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

October 18, 2008

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.

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Responding to Atheists – A Collection of Posts & Comments

June 23, 2008

as salam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Recently, (perhaps due to the “Foundations of the Religion” article) there was a heavy influx of atheists to the blog and various comments made by them. We made several posts dealing with several atheist claims and assertions, as well as some very useful responses to them in the comments. Hereunder, I have gathered all the posts related to atheists contentions, so that one can find them easily, bi idhnillah.

The Foundations of the Religion – If an atheist wishes to engage us, he or she may do so first by deconstructing all the arguments presented in this article, including the argument via the negation of an infinite regression. If they can’t (and they most certainly can’t) then there is no use even talking to them.

Someone Asked, “Is there a place for human accountability in Islamic beliefs?” – This is the age old free will versus predestination type argument that atheists try to use against religious folk. If they can’t attack the existence of God, they tackles this aspect next. Suffices to say that unless they can’t accept the completely rational arguments presented in the link above, then they will not likely get this either.

Someone Asked, “How do random things relate to the existence of God?”

Randomness and Infinity

Someone Asked, “Is Islam falsifiable?”

The above three links deal with science and religion.

Deviant Contention: Is there a flaw in the proof for the existence of Allah? – This was someone who apparently attempted to find a flaw in the negation of the infinite regression. A background in potential and actual infinities would be helpful in understanding this.

Someone asked, “If God is perfect, then why certain things, for example, the eye, imperfect?” – Apparently an attack on the argument by design.

Moderating Idiocy – A detailed account of some verbal atheistic acrobatics.

Some comments made on this blog that may help deal with this “complex stupidity” that we call atheism:

On Free Will & Predestination

On Atheist Acrobatics

On Beginning with an Unfounded Premise

There are probably more comments littered across the blog. Be sure to read thoroughly.

jazak allahu khayran

Ibn Mazhar

 

 


Q & A: Someone asked, “If God is perfect, then why are certain things, for example the eye, imperfect?”

June 20, 2008

Someone asked: On the point about the creator having no imperfections, how does that square with imperfections in the creation?  Our eyes are wired back to front, for example, and there are other numerous biological anomalies brought about via natural selection – you may be tempted to argue that these are imperfections by design to challenge our faith or somesuch, but that’s stretching pretty far. I mean where’s the challenge?  What divine test does the wiring of our eyes represent?

Answer: Eyes cannot be perfect. If they were wired as you would like, you could say why the wires? If not the wires, you could say why can’t I see smaller things? Why can’t I see further? The possibilities are not limited, but no matter what the specification is, it will still be imperfect, because an eye is something limited, no matter how powerful it is. Your request for perfection therefore, implies that the impossible is possible. It is like a request for a part that is larger than its whole. The question rather becomes: “Why that limit and not another?” and the answer is always, “It is as Allah had willed it. He willed that limit and not another.” This has no bearing on the assertion that Allah Himself is perfect, or on His existence. It might be a test, and it might not, but it certainly seems that you are challenged by it in terms of faith. When Muslims say that Allah is perfect they mean that He has no needs. This means He has no obligations to create someone’s eye with a particular specification, or to test someone or not test him. If you say that He must create different wiring then you are saying that He has needs, which contradicts perfection.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Moderating Idiocy

June 16, 2008

Assalaamu `alaa man tabi`al hudaa,

I was recently asked why I did not answer what seemed like a reasonable and relevant question. In fact, I did more than that. I moderated a number of posts, and I would like to explain why for those who did not follow the threads.

I did answer the question in the original post itself, it is the proof in “Foundations of the Religion,” and this person would know it if he read that article. I have asked him to read what I wrote in other threads also. He continuous to refuse to do so there and here. If he had read my proof he would have realized that it assumes no physical cause. Since it assumes no physical cause it makes no difference whether physicists find physical causes in their experiments or not. I don’t have time for mockery, sidetracking, and arguments for the sake of arguments. I have moderated him for now, until he shows genuine interest, because I don’t want to fill by website with verbosity that I have no time to respond to, especially when it is repetitive and becomes a matter of wearing one another out. However, I will gather it to respond to it as an article on atheist/agnostic debating acrobatics so that Muslim brothers and sisters can benefit.

For example, one time a friend of mine, in his youth, was debating an atheist about the existence of God, and said “imagine someone flying in space.” The atheist said, “you cannot say ‘fly’, you must say ‘swim’ in space (in Arabic.)” He managed to sidetrack him by this. Yesterday I received a mail from such a person saying that created will cannot be called will. To motivate me to answer he said it is dishonest to do so. History repeats itself…. A quick look in a dictionary refutes this idea and this person knows it. Moderated.

I will also take the issues he raised that are not relevant to the topic at hand and raise them as what they are: separate topics. For example the theory of evolution, the value of scientific proofs and credentials, what is an unequivocal proof, etc. These are indeed important topics, but they need time to answer properly, because there is an audience here that I cannot assume have a lot of background to understand. To him this is merely a game, to me it is a teaching activity. I have full time work unrelated to this, family, teaching, articles to write, questions to answer…. There is only so much time in a day.

That being said. This person, who calls himself “Sign of Saturn” has appeared in one thread, where he wanted to start a debate about Kant. He was told that this is not important  to us, or even the topic here. Then he said that someone lied about Kant by calling him an atheist, even though he had been told explicitly by the person who’s post he inferred it from that he had not meant to say that. Then he comes back and wants to debate whether Islam allows lies. Hello? Moderated.

In another thread he claims that my argument in Foundations of the religion is in conflict with Quantum Mechanics, because in QM physicists say, there is no cause to explain what happens. He is told to read the article and another relevant post. If he had, he would have known that the argument in “Foundations of the religion” does not depend on the existence of a causal relationship between physical events. He comes back to say that he can debate me on QM any day and how it is important to have a background in science to speak about science. Hello? Moderated.

I felt the best choice in the end was to just block such sophistry, because it fills the website with confusing material for those who come here to learn. I won’t block anyone that has a serious question or is willing to at least try to understand what I am saying. Posters also need to be courteous with Islam and Muslims, as this is Allah’s religion, and we are its representatives merely by being Muslims. We have no permission from Allah to let a mocking kafir be disrespectful to Islam or a Muslim. The scholarly rule is: Islam is uplifted and not put down. Muslims who think it is praiseworthy to humble oneself for a kafir should remember this. No turning of cheeks here.

Our mission statement is stated in the About Us section. Our purpose is not to engage with people who want to side-track us from our stated purpose. If their questions and concerns fall within the general scheme of our stated purpose, then fine and good. If they detract us from that purpose, then they will be moderated. We can only handle so much in a given day.

[Shaykh] Abu Adam


Q & A: Someone asked, “Is there a place for human accountability in Islamic beliefs?

June 12, 2008

Question: in Islamic beliefs, is there a place for human accountability? If so, what does human accountability mean or entail in light of the doctrine of predestination?

Answer: Accountability is connected to the voluntary acts that one performs every day. These acts, however, while performed by us with our bodies and minds, are predestined and created by Allah.

It must be kept in mind that Allah could have created me and you in the Hellfire to begin with, without any actions from our side. This would be mere torture, and not punishment. As a grace to us, He did not do that, but created us in this world and gave us rules to follow. He has willed for some of us to follow and some of us not, as you can observe. Those that follow are rewarded with pleasure in Paradise, while those who do not will be tortured, unless they are forgiven. Being forgiven happens only if one believed prior to death that there is only one god and that Muhammad is his Prophet and Messenger.

Torture in the next life correlating with voluntary acts of disobedience to Allah in this life is called punishment, unlike the imaginary case of someone being created in the Hellfire to begin with, which is just torture, and not punishment. There are many articles on predestination and justice that you can peruse, and I won’t repeat it all here. One article is this one.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Wahhabi Contention: What happens if kalam arguments are undermined rationally?

June 8, 2008

Wahabi contention: What happens if these kalam arguments are undermined rationally? In the West these antiquated arguments have basically been rejected since the time of Kant; isn’t it therefore a terrible mistake for a person to base his faith on them?

Answer: The argument I presented in “The Foundations of the Religion” is not false, and it is not antiquated, and will never be undermined. Formulated by men yes, but solidly agreeing with the scriptures and sensory reality, because all it says is that anything with a beginning needs a Creator, simply based on the existence of events; the changes we see around us. It is a simple and logically sound argument based on premises that no reasonable person would deny. I can tell you that I know of philosophers in this day and age that have been silenced by these types of arguments. A friend of mine has a Phd in math from Berkley, for example, and he converted because some of his students presented such proofs.

Kant, the miserable kaafir, may Allah give him what he deserves along with his ilk, did not bring anything new that the scholars had not already faced. In fact they have faced worse. What you are referring to are the philosophers who deny certainty of any knowledge, or certain types of knowledge. If they were right, then it would mean that scriptures also do not provide certainty of knowledge, so you cannot say that the Kant managed to prove his point without falling out of Islam – but you did not know that about Kant I am sure, so this is not an accusation. The scholars called these people the “I don’t Knowers” and the like. They are of several different kinds. They are very dangerous so please do not go down this path, or even dwell on it. Their sole purpose is to cause doubts, and they are very, very good at it. This is one of the reasons why the scholars considered it haram to read philosophy unless you were doing it to attack them and was highly qualified, and even for this purpose a rather significant number of scholars considered it haram.

You see, the philosophers were and are in general haughty, proud of their intelligence, and showing this was important to them, so they engaged in debates to win, even if it meant denying their own mother, and one of the ways to do that is to simply engage in producing doubts. As a general rule, a debate is won for many reasons, and sometimes the person being right actually loses a debate, because his debating skills were poorer, and fell in traps, or because he was not knowledgeable enough. There are ways to deal with “doubt strategists” like Kant, and I have personally dealt with them, but it is better not to let an opponent raise this issue at all.

I generally avoid anybody taking me on this ride by having them agree with me on every premise and every step of the argument as I present it. I do not continue unless they verbally express agreement. That way it will be much less tempting to employ a doubt-spreading strategy, as it will not benefit their personal image, since they will clearly be contradicting themselves. Instead you will find them simply keeping silent, or saying “I’ll think about it”, or even “you are right” (followed by no action) and then you never see them again. Which is a good thing.

If they have problems with the first premise in the argument in “The Foundations of the Religion” which states, “we are here today,” then one may start what I like to call “current event enlightenment therapy” by kicking the “patient” hard in the shin and see if you can’t have him admit that he was surely kicked in the shin. If you find him resisting the idea that events follow each other, you could apply “serial event enlightenment therapy” and kick him several times, but before you do all this you may need a government license, and make sure that he won’t be able, once enlightened to the existence of series of events, to apply one right back at you, like a lawsuit procedure.

Authored by Sheikh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Q & A: Someone asked “How do random things relate to the existence of God?”

May 29, 2008

An agnostic asked: Some would maintain that if the universe is mostly random, having pointless moons and planes floating about, how would this randomness fit in with the concept of God who does everything for a reason?

Answer: The problem with this whole issue is that if someone asks “why did God do that?” then he is asking a question that implies a need. For, example, if I ask you, “Why did you do that?” Then your answer will always be in terms of getting some benefit or avoiding some harm. Since the Creator does not have needs, this question is irrelevant with respect to Him. That is why the Quran teaches us not to ask this question:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون

Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiya’, 23).

Allah does, however, instruct us of our own decreed purpose:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

Meaning: “Allah did not create humans or jinn except to worship Him.”

This does not mean that He gets benefit from our worship, as also instructed in the Quran:

فَإِنَّ ٱلله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ

Meaning: Verily Allah has absolutely no need for the worlds. (Aal `Imraan, 97)

The agnostic said: I?f the Quantum physics shows us that things happen against our intuition, then how can any proof of God based upon our intuition be correct?

Answer: Intuition is not a source of certain knowledge according to Sunni Muslims, so we do not use such “proofs.” This is because it cannot be verified objectively. Rather, the sources of knowledge are our senses, true information, and the mind. The scriptures are the sources of religious knowledge, as they are perceived by the senses, judged as true by the mind, and understood by the mind.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji