Are there any glaring scientific and historic inaccuracies in Qur’an that suggest human authorship opposing divine revelation?

My answer to Are there any glaring scientific and historic inaccuracies in Qur'an that suggest human authorship opp…

Answer by Vishu Menon:

Bingo Lala requested your answerAre there any glaring scientific and historic inaccuracies in Qur'an that suggest human authorship opposing divine revelation?

The points raised have been asked and answered several times from opposite sides. Nonetheless, this is a very serious question that deserves to be answered in all seriousness. It does not invite sarcasm or mirth.

To begin with, we need to lay down some fundamental axioms that must be acceptable to both sides of those who answer.

Firstly, the question is on glaring scientific and historic inaccuracies in the Quran. We should restrict our discussion to this question alone.

Secondly, there are no such things as scientific facts and theological facts when they relate to what is perceivable and provable. Within those premises, facts are facts. The only question whether theological and scientific might diverge is on unknown facts on which science has not arrived at a consensus : that of the existence of God, his angels, Jinns, Devil and all such superhuman things.

Thirdly, if some facts which are proved and established in practice and by scientific methods but are not directly perceivable – such as the near-spherical shape of the earth, the heliocentricity of the Solar System,, adiabatic fall in pressure and temperature, gravitational force etc. –are disputed, then a man of science debating the question becomes infructuous. The question posed here implies that the questioner accepts that scientific facts are real facts, do the statements in the Quran drastically differ from them wherever those facts (alone) find mention..

Fourthly, when we state that a statement in the scripture is confirmed by scientific finding, it means that we accept that the scientific finding is a fact. If we argue that 50,000 years of angels is one day in God’s reckoning, and since angels must be living for longer than a day in God’s life, and since the argument is that God made the world in six of his days, we should take it that this world has been in existence for more than 300,000 man-years. This should go to show that the Book, or the Old Testament that the Holy Quran eulogizes has got it all wrong when it suggests a lifespan of six thousand years for the universe since its inception.

Finally, one should assume that Allah has sent words through his messengers first through the “Book”, the Bible, and then finally through the Prophet who got it accurately recorded it in the Quran because He (Allah) wanted mankind to know, and has told all that is to be known to man. If God doesn’t play dice, he couldn’t be playing puzzles either. Hence “Allah knows his best,” which is undisputed, has no relevance in this discussion. What is on the table is what has been expressly stated by Allah through Quran.

There have been well thought-out answers to this question already on this page. Only Mr. Omar Chad found that some answers were laughable. He points out the following as basically accepted truths that were enunciated 1400 years ago. I have plent of time, but although there are several other glaring inaccuracies in the Quran, and the ‘scientific miracles’ often claimed to be in Quran can easily be proved farcical, I will restrict myself, for the time being, to the ‘accuracies’ stated by Mr. Omar Chad.

1) The expansion of the universe :

(51/47) And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.

This particular verse, that comes in Quran immediately after the Noah episode and the punishment meted out to the disobedient cannot be seen in Isolation. It is complimented by two more verses:

51/48. And the earth We have spread out, and excellent is the preparer.

51/49. And of all things We created two mates; perhaps you will remember.

The passage must also be read with Sura 41/09-13. By heaven, Allah means the sky that we see. For, He says:

Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds." 10. And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction – for [the information] of those who ask.11. Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly." 12. And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

Further,

21/30 Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?

No Arabic word meaning the Universe with its millions of galaxies occur in Quran. It speaks of seven heavens layered one over the other. Please also note that the word ‘sema-on; سماء’ actually means the sky.

Also,

67/3. [And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?

So “We are its expander” can mean one of the two things:

a. After splitting the heaven from the earth (or vice-versa), he expanded the sky to spread it aloft as a protective roof over the earth. Surah 41/12And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection.

b. After cleaving heaven from the earth (or vice-versa), Allah expanded the heaven into seven layers.(67/3).

It is thus abundantly obvious that by “we constructed it; we are the expander” Allah did not mean that he had expanded the universe as discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1929 that the universe is expanding in the sense that the galaxies are moving away from each other.

Furthermore, if Quran did mean in this verse that the world has been expanding since God made it, that would mean that God made a pretty shrunken world – which is what the Big Bang theory suggests. So the expansion of the universe contradicts the creation theory supported by Quran. So what Allah says in this verse is that he expanded the sky as we see it, not the moving apart of the universe with its million galaxies of which Allah does not speak in the Quran and possibly did not know of.

2) The trajectory of the Sun :

( 21/33) And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming.

Unfortunately for Allah, he is wrong even if he created both the night and the day.

Read with Surah 36 (36/37-40) “36:37-40 A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness. And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise. And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float (swim) each in an orbit.”

We find that the “Orbit”, assuming that an equivalent word existed in the 7th Century Arabic, of the Sun and the Moon are discontinuous in Quran which states that the sun runs for a resting place; that the moon goes to a mansion because she is so shrivelled (not seem shrivelled) that she has to rest in a mansion. It would appear that Allah did not know that the moon never shriveled; only got shadowed progressively from the day after the full moon to the New Moon.

Science tells us that there is no comparison between the two orbits; the sun along with the earth, the moon and all the planets in the system orbit the core of our spiral galaxy – not the earth – at 828,000 km/h; yet a single orbit would take approximately 61 galactic years, which would be something like 4.35 Billion years – we have just about completed a single orbit since our universe was born. Obviously, this quantity has nothing to do with the 1000 human years or 50,000 angel years that makes Allah’s one day. There is, also, no question of the moon catching up with or following (Surah 91/2) the sun (in between or while on) their respective orbits. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon is akin to saying that it is not for Usain Bolt to overtake the International Space Station. Pretty untenable comparison.

3) The protected vault :

(21/32) And We made the sky a protected ceiling, but they, from its signs, are turning away.

By this, Omar undoubtedly deduces that the Quran means the protection the ionosphere and the Ozone layer that offers to the earth from the harmful radiation of the sun. However, The Holy book mentions no such harmful radiation from the sun; only its beneficial effects:

(91/1) By the sun and its brightness 2. And [by] the moon when it follows it. 3. And [by] the day when it displays it. 4. And [by] the night when it covers it. 5. And [by] the sky and He who constructed it. 6. And [by] the earth and He who spread it. 7. And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it. 8. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness.9. He has succeeded who purifies it,

Surely, the sky is not a ‘ceiling’ that protects us from the purifying effects of the sun? In other words that the ionospheric protection that our earth derives on account of its Goldilocks existence has nothing to do with the ‘purification’ by its brightness proposed by the Quran.

4) The sky has returned (light reflection):

(86/11) By the sky which returns [reflect].

I am sorry, but here Omar’s (or of whoever first gave this interpretation) dishonesty is all too obvious. Sky is not a dome erected above the earth by miracle without pillars as suggested in verse (13/2); it is the bluish part of the broad spectrum of sun’s light reflected by the upper layers of the atmosphere. No other light is reflected, except by clouds when they are present.

Actually, this verse has nothing to do with reflection of light – any light – or any other matter or energy. It is part of a series of verses that issues a threat to what could happen to the disbelievers when the time comes; when the sky that was once cloven returns to earth – something like an oyster closes its lidand the disbeliever meets his fate. Obviously, light’s reflection is not at all intended in this part of the Surah which threatens disbelievers thus:

“86:10. Then man will have no power or any helper. 11. By the sky which returns. 12. And [by] the earth which cracks open, 13. Indeed, the Qur'an is a decisive statement,14. And it is not amusement…15. Indeed, they are planning a plan,16. But I am planning a plan. 17. So allow time for the disbelievers. Leave them awhile.

Further, “the sky which returns” naturally flows from the Surah 21/30 which says: “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?

The sky would return to earth as it was before Allah split it asunder – that is what is clearly threatened in this Surah. Come, on, Misquoting or misinterpreting the Holy Quran is a sin and a shame for the one who commits such an act, as God says in the Quran:

(4/51) Behold! how they invent a lie against Allah! but that by itself is a manifest sin!

5) The role of mountains as ground anchors to stabilize the earth:

(21/31) And We placed within the earth firmly set mountains, lest it should shift with them, and We made therein [mountain] passes [as] roads that they might be guided.

Mountains are not placed on the earth like paperweights on newsprint. They are geological formations, mostly erupted as a result of tectonic forces and volcanism that progressively occurred during the course of the evolution of earth that set off 4.54 Billion years ago. Of these, the volcanic mountains are most unstable and dangerous to life forms. They have killed millions of living beings during earth’s age. Himalaya, the largest of the mountain range in the world, was formed – and is continuously rising inch by inch – since the impact of the Indian subcontinent that floated in from the South caused the eruptions at the line of impact.

Mountains are gradually being eroded by rains and snow as well as human incursions and will flatten without upsetting the firmness of the earth. The earth, which is a sphere, finds a balance or state of equilibrium thanks to the gravitational force that pulls it towards the Sun and the centrifugal force that results from its orbit around the sun. The mountains do not prevent shifting of the earth; instead, they often cause temporary instability with volcanic eruptions, avalanches and earthquakes.

Himalayan earthquakes are notorious; quakes of the order of 8 on the Richter scale are known. The 2015 earthquake in Nepal right in the midst of Himalaya mountains killed 9000 people – presumably still counting; In Afghanistan, another mountain-bound nation, earthquake at 7.5 Richter scale killed at least 300 humans in the same year. All the regions within and near the foothills of Himalayas – including Pakistan and upper India – are unstable.

The ‘Ring of Fire,’ “a land-belt that extends from Chile, northward along the South American coast through Central America, Mexico, the West Coast of the United States, and the southern part of Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands to Japan, the Philippine Islands, New Guinea, the island groups of the Southwest Pacific, and to New Zealand” has caused 70,000 deaths in Peru in 1970 and “65 deaths and a billion dollars' damage in California in February 1971”. This does not include the several other quakes that keep happening and the ‘swimming pool turbulence’ (called seiche (pronounced SAYSH) that frighten the aquatic revellers in California. The reason for the calamities is “a region of young, growing mountains and deep ocean trenches which invariably parallel mountain chains.”

Obviously, if Allah placed the mountains to effect stability to the earth, he made a terrible un-godly and unscientific mistake. Mountains only cause instability and shifting.

6) The identity in the fingerprint [this truth or lies in Surat Al-qiyama [Resurrection]

(75/4) Yes. [We are] Able [even] to proportion his fingertips.

This, I am sad to say, is another sinful misrepresentation. Surah 75 has absolutely nothing to do with forensic identification. It deals with the day of judgment and contains the standard threats to the disbelievers who might argue that they cannot be assembled back for eternal torture and retribution. The Surah goes thus:

(75/1) I swear by the Day of Resurrection.2. And I swear by the reproaching soul [to the certainty of resurrection]. 3. Does man think that We will not assemble his bones? 4. Yes. [We are] Able [even] to proportion his fingertips. 5. But man desires to continue in sin. 6. He asks, "When is the Day of Resurrection?" 7. So when vision is dazzled.8. And the moon darkens. 9. And the sun and the moon are joined.

Here, God promises that he is such a good craftsman that he would be able to assemble the bones even to the right proportion of his fingertips, that the proportional finger tips (of the bones) can be used for the correct assembly of individual fingers; not that the fingerprints can be used for identification.

Incidentally, the renowned historian Will Durant mentions in his authoritative Oriental History (Part 1) that Chinese records from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) include details about using handprints as evidence during burglary investigations – nine centuries before Allah is supposed to have dictated Quran to Prophet Muhammad.

7) Iron being on earth comes from the sky, was not created on Earth during its formation :

(57/ 25 )And We sent down iron, wherein is great military might and benefits for the people, and so that Allah may make evident those who support Him and His messengers unseen. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

The full verse goes thus:

“57/25. We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice. And We sent down iron, wherein is great military might and benefits for the people, and so that Allah may make evident those who support Him and His messengers unseen. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.”

Sent down” here merely means that Allah made available to man just as he ‘sent down’ his prophet (57/9). The implication here is that iron alone was sent ‘down’ by Allah, the rest of the minerals and metals were ‘created on earth’ during its formation which shows an iron- cartload of ignorance on the part of Allah.

The scientist (Fred Hoyle) who first suggested that iron came from stellar formations due to nucleosynthesis or nuclear fusion also proposed that all elements heavier than helium came from the stars. It was pretty obvious to physicists that the formation of elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium had happened during the periods of stellar formation. Sun and its planets are, after all, break-aways from the nebulae that give birth to stars; the process also allowed the formation of heaver elements by nucleosynthesis that took place. Sun is one of those stars.

In fact, iron is the fourth most abundant element on the crust of earth; it is also found as a large percentage of earth’s core. Planets closer to the parent star- sun – have the most iron in the solar system, and earth is one of them. Lead and brass which go into bullets have greater use in military operations than iron which, of course, Allah had no means to know in the 7th Century were swords knives and axes were the weapons.

Meteors that survive entry into our atmosphere possibly do donate some iron now and then, but in proposing that He sent down iron specially for military and other purposes, Allah (if He knew) was playing a joke on his last Prophet.

8) winds fertilizing (This verse points out that the first stage of the formation of rain is wind):

(15/22) And We have sent the fertilizing winds and sent down water from the sky and given you drink from it. And you are not its retainers.

This verse makes two claims: (a) wind fertilizes; (b) water comes from the sky.

Zakir Naik, the self-styled preacher of comparative religion, quotes 29 verses from the Quran to show that water cycle was known to Allah centuries before Bernard Palissy proposed it in the West.

The fact is, in all those 29 verses, rain is a one-way traffic from the sky to earth.

Wind is supposed to carry fertilizers in the said verse probably because it often bears dust in its wake – a common occurrence in the deserts of Arabia. Evaporation from the sea or other water bodies does not find a mention in Quran – or for that matter, in any scripture of any religion.

The first stage of rain formation is not the wind – it is the pressure differential in the atmosphere that happens particularly in summer months. Wind flows from cooler high-pressure areas down South (mostly South-West for the Northern hemisphere), to the heated low-pressure region, absorbing water molecules from the surface of sea, lakes and other water bodies. As it gets closer and closer to the warmer areas, its capacity to hold water (called humidity percentage) rises. Further heating causes convection of this moisture-rich air to rise upwards. The wave-rolling effect that you see on slanted sea shores generate a similar effect on the moist winds when they strike mountains – the retreating air raises the oncoming air even further. Even trees add to the turbulence of air in the atmosphere. All these combine to make the moist air rise to the cooler upper regions of the atmosphere where the cooling air molecules can no longer hold all the moisture within their bonds, and hence they are expelled, forming what is called clouds when they are at high altitude and fog when they are at ground level. The water molecules can stay suspended in the air as long as they are apart, but when they get closer together, precipitation takes place, and it rains or snows. I do not propose to go further on the meteorological theory of cloud and rain formation (which I learnt as an aircrew in my younger days), but the point is: the source of rain are the water bodies of the earth, not the sky. There is very little, if at all, difference in the quantity of water that existed on earth a few million years ago; there certainly was not enough water to flood the entire earth at one time. Allah, or for that matter God of any other religion, simply did not know how it rains and repeats itself season after season, never substantially increasing or diminishing the quantum of water on earth.

Noah’s flood pirated by Quran from the Talmud’s Genesis is as false and unscientific as all other verses that are supposed to conform to scientific findings.

9)The baby's sex (until very recently it was thought that a baby's sex was determined by the mother's cells. Or we thought at least that the sex was determined by the male and female cells. but the Quran tells us differently: it is stated that masculinity or femininity is determined by "a drop of semen ejaculated."

( 53/45 ) And that He creates the two mates – the male and female –46 ) From a sperm-drop when it is emitted

This verses is further confirmed by:

76/2; Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.

All religions propound that man has the seed; the woman is a mere field for him to till and sow that seed. Hence it naturally flows that the male and female babies both come from the man.

However, I must admit that Islam does not fault the wife for bearing female children. The Prophet himself had more daughters (4) than his 3 sons; his Allah decided that only the daughters survive. Yet his love and affection for his ageing wife who gave him those daughters never diminished till she died; he went on a wedding spree only after her death.

Though second, third and fourth marriage are allowed by Allah, propensity to produce female babies is not stated as a reason for remarriage. It is another matter that Muslim mother-in-law’s do persuade their sons to marry another woman if the first woman delivers only girls, but that is not justified by Quran. Further, there is no record of a Muslim king or emperor beheading his wives for bearing girl children as it happened in the instance of King Henry VIII- the founder of Anglican Church.

The concept of Allah (and other Gods) that the male carries the seed has been proved wrong by science. The female has the egg – which is the real, albeit incomplete, seed. In the early stages of evolution, female alone did the reproduction; the amoebae, bacteria, some species of cockroaches and lizards are examples of asexual reproduction. Banana trees almost always reproduce asexually as do many other plants. In all cases of sexual reproduction, the male sperm is a mere fertilizer and a trigger for female gestation.

Nature devised sexual reproduction for putting individuality into newborns and to avoid filling the earth with clones. Sexual symbiosis and the differential genital structure of males and females are so made that the male has little to do with procreation than to trigger the reproductive process and to occasionally add spice to the process by replacing one of the twin X- chromosomes with a half-sized Y chromosome to create men out of women. That nearly 250 million toad-like sperms need to be released in a single ejaculation to cause impregnation shows the weakness of the masculine system. If you have even a couple of million sperms less than that regulation 250 million, doctors would blame you for lower sperm count.

It has been scientifically established (and proven among sheep) that a female can clone itself to reproduce another individual. A woman can conceive by injecting a DNA of her own or of another female after knocking out one from her egg. (Such events might soon come to pass and the males of the world could become redundant if they don’t look sharp).

Self-reproduction indeed has its disadvantages – absence of variety results in perpetuation of genetic diseases and absence of individuals with independent personality. This is the only reason why, in the case of complex mammals like humans, nature pulled out the clitoris of a woman into fashion penis (recall that Aristotle called clitoris female penis) to enable it to function like a syringe; it stitched together the external vulva into a sack called testes to pack it with the triggering tadpoles with no larger role than carrying pairs of chromosomes. In the process, nature forgot (or found it too much bother) to remove the nipples and mammary arteries from male body. Eve was not fashioned out of Adam’s ribs; Adam was fashioned out of eve among the first mammals that evolved. Man just happens to be at the tip of the evolution at the present instance. Allah was far off the mark when he repeated the Biblical foolhardiness that He mad the woman from a crooked rib of Man.

If all this refashioning of males from females done to engender variety within species was done by Allah, he continues to make mistakes. Sometimes the process of stirring the concoction leads to the production of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders, humans with masculine nature into feminine body and vice-versa. Religion then accuses, even stones the products rather than the producer – that is Allah, assuming that he is the producer of living beings.

10) rarefaction of oxygen in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, when climbing into the sky :

(6/125) So whoever Allah wants to guide – He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide – He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.

Progressive rarefication of air and hence that of oxygen is a fact that is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran. However, unlike what is mentioned in this verse, one’s breast and the lungs within do not tighten and constrict, but expand and loosen as we climb higher in the sky due to the depleting atmospheric pressure. If an airplane loses its oxygen supply while flying in the stratosphere, one gasps for oxygen to fill one’s expanding lungs, not to squeeze out the air from it. If a cosmonaut on the ISS while space-walking at 250 to 400 kilometers above earth was to get his pressure suit punctured, his lungs would expand and burst – not crush and implode. The feeling of tightness only happens when one dives deeper into the sea or goes down a very deep pit. As always, Allah is wrong in this verse relating to a matter of science.

There is no dispute that the birth of Islam led to the coalition of a lot many civilizations and cultures, thereby spreading knowledge from India to the West, and generating its own knowledge base. Islam built up an edifice of a new culture and civilization in the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries while Europe was still grovelling under conflicting interpretation of the Bible and the hegemony of cruel and illiterate popes and cardinals. I cannot even deny that Quran with its enticing promise of a lurid heaven and the threat of a horrifying hell did much to assemble a large chunk of humanity into one fold (actually two mutually belligerent folds) before European Christianity caught up, overtook, and through technology aided by slavery and colonization, became a larger force than Islam.

That said, Quran, like the TaNaKh and the Bible, has no claim to finding truths at the boundaries of science. It took a devout Ahmadiya Muslim, Abdus Salam, to reach out to those boundaries . But when he did, the decree of the Quran that there cannot be another Prophet after Muhammad made Muslims banish him and his other faithful from the Islamic fold.

Are there any glaring scientific and historic inaccuracies in Qur'an that suggest human authorship opposing divine revelation?

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