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Harun Yahya - Articles - A Response To François Tremblay
A Response to François Tremblay

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The works of Harun Yahya continue to echo throughout the world. Some of these echoes consist of reactions and responses from atheists. The latest example of this was a piece by François Tremblay called "Harun Yahya: An Invitation to Dogmatism." Tremblay's criticisms are both unfair and illogical, however. An explanation of this follows below.

Criticism Regarding Islamic Morals and Perished Nations

It can be seen from the above objection that François Tremblay's criticisms are not consistent and objective. Tremblay states that there is reference to love and justice under the heading "True Islamic Morals" on the Harun Yahya website, and then suggests that this is incompatible with the heading "Perished Nations" on the same site. In other words, Tremblay finds the fact that Muslims have to treat other people properly inconsistent with the fact that God has destroyed certain societies in the past.

It is quite clear that there is no inconsistency between the two. The concepts of Muslims treating other people well and these people being punished by God for the sins they have committed are very different. God has commanded Muslims to treat people well, because it is only our Lord, with His infinite justice, Who will judge them. A Muslim behaves well to everybody, and if certain people respond to this with evil, he hopes they will receive recompense for this in the sight of God.

It is a matter for speculation why Tremblay is unable to grasp such a simple concept. In fact, he is probably aware of the injustice of that criticism since he writes, "this may be a superficial assessment on my part." Tremblay is quite right when it comes to his self-criticism, though not to the other. His assessment is indeed "superficial."

Criticism Regarding the Argument from Design

Tremblay is evidently someone who believes in Darwinism and materialism. He evaluates and attempts to criticize all the works of Harun Yahya from within that framework of belief. He is subjective in other words, and prejudiced. The following comment makes this quite clear: "The articles are sprinkled with Qur'an verses and praises to God, and this makes the content, once again, very uninspiring."

As we have seen, Tremblay's reaction reveals that he is opposed to references to God and the Qur'an. This is naturally inconsistent. It can only be regarded as an expression of an irrational reaction to religion. As an atheist, Tremblay could at least have wondered what it is that the faithful believe in and examined the texts from that point of view. However, it appears that he has no wish even to hear of God and His revelation, which far from being an open-minded attitude is actually a dogmatic one. Moreover, this is a situation that God describes in the Qur'an. God refers to unbelievers such as Tremblay as "those whose eyes were blind to My remembrance and whose ears were unable to hear." (Qur'an, 18: 101)

Following that, Tremblay criticizes all of Harun Yahya's articles concerning nature and comes out against them by saying that they are all versions of the "argument from design." This means nothing more than that Tremblay has totally rejected the argument from design. In fact, that argument is known to be a most powerful one, to which evolutionists can give no satisfactory response. Tremblay could at least have said, "Harun Yahya examines nature from the perspective of design, which I do not share." The fact that he begins by regarding the argument from design as totally invalid once again shows that he approaches the whole subject dogmatically.

The criticism he offers actually reveals that Tremblay has not even grasped what the argument from design actually is. After an extract from Harun Yahya regarding the equilibrium in the universe, he writes:

But such expositions of facts do not show us a Creator, and neither do they make obvious the necessity of a Creator: they only show us the majesty of natural law. The burden of proof is on the religious apologist: he must demonstrate that natural law is impotent in explaining a particularity of nature.

The fact is however that the problem being dealt with as the equilibrium in the universe is described in Harun Yahya's works is not the impotency of natural law to maintain that equilibrium but rather the fact that the natural laws which maintain this balance have been finely tuned at just the right level for human life. If he were to read Harun Yahya's The Creation of the Universe (http://www.harunyahya.com/create01.php) he would see that the fact known as the "Anthropic Principle" in the scientific world is considered there. This states that the natural laws in the universe (the values of the four fundamental forces, for instance) are precisely tailored to ensure human life.

Another error in the above paragraph comes with the sentence "The burden of proof is on the religious apologist: he must demonstrate that natural law is impotent in explaining a particularity of nature." Yet what Tremblay demands should be shown to him is perfectly evident. Natural laws are unable to account for the origin of life. There is no natural law that can explain how the first living organism on earth came into being, nor how its genetic information and the enzymes that translate and use that information came into existence. No physical or chemical law can account for the emergence of this "'information," the essence of life, came into being. That being the case, it is clear that this information came not from natural laws but from an "intelligence." Fred Hoyle, one of the most important 20th century scientists, emphasized this, saying:

Indeed, such a theory (that life was assembled by an intelligence) is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific. 1

Tremblay's reaction is also "psychological." We invite him to be a little more rational.

Embryology and the Qur'an

Another imaginary inconsistency put forward by Tremblay is that between the Qur'an and modern embryology. Tremblay objects to the following verses:

We created man from the purest kind of clay; then made him a drop in a secure receptacle; then formed the drop into an embryo and formed the embryo into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (Qur'an, 23: 12-14)

What Tremblay fails to understand here is that the "creation from clay" described in the first verse refers to the creation of the first human being. Other verses of the Qur'an in fact state that the first human being was created from clay (6/2, 15/26, 55/14). When one considers that just about all the elements that comprise the human body are also present in the earth, it can be seen that this account is most compatible with the scientific facts.

In the continuation of the verses human development in the mother's womb is described, and this is fully in line with the scientific facts: A description is given of the sperm reaching the womb, the way it is kept there, how it grows there and turns into tissue, how bones form within that tissue and how the bones are covered with muscles. Tremblay objects to that chronology, saying that bones begin to form after the 40th day. These objections are meaningless, however. As stated in the verse, the embryo is a "lump" until the 40th day. Bone formation starting after the 40th day and other tissues forming around them is quite compatible with the facts in the Qur'an.

One person who has carried out a detailed study on this subject is the Canadian Professor Keith L. Moore, formerly of the Toronto University Anatomy and Cell Biology Department. Moore lived in Saudi Arabia for a time, where he studied with various Muslim religious scholars the facts about embryology given in the Qur'an, and established that these were strikingly compatible with the discoveries of modern science. Moore also studied in some detail the verses that Tremblay attempts to criticize, and showed that these were fully compatible with the scientific findings.
(See http://www.contactpakistan.com/news/news118.htm; http://www.islampedia.com/ijaz/Html/Scientist_All/Keith%20L.htm)

Another of Tremblay's objections aimed at the Qur'an is that various Christians have written suras similar to the Surahs of the Qur'an. Everyone is definitely free to write what he wishes; yet no one can produce an "imitation" that anywhere approaches the extraordinary literary worth of the Qur'an and the spiritual effect it awakens in people. Moreover, the Qur'an contains many miracles. For instance, a lot of information that God provided in the Qur'an 1400 years ago could not have been known to people of the time. (http://www.harunyahya.com/miracles_of_the_quran_01.php) It is quite clear that the Qur'an is the word of God and is inimitable, and the latter is accepted by many Western experts on Islam.

We can respond to Tremblay's other objections by setting them out as follows:

Article 1: The Claim that Darwinism is Not Based on Coincidence

Another of Tremblay's objections is directed towards Harun Yahya's analysis of Darwinism basing the origin of life on chance.

Tremblay offers two objections here. The first is that there is no such thing as "chance" and that this merely stems from the fact that we do not know everything. We agree with him on this point. There are indeed no coincidences in the universe, since everything is included in God's infinite knowledge and design. From human beings' point of view, however, there is a difference between planned actions and spontaneous ones, and that is what we call "chance."

Tremblay's opposition to the concept of chance on scientific grounds, and his representation of the mechanisms of neo-Darwinism as mechanisms far removed from being coincidental is a surprising piece of absurdity. The two fundamental mechanisms of neo-Darwinism are natural selection and mutation. Since the production of new genetic information is only expected from mutation, this is the critical mechanism, and mutations are based on chance. In fact, the term "chance mutation" is generally employed in scientific literature. Tremblay's objection to this is really rather surprising:

"Even mutations have definite properties, dictated by genetic processes and natural law: there are germ mutations, point mutations, frame-shift mutations, and so on."

In the above list, Tremblay categorizes mutations according to their effects. Yet this arrangement does not change the fact that mutations are random. People could categorize traffic accidents according to their effects, but that would not show that these accidents are not "coincidental."

It is no easy task to understand Tremblay's rules of reasoning.

Article 2, 10 and 11: Fossils and the Cambrian Explosion

In his article, Tremblay defends Eldredge and Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium without providing any evidence whatsoever, and says that there is no "fossil fiasco." The fact is, however, that it is a manifest truth, accepted by many paleontologists, that the fossil record conflicts with Darwinism and fails to back up its expectations.

Robert Carroll, for instance, one of the sources cited in Tremblay's article writes (in the new 1997 edition, not the old 1988 edition cited by Tremblay):

Despite more than a hundred years of intense collecting efforts since the time of Darwin's death, the fossil record still does not yield the picture of infinitely numerous transitional links that he expected. 2

Tremblay's objection on the subject of the Cambrian Explosion is also most inconsistent. More than 50 animal phyla suddenly emerged during the Cambrian Explosion, and no evolutionary account can be given of this. The comment Tremblay makes to cover this fact up shows just how desperate he is:

"Should we be surprised that phyla suddenly appear at a certain era? Not any more than we should be astonished that the major branches of a tree start growing around the same time."

Tremblay's analogy ignores a most important truth, however: A tree splits off into its branches at specific points, because there is a genetic program describing these branches. Tremblay's comparing this to the Cambrian Explosion shows just how superficially he looks at the whole subject. It is believed that before the Cambrian Explosion there were two or at most three phyla on earth. More than 50 phyla emerged all of a sudden during the Cambrian Explosion, and there is no evidence to suggest that these had a common ancestor.

The way he tries to represent the sudden appearance of phyla as a very simple phenomenon is another piece of sleight of hand. He writes that: "The so-called 'explosion' is the consequence of our classification of animals in groups and sub-groups, not of any creative action." Every paleontologist with a knowledge of the subject is well aware, however, that the explosion is real and it represents a serious problem for the theory of evolution. For example, the evolutionist paleontologist Jeffrey S. Levinton says the following about the Cambrian Explosion in an article in Scientific American called "The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,"

Therefore something special and very mysterious - some highly "creative force" - existed then. 3

Article 3: Objection to Design

Tremblay suggests that there is no design in living things, for which reason it is wrong to ascribe it to a Creator. Since "there is no design in living things" is an evolutionist claim lacking any scientific proof, rather than an objective fact, Tremblay's analysis has no other meaning than simply repeating the premises of theory of evolution once again.

Article 4: Religion and Science

Tremblay claims that Harun Yahya employs an argument along the lines of "Darwinism disrupts the natural harmony of science and religion, proof that it is false." This is incorrect. The thing which proves Darwinism to be false is the way it contradicts scientific findings, and Harun Yahya employs scientific proofs to criticize the theory in all his books and studies.

On the other hand, Tremblay's attempt to equate science with materialism and religion with "the occult," is an outdated piece of propaganda which has long since lost any credibility. We suggest that he abandon his belief that science is the same thing as materialism and instead attempt to grasp the rational nature of religion. (For further details, he can turn to Harun Yahya's article "Distinguishing Between Science and Materialism" at http://www.harunyahya.com/refuted16.php)

Article 5: Instincts

Tremblay objects to the analysis that animal instincts are actually the inspiration of God. According to Tremblay, "we cannot distinguish between a behavior motivated by the brain and a behavior inspired by Allah." Since Tremblay possesses materialist views, he prefers a materialist explanation. Yet he is ignoring two points:

a) Some animal instincts are so complex as not to be reducible to the brain. In other words, there is no complex nervous system to respond to the information the living things in question must possess to exhibit this instinct. Hoïmar von Ditfurth, one of Germany's most eminent evolutionist natural scientists, admits this fact in commenting on the most rational method of concealment employed by the emperor moth:

Who is the real owner of the idea that it may be possible to hide from predators by placing in front of them deceptive resemblances (other dried leaves), this intelligent discovery which astounds people? Whose work is this extremely interesting discovery to discourage and disappoint birds by reducing their chances of finding anything amongst dry leaves to a certain extent, and from whom has the caterpillar taken it at birth? . . . We have to accept that all these things are ways that would only be resorted to by a very clever human being in order to stay alive. In fact, when we examine both the primitive nature of its nervous system and its other behavior, it is out of the question for the Attacus moth to be able to devise such a purpose or to utilize its intelligence to carry it out. 4

Since the animal has no intelligence with which to design such behavior, then that behavior must clearly have been "given" to it. (The analysis in Harun Yahya's works is an expression of this evident truth.) Ditfurth explains why they cannot accept this:

So how does it come about that despite all these characteristics the caterpillar is able to protect itself by this method? . . . When faced with occurrences of this type, the natural scientists of the past did not stop at believing in the existence of a miracle; they could not prevent themselves from thinking that a supernatural Creator, that is God, provided His creations with the necessary information for such devices in order to protect them, whereas this type of explanation is suicide for a natural scientist…5

Why suicide? Because this means the rejection of Darwinism. And people like Ditfurth have made Darwinism the greatest dogma of their lives. Tremblay too…

In fact, it is most consistent to accept that the behavior exhibited by animals, which far surpasses their own intelligence, is inspired in them.

b) Instincts may have genetic bases. Yet the existence of such a basis is no obstacle to our accepting that they are inspired in living things. That is because it is clear that natural effects (in other words natural selection and mutation) cannot account for the origin of the genetic information in question. (The two mechanisms of neo-Darwinism in question have never been observed to build genetic information). That being the case, the inspiration of God emerges as genetic information encoded in living things.

Article 6: "Beneficial" Mutations and the Tragedy of Sickle-Cell Anaemia

Neo-Darwinism requires that mutations add new genetic information to living things and provide advantages for them. Yet not one example of "beneficial mutation" has ever been observed anywhere in the world! This fact alone is enough to demolish the theory of evolution.

So, what do evolutionists have to say on this subject? All they are able to do is trying to rescue their position by citing a few examples of so-called beneficial mutation. Heading the list of these few "beneficial mutations" are those that cause resistance to antibiotics and a mutation which causes sickle-cell anemia.

It is explained in Harun Yahya's works just why these two examples do not represent "beneficial mutations." (See "Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics" http://www.harunyahya.com/refuted11.php) We shall be concentrating on sickle-cell anemia here.

This disease is caused by the deformation of the red blood cells. The cells contain an abnormal hemoglobin type known as "Hemoglobin S." This hemoglobin collapses in the red blood cells in the form of long crystals when deprived of oxygen, and the red blood cells come to resemble sickles. This change of shape in the red blood cells causes them to transport insufficient oxygen, and soon afterwards the number of red blood cells begins to go down.

The effects of the disease are very serious. Severe pains and attacks, which can last for days or weeks, develop in the bones, muscles or stomach. Vision defects and even blindness can result from the red blood cells being unable to carry sufficient oxygen to the retina. Loss of function in the liver can lead to jaundice. Children's growth is retarded. The body becomes liable to infections, and, most important of all, damage may occur in certain regions of the brain due to blockages in small vessels in the brain.

Evolutionists, however, regard the mutation responsible for sickle-cell anemia as "an example of beneficial mutation."

The basis for this claim is the fact that the mutation in question in the hemoglobin molecule protects against another disease, malaria. The characteristic of the malaria virus is that it attacks round, healthy blood cells. It does not, therefore, attack deformed, sickle-shaped cells. If the malaria virus enters the bodies of such people it does not give rise to the disease. 6

The fact is however, that the harm caused to human beings by this mutation, which causes serious and even lethal sickness, which can kill because of insufficient nutrients reaching certain organs and tissues in the body, and which spreads by being transmitted to subsequent generations, is evident. Using that logic, one could claim that people blind from birth stand a reduced risk of having traffic accidents since they are not able to drive. Regarding the sickle-cell mutation as "beneficial" is nothing more than an expression of the despair suffered by evolutionists.

So, what kind of examples of "beneficial mutation" are given by François Tremblay, who objects to Harun Yahya's saying, "There are no beneficial mutations"?

As one might expect, sickle-cell anemia!

That is because there are no other "beneficial mutations" for him to put forward. This is, in fact, another demonstration of the fact that there are no "beneficial mutations."

Article 7: The Myth of Vestigial Organs

Another of Tremblay's pieces of sleight of hand to rescue Darwinism is the subject of vestigial organs. He claims that vestigial organs are not "non-functional" but organs "with reduced functions," and even suggests that Harun Yahya misinterprets this concept.

That fact is, however, that it is he who misinterprets the concept. It is plain that vestigial organs are generally interpreted as "non-functional organs." In The Origin of Species Darwin refers to these organs as "rudimentary organs," and compares them to letters which are written but not pronounced and thus have no effect:


Rudimentary organs may be compared with the letters in a word, still retained in the spelling, which become useless in the pronunciation, but which serve as a clue in seeking for its derivation. 7

Darwin described these organs as "organs in a rudimentary, imperfect and useless condition" and clearly referred to them as organs which are unable to completely fulfill their function or else which are completely non-functional.


For that reason, Tremblay's criticism of Harun Yahya on the subject of vestigial organs is unfair.

The real inconsistency lies in Tremblay's own account. He writes, "A vestigial organ is only an organ with reduced functions compared to its previous uses in evolutionary ancestors." Yet how does he know that any present functional organ assumed another function in a hypothetical "evolutionary ancestor"? By that logic, all organs could be claimed to be vestigial: it could be claimed that our eyes were, instead of being organs of sight, "sacs of water" in our "earlier ancestors," or that our arms actually served as fins. In other words, Tremblay's interpretation leaves no definition of "vestigial organs" at all. This, in turn, is an expression of evolutionists' defeat in their argument on "vestigial organs".

Articles 8 and 9: Proteins, DNA and the Origin of the Cell


Does Tremblay really fail to understand certain facts, or does he believe that he can rescue his position by appearing not to understand them? This question arises in the context of his comments on proteins, DNA and the origin of the cell in particular.
The fact that Tremblay prefers not to understand is "irreducible complexity." The formation of only 10%, 25% or 50% of the protein Cytochrome-C will serve no purpose. In the same way, there can be no question of life in the absence of genetic information, the DNA sequence to encode that information and the enzymes to decipher that code. This fact, known to all, is one of the greatest dilemmas facing the theory of evolution. (For more details, see http://www.harunyahya.com/refuted13.php)

Objections on Social and Religious Matters

In addition to these, Tremblay produces criticisms on social and religious matters, to which we can respond in brief:

The events in history known as "the clash between science and religion" stem from the mistakes of people and institutions which were fanatical in religious matters, or else (as is the case with Tremblay himself), from the dogmatism of those who equate science with atheism.

In fact, when they are properly understood and applied, there is no conflict between the divine religions and science, but rather a great harmony.

The negativities in the Islamic world listed by Tremblay stem not from the essence of Islam, not from the Qur'an in other words, but from mistaken traditions accepted instead of the Qur'an.

Tremblay rejects the connection made by Harun Yahya between lack of faith and immorality, but this is a mistaken and superficial objection. Moral degeneration begins with people wishing to satisfy their passions in an unrestricted manner. The divine religions teach us to rein in those passions. In a society which is not shaped by these religions it is quite probable that selfishness will become the norm, bringing with it degeneration of morality.

Tremblay suggests that Social Darwinism is not an influential idea, and writes,

"There is no necessary relation between the behavior of lower animals and ours, and no serious philosopher would propose it. I have never heard it being used as a serious argument by anyone: it is simply a non-issue."

This is an obvious mistake. It is a known fact that Social Darwinism, in other words the attempt to account for human behavior in terms of animals' behavior, was most influential between the end of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th. The term Social Darwinism has lost popularity since then, although the same view was still expressed in different forms. This is the essence of the thesis of "Sociobiology," which has been defended since the 1970s and of evolutionary psychology, which is becoming ever more popular in the present day. If Tremblay has really "never heard" of these, he needs to study the subject in a little more depth.

Conclusion

François Tremblay's objections to the works of Harun Yahya are, as he himself suspected, "superficial," and also wrong. His greatest error is the unconditional acceptance of the theory of evolution and materialism as a dogma, and then passing all findings through that ideological filter. We suggest he think a little more open-mindedly and rationally in the future.



1) Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1984, p. 130.
2) Robert L. Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 25
3) Jeffrey S. Levinton, "The Big Bang of Animal Evolution," Scientific American, 267:84, November 1992
4) Hoimar Von Ditfurth, Im Amfang War Der Wasserstoff (In the Beginning Was Hydrogen).
5) Hoimar Von Ditfurth, Im Amfang War Der Wasserstoff (In the Beginning Was Hydrogen).
6) "Genetic Mutation: An Evolutionary Advantage?" http://www.csu.edu.au/learning/ncgr/gpi/odyssey/hemo/evol.html
7) Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, III. ed. Chapter 13: Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs