Tentang Ibn al-Haytam dan Cara Berpikir

Saya penonton setia serial Cosmos. Saya selalu hadir di depan televisi setiap jam 9 malam di saluran National Geographic. Saat itu episode 5 yang bertajuk Hiding in The Light. Menceritakan seluk beluk tentang cahaya, dan mereka-mereka yang berjasa di bidang optik tersebut. Dimulai dari manusia goa yang takjub akan cahaya api, penemuan camera obscura oleh kebudayaan Tiongkok dan Arab. Ibn al-Haytam (Ibn al Hazen), Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, hingga temuan Joseph von Fraunhofer yang melahirkan bidang baru yaitu astrofisika.

Ibn al Hazen
Ibn al Hazen

Diantara nama-nama di atas, yang menarik perhatian saya adalah Ibn al-Haytam. Saya sudah lama mendengar nama ini. Kira-kira sejak SMA ketika saya membaca buku terbitan Republika. Saya hanya mengetahui bahwa beliau adalah salah satu saintis di bidang fisika optik saat zaman kejayaan Islam. Itulah yang sering saya baca dan kebetulan sangat dibanggakan teman-teman saya. Sayang, hal tersebut bagi saya tak terlalu spesial jika didengar. Kalau memang Ibn al-Haytam muslim, so what? Toh banyak “ilmuwan non-muslim” yang lebih membuat saya tertarik karena karya-karyanya. Tidak sekedar hanya ilmuwan tersebut beragama tertentu. Apalagi kebanyakan tak bisa jelaskan apa yang membuat ilmuwan muslim tersebut hebat.

Setelah menonton Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey episode Hiding in The Light, akhirnya saya mengakui bahwa temuan Ibn al-Haytam itu sangat luar biasa. Bukan temuan camera obscura atau hal yang terkait fisika optik lain yang mampu membuat khalifah saat itu terobsesi dengan sains lalu banyak memberikan dana kepada ilmuwan-ilmuwan Islam, tetapi fondasi sains yang diajarkan oleh Ibn al-Haytam lah yang membuat saya terpana

Menurut Cosmos, Ibn al-Haytam membuat fondasi dasar berpikir ilmiah. Berikut kutipannya :

 Ibn al-Hazen was the first person ever to set down the rules of science.

He created an error-correcting mechanism, a systematic and relentless way to shift out misconceptions in our thinking. Finding truth is difficult and the road to it is rough. As seekers after truth, you will be wise to withhold judgment and not simply put your trust in the writings of the ancients. You must question and critically examine those writings from every side.

You must submit only to argument and experiment and not to the sayings of any person. For every human being is vulnerable to all kinds of imperfection. As seekers after truth, we must also suspect and question our own ideas as we perform our investigations, to avoid falling into prejudice or careless thinking.

Take this course, and truth will be revealed to you.

This is the method of science.

Ketika saya menonton bagian ini, mata saya berkaca-kaca. Selain mengingat bahwa saya sendiri masih sering melakukan kesalahan berpikir, saya juga membayangkan apa yang terjadi jika kita semua mempunyai kemampuan tersebut. Terus terang, kekurangan inilah yang membuat kita terbelakang saat ini. Kita lebih percaya kepada gosip, rumor, atau semacamnya tanpa menguji kebenarannya. Apalagi di era informasi di mana informasi membanjir dengan hebatnya. Kemampuan seperti di atas lah yang mampu menjadi pelindung kita agar tak mudah terjebak oleh kesalahan berpikir.

Only a few centuries ago, a mere second of cosmic time we knew nothing of where or when we were Oblivious to the rest of the cosmos, we inhabited a kind of prison a tiny universe bounded by a nutshell.  How did we escape from the prison?

It was the work of generations of searchers who took five simple rules to heart. Question authority.  No idea is true just because someone says so, including me. Think for yourself. Question yourself. Don’t believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn’t make it so. Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment. If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it’s wrong! Get over it.

Follow the evidence, wherever it leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgment. And perhaps the most important rule of all. Remember, you could be wrong. Even the best scientists have been wrong out some things. Newton, Einstein, and every other great scientist in history, they all made mistakes. Of course they did, they were human.

Science is a way to keep from fooling ourselves and each other. Have scientists known sin? Of course. We have misused science, every other tool at our disposal, and that’s why we can’t afford to leave it in the hands of a powerful few. The more science belongs to all of us, the less likely it is to be misused. These values undermine the appeals of fanaticism and ignorance.

– Neil deGrasse Tyson. Cosmos A SpaceTime Odyssey, Episode Unafraid of The Dark

Selamat Malam🙂

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