Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Copernicus

Europe’s “Renaissance” is Islamic; (October 19, 2009)

This post will demonstrate that Europe’s “renaissance” in the scientific disciplines and scientific research methods could not have been launched without the import of Islamic scientific manuscripts and knowledge in the sciences and mathematics.

In a previous post I demonstrated that the Catholic Church of Rome was the most obscurantist religion from 400 AC (when it exercised central power to Europe) till late 16th century: no scientific manuscripts or “heretic” opinions were permitted to reach her sphere of spiritual and temporary influence. During all that period, Europe’s borders were practically opened to all kinds of trades except in two instances after the Crusaders were kicked out from the Orient about 1200 and when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in around 1450.

Europe didn’t dare challenge the Papal restrictions to knowledge until Martin Luther weakened the central religious power.  This qualitative shift was long due for a modern paradigm.  Islam never adopted any centralized religious power and thus managed to acquire knowledge “even from China” as the Prophet Muhammad admonished the Moslems.

In the same vein, Orthodox Christian Church of Byzantium was the obscurantist central religious power in Constantinople that wasted four centuries on the Near East region to produce any worthwhile scientific advancement. This region had to wait for Islamic Empires to conquer most of the Near East from the Byzantium Empire for sciences to get a new lease on life.

Islam civilization had fundamentally the zest to acquiring scientific knowledge, while feeling confident that the One and only God is a rational creator.  Without the breakout from Papal influence, Europe would have never greedily acquired Islamic scientific manuscripts and then translate them into Greek, Latin, and German and thus move on to experience renaissance.

After the 17th century, Papal Rome hurried to catch up with the trend and exhibited the will to show off that the Catholic Church is the main conservator of sciences and its promoter.

As a brief post, it will refrain from being exhaustive. The medical field was highly developed. Al Razi treaties were translated as early as the 13th century by Gerard de Cremone.  Ibn Sina (Avicenna), an acclaimed physician and eminent philosopher wrote many books on medicine and in pharmacopeia; his main translated medical manuscript was the basic source in Europe as late as the 18th century.

The renowned mathematician Al Khwarismi (820 AC) wrote “The beginning of algebra” (Kitab al Jabr); he developed what is known as algorithm; in his honor Europe gave this field of math his name (Algorithm).  Ibn Yahya al Maghrebi wrote “The brilliance in algebra” (al baahir fil Jaber). Actually, current mathematicians have discovered that an ancient Islamic mathematician solved Fermat theorem that was stated in 1620 and which took centuries to be demonstrated lately in Europe.

The Element of Euclid in geometry was translated by Al Hajjaj in the 9th century and commented extensively by Al Tusi.  Al Biruni founded the geodesic and mineralogy disciplines.  Around 770 Caliphate Al Mansur hired Indian astronomers.  Caliphate Al Maamun built the first observatory on mount Qassioun by Damascus around 830 and astronomy received a new impetus: Al Fazari and Yaaqub ibn Yarid adapt the Indian astronomy table Zij al Sindhind; the Almageste of Ptolemy is translated and Al Farghani wrote a compendium on the sciences of stars; Thabit ibn Qurra works on the Book of Solar Year; and Al Batani wrote the Sabean Tables.

The mathematician and astronomer Ibn Al Haytham (Alhacen) in the 11th century developed strong doubts on Ptolemy cosmology model and offered several updated models; he presented the concept that it is not productive to do astronomy and physics before acquiring firm knowledge in mathematics. Al Haytham offered a mathematical model for astronomy instead of the cosmology alternative of drawing schemas of the world with concentric circles and other schematic models.

Kepler (see note 1) adopted Al Haytham line of investigation in studying astronomy.  As a matter of fact, European educational systems of sciences focus mostly on mathematics as primary disciple before venturing into studying sciences.

The newly radical Islamist Mogul invaded Damascus and were defeated by the Mamluk’s Empires of Egypt.  The Mogul Hulago built the famous observatory of Maragha (Nizamiyya) in Mosul (Iraq). This observatory was the center of astronomy for thirty continuous years and graduated famous scientists.

The center was directed by the eminent mathematician and jurist the Persian Kamal al Din Ibn Yunus. Among the astronomers were Al Urdi, Al Tusi, Al Shirazi, Zij Ilkhani, and Ibn al Shatir.  Al Tusi proposed different cosmological models with non-concentric circles. Ibn Al Shatir synthesized the models for the Universe perfectly geocentric and completely different of Ptolemy’s. Copernicus adopted integrally Al Shatir’s cosmology; he even replaced the exact Arabic alphabet with the Latin counterparts; Copernicus didn’t need a translated version since the schema was self-evident.

Islamic Andalusia (Spain) (from 800 to 1,400) took the rationality relay as the central power in Baghdad weakened around 1050 by the arrival of newly radical converted princes from the central Asia provinces and the Caucasus.  Ibn Baja, Ibn Tofail, Ibn Rushd were the prominent thinkers whose works were quickly disseminated in Spain and Padua (Italy).

Europe’s “Renaissance” was becoming receptive to knowledge after 11 centuries of the Dark Age that was imposed upon it by the Catholic Church of Rome. Albert the Great, Dietrich of Freiberg, and Master Eckhart were avid readers of Islamic scientific manuscripts of Avicenna, Maimonides, and Averroes (Ibn Rushd).  The Prussian Emperor Frederic the Great was educated in Sicily and received his knowledge directly from Islamic sources.

Note 1:

Note 2: I stated historical facts; it is by no means a completely coherent model for the genesis of European civilization; it would be advisable to refrain from extrapolations at this stage.

The illusion of knowing is the major obstacle to discovery; (October 4, 2009)

Even a century ago, a scientist would publish a single manuscript after a life time of research and toiling.

Transmission of opinions and suggestions among scientists were sent via long erudite letters by peers.

Translators of these remarkable books didn’t go unnoticed as today, but they were rewarded academically. Nowadays, any “respectable” scientist works for several institutions, private and public, and at various nations.

Even two centuries ago, scientists did not need to refer to Pythagoras or Archimedes.  Modern scientists have no time or need to refer to more recent scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Laplace, Lavoisier, or Kelvin. Soon Einstein and Heisenberg will be outmoded.

The team of the geeks in “Sciences and Future” met in August for brainstorming in “pause mode” to deliberate on the unique question confronting the team:

In the last few decades, what discoveries were true breakthroughs?”  The team reached an understanding on 5 scientific fields: climatology, neuroscience, astronomy, cellular biology, and Internet.

Consequently, I will answer a few of the questions that you might think you know in these fields so that our knowledge is no longer an illusion.

The internet shifts from the virtual to the real

There are 3 generations of internet or Web.

The first generation or Web1.0 was created from 2003 to 2005 and is represented by MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube that gathers people on common interest social aspects or making “friends”.

The second generation or Web 2.0 is represented by Twitter or the microblogging platform for messages restricted to 140 characters. Thus, these micro messages can be regrouped and analyze to constitute a story contributed by many Twitter bloggers.

The third generation of Web 3.0 is ready technologically; this generation is already labeled object oriented intelligence sources.  For example, you record a message on your cell phone and then stick a yellow sticker on a wall or an object. The next visitor will pass his cell phone over the sticker and copy your message of whatever you have seen or appreciated. This generation can zip all kinds of products and gather intelligence and compare with other resources.

Personally, I think that even the Twitter is already a perfect source of information by intelligence agencies; these centers can hire thousands of Twitter users and direct them on specific topic of interests in many countries.

Cells can be rejuvenated to its embryo stage

The lab technician would take samples of your skin. The skin cells can be treated to reach its first born state.

Whatever genetic diseases that cell inherited it will take another 30 years for the disease to emerge.  All the while you are thirty years younger. Better, skin cells can be treated to isolate a specific cell for any body member like liver, heart, brain, or whatever.

The sick tissue in any part of your body can be rejuvenated within a month. This biomedical technique of treating adult cells into embryo state was made possible because many laws prohibited using fetus embryo on the ground that the cell belonged to another person.

Is man’s activity altering nature more than geophysics?

Man feared the return of the ice age; it turned out that the climate is getting hotter and the poles are melting.

The emergence of urban and industrial societies as a geophysical force is altering the environment power for rejuvenation according to human threshold for survival.

Since 1824, Joseph Fourier theorized that gases in the atmosphere have the potential to increase surface temperature.

Even in 1896, John Tyndall predicted that the concentration of CO2 will increase temperature to 5 degrees by the end of the 20th century. Now, this is a fact and each year the casualties in man and nature are increasing by the violence of climatic changes. People are waiting anxiously the international summit on the environment in Copenhagen this December.

Awareness of man effective participation in climatic changes was proven when the ozone layer of O3 in the stratosphere was depleting. Seas level is increasing 3 mm a year since 1993.  So far, only Danemark produces the fourth of its power using eoliens or wind turbines.

Ex-President Bush Junior said in 1992: “The American way of life is not negotiable.”

The philosopher Michelle Serres said in 1990: “This world that we treated as an object is returning as a subject; capable of vengeance.

The humorist Coluche said: “For an ecologist to be elected as President, trees should be allowed to vote.”

The brain is in perpetual re-structuring

There are specialized neurons that can be activated when an action is executed or when an action is also observed (mirror neurons).  These mirror neurons are the biological basis for empathy, imitation, and training; almost every decision is influenced by our emotions.

Neurons have the potential to flow or transfer from one brain to another when recycling cognitive aptitudes such as reading and writing are elevated.  Neurons and connections are modified when training tasks are memorized.

We have 8 varieties of intelligence; mainly the visual, spatial, naturalist, logic-mathematics, corporal, musical, inter-personal, and intra-personal intelligences.

The new battery of experiments for testing cognitive and movements capabilities are designed to account for our eight kinds of intelligences. It is the quantity of synapses (connections) and not the weight of the brain that differentiate among the various intelligences.

There are phases in our sleep when brain activities are most intense while muscular activities are extremely inhibited; this phase is called “paradox sleep”.  We produce new neurons at every stage of growth, especially in the hippocampus and the smell brains.

Almost 10% of our synapses are established when we are born and they increase with our activities and cognitive demands (efforts, mental and physical, mean increase in fresh synapses and neurons).

Hormones or chemical messengers for the brains

Serotonin is a chemical messenger to the brains; it is implicated in sleep, feeding and sexual habits. A decrease in its production is associated to depressive moods. Anti-depressant drugs increase the concentration of serotonin in the blood.

Dopamine is a chemical hormone that controls movements, moods, addiction, and the circuit of pleasure; its deficiency generates rigidity in the muscles which is the symptoms of Parkinson disease.

Adrenaline is a chemical hormone that is secreted at moments of stress and is attached on large numbers of receptors to re-enforce cardiac functions, accelerate the heart beats, elevate arterial pressure, inhibit digestion and increase the level of glycemy.

Cortisol is secreted in moments of stress to increase the rate of glucose in the blood stream and liberating energy to counter dangers.

Insulin enhances the stock of glucose in the tissues and thus decreases glycemy.

Acetylcholine is a neuro-transmitter that excites the targeted brain when acquiring new training and for enhancing memory; its deficiency is the origin of Alzheimer disease.

Erythropoietin stimulates the synthesis of red blood cells; its deficiency results in anemia.  The word “doping” is related to sport competitors abusing of this hormone.

“Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan, (July 21, 2008)

The book “Why the Arab World is not free?” is highly important and a major manuscript to read leisurely.

Each chapter contains an idea or a concept that can be developed extensively to the benefit of our retrograded societies.

Safouan believes, as I do, that the main power that allowed monarchs and colonial occupiers to enslave entire people was the adoption of a special language for the elites in any society.  The elite language was necessarily different from the language spoken by the common people or vulgar language.

The specials languages, written by the religious hierarchies, the scribes, the scientists and medical professions, left the impression to the common people that they are surely inferior in knowledge and capability, and thus logically, they had to submit to the monarchs and elites and excuse their unequal treatments and wrong doings as not comparable to the standards of responsibilities among the common people.

This paragraph is of my own.

(The invention of writing, maybe originated from Kingdom of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia before the fourth millennia, answered to an intellectual logic for organizing the real life, mostly administrative in nature, and which include laws and accounting principles. The words didn’t represent images but sounds of the spoken language that meant an object of an idea or a relationship.  It seems that the invention of writing was not attributed to a divine origin but as a human responsibility.  The invention of writing was applied independently in various civilizations with different forms, but the common denominator was that a word represented a concept, and thus for the administrative scribes, things didn’t exist unless it was given a name in writing.)

The modern man can be said to stand up on its own around the year 1250 when universities in Europe were instituted independently of States or the Church.  These universities acquired power and graduated scholars that replaced the bishops in the interpretation of the scriptures and technicians in all fields that the States needed their services.  The Renaissance would not have existed without these hotbeds of education in Bologna (Italy), Paris, London and Tübingen (Germany).

There is no critical separation between religion and sciences for the transmission of education and culture to the next generations.

Copernicus was an influential priest in Poland; Kepler who studied theology at the University of Tübingen but was sent by his professors to teach mathematics at the University of Graz; Newton wrote more on theology and the Old Testament than on physics and mathematics.  Only Galileo might have collided with the Church, simply because he realized that sciences has taken a new paradigm, which is away from the Aristotelian system to the mathematical sciences based on algebraic equations and thinking.

The Islamic mathematicians such as Thabet Bin Kura, Al Khwarazmi, and Kashi have laid the foundations of algebra and shifted the center of mathematics from geometry to algebra, simply because the complex rules of heritage in the Moslem laws required complex computations.

There are two venues for translating manuscripts; either we assimilate the text to the culture, or we subordinate our mentality to the thinking of the original author.  If we adopt the first concept we are basically regurgitating our own prejudices and idiosyncrasies. The second method should be bound to express the main philosophical thinking of the language and be faithful to the author’s philosophy and intents.

The second method pre-suppose that the translator is very familiar with the culture of the original language, so that the readers assimilate varieties of ways of thinking and ways of life.

Obviously, in our dying traditional classical Arabic language, as well as societies, not many people are familiar with the classical Arabic for ideas to be communicated and disseminated.  At least, if the second method of translation in the popular verbal language is endeavored we might expect a better return for changing our mentality.

Classical Arabic has no adequate words for the terminology of political philosophy for many reasons.

For example, Republic or “res publica” which means public affairs or public cause is generally translated as common interest “al maslaha al 3amat” which defeats the core meaning and reduces the whole politics of the republic to varieties to interests.

Another concept of sovereignty which means the right of retaining the last decision is translated as “siyada” which connote domination of masters to slaves.

The concept of politic which is the adoption of a system on how to govern among the citizens is translated as “siyasa” the root base of “sasa” which means how to lead or to control.




August 2020

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