Re: The Quran Is Miraculous.

Response to a comment I posted:

“I were to ask my muslim friends, or any random muslims, on this aspect, the most common answer that I would probably hear is about the scientific miracles of the Quran..   They would bring some examples from the Quran, from 1400 years ago, that are only known in the scientific world recently (recent decades)..” 

As I explained before this is more likely a byproduct of our ability to read into texts what we want, the same way we see patterns in clouds that are not there.  Our mind seeks patterns and can easily find them whether they’re there or not.  The fact is if a concept like the big bang were really, actually, explicitly and clearly stated in the quran (or any ancient text) it would not have been a new or radical concept when scientists first put it forward.  Passages like “god stretched the stars across the heavens” could refer to the inflation model of cosmology, or they could just be simply referring to the fact that the stars are spread out fairly evenly, and assuming god was the one who spread them like that.  It’s also debatable whether “stretch” is even a correct translation and what “stretching” space even means in a cosmological sense.  If these concepts were known in ancient times and preserved and commonly read, why did it take scientists thousands of years to discover them?  It’s not like the quran and the new and old testaments were lost for thousands of years. 

“So they would definitely know that the Quran is not a product of any great poet, because it transcends beyond everything possibly be a product of any great human poet.. ”  

I will deal with the specific claims about this below. 

“Additionally, they have been knowing Muhammad for 40 years, and what now comes out of his mouth cannot be from him..  That is just not possible..” 

So someone else wrote it or they were wrong.  Or he was an idiot savant.  There are people alive today who are not exceptionally smart, but who can do things like instantly calculate in their head what day of the week any date falls on, even centuries in the future or past.  This is often the byproduct of brain damage, one part of the brain can’t use the surrounding brain tissue so it is used by another part of the brain essentially super-charging it.  Those sort of abilities seem super-human, and in many ways they are.  But that doesn’t make them supernatural, just freakish.  This btw is assuming the quran is all you’re making it out to be, I am not a scholar or linguist, and even if I were my impression of it would largely be subjective. 

“Some have pointed out that one of the many examples of its uniqueness is some palindrome in the Quran..    An example of this in english is probably Bob, or madam, or race car, or nurses run..     It spells the same forward and backward..   But to come out with a meaningful sentence, is extremely hard…    To come up with one that fits the context of the entire paragraphs perfectly, does not seem out of place, rhyme with all the other phrases, at the same time, now that is just not a product of a human..” 

I can’t estimate whether this is even true or not, since I am not familiar with the original languages (are you?) but I am sure this would be easier to do in some languages than others for a number of reasons, especially if this were a form of poetry that were common and had influenced the language, and especially if the culture placed an importance on things like numerology in text and paid attention to that sort of thing.  But I don’t know enough about linguistics to really evaluate how hard this would be, let alone whether it would be impossible.  But what if I told you there were texts that were one word, billions of letters long, and the language they were written in only had two letters, yet the text was so perfect it could make a machine perform billions of tasks per minute and transmit vast amounts of information at the speed of light from one end of the world to another or even between planets.  I just described the average computer program, which is written in binary code, which only has two letters, 1 and 0.  Is this amazing?  Absolutely.  I might even be tempted to call it a miracle in a figurative sense.  But do I think my computer and the software on it must’ve come from aliens or gods or fairies?  No.  So why should a palindrome sentence be more impossible than that?  The fact that I could not do in english what I could do in binary doesn’t mean anything because english is english and binary is binary.  I imagine the language(s) the quran were written in were probably much more suited for that sort of thing than enlish, and perhaps any modern language (which may have syntax that is too complex).  A palindrome in binary or assembly would probably be much easier and more meaningful for instance, whereas a palindrome in a high-level language like C++ or javascript would almost certainly be non-functional gibberish.

“Also, when we are talking about all these, keep in mind that the Quran is not written as a book, where one can think what to write, and you can edit the previous sentences if necessary, etc..  The Quran comes out in a verbal format, and once it is out, it is out, he cannot go back and edit or change the previous sentences etc…    And this is what took place over the span of 23 years period..” 

You make it sound as though he just opened his mouth and blurted it all out at once.  He had 23 years to write it – which is much longer than most books take to write, even ground-breaking scientific texts that take years of observation and testing.  I get think here you are alluding to the section on numerology, which I will comment on below. 

“One of the most famous of this is the stages of the fetus development in the womb..   This can never have been known with such accuracy at the time when it was revealed 1400 years ago…” 

I don’t see how it is a miracle to be able to describe an extremely common occurrence.  Ancient peoples not only cut people up in the process of warfare and murder and torture but they also (in many cultures, probably in all of them at some point) performed autopsies to try to understand human anatomy.  And don’t come back saying this was taboo in their culture so nobody would’ve done it, there is nothing so taboo it isn’t done by someone in a society, and even in the early US doctors and medical students commonly stole corpses and dissected them even though it was considered evil and was very illegal.  Again this is not remotely impossible and in no way qualifies as a miracle.  In fact I think it would be bizarre if they had no knowledge of anatomy. 

“Day” (Yawm) is repeated 365 times in singular form, while its plural or dual forms “Days” (ayyam and yawman) together are repeated 30 times. “Month” (shahr) is repeated 12 times.  “World” (dunya) and “Hereafter” (aakhirah) are both repeated the same number of times, 115 times.  “Satan” (syaitan) and “Angel” (malaikah) are both used the same number of times; 88 times.  “Paradise” and “Hell” both repeated each 77 times.”

I googled “quran search” (no quotes) and found a searchable quran online and searched for “day” and got over 500 results.  But this could’ve been multiple words translated that way, so I searched in google “quran yawm 365” (without quotes) and the first several links are to articles explaining that this is simply not true and the people who promote it are manipulating the text, (link).  There is a very similar “bible code” movement regarding the new and old testaments in the US, like all numerology it is more to do with the ability to see patterns in anything if you’re looking for them (and if you crunch the data enough different ways with a computer).  There are lots of computer programs available to do this but they can be used to find “hidden messages” in the bible ranging from “we are the borg” to “jesus sucks” (link).

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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14 Responses to Re: The Quran Is Miraculous.

  1. PPhilip says:

    Nostradamus is vague enough for anyone to fit a whole bunch of scenarios into the “prohesy”For example instead of Hitler I believe Nostradamus said Slitler. But basically people willing to believe in Nostradamus claim that Hitler was predicted.Another case is the term New City. That could have been interpreted as New York! Hence 9/11 was predicted.How did Nostradamus get his quatrains? He was cooped up too long I suppose but it also looked pretty “divine inspired”.

  2. agnophilo says:

    @PPhilip – I remember seeing a thing on TV about nostradamus (I believe on penn and teller: bullshit) and a guy was talking about how his followers have invented a rule where you can substitute letters in his prophecies, lol.  As for “new city” there are a million cities with “new” in the name.  To quote one old song, “even old new york was once new amsterdam – why’d they change it? I can’t say.  People just liked it better that way.”

  3. [The Quran comes out in a verbal format, and once it is out, it is out, he cannot go back and edit or change the previous sentences etc.]So did the Book of Mormon, that must be divine as well.

  4. agnophilo says:

    @GodlessLiberal – This was the essence of my general argument before this comment – you can perform a reductio ad absurdum on every religious “proof” by simply applying the same standard to a conflicting religion.

  5. locomotiv says:

     indeed the binary code is amazing !

  6. Zissu25 says:

    I don’t know how much the Arabs in the days of Mohammed knew about human anatomy. I do know however that the ancient Romans had a quite detailed picture of the organs and functions of the human body and that they were able to perform quite complicated surgical procedures with instruments that looked quite a lot like some of the surgical equipment still in use today.

  7. agnophilo says:

    @locomotiv – DNA is based on four chemical “letters”, binary is based on just two. Take that, universe!@Zissu25 – Yeah technologies and science were invented and reinvented over and over again and then lost when the libraries burnt down until the printing press made it really hard to destroy information and now with the internet it’s more or less impossible to destroy information (once it’s published) without wiping out society along with it. So “modern” medicine in terms of surgical techniques is only really new when talking about relatively recent developments like MRIs etc. And I’m sure we have more medications than ever before.

  8. titani says:

    Read the Quran, on your own. It is here in English http://www.ClearQuran.comI think you will not regret it.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @titani – Bookmarked it, don’t have time now.

  10. paarsurrey says:

    Quran provides reasons on all issues not just the claims; this is a peculiarity of Quran, in my opinion.

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