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  1. (bismillah) "We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Quran) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?" (The Qur'an 41:53) (salam) Visit this site to see the Scale of the Universe, Subhanallah Subhanallah there are things unknown to us smaller than the neutron, the neutron is nothing compared to the atom, the atom is nothing compared to the virus, the virus is nothing compared to the bacteria, the bacteria is nothing compared to an ant, the ant is nothing compared to the egg, the egg is nothing compared to the shoe, the shoe is nothing compared to the size of a baby, the size of the baby is nothing compared to the size of the adult, you are nothing compared to a mountain, the mountain is nothing compared to the state, the state is nothing compared to the country, the country is nothing compared to the world, the world is nothing compared to the sun, the sun is nothing compared to the largest stars, the largest stars are nothing compared to the galaxy.... the galaxy is nothing compared to the largest galaxy.... keep zooming out and see how nothing you really are. "He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth." (The Qur'an, 6:101) "And the heaven (is also a sign). We have built it with (Our) Hands (i.e., Capability) and surely We are indeed extending (it) wide." (The Qur'an, 51:47) "All that are in the heavens and the earth entreat Him. Every day He exerciseth (universal) power." (The Qur'an 55:29) "And (remember) the Day when We shall roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books, as We began the first creation, We shall repeat it, (it is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it." (The Qur'an 21:104) "Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is." (The Qur'an 2:117) "So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed in every heaven its affair; and We adorned the lower heaven with brilliant stars and (made it) to guard; that is the decree of the Mighty, the Knowing." (The Qur'an 41:12) Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven when it was 'Dukhan' (دخان), and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly." They both said: "We come, willingly." (Al-Qur'an, سورة فصلت , Fussilat, Chapter #41, Verse #11) Therefore keep waiting for the day when the heaven shall bring an evident 'Dukhan' (دخان), (Al-Qur'an, سورة الدخان , Ad-Dukhan, Chapter #44, Verse #10) To me, these two ayat are very amazing because they inform us of something about the Universe which we have only recently discovered, and by informing us of this, Allah is encouraging us to continue our investigations and scientific pursuits, and then to reflect on our findings, so that we can understand our reality and the true greatness of Allah which is infinitely greater than we can never imagine. Subhanallah, this information, from the Qur'an, hadith, and our current understanding of the Universe, really sheds light on the following narration: Subhanallah... All of the things we know about the Universe, how small we are, how small the atoms are, how large the stars are, how large the galaxies are, how large the visible universe is, and steadily expands... the speed of a turtle, the speed of light... the weight of a feather, the weight of a mountain, the weight of an asteroid.... the darkness of a closet, the darkness of the depths of space.... All of these are but drops in an ocean of wisdom held by our Prophets and Imaams (sa). Consider the following hadith, which is included as part of the Foreword of Al-Kafi: Allahumma sullee `3la Muhammad wa alee Muhammad wa a'jill farajahum Peace be upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and may Allah hasten their reappearance (salam)
  2. There are two ways in which Science and Religion can be said to be in conflict. The first way is in the content of their teachings, so for example science says that the Universe is billions of years old, but some evangelicals relying in the Bible say that its much younger. So here we have a conflict between what science tells us and what (a particular) religion tells us. This is one type of conflict The second type of conflict is between the methodologies of science and religion. An atheist writes: http://mwillett.org/atheism/relsci.htm The basic idea is that the method science uses to arrive at conclusions is very different to the method of religion. Science relies on observation, repeated testing, and is tentative. Religion on the other hand relies on authority, inspiration, and is closed to challenge. This post is about the supposed latter type of conflict between science and religion: the methodological conflict. I'll start by granting (for the sake of argument only) the following implicit assumptions that atheists like the one quoted above make: 1. There is such a things as The methodology of science and The methodology of religion 2. These methodologies are truly different These assumptions can be challenged, but I'm not going to do that. Instead I will show that even if science and religion have different methodologies, it doesn't follow that there is a conflict between them. There is a third implicit assumption which I'm not willing to grant: 3. If two methods of gaining knowledge are different, then they are in conflict Those who argue that there is a conflict between science and religion need 3 to be true, because if it wasnt, then merely pointing out that science and religion have different methods of arriving at conclusions wouldnt be enough to show that there is a conflict. So why believe that 3 is true? Just because there is a difference doesn't mean that there is a conflict. For example, there is a difference between French and German, football and tennis, and yellow and blue. Does that mean that French is in conflict with German, or that football is in conflict with tennis. Is the colour yellow in conflict with the colour blue? Quite obviously, difference does not entail conflict, so the proponent of 3 needs to do some work to convince us that 3 is true. He may argue that whilst difference per se doesnt entail conflict, difference in methodologies does entail conflict. But this is just begging the question. Why should we believe that? Restating the premise is no good, we need an argument for why it's true. We can go further than simply pointing out that 3 is unsupported by giving a positive argument against 3. Take the following two methods of arriving at conclusions: vision and testimony. The method of vision is different to the method of testimony, but that doesnt mean that there is a conflict between vision and testimony. Sure sometimes testimony might tell us one thing but vision will tell us something else, but that doesnt force us to say that the method of testimony is in conflict with that of vision. Likewise with religion - even if religion sometimes tells us one thing but science another, this doesnt mean that there is a conflict between science and religion. The argument that religion conflicts with science because of different methods is bunk.
  3. Interesting doco - thought I would share. There's 3 parts to it, here's the first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syw-hM63m1s&feature=related
  4. This is cool stuff. I always enjoy reading about relatives of the ungulate SuperOrder. Elephants and Rhinos have the most amazing variation in fossils that have been found simply because they existed so recently ago and had so many beneficial means of preservation. Woolly Rhino Fossil Discovery in Tibet Provides Important Clues to Evolution of Ice Age Giants ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2011) — A new paper published in the journal Science reveals the discovery of a primitive woolly rhino fossil in the Himalayas, which suggests some giant mammals first evolved in present-day Tibet before the beginning of the Ice Age. The extinction of Ice Age giants such as woolly mammoths and rhinos, giant sloths, and saber-tooth cats has been widely studied, but much less is known about where these giants came from, and how they acquired their adaptations for living in a cold environment. A team of geologists and paleontologists led by Xiaoming Wang from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) and Qiang Li of Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, uncovered a complete skull and lower jaw of a new species of woolly rhino (Coelodonta thibetana) in 2007, at the foothills of the Himalayas in southwestern Tibetan Plateau. "Cold places, such as Tibet, Arctic, and Antarctic, are where the most unexpected discoveries will be made in the future -- these are the remaining frontiers that are still largely unexplored," said the NHM's Dr. Wang. There are dual connections between the new paper and the Natural History Family of Museums (including the Natural History Museum and the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits). Dr. Wang contributed to NHM's Age of Mammals exhibition, which depicts the creation of the Himalayan Mountains and Tibetan Plateau, and subsequent climactic changes of the Pleistocene Ice Age. Additionally, the largest Ice Age megafauna collection in the world is excavated, researched, and displayed at the Page Museum. The new rhino is 3.6 million years old (middle Pliocene), much older and more primitive than its Ice Age (Pleistocene) descendants in the mammoth steppes across much of Europe and Asia. The extinct animal had developed special adaptations for sweeping snow using its flattened horn to reveal vegetation, a useful behavior for survival in the harsh Tibetan climate. These rhinos lived at a time when global climate was much warmer and the northern continents were free of the massive ice sheets seen in the Ice Age later. The rhino accustomed itself to cold conditions in high elevations and became pre-adapted for the future Ice Age climate. When the Ice Age eventually arrived around 2.6 million years ago, the new paper posits, the cold-loving rhinos simply descended from the high mountains and began to expand throughout northern Asia and Europe. In addition to the new woolly rhino, the paleontologist team also uncovered extinct species of three-toed horse (Hipparion), Tibetan bharal (Pseudois, also known as blue sheep), chiru (Pantholops, also known as Tibetan antelope), snow leopard (Uncia), badger (Meles), as well as 23 other kinds of mammals. The team's new fossil assemblage from Tibet offers new insights into the origin of the cold-adapted Pleistocene megafauna, which has usually been sought either in the arctic tundra or in the cold steppes elsewhere. This new evidence offers an alternative scenario: the harsh winters of the rising Tibetan Plateau may have provided the initial step towards cold-adaptation for several subsequently successful members of the late Pleistocene mammoth fauna in Europe, Asia, and to a lesser extent, North America. The Tibetan Plateau may have been another cradle of the Ice Age giants. "This discovery clarifies the origin of the woolly rhinoceros -- and perhaps much of the now extinct, cold-adapted, Pleistocene Eurasian megafauna -- as the high-altitude environments of the Zanda Basin of the primordial Pliocene Himalayas," said H. Richard Lane of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Earth Sciences. Financial support for this research is provided by Chinese National Natural Science Foundation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Geographic Society, and National Science Foundation of the United States.
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