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Old May 18, 2010, 07:20 PM
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Default The Quran Science thread

This is mostly work from Raef Fanous, a physicist; with my editing and certain contributions.


Cosmology


Science says that the universe was created in a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, is still expanding today, and billions of years from now it might re-collapse on itself due to its own gravity with its immense mass. Either it will collapse (Big Crunch), continue expanding forever or rip itself apart because of the forces behind its expansion (Big Rip). Muslims say that this is what Allah says. The Quran says that on the first day of creation, God made the heavens and the Earth meshed together, tight and compact (Big Bang), continues to expand it into the universe we know today and at the last day God will recompress it into its original state (Big Crunch).

About the first day (Big Bang), Allah says:

Quote:
[Quran 21.30] Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the Earth were meshed together then We ripped them apart? And then We made of water everything living? Would they still not believe?
About the expanding universe, Muslims say that Allah told them about this expansion 1400 years before it was discovered by Hubble’s observations of redshift.

Quote:
[Quran 51.47] And the heaven, We built it with craftsmanship and We are still expanding it.
Scientists have just confirmed the existence of "Dark Energy", a mysterious repulsive force that acts in opposite to gravity. As the distance increases, the attractive gravitational force decreases but this mysterious repulsive force increases. This repulsive force is pushing galaxies apart; the greater the distance the greater the repulsion. Scientists today do not know what makes up this "Dark Energy", but they know that it is causing the entire universe to expand at an increasing rate.

For the first seven billion years after the big bang the expansion of the universe slowed down because the attractive gravitational forces were stronger than this repulsive force. However as the distances between the galaxies increased the attractive gravitational forces weakened while this repulsive force became stronger. This made the expansion of the universe to enter an accelerating phase:

If you remind yourself how a rose opens up, the outer petals move outwards more than the inner petals. Imagine that those petals have galaxies on them and that we are at the center of the rose. Now imagine this rose opening up; the farther out the petals are the faster their recession away from the center (where we are). Well this is exactly how the universe expands around us; the farther out galaxies are from us the faster their recession away from us.


[Quran 55.37] If the heaven ripped and it were a rose like paint...


In this sura God assures skeptics about Paradise: if the heaven ripped open like a rose then Paradise will as surely contain so and so...

The Doppler Effect explains why an ambulance siren sounds different when it approaches you, and when it recedes from you. The sound pitch changes, right? Similarly when a light source approaches you or recedes from you its colours change. If it is approaching you the colours shift towards the blue, and if it is receding from you its colours shift towards the red side of the visible light spectrum; the faster it recedes the redder it appears. Today we know that galaxies are rushing away from us from red-shifting of their light. The more distant galaxies are; the more reddish their colours appear to us.

When you apply paint, the colours' intensity is not even but rather it changes with distance:


Similarly the more distant galaxies are the more reddish their colors appear to us, that is, there redness is a function of distance. This is because the farther galaxies are the faster they are receding from us (like a rose). The Quran describes it as: Rose like paint, that is, its colour varies with distance.

All observers anywhere in the universe also see the universe expanding away from them the same way (like a rose). Hence everyone in the universe thinks that he is at the centre of the Big Bang. This is because the Big Bang does not have a recognised centre in this sense. See, if you continue walking on Earth in the same direction you will circle Earth and eventually come back to where you started; right? Similarly when you continue travelling through the universe in the same direction you might come back to where you started; we still don't know this for sure. But what we are sure of is that every observer in the universe thinks that he is at the centre of the Big Bang; every observer in the universe sees the universe expanding away from him like a rose.

The future of the universe after hundreds of billions of years has three possible scenarios depending on this dark energy and the Universe’s mass, which is mostly made of dark mass.

Big Chill: This is where the proportion of Mass and the expanding Universe is such that the Universe’s expansion is steady and constant. Therefore it will remain to expand forever

Big Rip: This is where the force of expansion is so great, that the Universe will rip itself apart down to the level of atoms.

Big Crunch: The third scenario is if this dark energy decreases with time. This eventually leads to a slowing of the expansion of the universe followed by a re-collapse. This is called the "Big Crunch". In some ways this scenario resembles the Big Bang in reverse.



NASA recently ruled out the second scenario (No Big Rip; see also: Universe Today http://www.universetoday.com/2008/12...o-dark-energy/). This leaves the universe with only two possible endings: Big Chill or Big Crunch (first and third scenario), depending on what this Dark Energy turns out to be.

Moreover, scientists today use the same word "ripped" to describe how the universe expands (the same word that the Quran used 1400 years ago).

However, today this Dark Energy is ripping the universe very slowly (when compared to the Big Rip or the Inflation that occurred during the Big Bang).

This Dark Energy is causing spacetime to expand, that is, this Dark Energy is creating space everywhere each second
Quote:
[Quran 67.3-4][Allah] is the one who created seven superimposed Heavens. You do not see variations in the formations of the Compassionate, so redirect your sight, do you see any creation? 4 Then redirect your sight again, your vision returns to you in defeat and regret.
Today they looked again and found this created space indeed (along with Dark Matter).
In the Quran God also promises to make the Big Crunch:

Quote:
[Quran 21.104] On the day when We will fold the heaven, like the folder compacts the books, and as We originated the first creation We shall return it; a promise (binding on Us); surely We will deliver.

The Earth

Earth is spherical. Muslims say that this is what Allah says. The Quran says that when the night and the day overlap, they make a ball (sphere):

Quote:
[Quran 35.5] [Allah] Created the heavens and the Earth in truth. He overlaps [Yukawer in Arabic] the night over the day and overlaps [Yukawer] the day over the night, and enslaved the sun and the moon. Everything moves to a prerecorded destiny [on the Preserved Tablet]. Is He not the Exalted, the Forgiver?
The Arabic word "Kura" means ball; its verb "Yukawer" means: to make into a ball. The Quran says that the overlapping of the night and the day makes a ball (sphere).
Science says that the rotation of Earth is slowing down, that is, days are getting longer. Muslims say that this is what Allah says. The Quran says that Allah persistently asks more of the day and more of the night, that is, for the day to get longer

Quote:
[Quran 7.54] And your Lord, Allah, who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and then settled on the Throne (as reference). [Allah] Covers the night with the day, asks for it persistently; and the sun and the moon and the stars enslaved by His orders. Is this not His creation and His command? Blessed be Allah the Lord of all the worlds.
Today most cosmologists believe that the Earth and the other planets originally formed out of a nebula that surrounded the Sun. This is thought to have occurred five billion years ago. Studies of radioactive material on earth show that it could not be much older than this, for if it were, that material would have all decayed and turned into lead by now. This estimation of the age of the earth is also confirmed by studies of the ages of rocks on earth. The oldest rocks, at Isua in Greenland and on the river Limpogo in South Africa, were formed at least 3.8 billion years ago. (New views on an old planet, Tjeerd H. Van Andel.)

This theory is known as the 'Modern Nebular Hypothesis' after the modification of the old 'Nebular Hypothesis'. But since the nebula consisted primarily of hydrogen and helium, this hypothesis does not seem to offer a satisfactory explanation as to how the heavier elements have formed on earth and also on the other rocky inner planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars). Certainly the outer gaseous planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) are very similar in composition to the sun. The major proportion of their mass, like the sun, consists of hydrogen and helium and thus their formation is in line with the 'Nebular Hypothesis'. It is the presence of the heavier elements on the rocky planets that is still not satisfactorily explained.

The Quran presents a truly remarkable piece of information concerning the formation of these heavier elements. This information seems to account for the puzzle that remained unsolved by the 'Nebular Hypothesis'

In the Quran it is stated that iron was introduced on earth at a later stage than when the earth was initially formed.

Quote:
"…. and We have sent down iron, in it is great might" The Quran 57:25
The words "sent down" clearly indicate the prior existence of the earth . This startling information confirms the 'Nebular Hypothesis' and completes it

Up until the discovery of Pulsars it was thought that no atomic nucleus can survive this gravitational collapse of a massive star’s core. It was thought that the remnants of those collapsed cores consist of some electrons, some protons but predominantly neutrons (thus the name neutron stars). However the discovery of radio waves in pulsars means that neutron stars contain rotating iron cores! This means that the iron survived! Today we know that iron has the strongest bound nucleus among all elements. Although admittingly it was true, iron was used in war in the past, but at this time it was already 350 years after the Indians have discovered the advent of steel, which was far superior.

These sub-atomic particles are also mentioned in the Quran:

Quote:
[Quran 34:3]"There isn't hidden (from God) the least little atom in the heavens or earth, nor what is smaller (than the atom)."
This Quranic verse clearly indicates that the atom is not the smallest form of substance but that there are particles smaller than the atom. This might seem common knowledge today but was not so in the 7th century, where before Greek philosophers proposed that atoms are the smallest things in the world

Tectonics

Earth's crust has been slowly moving for billions of years. Not only mountains are still slowly moving but also whole continents. Muslims believe that God says:

Quote:
[Quran 27.88] You see the mountains and think they are firmly fixed: but they are moving away just like the clouds are moving away: (such is) the artistry of Allah, Who disposes of all things in perfect order: For He knows all what you do.
Origin of Life, Evolution and Asteroids

Quote:
[Quran 2.164] In the creation of the Heavens and the Earth; In the alternation of the night and the day; In the sailing of the ships through the sees with what benefits mankind; In the water which Allah sent down from the Heavens and brought with it life to Earth after being dead and gave life in it to every kind of land animal; And in directing the winds; And in the clouds that are enslaved between the Heavens and the Earth; [All these] are Signs for a people who comprehend

[Quran 24.43] Can you not see that Allah makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a pile? Then you see rain come out from within? And He sends down from heaven, mountains with ice inside them; that strike whomever He wishes or miss whoever He wishes; Its flash almost blinds you.
Quote:
Nasa’s discovery bolsters the theory that comets and asteroids crashing into Earth nearly four billion years ago seeded the planet with water and carbon-based molecules, both essential ingredients for life
http://news.discovery.com/space/aste...-organics.html


Celestial Motion


For centuries it was believed that Earth is fixed and the sun, moon and planets revolve around it. However 1400 years ago the Quran said that not only the sun and moon but even Earth moves in a designated path:

Quote:
Quran [39.5][Allah] Created the heavens and the Earth in truth. He overlaps [Yukawer in Arabic] the night over the day and overlaps [Yukawer] the day over the night, and enslaved the sun and the moon. ALL MOVE (Kullon Yajree كل يجري) to a prerecorded destiny. Is He not the Exalted, the Forgiver?
The Arabic word "Kura" means ball; its verb "Yukawer" means: to make into a ball. The Quran says that the overlapping of the night and the day makes a sphere (ball).

Also the Quran says that EVERYTHING MOVES: not only the sun and moon but everything including Earth. In Arabic grammar there is difference between the singular (one), binary (two) and plural (three or more). In binary mode ""Kulahuma Yajreean كلاهما يجريان" however the Quran says "Kullon yajree كل يجري" referring to the plural (three or more). Hence not only the sun and moon move because the reference is to three or more. So according to the Quran everything moves even the spherical Earth.

As the massive celestial bodies move in space, their immense gravity sucks in the small debris of rocks and gas. Do you know how to sweep the ground? Well this is how planets and stars sweep their paths

Quote:
[Quran 81.15-16] So I [Allah] shall swear by the planets that recede, 16 that move, that sweep (Kunnas in Arabic).
"Miknasa" in Arabic means a sweeping brush. "Kannasa" is the past tense of sweep. "Kunnas" means those who sweep. God swears by the planets that move and sweep.


Pulsars, Black Holes & Singularity


General relativity predicted the formation of black holes from neutron stars. As more matter falls into a neutron star its mass increases; and as its mass increases its gravity increases. A point will be reached where gravity would have grown so much that not even light could escape, thus a black hole forms.

Most neutron stars discovered today are in the form of radio pulsars. They are called radio pulsars because they emit radio waves; we can simply connect a radio telescope to a loud speaker and hear a pulsar. Pulsars sound like someone persistently knocking.

So in short, we can hear a pulsar knock; and if matter continues to fall into this pulsar a black hole will eventually form. Muslims say that this is what Allah says. The Quran describes a star by "The one who knocks" and says that it is "The one who makes a hole".

Quote:
[Quran 86.1-3]And the heaven and the "Knocker" (Tarek in Arabic) How could you know about the "Knocker"? The piercing star (Thakeb in Arabic).
The Arabic word "Thukb" means a hole; "Thakeb" means the one who makes the hole. The Quran is describing a knocking star that makes a hole.

All stars will eventually die. Stars with very large mass will collapse on themselves and become black holes. Even the remnants of smaller stars can merge with other stars that will eventually become black holes.... So black holes are the destiny of many stars. Actually our solar system formed out of debris of a star 100 times more massive than our sun that exploded and became a black hole. At the centre of black holes (collapsed stars) lies a location called the Singularity. An observer far away from a black hole sees the events near a black hole in slow motion. If he shines a beam of light into this black hole he will have to wait forever but still this beam of light will never reach the singularity. The singularity is a location in the future of stars where gravity is so strong it bends space and time they become indistinguishable. From general relativity we know that this is a location where the structure of space-time becomes singular (hence the name singularity). However singular (Ahad in Arabic) is one of God's 99 names. In the Quran God swears by the locations of stars which turned out to carry His own name.

Quote:
[Quran 56.75-77] I swear by the locations of stars, it is a great swear if you knew, it is a noble Quran.
Here God swears not by the stars but rather by their locations (mawakeh in Arabic). Today we know that the future of those locations is singular, that is, they carry God's own name: "Ahad"


Seas


The difference in temperature, salinity and CO2 concentrations in seas cause water to separate into layers. This was only known recently.

Quote:
[Quran 55.19-20]He [Allah] has made the two seas meet, between them a barrier that they don't transgress.
Not only light cannot reach deep waters but also the water layers down there are not flat but wavy, that is, the seas have internal waves just as they have surface waves.

Quote:
[Quran 24.40] Or like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hand, he will not see it! If Allah does not give light to a person he will not have light!
The Quran talks about internal waves. Also, sunlight cannot penetrate more than few hundred meters into the seas. It is so dark down there that you cannot see your own hand.

Cloud Seeding

During cloud formation, water can become supercooled, that is, it can get below freezing point but remain not frozen! This stage is so unstable that we can add some catalyst molecules to trigger rain. Historically humans used silver iodide, frozen carbon dioxide and some salts to trigger rain. This is known as cloud seeding.

However nature uses different material to seed the clouds. Nature uses both sea salt and land dust to trigger rain: Wind at the surface of the seas causes waves to roll. Those waves release aerosols into the air carrying the sea salt. The wind carry both the sea salt and the land dust to the clouds. The sea salt and land dust cause the supercooled water to coalesce and trigger precipitation.

Quote:
[Quran 15:22]And We send the seeding winds, then cause the rain to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water, though you are not the guardians of its stores
.


Atmospheric Pressure


Atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude; The higher the altitude the more difficult breathing becomes. Muslims say that this is what Allah says. The Quran says that as we ascend to the sky it becomes more difficult for us to breath:
Quote:
[Quran6.125] Those whom Allah wants to guide, He opens their chests to Islam; And those whom He wants to leave astray, He makes their chests tight and constricted, as if they are ascending to the sky: Such is the penalty of Allah on those who refuse to believe.
________________________________________
Brain Functions

For centuries it was thought that the frontal part of the human brain handled vision (simply because it is near the eyes). Today we know that this part handles speech, not vision. (the part that handles vision turned out to be at the rear of the brain.

The Quran says that disbelievers will be dragged from there liar forehead, that is, the speech part where they utter lies is at the forehead.

Quote:
[Qura 96.16] A lying sinful forehead.
________________________________________
Genetics

Females have XX chromosomes, that is, they can only give one X chromosome. But since males have XY chromosomes then men can either give the X or the Y chromosome. This means that it is actually the males who determine the sex of the baby (by giving either the X or the Y chromosome).

[Quran 53:45-46] And He (Allah) creates pairs, male and female, from semen emitted.
The Quran says that it is the semen that determines whether the baby is male or female. But since semen only comes from males then this means that it is the males that determine the sex of the baby

Embryology

Quote:
"He creates you in your mothers bellies in stages, creation after creation, in three veils of darkness." 39:6
We do not know when it was realized that human beings underwent development in the uterus (womb), but the first known illustration of a fetus in the uterus was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. In the 2nd century A.D., Galen described the placenta and fetal membranes in his book "On The Formation of the Foetus." Consequently, doctors in the 7th century A.D. likely knew that the human embryo developed in the uterus. It is unlikely that they knew that it developed in stages, even though Aristotle had described the stages of development of the chick embryo in the 4th century B.C. The realization that the human embryo develops in stages was not discussed and illustrated until the 15th century.

After the microscope was discovered in the 17th century by Leeuwenhoek descriptions were made of the early stages of the chick embryo. The staging of human embryos was not described until the 20th century. Streeter (1941) developed the first system of staging which has now been replaced by a more accurate system proposed by O'Rahilly (1972).

"The three veils of darkness" may refer to: (l) the anterior abdominal wall; (2) the uterine wall; and (3) the amniochorionic membrane. Although there are other interpretations of this statement, the one presented here seems the most logical from an embryological point of view.


Figure 1. Drawing of a sagittal section of a female's abdomen and pelvis showing a fetus in utero. The "veils of darkness" are: (1) the anterior abdominal wall; (2) the uterine wall, and (3) the amniochorionic membrane.
"Then We placed him as a 'notfah' (tiny drop) in a 'qarar makeen' (well protected place of rest)." 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"). This interpretation is supported by another verse in the Qur'an which states that "a human being is created from a mixed drop." The zygote forms by the union of a mixture of the sperm and the ovum ("The mixed drop").
Quote:
"Then We made the drop into a 'alaqah' (leech-like structure)." 23:14
The word "alaqah" refers to something that clings (like a leech or bloodsucker). This is an appropriate description of the human embryo from days 7-24 when it clings to the endometrium of the uterus, in the same way that a leech clings to the skin. Just as the leech derives blood from the host, the human embryo derives blood from the decidua or pregnant endometrium. It is remarkable how much the embryo of 23-24 days resembles a leech (Fig. 2). As there were no microscopes or lenses available in the 7th century, doctors would not have known that the human embryo had this leech-like appearance. In the early part of the fourth week, the embryo is just visible to the unaided eye because it is smaller than a kernel of wheat.



Figure 2. Top, a drawing of a leech or bloodsucker. Below, a drawing of a 24 day-old human embryo. Note the leech-like appearance of the human embryo at this stage.
Quote:
"Then of that leech-like structure, We made a 'mudghah' (chewed-shaped lump)." 23:14
This statement is also from 23:14. The Arabic word "mudghah" means "chewed substance or chewed lump." Toward the end of the fourth week, the human embryo looks somewhat like a chewed lump of flesh (Fig. 3). The chewed appearance results from the somites which resemble teeth marks. The somites represent the beginnings or primordia of the vertebrae.

Figure 3. Left, a plasticine model of the human embryo which has the appearance of chewed flesh. Right, a drawing of a 28 day-old human embryo showing several bead-like somites which resemble the teeth marks in the model shown to the left.
Quote:
"Then We made out of the chewed lump, bones, and clothed the bones in flesh." 23:14
This continuation of 23:14 indicates that out of the chewed lump stage, bones and muscles form. This is in accordance with embryological development. First the bones form as cartilage models and then the muscles (flesh) develop around them from the somatic mesoderm.

Quote:
"Then We developed out of it another creature." 23:14
These next words in 23:14 implies that the bones and muscles result in the formation of another creature. This may refer to the human-like embryo that forms by the end of the eighth week. At this stage it has distinctive human characteristics and possesses the primordia of all the internal and external organs and parts. After the eighth week, the human embryo is called a fetus. This may be the new creature to which the verse refers.

Quote:
"And He gave you hearing and sight and feeling and understanding." 32:9
These words in 32:9 indicates that the special senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling develop in this order, which is true. The primordia of the internal ears appear before the beginning of the eyes, and the brain (the site of understanding) differentiates last.

Quote:
"And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term." 22:5
These words in 22:5 seem to imply that God determines which embryos will remain in the uterus until full term. It is well known that many embryos abort during the first month of development, and that only about 30% of zygotes that form, develop into fetuses that survive until birth. This verse has also been interpreted to mean that God determines whether the embryo will develop into a boy or girl.

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. Undoubtedly there are other verses in the Qur'an related to human development that will be understood in the future as our knowledge increases.

Honey Bees

The worker bees, those who gather pollen and make the honey, are actually all females. The male bees do not make honey. This was only known recently. However 1400 years ago the Quran refers to bees that generate the honey as females (the Arabic grammar is in the female mode):

[Quran 16.68-69] And your Lord (Allah) revealed to the bees: Build your hives in mountains, trees and in what people build. Then eat (for females) from every fruit and follow (for females) your Lord's enslaved paths, from their bellies (for females) exits drink of different colors, in it healing for man. These are signs for those who contemplate.

For the word "eat": "Kuli" is for females; "Kul" is for males. The Quran used "Kuli" (females).
For the word "follow a path": "Usluki" is for females; "Usluk" is for males. The Quran used "Usluki" (females).
For the word "their bellies": "butuniha" is for females; "butunihim" is for males. The Quran used "butuniha" (females)

Secrets of Pyramids

For centuries, Egyptologists and geologists thought that the Egyptian pyramids were made of limestone blocks (up to 70 tons) that were quarried by chiseling limestone. Workers then carried those blocks up the pyramids on ramps. This building procedure was thought to be so superhuman that it made the pyramids become one of the Seven Wonders of the World. However today electron microscopes revealed that the blocks at the top have chemistries found nowhere in nature. Those blocks at the top must have been baked and then cast like modern cement (not chiseled from existing limestone)

However 1400 years ago the Quran said that Pharaoh used baked clay (like modern cement; not chiselled limestone) to build their high rises:

Quote:
[Quran 28.38]And Pharaoh said to his people: "I have not known a god for you other than myself; so Haman, light me a fire to bake clay so that I could build a rise high enough, maybe I see Moses' god whom I think is a liar."
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Last edited by Nafi; May 19, 2010 at 05:33 AM..
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