Scientific thought a key to self-reliance
March 17th, 2015 | By Dr. M. Usman Butt | No Comments
Muslim world seems hypnotized by the advancement of the West and have surrendered to their intellectual success believing of being mentally inferior. This very situation can be observed at every level of our societies. I remember an event from my school time when I understood the principle of gyroscope from a science book and tried to explain it to my friend who seemed very much impressed by the huge and complicated Gyroscopes installed on large ships. A Gyroscope is a device which is used for course guidance during air and sea travel.
By using a rotating bicycle wheel I tried to demonstrate how a spinning wheel would resist any turning moment applied to it enabling the axis of rotation to always point undisturbed in one direction. Navigators use this principle to navigate through open seas. Even after a long discussion I was unable to convince him that the huge Gyroscopes on ships are nothing more than a huge rotating bicycle wheel installed on ships. He was not ready to accept that such huge and sophisticated machines could work on such simple principles.
Unfortunately I witness a similar behavior when I look across the Muslim societies of the world. They get amazed by the tall sky scrapers, bullet trains, supersonic fighter jets, spacecrafts etc and believe if all that have come into existence by some magic. Muslim world utterly wish to capture that magic. The wealthy nations believe that money is that magic and have somehow been able to establish modern buildings and collect luxury cars (I call them modern toys) while others try to adopt western identity. Both ways lead to a severe intellectual dependency and mental slavery due to lack of indigenousness.
The technological revolution of the West started from a very fundamental change and that was the way western world used to observe events occurring in nature from early 15 and 16 centuries. Instead of asking why they started thinking how and started reasoning. A new era of rational understanding of nature started which ultimately led to the discovery of scientific way of thinking. The laws of nature started dawning to mankind. Mathematical representation of natural phenomenon and their application led to astonishing inventions.
Discovery of laws of gravitation such as the masses attract each other, enabled mankind to develop rockets and spacecrafts which could land on other planets and send very useful information back to us. A rational understanding of lightening and magnetism enabled us to control a horrifying force of nature, the electricity, which ultimately revolutionized the world. The height came when scientists discovered how the forces within atoms behave by observing natural radioactivity and decay of certain elements and became able to control the most powerful force of nature, the nuclear force and gave birth to nuclear reactors. Todays modern world is simply the outcome of that altered way of thinking which Europe calls renaissance.
Muslim world is reluctant to accept that the most complicated and sophisticated machines are simply a replica of some of the events happening in the nature and have been witnessed by themselves for centuries. West has grasped the principles governing these events and has reproduced them for our comfort. An electric battery is another excellent example in this regard. Its internal structure is identical to the one in Torpedo fish where column of electrocytes (cells where electric charge is produced by the movement of ions in a similar way as in battery cells) arranged within organs increases the electrical output up to 500 volts. Out of these examples, one thing is clear that reasoning and the scientific way of thinking is missing which is blocking Muslim nations to escape the mental slavery.
Now the question arises how to overcome this problem and how to create that attitude towards knowledge and most important of all, can this attitude be created at all or is it God gifted? The slow and steady scientific evolution which led to an industrial revolution in the west is an irreversible process. By saying that I mean that a scientific thought and reasoning cannot be created by bringing or implementing modern technology or setting up the ultra modern facilities. What it does is only that the people start idealizing to the extent of worshipping the founders of that technology. Exactly in a way an ancient man would start worshipping a flying machine thinking of it something divine. The urge for understanding nature must immerge from the inner and not by being impressed by the man made toys.
The frustration of Muslim nations becomes absolutely apparent when they keep mentioning some of the known Muslim scholars like Ibn-Alhaithm, Alkhwarizmi, Jabr bin hayyan etc and try to claim of being the forefathers of modern science. There is no doubt that these scholars contributed a lot to the development of knowledge but were they endorsed by the Muslim society as scientific scholars?
The Muslim societies rejected them by calling them magicians. The usefulness of their works dawned at us only when they were translated into western languages and paved ways to breathtaking inventions and discoveries. As I said earlier we as a society love to believe in magic and miracles. Even today I see very little emphasize on developing a scientific thought. Being immensely impressed by the technology but unable to think scientifically we keep trying to extract science from religion whose subject is entirely different. Scientific thinking and urge to comprehend the nature is the key to supremacy and self sufficiency. Otherwise the Muslim world will keep on buying toys and will remain in a state of mental slavery forever.
Published in: Volume 06 Issue 08
Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=12910