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  1. #1
    Kärnfysikern's Avatar
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    Idea on the fall of the roman and chinese empires

    I saw a documentary the other day about the development of maths and numbers and a idea struck me.

    The western world and its power is based on one thing alone and that is technology. But technology would still be in the middle ages without science and science ultimately comes down to one thing, mathematics. Without mathematics we would be absolutely nothing except stuck in the middle ages or decadent romans.

    Western maths are completely based on the indian numerals(they originated in india, not the middle east, so arabic numerals are misleading to say). Indian where the first place where a truly flexible system of numbers where developed that could be used for all purposes. The only system of numbers where it's easy to write any arbitrary large number.

    Now look at the roman numerals. They are horribly useless. They have no number for 0. They cant express unrational numbers, im not even sure if decimals can be writen in roman numerals.
    The only thing they can be used as is notation. But they could in no way be used when calculating things. Roman mathematicians used some kind of board with stones to do all calculations and then noted it down in roman numbers. With such a horrid base for maths the romans could never develop science imo. It was never possible for them. So as a society they never realy developed. Stuck with the same technology.
    They had some nifty traits, bridge building ect. But they never acomplished anything scientificly, so they where doomed to become decadent.

    Its probably the same with the chinese. I dont know much about chinese numerals but as far as I know they are also horrid, unflexible and unusable. No true science can be based on them. So while they never fell in the same way as the roman empire they could never truly develop either. Leaving it open for the western world to reach domination through science and technology.

    Now the only thing I dont figure out is why the arabs didnt get a scientific advantage over europe considering they used the indian numerals before europe Maby if things had been slightely different we would be talking about Wahabi or Abi saab instead of Newton, Leibniz and Gauss.

    What do you guys think??

  2. #2
    MilitiaGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    Maby if things had been slightely different we would be talking about Wahabi or Abi saab instead of Newton, Leibniz and Gauss.
    are you for real? what about al kahwarizmi the founder of algebra( al jaber in arabic), what about al razi ,ebn sina the founder of cancer operations and sex change oprations,al toussi who set up the basics of the astrologie science, ebn haytham the founder of optics ect... they are all arabs

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    I saw a documentary the other day about the development of maths and numbers and a idea struck me.

    The western world and its power is based on one thing alone and that is technology. But technology would still be in the middle ages without science and science ultimately comes down to one thing, mathematics. Without mathematics we would be absolutely nothing except stuck in the middle ages or decadent romans.

    Western maths are completely based on the indian numerals(they originated in india, not the middle east, so arabic numerals are misleading to say). Indian where the first place where a truly flexible system of numbers where developed that could be used for all purposes. The only system of numbers where it's easy to write any arbitrary large number.

    Now look at the roman numerals. They are horribly useless. They have no number for 0. They cant express unrational numbers, im not even sure if decimals can be writen in roman numerals.
    The only thing they can be used as is notation. But they could in no way be used when calculating things. Roman mathematicians used some kind of board with stones to do all calculations and then noted it down in roman numbers. With such a horrid base for maths the romans could never develop science imo. It was never possible for them. So as a society they never realy developed. Stuck with the same technology.
    They had some nifty traits, bridge building ect. But they never acomplished anything scientificly, so they where doomed to become decadent.

    Its probably the same with the chinese. I dont know much about chinese numerals but as far as I know they are also horrid, unflexible and unusable. No true science can be based on them. So while they never fell in the same way as the roman empire they could never truly develop either. Leaving it open for the western world to reach domination through science and technology.

    Now the only thing I dont figure out is why the arabs didnt get a scientific advantage over europe considering they used the indian numerals before europe Maby if things had been slightely different we would be talking about Wahabi or Abi saab instead of Newton, Leibniz and Gauss.

    What do you guys think??
    i disagree with u Johan on the bold part because ancient Egyptians had a symbolic numerical system and they still built the most advanced buildings and monuments in the world, they calculated so precicley and they were very accurate in Astrology.
    for ex. 10,000 represents by a Finger symbol and 100,000 was a drawing of a Frog!!

  4. #4
    Kärnfysikern's Avatar
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    I didnt mean any offense militia. I dont know much about arab contributions but I do know they where significant. I would love to get to know more about arab scientific and mathematic history. If you got any links plz start a thread about it!
    The 3 most important mathematicians thiugh is undisputedly Newton, Gauss and Euler. The most important acient mathematicians was Arkimedes, Euclid and Phytagoras.

    But I didnt want to turn this into a discussion about the greats. But rather if you belive my idea might be true

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokethedays
    i disagree with u Johan on the bold part because ancient Egyptians had a symbolic numerical system and they still built the most advanced buildings and monuments in the world, they calculated so precicley and they were very accurate in Astrology.
    for ex. 10,000 represents by a Finger symbol and 100,000 was a drawing of a Frog!!
    yes but they could never write a thing like 10^50 unless they want to write for eternity. The largest number symbol they had was 1 million. Building things require geometry knoweledge and they could obviously do some geometry with the numerals they had. But they could never develop rigid linear algebra or calculus needed for scientific development.
    Egypt made no scientific contributions(except that they are seen as the inventors of numbers kind of). They where "just" damn good at building things. But they had reached a dead end.

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    Arkimedes and most other Greek and Roman mathematicians and Philosophers were taught most of their education in Egypt by the ancient Egyptian Priests. that's a Historic Fact

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    Arkimedes and most other Greek and Roman mathematicians and Philosophers were taught most of their education in Egypt by the ancient Egyptian Priests. that's a Historic Fact

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokethedays
    Arkimedes and most other Greek and Roman mathematicians and Philosophers were taught most of their education in Egypt by the ancient Egyptian Priests. that's a Historic Fact
    Yes Im not disputing that at all.
    But the point is they might have been good at what they did. But they could not develop further with the numerals they used. They didnt even have a number for 0. Notice that there is not even one single famous roman mathematician. Not one. That big glorious empire couldnt even produce one single mathematician that did important contributions to maths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    yes but they could never write a thing like 10^50 unless they want to write for eternity. The largest number symbol they had was 1 million. Building things require geometry knoweledge and they could obviously do some geometry with the numerals they had. But they could never develop rigid linear algebra or calculus needed for scientific development.
    Egypt made no scientific contributions(except that they are seen as the inventors of numbers kind of). They where "just" damn good at building things. But they had reached a dead end.
    wow johan u r taking away sooooooooo much credit of Ancient Egyptians here is an example:
    there is this Temple in Abu Simbl southern Egypt and the Temple i believe was built for King Ramses II, and inside the temple there is a statue for the king sitting, the thing is in the front wall of the Temple there is a little window engraved and the sun hit this wall daily BUT the sun's ray goes through the window onto the statue's face twice a year only, in the day where Ramses II became the Pharoh and his birthday. it's been happening for couple thousands years now and never failed.

  10. #10
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    For geometry and building things you basicly need a messuring rod and a knack for proportions. No higher level maths is needed. The egyptians could never for instance calculate tensile stress and other things of that nature.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokethedays
    wow johan u r taking away sooooooooo much credit of Ancient Egyptians here is an example:
    there is this Temple in Abu Simbl southern Egypt and the Temple i believe was built for King Ramses II, and inside the temple there is a statue for the king sitting, the thing is in the front wall of the Temple there is a little window engraved and the sun hit this wall daily BUT the sun's ray goes through the window onto the statue's face twice a year only, in the day where Ramses II became the Pharoh and his birthday. it's been happening for couple thousands years now and never failed.
    I give alot of credit for the egyptians ability to build things. They where unmatched in that for a LONG time. But tell me one major scientific contribution they did?? One thing that required higher maths and not just precision and a messuring rod??

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    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    Yes Im not disputing that at all.
    But the point is they might have been good at what they did. But they could not develop further with the numerals they used. They didnt even have a number for 0. Notice that there is not even one single famous roman mathematician. Not one. That big glorious empire couldnt even produce one single mathematician that did important contributions to maths.
    the reason that the Egyptian mathematicians were not famous cause reading and writing in ancient Egypt was strict for a certain class in the society and this class wan prohibited to share their knowledge with others except their companions and teachers (priests).
    that why when most Greek mathematicians went to egypt to learn it was a big thing that the ancient Egyptians recorded that on alot to papyrus and temples walls.

  13. #13
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    Another example. They could map the positions of stars for years ahead. But they could not calculate the distance to stars.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokethedays
    the reason that the Egyptian mathematicians were not famous cause reading and writing in ancient Egypt was strict for a certain class in the society and this class wan prohibited to share their knowledge with others except their companions and teachers (priests).
    that why when most Greek mathematicians went to egypt to learn it was a big thing that the ancient Egyptians recorded that on alot to papyrus and temples walls.
    But the egyptians with the numerals they used could never have developed mechanics similar to newtons. They could never understand celestial motion. Just record it. Thats the shortcoming of the egyptian, roman and asian numerals Im pointing out. And the reason imo why those civilisation plataued and got decadent.

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    To emphasis my point. How would you possibly be able to develop calculus with egyptian or roman numerals? Now think of how important calculus has been for EVERYTHING around us in western society. Almost everything we build comes down to calculus.
    Linear algebra is another example. Developing a rigid system of linear algebra with proofs ect with roman or egyptian numerals would be impossible. Without them you cant have any good gravitational or electromagnetic theory.

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    Now the thread is reborn lets get back on track anyone got any comment??

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
    are you for real? what about al kahwarizmi the founder of algebra( al jaber in arabic), what about al razi ,ebn sina the founder of cancer operations and sex change oprations,al toussi who set up the basics of the astrologie science, ebn haytham the founder of optics ect... they are all arabs

    They were also aided by their Jewish and Christian citizens. I think C will tell you this is true since I know you'll deny it. True, they may have been "Arab" but that includes Arab Jews and Arab Christians as well who lived in the Islamic Empire. Just thought you should recognize that.

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    yes

    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    Now the thread is reborn lets get back on track anyone got any comment??
    yes,
    what did you do with my posts..............
    Nevermind, I see that you started a new thread, nice job keeping the threads logical and on point.
    -Logan13
    Last edited by Logan13; 01-08-2006 at 03:09 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
    are you for real? what about al kahwarizmi the founder of algebra( al jaber in arabic), what about al razi ,ebn sina the founder of cancer operations and sex change oprations,al toussi who set up the basics of the astrologie science, ebn haytham the founder of optics ect... they are all arabs
    Umm..this is a bit misleading. al Kahwarizmi was not the founder of Algebra as you have claimed. THis is from 820 C.E. The first dates back to 300 B.C.E. with Euclid. That's over 1,000 years before your claim. Then there were other greeks, Chinese, and Indians before al Kahwarizmi. They all worked with quadratic equations, algebraic equations.

    The word "algebra" does come from al Kahwarizmi, a Persian. That's the only thing I found that fits your claim. The rest is a bit off, no?

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