Friday, October 06, 2006

Scientific Apologetics - part 1

Firstly, I found a online version of the book that I was handed A Brief Illustrated Guide to the Understanding of Islam. You can find it at this website. The booklet is 74 pages of which only the last 30 actually discusses general concepts of islam, the beginning 40 pages focuses on the evidence "for the truth of islam".

So Chapter 1: "The Scientific Miracles in the Holy Qur'an" (isn't 'scientific miracle' a misnomer?)

We start off with the Qur'an discussing human embryonic development. This focuses on the following statement in the Qur'an (Surah 23:12-14)

"We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop in to an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)."

So what's the connection to human embryonic development? In summary, booklet claims:
1) at a certain stage of development the human embryo resembles a leech
2) It is suspended in the womb of the mother
3) the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot
4) (here's my favourite) if you take a piece of gum and chew it, the gum will look similar to an embryo in the mudghah stage. (complete with pictures comparing an embryo to a scuplted piece of gum with one set of teeth imprints to look like a spinal cord).

There is also a few quotes from Professor Keith L. Moore "one of the world's most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology" supporting the idea that the Qur'an is the Word of God, I presume based on the above information.


I'm not a biologist, though I do have a bachelor's degree in chemistry, and debunking is going to take a lot of work & research. Getting up to speed on the embryology claims alone might be tough. I figured I'd have to post this up on some skeptic bulletin boards, and maybe search, to see if others could help out.

But low and behold someone has already done the work for me. A 27-page response titled "Quranic Embryology". It is an interesting read that counters a lot of the claims . . .

. . but then my joy on seeing this work turned a bit down. I'm going to have to spend some time checking the sources to see that it is on the level. Key givaway: the authors were Dr. Yusuf Needham and Dr. Butrus Needbeer. Needham and Needbeer!? Yeah, I'm sure that's their real names. Not suprisingly googling these names didn't turn up much else on them aside from this article. I figure these are just pennames but it does throw some suspicion on the work so a follow-up to the sources is definately needed.

I'll do some fact checking and let you know what I come up with. Meanwhile the Needbeer article is still worth checking out.


Anonymous said...

And why have you not mentioned having a blog before Mr. McKay?

Glen McKay said...

I tried to but for some reason blogspot wouldn't let me post comments to your blog for a while. I started this just before you posted about how bad BetaBlogger was and wanted to leave a comment on your blog to the effect of "NOW you tell me". :p