Thursday, May 22, 2008

Does Science make belief in Allah/God/Christ Obsolete

Does Science make belief in Allah/God/Christ Obsolete?
By-Pakistan Free Thinkers Group.
These are the three articles posted on me by e-mail from Pakistan Free Thinkers Group.
Article 1 : Does science make belief in Allah/God obsolete?
Necessarily, it does - speaks a physicist
If not, we must invent a science-friendly, science-compatible fiction of Allah/God.
First, try the pantheon of available fictional creators. Inspect thoroughly. If none
fits the bill, invent a new one. The Allah/God of your choice must be a stickler for
the so-called divine principles laid down by the priests-the classical inventors of
Allah/God over the centuries. Science does not take kindly to the so-called deity
who, ignorants suppose, if piqued or euphoric, sets aside seismological or
cosmological principles and in wild dreams of many, can causes the moon to
shiver, the earth to split asunder, or, as to some stupids, such a deity may even
cause the universe to suddenly reverse its expansion. This fictional Allah/God
must, among other things, be stoically indifferent to supplications for changing
local meteorological conditions, the task already being naturally performed by the
discipline of fluid dynamics. Therefore, religious people, even if they pray
with their buutocks elevated in the air, dance with great energy around totem
poles, shall not cause even a drop of rain to fall on parched soil. This newly
invented, rule-abiding and science respecting Allah/God/Bhagwan equally well
dispenses with tearful Christians singing the Book of Job, pious Hindus feverishly
reciting the havan yajna, or earnest Muslims performing the « special rain prayers
» in hot dry deserts as they face the former abide of idols, the so-called holy
The fact is that the equations of fluid flow, not the number of earnest supplicants
or quality of their prayers, determine weather outcomes. This is grossly irreligious
otherwise one could imagine joining the faithful of all religions in a huge
simultaneous but vain global prayer that stupids feel would wipe away the
pernicious effects of anthropogenic global climate change. Your chosen Allah/God
cannot entertain private petitions for good health and longevity, prevent an air
crash, or send woe upon demand to the enemy. Mindful of microbiology and
physiology, She/He cannot cure leprosy by dipping the afflicted in rivers or have
humans remain in unscathed condition after being devoured by a huge fish.
Faster-than- light travel is also out of the question, even for the so-called prophets
and special messengers. Instead, She/He must stay as the fictional and nominal
runner of the world according to the laws and unto the letter, closely following the
flow of Nature. A
scientific fictional Creator should certainly know an awful lot of science which the
formerly invented medieval Allah/God did’t need. To differentiate between the
countless universes discovered by superstring theory is a headache. Fine-tuning
chemistry to generate complex proteins, and then initiating a cascade of
mutations that turn microbe to man, is also no trivial matter. But bear in mind
that there are definite limits to knowledge, whether by man or by any fictional
creator: the fictional Allah/God can supposedly know only the limited, the
knowable. Omniscience and science do not go well with each other. The difficulty
with omniscience—even with regard to a particle as humble as the electron—has
been recognized as an issue since the 1920s. Subatomic particles show a vexing,
subtle elusiveness that defeats even the most sophisticated effort to measure
certain of their properties even when tried by a fictional Allah/God.
Unpredictability is intrinsic to quantum
mechanics, the branch of physics which all particles are empirically seen to show.
This discovery so disturbed Albert Einstein that he rejected quantum mechanics,
pronouncing that the fictional Allah/God could not “play dice with the universe.”
But it turned out that Einstein’s objections were flawed—uncertainty is deeply
fundamental. Thus, any science-abiding fictional deity we invent will be
incompletely informed on many aspects of nature. Is one being excessively
audacious, perhaps impertinent, in setting down terms of reference for a fictional
divine and non-existant entity? Really ! Humans have always invented their
objects of worship. Smarter humans go for smarter fictional versions of
Allah/God. Anthropomorphic representations— such as a Allah/God with octopus
arms—are a bit out of fashion today but were enormously popular just a few
centuries ago. As well, some people might object to binding fictional Allah/God
and the real human to the same rules of logic, or
perhaps even sharing the same space-time manifold. But if we drop this essential
demand then little shall remain. Reason and evidence would lose meaning and be
replaced by fiction, tradition, and the delusion of revelation. It would then be
wrong for us to have 2 + 2 = 5, but okay for inventing the fiction of an Allah/God.
Centuries of human progress would come to naught.
Let’s face it: the day of the mythical Sky God is long gone. In the Age of Science,
religion has been re-invented, and the medieval Allah/God of classical religions
has lost repute and territory. Today people pay lip service to trusting that rusty
Allah/God but they still swallow medicines when sick. Muslim-run airlines start a
plane journey with prayers but ask passengers to buckle-up anyway, and most
suspect that people who are falsely rumoured to rise miraculously from the dead
were probably not quite dead to begin with. These days if you hear a voice telling
you to sacrifice your only son, you would probably report it to the authorities
instead of taking the poor lad up a mountain, and if you really took your son to an
alter for sacrifice, the state will sure put you in a mental asylum, irrespective of
whether you call yourself the prophet Abrahim or somebody else. As you can well
imagine, the old trust is disappearing.
Nevertheless, there remains the tantalizing fiction of a divine power somewhere
“out there” who is blamed to run a mysterious, but scrupulously and rather
stupidly, a miracle-free universe. In this universe, the fictional Allah/God may be
dishonestly ascribed to act in ingenious ways that seem miraculous. Yet these
fictional and “never-actually- verified- miracles” do violate physical laws and seem
ridiculous. Ordinary and naturally, no supernatural interventions in the physical
world could permit quantum tunneling through cosmic holes. It would be
perfectly unfair for a scientific mind to invent a fictional Allah/God to explain the
nonlinear dynamics to explain how tiny fluctuations quickly build up to
earthshaking results—the famous “butterfly effect” to give a rather dull
explaination of the deterministic chaos theory. Nietzsche and the other
philosophers were plain right—God was never alive, but always dead. Even as the
fiction of divine habitat, the sky, shrinks
before the aggressive encroachment of science, the quantum foam of space-time
may be ascribed to create a little confused space for the crazy delusion based on
the spare universes, offering space both for self-described “deeply and spiritually
confused believers”. Many eminent practitioners of science have successfully
persuaded themselves that there is no logical contradiction between faith and
belief, by inventing a science-fiction of Allah/God, or by clothing a traditional
fiction in new terminology of science fiction. Unsure of whether they happen to
exist at all, humans are likely to scour the miserable delusion of heavens forever in
search of some sort of meaning.
(Remaining- on-part2.)
Article 2 : Does science make belief in Allah/God obsolete?
Yes, of course - speaks a psychologist
While discussing "Science" I mean the entire enterprise of secular reason and
knowledge (including history and philosophy), not just people who working in
their white lab coats,
create babies within test tubes.
Traditionally, a belief in an Allah/God was attractive because it promised to
explain the deepest puzzles about origins. Where did the world come from? What
is the basis of life? How can the mind arise from the body? Why should anyone be
Yet over the millennia, there has been an inexorable trend: the deeper we probe
these questions, and the more we learn about the world in which we live, the less
reason there is to believe in an Allah/God.
Start with the origin of the world. Today no honest and informed person can
maintain that the universe came into being a few thousand years ago and was
made by an Allah/God in six days (to say nothing of the questions like day and
night existing before the sun was created). Nor is there a more abstract role for an
Allah/God to play as the ultimate first cause. This trick simply replaces the puzzle
of "Where did the universe come from?" with the equivalent puzzle "Where did
Allah/God came from/who created this Allah/God?"
What about the fantastic diversity of life and its ubiquitous signs of design? At one
time it was understandable to name an Allah/God designer as creatoe of it all. No
longer. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace showed how the complexity of
life could arise from the physical process of natural selection among replicators,
and then Watson and Crick showed how DNA replication itself could be
understood in physical terms. Notwithstanding religious creationist propaganda,
the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, including our DNA, the fossil record,
the distribution of life on earth, and our own anatomy and physiology.
For many people the human soul feels like a divine spark within us. But
neuroscience has shown that our intelligence and emotions consist of intricate
patterns of activity in the trillions of connections in our brain thus creating the
so-called divine spark. However, relabeling the brain activity with the word "soul"
adds nothing to our understanding.
People used to think that biology could not explain why we have a conscience. But
the human moral sense can be studied like any other mental faculty, such as
thirst, color vision, or fear of heights. Evolutionary psychology and cognitive
neuroscience are showing how our moral intuitions work, why they evolved, and
how they are implemented within the brain.
This leaves morality itself—the benchmarks that allow us to criticize and improve
our moral intuitions. It is true that neither science nor an Allah/God can show
what is right or wrong. It's not just that the traditional Judeo-Christian God or
Islamic Allah endorsed genocide, slavery, rape, and the death penalty for trivial
insults. It's that morality cannot be grounded in a fictional divine decree, not even
on mere abstract principle. Why did a fictional Allah/God arbitrarily deem some
acts moral and others immoral? When even his existance is an illusion, we have
no reason to trust such a divine whim, why should we take this fictional being’s
commandments seriously?
Those reasons are found in the nature of rationality as it is exercised by any
intelligent human society. The essence of morality is the concept of reciprocity
and the collectivity of humans being watchful of other’s behaviour. The fact that
as soon as I appeal to you to help me when I am in need, or not to hurt me for no
reason, I have to be willing to apply the same standards to you. That is the only
policy that is logically consistent and makes both of us as well as the society in
geberal better off. And an Allah/God plays no role in it.
For all these reasons, it's no coincidence that European democracies have
experienced three sweeping trends during the past few centuries: barbaric
religious practices (such as slavery, sadistic criminal punishment, and the
mistreatment of children) have decreased significantly; scientific and scholarly
understanding has increased exponentially; and belief in an Allah/God has
decreased. Science, in the broadest sense, is making belief in God obsolete, and we
are the better for it.
Article 3 : Does science make belief in Allah/God obsolete?
No, and yes - speaks a Christian Priest….present article :
Does the science make Allah/God obsolete as a result of reason and inquiry ? The
knowledge that we have gained through modern science, does it make belief in a
fictional and concocted Intelligence behind the cosmos, more incredible than ever
And, yes, science does make Allah/God obsolete, not only as a matter of
intellectual sensibility but also at the level of our deeper senses. Of course, not just
science itself but a rational "scientific mentality" that often accompanies it, along
with the power, control, comfort, and convenience provided by modern
technology, it has helped to push the concept of the fictional Allah/God into the
hazy twilight of agnosticism. Superficially it may seem that the advances of
science have made Allah/God obsolete by providing natural and rational
explanations for phenomena that were once thought to be the result of so-called
fictional divine activity. These advances have been the continuation of the
Enlightenment, liberation from the religious superstitions begun by Greeks
thousands of years ago in Athens. Eenlightened Greek philosophers were followed
by many liberal and secular scholars of Renaissance who "de-divinized (by
excluding the idea of an Allah/God)" Nature to a degree
unparalleled in the ancient world.
Summarizing an established tradition 750 years ago, St. Thomas Aquinas taught
that the wise governor ordinarily governs by delegation to competent
subordinates. In the case of Nature, the fictional Allah/God’s governs by means of
the regularities built into the natures of things.; what religious nonsense,
Cndeed…. !.
In short, the Nature we know from modern science embodies and reflects material
properties and a depth of intelligibility, surely far beyond the wildest imaginings
of the Greek philosophers of 4000 years ago. One must view all these extremely
complex, elegant, and intelligible laws, entities, properties, and relations evolved
in the universe as " facts" in need of further exploration and rest assured that the
philosophical explanation is the honorable responsibility of human intelligence ;
on the other hand, leaving all this to the religious and superstitious nonsense will
be, indeed, "an abdication of human intelligence. "
Fortunately, except for the nonsense of postmodernism, the modern mood of
iquiry is not different. In terms of modern sensibilities, the intellectual culture of
the Europe and the europeanized West is dominated by a scientific mentality that
seeks to explain qualitative and holistic realities through quantitative and
reductive, as well as by explaination of the workings of parts in relation to the
whole. This is not just the unlimited application of the "scientific mentality" called
the scientism, but this is essentially the philosophical belief, a secular faith that
the scientific methods and scientific explanations can lead us to grasp all aspects
of reality and nothing less. Of course, such attitude, of necessity, is accompanied
by agnosticism or atheism.
In terms of popular sentiment, scientific attitude, though not in itself sufficisnt,
seems to have carried the day. Most people therefore intuitively accept the notion
that human nature and human experience, though not reducible to what is
scientifically knowable, gives a world of feelings, opinions, and personal values
that we can better channel with the help of the science of mind and behaviour.
The increase in leisure and health brought about by our increasing mastery over
Nature has certainly resulted, despite the evil of religion, in an increase in wisdom
and the contemplation of the great, the rational, and the reasonable. On the other
hand, our technology-based leisure doesn’t really result in loud hedonism,
consumerism, and mind-numbing mass entertainment. In this milieu, many may,
still, claim belief in a fictional Allah/God, however, the course of their lives reflect
de facto agnosticism which would be expected and justifiably so in their everyday
experiences and
In all our scientistic "knowledge" of the inner workings of things, and our
technology-based comforts and distractions, there would always be a definite
place for the voice of conscience, whereas, in a practical and existential sense,
science and technology seem to have pushed belief in a fictional Allah/God toward
obsolescence, and rightly so.
In our innermost being, we moderns remain inquistive. Sooner or later we will
achieve an existential enlightenment, and recognize in our lives something
solemn, ordered, not in need of any fiction of divine, not any more. The fact that
we can recognize disorder, brokenness and evil in a religious milieu which occur
within a larger framework of human order, reason and ethics, il is surely a sign of
our essentially human conscience. Yet brokenness and disorder are things
painfully religious, and the human soul by its very nature seeks something more
than the mere fiction of religion, it seeks a deeper humanism, a lasting sense of
ethics and morality based on historical human experience. Consideration of the
order and reason in nature can lead us to a scientific and humanist paradise of the
philosophers, sure, but consideration of the religious evil and wickedness leads us
into the religious hell and beyond.


Muslims suffer disproportionately from the rule of dictators


Daniel Pipes,  National Post  Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Abid Katib, Getty Images

There's an impression that Muslims suffer disproportionately from the rule of dictators, tyrants, unelected presidents, kings, emirs and various other strongmen - and it's accurate. A careful analysis by Frederic L. Pryor of Swarthmore College in the Middle East Quarterly (Are Muslim Countries Less Democratic?) concludes, "In all but the poorest countries, Islam is associated with fewer political rights."

The fact that majority-Muslim countries are less democratic makes it tempting to conclude that the religion of Islam, their common factor, is itself incompatible with democracy.

I disagree with that conclusion. Today's Muslim predicament, rather, reflects historical circumstances more than innate features of Islam. Put differently, Islam, like all pre-modern religions is undemocratic in spirit. No less than the others, however, it has the potential to evolve in a democratic direction.

Such evolution is not easy for any religion. In the Christian case, the battle to limit the Catholic Church's political role was painfully long. If the transition began when Marsiglio of Padua published Defensor pacis in the year 1324, it took another seven centuries for the Church fully to reconcile itself to democracy. Why should Islam's transition be smoother or easier?

To render Islam consistent with democratic ways will require profound changes in its interpretation. For example, the anti-democratic law of Islam, the Shari'a, lies at the core of the problem. Developed over a millennium ago, it presumes autocratic rulers and submissive subjects, emphasizes God's will over popular sovereignty and encourages violent jihad to expand Islam's borders. Further, it anti-democratically privileges Muslims over non-Muslims, males over females and free persons over slaves.

For Muslims to build fully functioning democracies, they basically must reject the Shari'a's public aspects. Turkey's first president Mustafa Ataturk frontally did just that in his country, but others have offered more subtle approaches. Mahmud Muhammad Taha, a Sudanese thinker, dispatched the public Islamic laws by fundamentally reinterpreting the Koran.

Ataturk's efforts and Taha's ideas imply that Islam is ever-evolving, and that to see it as unchanging is a grave mistake. Or, in the lively metaphor of Hassan Hanafi, professor of philosophy at the University of Cairo, the Koran "is a supermarket, where one takes what one wants and leaves what one doesn't want."

Islam's problem is less its being anti-modern than that its process of modernization has hardly begun. Muslims can modernize their religion, but that requires major changes: Out go waging jihad to impose Muslim rule, second-class citizenship for non-Muslims and death sentences for blasphemy or apostasy. In come individual freedoms, civil rights, political participation, popular sovereignty, equality before the law and representative elections.

Two obstacles stand in the way of these changes, however. In the Middle East especially, tribal affiliations remain of paramount importance. As explained by Philip Carl Salzman in his recent book, Culture and Conflict in the

Middle East, these ties create a complex pattern of tribal autonomy and tyrannical centralism that obstructs the development of constitutionalism, the rule of law, citizenship, gender equality and the other prerequisites of a democratic state. Not until this archaic social system based on the family is dispatched can democracy make real headway in the Middle East.

Globally, the compelling and powerful Islamist movement obstructs democracy. It seeks the opposite of reform and modernization -- namely, the reassertion of the Shari'a in its entirety. A jihadist like Osama bin Laden may spell out this goal more explicitly than an establishment politician like Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but both seek to create a thoroughly anti-democratic, if not totalitarian, order.

Islamists respond two ways to democracy. First, they denounce it as unIslamic. Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna considered democracy a betrayal of Islamic values. Brotherhood theoretician Sayyid Qutb rejected popular sovereignty, as did Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, founder of Pakistan's Jamaate-Islami political party. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Al-Jazeera television's imam, argues that elections are heretical.

Despite this scorn, Islamists are eager to use elections to attain power and have proven themselves to be agile vote-getters; even a terrorist organization (Hamas) has won an election. This record does not render the Islamists democratic but indicates their tactical flexibility and their determination to gain power. As Erdogan has revealingly explained, "Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off."

Hard work can one day make Islam democratic. In the meanwhile, Islamism represents the world's leading anti-democratic force. - Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the Taube/Diller Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. ©All rights reserved by Daniel Pipes.