The concept that the sciences are exclusively the products of Western minds remains unquestioned by most individuals. A review of any of the standard texts or encyclopedias regarding the history of science would support this view. As these books are perused, it becomes evident that the only contributors given significant mention are Europeans and/or Americans. It is hardly necessary to repeat the oft-mentioned names: Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Newton, Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, etc.For more setting the record straight, goto Cyberistan.org.
The unavoidable conclusion is that major contributions to the development of the modern sciences by other cultures is minimal. Most texts give little or no mention of the advancements made by ancient Indian, Chinese or, particularly, Muslim scholars. Western civilization has made invaluable contributions to the development of the sciences. However, so have numerous other cultures.
Unfortunately, Westerners have long been credited with discoveries made many centuries before by Islamic scholars. For example:
What is Taught: The first mention of man in flight was by Roger Bacon, who drew a flying apparatus. Leonardo da Vinci also conceived of airborne transport and drew several prototypes.
What Should be Taught: Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain invented, constructed and tested a flying machine in the 800's A.D. Roger Bacon learned of flying machines from Arabic references to Ibn Firnas' machine. The latter's invention antedates Bacon by 500 years and Da Vinci by some 700 years.
What is Taught: Leonardo da Vinci (16th century) fathered the science of geology when he noted that fossils found on mountains indicated a watery origin of the earth.
What Should be Taught: Al-Biruni (1lth century) made precisely this observation and added much to it, including a huge book on geology, hundreds of years before Da Vinci was born. Ibn Sina noted this as well (see pages 100-101). it is probable that Da Vinci first learned of this concept from Latin translations of Islamic books. He added nothing original to their findings.
One important note to add. Muslims need to go beyond glorifying past achievements. Use the history for motivation. Lifelong learning is an Islamic principle! Move it....