Tag Archives: Lawrence Krauss

The Fallacy of “Supernatural”

Mehran Banaei

How many times have neo-atheists like Lawrence Krauss vociferously stated: “We [the scientists] don’t believe in any supernatural shenanigans?” In an attempt to refute the notion of the First Cause, Krauss ubiquitously refers to the Big Bang Originator as a “supernatural shenanigan”, hoping to convince his audience that it is science which leads to disbelief in a caused universe.

Krauss is not the only atheist scientist who appeals to gimmicks to score his point. Like Richard Dawkins, he claims not to believe in “supernatural shenanigans” because he is a man of science. I suppose a man with a hidden agenda has no choice but to appeal to deceitful tricks, when he tries to promote an unscientific personal opinion disguised as a research based academic exposition. Indeed, it boggles the mind as to why would a scientist, if he were truly objective, inordinately adopt unscientific language to brag about what he does not believe?

The term “supernatural”, particularly when paired with “shenanigans” unconsciously conjures up the image of a mystical fairytale, magic or superstition. Whatever is labeled “supernatural”, connotes it being a relic of the past, an outdated pre-scientific thinking, sitting right next to the paranormal. A “supernatural being” sounds like a fictitious mythological character that does not exist, i.e. Zeus, Vishnu or Superman. By using such a term the neo-atheists are trying to make their opponents look like idiots before even the debate begins. Krauss is trying to shape the reader’s attitudes towards what caused the universe before he even presents his case, by implying that belief in “God” for lack of a better word is stupid, and the one who adopts such a belief is at the zenith of stupidity.

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An example of genuine supernatural shenanigan: the claim that one can levitate by meditation. Belief in the First Cause is put in the same category and then debunked by erroneous association.

Psychologically, people have a great aversion to being branded with terms that have a negative import. No one would wish to be stigmatized as having an antiquated belief. No one wants to have a negative title bestowed upon one, especially when it is often closely associated with some outlooks which indeed are primitive, superstitious, irrational or fanatical. This insidious attempt is deliberately used to disadvantage the other side at the very outset, by placing a negative label on them. This is nothing short of straw man labelization.

The strategy implies that whoever adopts a belief in “supernatural” is dogmatic. However, this type of stigmatization in essence, is a typical textbook case of cheap ad hominem attack and name calling, devoid of any substantiative arguments.

But, is the Entity which caused the universe supernatural? It all depends on the definition and our point of reference. Nothing is universally natural across the board. For instance, is it natural to be able to fly? For reptiles is not, for birds it certainly is. Is it natural to swim under water? For fish it is, for the cockroach it is not. Is it natural, to be uncaused, to be immortal outside of time and space dimensions, and not to have a face or physical body? For earthy beings it is not, but for the Big Bang Originator, the Creator of time and space it is. Who said that the Creator of the laws of physics must be subject to the laws of physics, and ought to be empirically verifiable? In fact, the Creator of the laws physics cannot be subject to them. That should be perfectly obvious to anyone with a modicum of logic. The Creator and creation cannot be of the same essence, not even close. One must be totally different than the other! How absurd to determine what is natural, unnatural or supernatural from a reductionistic self-centered point of view. Krauss ignores the limits of conceptualization of human understanding, and acts like he knows it all. For him what is universally natural, is what he perceives to be natural, anything outside of the limited realm of human perception is considered unnatural; therefore anything of such a unique attribute is categorized as nonsense. However, I guess revealing all of that information to the readers would have undercut Krauss’ attempt to dogmatize monotheistic theism.

Furthermore, note how Krauss subtly uses his academic status and the like-minded scientists to bolster the claim that God does not exist, even though the existence or non-existence of God falls completely outside the jurisdiction of science, the way modern scientists define science. This is a fallacy known as “Appeal to Authority” – we are supposed to believe the proposition just because someone who is supposedly an expert says so. However, it is Krauss the atheist, not Krauss the physicist who is stating his own opinion, and his personal opinion on God carries no more weight than the opinion of a hairstylist. Just as cutting hair in a barbershop does not lead to atheism, likewise working in a science lab does not lead to atheism. Surely, the opinion of another scientist could be diametrically at odds with his. Therefore, the appropriate thing for Kruss to say is that “We the atheists don’t believe in any supernatural shenanigans”, to which a thoughtful theist could rightly reply: Big Deal! We, who acknowledge the universe is caused, don’t believe in any supernatural shenanigans either.

But why should we be listening to Krauss? Do we know if he is trustworthy? Is he stating a fact, or merely his own slanted atheistic opinion? Indeed, why would a truly objective scientist assume that the universe is causeless, and degrade the theistic position as a “supernatural shenanigans”? If one is truly a man of science, then he does not need to appeal to these kind of cheap tricks. Atheists repeatedly use these tricks because they know well it is effective. The inappropriate usage of the term supernatural is now frequently picked up by the believers themselves to describe their faith.

If Krauss says that we the scientists don’t believe in the Uncaused cause, we believe that the universe is self-created, he would then have a hard time defending his position without looking dim-witted. For one, he is in no position to speak for all scientists. Prominent scientists, past and present like Isaac Newton, and all the Muslim scientists of the Golden Age who introduced science and scientific investigations to the Europeans, emphatically believed in the Uncaused cause. They openly believed in the existence of a Grand Designer.

Does Krauss the scientist believe in a rudimentary deductive logic and a priori reasoning? He should if he is truly objective. We now know that the universe had a beginning. Time, space, matter and energy suddenly came into existence from oblivious nonexistence. An Entity, call it God or what have you, must have triggered the creation of the universe. This God far from being “supernatural” the way it is suggested, is the Necessary Being, which is impossible not to exist. By Its nature, such a Being ought to be uncaused, singular, intelligent and powerful. His “Godly” nature is natural for what this Being is – as natural as water being wet.

What Krauss does not wish to acknowledge is that the alternative so-called “scientific” theories posed to refute the Uncaused cause seem more shenaniganic than any pre-historic religious dogma. For example, the multiverse theory operating on unguided automated natural selection, Dawkins’ postulation that complex organisms in nature are not designed, but have the illusion of design. Or Stephen Hawking’s assertion of chance hypothesis that the creation of the universe was “the ultimate free lunch”. All these are implausible loopy theories nicely packaged as scientific facts. The truth is the atheist scientists indeed believe in the ultimate supernatural shenanigan, they believe that out of “Nowhere”, for no reason, “Nothing” caused a massive explosion. Out of this explosion, everything somehow arranged itself in an orderly fashion, and then without any purpose a complex interrelated self-supporting web of life with an astonishing degree of diversity spontaneously came into existence. I suppose, atheist apologists feel they can believe and promote sheer nonsense, if it is labeled “science”.

Neo-atheists have hijacked science, turned it into a right-wing industry for manipulating public opinion, rather than appealing to objective rational judgments, and the sincere and noble pursuit of the truth. The industry’s whole aim is to market a peculiar Godless religion in order to make a fast buck. These atheist evangelists have made a lucrative career ironically revolving around the “nonsense” of what they themselves purport they could not have cared less about.

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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.

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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.

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The Business of Promoting Absurdities

Mehran Banaei

In the spring of 2000, Audrey Kishline, the founder of “Moderation Management,” one of the pioneers of the “harm reduction” movement to battle alcoholism was involved in an automobile accident having a blood alcohol level of 0.26, which is three times more than the legal limit. The defender of “controlled drinking” and an avid opponent of the “abstinence module,” being totally intoxicated drove the wrong way on a Washington State highway and smashed her car into an incoming vehicle, killing the other driver and his 12-year-old daughter. State troopers found her unconscious with a half-empty bottle of vodka by her side. Kishline was charged with vehicular homicide and sentenced to 54 months in jail. After this tragic incident, she was at least honest enough to admit in prison that her “moderation management program” is a “program for alcoholics covering up their own alcoholism.” The question is: Did she not know prior to this tragedy that her proposed moderation treatment is ineffective?

Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche the famous Tibetan Yogi Master, at his old age cut his hair in a ritual preparation of his death. However, his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama advised him that his presence in this world is still needed. He ought to live longer to preserve the Tibetan teachings and help his people. Rinpoche agreed, allowed his hair to grow again and decided to stay alive until the age of 100 to help his people.

It may be important to let the disciples and faithfuls to think that a Master has some control over the timing of one’s own death; however, the Master himself would know better that he has no power over his death or others. Contrary to the proclamation made, Rinpoche died in 2007 at the age of 85. Did Rinpoche and his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama not know what it means to be a mortal being?

Charles Templeton was once a prominent and successful Canadian evangelist. For 20 years Templeton played an active role in propagation of Christianity. While in public he gave the impression that he fully adheres to his Presbyterian faith, in private he actually wrestled with the core tenets of Christian faith. He and his fellow evangelist Billy Graham traveled together across North America and Europe to preach the word of God to thousands of enthusiasts gathered in sports arenas. Templeton gradually started to drift away from Billy Graham ideologically. In 1957, after a long struggle with doubt, Templeton finally declared himself an agnostic. In two of his post-Christian books: An Anecdotal Memoir (1983) and Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1995), Templeton admitted to have had great difficulties with the Biblical account of creation, the authenticity of the Bible and the nature of God. In essence, he found what he was preaching to be an incomprehensible theology.

According to a 2010 study conducted by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, there are many active clergies similar to Templeton whom on the condition of anonymity have confessed to the researchers not to actually believe in the Christian God. What prevents these clergies from coming out of the closet is the economic consequences i.e. loosing their job.

On the other side of the spectrum, Anthony Flew, a long time notorious champion of atheism, struggled to keep justifying an accidental universe despite all odds, something that his long academic career was based on. In early 2004, he abruptly abandoned his disbelief in God and converted to Deism. The dramatic change of mind was based on scientific findings, while in the past he habitually used science to debunk theism. The structure of the DNA double helix made Flew to finally bow down to the Design Argument. This makes one seriously wonder where he obtained the conviction and confidence in atheism, and whether he was ever doubtful of the very beliefs that he was urging others to adhere to all along.

These examples show that Mankind often plays embarrassing games with his own mind. In deceiving others, he first must work hard to deceive himself, as a result often ending up being the first who pays the price of deception. Thus, not surprisingly cognitive dissonance is one of the most extensively studied areas in social psychology where there is an ongoing conflict between one’s vested interests, desires and the inner voice.

What is the psychological state of a man who builds a career on obtuse ideas that are indefensible and contrary to basic common sense, ideas that there is no shred of evidence to support them? For instance, have you ever heard of anything more ludicrous than a claim, which stipulates that complex design aimlessly happens, rather than being planned ahead by an intelligent designer? Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss advocate that this vast universe was created out of nothing with no primary cause, and then finely tuned by sheer luck, resulting in endless complex life forms with conscious awareness. “The Greatest Show on Earth” evolved randomly with no external guidance, but by a blind, unconscious automatic process. Forces of nature and natural selection at work are the given explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, itself having no purpose at all. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. “It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.” The zenith of such an absurdity is that this belief is shamelessly presented in a prestigious package labeled as modern science with one primary goal: to exclude God the First Cause and to counter the intelligent design argument advocated by theist scientists and philosophers like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Paley and the Islamic scientists of the Golden Age.

Below is a picture of the inside of a Rolex watch, which is intelligently designed and manufactured by Swiss engineers for a specific purpose. Is there any doubt that this watch has a designer and maker?

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The photograph below is a magnified picture of supposedly not designed tights joints of Issus, a planthopper insect, one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. What kind of logic would justify the claim that it is made by random mutation with no purpose or foresight? The components in the machinery below are much finer and complex than a Rolex watch. It requires greater precision and engineering expertise. It is a living machine with consciousness, yet atheists are resistant to acknowledge that the organism is designed because of the inevitable implications.

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How did atheists manage to pass premature conjectures as science and get away with it so easily? They use subtle techniques that obscure the line between persuasion and deception. At first they deviously changed the most fundamental and natural question in Man’s mind from the time immemorial: How did the universe come to be, is it caused or uncaused, to the nonsensical question of: Are “science” and “religion” inherently incompatible with each other? Having successfully interjected blurry concepts like “science”, “religion” and “God”, their subsequent common campaign strategy has been to be vociferous and vigorously popularize their own atheistic agenda. They claim to be standing on the rational side and wrap their ideas in a nice attractive package labeled modern science. They keep using words such as reason, logic, rationality, science, knowledge, open-mind and free-thinkers, regardless of how preposterous their overall claim sounds like. Conversely, they stigmatize their opponents as religious, irrational and close-minded creationists and even frequently demonize them as fanatically dangerous, etc. They pretend that their atheistic view is a product of rationality and scientific approach, but theism is a product of psychological need and desperation. In their research, case studies and television documentaries they are selective to that, which is supportive to their argument, i.e. to dismiss the notion of “God” they only concentrate on cracked pot figures. They repeatedly make inconclusive and circumstantial claims, then get a few of their like-minded colleagues to say: “Yes, he is right.” From that they make a circuitous conclusion which has nothing to do with science, for example, Darwin forces us to reject the belief in a Benevolent Grand Planner.

In debates, they are very choosy about who do they debate with. They dodge tough questions, constantly interrupt their opponents or the interviewer, repeatedly speak over them and spread misinformation. They appeal to fear mongering, misrepresent their opponents’ position, for example if one disagrees with the mechanism of Natural Selection, he is then painted as “anti-evolution”, “anti-science” or “history-denier”. They make giant bluffs and hope that no one would catch their bluff, i.e. Darwin blew away the Teleological Argument, a self-created universe from nothing or Multiverse. They maintain a tight grip over a favoured scientific paradigm in academic settings where the preferred ideas are institutionalized as truth. Subsequently, many of these atheists in the process have gradually come to believe their own lies.

Academic science is a profession just like all other professions. Indeed, in a material world where crooks can be found even among federal judges, police chiefs and heads of states, it is erroneous to assume that there are no crooks and opportunists among atheists, professors and scientists, and that they are immune from the alluring temptations of wealth and power.

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