06 January 2012

The Backward Arab World Grows Even More Backward

Between 1980 and 2000, Korea granted 16,328 patents, while nine Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., granted a combined total of only 370, many of them registered by foreigners. A study in 1989 found that in one year, the United States published 10,481 scientific papers that were frequently cited, while the entire Arab world published only four. This may sound like the punch line of a bad joke, but when Nature magazine published a sketch of science in the Arab world in 2002, its reporter identified just three scientific areas in which Islamic countries excel: desalination, falconry, and camel reproduction. The recent push to establish new research and science institutions in the Arab world...clearly still has a long way to go. _NewAtlantis

The Arabian "Golden Age" and the Arabian empire, were always more dependent upon the abilities and energies of the conquered peoples, than on the abilities of the Arab conquerors. The Arabian hegemony from central Asia to North Africa and southern Spain, allowed a commingling of the wisdom of the East, Middle East, and the remnants of ancient Greek learning. The so-called "golden age of Islam" was the result of the symbiotic knowledge explosion that occurred when multiple traditions of knowledge collided within an environment that was tolerant of mathematical and scientific ideas. But that tolerance did not last forever, as Islam never remains tolerant for very long.
By the year 750, the Arabs had conquered Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, and much of North Africa, Central Asia, Spain, and the fringes of China and India. Newly opened routes connecting India and the Eastern Mediterranean spurred an explosion of wealth through trade, as well as an agricultural revolution...The spread of empire brought urbanization, commerce, and wealth that helped spur intellectual collaboration. Maarten Bosker of Utrecht University and his colleagues explain that in the year 800, while the Latin West (with the exception of Italy) was “relatively backward,” the Arab world was highly urbanized, with twice the urban population of the West. Several large metropolises — including Baghdad, Basra, Wasit, and Kufa — were unified under the Abbasids; they shared a single spoken language and brisk trade via a network of caravan roads. Baghdad in particular, the Abbasid capital, was home to palaces, mosques, joint-stock companies, banks, schools, and hospitals; by the tenth century, it was the largest city in the world.

...the single most significant reason that Arabic science thrived was the absorption and assimilation of the Greek heritage — a development fueled by the translation movement in Abbasid Baghdad....the Abbasids found scientific Greek texts immensely useful for a sort of technological progress — solving common problems to make daily life easier. The Abbasids did not bother translating works in subjects such as poetry, history, or drama, which they regarded as useless or inferior. Indeed, science under Islam, although in part an extension of Greek science, was much less theoretical than that of the ancients. Translated works in mathematics, for example, were eventually used for engineering and irrigation, as well as in calculation for intricate inheritance laws. And translating Greek works on medicine had obvious practical use.

...The second factor central to the rise of the translation movement was that Greek thought had already been diffused in the region, slowly and over a long period, before the Abbasids and indeed before the advent of Islam. Partly for this reason, the Abbasid Baghdad translation movement was not like the West’s subsequent rediscovery of ancient Athens, in that it was in some respects a continuation of Middle Eastern Hellenism. Greek thought spread as early as Alexander the Great’s conquests of Asia and North Africa in the 300s b.c., and Greek centers, such as in Alexandria and the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (238-140 b.c., in what is now Afghanistan), were productive centers of learning even amid Roman conquest. By the time of the Arab conquests, the Greek tongue was known throughout the vast region, and it was the administrative language of Syria and Egypt. After the arrival of Christianity, Greek thought was spread further by missionary activity, especially by Nestorian Christians. Centuries later, well into the rule of the Abbasids in Baghdad, many of these Nestorians — some of them Arabs and Arabized Persians who eventually converted to Islam — contributed technical skill for the Greek-Arabic translation movement, and even filled many translation-oriented administrative posts in the Abbasid government.

...As the Middle Ages progressed, Arabic civilization began to run out of steam. After the twelfth century, Europe had more significant scientific scholars than the Arabic world, as Harvard historian George Sarton noted in his Introduction to the History of Science (1927-48). After the fourteenth century, the Arab world saw very few innovations in fields that it had previously dominated, such as optics and medicine; henceforth, its innovations were for the most part not in the realm of metaphysics or science, but were more narrowly practical inventions like vaccines. “The Renaissance, the Reformation, even the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, passed unnoticed in the Muslim world,” Bernard Lewis remarks in Islam and the West (1993)....Islamic civilization did not have a culture hospitable to the advancement of science, while medieval Europe did.

...In trying to explain the Islamic world’s intellectual laggardness, it is tempting to point to the obvious factors: authoritarianism, bad education, and underfunding (Muslim states spend significantly less than developed states on research and development as a percentage of GDP). But these reasons are all broad and somewhat crude, and raise more questions than answers. At a deeper level, Islam lags because it failed to offer a way to institutionalize free inquiry. That, in turn, is attributable to its failure to reconcile faith and reason.

...most criticism in the Muslim world is directed outward, at the West. This prejudice — what Fouad Ajami has called (referring to the Arab world) “a political tradition of belligerent self-pity” — is undoubtedly one of Islam’s biggest obstacles. It makes information that contradicts orthodox belief irrelevant, and it closes off debate about the nature and history of Islam. _NewAtlantis
A very interesting article, all in all.

But it fails to bring out the genetic decline within the Arab world caused by inbreeding -- first cousin marriages being one widespread offense against wise genetics. A resulting low average IQ in the Arab world -- with a mean IQ of roughly 85 (the same as the average African American IQ) -- places limits on the scientific and intellectual accomplishments of the Arab world which no outside enemy could ever place. (see Wikipedia IQ and the Wealth of Nations)

The relative intolerance and hatred toward outsiders which is so common in Arab Islam is an additional limiting factor. The unwillingness to learn from the experience of others dooms Arab Muslims to persist in making the same fatal mistakes over and over. The underlying source of this Arab xenophobia is likely to be found in tribal tradition, religious tradition, and underlying genetic complement.

Arabs who immigrate to the west are likely to occupy the upper end of the bell curve, and present a misleading picture to western observers, of what they should expect from Arabs as a whole.

There is no indication that any of the efforts to boost higher learning and scientific accomplishment in the Arab lands, will have more than a temporary or superficial impact. The hold of stone-age Islam is simply too strong -- as was seen in the "Arab Spring" movement which quickly devolved into a fundamentalist Muslim hatefest against all "others."

Arab populations are more intelligent and less backward, on average, than SubSaharan African populations. And SubSaharan African populations are typically less backward than Australian Aboriginal populations. That is simply what one would expect from comparing psychometric studies for the respective groups.

Any truly benevolent friend of Arabs as a people, would want to face the facts clearly and without excuses. And he would look to the foundations of Arab backwardness in order to find a solution, and a way to benefit Arabs as a whole.


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Blogger Zorro said...

If you want to assassinate any chance of a society improving, competing or evolving, just give it Islam.

It will tunnel at rocket speed to the core of Planet Stupid.

I lived in Saudi for 4 years. Dumber than a box of fucking rocks, those idiots.

Thursday, 05 January, 2012  
Blogger neil craig said...

Scary considering the Islamic immigration of Europe.

I am less convinced about the genetic bit - interbreeding reinforces characteristics which produces more imbeciles but also more geniuses. The Jews are proof of the latter. Since imbeciles are less likely to reproduce the net effect should be to accelerare evolution. Also polygamy should mean successful fathers having more children while the western tradition of religious celebacy should have produced less children among the literate.

If genetics is not a factor in Moslem cultural failure, or even a reverse factor, that is more scary for Europe.

Saturday, 07 January, 2012  
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Wednesday, 15 August, 2012  

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