Sunday, 8 January 2012

Iron - one of the miracles from the Qu'ran

The miracle of iron is one of the Qu'ran's claims to contain some science - which let's face it is a ridiculous claim that cannot stand any serious scrutiny.  The Qu'ran, to give it its due, is at least an iron age text, unlike the Old Testament of the bible who's stories clearly date from the bronze age.

But to claim that

“And We also sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind…” (Quran 57:25)

proves something that the prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings . . . ) could not possibly have known is just preposterous.

It is even said that this passage comes from the 'middle' of the Qu'ran, as there are 114 sura contained in it.  (This is islamic mathematics at its worst.  It might be more convincing if there were 113 sura.)  But anyway - so what if it is from the middle.  It is only an analogy to the iron in the middle - the core - of the earth.  All analogies are wrong - but only useful for teaching.

Being unaware of the place of the earth in the solar system and the existence of meteorites, apparently this shows that Allah told Mohamed about them, so that he could reveal the fact to his followers.

You might ask how we know that this is all nonsense.  In actual fact it is fiction in many ways.

For a start, does that simple verse suggest that the iron was literally sent down?  Did it arrive like rain or was it sent down in advance of people so that they could use it?  Which way is 'down' anyway?  This whole concept belies the flat-earth concepts of the time rather than any notion that the earth is spherical, and in doing that it disproves the scientific 'knowledge' contained elsewhere.

Even if we assume that the verse is to be interpreted as iron being sent down in the form of meteorites this has no prophetic value whatsoever.  It had been known for thousands of years that some of the 'stones' that fell from the sky had an unusual quality of being made of a metal that had not been found on earth.  It was only much later that people found how to extract iron from natural ores on earth, and all the early iron working is thought to have been carried out using meteoritic iron.  We know this because ancient iron artifacts are found to contain a substantial amount of nickel - typical of the contents of meteorites and very much untypical of iron ores found on earth.

The miracle of iron is not a miracle in the sense claimed by islam.  However, without iron, created in the supernovae of the past, life as we know it would not be possible.  Iron is only made in stars much more massive than our own sun, and all the iron in the solar system including that which makes up the core of the earth came from those long dead suns.

We are indeed made of stardust, and somehow the fount of all wisdom, the Qu'ran, fails to mention any of this truly amazing fact.

Miraculous isn't it?

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