Fjordman's latest essay and it is a good one.
islam has little in common with Greco-Roman history or heritage. As stated by Fjordman in the essay below:
"I deal among other things with myths about how the Greco-Roman cultural heritage is supposedly shared by both Europeans and Muslims. The fact is that Muslims rejected most of it, from wine and theater via sculpture and visual arts to Greek democracy and secular Roman law. The only aspect of the Classical heritage that proved more compatible with Islamic culture than with European Christian culture was slavery."
Islam and the Greco-Roman cultural heritage
by Peder Jensen, a.k.a. Fjordman
Researcher Vidar Enebakk from the University of Oslo wrote an essay for VG this autumn regarding the articles I have published on the Internet about the history of science, from astronomy and geology to quantum physics. According to him, the range of my writings is impressive, their contents “frighteningly good.” This is of course nice to hear.
I deal among other things with myths about how the Greco-Roman cultural heritage is supposedly shared by both Europeans and Muslims. The fact is that Muslims rejected most of it, from wine and theater via sculpture and visual arts to Greek democracy and secular Roman law. The only aspect of the Classical heritage that proved more compatible with Islamic culture than with European Christian culture was slavery.
The word algebra itself can be traced back to Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, but basic algebra already existed in ancient Mesopotamia. Algebraic symbolism was employed by Diophantus in Greco-Roman times. Muslims never made use of such symbols. These were developed by Europeans, from Viète to René Descartes in the 1600s who, together with Fermat, established analytical geometry. This had repercussions right up until Einstein’s general theory of relativity in 1915.
It was also Descartes who established the convention in which letters at the beginning of the alphabet represent known quantities (a, b, c), whereas those towards the end of it symbolize unknown quantities (x, y, z).
Our present numerical system was introduced to Europe via the Middle East in the Middle Ages, and the numbers are therefore often known in the West as Arabic numerals, yet Arabs themselves admit that the system came from India. The zero as a proper number was probably invented by Indians (and possibly by Mayans in Central America independently of Eurasia) perhaps because the concept of “nothing” found a greater resonance in a culture dominated by Buddhism and Hinduism than in a Christian or a Muslim culture.
After praising a few thinkers such as Alhazen or the Persian mathematician Omar Khayyam, a wine lover who could at best be described as an extremely unorthodox Muslim, I conclude in my book The Curious Civilization which will be published in 2012:
“Advances made during the Middle Ages in the Islamic-ruled world were relatively modest even at the best of times and declined to almost nothing thereafter. Those contributions that did exist were made primarily by non-Arabs, generally by unorthodox Muslims who were often harassed for their freethinking ways. Their scholarly contributions were primarily based on ancient Greek or other non-Islamic works and rarely moved much beyond these conceptually. They were made predominantly during the early centuries of Islamic rule, while large non-Muslim communities still existed in these countries, and normally in centers of urban culture that predated Islam by thousands of years. The Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam, has contributed next to nothing of value to human civilization throughout Islamic history. Persians, who retained a few links with their pre-Islamic heritage after the conquests, produced some decent scholars, whereas Turks, who identified almost entirely with Islam after their conversion, produced practically none of any significance. If we combine these various factors, a very clear picture emerges: The rather modest — now often exaggerated — contributions made by certain Middle Eastern scholars during the Middle Ages were generally made in spite of Islam, not because of it. Orthodox Muslims rejected the Greek heritage.”
The medieval historian Ole Jørgen Benedictow from the University of Oslo debunks the myth about Europeans’ so-called cultural debt to Arabs, pointing out that “the Arab-Muslim conquest of the Eastern Roman Empire spelled the downfall of Classical civilization. It is absurd, to put it mildly, to claim that it was saved by the Arab-Muslim conquest.” Saladin’s son fortunately failed in his attempt at dismantling the Gaza Pyramid in Egypt.
Some Multiculturalists have claimed that “Santa Claus was a Turk.” The Christian Saint Nicholas, who partly inspired the tales about Santa Claus, lived in Anatolia. This area is now known as Turkey, but there were no Turks there in the fourth century. They originated in Central Asia. In the eleventh century, Anatolia was populated by Greek-speaking Christians. They have since then become victims of a brutal ethnic cleansing, a process still going on in Cyprus today.
Muslims have spent 1400 years trying to eradicate Greek societies all over the Eastern Mediterranean. Now they want to take the credit for saving the Greek cultural heritage.