While Democrats and the mainstream media spent part of last week outraged over a viral video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), which they claim was deceptively edited, a liberal media watchdog deceptively circulated a video of Ben Shapiro.
On Friday, Media Matters for America researcher Jason Campbell tweeted a clip of Ben Shapiro discussing the development of modern science and the distinctions between scientific advancement in the Western world and the Eastern world.
“Ben Shapiro thinks that ‘the idea of science’ is unique to the Western world,” Campbell captioned the tweet.
However, the clip, which was deceptively edited and devoid of its entire context, disproves Campbell’s summary. Instead, the clip shows Shapiro correctly describing the scientific revolution by distinguishing “between generalized science and incremental technological change.”
Regardless of what Shapiro actually said, the clip incited the liberal outrage mob, which accused Shapiro of minimizing — or downright rejecting — scientific advancements, namely in the Islamic and Asian world.
“Mr. Shapiro, I’d be happy to let you sit in on either my History of Science course or my class on the History of Alchemy so you can see the Islamic/Arab origins of modern science,” one person said.
“Where does he think the ‘Al’ in Algebra comes from?” another person said.
“It took me 5 seconds to google that the ancient Chinese invented the compass, gunpowder, printing and paper making. Ben literally just makes sh*t up without even the most basic of sources, and on top of that he does it to promote this vague idea of the west’ (aka white people),” yet another person claimed.
How did Shapiro respond?
In response to criticism, Shapiro pointed people to another video in which he discusses the contributions the Muslim world made to science.
Here’s what Shapiro actually said in the video:
The truth is, that the vision of modern science: the idea of hypothesis and hypothesis being rejected by evidence — that sort of science, experimental science, is unique to the west. There is a difference between technological progress, which does exist in a vast number of civilizations. And that technological progress is generally linked to the human need to overcome the environment around them.
There’s a difference between that and the pure idea of exploring science for its own sake, which then has technical applications later. That is something that seems fairly unique to the West, which is why you see thinkers in the West, like Isaac Newton, who are trying to figure out general rules of the universe in a way that very few people were doing in other civilizations.
Now, that doesn’t mean that every other person in every other civilization was incapable of doing this. Obviously, there were strides in science and mathematics, particularly in the Indian world in the first millennium. But great expanse of science was deeply wedded to, historically speaking, the Judeo-Christian belief that in order to investigate God, you had to investigate God’s universe, and that was tied to a Greek natural law evidentiary-based position that the way to discover natural rules, was to look at the evidence. That’s an Aristotelian idea.
So, as I say, this is not to discount the discoveries of other civilizations. The question is why the West did it best. And the answer is that the West did it best not just because they were making technological advances — again, technological advances exist throughout history — the question is why is it that the West came up with this idea of science, this generalized idea of science that was then used to create tremendous technological change far beyond what you would get if you were just in a field and you needed to figure out how to make a plow work better, for example.
There is a difference between generalized science and incremental technological change.