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Fresh water Salt water doesn't mix according to Qur'an- Prof Dawkins in Real time with Bill Maher - Comments

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 1 by Stevehill

If you dilute salt water with enough fresh water you can probably also make a miraculous homeopathic placebo.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:32:18 UTC | #552068

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 2 by crookedshoes

SteveHill, Be very very careful, here. Do you realize that if, at any time in the past, there were fish swimming in the salt and fresh water you used, then the world's food issues could be solved? Homeopathic ARTHUR TREACHER"S.

If an expectant mother's water broke and you diluted it........ nope, never mind, even i will not go there.

Also,

1) It's claim is very specific. 2) It's claim is the only case which nature doesn't support.

OCEANS11, Nature doesn't support any of the claims in any of the books. Please, the sun laying prostrate at Mo's feet every night??? Satan pissing in your ear (or car). Resurrection, virgin birth, flying on winged horse, ascension, water and wine= body and blood.....

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:57:29 UTC | #552087

EZN's Avatar Comment 3 by EZN

I hope this comment will be useful in understanding how Muslims think about this. (I was raised muslim, but no longer am now). I have to say that I certainly don't believe this theory is correct, but I think what Muslims mean when they say this is slightly different or, maybe, "simpler". I vaguely remember being in 2nd or 3rd grade and this whole thing about salt and fresh water not mixing was not presented in a science class but rather in religion class - the teacher was talking about all the miracles we see around us each day, and one quick example was that rivers flow into oceans and vice versa but that at the end of the day we still find the seawater salty and the river water fresh and that's because they do not "mix", they retain their "identity" through a scientific process (which was not at all discussed). Of course, we all knew river water physically mixed with sea water because we could see the two flowing into each other in front of our eyes, there was no need for mixing the two in a test tube. We just believed that even if they mixed, the river would retain its type of water and the sea too. I know this is not the scientific explanation for why the river and sea stay the way they are, I just think Muslims are looking at it in a different way (like regardless of how the two waters mix physically, at the end they remain separated..). As a kid, I was under the impression, that whatever the scientific process was, the fact that there was a process of two waters flowing into each and yet after that having seas and rivers with different types of water was an example of a simple miracle.. like everything else in nature.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:12:37 UTC | #552133

TrickyDicky's Avatar Comment 4 by TrickyDicky

Comment 3 by EZN :

I hope this comment will be useful in understanding how Muslims think about this. (I was raised muslim, but no longer am now). I have to say that I certainly don't believe this theory is correct, but I think what Muslims mean when they say this is slightly different or, maybe, "simpler". I vaguely remember being in 2nd or 3rd grade and this whole thing about salt and fresh water not mixing was not presented in a science class but rather in religion class - the teacher was talking about all the miracles we see around us each day, and one quick example was that rivers flow into oceans and vice versa but that at the end of the day we still find the seawater salty and the river water fresh and that's because they do not "mix", they retain their "identity" through a scientific process (which was not at all discussed). Of course, we all knew river water physically mixed with sea water because we could see the two flowing into each other in front of our eyes, there was no need for mixing the two in a test tube. We just believed that even if they mixed, the river would retain its type of water and the sea too. I know this is not the scientific explanation for why the river and sea stay the way they are, I just think Muslims are looking at it in a different way (like regardless of how the two waters mix physically, at the end they remain separated..). As a kid, I was under the impression, that whatever the scientific process was, the fact that there was a process of two waters flowing into each and yet after that having seas and rivers with different types of water was an example of a simple miracle.. like everything else in nature.

What about rain (fresh water) falling on the the sea?

But of course this is desert dogma, the PP would maybe have never seen rain.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:34:06 UTC | #552142

EZN's Avatar Comment 5 by EZN

No, but that's the point. When I was a kid and I'd see the rain falling on the sea, I knew it was fresh but that it didn't make the sea water fresh. So I would think that whatever allowed the seawater to remain salty even if fresh water rained on it or flowed into it from the river, is a scientific process created by god (one of his wonders..). I'm just trying to explain how we thought about this, not saying it's right.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:44:14 UTC | #552146

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 6 by Tyler Durden

I consulted all the major translations of this Qur'anic verse (25:53) and also consulted the Tafsir. The verse is very very definite about it's claim. It says that there is a "forbidden partition" between fresh and salt water bodies. So there cannot be any mixing between fresh and salt water bodies. Hence the claim is like salt and fresh water bodies are immiscible (like water and oil), thus the interface acts as a forbidden partition.

Good work Oceans11, rational thinking wins out over revelation yet again.

Now, if only we had a Qur'an apologist to give us a rebuttal.

Tanweer, you around?

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 22:21:53 UTC | #552207

The Plc's Avatar Comment 7 by The Plc

The book Why I Am Not A Muslim is quite awesome in it's scholarly dissection of the vacuous claim about scientific knowledge being prempted in the Koran.

The whole mindset of these people is classic doublethink anyway. You'll claim, through the most dubious of interpretations, that electromagnetism is predicted but still totally reject evolutionism? Is it only science that you like that is in the Koran?

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 01:29:00 UTC | #552322

EZN's Avatar Comment 8 by EZN

The Plc: doublethink is the right word. Muslims are old-earth creationists and the most confusing thing is how some Muslims believe in evolution in their own way - for instance, my father is convinced Islam can never go against science or logic. During one of our arguments, he stated that he believed in the creation story and in evolution (!) but not in a straightforward manner. What he explained he meant was that since there is undoubtable evidence for evolution then it the technical way through which life formed, but the narrative of the Adam and Eve story is the allegorical way through which human life came to be, and that we could never create a time-line to explain both narratives at the same time because god works with timeframes and ways which we cannot comprehend. It's like both narratives take place through different "channels" - one is crude and organic, the other is metaphorical and intangible. In fact, his double-think stretches into all aspects of Islam, for instance, he also admits that the Hajj ritual is derived from pagan rituals, but that that is okay since god sent his message through incorporating it in different belief traditions. He admits that the only way to believe in god or religion is to compartmentalize that part of your thinking, since basic logic would go against it. He argues that there is another superior logic which he cannot explain, but can feel, and that is god's gift to him... The more I argue with him, the more he feels in awe of god's greatness and sorry for my limited thinking abilities.. It's frustrating!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 04:19:26 UTC | #552384

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 9 by crookedshoes

Tanweer and the few other frequent "contributers" seem to duck out when the are wrong. See the thread on the Italian Cardinal.... A total absence of the apologists. Says more than their words ever could.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 12:49:10 UTC | #552502

Callinectes's Avatar Comment 10 by Callinectes

I studied oceanography at university, and when it comes to estuaries, the mixing of river water with sea water is rarely smooth. Especially fjord estuaries.

It does occur, but the different temperatures, densities and concentrations of the two waters does act, at first, as a barrier to efficient mixing.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 14:53:27 UTC | #552523

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Here is a quote from the last link in the intro:

NOAA _ Classifying Estuaries - By Water Circulation Because fresh water flowing into the estuary is less salty and less dense than water from the ocean, it often floats on top of the heavier seawater.

Stratification can be a key factor as here!

In these flooded caves, such as Stargate on Andros Island, the reduced tidal flow results in a sharp stratification of water chemistry. A thin lens of fresh water—supplied by rainfall—lies atop a denser layer of salt water. The freshwater lens acts as a lid, isolating the salt water from atmospheric oxygen and inhibiting bacteria from causing organic matter to decay.

There is a large body of fresh water in the ocean for MILES off the mouth of the Amazon!

We need to be scientifically objective here! Hot and cold, or salt and fresh water on a large scale, do not mix readily unless stirred. Diffusion can be very slow!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 15:39:12 UTC | #552537

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 12 by Alan4discussion

It also applies to alcholic drinks! One Vodka- Martini; shaken , not stirred Mr. Bond!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 16:05:26 UTC | #552544

Tanweer's Avatar Comment 13 by Tanweer

@ crookedshoes

Why would I comment on Italian Cardinals?

In any case, comments 10 and 11 do the job nicely. No need for apolegetics, as you want to call it. The science speaks for itself.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 16:16:50 UTC | #552553

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

We need clear definitions on what is being discussed.

Here are two distict bodies of water at the meeting of the (Amazonia) Rio Solimoes and Rio Negro. Even with boats ploughing into them the blue water and muddy waters are not mixing very well! (They do mix further down steam as turbulence takes effect).

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 16:27:54 UTC | #552561

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 15 by Alan4discussion

Here are the underwater photographs for the link on comment 11.

The body of salt water in some caves is oxgen free under its freshwater cap.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:11:34 UTC | #552585

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 16 by crookedshoes

Tanweer,

Why would I comment on Italian Cardinals?

Why would you comment on anything? You comment when you have something relevant to say. I do not know if you read the other thread or not, but it got into some stuff that I kept expecting one of you guys to jump in on (again, not a definite on thinking it would be YOU, but rather a realization that NO ONE was there from your side of the river), and no one stepped up. And, that is why I mentioned it, perhaps bad form to name you and not the others. However, you have picked up on threads like that in the past and your silence (coupled with theirs) can be LOUD!!!!

As for this thread. The posts you allude to #10 and #11 do a very nice job of explaining some science as to how hard it is for salt water and fresh to mix. Since we need to take these holy books literally, shouldn't the book say that it is hard for them to mix. Shouldn't the book get it right? I see the books words and immediately think of oil and water. Not stratification and diffusion. They eventually mix. The book, if it is to be taken literally has to be RIGHT and it is not.

The ultimate question here is DO THEY MIX?
Well, buddy, do they?

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:16:43 UTC | #552587

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 17 by Schrodinger's Cat

Given the vast amount of scientific knowledge supposedly at Allah's disposal, you'd think he'd be capable of considerably better than the handful of meagre contributions in the Koran, most of which are NOT scientific, and even when they are.....they amount to little more than rather crude and common knowledge of the 7th century.

I mean...we keep being told Islamics invented algebra. Great, so where is E=MC ^2 in the Koran ??

Too advanced for Mohammed ? OK, then how about the inverse square law for gravity ? Simple Pythagorean geometry. Mohammed's contemporaries would have understood it. Yet it's not there.

Or how about Gabriel showing Mohammed how to construct Faraday's crude yet working homopolar electric motor ? Ironically.....one can replace the mercury in Faraday's device with...salt water !

Now that would have been something impressive.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:28:04 UTC | #552592

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 18 by Alan4discussion

Comment 16 by crookedshoes

Hi crookedshoes,

I thought I'd move this discussion on to a more scientific basis. You might be interested in some of the anaerobic biology in the cave articles. There does seem to be a distinct boundary between fresh and salt water where the there is no disturbance:- So much so that the divers are warned not to mistake it for the surface! (I have also seen a video of this dive).

Alan

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:35:53 UTC | #552597

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 19 by crookedshoes

Alan, Yes, thanks for the redirect. Salt solutions that i prepare in my class for a lab are subject to gravity and will separate and need to be stirred before use. If you were to shrink (Let's get small) and plunge down into the mixture, you'd encounter a concentration gradient that began with the top being hypotonic and progressing down into the solution you'd encounter saltier and saltier water until you hit the salt on the bottom that is undissolved and still small white crystals. (not explained for you, but rather to set the stage for other readers).

I have seen the footage you are alluding to and it is pretty spectacular stuff. I would definitely be interested in the articles you speak of. I worked with some halophiles in grad school, in particular Halomonas elongata, which we were able to isolate inside a salt crystal that we grabbed from New Mexico. These "salt lovers" are members of the Archae kingdom and often have unbelievable adaptations that allow them to survive in such water scarce environments.

If you'd like to mention a few of the articles or organisms you are talking about, I'd love to learn about them and talk with you (and everyone else) about them. But, one thing is for sure, you were dead on right when you said I'd be interested!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:50:04 UTC | #552604

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 20 by Alan4discussion

Comment 19 by crookedshoes

There are 8 pages on the link at comment 11 + the photos on the link at comment 15. There's a not very obvious "next" page > in the top right corners of the pages.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 18:02:15 UTC | #552609

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 21 by crookedshoes

cool thanks, missed it!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 18:05:57 UTC | #552611

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 22 by crookedshoes

Alan4, It seems that my old eyes do not differentiate between the black font and the blue font of links (at least not so easily). Thanks for the redirect! I find the blue holes mesmerizing!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 18:28:18 UTC | #552615

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Comment 21 by crookedshoes

cool thanks, missed it!

I'm trying to avoid "cool". I've just been out to check a glasshouse heater in the SNOW that arrived today. I see the gritters are out on the roads testing salt water! B..rrrrr.!

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 19:19:24 UTC | #552634

Tanweer's Avatar Comment 24 by Tanweer

@ crookedshoes

Hold on a minute...have you actually read 25:54 (referred to as 25:53 in the thread introduction as Bismillah is not counted as the first verse by some)?

Do you actually know what it says?

Here it is:

And He it is Who has caused the two seas to flow, this palatable and sweet, and that saltish and bitter; and between them He has placed a barrier and a great partition. [25:54]

You say:

Since we need to take these holy books literally, shouldn't the book say that it is hard for them to mix. Shouldn't the book get it right? I see the books words and immediately think of oil and water. Not stratification and diffusion. They eventually mix. The book, if it is to be taken literally has to be RIGHT and it is not.

The ultimate question here is DO THEY MIX?

Well, buddy, do they?

Yes they do, but the Qur'an doesn't say they don't mix - it says there is a barrier between them. So it is literally right, and has been proven to be so by everything that has been said above (including by you).

Try reading something next time before condemning it buddy...

And perhaps you might be able to teach your mate Richard to learn to do that too.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 19:44:28 UTC | #552643

Jason72's Avatar Comment 25 by Jason72

Comment 24 by Tanweer :

Yes they do, but the Qur'an doesn't say they don't mix - it says there is a barrier between them.

So you say there is a BARRIER between them? Then "what is this barrier?"

What are the properties of the barrier? What breaks the barrier down? How is it formed? What is the barrier called nowadays? Can a row boat break the barrier or is the boat stuck on the "fresh" side? Can a person or animal swim through the barrier and what happens to that person/animal?

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:09:35 UTC | #552656

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 26 by Tyler Durden

Comment 24 by Tanweer :

Do you actually know what it says?

Here it is:

And He it is Who has caused the two seas to flow, this palatable and sweet, and that saltish and bitter; and between them He has placed a barrier and a great partition. [25:54]

Which two seas?

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:13:49 UTC | #552658

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 27 by SomersetJohn

Comment 8 by EZN :

An interesting, and easily understood, introduction to the Muslim (or is that Islamic) mindset. Thank you EZN.

It reveals quite a difference between the Muslim view and the fundy xtian view. Seems to me the Muslim can hold two incompatible views of the world at the same time, knowing they are incompatible but able to rationalise them anyway. The xtian it seems cannot do that, and must purge from the mind any view which does not agree with the theistic view.

Keep the comments coming, I think you could teach many here what Muslims think, and perhaps more importantly, why.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:42:21 UTC | #552673

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

Comment 25 by Jason72

So you say there is a BARRIER between them? Then "what is this barrier?"

There are different types of boundary between large bodies of water:

The pycnocline separates stratification in the ocean.

The halocline is the type I pointed out in the Blue Hole Caves in the comment 11 link. This is not an obstruction, but is a clearly visible boundary from above and below. Arguably in this case it is also a Chemocline - A cline based on difference in water chemistry,

The initial post has links to articles on river estuaries. I cannot comment on the Quoran, but the science of large bodies of water is not simple.

Haloclines are common in water-filled caves near the ocean. Less dense fresh water from the land forms a layer over salt water from the ocean.

A halocline can be easily created and observed in a drinking glass or other clear vessel. If fresh water is slowly poured over a quantity of salt water, using a spoon held horizontally at water-level to prevent mixing, a hazy interface layer, the halocline, will soon be visible due to the varying index of refraction across the boundary.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:53:01 UTC | #552680

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 29 by Rob Schneider

Comment 2 by crookedshoes :

SteveHill, Be very very careful, here. Do you realize that if, at any time in the past, there were fish swimming in the salt and fresh water you used, then the world's food issues could be solved? Homeopathic ARTHUR TREACHER"S.

Or, as Tim Minchin puts it in his beat poem "Storm":

"Water has memory! And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!"

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 21:08:07 UTC | #552688

oceans11's Avatar Comment 30 by oceans11

@ Tanweer

Comment 24 by Tanweer :

Yes they do, but the Qur'an doesn't say they don't mix - it says there is a barrier between them.

You are playing a bit with the translations of 25:53. Let me give u the 3 main translations:

Yusuf Ali: It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed.

Pickthall: And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a forbidding ban between them.

Shakir: And He it is Who has made two seas to flow freely, the one sweet that subdues thirst by its sweetness, and the other salt that burns by its saltness; and between the two He has made a barrier and inviolable obstruction.

Existence of a "forbidden partition" or "inviolable obstruction" between two liquid bodies automatically implies that the interface doesn't allow even a molecule of liquid no. 1 to cross the interface and enter into the territory of liquid no. 2. This is exactly what happens if you have a glass, lower half filled with water and upper half filled with oil; see here. This means there is NO MIXING between the two liquid bodies. According to this verse, the behavior of fresh water and salt water are exactly same as that of oil and water, i.e. no mixing. So the students in Madani High School got the Qur'anic picture right.

But fresh and salt water are miscible fluids. Even in the worst case when there is no stirring (which is unphysical in nature but taking it as a sake of argument), these two bodies of liquid starts to enter into each others territory by the process of diffusion. So there cannot be a "forbidden partition" or "inviolable obstruction" between fresh and salt water. For details, please read the article.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 21:32:46 UTC | #552708