News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 14, 2009 in News

William Lane Craig debated German scholar Michael Schmidt-Salomon about the existence of God in 2005. Does anybody want to translate this transcript from German to English?

The natural origins for yet another building block of life has been discovered.

The best radio/podcast episode on morality I’ve ever heard is this one from WNYC Radiolab. It’s common knowledge for current students of ethics, but it’s still not well known among the public, and the episode is very well-produced.

1000 Mistakes in the Koran.

I updated my list of 100+ Philosophers of Religion and Their Best Work to make it more readable.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Derrida November 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

The google translation of the debate is hilariously garbled:

“Craig asserts that the Big Bang theory of the postulate of an eternally existing, contradictory to itself resulting universe would. Here, however, he is wrong huge!”


TK November 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Word order in German often doesn’t lend itself to a literal translation. (consider “Ich muss Deutsch lernen” = “I must German to learn”!)

I can do the translation but it will take me some time (at least a week), as I’m not fluent. (If Craig ever has a debate in Swedish I’ll be massively helpful.) Better if someone fluent will volunteer. Note, however, that Craig’s first speech is pretty much just a sentence-by-sentence German translation of his English opening arguments, so no one is missing anything there.


lukeprog November 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm


That is most generous of you, especially considering you are not fluent!


MuslimgirlfromNZ November 16, 2009 at 1:16 am


I’d just firstly like to say I really appreciate your website- there’s so much here to look through!

But I’d just like to note that the “1000 mistakes in the “Koran”" is just a really really sad excuse for a critical analysis.

In order to fill up the big 1000 he had to repeat that the Quran is a lie everytime it asserts that it’s the truth.

And the first mistake is seriously just..
well read it and judge for yourself.
The first chapter in the Quran is a prayer to God – WOW how can God have written a prayer to Himself!? Is God praying to Himself?
Hmm.. I believe you’re intelligent enough to see the flaw for yourself.

The seven Heavens “mistake”.
First of all I really dont know where this guy gets his info about Islam.
The first Heaven is our Universe. The other 6 are above (or beyond) our Universe – i.e. unseen. This is simply not something Science has the capability of addressing at this point.

Second of all.. from my reading I see that the word “samaa” in Arabic can both mean “sky” and “heaven”
Heaven – the Universe-like Heaven I explained.
Sky – it can actually be seen as a canopy because the atmosphere protects us from harmful rays from the Sun.
Not the “bending of light” this guy seems to be talking about.

Third of all, if critics want to be taken seriously they should atleast know how to correctly spell what they’re critiquing.

It’s Qur’an not “Koran”



AtheistguyfromFrance November 24, 2009 at 11:36 pm

MuslimgirlfromNZ: The seven Heavens “mistake”.
First of all I really dont know where this guy gets his info about Islam.
The first Heaven is our Universe. The other 6 are above (or beyond) our Universe – i.e. unseen. This is simply not something Science has the capability of addressing at this point.

Yes, of course Heaven=universe (as we know it). It’s limpid when we read these verses:

65.12 Allah is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge.

67.3: He Who created the seven heavens one above another: No want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of((Allah)) Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?

071.015 “‘See ye not how God has created the seven heavens one above another,
071.016 “‘And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?

078.012 And (have We not) built over you the seven
078.013 And placed (therein) a Light of Splendour?

and this hadith from Abu-Dawud:


Book 40, Number 4705:

Narrated Al-Abbas ibn AbdulMuttalib:

I was sitting in al-Batha with a company among whom the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was sitting, when a cloud passed above them.

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) looked at it and said: What do you call this? They said: Sahab.

He said: And muzn? They said: And muzn. He said: And anan? They said: And anan. AbuDawud said: I am not quite confident about the word anan. He asked: Do you know the distance between Heaven and Earth? They replied: We do not know. He then said: The distance between them is seventy-one, seventy-two, or seventy-three years. The heaven which is above it is at a similar distance (going on till he counted seven heavens). Above the seventh heaven there is a sea, the distance between whose surface and bottom is like that between one heaven and the next. Above that there are eight mountain goats the distance between whose hoofs and haunches is like the distance between one heaven and the next. Then Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, is above that.
Yeah sure, Muhammad is talking about multiverse here. Makes perfect sense.
Seriously, Muslimgirl you can spare us your ridiculous eisegesis and other kind of hogwash read on the net or pulled from you credulous mind. With a minimal scientific exegesis we can say with a high probability that Muhammad, like the Israelites and some pagans cultures, believed that the reality above him was made of seven heavens (and topped by water as in the Bible).

MuslimgirlfromNZ: Third of all, if critics want to be taken seriously they should atleast know how to correctly spell what they’re critiquing.

It’s Qur’an not “Koran”


Another worthless remark. To blame this translitteration
is truly petty or I guess that many islamologists can’t
spell too. Can you understand that in English diacritic
signs don’t have obligatory the same signification and
that an apostrophe doesn’t equal a hamza ?
In French, almost everybody, scholar or not, muslim or not, use the word Coran and it’s good like that.

It’s really funny to see the discrepancy between your permanent professoral tone and the profound inanity of your assertions.
*Shudder* indeed.


MuslimgirlfromNZ December 1, 2009 at 11:15 pm

@Atheist guy from France:
Professoral tone? I hope I don’t have that.. I’m a 19 yr old Muslim student who knows very little about her religion – but what little I know is the little I wish to share.

But thank you for pointing that out, I will take care not to puff my own chest too much.


lukeprog December 2, 2009 at 12:00 am


A while ago I asked what you think the Qur’an says about how to treat non-Muslims. Did I miss your reply, or do you have time to answer? I’d be curious to hear your views on that.


MuslimgirlfromNZ February 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

As for your question about what the Qur’an says about treating non-muslims(Sorry this is so late I just saw your question), there is a verse which, I believe, answers it pretty well:

8 Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.
9 Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.

- The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 60


Just wanted to respond to AtheistguyfromFrance even though he’s probably not going to see this, but perhaps it’ll benefit someone if they come across it.
I just wanted to point out that when I say Muslims believe that the first Heaven is this universe im not getting that from myself:

5 And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.
- Holy Qur’an, Chapter 67
“this lower heaven” meaning the first out of the 7 heavens – the lamps here being the stars, and so the verse rules out the possibility of the other 6 heavens being part of the seen Universe, as the verse implies that only the lower heaven are adorned with stars.

Secondly, I would argue that either the hadeeth is unauthentic or else the hadeeth is describing the space “between” the Heavens because it is highly unlikely that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH would say that theres only 72 years as the width of one ‘Heaven’ seeing as the shade of a single tree in Paradise (in one of the 6 Heavens) is said to be ’100 years wide’ . I say it could be unauthentic because ‘Abu Dawud’ himself – the collector of ‘Sunan Abu Dawud’ admitted himself that his books contain unauthentic hadeeths. There are many such hadeeths (as the one about the tree) depicting the unimaginable vastness of the heavens that make it seem unlikely, and I have been exploring the hadeeths about this topic and apparently there are a lot of them that talk about ‘the width of the heavens’ – most of them seem to say that between them is 500 years, but so far none of the ones I’ve read are sahih which is the highest level of authenticity.

Anyway thanks for the space to share my thoughts.
Feel free to e-mail me if you have any queries.



Leave a Comment