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Al-Jahith, not Al-Jahiz (and other transliteration issues)[edit]

I tried to correct as many "Jahiz" spellings as I could, but some parts are apparently blocked to me. Please change any spelling from "Al-Jahiz" to "Al-Jahith".

"Al-Jahiz" has only two possible transliterations in Arabic: الجاهز and الجاحز, and Al-Jahith's name in Arabic is الجاحظ, so you can see that none of the two transliterations are correct. Al-Jahith, on the other hand, can be transliterated into: الجاحذ or الجاهذ or الجاهظ or الجاحظ, and the last one is the correct name of this scientist.

Transliterating the Arabic letters, ظ and ذ, to "z" instead of "th" is a common inaccuracy and mistake done by most non-native Arabic speakers, and even by some native Arabs who rely on slang or colloquial pronunciations rather than proper, academic, and professional pronunciation of Arabic. This is the only reason you may see more search results using "Al-Jahiz" than the correct "Al-Jahith". And with that said, we can still see that one of The Telegraph's writers spells the name correctly in a Telegraph article about Al-Jahith.--Wisdawn (talk) 18:28, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

While it's true that ظ is actually the emphatic form of ذ, the standard transliteration method for ظ is ẓ. That's based on the Egyptian pronunciation of ظ as an emphatic of ز, but alas, THAT is the standard. Ideally, it would be DH with a dot under it, or even a ð with a dot under it, but look at any scholar of Islam's work in english and Ẓ = ظ. Notice that in the Romanization of Arabic article, there is NO transliteration standard "TH" for ظ. murraytheb _ مــــــروان (talk) 06:27, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Murraytheb is absolutely correct on this. All of the "al-Jahith" spellings need to be changed back to "al-Jahiẓ." Both the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Library of Congress use "ẓ" as the transliterated form of ظ . Hangaroundtheinkwell (talk) 19:20, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I went through standardized the Jahiz spellings with the correct transliteration. But there are still MANY transliteration errors and inconsistencies that need to be addressed throughout this article. It's really a mess.Hangaroundtheinkwell (talk) 19:39, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Disputed (Resolved)[edit]

This article has several sentences under Al-Jahith's works, making dubious or suspicious claims about one of Al-Jahith's books. Specifically, the article relies on non-academic and inaccurate references to claim that Al-Jahith, in his book Kitāb al-Hayawān (Book of Animals), discussed "natural selection", "speciation" (or species changing to new species), and "evolution". I am fluent in the Arabic language, and have access to two electronic copies of Al-Jahith's book, for anyone who would like to accept the challenge of showing me where exactly in Al-Jahith's book he mentions any of the aforementioned concepts. Until someone can provide better & more accurate references, or at least accept my challenge and show me exact quotes in the book, I strongly believe that all the sentences in this article, which make reference to natural selection, speciation, or evolution, should be completely deleted to ensure accuracy and academic honesty.

With that said, I am happy to leave the other parts as they are, as I believe that Al-Jahith did indeed try to categorize animals and also covered the struggle for existence--although without even using those exact words, but as I stated before, in no way did he use those concepts to suggest evolutionary mechanisms on the biological and macroevolutionary (speciation) sense.--Wisdawn (talk) 18:40, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

I did a lot of research & work to confirm my initial thoughts, and consequently, have removed dubious statements and added a new section titled "Al-Jahith and Creationism", clarifying exactly how the misconceptions surrounding Al-Jahith emerged and providing ample exact references or citations.--Wisdawn (talk) 06:43, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Al-Jahiz and Evolution[edit]

The information citing what alJahiz wrote about evolution was sourced from Mehmet Baydrakar's article listed in the references. The transcript of the encounter program in the reference below Baydrakar's is from a short presentation given at a seminar. By necessity it had to be a brief summary of what was written in Baydrakar's article. You have to be careful with this sort of article. Baydrakar is a theologian not a scientist. His article shows a mixture of Lamarckian, Darwinian and theistic ideas. This mixing of science and religion is common among apologists for the Qur'an. While al-Jahiz and other Muslim scholars had evolutionary ideas, the possibility of others overstating what he actually wrote should be considered.Ib9s1nd 23:24, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

I fully agree with this. Please refer to my longer comment below in the "natural selection" section. I have a PDF copy of the original Arabic book by Al-Jahith, and I have strong reason to believe that, in his article, Bayrakdar's references from Al-Jahith's book are fabricated and academically dishonest, or at the very least misinterpreted and exaggerated.Wisdawn (talk) 18:19, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
The way this section is written is misleading. Al-Jahiz did not say what follows after the preface "Al-Jahiz wrote the following on the struggle for existence". As the above user has pointed out, these are the words of Gary Dargan, an Australian geologist, who is paraphrasing his interpretation of Al-Jahiz' work. Furthermore, in the sentence immediately preceding this, a philosophy paper is cited as evidence that Al-Jahiz created an early theory of natural selection. I've just read that paper, and it says only that Al-Jahiz described a "struggle for existence". There is no reference to natural selection. I'll make the appropriate changes. TheGoodOak (talk) 16:06, 25 November 2007 (UTC)I presented the information about al-Jahiz at a seminar on the place of teaching intelligent design in schools, (there isn't one). At the time I only had access to Bayrakdar's article. Subsequently after further reading I suspected he had overstated the case. However, more recently Jim al-Khalili revisits the issue in his book "The House of Wisdom". He has revisited the original text and while there may be some substance to the claims al-Jahiz by no means had a full-blown theory of evolution. However he did make some good observations and carried out some simple experiments.The problem with translating any text including Arabic is that language at times is so flexible that you are likely to arrive at the meaning you are looking for. THis may have been the case with Bayrakdar.
I think you should read the paper again. Al Jahiz has talked about environmental factors forcing species to adopt and in certain cases get transformed in an effort to survive. To me this is a precursor of natural selection. In addition, the Europeans did not have the scientific ideas in vacuum. They inherited it from the Muslims and -via Muslims- the Greeks. Utnasudra (talk) 08:49, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I adopt monotheistic submission as a religious belief, and Al-Jahith is a historic scholar & scientist that I am proud of, but as stated elsewhere, I am fluent in Arabic, have access to electronic copies of Book of Animals, and I believe that Al-Jahith never even remotely mentioned anything that has to do with natural selection, speciation, or evolution. Al-Jahith only touched on the struggle of existence, no more nor less, and without even using those exact words or terms! I would welcome a challenge from someone who can show me any references in his original Arabic book to such evolutionist concepts.Wisdawn (talk) 18:19, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Ib9s1nd, you say "...His article shows a mixture of Lamarckian, Darwinian and theistic ideas. This mixing of science and religion is common among apologists for the Qur'an." This is because Bayraktar is writing about a scientist and theologian who mixed those things which in turn is because that scientist/theologian lived more than a thousand years ago when such mixing was normal. A lot of European scientists of medieval times were also theologians. Newton also talked about God, Leibniz also talked about God. So I can't see the point of your "this mixing of science and religion" argument. Utnasudra (talk) 08:49, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree that this section can be very misleading. The paper that is cited (citation #6) is "Al-Jahiz and the Rise of Biological Evolutionism" by Mehmet Bayrakdar. It seems to me after reading that article that Mr. Mehmet Bayrakdar is presenting his own original research in this paper. He is arguing, as I understand it, that Al-Jahiz had anticipated the modern theory of evolution in the "Book of Animals" and that later scientists, such as Darwin, were influenced and guided by Al-Jahiz's work in their own researches. Here lies the problem!!! Whether Mr. Bayrakdar's argument is true or not is besides the point - his article is a piece of original research, and it should be clearly and explicitly presented as such. This section should explicitly say something along the lines of "Mehmet Bayrakdar has argued that Al-Jahiz anticipated the modern theory of evolution" and not cite Mr. Bayrakdar's research as if it was a direct quotation from Al-Jahiz. Works of original research about a topic must be explicitly labeled as being works of original research so that they are not confused with direct quotations from a primary source (in this case, Al-Jahiz's "Book of Animals"). Only direct, word-for-word translations from the "Book of Animals" can be said to be Al-Jahiz's own words; all else must be clearly labeled as being arguments about Al-Jahiz written by a modern scholar. This is very important because we must not confuse what was written BY a person with what was written ABOUT that person!!! The "quotations" from Al-Jahiz that are presented in this section are in fact paraphrases of Mr. Mehmet Bayrakdar's original arguments from the cited paper; the "quotations" are not direct translations from the "Book of Animals", as they should and must be. Someone who is more knowledgeable about either Al-Jahiz or the theory of evolution (or, preferably, both) needs to correct this section and clearly differentiate what Al-Jahiz wrote in the "Book of Animals" from what Mr. Mehmet Bayrakdar argues about Al-Jahiz in his own paper, "Al-Jahiz and the Rise of Biological Evolutionism". The two works, one ancient and one modern, must be clearly separated to ensure that the information on this Wikipedia article is presented in a clear, non-biased, logical, and truthful manner. IonNerd (talk) 10:55, 12 August 2009 (UTC)IonNerd
I must agree that this summary of what Al-Jahiz wrote is troubling; those of us who haven't read the "Book of Animals" have no way of evaluating how much of the statement is a modern spin, putting the original into terms that match up with Darwin's formulation. Reading later accounts and commentaries suggests that the Islamic view of Evolution was much like the "Great Chain of Being" of European thought, which can be evolutionary but doesn't anticipate natural selection well. It must be clarified that no one should argue that Darwin came up with evolution (the record is clear there) but that natural selection as a mechanism for evolution is his contribution. We need a translation of the original to ascribe those ideas reliably to Al-Jahiz. Xanthoptica (talk) 17:39, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Category:Antisemitism (People)[edit]

It has been proposed that the category Category:Antisemitism_(People) be deleted. Since it has been proposed to add this article to that category, please consider voting on it at: Wikipedia:Categories for deletion#Category:Antisemitism (People)

Does al-jahiz was black or not ?[edit]

We know about his book "on the superiority of the blacks on the whites", this book makes that many believe that he was of african descent but in the book of Bernard Lewis (Race and Slavery) he is quoted saying

  • "Like the crow among mankind are the Zanj for they are the worst of men and the most vicious of creatures in character and temperament." Kitab al-Hayawan, vol. 2
  • "We know that the Zanj (blacks) are the least intelligent and the least discerning of mankind, and the least capable of understanding the consequences of actions." Kitab al-Bukhala
  • "They [the Shu`ubiyya] maintain that eloquence is prized by all people at all times - even the Zanj, despite their dimness, their boundless stupidity, their obtuseness, their crude perceptions and their evil dispositions, make long speeches." Al-Bayan wa`l-tabyin, vol. 3

So I ask:Does al-jahiz was black or not ? Roger_Smith —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:21, 6 December 2006 (UTC).

"Zanj" does not mean black, don't be ignorant. Their word for black was 'sudd', and is reflected in the name for the country Sudan, Bilad al-Sudan ("lands of the Blacks").. Zanj simply referred to an area in East Africa or Zanzibar and possibly its slaves.. After more research, I indeed believe that he was Zanj himself and that his criticism of them was merely satire.. He was mocking the silly views which were rampant at that time period.. The Zanj, as a way to keep unwanted meddlers away from their land, spread stories and rumors about themselves involving cannibalism, etc, in order to scare people away. Which didn't really work that well, but did to a certain extent.Taharqa 18:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

The reference previously sourced[edit]

The author of that webpage referenced himself as proof, and claimed that the Prophet Muhammad is further comments. MB 21:25, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, Al-Jahiz himself states that the prophet's grandfather was black, but that may not be what you were talking about..Taharqa 22:31, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Just in case anyone ever reads this claim, Taharqa--and anyone else for that matter--should really show solid references directly from one of Al-Jahith's books to prove that Al-Jahith ever said or wrote that Prophet Muhammad's ancestry is African (or black). I strongly believe that none of Al-Jahith's books make such a claim, simply because no respectable Muslim scholar or historian would make such a mistake about the well-known roots of Prophet Muhammad, which does not include African (or black) origin.

islamic natural selection?????[edit]

This is the reason why i have removed any refernces to islamic ideas on natural selection, yet another massive, gross misrepresentation of the so called "islamic science", clearly demonstrating that once again the proffessionals of islamic science have absolutely no clue about science themselves, or history and are only intersted in distortions of massive proportions.

here's little biology lesson for whoever writes this nonense about nautral selection and evoltuion on islamic thought. what is natural selection, well what darwin told is this species exist within a particular environment, then ones that posses certain charateristics, that is ones they are born with will be able to feed themselves better and survive and reproduce more then the species that do not have those traits, hence the fundemental principle of evolution though natural selection, nautral selection acts on individuals, but only populations can evolve, as Darwin said those species are naturally selected. So where does this apply here. Evolutionary thought has existed for millienia, what Darwin did is he provided us with the framework of how evolution happened, natural selection, as mentioned above. Nowhere has any muslim philosopher provided an ounce of a description of evolution through natural selection. all they have done is implied that certain species evoloved from others., but thats not natural selection. Natural selection is the framework within which evolution happens. Last and most importantly, Darwin went about scientifically proving natural selection, through his studies of species on the Galápagos Islands. He did not invoke God or any angles in his thesis, since thats not science, but mere religious philosophy, and he thesis consisted of several books, not a couple of paragraphs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Just a quick correction: I agree with you on that no historical Muslim philosopher or scientist has provided an ounce of a description of evolution through natural selection, thankfully that never happened, but actually none of them even implied that certain species evolved from others either! Evolution, collectively and in part, is completely alien to historical Islamic thought and scientific research.--Wisdawn (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:08, 4 December 2010 (UTC).
I think you have no clue as to how much that "Islamic Science" you are disparaging contributed to today's science. Go read a bit about the Mutezilites and how much they and other muslims contributed to science and how it was from them and their study of Greek works the Europeans got the new ideas. Looking at muslims today and judging their state of affairs of a thousand years ago is simply nonscientific.
All ideas are evolutionary, so to try to imply that Darwin had the idea of natural selection all by himself is ridiculous. "Nowhere has any muslim philosopher provided an ounce of a description of evolution through natural selection." This is such an unfortunate comment. Al Jahiz (d 869) for example talked about natural and environmental factors forcing species to adapt themselves and get transformed all for the sole purpose of survival (which he calls Existence) Of course it was Darwin and Wallace who firmly established the idea of natural selection but that does not mean that the idea or its precursors were not proposed before by other thinkers.Utnasudra (talk) 09:02, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I have read that article by Mehmet Bayrakdar, looked at his references, obtained an original Arabic copy of the book by Al-Jahith himself, and cross-checked Bayrakdar's citations, and must say that I have strong reasons to believe that Bayrakdar committed fabrication, a form of academic dishonesty. Al-Jahith's book does not make any clear references to species changing into new species (or speciation) as a result of natural selection or of the struggle of existence. I am more than happy to challenge any Arabic speaker to show me where exactly the claimed references are in Al-Jahith's book, and here is an electronic copy of Book of Animals if the other person doesn't have it. Consequently, I believe that claims about Al-Jahith making any reference to evolution, natural selection, or speciation must be deleted from the article if it is to be academically & historically correct.Wisdawn (talk) 18:13, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

islamic natural selection????? RESPONSE[edit]

A few comments (and a homework) regarding the message above:

Comment #1: the notion of "natural selection" was introduced by C. Darwin: TRUE. No doubt about that.

C2: the fact that a man introduced a term does not make him the inventor of the phenomenon. (I hope you agree on this one.)

C3: evolutionary intuitions or thoughts, as you mentioned, exist since the ancient times, tracing back to Aristotle in Ancient Greece and Zhuangzi in Ancient China. Same for the intuition of "natural selection". You can go way back in time, before C. Darwin to find "his" disruptive idea of natural selection. Ironically, C. Darwin's grandfather has also some contribution on the "natural selection" idea. So, who is to credit for this? Was Darwin the right guy, at the right time, in the right scientific circle?

The homework now:

I am quoting you: "proffessionals of islamic science have absolutely no clue about science themselves". As a scientist, I know to whom we owe the "scientific method". Do you?

Homework: who introduced and invented the scientific method? (I am not talking about empiricism) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

al jahiz citation has un ureliable source (on enviromental factors)[edit]

it was taken only by a radio debate, and it was quoted by gary dargan, without reporting from wich part of the book it was taken —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:24, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I've removed two references that were added to this article (and to Early Islamic Philosophy) in support of the claim about al-Jahiz's ideas on evolution: "Time to acknowledge debt science in West owes to Islamic world, Irish Times and Science: Islam's forgotten geniuses, The Daily Telegraph". Both of these articles have clearly copy-pasted this quotation from here or from the original site (Gary Dargan, Intelligent Design, Encounter, ABC), but they repeat the misquotation that was originally just on this page (i.e., that the words are a quotation from Al-Jahiz rather than an alleged summary of its contents), so it is safe to assume that they use this page as a source.
I am impressed by what this demonstrates about the power of Wikipedia: information can be placed here from a poor source, which is then picked up by some rather credulous mainstream media, and that in turn can then be used to support the original low quality claim. The circle is complete.
To Jim Al-Khalili's credit, he ran a similar article to his one above [1] the very next day in The Guardian [2], in which the claim about al-Jahiz's ideas is much reduced. –Syncategoremata (talk) 09:42, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Birth and Death Years?[edit]

{{fact}} template on Quotes section[edit]

I'm about to remove the {{fact}} templates that have been added to the Quotes section of this article. I don't know the precise source for each of these (tho' I'll add them if I happen to find them) but they do reflect the general opinion of al-Jahiz and his place in classical Arabic literature (as I understand it) and it would seem a shame to lose them from the article.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 11:25, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

My addition of the templates was not based on doubt about whether the quotes were real or accurate. Instead it was guided by the understanding that a citation is always needed When quoting someone. I had no intention of removing the quotes, either, just wanted to emphasize that these, like all direct quotes from named persons, should be tied to specific sources. Dialectric (talk) 17:03, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, true. I was thinking more in terms of {{fact}} being appropriate for material likely to be challenged, which I feel is unlikely for those quotes. I'll see if I can find some citations for them, or else some equivalent quotations: their sentiment is common so should not be hard to find some sourced examples.
All the best, and thanks for drawing my attention to yet another bit of the Wikipedia guidelines I hadn't been aware of. –Syncategoremata (talk) 17:19, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Stub and rework[edit]

For background information, please see RFC/U and Cleanup. With 68 edits, User:Jagged 85 is the main contributor to this article (2nd: 18 edits). The issues are more subtle than in other articles (e.g. here, here, here or here), but even after some cleanup work still perceptible ("the first to discuss food chain", "early adherent of environmental determinism"). Incredulous TP contributions above confirm my impression. Jagged 85 is quoting Al-Jahiz on (black) race and (ecological) determinism and I really would like a reliable editor to write about these matters instead. Therefore, I restore the article to the latest pre-Jagged version (before 12 June 2007), though this version itself is hardly referenced. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 19:52, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Food Chain[edit]

There is currently a citation provided for the claim that Al-Jahiz originated the concept of the food chain, which is basically a direct quote from the (reliable, verified) source. The source doesn't elaborate on the claim, however. The pre-stub version has a longer quote about mosquitos and elephants, cited to 'Frank N. Egerton, "A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 6: Arabic Language Science - Origins and Zoological", Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, April 2002: 142-146 [143]' if anyone has access to that source, it would be helpful to see what Al-Jahiz says that is being interpreted as a description of food chains. The food chain article makes no mention of Al-Jahiz. Dialectric (talk) 17:18, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Myths reference[edit]

In The Rough Guide to Evolution: Ten myths about Darwin and his theory of evolution dated January 5, 2009, Mark Pallen outlined points covered in his book:

Myth 5. Darwin was scooped by the Baghdad scholar Al-Jahiz, who hit on the idea of evolution a thousand years earlier than Darwin did; Darwin learnt Arabic from his Cambridge friend Samuel Lee and then stole ideas about evolution from the Islamic tradition.
Brief response: There is little or no evidence in English as to what Al-Jahiz actually wrote, but a lot of uncritical acceptance of material misrepresented in the Wikipedia. There is no evidence that Darwin ever knew anything of Al-Jahiz and other Islamic scholars and evidence for only one brief dinner party meeting with Lee. [covered in the book]

If desired, I can expand the section a little using Pallen's book as a source. . . dave souza, talk 18:43, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Dubious sources on evolution[edit]

See the section above about Pallen's book, and #al jahiz citation has un ureliable source (on enviromental factors) above: having looked at the sources and history of this article, this invalidates much of the content of the section on evolution. I've reviewed Zirkle's 1941 commentary, and summarised it in the section on the Book of Animals.

As for Mehmet Bayrakdar, he or she uses "Sunday, dined in Trinity; capital dinner, and was very glad to sit by Professor Lee* …; I find him a very pleasant chatting man, and in high spirits like a boy, at having lately returned from a living or a curacy, for seven years in Somersetshire, to civilised society and oriental manuscripts. He had exchanged his living to one within fourteen miles of Cambridge, and seemed perfectly happy."[3] as the basis for the claim that "Some Europeans knew Arabic and they could read directly from the Muslim scientists’ books; for example, Darwin was himself initiated into Islamic culture in Cambridge under a jewish orientalist called Samuel Lee."

The footnote by Francis Darwin does confirm that CD's dining companion "Samuel Lee, of Queens,' was Professor of Arabic from 1819 to 1831, and Regius Professor of Hebrew from 1831 to 1848", but the rest appears to be down to Bayrakdar's vivid imagination. Samuel Lee (linguist) doesn't seem to have been very Jewish, not many Jewish vicars at that time. . . dave souza, talk 21:22, 26 June 2013 (UTC) p.s. Note that CD had this dinner during a 3 day visit to Cambridge in 1838, after his return from the Beagle voyage. Not a long time to get initiated into Islamic culture, let alone learn how to read Arabic books. . . dave souza, talk 21:37, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Quote from book[edit]

This quote from the Book of Animals, "Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring" has been removed, I would guess, on the grounds that the sources cited used Wikipedia for the quote. The earliest source with that quote, that of ABC, is from June 2006. From what I checked in the history of this page, this quote was not on this page before that time to copy from. Sodicadl (talk) 04:54, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Will review, but that doesn't mention natural selection or cover the later claims. . dave souza, talk 07:36, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
For others coming into this discussion late, as mentioned in this talk page several years ago, and clarified in the article, this is not a direct quote from the Book of Animals, but instead a summary by Gary Dargan, a modern paleontologist.Dialectric (talk) 00:04, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Copyvio removed from lead, question source[edit]

I've deleted a sentence from the lead as it was a blatant copy of the sole sentence discussing Al-Jāḥiẓ in a chapter of a “popular science” book which "briefly surveys the nature of science and its emergence in post-Renaissance Europe", and goes into major topics "in a little more detail." So, very little detail about Al-Jāḥiẓ. Other than omitting the statement that the concept of food chains "had no known precedent in Greek or Persian thought", we had a straight lift of this one sentence from Agutter, Paul S.; Wheatley, Denys N. (2008). Thinking about life: the history and philosophy of biology and other sciences. Springer. p. 43. ISBN 1-4020-8865-5. . Given the multiple meanings of "evolution", this sentence taken out of context may paint an exaggerated and misleading picture. . dave souza, talk 17:20, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I've seen what's mentioned there mentioned elsewhere, if my mind serves me correctly. I don't have access to that source you removed (though I haven't checked Google Books yet, they have quite a bit of stuff on there) so I can't comment, though of further secondary sources can be found containing statements to that effect, would it be possible to reinstate the removed source as well, or should we just leave it out? MezzoMezzo (talk) 18:36, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I was able to look at a preview of the book on and a search for Al-Jāḥiẓ showed the page in question. It's almost a passing mention, so I'd like to see some more detailed source. There's a common tendency nowadays to mix early ideas of transformism or transmutation with the modern meaning of evolution, and a bit misleading. . dave souza, talk 19:47, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Alright, let's just scrap that source entirely then. I noticed from other talk page discussions that you've discerned a number of misrepresentations of that sort, so if you're able it would be great if you could provide some further commentary. A number of sources which are verifiable and seem reliable to a layman like me - though not necessarily scholarly as I can't judge - are present on Talk:Islamic views on evolution regarding attributions of the food chain and natural selection, or at least early conceptions resembling those, to Jahiz. With those taken together, would some sort of a mention be warranted here? Something along the lines of "early concepts of the food chain and natural selection have been attributed to Jahiz"? MezzoMezzo (talk) 19:59, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Have commented over at Talk:Islamic views on evolution, and the same sort of cautious statement could go here, making clear that these views are promoted by some but not all scholars. The food chain thing isn't really evolution, but could be mentioned here. We mention Conway Zirkle describing what looks like the same passage, but suggesting this is a "struggle for existence" so we could mention that other scholars have proposed this as an early description of a food chain. I'm cautious about natural selection, as Darwin's usage goes beyond the actual selection to a theory including heritable variations giving reproductive advantage being selected in the context of a struggle for existence. There's a tendency of authors to notice one of the components and describe it as "natural selection". . . dave souza, talk 20:26, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

و in the Arabic spelling of his name[edit]

Does it stand for, say, wa that got omitted from the Latin transcription, or is it a typo? (talk) 22:52, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Jahiz and racial stereotypes[edit]

page 71

Rajmaan (talk) 04:53, 1 January 2015 (UTC)


Per several discussion above, I've just removed:

In a discussion broadcast by ABC. the palaeontologist and practising Muslim Gary Dargan said that al-Jāḥiẓ had made observations that described evolution: "Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."[1][dubious ]

In addition to the above discussion, I think if he really were a precursor, there'd be academic sources saying so William M. Connolley (talk) 21:17, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

FWIW, History_of_zoology_(through_1859)#Medieval_and_Islamic_knowledge does have such sources, or at least it purports to; I wouldn't be shocked to discover they're wrong. They were added by an anon [4] William M. Connolley (talk) 21:21, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Gary Dargan, Intelligent Design, Encounter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.