Thursday, November 05, 2009

Islamic Science and Wikipedia

I had an article in last week's Spectator Magazine called Did Al-Farabi Really Invent Sociology? This is one of the great historical questions to which the answer is No.

The article is now available free online. In passing, let me mention that I think delayed posting on the internet is the best balance between free content and the need to sell a magazine. As a writer, I obviously want my work available to all, but I also want the Spectator and other publications to stay in business.


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6 comments:

Matko said...

An excellent article. Short and to the point.

Anonymous said...

It seems everybody has some sort of scientific hagiography project running on wikipedia. Note, for example, this amusing article on wheelbarrows:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheelbarrow

Apparently, a storeroom list mentioning "one body for a one-wheeler" and some speculation around this in a 1994 article by Lewis is enough for the ancient greeks to have "invented the wheelbarrow". I think perhaps the original author might have been more careful in his speculation, but wikipedia classicists seem to have a massive inferiority complex brought on by Moses Finley's old characterization of the ancient world's technological backwardness.

Eventually, I am sure someone will start similar projects for medieval europe, india, et cetera. Wikipedia is, sadly, the confirmation of the adage "the internet has given new rise to the credibility of the uninformed opinion".

Matko said...

the confirmation of the adage "the internet has given new rise to the credibility of the uninformed opinion."

The Jesus Mythicists are a glaring example of it.

Karl said...

the confirmation of the adage "the internet has given new rise to the credibility of the uninformed opinion"

I think it did more to prove Einstein's quote about how there are only two things that are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And Einstein wasn't sure about the the universe.

Humphrey said...

Where is Zameel?

Probably busy working on the Alhasan wikipedia article.

Brandon said...

Fascinating article; I wasn't aware of the conclusions of current scholarship on Geber, so I found that part very interesting.