Apologist Box-stuffing

After reading a tweet containing Hamza Andreas Tzorzis‘s name and what he was up to at the International Atheist Convention in Dublin, I thought check out his website.

According to his website, Hamza Andreas Tzorzis is an international public speaker on Islam; He is a writer with articles, essays and commentaries on political philosophy, the philosophy of religion and society; an intellectual activist actively engaging on issues pertaining to religion, social cohesion and politics; is also a researcher with a recent publication on non-Muslim perceptions on Islam and Muslims; and if you want – you can read more here.

However, to me he is a religious apologist – and an amateur one at that.

What’s a religious apologist? A religious apologist defends faith through intellectual avenues, generally trying to demonstrate that science is compatible with religion (by demonstration a personal lack of knowledge about science). The attempt is usually a genuine advancement towards logic and reason rather than emotional appeals; however – common threads between religious apologists include a misunderstanding of various scientific concepts (or the abhorrent contortion of scientific knowledge to “fit in” to a doctrine) and an overall ignorance of (or ignoring of ) fallacies in logic.

For instance, I spoke to a Sikh who was adamant (despite the evidence) that the Heliocentric model was first advocated by the Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He derived his belief from a quote by the Guru which was written in the 15th century; and used Galileo Galilei as his benchmark; particularly the point that at the time it was not accepted in Europe for Heliocentricism to be true. He was also of the (incorrect) belief that Galileo was the first person to devise a heliocentric solar system.

The Reality

In February 1616, the Catholic Church condemned heliocentrism as “false and contrary to Scripture”.  Subsequently in 1632 Galileo was tried by the Roman Inquisition for publishing his work “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” which was in support of Nicolaus Copernicus‘ heliocentric hypothesis.  Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” and forced to recant; despite this he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

Nicolaus Copernicus’ work on a heliocentric system (titled: “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres)) began around 1510, quite some time before Galileo. Even then, the hypothesis that the Earth rotated the Sun was not new. The earlist record of this was from least 3rd century BCE, which was presented by Aristarchus.

What I really object about Hamza Andreas Tzorzis was the poor use of science in a phamphlet that was recently released called: Do We Have Good Reasons To Believe

This pamphlet makes a number of remarkable assertions, despite it’s reference to Occam’s Razor; often from cherry-picked scripture and a far-reaching use of “science” to support it. The pamphlets would only appeal to those without a grounding in science, or those who are already religious but struggle to reconcile the differences between reality and the wishful-thinking that comes with religion.

Unless of course that is the idea – no rational discourse was intended.

He is unfortunately doing a disservice to the people he hands these pamphlets to;  as what he’s talking about is not science – but pseudo-science. For instance, lets’ take Isostasy, which was one of the examples used in the pamphlet.

The Pamphlet mentions the Qur’an stating:

“Have We not made the earth as a bed and the mountains its pegs?”

The phamplet then uses a section from Earth, by Dr. Frank Press, where it states that mountains are like stakes, and are buried deep under the surface of Earth. Firstly, the analogy-comparison is erroneous, as mountains are not like pegs, nor can they be called “mountain roots”. They have misinterpreted the text, or at the very least tried to make the statement support the Qur’an.

You can read more about Isostasy at Wikipedia – it’s clear he didn’t even do that.

Essentially, Isostasy is a gravitational equilibrium; it is the working model that explains the buoyancy of tectonic plates on the mantle.

Since the initial tweet, Rebecca Watson at SkepChick filled us in more on what had happened; and it amused me because this description of Isostasy was an answer Hamza Andreas Tzorzis could have given in the video where he, and another confront PZ Myers outside the Global Atheist Convention in Dublin. Instead, he admitted he had no idea what he was talking about.

There are two videos. Of the same thing, but in the spirit of transparency, I am showing it from as many angles as possible. The below video was what was captured by YouTuber AronRa, who also chimes in later in the discussion.

During the video the two try to take PZ Myers to task about the Qur’an and embryology, and yes – he and his colleague demonstrate their lack of knowledge of cell biology too. It’s clear that they are amateur religious apologists who have sought out nothing else but to cherry-pick literature in an effort to twist science around to fit in to what the Qur’an states -rejecting, or possibly even not even looking for conflicting information.

The fallacies are abound, so try to have patience.


The below video is the complete interview as produced by iERA
and is available at Hamza Andreas Tzorzis‘s website.

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