Why Did Scientific Inquiry Fail in the Arabic World?

By the thirteenth century, Arabic science was the most advanced in the world. Advances in optics, astronomy, medicine, architecture, and more had brought a golden age of science and technology. Today, however, the scientific contribution of Muslim countries pales in comparison. Since 1901, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. In total, forty-six Muslim countries contribute just one percent of the world’s scientific literature. Out of approximately 1,800 universities in Muslim countries, only 312 of those universities have scholars who have published journal articles. Muslim countries have only nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one. What happened?

In an article in The New Atlantis journal, Hillel Ofek explains why. He discusses the reasons for the decline of Arabic science and notes the fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity which led the latter to produce the modern scientific revolution.

[HT: Joe Carter]