"There's a new traveling exhibition in the UK entitled 1001 inventions. It contains some of the most interesting inventions from the past few thousand years. The common theme, however, is that they all came from the Islamic world and not the west. In some cases [the list is] quite surprising. For the lazy, the Independent newspaper in the UK printed their top 20 from the exhibition."
So... Why do civilizations fall behind in science. Through out time the technical skills of civilizations seem to cycle.
Like China at one point was the end-all-be-all of the techical world, and then they were over run by less technically advanced nations. We've found acheological eveidence of extremely advanced African nations, that disappeared. And the middle east once was the most advanced and opulant part of the world, and now for the most part seems to be barren wastelands with only oil keeping them from third world status. And the Romans bringing science to most of the old world, just to fall and, resulting in the following dark ages.
Some, myself included, feel that the U.S. might be in decline. We are losing ground on the science front, and we are angering our friends, and pay out billions in "aid" to buy friends. How long can we keep this up, and how long until we fall, and further, how can we prevent a fall? Can we learn from history?