Innovation in Islamic societies

We are all accustomed to American (and Western) innovation in just about everything. From Benjamin Franklin and electricity to Al Gore and the Internet, from the I-beam to the iPod, Americans have been messing around and creating things throughout the history of the nation. We take it for granted that people are fiddling around in their garages inventing oscilloscopes or wonder drugs or extreme sports. But what would it be like to live in a land where people invented nothing, where technology came to you as though from Mars? More than this: what if that constant progress and tinkering represented a threat to the sufficiency of the founding documents of your culture and religion? Judging by the numbers, that is apparently the current state of thought in some major Islamic countries. Take Saudi Arabia, which recently went six years without granting a patent.

The Saudi Patent Regulations of 1989 established a patent registration system, covering any new article, methods of manufacture (including improvements in either of them) and product patents. In 1996, the Saudi Patent Office granted its first patents since its establishment in 1990.

By contrast, the US granted 157,000 patents in 2005, and is up to about 7,000,000 patents overall. Or take Egypt, home to about a quarter of the world’s Arabs:

A new patent law has been drafted recently. The new law, if approved, would extend patent protection period to twenty years and widen the definition of an “invention” as protected by the law. Unlike the current patent law, the draft law provides for a substantive examination of the patent application before granting the patent.

The new draft law provides for “substantive examination” of a patent application, eh? My, my, that would be progress if they get there. Contrast that with the (overly cumbersone) US rules for “substantive examination” of patents, whose rulebook currently runs to 27 Chapters! Or take our current bugbear, Iran:

Iran in 2001, had only one patent, whereas U.S. in 1997 had 111805 patents…

Or finally Indonesia, which totalled 30 patents over the last five years. These are Arabs, Persians, and South Asians, different peoples with vastly different histories, but one thing in common among them today: a culture of and belief in submission. The Islamic world, as of this writing, would appear to have fewer patents in their entire recorded history than did the citizens of Utah last year. Here are some additional data from Science Magazine which are consistent with our analysis, and include China, India, and Japan, among others.

It appears from the numbers that Communist and Islamic political and economic cultures have possibly been at least partially responsible for stifling the inventiveness of almost a third of humanity. We note as well the remarkable progress of China since it decided to adopt a capitalist economy. China has only had a patent law for 20 years, and is now near the top of the list.

None of this should be surprising. Reuel Marc Gerecht: As Bernard Lewis “regularly points out, the word curiosity doesn’t really have good equivalents in Islamic languages.” Churchill’s observations were similar, and the unemployment rates in these countries show a certain passivity when it comes to commerce.

27 Responses to “Innovation in Islamic societies”

  1. larwyn Says:

    Brilliant post Dinocrat!

    While at the NYT’s Modo coins “Scooty and the Shooter”

    Gateway Pundit posts this outrage”
    Bill Clinton Urges Convicting Muhammad Cartoon Publishers

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Bill Clinton Urges Convicting Muhammad Cartoon Publishers

    ** Former US President Bill Clinton becomes the first Western leader to urge nations to convict those who published the Muhammad cartoons!! **

    This was not the first time that Bill Clinton spoke out against the Muhammad cartoons but it was the first time he spoke publicly about prosecuting Westerners for their freedom of speech choices in regards to the cartoon controversy.

    PLEASE READ IT ALL – WE SHOULD GET ON THIS.

    IMHO Bill is triangulating Hill as Senator of New York and himself as
    King of World at Turtle Bay.

    Now we know why the LSM did not publish the cartoons – DIRECT ORDERS
    FROM THE DEMS

    . Way to go PINCH!

  2. steve poling Says:

    I strongly agree with your thesis that the Islamic world is not only stagnant, technologically, but that it has a vested interest in being backward.

    But you inspired a separate insight. I recall reading in National Review some years back how Saudis do not enjoy secure property rights and thus the houses of the wealthy are built like fortresses. An American only rarely has to actively defend the title to his house or land. Property rights taken for granted in the anglosphere are not so in the Islamic world.

    As value has been found in intellectual artifacts, we have extended property rights into this domain. Patents are a means of securing intellectual property. I was surprised when I read the US Constitution and saw it contains significant verbage about Patents and Copyrights. I was surprised how early this started.

    Not only is the Islamic (or maybe just Arab) world backward technologically, but it has a backward notion of property. Thus, the Islamic world is going to be backward where it comes to intellectual property.

  3. bernie golomb Says:

    I vehemently disagree and to prove to you how many great inventions and creations made by Islam I have listed them in my blog:

    http://plancksconstant.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-world-looks-when-youve-created.html

  4. Audie McGrogan Says:

    Slave economies never invent anything. In Islam the men are slaves to Allah and the Women and Children are slaves to men, literally. It is the only remaining slavocracy in the world.

  5. Audie McGrogan Says:

    Okay, I studied the American civil war periiod 1820 to 1860 and much that is said and done in the Middle east resmbles how the South reacted to the rise of the north. It has been years ago and I don’t have my references at hand, but serveral times I read analysis of the “Master Complex”. The women are chattle under this religion they can be sold, killed, divorced, abandoned etc at a word from thier husbands. It takes the testimony of two women to egual one man. They can own property but it immediately goes to their husbands. From birth a girl must “belong” to a father, brother, or husband. If husband dies she becomes the property of her sons. Wmen cannot drive, cannot leave the house without a male escort etc. If this does not equal slavery tell me what does? Islamic men react so fanactically when ever this slave relationship is threatened. The Shah went down when he started educating women.

  6. Audie McGrogan Says:

    What I really want to know is where is the American Feminist Movement. If we can give women equal rights the Ilamic worl will become as peaceful as Japan. Women are the key to this tinderbox.

  7. ShrinkWrapped Says:

    A New ShrinkWrapped Feature

    I peruse upwards of 50 blogs a day and find innumerable posts that are interesting, thought-provoking, well written, and worth commenting upon. On average, I find 5-10 posts a day which deserve links and commentary, but since real life precludes

  8. EvilDave Says:

    “US rules for “substantive examination” of patents, whose rulebook currently runs to 2700 Chapters!”

    Slight correction, the MPEP (Manual of Patent Examining Procedure) which you speak of only includes 27 chapters. They are numbered by hundreds. So, they run chapter 100 through 2700.

    And for you sleepless nights, you may read the MPEP at http://www.uspto.gov

  9. Badge 2211 Says:

    I like this factoid:

    “There are 12 million Jews world and yet they have received 169 Nobel Prizes. The Muslims number 1.4 Billion or 117 times the number of Jews. Based upon this 117:1 Muslim-to-Jewish ratio, one might expect the Muslims to have 22,260 Nobel Laureates.

    They have 7.”

    Oh yeah, one of the 7 is a dead terrorist named Arafat.

  10. bernie golomb Says:

    I understand there were at least 16,615 Iranian Patents before the Shah left. But then he was a modern kind of guy. The Iranians were better off with a US puppet King than being the puppets of the Mullahs now.

  11. The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » The Council has spoken! Says:

    [...] on history, family, and mortality, “Team of Rivals”. The winning non-Council post was Dinocrat’s post, “How D [...]

  12. Dan Bostan Says:

    Great analysis.
    Unfortunately, the Islamofascists are adept in using the existing technology they did not create to kill us.
    I think we must be much more aggressive in dealing with the Umma.

  13. bernie golomb Says:

    I have updated my post on great Muslim inventions: More Muslim Inventions

  14. Watcher of Weasels Says:

    The Council Has Spoken!

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are The “Happy Warrior” Is Weeping I…

  15. pst314 Says:

    Various Muslim leaders, from Haj Amin al Husseini (Arafat’s mentor) to the Ayatollah Khomenei, have explicitly said that they do not want progress and do not want prosperity. Such fine, decent, civilized people! /sarcasm

  16. RepublicanWitch » Blog Archive » Some funny stuff… Says:

    [...] From Plancks Constant: How the world looks when you’ve created nothing: Islam The dinocrat poses the question,”How does the modern world look when you have done nothing to help create it, and innovation is a threat to cherished beliefs?” The blog points out that America patents hundreds of thousands of inventions a year whereas the entire Muslim world has only a handful in its entire history. Read the rest. [...]

  17. bernie Says:

    I linked another article to your post from Converting to Islam is not enough

  18. Rebeca Franklin Says:

    Does it make you feel like a fine, descent, civilized person when you write such ignorant and misinformed comments about the Islamic faith and the people who follow it? Do you have any idea why Muslims would choose not to devote all their time to greed and personal gratification such as Americans? You may live your life by your ego and find your answers in evil and lies, but you will never find any reason for your existence. Anyone who takes time out of the day to hate others instead of trying to love and understand them has submitted to their own man-made invention of evil. I could bring up references in history such as the innovative and intellectual capital of the world (Bagdad, Iraq), but I am choosing to inform you of your own meaningless existence. Please don’t do this to the world and yourself–let go of your hate!

  19. StaticNoise Says:

    Rebeca Franklin Says: blah blah blah

    Sorry baby cakes, the main difference is that we choose our own path – get that – we have free will. I am sure for you Allah and Islam are beautiful and I am happy for you, have at it. Bask in the glow of Allah and the comfort of the burqua but DO NOT FOR ONE MINUTE THINK we give a rat’s a$$ about either. If you like being a slave fine but the rest of us will not submit EVER!!!!

  20. Jagger Says:

    Dino, you obviously don’t know your facts. The following site contains an official list of inventions/patents according to the US government:

    http://www.uspto.gov

    If you bother to search for Muslim names on the site, you’ll find thousands of modern inventions patented to them:

    Ahmad OR Ahmed: 8838 patents
    Mohammad OR Mohammed: 3721 patents
    Muhammad OR Muhammed: 690 patents
    Ali: 2798 patents
    Shah: 2520 patents
    Hussein OR Hussain: 1783 patents
    Khan: 1130 patents
    Karim OR Kareem: 717 patents
    Abdul: 708 patents
    Malik OR Maalik: 621 patents

    Of course, there are many more Muslim names you can search for, with thousands more inventions patented to people with Muslim names.

    The only reason why Muslim countries lack them is simply because of the fact that most Muslim countries are still developing. In that sense, the number of patents in Muslim countries are no different to the number of patents in other developing countries. On the other hand, Muslims living in developed countries have patented thousands of inventions.

    Whether you want to admit it or not, the fact remains that Muslims have contributed much to the world, just like any other major religion/culture.

  21. YaHussein Says:

    Thanks Jagger, a fitting end you put to this orgy of bigotry. Jazakallah khair.

  22. bernie Says:

    I corrected Jagger in my post Mohammed invents a Toaster – Muslim names are held by many Christians and Jews who fled persecution in Muslim countries. In addition, 75% of all Arabs in America are Christian. Muslim names in patents means nothing.

  23. Planck's Constant Says:

    Mohammed invents a Toaster

    Perhaps one day, in shaa’ allah, most Arabs will have shed the heavy cloak of Islam, and begin again to contribute something worthwhile to civilization other than brutality and barbarism.

  24. Saif Says:

    What Jagar said is correct … and what planks constant said is also half correct. Why muslims are failing to contribute like they did in earlier Islamic reign is because they are subsituting Quran with Hadiths (a man made books written 200-300 years after prophets death and attributed to him). One can look into the Quran where it tells humans to use their god given intellects and progress. To serve God is better than to just worship. http://www.ourbeacon.com

  25. Hash Says:

    lol .. dont tell me that all the patents filed in the US are by christians! or practicing christians! :D

    what the US consists of is immigrants..and a majority of the chunk(90%) are plastic people that can be molded into anything by the “govt”, media etc.. and out of those 90% are semi-atheists or confused urban shit..

    US is a state that has started “ruling” the economy only, that too for the past 80-90 years.. People from other countries too file patents in the US because its the protection for “cash” that they see their.. As far as comparing western systems (That had started developing in the 19th century, and btw bible didnt show them the path to the constitution) with Islam alone is concerned i’ll say thats like comparing two different things. Slavery to Allah (God) is nothing bad. As far as “slavery” to men is considered. what? well thats how u see it.. Then i might say there is slavery of men in the US too. i dint see any female president.. Women are free in the US to the extent that they can freely choose the man whos cock they’ll suck on.. its all male dominated.. Dont compare islam to ur sick western “freedom” huh.. seen a lot of shit that comes out of this western freedom.

    Men and Women are equal in Islam, go read the Quran for that.. dont google. dont listen to what ppl “assume” about it.. read the scripture. Its just that men are physically superior, but the Quran says that you are physically superior but that doesnt mean u are superior in all respects.. ur equal to women.. and no Islam doesnt order women to be slaves, no sir ur wrong here..

    khair its the only fastest growing religion.. so no worries.. thats because when sane christians and people who have healthy discusiions and read the scripture accept the fact.

    check out Islam and modern science by Zakir Naik. There are proofs in this book

  26. Civilization Retrograde | temereeffercio Says:

    [...] as seen in Afghanistan is by no means unique in the Islamic world (some good evidence of that is here and here, or just turn on the news). Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  27. So What’s This About Muslims and Patents? | Gates of Vienna Says:

    [...]  The Dinocrat and Planck’s Constant disagree on the invention inventory in the Muslim world. In his post “How does the modern world look when you have done nothing to help create it, and innovation is a threat to cherished beliefs?” (linked above) the former points to the paucity of Islam’s contributions to the world: Americans have been messing around and creating things throughout the history of the nation. We take it for granted that people are fiddling around in their garages inventing oscilloscopes or wonder drugs or extreme sports. But what would it be like to live in a land where people invented nothing, where technology came to you as though from Mars? More than this: what if that constant progress and tinkering represented a threat to the sufficiency of the founding documents of your culture and religion? Judging by the numbers, that is apparently the current state of thought in some major Islamic countries. Take Saudi Arabia, which recently went six years without granting a patent. [...]

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