Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Developing Human - Keith Moore's "gift" to humanity

Many Muslims, including my friend, love to refer to a medical text book entitled The Developing Human when endeavouring to prove the miraculous nature of the Qur'an. They bang on about how the author, a world renowned expert in embryology, has shown that the "detailed references" in the Qur'an to embryology and the stages in the development of the human embryo can be seen to be strikingly and miraculously similar - way beyond what could be expected were the Qur'an  written by a 7th century illiterate desert dweller.
What they inevitably fail to mention is that the book they delight in quoting is the third edition. "So what?", I hear you say. Well, it just so happens that the third edition of Dr Moore's book is a rather special one - as you can see from the front cover and the publisher's description reproduced below. 

  

Description from the publisher: 
Now available! Numerous Muslims have constantly referred to the work of acclaimed embryologist Keith L. Moore. Here is his complete original textbook (third edition), superbly updated with the "Islamic Additions" (commentary, relevance, Qur'an and Hadith references, and more) of Shaykh Abdul-Majeed A. Azzindani of Saudi Arabia.
Moore's popular textbook is written primarily for students of medicine, specializing in clinically oriented embryology. Shaykh Azzindani, a reputed scholar of Islam, has been interested in the same phenomenon on but from the perspective of the teachings of the Qur'an and Hadith. The two collaborated, with other scientists, in the relation of the two foci of thought. The volume herein conclusively shows that the information contained in the Qur'an and Sunnah is not only consistent with modern scientific discoveries in the field of embryology but also it is a fore-runner by some fourteen hundred years. 
You will notice that the 3rd edition has a subtitle: With Islamic Additions and was written in conjunction with none other than our friend Abdul Majeed al-Zindani (also known as: Abdelmajid al-Zendani, Abdul Majeed Zendani, Abd Al Majid Zandani) 
Now again, many of you may be tempted to say, "So what?". Well, al-Zindani just so happens to be the father of "Rational Islam", the man who set up (with the help of Saudi funding) the Commission on Scientific Signs - the movement responsible for convincing so many naive and gullible westerners that the Qur'an is full of scientific miracles. 
Regular readers may remember a previous post in which I listed the "scientific" credentials of al-Zindani which include discovering an Islamic cure for aids (click link to read an interview with al-Zindani about his discovery) and having "proof" that women can't speak and think at the same time. 
But perhaps the most intriguing, not to say disturbing, thing about the special 3rd edition (apart from the ludicrous chapters added by Zindani quoted endlessly by dawah sites across the internet) is to be found on the acknowledgements page where among "distinguished scholars" who gave "full support in their personal and official capacities," Mr. Zindani lists a certain  Sheikh Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden apparently became intrigued by Bucailleism in his college days after hearing Mr. Zindani lecture, and helped pay for the book's publication. 
So whenever you hear a Muslim miracle seeker quote the famous embryologist, Keith Moore and his book, you might point out to them that it was co-written by a man who thinks women are incapable of rational thought and funded by the world's most infamous terrorist. 
It just might make them think. But then again, probably not...

34 comments:

  1. You're right that this is the one book quoted by the dawah sites and those like Hamza Tzorztis who claim that the embryological details are miraculous. I knew about the bin Laden connection but was unaware that Zindani was the same loon who got the whole band-wagon rolling in the first place.
    Good work!

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  2. So sad that the meme nature of these lies makes it pretty much impossible to undo the damage. Zindani also created a highly misleading documentary called This Is The Truth containing clips of various scientists endorsing supposedly accurate statements about scientific facts in the Qur'an.

    If you check out TheRationalizer channel you can find recent interviews with some of those scientists (Alfred Kroner, William Haye and Allison "Pete" Palmer) in which Zindani's trickery and manipulation is exposed.

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  3. Hi Anonymous - yes, i'm a great fan of therationalizer - glad he's back doing good work.

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  4. alsalam alaikom. i'm a muslim. and i'm also a doctor. and i noticed that you focused on the fact that zindany said something back in the day about women and the book is funded by bin ladin. but all of can't deny the content of the book. in the holly quran Allah the most high (god) tells us what means that the quran will remain untouched and unchanged. isn't the fact that not a word has bn added to it and its the same since prophet mohammed (pbuh) a miracle.

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    1. No. There was a verse about stoning adulterers that was eaten by a goat.

      http://islam-watch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=999


      Did the Umayyad's change the Qur'an?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKl0gA35HaE

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  5. Hello Muslim Anonymous, I'm very glad you stopped by. Yes, I did focus on bin Laden sponsoring the book and al-Zindani co-authoring it, because I've covered the content of The Developing Human and embryology in the Qur'an in numerous other posts. I'd be delighted if you read them and offered your views. However, I think your dismissal of Zindani's lunatic announcements (I take it you do agree that his views on women and his claim that he has discovered a cure for AIDS are lunatic) is disingenuous to say the least. Is not a man's scientific views and background pertinent to the question of whether we should trust his "facts" when he writes a book. More to the point, the fact that Keith Moore was prepared to co-author a book with Zindani raises serious doubts about his intellectual honesty and/or his judgement. Either way, when Muslims use this particular book to back up their claims I think we should all take it with a very large pinch of salt...

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    1. Lokenath ChakrabortyMay 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Hi..

      Zindani's credentials maybe questionable,but that is not an argument against the claims he's made in this book. While we,our legal system,employers etc. tend to look at a person's track record to estimate the substance of a person's claims (it appeals to common sense) but that's a logical fallacy from a purist perspective.

      Looking at the claim in isolation, an extended interpretation of a book which itself says it has some clear verses and some allegorical and gives no indication which verse falls under which category can't be attributed any degree of scientific accuracy.

      Science doesn't work this way.Even if we assume that the Quranic verses in question empowered with excessive imagination don't contradict modern embryology,that doesn't make it a scientific miracle.To be called a scientific miracle,a scientific invention has to come from its verses-something that isn't in current knowledge.Claiming a miracle by interpreting a verse "after" a scientific invention/discovery is made is dishonesty.It's written in the Quran that only Allah knows the meaning of its verses.So any claim of equating a human understanding of it with prevalent science goes against the spirit of the book itself.Who knows the verse is understood the way today Allah meant it?There's no way of knowing,you can interpret it a million ways and yest never be sure!!

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    2. Thank you, Lokenath for your comment.
      I agree entirely that looking for scientific miracles in the Qur'an is a waste of time.
      Unfortunately it seems the vast majority of Muslims, including my friend, don't share our opinion.They are what has been termed bucailleists - that's to say they believe, like Maurice Bucaille, that we can find any number of miracles in the Qur'an from predictions of the Big Bang to complex expalnations of isostasy.
      I suggest you visit iERA's website to gain an insight into the mindset of such people...

      Delete
  6. Watch "Science & Revelation: Embryology in the Qur'an (includes responses to contentions)"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJcsHl4ijn4.

    The paper has also been updated as of April 2012:
    http://www.hamzatzortzis.com/research/embryology-in-the-quran/

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    1. I have responded to all Hamza's points in a post here:
      http://rationalislam.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/al-harith-bin-kalada-response-to-hamza.html

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    2. Ah, the video where Hamza grossly quotemines the hadith about male and female nutfahs (knowingly, he admitted on facebook, with a truely pathetic justification) and in which he manages to still misquote and mistranslate Lisan al Arab's definition of nutfah. I remember that one. I can't blame people personally for trusting what Hamza says, but I'm glad many people know enough not to.

      The latter example used to be even worse. While the last version of his paper I saw simply mistranslates Lisan al Arab in a way that suits his ever-retreating and ridiculous claims (currently that nutfah means a drop of semen containing a single sperm!?!), his original quote from Lisan al Arab was actually a c&p of an idiot's comment on a dawah site that wasn't even in the dictionary (I can just about put that down to his typical incompetence, of which I could give many examples)! Even after I called Hamza on it on facebook he ignored questions about it from many people for weeks until after some very diplomatic, face-saving efforts, I persuaded him to correct it (though as I mentioned, now mistranslates it). A similar pattern happened on other occasions where it was inexcusably difficult, sometimes impossible, to get him to own up to his incompetence and fix his misuse of sources. To be fair, he fixed some other things without too much persuasion.

      For a little more info on the above, and to learn one way that Islamic embryology contains the kind of flawed ideas of the time, namely that the embryo is initially formed out of semen (another example being bones forming and then being clothed with flesh, particularly in light of 2:259 which uses the same Arabic words as 23:14), you can read my article:

      http://quranspotlight.wordpress.com/articles/quran-hadith-talmud-galen/

      You might also like to keep an eye out for captaindisguise's blog where he'll be publishing a paper refuting Hamza's (when / if he finally has time to finish it!).

      Martin

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    3. Update to the above, I just had a look on Hamza's site and he has a new update to his paper (2.1b) in which he has abandoned the male and female nutfah hadith. Credit to him for that, glad to see my persistance paid off. I see he still mistranslates lisan al arab and ibn kathir in the nutfah section though (where his translation says "single drop" and "drop of nutfah", respectively). Oh well, it's good to see that in that section he uses his sources much more faithfully than in early versions at least!

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  7. Interesting and good info, Spinoza (also the Kalada post)!

    Martin

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    1. Thanks for the comments and info, Martin. I shall follow up your links.

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  8. http://www.youtube.com/user/ThisIsTheTruthUncut

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  9. So, your only "rational" explanation of what was mentioned 1400 years ago and is proved now with microscopes is that Zindani is a "bad guy"! So much for rationalization!! :o)
    ...
    Please visit the following link, and "rationalize" the other six points mentioned there about mountains, origin of the universe, cerebrum, seas and rivers, deep seas and internal waves, and clouds, by pointing out that people who mentioned them were bad people connected to Osama Bin Ladin!!
    ...
    Well, you can keep fooling yourself and getting applauded by others who want to fool themselves, but ... you will soon die and you will have to face the truth. It will be too late then though!

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  10. Sorry, forgot to include the link. Here it is:
    http://www.islam-guide.com/ch1-1.htm

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  11. Hi, do please have a read of the refutation of the embryology "miracle" here http://embryologyinthequran.blogspot.co.uk/

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  12. @Haani,
    I too have seen your link, and read the original booklet. I have not been convinced at all. In my blog (www.debunkingbucailleism.blogspot.com), I am in the process of "rationalizing" and yes, debunking all the claims in the link you provided. Please visit it too.
    Regards,
    Varma

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. @Varma,
      Every messenger of God was sent with Islam to his people with miracles to prove that he was sent by God. When people went astray from the true religion of God, He sent another messenger.
      Because we did not live in the time of the messengers of God (Moses, Jesus, etc, Peace Be Upon Them), some may claim they did not do the miracles they did, or even they did not really exist!

      In the case of the last messenger of God, Mohammad PBUH, he was given many miracles that people saw in his time, but he was also given a timeless miracle that everybody can examine till the end of days. Which is the Quran.
      It is available online, and you can read it and examine it yourself.

      Here's an example of the many things that you may notice (not mentioned in the above link). The following 5 verses are from Sura Al-Anaam (The Cattle chapter) so you can get the context, but what I'm pointing to is in the 4th verse(125):

      And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing.(122)

      And thus We have placed within every city the greatest of its criminals to conspire therein. But they conspire not except against themselves, and they perceive [it] not.(123)

      And when a sign comes to them, they say, "Never will we believe until we are given like that which was given to the messengers of Allah ." Allah is most knowing of where He places His message. There will afflict those who committed crimes debasement before Allah and severe punishment for what they used to conspire.(124)

      So whoever Allah wants to guide - He expands his breast (chest) to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide - He makes his breast (chest) tight and constricted as though he were climbing up fast into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.(125)

      And this is the path of your Lord, [leading] straight. We have detailed the verses for a people who remember.(126)

      Now, as you know, the more we go up the less the atmospheric pressure gets. So, what would happen if we manage to go up into the sky fast without pressure normalizing suite or vehicle? The volume of air in our lungs will expand quickly due the fast decrease in pressure, which will make our chests feel tight and narrow. In fact, we won't be able to inhale because air will be flowing out of our lungs, which means there will no oxygen entering our lungs, and that in turn will maximize the constricted feeling in the chest.
      Add to the fact that the higher you go in the sky, the less oxygen you get, and even if you manage to get a little air into your lungs, which you will not, there will be hardly any oxygen for you to breath!

      Now,
      How could Mohammad PBUH, an illiterate man from Arabia, know those facts about atmospheric pressure and oxygen 1450 years ago, and use them in this matter to demonstrate how disbelievers feel about Islam?

      Think about it!
      Haani

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    3. I have thought about it, Haani.
      This refers to how one feels short of breath if one climbs a mountain quickly.
      If you wish to interpret this as miraculous knowledge then that's up to you, but please don't expect the rest of us to base our belief system on such flimsy evidence.

      Delete
  13. @Varma,
    Every messenger of God was sent with Islam to his people with miracles to prove that he was sent by God. When people went astray from the true religion of God, He sent another messenger.
    Because we did not live in the time of the messengers of God (Moses, Jesus, etc, Peace Be Upon Them), some may claim they did not do the miracles they did, or even they did not really exist!

    In the case of the last messenger of God, Mohammad PBUH, he was given many miracles that people saw in his time, but he was also given a timeless miracle that everybody can examine till the end of days. Which is the Quran.
    It is available online, and you can read it and examine it yourself.

    Here's an example of the many things that you may notice (not mentioned in the above link). The following 5 verses are from Sura Al-Anaam (The Cattle chapter) so you can get the context, but what I'm pointing to is in the 4th verse(125):

    And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing.(122)

    And thus We have placed within every city the greatest of its criminals to conspire therein. But they conspire not except against themselves, and they perceive [it] not.(123)

    And when a sign comes to them, they say, "Never will we believe until we are given like that which was given to the messengers of Allah ." Allah is most knowing of where He places His message. There will afflict those who committed crimes debasement before Allah and severe punishment for what they used to conspire.(124)

    So whoever Allah wants to guide - He expands his breast (chest) to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide - He makes his breast (chest) tight and constricted as though he were climbing up fast into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.(125)

    And this is the path of your Lord, [leading] straight. We have detailed the verses for a people who remember.(126)

    Now, as you know, the more we go up the less the atmospheric pressure gets. So, what would happen if we manage to go up into the sky fast without pressure normalizing suite or vehicle? The volume of air in our lungs will expand quickly due the fast decrease in pressure, which will make our chests feel tight and narrow. In fact, we won't be able to inhale because air will be flowing out of our lungs, which means there will no oxygen entering our lungs, and that in turn will maximize the constricted feeling in the chest.
    Add to the fact that the higher you go in the sky, the less oxygen you get, and even if you manage to get a little air into your lungs, which you will not, there will be hardly any oxygen for you to breath!

    Now,
    How could Mohammad PBUH, an illiterate man from Arabia, know those facts about atmospheric pressure and oxygen 1450 years ago, and use them in this matter to demonstrate how disbelievers feel about Islam?

    Think about it!

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  14. @Haani, actually the lungs and other air-filled cavities (middle ear, nasal sinuses, abdomen; all these are inter-connected) actually EXPAND and not constrict, by Boyle's Law-- Pressure is inversely proportional to Volume.
    See this link--
    http://www.pilotfriend.com/aeromed/medical/ascent_descent.htm
    And yes, there are tall mountains in and around Arabia, the Arabs even before Muhammad would have attempted to climb these mountains and would have experienced the effects of low atmospheric pressure. In fact, any climb up a hill can make one feel short of breath, and make one feel winded and breathless.

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  15. St. Louis university is a jesuit founded university, by your "rationality" any scholarship coming of there is tainted by christianity. It's a retarded argument

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  16. Peace. I would just like to point out that, first of all, you haven't really disproved anything. And you do realize of course, as you seem to be an Islamic scholar, that Science isn't the only way that the Qur'an is proved. I mean, you're going on trying to disprove of the scientific miracles of the Qur'an, yet I really don't think Science was of concern of an illiterate man, with no education yet very wise and always been religious. I don't know of any Arab at the his (Muhammad pbuh) time that converted due to Science. Do you know Arabic? I fully support that the Qur'an is a scientific miracle, but it's also a miracle linguistically. Know the 2nd Khalifa? Omar ibn Al-Khattab? Huge enemy to Islam before he converted. Tortured the muslims. As soon as he picked up a page of the Qur'an, and read, it was instant. An illiterate man, never had anything to do with poetry, somehow had put up the best literature the Arabs had ever seen and until now the same, and forever, it'll be the same.
    The Qur'an could also be proved by his pbuh's character. Known as As-Sadiq "the honest", Al-Ameen "the trustworthy". Then, for some reason, he became the biggest liar history's ever seen? What could that possibly be for? Money? He denied that. In fact, he was pretty poor. Women? He denied that when one of the most persistent disbelievers offered him that. Leadership? Denied that. How about the uncle that he really loved but didn't accept Islam when he (Abu Talib) adviced him, urging him to give up the message, Muhammad pbuh said," If you were to give me the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left hand, I wouldn't give up the message." How about during war, did he just let his people fight while he stayed back to relax? Or did he stand in the front line, and his companions would in fact, when the battle was really rough, would go behind him to seek refuge. How about all his prophecies? You should really look them up. Did he practice what he preached? His wife Aisha ra said he was a walking Qur'an. What exactly was the problem with his pbuh's message though that you have a problem with? In fact, why is it of any concern for you whether people are muslims, Christians, jews, whatever, you obviously have got a really nothing to look forward to nor is any of this a concern to you. Actually, I wonder, what atheists like you look forward to. To me, atheists seem to be having a really depressing life, and they're probably the most miserable about death.
    In this article, all you did was destroy the character, but didn't at all refute the thing you were originally trying to. Give the problem with the embryology mentioned in the Ayat. In the article about mountains being pegs, didn't really seem to be disproving anything. The seven heavens, you tried to attack it by saying that the heavens were also like the earth's crust; in the ayah, the word for like is "mithl", which is nearly like/somewhat/in some way like. I mean, there is so much you avoided, yet you act like you've got it all taken care of. And you seem to ignore the many opinion of so many other scholars who are against what you're saying.

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    1. Hi Anon - thanks for your lengthy comment.
      1. You say the science is unimportant and then say that you "fully support that the Qur'an is a scientific miracle". You can't have it both ways. If you think the Qur'an is a scientific miracle then I'm afraid I shall feel obliged to explain why in my view it isn't.
      2. You claim the Qur'an is a literary miracle and further that it would be impossible for an illiterate man to produce its like. Why to you conflate the ability to read/write and poetic skill? Many, if not most, Arabic poets of the period recited their works from memory - as I'm sure you know. Poems and songs were passed from person to person without being written down. Isn't it arrogant to assume that those who don't read and write are incapable of poetry? Thus the fact that the Qur'an is easy to remember is not a sign of its divine origin but rather that its a typical product of its time and place.
      Muhammad may have been regarded as trustworthy. Why that does negate the possibility of his being sincerely mistaken (see my latest post). The vast majority of those who claim to hear voices are sincere in their delusions.
      You discount the possibility that Muhammad enjoyed the riches or power or sex that his "prophet-hood" bought him and yet he was keen to include "revelations" that ensured he got the spoils of war, wasn't he? If he was so unconcerned with money why would he/God give us 8:1?
      You say he "denied" (by which I assume you mean refused) money sex and power. I see no evidence for that. In fact I see the exact opposite.
      Why is it any concern of mine whether people are Muslim, Christian or Jew. It isn't. |Or at least it wouldn't be IF Muslims didn't insist that Islam should rule the world and if there wasn't the likes of iERA and Yusuf Estes and Deedat lying to vulnerable people like my friend to convince them to follow a religion that is homophobic, sexist, misogynistic and anti-science (please don't quote Islam's Golden AGe if you are then going to deny the fact of evolution)
      You say atheists are having a depressing life. What arrogance again! I live everyday wondering at the beauty of existence and savouring every moment because I know how unlikely is my birth and how little time we have to enjoy it all. I don't live in fear and trembling of a jealous hateful God who promises to burn the skin off my back for an eternity if i should have the "misfortune" to be born gay or with the intellectual curiosity to question the idiocies contained in the holy books.
      Plety more to say but I'll save it for another time.

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  17. And it seems very suspicious you have to approve some comments, and remove others. Really, there has been no one who has got anything actually sensible to say against the Qur'an.

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    1. Hi Anon
      The only comments EVER removed on this site are spam.
      I have started to approve comments because of the above.
      Please feel free to say anything and I promise I'll publish (as long as it's not advertising or designed to incite hatred.
      Yours,
      Spinoza

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  18. *sigh* atleast one can "argue" that the Quran is TRULY authentic,how exactly do the christians,hindus and miscellaneous groups validate the discrepancies found in their religious documents?Being a med student i KNOW that Keith L.Moore is regarded as a premiere embroyologist and if he found something that could be validated in the religious book of another faith then i believe that's a *win* for the muslims!can any other religion boast of having come close to making even 'slightly' comprehensible scientific predictions?and if other religions have made accurate predictions in the scientific sense i would be sincerely very happy if you could expand my knowledge!

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    1. Hi Curious,
      Thanks for your comment.
      1. How can one argue the Qur'an is truly "authentic" - in what sense authentic?
      2. Moore didn't write the additions - al Zindani did.
      3. what other religions find in their texts is of no interest to me because I believe they are all products of MAN'S desire to make sense of a senseless world.

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  19. ibrahim Musa IbrahimDecember 20, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    The qur'an is authentic from God without any doubt and is the only unabridged religious book on the phase of the earth, it is said in the qur'an that if anyone doubts the authenticity of the qur'an then he/she should produce a book similar to it and which no body has done it and no one can do it....! And if you think it is written by man then you should produce a book similar to it or even a verse similar to a verse in thw qur'an. The qur'an is far beyond Human capability. And coming to your second statement you should check, the book it is co-written by keith moore without his approval no word can be added to it. And lastly may almighty Allah guide you to the right path

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  20. 'lodged in a secure place [egg] then made into a alaqaa [blastocyst] a thing that clings....then into chewed flesh [somites on the back look like teeth marks] then bones and skin....[quran].....stages fit perfectly with dr moore's conclusions....but dr moore used a microscope....the time of quran had no such microscope....leaving us with a problem the insertion of sperm into the egg and the alaqaa [thing that clings] are to small to see with the naked eye....so you attack the author dr moore instead

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    1. Well if you want to see a refutation of Quran embryology looking at the Arabic words, just take a look at the recent paper here Embryology in the Quran: Much ado about nothing

      This paper led to Hamza Tzortzis withdrawing his own paper promoting the Islamic embryology claims as you can see on his website. Only difference with what you said is that you think the "secure place" means egg, whereas most Muslims think it means the womb. Just shows how ambiguous it is. When you don't really know what you're pretending to know, be ambiguous. That's what we see in the Quran.

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