The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
24 Points

Science and Islam

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,767 times Debate No: 23633
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (5)




Resolution: The scientific statements in the Quran cannot be proven wrong.

1) The topic of the debate/Clarification

The debate is simply about the scientific accuracy in the Quran. The burden of proof for Con will primarily be to make evident that the science in the Quran can be proven wrong. This is not a debate about whether or not the scientific statements in the Quran can be proven right. As long as we cannot directly prove anything in the Quran wrong through science, we thus assume that there are no scientific discrepancies.

2) Debate Properties

4 rounds
8000 characters
3 days
72 hours to argue
1 month voting period.

5) Structure

Round 1: Opening Arguments
Round 2: Rebuttals
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing statements


Thank you for graciously challenging me to this debate.

I. The Qur'an and Astronomy

A. The Qur'an and the sun [1]

"When he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring and found a people thereabout. We said: ‘O Dhul-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness"’ (Surah 18:86).
Obviously this is wrong on several accounts:

      1. The sun does not set in a muddy spring;

    1. The earth is not larger than the sun; and

    1. Humans would not be able to be around the sun as close as the Qur'an has us believe.

Some Muslim apologist maintain that the Qur'an is making an idiom. However, the explanation does not agree with the Hadith nor the commentaries.

"Abu Dharr (one of Muhammad’s close companions) was with Muhammad during the sunset. Muhammad asked him: ‘Do you know, O Abu Dharr where this sets?’ He answered: ‘God and His apostle know better.’ Muhammad said: ‘It sets in a spring of slimy water"’ (3rd Edition, Volume 2 p. 743,1987).

B. North and South Poles

"It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit." (36.40)

The sun does not orbit the moon. Rather, the moon orbits the earth and the earth orbits the sun. The sun orbits the center of the milky way galaxy. [2]

II. Biology

A. Asexual Organisms

"And of every thing We have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction." (51.49)

This is not true for several accounts accounts:

    1. Some organisms are sexless [3];

    1. Some organisms reproduce asexually [4];

    1. It leaves out the possibility of parthenognetic organisms [5];

    1. It leaves out the possibility of Schizophyllum organisms that have at least 28K sexes! [6]

B. Sperm reproduction

I noticed several have brought this idea up in other debates you had with them. I will attempt to defend this possible error.

"Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted-Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs," (Qur'an 86:5-7)

We know that it is false. Rather, sperms form within the testicles which is far below the chest.


Scientific statements in the Qur'an have been proved wrong.




5. A parthenogenetic organism is an organism that the ovum develops into a new individual without fertilization. Natural parthenogenesis has been observed in many lower animals (it is characteristic of the rotifers), especially insects, e.g., the aphid. In many social insects, such as the honeybee and the ant, the unfertilized eggs give rise to the male drones and the fertilized eggs to the female workers and queens. See:;
6. Yes, that is correct. Over 28,000 distinct sexes! See;



What is science

The word 'science' comes from Latin, and means 'knowledge.' Merriam-Webster's definition of the term is: "knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method." [1] The scientific method is a way of acquiring facts about scientific claims. [2]

Inaccurate science

Inaccurate science describes two things: (a) Faulty method used for verifying a scientific claim, and (b) A scientific claim that goes against an established scientific theory or fact. With regard to (a), examples of faulty verification would be to not rule out multiple possible explanations for an observed phenomena, having a bias toward validating a hypothesis so that one subconsciously gets specific results (known as 'research bias'), etc. Concerning (b), a scientific claim that goes against established science would be e.g., the moon is larger than the sun, or water can boil at any degree. Both of these claims go against several scientific facts, hence they fall under the category of inaccurate science.

Quranic text

Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God. This ultimately means that everything in the Quran is generally direct speech from God, unless the point of view (referred to as PoV) comes from another person, such as through quotation. For instance, Quran 17:101 says, "To Moses We did give Nine Clear Signs: As the Children of Israel: when he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: 'O Moses! I consider thee, indeed, to have been worked upon by sorcery!'" In this verse, God quotes Pharaoh to explain an important point in history. Thus, it is not God who told Moses that he was under a curse, rather it was Pharaoh who did so.

Did Con successfully manage to prove that the Quran goes against science in any way? Let's find out.


1. Astronomy

A: Setting of the sun

Con quoted [18:86] of the Quran to prove that it speaks of the process where the sun sets. His argument is severely flawed. First, the PoV is clearly from a person other than God. This person is referred to as 'Dhul-Qarneyn." This is very important, because if God simply said that the sun sets, then we would have a general statement about the sun setting, which would go against science. However, this is not a general statement from God. It merely speaks from the point of view of another person. What's more, the wording here is very precise in Arabic, which clears any confusion when read properly.

"When he reaches the setting of the sun, he found it..." The Quran, in English translation, states this person found the sun to be setting. The important words are "he found," which indicate that from the perspective of Dhul-Qarneyn, the sun was setting. This is obvious, because even though the sun does not set, it does appear as if it were setting. Consider this: Japan is called "The Land of the Rising Sun," not because it is considered to be the place where the sun literally rises, but the land which is among the first to find the sun to be rising. Moreover, the rise/setting of the sun are phrases that are far too common in all languages, so there's nothing wrong with the Quran using a phrase that is common. Imagine if the Quran explained this verse in a scientific way: "When Dhul-Qarnayn reached the place where the earth could be witnessed orbiting around the sun..." It would make absolutely no sense to people in old times.

Let's have a look at the Arabic wording in the verse. 'Wajada' is a term that means something in the line of 'to appear as / it appeared to.' And 'Maghrib' means "the time of day when the sun goes down and night begins to take over." [3] For the Arabic reader, this verse makes perfect sense because the wording is very precise. Being that the Quran is considered the highest piece of literature in Arabic, a translation of it is very difficult to make. Thus, if we use correct wording in English, the verse would be translated and interpreted as: "When he arrived at the time of sunset, it appeared (to him) over a muddy spring, and he found a people thereabout."

This makes perfect sense when using a precise translation, and there is no scientific error. To summarize: (1) The Quran speaks from the PoV of another person, not God, (2) The word Maghrib used for "sunset" also means "the time of sunset" which is perfectly correct, and (3) Even if the word is meant as "place of sunset," the fact that it only "appeared to" Dhul-Qarnayn says that we cannot call this a scientific error, because it is true that even though the sun doesn't set, it does appear to humans as if it sets. This couldn't be more clear. Regarding the hadith Con cited, it is not an authentic one, and I cannot find it in any authentic collections of hadith (such as Sahih Bukhari). Those words are falsely attributed to the Prophet.

B: Sun and the moon

Con cited a verse which says that the sun and moon float in their orbit. I have no idea how he sees this as a scientific error. It's correct that the earth orbits the sun, and the moon orbits the earth, but the Quran nowhere makes any contradictory claim. In fact, what the Quran says is scientifically speaking quite marvelous, considering it states that the sun and the moon have their own orbits, which is something that couldn't be discovered 14 centuries ago without modern astronomical equipment. Consider the following verses:

"The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed." (Q 55:05)

"It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course." (Q 21:33)

And there are several similar verses. The Quran very precisely and correctly states that all celestial bodies swim in their own courses. Nowhere is it mentioned that "the sun and the moon follow one course." Course/orbit is mentioned in plural form, obviously implying that the celestial bodies such as the moon and the sun all swim through the universe in their own paths. This is an astonishing claim, and not a wrong one.

2. Biology

A: Everything created in pairs

Con argues that the Quran is wrong in saying that everything is created in pairs, since we have organisms that are sexless, and so on. First, there's nothing here which indicates that there isn't anything in-between a pair. Second, notice how general phenomena come in pairs. Night/day, good/bad, ad infinitum. "In 1928, however, it was discovered that solid matter also had a pair. In that year the British physicist Paul Dirac demonstrated the possibility of other, invisible particles existing along side those of matter. Then, in 1932, K. Anderson discovered, while studying cosmic rays, that with electrons there were other particles with an opposite electric charge. These particles were called anti-electrons. This research was pursued further and finally it was learnt that all particles in the universe existed in the form of pair-particles: particle and anti-particle, atom and anti-atom, matter and anti-matter; there was even, as Dirac showed in 1933, an anti-world." [4]

In his book "The Bible, the Quran, and science," Dr. Maurice Bucaille, a late French scientist who converted to Islam, wrote, "We know that fruit is the end-product of the reproduction process of superior plants which have the most highly developed complex organization. The stage preceeding fruit is the flower, which has male and female organs (stamens and ovules). The latter, once pollen has been carried to them, bear fruit which in turn matures and frees it seeds. All fruit therefore implies the existence of male and female organs. This is the meaning of the verse in the Qur'an." [5]

B: Coming next round.

The resolution is affirmed.







Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your quick reply. It is a shame that you couldn't have responded to my final contention. Hopefully, you will be able to do so in the next round. For the sake of debate, I'll accept your observations.



I have quoted 18:86 to show that the Qur'an does have an error as the sun does not set in a pool of murkey water. My partner has attempted a rebuttal by the following statements:
  1. The Quran speaks from the PoV from another person;
  2. The word Maghrib used for "sunset" also means "the time of the sunset";
  3. Even if the word is meant as "place of the sunset," the fact remains that it only "appeared to" Duhl-Qarnayn because it does appear as if it sets.

First, let's look to the Hadith which I have cited, my partner says it is inauthentic. This, of course, requires evidence. Upon what evidence is there that the Hadith is inauthentic.

Second, let's look at some comentaries on this verse.

It is not meant by reaching the rising or setting of the sun that he reached its body and touched it because it runs in the sky around the earth without touching it and it is too great to enter any spring on earth. It is so much larger than earth. But it is meant that he reached the end of populated land east and west, so he found it – according to his vision – setting in a spring of a murky water like we watch it in smooth land as if it enters inside the land. That is why He said, ‘he found it rising on a people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun.’ (Holy Qur’an 18:90) and did not mean that it touches or adheres to them; but they are the first to rise on. Probably this spring is a part of the sea and the sun sets behind, with or at it, so the proposition takes the place of an adjective and God knows best. [1]

When Zul-Qarnayn reached the furthest west and no populated land was left, he found the sun as if it sets in a dark spring, but it is not in reality. The same when sea traveler sees the sun as if it sets in the sea if he cannot see the shore while in reality it sets behind the sea. [1]


My partner states that Wajada is a term that means "to appear as" so a correct translation would be "when he arrived at the time of sunset, it appeared (to him) over a muddy spring, and he found a people thereabout."

Here is what I found in the Lexicons.

He found it; lighted on it; attained it; obtained it by searching or seeking; discovered it; perceived it; saw it; experienced it, or became sensible of it. [2]
The finding, &c., by means of any one of the five senses: as when one says وَجَدْتُ زَيْدًا [I found, &c., Zeyd]: and وَجَدْتُ طَعْمَهُ, and رَائِحَتَهُ, and صَوْتَهُ, and خُشُونَتَهُ, [I found, or perceived, &c., its taste, and its odour, and its sound, and its roughness]. Also, The finding, &c., by means of the faculty of appetite, [or rather of sensation, which is the cause of appetite:] as when one says وَجَدْتُ الشِِّبَعَ [I found, experienced, or became sensible of, satiety]. [2]

Next, there are at least several words that could not have been used if it was a mere perception. From WikiIslam:

"If verse 18:86 did not mean he actually discovered some fact about the sun, it could have instead said that Dhu’l Qarnayn saw (as in 6:78) it setting in a spring of murky water (as P. Newton points out),[14] or quoted Dhu’l Qarnayn’s speech directly (“He said, ‘I found it setting in…’”) as in 18:87-88, 18:95-18:96 and 18:98.

Let us look at the two verses below:

Falamma raa alshshamsa bazighatan…

When he saw the sun rising in splendour…

Qur'an 6:78
Watara alshshamsa itha talaAAat…

Thou wouldst have seen the sun, when it rose…
Qur'an 18:17

The verb raa meaning “he saw” is used at the start of both verses in reference to the sun (“watara” means “And you will see”). If verses 18:86 and 18:90 had used raaha (“he saw it”) instead of wajadaha, perhaps there would be a slight case for claiming that a mistaken perception or an opinion of what it looked like is meant, and certainly if it was then followed by a correction as in this verse:

…watara alnnasa sukara wama hum bisukara…

…thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk…
Qur'an 22:2

The Qur’an has many similes, in which the prefix ka- is added to a noun to which something is being compared to create the meaning “like”. Ka- combined with anna, which means “that” as in “I think that” is used to mean “as if”. The word kaannaha, meaning “as if it”, could have been used with raaha in 18:86 in a similar way to verses 27:10 and 28:31, which both have the phrase:

…raaha tahtazzu kaannaha jannun…

…he saw it moving (of its own accord) as if it had been a snake…

In another example we have:

…walla mustakbiran kaan lam yasmaAAha kaanna fee othunayhi waqran…”

…he turns away in arrogance, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in both his ears…
Qur'an 31:7

If this pattern had been used in verse 18:86 it would have meant a mere appearance. It could have had something like the phrase, “raaha kaannaha taghrubu fee AAaynin hamiatin” (“he saw it as if it set in a spring of murky water”). It is already clear that the actual words used do not have this meaning" [3]


An interesting concept Mirza pointed out is that it is possible that it is just from his PoV and hence no error (correct me if I'm misinterpreting).

I'm already running out of room, so I'll deal with the rest later.


My partner is confused at how there is an error at hand. Let's re-examine the verse:

"It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit." (36.40)

Where is the error? The Qur'an is implying that the moon travels in a similar orbit around the sun whereas the earth is the one that is being orbited -- obviously wrong.


Rebuttals coming next round.



1. al-Qurtubi (died 671 AH/1273 CE) Al-Game’ Le Ahkam-el-Qur’an; al-Razi d. 606 AH (1149-1209 CE) Tafsir al-Kabir both quoted in WikiIslam. URL:;

2. Lane’s Lexicon: Volume 8/ 178 from;




I'll have to start by saying that Con's arguments are almost entirely taken from other sources. It's one thing to quote, but an entirely different thing to copy-paste everything and not even put some of it in quotation marks. What's more, the same thing happened in my old debate with Con, and some of his debates with other people. I am calling this out because it is not acceptable behavior, and I think Con should make it come to an end. I will respond to his arguments in hope that he can reply with his own words.


1. Fluid from between ribs and backbone

In his first argument, Con claimed that the Quran is wrong in saying that humans are created from a fluid that "proceeds from between the backbone and the ribs." Con's argument is very short, and lacks fundamental parts in fulfilling the criteria needed to interpret the Quran. For example, Con neither read this verse in Arabic, nor did he analyze the context, etc. So, is the Quran wrong in its claim? Most definitely not, and here's why:

A: All fluid is not sperm

The claim that the Quran refers to sperm in this verse seems entirely illogical. The word used for 'fluid' in Arabic is 'Ma-in.' It means 'liquid, fluid, juice, water.' [1] This has nothing to do with sperm. The possibilities are many. The fluid might be blood, water, or anything else - But to argue that since the Quran mentions humans being created from a fluid that is emitted from between the chest and backbone, and thus conclude that this must refer to the sperm, is simply a non-sequitur. One establishes a conclusion that does not follow from its premises, which is exactly what Con does. Logical fallacies do not make good arguments.

B: Blood and water are emitted from the heart

The Quran mentions several times that all living things were created from water. What about humans? "And it is He Who created human beings from water and then gave them relations by blood and marriage. Your Lord is All-Powerful." (Q 25:54) Obviously, if the Quran states that humans are created from water, then it can rightly say that we are created from a fluid that emits from between the backbone and the ribs. This fluid is possibly water.

Although the heart (located between b/r) pumps blood around the body, the major fraction of it is indeed water. "About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature." [2] Thus, it is completely true that humans are created from a fluid that is emitted from between the chest and the backbone. The fluid is blood, which is mostly made up of water. Should this explanation not suffice - and I don't see why not - then consider the other arguments.

C: Seminal fluids mix in the abdomen

Since the Quran clearly does not refer to the sperm or the testicles, one could argue that it refers to the fluid that is mixed up right before it gushes out of the penis. This is semen, which is a mixture of seminal fluids and sperm. In fact, sperm makes up only around 5% of the whole fluid that is gushed out during ejaculation. So, where does the mixture take place?

"Sperm travel from the testes to the epididymis where they mature. During ejaculation sperm travel up into the abdomen from the epididymis in the ductus (vas) deferens to the ejaculatory ducts. The ejaculatory ducts move semen into the urethra. Once in the urethra, semen (sperm now is bathed in the seminal fluid released from the various other reproductive structures) moves through the prostate gland and down to the urethral opening at the tip of the penis. The seminal vesicles and Cowper's glands are not included in the path of sperm as they contribute to seminal fluid but do not have sperm moving through them at any time." [3]

One should look closely at the picture in reference #3 under the "Path of Sperm" heading, which shows that the sperm goes all the way into the abdomen to become mixed with other seminal fluids. This leads us to the question: Is the abdomen between the ribs and the backbone? I don't find any good reason to disagree. For one, something that is between two objects isn't necessarily right between them in the strictest sense. For example, if you put your right hand all above your head, and your left hand under your head, then your head is still between your hands because the space that divides your hands is exactly referred to as between.

This applies to the fact that if the Quran refers to semen, then it rightfully says that this is something that is gushed out from between the backbone and the ribs, because the abdomen is located in the space that directly divides the backbone and the ribs. Lastly, it is entirely wrong to apply 'between' as a mathematical term in this context, because we're not dealing with numbers, but approximate areas. Now to the rest.

2. Astronomy

A: Setting of the sun

Con asked me to prove that the hadith which he cited is inauthentic. I already said that I cannot find it in the hadith collections that are deemed as authentic, so I have definitely met my burden. In fact, it is Con who has to prove the authenticity of the hadith. He makes the claim, he has the burden of proof. Moving on, Con's response lacks sufficient factors for being sound, and here's why:

  1. My argument that the verse is completely based on the PoV of Dhul-Qarneyn: dropped.
  2. My claim that the sun does rise from an earthly perspective: dropped.
  3. The Quran using common expressions to make a point: dropped.
  4. No real arguments made by Con. Pure copy-paste.

That being said, I will repeat my arguments from earlier: (1) Regardless of the wording of the verse, what matters is that the PoV is from a person, not God. Thus, there cannot possibly be an error because a perception is a mirrored reality. If I see the sun rising, then it is rising from my perspective, just like waving my right hand in the mirror seems to look like I am waving my left hand. (2) There's nothing wrong with the Quran using a common phrase to describe an event. As I said, if that verse was purely based in scientific wording, then it would sound gibberish and people wouldn't understand it for several centuries. Clearly, God would not want to reveal a book that His followers cannot understand.

Moving on, Con used a dictionary to look up "wajada" and found out that it means "he found it, lighted on it," etc. None of this contradicts the definition I provided, which is "it appeared to." If I "find" something to be happening, the it "appears to" me as such. Moreover, Con doesn't seem to realize that it is impossible to translate the Quran decently into any language. It is the highest piece of Arabic literature ever seen, and to translate its poetic verses, idioms, etc., into any other language is simply not a possibility. So, this leaves me with saying that Con has in no way explained why this verse should mean anything like the sun literally setting. The possibilities are all the handful arguments I made.

B: Sun and the moon

Con has once again ignored my arguments. I quoted several Quranic verses which clearly state that all celestial bodies follow their own courses. The term 'courses' is used in plural form. "And He has made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day has he (also) made subject to you." (Q 14:33) Con quoted 36:40, and here's what the Quran says in verses before: (36:38): "And the sun runs his course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of (Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing." (36:39): "And (as for) the moon, We have ordained for it stages till it becomes again as an old dry palm branch." In the verses prior to 40, the Quran clearly distinguishes between the paths of the sun and the moon. An error is impossible.

Your turn Con. Hopefully original arguments this time.





Debate Round No. 2


It is unfirtunate that i must skip this round. I will provide answers in the next round. I'm out of time. I simoly got too busy and too side tracked and I'm down to 4 hrs -- not enough time fir a coherent argument.


I've made my points clear. The resolution remains affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm gonna have to forfeit this debate. Vote pro! (Though my decision hasn't changed, I have been in WAY too many debates lately.)

Hopefully, we can revisit later. I don't want to keep my opponent waiting any longer.


Closing comments

Unfortunately Con gave up. I've refuted all his arguments, and he has not replied to most of my points. Here's a summary:

  1. I have proved that the setting of the sun is a common phrase, from a normal person's PoV, and likely to be referring to the time of sunset. Con also has no direct rebuttal to my statement that the Quran distinguishes between the orbits of the sun and the moon, and other celestial bodies (such as stars). None of this is an error.

  2. Con has not responded to my argument that the Quran correctly refers to creation being in pairs. I've quoted a scientist who clearly explained what the verse means, as well as stating that things simply do come in opposites, such as dark/light, etc. No rebuttal here.

  3. Con made no rebuttal to my argument that the meaning of the verse regarding the fluid we are created from isn't related to sperm. We're made of water. In fact, all animals are, as the Quran precisely states. Thus, the fluid we are created from that emits from between the backbone and the ribs could possibly be water, since the blood that is pumped consists mainly from water. Even blood alone suffices; We obviously consist of blood, and mothers feed their fetuses with their own blood. Read my other arguments for more on this.

The resolution is affirmed.

Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
same is real or virtual images. real or apparent depth. etc, etc, etc.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
you can also say that. virtual effect.
which is also science. like the deviation of light in water cause the shape or size change in water for observer not in reality.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
sun setting in east.
is relative motion. a human on earth thinks the earth is stationary. but sun is moving. and if some one would be on sun he will thinks the earth is moving.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
dear its not worldly. you can say that it was for linguistic point of view but its scientific fact.
its physics. the relative motion.
the pure science.
theory of relativity.
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
No, you can't interpret it the way you want. There are strict rules as to how the Quran must be interpreted, and these are found in the authentic hadith. The history of a verse, its wording, etc., all help define the meaning. To claim you can interpret anything the way you want is ridiculous. Maybe you can do so with the Bible, but not the Quran.
Posted by Noradrenergic 5 years ago
"You must be always careful when basing an argument on a single translation or you can look very silly or at least waste everyone's time."

Ah, case in point.
Posted by Noradrenergic 5 years ago
It seems to me that it is impossible to prove anything wrong in the Quran, because the semantics of what is written becomes center of debate...If you prove it wrong, opposition will argue that you have misinterpreted, give a different meaning and cycle continues.

Seems to be the case with salt water issue. Am I wrong?
Posted by yuiru 6 years ago
Blasphemy, the video player is too small and I hate oronyms. I refuse to flick this fibrous material called lint with you. Also, I do not apperciate your sacrilege use of my name.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Troll, troll, troll your boat... Sing along Yuiru!
Posted by yuiru 6 years ago
This debate is pointless, what does scientific consistency prove other than scientific consistency?
There are movies which are scientifically consistent... WHO CARES?

You silly lint flickers...
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I would have given Pro the win even if Con didn't concede. Please don't plagiarize.
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
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