Discussion: Quran detailing stuff impossible to know without modern scientific gear

Discussion in 'Formal debates' started by scifes, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    The metaphor doesn't work if the waves are barely detectible. It only works if the standard notions of waves are used.

    Think about it, the unbeliever is like one beneath barely detectible waves? Come on dude.
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  3. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    Please go on and expand on this- because this is a statement as far as I can see.

    If the metaphor is about the layers of 'darkness' and 'confusion'/'conflict'/'disorder' within a unbeliever then it is a perfect metaphor.. No one is in absolute perfect 'disorder'/'confusion'/'conflict'-

    All of us have various levels of doubt- Many of us have some very core beliefs which we don't even question- while most of us have some beliefs that are shaky, and we are in confusion about them- things we want to be true but aren't sure about- and most of us also have things that are just fuzzy, things we don't care about being true or not but we're unclear about...

    'Wave' represents disorder right... An internal (deep belief) is not as chaotic as surface wave.. Also since its a deep belief you don't question it- That is like in darkness you don't question your deep beliefs- how would you tell them apart from the darkness when you never question them? They are 'invisible' essentially until you really think about and question your deep beliefs. And since they are deep beliefs they aren't chaotic like the surface waves.

    Then surface waves- represents your beliefs that you want to be true but are not sure about- more uncertainity about them- more chaotic- more visible.

    Clouds- fuzzy beliefs, stuff you practically don't care about too much but still there unresolved conflicts...

    Unfortunately for the unbeliever all of these levels are dark... 'darkness above darkness'. It perfectly simulates the notion of "faithlessness" based upon knowledge of the wrong and ignorance of the truth- yet some belief of the wrong is not as strong as others- the various levels (depths) of them... It would seem to me that the 'invisible' internal waves are actually a very accurate description of people who simply take their deep beliefs for granted never going questioning them- never actually seeing them and facing them- The wave is there, all it takes is for you to really look at it. But most people would rather never look at their deep beliefs, just take them for granted.

    BTW its not talking about unbelievers being literally under waves...... so I don't see why the deep waves must be visible... unless you're assuming that we're supposed to imagine that some dude is deep under water- but I think its about the depth in the person himself- full of layers of darkness. What is wrong with this metaphor?

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  5. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I admit, you are being very creative, but if the scientific phenomenon were really implied in this text, it would be clear.
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  7. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    Metaphors are creative. But at least you agree that this metaphor works... Now leaving the metaphor aside...

    Again a statement.... I tried to show why it makes perfect sense and is clear, now its simply your turn to show that it is not.

    Just show us why its not 'ocean', not 'deep', not in 'layers'... and do so by using the complete passage and please make a coherent argument.

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  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You miss the point.

    I don't need to show that there is no way to somehow work a match with some modern scientific interpretation out of some poetic analogy in the Quran. I certainly don't need to accept any such interpretation as "plausible" - that's assuming the consequent, for starters: invalid logic.

    You need to show that the Quran details stuff impossible to know without modern scientific gear. The Quran has to do that - not your "interpretation".

    And an ocean featuring darkness in its depths, "waves upon waves", and clouds also dark over all, is not impossible to know without modern scientific gear. It is readily apparent to anyone looking over the side of a boat in stormy weather.
  9. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Well said, iceaura. Was knowledge of the modern scientific principle absolutely required in order to write this verse? No. It is prefectly consistent with the text that Mohammed need only have known of the common attributes of the Ocean. Indeed, it would not make literal sense to his readers or as a metaphor if that were not the case.
  10. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    Can I ask you a question... Can anything related to science be written in poetry? yes or no
    Can poetry ever be not subject to interpretation? yes or no

    Secondly- if we 'leave interpreation' if we just look at the verse at FACE VALUE... I still see depths of darkness, one above another in layers- used to describe the waves above which are waves above which are clouds... And still see progression from depth to the sky in layers.... I think it is YOU who have 'interpretated' it by saying its a poetic tool- I used face value of it- I guess that is also interpretation...

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  11. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    So you're not 'interpreting' the verse as 'many waves'- I see, very 'well said, Iceaura'. While if it is said 'one thing is above another' the face value is one thing is above another thing- but you say its the same thing- that is your interpretation, the face value simply says one is on top of another... That would seem something that anyone can at least get... One block is on top of another block- but no its the same block- I think you are the one 'interpreting' not me... I can see my argument play out even with face value reading.

    It would still make perfect sense as a metaphor... May I remind you that a metaphor is something that you simply take out... I challenge you to take a metaphor into an English class- I will give you $100 dollars if all the students give you the same response.

    Its not hard to see meaning in 'metaphors' even if you don't know what is behind it... If you take a metaphor of high end science to a 5th or 6th grader who has any interest in poetry or is capable of critical thinking, they will STILL be able to find MEANING in it- which is the purpose of a metaphor...

    It seems that you like to ignore this fact which I would think is common knowledge to folks who probably took English classes in college in which they probably heard many 'insights' of various students regarding the 'same' passage.

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  12. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    You have to show he must have known it, not that he might. The sentence is too vague to make that claim.
  13. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    But isn't the point that he couldn't have known it? That this was unknowable? Or are you asking to prove that God knows his stuff?

    And now:

    Please provide evidence of this... I've even said the face value says all of the mentioned things are in layers- surely it cant be vague if it is there.... Is it only 'vague' because YOU are interpreting it perhaps 'many waves'?

    Can you find a single translation that says 'many waves'? If not, it is pretty clear what is saying without any need for maneuvering or gymnastics with the words. I'm getting tired of hearing 'vague' when you don't provide any evidence backing this up... Read it like an English sentence, I'm sure you know english... and right down what is vague about it using the text of course- I'm not interested in more statements.

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  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You are going to have to choose between your creative interpretation there - where "many waves" or "waves upon waves" or whatever becomes invisible internal oceanic and atmospheric density layers behaving in a fashion we moderns - those few who specialize in such matters - have discovered and labeled (in English) "waves",

    by analogy with the common and long-known water surface variety, referred to often in song and story throughout the world's literature.

    Because the face value of that verse has no reference to "internal" anything, or layers of anything, or waves anywhere but on the ocean where anyone can see them from a boat.

    Are we to find evidence of modern scientific description of the behavior of density layers in the ocean, or in the atmosphere, or both at once, in such literature as this: http://www.orot.com/lights.html
    or this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabindranath_Tagore ?

    Notice that Tagore's reference is far more detailed, scientifically, as a reference to internal waves - the waves are specifically located "in the bosom of the ocean" and held to be "swirling", unlike the Quran's waves which are vaguely located somewhere between the dark depths and the clouds and held to be "upon" each other, at first impression a reference to the surface where waves are commonly observed behaving thusly.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  15. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I will use scifes' translation:

    Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allâh has not appointed light, for him there is no light.


    The fact that Mohammed uses the work "like" means that there is nothing abou this metaphor that needs to be literally true. One can say the believer is like a two-headed dragon, and it doesn't imply any special knowledge of dragons.

    It says the sea is vast, deep, and dark. It says that the sea is overwhelmed with waves. How could barely noticeable internal waves be said to "overwhelm" anything? And these waves are topped by waves, again meaning on top of, not beneath anything.

    You are suggesting that Mohammed could not have known that someone in a vast deep dark ocean would be overwhelmed by waves on top of waves? Someone in such an ocean would not even sink under it. Even a dead person floats in the ocean.
  16. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    First of all I've not interpreted anything to mean 'invisible'- its actually none of my concern- it was simply what spidergoat was wondering about how that fits into a metaphor.

    All I'm concerned about is the layering of waves. And looking at face value, I don't see how that is 'creative interpretation'- Anyhow, lets just deal with the poetry provided below

    If you can support the claim that there is no layering mentioned, you are more than welcome to quote the verse right here- I hope you don't do gynamstics to get rid of it

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    Here I reproduce the poetry: (beautiful by the way)

    "O Urvasie swaying soft and sweet,
    When thou dancest before the assembly of the gods,
    Thrills of delight course through thy limbs,
    Waves upon waves swirl rhythmically in the
    bosom of the ocean,
    The undulating tips of the shivering corn
    Appear like the fluttering skirt of mother earth.
    From the necklace hung upon thy breast
    Drop down the stars on the floor of the sky.
    And all at once man loses his masculine heart
    in sheer rapture."

    So by saying 'swirl' that provides much more detail about waves? Isn't that an inherent property of ocean waves- it doesn't make it any more accurate- anyone who hears the word 'waves' especially regarding 'ocean' will automatically know this 'detail'- so the Quran simply doesn't use a word that by all means is second hand knowledge-

    Ask a kid to draw a wave- I will bet that it is 'swirl' not flat.

    Anyhow the important part of the discussion is 'waves upon waves'

    Lets see... 'waves upon waves'- where are these waves? In the 'bosom of the ocean'.... So are they in layers?

    Lets see: By way of background the poetry is about a goddess I believe? Secondly 'bosom' is either a noun or an adjective, I guess depends on how you read it (its poetry

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    Definition of bosom: (M-W Dictionary)
    1 a : the human chest and especially the front part of the chest <hugged the child to his bosom> b : a woman's breasts regarded especially as a single feature <a woman with an ample bosom>; also : breast
    2 a : the chest conceived of as the seat of the emotions and intimate feelings <a story you will take to your bosom> b : the security and intimacy of or like that of being hugged to someone's bosom <the bosom of her family>
    3 : the part of a garment that covers the chest or the breasts

    From Dictionary.com:

    1.the breast of a human being.
    2.the breasts of a woman.
    3.the part of a garment that covers the breast.
    4.the breast, conceived of as the center of feelings or emotions.
    5.something likened to the human breast: the bosom of the earth.
    6.a state of enclosing intimacy; warm closeness: the bosom of the family.
    7.of, pertaining to, or worn on or over the bosom.
    8.intimate or confidential: a bosom friend.

    Not so clear I guess.. But bosom can also mean 'core/inside' as well.. So for the sake for argument leaving both the M-W dictionary and the Dictionary.com definitions... I go with bosom means core (inside?)...

    Okay.... Lets get back to the poetry... what is it describing?

    A dance?
    For whom? gods
    Where is this dance taking place? Bottom of the Ocean.... doesn't seem to be correct.... To have a show of beautiful dancing hidden in the ocean? Wait I'm just interpreting, so forget this... lets continue..

    'From the necklace hung upon thy breast
    Drop down the stars on the floor of the sky.'

    Breast is bosom- if you can find the original text in the original language please let me know.. Its persian/urdu supposedly and coincidentally I'm from pakistan a Urdu speaking country!

    'necklace' on the 'breast'? (by the way necklace is on top, not on the bottom)
    'drop down the stars on the floor of the sky'?

    Wait? What do stars have anything to do with oceans? (starfish?) well we know its talking about the sky... and somehow these 'stars' are related to necklace...

    Yes the 'stars' are reflected on the surface of the ocean- they can be considered 'beads' (pearls?) part of a necklace? But this would require the 'breast' (bosom) to be on top?

    Not to mention its just 'bosom'- seems to be in one plane... Quran said 'depths'- layers of darkness 'one above another'--- so Quran seems more 'detailed' when it comes to 'depth' and 'layering'...

    Let's suppose 'bosom' is NOT is one plane... Its inside the ocean- the dance is taking place deep inside the ocean for gods- the stars are inside the ocean, the 'waves' are supposedly in layers (iceaura's suggestion)- so is she dancing in many layers at the same time?

    'The undulating tips of the shivering corn
    Appear like the fluttering skirt of mother earth.'

    Corns? 'mother earth'? Maybe the scene is a beachside with corn plantation? I don't know- I'm practically just interpreting to make sense of it all- because all of this doesn't have anything to do with oceans.

    Also I would like to read from here:

    When talking about this passage it states:
    "To be sure, Urvasie (The Celestial Nymph) is the wonder of wonders produced in the field of Tagore's poetry. It is here that he reaches the acme of beauty filled with delight. Verily, according to Tagore, Urvasie is at once an eternally self-revealing and self-fulfilling goddess."

    Self-revealing? In the deep ocean?

    Secondly does 'wave upon wave' mean 'one after another' or 'one above another'? I would have to see the original words to make that distinction because the Urdu phrase:

    'eik kay bad eik'- means 'one after another' but it can also be translated as 'one upon another'- reason being 'upon' is a word that signifies 'speed'- that is that the 'second wave' catches up to the first- as its one after another..

    Supposing that it is 'eik kay uppar eik' (one above another)- we can assume that it is in many layers- but then is the bosom is many layers? If it is, then is the goddess dancing on many layers at the same time? Is she dancing in the middle (deep/core) of the ocean? Where there are stars? And corn?

    Okay I give up- with so many assumptions I give up... because I can't make sense of it in the deep ocean for all these things...

    What do I think it is saying:

    She is dancing for the Gods on the 'bosom' (chest/top/surface) of the ocean, and here dancing causes waves, one after another (like you tip-toe on water, waves go out, beautiful imagery, absolutely glorious)... The stars are reflected on the surface of the ocean and seem like a necklace... The corn is planted on the crust of 'mother earth'- and the corn covering is down which looks like the 'skirt'. Beautiful poetry. Keep in mind that this poetry is actually describing the scene itself, so all these pieces must somehow come together to give you a real scene. Which my way of looking at it does do, while 'deep oceans' make it pretty illogical- I'll give the benefit of doubt to the author that he has poetic talent and thus not illogical in his poetry.

    Quran mentions depths (notice plurality)-
    This poetry mentions 'bosom'- we are supposed to assume this means in the bottom of the ocean- and it is on 'many layers' (even though its singular)...

    This poetry mentions a dance- we're supposed to assume all of this is happening in the deep Ocean, where the 'assembly of gods' is seeing it.

    This poetry mentions stars in the sky- we're supposed to assume this is somewhere in the middle of the ocean

    This poetry mentions corns (which by the way floats on water!)- we are supposed to assume the scene being described is in the middle of the ocean

    Not to mention that the Quran is talking about the 'state of unbelievers' and their 'depths of darkness'- while this poetry is describing a very colorful scene which is supposedly taking place in many layers in the bottom of the ocean.

    Or one final assumption..... All the things that are being described in this scene are absolutely random, have no relationship to one another- thus leaving 'wave upon wave' as separate... Which by the way would yield this poetry to be pretty stupid, and this person would not be considered a great poet (which it seems he is)- and by the way that would disassociate anything other than 'wave upon wave'- so we won't have anything to work with as there wouldn't be a context.. which defeats the person.

    If you are willing to make all the above assumptions to portray to me that 'waves upon waves' is actually layers, then I submit that this poetry has any relevance to the Quranic 'waves upon waves'- which by the way are 'waves above which are waves' (in other translations)-

    I will also submit that the 'depths' of Oceans is the same as 'bosom' meaning bottom/inside/core and not the top surface.

    I will also submit the scenery of darkness in depths described in the poetic language of the Quran is no different that that of this poetry...

    If you are willing to make all those assumptions- then I guess I only have to regret that you are not willing to take the words of the Quran as they are without any assumptions what so ever...

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  17. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    Okay no problem, I understand why this would be a better choice

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    By taking that interpretation (right?) that would mean Muhammad is not even saying the ocean is dark.. Because it say 'like the darkness in the vast deep sea'- but weren't you arguing that it is actually easy to know that the ocean is dark in the deep... Why would then anyone want to say that 'like' is not literally describing the darkness of the ocean? Coincidentally the only way you do that is by saying 'like' doesn't really mean 'like'- (interpretation?)

    Secondly the closing saying 'darkness one above another'- it seems to be stressing the darkness (and layers of it)- it seems rather 'interpretative' to leave it out and not see that it is not actually saying that the ocean is dark.... I think your 'interpretation' seems more vague then simply accepting that the ocean is dark in the deep.

    Does it now? Didn't you just say above that it was not really 'like'- describing any real 'darkness'.

    Good question... First of all they are NOT 'barely noticeable'- the reason you don't notice them is because you can't see them- that doesn't mean that they aren't always there with 'overwhelming' abilities.

    Lets see here:

    "A class of powerful, invisible waves hidden beneath the surface of the ocean can shape the underwater edges of continents"

    Well I guess they are powerful enough to mess around with continents?

    Lets see even more: (scroll down to section of Internal Waves)

    "Surface waves can be up to 20 m high, while internal waves can reach a height of 300 m or more, dependent of the thickness of the upper water layer."

    First of all- Internal waves have higher density! That means for the same amount of water taken from the surface of the ocean or from the bottom of the ocean, the one from the bottom of the ocean would be HEAVIER--

    Second point... Internal Waves can reach 'heights of 300M or more' which by the way is more than 10X that of surface waves- if you calculate the volume- that outstrips surface waves by a huge factor- not only is the wave 10X height it is more DENSE... Definitely these waves are more 'overwhelming' at least in this respect... (another accidental confirmation? I don't know)

    And if I look at my metaphor of 'deep' rooted beliefs... You look and question those- you're going to be having real issues- because it is the challenging of the deep beliefs that are the most 'overwhemling' on a person.

    Hmm... If one is on top of the other, then by the defintion one has to be below the other.

    Interestingly you stopped AGAIN at 'waves upon waves'- the verse continues to talk about layers of darkness one above another... You also forgot to mention the clouds then come on top of those waves... All of this 'darkness one above another'- quite clearly clouds are LITERALLY above ocean waves-

    So if 'waves on top of waves'- was to be taken at face value- Knowing quite clearly that they are in layers from the rest of the passage... You get waves which have waves on top which further have clouds on top... As clear at it can be...

    While it has been you 'interpreting' those words the way you want to- 'like' doesn't mean 'like' (in the real sense)- 'waves on top of waves'- doesn't mean they are actually on top... layers of darkness one above another doesn't mean they are in layers... I think it is your interpreation that is vague- and you clearly are changing things while I'm reading the face value- which is quite clear indeed.

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  18. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    The sea is full of all kinds of waves, sound waves especially, low frequency vibrations from earthquakes, icebergs, tsunamis, normal surface waves from all directions and, apparently, internal waves at certain layers. Your hypothesis is that in a metaphor about unbelievers, Mohammed was talking ONLY about the kind of waves that would prove your assertion that the Quran contains scientific facts that could not have been known at the time, rather than the waves that everyone at the time would have been familiar with. I find that there is no evidence of this precise meaning being the case. If anything, it is only one of many possible meanings (the most obvious being the most likely). Do you have any evidence that you haven't yet presented?
  19. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    First I would like to point out you are not offering a refutation to what I said about your interpretation... Your interpretation is vague, mine is not...

    Now you want to know the details about the 'many waves'- again demanding more from it than it gives- maybe a dynamite formula?

    Anyways- first note that the words of the Quran states 'waves topped by waves'-

    'waves'- is plural. And thus in a context of layers of waves, it can encompass all kinds of waves- as the description is of waves- not wave.

    But I recognize that the description being given is of waves of water- because it is related to ocean- also noting that if you move to the clouds in a succession the waves of ocean at least are mentioned... So from the text and the description it gives I would think that the waves being talked about are water waves.....

    No... I realize that the waves being talked about are water waves- the waves that everyone is familiar with! The internal waves are yet water waves- the water moves like a surface wave- point is that people could image 'water waves' and that will still help them understand the metaphor yet not take away from this scientific fact that there are water waves below the ocean.

    What I am contending is not 'only meaning'- I am not saying that the ONLY waves being mentioned are 'internal waves'- I'm using 'internal waves' to mean waves below the ocean surface. Because I can see that at a bare minimum.

    At minimum- you can see the depth of the ocean in the verse- you can see from the depth you move upwards to the sky- while doing so you can see waves on top of which are waves on top of which are clouds.... So at a bare minimum you can model 3 layers- clouds, waves, and wave below waves on top. And this with respect to the ocean- and note that it mentions the depth of it.

    I can at a bare minimum draw from this description, a layer of waves below the ocean surface, one is the ocean surface, and one the clouds.

    What these waves are is not the question- the question is could anyone have known waves below the ocean surface? regardless of what type of waves they are for example 'sound waves' or not....

    It is precise to the point that there are waves under the ocean... Your job is to show that this level of precision could be reached...

    Note there is no reason for Quran to list all the types of waves that can be in the ocean- as first of all it is not here to teach you about them- also note that the words are 'waves on top of waves'- which are plural- it would be stupid to use the word waves for each type of wave and then keep on saying 'waves on top of waves on top of waves on top of waves, etc'- but what it does say is that there are waves (plural) in layers (and in relationship to depth of ocean).

    Can anyone at that time even come to this level of precision- waves below the ocean surface.

    And the most obvious meaning is a layering of waves over waves which are furthered topped by clouds in layers. Which I showed previously, and why your interpreation is actually vague not mine.

    What use is it if you are never going to refute anything. You only have to show that waves which are below the ocean surface could have been known. That is all you have to show-

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  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    It doesn't say explicitly say waves below the surface. Waves on top of waves can mean waves that are superimposed.
  21. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

    What is the reason to discuss the depths of darkness which are in layers? I would think the 'depths' are pretty useless then?

    And can you please even provide evidence for 'superimposed' waves? I've never seen a superimposed wave when I look at the ocean.

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  22. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Ever heard of a freak wave? That's what happens when two separate waves combine and the peaks are added. Sometimes waves can cancel each other out, which is the principle behind noise cancelling headphones and interference patterns.
  23. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member


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