What has the Quran got to do with Science

History reveals the 'Quranic' roots of Science

Published in: Science
Date: 26 / 09 / 18

What has the Quran got to do with Science?


Well, lets just say that the Quran essentially led to the scientific revolution.

This series-The Second Golden Age- will show how the modern world with all of its advancements and technology owes its origin directly to the Quran

When we talk about the Scientific revolution, immediately we have a picture of 17th century Europe, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Copernicus, etc. But to say that the scientific revolution the fruits of which we we enjoy today emerged out of Europe all of a sudden in the 16 th century is no less ridiculous a claim as saying Columbus discovered America. Just like there were people living there in the Americas, there was a revolution in place just across the Mediterranean !

Human quest for knowledge is as old as the the human being. In that sense science is as old as humanity itself. But the kind of science we have now, this is science that works, produces results, improves the standard of living, builds cities and adds to economic growth. This kind of science stems out of the Experimental Emperical Scientific Method. What that actually means is that for a scientific theory to be taken as truth, it has to be proved right experimentally. Now where did this method come from?

The common story that is forced down our throat is that it was the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks that led to the Age of enlightenment in 16th century Europe. Names like Pythagorus, Aristotle, Plato, Ptolemy are mentioned.

There are three gigantic problems in this story:

Firstly, not only is the scientific method that produced modern science completely missing in Ancient Greece, but the father of Western Science as he is called-Aristotle and other philosophers like Thales and Epicurus are diametrically opposed to the Empirical  Scientific Method. Rather, Aristotle is known to have said,"It follows that there will be no scientific knowledge of the primary premises, and since except intuition nothing can be truer than scientific knowledge, it will be intuition that apprehends the primary premises." Now that is not how we do science. Intuition apart from being a very personal, subjective experience plays no role whatsoever in discerning fact from fiction in science.

Inductive reasoning- the most central way we do science in the modern world, which is to contruct a theory out of a specific pattern that you observe is not even afforded the status of scientific knowledge in Greek science. Everything from Newtonian Physics to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, from Medical research to Cosmology, all emerge out of Inductve reasoning. But for Greek science it is left to 'intuition' alone to provide a solid foundation. Add to it that Aristotle performed no modern-style experiments in the form in which they appear in today's physics and chemistry labs. Rather in Ancient Greece it was considered unsual and unwelcome for a philosopher to be artisan who would construct an apparatus to prove his theory.

Then where before Europe was the Experimental scientific method being used? Or more precisely who devised this? The first people to use rigorous experimentation for scientific enquiry are Iraqi Physicist Ibn al Haytham and Philosopher and medic Al Kindi. This is beautifully written by French anthropologist Robert Briffault that,"Science owes its very existence to Arabic culture. The ancient world was pre-scientific. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of enquiry, unknown to the Greeks. The spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs".

 The second problem in the classic narrative is that  between Ancient Greece and the Scientific revolution in Europe are 2000 years. To say that knowledge will stay in its pure pristine form for two thousand years and that too the most active 2000 years in recorded history and then magically create a revolution in another part of history without there being any sort of a passage in between is devoid of all logic and understanding of how history works. What actually happened is that since the Islamic Golden Age, continued till 16th century (which will be covered in future episodes), it was through Muslim Spain around the 12th century that all Muslim Science was being imported to Europe and translation centres were set up in places like Toledo and Venice, to convert all Arabic knowledge into Latin.

Thirdly, there were no original greek manuscripts of Aristotle, Ptolemy and other big names of Greek philosophy. The books that led to the Enlightenment of Europe were Latin translations of Arabic commentaries on Greek philosophy. So basically what the medieval europeans were reading and what eventually led to their enlightenment were Muslim opinions on Greek philosophy.

The best example is Copernicus, who is famous for proving that the earth moves around the sun, which in the 16th century was going against the Christian belief that everything revolved around the stationary earth, and that could very convieniently lead to death at the gallows. Copernicus would've never been able to formulate his model without the book on planetary motion by Ptolemy or more precicely the Latin translation of the Muslim astronomer Ibn Shatir's commentary and correction of Ptolemy. This point was proven by Austrian Mathematician and Historian of science Otto Neugebauer in 1957, that the lunar model that Copernicus used in his ground breaking book De Revolutionibus that started the Scientific revolution was exactly the same as Muslim Astronomer Ibn Shatir and Nasir ad Din Tusi's planetary models written some 200 years back. Add to this the discovery of German scientist and polymath Willy Hartner in 1975 that even the diagrams are same detail by detail, down to their alphabetical designations. Where Tusi uses Alif, Copernicus uses A, where Tusi uses ba Copernicus uses B and so on.

 The truth is out and now its clear as day light, that the first global scale Scientific Revolution did not start in 16th century Europe.  It was in the 9th century in the Muslim world up until 16th century- the Golden Age of Islam that a brand new method- the Scientific method to understand reality was devised. One that would change the world forever.

 But that just leaves more questions than answers.  How does an unlettered desert civilization of bedouins, camel herders or superstitious fire worshippers from the fallen Persian empire usher in the first Global Scientific Revolution? What happened in just a few 100 years that took them from shepherding camels to correcting Ptolemy's calculations and Galen's theories? It was the Revelation of the Quran. There is something very powerful in the text of the Quran. To find out how the Quran compels the reader to examine the proof of its claim- the claim that there is one Super intelligence creating, controlling maintaining everything, all the time- to find the proof for this claim in the very workings of the universe, for this you'll have to watch the second episode.




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