Very good read: http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/B...OM/default.htm
That is whole book up there but 2002 edition. 2006 is available on amazon.
Very good read: http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/B...OM/default.htm
That is whole book up there but 2002 edition. 2006 is available on amazon.
anybody bother read the book? I see discussion going about evolution and Islam, it is good to read a book about evolution and islam from reliable muslim scholar.
I suppose too big to read?
Quote from the book:
The Origins of Life and the Diversity of Living Beings
If we are to believe certain researchers and their statements concerning the phenomenon of life, there are no more secrets left to discover today The origins of life no longer form the subject of laboratory investigation, stated an eminent specialist in molecular biology in 1972. Always assuming these words still carry a meaning, we may conclude that life does not contain any facts we do not know. In reality, however, the situation is quite different, and there are plenty of mysteries that still surround the origins of life.
Ingenious experiments have for many years been repeatedly performed by biochemists and biophysicians in an attempt to prove the possibility of spontaneously obtaining infinite quantities of certain chemical compounds found in cells that are structurally highly complex. The scientists in question are of the opinion that due to favourable physical influences, the compounds were able spontaneously to combine together in an organized fashion, and by uniting, were able to produce the fantastic complex we call the cell, or even more rudimentary living organisms. A statement such as this is tantamount to saying that the possibility of spontaneously forming steel particles from iron ore and coal at high temperature could have led to the construction of the Eiffel Tower through a series of happy coincidences that assembled the materials in proper order. Even then, this comparison is very weak, for the actual structural complexity of an elementary living organism is much more complex than the structure of the Eiffel Tower, considered in 1889 to be a triumph of metal construction.
Those who ardently defend the role of chance base their opinions on experiments of this kind, which claim to reproduce the possible origins of life. They repeat the views of Miller, who in 1955 induced the formation of complex chemical compounds; such as the amino acids present in cellular proteins, using electric sparks in an atmosphere of gas composed of steam, methane, ammonia and hydrogen. Needless to say, such experiments do not provide any explanation for the organization of the components; nor do we have any idea whether this favourably composed gas really existed in the earth's atmosphere two or three billion years ago. A theory cannot be built on unknown facts such as these. Even if a gas of this kind did exist in the earth's atmosphere; even if certain physical conditions did trigger high-powered electrical phenomena; even if complex organic chemical compounds had formed as a result of this fortunate combination of circumstances, there is nothing to prove that they could have induced the creation of living matter. The determining factor for this phenomenon remains unknown. Some researchers admit that there is an enigma in this. Others point to chance a convenient loophole that excuses them from acknowledging their ignorance. We shall come back later to the reasons why it is impossible to explain the phenomenon of life in terms such as these.
We must indeed turn to disciplines other than biochemistry to find the first clues to the problem, and in particular we must look toward palaeontology. Certain prehistoric animals and vegetals were not totally destroyed after their death. Their remains lay buried in sedimentary terranes, protected thereby from disintegration, and thus providing us with vestiges of these prehistoric life forms. The state in which the vestiges are found sometimes allows us ''to draw certain conclusions concerning the morphology and age of these once living beings [The material studied by Paleontology is limited to the bones and teeth]. It is in fact possible to gain an immediate idea of their age by establishing the date of the terranes. This can be done by various methods, in particular by radioactive measurements (radio chronology). For terranes that are geologically less ancient, carbon 14 tests are used, while strontium and rubidium tests are employed for older terranes. Having carried out these tests, experts can then determine the age of the specimens under investigation.
Tests such as these lead us to think that living beings existed in a unicellular state roughly one billion years ago [The earth is 4.5 billion years old]. Although it cannot be stated for sure, other forms may have existed before them. P: P. Grasse, in his book entitled `Evolution du Vivant' [The Evolution of Living Organisms] [Published by Albin Michel, Paris, 1973], mentions the discovery of vestiges of much older organisms: for example, the existence of organized life forms roughly 3.2 billion years ago in the rock formations of the Transvaal. These forms could possibly represent tiny bacteria, smaller than 1 / 10,000 millimetres, as well as particles of amino acids. These organisms may have employed amino acids, or possibly proteins contained in the sea...Other microorganisms may also have been present in the sediments, such as cyanophilous algae containing chlorophyll. The latter is a basic agent in photosynthesis, a process by which complex organic compounds are formed from simple components through the effect of light. Fossilized vegetation resembling algae and filamentous bacteria have been found in more recent rock formations (2.3 billion years old) near the shores of Lake Superior in Canada. The bacteria and certain algae displayed an extremely simple structure, without the well known differentiated elements of the cells. Similar samples dating back roughly one billion years have been discovered in rock formations in Central Australia. This stage probably gave way to a period in which algae of a different kind displayed a genuine cell structure, with a nucleus and chromosomes containing molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid, D.N.A for short. Many facts about these algae remain unknown, however.
The pluricellular stage was to follow, but "in the animal kingdom, between uni and pluricellular forms, there was still a hiatus". Two basic notions must be mentioned immediately
a. The aquatic origins of primitive organisms;
b. The emergence of a growing complexity, passing from one form to another combined with the appearance of new organisms.
This growing complexity is ever present throughout evolution: We find similar fossilized vegetation at a much more `recent' period, 500 million years ago. We cannot be certain, of course, that today's bacteria are identical to those said to have appeared on earth as the first living organisms. They may have evolved since then, although bacteria such as Escherichia Coli have indeed remained the same for 250 million years.
Whatever the answer, the origins of life definitely appear to be aquatic. According to today's thinking, it is impossible to conceive of life without water. Any search for traces of life on other. planets begins with the question: Has water been present there? On the earth's surface, the combination of certain conditions including the presence of water was required for life to exist at all.
The complexity of living matter in those very first organisms is not likely to have been as great as it is in today's cells. Nevertheless, as P: P. Grasse points out: "In order for life to exist, there must be a production and exchange of energy. This is only physically possible within a system that is heterogeneous and complex. The established facts at the command of the biologist provide a reason for him to concede that the first living form was of necessity an organized entity". This leads Grasse to stress the important fact that today's bacteria, which appear to be the simplest living organisms, obviously attain a high degree of complexity. They are indeed composed of thousands of different molecules containing systems of catalysis that are themselves highly numerous, and which enable the bacteria to synthesize their own substance, to grow and to reproduce. The catalysis relies on enzymes, which act in infinitely small quantities, each enzyme performing its own specific function.
Like the amoeba, unicellular life forms are composed of differentiated elements. Their structure is amazingly complex, even though the cells are measured in units of 1 / 1,000 of a millimetre. Within the fundamental substance of unicellular forms, called cytoplasm, whose chemical structure is highly complex, there are numerous differentiated elements, the most important of which is the nucleus. This is composed of many parts, in particular the chromosomes containing the genes. These control every single aspect of the cell's functioning. They give orders through a system of information transfer, using transmitters and a system to receive the orders as they come in. The chemical vehicle supporting the genes has been clearly identified: It is deoxyribonucleic acid (D.N.A.), a molecule of complex structure. The `messenger' is a related molecule known as ribonucleic acid, R.N.A for short. Within the cell, it is this system that ensures the formation of new proteins from simpler chemical elements (synthesis of proteins).
It is difficult not to feel tremendous admiration for the molecular biologists that first discovered these extremely complex mechanisms systems so perfectly regulated to maintain life that the slightest malfunction leads to deformities or monstrous growths (cancer is a case in point) and ends in death. As far as I am concerned, however, the brilliant analysis of the way this system works (for each and every cell is a kind of computer comprised of innumerable interrelations) is just as amazing as the general conclusions cited above concerning the supposed resolution of unexplained facts on the origins of life. One very important question immediately springs to mind, based on the results of these investigations: How could 'a system as complex as this have been formed? Was it the work of chance, following a host of trials and errors? That seems most unlikely. What other logical theories are there? It is common knowledge that a computer will only function if it has been programmed, a fact that implies the existence of a programming intellect, that provides the information required to operate the system. That is the problem facing all thinking people who seek an explanation to such questions; people who refuse to accept mere words of groundless theories; people who will only acknowledge conclusions based on facts. Given the present state of knowledge, however, science has not provided any answer to this precise point.
The Diversity of Living Beings
There is tremendous diversity among living beings. From the most ancient times, human observers have noted this diversity and have taken great pains to analyse it in minute detail. Naturalists record the striking precision of certain primitive peoples in their ability to distinguish between the species of animals surrounding them. Having received no instruction from outside, these peoples have compiled inventories that are not far off the work of an expert.
The first distinction to be made between living beings is the separation of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Although they share a common basic element the cell as well as numerous constituent substances, they are different in several ways. The vegetable kingdom is directly dependent on the earth for its nourishment. It also requires a much greater capacity for producing complex chemical compounds from simple bodies and light. The animal kingdom, on the other hand; depends on the vegetable kingdom for its nourishment (at least with regard to animals that have attained a certain degree of complexity), and carnivores depend on other species of animal.
Henceforth, we shall concentrate uniquely on the animal kingdom, which is extraordinarily varied and large. There may be as many as 1.5 million species living on our planet. The list has continued to grow, especially in recent decades, with the discoveries made in the marine world. Ever since the natural sciences gained stature and importance in the seventeenth century, format classifications have constantly appeared, each updated in turn as new data are discovered.
Aristotle drew a distinction between animals with red blood and those without, but no other studies of a serious nature were undertaken until the seventeenth century, when more interesting characteristics began to attract attention. For example: Some observers were struck by the question of respiration through the lungs or the branchiae (fish gills), the existence or absence of a vertebral skeleton (backbone), the anatomy of the heart (number of ventricles), or the existence of hair as opposed to feathers. ' In the classifications that were to follow, characteristics such as these remained distinctive of certain animal groups.
The distribution of distinguishing attributes opened the way for classification by group, with series of subdivisions. Thus the phyla [Plural of Phylum] characterise the broad basic divisions of the living beings presenting similar features, allowing us to put them in the same group. Each phylum can be divided into clearly defined classes; these are also determined by a certain number of specific characteristics. Similarly, each class contains several clearly differentiated orders, which nevertheless maintain the general features of their class and phylum. An order consists of various families, the families are composed of genera [Plural of genus], and the genera contain different species displaying both collective and specific characteristics. Classification is further complicated, however, by the existence of intermediary forms.
The first phylum of this classification is composed of unicellular forms, known as protozoans. It includes the most primitive beings, which very probably divided at some point in time, thus giving birth to pluricellular forms: This is the first example of evolution in the course of time.
The structure of these pluricellular forms (spongiae, cnidariae and ctenophores) became more complex as some acquired more specialized functions, without however constituting organs with clearly defined attributes. For example, some provided the covering of animals, others developed the ability to contract, or became sensitive to outside stimuli, and others acquired reproductory functions. The system grew more involved when a cavity appeared that served as a digestive tract (cnidariae and ctenophores) and the sensory organs made their appearance. This group did not as yet possess a head, however.
Embryological data have been of great value in establishing the various classifications in the animal kingdom. Thus an important stage in the growth of a structural complexity was reached with the early appearance during embryonic development of an extra germ layer. The number of layers thus grew from two to three, each layer ensuring the formation of clearly defined organs. Animals with three germ layers were in turn divided into 2 groups: those containing a single cavity (the digestive tract) and those with cavities that developed next to the digestive tract and which were responsible for the formation of tissues and various other organs. The broad divisions of the animal kingdom, here reduced to their most basic terms, already seem to suggest a methodical organization.
The latter guided, the birth of the various phyla, of which 20 emerged (very unevenly) into the following four groups
a. The unicellular forms, constituting a unique phylum;
b. The pluricellular beings containing two germ layers in the embryo [The external layer (ectodern) and the internal layer (endodern)], these gave birth to three phyla;
c. The pluricellular beings with three germ layers [The first two layers plus a third (mesodern) interposed between the two others] but containing only one cavity, these accounted for six phyla.
d. The group of animals with three germ layers and several cavities, constituting the other twelve phyla, two of which are particularly important: They are the arthropods which comprise the largest number of species in the animal kingdom, among which we find the insects and the vertebrates, the latter including fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Nevertheless, the gaps in our knowledge of the transitions from one of these groups to another are very wide indeed. In the case of the insects, one of the most important groups, we know nothing whatsoever of their origins (P. P. Grasse) Likewise, there are no fossils left to indicate the beginnings of the various phyla. "Every explanation of the mechanism that governs the creative evolution of the basic organizational plans is weighed down with hypotheses. This statement should figure at the beginning of any book dealing with evolution. Since we have no firm documentary evidence; statements on the origins of the phyla can only be suppositions, opinions whose degree of feasibility we have no way of measuring." P. P. Grasses observation on the phyla should caution any statement on the origins of the major basic divisions. From this point of view, the determining causes of the phenomena in question are just as mysterious as the birth of the most rudimentary life forms.
It is difficult to say at what period prior to the nineteenth century the question of evolution in the animal kingdom was first raised. In the centuries before Christ, several Greek philosophers had already perceived that the living world was subject to transformations. Observers coming after them sometimes displayed startling flashes of intuitive insight. Inevitably, however, their conclusions arose from philosophical ideas or pure speculations. The fact that they later proved to be correct, although the product of sheer guesswork; does not lend any particular value to these early philosophical concepts. Indeed, we should always bear in mind that during the same period, the same philosophers maintained totally inaccurate theories with complete equanimity: the theories concerning the existence of the universe in an identical state throughout eternity, for example.In view of this, the problem of the general evolution of life forms is fantastically, vast and complex. It requires us to search into extremely diverse fields: the natural sciences (botany and zoology), comparative anatomy, palaeontology, embryology, and chemistry to mention only those that seem to have provided the most evidence. There are, however, many evolutionary studies published by researchers who, though undoubtedly extremely well informed in their fields, have an unfortunate tendency to draw generalized conclusions without any detailed knowledge of what experts from other fields have to say oh the same subject.
The matter at hand is indeed so vast that very few specialists are able to master each and every aspect of it: To do so would require tremendous experience, as well as knowledge spanning a whole range of different disciplines. It is for this reason that the observer who by definition is willing to accept any proposition providing it is supported by solid arguments remains very sceptical of conclusions too heavily based on data from a single field of study.
.... This criticism is, in no way intended to undermine the tremendous value of evolutionary data gleaned from the cell. It is simply aimed at the overly exclusive use of these data, devoid of any interpretation. Unfortunately, this shortcoming is very common nowadays. So many problems containing countless facets are examined by specialists from a wide range of disciplines, only to be viewed in the light that is most congenial to the eyes of the specialists in question. A further difficulty is the frequent and unfortunate intervention of ulterior motives of a religious or metaphysical kind, that quite obviously underlie the opinions of many researchers. For example, a theorist f may rely heavily on a material argument, glad to have discovered it if he thinks the argument will support his cherished materialistic theory. But those who are not informed may think it is dangerous to acknowledge the idea of evolution, even in the animal kingdom, for fear that by extending this view to man, they may go against the religious teachings they wish to uphold. In so doing, they are unaware of the fact that certain aspects of modern discoveries that are usually employed to support materialistic views may indeed offer a solid argument to those of diametrically opposed opinions. All of which is to say, that questions of this kind ought to be approached without any preconceived ideas at all.
Jazakallah Khair bro. Even though I haven't read much yet I am grateful. I will read more later.
thanks for the bump, i will have a read through it inshALlah.
Can u buy the book somewher? I hate reading from the screen hurts my eyes
Thanks bros, I'll keep some interesting quotes from the book. I like the book because it is small yet it goes so much into details, the details that are over-looked normally in discussions on forums.
Br. Mikayeel, book is available on Amazon, and you don't have read it all the book at the same time. That might be easy on your eyes.
An objection to Darwin's theory that P. P. Grasse raises is the fact that death does not always make a distinction. It does not always kill the weakest and preserve the strongest, as Darwin would like us to think. P. P. Grasse gives precise examples of cases where it is not possible to know, at 'a certain stage in the metamorphosis of living beings, why it is that one batch evolves normally and another does not. When animals fight, it is not always the strongest and best equipped who win the battle: The percentage of animals who are victorious depends on factors such as chance and circumstance. The idea of sexual selection is also open to considerable criticism: It is very unrealistic to imagine that the female always chooses the strongest male, .for the element of chance in such encounters outweighs individual preferences.
What evidence is there of the power of selection to provoke the emergence of new forms? Darwin likened natural selection to the artificial selection practised by .man. In actual fact, however, artificial selection does not create new species; all it does is influence certain characteristics. The individuals themselves do not `take leave' of their species, as it were. Artificial selection does not trigger the formation of new organs, it does not lead to the creation of a new genus, nor does it engender a new type of organization. These facts are very clearly stated by P. P. Grasse who cites the example of colon bacillus and drosophila, organisms, which can undergo mutations while preserving the characteristics of their species that have been passed down for millions of years. Thus the minor individual variations mentioned by Darwin are by no means hereditary a point on which Darwin's theory is just as open to criticism as Lamarck's.In this section, we shall quote the objections raised by P: P. Grasse, the first of which is Darwin's own admission that his doctrine was incomplete: "Judging from letters (and I have just seen one from Thwaites to Hooker), and from remarks, the most serious omission in my book was not explaining how it is, as I believe, that all forms do not necessarily advance, how there can be simple organisms still existing..." (Letter to Asa Gray, May 22, 1860, from The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, by Francis Darwin, 3 vols, published by John Murray, 1887.)
Darwin speaks of the `progress' that natural selection ought to ensure in living beings, by which he confuses `progress' with growing organizational complexity, an essential aspect of evolution to which we shall return. Elsewhere, he expresses his amazement at the existence of living forms which have not changed at all over the course of time but have remained at the stage of very simple organisms: This is a phenomenon that is easily explained today in terms of modern ideas on mutagenesis. Every living being is affected by mutagenesis, minor variations which do not, however, cause the organisms concerned to leave the framework of their species.
For example, zoologists are very familiar with the so-called `pan chronic' species, which have remained the same throughout the course of time. Blue algae are a case in point: There is every reason to think that these organisms have been in existence for at least one billion years, and yet they are still the same today. Other examples are the ferro-bacteria, sponges, molluscs, and animals such as the opossum or the famous coelacanth which, though hundreds of millions of years old, have not changed at all. The coelacanth caused great excitement when it was discovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938. It is a fish, over 4 1/2 feet long, that is thought to have appeared roughly 300 millions years ago. Several other examples of this fish have been caught in more recent times almost to order, for the local fishermen are familiar with the coelacanth. Examination of these fish provided important information on the anatomy and physiology of a species, which, like so many others, refused to conform to the natural selection put forward by Darwin. At the same time however, none of these organisms has ceased to undergo mutations a process that is inevitable. As far as the fish are concerned, however, their evolution has come to an end. If we seek the reason why, we find that Darwin's theory is unable to provide an answer that both agrees with his doctrine and explains the preservation of these hereditary characteristics.
According to the law of natural selection, such imperfections as the excessive development of a single characteristic should not be allowed to develop and perpetuate themselves, to the extent that they harm the animal or vegetal concerned. Nevertheless, it is a well-known fact that certain conifer plants produce chemical compounds that irresistibly attract coleoptera which then devour them. The production of these chemical, compounds is therefore responsible for the death of the plant. This process has been going on for millions of, years: Natural selection does not intervene to save pine and fir trees from destruction by insects.
Similarly, the antelope is able to escape its enemies by its extreme speed, and yet there are species of this animal whose hooves contain glands that secrete a particular odour, which, as the antelope runs, is left on the ground. All the attacking carnivore has to do is follow the scent in order to track down its prey. Thus the graceful antelope is left unprotected by the theories of Darwin! Another example; of a harmful individual attribute is the excessive growth of horns, which can constitute a handicap. Finally, we are all familiar with the case of the deer, whose antlers impede its movement through the forest.
Studies of the coelacanth have shown the extent to which this fish contains characteristics that are paradoxical to the zoologist. If natural selection were genuinely present, these characteristics ought by rights to have disappeared, thus providing the coelacanth with a more functional morphology. The fact is; however, nothing has changed for several hundred million years.
.... No serious study of evolution can be undertaken without recourse to both groups. The first establishes the facts, and the second (especially the laboratory researchers) provides extremely helpful data to explain how events take place or may have taken place, and on a more general level, suggesting answers if there are any to be found.
What does each of these groups have to offer? The first lays before us concrete data on events that happened long ago, sometimes with a slight tendency. to underplay the gaps in our knowledge of the order in which these events took place. By and large, however, the information provided deals with concrete facts. The second group seems either to have forgotten or not to have taken account of these events. Instead, it supplies us with explanatory theories, which can hardly be said to apply to real facts or events. If we lose sight of reality, however; the most sophisticated reasoning can only lead to inaccurate statements: That is exactly what is currently happening in the case of certain theories, such as neo Darwinism and others, as we shall see later on.
.... From the most ancient times onward, organisms began to appear (as stated earlier) that acquired a more and more complex structure without, however, creating any kind of disorder or anarchy. After a period of one pr two billion years, distinguished by the existence of living beings containing simple structures (although already extremely complex from a biological point of view), organizational types developed that included today's members of the animal kingdom; as well as extinct species. The phyla in question did not, however, continue developing indefinitely to the detriment of more simple forms. A halt was reached roughly 350 million years ago, the period in which the first vertebrates appeared. Since then, particular classes of living beings have formed within a phylum which preserve the main features of the phylum while acquiring new characteristics. For example, in the case of the vertebrates, the birth of cyclostomes (fish without jaws, such as lampreys) was accompanied by the appearance of fish that, in certain instances, led to the formation of the amphibians (batrachians, such as the frog); among the latter, some amphibians gave birth to the reptiles, from which one group detached itself to form the mammals, while another later became the birds. Of all the living beings thus formed, the birds came last, appearing some 135 million years ago. Since the birds, no new class has appeared in the animal kingdom.
A remarkable phenomenon is the fact that the characteristics of a class gradually increase over successive generations, while now and again, secondary branches appear which acquire, new specific features that constitute the origin of new forms. Some of the branches proliferate and survive while others disappear more or less quickly, but these secondary branches never represent the beginnings of new phyla. There was a period in which the general organizational plans appeared, and once that period was over and the plans fulfilled, there were no subsequent plans. Henceforth, all that could appear would be subdivisions.
The events of evolution took place at highly variable speeds right up until the time the final form was attained that marked a halt in the process. As a result, there are species among today's living organisms that quickly acquired their definitive form and have retained it until the present day: for example certain molluscs, insects, and fishes that have remained the same, while closely related forms have undergone a long and far reaching process of evolution. Thus the coelacanth has not evolved for 200 or 300 million years. Vestiges of primitive phyla are very common in nature, indicating forms that have remained at an initial stage without evolving at all for example bacteria, unicellular organisms, sponges, jellyfishes, various coral, and particularly prolific insects, of which there exist roughly 100,000 species for a single order (the collembolae, for instance.) As opposed to this, there are examples of revivals after, a long halt: Zoologists point to families that experienced an intense period of evolution, only to peter out later on. While there is quite clearly a lack of continuity in evolution as a whole, this does not exclude the ever-present order in the general march of events.
Within the complexity of organization, there nevertheless appears a progressive tendency toward a type that is finally to be constituted, containing of course variations both small and great. The horse is always cited as an example of a type whose evolution took place on several continents, gradually arriving at its definitive form in spite of the diversity of environments.
The role of Chance and Necessity
Since the structure of living beings seems to have progressed in a perfectly coordinated way over the course of time, how is it that in this context people have paradoxically come to speak of chance? Is there really any need to stop and examine the theory that chance plays an active part? Certainly not: If we take account of the known facts of evolution. We must indeed examine the role of chance, however, in view of the fact that it has been fiercely defended by some and has attracted so much attention that the inaccuracy of the theory needs to be pointed out.
As for necessity, whim should here be understood to mean `the impossibility of the contrary, it is difficult to find any foundation for such an idea. In the explanation of the phenomena discussed here, the place occupied by necessity is, to say the least, extremely dubious.
We have already discussed the role of chance in the origins and evolution of life. The philosophers of Antiquity, ignorant as they were of the realities of the universe, may be excused for conceiving (like Democritus) that eternal matter acted to produce all the cosmic systems and everything, in the universe, animate and inanimate forms alike. While Democritus could not have had the faintest idea of cell structure, however, the same cannot be said of today's scientists, especially when they are experts in molecular biology. What is one to think, therefore, when the role of chance is upheld by people who are aware of the immense complexity of living matter as a result of their own brilliant discoveries and analyses of it? Basic common sense tells us that the very last factor capable of explaining the existence of a highly complex organization is chance.
Oparine, a modern Russian biologist who is a well known materialist, rejects outright the theory of chance in the formation of life: "The entire network of metabolic reactions is not only strictly coordinated, but also oriented toward the perpetual preservation and reproduction of the totality of conditions set by the external environment. This highly organized orientation characteristic of life cannot be the result of chance." (From an article entitled `Etat actuel du probleme de l origine de la vie et ses perspectives' [The Current State of the Problem of the Origin of Life and Its Future Perspectives], which appeared in the French journal `Biogenese' (Biogenesis), Paris, 1967, p. 19.)
In his work, The Origin of Life, Oparine draws particularly relevant comparisons to help the layman see the logicality of theories pointing toward chance. As he wrote in 1954:
"It is as if one jumbled together the printing blocks representing the twenty eight letters of the alphabet, in the hope that by chance they will fall into the pattern of a poem that we know. Only through knowledge and careful arrangement of the letter s and. words in a poem, however, can we produce the poem from the letters."
There are of course certain theories that can be put forward, but some of them are quite obviously absurd. Oparine cites the following example in his book: "Physicists state that it is theoretically possible for the table at which I am writing to rise by chance, due to the orientation in the same direction of the thermic movement of all its molecules. Nobody is likely, however, to take account of this in his experimental work or in his practical activity as a. whole."
“It has been claimed that the human branch is an offshoot of an archaic form bearing ape like features. This is by no means sure, however, for the oldest known primates already possess features indicating an adaptation specific to life in the trees. These features are not present either in the anatomy of man or than of the Australopithecus” (P. P. Grasse). If this common branch had existed, a divergence would have occurred at a much earlier period than that of the appearance of the first apes: Thus we are left with nothing but conjectures. One thing is certain, however: Man could not have been formed at the cost of the evolved forms such as the pongids (chimpanzees, gorillas, orang outangs, for example).
There are two extremely important characteristics common to all monkeys and apes (with a few very rare exceptions): The fact that they live in the trees, and therefore possess extremely long and well developed upper limbs, and the fact that they do not display a biped posture. The few species of monkeys and apes that do not climb trees but live in mountain regions still remain quadrupeds. As far as I know, the gibbons are the only species, which occasionally displays a biped posture, but they nevertheless possess upper limbs that are long and well developed. These two distinguishing features of the lineage composed of monkeys and apes are not present in man.There is much to be learned from a comparison of the skulls found in the great apes with those of the various human groups mentioned earlier; especially with regard to cranial capacity. In the case of the chimpanzee and the orang outang, in round figures, the cranial' capacity is 400 cc., and 500 cc. or even more in the case of the gorilla. When we come to man, however, the figure gradually rises higher and higher until man reaches his final stage of development. The average figure for man is 1,350 cc., although there are of course variations. The cranial capacity of Neanderthal Man was even slightly greater than this. While the development of the brain kept pace with that of the cranium, it is important noting that the Australopithecus, who made skilful use of the implements he fashioned, possessed a brain that was slightly smaller than that of modern day gorillas. Man's brain therefore developed first of all in terms of quality: The number of neurones increased, and the system of relays and centres grew more and more complex. In this respect, evolution in the apes came to a halt, while man continued to develop until he reached Homo Sapiens: The slow evolution of. the brain, which was coordinated with the expanding volume of the cranium, was the result of a strict organizational order.
The second extremely important feature concerning the cranium is the occipital foramen magnum. In the apes, the foramen magnum of the occipital bone, through which the brain is connected to the spinal chord, is located in the posterior part of the occipital bone; in man, it is situated .in a more anterior position. Thus in the case of man, the centre of gravity of the head coincides more or less with the vertical axis of the cervical column which supports the skull of the individual when in the biped posture, as if the head were balanced on the neck. The foramen itself is almost vertical in the apes, whereas in man it is horizontal.
Other anatomical differences are present, but these are generally less important. Many specialists have; however, drawn attention to the U shaped form of the mandible (lower jaw), which developed at the same rate, as the palate gradually grew longer. There can be no doubt that the first hominids possessed cranial crests, such as the very pronounced crests we see in today's apes the male gorilla, for example. The dentition is quite different, however: The canines present in the hominids are not at all the extremely powerful fangs that we find in the male apes. Man's posterior teeth also display a very distinct development.
Let us return to the important question of the long and well-developed upper limbs of the apes arid monkeys, for it constitutes a feature of this lineage that is characteristic, even when, as the case of certain species, it serves no functional purpose. The upper limbs, which are in fact the anterior limbs in the case of quadruped apes, help to support the animal as it rests on the ground, the weight being distributed on the second phalanges of the second, third, fourth and fifth fingers. With regard to the feet, the weight rests mainly on their outer sides. Almost all apes live in the trees there are very few exceptions indeed and the powerful muscles of their upper limbs enable the apes to hang from branches or to swing from one tree to another; these features arb in harmony with the functions of the lower limbs which end in prehensible feet (i.e. the big toe is separated from the main body of the foot, like the thumb on the human hand), thus allowing the ape to hold branches in a powerful grasp. These fundamental features of the apes are not present in man.
In contrast, the arched sole of the human foot is perfectly adapted to walking on the three points in contact with the ground: the heel, the joint between the big toe and the first metatarsal (commonly called the ball of the foot), and the joint at the base of the fourth and fifth toes with their corresponding metatarsals. The apes walk and stand on the external side of the feet, and they do not possess the concave form which in man constitutes the arch of the foot.
The vertebral column and pelvis in apes and man present differences due to the biped posture of man. Man possesses a broader pelvis, and his vertebral column displays curves not present in the apes: The dorsal column displays backward convexity, while the entire lumbar and sacral column is marked by forward convexity. In the case of the apes, the entire vertebral column displays a backward convexity. All of these features result from the fact that the upright posture and biped-walking pattern are recorded in man's genetic inheritance. As we shall see in the next chapter, however, the biped walking pattern is not an innate feature of human behaviour: A child has to learn how to walk, even though his anatomical structure is already adapted to this specific function.It is a shame that totally false notions are. so often spread concerning the intelligence and reasoning faculties that certain animals supposedly possess. The public impact of these mistaken ideas is very great indeed when they are put forward by important authorities and supported by the sort of pictures one is likely to see in the course of a major television programme. Such was the case during a recent broadcast, in which an underwater explorer provided a commentary on a sequence of film intended to illustrate these very qualities in animals. According to the commentator, the sequence demonstrated that the octopus was endowed with a capacity for reasoning. In fact, however, the mollusc in question displays a. nervous system composed of a few meagre ganglions and two nerves that is about as rudimentary as that of the annulated worm. In common with all the molluscs, the octopus does not possess a brain; its behaviour is automatic, for it is guided by various tropisms. If we ascribe to the octopus powers that it cannot have, we are in fact overlooking its anatomy and physiology: It does not contain any more powers than the mussel. It is as if we decided to study the properties of the bile in an animal that has no liver to produce it. In this particular case, the experimenter took for a deliberate action what was in fact nothing but the purely accidental result of an automatic impulse in one of the tentacles of the octopus. In spite of this, millions of television viewers, unaware of the real situation, must have been convinced that the experiment indeed demonstrated a certain level of intelligence in the animal. The fact is, however, that the octopus does not possess the nervous organisation, which is required for the expression of any form of reflection.http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/B....htm#Evolution in the Various Human GroupsGoodall has noted that chimpanzees sometimes use a twig to capture termites. They push the twig into the termitarium and wait for the termites automatically to accumulate on the twig. This action would appear to be full of cunning ingenuity. P: P. Grass6 nevertheless expresses doubts as to this `invention' of the apes: In many regions of Africa, he has noted that the natives, who regard soldier termites as something of a. delicacy, use the same procedure to attract the insects. P: P. Grasse wonders whether the chimpanzees happened, at some point, to see humans in the process of capturing termites with a twig and simply imitated them. He himself observed a chimpanzee capturing termites in this way in the Ivory Coast. Others may perhaps go so far as .to speculate that it was in fact man who imitated the chimpanzees. [ ]
Whatever the case, one fact is sure concerning the animal's use of implements, and it is of fundamental importance: No example exists of the spontaneous and deliberate fabrication of an implement by an animal. The great apes, which in terms of nervous organization are the most evolved of the animals, are intellectually incapable of realizing that it is possible to use one implement to 'fashion another destined to serve a specific purpose. The logical connection between the two actions is totally beyond them.
Let us remember that millions of years ago, the most primitive hominid, the Australopithecus; was capable of performing the two operations, one after the other: The point is proved by the existence of tools whose cutting edge was produced with the help of another implement. This constitutes a characteristic feature dividing the great apes from the representatives. of the first wave of hominids at present known.
Here's a link for it :
Preliminary Notions of the Qur'anic Text, Its History and Contents
Those unaware of the position occupied by the Qur'an as compared with the Bible, or who remain ignorant of the circumstances in which the Qur'an was communicated to man will no doubt be astonished to find so much space devoted in this study to the Qur'anic text. Their amazement may be explained by the fact that most people in the West have been brought up on misconceptions concerning Islam and the Qur'an; for a large part of my life, I myself was one such person. Let me cite one or two specific examples to indicate the kind of inaccurate ideas generally current.
As I grew up, .I was always taught that `Mahomet' was the author of the Qur'an; I remember seeing French translations bearing this information. I was invariably told that the `author of the Qur'an' simply compiled, in a slightly different form, stories of sacred history taken from the Bible; the `author' was said to have added or removed certain passages, while setting forth the principles and rules of the religion he himself had founded. There are moreover Islamic scholars today in France whose duties include teaching and who express exactly these views, although perhaps in a more subtle form.
This description of the origins of the Qur'anic text, which is so out of touch with reality, might lead one immediately to assume that if there are scientific errors in the Bible, and then there must also be errors of this kind in the Qur'an! This is the natural conclusion to be drawn in such circumstances, but it is based on a misconception. We are well aware that at the time of Muhammad the Qur'anic Revelation took place between 610 and 632 A.D. scientific obscurantism prevailed, both in the Orient as well as in the West. In France, for example, this period corresponded roughly to the reign of King Dagobert, the last of the Merovingians. This approach to what was supposedly the Qur'anic text may on first sight seem logical, but when one examines the text with an informed and impartial eye, it becomes clear that this approach is not at all in keeping with reality. We shall see in a moment the truth of this statement, which is obvious from the texts.
Whenever there is textual proof of the existence in the Qur'an of statements that are in agreement with modern knowledge, but which in the Bible are related in a manner that is scientifically unacceptable, the stock response is that, during the period separating the two Scriptures, Arab scientists made discoveries in various disciplines which enabled them to arrive at these supposed adaptations. This approach takes no account whatsoever of the history of the sciences. The latter indicates that the great period of Islamic civilization, during which, as we know, science made considerable progress, came several centuries after the communication of the Qur'an to man. Furthermore, scientific history informs us that, as far as the subjects dealt with in this present book are concerned, no discoveries were made during the period separating the Bible from the Qur'an.
When this aspect of the Qur'an is mentioned in the West, however, we are likely to hear it said that while this may indeed be so, nowhere is this fact referred to in 'the translations of the Qur'an which we possess today, or in the prefaces and commentaries that accompany them.
This is a very judicious remark. Muslim and indeed non-Muslim translators who have produced a French version of the Qur'an are basically men of letters. More often than not, they mistranslate a passage because they do not possess the scientific knowledge required to understand its true meaning. The fact is, however, that in order to translate correctly, one must first understand what one is reading. A further point is that translators especially those mentioned above may have been influenced by notes provided by ancient commentators to explain the text. By force of tradition, such commentators often came to be regarded as highly authoritative, even though they had no scientific knowledge nor indeed had anybody else at the time. They were incapable of imagining that the texts might contain allusions to secular knowledge, and thus they could not devote attention to a specific passage by comparing it to other verses in the Qur'an dealing with the same subject a process that often provides the key to the meaning of a word or expression. From this results the fact that any passage in the Qur'an that gives rise to a comparison with modern secular knowledge is likely to be unreliably translated. Very often, the translations are peppered with inaccurate if not totally nonsensical statements. The only way to avoid committing such errors is to possess a scientific background and to study the Qur'anic text in the original language.
It was not until I had learnt Arabic and read the Qur'an in the original that I realized the precise meaning of certain verses. Only then did I make certain discoveries that were astounding. With my basic ideas on the Qur’an, which to begin with were inaccurate, just as those of most people in the West, I certainly did not expect to find in the text the statements that I in fact uncovered. With each new discovery, .l was beset with doubt lest I might be mistaken in my translation or perhaps have provided an interpretation rather than a true rendering of the Arabic text. Only after consultations with several specialists in linguistics and exegesis, both Muslim and non Muslim, was I convinced that a new concept might be formed from such a study: the compatibility between the statements in the Qur'an and the firmly established data of modern science with regard to subjects on which nobody at the time of Muhammad not even the Prophet himself could have had access to the knowledge we possess today. Since then, I have not found in the Qur'an any support given to the myths or superstitions present at the time the text was communicated to man. This is not the case for the Bible, whose authors expressed themselves in the language of their period.
In `La Bible,, le Coran et la Science' [The Bible, the Qur'an and Science], which first appeared in the original French in 1976 and which subsequently appeared in English in 1978, I set forth the main points of these findings. On November 9, 1976, I gave a lecture to the Academic de Medecine [French Academy of Medicine] in, which I explored the statements on the origins of man contained in the Qur'an; the title of the lecture was `Donnees physiologiques et embryologiques du Coran' [Physiological and Embryological Data in the Qur'an] [Published in <Bulletin de l'Academie Nationale de Medecine>, 160, 734-737, 1976]. I emphasized the fact that these data, which I shall summarize below, formed part of a much wider study. The following are some of the points, which arise from a reading of the Qur'an:
- A concept of the creation of the world which while different from the ideas contained in the Bible, is fully in keeping with today's general theories on the formation of the universe;
- Statements that are in perfect agreement with today's ideas concerning the movements and evolution of the heavenly bodies;
- A prediction of the conquest of space; notions concerning the water cycle in nature and the earth's relief, which were not proven correct until many centuries later.
All of these data are bound to amaze anyone who approaches them in an objective spirit. They add a much wider dimension to the problem studied in the present work. The basic point remains the same, however: we must surely be in the presence of facts which place a heavy strain on our natural propensity for explaining everything in materialistic terms, for the existence in the Qur'an of these scientific statements appears as a challenge to human explanation.
On the subject of man, as well as the other topics mentioned earlier, it is not possible to find any corresponding data in the Bible. Furthermore, the scientific errors contained in the Bible such as those describing man's first appearance on earth, which, as we have seen may be deduced from the genealogies that figure in Genesisare not to be found in the Qur'an. It is crucial to understand that such errors could not have been `edited out' of the Qur'an since the time they first became apparent: Well over a thousand years have elapsed since the most ancient manuscripts and today's texts of the Qur'an, but the texts are still absolutely identical. Thus, if Muhammad were the author of the Qur'an (a theory upheld by some people), it is difficult to see how he could have spotted the scientific errors in the Bible dealing with such a wide variety of subjects and have proceeded to eliminate every single one of them when he came to compose his own text on the same themes. Let us state once again; that no new scientific facts had been discovered since the time the Bible was written that might have helped eliminate such errors.
In view of the above, it is imperative to know the history of the texts, just as it is essential to our understanding of certain aspects of the Bible for us to be aware of the conditions in which it was written.
As we have noted earlier, experts in Biblical exegesis consider the books of the Old and New Testaments to be divinely inspired works. Let us now examine, however, the teachings of Muslim exegetes, who present the Qur'an in quite a different fashion.
When Muhammad was roughly forty years old, it was his custom to retire to a retreat just outside Mecca in order to meditate. It was here that he received a first, message from God via the Angel Gabriel, at a date that corresponds to 610 A.D. After a long period of silence, this first message was followed by successive revelations spread over some twenty years. During the Prophet's lifetime, they were both written down and recited by heart among his first followers. Similarly, the revelations were divided into suras (chapters) and collected together after the Prophet's death (in 632 A.D.) in a book: the Qur'an. The Book contains the Word of God, to the exclusion of any human additions. Manuscripts dating from the first century of Islam authenticate today's text, the other form of authentification being the recitation by heart of the Qur'an, a practice that has continued unbroken from the time of the Prophet down to the present day.
In contrast to the Bible, therefore, we are here presented with a text that is none other than the transcript of the Revelation itself; the only way it can be received and interpreted is literally. The purity of the revealed text has been greatly emphasized, and the uncorrupted nature of the Qur'an stems from the following factors
First, as stated above, fragments of the text were written down during the Prophet's lifetime; inscribed on tablets, parchments and other materials current at the time. The Qur'an itself refers to the fact that the text was set down in writing. W e find this in several suras dating from before and after the Hegira (Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D.) In addition to the transcription of the text, however, there was also the fact that it was learned by heart. The text of the Qur'an is much shorter than the Old Testament and slightly longer than the New Testament. Since it took twenty years for the Qur'an to be revealed, however, it was easy for the Prophet's followers to recite it by heart, sura by sura. This process of recitation afforded a considerable advantage as far as an uncorrupted text was concerned, for it provided. .a system of double checking at the time the definitive text was written down. This took place several years after the Prophet's death; first under the caliphate of Abu Bakr, his first successor, and later under the caliphate of Omar and in particular that of Uthman (644 to 655 A.D.) The latter ordered an extremely strict recension of the text, which involved checking it against the recited version.
After Muhammad's death, Islam rapidly expanded far beyond the limits of the area in which it was born. Soon, it included many peoples whose native language was not Arabic. Very strict steps were taken to ensure that the text of the Qur'an did not suffer from this expansion of Islam: Uthman sent copies of his entire recension to the principal centres of the vast Islamic empire. Some copies still exist today, in more or less complete form, in such places as Tashkent (U.S.S.R.) and Istanbul. Copies have also been discovered that date from the very first centuries after the Hegira; they are all identical, and all of them correspond to the earliest manuscripts. Today's editions of the Qur'an are all faithful reproductions of the original copies. In the case of the Qur'an, there are no instances of rewriting or corruptions of the text over the course of time.
If the origins of the Qur'an had been similar to those of the Bible; it would not be unreasonable to suppose that, the subjects it raised would be presented in the light of ideas influenced by certain opinions of the time, often derived from myth and superstition. If this were, the case, one might also assume that the text was full of statements reflecting varied traditions whose origins are often obscure. Furthermore, one might argue that there were untold opportunities for inaccurate assertions, based on such: sources, to find their way into the many and varied subjects briefly summarized above. In actual fact, however, we find nothing of the kind in the Qur'an.
But having said this, we should note that the Qur'an is a religious book par excellence. We should not use statements that have a bearing on secular knowledge as a pretext to go hunting after any expression of scientific laws. As stated earlier, all we should seek are reflections on natural phenomena; phrases occasioned by references to divine omnipotence and designed to emphasize that omnipotence in the eyes of mankind throughout the ages. The presence of such reflections in the Qur'an has become particularly significant in modern times, for their meaning is, clearly explained by the data of contemporary knowledge. This characteristic is specific to the Qur'an.
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/B...tm#Preliminary Notions of the Quranic Text, Its History and Contents
Last edited by Chuck; 02-19-2009 at 10:32 PM.