This is a transcript of a lecture delivered by Dr. Bucaille one night in 1987 at the premises of Chicago’s Institute of Islamic Information and Education. A specific date is missing from the recording.
I chose to keep the text as delivered albeit stricken, in part, by some stylistic, and even grammatical, shortcomings apparently caused by Bucaille’s somewhat limited knowledge of English.
Yet it is still certainly revealing of Bucaille’s ideas on the subject.


Man questioning himself on the origin of the human species initially had, at his disposal, reflections, traditions and superstitions passed on generation from generation for which the source material was lost in the darkness of time. In the second stage, before science was in a position to shed some light on this problem, various philosophical systems brought elements of reflections about the creation of man. We must emphasize the influence on the human mind by the teachings of the scriptures of the three monolithic religions. For many centuries they were the source of ideas consisted of notions drawn from them. So divine revelation was initially communicated by word of mouth and then in written form. One can only stipulate the date at which man became aware of the first revelation. We don’t know the manner in which it came to him but we suppose that Noah was the first to bring this subject to the attention of his people. The Bible makes a reference to it and we also take from the Qur’an the idea that the first call to man to meditate on his origin was made by Noah. The most ancient text of Holy Scriptures we have which deals with the human origin as the creative work of God are no doubt the Yahwist and the sacerdotal narratives of the Bible. The Yahwist version of the Bible which is considered to be the most ancient one is thought to be written in the 9th or 10th century before Christ, while the sacerdotal version of the Bible was the work of a priest in the 6th century before Christ. It contains lengthy narratives of the creation which are now placed at the beginning of all the copies of the Bible. Christianity naturally took up these ideas of creation and repeated the biblical teaching concerning the origin of man without offering more details than those contained in the Old Testament. Nevertheless there are some exceptions especially in the Gospel of Luke tracing back to Adam and showing Jesus preceded by 76 generations of human beings.
This is today unacceptable.
Qur’anic revelation has considerably enriched man with knowledge about himself. Just as it did for all the work of God concerning creation of all beings. The human minds in the West fed themselves on the question of the origin of man with the biblical narratives. While in the Islamic world the Qur’an in the meantime brought not only the general idea of creation but also brought further teachings which did not exist in the Bible.
I will come back to this point later.
The next stage was during the 18th century of the Christian era when science registered its initial progress. As soon as man came to possess a sum of scientific knowledge sufficient enough to arrive at a formal conclusion, it nevertheless enabled him to develop various speculations. During this era most of the scientists, by their way of reasoning, strictly applied to the origin of man their findings which were not even of any significance to the animal kingdom. They did it from pure analogy. This fault in drawing conclusions explains what will follow jointly with their fondness of ideologies. Thus the philosophers didn’t hesitate to construct theories which were founded on very fragile basis. This is a thing which is also observed today.

In the West, the 19th century was the time of the first disputes with religious teachings essentially with those of the Bible particularly bearing the fixity of species through ages which is clearly formulated in the Old Testament. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who introduced his theory of transformation in the beginning of the 19th century, was the first contender of the biblical statements about the fixity of species. But it is all about Darwin who in the second half of 19th century dealt serious blows to biblical data with his book On the Origin of Species. His book appeared in 1859. Darwin had supposed that nature was spontaneously able to bring forth living beings like those whose appearance may be favored by cattle and horse breeders selected for inter-breeding. But in his reasoning Darwin forgot that these breeders cannot produce animals of species different from the species of their parents. Darwin was right when he said that he had observed variations within a species. At no time he found a change in a species which resulted in formation of a new species. In order to explain evolution in the animal kingdom we need to know what gives rise to transformation of one species of one order into another. Darwin himself admitted in a letter that he had failed in explaining evolution. This letter is preserved in the British Library in London. In this letter Darwin wrote and I quote Darwin “But I believe in natural selection not because I can prove in any single case that it has changed one species into another but because it groups and explains well as it seems to me a host of facts in classification embryology, morphology, rudimentary organs, geological succession and distribution”. In this way Darwin confessed that evolution cannot be explained by his theory. All the problems of the value of the work of Darwin lie here. The century of Darwin’s death was commemorated in 1982 by a host of apologetic announcements absolutely out of keeping with the importance of his work in the history of natural sciences. In the section of answers of science and Holy Scriptures of my book What is the Origin of Man I have shown the deficiencies of Darwin’s theory and the misuse of his work made by modern commentators. Today the evolution in the animal kingdom is perfectly demonstrated. The evidence has been given in innumerable cases with many details concerning transformation in the course of time; for example, from reptiles to mammals. But Darwin never proved that man descended from apes. Moreover he didn’t even write it. Among his followers Henry Huxley claimed this without the tiniest argument as no link has been ever found between man and animal lineages. We should come back to this topic later.
Supporters of modern theories like the New Darwinism are doing their best in order to combine farfetched obsolete data of their ideas with the genuine findings of modern knowledge. But in no way they bring together the facts of the problem. In their reasoning they draw conclusions from certain aspects taken from data collected in laboratories. In these laboratories present day microorganisms are studied without taking into account concrete facts of the past events. That is to say facts provided by modern Paleontology, incorporated by other disciplines such as Zoology, Embryology, Comparative Anatomy, Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Biology etc. In fact we observe the birth of theories supported by scholars who described them purely dependent on science but these theories only translate compromises with personal philosophies. In this field in France we are well placed to note to what extent famous specialists in Microbiology like Jack Monroe and François Jacob are worthy to have ever received a Nobel Prize in Medicine? To what extent they could have taken liberty from facts in order to satisfy their materialistic desires. One who knows the fantastic organization which rules the functionality of the cells and commence evolution in the animal kingdom. How can we agree with François who considers evolution as a result of make-shift arrangements in his book The Game of Possibilities? Or can we agree with Jack Monroe who held a theory of chance and necessity for everything. The organization of human being is much more complex than a computer programmer might imagine. I can’t give here numerous details which I have given in several chapters of my book. Nevertheless I must insist upon several data concerning life and functions of cells from general point of view.
Here I should draw your attention to several notions which you may not be aware of and then draw parallel lines between them. This is highly instructive. To assert that life might have occurred spontaneously on the earth is absurdity. To say it came from space is without any scientific base. Most certainly experiments like those of Miller in 1955 were able to demonstrate that very small amount of chemical components having high complexity like amino acids of cellular protein might be produced artificially. A gaseous mass made of hydrogen, ammonia, methane and water vapor under high-intensity electrical discharges might produce samples of these components. But it is not the life which is obtained from all this. The reasoning of Miller is wrong because there is a wide gap between bringing compounds together in a chemically ordered fashion and producing the fantastic complexity, which we call the cell, or even the rudimentary organs. Every cell, if I dare to say, has its computer. The orders for innumerable functions are given by the molecules through which the program is elaborated including reproduction. In the nuclei of the cell there is a proteinic micro molecule called DNA which is the basic element of the system. It has tremendous complexity and produces the catalysts triggering specific chemical reactions. The specificity of the later depends upon the chemical compounds which hook on this basic substance. By this way coded orders are sent by chemical messengers. After the decoding specific enzymes are produced leading to the synthesis of protein essential for life. The enzymes are the segments of DNA to which chemical compounds are appended. Each cell possesses a considerable number of them ordering innumerable activities and so the Genome is constituted. Even in living organisms with no nucleus, like bacteria, such a system of command exists. In the cells there is a tape of DNA folded over it for a great deal of time and by it a thousand kinds of protein are produced, about 3000 for bacteria called Escherichia coli where the length of DNA tape is 1 mm which is 5000 times of the maximum size of bacteria. In the human beings the size of each cell is drawn into a scale of thousands of millimeters. The accumulated length of DNA tape on all the cells might exceed several times the distance between earth and the sun! More exactly today one estimate that accumulated length of all these tapes of DNA in human being might be equal to more than 15 times of the distance between earth and the sun! In other words it is an evaluation made in astronomical terms. It is unconceivable that the precise inventory of genes in man will be drawn up. To accomplish such plan thousands of researchers, doctors and engineers would be required to work on it for 3000 years. Suppose that every chemical basic compound, that is to say in present case every nucleoli, is to be represented by a letter in books containing collected information about only one human being, it will require 200 medium-sized books each with 500 pages! You can imagine the length of book shelves and behold that such a fantastic amount of data is contained in every nucleus of our cells whose size is evaluated at a scale of 1000th of a millimeter. Its volume is so tiny that if the whole generic inheritance of approximately five billion human beings living on Earth is gathered, it’ll form a wall. The total mass of this wall might not exceed a volume of one cubic centimeter!
Is the human mind capable of achieving such miniaturization in computer programming?
The basic characteristic of a living organism is its fantastic organization. The genus puts the functions of every cell in order to help the human being to voluntarily influence central functions of the organs of the body. In animals most of these functions are automatic due to extremely sophisticated programming of the cells. For example, in the navel cells of the birds, there lay very complex migratory plans under the dependencies of prodigious stocking of information including automatic behavior. We know about the extremely reduced volume of the central nervous system where the program is registered. It is an example from which we learn about the capability of a living bird necessitating the existence of a prodigious organization.
Where can we situate the origin of life?
As far as we know the most likely hypothesis is that originated from an aquatic source. Algae and bacteria existed one billion years ago. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Other microorganisms found in rocks are dated back to 3 billion years ago. Pluri-cellular forms of life most probably developed from unicellular forms. The sponges are likely to be the most primitive pluri-cellular beings. From these primitive forms, other forms possessing huge cells and organs may have been derived. That might have acquired nervous and muscular functions. These are likely to be formed less than one billion years ago. The first invertebrates probably appeared 500 or 600 million years ago. The Vertebrates came later roughly 450 million years ago. Likewise certain fishes continued to develop thereafter. The first terrestrial vertebrates or amphibians and reptiles appeared some 350 million years ago and following them the mammals appeared 180 million years ago and the birds 135 million years ago.
This brief summary shows the magnitude of evolution in the animal kingdom in evermore developed and complex forms in a perfectly ordered manner. It suggests that its explanation by chance is impossible. The genetic code which controls the functions of each of our cells is the director having control over all transformation that comes in an orderly non chaotic manner.
New characteristics appear in evolution. This is obligatory to apply on one or more genes. Evolution is perpetually the creator of more complex forms among the animals and the plants. Thus when one reads even very little about living beings it becomes clear to him that everything is entirely programmed at the level of genetic code and it is exercising its control over extremely complicated functions in connection with the anatomic modification.
How the existence of a programmer can be found in compatibility with science? Even furthermore how an objective and impartial scientist of our age can avoid the impossibility of explanation of this extraordinary arrangement of the phenomena of life? Can we adopt the notion of chance formally? Or can we rely on preconceived ideas such as Darwin’s theory of natural selection; a theory which is in no way capable of explaining evolution as we know today? What characterizes a living being is the information recorded in a genetic code. It contains specifications concerning its morphology and functions of every kind. Evolution, as we know, is dependent on processes of successive additions of informational data over the course of time. Scientists can argue on infinite items about causes of determining the fact but they cannot go away from the fact because it is very obvious. Certain of today’s theorists, who claim to have explanation for everything, are at a loss of words when I ask them just where the point of origin of genetic information lies? Lamarck and Darwin didn’t provide explanation of the genesis of broad basic divisions of the plants and animal kingdoms.
All of these events of evolution took place over very long stages. At the beginning there appeared first signs of particular features which were followed by a period of authentication of these phenomena. This is rendered by the phase when creation slowed down and creation of new types finally came to a halt and presently it would appear to be in the final stage. In the case of man transformation came to a halt more recently. All the major organizational types were laid at a very early stage. From the moment all types adopt certain forms that oriented them into a particular direction. No organizational type immerged from these specialized forms. Paul Garaci in his book wrote and I quote “Creative evolution has its roots in prototype forms. Without them no type of organism can ever appear.” At cellular level evolution raise questions which cannot be answered by micro biology or genetics. No new phenomena can occur in the cell without intermediary of DNA molecule which by means of RNA molecule is responsible for the creation of protein which constitutes origin for chemical synthesis. For every important morphological variation the DNA molecule must acquire a new gene thus adding it to a pond of chemical-held information. Modification must occur in gene that already existed. Professor Garaci, who taught evolution in the animal kingdom for thirty years at the university of Paris, emphasized that the most primitive beings could not have had, genuinely and substantially, contained within itself all the genus of animals. Same is applied for the vegetables. For him the obtaining of genus is absolute prerequisite for evolution.
What happened concerning the human being?
Here we must report the findings, not theories, in order to make a comparison with the statements of the Bible and teachings of the Qur’an. According to firmly established notions provided by study of fossils, bones and teeth of the remains of human beings which is identified as of those who existed about 4 million years ago in Africa. They were human beings gifted with intelligence. Because they were not only capable of using tools as could certain animals, but also were capable of making tools. The capacity of invention is achieved by no animal. These first communists were called Australopithecus. I think this designation is not correct as it links with Apes from which they obviously differ. However that may be they had morphology similar to us in numerous respects; for example, posture, although they were much smaller and had a skull capacity of 500 cubic centimeters. According to the knowledge we have today, they represent the most ancient generation. But it should not be excluded that future discoveries might push back the dates of man’s first appearance on Earth. We don’t know when this wave (generations of human beings) dried out. May be one million years before us, we don’t know. The second wave was Homo erectus which was identified in Africa, Asia, Malaysia and Europe. Their size was close to us with larger brain about 900 cubic centimeters in average. They discovered the use of fire. They may have existed in a period from 500.000 to 150.000 years ago. The third wave was Neanderthal man whose remains were found in Africa, Middle East and Java. Their brain size was big than today’s man. This wave was, it seems, of a shorter duration between 150.000 years to 40.000 years. Then the fourth and last wave appeared bringing Homo sapiens of today who seemed to evolve very little to date. We have never found a link joining any of these human waves to any animal linage. We have even not found an intermediate between primates and lineage as I have mentioned. This point was clearly emphasized at the International Congress of Paleontologists held in France in 1982. An obvious evolution has occurred. An impartial person is therefore obliged to recognize the happening of such events through the course of time. There have been modifications in humans but in no way does it signify that we were descended from Apes.
From the Bible I have retained the perfectly valid idea of creation which is emphasized in its text. Nevertheless the two longest narratives of the Bible described creation as I have described in my book The Bible, The Qur’an and Science. Bible states that creation of various animals is fixed through the ages. Moreover the data in the Bible leads to evaluate that creation of the world or appearance of the first man on Earth dated 57 or 58 centuries ago. In 1987 the Hebrew calendar put it as 5747 years ago. None of this statement is acceptable. However I feel for the Bible it could not have been otherwise. When dealing with these subjects the authors of the biblical narratives, who were recognized by believers as inspired by God, committed errors under the influence of myths and superstitions of their times. No light was shed on these errors before modern times. It is therefore not astonishing that 2nd Vatican Council of 1965 declared and I quote “Books of the Old Testament contain material which is incomplete and obsolete.”
The concept of creation is often discussed by those who emphasize resemblances between man and apes and other supposed ancestors based on certain anatomical features and various functions common between man and apes. Drawn from this they conclude that we have descended from apes. But they forget that these similarities were imposed on man. Man in necessity is obliged to live in the same surroundings because he needed oxygen for respiration like animals and has to depend on meat of other animals for nutrition like animals themselves. These shared experiences had led essentially to some kind of similarity of functions; in physiology, biology and a host of common characteristics. Without these functional and physiological resemblances man could not have survived on Earth.
Talking into consideration today’s firmly established scientific data, we cannot find any difference between science and religious teachings about the creation of man. This concept is shared by Islam, Christianity and Judaism. But Islam has brought additional teachings concerning man in the Qur’an. In my book What is the Origin of Man I said that these teachings were which impressed me most from a scientific point of view. I even delivered a lecture on this subject in the French Academy of Medicine in 1976. Now I have fully developed these elements into books. When dealing with the origin of man I can’t forget the method by which the Qur’an tells us, in a more general sense, about the starting point of life. I will quote verse 30, chapter 21 The Prophets (Al-Anbiya):

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاء كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {21/30}
Do the unbelievers not realize that the heavens and the earth
were joined together,
then We clove them asunder
and We made every living thing out of water.
Will they still not believe (?)

Who does not know today that the origin of life is aquatic? Furthermore I believe that I distinguished in the Qur’an an allusion to human morphology taking place in sequence in different stages as modern science demonstrates. These verses have only become understandable in modern era. Ancient commentators and today’s translations cannot and couldn’t grasp the real meaning of certain verses which only a scientist can explain. I shall not emphasize on the well known spiritual sense attached with the creation of man from earth but the Qur’an tells about the 2nd stage after creation when God gave form to man. In a part of verse 7, chapter 11, The Heights (Al Araaf) we read:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلآئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لآدَمَ فَسَجَدُواْ إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُن مِّنَ السَّاجِدِينَ {7/11}
We created you and thereupon
We fashioned you and thereupon
We told the angels to bow down to Adam…

Man was fashioned harmoniously such is the mention of the method applied to man in chapter, The Pilgrimage (Al Hajj) and moreover in verses 7 and 8, chapter The Splitting (Al Infitar) we read:
الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ {82/7} فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَاء رَكَّبَكَ {82/8}
God is The One who created you
and fashioned you harmoniously
and in due proportion in whatsoever form He willed.

I will continue with verses of the Qur’an which speak for themselves. Chapter (Al Tean)
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ {95/4}
I have translated it in these words:
We fashioned man according to the best organizational plan.

The Arabic word تَقْوِيمٍ means to plan something in an organized way.
Moreover verse 14, chapter 71, Noah,
وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارًا {71/14}
states that God crated you, man, in stages. I suggested in my book that that word أَطْوَارًا (stages) which appeared only once in the Qur’an could be related to the transformations which the human species had undergone.
Finally bearing in mind the data provided by fossils concerning the successive waves in our spices, one could not resist projecting these findings to verse 28, chapter 76, Man (Al Insaan)
نَحْنُ خَلَقْنَاهُمْ وَشَدَدْنَا أَسْرَهُمْ وَإِذَا شِئْنَا بَدَّلْنَا أَمْثَالَهُمْ تَبْدِيلًا {76/28}
Verily We created them
and strengthened their ‘physical’ compositions.
And if We so will,
We can replace them and their likes entirely.

This verse emphasizes the probable disappearance of certain communities and the replacements that could have happened according to the will of God through the ages. What better compatibility one can find between the Qur’an and well-established data of paleontology and many other disciplines.

Let us remember that these ideas were absolutely unknown at the time the Qur’an came to the knowledge of man. Such are important lessons a scientist must draw from these facts to have a valid knowledge of the origin of the man.

How could we come to another conclusion?