Astounding Evidence (??)



I have no particular agenda here other than to offer this link for your consideration.  Judge the evidence upon its merits:


  1. lefalcon

     /  February 17, 2009

    “The intensive studies of the Quran and hadeeth … in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D.”

    If, somewhere in the acts and words of Muhammad, a whole system of embryonic developmental stages is elaborated, why don’t they quote this stupendous piece of evidence? Maybe two items of vocabulary (“alaqa” and “mudgha”) are sufficient: These two words, in and of themselves, embody a complex and sophisticated scientific apparatus.

    It’s true that two words can pack a lot of meaning, like the way “gee whiz” singlehandedly evokes the enormity of my disbelief that there are apparently people in this world who would *not* laugh this article out of court.

  2. acilius

     /  February 17, 2009

    “Gee whiz” indeed!

  3. cymast

     /  February 18, 2009

    Yep, the same thing could be said in regard to the “intensive studies” of all the other cases. Gee whiz.

  4. cymast

     /  February 18, 2009

    I identify most with the pig clot cud. Is that weird?

  5. acilius

     /  February 18, 2009

    My idea is that even if you have found an extensive, detailed similarity between a traditional story and a scientific theory, you haven’t proven anything. So you might for example go on at some length about the similarities between the Big Bang theory and various creation myths of the “Cosmic Egg” variety. For example, Ovid’s account at the beginning of the METAMORPHOSES has enough similarities to the Big Bang that I’ve been able to spend 15-20 minutes of class time listing them all. But so what? There are many possible explanations for these similarities that do not require you to believe that the people who formulated those “Cosmic Egg” myths had any special divine insight.

    Taking that into account, the fact that the selections from the Koran and Hadith offered on this website are so flimsy

  6. acilius

     /  February 18, 2009

    Oops, hit the wrong button. I was going to say that the fact that he selects such brief excerpts from the sacred texts makes me wonder whether he really is the pious but foolish Muslim he appears to be. Perhaps he’s an anti-Islamic writer trying to make Muslims look stupid.

  7. acilius

     /  February 18, 2009

    “Pig-Clot Cud”- sounds like a name for a band.

  8. cymast

     /  February 18, 2009

    Ew, you’re right. A band of heathens. Get thee behind them!

  9. lefalcon

     /  February 18, 2009

    Yeah not only is the argument so weak as to be ridiculous…

    (Two vocabulary words amount to an uncanny premonition of modern embryology??)

    …but even if you did accept it, it could easily undermine someone’s faith, instead of upholding it:

    It seems to imply that Religion craves validation by Science.

    I thought that a salamander-embryo gamepiece came standard with “Monopoly” sets.

  10. acilius

     /  February 19, 2009

    You said a while ago that a Muslim friend of yours responded to those kinds of arguments by saying that he thought it was unwise to pin too much on a connection between doctrine and any particular scientific theory, since scientific theories change all the time. That seems right on the mark to me. There’s the “God of the gaps” argument, where you find some phenomenon science has not explained, say “Aha! That’s where God performed miracles!” Then science closes that gap, and you’re left in the lurch. I often get the feeling that anti-evolutionists are stuck in such a situation. Before Darwin, the argument from design was extremely popular, the origins of life and of species involved several big gaps believers tried to fill with miracle stories. When Darwin closed those gaps, many of those believers found themselves in a trap. Now 150 years have passed, and many millions of people are still caught in that same trap.

  11. lefalcon

     /  February 19, 2009

    Interesting remarks. And the thing about the Quran foreshadowing modern embryology isn’t just some isolated eccentric position that turned up on just that one website. It seems to be a pretty popular argument in the world of Islamic missionizing discourse. I think they’re on pretty safe ground with the stages of embryo development: it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that new research would suddenly radically revise. And it’s a lovely argument: it’s so ludicrous. More than anything else, it seems to shoot itself in the foot: it implies (as I mentioned earlier) that Religion craves validation by Science AND it demonstrates that the Quran, in effect, must contain very little material that can be seen as corresponding with modern scientific findings about anything. I mean, if the best they can come up with is the words for “leech” and “chewed thing” as somehow encapsulating the whole of modern research on the embryo’s development… it’s laughable.

    I have another Muslim friend who apparently believes that evolution isn’t “human-centered” enough and therefore rejects it wholesale in favor of a literal reading of creationism as described in the Quran. I asked him how he accounts for archaeological remains of Homo erectus etc., and he just replied, “I believe in the human-centered view.”

  12. acilius

     /  February 20, 2009

    You’e reminded me of something. Anti-abortion Christians often bring up Luke 1:41, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit.” The expression “leapt in her womb” is supposed to refer to quickening, and that the word “baby” is used is supposed to mean that personhood attaches at or before quickening. The first time I heard an anti-abortion Christian who seemed to base her entire claim that the Bible forbids abortion on that one sentence I reacted the same way as I did when I looked at that website, “This has got to be a joke.” But no, no joke, they’re 100% in earnest.

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