Tuesday, January 31, 2012
1. Irrationality of Atheism vis-à-vis Scientific Validity of the Quran and Theism
Abstract: The truth about theism is it is true. The truth about atheism is it is untrue. Both these truths are scientifically confirmable. The scientific community opposes God without subjecting the Scriptural revelations to scientific scrutiny. They also promote atheism without proving it scientifically. How can they promote atheism when scientific facts are against it? This article exposes the hollowness of atheism from scientific standpoint and brings out clearly the scientific foundation of the Quran and theism, and hence Islam.
The argument that there is no God is neither testable nor falsifiable. The assertion does not leave any prediction either for verification. It is also against well-established scientific facts. The first thing we learn in physics is energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Since energy which makes up the whole universe does not have the ability of autogenesis, there is no scientific rationale behind the argument that the universe originated by itself. On the contrary it proves the universe was created. Further the big bang theory points to a beginning for the universe and time. These provide strong scientific indicators of the existence of Creator God. The argument that life originated accidentally as emergent phenomenon is also not supported by natural evidence or experimental proof. The Quran reveals that life is nonmaterial phenomenon but scientists argue it is material phenomenon. Molecular gene (DNA) is considered the blueprint of life. In fact all the experiments conducted so far to create life from non-living materials have failed proving the validity of the Quran. Atheism is thus relegated to mere hypothesis or more correctly fantasy. Atheism is superstitious to the core; it does not even qualify as scientific theory.
Further proof of God comes from the validation of several Quranic revelations through scientific discoveries. This also proves the divinity of the Quran and the religion Islam. The fact that the Quran is amenable to scientific explanation adds to the authenticity of the Scripture. The history of science reveals yet another proof of God through failure of every theory (e.g., steady state cosmology, Darwin’s theory of evolution, etc.) that questions the existence of God or contradicts the Quran.
History reveals that ever since the arrival of man on Earth, he has been worshipping some natural or supernatural power as God. The archaeological investigations of ancient ruins had unearthed from almost every site, idols supposed to be representations of their gods and goddesses. These evidences give clear evidence of the theistic outlook of people in the early days of human history. This indicates that man is by default believer in God. The information about God is there in his biosystem. It is because of that man is inclined to think of God. Atheism is a recent development most likely an offshoot of irrational beliefs and practices being followed in the name of religion.
The biggest irony in this era of science and technology is the lack of concern for rationality of the belief systems. Religious beliefs and practices have never been subjected to scientific analysis. Although man is bestowed with intelligence and wisdom, rarely does one use these qualities in religious matters. The general notion is that religion is one’s belief and it does not require rational analysis. This blind approach of people towards religion has favoured mushrooming of diverse faiths, cults and human gods. Religion, whatever that word means to you, has become the most superficially and indifferently held belief although it is revered by the believer. That way religion has become a mockery in the guise of devotion to God. The followers of a religion with not so much as fact-finding analysis yet believe that their religion is the correct one and the others wrong. It is also not possible for the follower of a religion to defend his belief against another religion. That being the situation, it is not surprising to see many people consider God and religion as human inventions. This is also partly responsible for the increase in self-styled rationalists, atheists and agnostics. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (July 9, 2009), atheism (the godless religion) is the preferred belief system of most scientists.
“Is there God or not?” is the biggest question before human intellect for which scientifically acceptable answer has to be found. Although no scientific basis has been proposed for either theism or atheism, the scientific community’s declaration of war against theism is uncalled for. When they declare theism as blind doctrine, they themselves uphold atheism blindly. They put theists on the defensive asking for proof of God while they themselves remain covertly silent about proof of no God. Neither camp has shown preparedness for an impartial and dispassionate evaluation of their respective beliefs to arrive at the truth. The attitude of the scientific community to label every religion as irrational without verifying the Scriptural content is also unscientific. This attitude of scientists to keep religion at bay from the ambit of scientific scrutiny only helps proliferation of irrational beliefs and rituals in the society. Both theistic and atheistic doctrines should be subjected to scientific scrutiny to ascertain their validity. The religion Islam and its Scripture, the Quran, are subjected here to scientific verification vis-à-vis atheism. A detailed discussion of these issues may be found elsewhere .
Scientific methods adopted
The idea of scientific verification of belief in God or no God and religion may seem impractical at first sight. However, it is not as unwieldy as we think. At least three scientific methods can be used for the purpose. One is to compare and contrast the created system (the universe) vis-à-vis divine objective. It may be noted in this context that the Quran is the only source that reveals to us the divine purpose of creating man and universe. Correspondence between the purpose of creation and the created system will provide proof of the validity and divinity of the Quran. Such an analysis had been done and the results were presented in post 8 at http://quranscienceblog.blogspot.com. The amazing correspondence between the divine objective and the created system presented therein provides live proof of the divinity and validity of the Quran and hence God. These results will not be further discussed here.
Another method is to test or falsify the Scriptural revelations. True, we cannot test the question of God or no God through direct experimentation. We do come across several such situations in science where it is impossible to carry out experiments to prove or disprove a theory directly. Theories relating to origin of the universe, origin of life, evolution of biological species, etc., belong to this category. In such cases, the approved scientific method is to prove or falsify the predictions of the theory. The very same approach can be adopted here also. In this case the Scriptural revelations form the predictions.
The general view about the Quran is that it is just a religious book. But it contains, besides religious matters, substantial information relating to man, the organizational and functional aspects of the universe, purpose of creation, and fate of man and the universe. The Quranic verses relating to the universe are mostly falsifiable revelations which can be treated at par with scientific theories. Falsifiability was introduced by Karl Popper as the criterion to judge and characterise a scientific theory . The criterion of falsifiability distinguishes a scientific theory from pseudoscience. It can be applied to any assertion or ideology. In the case of the Quran, scientific validity of the revelations can be assessed based on their conformity with proven scientific facts. Once the validity is confirmed, the revelations become scientific facts.
Application of this criterion to judge the authenticity of the Quranic revelations might be called into question as scientific theories are likely to change over time. This argument is true only for theories developed to explain natural phenomena. The falsifiable revelations in the Quran, as we shall see, are not explanations of natural phenomena but phenomena themselves. Therefore, a change in scientific explanation will not affect the scientific merit of the Quran.
A third method is to examine the amenability of divine revelations to scientific interpretation. Amenability to scientific interpretation is a characteristic of factual information. For example, the Quran reveals to us the fate of the present universe and future events, which for obvious reasons are neither testable nor falsifiable. Nevertheless, it can be examined whether such revelations can be explained scientifically.
The results of analysis based on the latter two methods are summarized below.
Scientific proof of God and irrationality of atheism
Atheism is neither scientifically testable nor falsifiable as it does not yield any predictions. In the true scientific tradition, therefore, atheism does not even qualify as scientific theory. In other words belief in atheism has no rational basis. If atheism is false, theism is true. This is the clear scientific verdict. Several known facts about energy and universe also confirm existence of God.
We know total energy content of the universe is conserved. It cannot be created or destroyed; it can only transform from one form to another. This is the fundamental nature of energy. The big bang theory reveals another facet of this truth. It tells us the universe had a beginning implying that it came into existence sometime in the distant past and before that, there was nothing. We also know energy cannot originate by itself. In fact this is one of the reasons for the rejection of steady state cosmology, which postulated continual production of matter out of vacuum so that the perfect cosmological principle (i.e., density is constant) on which the theory is based is satisfied. The steady state theory was proposed to counter the big bang cosmology because of its divine connotations. The prediction of continual matter creation from nothing by the theory is violation of the law of conservation of the mass and energy. There is no proof for autogenesis of energy or matter taking place in the universe either. These facts unambiguously established that energy does not have the ability to self-originate. That led to the rejection of the steady state theory. If energy cannot originate by itself, how did it originate? It had to be created. This is the only conclusion that can be arrived at scientifically. Yet scientists ridiculously argue that the universe originated accidentally by itself. It should be realized that the origin of energy was a one-time creation event in the history of the universe. Subsequently its quantum is conserved. These scientific facts clearly prove the existence of Creator for the universe. In other words, God is truth. Anybody who refutes God is refuting a scientific fact.
The question of origin of life on earth is also handled similarly by the scientific community. Biologists vehemently argue that diverse organisms evolved accidentally through random gene mutation followed by natural selection without knowing what “life” is and how it originated in the first place. They tell us life originated accidentally as emergent phenomenon when certain chemical molecules combined in a primordial aqueous milieu. This assumption also has no scientific basis as we do not have even an iota of evidence for the origin of life from non-life. Our rational conclusion should be therefore “life” was also created by God. It is indeed baffling to see why scientists deliberately resort to such irrational and unscientific explanations to mislead the public. If it is not for creating doubts about God in the minds of people, why do scientists create such false notions like autogenesis of energy and life?
There may be several questions about nature of God for which we have no answers. It should be borne in mind however that none of those questions contradicts the above scientific conclusion that God exists. One question atheists used to ask is if there is God, who created that God? The created cannot be called Creator. The very question is irrational. God has no beginning, no end and lives forever. Although atheists are prepared to believe that universe has no beginning, no end and no change (e.g., steady state cosmology) for a system which is known to have no such property, they cannot accept these qualities for God! Why? Moreover we should also realize that the criterion that nothing can originate by itself but has to be created applies only to this universe. God exists outside of the universal system and hence this condition is inapplicable to God. On this count also the question of atheists how God came into being without being created is irrelevant as God is not part of this system. Further, our lack of knowledge about it does not in any way weaken the scientific conclusion that God exists. We also should always demand for scientific evidence and basis for any explanation that scientists concoct against God.
Scientific validity of the Quranic revelations
Scientific validity of several Quranic revelations can be taken as proof of divinity of the Quran and Islam. It also forms another proof of God. This is akin to verifying the predictions of a scientific theory. The Quran offers several falsifiable revelations relating to the universe and man. A few such Quranic revelations are considered here for sample.
a) “Do you not see how He created seven skies in layers, and placed the moon as a light in them and made the sun a blazing lamp?” (Q. 71:15-16).
These verses distinguish the sun and the moon based on the nature of radiation coming from them. While the radiation coming from the moon is described as “light” (noor in Arabic), the sun is described as “lamp” (siraj in Arabic). The distinction is consistent with available scientific information on these two celestial objects. The sun being a natural nuclear fusion reactor generates light and is compared with a burning lamp. The moon on the other hand does not produce light by itself but only reflects the sun’s light incident on it. The revelations about the sun and moon are scientific facts.
b) “It is He who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon; all swimming in their (respective) orbits.” (Q. 21:33).
The orbital motion of celestial bodies is a well-established scientific fact. It is this fact the Quran reveals to us.
c) “With hands did We construct the sky: For it is We who create the vastness of space.” (Q. 51:47). “Do not the unbelievers see that the skies and the earth were joined together (as one unit) before We clove them asunder? We made from water every organism. Will they not believe then?” (Q. 21:30).
These two verses shed light on the formative stage of the universe as well as its post-evolutionary state. The universe before it got separated into components had existed as single unit in the distant past. The universe has also been expanding (i.e., increasing in space) since then. These Quranic revelations agree well with the expectations of big bang cosmology and Edwin Hubble’s observation of expanding universe.
d) “Does man think that he will be left free? Was he not a drop of sperm emitted? Then he became an embryo; then He designed and shaped him in due proportion. And from it (i.e., sperm drop) He made two mates – male and female (Q. 75:36-39). “That He created the two spouses – the male and the female – from a drop of (semen) when it is emitted.” (Q. 53:45-46).
The verses reveal that it is the sperm that decides the sex of the human individual. This is a well-established scientific fact. Whereas female egg carries only X chromosome, it is the male sperm that supplies either X or Y to the zygote. The XX combination creates female and XY combination creates male.
Non-Muslim scientists (later embraced Islam?) Maurice Bucaille [3, 4], French Catholic Christian physician, and Keith Moore , anatomist at the University of Toronto, Canada, were the pioneers in bringing to light the agreement between many Quranic revelations and modern scientific findings. Their works started appearing in print from the latter half of 1970s. (It is not clearly known whether they had embraced Islam later). Prof. Keith Moore discussed what the Quran said about the development of human embryo. He did it because he was astonished by the accuracy of the statements that were recorded in the 7th century AD before embryology was established . The agreement between the Quranic messages that were revealed in the seventh century before the advent of modern science and scientific discoveries made in the twentieth century is considered strong scientific proof of God and divinity of the Quran. In fact it is part of Allah’s scheme to prove the divinity of the Quran and His existence scientifically through atheists themselves as can be inferred from the verse 21:30 (quoted above), which addresses the nonbelievers. Further the verses 41:52-53 proclaims to the world: “Say: You see if the (Quran) is from Allah and you do not believe in it! Who is more astray than the one who is far opposed (to it)? Soon We will show them Our signs in the (furthest) regions and in themselves until it becomes manifest to them that this (Quran) is the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is witness over all things?” (Q. 41:52-53). Islam bashers however do not accept the scientific merit of the Quran or the verses of scientific import it contains. The Quranic verses 41:52-53 appear to address such people.
e) The Quran is the only source that reveals to us God’s purpose of creating the universe and man. Man was created by God as His robot (abd in Arabic) to serve Him (Q. 51:56). The present universe was created to provide infrastructure facility for testing human robots for their obedience to God (Q. 11:7). Earth is the habitat for man (Q. 2:29, 7:10, 27:61), which forms the venue (laboratory) of testing. The revelations relating to the purpose of creation are also falsifiable. Anyone who dispassionately examines this aspect will find the organization and functioning of the universe finely tuned to suit the stated purpose. For more information on the subject, see post 8 at http://quranscienceblog.blogspot.com.
Falsifiable but not- yet- verified revelations
Some of the falsifiable revelations in the Quran have not yet been subjected to experimental verification. They remain as scientific theories. These include revelation of the organization of the cosmic space as seven skies one above the other (Q. 67:3; see also Q. 71:15-16 cited above), the creation of earth as the first component of the universe (Q. 41:9-12), and creation of everything in pairs (or partners - zouj in Arabic) (Q. 51:49, 36:36). It is hoped that further advancement in science will throw light on these phenomena.
Another important falsifiable revelation (Q. 15:26-29) is the nonmaterial or intangible (ghayb in Arabic) nature of the cause of life - the rooh or nafs (see post 4 at http://quranscienceblog.blogspot.com for more details). The rooh may be conceptualized as the non-molecular (or nonphysical) biological program or biosoftware (soul) responsible for life based on the computer model of organism [6, 7]. In biology, the material genome (DNA) is supposed to be the blueprint of life or the driving force of life. It is believed that DNA molecule encodes the biological program required for the development of phenotype and biological functioning of an organism. The Quranic revelation of nonmaterial rooh as the cause of life is against the material gene concept. The molecular gene is in deep crisis now though scientific community may not admit it (see post 4 of this blog).The Quran approves the nonphysical gene originally proposed by Wilhelm Johannsen in 1909. The problems associated with the molecular gene concept and the failure of experiments to create life from non-life (without involving a living organism) should be seen as indications of the truth of the Quranic revelation of nonphysical basis of life and existence of God. Molecular gene concept will also meet the same fate as steady state cosmology.
Scientifically explainable revelations
There are also revelations in the Quran that can be explained scientifically. For example, end of the universe (Q. 7:187) followed by re-creation of the universe (Q. 21:104, 39:67) come under this category. The amenability of Quranic revelation to scientific explanation is also proof of their rationality. For more details, see posts 2 and 3 at http://quranscienceblog.blogspot.com.
The foregoing discussion reveals the scientific basis of the Quran and Islam. More importantly, scientific validity of the Quran confirms the existence of God unequivocally. On the reverse logic, it also firmly establishes why atheism is irrational. It is an irony that of all the people, scientists who vow to accept only the rational opt for the most irrational atheism! The scientific foundation of the Quran is clear verdict of its divinity and universality. Only the most irrational will refute it.
1. Wahid, P.A. 2007. Scientific Foundation of Islam, Adam Publishers, New Delhi, India.
2. Popper, K. 1962. Science, pseudoscience and falsifiability. http://www.kenrahn.com/jfk/critical_thinking/Science_pseudo_falsifiability.html Accessed 9-1-2010.
3. Bucaille, M. 2004. The Quran and Modern Science. Published by Abdul Naeem (first published 1977).
4. Bucaille, M. 1975. The Bible, the Qur’an and Science Translated from the French by Alastair D. Pannell and the author, (Islamic Call Society, Tripoli, 1976).
5. Keith Moore, K. The Developing Human (5th Edition, with T.V.N. Persaud).
6. Wahid, P.A. 2006. The Computer Universe: A Scientific Rendering of the Holy Quran. Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, India.
7. Wahid, P.A. 2007. An Introduction to Islamic Science. Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, India.