much of the knowledge of the ancient Greeks was brought back to Europe through the crusades... "Rescued" from the Muslims who had been protecting it. It's part of why Europe emerged from the Dark Ages.
Dave Schuler of the Glittering Eye chimes in as well, arguing,
Aristotle (and, I believe, Herodotus—our primary source on the Battle of Thermopylae) was unknown in the West until his works were promulgated in Latin translations of Arabic translations by Muslim scholars. Thomas Aquinas, for example, relied exclusively on one such translation.
So, we should thank the Muslims for stealing our stuff and being kind enough not to destroy it until we could get it back?
Well, there is a kind of logic to that.
Essentially, you're all saying that Islam didn't actually add to the West, it just held on to the documents the West wrote.
How about I rob your house and you can thank me for helping you get a TV when you come to take yours back? Deal?
In the above exchange - which takes place on the Internet, upon which detailed and informative articles about Aquinas and Ibn Rushd are just mouse-clicks away - Kevin seems almost proud of his anti-intellectual stance. I can't explain why someone would choose to be so doggedly ignorant.
John of Crossroads Arabia tries to educate Kevin:
I think the use of the term 'stole' is hysterically anachronistic. Really quite funny.
Now that, with Kevin's permission, we can redefine 'conquest' as 'theft', we can go about righting all sorts of historic wrongs, all the way back to the days Cro Magnon dealt from the bottom of the deck to Neaderthal.
Let the Goths give back to Rome what they took; let the Romans give back to Etrusca and Greece what they stole.
The Arab armies didn't 'steal' Western treasures. They didn't even share, for a long time, a common sense of what 'treasure' was outside of gold and jewelery. By the Medieval period, though, Muslim culture (formed by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish tought) did recognize the value of what they had in their hands. They didn't just store it, either, but interpreted it, used it as the basis of more modern ways of looking at the world. Averroes, Avicenna, Maimonedes were all products of that Muslim civilization that transferred 'Greek' wisdom to the West through their mediation, both physically and intellectually.
and another commentator DanielH also chimes in,
Science was advanced by Muslims during the European Dark Ages. Roger Bacon learned science by studying original works of physics, optics, etc. written by Muslims and translated in Toledo. The preservation of Aristotle is a minor, but laudable part of the contribution of Muslims to world civilization. One could add that it wasn't just Aristotle, but Aristotle through the perspective contemporary scholarship of Ibn Rushd that was soaked up by Aquinas et al in Paris.
and later provides a handy list of historical figures with links to their Wikipedia entries. However it's a safe assumption that Kevin's worldview, which hinges on a Christianized polemical reading of history, is largely immune.
The irony is that there was no West in antiquity, and the very concept of the West is still one that no one can satisfactorily define. Why not just go ahead and let The West be defined as the nonsensical phrase "civilization founded on Greek principles and informed by Judeo Christian values" ? Its just as arbitrary as any other definition.
I look at history and I see two civilizations - that of the Islamic-Christian arc, and the East (China). I also see a vast struggle between barbarians and nations. Those are the obvious dividing lines of history and even the modern day. Kevin can have the West; I don't care.