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Science in Islam A history

اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ - لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْد - اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ - لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْد - اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ - لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْد - اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ كَبِيرًا وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
Four things to do during the blessed 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah
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    Science in Islam A history

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    Salaam

    Another informative video from CaspianReport.



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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Salaam

    Another update


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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Thank you, very useful links.
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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Salaam

    Heres another update



    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Islam is a great religion. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) told many things that time when science doesn't exist.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    I thought this was quite a good series. I think it is clear that Al-Ashʿari and Al-Ghazali had a horrible influence on Islam. If the ideas of these 2 men could be purged from Islam, Islam could return to its prior greatness.

    The one place where I disagree with the videos is that the author seems sympathetic to the Mu'tazila, but I am not. Putting deductive reason above God/reality always leads to trouble.
    Last edited by fschmidt; 12-21-2017 at 08:36 AM.
    Science in Islam A history


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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    I thought this was quite a good series. I think it is clear that Al-Ashʿari and Al-Ghazali had a horrible influence on Islam. If the ideas of these 2 men could be purged from Islam, Islam could return to its prior greatness.

    The one place where I disagree with the videos is that the author seems sympathetic to the Mu'tazila, but I am not. Putting deductive reason above God/reality always leads to trouble.
    But, Why??? any reason???

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by adyiqbal View Post
    But, Why??? any reason???
    I assume you are asking about Al-Ashari and Al-Ghazali, not the Mu'tazila.

    Al-Ashari attacked cause and effect and inductive reasoning by making God appear inconsistent. This undermines scientific thinking which is based on these ideas. It is also extremely arrogant for Al-Ashari to impose his view on God. Anyone who humbly observes the world will recognize that God is generally consistent and therefore inductive reasoning works and the idea of cause and effect is a practical way of understanding the world. I believe that the reason that Al-Ashari was so horrible is because the Mu'tazila influenced his thinking and destroyed his humility.

    Al-Ghazali was even worse than Al-Ashari because he attacked empiricism which is the idea that knowledge comes from external sources like observing the world and scripture (Quran). Instead Al-Ghazali believed in divine inspiration which is really believing in the nonsense generated in one's own mind. This is a rejection of reality, and God who is behind reality. Al-Ghazali's source of influence was the Sufis who are just as bad as the Mu'tazila.

    What the Mu'tazila and the Sufis share is that they both reject external sources of truth, those sources being observation of the real world and the study of the Quran. The Mu'tazila believe in deductive reason and the Sufis believe in devine inspiration, but both are really just the nonsense coming from one's own mind. All Mu'tazila and Sufi influence should be purged from Islam, and that includes Al-Ashari and Al-Ghazali.

    I am saying this as a non-muslim, but all religions suffer from the same problem of losing respect for reality/God. And when they do this, they go into decline just as Islam did.
    Last edited by fschmidt; 12-26-2017 at 08:59 PM. Reason: typo
    Science in Islam A history


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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Al-Ashari attacked cause and effect and inductive reasoning by making God appear inconsistent. This undermines scientific thinking which is based on these ideas. It is also extremely arrogant for Al-Ashari to impose his view on God. Anyone who humbly observes the world will recognize that God is generally consistent and therefore inductive reasoning works and the idea of cause and effect is a practical way of understanding the world. I believe that the reason that Al-Ashari was so horrible is because the Mu'tazila influenced his thinking and destroyed his humility.
    God is consistent in occasionalism - The reason for this is because God chooses not to break his Habit. Its the reason why the world seems consistent to us. However this is all up to God and no restrictions are placed on God as God can choose to feed a miracle eg the fire and Abraham pbuh or make the fire burn. Ofcourse God is all Just and all wise.

    Inductive reasoning has also been attacked by many people like Hume being the famous one (the problem of induction) - It does not stop empirical inquiry - Al Ghazzali like many sufis believed that empirical knowledge was the most certain knowledge - They called direct experience of God Dhawq.

    Al-Ghazali was even worse than Al-Ashari because he attacked empiricism which is the idea that knowledge comes from external sources like observing the world and scripture (Quran). Instead Al-Ghazali believed in divine inspiration which is really believing in the nonsense generated in one's own mind. This is a rejection of reality, and God who is behind reality. Al-Ghazali's source of influence was the Sufis who are just as bad as the Mu'tazila.
    Not true. Al Ghazzali and the sufis believe experience is the strongest epistemological factor - The experience of God being the highest. The reason why the companions of the prophet never delved in speculative Theology - they simply experienced the revelation.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    What the Mu'tazila and the Sufis share is that they both reject external sources of truth, those sources being observation of the real world and the study of the Quran. The Mu'tazila believe in deductive reason and the Sufis believe in devine inspiration, but both are really just the nonsense coming from one's own mind. All Mu'tazila and Sufi influence should be purged from Islam, and that includes Al-Ashari and Al-Ghazali.
    Non of this is true - all Muslims believe the Quran is revelation - the Mutazalia were just insane Rationalists even though they believed in the Quran. All Muslims believe experience is the highest form of Knowledge including the sufis.

    One man has nothing to do with the decline of science and technology - that is a simplistic view of history.

    Have you even read of any of al Ghazzalis work like Ihy uloom din? alchemist of Happiness etc etc.

    Jospeh Lumbard clears this up with the myth on Al Ghazzali

    Last edited by Zafran; 12-27-2017 at 03:06 AM.
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    Science in Islam A history

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    First of all, thank you for giving a thought out response, even though I disagree with it. I hope we can both learn from discussing this.

    The concept of "cause" is itself nothing but a mental concept, a way of thinking. There is no Platonic ideal of "cause" in the external world. We use concepts where they work. To say that X causes Y simply means that when X occurs, Y occurs after. So saying that God is the cause of all, the X, is both true and worthless as a statement. It is true because God is always present, and therefore precedes everything. And it is worthless for the same reason, because this means it has no predictive power. It is much more useful to talk about specific things causing other things. And this the problem with occasionalism, that it rejects a very useful concept.

    The concept of cause in no way limits God's ability to violate cause. Cause is a general statement, that X usually results in Y. Physics itself support this because quantum mechanics is fundamentally probabilistic which actually means that God can do anything without violating physics.

    Inductive reasoning has been attacked and defended by various Western philosophers, but I would say that Western culture basically accepted inductive reasoning until recently (when it went insane with liberalism). Karl Popper's attack on inductive reasoning as the basis of science is particularly nasty and wrong, and I think it did real damage. Western culture recently lost the ability to do basic science which is why there have been no significant advances in basic science in the last few decades.

    Empiricism does not mean that all experience is the source of knowledge, but rather sensory experience. In other words, my dreams may be an experience but are not sensory experience, so are not valid as a source of knowledge. I personally add trusted secondary experience (history books) and I add the writings of prophets. I reject deductive reason and non-sensory experience from anyone who is not a prophet. In essence, the Sufi view is that anyone can be like a prophet, and I completely reject this. This is your dhawq that I reject.

    I am not Muslim and I don't know Arabic, but I have read this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Al-Ghazalis-P...dp/1887752307/

    If I remember this right, here Al-Ghazali takes the exact opposite of my view, saying that everyone should try to be like prophet and get direct information from God. This seems contrary to the basic Islamic view that Muhammad was the last prophet.

    I watched the beginning of the video that you posted and it seems irrelevant. The issue isn't math. And wherever possible, I try to go to primary sources rather than secondary source which is why I read Al-Ghazali directly (though translated). And I was quite horrified by his book.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    The concept of "cause" is itself nothing but a mental concept, a way of thinking. There is no Platonic ideal of "cause" in the external world. We use concepts where they work. To say that X causes Y simply means that when X occurs, Y occurs after. So saying that God is the cause of all, the X, is both true and worthless as a statement. It is true because God is always present, and therefore precedes everything. And it is worthless for the same reason, because this means it has no predictive power. It is much more useful to talk about specific things causing other things. And this the problem with occasionalism, that it rejects a very useful concept.
    Causality is a philosophical issue that Theologians and philosophers still debate from Occasionalism, to reverse Causality. However although Occasional ism may have other issues (eg How much free will or theodicy issue) it can still have predictive power - By predicting the Habit of God, unless of course a miracle happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    The concept of cause in no way limits God's ability to violate cause. Cause is a general statement, that X usually results in Y. Physics itself support this because quantum mechanics is fundamentally probabilistic which actually means that God can do anything without violating physics.
    You have to remember that physics or science works on Paradigm shifts (Thomas Khun). Once they believed in the Geocentric model now its the Heliocentric. They thought that time and space was fixed - Einsteins relatively shows it not etc. However as a practical and useful tool one can talk about casue and effect simplly because the mind perceives the world that way - Metaphysical reality may say otherwise.
    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Inductive reasoning has been attacked and defended by various Western philosophers, but I would say that Western culture basically accepted inductive reasoning until recently (when it went insane with liberalism). Karl Popper's attack on inductive reasoning as the basis of science is particularly nasty and wrong, and I think it did real damage. Western culture recently lost the ability to do basic science which is why there have been no significant advances in basic science in the last few decades.
    Disagree falsification theory was Karl Poppers attempt to save the scientific method from the problem of induction. Thomas Khuns Idea of science as paradigm shift is a lot more accurate of what science is. I believe they even debated about it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Empiricism does not mean that all experience is the source of knowledge, but rather sensory experience. In other words, my dreams may be an experience but are not sensory experience, so are not valid as a source of knowledge. I personally add trusted secondary experience (history books) and I add the writings of prophets. I reject deductive reason and non-sensory experience from anyone who is not a prophet. In essence, the Sufi view is that anyone can be like a prophet, and I completely reject this. This is your dhawq that I reject.
    Only prophets can have revelation and the sufis are not a monolithic bunch of people. The sufis that are sound with the shariah and the prophetic example like al Ghazzali, Junayd al Bagdadi, Rabi adiwayi and many others. Muslims believe in sanctified People. People that lived Great and moral lives - these people are called wali of Allah and they were key in spreading Islam by there moral Character.

    Dhawq means taste - or the taste of faith - not as rational or philosophical concept but actually as an religious experience. Not anybody having dreams is in the elect of people.

    The three sources of knowledge that are trusted are
    1 - experience - sensory, revelation from Prophets (Quran)
    2 - corroborated Testimonial evidence - Quran (Muttawair Hadiths, historical facts) - alot of our knowledge is based on this.
    3 - Logical reasoning - includes deductive, inductive and allegorical (with restrictions).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    If I remember this right, here Al-Ghazali takes the exact opposite of my view, saying that everyone should try to be like prophet and get direct information from God. This seems contrary to the basic Islamic view that Muhammad was the last prophet.
    Yes be like the prophets pbuh by following the Quran and sunnah - thats normative Islam.

    His Ihya uloom Din and many of his other books are good to read.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    I watched the beginning of the video that you posted and it seems irrelevant. The issue isn't math. And wherever possible, I try to go to primary sources rather than secondary source which is why I read Al-Ghazali directly (though translated). And I was quite horrified by his book.
    The video shows that all Ghazali wasn't against science or maths (which is a common myth) But he thought they were a Fard kifaya (communal duty or that somebody within the Muslim community had to do it because it was necessary).
    Last edited by Zafran; 12-27-2017 at 06:02 AM.
    Science in Islam A history

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by Zafran View Post
    Causality is a philosophical issue that Theologians and philosophers still debate from Occasionalism, to reverse Causality. However although Occasional ism may have other issues (eg How much free will or theodicy issue) it can still have predictive power - By predicting the Habit of God, unless of course a miracle happens.

    You have to remember that physics or science works on Paradigm shifts (Thomas Khun). Once they believed in the Geocentric model now its the Heliocentric. They thought that time and space was fixed - Einsteins relatively shows it not etc. However as a practical and useful tool one can talk about casue and effect simplly because the mind perceives the world that way - Metaphysical reality may say otherwise.
    And here is the issue. Metaphysical reality is basically nonsense unless you worship Plato. The Old Testament view is that truth is relative. The view of the Quran is that truth is absolute but unknowable (except by God), which in practical terms is much like being relative. Either way, what this leaves is practical truth, which means practical ways of thinking about reality. And if that is all we have, then causality is true because it works as a way of thinking. And occasionalism is untrue because it is a dysfunctional way of thinking. Turning away from philosophy and back to the point of this thread, causality produces better science than occasionalism does, so my point stands that Al-Ashari harmed Islamic science.

    Disagree falsification theory was Karl Poppers attempt to save the scientific method from the problem of induction. Thomas Khuns Idea of science as paradigm shift is a lot more accurate of what science is. I believe they even debated about it.
    To be honest, I don't pay too much attention to Western philosophy which I consider to be basically nonsense built on the invalid foundation of Plato. I had to look up the "problem of induction" and unsurprisingly the whole idea is absurd. The problem is that induction can't be proven by deduction. So what? I don't care because I accept induction simply because it makes sense to me, and I reject deduction as a means of finding truth anyway. This "problem of induction" could just as well be the "problem of God" since God is no more provable than induction is. One should accept what makes common sense, and this is why I accept both induction and God.

    Whenever Plato's influence on a Western culture becomes too strong, that culture collapses. An example is the Mu'tazila undermining Islam. But the same happened to Greece, to Rome, and now the same is happening to the West.

    Dhawq means taste - or the taste of faith - not as rational or philosophical concept but actually as an religious experience. Not anybody having dreams is in the elect of people.

    The three sources of knowledge that are trusted are
    1 - experience - sensory, revelation from Prophets (Quran)
    2 - corroborated Testimonial evidence - Quran (Muttawair Hadiths, historical facts) - alot of our knowledge is based on this.
    3 - Logical reasoning - includes deductive, inductive and allegorical (with restrictions).
    Your dhawq doesn't seem to fit any of the 3 items in your list. You said that dhawq is a religious experience. So which of the 3 items in your list is a religious experience?

    The video shows that all Ghazali wasn't against science or maths (which is a common myth) But he thought they were a Fard kifaya (communal duty or that somebody within the Muslim community had to do it because it was necessary).
    What really matters isn't whether Ghazali was for or against science. What matters is how he changed the Islamic view of truth. From what little Islamic history I remember, before Ghazali mainstream Islam and Sufism were at odds and Ghazali reconciled them. That is not a good thing. Sufism simply needs to be rejected if one is going to have productive science.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    I am saying this as a non-muslim, but all religions suffer from the same problem of losing respect for reality/God. And when they do this, they go into decline just as Islam did.
    Yes, every religion suffer from same problem. I agree

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    And here is the issue. Metaphysical reality is basically nonsense unless you worship Plato. The Old Testament view is that truth is relative. The view of the Quran is that truth is absolute but unknowable (except by God), which in practical terms is much like being relative. Either way, what this leaves is practical truth, which means practical ways of thinking about reality. And if that is all we have, then causality is true because it works as a way of thinking. And occasionalism is untrue because it is a dysfunctional way of thinking. Turning away from philosophy and back to the point of this thread, causality produces better science than occasionalism does, so my point stands that Al-Ashari harmed Islamic science.
    No metaphysics has always been important (free will/determinism or being) and one scholar or philosopher is not enough to "harm" empirical discoveries. Just because something is practical does not make it true. Newtons law is practical - its not true. Causality clearly has issues - Pavlov/Humes/ Al Ghazalis showed that clearly.

    The Quran shows the truth is knowable - the New testament has big issues and we dont see it as a reliable source of info for various reasons.

    Occasionalism makes sense if you believe that God is the ultimate Cause of everything. One can still do science but fundamentally your trying to find the habit of God as everything in the world points to God.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    To be honest, I don't pay too much attention to Western philosophy which I consider to be basically nonsense built on the invalid foundation of Plato. I had to look up the "problem of induction" and unsurprisingly the whole idea is absurd. The problem is that induction can't be proven by deduction. So what? I don't care because I accept induction simply because it makes sense to me, and I reject deduction as a means of finding truth anyway. This "problem of induction" could just as well be the "problem of God" since God is no more provable than induction is. One should accept what makes common sense, and this is why I accept both induction and God.
    Induction has the problem of circular reasoning - that is no small problem to ignore as many absurd ideas can be proven the same way. Many theologians/philosophers have made solid defense of God - its basically the only reasonable position.

    If you mean modernism/ post enlightenment philosophy then one cannot ignore it as most of the scientific knowledge is based on it (even if it clearly has problems). If you mean post modernist Marxist garbage that doesn't believe in truth then I would agree - but one cannot ignore it as well becasue so many people are affected by it in a bad way.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Your dhawq doesn't seem to fit any of the 3 items in your list. You said that dhawq is a religious experience. So which of the 3 items in your list is a religious experience?
    Its sensory experience. Religious experience is clearly a reality as its so widespread. One has to see it within sharia bounds as not all religious experiences are legitimate in Islam. Though sanctified people that are upright and moral are a good indicator of having real religious experience.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    What really matters isn't whether Ghazali was for or against science. What matters is how he changed the Islamic view of truth. From what little Islamic history I remember, before Ghazali mainstream Islam and Sufism were at odds and Ghazali reconciled them. That is not a good thing. Sufism simply needs to be rejected if one is going to have productive science.
    No Sufism is part of Islam - its the internal aspect of Islam - Just like Usul al Fiqh is the outward aspect of Islam. Al Ghazali reminded people that Muslims didn't just have to be Good Muslims outwardly but also inwardly as well.

    Science is ultimately empirically inquiry into the phenomenal world. It never got effected by Al Ghazali or al ashari as many scientist were asharis theologically. The video I posted before was debunking this old myth.

    scientific productivity went down for various reasons (1600 onward) - theology wasn't it. Its a simplistic view of history. There were many internal and external factors.
    Last edited by Zafran; 12-28-2017 at 02:11 AM.
    Science in Islam A history

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Zafran, I think we at a dead end now, so I will just make general comments. But I am honestly curious about your background because your view is so different from that of the teacher that I talk to in my local mosque.

    In general I found that my ability to communicate with people is roughly proportional to the intelligence times their humility. The reason that I can generally talk to Muslims more easily than Western philosophers is because Muslims have more humility. Western philosophers seem completely unable to see outside of their own narrow view which is firmly based on Plato and deductive logic. Saying that induction has the problem of circular reasoning is a good example of this. I could say the same about deduction. So what? One has to start somewhere. One has to have assumptions/axioms to reason at all. Religions are honest about this and call this faith. Philosophers are dishonest and won't even own up to their own assumptions. The 2 core assumptions of Western philosophy is that external/absolute truth exists and that it can found through deductive reason. I reject both of those assumption. I start with the assumption of inductive reason and go from there. Islam starts with the assumption that the Quran is accurate.

    The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the point that God knows best, implying that we don't know best. I think it is reasonable to conclude from this that human knowledge is fundamentally imperfect. If this is true, then we have no perfect truths about the real world at all. This means that you can't call Newton's laws untrue. They are true in the sense that they are an imperfect, but a quite accurate approximation of what we observe. And this is as a good a truth as we can ever find. Yes, general relatively is somewhat more accurate, but in the end nothing in the human mind will ever be perfectly accurate. So Newton's laws are true and general relativity is more true.

    If all of our truth about reality is imperfect, what is the test of truth? The test is its practical application in making predictions. If a particular way of thinking facilitates the process of constructing "true" theories, then that way of thinking should also be considered true. This is why I consider causality true and occasionalism false. Causality in no way denies God as a cause. Causality just says that it is also useful to think of other things as causes as well. This way of thinking facilitates science and general thinking about the world. Occasionalism leads to dysfunctionality and poor science. The question of whether causality or occasionalism are metaphysically true is something for Western philosophers to waste their time on. For me, the question is irrelevant because I don't believe in absolute/metaphysical truth. For a Muslim, the question is outside the human realm and should be left to God.

    Calling religious experience sensory experience seems odd. With which of the 5 senses do you sense religious experience?

    And finally, I am curious why you think Islamic science declined. I think I made my view clear. I am interested in hearing other theories.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Zafran, I think we at a dead end now, so I will just make general comments. But I am honestly curious about your background because your view is so different from that of the teacher that I talk to in my local mosque.
    I was born a Muslim but I had doubts when I was younger. I still believed in God but wasn't so sure seeing how my family practiced it. I studied Philosophy at college and later read the Quran and learned from some Teachers (Hamza Yusuf et al). I'm convinced Islam is the truth and everything else is either partial truth or falsehoods. The Journey continues of course as one learns something new all the time about Islam and other philosophies and Idea. What about Yourself? what does the Muslim you talk to say and what religion philosophy do you follow?

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    In general I found that my ability to communicate with people is roughly proportional to the intelligence times their humility. The reason that I can generally talk to Muslims more easily than Western philosophers is because Muslims have more humility. Western philosophers seem completely unable to see outside of their own narrow view which is firmly based on Plato and deductive logic. Saying that induction has the problem of circular reasoning is a good example of this. I could say the same about deduction. So what? One has to start somewhere. One has to have assumptions/axioms to reason at all. Religions are honest about this and call this faith. Philosophers are dishonest and won't even own up to their own assumptions. The 2 core assumptions of Western philosophy is that external/absolute truth exists and that it can found through deductive reason. I reject both of those assumption. I start with the assumption of inductive reason and go from there. Islam starts with the assumption that the Quran is accurate.
    The thing is that philosophers and theologians/scholars have to ask the tough questions - the problem of induction of course leads one to either skepticism (post modernist philosophy) or you come out of it much more stronger (al ghazali). Plato isn't to blame for this the enlightenment is. The enlightenment started a more scientific Europe but through its failure (the world isn't mechanistic) it opened the door full on skepticism which is what Europe is battling now. Liberalism, Feminism, Marxism all thrive because of that and religion is bullied in the corner and anything they dont agree with or believe does not get the time or the day.

    The thing with circular reasoning is that you can pretty much defend anything with it. Many people know this so they try to make foundation arguments for knowledge. Falsifiable or occasionalism are an attempt to do that.




    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the point that God knows best, implying that we don't know best. I think it is reasonable to conclude from this that human knowledge is fundamentally imperfect. If this is true, then we have no perfect truths about the real world at all. This means that you can't call Newton's laws untrue. They are true in the sense that they are an imperfect, but a quite accurate approximation of what we observe. And this is as a good a truth as we can ever find. Yes, general relatively is somewhat more accurate, but in the end nothing in the human mind will ever be perfectly accurate. So Newton's laws are true and general relativity is more true.
    Indeed the Quran and the asharis claim that reason has its limits. Humans are not Just rational, we are aesthetic/Political/moral and religious beings. The truth has to cement all these not just rationality. God is the only thing that does that. Its also why Occasional ism makes sense if you believe that the world is dependent on God to function. Although I will admit that its not bulletproof speculative theology - it has issues of how much free will and theodicy.

    Newton laws is a model - so was Ptolemy or Aristotelian view of the world - they are models to understand the world using empiricism and rationality. They contradict each other so they cant all be true. The same applies with Einsteins theory of relativity, Quantum mechanics. Science ultimately works in paradigms as stated earlier. Newton laws are practical and useful but they are outdated just like ptolmey or Galens ideas are now. God and revelation is the Ultimate truth - science because its based on perception and rationality (which has limits) is contingent by its nature.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    If all of our truth about reality is imperfect, what is the test of truth? The test is its practical application in making predictions. If a particular way of thinking facilitates the process of constructing "true" theories, then that way of thinking should also be considered true. This is why I consider causality true and occasionalism false. Causality in no way denies God as a cause. Causality just says that it is also useful to think of other things as causes as well. This way of thinking facilitates science and general thinking about the world. Occasionalism leads to dysfunctionality and poor science. The question of whether causality or occasionalism are metaphysically true is something for Western philosophers to waste their time on. For me, the question is irrelevant because I don't believe in absolute/metaphysical truth. For a Muslim, the question is outside the human realm and should be left to God.
    Yes causality is useful simply because we perceive the world like that however God is a metaphysical question, so is - why is there something rather then nothing - these are important questions that cannot be ignored. In the west philosophers are mostly atheist so they always assume in naturalistic explanation of the world restricted by their assumptions. Islam has much more holistic view of the world that isn't just about practical and useful ideas but also the answers to fundamental metaphysical questions - who we are - where we are going and what the whole world is about - simple answer God.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Calling religious experience sensory experience seems odd. With which of the 5 senses do you sense religious experience?
    Its ultimately a subjective conscious experience so it falls in that category - I myself have never had one - but many pious people and Prophets clearly have - its why we have Revelation from prophets. Pious people are truthful and as religious experiences are so widespread - its pretty reasonable to believe them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    And finally, I am curious why you think Islamic science declined. I think I made my view clear. I am interested in hearing other theories.
    Many reasons astronomy carried on up to the 17th century. From the lack of adopting new tech (printing press) to the Wests founding of america which allowed them to Bypass the silk Road that the Ottomans were sitting on. Ultimately the mid east from being people contributing to scientific research became people of consuming science instead.

    The debate rages on though.
    Last edited by Zafran; 12-29-2017 at 02:53 AM.
    Science in Islam A history

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by Zafran View Post
    Many reasons astronomy carried on up to the 17th century. From the lack of adopting new tech (printing press) to the Wests founding of america which allowed them to Bypass the silk Road that the Ottomans were sitting on. Ultimately the mid east from being people contributing to scientific research became people of consuming science instead.
    Yes. it still saying world comes to end like 2012 was got popular for this concept. But, Allah Knows better.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Zafran, maybe I was premature in saying that we are at a dead end. Now that I see your background, I see that you are a Muslim infected by Western philosophy. Maybe I can offer a cure. Unlike most here, I have an unusual background that gives me insight into the intellectual forces of the West.

    I was raised atheist and studied mathematics in college. I love math, so I am not against deductive reason (math is the pinacle of deductive reason), I just don't think it is a source of truth. One of my fondest memories from college was reading Godel's proof of his incompleteness theorem. This is essentially a mathematic proof of humility. As I grew older, I saw Western culture degenerate at an incredibly rapid rate, and I wanted to understand why. So I studied history, some philosophy, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology. I realized Western culture was just yet another dying culture of which there were many in history. And from my studies, I concluded that religion is the key to a culture's success. Machiavelli came to the same conclusion in his "Discourses on Livy". So I studied religion and I fell in love with the Old Testament which is what I follow. Then I looked for the current religion that is closest to the Old Testament, and the 2 I found are the Mennonites and Islam. This is why I now attend mosque and support Islam.

    The Muslim teacher at my mosque fundamentally rejects philosophy. He says that philosophy is not an appropriate area of study for a devout Muslim. And I agree with him on this.

    So let me start by explaining why theologians are useful and philosophers are useless. Philosophers are constrained by deductive reason. All they can do is weave webs of confusion to justify new ideas. By their nature, they are not allowed to simply introduce new assumptions into the system. In contrast, theologians can introduce new assumptions into their system and see where that leads. They may use reason to rationalize their new assumptions for those shallow people who aren't open minded enough to consider accepting an assumption simply because of the effect that that assumption will have on their system. But my point is that a good system of belief should experiment with changes of assumptions and see what effect these changes have on the overall system.

    The most credit for Western civilization goes to John Calvin who introduced a set of assumptions into Christianity that caused an unusually high level of morality. And it is the intrinsic doubt built into Calvin's view that led to the Enlightenment. Skepticism is always a positive thing which is based on acknowledging our own limits to finding truth. The modern West has no skepticism at all. It is entirely sure of its own nonsense. The modern West shares nothing at all with the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a religious time.

    I don't know why you brought up circular reasoning. I don't use it. I just take induction as an assumption, there is no circularity in that.

    Let me try again to kill this monster of occasionalism. The point of occasionalism isn't that God causes all, but rather that ONLY God causes all, thereby denying the thinking that things besides God can be cause. My position is that both God and other things can be considered cause, it is just a question of the way one is thinking about something. In a religious context, thinking of God as cause is practical. In a scientific context, thinking of other things as cause is practical. If you deny God as cause, you destroy religion. If you deny other things as cause, you destroy science. I want both religion and science, so I reject occasionalism and think of both God and other things as cause.

    If you recognize the limits of our own understanding, then contradictory views can be true in the sense of being the best approximations we have for the truth. An obvious example is whether light is a wave or a particle. The truth is clearly that the true nature of light is beyond our capacity of understanding, but it is true to think of light as a wave in some contexts, and as a particle in other contexts. This seems to be a contradiction, but so what? This is an example of why to reject philosophy. The kinds of contradictions built into quantum mechanics would drive philosophers insane if they understood them. But this is no problem for a humble religious person who recognizes the limits of our own understanding. For a humble person, Newton's laws are still very true regardless of general relativity, because Newton's laws are the most practical tool to use to calculate the motion of objects at a human scale.

    Moving on to metaphysical questions like the existence of God. You view these questions from the philosophical position of absolute truth. I view these questions as the question of which assumptions to choose. One cannot prove the existence of God or the validity of any religion. These are just assumptions that we make. How do we make them? Most people just absorb them from their culture. In some cases, people change assumptions. For example, a Muslim grows up in the West and is subject to ridicule for his "ridiculous backward religion". Then someone gives a "rational argument" for atheism and the person converts from islam to atheism. In this case, the "rational argument" is nothing but a rationalization to justify the person solving the emotional problem of ridicule by switching his assumption from islam to atheism.

    So how should a really deep theologian choose his assumptions? He should try to understand where the assumptions will lead. What kind of behavior will result from the assumptions and what are the long term cultural implications of the assumptions. Based on that, he can try to pick good assumptions and lead his religion in a positive direction. Once he has picked his assumptions, then he can construct rationalizations for them, for those people who mistakenly believe that core beliefs come from reason. And for the simple masses, he can just tell them that he was inspired by God.

    And now I had better get to sleep if I am going to wake up in time to make it to jumah.

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    I was raised atheist and studied mathematics in college. I love math, so I am not against deductive reason (math is the pinacle of deductive reason), I just don't think it is a source of truth. One of my fondest memories from college was reading Godel's proof of his incompleteness theorem. This is essentially a mathematic proof of humility. As I grew older, I saw Western culture degenerate at an incredibly rapid rate, and I wanted to understand why. So I studied history, some philosophy, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology. I realized Western culture was just yet another dying culture of which there were many in history. And from my studies, I concluded that religion is the key to a culture's success. Machiavelli came to the same conclusion in his "Discourses on Livy". So I studied religion and I fell in love with the Old Testament which is what I follow. Then I looked for the current religion that is closest to the Old Testament, and the 2 I found are the Mennonites and Islam. This is why I now attend mosque and support Islam.
    Interesting background.
    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    The Muslim teacher at my mosque fundamentally rejects philosophy. He says that philosophy is not an appropriate area of study for a devout Muslim. And I agree with him on this.
    Yes the laymen should not but some people have to its a fard kifayi (communal duty). It affects all of the world so to understand where people are coming from Muslims need to engage so they can present there views. Its not about being affected but to challenge the the ideas that are anti Islamic.

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    So let me start by explaining why theologians are useful and philosophers are useless. Philosophers are constrained by deductive reason. All they can do is weave webs of confusion to justify new ideas. By their nature, they are not allowed to simply introduce new assumptions into the system. In contrast, theologians can introduce new assumptions into their system and see where that leads. They may use reason to rationalize their new assumptions for those shallow people who aren't open minded enough to consider accepting an assumption simply because of the effect that that assumption will have on their system. But my point is that a good system of belief should experiment with changes of assumptions and see what effect these changes have on the overall system.
    Its about truth - God seems to be the only axiomatic principle - everything else is contingent, otherwise one has to start from scratch. Plenty of people have tried this Shophenenur, Nietzsche, Karl Marx the logical positivists and the new atheists. They all fail.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    I don't know why you brought up circular reasoning. I don't use it. I just take induction as an assumption, there is no circularity in that.
    Indeed and it will be challenged by many people - so its important to know where induction fits and where it does not.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Let me try again to kill this monster of occasionalism. The point of occasionalism isn't that God causes all, but rather that ONLY God causes all, thereby denying the thinking that things besides God can be cause. My position is that both God and other things can be considered cause, it is just a question of the way one is thinking about something. In a religious context, thinking of God as cause is practical. In a scientific context, thinking of other things as cause is practical. If you deny God as cause, you destroy religion. If you deny other things as cause, you destroy science. I want both religion and science, so I reject occasionalism and think of both God and other things as cause.
    The whole point of the world is to know God - science as said before is about trying make sense of the empirical world - if they contradict - its simple there is still more left to discover. One can say something caused something else for practical and useful purposes but ultimately God is the ultimate Cause as hes all powerful and all knowing. This is a fundamental axiom of a monotheist.


    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    Moving on to metaphysical questions like the existence of God. You view these questions from the philosophical position of absolute truth. I view these questions as the question of which assumptions to choose. One cannot prove the existence of God or the validity of any religion. These are just assumptions that we make. How do we make them? Most people just absorb them from their culture. In some cases, people change assumptions. For example, a Muslim grows up in the West and is subject to ridicule for his "ridiculous backward religion". Then someone gives a "rational argument" for atheism and the person converts from islam to atheism. In this case, the "rational argument" is nothing but a rationalization to justify the person solving the emotional problem of ridicule by switching his assumption from islam to atheism.
    Your right God is the absolute truth - I disagree with idea of God being just an assumption or that religion is just a cultural point of view. Its either atheism (which leads to nihilism) or many Gods (which leads to confusion) or philosophers subjective ideas that have very little basis for objective truth. Monotheism of Islam is the only answer. Its pretty straightforward for me.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    So how should a really deep theologian choose his assumptions? He should try to understand where the assumptions will lead. What kind of behavior will result from the assumptions and what are the long term cultural implications of the assumptions. Based on that, he can try to pick good assumptions and lead his religion in a positive direction. Once he has picked his assumptions, then he can construct rationalizations for them, for those people who mistakenly believe that core beliefs come from reason. And for the simple masses, he can just tell them that he was inspired by God.
    Your point of view seems not so focused about truth more about assumptions. I'm not sure if you agree with idea that once worldview should answer Questions of who we are, where we are going, how are to live. What happens after we die. A purely cultural assumptions will not answer these questions. I also believe truth is not some special idea that only theologians can access - I believe that moral people can as well, including poor, disabled, from different cultures, men and women. Truth is not just a theologians speculation but should be able to be accessed by everyone on some level. God is the only truth that can do that. Unless you have another suggestion?

    God and being moral are grounded in Human intuition (we call this fitra) - I agree with you that rationality has limits because we are not just rational beings - we are also aesthetic, religious and moral as well.

    Its good talking to you but I dont think we will agree with Causality, induction or where science fits in our world views.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
    The most credit for Western civilization goes to John Calvin who introduced a set of assumptions into Christianity that caused an unusually high level of morality. And it is the intrinsic doubt built into Calvin's view that led to the Enlightenment. Skepticism is always a positive thing which is based on acknowledging our own limits to finding truth. The modern West has no skepticism at all. It is entirely sure of its own nonsense. The modern West shares nothing at all with the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a religious time.
    Last point I dont think Calvin should get the credit about the success of western civilization (based on max Weber). I believe the enlightenment and the scientific revolution challenged the catholic church which hurt the moral and religious culture of Europe. The protestant reformation also divided Europe in unprecedented ways leading to the wars of religion.

    The good however was that it created a more productive culture and economy because of Adam smith (capitalism) and scientifically because of people like Descartes, Leibniz, Newton etc. Skepticism is not always good because it can lead a culture to destruction without even knowing it. Skeptics like David Hume or the post modernist are good examples of that.

    People like Kant, Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke and Voltaire would also challenge the political and social order of Europe that would have debatable consequences of Europe (french revolution) later full on atheists like Marx (Russian revolution) and Freud and Nietzsche.

    One man is not just the anchor of western change from 16th century onward. Many men are.
    Last edited by Zafran; 12-30-2017 at 01:58 AM.
    Science in Islam A history

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Science in Islam A history

    I had a very long talk with the teacher at the local mosque today. He has a classical Islamic background. He is from Egypt and spends most of his free time studying Islam. What is amazing is that even though I am not Muslim, we agree on almost everything. He completely rejects Sufism. He agrees that both God and other things are cause. He agrees that philosophy ranges from useless to harmful. He agrees that direct religious experience is an invalid source of knowledge. So there is actually very little that we don't agree on. Now I have to wonder why you (Zafran) and this teacher have such different views. Maybe Islam just varies more than I thought.

    I admit to making a mistake in emphasizing the idea of assumption. This reflects my Old Testament view, but not the Islamic view which is based on absolute truth. The Islamic equivalent of assumptions would be intuitive conclusions about how to interpret something. So while you can call these things contingent on belief in God, they cannot be directly concluded using any form of reason, so some kind of a jump is needed here.

    As I said, I haven't read much of Western philosophy (except Voltaire's novels because at least he is amusing). But basically the philosophers you mentioned are the Mu'tazila of Christianity. The issue isn't so much skepticism as it is the ever harmful influence of Plato. The Reformation itself greatly increased religious conviction and morality in Europe. I mean read Chaucer for a flavor of European degeneracy under the Catholic Church.

    Islam survived by rejecting the Mu'tazila and the philosophers. I don't think the post-Christian West will be so lucky. It seems clear to me that it is degenerate beyond repair and will die just as Rome died. I literally can no longer find any signs of human intelligence in Western culture. So I am very much committed to supporting Islam.

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