Scientific Miracles in the Quran
The concept of scientific miracles in the Quran basically means that there (supposedly) is scientific information in the Quran that wasn't known in the 7th century when the Quran was first written which proves that the Quran's origin is divine.
Islamic apologists came with many claims about scientific miracles in the Quran. Usually after science discovers something, they re-interpret some Quranic verses and claim that "the Quran mentioned it 1400 years ago".
- 1 Deceptive tactics
- 1.1 Presenting vague verses as very specific
- 1.2 Mistranslations
- 1.3 Data-mining
- 1.4 Presenting parables as literal descriptions of nature
- 1.5 Ignoring alternative explanations
- 1.6 Ignoring the fact that the scientific interpretation came only after science made the discovery
- 1.7 Presenting Quranic descriptions of the Judgement Day as descriptions of the current universe
- 1.8 Presenting descriptions of supernatural events as descriptions of nature
- 1.9 Presenting description of an event as a description of a general rule
- 1.10 Quoting the Quran out of context
- 1.11 Quoting scientific information out of context
- 1.12 Lying about science
- 1.13 Assuming that a description of a phenomena means understanding of the phenomena
- 1.14 Assuming that the information wasn't known
- 1.15 Assuming Arabia was isolated from information
- 1.16 Assuming Muhamamd was isolated from information
- 1.17 Appeal to Muhammad's illiteracy
- 1.18 Underestimating the intellect of 7th century people
- 1.19 Ignoring classical interpretations
- 1.20 Using impressive fancy words
- 1.21 Complete gibberish
- 2 The "miracles"
- 2.1 Qur'an and the Big Bang
- 2.2 Qur'an and a Universe from Smoke
- 2.3 Qur'an Predicted Black Holes And Pulsars
- 2.4 Speed of Light in the Qur'an
- 2.5 Seven Heavens and Seven Earths
- 2.6 Qur'an and the Descent of Iron
- 2.7 Qur'an Describes Altitude Sickness (aka Hypoxia)
- 2.8 The Qur'an and Mountains
- 2.9 Qur'an Predicted Land Decreasing
- 2.10 Creation of Humans from Clay
- 2.11 Qur'an and Semen Production
- 2.12 Qur'an Describes Gender Determination By Sperm
- 2.13 Qur'an and Embryology
- 2.14 Qur'anic Claim of Everything Created in Pairs
- 2.15 Qur'an and the Lying Prefrontal Cerebrum
- 2.16 Meeting of Fresh and Salt Water in the Qur'an
- 2.17 Other miracles
- 3 Debunking scientific miracles
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Presenting vague verses as very specific
Many verses of the Quran are vague, but apologists force very specific interpretations on them and then claim that the specific information is in the verse when in fact it isn't.
Sometimes when the verse looks similar to something scientific, but there is something in the verse that doesn't fit, apologists will mistranslate the problematic part to hide it. Mistranslation can also help make a vague verse look more specific.
Sometimes apologists don't use the text of the Quran, but rather count verses and chapters and try to find some interesting coincidences and then they cherry-pick them and present them as the rule. But interesting coincidences should be expected from any text, there's nothing miraculous about numerical co-incidences.
Presenting parables as literal descriptions of nature
The Quran uses parables. When the Quran says something like "the disbeliever is like a mountain that...". If the parable mentions something special about the mountain, it was mentioned because of the parable, not because it happens in mountains in nature. So if something in the parable is similar to something that is literally true, then it's a coincidence, not a miracle.
Ignoring alternative explanations
If the Quran says something counter-intuitive about nature. For example that "mountains will move" and then science discovers that mountains are actually moving, it doesn't necessarily mean that the author of the Quran knew it. He could have just tried to make a shocking descriptions (of the Judgement Day). Mountain is something that is generally considered as not moving, so the author says it will move, to make the story interesting. Not because he knows that mountains are actually moving.
And the counter-intuitive descriptions of nature are often in the context of description of the Judgement Day, so it can't be a description of our universe today.
Ignoring the fact that the scientific interpretation came only after science made the discovery
After science discovers something, Islamic apologists come with absolute confidence, claiming that it was already mentioned in the Quran. But how can they be so sure that it is in the Quran, when none of the Islamic scholars interpreted the verse in this way before the scientific discovery was made? None of the "scientific miracle" claims contain a sentence of humility like "This is just an interpretation." or "Maybe it's not the original meaning."
If the scientific miracle was clearly there, Muslims would make the scientific discovery a long time ago.
Presenting Quranic descriptions of the Judgement Day as descriptions of the current universe
The Quran describes many supernatural event that will happen on the Judgement Day. The Judgement Day didn't happen yet. So descriptions of the Judgement Day don't apply to our universe today (before the Judgement day). But the apologists take these descriptions and try to interpret them as descriptions of the current world.
Presenting descriptions of supernatural events as descriptions of nature
The Quran describes many supernatural events that were done by Allah. If Allah did it, then it means it probably isn't something that just happens in nature regularly. But when the supernatural event resembles something that science discovered happens in nature, apologists will say that the Quran describes the natural phenomena.
Presenting description of an event as a description of a general rule
If the Quran says that something happened one time, or will happen one time, then we can't say that the Quran predicted that in similar conditions the same thing will happen. For example, the Quran says that women will miscarry on the Judgement Day. Apologists then say that the Quran knew that stress can cause miscarriage. But the Quran didn't say it and didn't say the exact reason why the women will miscarry on the Judgement Day.
Quoting the Quran out of context
The context often demolishes the miracle. Sometimes the context is a description of the Judgement day, or it is a parable, or it gives a specific meaning to the vague verse. The vague verses can often be interpreted specifically when they are compared with other verses, which then shows that the apologetic interpretation is wrong.
Quoting scientific information out of context
Sometimes the Quran says something that could be considered scientific, but it's not that right. So apologists quote some part of a scientific article that makes the Quran look right. All you have to to debunk that miracle is to read the original article, but unfortunately many people will just believe the apologists and their citation.
Lying about science
For example in Fat Miracle in the Quran, apologists claimed it's not possible to burn fat by sprinting, only because it helped their miracle claim.
Assuming that a description of a phenomena means understanding of the phenomena
It's easy to describe a phenomena how it looks. But it's not easy to explain why it happens. But apologists just take a verse that describes a natural phenomena, the description is on a level of a 7th century Arab, and then they add a scientific article which explains it and claim that the author of the Quran also understood it.
Assuming that the information wasn't known
Sometimes the Quran says something related to science and it is right, but it's not new information. It is something that was already known. So it can't be a scientific miracle, but apologists present it as such.
Assuming Arabia was isolated from information
Apologists stress that the 7th century was primitive and information from other places couldn't have gotten to Arabia. But how is it possible that Alexander the Great in 3rd century BC conquered territory from Greece to India and in the 1st century, the Roman Empire had relations with China, but in the 7th century, sill no information from outside got to Arabia?
The same argument is also used for religious information about Judaism and Christianity. The Old Testament mentions Arabs on many places . How is it possible that the Jews knew about Arabs, but Arabs didn't know anything about the Jews and their religion? Not to mention that there were Jews living in the Arabian peninsula during time of Muhammad.
Assuming Muhamamd was isolated from information
Some apologists stress that Muhammad lived in pagan environment in Mecca, so he didn't know the Bible. We know that Muhammad went to Syria on a business trip, so his reach wasn't limited to his little city. We also know that he spent a lot of time with Waraqa ibn Nawfal, who was a Christian.
Appeal to Muhammad's illiteracy
Firstly it's not clear that he was illiterate and secondly illiteracy doesn't prevent a person from listening.
Underestimating the intellect of 7th century people
Apologists like to assume that 7th century people didn't know or understand anything and therefore any information for them was a scientific miracle. But for example in embrology, people knew that sex is necessary and they knew that the baby then grows inside the woman, so by common sense they could understand that there must be some stages of the development of the embryo. Probably the muscles and bones had to develop and so on.. Apologists are quick to say that the people couldn't have guessed it, but they don't even try to imagine if the thoughts were really un-achievable in the 7th century.
Ignoring classical interpretations
There are already accepted interpretations in the tafsirs (of Ibn Kathir, al-Jalalayn..). The tafsirs are basing their interpretation on comparing the verses with other verses and on interpretations of the early Muslims and scholars. So how can a new interpretation be better? The apologists usually don't put any effort into disproving the classical interpretations. As long as apologists don't prove that the classical interpretation is wrong, they can't claim that the miracle claim is definitely there.
Using impressive fancy words
Sometimes apologists use a scientific word that sounds impressive to people who don't know science (and the meaning of the word), but in reality the meaning of the word is primitive. And this way apologists create a false impression that Quran talks about complicated science in people who don't understand science. For example the Isotropy miracle.
This is the most helpless tactic. Apologists want to prove that some impressive scientific information is in the Quran, so they start with the Quran and then they make any kind of construction as long as the conclusion is that the scientific information is in the Quran. The most obvious example is Singularity in the Quran miracle, where the logic is "Allah swears by the stars and Allah is one (=singluar), therefore the Quran says that stars can become a singularity".
These are the most wide-spread miracles, debunked:
Qur'an and the Big Bang
Islamic apologists attempt to claim that the “Big Bang” is actually described by the Qur’an in one of many miraculous displays of scientific precocity in text. However on closer examination, Muslim claims of miraculous scientific information in the Qur’an are shown to be, yet again, in error. In reality, the Qur’an is completely silent on the “big bang” because it clearly has no awareness whatsoever of a universe that pre-existed the creation of the planet Earth, or extended outwards into infinite space. It has no understanding of galaxies, or clusters of galaxies, or quasars or pulsars or any of the other things that could have easily been mentioned by an omniscient Allah, and left us no room for quibbling.
Qur'an and a Universe from Smoke
Prominent apologists such as Harun Yahya and I. A. Ibrahim have claimed that the Qur'an contains an accurate account of the formation of stars and early phases of the Universe.
The entire argument rests on the Qur'anic description of the "heavens" as "smoke"; a claim which in-turn rests on a false equivalence made between smoke and the makeup of the early universe. It also presupposes that the Qur'anic author must describe something as complex as the earliest phase of the universe using only a single word. A presupposition that makes little sense and is far from convincing when you consider how such information could have validated the authenticity of the Qur'anic message.
The attempt to show that the Qur'an correctly describes the formation of stars (by quoting a portion of Qur'an 41:11) and then the earth (by quoting Qur'an 21:30) is shown to be disingenuous. When the whole of verse 41:11 and its surrounding verses are read in context, it provides a clear chronological account of the earth being formed first and then the hills and sustenance are created upon it. Only after the earth has been created does Allah create the stars. The entire account in the Qur'an is not an accurate reflection of the formation of the Universe.
Qur'an Predicted Black Holes And Pulsars
This article analyzes two separate claims made by Harun Yahya concerning black holes and pulsars.
The analysis shows the claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of Black Holes is not backed by the scientific evidence, and the claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of pulsars is conjectural and not supported by the scientific evidence.
It has also shown Harun Yahya’s self-contradiction as he used the same Qur'anic verse to ‘prove’ both the black hole and the pulsar. Since a black hole cannot possibly also be a pulsar, it appears that Harun Yahya has refuted himself.
Speed of Light in the Qur'an
In an article published in Islami City, Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby claims verse 32:5 reveals that light in one day travels a distance equal to 12,000 lunar orbits, and upon calculating that distance we find the exact speed of light.
Verse 32:5 has nothing to do with the speed of light. There is no mention of the moon, light or even distance in this verse. If these methods were to be applied to other texts, such as Shakespeare's writings or Virgil's Georgics, they too can be "proven" divine.
No matter how Dr. Hassab-Elnaby's calculations are viewed, they are mathematically incorrect. Even the notion of measuring the speed of light with the orbit of the Moon or the length of the day is a fallacy.
Dr. Hassab-Elnaby also makes many deliberate errors to doctor a scientific miracle, and in his enthusiasm to ascribe miracles to the Qur'an, he discards the concept of Allah's omnipresence. The creator of the Universe, according to him, depends on the speed of light to manage his affairs.
Finally, assuming there really is a miracle in this plagiarized allegory, should not the credit go to the Bible from which it originates?
Seven Heavens and Seven Earths
This article analyzes several different apologetic arguments claiming the Qur'an correctly asserts that there are "seven heavens" and "seven earths". In doing so, it finds the scientific evidence does not support any of the claims concerning the Qur'anic verse 65:12 and its scientific accuracy.
Earth's atmosphere is divided into five main layers based on temperature. Within these five principal layers, several secondary layers may be distinguished by other properties. There is no classification into 7 layers.
Modern geology states that there are only four or five layers of the Earth, or up to eight if the new hypotheses of the subcore georeactor are accepted. Without the double-counting of layers, There is no classification into 7 layers.
The number of continents is traditionally considered seven, but there are only six as Europe and Asia are technically a single land mass (i.e. Eurasia) and on the same tectonic plate. Therefore, the traditional number of seven continents is more a cultural bias than an actual geographical/geological fact.
Furthermore, if one delves a little deeper into the Islamic sources, it is discovered that the seven earths being referred to in verse 65:12 are in fact flat islands, one under the other.
Qur'an and the Descent of Iron
This article analyzes the ‘iron sent down from heaven miracle’. A chief proponent of this claim is Harun Yahya.
There is nothing miraculous about surah 57:26 describing iron being ‘sent down’ by a deity. The ancient Egyptians already derived that concept three thousand years before Islam. They called iron “ba-en-pet” or ‘metal from heaven’. This concept was also shared by the ancient Mesopotamians.
The term ‘anzala’ used to describe iron being ‘sent down’ is also used to describe cattle, garments, food, and the people of the book being ‘sent down’ by some deity. There is nothing to suggest that these too were not created in supernovae and sent down to earth. It is intellectually dishonest to assign a literal interpretation when referring to iron but figurative interpretations when referring to everything else without the evidence to distinguish when to use the literal as opposed to the figurative interpretation.
There is nothing miraculous about the surah reference and the atomic number of iron. This is mere coincidence as other metals are also mentioned in the Qur'an and their atomic numbers bear no relation to their surah references. To selectively assign miracles based on coincidence (since godly design is unproven) is a logical fallacy.
Thus there is nothing miraculous about surah 57:26 and the ‘descent’ of iron. The claims apologists make in this regard have either been known many centuries before Islam or are scientifically inaccurate.
Qur'an Describes Altitude Sickness (aka Hypoxia)
This article analyzes the apologetic claim that the Qur'an's description of altitude sickness is somehow miraculous, scientifically accurate, or prophetic.
If the verse is taken figuratively, then it is not miraculous, since it is describing a phenomenon that would have been well-known to the wandering Arab nomads long before the revelation of the Qur'an.
If the verse is taken literally, then it is scientifically inaccurate. There is no “tightening” of the chest. The constrictive sensation experienced at high altitudes is simply a result of having less air to breathe into your lungs, in addition to the gas already there actually expanding.
In fact, when modern scientific knowledge is taken into consideration, problems with a literal interpretation are two-fold since it has been postulated that human adaption has lead to people born and raised in high altitudes to have enlarged chests which "could allow for increased lung volumes and thereby increase oxygen uptake."
There is also a newer version of the miracle claim, that uses a fancy word "hypoxia":
The Qur'an and Mountains
Many articles have been written in response to the claim that the Qur'an is validated by the geological science concerning mountains. This article adds to these by addressing several newer points that have been adopted to justify the original claim or to evade contrary scientific evidence.
The claim that mountains are pegs is untrue as not all mountains have "peg-like" roots. And even the ones that can be claimed to have these peg-like roots, resemble pegs only with a lot of imagination. The claim that mountains stabilize the crust or the earth is (at best) unproven. There is no scientific evidence for this assertion, therefore the Qur'an cannot be validated by scientific evidence that does not exist.
The mere fact of isostacy is not proof that mountains stabilize the crust or the earth. The mere fact that collision-type mountains are formed at the edges of tectonic plates is not proof that mountains stabilize the plates. The mere fact that mountains have deep roots is not proof that mountains stabilize anything.
Lastly, is the Qur'an really the first scripture to make the assertion that mountains stabilize the earth? Some Christians do not think so, and the Bible predates the Qur'an by at least 400 years.
Qur'an Predicted Land Decreasing
Dr. Al Zeiny, PhD, claims a so-called ‘proof’ of Qur'anic Science by positing the proposition that the Qur'an correctly predicted the geological fact that land is decreasing due to the movements of tectonic plates. He cites verses 13:41 and 21:44 as evidence.
The geological facts do not support Dr. Zeiny's case that land is decreasing as the Qur'an supposedly suggests. In fact, they prove that the geological information contained in the Qur'an is in error.
Land has not been decreasing at all over the past billion years. At present 29.1% of the total earth’s surface area is land. However, by the end of the Permian Period 200 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea covered only about a quarter of the earth’s surface.
Creation of Humans from Clay
This article analyzes Harun Yahya's claim that the Qur'an displays scientific foreknowledge by correctly asserting the creation of human beings from clay.
The Qur'an's assertion that humans are created from clay is not a scientific miracle because it is apparent that folkloric tales about the creation of humans from clay/earth/mud is very common throughout the world, and many of these tales pre-date the existence of Islam.
It is also scientifically inaccurate because the Islamic faith claims that human beings were created from clay, contrary to the scientific hypothesis that clay merely 'match-makes' RNA and membrane vesicles - and therefore does not form a building block.
Qur'an and Semen Production
This article analyzes the various attempts to show that the Qur'an correctly describes semen production from between the “sulb” and the “tara’ib” in verse 86:7.
There are several distinct classes of explanations, and none of them are supported by modern scientific knowledge and are frequently conflicting. For example, Ibn Kathir refers to tara’ib as a female organ, while other tafsirs claim it belongs to the man. Another conflict is the definition of sulb to mean either the backbone or the ‘hardening’ of the loins.
A point often missed, though alluded to by Dr. Campbell, is the phrase “min bain” which literally means “from between”. If this interpretation is accepted, which seems to be the case from a reading of the commonly accepted translations, then one must also note that semen emanates from the penis, and not from between the penis and the vagina. To be strictly correct, semen emanates from the penis into the vagina. This point seems to rule out tara’ib as being anything to do with the female sexual partner.
Qur'an Describes Gender Determination By Sperm
Various individuals have claimed the Qur'an is the only ancient book that states gender is determined by the sperm. In this, they may point out the ignorance of the Greeks who thought gender was determined by the relative strengths of sperm from the male and female parents as Hippocrates imagined.
This article does not seek to prove that the ancient Egyptians shared some aspects of the scientific understanding of gender determination and reproduction. It merely aims to show that the Qur'an was not the first religious text to suggest that gender is determined by the semen of the male parent.
In viewing the evidence, it is apparent that some of the ancient Egyptians believed that gender is created by the sperm from the male parent, and reproduction is via male and female union. This belief predated the Qur'an by about 2,900 years as evidenced by the pyramid text of Pharaoh Pepi I, 2332-2283 BC.
Qur'an and Embryology
There are propagations of Qur'anic Embryology by such luminaries as Dr. Keith Moore (alongside his co-author Abdul Majeed al-Zindani) and Dr. Maurice Bucaille. These works are copied by Dr. Al Zeiny, Dr. Zakir Naik, Dr. Ibrahim Syed, Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, Harun Yahya and others.
There are already many responses available. So here we will attempt to add to this debate, concentrating solely on the Qur'anic verses, because inclusion of the hadiths would clearly show up the unscientific nature of Qur'anic embryology. Dr. Omar Abdul Rehman’s article on the subject will be used as the basis for our analysis as it is clearly the most detailed.
Qur'anic Claim of Everything Created in Pairs
This article analyzes the claim that humans did not know anything about the "creation in pairs" at the time of the descent of the Qur'an. The case against the Qur'an is very simple. All one has to do is to show that not all creatures are created in pairs.
Based on the existence of the schizophyllum commune, and asexual, hermaphroditic and parthenogenetic organisms, the Qur'anic verses about Allah creating all creatures in pairs (male and female) are shown to be in error.
The ancient Chinese Yin-Yang duality principle proves that the spurious claim of ‘creation in pairs’ to mean matter-antimatter complements to be unremarkable. Besides, some Hindus make similar claims about the Rig-Veda as the Muslims make about the Qur'an and scriptural allusions to matter and antimatter.
Qur'an and the Lying Prefrontal Cerebrum
Several apologists promulgate Professor Keith L. Moore's Qur'anic science of the lying sinful prefrontal area of the cerebrum (here referred to as the prefrontal cerebrum). There are many web sites that are copy-pasting this proposition, and a search of the internet reveals that all the claims come from the same source, i.e. Keith Moore.
However, Modern medical research utilizing fMRI conduct brain scans has revealed that the prefrontal cerebrum is not responsible for lying. Other brain regions are responsible, particularly the anterior cingulate gyrus which lies in the medial part of the brain in the frontal-parietal area and not in the prefrontal cerebrum.
Thus, the scientific evidence does not support the claim that the Qur'an correctly asserts that the prefrontal region is responsible for lying as it is not the region responsible for the decision-making process of lying.
Meeting of Fresh and Salt Water in the Qur'an
Apologists believe that Surah 25:53 of the Qur’an is scientifically accurate concerning its description of the meeting of fresh and salt water. They conclude that since this process was unknown to humankind during the time of Prophet Muhammad, this verse (and the Qur’an as a whole) is revealed by Allah.
This article will prove that the verse in question is scientifically wrong, and show you how apologists make false statements and distort information in order to support their case. It will also demonstrate how a layman could make a better guess than the author of the Qur'an.
These are lesser known:
- Antioxidants Miracle in the Quran
- Bacteria in the Quran Miracle
- Bedsores Miracle in the Quran
- Cataracts Miracle in the Quran
- Distance Miracle in the Quran
- Equivalence Principle in the Quran Miracle
- Exoplanets in the Quran
- Eye Pupil Miracle In The Quran
- Fat Miracle in the Quran
- Fire Whirl Non-Miracle in the Quran
- Fluorescence Miracle in the Quran
- Full Moon Miracle in the Quran
- Galaxy Filaments Not In The Quran
- Gardens Miracle in the Quran
- Gravitational Lensing in the Quran
- Gravitational Waves in Quran Miracle
- Honey Healing in the Quran Miracle
- Human Senses Miracle in the Quran
- Hydrogen in the Quran
- Hydrothermal Vents in the Quran
- Inner Ear Miracle in the Quran
- Internal Waves in the Quran
- Invisible electromagnetic spectrum in the Quran (aka Light Miracle)
- Isotropy in the Quran Miracle
- Magnetosphere not in the Quran
- Microburst in the Quran Non-Miracle
- Miscarriage Miracle in the Quran
- Name of Moses in the Quran Non-Miracle
- Nocturnal Animals Miracle in the Quran
- North Miracle in the Quran
- Orographic Effect in the Quran Miracle
- Paper money in the Quran
- Perspiration Miracle in the Quran
- Photic Zone Miracle in the Quran
- Photosynthesis in the Quran
- Pi in the Quran
- Plant Stress Miracle In The Quran
- Pompeii not in the Quran
- Pumice Miracle in the Quran
- Rayleigh Scattering Not In The Quran
- Redshifting not in the Quran
- Relational Algebra Miracle in the Quran
- Rust Miracle in the Quran
- Sea Breeze Miracle in the Quran
- Singularity in the Quran
- Solar Flare Non-Miracle in the Quran
- Sonic Weapons in the Quran
- Sound Waves Miracle in the Quran (sound of the Big Bang)
- Spacetime in the Quran
- Spider Web Miracle in the Quran
- Starlight Miracle in the Quran
- Steam Explosions in the Quran
- Subduction Miracle in the Quran
- Superionic Water in the Quran
- Tank Armor Piercing in the Quran
- Time relativity in the Quran
- Terminal Velocity Not In The Quran
- Weathering and Erosion Miracle in the Quran
- Weight of clouds in the Quran
- White Hair Miracle in the Quran
- Work Miracle In The Quran
- Wormholes in the Quran
- Wind Snaps Trees in the Quran Miracle
Debunking scientific miracles
The fact that so many "scientific miracles" were debunked shows how deceptive the scientific miracle industry is. Islamic apologists will make up another miracle anytime science discovers something. And they are not able to predict a new scientific discovery. So their work gives zero additional value to humanity. They're just re-interpreting an old text, that already has its interpretations in the classical tafsirs that are based on the Islamic tradition. They don't investigate the Quran, they are trying to force a scientific interpretation upon the Quran in any possible way. They don't shy away from mistranslation, mis-interpretation, taking the verses out of context, mis-information about science and other manipulations. So is it even necessary to debunk every single miracle they come with, when their whole methodology is wrong?
- The Rationalizer: Top scientists comment on the Quran (video playlist)
- Interviews with quote-mined scientists who supposedly approved the "scientific miracles"