Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Arrogance of Atheism-of-the-Gaps: When the only certainty is uncertainty

Mehran Banaei

A glance at the history of science can provide a good insight to its short-lived dominant positions with respect to every scientific discipline. Sometimes the paradigm shifts were gradual; sometimes the new ideas were revolutionary and spread exponentially like wildfire, having concomitant effect on every other branch of natural and social sciences.

For instance, in cosmology throughout the centuries the scientific position moved from Aristotelian celestial motion to Ptolemaic system. The Ptolemaic geocentric model was then replaced by the Copernican Heliocentric universe, a revolutionary idea which lasted until Johanne Kepler and Isaac Newton arrived at the scene. Subsequently, the Newtonian world was superseded by the general relativity theory of Einstein. Then came the era of the static universe of Fred Hoyle which later was demolished by the Big Bang expanding universe. The Big Bang universe is now facing a few new challengers: the Multiverse Theory, String Theory, Parallel Universes, M Theory, the 11th dimensions, etc. Every time we think that we finally unveiled the secrets of the universe, we soon after come to realize that no we did not.

astron25Needless to say human knowledge in every discipline is not static, but dynamic. We understand the universe better every time we discover something new and should never feel obligated to be loyal to mistaken ideas. This is how human knowledge truly grows. Nevertheless, while self-correction of science is commendable, the arrogance and ostentatious attitude displayed by many scientists today is not. Many scientists have adopted a mind-set that they are the elite, that they know better than everyone else, that they alone can lead and we ought to follow them. Yet the perplexing question is: In this atmosphere of dominant ideas constantly being labeled as obsolete, where scientific theories merely go in and out of fashion, how did the arrogant mind-set that science knows it all develop among many scientists? The often-skipped question is, when science is unable to obtain certainty in the scientific dominion, how could it so boldly proclaim certainty in non-scientific dominion, particularly by the scientists who use scientific “certitude” to bash any ideology that allows the notion of the First Cause at its core.

If the question, who speaks for God is justified, likewise the similar question who really speaks for science is equally valid and must be addressed.

At the turn of the 20th century, it was Sigmund Freud who came with a pretentious aristocratic attitude and a sense of superiority that his bizarre ideas on human psychology are scientific and superior to every other competing theory. He supposedly used “science” to validate psychoanalysis. Using this new school of thought he subsequently tried to refute everything he disliked in psychology, sociology, anthropology and theology. Yet, it did not take very long for his psychoanalysis to be dumped in the trashcan of discarded ideas. After all, there was nothing scientific about his methodology of arriving at ideas such as “Penis Envy”, “Oedipus Complex”, interpretation of dreams or other bold claims he made in his popular books: “The Future of an Illusion”, “Civilization and its Discontents” and “Totem and Taboo”. It was Karl Popper who argued that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience based on faith, since its claims are neither testable nor can they be falsified. Today, psychology textbooks refer to Freud, the atheist who once dominated the field of psychology just as an average Joe among many figures in the history of psychology.

From 1920s to 1960s, it was the era of logical positivism; a radical tradition asserting that all metaphysical and subjective a posteriori arguments not based on observable data are meaningless. Truth can only be determined by repeatable experimentation. The notion of the First Cause is not subject to empirical experimentation; therefore, as such God cannot exist. Hence, science rules. Everything else is of no value. The logical positivists never took a moment to reflect on their self-refuting proposal, which was not based on science, but based on a non-scientific philosophical outlook, thus having no value.

A century after Freud, comes Richard Dawkins, a new Johnny the snake-oil salesman. Dawkins a biologist with an annoying habit of getting of out biology lab to use science as a pillar of atheism in order to refute issues in philosophy, theology, morality and sociology. Teamed with group of like-minded atheist academics like Lawrence Krauss, Dawkins et al define what science is and is not. They all speak as scientists but then repeatedly get into the realm of non-science, mostly religion and the existence or non-existence of “God”. Using the premises adopted by logical positivism, they claim that the standard of proof in science is solely based on evidence not “faith” or ones opinion, however, just like Freud their supposedly scientific belief is nothing short of their own opinion far away from any evidence i.e. random mutation, the Multiverse theory.

MathCartoons1Using Darwinian evolution as the weapon of choice, these materialists make grand claims completely outside the territory of science. Any question that they are paralyzed to clarify is considered as “silly question”. They add that the issues which science today has no explanation for i.e. the origin of life could someday be adequately explained. These scientists think they are authorized to write rain-checks on behalf of science, and expect us to value their promissory notes given their abysmal credit history. Let’s say that someday science may come up with an explanation of ideas that are unexplainable today: Does this not sound like the atheism-of-the-gaps, and is it any different than the much ridiculed God-of-the-gaps?

Today atheist scientists claim with certainty that time and space, matter and energy are created out of nothing without any external agent, then sustainably evolved by blind processes with no intelligent guidence to create complex life with stunning precision and order that defies comprehension. They claim with outmost certainty that God the Creator does not exist. Yet it is puzzling as to, how can they be so certain about their theological claim when they are unable to achieve certainty in their own scientific field?


How can anyone arrive at certainty in the proposed world of infinite universes with infinite possibilities on how life was created out of non-life, where the laws of physics and biology are arbitrary and randomly surface out of nowhere, in the universe that is created out of nothing, where anything that can happen does happen? In this world any possible explanation is just as good as another. Adhered explanation is a matter of preference; that is to say the explanation that “God” created the universe is thus no different than “nothing” created the universe. The God-of-the-gaps is as viable as the atheism-of-the-gaps.

My contention is not at all with science, but with arrogant scientists and their unsubstantiated claims; it is not with evolution but with the extremely improbable Darwinian dice. Some scientists today are so eager to have their name inducted in science Hall of Fame next to likes of Galileo, Newton, Darwin that they completely forget the goals and objectives of science. These scientists should learn to be humble and stop pushing unproven ideas; otherwise like Freud they too will end up being the future inductees of science Hall of Shame.

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“Happy Atheists” and “Stupid Tourists” Prank

Mehran Banaei

In the last couple of decades the entertainment industry and the public have developed an appealing taste for prank comedy. As the nature of this type of show dictates, someone is always set up to perceive a situation that is not what it seems and then acts upon his/her false perception. Viewers are then expected to laugh at the subject’s reaction to the given stimuli.

Prank comedies often remind me of Stanley Milgram’s famous social psychology experiment on obedience to authority figures; however, unlike prank comedy there was nothing amusing in Milgram’s case to make anyone laugh at how the subjects reacted. We learned valuable lessons on the dark side of human psychology from Milgram experimental study. Although in Milgram study most subjects continued to apply what appeared to be real lethal electric shocks to a person who seemed hurt and in pain, some stood firm and refused to carry on with the faked torture experiment. The latter was a promising sign on the bright side of human nature, that not everyone is a passive mindless comatose following directions given from scientists. Similar extrapolations can be made on prank comedies with controlled variables. Leaving the humor part aside, prank comedies can always be viewed as a mini experiment on human psychology. They often demonstrate something about the subject as well as those who put the idea together to produce the show, and even the social norms and values.

Subsequently, this leads me to ponder, if our surrounding environment tells “A” while our own senses and experiences tells us the situation at hand ought to be “B”, how should we react? Do we react that reality is “A” or “B”? Can anyone doubt the information collected by all senses and processed by the brain and then avoid an obvious conclusion? At last, whom can we trust for assistance, should we follow a clueless “expert”? For instance, view the following prank:

This prank is an example of a wilful blindness. Wilful blindness would be much more humorous when it is spotted in real life when some people constantly ignore what is right underneath their nose. Who are such a silly people? I submit that the atheists are one prime example of people engaging in the act of self-deception. To demonstrate this, let’s change the question from where is the Olympic Stadium to a more crucial enquiring issue, i.e. the creation of the universe. The question posed could be the most basic and fundamental question for Mankind the sense-making species: Is creation of the universe result of a blind chance or is there intelligence behind it? Let’s expand the site from Montreal Olympic Park to the entire planet full of multifarious signs pointing to the correct answer, let’s even go beyond our planet into the vastness of the universe. Seriously, is it really not funny and ridicules to see those who exercise wilful blindness to avoid the immeasurable ever-present signs of intelligence in Nature? For example, viewing Chris Packham’s fascinating documentary on the annual miracle of the temperate forest would mesmerize any thinking individual, and one would rightly be amazed to see those who deny the wisdom behind the astounding variety and complex interconnectivity involved in the forest.

Secrets of our Living Planet: The Magical Forest

Unlike the above prank, we are not just standing in front of the evidence, we are the evidence, we are the living sign, we are the living the proof that it is intelligence. There are infinite signs within ourselves and within the furthest horizon categorically telling us that the universe is created by an Intelligent Power. So how is it that materialists choose to claim that “No”, the universe is a sheer product of blind chance? Indeed, when everything in the universe points to one inevitable conclusion that is there is a God, not seeing the evidence for design is a mere fact of psychology and not of logic.

If one works so hard not to see the obvious, then no evidence can be convincing. Therefore, there is no point to have a discourse or debate with such a people. What is the point of shouting when ears are deft, eyes are deliberately closed and minds are shut down? Hence one never sees what one does not wish to see. There is so much efforts being made to avoid all these ubiquitous signs; nevertheless it is still hard for them to maintain a wilful blindness of ignoring what is right in front of their eyes.

Indeed, many atheists only see what they want to see. Take the example of PZ Myers lecture below, a biologist and the author of Happy Atheist. For likes of PZ Myers, life is an accidental prank, no amount of invariable complexity and precision means anything to them, the least of which is intelligent design:

For sake of argument, let’s pretend that the evidences pointing to an Intelligent Creator are not there; let’s pretend that we cannot see them. Let’s pretend that those atheists who come out of nowhere claiming it is all due to chance should be listened to, let’s pretend that science proves that the signs are inconclusive. Let’s pretend and justify our denials that all those who recognise the evidence for intelligence are religious freaks, but we cannot pretend that life is a prank.

Atheists need to be reminded to avoid the avoidance of the obvious fact of Intelligent creation, to look around and see the grand universal stadium where we are all a player in an ongoing match. Those cosmic tourists, who wilfully want to deny the signs pointing to an Intelligent Constructor of this stadium, will, no doubt, face a loss of Olympic proportions.

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