Scientific and philosophical inquiry was non-existent among the Arab tribes at the time Muhammad started his new religion, Islam, beginning of the 7th century. By the 9th century, however, areas ruled by Islam became important centers of science and philosophy. This Islamic “Golden Age” lasted several hundred years, but then a decline followed, from which science under Islam never since recovered. Why did this happen? And why was there a different development in Europe?
Europe pulled itself out of its “Dark Ages”, by its own effort. A number of “renaissances” during the Middle Ages were important mile stones in this development.
Many people in academia, politics and media state that Islamic civilization played a “decisive” role in establishing European cultural identity. Thus, a “debt” to Islam is supposed to exist in at least two ways.
Toby E. Huff is a sociologist by training, research associate at Harvard University’s Department of Astronomy and Professor Emeritus in Policy studies at the University of Massachusetts. He has written extensively about cultural comparisons in…