We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My seating companion at a very pleasant dinner last night engaged me in a conversation about the Moslems - the Moors - in Spain. My friends tend to be people with many interests and pursuits. Luckily for me, my aging brain remembered some of the history, but I wanted to quickly review it today. This was a good quick source: Muslim civilization in Spain (711-1492)
She knew all about it, and is taking a course in Ottoman art and design at Yale. We wondered what had happened to to Moslem civilization, and how and why it deteriorated to the point of its apparent current barbarianism. I speculated that perhaps it was not Islam, but the Ottoman Empire which had a civilization relatively independent of religion, as the Romans had, but I was just trying to maintain the level of the conversation.
Photo: One does not tend to associate the culture of the Alhambra with the current Middle-Eastern Islamicists who seem more focused on destruction than creation.
Some months ago at Maggie's Farm, in a thread about the Ground Zero Mosque proposed for NYC, there was an extended discussion on Muslim Spain. From September 21,2010, the title of the thread was Newt on the Cordoba House.
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I think its a distillation effect. The genetic code of all of those mooslimes first cousin marriages is taking effect. I heard someplace this weekend that 50-60% of Afgahns have a mental illness. A mental illness severe enough to warrent lots and lots of psych meds and talk therapy.
Its hard to think about cultural beauty and how best to build a building when all you are thinking about is when you are going to bang the next boy or goat.
Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but at least some of my grad philosophy professors (Catholic schools) believed that Islam never got a Thomas Aquinas when they really needed one. Islam originally had Aristotle before the Christian West did (to my understanding) and had the great Aristotle Commentator, Averrois (sp?). But, in the Middle Ages instead of taking the turn toward reconciling faith and reason, Islam instead got into a schizophrenic view wherein they had to live in two separate worlds, the one of faith, which trumped everything, and the one of rational pursuit, the evidence for which would have to be discarded if it contradicted faith - or, rather it had to be treated as if it was an illusion - maybe one that worked for a time, but an illusion.
I'm sure I'm over-simplifying but I do know that it was in the Middle Ages that cultural/scientific development seems to have slowed to a crawl in Islam.
They didn't get their Thomas Aquinas because the Koran and Hadith are far less open to interpretation than the Bible.
What they did get was a Reformation and return to scriptures starting with the Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th Century. The Whabbis advocated a return to scriptures similar to the Christian Protestants.
Unfortunately, the Koran permits and even encourages violence against non-believers. The Hadith (kind of their book of Acts) has Muhammad and his followers raping, killing, enslaving, and generally terrorizing his enemies.
One researcher found that the muslims conquered countries and then assumed their advances, took them as though the muslims had done the inventions themselves. Their conquered nations/people was so vast at one time, they could claim numerous inventions and brilliant ideas as their own. Now trace their decline and retreat to smaller, less advanced areas and you see the muslim culture in decline.