The Big Fork

Beginning over twelve hundred years ago, Islam enjoyed a three hundred year run of science advancement, a cultural golden age. It ended due to a government collapse and military losses.

Thus it was that the entire Reformation and Renaissance period in Europe bypassed most of the Muslim world. The principle difference, the one that made the west the West, is the idea of secular governance; government doesn’t mix with religion.

The stark differences between Western and Islamic cultures are a direct result of this fork in development. From that point forward, two cultures sharing the same planet for over 500 years went in very different directions.

If the Reformation and Renaissance had never happened, global culture today (with the possible exception of China) would likely look like Islam in its more resource-poor regions. Five centuries go by without the advancements of Western science.

I’m not saying this to attack Islam. I’m saying that science needs secular space to thrive. This is just a real-world look at what happens when one society has that space and another sharply limits it.

Islam had three centuries of sustained science development. The West has had five. Let’s keep it going…and encourage it globally.