Talk:Alhazen

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Former good article Alhazen was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

Problems with biography[edit]

"Ibn Abi Usaybi'a delves deep into the propositions of his contemporary, the geometrician 'Alam al-Din ibn Abi al-Qasim al-HanafF^ (1178/9- 1251). However, as they are drawn from the geometrician's own reading of al-Qiftf s biography, it really adds nothing new. He goes on to say that Ibn al-Haytham lived at first in Basra and the surrounding area, that he was appointed as a minister, that he wanted to devote himself to science, since he was attracted to medieval vertu and to wisdom, that he then feigned madness to divest himself of his ministerial responsibilities, and that he finally left for Cairo and settled in the neighbourhood of al-Azhar Mosque. This version is as close as it possibly could be to al-Qiftfs version, with the exception that, most probably as a result of an unreliable memory, 'Alam al-Din transposes the Basra years and what al-Qifti says are the Cairo years, and on top of that makes Ibn al-Haytham into a minister."[1]. Ibn al-Haytham and Analytical Mathematics: A History of Arabic Sciences and Mathematics Volume 2 by Roshdi Rashed, which looks like an excellent source. I added 'Minister' but maybe that needs to be qualified. Dougweller (talk) 13:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Rarevogel needs to explain his edit(s)[edit]

Per this source, Science, Medicine and Technology, Ahmad Dallal, The Oxford History of Islam, ed. John L. Esposito, (Oxford University Press, 1999), 192;"Ibn al-Haytham (d.1039), known in the West as Alhazan, was a leading Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. His optical compendium, Kitab al-Manazir, is the greatest medieval work on optics".

According to the The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol.III, page 788, "IBN AL-HAYXHAM, ABU cALi, AL-HASAN B.AL-HASAN (or Husayn) B. AL-HAYTHAM AL-BASRI, AL-MisRl, was identified towards the end of the 19th century with the ALHAZEN, AVENNATHAN and AVENETAN of mediaeval Latin texts. He is one of the principal Arab mathematicians and, without any doubt, the best physicist."

If Rarevogel wishes to continue to remove references and referenced information, he will need to show the sources in question are not reliable sources, else he is simply edit warring to impose his own opinion into this article. --Kansas Bear (talk) 22:09, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Another source:
Science and Technology in a Multicultural World: The Cultural Politics of Facts and Artifacts, David J. Hess, (Columbia University Press, 1995), page 66;"It is known that Galileo had a copy of "Opticae Thesaurus" of Ibn al-Haytham(Alhazen), an Arab scientist who was known for his experimental method (Omar 1979:68)." --Kansas Bear (talk) 04:51, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
His most recent edit rather improves the article. These ethnic "or" statements are very amaturish in the lede. I've never seen another encyclopedia that starts their aritcles on historical figures in this way. Wiqi(55) 11:29, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
His most recent edit is certainly better than "Iraqi muslim", which was his original edit, however he still needs to actually use the Talk page for potentially controversial matters. --Merlinme (talk) 11:54, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The first words about this great man shouldnt consist of speculation. The autobiography section has ample room for talk about possibility of him being a Persian, Chinese or whatever. You can even start an entire chapter about his ethnic background.
The sources which describe him as a Persian, base that on the fact that his native home (Iraq) at thr timr of his birth was ruled by a tribal confederation from Iran. To some idiot 'scholars' that makes him Persian. Even though that ruling tribe wasnt even Persian, the were Daylamites. An Iranian ethnic group.
Here are the facts
1) He was born a predominantly Arab city in a predominantly Arab region. Later he moved to Egypt, never leaving for Persia
2) He never commented on his ethnicity.
3) He wrote exclusively in Arabic and in his use of Arabic never shows a Persian or non-Arabic influence. His Arabic is extremely 'pure'
4) His (near)-contemporaries never gave us a reason to believe he was a Persian
5) His name shows no non-Arabic traceI'm not saying he wasnt a Persian, all Im saying is that there is no evidence to believe he was. Maybe he was Indian or Chinese, or Egyptian, Andalusian. All we no for sure is that he was an Iraqi native
Please remove that first sentence and feel free to cobtinue your guesswork in the autobiography section.
Another point. Calling him Iraqi is much more appropriate than calling him a Mesopotamian. Mesopotamia is an ancient Greek term, while Iraq is a term used by Alhazen himself for his home country! It was how the muslims calles lower Iraq, south of Jazira. It is not a modern term! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 12:36, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
You may have a point, but please give references to support your viewpoint. We're not allowed to use our own research, we're only allowed to use Reliable Sources. Please provide a reference describing him as Mesopotamiam (or Iraqi, or whatever).
Also, could you clearly state what text you want. Your last edit to the article was for "Mesopotamian", but in your last comment on this page you seem to be arguing against the use of that term. --Merlinme (talk) 13:06, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any sources for Rarevogel's opinion. However, I do see a pattern to Rarevogel's editing....
Rarevogel states, "I can find just as much sources claiming he was Persian[2]. Whereupon Rarevogel places Persian before Arab.
Rarevogel states, "I can't find any reference anywhere to any Arab ancestry, he most probably was a Persian.",[3] removing 9 references in the process.
Rarevogel replaces Arab with Persian and adds sources.[4]
Rarevogel states, "Arabs are not a learned people.When someone (qualified or not) writes at he wrote in the Arabic language or they think ll muslims are Arabs. bout him being an 'Arab scientist', they either mean tha",[5] while adding an amazon.com reference
This is not the only article in which Rarevogel has removed/changed references and/or referenced information to suit his own personal opinion. --Kansas Bear (talk) 17:21, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I made those edits years ago, because at that time they insisted on calling him an Arab. Back then I didnt really no much about the man, when I came across these texts which call him a Persian. If anything it proves that Im really only interested in getting the correct ibfo out there. And since then the sebtence has been changed. Whether or not you think he was Arab or Chinese or French, its stupid to have the page start out with speculations: '...is an Arab or Persian scholar..'. Thats a childish way to open up the page. Have an entire srction devoted to his background but dont do this. Its like opening up Copernicus' page with: 'Copernicus was a German or Polish scholar..'. You cant do that.
kansasbear you have a tendency of blindly allowing false info to stay on these pages — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 21:04, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
This old book says he was an Arab and "seems to have been a native of Persia and to have resided in Spain and Egypt". Some say he was "Persian or Arab". At least one calls him Alexandrian. Some say he was "born in Basra, Iraq" or in "Basra, in present-day Iraq". None say he was Iraqi. Some acknowledge that he was Muslim; some imply he was in the Islamic culture but don't say anything about his own religion. But it would seem odd for us to simply call him him Muslim, instead of saying something more about the culture and place in which he was born and operated. Dicklyon (talk) 05:56, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
He was not a native of Persia. He was a native of Iraq. He never even went to Persia.
Iraq in his lifetime was governed by an Iranian tribe. I guess that explains why that writer calls him a Persian native? Because Iraq is no Persia, never has been — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 08:55, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
There is a case to be made for just deleting the debate as unnecessary in the lead, although I still don't think you've even come close to showing consensus before going ahead and making your edit in what you know is a controversial area. However in the interests of moving the article forward I've let it stand rather than undo it. I've deleted "Muslim" though, as it was rather prominent in the lead without the discussion of his background. We don't mention the religion of (say) Galileo in the lead of that article and I don't see why it's needed here. --Merlinme (talk) 10:58, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
It shouldnt be controversial bro. For the reasons I mentioned before. There is zero reason to velieve he was a Persian. There is zero reason to believe he even spoke another languwge except Arabic. He came from an Arabic city, his name shows no non-Arabic trace, etc. Isnt the burden then on you to prove he was Persian? Some obscure book where they bluntly state that he was isnt enough. Because I even came across a text where they said he came 'from the Persian city of Basra'! Still most books in GoogleBooks describe him as an Arab. Which too doesnt say a lot. What does that mean? Maybe he was of Aramean/Syriac descent? Which is more probable actually than him being an ethnic Arab or Persian
The only thing we know for sure was that he was an Iraqi and a muslim, and that he wrote exclusively in Arabic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 15:11, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not your bro. And if the consensus of authorities is that it makes sense to describe him as an Arab, please don't impose your own personal opinion otherwise on the encyclopedia. --Merlinme (talk) 15:22, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Go fuck yourself. Its not a matter of opinion. I've stated the facts. The burden is on you to prove that he was Persian or chinese or whatever, ehrn there is no evident proof. Its not on me to prove he wasnt.
a) Yes it is up to you to justify your opinion, using reliable sources; b) "Go fuck yourself" is unacceptable. I'll now raise at WP:ANI. --Merlinme (talk) 20:20, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
I meant to say: Go piss up a rope. Sorry for using the f-bomb, but you shouldnt be so rude to people. Anyway, I really wasnt intersted in proving he wasnt Persian. I found the opening sentence to be unappropriate, thats why I changed it to 'Iraqi'. Because thats all we know for sure really, that he was an Iraqi native. We might conclude that he was an Arab, given that he was born in an 'Arab' city, wrote exclusicely in Arabic and had an Arab name. But that still doesbt prove he was Arab. He might as well have been an Arabized Syriac, Persian or Jew or whatever. I dont understand why you guys have a problem with calling him 'an Iraqi scholar' but Im happy you removed that speculative opening sentence. Greets — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 20:39, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
After waiting more than 1 week, Rarevogel has failed to present any source(s) to support his opinion. Therefore, I move we place Arab in the lead as follows. "Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham (965 in Basra, Iraq – c. 1040 in Cairo, Egypt) was an Arab scientist, polymath, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher". Apply the Arab ethnicity to the biography section of the article, as well, using the 3 sources I have provided and be done with it. --Kansas Bear (talk) 04:51, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Seems OK, except I think bio style calls for NOT putting birth and death places into the lead that way; just the years (965 – c. 1040). Mention Basra later; it's still not clear to me that it makes sense to say Iraq. Dicklyon (talk) 06:54, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. Re: Iraq, the historical region and the modern country do not share the same borders, and no-one has yet produced a source, contemporary or more recent, describing Alhazen as Iraqi; the "country" he was born in, assuming we mean as a political entity, as I understand it would be one of the Buyid emirates. So I don't think "Iraqi" is helpful. However I don't mind "Basra, present-day Iraq". Later it's "Basra, in the Iraq, which was then part of the Buyid emirate". I've not actually seen the region described as "the Iraq" like this; is that a standard usage in English? --Merlinme (talk) 14:27, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Neither does 16th century holland share the same borders with present day Netherlands. Yet you have no problem with calling Rembrandt a Dutchman. You know why? Because there is continuity there. As is with the case of Iraq. I posted a source before, where they discuss the Ancient use of the name
Egypt ie another example by the way. Iancient, medieval and modern borders all differed, yet we call people from all those periods with this same name. Bc again, there is continuity there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 15:03, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Dicklyon, I do not have a problem removing Basra, Iraq and Cairo, Egypt and leaving just the years as you suggested. Since you two gentlemen have agreed, I will add Arab with the 3 academic sources. --Kansas Bear (talk) 16:07, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

I confess to knowing little of the relations between Arabs, Persians, and others in that part of the world, but the Persian people article states, "Besides modern Iran (Persia), ethnic Persians are also found in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) where they are usually called "Tajiks" and "Farsiwans", as well as in Southern Iraq (Babylonia), a region which has been historically an integral part of Persia." If that's so, then it explains why Alhazen is often said to be Persian; maybe he was. Dicklyon (talk) 06:20, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Southern Babylonia (southern Iraq), was not an 'integral part of Persia'. Let me try to explain. Babylonia (what is now Iraq, that part bounded by the rivers) is a region with a long history and culture. Its where the script first developed in 3000 BC, where the first cities were built. In around 550 BC, Persians arrived and conquered the region. Because Babylonia was so rich and developed, the Persians made it the centre of their empire, with their capital near the old city of Babylon. Babylonia was briefly taken by the Greeks, who ruled from the city of Seleucia and then retaken by the Persians, after which they ruled untill the arrival of the Arabs. In that 1000 year of Persian rule in Mesopotamia, that region retained its native Aramaic language and custums, never becoming significantly Persianized. In stead, Mesopotamia Semiticized the Persian states that ruled it: exporting its language (as it was the state language) and culture across those empires. Mesopotamia in that sense was not an integral part of Persia, culturally and economically. It stood apart through its non-Persian culture and its advanced economy. It was however an integral part of the Persian states, for the most part.
If Mesopotamia was Persianized in that long period of Persian rule, we could have stated that is was part of Persia. A Persian region. But it never was Persianized. When the Arabs came most people spoke a dialect of Aramaic. That fact helped Arabize that region so quickly, bc Aramaic and Arabic are very much alike. It was easy for those people to switch — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rarevogel (talkcontribs) 14:56, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining your opinion. Please could you suggest an improvement to the article, backed up by sources. --Merlinme (talk) 09:37, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Mentioned on Cosmos[edit]

Al-Hazen and some of his scientific career was discussed on the 5th episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey", "Hiding in the Light". I think he was referred to Arabic. If you missed this episode, it's being rebroadcast on the "National Geographic Channel" at 11P eastern tonight (right now!). Or you can watch the episode on the show's website for the next 97 days. http://www.cosmosontv.com/ Yours, Wordreader (talk) 03:06, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

There are several sources mentioned he was a Persian: Alhazen: Early experiments on light by Anthony Carpi, Ph.D., Anne Egger, Ph.D.; Ibn al-Haytham - Princeton University. There are theories that his origins was from Vaheštābāḏ Ardašīr a Persian city near modern city of Ahvaz. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:30A:C0A2:6450:D166:911D:861B:E946 (talk) 07:11, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Sources for Persian, outdated, not academically specialized, etc[edit]

  • doi:10.1068/p5940. PMID 18546671. Missing or empty |title= (help), is written by Craig Aaen-Stockdale, Department of Ophthalmology, not a historian and has no specialization in the field of history or the time period in question.
  • Understanding History by John Child, Paul Shuter, David Taylor - Page 70, non-verifiable. Quote and background on authors needed.
  • Science and Human Destiny by by Norman F. Dessel, Richard B. Nehrich, Glenn I. Voran - Page 164, non-verifiable. Quote and background on authors needed.
  • The Journal of Science, and Annals of Astronomy, Biology, Geology by James Samuelson, William Crookes - Page 497, dated 1880. Terribly outdated. --Kansas Bear (talk) 23:55, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

It's strange that an old source like "The Journal of Science, and Annals of Astronomy, Biology, Geology by James Samuelson, William Crookes - Page 497, dated 1880" is outdated from your aspect just because it's from "1880" then all the books that are not new are not good source or because they say something that you don't like to hear?

in Arabic Wikipedia they have accepted that this man is not clearly Persian or Arab but I don't know why people here are emphasizing that he was Arab. ولد ابن الهيثم في البصرة سنة 354هـ/965م في فترة كانت تعد العصر الذهبي للإسلام، واختلف المؤرخون أكان من أصل عربي[14] أم فارسي.

One of the friends says because his books are Arabic then he is Arab. I have written 9 books in English and doesn't have any book in my mother tongue language then I am from US?

Or because his name was Arabic then he was Arab.

With this formula you can call all other Iranian scientist Arab like:

- Abū al-Rayhān Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Bīrūnī. - Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī - Aḥmad ebn Roste Eṣfahānī - Abū Bishr ʿAmr ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qanbar Al-Biṣrī (c. 760–796) (Arabic: أبو بشر عمرو بن عثمان بن قنبر البصري‎), commonly known as Sībawayh. - and many others because their name and books are in Arabic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pooya3003 (talkcontribs) 15:04, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

What you have done right there is called original research. If you have a problem with the 2 Oxford university, the Columbia university and Encyclopaedia of Islam sources, then you should find sources better than one printed in 1880 or some website by an opthalmologist. I clearly asked for more information concerning these two sources:
  • Understanding History by John Child, Paul Shuter, David Taylor - Page 70, non-verifiable. Quote and background on authors needed.
  • Science and Human Destiny by by Norman F. Dessel, Richard B. Nehrich, Glenn I. Voran - Page 164, non-verifiable. Quote and background on authors needed. --Kansas Bear (talk) 21:48, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
If you wish to change the current wording, please could you provide good quality sources which describe Alhazen using the terms you wish to use, and we can discuss it. It is a mildly complicated (and certainly controversial) subject, and I am sure editors are willing to listen to your arguments. You have to understand that arguments are generally won in Wikipedia by considering which are the best sources though. To put it another way, if you don't provide some good sources then you're not going to change people's minds.
I don't personally have a problem with a good source from 1880, however if that is the only good source you can find then that is problematic. It is often the case that 19th century scholars would use different terms to modern scholars, and we would tend to use the modern terms without a very good reason not to. To take a simple example off the top of my head, 19th century historians routinely referred to England when today we would say the United Kingdom. Even if you could provide two dozen good 19th century sources showing the use of England to refer to the entire country, we wouldn't suddenly replace references to the United Kingdom with England, except perhaps as a historical footnote. --Merlinme (talk) 08:41, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I completely endorse Merlineme's comments. The problem with "The Journal of Science, and Annals of Astronomy, Biology, Geology" is in part the date - we need to ask if this is use of a now obsolete terminology such as 'England' for the entire UK, but also why we would use the source at all? What makes it a reliable source specifically about his ethnic identity rather than his research? We should be relying on academic historians for this specific issue. Dougweller (talk) 11:21, 23 July 2014 (UTC)