Merv Bendle pulls back the curtain here on Islamic propaganda that "Arab scholars were advancing the frontiers of knowledge long before Newton emerged from his study. From flying machines to theoretical physics, the Koran inspired them all"
... In reaction to their perceived subordination to the West, Muslims have sought arbitrarily to appropriate key scientific discoveries as their own, and to this end they have fabricated an alternative history of science. This places crucial discoveries associated with the Scientific Revolution not in the 17th century in the hated West, where they actually happened, but rather hundreds of years earlier in the ‘Golden Age of Islam’, from which it is alleged the crucial principles of scientific inquiry and the resulting discoveries were derived. In carrying out this propaganda coup, they have been helped immensely by the petrodollar funding of innumerable scholarly centres, professorial positions, academic bodies, and research projects, specially commissioned books and articles, and documentaries, along with the necessary promotion and marketing.
... At the core of this propaganda project are two fundamental conceits. Firstly, that the history of science can be seen as a steady progression of discoveries from ancient times until the present; and that, secondly, various works of Arabic or Muslim scholarship guided by the Koran and produced in the centuries prior to the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution either pre-empted or significantly shaped these later epochal events. These themes re-appear continuously in Muslim apologetics.
The fundamental error undermining this entire approach is the failure to recognize that the history of science has not involved a steady growth in knowledge and that the Scientific Revolution was, in fact, an unprecedented intellectual eruption on a scale not seen since the Axial Age. It involved a massive paradigm shift away from the Aristotelian metaphysics that had underpinned Western science for 1700 years and scientific activity in Muslim societies for 700 years, sweeping these aside into the dustbin of history. In its place it introduced a mechanical conception of the universe that viewed it entirely as matter continually in motion through time and space and that behaved in accordance to invariant laws that could be expressed and exploited in terms of sophisticated systems of mathematics especially devised for the purpose. It was, in fact, revolutionary on a scale that is difficult to comprehend now in its aftermath, devastating and utterly transforming the landscape of thought in those Western societies where it occurred.
In its most rudimentary form, the Muslim attempt to hijack and re-write the history of science insists that the scientific method can be reduced to simple empiricism and attention to the natural world. Islamists claim that their religion pioneered this outlook (as if the tremendous engineering feats that characterized the Roman Empire and much of the ancient world were achieved by unworldly mystics!). Consequently, the UK-based Muslim postmodernist, Ziauddin Sardar, claims that Muslims developed the foundations of modern science by following the Koranic injunction to observe and reflect upon natural phenomenon. Indeed, according to Sardar, “The scientific method, as it is understood today, was first developed by Muslim scientists”, as Nidhal Guessoum points out in Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science (2011). In Guessoum’s view, there are some 750 verses in the Koran that deal with natural phenomenon and therefore the study of nature by Muslims is “encouraged and highly recommended” by their Holy Scripture. Similarly, the leading Islamist ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, insisted that “Islam appointed [Muslims] as representatives of God and [therefore] made them responsible for learning all the sciences”, while Qutb’s ideological predecessor, Muhammad Iqbal, believed that the Koran provided an empirical methodology and epistemology that underpinned scientific inquiry.
... Although it slips frequently into absurdity there is a determined and coordinated international effort by Muslims to enshrine an alternative history of science that exalts the role of the Arabs and other Muslim scholars while downplaying and marginalizing the role of the Western scientists, philosophers and intellectuals whose titanic efforts produced the Scientific Revolution and transformed the world.
This bogus counter-narrative is widely accepted as valid in Muslim societies, where there are very high levels of resentment at the West and a strong desire to assert the superiority of Islam against all other faiths in all areas of life. It has also been able to gain considerable traction in the West because of the control exercised over the universities, schools and the media by the Green-Left, and because of the opportunistic and politically correct actions and utterances of our political leadership, exemplified by Turnbull, who have proven unable or unwilling to counter the Green-Left-Islamist united front or act (or empower others to act) as effective champions of Western Civilization and liberal democracy.
Bruce Bawer develops the same thesis here correctly pointing out that ...
Needless to say, there are two main points to be made whenever the words “Islam” and “science” come up. The first is that Islamic culture, like none other on earth, has proven to be a remarkably powerful impediment to the development of anything remotely deserving of the name of science. The second point, a corollary of the first, is that the relatively few worthy scientific discoveries and inventions for which Islamic cultures can take credit have occurred in spite of, and not because of, any identifiable “Islamic” influence.
To put it bluntly, you could count all the Muslim winners of Nobel Prizes in science on one hand and have enough fingers left to crochet. This simple, straightforward fact is, in and of itself, a dramatic indictment of Islam, underscoring its intrinsic intellectual backwardness, its refusal to compromise in the slightest its foundation of primitive superstition, and the extraordinary degree to which it manages to suppress the inborn human curiosity about the natural principles that undergird the real world's workings.
Finally, watch this video of an honest assessment of the propagandic short film "1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets" which falsely claims that much of the science we take for granted was drawn from Islamic discoveries. In this response, he discusses the relationship between science and Islam.