. More accurate might not matter much if the level of accuracy is generally very low.

    A stocktrader in Toronto who had a name for making accurate predictions told me the secret to making accurate predictions was to make lots of predictions, and then when one of them actually turns out to be right make sure everybody knows that you predicted it.
    I love it! *laughing*....
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    Okay, now there's some stuff for me to think about, thank you for posting that.

    I was thinking about it tonight as well. Here's what I see from the technology angle.

    1) Artificial intelligence follows from cloud computing. Here's how it goes: right now, we start a computer project, maybe a song project in GarageBand. We want a blues song, so we go have to set up filters, effects, maybe synths and compose the song, and then post processing. Basically everyone who makes a blues song in GarageBand goes through a similar process, to narrow down the vast possibilities to a sound within the realm of blues. But suppose we were working on the cloud, with adaptive learning technology. Once the learning algorithm has seen enough successful blues songs being made, and thinks we're making a blues song, it can make our work a lot quicker, through suggestions, both in the composition of the song, and in the processing. It becomes, over time, an accomplished musical partner and recording technician. Eventually, those who use the cloud are much more effective at everything, because they are constantly advancing through lessons the AI learned from seeing other people trying to do the same thing. It becomes a human learning experience multiplier.

    2) Robots follow from the AI cloud. Many years ago, I remember this site 20q.net, made from a neural net (AI tech) trying to play 20 questions (akwardly). These days its really good, having learned from millions of web visitors. (20Q.net Inc.) So even existing AI works well, but it takes a lot of time. The cloud can work as a robot learning experience multiplier, So that lessons learned by robots anywhere in the world can be taught to all other robots, for their benefit. Indeed, the infrastructure is already being built. (What is Cloud Robotics?)

    So what does all this mean in terms of the original idea, which is of technology and culture advancing simultaneously? That's what I'm really interested in and wanted to hear from you on. As I think about your words and mine, I'm seeing a future where people are really connected, and invested in each other. I'm thinking of the definition of "Ubuntu" as given by a Liberian Peace Activist:

    Ubuntu: "I am what I am because of who we all are." (From a definition offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.)

    Because with these new AI learning multipliers, both our failures and successes benefit others way more directly and immediately, we are all constantly benefiting from each other. You can argue that has always been true, but I see it as become more explicit in the culture in general. The success of one literally becomes the success of many, and we know it.

    Also, something has got to give with the financial system as the robots get better and better. I'm not a communist or anything, but as more effective companies use more and more robots, the displacement of workers could be bad, and the absurdity of an economy run by and for robots will become overwhelmingly evident. So we're looking at a transformation of the economy and our way of doing business, but I'm not sure how that will pan out yet...

    Anyway, those are my thoughts for now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I've really enjoyed reading them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I have seen some persuasive arguments in this and other forums that say science does not seek the truth; that is not its function, or goal. I'm intrigued enough by those arguments provisionally reject your assertion here.

    The level of evidential support for a speculation such as the one we're discussing appears as low as that which is offered by cranks and woos who deny Einstein, or favour ET visitors, or argue for ID, etc. We appear willing to accept this for interpretations of historical events. Why? I'm not sure. Several possibilities spring to mind, but they are also speculative. I simply cannot imagine the well known sceptics on this forum accepting such casual arguments without demanding appropriate peer reviewed citations.

    I've observed this phenomenon for some time, but it only really registered consciously when thinking about skeptics comments. My first reaction was - "Yes indeed. That seems very likely." But then it struck me that I was doing so, not because the evidence pointed that way, but because it "seemed like a nice idea". And I realised that was no different from the approach taken by, for example, Robbitybob. I imagine you have seen his biased posts.

    That seems dangerous to me.
    John, I think of it in terms of chess and poker. You have some hard science scenarios where you have the facts in front of you (the chess board) and its about rigorous thinking, and considering the possibilities. Then you have some scenarios where there are just a huge amount of unknowns, and you're gambling off gut feelings. Poker. When we're talking fast and loose about the things that shaped human history and the future of human culture, we're playing a little poker. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as we don't present it chess, as something we have really bolted down.

    So yes, its intuition, but darn it there is something here. Think of the advent of writing itself. How long ago was that? 6000 years? How long ago have humans been around, 1 million years? Yet all the great civilizations have been in the last 6000 years? Then the enlightenment right after the printing press in the same area? Its all to big to pin down exactly, but information technology as inseparable from culture is a really compelling idea... And maybe your first impression wasn't so off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    @Skeptic. Most accurate predictions based on current trends are still wrong most of the time. More accurate might not matter much if the level of accuracy is generally very low.


    That is a fair point, Dan. It depends largely on where you draw the line. I think that certain predictions may be made with a high probability of success, if you are careful not to go off into Lalaland. For example : I know that robotics is a new wave of technology, and there are many robots already existing, with more, and more sophisticated ones on the drawing board. If I predict that robots will, in 20 years, be able to take over a sizeable part of normal housekeeping duties, I can be close to 100% sure of being correct. However, if I predict I will be able to sit down and discuss advanced philosophy with one, I am definitely skating on very thin ice.

    To TB.

    Interesting example you drew. You are probably correct. Here is a question for you. Do you think it is possible we may develop artificial intelligences that are too smart? After all, if you have an intelligence with an equivalent IQ of 6,000, and it is on the global internet, and hence connected to vast power, how can you ensure it will dedicate itself to the welfare of mere humans?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    However, if I predict I will be able to sit down and discuss advanced philosophy with one, I am definitely skating on very thin ice.


    Pretty much any other subject other than perhap poetry, I'd agree with you. Machines can already do both with better clarity than most of their practitioners.
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    Religion doesnt seem to me as the pathway to a greater existence afterlife as is the basic foundations for almost all religions i know but i think it comes more as a selfish means of human beings to enforce his own way of thinking on others.. we are free beings we do not need to be cajoled with stories about afterlife, damnation and the likes, it pays to follow the rule of law while you are alive than to follow the rule of eternal life or whatever.. there is no saviour of the people of the world, we are Gods.. think about what it took for us humans to shrink this whole world into a laptop or mobile phone where you can get to japan on the phone faster than flying in a supersonic jet... lets remove religion, lets live free.. religion has caused the loss of most amount of lives, conflicts, massacres and the likes and this is still ongoing, how can we open the eyes of everyone in the world to see religion is the disease not the cure
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    You're just going to spam your unsubstantiated hate in every thread that contains religion, ain't ya?

    Do you not realize you're just as offensive and agitating as the religious extremists?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sciencenotfiction00 View Post
    Religion doesnt seem to me as the pathway to a greater existence afterlife as is the basic foundations for almost all religions i know but i think it comes more as a selfish means of human beings to enforce his own way of thinking on others.. we are free beings we do not need to be cajoled with stories about afterlife, damnation and the likes, it pays to follow the rule of law while you are alive than to follow the rule of eternal life or whatever.. there is no saviour of the people of the world, we are Gods.. think about what it took for us humans to shrink this whole world into a laptop or mobile phone where you can get to japan on the phone faster than flying in a supersonic jet... lets remove religion, lets live free.. religion has caused the loss of most amount of lives, conflicts, massacres and the likes and this is still ongoing, how can we open the eyes of everyone in the world to see religion is the disease not the cure
    Er, could you try a little punctuation? I'm sure it would help enormously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TridentBlue View Post
    John, I think of it in terms of chess and poker. You have some hard science scenarios where you have the facts in front of you (the chess board) and its about rigorous thinking, and considering the possibilities. Then you have some scenarios where there are just a huge amount of unknowns, and you're gambling off gut feelings. Poker. When we're talking fast and loose about the things that shaped human history and the future of human culture, we're playing a little poker. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as we don't present it chess, as something we have really bolted down.

    So yes, its intuition, but darn it there is something here. Think of the advent of writing itself. How long ago was that? 6000 years? How long ago have humans been around, 1 million years? Yet all the great civilizations have been in the last 6000 years? Then the enlightenment right after the printing press in the same area? Its all to big to pin down exactly, but information technology as inseparable from culture is a really compelling idea... And maybe your first impression wasn't so off.
    I am all for speculation. Indeed, I am for wild-assed, fly-in-the-face-of-logic, crazy man speculation. Think the unthinkable; posit the unimaginable; go so far out on a limb you wind up three trees away.

    But until and unless that speculation has acquired reproducible, substantiating evidence, do not accord it the status of a hypothesis with good probability of being true. When that is done the burden of proof has been reduced to the level used by creationists, alien abduction believers and the like.

    I do not expect to convince you on this point and find my own position to be firm, so we may need to agree to differ on this one.
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    Revisionism?

    Hmm...I'd say during the Middle Ages, the world was multi-polar. No one region dominated. It's silly to say Europe in the Middle Ages provided little, because the Magna Carta, the printing press, the longbow, the mechanical clock, etc. are all things of minor importance, right?

    That's not to say that they didn't contribute anything, but then to say in the Middle Ages they were the sole or major force is silly, and as said revisionism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Islamic Civilization arguably holds the best success ratio among ALL human civilizations in recorded history...
    That's because it was the bloodiest and most violent.
    Many would argue they were less barbaric than uncivilized Europeans....

    Weren't it Muslims who tamed Westerners and civilized them by giving them ideas of knowledge, passing to them the Indian-Arab numeric system, introducing them to the concept of personal hygiene, introducing them to hospitals, and many other things...

    Read Muslim accounts of Crusades...Arabs were antonished how barbaric, backward, unenlightened, and unclean crusaders were..while Crusaders on the other hand were astonished by advance Islamic Civilization..at the hand of which they faced defeat after defeat after 1st crusade... As Karen Armstrong put, eventually, West had to bow down to Islam and learn from it..since its civilization was vastly stronger and more advance than that of Europe at that time..

    Though later, Turkish invasions and conquering of mainland European lands for centuries really Fcuked up Europeans' view of "Muslims" ..lol..

    Though Muslims have had their own share of barbarity and destruction...specially in India.

    er.. yes, and Western concepts of sanitation come from the Romans, who existed during the era of Islam?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    I disagree with the OP however about the duration of Islam's greatest successes. During the Golden Age, roughly 750 to 1250, Islam was relatively open to new ideas and in large part adopted the phrases from the Koran and Hadiths about pursuing knowledge being Allah's will--which of course Arab and Persian scholars did by translating Greek works and greatly expanding them into new areas (e.g., empiricism, knowledge of optics, algebra etc). By the 13th century though most of Islam was turning more towards anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism that discouraged free thinkers; they made little progress after that point, even as Europe was starting to industrialize and benefiting from a deluge of new knowledge from Islam and the Greeks.
    Well, that is the classical point of view of (biased) Western historians, which is now being rejected even by Western historians themselves.

    Even after Mongol invasion, Arabs continue to flourish in science, mathematics, arts, and astronomy etc atleast for next hundred or more years!

    Also even when (if) Arabs declined, other Islamic superpowers/greatpowers continue to flourish and expand globally. Even in the start of 18th century, Islamdom was way ahead of Europe in terms of over-all military prowess, over-all economic output, and wealth. Islamic Mughal Empire of India alone held 25% of total global GDP output and an army larger than any European power. And Mughals weren't even the center of Islamic Power...It were the Ottomans who had been successfully competing with giants like Persians, Europeans, Austrians, and Russians etc!

    Though Europe was performing better from sometime, it was only in 18th century that it finally took over Islamic World and became global superpower..Its kinda like today...China is performing better than the U.S, and is ahead of it in many fields, but "over-all", U.S still remains the superpower while China is behind...it'd take Chinese another 50, 100 years to over-take U.S decisively, if that even happens to begin with. Lets look at the world of mid 17th century...who was the superpower of the world? Yes, the Ottoman Empire...and it was just one of many great superpowers/greatpowers of Islamdom at that time...

    The rise of Europe started in 16th century...gained full speed in 17th century but it still was behind Islamdom...and it only took-over Islamdom in 18th century...

    Regarding your view of Arab decline after Mongol invasion, read George Saliba's latest work on this, which precisely discuss the thesis that whether Arabic Science, arts, innovation, and technology declined after 13th century Mongol invasion or not....

    Here is a small introduction of 30 minutes where George Saliba discusses his works and explain how there is tremendous amount of empirical and historical evidence that go against the classical theory of "Arabic Scientific lead declined after Mongol invasion"...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsZU_gMTSrM
    Which major power did the Mughals defeat? Isn't that the true test of military strength?

    And the Ottomans? So why then were Europeans dictating global trade? why were many of the great scientific, cultural, etc. advancements coming from Europe? Did the Ottomans invent capitalism? Or have ships travelling across the world? Or devise the Enlightenment? If you as many Muslims believe the Enlightenment is liberal pap, then yeah, quite a few of your brethren died to ensure democracy in the last few years, and are dying now... so liberal pap indeed when you all value it so much..
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    This stuff is an example of the decline in Islamist thought. Their faith blocks them from facts.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamri abdelkhalek View Post
    first..i mean with real islam " the moderate islam" no extravagance no radicalism and no complacency.
    with name of god the most gracious the most merciful:

    Thus, have We made of you an Ummat(society) justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.
    صدق الله العظيم
    albaqarah ( the cow) 2.(143)
    2.if you know any other muslim go and ask him your second question

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    The Muslims assimilated the knowledge they got from the regions they invaded. This enriched their religion to some extent. The effects of expansion finished after some years and Muslims and their religion became one of the myriad religions of the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    @Skeptic. Most accurate predictions based on current trends are still wrong most of the time. More accurate might not matter much if the level of accuracy is generally very low.

    A stocktrader in Toronto who had a name for making accurate predictions told me the secret to making accurate predictions was to make lots of predictions, and then when one of them actually turns out to be right make sure everybody knows that you predicted it.
    This is a tactic many gamblers use. I grew-up surrounded by them; If they won, they talked about how smart they are. If they lose, it's about how unlucky.
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    I have a friend who plays on the World Poker Tour.

    He is, and has always been utterly BRILLIANT!!!!

    When he wins he says, he played well and was lucky.

    When he loses he says, he play well and he was unlucky.

    *chuckle*
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Religious fanaticism (Muslim, Christian, or anything else) tends to be the main enemy of progress in any civilization.
    Simple minds programmed by people that know nothing about the religion only hate and jealousy,
    They read religious books that were written by MEN who believed the world was flat many years ago
    they interpret the words distort them to suit them selves then go on to destroy many lives of the innocent.Very Sad
    erase religion and you will find civilisation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
    erase religion and you will find civilisation
    A recurring theme in several of Arthur C. Clarke's scifi novels.
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  94. #93  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To John

    You may note that I said the 'experts' in this field ascribed it to many events, not one. For example, it followed the recovery period after the first great black plague epidemic in Europe. This had major social consequences, including the freeing of the serfs. Perhaps that also contributed?

    That's probably what did most of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To TB

    Why did the enlightenment happen where and when it did?

    Not my area of expertise. I did read up on it once, a while back, and the idea presented was that it was a series of things coming together. I suspect that the invention of movable type was the biggest impact.
    This was around 1450, a little before the explosion of ideas that became the enlightenment. Marco Polo had returned from China over 100 years earlier, and brought back ideas related to printing. Printing had improved as a result, but Gutenberg was the man who took those ideas and made moveable type.

    Widespread printing technology meant that literature became (relatively) cheap, and works of literature could be spread to everyone who could read. However, those historians who claim to be experts would not accept a single cause.

    I should also add that printing developed and became cheaper and cheaper. This eventually led to the printing of recreational literature for the masses, such as novels. Prof. Steven Pinker believes this widespread reading encouraged empathy, since it forced people to see matters through other people's viewpoints. Such increased empathy induced lower levels of criminality and lower levels of sadistic 'justice'. This also was a vital part of the enlightenment.
    Why do you think movable type was invented at that point in history? There was suddenly a shortage of monks to hand scribe books. And although it seems like a paradox, the changed distribution of wealth that came with elevating the serfs probably increased the number of people who could afford to buy books. There were:


    1) - Fewer ultrarich lords.

    2) - More people in a middle income range where they could afford to buy a book.

    If your monastery is only making one or two copies of any given book in a year, why would you go to the trouble of setting type to print that? Wouldn't it be easier to just sit down and write it out by hand?


    Quote Originally Posted by TridentBlue View Post
    skeptic, unfortunately my knowledge on this time in history is informed more by pop culture than be history, but the picture I have of the sort of the early dark ages is the "Name of the Rose" picture, where the Europeans had access to the classic Greek works, but were suppressing them as blasphemous, while the Muslims were actually recording more.

    The key question remains for me, why Europe? Why did the enlightenment (and scientific revolution) happen there and then? You point to religion as a brake on progress, which I agree with, but I think its worth mentioning that they were all religious back then, even the ancient Greeks with their great thinkers also had their gods.

    One narrative I heard was it was actually travelling traders who set the stage. (This might tie in a little with what Dan was saying.) People with rare skills, who travelled both in the Christian and Muslim world needed to condemn neither faith, and thus couldn't really fully accept either faith. (which both call on you to condemn the other) They formed a sort of secret society out of trade necessity, and when enough people got talking, the good ideas started rolling.

    But what you do you think? Why did the enlightenment happen where and when it did?
    A supporting condition for that would be a higher level of available money to spend on new projects, or implementing new ideas.

    With the population now far below carrying capacity - resources that would previously have been dedicated to mere subsistence were now available to spend on arts and sciences.

    Basically, the theory of "more people = more advancement" is wrong. It's all about having a population below carrying capacity. The further below it, the better. (Unless it gets so low that the carrying capacity itself drops too much to keep the gap in place.)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Religious fanaticism (Muslim, Christian, or anything else) tends to be the main enemy of progress in any civilization.
    Simple minds programmed by people that know nothing about the religion only hate and jealousy,
    They read religious books that were written by MEN who believed the world was flat many years ago
    they interpret the words distort them to suit them selves then go on to destroy many lives of the innocent.Very Sad
    erase religion and you will find civilisation
    I must pick you up on one point , which is this tired canard about people thinking the world was flat. The Greeks 250 years before Christ knew the Earth was round. Look up Eratosthenes for example. The religious books of Christianity at least (a Graeco-Judaic religion), were therefore written by people who knew perfectly well the Earth was not flat. They were not utter fools in that era and should not be dismissed so glibly.

    As for capitalising "men", what is that supposed to signify? It seems as if one can almost hear the sneer.
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    To kojax

    I doubt that Gutenberg printed books as a public service, or to help monks. He printed books because he could make a heap of money printing books. He began with a bible, which was the most widely used book at the time, and I bet he became the Medieval equivalent of a mega-millonnaire by doing so. But once movable type was in use, and proven to be a money maker, lots of printers would get into using it, in order to make those mega-millions of ducats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Religious fanaticism (Muslim, Christian, or anything else) tends to be the main enemy of progress in any civilization.
    Simple minds programmed by people that know nothing about the religion only hate and jealousy,
    They read religious books that were written by MEN who believed the world was flat many years ago
    they interpret the words distort them to suit them selves then go on to destroy many lives of the innocent.Very Sad
    erase religion and you will find civilisation
    I must pick you up on one point , which is this tired canard about people thinking the world was flat. The Greeks 250 years before Christ knew the Earth was round. Look up Eratosthenes for example. The religious books of Christianity at least (a Graeco-Judaic religion), were therefore written by people who knew perfectly well the Earth was not flat. They were not utter fools in that era and should not be dismissed so glibly.

    As for capitalising "men", what is that supposed to signify? It seems as if one can almost hear the sneer.
    Yes certainly some Greeks knew about the spherical Earth, and even calculated its radius pretty closely. But that doesn't mean the writers of the bible had any such knowledge, and the evidence suggest they didn't particularly when they wrote passages from Mark and Luke that discuss viewing the Earth from the top of a mountain. There's no evidence that the Christian (or later Muslim) writers had contemporary science or math knowledge of any kind.
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    A preacher of science could explain are great creator GOD with facts.
    As they would be facts they could not be distorted with some interpretation
    It is true there are many questions yet to be answered, but with research the truth of our creation will be found.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Islam declined because Portugal figured out how to sail around them for the slaves and drugs and spices.
    Losing control of the trade routes meant the Caliphate went bankrupt and poor countries don't have much spare cash to invest in research, arts or technology.

    (Note that for a while Portugal became the great world power based on the control of the spice and slave trades but lost it through political mismanagement.)
    Yes, and the most important point is beyond that. Instead of adapting, Islamic countries ducked or retreated. I doubt that they could compete with the scramble for the larger world, though it took a long time for the West as well (most colonies were only small enclaves on the coast until long afterwards. They could have done a good deal more on the science and technological fronts, but instead retreated for various reasons I will leave others to bring forth beyond those already posted.

    Islamic countries, especially the Ottoman, were centrally located. Portugal did a complete end around all of them, and while not diplomatic, the force of the technology took over steadily by one European power after another. And while impressive, the collective Muslim history does not reach the apex compared to that of the Greek in Science, Technology, even Philosophy, though Optics and Astronomy were highlights. And what the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution achieved was amazingly well beyond anything the collective groups before.

    I get the impression, less read than some here, that Muslim society simply thought that the West would hit some glitch and go away. Big mistake, one that China and, for quite a while, Japan made. The big money of the Islamic countries now are resource extraction based, and not even home grown at that. The Saudi's thought that the western businessmen were crazy fools for buying the rights for something thousands of feet underground. Then they found out how much money was involved, tried to force more drilling, then took over, albeit only for a controlling share unlike most countries Muslim or not. It all happened rather quickly.

    I hear that all, repeat, all university instruction of the hard sciences like Physics are not taught in Arabic. Like quite a few languages, Arabic is too hazy and imprecise to be useful in this regard. Scientific American did a study of the hierarchy of languages. English and Czech were very good, but German and Swedish were even more precise. Chinese and Japanese were also very low, and there English is used in lectures, even when there is no one in the audience who speaks as a native. If Arabic were more precise, should the notion of hazy clarity be true at all, then one could see more a ready acceptance by the rank in file. But in the US, few care about science beyond getting the products based upon the same.



    As far as one poster's question of why Islamic societies do not want to tolerate Israel, the answer is much related to Jerusalem being the 3rd most religiously important city by most Muslims. The Christian part of Lebanon has remained so by defensive mountains and apparently was never predominately Muslim, so no big worries there. Ethiopia was a hold out, distant, and with rugged mountains. Kafirstan stuck in Muslims eyes, controlling the Khyber pass area, until the British sold them machine guns circa 1890's and the area was forced to convert. Now it is renamed 'land of the pure'. Israel is new, in your face, and too successful for pride and face reasons. The crusades fighting and eventually losing the same lands was also of consideration. Muslims remember Spain and India, but the feeling is not the same. Only growth of religious territorial limits is really wanted, an idea which many religious Christians themselves are more than capable of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To kojax

    I doubt that Gutenberg printed books as a public service, or to help monks.
    Monks didn't scribe for free. It was a business. A patron had to offer the monastery a lot of money to get a book scribed.



    He printed books because he could make a heap of money printing books. He began with a bible, which was the most widely used book at the time, and I bet he became the Medieval equivalent of a mega-millonnaire by doing so. But once movable type was in use, and proven to be a money maker, lots of printers would get into using it, in order to make those mega-millions of ducats.
    Right, but he couldn't have done that in previous eras because the middle class wasn't developed enough to be able to buy bibles in massive numbers, even at the reduced price his printing press allowed him to offer.

    In pre-Rennaissance times wealth was a lot more polarized. You were either rich enough to afford a hand scribed bible, or you probably couldn't afford a bible at all.

    It's a basic economic principle. When a small number of people hold almost all of the wealth, they buy luxury items with it. If you want mass production technologies to become widely adopted, you first have to create a condition where wealth is widely enough distributed so the assembly line can sell a large number of units to people. It also helps if labor is commanding a high enough price so it's worth the effort to save labor.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    [QUOTE=kojax;570845]
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    \
    In pre-Rennaissance times wealth was a lot more polarized. You were either rich enough to afford a hand scribed bible, or you probably couldn't afford a bible at all.
    Yes, and books, all books, at a library were literally chained to the wall, not that there were many libraries nor were they available to all but the highest scholars. There was part of an episode in the TV show Connections on this very issue. And books were often white washed to be covered over and written on again. Some of our best old sources were saved by just this technique, such as the famed Archimedes Palimpsest.
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