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Monday, September 24, 2007

Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 5, "The Table," verses 61-120

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

Spencer explains how interpretations of Verse 64 retarded science in the Islamic world:

Accordingly, there was no point to observing the workings of the physical world; there was no reason to expect that any pattern to its workings would be consistent, or even discernable. If Allah could not be counted on to be consistent, why waste time observing the order of things? It could change tomorrow. Stanley Jaki, a Catholic priest and physicist, explains that it was the renowned Sufi thinker al-Ghazali who "denounced natural laws, the very objective of science, as a blasphemous constraint upon the free will of Allah." The great twelfth-century Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides explained orthodox Islamic cosmology in similar terms, noting that Islamic thinkers of his day assumed "the possibility that an existing being should be larger or smaller than it really is, or that it should be different in form and position from what it really is; e.g., a man might have the height of a mountain, might have several heads, and fly in the air; or an elephant might be as small as an insect, or an insect as huge as an elephant. This method of admitting possibilities is applied to the whole Universe."

Al-Ghazali's philosophy suffers a fatal flaw: God can create a universe that defaults to a certain set of physical laws when God chooses not to directly intervene with a different set of instructions. Just as a clock behaves according to certain principles which in no way place any limits on what an external entity can do to the clock, the universe has a set behavior that does not prevent God from altering the default setting.

There's more. check it out.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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