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You may recall members of the online atheist community (Captain Disguise, Stop1Spamming, PZ Myers and myself) set about ridiculing the iERA's claims that the Quran contained "Scientific Miracles", accurate information that pre-dates scientific discovery by over a millennia.
Finally it seems that iERA saw the error of their ways and decided to drop that narrative. Of course, the narrative wasn't dropped until they could think up a way of being right after all; in summary the approach is "Science is good when the Quran matches its rules, otherwise it is useful but wrong".
Mr Tzortzis wrote the following
Regrettably, the scientific miracles narrative has become an intellectual embarrassment for Muslim apologists, including myself. A few years ago I took some activists to Ireland to engage with the audience and speakers at the World Atheist Convention. Throughout the convention we had a stall outside the venue and as a result positively engaged with hundreds of atheists, including the popular atheist academics Professor P. Z. Myers and Professor Richard Dawkins. During our impromptu conversation with Professor Myers we ended up talking about God’s existence and the Divine nature of the Qur’ān. The topic of embryology came up, and Professor Myers being an expert in the field challenged our narrative. He claimed that the Qur’ān did not predate modern scientific conclusions in the field. As a result of posting the video of the engagement on-line we faced a huge intellectual backlash. We received innumerable amounts of emails by Muslims and non-Muslims. The Muslims were confused and had doubts, and the non-Muslims were bemused with the whole approach. Consequently, I decided to compile and write an extensive piece on the Qur’ān and embryology, with the intention to respond to popular and academic contentions...When the paper was published it was placed under a microscope by atheist activists. Although they misrepresented some of the points, they raised some significant contentions. I have since removed the paper from my website. In retrospect if this never happened, I probably wouldn’t be writing this essay now. It is all a learning curve and an important part of developing intellectual integrity. [Emphasis is mine]
- The Quran contains information that pre-dated human discovery.
- The only entity that could have known this information also created the universe.
- Therefore the author of the Quran is the creator of the universe.
I am pleased iERA were embarrassed by this claim, it's outright silly and clearly no effort had been put into researching the truth of premise 1, let alone having any evidence for premise 2. I had hoped they'd just go back to telling gullible members of the public that the Quran is a linguistic miracle they could see if only they could understand Arabic, and for now they should take the word of the Da'ee (who probably doesn't understand Arabic).
On February 26th 2016 iERA hosted a Don't Hate Debate event "Does Islam need a reformation?" which I blogged about here. Whilst hanging around waiting for the event to start I was offered a copy of the following booklet, which I finally had a quick peek inside this morning.
Well, the first thing to note is the use of the word "Miraculous" on the cover. Okay, I can let that slide even though I disagree with it, it's subjective. What did catch my eye though was pages 42-49. Here is a selection
Okay, so they didn't use the word words "scientific miracle", but on the subject of a book that is claimed to be miraculous it is claimed the information in it is "surprisingly" in line for modern discoveries?
The next page goes on to talk about embryology. Initially I was relieved to see an acknowledgement on this page that Greek and Hebrew physicians used to say the same thing before the Quran was
It goes on to claim that doctors of the time would not have known that the embryo at this early stage resembles a leech because this view of the embryo could not have been discovered until after the 15th century, when microscope was invented. Yet again a veiled scientific miracle claim is made without using the words themselves. If this information could not have been known until the 15th century then how could Muhammad have known it in the 7th century? Obviously the Quran doesn't say anything about the embryo looking like a leech. Hundreds of years earlier Galen had already described the leech like properties of embryos. See my video Embryology In The Quran.
Although iERA have stopped using the term "Scientific miracles" they have continued to beg the question of how Muhammad could have known X centuries before it was discovered by humans. Not much of a change of stance, is it? It brings the words of Mr Tzortzis back into my mind:
Regrettably, the scientific miracles narrative has become an intellectual embarrassment for Muslim apologists, including myself...It is all a learning curve and an important part of developing intellectual integrity.Mr T didn't write this book, but it is being peddled on Dawah stands by iERA. They are passing on to members of the public information they claim they do not believe to be miraculous, in a book about how miraculous the Quran is. How intellectually dishonest is that?
Douglas Adams chose 42 to be "the answer to life, the universe, and everything", and it was page 42 of this book claiming the Quran has all of the answers to life, the universe, and everything that amused me the most.
For more than a century, the speed of light had been locked in as the universe's ultimate speed limit. No experiment had seen anything moving faster than light, which travels at 186,000 miles per second. This assumption underpinned much of modern physics. That was, until an experiment at CERN laboratory in 2011 recorded particles travelling faster than the speed of light. This recent discovery turned the world of physics on its head. It just goes to show how even the most fundamental theories about our universe can be completely overthrown in an instant.
Seriously? The details here are quite confused; there was no announcement of faster than light particles, the experimenters were asking for help to identify the problem with their experiment after failing to find it themselves. The speed of neutrinos was confirmed to not be faster than light only months later, and the fault at OPERA was identified, fixed, and confirmed in May 2013, and yet the copyright in this book is 2015!
No wonder they are a joke amongst the atheist community, referred to as iError and laughed at as they peddle their silly and inaccurate misunderstandings of science in order to promote their delusions to the gullible.