"The Coming of the Universe into Existence" is a document by Harun Yahya that purports to show that the Qur'an contains scientific foreknowledge when it "predicted" that the Big Bang occurred.
The following is a side-by-side rebuttal.
|"The Coming of the Universe into Existence", Harun Yahya:||RationalWiki:|
|"Until the mid-20th century, the prevalent view across the world was that the universe was infinite, had existed forever and that it will continue to do so for all time. According to this view, known as the 'static universe model,' the universe had no end or beginning. In maintaining that the universe is a collection of fixed, static and unchanging substances, this view has constituted the basis of materialist philosophy and has consequently rejected the existence of a Creator.
||Yay, a science was wrong before screed! Stupid "materialists", |working with available information unchangingly followed a nonexistent, due to total lack of data, foolish and incorrect scientific consensus, unlike like smart Muslim theologians physicists, who always knew that Allah magicked the world into existence in a few days caused the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago!
|However, as science and technology progressed during the 20th century, the static universe model has been completely uprooted. We have now entered the 21st century and a new dawn is upon us. Through numerous experiments, observations and calculation conducted by some of the world's most prominent thinkers, modern physics has proven that the universe did indeed have a beginning, that it came into being from nothing in a single moment in a huge explosion.
||First, Yahya is correct that the Big Bang theory has been conclusively supported using modern technology.|
Second, however, Yahya repeats common misrepresentation of the Big Bang. First, the Big Bang wasn't an explosion in the "TNT" sense of the word, but more like a rapid expansion of spacetime itself. Second, it's unknown, and currently unknowable, what, if anything existed before the Big Bang.
|Furthermore, it has been established that the universe is not fixed and static, as materialists still stubbornly maintain.
||Who are those "materialists" who maintain this? The Big Bang theory is the established model for the earliest observable moments of the universe and is thus widely acccepted in the scientific community, regardless of religious views. In fact, religious belief works against belief in the Big Bang, suggesting that "materialists" are the ones promoting the Big Bang.|
|On the contrary, it is undergoing a constant process of movement, change and expansion. These recently-established facts all act as nails in the coffin of the static universe theory. Today, all these facts are universally accepted by the scientific community. The origin of the universe is described in the Qur'an in the following verse: [Verse 6:101 omitted; see below.] This information is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary scientists. As we stated earlier, the conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe, together with the dimensions of matter and time, came into existence as a result of a great explosion that occurred a long time ago. This event, known as 'The Big Bang,' is the catalyst for the creation of the universe from nothingness. This explosion, all parties in the scientific community agree, emanated from a single point some 15 billion years ago. Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter. From a condition of non-existence in which neither matter, nor energy, nor even time existed-and which can only be described metaphysically-matter, energy, and time were all created in an instant.
||Yahya again repeats misconceptions about the Big Bang.|
|This fact, only recently discovered by modern physics, was announced to us in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago."
||If by "announced", you mean "vaguely alluded to, in a way that adds nothing of scientific value, if we twist the meaning of 'heaven' and cherry-pick the 'data'," then you're "correct".|
|implied, unstated assumption that the word "heavens" means "the entire universe"
||First, the Arabic word used in many of the following verses, "السماوات", is most often translated as "the Kingdom", "the sky", "the seven heavens", or, in some modern usage, "the region of the atmosphere and outer space seen from the earth". It's probable that السماوات is not an intentional reference to the entire universe, inclusive of the very fabric of space-time. Rather, it appears likely that Allah was boasting about how powerful he is, to have made a really big sky.|
Second, many Muslims accept that the Qur'an may have multiple, simultaneous meanings. This appears to be true of what "heavens". For example, in another claim, Yahya asserts that "The word 'heavens,' ... is used to refer to the sky above the Earth, as well as the entire universe." The Qur'an cannot accepted as scientific foreknowledge if its definition of "heavens" can be as different as "the atmosphere", "the seven layers of the atmosphere," "the entire universe," and "Heaven" and whichever definition appears to fit best can be chosen at random. Definitions like this allow many verses of the Qur'an to be shoehorned into almost any scientific position, and if none exist, then to argue that it's "poetic".
|^ "The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort, when He created all things and is Aware of all things?" (Qur'an 6:101).
||First, again, current science is uncertain what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang and what, if anything, caused it. It is thus inaccurate to say that the Big Bang created everything, Allah-style.|
Second, Qur'an 6:101 provides merely a magical *poof* for the creation of the entire universe. The Qur'an is here vague to the point of not saying anything.
|"Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!" (Qur'an 7:54).
||First, if this verse is scientific, then we are told that Allah created the universe in six days and chillaxed for a day. However, the formation of hadrons (composite particles made up of quarks and antiquarks) took about 10-6 seconds, the formation of atomic nuclei took about 3 to 20 minutes, the formation of atoms took about 379,000 years, and the first star would shine at about 1,000,000 years. Where does "six days" come to play in this?
Second, the word "days" in this part of the Qur'an is not given as any specific time, meaning 50,000 years in one verse, 1,000 years in another, and 1 day in others. How can this verse be taken as scientific if it has no clear meaning?|
|"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?" (Qur'an 21:30).
||First, the theme of "breaking apart" is a very common myth. In Chinese mythology, a giant deity hatches from an egg, splits the sky and earth, and dies. Big Bang! In Tahiti, five deities split apart their sky dad and earth mom. Big Bang! Why prefer the Islamic version?
Second, this verse states that every living thing was made from water, which is incorrect
Third, this verse states that the Earth and the Universe were a joined entity even before Big Bang, when Earth was formed 9 Billion years after Big Bang.
|"And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit," (Qur'an 21:33).
||While this verse does mention the orbit(s) of the sun and moon, it adds nothing specific to this Qur'anic creation myth.|
|"The Day when We shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolleth up a written scroll. As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise (binding) upon Us. Lo! We are to perform it," (Qur'an 21:104).
||While this verse does mention the purported destruction of the universe, it adds nothing specific to this Qur'anic creation myth.|
|"Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator," (Qur'an 36:81).
||This verse adds nothing specific to this Qur'anic creation myth.|
|"Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower," (Qur'an 41:11-12).
||While this verse does mention the "seven heavens", it adds nothing specific to this Qur'anic creation myth.|
|"We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof)." (Qur'an 51:47).
||While this verse does mention the vast size of the universe, it adds nothing specific to this Qur'anic creation myth.|
Summary of claim: The Qur'an accurately describes the Big Bang, which would have been unknowable to contemporary science.
Does this statement meet all criteria necessary for Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge?
- Is it correct? Yes. The Big Bang occurred.
- Is it in the Qur'an? No. The Big Bang is not described in an accurate translation of the Qur'an, nor is it accurately described in an inaccurate translation of the Qur'an.
- Is it unambiguous? No. The Qur'an's description is vague and could be interpreted in multiple ways.
- Was it outside of contemporary knowledge? Yes. The Big Bang would have been outside of contemporary knowledge, though a universe that "began" at a certain point was not.
- Was it outside of contemporary technology? Yes. The Big Bang would have been outside of contemporary technology.
Thus, this statement is not an example of Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge.