Deviant attempts to use theories of physics against the proofs of the belief of Islam

Deviant says: The problem with the Kalam argument [the argument of the scholars of the Islamic belief] in describing how “beings” are created is that under the laws of thermodynamics, matter cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form.

Abu Adam: Where does kalam describe, according to you, how beings are created? How does the changing of form affect the kalam argument?

The claim that matter cannot be destroyed is merely a theory, it is not an absolute truth. It is a hypothesis no one has been able to show false in an experiment, that is all. What is factual about all this, is only this: no one has been able to show matter being destroyed in an experiment (as far as I know.) So what? How exactly does this affect the kalam argument?

Deviant says: Thus the first premise that is used in Kalam, that beings have a beginning and an end is misleading.

Abu Adam: This is not the first premise, there are proofs for why it must have a beginning mentioned in kalam. As for having an ending, this cannot be known by reason alone, and one does not need to prove it to show that the world is created. You seem to think that these ideas are newly claimed by physicists, when in fact they are thousands of years old, and are indeed dealt with in the books of kalam.

Deviant says: This is all observed empirically in nature. That’s why its a law of thermodynamics and not a theory of thermodynamics.

Abu Adam: Now you are resorting to lie, as expected. The so called law of thermodynamics remains a theory in that it remains falsifiable, and it remains labeled a law only because no one has shown it false in an experiment. This does not mean it is true. You are mixing what is actually observed with the interpretation of what is observed. Moreover, I can’t think of any reason why the so called laws of thermodynamics run contrary to kalam. They are merely attempted descriptions of what is normally true. It belongs to the “possible” category of things in kalam terminology. Aļļaah can create matter that cannot be destroyed in the world of physical cause (i.e. through a physical means,) as well as matter that can be destroyed (by physical means.) If it is really true that matter cannot be destroyed in the causal habits of this universe, i.e. by physical means, not that it would be indestructible in absolute terms, then this simply means that Aļļaah created it to be so. This idea, that matter changes form, and does not vanish, does not deal a blow to kalam, so we are still at loss for what you are getting at.

Deviant says: First, the parts of the universe aren’t necessarily “created” since matter/energy merely shift forms. Secondly, theoretical physics throws the entire conception of this principle out of the window because parts of a whole may be radically different from the whole.

Abu Adam: The first point is the thousands of years old argument of the Aristotelean philosophers. The books of kalam deal with this. Claiming that it is not created, i.e. not emergent, leads to logical contradictions mentioned in kalaam books. As-Sanuusiyy mentions one of these in his ˆAqiidah Aş-Şugħraa, but there are many proofs. The fact that one cannot have infinite movements/changes in the past is enough to prove this, as shown in The Foundations of the Religion.

As for the second point, the scholars of kalam admit that the parts are different from the whole. Az-Zarkashiyy (745-794 AH/ 1344-1392 AD) for one states plainly that trying to understand indivisible matter based on what we see in this world is a mistake, which I think is more than reasonable. Everything we see around us are divisible things with bulk that have different attributes, so how can we draw an analogy between these things and what is not divisible? Kalam science is not affected by this, as it is not a new idea.

Deviant says: Subatomic particles defy causal relationships and very large bodies which supersede the speed of light reverse causality. This isn’t “theory” but observations made by scientists.

Abu Adam: It is not that simple. What exactly was observed that “defy causal relationships,” and “reverse causality,” as you are claiming? What you are speaking of is the scientist’s interpretation of what he saw, not what he actually saw – if you are telling the truth about this scientist.

I do not know of any physicist that denies cause, least of all Einstein. Causality itself is not even something observable. What is observable is physical entities, large or small, and how they behave. To claim something is really a cause of their behavior is metaphysical, because causality itself cannot be seen. I mean cause in the sense of the power to actually affect events. That is, we say fire causes burning, but does this mean that it causes it in actual reality, or is fire intrinsically, and in actual reality, powerless? Of course, the belief of Muslims is that fire has no intrinsic power to burn; the fire and its burning are two different creations that Aļļaah has created, and none of them necessarily follows the other in the minds eye, only according to what is normally true. That is, Aļļaah normally creates burnt paper when it has come in contact with fire.

To claim that causal relationships are defied is highly problematic from a philosophical standpoint, because when you deny that an event has a cause, then you are questioning cause in general. Cause-effect is a first principle from which knowledge springs. Without it there is no basis to claim knowledge of the outside world. Why? Because your knowledge of the world, is not what you sense itself, but rather, the interpretation of your mind of the signals of the senses. This bridge from the physical world to the metaphysical world of the mind, and the acceptance of it as true, is based on the acceptance of cause-effect, the cause effect between your senses and your perception. In short, to question cause-effect is to question reality, and to question reality is to question your observation. So no, I do not accept the idea that this has been observed. You have either not understood, or the scientist is full of it.

Moreover, no one has observed particles beyond the speed of light. You are now turning to lies to support your attack on Islam and its scholars, as expected.

Deviant says: Moreover, the nature of entropy posits that at one point the universe was pure light….

Abu Adam: Who was there to observe this pure light? How can you claim that this is known with any level of certainty? It is no more than a guess. It is a “the chair is black, thus all chairs are black” type of argument. It is a claim about history, it cannot be proven by experiments to have actually happened.

Deviant says: If the parts of the universe were the same as the elementary subatomic particles, then the universe should imitate that, but it doesn’t.

Abu Adam: The decoherence phenomenon and environmental effects prevent that. That is, the small particles are isolated from the environment, but big particles are not. For this reason we cannot see the characteristics of quantum in them. The difference between large and small particles is not to the extent that there is no relation between them. Certainly not in a way that contradicts the principles of ĥuduutħ (emergence, having a beginning, such as any change in form of physical things) and imkaan (possibility in the minds eye), which are the basic elements of kalam arguments.

Deviant says: According to a theory of special relativity, causal relationships break down if something goes greater than the speed of light, thus one would perceive an effect before its cause.

Abu Adam: So your mother might be your daughter? What are you trying to say?

Einstein does not say that causal relationships are reversed. Einstein was a zealous defender of physical cause. What he said was that from the reference point of something traveling at less than the speed of light, the result of a cause might appear before the cause itself. No one has proven, however, that a particle, large or small, can travel faster than the speed of light. At the end of the day, what you are claiming is that the kalam argument has been contradicted by a theoretical possibility based on assuming the occurrence of a speed that has not been proven by physicists to exist. But even if this theory was true, how does this contradict kalam?

Deviant says: Modern physics has shown us that at the subatomic particle level, certain entities actually lack spatio-temporal characteristics, and in spite of this, matter and energy still exist. If the parts of matter and energy, subatomic particles, lack the attributes of spatio-temporality, then this shows that the parts of an entity can actually be different than the whole. This second point rebuts the notion that merely because the parts of the universe are created that the universe as a whole is created since modern physics has shown that the parts of the universe lack spatio-temporality.

Abu Adam: No it does not. The proofs of kalam are not based on the parts being like the whole, they are based on ĥuduutħ (emergence) and imkaan (possibility in the mind’s eye) in either what exists in itself (matter/attributed) or what exist in something else (form/attribute).

No one denies that subatomic particles differ from normal bodies. All parties know that the rules of big bodies do not necessarily apply to very small particles. The opposite, however, is not true. For example, relativity applies to both fast and slow particles, as well as big bodies, as it is the most general theory. It is the generalization of the Newtonian theory. We cannot say that it applies only to small particles. Newtonian mechanics, however, can only give correct answers for large and slow bodies. As for the fast ones, physics uses relativity because Newtonian mechanics don’t hold. This is the difference. They are not in different worlds, but models for describing, or predicting, how particles behave at different levels of size, speed, etc.

When particles become very small, physics is forced to use relativity models/theories, and when they get even smaller, then physics is forced to use QM. This does not mean that there is no relation between small particles at QM level and those at relativity level and again at “normal” level.

As for QM, it explains a lot of the strange things observed in small particles. What necessarily follows from this theory has to do with measurement of speed, position, velocity, etc. Physicists do not say that a thing is in several places at the same time, except perhaps those that are prone to silly interpretations of some observations, like the double-split experiment. A number of them do say that if we want to know the place of an electron, then we come with an instrument to see, or by our eyes. Before we look, the system was undisturbed, they say it was not in a place. When you looked or measured, then you disturbed the system, thus you obliged the electron to go into an arbitrary position. This is philosophy, not science. It is the ancient, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Einstein, for one, fiercely refused this idea. He said, “Measurement will not give you an arbitrary position every time.”

Deviant says: subatomic particles can do things that normal matter cannot do, like exist in multiple places at the same time due to the Heisenburg principle of uncertainty, and may not even exist in time.Moreover…. photons, which are massless particles and can technically be in multiple places at one time.

Abu Adam: No one has observed a photon, or anything else, being in multiple places at the same time. It is an idea of a scientist in an attempt to interpret, and it is a silly one, or a badly phrased one.

Deviant says: Thus, both of the basic premises of the kalam cosmological argument are rendered obsolete by modern physics.

We would still like to know how. Present the argument and show how physics has proven the argument I presented in “The Foundations of the religion,” wrong according to you. Show how what was actually observed contradicts the argument. We are not interested in theories.

As a final comment, a theory is just that: a theory. It is a scientist’s attempt to interpret some observation that he made. Take a look at this for example: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0609163

As Muslims we must not accept everything a person says just because he is good at math or is wearing a white jacket. Let us also not forget that the word of a kaafir is not a proof of anything. We cannot even accept as true what they claim to have observed in the laboratory. Why? Because we have only a kafir’s word for it. It is kħabar waaĥid, a singular narration, and from a kaafir, so it is like writing on water; it is only possibly true in itself. Not only that, but when it is also self-contradictory in nature, such as some of the supposed interpretations of experiments in physics, then we would not accept it from a muslim, let alone a kaafir. If you remember this, brothers and sisters, you can save yourself a lot of satanic whispers.

The habit of physicists in this age is to throw ideas/ theories and then stay with them until an experiment shows otherwise. They do not always use logic before they speak. They consider everything as possible – it is the heritage of christian sophistry. They do not care about something called impossible in the minds eye, such as the idea of standing and not standing at the same time. This type of idea-throwing as theories happens a lot. An example of discarded theories is the idea of “ether,” which was the hypothetical substance through which electromagnetic waves travel. Newtonian mechanics and relativity theory are others (though they work fine for certain things.) There is therefore no reason to take theoretical physics into the logical debate of kalam. Some of these ideas are no more than silly, and not absolute truth. Even Hawkins states plainly in his book “A brief History of Time”:

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation which disagrees with the predictions of the theory (P. 10)”.

The physicists of today are philosophers of yesterday, empowered by the technological success of physics. They use this power to fool people into accepting even their ideas that are metaphysical – atheism, agnosticism, sophistry – hiding behind the achievement of physics, sometimes disguising them as physical theories. They do this just as the philosophers of yesterday did the same in light of their skills in mathematics, until the kalam scholars drove them into the corner. Today this is not happening, because the muslims are weak, and highly qualified kalam scholars, capable of critical thinking, are extremely few.

23 Responses to Deviant attempts to use theories of physics against the proofs of the belief of Islam

  1. siddiqui4ever says:

    Poor Deviant. Although I am not sure this person was convinced in his writings. I think the “Deviant” was only inquiring inquisitive mind.

  2. There is no contradiction between being inquisitive and being deviant. Besides, he is not inquisitive, but argumentative.

  3. Redwan Ahmed says:

    Deviant attempts won’t work on the beliefs of Islam. His theories of physics is useless. Deviant’s explanation proves wrong against Islam. What do you think shaykh?

  4. Yes they do not work against Islam. I do not think their theories are useless, however, not at all, but mixing physics with the logical proofs of Islam is a mistake. There is nothing observed in experiments in physics that is against Islam. Physics deals in the realm of possibilities; what could be true. Kalam deals mainly with what must be true, or not true. This is quite different, although there is some relation between the two.

    It is very important that Muslims do not feel threatened by the experimental sciences. Rather they should be embraced, but one must learn to distinguish between what is strictly empirical, and what is merely theoretical.

    • Ayman says:

      Alhamdulillah, it is truly enlightening to see your support of the scientific fields. I am studying Neuroscience and Physics, along with my Islamic studies, and Inshallah that will provide me with some interesting exposure to realities I was unaware of before. I definitely think, as you stated, that there must be an emphasis on differentiating between Physics and Kalam, although there is an overlap on some level.

      This idea that a scientific understanding of the universe should somehow be feared is what led to the separation between Christianity and scientific thought. Islam did not suffer from this – in fact, I always mention this to my Atheist friends, it was Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) who established the scientific method (the earliest one that is even remotely close to todays).

      Alhazen was also a devout Muslim who states that it was the desire to become closer to God which led him to study the natural sciences – to find the Signs embedded into the Creation. This is the only reason I have entered into the fold of science as well – today’s intellectual opponent’s of Islam will be relying on “scientific truths” and a “scientific approach and understanding” to the universe to combat ideologies such as Islam (and consequently they will fail).

      Have you heard of brother Hamza Andreas Tzortzis? He resides in the UK and is a prominent Islamic intellectual who engages Secularists in debates. You both use some similar arguments (ex. the Kalam cosmological argument, the impossibility of an eternal universe from the argument from infinite regression, the fine-tuning of the universe, the inimitability of the Qur’an [its Miracle], the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad’s [p] claim to prophethood etc.).

      Atheism does not offer any satisfying answer to the fundamental question in philosophy: why is there existence as opposed to no existence? Through all my studies and investigation, Allah by far the best and only reasonable explanation for the existence of the universe.

      At times, the boundary between Atheism and Shirk are erased as some Atheists feel that the Universe (the sum of all reality) is the “ultimate being” or that the laws which govern the universe (mechanical set of pre-existing conditions or laws) are the ultimate being. They substitute Allah with such ideas. However, these ideas fail to explain the universe’s existence.

      Salaam, and may Allah (swt) reward you for your efforts and guide the Ummah and all sincere human beings searching for Truth.

  5. AJ says:

    what is your say regarding the principle of uncertainity which says that it is impossible to know the exact position and velocity of a moving object. does this impossibility apply to Allah.

  6. Since we do not believe that Aļļaah is a physical object, no, it does not apply. We believe that Aļļaah created everything, including time and place. Only He is eternal without a beginning. The Prophet said, “Aļļaah existed and there was nothing else.”

  7. Ahmed says:

    Assalamu Alaykum Shaykh,

    Who came up with the kalam cosmological argument?

  8. Ahmed says:

    Assalaamu Alaykum Shaykh,

    There are many more components to this argument but it goes a bit like this:

    1. Everything that begins to exist requires a cause for its existence.

    2. The world began to exist.

    3. Therefore the world has a cause for its origin: the Creator.

    I just wanted to know the origins of this and does it come from the Muslims. I know some Christians have adopted this line of reasoning also, but I think they have borrowed it from us. Apparently Imam Ghazali(Rahimahullah).

    • I don’t think anyone can know that with any certainty. It has probably been around as long as there has been a dispute about the existence of the Creator, or even about His attributes. Historical documentation of who said it will tell you that this is the earliest FOUND sample, and that so far there is no earlier sample found. It will not tell you who first used it. Maybe this is not the answer you expected, but in discussions of ˆaqiidah, trivial or unprovable facts should not be allowed to deviate the discussion. I assume that some would accuse you of Greek philosophy, and you want to answer them. Don’t let them play with you. Tell them, was everything greek all greek philosophers say or do wrong, was everything they said about religion wrong? Expose their fallacies.

  9. ibn ismail says:

    “”what is your say regarding the principle of uncertainity which says that it is impossible to know the exact position and velocity of a moving object.””

    Einstein’s famous quote regarding the myriad probability factors involved in quantum mechanics states:”God does not play dice with the world.”

  10. hussain says:

    As salam Alykum
    Interesting and extremely useful article. I studied physics at university and covered some modern physics modules but did not cover in detail the philosophical implications of theories modern physics proposes. I have started to study Kalam, at a foundational level, and would be interested in any recommended readings which discuss the links between modern physics and philosophical/theological topics

    Jazakallah

  11. astranger says:

    Salam,
    The brother (‘deviant’s’) arguments are very simplistic and he gets a lot of the physics interpretations wrong, physicists do not all think that the heisenberg unc.principle means things are at many places but just that ‘there are many possibilities for their position’ until we observe it to be in a particular position. There are many schools of interpretation within the physicists, positivist, realist, instrumentalist, etc.

    William Craig (the catholic scholar) is perhaps among the best theist scholars tackling atheist arguments (in english of course), he uses the kalam argument (see youtube videos and his books). The physics, *including thermodynanics* supports the premises of kalam.

    See physics/philosophy works by Polkinghorne, Craig, Heisenberg (‘physics and philosophy’), david bohm, and others, Physics these days seems to strongly support theism, this is why many atheist physicists are desperately trying to come up with ‘other’ (crazy) ideas like the ‘oscillating model’ of the universe (i.e. universe didnt begin to exist it just begins and runs its course and returns to a beginning an infinite number of times) ) to try and ‘save their [non-theistic] religion’.

    Also the kalam argument is not the only one, even if people for some reason believe in ‘real infinities’ we can give them the falsafa argument (from ibn sina etc) that allow the world to be ‘eternal’ while still having a cause that is ontologically separate from it (i.e. God). See the debate between Coplestone and Russell (on google) for an explanation of this, this is an excellent debate as it clearly shows the nature of ‘kufr’ [how the ‘covering’ manifests] -russell says something like ‘the universe needs no explanation’ so ‘we don’t need to look for a cause, as not everything needs a cause’ – its like they look for causes but decide to ‘selectively stop’ without good reason.

  12. astranger says:

    I do not myself subscribe to the falsafa argument, simply due to the reasons imam ghazali gave in his tahafut, and many others (non-muslims included) have given: that ‘infinity’ is not a ‘real concept’, no one has actually witnessed an infinity. So the concept of infinity is incoherent (at least when applied in the way the philosophers apply it), and this is why all the falsafa stuff is ‘speculative’ or ‘just fancy talk’ – and the kalam argument is not only something more logically stronger than the falsafa one but also experientially verified (from the experience of normal people, our fitrah, and also by the experience of the sufis)

    Now the falsafa use of infinity is specified in a more refined format (i saw some good discussion in sharastani’s short text translated by Alfred Guilliame i think) – although even with the philosophers ‘more refined explanation’ of ‘eternality of the world’, using ’emanation’ etc.

    Now i think this (emanation concept) works as an argument (‘philosophically’) but it makes things too automatic ‘things just emanating from other things’ – as it fails to characterise the process of emanation by God’s direct creation of things at each moment (and their subsequent destruction). So with respect not just to kalam and falsafa but also to spiritual experience, the kalam argument better captures the reality of God’s key relation to the world, He creates and destroys existence over and over again – there is no ‘automaticness’. And this quality gives us a special closeness to Him

    So all i wanted to say about the falsafa argument in my previous post is that, *even if scientists* or philosophers choose to ignore the incoherence of infinity, as philosophers have done in the past, and say that the world is eternal, that *still does not* defeat any theistic arguments. As ontologically, the world cannot ‘come from itself’ – coplestone does a good job explaining this and he was a thomist (i.e. christian ghazali style kalamist).

    • This argument that leads to saying that Allaah created the world without a choice is very ugly and is the main reason why they said Ibn Siinaa is a kaafir. For this reason we cannot show it any regard, just like we cannot show any regard for any other argument in support of kufr beliefs. It does not work as an argument, because it is incongruent, so the kalaam argument is not merely “better”. In addition, it opens a Pandora’s box of opens support for atheism, ittihaad, ĥuluul, polytheism, restrictions to Allaah’s knowledge, denial of attributes such as will and power, and all sorts of other bad beliefs. Note also that the idea that “no one has witnessed infinity” does not in any way prove that it cannot exist. There are many things that have not been witnessed, yet still might exist. You said that to say that “he world is eternal, *still does not* defeat any theistic arguments”, but it is not enough that the argument for God’s existence is not defeated. It must defeat utterly, and this requires the proof of the world having a beginning to stand firm.

      • Ayman says:

        Have you read any of Professor Mehdi Golshani’s works? He’s a devout Muslim and a Professor of Physics. Perhaps you have heard of him? If not, this is a relevant piece of his (Causality in the Islamic View and in Modern Physics)

      • Well, I have now, and this author is an Aristotelean philosopher, seeing the Creator as a cause, and does not represent the Islamic view. He holds that the physical laws of the universe are unbreakable even to the creator, and for miracles to occur this claimed deity would have to passify it through another law. These ideas are based on the belief that the universe is eternal, thus he says, “objects vary in their acceptance of existence from the Origin.” This rule of theirs is pure imagination, and its persuasiveness to their minds comes from seeing consistent correlations such as fire-> burn which fools them to think that fire actually necessitates burning if the conditions are present (e.g burnable material) and there are no hindrances (e.g. water).

        The answer to all this is the same proof that is used to show that the world must have a beginning, and therefore a Creator, as shown in “Foundations of the Religion.” Accordingly, the world is possible in existence, and all its parts (events) are therefore intrinsically possible, and there is no difference between them in this. Or, to put it another way, since Allaah brought the first events into existence, it means that He has the power to create any event, or not to create it. Claiming that events started creating each other by causal necessity, not by the absolute and intermediary-less creating of Allaah, is to claim that He became limited after having been unlimited in Will and Power, and in need of a creation to create another event. This is kufr.

  13. Ayman says:

    Oh, and brother Hamza Andreas Tzortzis does an excellent job as well (his debates with many Atheistic academics).

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