The Trend to Fake Islamic Science

Feb 2011
6,350
#31
Keen Edge, please read my prior post on the pound lock. Admittedly it isn't much because of the word limit. But here is more.

From Needham's Science and Civilization on Nautical technology, starting from pg 350:
The fact that foreign travellers on the Grand Canal from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries spoke only of flash-lock gates or double slipways has seemed to some sufficient evidence that pound-locks were never developed in China. But this would fall into the trap of supposing that inventions once made were necessarily utilised in Chinese culture whether or not the need for them continued. In fact it is possible to show that the pound-lock actually originated in China earlier than anywhere else, but was little used in later times because the need for the device ceased as conditions changed. We may be able to suggest how it was that this happened. The oldest example of a pound-lock or locks in China dates from the beginning of the Sung dynasty, as is connected with the name of Chhiao We-Yo, Assistant Commissioner of Transport for Huainan in +983, a man who deserves to be remembered. He was concerned with the barge traffic problem at the nerthern end of the Shan-yang Yun-Tao section of the Pien or Grand Canal between the Yangtze and Huai-yin, and it is interesting to find that his invention arose from a social cause, his exasperation with the thefts of tax-grain made possible by the high casualty-rate of ships crossing the double slipways. The Sung Shi says that in +984:


"Chhiao Wei-Yo also built five double slipways (lit. dams, yen) between An-pei and Huai-shih (or, the quays on the Huai waterfront). Each of these had ten lanes for the barges to go up and down. Their cargoes of imperial tax-grain were heavy, and as they were passing over they often came to grief and were damanaged or wrecked, with loss of the grain and peculation by a cabal of the workers in league with local bandits hidden nearby. Chhiao Wei-Yo therefore first ordered the construction of two gates at the third dam along the West River. The distance between the two gates was rather more than 50 paces, and the whole space was covered over with a great roof like a shed. The gates were 'hanging gates'; (when they were closed) the water accumulated like a tide until the required level was reached, and then when the time came it was allowed to flow out. He also built a horizontal bridge between the banks, and added dykes of earth with stone revetnments to protect their (or its) foundations. After this was done (to all the double slipways) the previous corruption was completely eliminated, and the passage of the boats went on without the slightest impediment."

Such was the first pound-locks in the history of any culture. Large enought to take several vessels at a time, they must have been somewhat similar to those depicted in a well-known illustration by Zonca in 1607 showing a lock basin on the canal which connected Padua with the River Brenta...... Contrary to the impression that has sometimes prevailed, Chhiao Wei-Yo's pioneering led to a great wave of interest in the new technique. This we know partly from an informative passage in Shen Kua's Meng Chhi Pi Than, finished in +1086. In this book, so often quoted by us, he says:

"On the Grand Canal (the Pien Canal) in Huai-nan, double slipways (tan) were built to prevent wastage of water. No one knows when this method was first invented. According to tradition the Shao-po double slipway was built by Hsieh Kung. But from the account of Li Ao (who described his journey over this part of the canal in +809 in his) Lai Nan Lu (Record of a Journey to the South) it was still a plain waterway in Thang times without any haul-overs, so it seems impossible that this double slipway was built in the time of Hsieh Kung. In the Thien-Shen reign period (+1023 to +1031), the Transport Commissioner and Palace Intendant stationed at Chen-chou, Thao Chien, suggested that 'double gates' should be built both to prevent waste of water and to save the labour of hauling the barges over. At that time the Director of the Ministry of Works, Fang Chung-Hsun, and the Fine Craftsmanship Bureau Commissioner, Chang Lun, were appointed as Chief and Deputy Industrial Transport Commissioners respectiely, and were authorised to proceed with the construction (of double gates). They began with the locks at Chen-chou. (It was found that) the work of five hundred labourers was saved each year, and miscellaneous expenditure amounting to 1,250,000 (cash) as well. With the old method of hauling the boats over, burdens of not more than 300 tan of rice per vessel (21 tons) could be transported, but after the (double) gates were completed, boats carrying 400 tan were brought into use (28 tons), and later on the cargo weights increased more and more. (Nowadays) Government boats carry up to 700 tan (49.5 tons), and private boats as much as 800 bags each weighing 2 tan (i.e. 113 tons). From that time onwards, at Pai-shen, Shao-po, Lung-chou and Chu-yu, the double slipways were all disused, and one after another replaced (by double, i.e. pound-lock gates). The advantages of this have continued down to the present day. Once during the Yuan-Feng reign period (+1078 to +1085) I myself passed through Chen-chou, and saw an overtuned monument lying among dungheaps at the back of the River Pavilion. This stele bore an inscription by Hu Wu-Phing about the (first) building of the Chen-chou (double lock gates, entitled Shui Cha Chi. It was not very detailed but it did record the affair."
Hu's inscription, more poetical than precise, has in fact been preserved, and we share to some extent Shen Kua's dissapointment at its lack of technical information. He starts with the concealed reference to Chhiao Wei-Yo, saying that in the first decades of the dynasty those concerned with canal traffic were becoming extremely dissatisfied with the double slipways worked by ox-when capstans, and the water wastage of the flash-lock gates which led in most years to the drying-out of the canal so that it looked like a thousand-li wall. But after Thao Chien isnsisted that double gates.....
 
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Feb 2011
6,350
#32
Due to word limit I had to break down my post. Anyway, continuing on, Chinese invention of pound locks were also confirmed by a travel diary (San Tendai Gotaisan-Ki) of a Japanese visitor (+1072 AD) who had this to say:

About the wei double-hour (1 pm) the magistrate came, and we took tea at the Chhang-an rest-house. About the shen double-hour (3 pm) two of the lock-gates (shui men) were opened (in succession), in order to let the boat through. When it had passed through, the stop-logs were dragged back so as to close (the middle gate, and then the stop-logs of the third lock-gate (were lifted out) to open it, and the boat was let through. The surface of the succeeding part of the canal was a little more than five feet lower (than the upper part). After (each) gate was opened, the (water from the) upper section fell and the water level became equal, whereupon the boat proceeded through.

There are many other description of pound locks in his book other than this, I'm merely describing the first instance. And there are more evidence of Medieval Chinese pound locks from other source such as the Yuan-shih. So it's not just one text which supports the Chinese invention of pound locks.

Previously I didn't go into that much detail as I would have liked about how Needham was "forced to admit" that Chinese texts made it "seem reading glasses were older in China than they were " implication too, which simply isn't true on both fronts. Here's Needham's quote in its entirety:

It has sometimes been stated that the invention of spectacles was Chinese. This may, in part, have derived from a paper by Laufer containing many inconsistencies, which were afterwards cleared up by Chhiu Khai-Ming. If Laufer had been justified in accepting as authentic a mention of spectacles in the Tung Thien Chhing Lu of Chao Hsi-Ku, written not long after +1240, then the mention of these aids to better vision in China would have antedated European references by about half a century. The passage runs:

Ai-tai resemble large coins, and their colour is like mica. When old people are dizzy and their sight tiered, so that they cannot read fine print, they put ai-tai over their eyes. Then they are once more able to concentrate, and the strokes of the characters appear doubly clear. Ai-tai come from Malacca in the western regions.
But the bibliographical study showed that it was not in the best and oldest versions of Chao's book, so that it must have been added by someone in the Ming. Besides, the mention of Malacca would have been an anachronism. In fact, the earliest books which refer to spectacles were written in Ming times, the Chhi Hsiu Lei Kao of Lang Ying (+1487 to +1566) and the Fang-Chou Tsa Yen of Chang Ning (+1452).

Before spectacles they used the magnifying glass. So no, Needham wasn't "forced to admit" anything here. He didn't have to point it out, it was Laufer who made the mistake, Needham could have either ignored it or went along with it, but instead Needham chose to correct him. Secondly, the book is translated as "Clarification of Strange Things", and is basically a sort of encyclopedia or dictionary of all things the Medieval Chinese found strange. Editing an encyclopedia or dictionary to include new material is nothing new under the sun, and is hardly some attempt to appropriate some other culture's invention as was implied. If that was true the text wouldn't made the concluding remark that the invention came from outside of China.

I also take issue with the implication that Chinese accomplishments should for some reason be mentioned hand-in-hand with things Chinese didn't accomplish. I cannot understand the logic to this, at best I can understand the motive. For every accomplishment anyone makes, there's a infinite variety of potential accomplishments he/she didn't make. So I don't see the point of mentioning "Chinese didn't know about round earth" over and over in topics unrelated to it. I certainly don't demand that each mention of European accomplishment must go hand-in-hand with a mention of how late they were in accepting negative numbers or some other thing they were late getting to. Unless if mentioning other people's accomplishments somehow activate your insecurity, there's really no point to this. If anything should be mentioned as far as the context of this thread is concerned, it's that "appropriating" achievements isn't a one way street.
 
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Jan 2014
999
Rus
#33
Your statement can be summarized by one sentence: "Europeans are trustworthy, Chinese are not".

Turning your logic around, if a Chinese person in Europe didn't write about European inventions.... it means Europe didn't invent it? Anyway, you are giving an impossible scenario. The earliest form of Chinese compass was in the Han dynasty. How many Europeans at the time "which had arrived to China" wrote a book about China which passed down to present day? Can you name even one? Thought not. The first European who both visited China and left a detailed account of the place was Marco Polo (compass was invented well before Marco Polo). He didn't mention the compass, but he also didn't mention the Great Wall, nor chopsticks, nor foot binding, nor a bunch of other things. Guess they're all made up: it's not true until a white guy confirms it.

On the other hand, you say "Chinese chronicles about their compass could be written after they saw European compass", never mind the different design of the earliest Chinese compass. I'm curious how you arrived from "COULD be written after they saw European compass", into "probability 95%" that they WERE written after European compass." Why not turn this logic around and direct it at Europe then? Plenty of European inventions would have "probability 95%" of being a forgery when using the same logic.
European compass i have at home. So i can make sure it's existance. I can trace it history several centuries back. May be "European mention of a navigational compass is made by Alexander Neckham in two texts written between 1187 and 1202" is a fake. May be, but there are numerous references about compass in Europe a couple centuries later.

What we have otherside. Only some records in some book. And when and where did we get this book?

The first European who both visited China and left a detailed account of the place was Marco Polo (compass was invented well before Marco Polo). He didn't mention the compass, but he also didn't mention the Great Wall, nor chopsticks, nor foot binding, nor a bunch of other things.
Its a cause to take thought about its existance. He had to see Great Wall at least.

Guess they're all made up: it's not true until a white guy confirms it.
Of course. Because in case of China they are substantive and not engaged side. If Russians in their history would write that they invented diesel engine 500 years ago then we would need some nonRussian сconfirmation of it.
 
Feb 2011
6,350
#34
European compass i have at home. So i can make sure it's existance. I can trace it history several centuries back. May be "European mention of a navigational compass is made by Alexander Neckham in two texts written between 1187 and 1202" is a fake. May be, but there are numerous references about compass in Europe a couple centuries later.

What we have otherside. Only some records in some book. And when and where did we get this book?
The first mention of the European compass is "in some book" as well, it's just a magentized needle in water like the Chinese compass at the time. The first compasses is hardly the same as the compass we have today, be it the first Chinese or European compass. So why do you trust the European book over the Lunheng, the Chung Hua Ku Chin Chu, the WujingzongYao, the Pinchow Table talks, or the Dream Pool Essays? Why are these books which wrote about the Chinese compass somehow less reliable than De utensilibus and De naturis rerum? Why do you not say that the De utensilibus and De naturis rerum were edited by Europeans to make it seem European compasses arrived at an earlier date than it actually did? Why only use that logic to the Chinese?

Sorry, the compass you have at home is not the original European compass, not even the same design as the original European compass, and cannot be used as proof for this subject matter. That should go without saying.

Its a cause to take thought about its existance. He had to see Great Wall at least.
No, Marco Polo did not talk about the Great Wall, otherwise you're welcome to quote where he said it. Granted the wall would have been in disrepair, but hardly nonexistent. You are correct that he "had to see Great Wall at least", given the direction of his passage, but he did not talk about it. Ergo even records as extensive as that of Marco Polo won't talk about EVERYTHING he came across. Such a feat would be impossible to do. Ergo absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And in this scenario we have plenty of evidence for the Chinese invention of the compass, just not the type you want.

Of course. Because in case of China they are substantive and not engaged side. If Russians in their history would write that they invented diesel engine 500 years ago then we would need some nonRussian сconfirmation of it.
If detailed European records on China predating Marco Polo is so "substantive" as you say, then why can't you even name one such record? I already challenged you, and you can't name one. Simple reason is, there is no substantive European documentation of China prior to Marco Polo. Otherwise, you should be able to name several examples, yet you can't even name one.

Inventing the compass is different from inventing the diesel engine. Medievalists have the means to invent the compass, they require far more to invent the diesel engine. The works of the Lun Heng, the Wujingzongyao, the Dream Pool essays, and other Chinese works which mention the compass, had been read and copied throughout Chinese history before the European compass existed. There is no such record of Russia inventing the diesel engine in the 1500ds, and if they did the question remains why such text is only mentioned now when they had access to it all all these time. The Chinese texts I mentioned was read and copied and printed all this time.

On interesting to note, is that one type of early Chinese compass is a magnetized metal in the shape of a fish floating in a bowl of water. Al-Qibjāqī mentions sailors using fish-shaped iron for compasses, and the Indians called the compass the macchayantra or "fish device".

So let's break this down.

1. The compass you have at home (I assume a modern compass), is not a needle floating in water like that as described in De utensilibus and De naturis rerum. So your compass is not proof of European invention of the earliest compass.
2. The earliest evidence of Chinese compass came from "just books" as you put it. The earliest evidence of European compass also came from "just books". Therefore if you dismiss one you are obligated to dismiss the other, as they are categorized under the same type of evidence, textual evidence.
3. When the Chinese first invented the compass, there is no substantial European record of China from Europeans who had been there. You say it's "substantive", but when challenged you can't name even one such record.
4. You admit that Marco Polo must have seen the Great Wall, but even so Marco Polo did not mention it in his substantial records. Ergo just because a record is substantial does not mean it needs mention everything.
 
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Jan 2014
999
Rus
#35
3. When the Chinese first invented the compass, there is no substantial European record of China from Europeans who had been there. You say it's "substantive", but when challenged you can't name even one such record.
What it would give? We can consider later European sources about China. And let to see if they detected compass there. Or, do you assume that Chinese invented compass but forgot it later?
 
Feb 2011
6,350
#36
I'm sorry, do you consider Europeans the pillars of honesty, and of such high intellect that nothing escapes their notice, and writes down everything they see. Whereas Chinese are just liars who can't be trusted?

Let's reverse your sentence. We can consider later Chinese sources about Europe. And let to see if they detected compass there. Or, do you assume that Europe invented compass but forgot it later?
 
Apr 2018
1,562
Mythical land.
#37
What it would give? We can consider later European sources about China. And let to see if they detected compass there. Or, do you assume that Chinese invented compass but forgot it later?
can you name any chineese or indian source for european compass?
 
Aug 2010
15,729
Welsh Marches
#38
There is no doubt whatever that the magnetic compass was first invented in China; interestingly, however, it seems to have been invented independently in Europe rather than having been introduced from elsewhere.
 
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