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Book: Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth
Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth
Mirza Tahir Ahmad
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Life in the Perspective of Quranic Revelations—A Brief Introductory Chapter
Origin of Life—Different Theories and Propositions
The Jinn
The Essential Role of Clay and Photosynthesis in Evolution
Survival by Accident or Design?
Chirality or Sidedness in Nature
Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest
Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest (continued)
Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest (continued 2)
A Game of Chess or a Game of Chance!
The Future of Life on Earth
Organic Systems and Evolution
The 'Blind Watchmaker' Who Is Also Deaf and Dumb
The 'Blind Watchmaker' Who Is Also Deaf and Dumb (continued)
The 'Blind Watchmaker' Who Is Also Deaf and Dumb (continued 2)
Part VI
Part VII
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The 'Blind Watchmaker' Who Is Also Deaf and Dumb (continued 2)

ENOUGH OF COMPUTER GAMES! Now we take up the case of the honey-bee. How by the application of Darwinian principles could the internal mechanism of the honey-bee have been conceived without a designer with any specific purpose in mind? How genes could have fashioned and created the honey-bee with all its fantastic behavioural wonders is equally incomprehensible. Can any scientist explain how this internal mechanism gradually evolved with all its functional abilities? The way it sees, the way its eyes and vision are modelled in perfect unison with its outer world of flowers and fruits is, in itself, a grave challenge to the naturalists who deny design. What forces, if any, shape them and how could they have slowly unfolded into existence by themselves? That is not all there is to it. The manner it builds its honeycomb and collects material for it also requires a lot of explaining on the part of the naturalists. Just to find material is common to all living animals but to create that material to suit a precise purpose is rare. This is exactly what the honey-bee does.

'Flakes of wax are removed by the enlarged first tarsal joint of the hind leg from four paired glands on the underside of the abdomen and passed forward for construction manipulations by the front legs and mandibles ... The wax is mixed with saliva and kneaded to the proper consistency and degree of plasticity at which it can best be molded.' 23

Why should an insect with a mind which cannot conceive the scientific intricacies of the material world suddenly begin to employ them to its own advantage? Thus a slow, gradual building of the honey-bee's mind as well as its intuitive knowledge of how it should build its dwelling and what material has to be employed, must have been ciphered into it by someone who knew. But there is far more to this than meets the eye. The cells of which the honeycomb is constructed are all hexagonal with walls which meet at exactly 120 degrees.

'The comb itself is one of the marvels of animal architecture. It consists of a regular back-to-back array of hexagonal cells, arranged in parallel series, each comb a precise distance from its neighbor.' 24

Bees display fantastic engineering skills and their building gives the impression that they have been equipped with most sophisticated measuring instruments:

'The precision and strength of the newly built comb is remarkable. For example, cell wall thickness is 0.073 ± 0.002 mm, the angle between adjacent cell walls is an exact 120°, and each comb is generally constructed 0.95 cm from its neighbor.' 25

Born out of similar eggs, the offspring are divided into three different professional groups; the queens, the workers and the drones. The queen is capable of laying thousands of eggs in a day.

'The aptly named queen reigns over the nest, surrounded by attendants and fed the rich food she requires to perform her few but crucial tasks in the colony. Her slim lines hide the huge ovaries which make her an extraordinary egg-laying machine, capable of laying thousands of eggs a day, and her calm behaviour masks her powerful pheromones, chemical signals to recipient workers which control many of their behaviours and provide part of the social glue which holds honey bee life together.' 26

The drones who are also specially fed by the worker bees have strong masculine bodies. They only perform one function—mating with the queen, after which they die.

The main body of the colony consists of worker bees who collect pollen and make honey. They also array themselves around the rim, always watchful, always ready to defend the colony. Their functional ability to fly at an instant's notice depends however on their body temperature which must be maintained at 35°C. Temperature is no problem in the centre of the honeycomb which is protected from all sides but at the rim their temperature begins to fall because of the effects of the open air. They counter this problem by fanning their wings from time to time to build frictional energy.

The bees' nest, when built in the hollows of trees or in narrow caves, has a single entrance so air cannot ventilate it and the level of carbon dioxide and other gases in the air cannot be automatically maintained. Carbon dioxide tends to increase in proportion threatening the survival of the bees. To offset this danger, worker honey-bees keep moving, group by group, to the exit and sit there in a position with tails directed outwards. In that position they rapidly fan their wings so that fresh air wafts the stale air out. They do this for 10 seconds and are replaced by another batch of workers if needs be. They repeat the same feat when the temperature rises higher than 35°C. The well-maintained fanning at such times largely succeeds in controlling the temperature. They begin fanning simultaneously and stop simultaneously. In addition to fanning, they haul water instead of nectar into the honeycomb and deposit it around the cells which contain larvae sensitive to heat.

The honey-bees' choice of diet, the way each drop of honey is created from floral nectar, how the saliva must be mixed with it to provide it the viscosity it requires to become honey, is a marvel in itself. With every tiny spot of this mixture on their tongue, they have to stick it out repeatedly to finally mature it. For each drop of honey thus created, they have to make repeated sorties to the field in search of nectar. This goes on day in and day out until they fill the section of the honeycomb which is specifically reserved for this purpose. Somehow they know how to differentiate between ordinary honey and royal jelly which they manufacture entirely for the queen to be fed upon. Royal jelly has that special quality which provides the queen the reproductive energy for the rapid laying of eggs. Each day the queen can lay eggs equal to her body weight which is much more than the body weight of ordinary honey-bees. Again, royal jelly has the uncanny quality of increasing the age of the queen a hundred times longer than that of ordinary bees. The entire colony of some eighty thousand individuals are the queens' subjects. No better discipline can ever be displayed by human monarchies.

Apart from the tasks mentioned above there has to be a surveillance system, with competent workers, to find suitable new sites for the next colony to be built when the old colony is to be abandoned. The surveyor honey-bees who perform this task and the manner in which they do so are to be counted among the greatest wonders of life's behaviour. They span out in search of suitable well-protected sites which should also be close to some rich fields of nectar. Such sites may be situated at different distances from the floral fields and may be comparatively less or better suited for the new colony to be built. Comparing and analyzing all the information brought in by different surveyor bees has somehow to be done by the queen to judge the comparative merits of the site of her next colony. This information is conveyed to the queen by the surveyor bees in a manner which completely defeats comprehension. In fact the whole exercise is unique in the entire animal kingdom. It should have baffled the minds of the most advanced natural scientists as to how this strange communicative system could have come into existence without a designer and an executor. But do they ever ponder over these things, one wonders! Each surveyor when it returns to the colony performs a fantastic dance. Aligning itself in a precise direction it begins to dance and conveys all these messages through that dance and its directional posture to the queen. The information the dance communicates could not be conveyed better or more precisely in human language. It tells the queen what it has seen, where it has seen it, how far it is situated and how far from that site is an adequate floral field. It conveys the distance involved from the colony to the new site and from the new site to the floral field. It also describes the site itself in perfect detail, how well it is protected from natural interference, whether it is a hollow of a tree, a crevice in a rock or a spot on the stem of a tree well-surrounded by protective branches. Each surveyor takes its turn and the queen waits till all have finished. Only then does she decide what to do and takes flight in the exact direction of the site she has chosen. How the transfer is finalized and a new colony is finally built is another fantastic story.

At the end we must mention how honey-bees and honeycombs are hygienically maintained in a manner which puts to shame modern hospitals and clinics. In sharp contrast to the mosquito, the notorious carrier of viruses and germs, the honey-bee was discovered by researchers to carry no viruses or germs on its body. Having been utterly surprised they launched a new research programme to discover why this was so. This revealed an amazing story of how the bees manufacture their own disinfectant material by collecting it from certain resins of plants, now known as propolis. This material has the amazing quality of destroying all bacteria and viruses. The honey-bees having built their combs, paste this material on the rim of the entire comb. Each bee when it returns to the comb, steps first on that rim so that all viruses and bacteria which may have adhered to its tiny feet are destroyed by the propolis before it enters the colony.

We have discussed the honey-bee in some detail here while in the reference to the eight fantastic animals mentioned earlier we did not enter into an elaborate discussion. We have done so mainly because the Holy Quran specifically mentions the honey-bee in a manner which should resolve the riddle of life for naturalists. We have selected the case of the honey-bee for them to ponder and search far and wide to identify the creative forces which modelled them. Of course, the naturalists who specialize in this subject know far more than we do about the honey-bee and its complex world. To be quite honest, we doubt if they could lightly dismiss the case of the honey-bee and the wonders related to it merely to chance.

Let them lay down their arms and admit that there has to be a Creator. In the Holy Quran it is that Creator Who speaks and resolves the mysteries of life once and for all. With reference to the honey-bee the following is the Quranic statement:

And thy Lord has inspired the bee, saying, 'Make thou houses in the hills and in the trees and in the trellises which they build.

'Then eat of every kind of fruit, and follow the ways of thy Lord that have been made easy for thee.' There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying hues. Therein is cure for men. Surely, in that is a Sign for a people who reflect. 27

Of all the insects which pervade the world, God has picked just this one to demonstrate that when He communicates with an animal belonging to an ordinary species, how its status is lifted beyond comparison to that of the other members of the same species. What is a honey-bee after all, but a fly. Yet what a fly! It is only after the message is delivered to the honey-bee at the earliest stage of its creation and is imprinted in an intuitive language upon its genes that it begins to function as it does. It does not have to perform its functions consciously with a conscious control of its mind. The genes that teach it what to do have no mind of their own. But He who has created them has a mind and the genes simply function as slaves to His command. He has spoken Himself to demonstrate to the world that when He specifically chooses even an insignificant insect, it becomes supreme in the entire world of insects. It becomes a source of healing and cure, unlike other insects which carry and spread disease. They are poles apart in their function of life.

As far as the curative properties of honey are concerned, this is an ongoing research and the researchers who have already discovered some wonderful things about it are expecting far more yet to be revealed. Whatever medical science has identified so far is summed up in the following:

'Currently, honey treatment is used for gastrointestinal, some cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, skin, and neural diseases of the oral cavity, ear, throat, nose inflammatory affection of female genitals, and of the cervix of the uterus.' 28

One healing quality of honey which British scientists have discovered to their amazement is its ability to cure such eye sores as were otherwise considered incurable. Many a patient has been saved from total blindness by its application.

'Patients with ulcerous blepharitis and blepharo-conjunctivitis, under the influence of honey experienced that the itch and a sensation of sand in the eye disappeared; reddening of conjunctivas reduced or disappeared, ulcers of eye-lids edges, epithelisation of erosions and ulcers reduced in the duration of the treatment. With patients suffering from ray dystrophic processes, as a result of honey treatment, corneal epithelisation improved, photophobia disappeared and sight improved.' 28

Is there not a message in this for the naturalists to reflect upon? How we wonder, hoping against hope!

TO CONCLUDE our discussion, we reaffirm that the naturalists' denial of purpose in the design of the living is only because it would invariably lead to God. They would much rather prefer a deaf, dumb and blind agent to have created everything. They are purposefully deceitful because the blind principles of Darwinism are not creators. These principles only begin to operate when the creation is performed by other hands. They are powerful principles like the laws of physics. Yet all the laws of physics, chemistry and dynamics put together could not have created even a single poor man's shack complete with plumbing, a small kitchen and a toilet. Of course these laws are employed for such construction, but the employer has to be a conscious person with a brain. The brain is the master which employs the laws of nature.

The blind step forward theory can only work in some limited cases and they have to be critically examined to remove the confusion they could cause. The creation of coral islands is just the case in point. The death of each coral, out of trillions upon trillions of them, does not show any purpose. Yet when they pile up one upon the other, maybe in millions of years, the progressive enlargement of their mass ultimately creates coral islands. If we look back at how the process began and was completed, we may allude to it a purpose which apparently it does not possess. One could envisage mountains being built in the middle of the oceans so patiently, bit by bit, over aeons. They do not come to the notice of those living on land until they break to the surface. Then they begin to serve a purpose which we may read into their making when they become coral islands. They serve and support life in so many wonderful ways. This is the case of random bit by bit creation of things in whose creation a preceding purpose is not traceable. It may not have been there at all, yet their usefulness cannot be denied.

The laws of nature run independently if there is no mind to operate them. It is they who operate and govern everything that exists. The living are not exempt from this all-pervasive principle. The absence of a conscious mind to manipulate these laws completely does away with the imaginary line which is said to separate the living from the dead. If the brain of the living cannot design itself and cannot play any conscious role in the making of the body which possesses it, then the living and the dead are governed exactly alike by the same laws of nature. It has to be only these mindless laws which are responsible for the cumulative building of the bricks of life. If they are capable of building the bricks of life, they are far more likely to build a mere Empire State Building through the same cumulative bit by bit process. Yet the naturalists contradict themselves and refuse to believe the bit by bit piling up of the Empire State Building by cumulative random steps, however small tiny and insignificant they may have been. Here they artificially create a divide between the laws of nature at work on dead matter and the laws of nature at work on the living. In reality no such divide should exist if there is no conscious operator of natural laws on either side. Naturalists confess that there is no conscious operator in the case of the living, hence they must admit there is no difference between the living and the dead. All that remain are the free laws of nature, working on the living as well as the dead. If they by themselves could create things as complex as the bricks of life, then for them to create the Empire State Building should have been much less difficult than the building of a molehill by a mole. The only objection, which in fact is no objection at all, may relate to the time available. But the time available to nature at work on the dead is far greater than that available in relation to the evolution of life. Forget for a while the existing Empire State Building because it is a known fact that it was created by a conscious mind. Visualize instead the possibility of hundreds of thousands of far loftier and more complex skyscrapers created merely by the physical laws of nature during the last fifteen billion years or so. Remember that the laws remain exactly the same in the case of the living as well as the dead, and remember that the existence of a conscious mind is ruled out by naturalists in both cases. Hence no divide between the two can exist if sanity must prevail. As such, the bit by bit creation of complexities and order must be evident in both cases alike. Hence any person who believes in the creation of life without a mind preceding it has every hypothetical right to jump to the top of the Empire State Building and pronounce from its loftiness: this building is the work of trillions of piled up random chances. There is no design and no conscious preceding mind which perceived it. It is only a delusion entertained by some stupid religious people who are over-impressed by the exquisiteness of the finished work. The same pronouncement should also apply with equal force to the evolutionists who deny purpose and design in the evolution of life. They stand at the pinnacle of evolution where it culminated in man. Looking down from their vantage point, the Empire State Building should have appeared as the tiniest of spots somewhere on the planet Earth. Yet they shout at the top of their voices: there is no design, no purpose to our creation, we are impossible to exist, yet we appear to exist. All the world is an illusion. You think that we exist and we have the illusion that you also exist. Thus the whole universe is a chain of illusions like those entertained by subjective philosophers. To dispel the illusion of existence, think once again of the haemoglobin number and vanish into nothingness!

By denying the existence of a Creator who has to be a person with a conscious mind and all the powers to implement His decisions, they try to replace Him with a formless idea. It is this absurdity, to attribute the process of creation or selection to a mindless idea, which is categorically rejected in the following verse of the Holy Quran:

Have they feet wherewith they walk, or have they hands wherewith they hold, or have they eyes wherewith they see, or have they ears wherewith they hear? Say, 'Call upon the partners you associate with God, then contrive ye all against me, and give me no time'. 29

This Quranic statement is evidently addressed to the idolaters of that age and reminds them that though they believe that their gods are living persons possessing human forms, yet they are mere formless ideas. The statement should have ended here and the question of time should not have been raised as it is raised. The last part of this verse clearly implies that mere ideas cannot create, though they may have as much time as possible at their disposal. God on the other hand is not dependent on any vast expanse of time for His creative faculties. In its entirety, the verse can only apply to the modern idea of natural selection which is claimed to be responsible for the evolution of life provided it is given enough time. The factor of time in the context of natural selection is fundamentally essential. A limbless, armless, mindless vague idea is proposed to work in the frame of an enormous time to suit the theory of bit by bit evolution. Squeeze the time to a mere billion years and the theory immediately begins to crack and fall apart. This leaves no doubt that it is time which is all-important to them in the creative processes of life. This is exactly what the Quran denies in effect when it says: Formless ideas can have as much time as they may, but God with His creative faculties can create in practically no time.

This factor of time has only gained importance in the modern age, in relation to Darwinian principles. One may have doubts that this verse was intended to apply to this modern concept but the fact that the whole idea of the verse is so perfectly applicable to it can in no way be denied. Intended or not intended the theory of natural selection could not have been criticized in better words.

Naturalists claim that both the function of creation and the function of selection are performed by forces which are separate yet work in perfect unison. They would have us believe that the mindless genes create, and a formless, impersonal law of natural selection selects. At the same time however, they dismiss the issue of genes as though taken for granted and subjugate them to the authority of natural selection. Thus they unite the two functions which have to be treated as separate, combining them in a most absurd manner. If genes recede into an inconspicuous position as creators, what is left into the bargain is merely a selector which admittedly has no mind with a conscious decision-making faculty. Genes thus pushed aside, natural selection is the only factor which remains in the field. In this sense the separate functions of creation and selection are moulded, without justification, into one. However, no scientist with the slightest idea of what Darwin propounds can attribute to him the claim that natural selection could also directly create. There has to be some creation before natural selection can begin to work. It is this dilemma which the proponents of natural selection can never resolve.

THE HOLY QURAN presents a completely different picture fitting perfectly into the slot of the problem. The Quran declares that the realities of evolution require that the creator and the selector cannot be two separate persons. Whoever creates, it is only He Who can select from His own creative works. What He does not select as the next advanced character is not wiped out of existence but remains to widen the base of His creation at every such level playing a meaningful role in the scheme of things. Thus every time a step forward in evolution is taken, the base of evolution is simultaneously broadened to support what has been added to its rising column.

According to the Quran, man could not have occupied the lofty position he occupies and maintained it without the ecosystem which the lower order of animal life provides. To this the following verse specifically refers:

And if Allah were to punish men for their wrongdoing, He would not leave thereon any animal, but He gives them respite till an appointed term; and when their term is come, they cannot remain behind a single hour, nor can they go ahead of it. 30

The most significant point to be noted is that it is the entire animal life which would be wiped out if man is to be punished. It is evident that the entire lower order of life serves no purpose other than to maintain the human life above. If that goes, they all go.

Thus the final all-important question which has to be raised and answered by philosophers, scientists and those who believe that natural selection virtually plays both the role of a selector and a creator in the scheme of things, is precisely the following:

They must somehow be combined in the person of the creator and not in that of a selector who cannot create. This is the only logical conclusion which anyone can draw. But this can only lead to God, which the naturalist would struggle hard to avoid. It was to eliminate this inevitable conclusion that Darwin attempted to attribute both these functions to natural selection in an indirect manner. Did Darwin ever present the idea that natural selection could also create? To the best of our knowledge, he never did so. He knew, like any intelligent man should have known that the role of selection and that of creation are two separate functions. It would be far more logical if he who performed the function of creation should also have performed the function of selection out of his own creation. This could not suit the blind theory of evolution, hence all the hectic effort to eliminate a conscious creator who could also be the selector. However, it is impossible to conceive a separate plan of selection and a separate plan of creation, both unconscious, yet moving forward hand in hand. Darwin seems to have resolved this problem by suggesting that since natural selection approves the bodies created by genes, so in a manner of speaking, natural selection also acquires the role of a creator in an indirect way.

WE have written elsewhere at length, rejecting the proposition that the products of genes can be accredited to natural selection directly or indirectly. But here we wish to point out that to attribute creative factors to genes and to simultaneously deprive them of conscious know-how is inherently contradictory. It is absurdity supreme to begin the evolutionary journey from genes without resolving the factors which created genes themselves. It is impossible for a proponent of Darwinism to demonstrate how natural selection could have played any role in the creation of genes. How and why genes create without possessing the creative faculties of a conscious mind is the question which should have been addressed first. In a nutshell, a conscious creator of genes has to be identified or it has to be admitted that unconscious genes created themselves as though they were highly competent and conscious creative faculties. It is intriguing to visualize any mindless thing creating itself with masterly dexterity. The naturalists begin their journey without investigating this most essential prerequisite. Their failure to address this question is because it is impossible for them to answer it without disrupting their own evolutionary scheme. The Holy Quran has a straightforward answer to resolve this riddle by declaring:

And thy Lord creates whatever He pleases and selects. It is not for them to select. Glorified be Allah, and far is He above all that they associate. 31

The main thrust of this verse is that the task of selection is primarily the prerogative of the Creator and the two cannot be separated.

God proclaims Himself to be that Creator Who selects from His own creation. This is how it should be and this is exactly what it is. No naturalist can alter this and replace Him with a mindless Creator of his own choice. In a desperate attempt to do so, they try to combine in natural selection the additional role of a creator. Thus they would much rather believe in a know-nothing mindless principle both as a selector and a creator—lacking consciousness either way. They prefer to be fathered by a mere nothingness.

All they are left with is a mindless, non-personal, deaf, dumb and blind principle which they believe must have created them. Incidentally, this brings to mind the saying: like father, like son. They may take pride in this, but we beg to strongly differ. We much rather prefer to be the work of a Creator Who possesses a supreme mind and the power to implement what He designs. We have to believe in Him or we must deny ourselves the faculties of head and heart which we seem to own. If the non-believers have any option to select, it is here they must exercise that option. Which of the two creators will they select for themselves, is a matter for them to decide.

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  1. WINSTON, M.L., (1991) The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press, London, p.83
  2. WINSTON, M.L., (1991) The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press, London, p.81
  3. WINSTON, M.L., (1991) The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press, London, p.83
  4. WINSTON, M.L., (1991) The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press, London, p.1
  5. Translation of 16:69–70 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
  6. MOZHERENKOV, V.P., SHUBINA, L.F. (1982) Use of Honey In Treating Eye Diseases—Translation of Russian Article: Feldsher Akush.
  7. Translation of 7:196 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
  8. Translation of 16:62 by the author.
  9. Translation of 28:69 by the author.


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