Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Irrationality Isn't Just For Christians Anymore

I was first introduced to Nadir Ahmed through Derek Sansone (which should have been a clue right off- Derek meets the strangest people), and my interest was piqued because he claimed that the supernatural inspiration of the Koran could be proved scientifically. Nadir pointed me to a debate transcript on his website,, that he had participated in with a critic of Islam, Denis Giron of Freethoughtmecca, and I checked it out.

Nadir structures his argument through the lens of an "algorithm" that can be found here. Basically, the algorithm examines specific components of the Koran that correspond to modern scientific knowledge. Although the algorithm assigns eight different possibilities to the reason for scientific correspondence, they basically amount to: 1) Chance, 2) Common Knowledge, and 3) Supernatural Knowledge. Thus, if there exists an element of scientific accuracy in the Koran that can not be due to chance (the statistical significance coefficient is not mentioned), and can not be something that could have been known by the author of the Koran (or his contemporaries), then we can conclude that the source of that knowledge was supernatural, i.e. Allah.

Fair enough, it’s not perfect, but let’s see where he goes with it. Nadir offers eight evidences for scientific truth in the Koran that his algorithm proves comes from a supernatural source. The full text of the debate can be found here. But let’s focus on the first evidence, which concerns the gender of bees:

This is what modern science has to say on the topic of zoology, in particular bees. We're going to be talking about bees over here. Today science tells us that the male bee has only one purpose, and that is to reproduce with the female - there's really no other purpose for a male bee. Now here's the important point - however, the worker bee or the soldier bee is a female bee. She is the one that builds the nest, leaves her home, and goes out in search of food. This what modern science tells us - that we have discovered only recently. Now it takes a specialist in the field to detect the sex of the bee - you cannot look at it from the naked eye - it is impossible, there is no way you can look at it that way. Now let me show you what the Qur'an says about bees. Now, keep one thing in mind here. In the Arabic language, animals are either male or female. Like in English we have the word cow - "the cow in the pasture" - that does not tell us if the cow is male or female. But in Arabic animals are either male or female. There is no gender neutral term for animals. Let's look inside chapter sixteen verse sixty-eight. It says over there:

"and thy Lord taught the bee" (here it is specified a female bee) "to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in men's habitations, then to eat of all the produce and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord."

This is exactly what modern science today tell us - that the bee that goes out and builds the nest, that goes out looking for food, as what the Qur'an has mentioned, is indeed the female bee.

So anyway, I'll have to raise a question now. How did the author of the Qur'an know this scientific statement, that the bee that leaves the nest in search of food is the female bee? Let's go back to the
algorithm. If you can look at that link which I have just sent you, let's look at that algorithm. Perhaps the author of the Qur'an was a genius or a scientist, which is (A) and (C). Well, I don't think that could be a possibility, becuase no matter smart you are, you'll never be able to detect the sex of a bee, unless you had these modern scientific methods which did not exist one thousand four hundred years ago, so those could not be a possibility. Let's look at (F). Perhaps the scientific fact is observable. Well, this is not true either, because you cannot look at the bees and tell which one is a male or female. Let's look at (B). Perhaps it was a very good guess. Well, it is a possibility. If it was a good guess then we'll say it was a fifty-fifty chance, one half chance if that was the case - or coincidence, we can look at it that way. Now let's look at (G) here, I want to pause on this one for a second. The information already pre-existed in history, therefore the author of the Qur'an simply plagiarized from another source. Let's analyze this for just a second here.

So what is Nadir’s argument here?

P1) It is impossible for anyone living in the seventh century to have known scientifically that bees (or at least, the ones that we see) are female.

P2) The Koran says that bees are female.

C) (From the algorithm) The Koran must have been supernaturally inspired.

But hold on. Look closer at the second premise, as Nadir himself gives the argument for establishing that.

P1) If a language incorporates gender-specific nouns, then any instance of that noun explicitly intends a literal gender translation.

P2) In Arabic, the noun “bee” is feminine.

P3) The Koran was written in Arabic.

C) The Koran says that bees are female.

Obviously, this is a very weak argument. Hundreds of languages incorporate gender-specific nouns, and in many of them the word “bee” is feminine. This seems to be a textbook example of the Chance possibility of his own algorithm!

Strangely enough, I got the chance to talk to Nadir today through Paltalk, and he agreed with me. I wish I had recorded our conversation, because I’m still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the logic that he was using. He admitted (as he did in the debate with Denis) that many other languages imply that bees are female (by his argument above), but that, even though Arabic only had a 50% chance of getting the right gender, it still got it right. Then things got stranger, and Nadir then said that even though it got the right gender, that didn’t necessarily mean that the Koran was divinely inspired- he was able to make that conclusion by looking at all the evidences. That is to say, even if you could show that each evidence corresponded to modern scientific knowledge by random chance, by accumulating multiple examples (50% x 50% x 50% etc.), you arrive at a statistical improbability of the Koran having natural origins.

It’s quite mind-boggling, I know. He seems to be somewhat of a Muslim Jason Gastrich in his argumentation. Check out his website for more evidences.

Post a Comment


At 11/07/2005 11:29 AM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

So is the word "God" in Arabic male or female?

Assuming that the arabic word for "God" implies a gender, and understanding that a true God would be neither male nor female, would this count as evidence that the Quran is FALSE?

At 11/07/2005 12:21 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I believe that "Allah" reflects a definitively male mythology- there was even a female counterpart, "Allat." Most Muslims today dispute this, and insist that "Allah" is neutral.

It's very similar to the way the Hebrew deity was originally definitively male (with his own female consort), but is now claimed by Christians to have always been gender-neutral.



Create a Link

<< Home