Monday, October 31, 2011

Top 5 reasons to believe the Qu'ran is man-made: # 5- The Ark on Mount Judi

# 5 - The Ark comes to rest on Mount Judi 
When the word went forth: "O earth! swallow up thy water and O sky! withhold (thy rain)!" and the water abated and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi and the word went forth: "Away with those who do wrong!" 11:44
The Bible and the Qur'an both relate the eponymous story of Noah's Ark. In the  Qur'an's version, however, the Ark comes to rest not on Mount Ararat, but on Mount Judi. The Qur'anic version is also silent on the "unnecessary details", such as the dimensions of the Ark, unlike the Bible which states that the Ark is 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide.
Why should the author of the Qur'an have specified these differences?  
Perhaps this might explain.

This picture shows what appears to be the imprint, or the fossilised remains, of a giant boat near the foot of what has been identified as Mount Judi, mentioned the Qur'an as the Ark's final resting place. Surely this is proof, say Muslims, that the Qur'an is the word of God and that the Bible has been corrupted, just as we've been saying all these centuries...
Except that it's not. What you're looking at is indeed a boat-like structure and can indeed be found near the foot of Mount Judi. And it must doubtless have seemed like an awe-inspiring confirmation of the biblical stories of a giant boat to those desert dwellers who came across it 1,400 years ago. (There was the slight problem of it being in the wrong place and and the wrong dimensions [50% too wide] but it was no doubt the remains of an ancient ship) 
But the unusual rock formations at the now infamous Durupinar Site in the Tendurek Mountains are just that - unusual rock formations. (For those wishing to investigate the veracity of the Muslim miracle-seekers claims and read the conclusions of the numerous scientific studies carried out on this site since the 1960s I refer you to my earlier post )
And, at the risk of being accused of recycling old material, I quote from another previous post : How likely is it that such an unusual rock formation - in the very distinct and unusual shape of a boat - should happen to be on the very same mountain that it is claimed in the Qur’an that the Ark came to rest?
Either one perseveres with the supernatural/divine hypothesis and claims, faute de mieux, that God shaped the rocks in such a way (perhaps as another of those tests?), or one must look for another, more rational explanation. And the only explanation that I can think of is that the writer of the Qur’an knew of the “remains of the Ark” on Mnt Judi and decided to make reference to them in his revelation - leaving out the dimensions as they were obviously not correct.  It is perhaps relevant to quote a part of the conclusion from the Collins (Department of Geological Science, California State University) article: "Finally, [it has been] suggested that, although the structure is not Noah's Ark, it may very well be the site which the ancients regarded as the ship of the Deluge and may have played a role in the Flood story. As a geologist, I find this to be a interesting speculation." Journal of Geosciences Education, v. 44, 1996, p. 439-444. If we replace "the ancients" with "Mohammed" we are left with an unpalatable, (for Muslims) but not unreasonable, supposition.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Embryology in the Qur'an - a challenge to Hamza Tzortzis, iERA and Islam Papers

So let man observe from what he has been created. He was created from a fluid, ejected, emerging from between the backbone and the ribs 

Following the recent correspondence between this blog and the dawah site, Islam Papers, and the suggestion by IP that I put my points relating to the above verse in the Qur'an to Hamza Tzortzis of iERA (Islamic Education and Research Association) I thought it might be enlightening for my readers to see what the iERA said when I did exactly that via the kind offices of a Muslim friend a few months back. Here is the reply he got. Notice that there is NO MENTION of the various translations Hamza is so keen to highlight in his latest article quoted in IP and reproduced at the end of this post.

  The statement “sperm produced from between ribs and backbone?” is inaccurate. The most correct interpretation and translation (see Abdel Haleem’s translation of the Qur’an)  states that it is not the sperm that is produced from the ribs and the backbone but rather that the baby comes from there (in other words the womb). This is the view of the classical scholar al-Razi in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir. The pronoun refers back to man and not to the gushing fluid:
86. THE NIGHT-COMER 5) Man should reflect on what he was created from.6) He is created from spurting fluid, 7) then he * emerges from between the backbone and breastbone **
*= The Pronoun here is taken to refer to the person rather than the fluid.**=Of the mother, where she carries the baby.

and here is Hamza's latest article in full:

The above verses have been condemned by various critics and commentators as being scientifically inaccurate, and any attempt to salvage an accurate meaning from them has been suggested to be tantamount to textual acrobatics. This evaluation arises from an analysis of the words sulb andtara’ib which have been translated to mean ‘backbone’ and ‘ribs’. Those who maintain the scientific inaccuracy of the Qur’an claim the above translation for the words sulb and tara’ib cannot be reconciled with modern developments in physiology. However, after a lexical analysis of these words it will be seen that these words do in fact concur with modern physiology.The word sulb carries various meanings including hard, firm, solid, stiff and rigid. It also means any portion of the backbone, particularly the lumbar portion and the loins. It is specific to males.[2][3] The word tara’ib means breastbone, the ribs[4] or the pelvic arch,[5] and this word according to most authors refers specifically to women.
With such examinations of the interpretations offered by the Arabic language, it can be inferred that the Qur’an complies with modern physiology as it is well known that the sperm and semen come from an area referred to as the loins, and the ovum comes from the pelvic arch area. Both of which are required for the creation of man, that is to say, the human being. 

So my question to all Muslim miracle seekers, the iERA, Hamza Tzortzis and Islamic Papers is this: Can you please make up your minds what your holy book actually says, because at the moment it looks horribly like you can't tell your sulb from your elbow...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Islam Papers - interesting, very interesting...

A new blog has appeared in the dawahsphere - The Islam Papers. It claims to "host a collection of really interesting  articles, papers and posts".
My attention was drawn to the Islam Papers by a kindly soul who commented on my post Embryology in the Qur'an..."
" has an interesting article on Was Al-Harith the Source of the Prophet's embryologcal knowledge. very interesting!"
Now this commenter was really on the ball, since the Islam Papers has only just gone on line - in fact its first ever post was October 2nd.
Intrigued, I visited Islam Papers and read the article. I shall publish a proper response shortly, but just so my readers are aware of how the Islamic miracle-seekers of the iERA et al work, I hereby make a prediction:
That Islam Papers turns out to be run and financed by our friends at the Islamic Education and Research Association (iERA) and that the over-enthusiastic commenter on my article turns out to be a member of both Islam Papers and the iERA.

So what is my gripe, you may ask.
Just this, that if Islam Papers is, as I strongly suspect, a blog run by and funded by the iERA, then it should surely admit as much and not pretend by omission to be an objective collection of "interesting articles" which thus run the risk of being taken by readers to be a dispassionate examination of the miracle claims of the Qur'an.

Addendum: I've left a comment on the Islamic Papers post on embryology. It reads as follows:
 If it is indeed the case that the translations you offer are possible and likely, can you explain why the most lauded and revered modern translation of the Qur’an by Professor Muhammad A S Abdel Haleem at the SOAS at the University of London has man emerging from between the backbone and the ribs instead of the spurting fluid/nutfah?
Will Hamza allow it, do you think?