I read James' posts on the "Holy Science" thesis, and I wonder whether he or Tim or other "specialists" on this board have heard of French medievist Sylvain Gouguenheim whose book on the transmission of Aristotle's works led him into some serious trouble some years ago. His thesis was that Arabs played no or little part in the conservation and transmission of antique works and that Christianity, unlike popular wisdom, was far more hospitable to science than Islam. This drew him ferocious criticism from his colleagues (well, some of his colleagues) who labeled him an islamophobe, a racist and a civilisation-conflict wonger, and called for his sacking. At least two books were written in response to him, though only Gouguenheim's made the best-sellers list. Since French historians are known to easily let ideology slip in their facts and are thus not always reliable especially in such polemical matters, I would like to know who's right and who's wrong there, seen from the outside world?
I wonder if Gouguenheim's thesis owes any sorts of debt to nineteenth century scholars like Ernest Renan. He also said that Islam had polluted the Greek heritage but put it in explicitly racist terms. If direct links are drawn between the two, then that might explain at least so of the antipathy.
As you know, I am happy to state that some current Islamic apologetics over states the case, but I would not want to write it's contribution off completely.