The History of Science in the non-European world
We’ve all heard about science in Europe, but what other civilizations came closest to science?
What I consider to be “science” or close to “science” is anything close to the scientific method or Newtonian physics.
The other most developed civilizations besides the European were the Islamic Empire, China, and India.
China however didn’t really come close to achieving the scientific method or Newtonian physics, they just had machines and inventions, which is engineering and not science. They also had believed that the Earth was flat and square up until the late 16th Century and early 17th Century when Jesuit priest astronomers introduced the spherical round Earth idea to them. So China is not included in this list.
Science in the Islamic Empire
– The Arab Alhazen had invented the scientific method before Europeans did. Alhazen’s Book on Optics was very influential and influenced Roger Bacon and Kepler.
Many other Islamic scientists had made many experimental and mathematical achievements, but they don’t stand out as much as Alhazen does, since Alhazen had actually invented the scientific method.
Although Alhazen had known of the scientific method long before Europeans, other Arabs did not see the greatness in Alhazen’s ideas and the scientific revolution did not occur in the Islamic Empire.
The Arabs also had not invented Calculus and or anything like Newtonian physics, but it is conceivable that they could have eventually developed Calculus and higher mathematics.
Science in India
It is conceivable that in India they would’ve eventually came up with a heliocentric model and something similar to Newtonian physics, since they had mathematical analysis. But I’m not sure if they would’ve developed the scientific method.
The scientific revolution didn’t occur in India because they failed to develop the scientific method and a model of the universe similar to Newtonian physics, although they had an advanced astronomical model and mathematics.
The Arabs had developed the scientific method, and the Indians had developed an advanced astronomical model, but the Chinese hadn’t developed anything like the scientific method or an advanced astronomical model.
So if the scientific revolution didn’t occur in Europe it would’ve most likely occurred either in the Islamic Empire or in India, but definitely not in China.
The main reason China did not approach science is specifically because of a lack of religion. In Europe, the Islamic Empire and in India religion directly encouraged people to do science (specifically astronomy).
The Chinese were definitely capable of doing science, but a lack of religion prevented them from developing anything close to science.