Recently the world’s most maladroit missionaries have allowed an impromptu piece to be published in response to Shabbir Ally’s views on Surah al-Anbiyaa: 30. Personally I do believe that Shabbir’s interpretation is wrong, albeit he was not the first Muslim to proffer such a cosmological hypothesis on this particular Holy Ayaah. However I feel that a two-fold response is requisite. I shall seek to demonstrate:
(1) that Andrew Vargo’s claims on classical Big Bang cosmology are blatantly erroneous and are the result of paramount nescience, and;
(2) I shall proffer a more appropiate interpretation on the Holy Ayaah in question.
Let us begin with my interpretation of the Holy Ayaah; Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa says:
“Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder?”
The important point in this Holy Ayaah is that the Arabic context refers to the universe and the earth as one; “ratq” means “mixed or blended” so ratq describes the initial first materials that formed the entire universe; including the earth, and states clearly that they were mixed or blended. In the very incipient proviso’s of the universe; the heavens aggrandized and cooled. Particles of matter and anti-matter originated for minuscular periods of time; however the temperature would not sustain them for long. The electromagnetic and weak interaction were then cleaved; now almost all of the anti-matter and matter was obliterated in this cleaving, except the minute amount that endured.
Thus the first elements came about; and all this came to pass in around three minutes after the creation of time itself. These elements just as Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa stated would ultimately form the physical constitution of our universe; including the earth. The Holy Quran describes I think an evolution of the earth fro the very initial stages of the universes existence; that is the only way the Holy Ayaah can in my opinion be interpreted due to the context of the word employed. In fact Abdallah Yusuf Ali; who did not have the same knowledge nor resources that I have available at the present time, still wrote in his commentary on the Holy Ayaah in question: “The evolution of the ordered worlds as we see them is hinted at.” Anyone familiar with the present-day data knows that the nascent properties in the early universe are what makes up the contents of our universe today, so we can look at the beginning of the universe as the earliest point of the earth’s existence as it over time evolved by the Will of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa; the earth itself was, quite candidly created from elementary cosmic gas.
As I stated in my response to FTM’s objections; the same way if I show my favorite picture of my mother and I you could object and say I am nowhere to be seen and that she is holding a baby; the objection is moot for that was me in the initial stages of my life and I grew over time by the Grace of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa.
Now the démodé libel launched on Shabbir’s hypothesis is surely worthy of a response; because it exposes Answering Islam‘s absolute denseness to modern cosmology. You see, to my absolute astonishment a one Andrew Vargo actually tries to challenge the Big Bang theory. Based upon the most primitive of quondam scientific resources, he in his mendacious prattle gives us an abundance of reasons for suspecting that the Answering Islam team are not dexterous enough to offer a serious challenge to the Din ul Haq. Vargo should not have ran his lips on such a enigmatic subject especially due to his severe ignorance to the topic; alas we can forgive the youngster for he probably just googled something along the lines of “how to disprove the most empirically verified model in cosmology to date”.
Anyway; he starts off by quoting Sir Fred Hoyle (who by the way, received an award for the most incorrect predictions in cosmology), Vargo then attempts to discredit the evidence for the Big Bang theory by simply rehashing criticism that was proposed aeons ago and received sufficient answers through observational averment.
Argument One: CBR, For or Against the Standard Model?
Anon from as early as 1941 cosmic background radiation (CBR) was detected although at that point in time not with intent even though such detection was desideratum. Now you see; interstellar gas clouds in perpetuum subsume atoms and molecules. The spectra of molecules are much more labyrinthine, owing to the fact that molecules as an entity can circumvolve and electrons surge and leap around, however the important point is that molecules can be identified by their spectra. It was W.S Adams who first noted the metastasis of cyanogen within a molecular cloud situated betwixt Zeta Ophiuchus and the earth. From the appurtenant data, A. Mckellar concluded that a single idiosyncratic line in the spectrum of cyanogen had no palpable explication unless of course the molecules were being agitated by photons with an estimated temperature of approximately 2.3 K.
Later on in 1965 George Field, N.J Woolf and I.S Shklovsky came to realize the paramountcy of the aforementioned observation, and in 1993 I. Hawkin, D.M Meyer and K.C Roth took spectra of cyanogen in diversified clouds from amidst the more proximate stars and the earth purposively seeking out the CBR titillation. They found a temperature of 2.729 K which was congruous with the other older measurements; however COBE i.e the Cosmic Background Explorer laid the argument to rest by duteously measuring the temperature to be 2.725 K. From the beginning of the hypothesis of an expanding universe the standard big bang model predicted this exact background radiation, which is just an exemplification of the hot dense era of our wonderful universes bodacious past. So Vargo’s first nonsensical claims on this matter have now been denuded as the ad hoc assertions that they were and always will remain, we cognize the fact that the big bang model predicted the CBR within a mathematical certainty; reality is. This because the Big Bang model presages that early on the matter density was immense as was the temperature and over time the universe expanded and cooled. To quote Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, “…it tells us immediately that the universe was once very much hotter than it is today, which by itself is convincing evidence for the hot big bang.”1
Vargo continues on apropos due to his impetuosity;
- The problem with using the CBR as proof of the “Big Bang” is that CBR is uniform throughout the Universe…
Is this guy kidding me? That is half of the argument for the Big Bang, the Robertson-Walker metric describes a homogeneous and isotropic space time. The fact that the universe is as the metric elucidates, was portended in the Big Bang model before it was confirmed. Vargo goes on to argue that the matter in the universe is not uniformed or as I understand him, evenly distributed. This is a preposterous claim; everyone knows that the universe has evenly distributed matter in large scales of super clusters. Furthermore; the matter density was also prognosticated (keeping in mind that there is non-luminous matter)and attested, additionally the necessitated proportionate value of the critical density corresponds to around 10 hydrogen atoms per cubic meter of space, thus the veritably existing matter successfully fulfill the needs of the standard Big Bang model hence the matter in our universe is precisely balanced and uniformed as predicted by the standard model.
To put it in a layman’s term for Vargo: matter is uniformly distributed throughout the universe as well as concentrated in some places to a much higher extent than our galaxy. Vargo did not offer any alternative explanation for the CBR’s existence, however since I am kind guy I will do it for him Insha’Allah. The surrogated theory is that the radiation comes from a background of gaseous and stellar exudations. But now its time for the nail in Vargo’s argumentations emblematic coffin; COBE also confirmed that the radiation had to emanate from the universe itself, due to “the fidelity of the CBR to a blackbody spectrum”. Thus, the CBR has to be the radiation remnant of the big bang; there is quite simply no other option to this fact and hence there is just no real alternative to the Big Bang.2 I could just leave it at that because the aforementioned is undisputed empirical evidence for the Big Bang model. However, because I do not want to make it easy for the missionaries to cop out of this hilarious blunder I will push onwards and address Vargo’s other two arguments against the standard model of the universe as taught in universities worldwide.
Argument Two: The Amount of Helium Within the Universe, For or Against the Standard Model?
I find it to be phenomenal how Vargo has failed to quote a book from after the year 1994; considering how daedal our wondrous field of cosmology is and how fast the consensus changes, this must be noted as one of Vargo’s major fallacies, i.e. failing to keep up with cosmological advancement. Learn from experience, my friend.
Now he relegates us to a paper written by Alan Guth, however it is clear that the paper he refers us to has absolutely nothing to do with the helium problem. The very name of the paper, “A Possible Solution to the Horizon and Flatness Problem” clearly shows that the paper was on what some call “the causality riddle”; the lack of any natural explanation for the universe’s smoothness, albeit for theists this is no problem, and the paper was also trying to tackle the geometric idiosyncrasy of the universe once again a pseudo-problem for us theists.
Now by the 1950’s the amount of helium was explained, but granted there was indeed an original gradiose exigency demanding an explanation on the vast amount of helium within the universe. Stars as everyone should know progenerate helium, however the Big Bang actualized most of the helium present in our universe today and then the rest was created by stellar paroxysm. Furthermore helium has actually gone a long way to poise the big bang model, for the aggregated quantity of helium can be used so as to confirm the amount of species of neutrinos. Theoretical data from the big bang model predicted the existence of three species of neutrinos, measurements of the amount of helium coupled with amazing amounts of deuterium as well as lithium asseverate that there are three species of neutrino’s; so we now have two empirical positive predications of the standard model.
Argument Three: The Redshift, For or Against the Standard Model?
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa says: Waalssamaa banaynaha bi-aydin wa-inna lamoosioona, meaning, “And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, Holy Ayaah 47)
It is patently lucid that Vargo has not even an infinitesimal clue as to what a cosmic red shift is let alone whether or not they affirm or negate the standard Big Bang model. Observational evidence testifies to the fact that the universe is steadily expanding, so if a cosmic source is approaching an observer he/she will see a “blueshift”; that is when light waves are agglomerated and are thus tousled to more extensive frequencies. Hence if the source is moving away from the observer light waves shift to lower frequencies thus resulting in what we call a “redshift”. Edwin Hubble measured the redshift in the light from remote galaxies; his measurements proved that the universe is indeed enlarging.3 Vargo preys on an error of Edwin Hubble that has since been rectified in light of cosmological advancement.
Hubble interpreted the extragalactic red shift in terms of the Doppler shift, “however, the red shift is caused by the relativistic expansio of the universe itself, but this was not understood at the time that Hubble and Humason were compiling their data..”4 The measurement problems Vargo mentions are due to the those who did the measuring, to quote Christianity’s most prominent philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig, “…the anomalous red-shifts; these have been around for a long time, and they continue to be cleared up as better and better measurements are made of the objects that have these shifts.”
I genuinely hope you are reading this, Mr. Vargo, and I do not want you to be abashed by the aforementioned; cosmology is a wonderful field, alhamdulillah. However, my friend, you must put in the hard yards. I suggest you purchase upgraded text books and always make it a point to keep up with the latest cosmological data, Insha’Allah. Now bethinking on my neoteric interpretation of Surah al-Anbiyaa Holy Ayaah 30 the rest of Vargo’s criticism falls apart; except a few last dash’s of aberrant, senseless and unadulterated falsehood. First of all Vargo completely prevaricates the Islamic view of creation; allow me to outline the account real quick Insha’Allah.
1. Creation of the universe from nothing. (Surah al Anaam, Holy Ayaah 101)
2. The heavens and the earth were mixed or blended in the inceptive conditions of the universe. This is after the universe’s initial instant of creation (Surah al-Anbiyaa, Holy Ayaah 30)
3. “Fatq” the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction; which then annihilated all of the anti-matter as well as most of the matter, except a small remnant thus the first elements came about. (Ibid.)
4. The universe remains nothing but vapor i.e gaseous elements as the earth is created. (Surah Fussilat, Holy Ayaats 9-12)
5. Stars are beautified and the rest of the cosmos continue to change by the Will of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa. (Surah al Imran, Holy Ayaah 109)
And yes stars can exist in the gaseous stage; the Arabic word used for smoke in the Holy Ayaah is “dukhan” which can mean “smoke”, “mist” or “vapor”. Smoke in classical semantics can mean flying particles as well as a mist or vapor according to the Macquarie dictionary. Mist can mean a cloud of particles resembling a fog or a cloud like entity, and vapor is just a substance in the gaseous state. All of which can describe the universes initial conditions after baryogenesis, inflation (exponential increase in R), the fundamental particles, and the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction. “All stars are huge balls of gas, mostly hydrogen held together by gravity.”5
Keeping in mind that gravity is merely a dynamism and is in fact the weakest of the four fundamental forces and it is carried by a purely hypothetical massless boson “the graviton, which has not yet been detected. Now the gas that makes up a star is held together by two competing forces, keeping in mind that dukhan can be translated as vapor as discussed before; which is in turn merely a substance in a gaseous state. Stars can thus be counted in the universal stage that is described in Surah Fussilat Holy Ayaah 12 as stars are merely gas held together by their hydrostatic equilibrium.(Keeping in mind that the majority of the Galaxy is still filled with clouds of gas). Hence all of Vargo’s objections with regards to the order of Creation are silenced.
So we now confront the plagiarism hypothesis, Carrier and Giron proposed similar if not identical arguments indeed the tautology is rather frustrating. Anyway Vargo writes:
- The Hindu Rig Veda says that the universe was created when the golden “cosmic egg” was split.
The point is that in the creation myths, none of the them explain that the heavens and the earth were “mixed or blended”; on the contrary they assume that either there was a solid cosmic egg (as Vargo points out) or that the the heavens and the earth where two solid objects that somehow got intertwined.
All of the myths contain necromantic aspects from thaumaturgic wind coiling like a massive serpent; to physical beings breathing in space. The Holy Qur’an contains none of the aforementioned flaws/errors rather, Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa explains that the heavens and the earth were once mixed or blended; and then split asunder.
Vargo needs to point out where the presupposed plagiarism is within the Holy Qur’an and why it does not include the erroneous aspects of the older creation myths. Via Vargo’s flawed logic, when Darwin proposed the theory of evolution since the Greeks believed in an agnate theory of human origins, he must have merely been plagiarizing from the Greeks who also predicted that man evolved from a common source. Needless to say, Vargo’s assertion is ab absurdo. The ancients did indeed guess various details with regards to nature that have been substantiated, so if the Holy Qur’an mentions a correct phenomena that was perhaps encompassed in older cultures; that is not grounds to claim that the Holy Qur’an is the accruement of “cultural borrowing”.
All in all, Vargo has made a bold claim yet provided nothing pertinent to the furtherance of his theory; alas, we see that Answering Islam has no respect for scholarship nor the Truth.
And only God knows best.
- Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006; p. 412 [⤺]
- For a brief discussion on quantum alternatives and a critique of the SEC model please see my paper The Ultimate Questions [⤺]
- Edwin Hubble, “A Relation between distance and radial velocity among extra-galactic nebulae” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 15 (1929): pp. 168-73 [⤺]
- Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006, p. 290 [⤺]
- Ibid., p. 126 [⤺]