What are they thinking?

I was looking over reports of a “Quran and Scientific Truths” conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. (I can find only this in English; there’s a lot more in Turkish.)

There’s nothing all that new in it—mostly the usual science-in-the-Quran nonsense. But, as always, the conference included a host of Turkish academics in engineering and science fields giving talks about the scientific miracles in the Quran.

What I don’t get is this. All these chemists and engineers and so forth lining up to affirm science being revealed in the Holy Book, they’re not idiots. Even if they teach in provincial universities in a second rate country, they have enough brains to have accomplished something in science or applied science. Doesn’t it occur to them that their miracle stories would be utter embarrassments in any audience that were predominantly non-Muslims? They know damn well that if they’re talking about real chemistry, say, if what they claim has any substance, it will succeed in an audience composed of chemists from all over the world. But surely they must be aware that their miracle claims will not work the same way.

So, are they in fact not aware of this? Do they bury it deep and ignore it when in a serving-the-faith mode of operating? How do these people, with some real scientific or engineering backgrounds, manage to be so artless and naive in claiming that their science-in-the-Quran bullshit is for real? There’s some fascinating psychology here, and I really don’t understand it.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University