I shot the Sharif?
January 9, 2002 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I shot the Sharif? Interesting Salon piece on the Arabian influence on the West down the ages. Lest we forget?
posted by Duug (8 comments total)
Now I know my ABCs so I can deal with the crazies. The NY Times, some short while ago, ran an interesting piece on all the great contributions to science made by Islam. But they noted that whereas the West gradually separated the religious from the scientific, Islam insisted that the two be taken together. And that was when science and much else began to be outstripped by the West. Reminds me of Hitler and gang dismissing so much of science (including Al Einstein) as Jewish science and therefore to be shunned.
Repeat after me: separate religion from the state and render unto each but don't mix and match.
posted by Postroad at 8:53 AM on January 9, 2002

Ken Layne's critique of the Salon piece.
posted by frednorman at 8:54 AM on January 9, 2002

Ken has some fair points there, but he didn't read too closely, Ken says:
"Islam is colorblind." Must be a surprise to the black slaves held by Arabic Muslims in Sudan and throughout the Horn of Africa.

Which is exactly the point the Salon author made. Odd.

Does seem like a fluff piece though, I'd also be interested to see how Islam specifically changed things (as opposed to pre-Islam persian discoveries) -- anyone have any more academic links along a similar line? Or maybe its just fundementally fluff.
posted by malphigian at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2002

Ken seems like he just wanted to take the piece on-- I mean criticising it for not mentioning that the Spanish word for the (el) comes from Arabic (al)? That's about the least interesting of the hundreds of examples of Arabic words and culture in the Spanish language. It sounds like someone has been waking up on the wrong side of the bed for a few months and wanted to make an issue out of what is basically a fluffy, but mostly accurate piece.
posted by cell divide at 9:55 AM on January 9, 2002

Hey! I thought the Mayans first came up with the concept of zero! Which is correct?
posted by jennak at 11:26 AM on January 9, 2002

The Arabs traded the concept to them in exchange for their mind-powered levitation devices, a box of choclatl, and a player to be named later.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:59 PM on January 9, 2002

as much as I love Layne, he should be taking on bigger targets than the bums at Salon. you'd think an educated fool like Ken could destroy a Salon hack while standing on his head. if it weren't for peices like this, I would have forgotten that Salon was still around.

pick on someone your own size next time.
posted by tsarfan at 1:20 PM on January 9, 2002

Systems which used positional notation and the numeral zero as a place holder were used by both India ( perhaps as early as the 1st century AD) and the Mayans (the oldest surviving record dates back to the seventh century AD, the exact year is unknown, since many documents were destroyed). The Arabs adapted the Indian system for their own use.
The first popular European book on them was Fibonacci's Liber Abaci (1202).
posted by CrunchyFrog at 3:55 PM on January 9, 2002

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