Did you know that the Qu’ran contains proof that it was authored by a supernatural entity? well that is what some Muslims do indeed assert. The claim is that this 14 century old text contains descriptions of modern science and thus it could only have been written by Allah. OK then, let us pick an example, and not just a weak specimen, but one that is often touted as the primary and best example.
Hamza Andreas Tzortzis from the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) has written a 58 page paper that explains how the Quran accurately describes modern Embryology. You can find his paper here, it is called, “Embryology in the Qur’an: A scientific-linguistic analysis of chapter 23: With responses to historical, scientific & popular contentions“. Now that sounds impressive, but alas it is not and you knew that, right?. To illustrate that point we need only to brush aside all the religious hand-waving, pseudo-science papers, and YouTube clips, so that we can then clearly see the actual source, the text within the Quran. Here it is:
We created man from an essence of clay, then We placed him as a drop of fluid in a safe place. Then We made that drop of fluid into a clinging form, and then We made that form into a lump of flesh, and We made that lump into bones, and We clothed those bones with flesh, and later We made him into other forms. Glory be to God the best of creators. (23:12-14)
Yep … Hamza has indeed crafted 58 fracking pages to claim that the two verses above are an accurate description of modern Embryology. One expert, who carefully examined the paper by Hamze,succinctly declared the paper to be “shit”, but you need not lean upon any such expert. Common sense is all you require and would indeed lead to the obvious conclusion that a few vague poetical phrases plagiarized from earlier Greek physicians is not in any way equivalent to a 600 page detailed modern university text, but then this is religion, the realm where common sense is so rare its a goddamn superpower.
The above is one of many similar modern examples where some religious text is declared magical because it apparently describes … relativity, the big bang, modern cosmology, etc… but when examined, really examined, it all falls apart and is either a translation that has been bent and declared to mean something not there, or is vague and poetical and can mean almost anything you want. The religious do not have an exclusive claim to this practise, for example the Swiss author, Erich von Danikn attempts similar claims to assert that we have been visited by aliens. Needless to say, his methodology is sufficiently bizarre enough to drive any knowledgable archeologist into a fit of utter frustration when faced with such daft claims … but he persists, not because its true, but because it sells.
These days, the religious claims tend to be dressed up and presented on YouTube (that well-known peer review journal for the ignorant). It is a con of course, and often those who tout such claims are not only fooling others, but have also completely fooled themselves.
The fundamental problem here is that this is not, despite the claims, science, but is instead the complete opposite; it is anti-science.
Science works as follows:
- You gather data
- You form a testable hypotheses to explain it
- You test … and refine or even abandon the hypothesis once you have the results
- Finally you write-up your conclusion in a reputable peer-reviewed journal for others to then repeat and verify
What these folks are doing is anti-science … the complete reverse of this process:
- You start with the published conclusion … some holy text
- You then fish for some text that you can declare to be a test of this text
- The text is then bent or interpreted to mean something modern and unknown to the authors of the ancient text and so the raw data needed is created.
Now the fun starts. You can do this with any text, it is not in any way exclusive to religious texts. Here is a great example:
There are lots of other similar examples:
- On the Miraculous Nature and the Divine Origin of Virgil’s Georgics
- Here is another Moby Dick example.
- Here is a link that does the same to Lucretius for his poetic summary De Rerum Natura
In some respects I do feel both sympathy and also sorrow for the religious who assert claims of modern science in such ancient texts, they are not being deliberately deceptive. Instead they have completely fooled themselves and so when they assert such daft claims they have successfully self-identified themselves as completely delusional kooks, now that is sad. Alas, they tend not to keep it to themselves, but instead attempt to infect others with the same delusion, and tragically often succeed.
The good news is that there is a cure, it need not be fatal. A little bit of logic and reason can sometimes jolt them out of such dismal incorrigible slumbers of the mind.