So to be clear his thesis is the Golden Age of Islam is not as significant as commonly considered or did not occur at all? Going forward I am assuming he is arguing the Golden Age of Islam is not an important event in human development. Nothing significant could come out of this part of the world because it practiced Islam.
Theocracy will inhibit scientific growth I am not arguing against that premise. But, this video is just amateur historic analysis. No one who is a professional in the field would take him seriously. He really spends most of his time on modern examples. He can't stay on topic. Really, I couldn't tell what the video was about other than the ‘West is awesome’.
What do Kuwait's math scores have to do with how important the Golden Age of Islam was to human development?
What does bride burning in India have to do with the Golden Age of Islam? As a side note the colonists were horrified by Sati and outlawed it but Harris is omitting the contributions of Hindu reformers like Ram Mohan Roy. A bunch of Westerners didn't sweep down and save India from itself. They were not there as idealistic democratic liberty reformers they were there to exploit the subcontinent. Much of the reform was implemented by people from India.
He uses false equivalency in this argument comparing modern Massachusetts to the whole of Islamic civilization. Because, Islamic civilization as a whole has been slow to advance scientifically it does not mean the Islamic Golden Age did not contribute to the pool of human knowledge. The achievements of an Golden Age must be take into consideration with what was possible in that point in time. Not what has happened in a state in the USA in the modern era. You could do a similar comparison with Pax Roma, Pax Mongolia, Hellenic Golden Age, etc and get the same result. The technological and scientific advances of most "Golden Ages" are rather shallow compared to the rapid rate of modern advances.
The lack of scientific growth in the Islamic world today does not negate the existence of the Golden Age of Islam. This occurred in the Middle Ages. The caliphates of the time were highly pluralistic when compared to other societies. Jewish illustrators were hired to do the diagrams in medical texts. In the 800s a Christian ran the medical school in Baghdad. He’s a pretty interesting guy here’s the Wikipedia article on him. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunayn_ibn_Ishaq
Pluralism generally fosters technological and scientific growth. While today many modern Islamic societies are not considered pluralistic.
There is a shit ton of apple to oranges going on here. Most of the Islamic world is dirt poor even the "wealthy" SA has significant poverty. Wealthy Islamic countries outside of Malaysia are one product countries which are susceptible to economic shock. They lack the economic diversity needed to generate a great deal of scientific development. Of course they are going to produce less scientific and technical advances. There is more to the story than just ‘Islam is bad for science.’
Societies contribute more than just scientific progress to human development. The Golden Age of Islam is known for its Art. While he does briefly mention modern book production he largely ignores that civilizations can contribute to human literature, architecture, art, and music. Harris ignores astronomy, parchment, medicine, and architectural advancements of the era to argue ‘preserving the works of Aristotle was not all that important’ . However, more than just Aristotle’s works were preserved during this period. We know Plato, Hippocrates, Galen, and other classical scholars because of the preservation of this era.
The thing that absolutely drives me up the wall with some “skeptics” is that somehow when discussing topics outside of hard science expert consensus does not count. This is very noticeable in the argument over whether or not Jesus was a historical figure. But, that is a topic for another thread. The majority of historians agree the Golden Age of Islam was significant part of the human story.