Scientific Miracles? Not quite

Many educated Muslims are struggling to waft their Quran from its Medieval fossil form to fit into the 21st century age of science and technology. To this end, they are boldly asserting that their book foretold modern scientific findings 14 centuries ago. These portions are dubbed “scientific miracles” of the Quran. Let’s see if these claims hold up.

The following rebuttals were drawn out from dialogues I’ve had with several Muslims on this topic. When I asked them to present their strongest “proofs” for the Quran’s divine inspiration, their favourite trump cards were the “scientific miracle” passages. But as it often turns out, the cards quietly slip back into their pockets as their propaganda backfires.

(I) Quran 24:40 says “(The unbelievers’ state) is like the depth of darkness, in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with a great wave toppled with (another) great wave, toppled with (dark) clouds, darkness one above another; If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it; for whom Allah gives no light, there is no light.”

It’s a miracle that the Quran described layers of darkness in the ocean 1400 years ago. This has now been recently confirmed by marine scientists stating that the ocean becomes progressively dark at very distinct layers of its depths.

Reading through the various English translations of the Quran, it’s clear that this passage is referring to darkness covering the surface of sea, not dark layers within it.

Arberry: “Or they are as shadows upon a sea obscure covered by a billow above which is a billow above which are clouds, shadows piled one upon another…”

Palmer: “Or like darkness on a deep sea, there covers it a wave above which is wave, above which is a cloud – darknesses one above the other…”

Rodwell: “Or like the darkness on the deep sea when covered by billows, above which are clouds; darkness upon darkness…”

Sher Ali: “Or, their deeds are like thick layers of darkness spread over a vast and deep sea, on whose surface rises waves, above which are clouds…”

Pickthall: “Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him like a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness…”

There are no clouds within the sea, so this verse refers to darkness above the sea. One would have to be so desperate to force oceanography into this banal allegory.

(II) Sura 21:30 saysHave they not who disbelieve seen that the heaven and earth were joimed together (as one piece), then We parted them.”

Here, Allah explained a mystery unknown to the greatest physicists and astronauts for centuries. It described the creation of the universe by joining together heavens and the earth and separating them. This harmonizes with Big Bang Theory of the creation of the universe which holds that about 20 million years ago, the universe began with an explosive expansion of a single condensed matter.

I appeal to all Muslims who don’t wish to be exposed to ridicule to read up about the Big Bang theory before including it in their dawah memo. This theory stipulates that about 13.7 billion years ago, a tremendous explosion started the universe.

Prior to this, the energy that transformed the matter was contained at one infinitely small point, thus, the explosion supposedly gave rise to the particles that became matter as well as space and time. It proposes that the galaxies were not all clumped together, so the claim of heavens and earth “being separated” as the Quran says is false.

Even more than a point, the Big Bang theory excludes Creationism, so the term “Big Bang theory of creation” is ludicrous. The Big Bang is just that – a theory – not a scientific fact. If it’s true, that means God didn’t create the earth and there were no Adam and Eve. Most believers in the Big Bang theory are atheists and agnostics. Appealing to speculative theories in place of facts is self-defeating.

(III) Sura 78:12-13 says “We have built above you seven strong (heavens) and placed therein a blazing lamp.”

It’s clear from this verse that the sun is the only light for our solar system. Astronomers have now established that the moon merely reflects the light of the sun. The Qur’an stated this fact centuries before the astronomers could establish this by their findings

These verses actually prove that the Quran is not from an all-knowing Allah. The idea of “seven solid (heavens)” built up like some storey buildings is absurd. No astronomer will buy such gobbledygook.

Finally, the sun is not “a blazing lamp”. It would have been scientifically accurate if the Quran said that the sun is the star at the centre of the solar system around which the earth rotates.

(IV) Sura 16:68-69 “And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: Take your habitations in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations. Then eat of all fruits, and follow the way of your Lord made easy (for you); There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colours wherein is healing for men; Verily, in this indeed a sign for people who think.”

The Quran in this verse used the female form of the verb, thus is stating that the female bee is entrusted with the task of collecting food and making the honey. Muhammad wasn’t an expert entomologist, so he couldn’t have known this 14 centuries ago.

There are a number of problems with these verses. One, bees have a more complex navigation, communication and social mechanisms. They live in a wide variety of environments and are certainly not restricted to hills, trees and houses.

The Muslim who wrote this obviously has a poor information about bees at his disposal. For one, bees are classified into queen, drones and workers based on their responsibilities.

Two, bees don’t eat fruits; they feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. That is what they use to produce honey and this activity also results in cross pollination in flowers. If Allah authored the Quran, he should have known this, but he didn’t.

Three, how exactly do insects “follow the way of their Lord”? Are they Muslims too? The Quran attributes human thinking or abilities to insects. That’s fairy tale, not science.

The “drink of various colours” from bees alluded to are beeswax and royal jelly and they are not for healing; they actually do cause allergic reactions in humans. Allah should have given a disclaimer.

Finally, this passage may not be much of a sign for thinking people. Apiculture or bee-keeping has been practiced in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, so the Quran is saying nothing beyond what a 7th century desert man would have known.

(V) Sura 1:1 says “Praise be to Allah; the Lord of the worlds.”

Fourteen centuries ago, the human mind was certainly incapable of thinking about the earth, the solar system or the galaxies. Yet the very first verse of the Quran states that Allah is the Lord of the worlds. Today, mankind knows for a fact that there are other planets besides earth. Allah revealed this to Prophet Muhammad before modern discoveries.

Planets are not “worlds” and no planet is as inhabitable as earth, so they can’t be “worlds beyond the earth.” Another absurdity in the Quran is the claim that there are 7 heavens. These “heavens” couldn’t be planets, because there are 9 planets observed so far and scientists are looking at the possibility of a 10th planet which is still too dark to see now.

Maybe, Allah should have given us the number of planets instead. Methinks that would have been the real “scientific miracle.”

(VI) Sura 10:5 “He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create it but with truth; He makes the sign manifest for a people who know”

Sura 25:61 “Blessed is He who made constellation in skies and placed therein a lamp (sun) and a moon giving light”

Sura 71:15-16 Do you not see how God has created the seven heavens in stories, and has set the moon therein for a light, and set the sun for a lamp.”

The Quran uses two different words for the sun (siraj or zia) and the moon (noor). It acknowledged that the sun is the source of light and the moon only reflects it.

There’s a big spoof here. The Arabic word “noor” used for the moon means direct light and it’s scientifically wrong. The Arabic word for an object emitting light is “munir.” The moon doesn’t have its¬†mansions or stations. This nonsense was borrowed from Astrology which is about as scientific as placing garlic on your bed to ward off spirits.

The sun is a star and there’s no scientific evidence that the moon is in the midst of or on the same level as stars. Scientists have observed that stars are much farther away from the earth than the moon. Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the earth, is about 4.3 light years (40 trillion kilometre) away from it.

No matter how you slice the cake, the Quran is premodern.

(VII) “And it is He (Allah) Who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and (flowing) rivers ; and fruits of every kind he made in pairs, two and two. He draws the night as a veil over the day ; Behold ! Verily, in these things there are signs for those who consider.” (13:3)¬†

Who made for you earth like a carpet spread out, and has opened roads therein, and has sent down water from the sky? With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants, each separate from the other” (20:53)

“Glory be to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces ” (36:36),

Centuries before Botanists knew of plant genders, the Quran made it known. How could Muhammad have had this information if he wasn’t inspired by God?

These verses are quite revealing, though not in the way Muslims suppose.

Sura 13:3 says that Allah “spread out the earth and set thereon mountains” and that the “earth [is] like a carpet spread out” (20:53). This is teaching a flat earth. It was the belief of Muhammad’s time that the earth was flat. This has been disproved by the Voyages of Discovery and the advent of scientific instruments.

Sura 13:3 speaks of “fruits of every kind He made in pairs.” This is nonsense. Fruits do not have male and female sexes! One doesn’t even need to be a scientist to know this.

Sura 20:53 also speaks of “diverse pairs of plants” made. This is not true as many plant species reproduce asexually.

Sura 36:36 is totally false. The lizard Cnemidophoras reproduces asexually. All members of the Monera kingdom reproduce asexually. Higher fungi (Fungi imperfecti), as well as various plants and single-celled organisms also reproduce asexually. Why did Allah not know these facts?

You see, Muhammad was a good observer, but he wasn’t all-knowing. These blunders (ironically presented as “scientific miracles”) actually prove that the Quran is entirely man-made.

Advertisements

Dialogue on Reasons for Atheism

This past weekend, a Nigerian guy who was apparently disgruntled with Roman Catholicism decided to tear off pages of a Bible and blaspheme Jesus on social media. This triggered emotional reactions from many Nigerians and a number of atheists came out of the woodwork to spew their vitriol at the Bible.

I responded to the comment of an atheist named Marvin, and during our exchange another atheist from Europe, named Charley weighed in, but through it all, my starting question was never answered. All I got were rabbit trails and ad hominems.

****
Marvin: The truth is this guy is right. He has figured it out and sooner other Nigerians follow in his foot step and stop believing in a fictitious enslaving fake god the better for all of us. But Nigerians will never understand, they will rather be comfortable believing something that doesn’t exist.

Victor: FYI, the guy who tore the Bible is pagan, not an atheist. His savage attacks on the Bible notwithstanding, he still believes in his tribal gods and ancestral spirits. But my question is this: Can you give me a positive reason/assertion for atheism?

Marvin: Yes. The notion that the Christian god is the real god is as old as…well as old as it is. Muslims also claim Allah is real and Buddhists too and Jews and all the other 4,300 religions in the world. But one thing they all agree on is that 1+1 is 2. Now if they agree that the existance of one true god is as easy as the answer to 1+1. Again do your research about Christianity and Islam, you will see how bogus they both are.

Finally, read the Bible…not the parts laid out by your pastor or daily devotionals, read your Bible from beginning to end and read it with common sense and ask yourself questions and do your research on it. Intense research. Do you know it takes an 11 day hike from Egypt to Canaan, but it took the Israelites 40 years. Ask yourself what lions and other animals ate before sin came into the world. The Bible says grass. Think.

Victor: I didn’t ask for reasons why you don’t believe in Christianity, the Bible or Islam. Is it possible for you to give positive reasons for why you believe as you do without running down something (or anything else)? My question is: Give me a positive assertion (or reasons) for atheism. Will the universe self-destruct if an atheist doesn’t run down Christianity or the Bible to try shore up his view?

Marvin: No. In everything there is good and bad. Christianity was created to keep people in line and control them, and it has worked. There are bad atheists and good atheists so the world won’t end as long as there are people striving to suppress the bad in the world.

The thing with Christianity is that it gives false hope in an afterlife and so people are lazy and reluctant to innovate as evident in Nigeria. But when someone realizes this and figures out that there is no hell and all that stuff – someone like me – all strings are loosened and all I wanna do now is try to make Nigeria a great nation with science and tech.

Victor: Since you are unable to defend atheism without attacking Christianity one way or the other, are you telling me that there is no positive reason why one should be an atheist except for the purpose of bashing Christianity and the Bible? If yes, that means atheism lacks a positive assertion – a key element of proof – and must be rejected by all rational persons.

Marvin: Oh you want me to defend atheism. Alright, Christianity aside. Look at world innovators in science and all other aspects of life, more than most of them are deep thinkers and atheists. Now the purpose of being an atheist is not to bash religion, although that is inevitable. See the thing is religions reassure us that they have all the answers.

Like Christians say they serve the perfect true god and now it is the duty of the atheist to look at that statement and scrutinize it and if it lacks fault then believe me there would be no atheists but now it does. It has a lot of faults and flaws and lies and so we have no option but to attack it and create the awareness that it isn’t as it claims to be.

Victor: I find some holes in your first claim. The vast majority of scientists are theists in one form or the other. Atheism doesn’t own science or have a trademark over it. In fact, science itself started out in a Christian milieu (Europe) and for 3 centuries, scientists – who were Christians – didn’t see any conflict between theism and science.

Science, good as it is, has its limitations because it starts with unproven axioms just as any other imaginable belief. And the idea that atheists scrutinize things carefully is short of the mark. Atheists accept a thing because some scientists say so – and there’s never an end to the propositions that they have to accept by faith.

For example, no scientist has been able to show why life is here or demonstrate where it came from. None of them have been able to demonstrate how the big bang occurred and by which laws and mechanisms it took place or explain how atoms have the inherent powers to do what they are alleged to have done.

Many theories and claims are thrown all around and you blindly accept them by faith. So your position is no more rational than ours. Again, I fail to see any positive assertion for atheism in all you wrote. Ergo, it’s irrational. All you do is bash Christianity and the Bible to cover the illogic of atheism.

Marvin: No sir, you’re wrong. Those people were not theists. Do your research well. You’re getting it all wrong. Yes there are people that are atheists for the sake of it because they are just too lazy to bear the burden of belief but there are others who are because they know the truth…they study and study and research and figure things out, yes science is all about trials and errors and eventually victory. That’s why me and you can be able to talk to each other today. But imagine if the world was only filled with religious people…

Charley: Atheism is a realisation, not a religion. Religion sets illusionary boundaries, confines people in an unprogressive state. Holds back advancement and keeps mindsets stactic and unproductive. If atheists bash Christianity more than the other religions, it’s because Christianity invades people’s personal space and they go to extra lengths to make those who do not live by their standard to do so by imposing their views on government policies and they do not understand that religion is personal commitment.

Victor: Marvin, you wrote that “Those people were not theists.” This makes me question the extent of your “research” in this Information Age. Here are some examples of Christian/theist scientists and their fields:

Acoustics: Joseph Henry (1797-1878), Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919)

Aerodynamic/Aeronautics: Francesco Lana de Terzi (c. 1631-1687), George Cayley (1773-1857)

Anatomy: Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)

Antiseptic Surgery: Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

Astronautics: Robert Goddard (1882-1945), Hermann Oberth (1894-1989)

Atomic Theory: Roger Boscovich (1711-1787), John Dalton (1766-1844)

Bacteriology: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

Biochemistry: Franciscus Sylvius (1614-1672), Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794)

Biology, Molecular: Oswald Avery (1877-1955), Geroge Wells Beadle (1903-1989)

Botany: Otto Brunfels (1488-1534), Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), Carol Linnaeus (1707-1778)

Calculus: Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665), Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Chemistry: Robert Boyle (1627-1691), Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817-1901)

Computer Science: Charles Babbage (1792-1871), George Boole (1815-1864)

Electrochemistry: Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Embryology: Julius Caesar Aranzi (1529-1589), William Harvey (1578-1657), Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694)

Entomology: William Kirby (1759-1850), Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Genetics: Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), Victor McKusick (1921-2008)

Histology: Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694), Marie Francoise Xavier Bichat (1771-1802)

Immunology: Edward Anthony Jenner (1749-1823), Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

Microbiology: Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723).

Neurology: Charles Bell (1777-1842) etc.

(Source: Science and Christianity: Close Partners or Mortal Enemies? Dave Armstrong, 2010)

yes science is all about trials and errors

Yet you’ve made it your dogma! You refuse to consider that there are limitations to what science can fathom, explain or analyse. This is one of the rational problems of atheism – making science the final determinants of knowledge and existence. Whereas science starts with a number of axiomatic propositions which have to be accepted by belief:

1. That the external universe exists and is not illusory.
2. The universe observes scientific laws and is not chaotic.
3. These laws apply to all times and places.
4. These actual or potential realities can be tested or observed.
5. That our senses can be trusted to provide us with reliable data with which to conduct these experiments. It’s Christianity – which you detest so much – that provided these starting premises and that is why modern science began in a thoroughly Christian environment and a high percent of scientists today are theists.

“Atheism is a realisation, not a religion. Religion sets illusionary boundaries…”

This is one of the blighting fallacies atheists throw around – lumping all religions into one big irrational pile without distinguishing one from the other. You don’t even stop to think that Buddhism is basically atheistic. The same goes for Taoism. The Unitarian Universalist is also an atheist-friendly religion.

Just throwing around the word “religion” works well for propaganda, but in the world of facts, do us a favour, tell us which religion did what.

“Holds back advancement and keeps mindsets stactic and unproductive”

Interestingly, Joseph Stalin supported the quack pseudo-“genetic” supposed “science” of Lysenkoism, and even had scientists killed who rejected it and preferred mainstream genetics which Gregor Mendel established. So much backwardness there.

Do I need to also talk about how the atheistic Khmer Rogue had thousands of educated Cambodians killed because they wanted to rule over illiterates rather than enlightened people? These are just some of the evil fruits of atheism and it’s curious these aren’t mentioned in your anti-Christian, ultra-condescension handbooks.

“it’s because Christianity invades people’s personal space.”

No Charley, it’s because Christianity intimidates you and grates against your moral depravity (one of the end results of atheism). If an ideology is not impeding you, it won’t bother you the least. Yet it’s this same Christianity that campaigned against pornography (which objectifies women), abortion, racism, slavery and stood for the traditional values of family and marriage. But now that you want to embrace all those evils, Christianity gives you the creeps: if gives you sleepless nights.

That’s why atheists spend the whole of their lives bashing Christianity and the Bible, whether online or elsewhere without any positive contribution to human life. Thank God for [David] Livingstone, [Mary] Slessor and a host of other Christian missionaries who came over to Africa to stand against the barbarism that our traditional religion wrought (in addition to their contribution to education, hospitality and welfare).

Atheists would rather pride themselves on their false superiority over theists and rehash their twaddle on every social media page. You bash Christianity because you are all cowards, sitting in a Christian-founded nation instead of growing a pair and standing against Islam.

Go to any Islamic nation and practice your atheism there; go burn a Quran or speak against Muhammad if your atheism is skin-deep.

***
Charley:Theists from one delusion to the other. Oh wow! A job well done, look how great the country is, couldn’t have been more awesome. Morality and the bible are opposites … If you need the bible to be a moral person then I got news for you, you’re already a s***y person. The bible condones slavery, misogyny, sexism, abrupt murder, tribalism etc. So it’s a crime against humanity to associate the bible with morality.

Victor: The very Bible you bash is what gave you the freedom you enjoy in the West today, but now that many of you no longer want to follow it but want to engage in bestiality, homosexuality, abortion and whoredom, you attack it as savagely as you wish.

This same Bible you hate was what put a stop to infanticide, cannibalism, mistreatment of widows, ghastly monarchical rites, demonism and other evil traditions in Africa. It opened the door to civility, education and advancement.

If you had been in Africa way back then, you were either a slave trader or would end up in someone’s cooking pot. Atheism suits you. It enables you to live as you wish, mistreat people as you desire and sleep around without any sense of moral accountability. Even our forefathers weren’t atheists and we don’t want that foreign ideology.

***
Marvin: We don’t attack buddhists and the rest cos they don’t cause problems like Muslims and Christians. We all know how ridiculous those other religions are but we are focusing on the 2 main religions…

Victor: Marvin, you have no positive assertion for atheism. You only embrace it because it suits you and creates an outlet for you to vent your hate against Christianity. Keep at it. But here is my deduction: if Christianity is Y and atheism is X, you can’t prove X by attacking Y. Atheism doesn’t become true by default because Christianity goes down. Each has to stand on its own assertions. This is the fallacy I see you resorting to all through this exchange.

When it comes to bashing Christianity, you are zealous, but when it comes to answering the defects of atheism, you are out of your depth. Be rest assured, I will never accept a “realisation” without a positive reason.

That one rejects Christianity doesn’t logically entails that one must reject theism as you presume. So all I see you exercising is fideism – faith in faith – atheism is true because you want to believe it’s true, otherwise, Christianity is the ideal. That’s irrational. Sell it to the gullible. Nice chatting with you guys.