22 February 2007

From permafrost to the desert

It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur'ân about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God, or Allah.
The above quote doesn't come from a new book on science by an Iranian Ayatollah or by an Egyptian Imam or even by that maverick scientist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is a quote from a speech made by Dr. Moore, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto. Distinguished embryologist and the author of several medical textbooks, including Clinically Oriented Anatomy (3rd Edition) and The Developing Human (5th Edition, with T.V.N. Persaud)... etc., the list of all the titles and honorifics rivals any member of a royal family.

My interest in the learned professor was triggered by his article posted in Kavkaz Center, the Chechen mouthpiece. There is one and only one reason this media outlet (or rather outhouse) will post a science-related piece. And the piece proves that abundantly clear.
People used to ask the prophet Muhammad all sorts of questions about the meaning of verses referring to human reproduction. The Apostle's answers form the basis of the Hadith literature.
Indeed, the old man used to do a lot of field work on reproduction, experimenting on test cases that other scientists would have rejected as impossible (like that 9 years old girl and some such). So of course people tend to turn to good ole Muhammad for advice in this delicate area of activity. And advice, as our learned professor has discovered, was provided in abundance and according to the latest advances in embryology... of 21st century.

There are a lot of examples in that article. To take one:
"Then We placed him as a drop in a place of rest."

This statement is from Sura 23:13. The drop or nutfah has been interpreted as the sperm or spermatozoon, but a more meaningful interpretation would be the zygote which divides to form a blastocyst which is implanted in the uterus ("a place of rest").
A smasher, if I ever seen one. Not only was Muhammad familiar with his nutfah, he knew his zygote and was perfectly at ease with its (the zygote's) division into a blastocyst!

Amazing what you could achieve with a holy text when you are equipped by a deep knowledge of the modern science (or, at least, a good dictionary) and a burning zeal to please your hosts. Unless, of course, you just want to take them for a three year long ride in the desert. This is how long Professor Moore worked with the Embryology Committee of King Abdulazîz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, helping them to interpret the many statements in the Qur'ân and Sunnah referring to human reproduction and prenatal development.

The rest of the article is a long list of such smashers from the holy book, interspersed by "seems to indicate", "implies that", "seems to imply", etc. In other words, by a clear indications that our professor either has some vague feeling of talking crap or, which is also quite likely, has gone bonkers. Totally raving mad. Out to lunch without a return ticket.

And to sign off that long litany of crapology, comes this final statement:
The interpretation of the verses in the Qur'an referring to human development would not have been possible in the 7th century A.D., or even a hundred years ago. We can interpret them now because the science of modern Embryology affords us new understanding.
I don't know what to say. Could it so happen that a physical body transferred from the Canadian permafrost to the desert heat of Saudi Arabia, just cracks due to the extremely high temperature difference?

Calling on Transmontanus and BEAJ for assistance...



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