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Featured My favourite scientific contradiction in the Quran

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by danieldemol, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Background: In another thread @Limo has proposed that the Quran never contradicts science.

    When I posted the list of scientific errors in the Quran available at Scientific Errors in the Qur'an - WikiIslam Limo suggested to me that these lists are not new, and that I should pick one from the list for Muslims to discuss.

    My response was essentially that although a point by point refutation would be in order since even one scientific error would be enough to disprove that the Quran is authored by an omniscient God, nontheless I do have a favourite scientific contradiction so I will put it here for discussion.

    Of relevance here will be an extract from the intro to Scientific errors in the Quran followed by my favourite contradiction.

    Extract: ‘Some will contest these numerous errors in the Qur'an by appealing to metaphor, alternative meanings, or phenomenological interpretations of the text.

    Even supposing alternative explanations were possible in every case, the problem would remain that the Qur’an contains no obvious attempts to differentiate its understanding of the natural world and historical events from the common folklore and unscientific misconceptions of the people living in 7th century Arabia.

    An all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect communicator would have been able to foresee how such misleading statements would be understood by future generations and the doubts and confusions they would cause.

    Such overwhelming weakness in the Qur'an when we should expect perfection is already reason enough to reject any claims to its divine authorship.’

    Now to my favourite contradiction open to all Muslims:

    Sky can Fall Down on People
    The Quran's author thought that the sky/heaven is like a ceiling held up by Allah that can fall to earth or fragments break off and fall on someone. This is obviously impossible as the earth's atmosphere is simply made of gas and outer space is not a solid object.

    And if they were to see a fragment of the heaven falling, they would say: A heap of clouds.
    Quran 52:44
    See they not what is before them and behind them, of the sky and the earth? If We wished, We could cause the earth to swallow them up, or cause a piece of the sky to fall upon them. Verily in this is a Sign for every devotee that turns to Allah (in repentance).
    Quran 34:9
    Hast thou not seen how Allah hath made all that is in the earth subservient unto you? And the ship runneth upon the sea by His command, and He holdeth back the heaven from falling on the earth unless by His leave. Lo! Allah is, for mankind, Full of Pity, Merciful.
    Quran 34:9

    Please discuss
     
  2. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus retired astronomer

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    Advocatus diaboli: perhaps what is being referred to here are meteorite fragments? We know that several ancient cultures made jewelry, for example, from iron meteorites.
     
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  3. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    Science[edit]
    Further information: Baháʼí Faith and science
    There is some tension over the Baháʼí principle that religion and science should be in harmony. There are statements from the religion's founders of a scientific nature that could be interpreted as contrary to standard science. Prominent among them are references by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá that humans evolved over a long period, but were never animals. Many Baháʼí authors have commented[15][excessive citations] that the intention of the comments were in line with a modern understanding of evolution and that the apparent conflict is an unfortunate semantic mistake. The Baháʼí commentator Salman Oskooi acknowledged that the comments by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá are not in line with current scientific understanding, but that ʻAbdu'l-Bahá should not be regarded as infallible in scientific matters.[16]

    Other scientifically controversial ideas from Baháʼu'lláh include that the universe is without beginning or end, that every planet has "creatures", and that copper can turn into gold
     
  4. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Its an interesting thought, and here is why we know it does not refer to meteorites.
    "And if they were to see a fragment of the heaven falling, they would say: A heap of clouds."
    Quran 52:44
    According to my understanding, "they" refers to non-believers in Islam. Sure non-believers would say "A shooting star", but what non-believer thinks a meteorite looks like "A heap of clouds"? So far as I know not one of them does. This reference to "clouds" also locates the region of the heaven being referred to as it is the region populated by clouds.
     
  5. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    The Baha'i faith has loads of scientific contradictions, although I would hope that you are not suggesting that showing the Baha'i faith has scientific contradictions means that the Quran does not, as that would be absurd.
     
  6. Notanumber

    Notanumber A Free Man

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  7. atanu

    atanu Member
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    I think literalist supporters and literalist opposers both err.

    For example, in Hindu scripture it is written that moon is further away than sun which is real close. It is foolish isn’t it?

    But sun is the self resplendent atman (self-soul-spirit) while the moon that shines by borrowed light is the mind. Have you seen iconography of Shiva sitting with a crescent moon near His head? The iconography signifies that the mind (symbolised by moon) waxes and wanes because of the immutable consciousness, the Shiva, the auspicious. It points to an unborn consciousness being the source of our consciousness.

    I can cite many such examples that simply cannot be understood using today’s vocabulary.

    ...
     
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  8. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus retired astronomer

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    Yeah, it a bit of a stretch perhaps :) although since people then did not know what clouds were, I would think that anything falling from the sky could be considered to be "from the clouds".
     
  9. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    That one is a bit of a stretch to call an error as it's hardly supposed to be literal.

    Dhul Qarnayan is Alexander the Great, and that passage is based on the Syriac Alexander Legend/Neshana which also has elements of even older stories like the Epic of Gilgamesh.

    Going to the ends of the Earth is just metaphorical because the Neshana was from the Roman world, and they certainly didn't believe the earth was flat in the 7th C.

    If you want to read an article about it:

    "The prophecy of Ḏū-l-Qarnayn (Q 18:83-102) and the Origins of the Qurʾānic Corpus". Miscellanea arabica 2013–2014: 273-90.
     
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  10. Limo

    Limo Active Member

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    What about the opposite, If one preferred alleged scientific error is refuted, will this proof that the Quran is authored by an omniscient God ?

    This is just introduction to answer your introduction, I hope we don't go in side discussion and concentrate on the main issue.

    Initially, let us set some thoughts here regarding your assumptions and allegations:
    • Metaphors: the vast majority of Moslems scholars believe that Quran doesn't have metaphors
    • Alternative meanings: We don't have this term in Quran explanation, If and only if we're taking about Quran language Arabic but other language translations sometimes have errors or not selecting the appropriate word
    • phenomenological interpretations of the text: This is somehow unclear but what I can say is that sometimes the word has several meanings in Arabic So scholars sometimes explain the meaning different from the common understanding of the word meaning to non scholars
    • common folklore and unscientific misconceptions : This can't be said by any mean about Quran. Allah in Quran exposes the naked facts. Prophet was keen to not to compliant with the system. Quran refuted most of common Christinity belief, most of Jews expectations, all pagan belief, most of time Allah says "myths of grandfathers, precedents, presbyters"

    So let us define the issue precisely, I'm waiting for your acceptance/modification before I answer:
    • As the atmosphere is made of gas, there is nothing to fall on earth looks like cloud
      • Neither cloud because cloud is already excluded in Quran
      • Nor meteorite fragments as per your answer in #4
    Regards
     
  11. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Don't you think that reveling in gotchas is a bit juvenile?
     
  12. izzy88

    izzy88 Active Member

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    I love this symbolism, it really seems to help make sense of why I can feel like very different people from moment to moment and yet at the same time I'm still always "me". Are there some good resources you'd recommend for learning more about this sort of symbolic language in Hinduism?
     
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  13. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    IMHO - @Link posted a thread about "Mysterious letters in the Qu'ran." Ok - so if an all-knowing creator dictated or authored it through an angel - it sure is incomprehensible to many. Which defeats its entire purpose. Also the Qu'ran makes copious references to the other Abrahamic faiths that Muhammad knew about (with some errors like in the case of Miriam of Aaron and Jesus) and no reference to the Vedas - at least poor Baha'u'llah gave a nod to Lord Krishna equating him with himself but that is another story.

    There are any number of hadiths - sahih - or otherwise purporting to further explain or support what is in the Qu'ran - why the need for these?

    So no - not for a second do I buy that "heavenly revealed" claim. My own text is more straightforward and the original copy (still in existence) dual signed by the person dictating and the one writing it with corrections in the margin. But I do not make that claim about the SGGS - it is a philosophy - like most dharmic faiths - a suggestion on how to live one's own life - but at the end - like Sri Krishna said to Arjun "The decision of what to do - ultimately lies with you"

    Gita 18:63

    iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
    vimṛiśhyaitad aśheṣheṇa yathechchhasi tathā kuru

    Thus, I have explained to you this knowledge that is more secret than all secrets. Ponder over it deeply, and then do as you wish.
     
    #13 ManSinha, Apr 7, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  14. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Thank you for your interest. To start you can read: Hindu iconography - Wikipedia

    Wikipedia article, however, may not bring about the joy that one gets on personal revelation. There are a few more iconographies that have given me immense insight. But probably this is not the place\ to discuss that.
     
    #14 atanu, Apr 7, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  15. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    In that you would be 50percent wrong. If it weren’t for those opposed to literalism, literalism would become the majority as it has become in Islam.
     
  16. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Nope, as explained above all errors would have to be satisfactorily refuted.

    Don’t forget, 34:9 compares this to a calamity the likes of being swallowed up by the earth, so we are obviously not talking about a relatively peaceful occurrence such as fog settling down.
     
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  17. Limo

    Limo Active Member

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    But do you agree about the definition of the issue?
    Change it as you wish
     
  18. Limo

    Limo Active Member

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    Agree, that one case is not enough to change the mind of someone but it should make a difference.

    Unfortunately logic is not quantified.
    Satisfactory is not guaranteed.
    I can logically refute the issue but it doesn't imply your acceptance and satisfaction.
    I believe it's not logic only, it's about thoughts and belief.

    But I should try.
     
  19. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    It is good enough
     
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  20. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Wow, a rambling post filled with irrelevancy, more contradiction to science, and threats of hellfire... was I supposed to be impressed by that?
     
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