Monthly Archives: August 2013

Prof. Dawkins, Illusions are Designed

Mehran Banaei

Richard Dawkins often tends to speak for Charles Darwin. He continuously uses Darwinian evolution to justify his militant atheistic agenda. In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins postulates that the unaided laws of physics, the laws according to which things have happened since the Big Bang, could, in the fullness of geologic time, come to mimic deliberate design. He conveniently redefines biology: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” He argues that the illusion of design  is so successful, that it convinces many unwary biologists to believe that if a heart or an eye looks designed, it is sufficient enough to deduce that it is designed. From this assertion, Dawkins, the perpetual disgruntled critic of theism, concludes to have easily refuted the role of God as the First Cause, the Uncaused Cause, God the Creator, the Fashioner, the Orchestrator of the evolutionary processes, the Designer of the astounding variety and complexity of elegant life. Having discredited the divine Watchmaker, he then hands over the credit to a blind watchmaker that unconsciously operates without any purpose in mind. It is indeed mind-boggling to see while physicists and mathematicians have discovered a higher order behind what appears to be “chaos”, Mr. Dawkins denies the apparent order and design in nature, how can one explain this. The avoidance of this emerging conclusion by Dawkins seems rather perplexing!

Let us examine Dawkins’ argument on the illusion of design. First and the foremost, one can argue that the appearance of design is not an accidental byproduct of evolutionary processes, but may very well be a part of the design, that is to say, it is intentionally designed to have the appearance of design. Furthermore, for illusion to appear illusory, necessitates having certain prerequisites and laws in effect to facilitate an illusory perception. Thus, in this case, the issue of who is the Designer and Lawmaker is still on the table and left unanswered.

To say that a bird’s aerodynamic body with its wings has the appearance of design, but is not designed, suggests a form of optical illusion being involved in our understanding of the apparatus. In the first place, why is there a double standard with respect to illusion of design? Dawkins does not make the same inference when he refers to an aircraft, which is actually designed after in-depth studies of the anatomy of birds. If the original model is not designed, how is it that the copycat manmade creation is considered as a feat of engineering supremacy? What criterion do we use to distinguish between what has the appearance of design with that which is purposefully designed? Is the criterion employed arbitrary, conventional, philosophical or scientific? In the last couple of decades, engineers of various disciplines have been paying special attention to nature; they have adopted a biomimetic approach in design for increased productivity, efficiency, sustainability and optimality. In short, they plagiarized designs from nature and then present them as human novelties.

Secondly, in actuality the theist’s view of a designed apparatus leading to the conclusion of an Intelligent Designer has nothing to do with mere appearance of the apparatus. It has everything to do with the ingenuity and functionality at both micro and macro levels. For example, I have no illusion that my car key is thoughtfully designed by Toyota engineers to unlock and then ignite the engine of my automobile at my will. There is certainty that my car key is specifically designed to perform this task only on my automobile: a Toyota RAV4 2010 Sport Model VIN: 2T3RKDV1AW017290. Further, my car key is not designed to perform the same task on any other automobile. I doubt if Dawkins would disagree with me on this issue. So why is this simple logic abandoned when it is extend to the ubiquitous examples in the universe and nature, if the unavoidable conclusion may hint at the existence of a Designer? Teeth are designed to chew food, the heart is designed to pump blood, sexual organs are designed for reproduction, etc. How could the whole remarkable unseen order in the universe and the infinite intelligence behind it be a grandl illusion?

Isaac Newton is reported to have stated that when he first dissected an eyeball of a bull, he immediately realized that all principles of reflection and refraction of light are fully employed in the design of the bull’s eyes. Newton was astonished by this discovery; he proclaimed that, “whoever designed this eyeball knew all the laws involved in optics.” For Newton it was not an illusion of design, but rather it was a solid proof for the existence of God, the “Mechanic” who is responsible for the whole of creation. Dawkins would like to think that it is Natural Selection which is cognizant of the behaviour and properties of light when it passes through lenses, or just pretends that it does to give the impression of design. All this goes to show us is that the atheistic stance is not based on reason, but a blanket emotional reaction to the word “God”, that leads to the most ludicrous conclusions being passed off as scientific and the bastions of rationality.

Moreover, apart from the improbability and impossibility of any unaided and unconscious processes to create anything meaningful, Dawkins’ assertion is also irrational and fallacious in eliminating the role of a Designer.

Indeed, what is an illusion but misinterpretation of a physical reality by our senses? An illusion is when we perceive a physical reality to be anything other than what it actually is, when we become deluded using our own senses of things that are not really true.

There are a few good examples of how our senses can fool us. A prime illustration is the Adelson checkerboard, an incredible optical illusion designed by a Professor of Vision Science at MIT. Edward H. Adelson designed and produced a perplexing checker shadow illusion  in 1995.

At the time, we may not even suspect the veracity of what our senses are telling us, that things could be unreal, unless the illusion is broken up. For example, if we slightly relocate the position of the spot light, the size or the position of the green cylinder, increase natural light in the room or switch the position of gray squares with white squares, there would then be no optical illusion. The size of the board and the cylinder ought to be proportionate to one another. Furthermore, most checkerboards are black and white; however, Adelson could not have picked any other colour, but gray and white. There would be no illusion involved if the colours were bright pink and yellow.

For a colourblind or visually impaired person, if instead of contrasting gray and white squares the checkerboard had smooth and rough bumpy squares, human vision would be totally useless. In this case, the subject would need to use an entirely different sense, namely touch. Therefore, there would be no illusion once you touch the board.

The crucial question is, does as illusion mean there can be no designer? Dawkins has taken the liberty to assume that is so. When someone’s entire career objective becomes justifying atheism and debunking the notion of intelligence in design, it is no wonder that one often makes hasty and inaccurate conclusions.

tree_illusion

Glass

Optical Illusion Carpet

Optical illusion carpet

Real face or a mask over her face?

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A brand new automobile designed to look rusted

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What is most interesting is that for every argument that atheists put forward to eliminate the notion of intelligence in design, there is a much stronger counterpunch that slaps them in the face. Dawkins fails to comprehend that even when it comes to illusions, there are purposes involved in the design; that is, it has to be intelligently designed to have an illusive effect. Ask any well-known magicians like David Copperfield or the great Harry Houdini. They would admit that what they do for a living is to create grand illusions, such as making the Statue of Liberty disappear, levitating over the Grand Canyon or walking through the Great Wall of China. The illusionists never do anything impossible contrary to the laws of physics, rather they just cleverly seem to make us think that this is exactly what they are capable of doing. For all their tricks there is indeed great thought and preparation made behind the scenes and the individuals involved have a superb talent for gimmickry. The important point to be made is that even illusions are so meticulously designed to be illusory. They do not just happen by random mutation. If Dawkins thinks otherwise he should then consult with Edward H. Adelson or David Copperfield.

Dawkins’ bogus contribution to this discourse emanates from his inability to explain the intelligent design, which has led him to deny the intelligence in the design and natural processes. The central inescapable dilemma of the atheists is that all elements of nature possess harmonious order and laws. Since order and laws imply arrangement, then the issue of the “how” of arrangement leads to the “who” arranged it, because the probability of chance arrangement is zero, taken cumulatively. This is why if these atheists try to shift the attention of those who rationally conclude that nature implies order, which implies arrangement and hence design and a Designer to it being all an illusion, they cannot escape the fact of arrangement no matter how hard they try. This is like trying to escape the gravity of earth by jumping up; it is an impossibility. Rather, Dawkins and his atheistic henchmen create an illusion of rationality by their baseless suppositions. If after all he is right that there is no God and all designs in nature are pure illusion, then the million dollar question to ask would be: who is the magician who came up with the trick and created the illusion of design? Using his line of reasoning, he should, to say the least, come to conclude that the unique Designer of the evolutionary processes in nature, whatever the nature of this Entity might be, is indeed the one who is the greatest Magician or Illusionist of all time.

For many scientists like Newton, Michael Denton, Michael Behe or Stephen Meyer, there are no illusions about the designs in nature. For them, if it looks designed i.e., serves a purpose, it is designed. The only detectable illusion is that of Dawkins, the stubborn atheist Emperor who refuses to accept that he is naked – who accepts the illusion of being fully clothed.

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Battle of Dogmas, a Mug of Beer vs. an Egg: The Commonality of “Atheistic Science” and “Trinitarian Christianity”

Mehran Banaei

Those who adhere to science and logic take a strong position against the Christian doctrine of Trinity. They protest as to how on earth can 1+1+1 be equal to 1, and consequently hold that the nature of God in Christianity is totally incomprehensible and inaccessible to the human intellect. They further argue: how can a being be both human and God, mortal and immortal, finite and infinite, fallible and infallible, contingent and incontingent, caused and uncaused, possessing these attributes simultaneously or consecutively? How can God be in human flesh, and further, how can the Divine God have a human son? These critics have argued for centuries, that the notion of Trinity cannot be rationally possible, since if God has a son, His son then must have the same nature as his Father, otherwise he cannot really be his Son. If so, how could the Son have the same nature as his Father, when the nature of the Father is that he has no Son or Father and no one gave him life? After all, He is the God that begets not, nor was He ever begotten.

Trinity is so blatantly irrational, that many well-known Christian thinkers such as Joseph Priestley, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Ralph Waldo Emerson openly rejected it and adopted the Biblical Unitarian version of Christianity that regards Jesus as just a human being. Historically, the classical response from Christian theologians has been anything but satisfactory. Many Christians today continue to struggle with the perennially irreconcilable notion of a triune God.

Trinity is commonly defended by employing four different strategies, all of which are invalid. Trinitarians blatantly bypass the basic law of non-contradiction through the usage of these techniques, either separately or combined.

Firstly, the argument by analogy. Analogies are frequently provided to explain complex and indefensible concepts; often the analogy used is fallacious and is nothing close to the concept being defended. In defense of Trinity, an analogy of egg is provided to explain this indigestible concept, claiming that Trinity is just like an egg having three layers. The shell, white, and yoke are all parts of one egg, but at the same time they are all separate components of an egg. God is like an egg in that He is 3-in-1, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This analogy is expected to clarify how divinity and humanity can be the unified characteristic of a single entity, forgetting at the outset that an explanation is not a proof. The approach employed leaves further questions unanswered such as: why is the nature of Divine like an egg, but not for instance like an onion unsettled. Can Trinity be truly the Divine nature of the Big Bang Originator?

Secondly, the irrationality of the proposed concept is covered up by clouds of worthless terminology and convoluted language. The Christian God is claimed to be a “Hypostatic Union” between man and God, an invented terminology by the First Council of Ephesus held in the year 431, a fancy term that conveys absolutely no meaning but pontifical gobbledygook.

Consider the following example, through natural processes, a silkworm can turn into a beautiful butterfly, but once it becomes a butterfly it can no longer return to being a worm again. Metamorphosis is a unidirectional process. Such a species cannot be both worm and butterfly at the same time. If God becomes man in every sense of the word, He then loses His power to become God again. If He is still able to regain His divinity, then He never was truly a man.

Thirdly, Trinity is a mystery that has to be accepted based on blind faith; it is a matter of personal belief. Faith excuses evidence. A thing that cannot be subject of rational scrutiny could still be justified since the good Lord can do anything. How many times have we heard Christian theologians claim that “you cannot question everything”? They come up with disingenuous vocalizations and slogans such as: God is love, the love of God can overcome mystery and irrationality; when we meet the Lord in the heaven He will eventually explain His mysterious nature to us. In explaining the Biblical causation to the scientific community, the Trinitarian position is that “Jesus did it”, “the Holy Spirit did it”, and the anthropomorphic “God the Father, the old man up in sky did it.” Then they look surprised why scientists dismiss the Biblical account of creation.

Fourthly, when clergies are confronted with an unanswerable question, they use the same technique commonly used by trained politicians on how to dodge a difficult question by answering a different question so brilliantly.  They never write off the point raised and always acknowledge that the issue raised is justified and deserves scrutiny. The technique requires manipulation of the audience, by first creating a little distraction to sideline the questioned issue and then gradually moving on to a different topic that is easy to handle, the position taken is something which everyone would agree with. At the end, if the unsuspecting questioner feels the issue is still unclear to him, he may conclude that he is just too unintelligent to understand the issue well explained to him.

Ravi Zacharias on the Law of Non-Contradiction and the Trinity

Needless to say, none of the above approaches would quench the thirst of truly rational individuals, all those who seem to have had enough of the Christian dogma and long for a little bit of a breeze of rationality. Many scientists as well as philosophers claim to be among this group. However, they too have equally abandoned rationality and throw the baby out with the bath water. They reject God the First Cause with the notion of Trinity, Christianity, all manmade and altered religions. The illogical Christian theological doctrine has given excuse to the rise of atheistic science. Their first error is that, since the existence of God is not subject to empirical analysis, it must be excluded from science. Thus, in looking for an alternative Godless worldview, scientists fail dreadfully. Their solution is no different than that of Christianity and they ultimately fall into the same pitfall.

At first atheist scientists came up with the idea of the Steady State universe. They argued against theists that if God has no creator and has always been there, why not the same be true about the universe, that the universe had no cause, and has always been there. If God is said to be eternal, why not to say that the universe is eternal. Furthermore, with respect to the notion of the fine tuning of the universe and the astounding variety and complexity of life, materialists proposed “Natural Selection” to rebut William Paley’s notion of Watchmaker. However, after the discovery of the Big Bang, the dominant Steady State universe could no longer be defended. The Big Bang confirmation established that the universe had a beginning and a beginning universe suggests that there ought to be a creator. Further discovery of the Double Helix geometric shape of DNA, the molecule of life comprized of chemical bases arranged in approximately 3 billion precise sequences made defense of atheism a silly attempt. Atheists suddenly found themselves in trouble and started looking for a remedy, ideas such as Multiverse, parallel universes, M theory, String Theory and other dimensions, etc. started to develop without any inductive supports, contrary to the very basic tenet of empirical science. None of these theories have arised based on evidential discoveries; on the contrary they all have been developed with a specific objective, which is to eliminate the need for a Creator in explaining the causality.

To an impartial objective observer, the similarities between the two views presented by respected atheist physicists and Trinitarian Christians are evident: both are unsupported, illogical and based on faith that is blind faith. The Christians rather believe in the trinity of God, than in the unity of one God. The atheist scientists rather believe in an absurdity of a self-made accidental universe, or in a more bizarre idea of infinite number of undetectable self-created universes than believe in a single Creator of all that there is. If this belief is not based on blind faith, I then wonder what is. The atheist scientists confused science with science fiction, have coined terms such Multiverse for a fictional concept, then like Christians, appeal to a faulty analogy to justify their pseudo-science. For example, claiming that the whole of existence is like a mug of beer full of bubbles. A beer mug being a vast hyperspace, the mother of all universes and the individual bubbles are like the individual universes popping into existence. Subsequently concluding, not all universes would be conducive to complex life; we were just the lucky one to live in the universe that hosts life. We are the winners of the jackpot of a cosmic lottery. Really! How practical? Isn’t that nice, winning the ultimate prize without even buying a ticket?

BeerRiddles of the Multiverse

God and the Universe


Indeed, what a useless and dogmatic effort by atheists. The idea of the Multiverse cannot exclude the role of God the Creator. Not only does the Multiverse theory not eliminate the need for God the creator or the First Cause: rather, it makes the matter even somewhat more complicated. As if having to explain one origin and one causation is not hard enough, now multiply that by infinite causes. Let’s suppose that the Multiverse theory is accurate, the question of who created the hyperspace, the mother of all universes and then set the physical laws to govern it, still remains blatantly unanswered. Did the Multiverse not have an initial cause? Who said that God cannot create a Multiverse? How does the notion of the Multiverse lead one to conclude atheism is warranted? The atheists position on the creation of the Multiverse is no different than that of the creation of the universe. They defend the irrationality of their belief by claims such as, “Nothing did it” (Lawrence Krauss); “It did itself”; “The universe created itself” (Daniel Dennett), “Mother nature did it”, “Natural Selection did it”, “The Selfish Gene did it”, “a blind watchmaker did it” (Richard Dawkins).

It is true by relying on science we can learn so much about the universe, the proposed Darwinian explanation on how A evolved to B, may be satisfactory to those who are only concerned about the origin of B, but not A. But, why stop at B? Why be only concerned about where and how the bubbles in the beer come from? The more important question is where did the mug that holds the beer come from. How did the whole of the grand existence begin?

Furthermore, the atheist scientists seem to forget something rather pivotal to their field here. This forgetfulness is that explanation is not a proof. An explanation is not an argument and cannot be taken as justification or proof. Why on earth should the Multiverse be like beer and not like water, totally flat and bubbleless? Did the atheist scientists forget what really gave birth to backlash against religious institutions? Did they forget their own arguments against faith-based beliefs, and what distinguishes science from religious belief in fairytales? What must be considered is a religious man who believes in the notion of Trinity, is painted by scientists to be closed-minded, an obtuse religious fanatic, as Richard Dawkins describes it: “an enemy of reason”. If this is who he is, then in a way he is licensed to believe in Bronze Age superstition and nonsense. However, how can an academic man of science, a lover of reason and rationality, a graduate of a prestigious university and author of numerous books come up with a similar argument and invalid conclusion as a religious fool? Why are the lovers of truth using the same techniques to dodge questions which their proposed science is paralyzed to answer?


What is strikingly shocking is to see blind faith arguments coming from scientists, those who have already criticized the faulty analogy of Trinity and further unfairly picked on William Paley’s Watchmaker analogy.

Practically in every textbook or website on logic and science when the fallacy of faulty analogy is discussed, the example of Paley’e argument is cited as a typical fallacy of faulty analogy, arguing that this analogy does not demonstrate the existence of an intelligent designer. Consider the following diatribe,

“…the analogy doesn’t succeed because of faulty comparison. In false analogy, constructiveness of the argument gives way to deceptiveness and triviality, where the falseness in the analogy can be understood by the absurd construction of the argument. This can be best understood by the ‘watchmaker analogy’, which is used as an argument for the existence of God. According to this particular analogy, the complexity of the universe is similar to the complexity of a watch. Since every watch has a watchmaker, so the universe too must have a maker or designer, in short God. This analogy falls flat, because of the fatuousness of the comparison and is, today, considered to be the best example of false analogy. This will become clear when the argument is given an absurd turn. It can be accepted that the universe is as complex as a watch. But while the watch can be taken around in the pocket, the universe cannot be. Thus, an analogy becomes false when there are many characteristics that highlight the differences between the comparisons.” (Reference)

Using this logic, that the universe and a watch are not the same thing, I suppose one can comfortably argue that the comparison of Multivers with a mug of beer is likewise unwarranted; thereby the Multiverse cannot exist, simply because unlike a mug of beer, you cannot drink the Multiverse.

The atheist scientists erroneously think that scientific inaccuracies in the Bible are a good proof that there can be no God. They conclude from the fact that the followers of each religion claim that their religion is the Truth with capital T, therefore there can be no such a thing as absolute Truth. They deduce from the fact that there are so many different concepts of god, therefore there can be no God. How unscientific? It is a pity to see such conclusions are made by those who are systematically trained to discover the truth by the process of elimination, those who are trained to separate fact from competing theories.

The fallaciousness of scientism is well exposed and counter-attacked by Christians who were bashed relentlessly by scientists for the last couple of centuries. However, Christians should be reminded that it was the dogmatic outlook of Christianity in the very first place and its hostile attitude towards knowledge that gave rise to atheism. Christians among all people are in no position to complain about why scientists have an aversion towards religion, and should know better why people are driven in droves towards the abyss of relativism and atheism.

The debate between atheism and Christianity has turned into a boring dispute between the pot and the kettle, both sides calling each other black, each side guilty of the very fault identified in the other side, both sides being guilty of mixing sense with nonsense.

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