as well a written view on the failure that is islamic culture as any I have read. culture is like software on a computer period. you can have well functioning highly useful productive and rich software that is rewarding to use, or~~~~~
it could suck, and make life miserable.
In the past fifty years, many countries have caught up with the rich and developed Western World. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, with virtually no natural resources, have created advanced, urbanized and prosperous societies, complete with world-class technology that often exceed that which is found in the West. India, Brazil and China, although not fully developed, now all possess large and affluent middle classes that did not exist just a few decades ago. There is no reason to believe why their economic and social progress of all of these countries will not continue for the foreseeable future.
The Muslim world, on the other hand, has struggled during this era of unprecedented global wealth creation. These countries have profited almost solely, by happy geological accident, from oil and gas extraction. Beyond these activities, economic activity in Muslim countries remains scant, low tech and strictly oriented towards local consumption. Despite trillions of dollars in oil revenue over the past sixty years, Muslim progress in many other areas, such as scientific research, social issues and education, lags badly behind the rest of the world.
How could this be the case? The answer, which the major media dares not touch, lies in the very culture of Muslim countries themselves. Consider the following:
Belief in magic. State-owned Malaysian newspaper and television stations routinely run breathless stories about witch doctors (‘bomoh’), evil spirits and other forms of the supernatural. Outsiders get a good laugh out of such quaint cultural practices, until they realize with a shock that the local belief in such superstition is absolutely sincere. But it’s not just Malaysia where this happens. In Saudi Arabia, witchcraft is considered very real and a capital offence. And in Iraq, many of the locals were absolutely convinced that American soldiers wore sunglasses that could see through clothing and had bases protected by force fields. A culture that is eager to embrace the supernatural takes a giant step away from rationality and deceives itself fundamentally. Self-deception is always the path to failure.
Belief in conspiracies. Muslims take it as Article of Faith that various groups of so-called infidels or other outsiders are engaged in various conspiracies to keep Muslims down, make Islam look bad, or are otherwise up to No Good. The lack of evidence means little to a society where ‘skepticism’ is already an unusual and foreign concept. For instance, even well-educated Muslims will tell you, with total earnestness, that the 9-11 terror attacks were actually perpetrated by Zionists, or the CIA, or the U.S. Government, or some other nefarious group. Never mind the vast amount of evidence to the contrary. When presented with these sorts of rebuttals, Muslims will often just shrug and carry on with their nonsensical conspiracy theories.
Lack of innovation. Here in Malaysia, it is telling that the word in the Malay language for innovation (“innovasi”) did not exist until it came from English, quite recently, as a loan word. Innovation, meaning to create something without precedent, is a risky and therefore dangerous business in the Islamic world. The reason for this is because Islam already has a word for innovation, “bid’ah”. In Islam, this word is essentially the same in meaning as ‘heresy’, which is yet another capital crime under Islamic law. Hence creativity and individuality is stifled in a comprehensive and totalitarian fashion, even in Muslim countries where Islamic law has not yet been fully implemented. Improvisation is also discouraged for similar reasons. This is why Islamic countries are usually characterized by a near-total lack of scientific research and reluctance to embrace technology in general.
Lack of devotion to non-family/non tribal/non-clan organizations. In most Muslim societies, loyalty often runs no farther than one’s tribe or sect. People from the far-off central government, or those from the next valley over for that matter, are foreigners to be met with suspicion or hostility. Afghanistan is a perfect example of this sort of chaotic situation. Even if these differences are eventually papered over, so to speak, by the force and coercion of a tyrannical government, the lack of cohesion and distrust remains. Muslim leaders usually come into power and stay in power by playing one tribe or group off another. Patriotism amongst the general public is another foreign concept. Muslims may remain loyal to Islam in general, but more importantly, to the tribe in particular.
Lack of empowerment of women. The future, no matter what form it may take, is going involve more technology, not less. How well equipped is a society for this future if half of its members are only (at best) grudgingly given their rights? In many Islamic countries, women are often illiterate and have no rights in essential critical life decisions, such as those involving child-rearing, marriage or education. And why should they? Various Quranic verses, age-old Islamic traditions, and core Islamic teachings render women as nothing more than chattel and the property of their male relatives—never the equal of men. And no one can ‘reform’ these teachings to something more enlightened—see the penalty for “bid’ah” above.
Lack of personal responsibility. Muslim leaders often lie to their own people, to subordinates, or to allies in order to advance their own personal agendas. Remember that most Muslim countries are a patchwork of tribes who barely tolerate one another in the best of times. Loyalty to one’s country as a whole is next to non-existent. So, the main objective of these leaders, whether at the top, middle or bottom, is to steal as much as they can, while they can, in order to vastly enrich themselves and their families or clans or tribes—national ‘interest’ be damned. If you’re one of the rare incorruptible types, or are otherwise too stupid to steal when given the opportunity, then more the fool you are. Other tribes or groups are useful as scapegoats when the need arises or when blame must be deflected.
Lack of meritocracy. In the West, they have thrived not only because they have learned to hold people responsible for their actions, but also they have learned to give out rewards based on individual achievement. Hence higher–performing individuals tend to be eventually in charge and reap the most rewards (in prestige, rank, money, etc.) Westerners do not always manage to live up to these ideals, but the concepts are not questioned. In the Islamic world, however, personal loyalty, personal connections, and tribal/sect membership are what count. Incompetent leaders are preferable to competent ones, so long as they are properly loyal. Such a state of affairs makes for incredible inefficiency on a normal day and catastrophic consequences when any sort of crisis arises. Muslims are fond of saying “it’s God’s will” at difficult times, which for Muslims seems like most of the time. Actually, it’s not so much “God’s will” but more like the inevitable consequences of their dysfunctional culture.
and once you get through this myths of ilsam article below you can clearly see islamic culture has needed violence ingrained in its soul to advance in any meaningful way.
TheReligionOfPeace.com‘s myth series, Islam’s “Golden Age” of Scientific Discovery is debunked.
This particular myth reminds me of a part from the book The Kite Runner. In the book, a father is teaching his son about sin:
“…there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft.”
The boy doesn’t understand. He knows there are worse things than stealing, until his father explains further:
When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to her husband, his childrens’ right to a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. There is no act more wretched than stealing.
And that wretched act of theft sums up Islam. From Muhammad’s theft of caravan goods, to his stealing of lives. From stealing wives to stealing freedom. From stealing innocence to stealing peace. To this day, Muhammad’s followers continue his tradition of theft.
The Myth:Muslims often claim that their religion fostered a rich heritage of scientific discovery, “paving the way” for modern advances in technology and medicine. On this topic, they usually refer to the period between the 7th and 13th centuries, when Europe was experiencing its “Dark Ages” and the Muslim world was acquiring new populations and culture through violent conquest.
The Truth: Although there is no arguing that the Muslim world was relatively more advanced during this period than the “Christian” world, the reasons for this have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic religion (other than its mandate for military expansion). In fact, the religion tends to discourages knowledge outside of itself, which is why the most prolific Muslim scholars have always tended to be students of religion rather than science.
There are four basic reasons why Islam has little true claim to scientific achievement:
First, the Muslim world benefited greatly from the Greek sciences, which were translated for them by Christians and Jews. To their credit, Muslims did a better job of preserving Greek text than did the Europeans of the time and this became the foundation for their own knowledge. (One large reason for this, however, was that access by Christians to this part of their world was cut off by Muslim slave ships and coastal raids that dominated the Mediterranean during this period).
Secondly, many of the scientific advances credited to Islam were actually “borrowed” from other cultures conquered by the Muslims. The algebraic concept of “zero”, for example, is erroneously attributed to Islam when, in fact, it was a Hindu discovery that was merely introduced to the West by Muslims.
In truth, conquered populations contributed greatly to the history of “Muslim science” until gradually being decimated by conversion to Islam (under the pressures of dhimmitude). The Muslim concentration within a population is directly proportional to the decline of scientific achievement. It is no accident that the Muslim world has had little to show for itself in the last 800 years or so, since running out of new civilizations to cannibalize.
Third, even accomplished Muslim scientists and cultural icons were often considered heretics in their day, sometimes with good reason. One of the greatest achievers to come out of the Muslim world was the Persian scientist and philosopher, al-Razi. His impressive works are often held up today as “proof” of Muslim accomplishment. But what the apologists often leave out is that al-Razi was denounced as a blasphemer, since he followed his own religious beliefs – which were in obvious contradiction to traditional Islam.
Fourth, even the contributions that are attributed to Islam (often inaccurately) are not terribly dramatic. There is the invention of certain words, such as alchemy and elixir (and assassin, by the way), but not much else that survives in modern technology which is of practical significance. Neither is there any reason to believe that such discoveries would not have easily been made by the West following the cultural awakening triggered by the Reformation.
As an example, consider that Muslims claim credit for coffee, since the beans were discovered in Africa (at the time, an important venue for Islamic slave trading) and first processed in the Middle East. While this is true, it is also true that the red dye used in many food products, from cranberry juice to candy, comes from the abdomen of a particular female beetle found in South America. It is extremely unlikely that the West would not have stumbled across coffee by now (although, to be fair, coffee probably expedited subsequent discoveries).
In fact, the litany of “Muslim” achievement often takes the form of rhapsody, in which the true origins of these discoveries are omitted – along with their comparative significance to Western achievement. One often doesn’t hear about the dismal fate of original accomplishments either. Those who brag about the great observatory of Taqi al-Din in [freshly conquered] Istanbul, for example, often neglect to mention that it was quickly destroyed by the caliphate.
At the end of the day, the record of scientific, medical and technological accomplishment is not something over which Muslim apologists want to get into a contest with the Christian world. Today’s Islamic innovators are primarily known for turning Western technology, such as cell phones and airplanes, into instruments of mass murder.
To sum up, although the Islamic religion is not entirely hostile to science, neither should it be confused as a facilitator. The great achievements that are said to have come out of the Islamic world were made either by non-Muslims who happened to be under Islamic rule, or by heretics who usually had little interest in Islam. Scientific discovery tapers off dramatically as Islam asserts dominance, until it eventually peters out altogether.
This article was reproduced with permission from TheReligionOfPeace.com.