I am not a scientist and don’t claim to be one either, for this could amount to an act of blasphemy (for lack of better word). Nor, is the guy in the video posted below who is callously and vainly attempting to shove religious text into the realm of science. For those who do not know him, his name is Dr. Zakir Naik, a medical doctor who now runs a non-profit organization by the name of Islamic Research Foundation and a free to air TV channel called Peace TV:
Such juvenile claims could have been addressed better if they were responded with a silent snubbing. However, I am choosing a different approach for reasons that are somewhat personal. Whenever as a child I tended to deviate or falter from Islam, the claims by clerics of the scientific evidences that according to them were so apparent and manifested in each verse pulled me back into the quicksand of faith. This bogus claim was one of the main reasons why I lingered around faith for a longer time. If a sacred text had scientific information coded in it then there is apparently no reason not to believe in it and its tenets. And I am sure that many other feeble minds like myself fall for the same sales pitch and many of them are not able to break out of the magical spell.
Even though there is nothing much to prove or disprove about the statements made in the video, I am still making a humble attempt to correct the facts in hope that some others might also be able to see through the shrewd & deceptive salesman. I will be tackling most of the claims separately and
in order that they appeared in the video above:
The ‘Big Bang’ & Creation of Universe:
Zakir Naik’s quotes the following verse:
Chapter 21, verse 30: “Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and We made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?”
Even though, science has somewhat recently started to answer the questions regarding the conditions related to the existence of universe the question is quite old. It is thus no wonder that all ancient and prehistoric civilizations had constructed myths in order to tie the pieces of this puzzle. Superstition was perhaps the only tool or at least the predominant one in the age before scientific methods had been developed. Most of the creation myths had a common theme, i.e. splitting up of things from a union. For example, the Egyptian mythology provides the following story:
Atum, the chief self created god arose from primordial waters and masturbated, the orgasm resulting in the twins Shu & Tefnut (god of air and goddess of moisture respectively). Shu and Tefnut further copulated to give birth to Geb (earth god) and Nut (sky god). Geb & Nut were born in a perpetual state of copulation and were separated by the sky goddess Shu on the command of Atum, once they had given birth to 4 more deities (of life, death, desert & fertile lands)
Believing in this cosmogonic tale to be a fact as the ancient Egyptians might have they could lay a claim similar to the one proposed by Dr. Zakir Naik that is the separation of Shu & Tefnut is what the Big Bang theory has essentially proved. Fortunately, the Big Bang theory does not discuss how to conjoined twins were separated, but attempts to explain the conditions of a baby universe and how it became what it is today. Contrary to the misconception, this scientific theory does not explain how the universe was created but postulates that at one time our universe sprang into existence and expanded, which it still continues to do today. This is a fascinating theory, which still intrigues scientists, and facts surrounding it are far more mesmerizing than the fiction propagated by dogmas.
An ancient folklore handed down by generations of story tellers and migrated to close neighbors by traders enters the lexicons of superstitious desert nomads, who further de- anthropomorphized the anecdote in a crude attempt to modernize it hardly qualifies it to be mentioned in the same sentence with science!
Phenomenon of Moon’s Reflected Light:
Zakir Naik’s reference from Quran is as follows:
Chapter 25 verse 61 “Blessed be He Who hath placed in the heaven mansions of the stars, and hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light!”
About this claim, I would not go into even discussing what the Arabic word used means and how many ways it can actually be interpreted. This is not because I am ignoring the fact that different translations of the same book can bring about different interpretations but because this false claim is much easily debunked.
In the year 450 BC a philosopher named Anaxagoras was the first to provide a scientific account that the sun was not a god but a big fiery rock and that the moon reflected the light of sun. As we can all expect, Anaxagoras was prosecuted for this discovery and this rational heretic had to flee.
A fact that has been scientifically understood hundreds of years before a scripture was drafted can only be a miracle for those who choose to remain in the dark and in ignorance. No amount of bright light can ever be bounced off from such folks.
Spherical Shape of the Earth:
The verses mentioned in the video are:
Chapter 79 verses 29 & 30: And He made dark the night thereof, and He brought forth the morn thereof. And after that He spread the earth,
In September of 1522 Juan Sebastian led back the surviving crew of Victoria to the port of Seville, Spain after a 3 years long journey. This voyage was afflicted with plague, starvation, mutiny and hostile habitants, which killed most of the crew including the original commander, Ferdinand Magellan. The mission of this expedition was to find a route to the rich kingdoms of Asia and became the first one to circumnavigate the world successfully. I studied this while in 6th grade history class and have since then never been afraid to venture too far from home, lest I fall off the edge of the world in to the abyss. Francis Drake was however the 3rd person to circumvent the globe.
Centuries before Magellan had begun his troubled voyage, a wise man in Ancient Greek wrote in his book, “De Caelo” the following:
“Indeed there are some stars seen in Egypt and in the neighborhood of Cyprus which are not seen in the northerly regions; and stars, which in the north are never beyond the range of observation, in those regions rise and set. All of which goes to show not only that the earth is circular in shape, but also that it is a sphere of no great size: for otherwise the effect of so slight a change of place would not be quickly apparent”
This wise man was Aristotle and before him Plato and Pythagoras had also concluded observations about the spherical nature of earth’s shape. And none of them had to rely on any sort of folklore to derive this conclusion. They relied on observation and analytical thinking.
Rotation and Revolution of Suns:
Chapter 21 verse 33: And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.
This verse along with several other verses does not state (as interpreted by Zakir Naik) the theory of sun’s rotation and revolution. For example, Chapter 36, verse 40 states the following:
It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law)
The above two verse as well as many other references from Quran simply imply the geocentric model in which the sun and moon are supposed to be ‘servicing’ the earth by revolving around it, which is
contrary to our scientific knowledge today.
However, it is important to point out that once more the Greeks in the 3rd century BC were much warmer to the facts in comparison to all the ‘people of the scriptures’ as Aristarchus of Samos & later Seleucus of Seleucia both worked on a heliocentric model, however it remained primarily philosophical at that time.
Other Claims of Zakir Naik:
I could possibly go on with the rest of the references and verses quoted by Zakir Naik but the remaining are simply too absurd and abstract to even mean anything at all. For example none of the verses mentioned with reference to the hydrological cycle (or water cycle) state anything even philosophical on the subject. Water falls from the sky or heaven thus proving how awesome god really is happens to be the recurring theme in all the quoted verses. There is absolutely no empirical information of any sort that was or could have been utilized for advancement of scientific knowledge least of all in today’s world.
How surprising and ironic that once a puzzle has been solved and its pieces put into the right place do we start hearing from those who claim, “Ah, but of course! This was never a puzzle for us to start with. We already knew all the answers because of divine guidance”. Obviously, it is easy for the ignorant to claim this because for them anything can mean anything they want it to mean provided they have faith in it. Such lying, dishonesty and deception by Zakir Naik and others like him is pretty shameful. Either he does this knowingly or due to ignorance is of little importance. The more important issue is that he is guilty of mercilessly raping science and then displays it publicly to gain some petty brownie points from equally ignorant followers.