Harun Yahya - The Qur'an Leads the Way to Science
The Qur'an Leads the Way to Science


Religion Helps Science to Be Rightly Guided (1)

Science is the investigation of the material world we live in through observation and experiment. Accordingly, in conducting such investigation, science will lead to various conclusions based on the information collected through observation and experimentation. In addition, however, every discipline of science also has certain norms that are simply taken for granted, or accepted without further verification. In scientific literature, this set of norms is called a "paradigm".

This initial outlook charts the "course" of all related scientific investigation. As is known, the first step in scientific investigation is the formulation of a "hypothesis". To begin with, for their research topic, scientists must form a hypothesis. Then, this hypothesis is tested through scientific experimentation. If observations and experiments verify the hypothesis, the "hypothesis" is called an "established principle or law". If the hypothesis is disproved, then new hypotheses are tested, and the process continues.

The formulation of the hypothesis, which is the first step of the process, is often dependent on the scientists' basic viewpoint. For instance, scientists, if committed to an erroneous outlook, could base their work on a hypothesis that "matter has a tendency to self-organize without the involvement of a conscious agent". Then, they would conduct years of research to verify that hypothesis. Yet, since matter has no such capability, all these efforts are bound to fail. Furthermore, if scientists are overly obstinate about their hypothesis, the research may well last for years, and even for generations. The end result, though, would be but a huge waste of time and resources.

However, had the point of assumption been the idea that "it is impossible for matter to self-organize without conscious planning", that scientific research would have followed a more expeditious and productive course.

This issue, that is, the issue of establishing a proper hypothesis, requires an entirely different source than mere scientific data. Correct identification of this source is critical, because, as we explained in the above example, an error in the identification of a source may cost the science-world years, decades, or even centuries.

The source sought is God's revelation to mankind. God is the Creator of the universe, the world and of living things, and therefore, the most accurate and indisputable knowledge about these subjects derives from Him. In accordance, God has revealed to us important information about these matters in the Qur'an. The most fundamental of these are as follows:

1) God created the universe from nothing. Everything is created for a particular purpose. It follows that there is not a chaos of chance-happenings in nature or the universe, but a perfect order created with an intelligent design.

2) The material universe, and predominantly, the Earth we live in, is specially designed to allow for human life. There is a certain purpose in the movements of stars and planets, in geographical landmarks, and in the properties of water or the atmosphere, that makes human life possible.

3) God created all living things. Moreover, these creatures act through the inspiration of God, as quoted in the Qur'an in the example of the honeybees, with the verse that begins with, "Your Lord inspired the bees…" (Surat an-Nahl: 68)

These are absolute truths communicated to us by God in the Qur'an. An approach to science based on these facts will inevitably lead to remarkable progress and serve humanity in the most beneficial manner. We find numerous examples of this in history. It was only possible with the placement of science on proper a foothold that Muslim scientists, who were then helping to forge the greatest civilizations in the world, contributed to major achievements in the 9th and 10th centuries. In the West, the pioneers in all fields of science, from physics to chemistry, astronomy to biology and paleontology, were great men of science who believed in God, and who conducted research for the sake of exploring what He created.

Einstein also maintained that scientists must rely on religious sources when developing their objectives:

Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion… I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith.11

Since the middle of the 19th century, however, the scientific community has divorced itself from this divine source, and come under the influence of a materialist philosophy.

Materialism, an idea that dates back to ancient Greece, maintains the absolute existence of matter and denies God. This materialistic outlook gradually made its way into the scientific community, and, beginning in the middle of the 19th century, a considerable portion of scientific investigation was initiated to support it. To this purpose, many theories were formulated, such as the "infinite universe model" suggesting that the universe exists since infinite time, Darwin's evolutionary theory claiming that life is the work of chance, or Freud's views holding that the human mind consists of the brain alone.

Today, in retrospect, we see that the claims put forth by materialism were but a waste of time for science. For decades, a great number of scientists have expended their best efforts to prove each of these claims, but the results always proved them wrong. Discoveries confirmed the proclamations of the Qur'an - that the universe was created from nothing, that it is tailored to suit human life, and that it is impossible for life to have come into being and evolved by chance.

Now let us consider these facts one by one.


The Losses the Materialists' Obsession With an "Infinite Universe" Have Caused Science

Until the early 20th century, the conventional opinion of the scientific community, which was then under the influence of the materialists, was that the universe has infinite dimensions, that it existed in infinite time, and will exist infinitely. According to this view, called the "static universe model", the universe had neither a beginning nor an end, and was simply a limitless conglomeration of matter. Denying that the universe was created, this view laid the groundwork for the materialist philosophy.

Scientists who pursued false goals caused a great deal of effort to be wasted in science.


Many scientists who espoused materialism, or were partial to such a philosophy, set the "infinite universe" model as the basis for their scientific research. Consequently, all research into astronomy and physics depended on the hypothesis that matter existed in infinite time. For some time, many scientists labored and toiled to no avail, as science was soon to shatter that misconception.

With his giant telescope, Hubble discovered that the stars were racing away, not only from us, but also from each other.

The Belgian scientist, Georges Lemaître, was the first to recognize the inaccuracy of the "infinite universe" model, and postulated a scientific alternative to it. Based on certain computations by the Russian scientist, Alexandre Friedmann, Lemaître declared that the universe actually had a beginning, and that it was expanding since that initial moment. He also asserted that it must be possible to detect the remnants of radiation from that initial moment.

Here, it should be noted that Georges Lemaître was also a priest. Lemaître strongly believed that "the universe was created by God from nothingness". Therefore, his approach to science greatly differed from that of the materialists.

The years to come confirmed the correctness of the assumption put forth by Lemaître. Firstly, American astronomer, Edwin Hubble, discovered with his huge telescope that the stars were moving away both from us and from each other. This meant that the universe was expanding, and thus, was not static as materialists assumed.

In fact, earlier on, Albert Einstein had already theoretically calculated that the universe could not be static. However, he put the theory to rest, simply because his calculations did not concur with the widely recognized static universe model of his time. Even a scientist considered the greatest genius of the century was intimidated by the dogmatism of the materialist view, having chosen not to reveal the important discovery. Later on, Einstein was to refer to that choice as 'the greatest mistake of his career'.

There was another important truth that the expansion of the universe pointed to: if the universe was getting larger as time went on, then, following it backward in time meant that it would become smaller; and if one went back far enough, everything would shrink and converge to a single point. Calculations showed that this single point should have zero volume. Our universe came into being as the result of the explosion of this point, an explosion which has come to be called the "the Big Bang".

In fact, the reference to this exploding point having zero volume is but a theoretical expression. The expression of zero volume simply suggests "nothingness". The whole universe was created from "nothing".

The Big Bang theory clearly demonstrated that the universe was created from nothing. Nevertheless, further scientific evidence was required in order for the theory to be widely accepted. In 1948, George Gamov proposed that, if the universe was formed in a sudden, cataclysmic explosion, as Lemaître had suggested, there ought to be a definite amount of radiation left over from that explosion, and that this radiation must be uniform throughout the universe.

Scientific confirmation of Gamov's postulate was forthcoming. In 1965, two researchers by the name of Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the remnants of that radiation. Called "cosmic background radiation", it was not localized but distributed equally everywhere in the universe. It was soon realized that this radiation was the echo of the Big Bang, still reverberating since the first moments of that great explosion. Penzias and Wilson were awarded a Nobel prize for their discovery.

It required a very short time for the Cobe satellite to find the evidence to prove the hypothesis of the Big Bang.

In 1989, NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, launched the COBE satellite into space, for the purpose of research into cosmic background radiation. Within minutes, the satellite's sensitive scanners confirmed the measurements of Penzias and Wilson.

Discovery of the evidence confirming the creation of the universe from nothing in the "Big Bang" staggered materialist scientists. They witnessed the collapse of their extensive research, their hypotheses, and unsubstantiated theories, one after the other. The renowned atheist philosopher, Antony Flew, had these comments to offer about the situation:

Notoriously, confession is good for the soul. I will therefore begin by confessing that the Stratonician atheist has to be embarrassed by the contemporary cosmological consensus. For it seems that the cosmologists are providing a scientific proof of what St.. Thomas contended could not be proved philosophically; namely, that the universe had a beginning. So long as the universe can be comfortably thought of as being not only without end but also without beginning, it remains easy to urge that its brute existence, and whatever are found to be its most fundamental features, should be accepted as the explanatory ultimates. Although I believe that it remains still correct, it certainly is neither easy nor comfortable to maintain this position in the face of the Big Bang story.. 12

As the above example makes clear, if someone is blindly devoted to materialism he is reluctant to admit any evidence to the contrary. Even if he must confess to the fact, he does not compromise his commitment to materialism.

On the other hand, many scientists, who did not resolve themselves unconditionally to denying God's existence, today accept that God, the All-Powerful, created the universe. One such example is the American scientist William Lane Craig, who is known for his research on the Big Bang:

The universe came into being through the explosion of a single point-mass that had zero volume. This explosion, called the Big Bang, demonstrated with compelling evidence that the universe was created from nothing, and permanently demolished the materialists' claims of an infinite universe.

Indeed, given the truth of the maxim ex nihilo nihil fit (out of nothing comes nothing), the Big Bang requires a supernatural cause. Since the initial cosmological singularity represents the terminus of all space-time trajectories, there cannot be any physical cause of the Big Bang. Rather, the cause must transcend physical space and time: it must be independent of the universe, and unimaginably powerful. Moreover, this cause must be a personal being, endowed with free will... The cause of the origin of the universe must therefore be a personal Creator, who a finite time ago brought the universe into existence by his free agency.13

Another important conclusion to be drawn from the Big Bang theory is that, as we have mentioned earlier, a scientific approach based on divine knowledge will be highly successful in unraveling the mysteries of the universe. Scientists who proceeded from a materialist philosophy and put forth the "infinite universe" model, were unable to substantiate it, despite their best efforts. However, the Big Bang theory, which Georges Lemaître developed, and which was based on divine sources, contributed to scientific progress and helped to uncover the true origin of the universe.

When we look at the history of 20th century science, we see that similar occurrences took place in other fields as well.


The Losses The Claim That "There is No Design in Nature" Caused Science

Materialists not only proposed that the universe existed since infinite time, but also claimed that there is no design or purpose in the universe. They argued that the entire equilibrium, harmony, and order in the universe was the work of chance. This claim, which dominated the world of science beginning in the second half of the 19th century, dictated the subsequent course of scientific investigation.

For instance, certain scientists put forth an assumption called the "chaos theory" to show that there is no design in the universe. According to this theory, order may spontaneously form from chaos, and a number of scientific studies were conducted to support the claim. Mathematical calculations, studies in theoretical physics, physical trials and chemical experiments, were all conducted to find an answer to the question, "how can we demonstrate that the universe is the product of chaos?"


Every new discovery, however, further denied the chaos and chance theories, revealing that there is an enormous design in the universe. Research conducted since the 1960s consistently demonstrated that all the physical equilibria in the universe are intricately designed to render life possible. As research proceeded, it was discovered that each and every one of the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, of the fundamental forces such as gravity and electromagnetism, and of the details of the structure of atoms and the elements of the universe, has been precisely tailored so that human beings may exist. Scientists refer to this extraordinary design as the "Anthropic Principle". This is the principle by which every detail in the universe has been carefully arranged to make human life possible.

Only a highly intelligent person can reconstruct the scattered pieces of Albert Einstein's puzzle seen here. It is therefore certain that systems far more sophisticated and perfect than this in the universe were designed by God, Who has infinite knowledge and wisdom.

With these discoveries, the dictum formerly imposed on the scientific community by the materialist philosophy, touting that "the universe is a heap of matter with no meaning and purpose working according to chance", was exposed to be an unscientific fallacy. Noted molecular biologist Michael Denton makes the following comment in his book, Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe:

Just as the racist ideology brought disaster for humanity by leading to World War II, so did the materialist ideology drag the world of science into darkness needlessly.

The new picture that has emerged in twentieth-century astronomy presents a dramatic challenge to the presumption which has been prevalent within scientific circles during most of the past four centuries: that life is a peripheral and purely contingent phenomenon in the cosmic scheme… The evidence provided by modern cosmology and physics is exactly the kind of evidence that the natural theologians were looking for in the seventeenth century but failed to find in the science of their day.14

The "natural theologians" referred to above are the 17th century and 18th century religiously devout scientists who strove to invalidate atheism on scientific grounds, and thus prove the existence of God. However, as also stated in the above quotation, the inferior degree of scientific knowledge at that time did not allow them to substantiate the truths they perceived, and materialism, deriving support from the same primitive level of science, grew in authority in the scientific world. 20th century science, however, has reversed that course, and provided conclusive evidence to prove that the universe was created by God.

Here, the real point to be considered is the extraordinary amount of time that has gone into studies to prove the materialist delusion, that claimed, "there is no purpose and design in the universe". All such theories, formulae, studies in theoretical physics, mathematical equations, etc., eventually proved to be worthless attempts expended in vain. Just as the racist ideology brought disaster for humanity by leading to World War II, so did the materialist ideology drag the world of science into darkness needlessly.

If, however, the scientific community had based its efforts, not on the misconception of materialism, but on the reality that the universe was created by God, scientific research would have taken a more proper course.


The Loss The Hopeless Efforts to Prove the Theory of Evolution Have Caused Science

The most instructive example of an improper orientation for science, was the adoption of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Having been introduced to the agenda of scientific study a 140 years ago, this theory is actually the greatest fallacy perpetrated in the history of science.

The theory of evolution contends that life came about by the configuration of lifeless matter through chance. The same theory further claims that organisms which have been formed by chance evolved into other creatures again by chance. At center stage for the last one and a half centuries, has been the concerted effort to find scientific justification for this scenario, whose results though, ironically, proved only the contrary. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that evolution never took place, that the possibility of the gradual transformation from one species to another is out of the question, and that all living species were created distinctly and in their present forms.

Nevertheless, despite all firm evidence, evolutionists perform countless studies and experiments, write volumes of books crammed with nothing but fallacies and errors, establish institutions, hold conferences, and air television programs, to prove evolution. The exploitation of thousands of scientists, and measureless amounts of money and resources, for an unprovable assertion, has certainly been a serious detriment for humanity. Had these resources been properly directed, such a loss would not have been incurred, but great strides rather would have been achieved, and definitive results attained in more pertinent areas of scientific study.

On the other hand, a number of scientists or thinkers have realized what a grave misconception the theory of evolution has been. British philosopher, Malcolm Muggeridge, for instance, makes the following comment:

I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it's been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books in the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has.15

The Scandinavian scientist Søren Løvtrup makes the following remark in his book Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth:

I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: for a long time now people discuss evolutionary problems in a peculiar 'Darwinian' vocabulary - 'adaptation', 'selection pressure', 'natural selection', etc. - thereby believing that they contribute to the explanation of natural events. They do not … I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science.16

Even a number of evolutionary scientists have recognized that the theory they advocate does not concur with fact and feel uneasy about it. "Perpetuation of today's theory (of evolution) as dogma will not encourage progress toward more satisfactory explanations of observed phenomena"17, says evolutionist scientist Paul R. Ehrlich in an interview with Science, where he - though indirectly - admits the harm blind devotion to the evolutionary theory inflicts on science.

Now, let us look at all the futile effort made to support the unscientific claims of the theory of evolution, which cost science nothing but a great waste of time and resources.


The Losses the Claim That "Inanimate Matter Can Form Life" Caused Science

What is the origin of life? What distinguishes a bird, or a giraffe from a stone, water, earth, that is, inanimate matter?

The answer to this question has been a matter of curiosity since antiquity. The predominant views are two. The first idea is that there is a very fine line between animate and inanimate matter, which can easily be pierced, and that life can spontaneously arise from inanimate matter. This view is called "abiogenesis" in scientific literature.

The second idea maintains that there is an unsurpassable border between living and non-living matter. According to this view, it is impossible for living organisms to develop from non-living materials, and a life-form can arise only if it comes from another life-form. This view, summed up as "life comes only from life", is called "biogenesis".

Interestingly, the idea of "abiogenesis" is connected to the materialist philosophy, whereas the idea of "biogenesis" stems from religious sources. The materialist philosophy has always argued that non-living materials can give rise to living organisms. The Greek philosophers believed that simple life-forms continuously arose from non-living matter.

On the contrary, divine sources state that the only power to give life to inanimate matter can be God's creative power. The verses of the Qur'an read:

It is God Who causes the seed-grain and the date stone to split and sprout. He causes the living to issue from the dead, and He is the One to cause the dead to issue from the living. That is God: then how are you deluded away from the truth? (Surat al-An'am: 95)

To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: It is He Who gives Life and Death; and He has Power over all things. (Surat al-Hadid: 2)

In the scientific understanding of the Middle Ages, people supposed that living organisms could arise from non-living materials. For instance, it was thought that maggots which developed on uncovered meat arose spontaneously. However, this idea was put to rest first by F. Redi's, then by L. Pasteur's discoveries.

In the Middle Ages, when people had a very limited knowledge of nature, the view of "abiogenesis" prevailed because of certain erroneous observations. Those who saw that maggots developed on uncovered meat thought that it happened "spontaneously". They also supposed that mice appeared spontaneously in wheat grains kept in storage. This belief, also called "spontaneous generation", was widely accepted until the 17th century.

Experiments conducted by two important scientists, however, laid the idea of spontaneous generation in its grave. The first of them was Francisco Redi. Redi showed, with the experiments he carried out in 1668, that the maggots that appeared on meat did not form spontaneously, but came from flies laying their eggs on it. Upon this discovery, the defenders of the "abiogenesis" idea retreated and claimed that, not big organisms like maggots or frogs, but invisible microbes were produced from non-living matter. The debate lingered over the next two centuries. The French biologist Louis Pasteur finally demonstrated, through a series of experiments, that microbes could not develop from non-living materials either. Pasteur summed up his conclusion in the following words:

Can matter organize itself? In other words, can organisms come into the world without parents, without ancestors? that's the question to be resolved…. There is no known circumstance today in which one can assert that microscopic beings have originated without germs.18

Redi and Pasteur had one thing in common: both scientists believed in the existence of God, and that life was created by Him. Their belief played a critical role in their recognition of the absurdity of the idea of abiogenesis. Effectively, while a number of scientists under the influence of materialism (evolutionists such as Darwin, Haeckel, etc.) had subscribed to the view of abiogenesis, others, who approached science with proper insight, realized the fact of "biogenesis".

Louis Pasteur

Evolutionist scientists, however, went on resisting this evident reality. Their blind devotion to the materialist philosophy drew them into a futile struggle that would last a century. Two materialist scientists, Alexander Oparin and J. B. Haldane, introduced the notion of "chemical evolution". According to Oparin and Haldane, abiogenesis did not take place in a short time, but happened over a long period. In conflict with certain scientific laws, foremost among them, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, this claim led the science-world into a stalemate, contributing to a detrimental amount of lost of time.

Over the course of the century, a number of scientists conducted experiments in favor of the chemical evolution hypothesis, or exerted great pains to support the claim with new theories. Huge laboratories, major institutions, and university divisions were set into action. All these efforts, however, ended in failure. Well-known evolutionist Prof. Klaus Dose, the Director of the Institute of Biochemistry, at Johannes-Gutenberg University, confessed that all attempts to produce evidence for the claim that non-living materials produce living matter were inconclusive:

More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.19

IIf the science-world had not become obsessed with the idea of "abiogenesis", a materialist fallacy, all such efforts, conducted in the name of "chemical evolution", could have been channeled to more productive areas. Had the scientific community started out by recognizing that life is created by God, and that our Lord alone has the power to give life, all this wasted time, money and human resources, could have been avoided. Would such have been the case, science could concentrate on new discoveries and research useful to mankind, rather than seeking to prove Ancient Greek myths.

Today, the scientific community has demonstrated that non-living materials cannot self-organize through random events and then join with other non-living materials to form perfect and highly complex cells. It has also become obvious that the millions of life-forms we see around us could not have formed, as evolutionists claim, from cells that came together accidentally. Certainly, a rose, a peacock, a tiger, an ant, in other words, no living being, could have come into existence by the will of unconscious cells made up of the combination of unconscious atoms.

Today the scientific community has demonstrated that non-living materials cannot self-organize through random events, and then join with other non-living materials to form a perfect and highly complex living thing. God, the Lord of all worlds, created all things, and He alone has the power to give life.

A scientist performing extensive studies into these subjects is by no means a product of the common decision taken by unconscious atoms. It is certainly impossible for unconscious atoms to develop a fully conscious human being.

In this regard, hundreds of years ago it was related in the Qur'an that life was created by God from "nothing", that God alone gives life, and no other being but He has the power to "give life". If science had ascertained the implications of the facts transmitted by God to mankind, it would not have "toyed away" in inconclusive research for such a long period of time.

11. Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, And Religion: A Symposium, 1941, ch1.3
12. Henry Margenau, Roy Abraham Vargesse. Cosmos, Bios, Theos. La Salle IL: Open Court Publishing, 1992, p. 241
13. William Lane Craig, Cosmos and Creator, Origins & Design, Spring 1996, vol. 17, p. 18
14. Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe, The New York: The Free Press, 1998, p. 14-15
15. Malcolm Muggeridge, The End of Christendom, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980, p. 59
16. Søren Løvtrup , Darwinism: The Refutation of A Myth, New York: Croom Helm, 1987, p.422
17. Paul R. Ehrlich and Richard W. Holm, Patterns and Populations, Science, vol 137 (August, 31, 1962), p. 656-7
18. Sidney Fox, Klaus Dose,. Molecular Evolution and The Origin of Life,. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1977. p. 2
19. Klaus Dose, The Origin Of Life: More Questions Than Answers, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, vol. 13, no.4, 1988, p. 348