Can “Science” legitimately Dismiss “Non-science”?

Mehran Banaei

For years the Greek philosophers in ancient Greece were debating which part of our daily food actually feeds us and turns into energy, and which part is useless and purged after digestion. To end the debate, one Greek intellectual came up with the assertion that the part that feeds us is “the nutritious faculty of the food.” His seemingly fancy assertion was an interesting explanation, but it did not offer anything new. The subsequent question which immediately comes to mind is: which part of the food we eat is “the nutritious faculty of the food.” What was proposed only begged the question. The offered explanation is tautological. It is like saying, the part that feeds us, is the part that feeds us.

If you think perhaps this was the characteristic of scientific inquiry in ancient time, not of the modern era on more vital issues, you are mistaken. This approach is still prevailing today in scientific inquires. Consider the following case:

From the early dawn of civilization, the oldest existential question ever asked by Mankind is that why is there ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’. Some consider this basic question philosophical, others think it is scientific, a few think it is inherently theological. The fact of the matter is, this is a simple commonsensical question, naturally occupying Man’s mind worthy of serious inquiry. Indeed, why is there ‘something’ when there could be ‘nothing’? The ‘something’ refers to an entire universe with bewildering complexity intelligently fine-tuned where the earth and the whole of mankind is only an insignificant speck of dust in the grand scheme of creation. A delicate sequential creation which gradually evolved from the moment of inception of time, space, matter and energy to the present state of nature. Indeed, what is the underlying cause of the universe’s marvelous rhythms and regularities?

Each group has proposed a solution for this deep-seated enigma. However, the solution offered by the scientists is continuously nothing short of begging the question. Indeed, from physicists, cosmologists to biologists, their explanation of why is there ‘something’ as opposed to ‘nothing’ is anything, but satisfactory. The theologians and philosophers who attribute creation to an anthropomorphic cause are not in a better predicament.

Some ardent scientists would like us to think that they have unlocked the secrets of the universe and have totally eliminated the role of the First Cause or the Prime Mover. The creation of the universe is attributed to existence of gravity, quantum particles, Higgs boson, laws of physics, natural selection and so on. Some scientists attack ancient fairytales, yet propose modern fairytales like “multiverse”, or to say the least push a weak theory as though it is an established fact.

Like the above-mentioned ancient Greek thinker, these scientists do not seem to understand this rudimentary question too well and clearly have nothing to offer. Stephen Hawking for example states that “One cannot prove that God does not exist, but science makes God unnecessary… The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a Creator.” Really! Indeed, what an incredibly petulant and tautological argument coming from an eminent scientist! Similar to Richard Dawkins who asserts that natural selection did it, Hawkins reductionistic solution is that gravity did it all. In his revolutionary contribution, Hawking takes the liberty to avoid elaborating, I suppose from his perspective, on a minor issue: where did the laws of physics come from? Once again we see another scientist who looks for the cause of the universe within the already created universe. More so, he neglects to explain why the universe is programmed to gravitate. Is gravity self-created? How is it that gravity is acting up with an intended goal?

drawing-hands-by-escherThe drawer of this drawing is not in the drawing, likewise the cause of the universe cannot be within the universe

In answering the question, why is there ‘something’ as opposed to ‘nothing’, any proposed mechanism for what caused the universe and how it came to be is still an invalid remedy. For one would still ask why is there, for example gravity, where there could be no gravity. Where did the precise required laws of physics come from? Why is there natural selection as opposed to unnatural rejection? Their utter inability to tackle this and other similar questions have forced them to declare that all “Why” questions are silly questions unworthy of pursuit. To cover up the irrationality of their position and to silence their critic, they do their best to belittle philosophy. Ironically, in so doing, they give philosophical arguments to elevate science above philosophy.

The reason for the inability of science to answer this fundamental question emanates from the fact that existential questions are not at all scientific questions, the way empirical science defines itself, i.e. the process of observation, experimentation, quantification, falsification, prediction and empirical verification. Thereby, any proposed explanation offered by any scientist is unscientific and a matter of personal opinion, particularly when such a scientist steps into realm of non-science and metaphysics such as the debate on if there is or there is not a “God”. In this regard, an opinion of a scientist is no more valuable than an opinion of a chef or an auto mechanic. Is there any relationship between the validity of an opinion on metaphysics with what the person who expresses it does for living? What is the connection between cooking and the proclamation that there is, or there is not a God? Absolutely nothing. Likewise, what is the connection between science and atheism? If all the chefs in the world claim to be atheists, does this make the idea of God and cooking mutually exclusive, incompatible with one another? Scientists like Dawkins and Krauss have built a career outside of their respective field and would like us to think that their opinion on why there is ‘something’ as opposed to ‘nothing’ is more valuable than the opinion of the community of auto mechanics or chefs. Undoubtedly, their opinion is not the only possible explanation, or the best explanation.

These evangelical atheists have hijacked science and conveniently use their authority in biology and physics to give Fatwa in an area that they have no expertise in, i.e. there is no God. There is nothing scientific about the proclamation that there is no God. Where is the scientific objectivity here? No one would take these two scientists seriously if they ever give a Fatwa on economic matters, since neither one knows anything about economy. So why would anyone think that they their atheism is anything more than their personal opinion emanating from their inner desires and agenda?

Atheist scientists claim that they go where the evidence leads them. While there is plenty of evidence against religious dogmatism, there is nothing via science to conclude atheism. They project their own subjective opinion on non-existence of a Creator as though it is a fact of logic derived from science, while paint the belief on the First Cause as though it is fact of psychology derived from gullibility and insecure emotions, like it cannot be the other way around.

The modern scientists can have a better understanding of the universe if they do not narrowly compartmentalize human knowledge into science and non-science, and not easily dismiss anything, which cannot be subject of empirical verification. Existence of the First Cause does not require empirical verification in a science lab. For lovers of the truth, the ultimate criteria should be the usage of reason in its fullest sense and the overarching law of non-contradiction, to examine all claims, be they deductive or inductive in order to assess the possibility of existence or non-existence of anything.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

Naturalism: A Fishy Perspective on Causality

Mehran Banaei

There is a famous Persian proverb about a curious little fish who confronted his father with a burning question: “Dad, what is this thing called water?” The young fish asked inquisitively. His father helplessly replied, “Son, I heard about it too, but to tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea, no one has ever encountered water.”

The intended message behind this proverb is that while any question may seem valid to pose, one ought to be equipped with sufficient brainpower to comprehend the answer. Reality has to be accessible to the observer’s intellect and conceptualization is the key to understanding. While our brain can absorb many things, it certainly cannot conceptualize and absorb everything, simply because it does not have the capacity to comprehend the nature of all that exists.

One of the most frequent questions posed by atheists is that, if everything has a beginning and cause, then who caused the First Cause; that is to say where did the Originator of the Big Bang come from, and who created Him.

As a theist, I find this ubiquitous reductionistic approach unworthy of analysis, merely fitting for tabloids and gossip magazines. The question posed is irrelevant and totally unnecessary to put forth. For one, the Creator’s “personal life” does not really interest me, nor do I think I am equipped with enough cognitive capacity to understand His infinite uncaused nature. For mortal beings like us, trapped in a finite universe of cause and effect, it may seem difficult to envision that there could be an uncaused cause outside time and space dimensions who is not bounded by the laws of cause and effect. However, what I can easily grasp which matters most, is that I am here, did not need to be here, was not here at one point, and will not be here further down in time. While I am busy to make sense of my own existence, I have no interest to dwell on the nature of the First Cause, the Uncaused Cause. Deductive logic and inductive extrapolative evidence sufficiently attest to existence of an intelligent conscious Being outside of this universe; indeed, without Him the universe could not have existed. What is known to our intellect is enough to establish His existence; thus what do we need to know His “biography” for, which is inaccessible to our cognitive apparatus?

Atheists believe that nothing exists beyond the natural world. They make an incorrect assumption that outside of this caused universe, there could not be an Uncaused Entity, and that the Causer of the universe must also be caused, subject to His own laws. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the First Cause of the universe was caused by a bigger cause than Himself, if so, then who caused the “First Cause”, and so on. This erroneous approach would obviously lead to an infinite regression and unsettled conclusion, thus dismissible at the outset, yet it is continuously brought up by likes of Richard Dawkins. These atheists fail to understand that the cause of the universe cannot be within this universe, subject of the very laws of physics within the universe. That which creates cause and effect cannot be the subject of cause and effect. That which creates time and space cannot be the subject of time and space. That which creates time must be timeless. That which is timeless and eternal must be Uncaused.

It is now well established that the universe and time have had a beginning some 14 billion years ago. In discussing the origin of this created universe, what becomes inescapable is that causality has to be attributed to something, i.e. to mythological gods, a cosmic luck, blind processes of cosmic natural selection, a self-created universe aimlessly fashioned out of nothing, extraterrestrial more advanced than us, or to A Singular Uncaused Cause. It is our task to explore all explanations and determine which explanation is rational and makes more sense.

image

By way of analogy, while fish do not have the capacity to deductively or inductively comprehend the existence of water, the existence of fish alone is a sufficient proof for the existence of water, whether the fish comprehends water and its dependence on it, or blatantly denies the existence of water. Yet atheists feel content with attributing the existence of 28,000 different stunning species of fish, each playing a role in the intricate balance of ecosystem to a keeper of an aquarium. The keeper being natural selection, laws of physics, mindlessness, etc. without articulating where did they come from. Thereby, blatantly committing the notorious fallacy of passing the buck.

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

Propaganda and Brainwashing in Western Societies: The Power of the Media

Mehran Banaei

During the repressive totalitarian Soviet era, the Russian people were known to be among the most informed people in the world. Not that they had a better access to the news, on the contrary, their access to the real news was utterly restricted. However, Russians knew well that whatever their state controlled media propaganda machine was feeding them, was not true and the truth would most probably be the opposite of what was being constantly broadcasted.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the people in the West where the most coercive form of tyranny has been in effect inconspicuously, where the gullible masses are kept ignorant. Particularly in the North America to preserve governance, masses are constantly distracted by trivialities, spoon-fed with lies, and consequently kept in darkness. In this polluted atmosphere, deliberate manufactured endarkenment is considered as enlightenment, and an actual enlightenment is considered as dogma. Insisting on the truthfulness of the Truth is considered as radicalization. Unlike Russians, very few people in the West question the contents of the corporate media or are able to distinguish between news and propaganda, hypnotism and entertainment, indoctrination and education. For the overwhelming majority, even if the truth is somehow leaked, it does not really matter to them that they were lied to all along. This bizarre indifferent attitude can only be the result of a premeditated systematic conditioning and desensitization.

Indeed, the most coercive form of tyranny is not that of the former Eastern Block system with KGB spies and surveillance cameras being present everywhere, but it is the one that prevents people from seeing the truth and removes the awareness of other possibilities. It is the one that makes it seem inconceivable that perhaps there are much better ways and viable socio-economic and political solutions. It is the one that removes the sense that there is a better world beyond our manufactured mental borders. It is the one that makes the people illusively think that they are in charge to govern their own affairs; yet they are being easily governed. It is the one that conditions people to erroneously feel liberated and well-versed freethinkers while they are actually in bondage. And above all, it is the one that makes the Truth look like a lethal idea and those who advocate it are monstrous fanatics to be feared.

Malcom X believed, the media is the most powerful entity on earth: “The media has the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent,” thereby, well capable to control the minds of the masses. Not surprisingly, he was labeled a radical rabble-rouser and was assassinated in the country that prides itself as a free polarized society. He realized that media is the prime working tool for the elite to subjugate the masses. Their prime goal has always been to create fear and divert attention from real accomplice of the crimes committed. Politics of fear dictates that bogymen are created and constantly demonized.

Fear

St. Augustine narrates the story of a pirate captured by the warmonger lunatic Alexander, pathetically tilted “the Great”, who asked him “how dare he molest the sea”. The pirate boldly replied: “How dare you molest the whole world”. “Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you are doing the same thing with a great navy, yet are called an Emperor”.  Nothing has changed from those days other than the Emperor and pirate. The pirate is always to be feared, while the Emperor is supposedly the benevolent protector, a champion for democracy and human rights.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the scapegoat changed from communist party to Islam. The religion that literal means peace, stands for justice and equality has been presented as one of the most violent and feared ideologies to combat. Deranged thugs and dictators who have never read the Quran are presented as faithful adherer of this religion, despite the fact that their conducts are at odds with the very basic tenets of Islam. But, why are there so much biases and double standards in the media and policies when it comes to Islam? Why does Islam have so many internal and external enemies? Is it possible that spread of Islam could pose a serious threat to the vested interests of certain groups? The answer is a most definite “yes”. Islam is no exception to rule and has many hostile enemies who cannot tolerate or afford its growth. Therefore,  for example could  the atrocities committed in the name of Islam by the so-called Muslims, like the Charlie Hebdo attack or 9/11 not simply be a false flag operation to demonize Muslims and ostracise Islam. It is not like the Western governments never engaged in covert operations or appealed to deception before. Their track records prove otherwise.

Hardly anybody in the West questions why the upper echelons that own the media resent Islam, and falsely portray this worldview in such a harsh manner. The simple reason is that it is due to the blatant fact that Islam, a comprehensive socio-political system, poses a deadly threat to the existing oligarchical structure of most parasitic and corrupt societies. For assuredly:

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate the present unjust socio-economic set-up that sustains the current unfair system of distribution of wealth and resources.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate any move towards a control of the world resources, economies and political systems by a cabal of power-hungry elites.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate any system which would continuously piles-up a massive amount of arms and arsenal for its own profit and protection, while leaving its own grandmothers and grandfathers, begging homelessly on decrepit streets.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate any banking system that would callously and unjustly force a dispossession of one’s property, because of missed mortgage payments.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate any economic system which makes a huge profit by the degradation and destruction of the environment in various ways.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate the pharmaceutical industry in which its goal is blatantly set on repeat customers rather than curing the patient.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate a colossal alcohol industry that, like a vampire, drains the life-blood by providing a habituative obnoxious fluid to society at the expense of the predominant health, family and social complications.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate an industry which strips women off their clothes and dignity, and perpetuates promiscuity, immorality and family breakdown in society in order to inflate the wallets of executive pimps.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate a multi-billion dollar cosmetic and fashion industry, which replaces the intrinsic values of women with instrumental values, since its lifeline depends upon spreading illusory images to brainwash women to market themselves for disguised licentious men.

If Islam arises, it would neither allow nor tolerate an educational system which produces regurgitative automatonic relativists, who conform to machine-like systems and are blind to all of the above problems from cradle to grave.

Islam is a nuisance to the voracious conglamerates who own the world. Therefore, it would indeed be an exceedingly naive presumption that in this system anything good will ever be said about Islam, an ideology with many common enemies.

Voltaire, the famous French satirical polemicist, recognized the dubious soico-political system imposed by undemocratic established institutions of the day; he suggested that to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

The answer will be clear to anyone who chooses to accept the truth unequivocally, that is one who does not have any vested interests, other than to know the reality of who is trying to run the show.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Philosophy

Proper Perception and Appropriate Intervention: Both In and Out of Uniform

Mehran Banaei

Law enforcement officers around the world are required to successfully complete an intense use of force training. The objectives of the training are to enable officers to optimally react in real life situations, where an officer ought to physically control, disarm, or arrest a hostile aggressor, or a high risk assaultive criminal. The intent of the course is to be able to diligently keep the assailant restrained in compliance with the law, keep the public safe until backup arrives. Henceforth, the subject is safely transported to a secure environment. The training is not intended to make tough sharp shooters, but rather make law enforcement officers safe, more perceptive, reactive and proactive. The mechanism by which an officer can successfully achieve the intended goal is to develop the ability to identify the threat cues, read body language, always expect the unexpected, make sound risk assessment, and in time, respond appropriately to what suddenly unfolds.

PoliceOfficers

The accurate recognition of signs, body language and threat cues can indeed distinguish a dangerous hostile subject from a cooperative subject. In so doing, one’s mind has to be always 100% alert. Officers cannot afford daydreaming on the job, or be impaired. One wrong move could be unforgiving. The failure to be vigilant could be lethal to the officer, his/her partner(s), innocent bystanders or the subject.

Officers are provided with essential tools required for the task: a pair of handcuffs, defensive baton, OC spray, handgun and a communication device for which they are duly accountable for to use, or not to use. Prior to completion of the training, officers are given scenarios where they enter into a hypothetical situation, ought to successfully assess the situation and demonstrate their acquired skills. To pass they must be able to accurately absorb all the threat cues, assess the risks involved and appropriately intervene to the given dynamic situation at hand. Pass or fail depends on the decision made by the officer. The decision made has to be effective, having implemented a balanced use of force. Lastly, they ought to be able to rationally articulate the rationale behind their decision, and the subsequent intervention made. Once on the job, the same requirements go for each real situation that the officer is deployed to, the articulation will be made to either a supervisor, or in a judicial tribunal.

Undoubtedly, the most crucial part of the training is the recognition of the signs and act accordingly. In the above clip, the dispatched officer to the scene made an initial poor risk assessment by entering into subject’s house without his partner. Furthermore, he failed to recognize that subject’s right hand in his pocket could mean that he is holding a weapon. Tragically, such a mistake costed him his life.

The hypothetical scenarios and real life situations are indeed miniature models of reality of our existence on this planet. In a lifetime of dancing on earth, every observer is like an officer, witnessing countless signs and indicators, where each sign would indubitably display a message. At our disposal, we are equipped with the necessary tools, such as our senses to collect information, and a complex brain to process the collected data for intervention. We have learned that universe did not exist 13.7 billion years ago, prior to the Big Bang, that suddenly, matter, energy, time and space were brought into existence from oblivious non-existence. What would this fact alone indicate? According to Roger Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence by accident were on the order of 10 to the power of 10 to the 123 to 1. This means 1 followed by 10 to 123 zeros. After the Big Bang, if the rate of the expansion of the universe were as different as 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, life on earth would not have evolved the way it is. What would this cue lead us to conclude? When we study the enormous complexity of the DNA Double Helix structure, we learn that each human DNA molecule is comprised of chemical bases arranged in approximately 3 billion precise sequences without which life would not be possible. What would this fact alone dictate?

Patterns

Amazing fractal pattern of Romanesco broccoli, rich in vitamins and dietary fiber: Is this a sign of chance creation or intelligent design?

All signs indicate that the universe is remarkably created to host life, not just a life, but a life to be probed and enjoyed. Life is to be enjoyed whether one is having a meal, hearing symphonies played by birds and insects, seeing marvelous colours combination displayed in nature, in the starry night, smell of a rose, holding a loved one in one’s arms; all have a profound message to each participant. The ubiquitous message is that the universe is caused intelligently and is pursuing an intention. Indeed, what all these decisive cues that we process during our lifetime are telling us? Having observed such signs, what is the proper intervention to take? How is it possible for one to miss all these indicators one after another, and yet articulate one’s decision for no intervention?

An officer thinking like Richard Dawkins would be dead on his first day of the job if he assumes that a confronted assailant with a knife in his hand is only an illusion of a dangerous assailant. And the knife is not a real knife, but has only the appearance of a knife designed to kill. The assailant’s attacking posture and verbal assaults are only an illusion of hostility. In his articulation, a Dawkinsist would like to assert that now, when science can explain how the knife is manufactured and got in there, we would then need not to worry about its implications.

Officer Peter Atkins would assume that only a man with a lazy mind would interpret that an assailant charging at one with an aimed knife is an indication of hostility. According to him there are no compelling cues worthy of consideration for intervention.

Officer Sigmund Freud would interpret a pointed knife as wishful thinking, man’s oldest desire for emotional comfort. The appropriate course of action according to him would be an inhibited sexual freedom from childhood.

Officer Karl Marx would interpret a pointed knife as opium of the mind, his intervention would be creation of a classless society governed by social justice loving working class.

Officer David Hume would state, in his articulation, spout that a career criminal with extensive criminal convictions of armed robbery entering a bank with a shotgun, face mask and a getaway car parked in front of the bank does not necessarily entail that a bank robbery is in process. Hume’s intervention according to his philosophy, is to walk away from the crime scene as we are only psychologically conditioned to expect a felony that the armed man will run out of the bank with bags of cash in his hands.

Like Hume, Officer Stephen Fry walks away from the crime scene with no intervention made. Fry articulates that he sees no threat cues because there are children on hospital beds suffering from cancer.

On the other hand, there are others who would go to the opposite extreme and wrongfully interpret circumstantial cues often displayed inadvertently as a sign of hostility and react inappropriately with excessive use of force. For example, Abubakr Al-Baghdadi of the so-called ISIS may pull out his machine gun and shoot several times at a passive resisting social activist with no criminal history or intent, giving a horrible name to the agency that he claims to represent. Like Dawkins, Al-Baghdadi is guilty of misreading the cues. Other extremists like Benjamin Netanyahu would deliberately bomb a country and annihilate an entire defenseless population for a non-existing threat. In his articulation, Netanyahu proudly asserts that his actions are only result of self-defense.

Do we have a ground to stand on for any wrong intervention or rather total lack of it? In a universe engulfed with zillions improbable order and harmony, can we articulate that it is self-created, accidental or purposeless? What happens if at the end of life’s journey, we do have to articulate our decisions made to the Entity that caused the universe, be that Natural Selection or what have you. Indeed, it will be too late to make an optimal reaction to the omnipresent cues of the cosmos when the scenario is over.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

Human Disparities: Who is to blame, “God” or Man?

Mehran Banaei

In March of 1993, unknown South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, while covering the famine in southern Sudan took a photo of a dreadful reality which made the world weep. The infamous photo is of a hooded vulture preying upon an emaciated starving Sudanese toddler near the devastated village of Ayod. The dying child was crawling toward the UN feeding center for help. By his own admission, Carter waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings and make a move on the child. It did not, Carter snapped the haunting photograph, chased the vulture away, then left the scene. At the time, the parents of the little girl were busy collecting food brought over by the same UN plane that Carter took to Ayod.

The photograph was soon after sold to the New York Times where it appeared for the first time on 26th of March 1993 as “metaphor for Africa’s despair”. The photo immediately re-appeared in many other newspapers around the world. It is reported that overnight thousands of people contacted the New York Times to inquire whether the child had survived or not, leading the newspaper to run an unusual special editor’s note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but her ultimate fate was unknown. Journalists in Sudan were told not to touch the famine victims, because of the risk of transmitting disease.

kevin-carter-vultureCarter eventually won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for this iconic photo, but could not enjoy the prize and the overnight fame earned for what he captured in his photo. Carter also faced harsh criticism for not helping the abandoned little girl, but rather heartlessly concentrating on taking an ideal picture for his self-interest. In the wild, many animals such as buffalos do risk their life to save their own kind when attacked by predators. Elephants and monkeys are known to help their young ones in trouble. Should less be expected of humans? What were this man’s priorities, to remain unhelpful being only a few feet away from his fellow human child in misery? “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene,” as one critic blatantly put it. “I’m really, really sorry I did not pick the child up,” he confessed to a friend. A year later, consumed with the violence he witnessed during his career, and haunted by the questions as to the little girl’s fate, he committed suicide. On July 27th of 1994 Kevin drove away to Parkmore, a suburb of Johannesburg, taped one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe, running the other end to the driver’s side window. He tragically ended his own life at the age of 33 by carbon monoxide poisoning. In a note he left in his car he said: “…. the pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.”

The legacy of Kevin Carter’s revealing iconic photo is that he resiliently rejuvenated the centuries old philosophical discourse on the so-called “problem of evil”. How could the good loving God allow this innocent child to suffer and be eaten by a bird of prey? Why did God not intervene to save her? Why would He allow a young professional photographer be overwhelmed by depression for impartially doing his job?

Many theists have become convinced of atheism based on the fact that bad things regularly do happen to good people. Particularly, when their prayers for help seemed unanswered. I acknowledge that this is a very emotionally charged issue, and people’s experiences of pain and suffering are real, and often long lasting. I too have deeply entertained these questions in my mind and heart. Yet, I did not allow my frustration, subjectivism and lack of sufficient knowledge to blur my vision, at least not for long.

Pain and suffering are not unique to humans, in nature every species experiences pain, be that nature created for a purpose, or uncreated with no purpose and goal. This is exactly what maintains the balance of nature, and ecology at check.

Thus, why should pain and suffering pose a problem only for the theists, but not for the devotees of natural selection? If there is no First Cause, the issue of the “problem of evil” is still on the table, for natural selection has to explain why among all options it favours the strong and allows the weak to vanish. Why it allows innocent children to suffer, i.e. be born with genetic birth defects, etc. In fact, the “problem of evil” is more problematic in the materialistic ideology than in the theistic, since a believer in the Divine is aware that his belief in the Almighty does not give one special immunity from life’s usual ups and downs and one will be tested by the Divine in one way or another. Nor does being good 24/7 shield one from natural disasters and sickness; a believer is required to be steadfast and mindful of the Hereafter. Yet, in a naturalistic world suffering makes no sense, particularly in absence of the Hereafter an atheist has nothing to console with in a temporal earthly life.

Let’s analyze Carter’s powerful picture and see what it really tells and tells not.

One cannot even for a second blame the Divine for this child’s death or circumstances leading to her death. To depreciatively ask “where is God” when adversities such as famine strikes is a false comfort to cover up the most pivotal question which ought to be asked: Where is Man? We presuppose that in the state of existence, it is the Divine who is on trial not man, and the Divine is subject of Man’s judgment for approval. Further, there is an underlying assumption that man has no individual and collective responsibilities while freely walking on this planet.

Calamites are either natural or manmade. Civil wars, population displacement and food scarcities are manmade phenomena. We assume that deviation from natural laws has no socio-environmental consequences and are indifferent to concomitant effects of interrupting the inherent balance of nature which lead to famine. Centuries of hegemonic socio-economic policies, unjust trade rules and mismanagements have devastating tolls that are gradually surfacing: drought, global warming, hurricanes, etc. Man is often a victim of his own transgression, individually or collectively. We wipe out an entire rainforest to use the land for cattle farming as though the forest is there merely as a decorative functionless item. The hell with all other “redundant low-cast” species that are destroyed, we are the chosen species, and certain elite groups within the chosen species are the chosen-class that must rule the world. Nature must be subservient to the elite. Over 80% of world’s resources are being consumed by less than 20% of world’s population in the Northern hemisphere at the expense of all other human and non-human cohabitants of this shared planet. Even so, still all earth’s renewable resources seem not enough to satisfy their never ending insatiable appetite.

GoldDiggersMan is the only species with responsibilities and freewill. And when he exercises his freewill the possibilities can be endless. The course of reckless action taken may result in destruction of life, properties and natural environment. Nevertheless, as one engages in act of senseless destruction, others have the obligation to stop him and prevent the annihilation. Sadly, the world often turns a blind eye to atrocities and genocide committed by a single man or by one nation to another, leading to tragedies, one after another. And when calamity strikes, many stand facing sky blaming the Divine. We live in the universe of cause and effect, everything in this universe obeys this law and nothing can deviate for this principle. When natural laws and basic manmade social laws are tampered with, what kind of logic dictates that the Originator of the universe ought to intervene like the Superman, particularly when despite all early warnings signs, the optimally balanced natural laws set in motion, as well as the rudimentary moral laws and justice are arrogantly violated?

The confused and disillusioned atheist philosophers selectively focus on the “problem of evil” to argue that there can be no “God”. Their anthropomorphic concept of “God” in this context resembles more like a celestial Superman, Santa Claus or Genie leading to ill-conceived expectations and conclusions. Even, if there is any validity in their line of reasoning, then they should not be ignoring the existence of good, which causes the “problem of the good” for the atheists. The atheists totally miss that according to their own logic the overwhelming existence of good, love and pleasure ought to lead them to the opposite conclusion. For example, the existence of countless healthy, happy, well-fed growing children demonstrates that there is a Merciful Divine.

Children in Central African RepublicIt is puzzling that one keeps on insisting that the universe is uncreated or self-created because of pain and suffering, while our experiences of joy, laughter, love, beauty outweights pain and suffering. Where is consistency and fairness in this assessment? Clear thinking should indeed lead everyone to the opposite conclusion made by Kevin Carter that “…. the joy of life truly overrides the pain to the point that pain does not exist.”

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

Dawkins and Tzu: Different Sides of the Same Coin

Mehran Banaei

The famous Chinese Taoist Master Chuang Tzu once dreamed that he was a butterfly fluttering around colourful flowers. While dreaming, his dream appeared so real to him, void of any awareness of his humanhood and his own individuality. In the dream, the entire world was just a garden and he was a tiny butterfly in that garden. In the middle of the dream, Tzu suddenly woke up and found himself laying in bed, being once again a human. Tzu was perplexed by this dream and questioned his own existence: “Was I before a man who dreamed about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?”

This anecdote is the naissance of philosophical skepticism spread from ancient time to modern era, advocated by Western thinkers like David Hume further giving rise to radical skepticism in philosophy and science where it is legitimate to pathologically doubt the most obvious notions.

For an honest thinking individual, the possibility of anyone actually being a butterfly, dreaming to be a human being is so ridiculously absurd, not worthy of serious discussion, let alone up for philosophical analysis. While between a man and a butterfly indisputably, there is a necessary and well-defined distinction, surprisingly for some, between reality and illusion there seems to be no distinction.

Consider skepticism offered by atheists against arguments for the Caused universe and fine-tuning. Lawrence Krauss postulates that the universe was created on its own from “nothing”. Richard Dawkins, argues that in this self-created universe what appears to be complex biological design is only an illusion of design. For ardent Darwinian atheists, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, flies like a duck, and even tastes like a duck, one cannot still accept that that it is a duck. Over three millennium have passed and these two distinguished scientists are so engulfed in pathological skepticism, that are seemingly like Tzu paralyzed to discern between dream and reality. Dawkins severely suffers from Tzu syndrome unable to tell apart an intelligently designed organism with its sustaining orderly system from mere illusion, in determination of which one is really which.

The two have managed to influence a great number of people. Yet, they do not realize, that firstly an explanation of an alternative theory is not a proof to validate the theory. Secondly, pathological skepticism is not a rational argument and cannot refute what it intends to refute. Such proposals are result of a deliberate effort to create confusion and cast doubt on the obvious and self-evident Truth. Radical skeptics in science often promote the existence of farfetched possibilities that are usually hard to define and impossible to verify by observation or empirical experimentation, where the mere postulation of such theories is socio-politically motivated, planned to cast doubt on concrete and ubiquitous facts that have undesirable implications. Multiverse theory and self-directed evolution by natural selection are a few typical cases in point.

Math

Furthermore, pathological skepticism is an exercise in sheer futility. It is a self-refuting proposition, for it can equally be used against pathological skepticism. If one wants to doubt and question everything, one should also be doubtful of doubting, and be skeptical of ones own skeptical initiatives and cognition. Thus, where and how does one begin to walk on a solid path? Seemingly, the whole intention of pathological skeptics along with their relativists counterpart is to undermine the solidity of Reality.

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

True Crime: The Prevelance of Perjury in Science and Theology

Mehran Banaei

To testify in a court of law, the witness is obligated to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To arrive objectively at the truth, it is essential that all these three components go together hand in hand. One has to first tell the truth, not concocted fabrications. While disclosing the truth, one has to tell the whole truth, not just half of the truth and be selective to bits and pieces of what is desirable and what is not. Often, while much has been said, is there anything, which has been left unsaid? If so, the concealed information once revealed may force completely a different conclusion. In this respect, half of the truth is as effective as half a parachute. Lastly, in the process of telling the truth, the witness ought not to contaminate the truth with added impurities. Only through the employment of such a fact-finding process can a valid judgement be made.

This is how things are in a court of law, but how should things be in the trial of life? What could one testify with certainty in a lifetime of interactions in this universe? Can we ever ascertain if the universe is created by an external Agent, or is the universe the creator itself?

In analyzing popular discourse between atheists and theists from a Judeo-Christian background, it could be noticed that both sides do not follow this basic tribunal requirement. Both sides vigorously engage in only telling the truth. Yet, both sides with the intention to be triumphant in the debate deliberately ignore the two other concomitant requirements, that is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as if there is such a thing as half reality. Thus, committing the notorious crime of perjury. Both groups need to be reminded that those who jump with half a parachute are not going to have a safe landing.

What is the truth that both sides constantly broadcast? The truth is the outright flaws in their opponent’s view, hoping by embarrassing their opponent, they would score a point to rest their own case. What is left out to say, is the lack of evidence in their own view presented in form of faith, or presented in the name of science having nothing to do with reality.

For example, Christian apologetics like C.S. Lewis, John Lennox, Richard Swinburne, John Polkinghorne and Alvin Plantinga are a few among many theists who confront the atheist camp with the weapon of scientific truth, the truth about the inescapable implications of fine-tuning. They well demonstrate that the universe must have a cause and the cause of the universe is not within the universe. Yet, they never mention that there are blatant scientific errors in the Bible, the countless inconsistencies and historical blunders in that which is claimed to be a perfect divine revelation. What is further added to the truth is the baseless claim that the cause of the universe is an anthropomorphic Entity. Is there a shred of evidence in this universe to attest to this claim? While there are compelling reasons to believe in the First Cause, there are no compelling reasons to believe that the entire Bible is word by word dictated by the First Cause.

Cosmos

On the other hand, atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens rightly argue that religious teachings have been used by the elite to control the masses. Organized religion discourages free inquiry and stands at odds with scientific facts. What they do not say is that, this dreadful state of affair is utterly contrary to the teachings of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, neither one had any interest in wealth or power. It is a historical fact that all these three men went head on with the atrocious regime of their time to liberate their community from mental and physical slavery. It is a historical fact that all these three men taught mankind to use reason and expand their knowledge. What Dawkins and Hitchens do not say, is abuses and crimes committed in the name of religion do not disprove the Divine causality. In fact, when a crime is committed, it is irrelevant in what name it is committed, be that in the name of “religion”, “western values”, “self-defense”, etc. What they do go ahead to falsely add is that science has buried the idea of a created universe, and what science discovers about the origin and functioning of the universe would have no implications beyond science.

Cartoon

Such a misleading presentation offered by the two sides often causes confusion among unwary audiences, leading many to agnosticism that the truth cannot be knowable, or it is relative. Thus, one can never be certain about the nature of reality. When it comes to causality, the state of human knowledge is ever inconclusive.

In discovering the truth about the universe and human existence, one has to detach oneself from personal desire and all socio-cultural beliefs without any affinity to or pressure from the external sources. Then tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. If one abides by this simple principle of fact-finding, one can easily arrive at the ultimate reality about the origin of the universe.

The fact is, one may not be able to figure out what is beyond death, or if there is heaven and hell. One cannot know what is the nature of this Entity who caused the universe and how It came to be. But by observing the universe, there are countless assertions that one is indeed able to attest with certainty. The prime evidence of nature is before every man and woman. Nature’s immediacy and simple language are timeless and universal. Our own existence alone testifies to a cause. We know better that nothing can be spontaneously created out of nothing. There is no case in point to falsify this assertion. Everything in the universe is evidently designed and functions based on specific defined laws. From a tiny atom to the most complex celestial system, everything follows a certain order. The idea of a perfectly functioning accidental universe with no beginning or end is impossible and improbable, thus it is irrational to advocate such a position. It is so absurd as well as dishonest to argue that this incredibly complex web of life in the vast space is a result of random chance. One should know better that chance is not a cause. Even chance requires some pre-requisites. The alternative explanations such as materialist explanation are inadequate. The existence of consciousness and free-will refute the materialist position on causality. All exhibits confirm that the universe is somehow created and is pursuing a goal. The creation of the universe is not by accident, but is by intention.

Judging by the ubiquitous effects, the Causer of the universe is evidently infinitely powerful, creative and intelligent. Even most atheists do not dispute these attributes; however, they rather ascribe these attributes to “Mother Nature”, “Natural Selection” or pure chance. From this single assertion one can autonomously extrapolate that the Entity who is intelligent must necessarily be compassionate, merciful and just or He is not intelligent at all. His degree of compassion ought to be proportionate to His power and intelligence. Furthermore, the Causer of the universe must be singular, eternal and there can be nothing like Him.

To say the very least, in the trial of life, one should be able to bear witness that the universe is caused by this Entity for a purpose.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion