Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator, according to Wikipedia. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.
What Dr. Tyson describes as "naming rights" simply means that those who discover new things get to name them. Californians got the naming rights to some of the elements of the periodic table while the Arabs got to name vast majority of the stars in the Cosmos. In modern western astronomy, most of the accepted star names are Arabic, a few are Greek and some are of unknown origin.
|Alhazen 965-1040 AD|
The lesson Dr. Tyson draws from the rise and fall of of Muslims is as follows: Islamic civilization remained dominant in sciences and mathematics as long as Muslims practiced Ijtihad to ask questions and find answers to questions. What led to their decline was Taqlid, the unquestioning faith in Revelation.
Dr. Tyson credits the great Muslim philosopher Alhazen (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham 965-1040 AD) with inventing the modern scientific method. Alhazen questioned everything, especially the things everyone took for granted, says Dr. Tyson. Alhazen's work was lavishly funded by the Muslim Caliphs. All of it changed when Imam Al Ghazali, or Algazel, a highly influential Islamic scholar of his time, succeeded in persuading Muslims to accept Taqlid that triggered rapid decline of the Islamic world.
Dr. Tyson has used the example of the great Islamic Civilization's decline to warn Americans against repeating it. He has particularly targeted those in America who denounce Darwin's theory of evolution or reject the validity of climate science.
Here are three important video presentations made by Dr. Tyson on the subject:
Islamic Golden Age of science يوم كانت العربية لغة العلم from Mahmoud Ibrahim on Vimeo.
How Imam Ghazali's teachings ended the Islamic... by zemtv
Here's Pakistani Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam on the reasons for the decline of science in the Muslim world:
"Islam was very strongly research-minded until about Year 1000 AD. Then there was a big battle between the Sufis and the theologians (established religious leaders). Theologians won that battle. They (theologians) put an embargo on independent thinking in the Islamic world. That started the decline of science in Islamic world. They killed off (Mansur) Al-Hallaj and many others. Islam has no theologians (established priesthood) but you still need a stamp of approval from the religious establishment. They control the population (people) by declaring all dissenters non-Muslim (excommunicate them). This is still going on".
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