Researchers: Saying the name of “Allah” while killing a chicken changes its liver and muscles

If this paper is right, and it surely isn’t, it would be evidence not only for God, but for the Islamic god—Allah. What we have, courtesy of reader S. Krishna, is a paper from the 2013 volume of International Journal of Poultry Science (reference and link to abstract below) claiming that chickens slaughtered in halal fashion, while uttering the name of Allah, show changes in their livers and pectoral muscles that aren’t seen when slaughtered identically, but without saying the word Allah.

The authors, Kenenou Tarek et al, are from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Laboratory of Animal Health at the University of Batna in Algeria. The short paper describes a partly controlled experiment outlined as follows:

A total of 66 broiler chickens (Ross 308) at 60 day of age were selected according to their average body weight (2600 g) from broiler chicken flock. Chickens were divided in 2 groups.

The first group (33 birds) were slaughtered according the Islamic method by severing the jugular vein, trachea and the esophagus, the name of Allah must be invoked by saying:, Bismillah-Allahu Akber.

The second group was slaughtered by the same way but the name of Allah was not pronounced. Livers and a fragments of the pectoral muscle were collected carefully set in a 10% formalin (Gridley, 1960) and sent to histological study in Agroveterinary institute of Souk Ahras (Algeria) in order to show the histological difference between the two groups levy.

Their findings are described not by any data, but only by two pictures that show what the authors claim to have found: “focal edema and congestive reactions in the blood vessels of the liver and pectoral muscles.”  Here are the muscles and livers of non-Allah chickens, with “Ca” meaning “congested areas. These areas are apparently a “rich medium for bacterial development” and causes “rapid autolysis of the chicken meat due to the intracellular enzymes of the leucocytes.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.41.57 AM

But if you say Allah, you get no congested areas. Voilà—a non-degrading chicken.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.42.31 AM

The authors finish with some quotations from the Qur’an and hadith mandating that Allah’s name be pronounced at slaughter.

Why was this published in the International Journal of Poultry Science? God—sorry, Allah—only knows. This of course needs to be replicated, but in a blind fashion, so that the histologists don’t know which chicken was which (the authors make no mention of blind scoring). If it proves to be real, then we need to control for how the chickens are killed: maybe someone shouting “Allah” squeezes the chicken harder! And if it still stands up then. . . . well, I’d bet big money it wouldn’t.  And I’d call for yet other controls: when the chicken is slaughtered, someone has to shout “Jesus!” or “Shiva!”

_____________

Tarek, K., M. Mohamed, B. Omar, B. Hassina and I. Messaouda, 2013. Histological changes in liver and pectoral muscles of broiler chickens slaughtered with and without naming of Allah. International Journal of Poultry Science, 12: 550-552.

53 Comments

  1. Scott Draper
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    So, would this result be more or less profound than the face of Jesus on toast?

  2. Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it belongs in the International Journal of Paltry Science.

  3. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    It appears to me that the tissue was cut differently, on a different angle, which leads to the difference. If I’m understanding what they are claiming.
    Or there’s nothing there at all.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha! Holla Allah and pass me some of that utterly divine chopped liver with schmaltz and gribenes.

  5. Posted June 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Wait, wait! I know how a study like this can actually work! It’s all in the framing.
    You see, if you scream Allahu Akbar while you’re in line at the airport, there will most likely be changes to your muscles and liver- and most organs.

    • Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, in many cases screaming “Allahu Akbar” leads to changes not only to the screamer’s organs but also to organs of other people.

  6. Posted June 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The International Journal of Poultry Science is published by Ansinet, a predatory publisher see:
    https://scholarlyoa.com/2014/01/02/list-of-predatory-publishers-2014/

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      The site referred to: Scholarly Open Access – Critical Analysis of Scholarly Open-Access Publishing https://scholarlyoa.com/ should be bookmarked as a handy reference tool by anyone who seeks scholarly material online. Questionable sites and predatory publishers are multiplying like mushrooms after a rain. Lots of critical info. Kinda scary.

  7. Posted June 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    This is the kind of thing I think of when I hear people say that science is unfairly hostile to religion. In fact, science has been WAY too tolerant of such nonsense for way too long.

    I’ve forgotten if it was Plato or Aristotle who thought the liver was seat the of the “sentient soul”. In any case, this kind of talk would have been laughed or impolitely questioned by at least a few people from that age.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s a question of toleration so much as we don’t have enough resources or interest to debunk every ridiculous claim by religious from around the world.

  8. Posted June 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    As a tighter control, the second group should have been slaughtered while singing “Bismillah! No, we will not let you go.”

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      😀

  9. Desnes Diev
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    In the legends, the authors use ‘F’ a an abbreviation for muscle fibers, in the pictures they use ‘MF’. The ‘H’ for hapatocytes is put over presomptive connective tissue in fig 1B, and over an unidentifiable blob in fig 2D. There is no blood vessel in 2C that would allow a comparison with 1A.

    What these figures illustrate mostly is that competence in histology was not a criterion to work on this study.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Or, I would guess, for the reviewers.

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        The what? 😉

        Please, pardon my typos (“aS an”, “hEpatocytes”).

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          I’m suggesting that the paper was not subject to peer review before publication? Or that the “peers” who reviewed it were not competent in histology.

  10. keith cook + / -
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Reading that gave me rapid autolysis… now I just feel slightly agitated and want to kill … before the autolysis eats my insides out.

  11. Posted June 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    “A total of 66 broiler chickens (Ross 308) at 60 day of age were selected according to their average body weight (2600 g) from broiler chicken flock. Chickens were divided in 2 groups.”

    …That’s it? What about that pesky little thing called randomization?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it sounds to me as if one group was slaughtered, then the other group. If it was one slaughterer, then there’s one issue there. If (as is common, though not recommended) the flock was able to see the slaughter, then there’s an issue.

  12. Filippo
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what happens if instead one shouts “Fred!”.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I think that too is a magic word. Like Tom, Dick, and Harry. Anyway, I’d run it by A. C. Grayling to make sure.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Shouting “Fred!” is good gris-gris. Unless your name actually is “Fred,” in which case it’s bad juju.

  13. Jonathan Dore
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    This journal is based in Pakistan. Here’s the editorial board: http://www.pjbs.org/ijps/board.htm. Note that the only three members not from Islamic countries (at the bottom) are the only three who don’t have photos. Also, they are the only ones whose names hotlink recursively back to the editorial board page itself, rather than to a CV. I suspect these three people (who do exist) aren’t even aware that their names are linked to this journal. As jecgenovese above notes, they’re on Beall’s list of predatory publishers (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_open_access_publishing for background on this phenomenon).

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      They could have submitted their study to a highly quoted (in some circles) journal like Journal of Creation which
      “is dedicated to upholding the authority of the 66 books of the Bible, especially in the area of origins. All our editors adhere to the Creation Ministries International (CMI) Statement of Faith and most papers will be designed to support this. Rarely, other papers may be accepted for publication on merit so that certain issues can be clarified.”

      It would still have been a waste of otherwise good poultry meat.

  14. grasshopper
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Kenenou Tarek et al will shortly release a retrospective paper on the changes in Daniel Pearl’s mind as he was being beheaded for allah.

    • ChrisB
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      If he didn’t have a point of death conversion, he will be tortured for eternity in hell.

      By the merciful and source of love God-creature.

  15. Alpha Neil
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Someone’s got a $10,000,000 Templeton Foundation grant in their future.

  16. sshort
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I must admit a certain fondness for this approach… when science is used, unabashedly, unapologetically, and in some detail, to promote utterly unprovable faith.

    Our estimable host has inveighed at quite some length and with great concision and eloquence on this point as we all know, and are all much indebted.

    Still, you must admit, this “paper”…. with fotos!!!…

    it’s f**kin hilarious.

    Thank you, Professor. May the noms be with you.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      There is a sad side: it is a waste of otherwise good poultry meat.

      However if you like this kind of unintended comic, you can look at the Answer Research Journal:
      “Answers Research Journal (ARJ) is a professional, peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework”

      You also have the Journal of Creation which
      “is dedicated to upholding the authority of the 66 books of the Bible, especially in the area of origins. All our editors adhere to the Creation Ministries International (CMI) Statement of Faith and most papers will be designed to support this. Rarely, other papers may be accepted for publication on merit so that certain issues can be clarified.”
      They are highly quoted (in some circles).

      Alan Sokal would not have been able to hoax them… because there is no way to distinguish a parody from a serious paper in these publications.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        I’m not sure you’re right about that last contention. Given that they** start with the premise that the Bible is literally true, they do nevertheless attempt to maintain some logical consistency in their arguments. (For example, among ‘arguments Christians shouldn’t use’ they acknowledge that there is no evidence for Darwin’s deathbed conversion and the ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’ argument is invalid). I think they have an impossible task but I have to give them credit for trying to keep their arguments respectable.

        So I think the sort of obscurantist word salad that Sokal so effectively imitated and parodied would probably fail to impress AiG’s editors.

        cr
        ** Answers in Genesis, which I think is pretty much the same organisation.

  17. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Could be the ultimate death-bed conversion story? Assuming they were atheist chickens…

    cr

  18. Vaal
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Could you imagine if we actually DID come up with strong evidence for the Islamic God?
    Could anything be more horrifying?

    I was recently watching a video of a talk between two Calvinist Christians on line, discussing various concepts of predestination. (Calvinists believe we are all predestined to our fate, decreed by God before we were born, so some Calvinists believe even babies are predestined by God to go to hell).

    What struck me was how genially they talked about their theology. How seriously can these people possibly, really take what they believe, I wondered. How can you smile and chuckle when you don’t know if you’ve been per-destined to ETERNAL TORMENT by God?
    The very thought should keep you curled into
    terrified anguish at all times!

    It’s almost like theologians people spend a lot of time thinking about things they don’t really think about.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      You ask: ” How can you smile and chuckle when you don’t know if you’ve been per-destined to ETERNAL TORMENT by God?”

      But they DO know that they are among the saved. Most fundies know that they are saved – it’s the rest of humanity that is doomed. If they knew that they were among the predestined damned they’d change religion PDQ.

  19. ChrisB
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    66 chickens?

    Clearly this poorly chosen sample size gave Satan the opportunity to defile the results and mislead the true followers of Allah…..God…Yahweh?

    What a trickster that Satan!

  20. Posted June 12, 2016 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Note that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Arab Christians call God Allah, and even in the hyper-Catholic island of Malta, the Maltese word for God is Allah. Anyway, the God of Islam is the same God as the God of Judaism and Christianity.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      If he’s the same God, why does he tell his worshipers to do different things, like kill Christians. If he’s the same God, why is the Bible different from the Qur’an, since both are revealed word of said God.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:25 am | Permalink

        Of course he’s the same god. He just tells his adherents to kill *outsiders*. And imposes varyingly bizarre dietary superstitions on them.

        Well, either he’s the same god or ten thousand different “God”s, depending whether you’re a lumper or a splitter. Allah is no more different from Yahweh than the SDA God is different from the Catholic God. Like different flavours of yogurt, it’s all fundamentally the same goop.

        All of them imaginary, of course.

        (Which is not to say that some interpretations of G*d aren’t worse than others).

        cr

      • Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:27 am | Permalink

        Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism, yet Christians don’t follow the various and numerous rules of Judaism, and the Gospels (who were written decades after the alleged crucifixion by men who never met Jesus or his disciples, if they even existed) bring in new rules. Islam is an offshoot of both Judaism and Christianity, it does follow some of the rules of both Judaism and Christianity, and adds new ones. The Koran doesn’t tell Muslims to systematically kill Jews and Christians, either, it does say that, in specific circumstances, it is acceptable and even recommended to kill some of them. All three religions are Abrahamic, they all three worship the God of Abraham.

        Anyway, all the holy books of all three religions were written by very fallible men who often projected their own flaws onto God where they miraculously become qualities.

        Nevertheless, Allah IS the Arabic word for God. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah#Etymology

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Actually, that point suggests one of the possible ways of blinding the (improved) experiment. First, come up with the instruction manual for halal slaughter as agreed between the food processing authorities (who, at least in Britain, also have obligations to humane slaughter. Which they then thow out of the window for religious (halal/ kosher) slaughter.) ; then find several licensed slaughtermen who can RTFM, and abide by it’s specifications. Then the blinding comes by having some slaughtermen who are Muslim believers perform the slaughter of some animals, and having some other disbelieving (e.g. non-Muslim, or Jewish, or outright atheist) slaughtermen perform the slaughter without the element of belief in uttering the syllables.
      Appropriate blinding labelling of the dead meat ; the so-called histologists task is then to identify their purported changes without knowing which meat was slaughtered by a believer, by a believer in another god, of a disbeliever.
      I’m sure Randi and Co could come up with a couple of other things to watch out for on the experimental design front. I’m equally sure that the Allah-squaddies who published the original work would run, screaming, from the idea of having non-believers involved in the experiment. for exactly the same reasons that Randi gets few professional charlatans trying to pull the experimental wool over his eyes – they know they’ll get caught.

  21. macha
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I seem to remember years ago there was an equally daft one about the wings of flies.

    Evidently one (left, right, can’t remember) was made by Allah to be infectious, whereas the other was antiseptic.

    The evidence was loads of dodgy-looking Petri dishes showing bacterial growths (or not, as the case may be).

    Bloody clever this Allah chap?

    • barn owl
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Bloody cleaver is more like it.

  22. Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Is this journal revising its peer review process in view of this mistake?

  23. Sheepish
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Additional shouting controls:
    A bailable Mullah shirk
    Like a rubbish halal lam
    A rubbish halal meal ilk

    … Or any of the more than 75000 anagrams of Bismillah-Allahu Akber

  24. Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    JAC: “And I’d call for yet other controls: when the chicken is slaughtered, someone has to shout “Jesus!” or “Shiva!” ”

    … or, “Bullshit!”

  25. Kevin
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got Rachmaninoff lined up the chicks just before the knife. When they hear that all their organs will get into gear. 🙂

  26. Joseph Stans
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    AS a control, you need a goup of chickens killed while someone shouts “booger”.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      As an additional control, don’t you need to use Jewish rabbis shouting “Allah!” while killing 33 birds? Perhaps even some Mormon bishops and a few Pastafarian priests for good measure.

  27. Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    If they actually believed it to be true they would’ve done all the controlled experiments you suggest and more. They would be shouting it from the rooftops as proof not only of God but Allah and proof that Islam is the only true religion.

    Instead it’s been tucked away for the past 3 years and probably used by Islamic apologists as “evidence” to bolster the fairh of those that already believe and for the scientifically ignorant.

  28. Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “The authors, Kenenou Tarek et al, are from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Laboratory of Animal Health at the University of Batna in Algeria.”

    Of course they are.

  29. Joe
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I ran across something like this about 10 years ago, for cows et al., but it was not in a putative science journal:

    “Aggrandizement eliminates germs from slaughtered animal”

    http://site.iobad.com/random-stories/aggrandizement-eliminates-germs-from-slaughtered-animal

  30. wetbook
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    “This of course needs to be replicated, but in a blind fashion…[and other suggested controls and design improvements]”

    No it doesn’t need to be, and in fact shouldn’t be, replicated. Bad design isn’t the core flaw with the “study”. The core flaw is that it isn’t scientific to begin with, since it has no valid hypothesis.

    This journal isn’t indexed by Web of Science/Thomson Reuters. So, to most discriminating scientists, the study is in a journal that lacks an endorsement of legitimacy. I hate the thought that a corporate entity (especially the one handing out those odious impact factors) is the arbiter of which academic journals are legitimate. But, WoS (same as Science Citation Index) has a rigorous screening process for what journals it will index. (Interestingly, this journal is open access yet not on Beall’s list of predatory publishers/journals.)

  31. Ben
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    “And I’d call for yet other controls: when the chicken is slaughtered, someone has to shout “Jesus!” or “Shiva!””

    Or Colonel Sanders…

  32. Robin
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Is this study really needed? More unnecessary suffering in the name of religion.


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