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lao tzu

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  1. The End Of Evolutionism

    It's boring and inaccurate, suitable only for the uneducated, and otherwise risible. The fact that muslims keep on harping against the theory of evolution is reason enough to convince me that Islam must be unalterably opposed to science, contrary to reason, and therefore not worth my time. Hey, you asked. But since you thought it was accurate, please share one of the arguments you think is least laughable, and I'll try to take it seriously enough to debunk it gently. As ever, Jesse
  2. Darwinism Refuted

    In this corner, we have muslims proclaiming their religious faith that Islam and science are not only compatible, but that their sacred texts actually provide knowledge of science that had yet to be discovered at the time. In the other corner, we have muslims proclaiming their religious faith that Islam and science are irreconcilably opposed. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. It's gonna be a great fight.
  3. Hello to you, Younes, "Clothing the bones with flesh" runs counter to observed embryology. But if you're looking for further specifics, an internet buddy of mine, who probably posted here at one time as well, went to the trouble of detailing the variances between actual embryology and Islamic embryology as derived from the Qur'an and Hadith, along with the original sources of the errors from the works of Aristotle and Galen. It's the top link when you google "thhuxley Islamic embryology." I lost the details from my previous gawaher account, along with my post count, so I can't post the link directly yet. This shouldn't be an issue. It is an issue only because certain muslims insist on making an issue of it. Any reasonable reading of the ayah reveals that this is one of many instances where Muhammad urges his followers to look for the glories of creation. It was a way of encouraging his audience to seek out his god. Naturally, he was limited to the best information available to him and his audience at the time. In this case, it was Aristotle and Galen, who, as it turns out, were less than divinely inspired. That is, they were wrong. There are similar excursions sprinkled through the Qur'an and hadith on the wonders of the heavens and the earth. Reading science out of these passages strips away the very reason they were included in your sacred texts. They were written to encourage discovery, not to teach what was already known. Critical remarks on the errors in what passed for science in 7th century writings from Arabia must take into account the scope of 7th century Arabic as a language. Languages are not atomistic, composed of nothing more than vocabulary and syntax. They are filled with an extended idiom reflecting the common understanding of the contemporary writers, speakers, and audience. Their understanding is not ours. Our common understanding of the universe today has altered the way we speak of these things. We can see, clearly, into the depths of our cells and even into the depths of time as we look out at the cosmos, using instruments that did not exist at the time of Muhammad. Our microscopes can image individual atoms to discover their structure, and our telescopes can filter out individual wavelengths that reveal the atomic compositions and reactions of distant stars. We can see black holes devouring galaxies and measure the quantum states of electrons. None of these things were imagined by Muhammad. How could they be? But this is no reason for envy. I can see myself walking up to Muhammad and sharing with him what we've discovered since his time. I don't see him getting angry about it, or defending the things he understood incorrectly, or stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the mistakes. That doesn't fit into the narrative. He knew what he did of Galen's and Aristotle's embryology because he was asking about them. He loved learning these things because in doing so he learned about the nature of his god. It excited him with a religious fervor he chose to share by encouraging his followers to do likewise. As ever, Jesse
  4. Hello Hamza, There are so many things wrong with this approach that it's difficult to know where to begin. Start with Moore then, I guess. Moore never converted to Islam. His claim to muslim fame was a chapter written by someone else included in a textbook released only in the muslim world, which he has studiously avoided mentioning ever since. Put bluntly, he took the money, made the speech, and ran. The embryological claims themselves have been debunked so frequently it's a wonder any muslim is willing to publicize them. The stages are wrong, the timing is wrong, and in a number of particulars, such as bones growing before flesh, it's no less than wildly incorrect. Reading science out of the Qur'an, or indeed, any fixed sacred text, cannot help but damage science. The Qur'an is held to be unchanging, and that is considered its strength. Science follows new data, revising itself to match. The Qur'an is stagnant. Science grows. To support an agreement between the Qur'an and science is like forcing the feet of an adult into the shoes of a child. They're not comfortable. They don't fit. And the reward for the struggle is bruised feet. Then there's the math. Why would anyone want to highlight the number of scientists accepting Islam? The simple fact of the matter is that nearly all of us reject Islam, to no small extent because of the bizarre claims made on behalf of its sacred text. Because these claims, which are so obviously flawed, are accepted uncritically by muslims, the natural tendency is to look away. Last, but not least, there's the theology, the corrosive effect of Bucaillism on Islam itself. In allowing the Qur'an, and by extension Islam, to be judged by its ability to predict science, science is given authority over the Qur'an. That which can prove can also disprove. To the extent that current science implies the truth of Islam, when it changes, as it will, the time will come when current science will disprove Islam. As a non-muslim, I have no problem with this, but it does strike me as odd that such ammunition should be placed in our hands. As ever, Jesse
  5. Americans Hate Islam

    We invaded Afghanistan first, and we did it to go after bin Ladin who'd declared war on us and was busily engaged in blowing up embassies, running suicide boats against our ships, and bombing buildings we'd gone to a lot of trouble to put up. Were it not for his residence there, we'd have been perfectly happy to go back to ignoring the country entirely following the exit of the Soviet Union. We invaded Iraq for a lot of reasons, but the only reason that really counted was that GHW Bush's son was the president, and Saddam had gone to a lot of trouble to stick his finger in his dad's eye. Hell, the guy had a picture of Papa Bush's face tiled out on the floor of the Baghdad Hilton, strategically placed to require everyone who entered or left to step on it. Did you know they tore up those tiles the first day they entered Baghdad? Iran's a problem because they're pushing for nuclear weapons, which would annoy israel, and even worse, push Saudi Arabia and the rest of the peninsula to get some for themselves, too. The Iranians may not much care for us, but that's nothing compared to how much the Saudis hate Iran. Everybody on that side of the gulf had been paying Saddam for years to fight Iran. They don't get along. It's a Sunni vs. Shia thing, and there's no fight as vicious as a family fight. Nuclear war isn't a good option. It'd be better if we took that off the table over there. As ever, Jesse
  6. Quran And The Big Bang

    Hello Orthodox, I think I could make a good guess at what you're not saying here. I don't believe in any form of divine inspiration, but trying to test it on this passage simply misses the point, in my opinion. When reading an ancient sacred text, it's absolutely necessary to place oneself as a member of its original audience. In order to understand it as it was written, you have to "know" the things those people knew, especially if their understanding differs from ours. The people of the Arabian peninsula at the time of the Qur'an had a distinct cosmology derived from the earliest sacred texts known in the region. In this cosmology, the heavens and the earth were joined together until parted by a divine being. This cosmology goes back thousands of years before even the Jewish sacred texts were written. It's attested in the Babylonian Enuma Elish from c. the 15th century BCE and in the Eridu genesis which must date to before the 21st century BCE, as the copy we have from the excavations at Nippur have been dated orthographically to that time. To these peoples, the heavens were a solid structure, held apart from the Earth by a strong and solid barrier to prevent them from falling. They didn't know what gravity was, and had no reason to guess its force dropped off with distance. Their heavens were not the ethereal heavens we know today. This was the universe they imagined, and it is the universe that Muhammad was speaking about in this ayah. We must assume he was speaking in language that his audience could understand. There's a natural challenge in translating any text written long ago. It's not just that the words change, but that the vision behind the words changes as well. We can choose to keep the translation close enough to the original to preserve the understanding of the original audience, or we can choose to change that translation into a more contemporary form that reflects our more modern understanding, to make intelligible what would not otherwise be readily understood. Of course, to choose the latter is to allow a host of alternative translations, so there is a marked preference for the former among conservative religious tradents. But that doesn't absolve them of the need to recognize the change in perspective, in this case a change in cosmologies, and the associated need to rephrase these passages in order to maintain the original relevance, even if that requires changes to the original words. So no, this passage is not speaking of the Big Bang, because no one hearing it at the time believed in such a thing. And yes, it is speaking of the Big Bang, because the intent was to speak of the beginnings of the universe. It's right there in the passage, "Have not those who disbelieve known ..." It isn't presenting a novel understanding of the universe. It is speaking of what they already knew, and it takes no account of the mildly inconvenient fact that what they already knew was simply wrong. This is a rhetorical question that takes advantage of a compelling rhetorical device. There are many such passages in the Qur'an that mark a continuing theme of seeking out the divine in what they have already seen or will discover. This is just another one. As ever, Jesse
  7. That's a royal funeral. The women are veiled in mourning to hide their grief.
  8. Do You Muslims Really Believe This?

    There's a good size population of muslims that don't believe in much of that. Talking snakes is Genesis, not the Qur'an, though. Goat riding? I've got no idea where that comes from. Circumcision is pretty widespread, and despite your colorful description, doesn't impede function, and does make hygiene more simple. The mythical elements are pretty much up for grabs. Online, you'll find plenty of defenders of literal translations, but online is a bizarre place. The more conservative tradents congregate on sites devoted to religious discussions. If anybody can figure where the goat riding came from, that would be nice. I've been watching these discussions for a while. I've seen plenty of converts to Islam, and plenty of muslims who've dropped their faith. Of course, the apostates get blasted pretty hard and then banned, usually. But I agree with the overall theme of your post. There's no point posting on a discussion board if you're not interested in discussion. The OP's got some kind of stick irritating his tissues, and really needs to have that looked at, somewhere else. As ever, Jesse
  9. Wa Alaikum As-salam

    Hello Gawaher-ites. I'm Jesse. It's been a while since I stopped by this forum, long enough that I can't even remember what screen name I used to use. With so much of the Maghreb up for grabs right now, I thought I'd refresh some of my old muslim board memberships to see how the online muslim community was reacting. As ever.