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The Myth of Science in the Quran

The Myth of Science in the Quran

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Published by Doctor Jones
A Critique of the work of Dr Maurice Bucaille and claims that there are Scientific Miracles in the Koran.

1. The Water Cycle
2. The Two Sea’s
3. The Solid Sky
4. Earth is Spherical
5. Geocentric Cosmology
6. Origin of Semen within Ribcage
7. Milk Production
8. God holds flying birds aloft
9. Solomon talking to Animals/ Islamic Doctor Dolittle
10. Ants understand Human language

The author argues that there are many scientific errors in the Koran and that Mohammed was its author rather than God.

Bucaille did not convert to Islam because he did not believe his own book.
A Critique of the work of Dr Maurice Bucaille and claims that there are Scientific Miracles in the Koran.

1. The Water Cycle
2. The Two Sea’s
3. The Solid Sky
4. Earth is Spherical
5. Geocentric Cosmology
6. Origin of Semen within Ribcage
7. Milk Production
8. God holds flying birds aloft
9. Solomon talking to Animals/ Islamic Doctor Dolittle
10. Ants understand Human language

The author argues that there are many scientific errors in the Koran and that Mohammed was its author rather than God.

Bucaille did not convert to Islam because he did not believe his own book.

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Published by: Doctor Jones on Sep 05, 2009
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The Myth of Science in the Quran
By Adrian Reddy
Introduction In 1976, a book was published which claimed that the Quran “..does not contain a single statement that is assailable from a modern scientific point of view”. The book: ‘The Bible, the Quran and Science’ [1] had been written by a French doctor, Maurice Bucaille, who became interested in Islam after he was appointed family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In the early chapters, Bucaille proclaims articulately, enthusiastically and with apparent sincerity that the scientific accuracy of the Quran is such that “I could not find a single error…“ and that “…there can be no human explanation” for its contents. Such a claim was not new. Something similar had been expressed in the 13th century by the Islamic scholar Al-Qurtubi (see e.g. [2]), but here was an educated Western nonMuslim putting forward a detailed and, seemingly, carefully argued case that, more than 700 years after Al-Qurtubi, the science in the Quran still stood up to scrutiny. To the Islamic world, frustrated by centuries of failure to convince the non-Muslim world that the Quran was miraculous, the book was enthusiastically received. It became a best seller and its existence fuelled the growth of the ‘Science in the Quran’ movement, a movement that is supported today by the enthusiasm of countless individuals on the Internet, each endeavouring to push the claim even further and to publicise new ‘discoveries’ of scientific predictions in the Quran’s enigmatic verses. As summarised above, the book itself does not make a feature of claiming that the Quran contains new information. It mostly promotes only the weaker claim that there is no contradiction between the Quran and modern science and so falls short of the claims of Bucaille’s many successors. Nevertheless, it is perhaps a surprise that such a claim can be made at all for a book nearly 1400 years old, so it is worth attempting to determine how at least the illusion of scientific compatibility came about. This article therefore presents a brief review of Bucaille’s approach and an assessment of selected Quranic statements. It is by no means the first critique of Bucaille’s work (e.g. [3,4]), but has been compiled without reference to previous reviews, so the thoughts below are at least original, if not particularly profound. This review also discusses the evidence in the book for Bucaille’s guilty secret, of which more later. Water The Quran contains many statements urging people to be grateful to (or fearful of) the Biblical God (‘God’) for various natural phenomena. Not surprisingly, given the desert location of Mecca and Medina, where Islam began, the Quran emphasises the importance of water in such verses as (Q39: 21) (i.e. Quran, Sura (Chapter) 39, Verse 21):

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“Have you not seen that God sent water down from the sky and led it through sources into the ground? Then He caused sown fields of different colours to grow.” and (Q50: 9-11): “We sent down from the sky blessed water whereby We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes…” With further references in (Q23: 18,19), (Q36: 34) and (Q56: 68-70). It is evident that such verses remain true by being expressed as straightforward qualitative observational statements. Bucaille nevertheless contends that the work of a mere mortal would inevitably reveal errors, but that “In the passages from the Quran, there is no trace of the mistaken ideas [concerning the water cycle] that were current at the time of Muhammad” Nevertheless, consider the following: (Q25: 53)"(God) is the One Who has let free the two seas, one is agreeable and sweet, the other salty and bitter. He placed a barrier between them, a partition that it is forbidden to pass." (Q55: 19) "He has loosed the two seas. They meet together. Between them there is a barrier which they do not transgress.” The two verses, taken together, show that the ‘two seas’ refers to bodies of fresh and of salt water. Although the first of the verses suggests that the ‘barrier’ may refer to the land, the second shows that this is not so: it is located where the two seas ‘meet together’. Bucaille interprets this meeting as taking place at the mouths of rivers, a view that is consistent with the translations of Shakir, Yusufali and Sarwar [5]. However, what point is being made by the verses? It is surely noting the singular fact that the sea does not turn the rivers salty, nor do the rivers turn the sea fresh. However, there is neither a physical nor a virtual barrier. The fresh water mixes fully with the sea and the status quo is maintained only because a similar quantity evaporates from the sea and falls as rain upstream. Therefore, the statement that a barrier exists is simply incorrect and disproves, if further disproof were needed, the notion that an allknowing deity authored the Quran. In addition, Bucaille’s favourite get-out argument: that God adjusted his descriptions so as to be comprehensible to 7th century Arabs, is particularly inapplicable in this case, for there were then, as there are now, no rivers (at least, no permanent ones) in Arabia. Most of Muhammad’s compatriots must therefore have been mystified by the reference to the ‘two seas’. The lack of Arabian rivers explains why the description of the ‘two seas’ is so muddled for, surely, even an unschooled riverbank dweller would realise that the separation between fresh and salt waters exists because of the continuous downstream flow. Muhammad’s meagre knowledge must therefore have been based entirely on hearsay from travellers familiar with (for example) the huge deltas of major rivers such as the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates. The Quran therefore does not demonstrate scientific

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knowledge of the water cycle; quite the opposite: it demonstrates nothing but a naive ignorance, an ignorance consistent with its authorship by an uneducated 7th century desert-dweller. The sky Though never unambiguously stating that the earth is flat, the Quran adopts a conventional pre-scientific geocentric stance and fails to distinguish adequately between ‘Heaven’ (where God is alleged to reside) and ‘the Heavens’ (space), so that a cryptic verse can be proclaimed as ‘scientific’ if it possesses an oblique resemblance to some finding within astronomy or cosmology, yet remain unassailable as ‘theology’ if it does not. On many occasions in his book, Maurice Bucaille displays considerable inventiveness in perceiving the poetic imagery of the Quran as divine wisdom, but this inventiveness reaches its peak in the chapters dealing with ‘the Heavens’. A number of verses are helped along by scientific-sounding translations, such as that of the sun and the moon ‘travelling in an orbit’ where the Arberry translation refers to them as ‘swimming in the sky’ (Q21: 33) which, incidentally, the Quran verses below imply is some sort of physical object: (Q22: 65) “(God) holds back the sky from falling on the earth unless by His leave . . .” (Q13: 2) “God is He who raised up the heavens without pillars you can see…” As stated above, Bucaille takes the view that God expressed his concepts within the limited vocabulary of 7th Century Arabia and that therefore these concepts can now be freed from these constraints by means of the replacement of the original vocabulary by modern scientific terminology. This is a highly dubious process, and not just from a secular point of view. The idea that God was somehow prevented from expressing himself properly does not seem compatible with the Islamic notions that the Quran is perfect and that God is unlimited in his power. Furthermore, since (according to Islam) God chose both the time and the place for his revelation, it seems somewhat insolent to imply that this choice impaired the effectiveness of what he had to say. From the nonIslamic perspective, the manipulation of the wording in this way just looks like cheating. In addition to giving God a helping hand with the terminology, Bucaille makes the most extraordinary interpretations of some fairly vague statements, such as: (Q31: 29) “Have you not seen how God merges the night into the day and merges the day into the night?” (Q39: 5) “. . . He coils the night upon the day and He coils the day upon the night.” Bucaille states, obscurely: “This process of perpetual coiling, including the interpenetration of one sector by another is expressed in the Quran just as if the concept

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of the Earth’s roundness had already been conceived at the time-which was obviously not the case”. The statement, in addition to being largely incomprehensible, fails to note that the likelihood that the earth was a sphere had been appreciated for centuries. Eratosthenes (276 – 194 BC) had even made a remarkably accurate estimate of its diameter. Sura 15, verses 14 and 15, speak of the unbelievers in Mecca: “Even if We opened unto them a gate to Heaven and they were to continue ascending therein, they would say ‘Our sight is confused as in drunkenness. Nay, we are people bewitched.’” The verse clearly says only that unbelievers would not recognise Heaven even if it was right in front of them. Bucaille, however, states, “It describes the human reactions to the unexpected spectacle that travellers in space will see”. Of course, the author of the Quran is not to blame for Bucaille’s over-active imagination. However, Sura 36 contains verses, which reveal the primitive level of understanding underlying them. Verse 38 states: “The Sun runs its course to a settled place. This is the decree of the All Mighty, the Full of Knowledge.” and Bucaille comments: “'Settled place' is the translation of the word ‘mustaqarr’ and there can be no doubt that the idea of an exact place is attached to it”. The following recollection in the Bukhari Hadiths, along with the passage quoted above; suggest that Muhammad remained in complete ignorance about the true nature of the solar system: (B9:93:520) “I entered the mosque while Allah’s Apostle was sitting there. When the sun had set, the Prophet said, ‘O Abu Dharr! Do you know where this (sun) goes?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Apostle know best.’ He said, ‘It goes and asks permission to prostrate, and it is allowed, and (one day) it, as if being ordered to return whence it came, then it will rise from the west’” In discussing the following verse, Bucaille misses a most significant error: (Q36: 40) “The sun must not catch up the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day….” Since the moon, along with the earth, orbits the sun, it is meaningless to speak of the sun actually ‘catching up’ with the moon, so the verse must refer to the apparent motion of the sun’s and moon’s disks across the sky. Because the moon orbits the earth in the same direction as the earth spins, its apparent speed across the sky is slightly less than that of the sun. The result is that the sun’s disk does indeed catch up and overtake that of the moon, an occurrence that can be clearly seen in sequences of photographs of a solar eclipse, of which there are a number of excellent examples on the Internet. Furthermore, the sun overtakes the moon not just during eclipses (when they happen to

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line up with the Earth), but once a month, resulting in the familiar phenomenon of the new moon. The wording of (Q36: 40) is sufficiently clear and unambiguous that no significant difference exists between the various English translations. It’s meaning is, therefore, exactly as it appears. Even if, by some creative interpretation of the original Arabic, it could be argued that some other meaning than that suggested above was intended, it is evident that the suspicion raised by the dubious way that the verse is expressed is trivially avoidable. Had the first part been expressed as “The moon must not catch up the sun”, the astronomical interpretation would have been correct. Had it been omitted altogether, nothing would have been lost. To include it was the author’s decision and therefore the author’s error. Again, provincial ignorance, not divine knowledge, is evident in the verse. In addition to the remarks made above, it appears that the wording of the second part of the extract from (Q36: 40): ‘..nor does the night outstrip the day..’ is superfluous. The following verse suggests a possible reason for its inclusion: that the author does not quite grasp the underlying causes of light and darkness: (Q25:45,46) “Have you not seen how thy Lord has spread the shade? If He willed, He could have made it stationary. Moreover We made the sun its guide and We withdraw it towards Us easily.” As a final observation: for a man selected to receive communications from God, Muhammad had a remarkably unsophisticated attitude to the harmless appearance of a solar eclipse. One of the Bukhari Hadiths (B1:8:423) reports that: “The sun eclipsed and Allah’s Apostle offered the eclipse prayer and said, ‘I have been shown the Hellfire (now) and I never saw a worse and horrible sight than the sight I have seen today.’” The earth As with the verses dealing with the sky and the water cycle, those mentioning the earth reflect an almost total lack of any understanding of natural processes. For example, the following verse tells us that valleys came before rivers, rather than the other way around: (Q27: 61) “He Who made the earth an abode and set rivers in its interstices and mountains standing firm….” In fact, the Quran is rather keen to emphasise the ‘stability’ of mountains, for example: (Q79:30-33) “After that (God) spread the earth out. Therefrom He drew out its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has firmly fixed….” With similar sentiments expressed in (Q16: 15), (Q21: 31) (27:61) and (Q31: 10). Bucaille, who is outside his field of expertise, asserts the following:

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“These verses express the idea that the way the mountains are laid out ensures stability and is in complete agreement with geological data.” Strangely, given the appearance of permanence that mountains provide, the opposite is true. Over geological timescales, mountains are transient things and symptoms of instability, rather than stability. They grow as a result of major crustal movement and, once the force-giving rise to them has ceased to operate, they sink and erode. The Quran is even more in error when it becomes more specific: (Q78: 6,7) “Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes.” about which Bucaille says: “The stakes referred to are the ones used to anchor a tent in the ground”. The idea that mountains are like stakes, anchoring the earth’s surface to some sort of stable foundation, is an analogy, which has probably never occurred to anyone with any knowledge of geology. Biology When Bucaille is within his intellectual comfort zone, he commits none of the howlers that he makes when dealing with astronomy or geology. However, he is forced to confront the realisation that some Quranic statements relating to mammal physiology appear to be complete nonsense. Bucaille then steps beyond the bounds of merely lending a helping hand to the vocabulary, to the point where he simply rejects the existing translations because the errors can no longer be ignored. In the undoctored versions of the Quran, there is a strange description of the region where human sperm originates: (Q86:5-7) “So let man consider of what he was created; he was created of gushing water issuing between the loins and the breast-bones” (Arberry translation) There are considerable variations of detail in the English translations for the last verse: “Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs” (Yusufali) ”That issued from between the loins and ribs”. (Pickthall) ”Coming from between the back and the ribs.” (Shakir) There is also an equally inaccurate verse concerning the biology of mammalian milk production: (Q16: 66) “And surely in the cattle there is a lesson for you; We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between filth and blood, pure milk, sweet to drinkers” (Arberry) “ From what is within their bodies between excretions and blood...” (Yusufali)

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” Of that which is in their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood..... “ (Pickthall) ” Of what is in their bellies–from betwixt the faeces and the blood…. ” (Shakir) ” Between dregs and blood, which is in their bellies…” (Rodwell) So, semen comes from between the backbone and the ribs and milk is formed in the bellies of cattle between faeces and blood, whatever that means. Bucaille now takes a step beyond the already dubious process of ‘modernising’ the Quran’s vocabulary. He now alters the sense of the text for no other reason than that it is wrong in its original form, expressing it as “ Of what is inside their bodies, coming from a conjunction between the contents of the intestine and the blood” His justification for the alteration is that: “These translations are the work of highly eminent Arabists. It is a well known fact however, that a translator, even an expert, is liable to make mistakes in the translation of scientific statements, unless he happens to be a specialist in the discipline in question….From a scientific point of view, physiological notions must be called upon to grasp the meaning of this verse” whereas, in reality, they have been used to correct the verse. The translators, though not experts in the sciences, were in no worse a position than the millions of others who have tried to understand the Quran. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that what they expressed in their translations is pretty much what the Quran says. Creatures The Quran makes a number of dubious statements regarding the Earth’s animal life. For example: (Q16: 79) “Do they not look at the birds subjected in the atmosphere of the sky? None can hold them up (in His Power) except God.” As with (Q36: 40) above, all the translations say more or less the same thing, implying that there is no ambiguity in the original. The verse says that birds can fly only because God holds them up. Now, it is true that Muslims believe that all things happen by the ‘will of Allah’, so (Q16: 79) could be interpreted as a purely theological statement. However, it looks suspiciously like the verse is drawing our attention to the evident ‘miracle’ of the flight of birds, which is attributed to God’s direct intervention rather than to the lift produced by the shape and motion of their wings. This again is a sign of human

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ignorance, rather than divine knowledge. Bucaille clearly also had difficulty with this verse since, in addition to the substitution of the scientific term ‘atmosphere’ instead of the mundane ‘air’, he feels it necessary to misdirect his readers by including an irrelevant discussion of the alternative ‘miracle’ of migration. Not surprisingly, Bucaille fails to include in his book the following account of one of King Solomon’s expeditions with his army. Starting with (Q27: 17) “And his hosts were mustered to Solomon, jinn, men and birds, duly disposed…” The verse therefore claims that (a) Solomon’s army contained a division of birds (b) it contained another division of the Arab folklore beings called jinn who, according to (Q55: 15), were created by God from “..a smokeless fire”. Incidentally, the previous verse, (Q55: 14), gives the following information on the origin of humans: “He created man of a clay like the potter's”. The question of the existence of jinn presents something of a problem for the modern Muslim. To assert that they exist not only flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary but also implies the remarkable coincidence that only the Arabs, out of all the Earth’s cultures, had managed to discern them prior to the delivery, also to the Arabs, of the Quran, where their existence was ‘confirmed’. It must be tempting to consider the alternative explanation that the Quran was composed by an Arab who had been brought up to believe in jinn. However, to deny their existence is to doubt the Quran, which entails apostasy ([6], Section o8.7): a capital offence. It is as if Irish law specified the death penalty for denying the existence of leprechauns. The account of Solomon’s journey does not get any more plausible, because the next verse tells us that “.. when they came on the Valley of Ants, an ant said, 'Ants, enter your dwelling-places, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you, being unaware!' “ Solomon understood the local ant dialect [7], though his response was rather dismissive: “But he smiled, laughing at its words….” and he proceeded to ignore the ant, and to concentrate instead on a rather edgy discussion with one of his birds (Q27: 22 onwards). The story of Solomon and the ant is an old Jewish legend [8]. Many of the Earth’s cultures have a variety of barmy folk tales but Islam is unusual in that, in effect, it stakes its life on its own stories being true. For if the account of Solomon and the ant is untrue, then the Quran contains errors and the whole basis of Islam is false. It is a heavy burden to place on the narrow shoulders of a talking ant. Muslim apologists are uncertain regarding the appropriate interpretation of the ant story. Those who prefer a rational explanation suggest that the inhabitants of the valley were a tribe called the ‘Naml’ (Arabic for ‘ant’), thereby avoiding the embarrassment of having to

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defend an indefensible position. However, the original Jewish story does indeed concern an actual ant, as the phrase “..lest Solomon and his hosts crush you, being unaware” implies. Furthermore, the ‘Naml’ explanation does not adequately deal with the subsequent implausible account of the man-bird dialogue. The more traditional explanations portray Solomon as a Bronze Age Dr. Dolittle, miraculously endowed with the ability to talk with creatures. Although such a claim is no more implausible than many others within this and other religions, it falls well short of explaining all the remarkable features of the story. Not only, according to the tale, did Solomon possess miraculous powers (including, presumably, very acute hearing), the ant itself achieved the feat of recognising Solomon from a distance and evidently already knew his name. Unless Solomon had previously dropped in for a chat from time to time, it is difficult to see how the ant could have come by this knowledge. The ant story is not the only Jewish legend, which the Quran repeats uncritically: (Q29: 14) “Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years, all but fifty...” Remind us of your conclusion, Maurice. Ah yes: “.. the Qur’an does not contain a single statement that is assailable from a modern scientific point of view”. Dr. Bucaille’s guilty secret There is a perception that Maurice Bucaille converted to Islam as a result of his studies and his book certainly encourages that view. However, is it true? In a 1992 interview with the online Islamic Bulletin [9], Bucaille himself states: “I knew then [i.e. during his studies] that the Quran was the "Work of Allah" and had not been authored by any human being.” However, when asked the straight question “Have you embraced Islam?” Bucaille fails to give a straight answer. He first replies: “..when God guided me to undertake a study of the Quran, my inner soul cried out that Al-Quran was the Word of God revealed to his Last Prophet Mohammed” which looks almost, but not quite, like ‘yes’. However, he goes on to say “About my faith and belief, God knows what is in one's heart. I am convinced that if I identify myself with any creed, people will invariably dub me as one belonging to such and such group” which sounds suspiciously like a ‘no’. Campbell (see [10]) has looked into this subject more thoroughly, and says

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“At a public lecture in Fez Morocco in either 1981 or 1983, a friend of mine asked during the question period whether Dr. Bucaille had become a Muslim. Dr. Bucaille said, "No". And [10] also points out that the following passage occurred in the catalogue of the Islamic publisher and book distributor Pak Books in 1998: “Dr.Bucaille's study of scientific information in scriptures gave him high regard for Qur'an and recognition of contradictions in Christian scriptures. Yet he remained a Christian.” So, what is the truth? Surprisingly, the answer can be found in Bucaille’s book, though it is carefully disguised by weasel words. He writes: “For me, there can be no human explanation to the Quran”. “..statements that simply cannot be ascribed to the thought of a man who lived more than fourteen centuries ago.” “Such statements….obviously do not lend themselves to a human explanation” “…the existence in the Qur’an of the verse referring to these concepts can have no human explanation on account of the period in which they were formulated.” These are words, which are carefully crafted to convince Muslims that he had been won over by the Islamic view of the Quran, but equally carefully avoiding the explicit conclusion that its author was God. This he never states, so leaving open the question of what type of being he considers responsible for the text. Dr. Bucaille may not have embraced Islam, but he has certainly embraced the Islamic practice of dissimulation. Muslims should perhaps consider why someone who appears so rapturously convinced of the miraculous origin of the Quran would not convert to Islam, particularly since “..God guided me..” to carry out the study in the first place. Kasem [11] has no doubt about Bucaille’s motives: “This charlatan found a great opportunity to make good money out of this situation.” However, despite the fact that Bucaille achieved a good deal of fame in the Muslim world as a result of his book, and undoubtedly received large amounts of money, the idea that he planned a scam from the very start seems a little too good to be true. My own view of Bucaille’s motives is less damning than Kasem’s, though I would shed no tears if Kasem turned out to be right. I think that, for a long while during his studies, Bucaille did genuinely believe that the Quran was divinely authored: “..my inner soul cried out that Al-Quran was the Word of God”. However, I suspect that, at some point during his researches, Bucaille began to

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realise that this belief could not be sustained. The contrived special pleading that he was forced to make, time and time again, to support so many flagrantly poor descriptions of the natural world, must have had its effect. Nevertheless, to retract his nascent book was impossible. Too many close acquaintances were eagerly anticipating the glowing praise soon to be bestowed on the Quran by a Western scholar: people who included his distinguished employer, King Faisal, of whom Bucaille writes “The debt of gratitude I owe to the late King Faisal, whose memory I salute with deepest respect, is indeed very great.” So he decided to weaken his conclusions just a touch, publish anyway, and remain a Roman Catholic. Nevertheless, the conclusion seems inevitable: by the time he penned his final words, and though he didn’t dare to admit it, Bucaille had ceased to believe his own book. Summing up There are no verses in the Quran with any modern scientific content. Those of the Quran’s statements about the natural world, which have survived unrefuted to the present day, have done so not because they contain profound truths, but precisely because they contain no profound truths. Most are just everyday rustic observations; those, which venture beyond the mundane often, contain nothing more than an opaque mixture of poetic description, vagueness and mysticism. How did Muhammad largely avoid expounding a series of then-current but erroneous scientific ideas? Because he was interested only in theology, lived in an intellectual backwater and had not received a formal education, so knew nothing of them. There remains, however, a residue of statements in the Quran, which are, both clear enough to be understood and specific enough to be identified as erroneous. Even ignoring the simple errors and absurdities which Bucaille overlooks or tries to divert our attention from, the descriptions of natural phenomena in the Quran are often so poor that they cannot be the product of divine revelation, nor even of an educated mortal. There is no sense in which (Q36: 38) is an adequate description of the motion of the sun, nor (Q78: 6,7) an adequate description of the geology of mountains, nor (Q86: 5-7) a competent account of human biology. Are Muslims really suggesting that the above was the best that an almighty, all-knowing deity could do? For anyone who believes that the descriptions quoted above are satisfactory, consider this: if you were marking an examination paper and you came across one of the above passages without realising it was a direct quote from the Quran, how many marks out of 10 would you give? And there is, of course, the problem of the talking ant. If anyone could suggest a reason why this story should not be regarded as absurd, it would be most interesting to hear it. Nevertheless, even if a plausible explanation of the account could be constructed, the problem remains that ‘God’ has included in the Quran a tale that appears ridiculous, with its resulting adverse effect on the book’s credibility. For an almighty being intent on the world’s conversion to Islam, this is a strange approach. The supposed existence of scientific references in the Quran, as with that of ‘inimitability’ [12], is a myth, born of wishful thinking and inflated by exaggerated repetition. The continuous ‘discovery’ of new interpretations resembles the ‘discovery’ of new

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predictions contained in the quatrains of Nostradamus. However, while the latter is a relatively inconsequential pastime for devotees, the former helps sustain the delusion that the Quran is miraculous, thereby giving support to the grim edifice of Islam itself. Finally, one cannot explain away the Quran’s 0% score in Science by claiming (as Bucaille does) that God adjusted his descriptions to suit the average uneducated 7th century Arab. According to Islam, God composed the Quran for all people, for all time, and was happy elsewhere to include ‘ambiguous’ (i.e. incomprehensible) verses about other subjects (see Q3: 7). So why not include accurate descriptions about the natural world for the benefit of later generations, even if they could not necessarily be appreciated at the time? The Quran was not composed for a 7th century Arab; it was composed by a 7th century Arab. References [1] M. Bucaille. The Bible, The Quran and Science. [2] A. von Denffer. Introduction to the Quran. [3] W. Campbell. The Qur'an and the Bible in the light of history and science. [4] T. Edis. An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam. Prometheus Books 2007. [5] All the Quran translations cited here are easily found on the Internet. [6] Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, (rev. ed., trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Beltsville, Maryland: Amana, 1994) [7] G. Chapman, T. Jones. Let’s Talk Ant. [8] Jewish Encyclopedia. [9] Islamic Bulletin. Issue 6, January 1992. [10] Is Dr. Maurice Bucaille a Muslim? [11] A. Kasem. The tales of Bucaille and Moore, two occidental charlatans. [12] A. Reddy. Matchless Prose?

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