The purpose with this blog is to expose the claim of modern Islamic apologists that the Qur'an is miracolous in its prediction of what they claim resembles modern science.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Debunking the claim that the Quran Predicts Modern Science: The Qur’an and the World of Atoms

Does the Qur'an Predict the Sub-atomic world and particles? This is the claim of certain Islamic apologists, such as Mustafa Mlivo, Muhammad Assaid and Zakir Naik among others:

Mustafa Mlivo, Quran and Science , The Qur’an prior to Science and Civilisation; see:
http://www.preciousheart.net/Main_Archives/Links_Folder/SUPER_List_Islam.htmAnd

Muhammad Assadi, in his book: The Unifying Theory of Everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony; see http://www.amazon.com/Unifying-Theory-Everything-Natures-Testimony/dp/0595129048

Zakir Naik; see http://www.scribd.com/doc/18926563/Quran-and-Modern-Science-EnglishBy-Dr-Zakir-Naik

These among others claim that the Qur’an is miraculous in its prediction of the sub atomic world (that is sub atomic particles).

Let's assess the claim:

The particular Qur’anic (Sura 34: 3) passages reads:

‘...by him who knows the unseen,—from who is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth; nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but is in the record of perspicuous

See also Sura 10: 61:

He [i.e., Allah] is aware of an atom’s weight in the heavens and on the earth and even anything smaller than that...’

Firstly we need to consider that there is a debate whether the Qur’an is literally referring to atoms or insects or possibly dust.

But let us for a moment assume that the Qur’an does refer to atoms and the sub-atomic particles, are we then correct to presume that this reference is miraculous or is possible that the Qur’an only makes a lucky guess or even that sub-atomic particles were already a common idea flourishing in the time of Muhammad?

The theory of atoms was founded by Leucippus (440 BC) and Democritus (432 BC), who proposed that atoms constituted and composed everything in existence even heaven and earth. The theory perceived the atoms as physical particles, which are in constant motion; being indivisible, indestructible and infinite in number and varieties.

All this is slightly correct indeed, expect of course that the number of atoms and their varieties are infinite.

Indeed the early atomists predicted a range of up-to-date details, such as Democritus’ ‘moving at random’, which according to Russel in his book: 'History of Western Philosophy' suggests denotes the kinetic theory of gasses; and furthermore the collisions of atoms which collected them and formed vortices and later material bodies (Russell, 82-84); all this was in agreement with the latter theory of Lucretius (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, p. 185).

Yet Democritus and many early atomists seem to have committed the fallacy of considering atoms to contain no void, which made them impenetrable and indivisible (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p. 88).

This error excluded the existing reality of e.g. the neutrons, protons and electrons, and the newly proposed theory of the quarks. That is of course unless we move Democritus’ understanding as a theory of the Quark world and what preceded it.

Hence according to certain Muslim writers, e.g. Mlivo and Muhammad Assadi and Zakir Naik, this suggests that the Qur'an solely gets the information right and must therefore be of divine origin.

However, there are serious flaws within this Muslim proposition.

Its primary failure is the failure to grasp that atomic science developed through the centuries.

The emphatic claim of Democritus, that atoms were the first cause-particles which could not be further divided appears to be slightly diminishing at the time of Lucretius (approximately 50 BC); Lucretius seems to refer to new ideas in his time which suggests that atoms could be divided (at least he alludes to ideas quite different from those presupposed by Democritus); Lucretius writes in 50 BC:

It is with a mass of such parts, solidly jammed together in order, that matter is filled up. Since they cannot exist by themselves, they must stick together in a mass from which they cannot by any means be prized loose. The atoms therefore are absolutely solid and unalloyed, consisting of a mass of least parts tightly packed together. They are not compounds formed by the coalescence of their parts, but bodies of absolute and everlasting solidity. To these nature allows no loss or diminution, but guards them as seeds for things. If there are no such least parts, even the smallest bodies will consist of an infinite number of parts, since they can always be halved and their halves halved again’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe 45)?

What are these least parts of which the atoms consist? And how about the opposite position, but otherwise proposed impossibility, that atoms can be halved and halved again?This idea seems to have been raised 600 years prior to Islam.

And there are further indications, that even the Epicurean's postulated particles smaller than atoms.

The Epicurean theory theorized that our body throws off thin films, which travel to touch the soul-atoms to create sensation; if these were considered to operate between atoms, then we might assume they are smaller (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p. 255).

If however, atoms are the principle of matter and thus life, why is it that the Qur’an, being a divine revelation does not provide further insight into the world of atoms or quantum?

Why is the Qur’an making no reference to atoms in relation to compounds or the combination of atoms to form a greater mass, as was expounded upon by Lucretius more 600 years prior to Islam (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, p.41); Lucretius writes:

At that time the sun’s bright disc was not to be seen here, soaring loft and lavishing light, nor the stars that crowd the far-flung firmament, nor sea nor sky, nor earth, nor air nor anything in the likeness of things we know nothing but a hurricane raging in a newly congregated mass of atoms of every sort’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, 184).

This completely refutes Zakir Naik in his debate with William Campbell, in which he admitted the similarity between Qur’anic and Greek science but then claimed that Qur’anic science is more specific and even corrects Greek science.

The Qur’an does not explain that the atoms are the fundamental building blocks and existed prior to cosmological expansion and the accretion of the earth, nor does it describe their existence as prior to the galactic dimension the pre-stellar material existed.

Lucretius’ description of a primordial congregated mass of atoms in the writings of Lucretius is fairly accurate and presents an idea that is much more advanced and explicit than the Qur’anic simple reference to the world of atoms and lesser matter.

Lucretius continues:

‘...they (the atoms) began, in fact, to separate the heights of heaven from the earth, to single out the sea as a receptacle for water detached from the mass and to set apart the fires of pure and isolated ether. In the first place all the particles of earth, because they were heavy and intertangled, collected in the middle and took up the undermost stations. The more closely they cohered and clung together, the more they squeezed out the atoms that went to the making of sea and stars, sun and moon and the outer walls of the great world’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, 184-5).

While Lucretius’ postulate is outdated and contains a number of flaws, it does reveal a much more advanced insight into the atomic world than the Qur'an does and some details actually predicts modern science.

If the Qur’an is a miracle due to its reference to atoms and smaller matter, then certainly a number of Greek philosophers and indeed the atheist Lucretius were divinely inspired.

What is much more logical however is that the Qur’an simply describes the ideas that were flourishing within its time and era; unfortunately for the Muslim position is the fact that these pre-Islamic sources provide a much more advanced and accurate picture of the atomic world than the Qur’an.

12 comments:

  1. Why am i not surprised that the truth would get deleted? Let me guess whats your excuse this time? churchwork? They are off-topic When the truth of the matter is you cannot link the article to the responses? Do i have to format everything for you? As it already is your articles are not lengthy to write such rebuttals. Honestly have you actually seen the debates between answeringchristianity and answeringislam? Have you compared rebuttals? If you have then I find you feeble-minded.

    Once again I invite you to islam.


    Qur'an 61:6-9 Surah As-Saff (The Ranks)
    And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs they said "This is evident sorcery!"
    Who doth greater wrong than one who invents falsehood against Allah even as he is being invited to Islam? And Allah guides not those who do wrong.
    Their intention is to extinguish Allah's Light (by blowing) with their mouths: but Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).
    It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth that he may proclaim it over all religion even though the Pagans may detest (it).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello wrote:

    Why am i not surprised that the truth would get deleted?

    Hogan replies:

    What exactly did I delete?

    Hello wrote:

    Let me guess whats your excuse this time? churchwork?

    Hogan replies:

    Again you make no sense, what excuse for what and why should I apologize to you for doing church work?

    Hello wrote:

    They are off-topic When the truth of the matter is you cannot link the article to the responses? Do i have to format everything for you?

    Hogan replies:

    What link to what article to what response? What format? When did you ever give me a format and on what?

    Hello wrote:

    As it already is your articles are not lengthy to write such rebuttals.

    Hogan replies:

    What exactly is your phrase saying here? Are my articles not lenghty enough for rebuttals? Are you saying that good articles are necessarily lenghty articles? geeeee... You must have noticed that some of my articles are lengthy.

    Hello wrote:

    Honestly have you actually seen the debates between answeringchristianity and answeringislam? Have you compared rebuttals?

    Hogan replies:

    Oh are you referring to Answering-Christianity, the website with tiny articles? I thought you said that short articles are not worth considering. Why do you keep contradicting yourself?

    To answer your question, yes I have compared websites and I find answering-Christianity both speculative, overshort and weak, I feel pitty for you, if answering-Christianity is your groundwork.

    And yeah, lets not forget, you were the one who insulted me for using websits (which I am not dependent upon anyway) and now you insult me for not consulting websites as the main groundwork for my study; oh man, a second contradiction only within a few lines.

    Hell wrote:

    If you have then I find you feeble-minded.

    Hogan replies:

    What? Pardon me but is there a brain inside your head? You are about the most inconsistant Muslim I have ever dialoged with.

    Hello wrote:

    Once again I invite you to islam.

    Hogan replies:

    Let me put it this way, you can invite me to Islam when you have answered this very simple question:

    The fly on the wall, does it vote for the Democrates or the Republicans?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hogan replies:

    What exactly did I delete?

    My response:

    I replied to your article with several lengthy reponses that you deleted. Now you are playing a game of denial. Neverthless, if a rational person were to read your articles, it would become evident that you do a poor job at establishing your thesis. You provide nothing solid and merely try to ground the idea that Arabs would have been masters of Greek scientific literature.


    Hogan replies:

    What link to what article to what response? What format? When did you ever give me a format and on what?

    My Reply: The response I posted earlier were not organized because I thought they were straightfoward. Instead of providing a response, you decided to delete them. Common "missionary" tactic.

    Hogan replies:

    To answer your question, yes I have compared websites and I find answering-Christianity both speculative, overshort and weak, I feel pitty for you, if answering-Christianity is your groundwork.

    My Reply: *yawn*

    Isn't Answering Islam just following the hackneyed and dishonest missionary "the end justifies the means" paradigm, that was primarily globalised in the bellicose heyday of "racist" European colonialism in the Victorian era? Is that why Answering Islam is so reliant on 19th century so-called "Islamic" scholarship to back up it's dubious missionary crusades against Islam on the internet? Can you rationally explain these utterances to subscribers, as an "honest" Christian, without recourse to equivocation or the well-known deceptive "Doctrine of Mental Reservation"

    Hogan Replies:

    And yeah, lets not forget, you were the one who insulted me for using websits (which I am not dependent upon anyway)

    My Reply: How ironic that the many claims you bring up are those of similar to answeringislam.
    Once again, You're just exposing your gross ignorance with your claim that Muslims cannot do a critical analysis of the Qur'an. We have been doing it for centuries way before Biblical criticism became a norm in the Western academia.

    Hogan replies:

    Let me put it this way, you can invite me to Islam when you have answered this very simple question:

    The fly on the wall, does it vote for the Democrates or the Republicans?

    My Reply:
    Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive
    themselves. [Eric Hoffer]

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDrObm8aotM

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hogan replies:

    What exactly did I delete?

    My response:

    I replied to your article with several lengthy reponses that you deleted. Now you are playing a game of denial.

    Hogan replies:

    I am referring to this thread.
    If you are referring to your lengthy responses on another thread, they were deleted because they were polemical spam. What is polemical spam? Polemical spam is when you post a hundred arguments with the intent that your opponents will not possess the time to reply. As I pointed out to you before such tactics are immature and not tolerated on this blog, if you do not like that bye bye find yourself another kindergarden to play in.

    Furthermore, I deleted your responses because they were irrelevant to this blog and the topic. I find it to be a normalcy that Muslims continually get off topic.

    And then again, and the reader can check this out, I have permitted your first series of apologetical spam to remain on the blog and they are still there; hence I have been graceful to you. Any Islamic blog or forum would have deleted the posts and blocked me from their site for doing so (I have experienced that when I was imature too). I am not affraid of apologetical spam I just find it imature. The second time you resorted to such imature behavior I simply did not tolerate it; that was not a sign of fear or me escaping, it was decision based upon maturity in which I intend this blog to remain academic rather than childish.

    If you can not abide by indepth, serious and academic debate, find yourself another blog to terrorise.

    Hello wrote:

    Neverthless, if a rational person were to read your articles, it would become evident that you do a poor job at establishing your thesis. You provide nothing solid and merely try to ground the idea that Arabs would have been masters of Greek scientific literature.

    Hogan replies:

    I am getting sick and tired of your lack of content and your constant weening about my articles being a poor job. Nobody falls for your trick here. I find that Muslims do this the whole time. They get smoked in a debate, yet they still proclaim their victory. They write bogus articles and responses with hardly any content and yet the aclaim the effectiveness of their contribution. You know as well as I that the articles effectively reveal how the authors of the Qur’an have simply included the common ideas of their time; nothing in the Qur’an predicts modern science and nothing in the Qur’an is miracolous.

    Get real, leave out your weaning and personal attacks and for ones sake debunk me.

    And did I say that Arabs were masters of Greek science. I pointed out that Southern Arabs belonged to an advanced civilication and that Muhammad had followers and were aquianted with individuals who were Christians and Jews. I also pointed out that intellectuals flourished in the dessert and within the proximity of Muhammad. Hence he has access to Greek philosophy and we find typical Greek philosophy in the Qur’an: seven earths, seven orbits, the moon swimming in the space by its own motion, the heaven and earth being separated; where in the whole wide world do you think all these ideas originated; I can inform you quite confidently: not with the Most High God.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello wrote:

    What link to what article to what response? What format? When did you ever give me a format and on what?

    My Reply: The response I posted earlier were not organized because I thought they were straightfoward. Instead of providing a response, you decided to delete them. Common "missionary" tactic.

    Hogan replies:

    How about just being honest about it and admit that you posted nothing worth responding to. And what missionary tactic, are you talking about the tactic of Muslim missionaries, yeah then I agree.

    Once more, some of your posts were deleted since they were polemical spam and most of them still remain on the blog. Stop your weaning and get real. ‘

    I don’t want spam on this blog (I permitted you to do so ones, but no more), has that finally drifted into your brain?

    Hello wrote:

    To answer your question, yes I have compared websites and I find answering-Christianity both speculative, overshort and weak, I feel pitty for you, if answering-Christianity is your groundwork.

    My Reply: *yawn*

    Isn't Answering Islam just following the hackneyed and dishonest missionary "the end justifies the means" paradigm, that was primarily globalised in the bellicose heyday of "racist" European colonialism in the Victorian era? Is that why Answering Islam is so reliant on 19th century so-called "Islamic" scholarship to back up it's dubious missionary crusades against Islam on the internet? Can you rationally explain these utterances to subscribers, as an "honest" Christian, without recourse to equivocation or the well-known deceptive "Doctrine of Mental Reservation"

    Hogan replies:

    Yawn...

    Again, are you sure you are not referring to Muslim websites and agenda here. After all, whether you like the crusades or not, European crusaders simply responded to Muslim invasion; you do realise that, or what? Hence I wonder where the agenda remains.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello wrote::

    And yeah, lets not forget, you were the one who insulted me for using websits (which I am not dependent upon anyway)

    My Reply: How ironic that the many claims you bring up are those of similar to answeringislam.
    Once again, You're just exposing your gross ignorance with your claim that Muslims cannot do a critical analysis of the Qur'an. We have been doing it for centuries way before Biblical criticism became a norm in the Western academia.

    Hogan replies:

    So what you are saying is, if my arguments are mentioned elsewhere I am simply plagiarizing that website. In other words, we need to reject on your basis all literature and websites. You do notice I hope that much of the Qur’an resembles the Old Testament, hmm, I guess then, we can’t take the Qur’an seriously.
    And what critical analysis have Muslims done and based upon what? I know what you are referring to, you are referring to biased Muslims scholars who solely intended to make the variaty of Qur’ans to resemble somehow a Qur’anic revised standard version (Uthman’s). If you think that resembles in any way the effort of critical scholars to compare New Testament manuscripts upon no blue print version what-so-ever, you are absolutely wrong.

    Hello wrote:

    Let me put it this way, you can invite me to Islam when you have answered this very simple question:

    The fly on the wall, does it vote for the Democrates or the Republicans?

    My Reply:
    Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive
    themselves. [Eric Hoffer]

    Hogan replies:

    I knew it, just run, dig your head in the sand and post some completely irrelevant saying of a modern thinker. Who do you think is spreading the propaganda mere, me or you, well you are the one who believes that the fly on the wall possible votes Obama.

    I warn if you do not end your insult and frequent attack on a strawman and get to real basics I will simply block you from this blog. One more time, this is not a kindergarden or the space to simply win arguments by polemical spamming. If you wanna engage me in written debate, I suggest you change your attitude, your vocabulary, stay on the topic and leave out all this endless weening.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A Christian apologist debunking the Quran. How hilarious. All religion is stupid! There's no evidence Christ was anything more than a man, debunk that!

    ReplyDelete
  9. wisecraker,

    you are either a muslim in disguise (possibly someone I have refuted before), or someone who needs to define to me by what he understands to be evidence. And in case you are not a Muslim which worldview category do you belong to?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just came across this again by accident and noticed your reply. I'm an evidentialist at heart, I'm a whatever is realist. I'm an atheist when it comes to the Judeo-Christian God. My point is that it is hilarious how one group of religionists work so hard to debunk others using reason and science but fail to turn that same logic on themselves! Christianity is based on one fact alone, that Christ rose from the dead. If he didn't there is no religion. Therefore you need to base your entire faith on something that cannot be proven and we have every reason to doubt! I know there are piles of books on the evidence for it, but it all holds true when you think about it that you're being selective in your debunking.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Atheists are not realists, neither are atheist evidentialists (that is a self-claimed reputation based upon mere self-deception). Furthermore, you presume and enfource the claim that faith and science are by nature separate, I am simply inclined to disagree. I simply don't think you have the slightest idea what evidence is, neither how science and logic is applied or functions within the Judeo-Christian religion.

    Furthermore, you assume that Christianity is based only upon the resurrection of Jesus, while in fact Christianity is based upon Jesus person himself, his link to the Israelite religion, Scripture, revelation, inspiration and prophecy as well.

    You also assume that the resurrection cannot be proven, which evidence are you looking for, and are you certain that you do not base aspects of your own world-view on what you deem to be selective information?

    And as if atheists are not selective (that is frankly incredible hypocrtical), at least my study on theology required 90 percent study of critical theology, while an atheist studying theology would hardly consider even looking into a book written by a theist scholar. So far all I have seen in my study of theology, when it comes to atheists, agnostics and humanists is the demand of theists to be objective, open and critical, while all I have seen from the atheist faction is selectiveness, whether it comes to theology, science and history.

    I wish atheists dared actually to debate Christians rather than simply hide behind their biased judgement of their opponents.

    ReplyDelete
  12. hello brother, i have a help question,... i am a christian but my muslim friend recently gave me a verse in the quran saying about the embryo stages (3) and he says how scientist only recently found this out,.. i know the quran isnt the word of God, but this kind of scientific claim i dont really know what to say, help me please. my msn is ultimatedballer@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete