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wordVision Student

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  1. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    The challenge is not from me to you. It is from the Quran to all of humanity. And I say that nobody can match it. Not simply because it is the best book in Arabic, but because it beyond human ability to match it. That's why I can say it comes from Allah. The fact is that with most aspects of human endeavour, there will always be examples that are the 'best' or 'worst', when compared to all other examples of their kind. Why do we even remember the likes of Chaucer and Eliot? It is because they were among are 'best' in terms of English literature. The same could be said of countless other names in countless other fields, such as Einstein and Hawking in physics for example. But what sets the Quran apart is not simply the fact that it is the 'best' in its field, but that it is the best by so much, that it will always remain the best - by far. No other work of eloquence will ever encroach upon its superiority. This has remained the case for 1400 years and will remain the case for ever. Now, if the Quran was the work of man, we could not rationally make such a claim. After all, a man could come along, even in 10,000 years, and write something better. Men can always be beaten by other men (or women, dare I say!). But the Quran is not the work of man. Indeed, it is beyond the ability of man. The only way to disprove this claim is to produce a superior book written by man. No one needs to actually set out to 'beat' the Quran. They need only write in the normal course of events. If a book ever emerges that, upon an unbiased evaluation by experts in the field, is found to be superior to the Quran, the challenge would be met. However, it seems that the Quran's present detractors are unwilling to even accept the challenge. If this is the case, they have no grounds to say, "The Quran is not the word of God". They can only say, "I don't care whether the Quran is the word of God" or in agnostic vein, "We can never know whether it's the word of God"!
  2. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000167 EndHTML:0000003089 StartFragment:0000000451 EndFragment:0000003073 As I have discussed in earlier posts, the challenge was made by the Quran 1400 years ago. The challenge was to produce even a single sura 'the like of it'. Though Wattle disputes it, the early Arabs were unable to do so. They did try - Musaylima the Liar was a notable person who tried to produce a verse which he claimed was also from Allah. But the Arabs were skilled in rhetoric and eloquence and could easily show, using objective criteria, that Musaylima's verse had nothing of the quality of the Quran's verses. Today, scholars of Arabic rhetoric can use objective criteria to judge the relative quality of various prose. Non-Muslim scholars of Arabic unanimously agree that the Quran is the best Arabic prose in existence. These same scholars could judge the relative quality of any new contenders. The challenge remains open. If any writing could be produced that is better than or even equal to the Quran in terms of eloquence, the Quran could be defeated. You see, no human writer in their right mind would make the claim that their work was, ever and anon, unbeatable. By doing so they open themselves up to ridicule should someone, one day, beat their work. But the Quran's author is not a man, but Allah. Only Allah could make such a claim without fear of being discredited. Again, those who dispute the claim that the Quran is unmatchable, have the onus of proving it. To paraphrase from the Quran, 'bring the like of it, if what you say is true'. The arguments here can be stated as follows. 1. The Quran is of extraordinary and superior eloquence. 2. This eloquence is beyond human ability to match. Conclusion: The Quran is not the word of man. You say that the non-religious and non-Muslims have no requirement, or perhaps no impetus, to show that the Quran's eloquence can be matched. But it seems disingenuous make such a claim. Whereas the means for attempting to disprove Premise 2 is freely available, you claim there is no need to avail oneself of it. So by default, you lose the argument.
  3. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    Sorry guys, disregard my last post, I have mis-formatted it. Works by Airy and Dutton [using large font size is not allowed]support the view that mountains have pegs like characteristics. More recent works by Van Anglin, Press and Seiver, Cailleux, Tarbuck, Lutgens and James all support the view that mountains also have a stabilising effect due to their peg like characteristics. This is not to say that they stop earthquakes altogether, but rather, that they significantly mitigate their effects. The idea is fairly new and is specialist knowledge within earth sciences. Scientific understanding of this phenomenon is still developing, but the basic idea is established. You can choose to reject the idea on your own say so, or on the basis of outdated knowledge, but will look pretty foolish in the process. [using large font size is not allowed] [using large font size is not allowed] What is far more relevant is that there have been millions of books written in Arabic since the Quran. None of these comes close to matching the eloquence of the Quran. It is telling that one of the earliest books in a given language should remain the best for 1400 years. There are many non-Muslim Arabs and plenty of these are skilled in rhetoric and prose. The challenge remains open today: Match the Quran and prove that Islam is false. Who on Earth would have the courage to make such a claim? [using large font size is not allowed] Come on friends! This claim is insulting to any non-Muslim specialist in Arabic. Indeed, to any writer in any language. For 1400 years this challenge has stood. Surely someone's up to it! Surely someone can make a mockery of this audacious claim! If not today, then surely in the next 1400 years! Let's wait together... [using large font size is not allowed] The English translations are not the Quran, but none the less, aspects of its stunning, matchless eloquence are amply apparent to scholars of prose and rhetoric. The fact that you can not see this is irrelevant. My dad reads and enjoys English newspapers, but not being a native English speaker, nor a connisseour of prose, would struggle to appreciate Shakespeare. Does this in any way devalue the work of Shakespeare?[using large font size is not allowed] [using large font size is not allowed] The Bible's influence was based on the fact that in its original form, it was in fact Divine Revelation. But corruption in the church resulted in its adulteration. This adulteration continues today and has resulted in the steady decline in the influence of the Bible. The number of Christians is declining. The number of practising Christians has plummeted. With Islam and the Quran on the other hand, its influence is increasing and its adherents are growing. Within decades, Muslims will outnumber Christians. Huntington expresses this concern in his Clash of Civilisations.[using large font size is not allowed] How should this concern be addressed? Simple. Show the Quran to be false by producing 'the like of it' - that is, produce something which is the equal of it. If you can. [using large font size is not allowed]
  4. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    The Bible's influence was based on the fact that in its original form, it was Divine Revelation. But corruption in the church resulted (with Allah's permission), in its adulteration. This adulteration continues today and has resulted in the steady decline in the influence of the Bible. The number of Christians is declining. The number of practising Christians has plummeted. In the case of the Quran on the other hand, its influence is increasing and its adherents are growing in number. Within decades, Muslims will outnumber Christians. Huntington expresses this concern in his Clash of Civilisations. How could this concern be addressed? Simple. Show the Quran to be false by producing 'the like of it' - that is, produce something which is the equal of it. If you can. But you can not, and never will, because it is the Word of Allah.
  5. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    I have seen your replies and they are quite feeble. As Josh has shown you quite clearly, mountains do have peg like characteristics. This is established in science and denying it is futile. For your argument to succeed, you would need to demonstrate that no mountains have any peg like characteristics at all. You have not done this. Many non-Muslim historians (such as K. Armstrong) have written about early Muslim history. Their version of early Muslim history does not differ from the Muslim version. Your proposals are not supported by any reliable version of history. 'Unlettered' refers to an inability to read. What evidence is there that Muhammad (pbuh) could read and write in Arabic, let alone in Greek? There is none. Refer to non-Muslim historians if you like. If you wish to pursue this line of argumentation, I invite you to provide some evidence of it. Let's see if you can demonstrate that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was actually a liar of the highest order. Which reliable historian proffers such a view? Except for the Quran of course, which is of such elevated eloquence that it is beyond human ability to match. This is not a clutching at straws, as I am not arguing that Muhammad was the best writer of his time. You have proposed this, not me. I am arguing that he did not write it and that no person wrote it. The Quran's unmatchable eloquence is a most powerful evidence that it is the word of Allah. And the Quran in turn is a convincing proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is not merely the best writing of its time or kind. Its eloquence is beyond human ability. If you disagree, then find someone who can match it. The challenge for persons (past, present or future) to match the Quran, is to be found in the Quran itself: "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true." (Quran, 2:23). A bold challenge indeed. Why would someone make such a bold claim at the risk being proven wrong? Only if they knew they could never be proven wrong. Only Allah could make such a claim. And indeed, He has yet to be proven wrong. I'm doing nothing of the sort. Where do you get this from? You say that other books, such as the Ramayana, have also had 'influence'. I am pointing out to you that no book has anything even resembling the influence of the Quran. This is nonsense. The Arabs had every reason to attempt to match the Quran. Foremost their power, but also their religion, wealth and pride were all at stake. In fact, there was an attempt to match it. Musaylimah ibn Habib, a powerful member of the Banu Hanifa tribe, claimed prophethood and offered up a 'verse' in support of his claim. Obviously, his attempt failed miserably. If you have any real evidence that Muhammad (pbuh) had any literary skills whatsoever, I again invite you to produce it.
  6. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    This issue has been dealt with effectively by Redeem and Josh and requires no further explanation. And he was also unlettered and was renowned for his honesty and trustworthiness by friend and foe alike. To give weight to this allegation, you would need to show that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was in fact a liar of the highest order. You would need to show that he was such a liar, that he pretended to be illiterate, despite being a skilled Arabic and Greek linguist. But no historian, Muslim or non-Muslim, has made such suggestions. The fact that you consider "any explanation, no matter how unlikely" more plausible than a 'supernatural' one demonstrates that you have an a priori prejudice against the existence of Allah. As was shown in the threads preceeding this one, there is nothing in the universe that precludes the existence of something 'supernatural' outside of the universe. So there is no reason why you should maintain this a priori prejudice. While it is true that Shakespeare is a fine literary figure, he never claimed that his work was unmatchable. He never claimed it was from God. But the Quran does just this. It claims that it is unmatchable, and that it is the Word of Allah. So the two are not comparable, and your analogy is therefore invalid. While other books may also exercise influence, none have had the influence of the Quran. None have spawned a religion that will shortly have more adherents than any other religion in the world, past or present. The Bible is also an influential book, but this is no surprise as it too was a holy book. The problem with the Bible is that it has been corrupted by the hand of man and is therefore steadily losing influence. The Ramayana has a special place in the cultural identity of the Hindu Indians, but is far from having the world wide influence of the Quran. What version of history is this? No authority on early Islamic history has ever suggested that the first Muslims killed people who disputed the quality of the Quran's prose. In fact, in was not the early Muslims who challenged people to match the Quran, but the Quran itself. It asks its detractors to produce even a single sura that can match its quality. No one was able to do so (and this challenge remains open today). So why should they have killed anyone over it? Furthermore, never in the history of Islamic conquests have Muslims forced people to accept their religion. When the early Muslims, together with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) entered Mecca from Medina, they did so bloodlessly. Those in Mecca who subsequently accepted Islam did so without compulsion. Non-Muslim historians agree that Muslims have never forced persons to convert, or to accept the validity of the Quran. The challenge has always remained open for persons to match the Quran. Had the Quran's earliest detractors been able to do so, they would have retained power by discrediting Muhammad (pbuh) and the Quran. They could not do so, because the Quran is Allah's word (Kalam).
  7. The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

    You have failed to demonstrate that the verses in the Quran mentioning 'mountains as pegs' are incorrect. Even if some mountains (in your view) do not bear 'peg' like characteristics, the fact remains that many others do. You are still unable to account for how the Quran's author should have known this fact. In relation to the embryologist Moore, he is far from alone in his view. Goeringer, Johnson, Persuad and J.L. Simpson are just a few who agree. All these men are professors of either anatomy, embrology or obstetrics. All are leaders in their fields and all are in agreement with Moore. It is futile to suggest that the verses are scientifically inaccurate. All one might attempt to do is posit that the scientific knowledge in question is not as new as imagined. Some have thrown in the suggestion that perhaps Muhammad (pbuh), or others working in concert with him, plagiarised some of the work of the ancient Greeks. But they can not say how Muhammad managed to achieve this; they merely throw it in as a red herring. They make the ridiculous suggestion that maybe Muhammad (pbuh), or his helpers, somehow uncovered and brought together all the ancient works of Aristotle and others, translated these and plagiarised the ideas for the Quran, before hiding the works again. While this frivolous claim might attempt to account for some verses, the scientific accuracy of many others is still inexplicable. This is arguable. The Quraysh had extremely strong motives to deny Islam. Their wealth, pride, family ties, polytheistic religion - Islam was a threat to all of these. Yet still they came to accept Islam. They were a people of eloquence, but were unable to match the eloquence of the Quran. They justifiably believed that the Quran could not be the word of man and therefore they became Muslims. It would have been far easier to defeat Islam by producing literature that could match it. If they were capable of this, they would have done it. Its detractors would not have chosen the more onerous option of war. So your position is a dogmatic one. You see present day Muslim authorities on Arabic as being unreliable. And you see the early Muslims as also being unreliable, because you feel that they had ulterior motives for supporting the Quran. But you are unable to answer this question: Why didn't the Quran's detractors, among them men of letters and eloquence, simply produce a short work of superior quality to the Quran. Why did they choose the very onerous option of war? I should add that it is not just Muslim authorities who espouse the superiority of the Quran's eloquence. “It is by far the finest work of Arabic prose in existence," said the Oxford academic Alan Jones. Another non-Muslim authority, Goethe, saw its 'style' as being, "ever and anon, truly sublime." He then adds, "Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages, a most potent influence." Goethe makes an interesting point. Indeed, the influence of the Quran was, and continues to be, extremely potent. In order to match the Quran, one would need to produce a work of such lofty eloquence, that it has an effect at least as potent as the Quran's. To prove its superiority, it would need to be of such eloquence as to convince an entire nation of its miraculousness, just as the Quran did. And its superiority would need to be as enduring as the Quran's. Do you know of such a work?
  8. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    Please see the new thread "The Quran is Not the Word of Man" for a response to this post.
  9. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    If you say that you are not dogmatic, then I welcome this and I am happy to take your word on it. I think we come to a pivotal point in our discussion. It would seem that the matter now rests on the validity of the Quran, on whether or not it can be shown that the Quran is the word of Allah. Perhaps it is time for a new thread: "Is the Quran the Word of Allah?" I would be happy to participate in such a discussion, and I hope some of our friends on these forums will join us. But for now, I wish to say the following. While I agree that there is more than enough in the Quran to justify belief, it is not the case that any person who reads it will be forced to believe. This would be tantamount to Allah fully manifesting Himself and as I have discussed previously, Allah does not intend that we should be forced to believe. Notwithstanding this, there are numerous reasons why an unbiased and properly informed reader should find very strong grounds to say that the Quran was not the work of man. I have alluded to some of these already. They include; the Quran's inimitability, the miraculousness in its conciseness, its superior rhetorical and literary style, its foretelling of future events and its description of phenomena that could not have been known at the time of its revelation. But not every reader will perceive or understand these signs of miraculousness. The Quran is not something that a novice reader can expect to read and understand in full. It is ideally read in conjunction with an exegesis, or under the guidance persons learned in it. It should be noted that the inability of a misinformed reader to see that the Quran could not be the word of man, in no way detracts from its miraculousness. You say that you have discussed these matters with people, but have not seen any proof of miraculousness in the Quran. I'm not sure how those discussions proceeded, but I am prepared to revisit the issue if you like. I would base my argument largely on the work of Said Nursi in 'The Sixteenth Word' and 'Twenty Fifth Word' of 'The Words' treatise, as well as his famous 'Signs of Miraculousness'. English translations of these may be referred to on the internet for those who may be interested. Selam.
  10. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    If you'll oblige me, I'll restate my point using the following hypothetical (wherein I'll replace 'skepticism' with 'dogmatism'): Let's say you have a person who does not believe in Allah, or a sentient 'uncaused cause' of any description. But the person is only an implicit atheist, not a 'strong' one. The person lives their life without giving any real thought to the matter of God's existence. They have no real bias either way. And it's not that this person doesn't care about the matter, it's just that they lead quite a busy life and have never really had the time to consider the matter at length. Let's further assume that the person holds no cultural, political or social biases or prejudice. Quite a Utopian scenario, I know! None the less, let's say this person now decides, for whatever reason, to investigate both Theism and Atheism. The person might approach the matter via the following two options. Approach 1. The person commences a properly informed investigation of the phenomenon known as the Holy Quran, in an unbiased, non-dogmatic fashion. They see that the Quran they read today has not changed at all from the oldest existing copy, that it is inimitable and unique in several ways, and that scholars of Arabic, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, have declared it superior in terms of rhetoric and literary composition to any Arabic book ever written. The person concludes that this book could not be the work of man, and finds a satisfactory basis for belief. The person then follows this up with a thorough investigation of science and philosophy, and sees that nothing in these fields precludes the possibility of Allah's existence, and strengthens and confirms their belief. Approach 2. Alternatively, the person may commence their investigation into the existence of God not from the perspective of the Quran, but from an unbiased, non-dogmatic study of what science and philosophy say about the matter. The person finds that while these fields can't indubitably prove that there must be a God, they certainly leave the door open for it. The fields together demonstrate to the person that the universe must have an uncaused cause, existing outside of time, space and matter. The person then muses, "Is it more likely that this universe was willed by a sentient cause, or that it was caused by some unconscious thing?" He asks atheism what the characteristics of the 'uncaused cause' may be and atheism says, "I have no idea, but I'm just telling you that's there's no such thing as God. I can not describe the 'uncaused cause' to you in anyway, nor can I explain how or why it should have caused the universe in the first place. But I want to live my life free of any of the restrictions imposed by religion, so I'll take my chances and assume I am not accountable to any God. And I encourage you to do the same, otherwise you will fail to maximise your utility during your life." The unbiased person, not really satisfied with the atheist's basis for disbelief, then looks to the Quran. The person seeks the advice of learned persons who have previously studied it (as you would with any unfamiliar topic) and sees that the Quran is totally unlike any other book in several respects, that it is in fact inimitable. The person further sees that numerous matters discussed in it completely accord with what science has only recently discovered. He even sees that some modern day scientists have accepted its validity purely on this basis, and have become Muslims. He thus concludes that the Quran is highly unlikely to be the conjured up words of an unlettered Prophet, and hence finds a satisfactory basis for belief. So regardless of where one commences their investigation, whether it's the Quran or science and philosophy, the essential thing to bear in mind is that dogmatism will diminish the validity of any results obtained. An a priori conviction either way will cloud the mind - will blind a person to any truth that might otherwise be found. Limiting one's investigation to only certain avenues of enquiry clearly points to such dogmatism. The question is, do you have the courage or humbleness to abandon dogmatism? I believe your presence on these forums shows that quite possibly, you do.
  11. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    Okay, we're on the same page now. If you say that you don't rule out the possibility, then we can move on. When you commenced this thread, you put in place certain caveats, certain limitations on what you would consider as valid evidence. I put it to you that these limitations are too restrictive, for reasons which I will discuss shortly. Let's assume for a moment that the uncaused cause is sentient and see where it leads us. If it is sentient, I believe a number of things can be assumed about it. Firstly, I can't see how a sentient thing could exist without possessing life. But not life of the sort we understand. Biology attempts to define life largely on the basis of self-replication, but I believe we needn't apply such a restrictive definition to something that might be alive outside of the universe. To my mind, if a thing is sentient, it is also conscious. If it is sentient and conscious, then ontologically speaking, it exists. If it exists, is sentient and is conscious, it can be said to be alive, as opposed to dead. And if it exists outside of our time, I would assume that not only was it alive at the outset of the universe's creation, but that it is also alive now. If it is alive and created the universe at a given point (14 billion years ago in our time), it can be said to possess will. If it possesses will and freely created the universe, it is probable that it created the universe for particular reasons. If all of the above is true, I believe it is reasonable to suggest that whatever exists in the universe was meant to exist, was willed to exist, and has a purpose. This would mean that the emergence of living, conscious, sentient beings in the universe was something that was willed. If this is also true, it is not unreasonable that the 'uncaused cause' would somehow communicate the purpose in the creation of the universe and conscious beings, to those conscious beings. This then opens the door to considering the validity of Prophethood, revelation and religion. For the foregoing reasons, I believe that if it is at least possible that the 'uncaused caused' possesses any one of the attributes of will, sentience, consciousness or life, religion should be considered. And given the fact that of all the religious books that claim to be the word of this uncaused cause, only the Quran can be shown to be unchanged or uncorrupted, then the information provided in this book about the uncaused caused should be considered with an open mind. However, you say that you will not consider the validity of this book. It seems to me then, that we reach an impasse. As has been stated often in this thread and others, nothing in the universe will force you to believe. I can not prove to you indubitably that the uncaused cause must be sentient. But I can confidently say that if you consider the validity of the Quran with an open mind, you will find a very satisfactory basis for the belief that it is sentient. I encourage you to have another look at Craig's discussion of why the uncaused cause should possess will. (If I recall correctly, it appears in the conclusion to his article.) But try to do so without any a priori scepticism. I believe it provides a good starting point for forming the belief that the uncaused cause should possess will. You say require evidence of likelihood rather than mere possibility - I believe Craig, in a reformulation of an ancient argument, demonstrates this likelihood.
  12. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    Of course, my personal view is that the 'uncaused cause' does possess the said attributes. But for our present purposes, I don't expect you to embrace this. I am simply demonstrating that there is nothing to preclude the idea. You, on the other hand, are of the view that the possibility is precluded. But on what basis? After all, you have maintained quite vehemently that life, consciousness and intelligence are nothing special - that they 'just things that happen'. If this is really so, why the aversion to the idea of a living, conscious 'uncaused cause'? Obviously, it is the theistic implications that worry you. Indeed, if you had no particular prejudice toward the notion of a deity, you would not be forced to make unsustainable assertions. But the fact is, you can not defeat the argument. Worse still, you weaken your own argument by saying, "Life is nothing special, consciousness is nothing special," while maintaining that the 'uncaused cause' must not possess life! I repeat my question: Is there anything you know of, either in science or logic, that precludes the notion that the 'uncaused cause' could possess life? Why do I 'arbitrarily decide' that the uncaused cause could have life? Why do speak of life in the universe when discussing this uncaused cause? Simply to demonstrate that there is nothing to preclude it. Had there been no such thing as intelligence within the universe, a person might have stronger grounds for suggesting that there was no intelligence outside of it. It's true that we say that Allah is totally free of space, time and matter. But we don't say there are not certain attributes within the universe which are also applicable to Him. Just because He is free of space and time, doesn't mean He must also be free of Life. This is completely invalid. But I'll humour you a moment... The situation above is not analogous to my assertion. I'll restate it for ease of reference: P1. A human builds a computer and programs it to perform mathematical calculations. P2. The computer then performs a mathematical calculation. Conclusion. It is possible, indeed likely, that the human also possesses the ability to perform mathematical calculations. Nowhere here do I make the assertion that, "A cause of a thing will always possess all the characteristics of the caused thing". But your joke implies that I have said this. I have not. Of course, Allah is exempt from all the limitations of the universe. But this is not to say that He doesn't possess certain attributes that we do see in the universe. Anyway, we digress. The purpose of my argument is simply to show that nothing in science or logic precludes the idea that the uncaused cause might possess life, consciousness and intelligence. You might say I gain little ground by saying this, but I view it as being a very important step. Once you accept that the notion is not precluded, you can look at the matter without prejudice, without unwarranted scepticism. For at present, you rule out the idea a priori. You make the unsustainable assertion that it's impossible for the uncaused cause to possess life. This claim is without basis, and ought to be discarded. But if you persist in claiming that the idea is impossible, the onus is on you to show how.
  13. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    Furthermore, my argument about the 'uncaused cause' possibly possessing consciousness and intelligence is not an analogy. It's not designed to be a comparative tool. It's a proposition. I'll restate it as simply as I can: P1. A given thing causes something to come into existence. P2. That thing possesses certain attributes. Conclusion. It is possible that the cause also possesses those attributes. Perhaps even likely. Any 'in universe' analogy you use to discuss this argument needs to be such that the elements of the analogy are comparable to the elements of the argument. Comparing apples with apples, as they say. Perhaps only an abstract analogy will be successful, in the case of our argument here. Anyway, that's a matter for you. But here's an analogy in support of my argument. P1. A human builds a computer and programs it to perform mathematical calculations. P2. The computer then performs a mathematical calculation. Conclusion. It is possible, indeed likely, that the human also possesses the ability to perform mathematical calculations. Transposing this to the actual argument: P1. An 'uncaused cause' causes a universe to come into existence. P2. That universe comes to possess things with life, consciousness and intelligence. Conclusion. It is at the very least possible that the uncaused cause also possesses these attributes. Certainly, it is not precluded. This is surely a very simple argument. I have not put too forcefully. I have left out religion, revelation and everything else. For my argument to fail, you would need to show that the 'uncaused cause', for whatever philosophical or logical reason, is precluded from having life, consciousness or intelligence.
  14. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    No, I'm not saying this at all. I'll accept an analogy if it's valid. As you would know, various factors could diminish the validity of any given analogy. Your sperm and ovum / Shakespeare analogy is invalid as a comparative tool when discussing the uncaused cause of the universe / universe. I'll restate my reasons for this. In our previous thread we resolved that the universe ought to have an 'uncaused cause'. Given that this uncaused cause must also be the 'first and only cause' so as to prevent further regression, it can not be compared to simple 'apparent causes' within the universe. Because the cause of any given thing within the universe can never be regarded as the one and only cause of somethings existence. This is self evident. Countless other things participate in the process. What good is a sperm and ovum in the absence of a male and female engaging in a reproductive act? So the situation of a sperm and ovum producing Shakepeare is fundamentally different to the situation of an 'uncaused cause' producing a universe. This is also invalid, on two grounds. Firstly, I would confidently suggest that the amout of all matter in the universe that has changed from its initial state into Methane, or any gas for that matter, would be massively greater than the amount of all matter that has become biological. Secondly, things like Methane ect, regardless of their preponderence, can not be regarded as 'special' in the same way as biological life with consciousness and intelligence. Biological life is massively more complex than anything else in the universe. It is therefore special. Again, I will entertain the validity of any given analogy on its individual merits. But we are not talking about processes here. We are talking about the initial and uncaused cause. This, by definition, can not be a 'series of causes' or a 'number of causes'. Even if the universe was created in a number of steps, our discussion in this thread relates to the first step. The processes don't concern us here, we're interested in what it was that caused any process to commence. We're investigating the attributes of that.
  15. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    I don't see the Shakespeare example as being analogous to what I'm proposing. I see the cause of the universe as being something that has caused the universe without recourse to other things. The sperm and ovum that were partly responsible for Shakespeare can not make such a lofty claim. Countless other things were also required for Shakespeare's birth, not least the male and female humans that carried the sperm and ovum, the countless inputs that sustained the mother and father, the existence of space, time and the Earth and so on and so on. Dependent causes can not be compared to an independent cause. I'm afraid I don't agree that intelligence and consciousness should not be considered special. They are quite special, if for no other reason than the fact that only a tiny proportion of all matter in the known universe has come to possess them. If they were such ordinary characteristics, we ought to have seen a far greater preponderence of them. Instead, we see that most matter is lifeless, that most life is unconscious, and that most conscious life has limited intelligence. So of course consciousness and human intelligence are 'special'. But anyway, the specialness of these things is not relevant to my argument. I'm simply saying that if the universe has these things, so too might the uncaused cause of the universe. Funnily, if you say that these characteristics are not special, that they are quite ordinary, then you make it all the harder to say that the 'uncaused cause' of the universe should not have them. As an aside, here's a further argument in favour of the 'uncaused cause' being sentient: 1. The universe must be caused by an 'uncaused cause', exisiting outside of the time and space of the universe. 2. This 'uncaused cause' either willed the universe to begin to exist, or possessing no will, was simply the necessary and sufficient reason for the universe to come into existence. 3. But if it was simply the 'necessary and sufficient' reason for the universe coming into existence, there is no reason why the universe should not have existed sooner. 4. Therefore, the uncaused cause must possess will. Elements of this argument were proferred by the likes of Said Nursi and William Craig. Maybe have a look at Craig's, 'The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe' for a better elucidation of this point. I'm sorry, I'm unable to post links on these forums yet.
  16. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    What I am seeking to highlight is this. 1. It is self evident that the universe contains things with life, consciousness, will, and intelligence. 2. It is also accepted that something outside of the universe has caused the universe. 3. If the universe contains life, consciousness and sentience, whatever has caused it could conceivably also possess these attributes. Bearing this in mind, I'm happy to rephrase my question as follows: Is it more reasonable to expect the ‘uncaused cause’ to have greater capacity than what it has caused, or less capacity than it? Or, should the cause not have greater inherent ability than what is has caused? For one, the 'uncaused cause' had the ability to cause an entire universe. But that universe can not cause other universes. So you see, it is hard to find greater inherent value in the caused thing than the cause. This being the case, I again ask: Is it not reasonable to say that if there is sentience in a caused universe, the cause could, even should, possess a sentience at least equal to that found in the universe? Selam.
  17. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    It's actually defined simply as a 'potentially infinite' period. It's denoted by the symbol ¥.
  18. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    But you're misdefining greatness here. Greatness is not in terms of size. I mean it in terms of capacity. What is has, what it do etc. So I would regard the builder greater than the house, the writer greater than the book, the driver greater than the vehicle.
  19. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    Just on that note, I remember a previous enquiry from Wattle about infinitude in Paradise. I neglected to reply then, so I'll address it now. We need to make a distinction between the concepts of an actual infinite and a potential infinite. As has previously been shown, an actual infinite can not exist in a temporal, determinative world. This contrasts with the notion of a potential infinite. A person could enter Paradise tomorrow for example, and remain there for a potentially infinite period of time. For a recent articulation of this fact, look up William Lane Craig.
  20. Why Must An "uncaused Cause" Be A God?

    If you accept that the universe had an uncaused cause, it follows that you would then consider what the attributes of this ‘cause’ might be. After all, humans have a number of faculties that appear just to this task. Curiosity, reason, intelligence, imagination, ambition, the ability to read and communicate with words… Therefore, Wattle’s question is entirely valid and is something that all people should think about. In Islam, this type of contemplation is known as ‘tefekkur’ and is considered among the most elevated forms of worship. In fact, it is an integral part of the purpose of our creation. As was discussed in the Refutation of Atheism thread, nothing in science can tell us anything about the ‘essence’ of what theists call Allah or God. Nothing can allude to Allah’s appearance. More still, even the imagination is unable to describe Him. In addition, nothing in science will prove indubitably that the uncaused cause must be Allah. This would remove the need for faith, whereas faith is inextricably tied to free-will. In order to facilitate faith, Allah has sent Messengers with Holy Books such as the Quran and the Bible, or simply with Divine Revelation. Those who refuse to consider the validity of these Revelations with an open mind, writing them off on the basis of upbringing, culture or simply personal incredulity, do themselves a great disservice. Certainly, they have no grounds for complaint against Allah, for the lack of seeing Him in the sky. But this aside, I feel the question of Allah’s attributes, as opposed to His Essence, deserves attention. Let’s consider what our previous thread has resolved so far… The universe can be seen to be determinate, in that its present state can be attributed to a long series of causes. In order to terminate an infinite regress, which has been shown to be an absurd impossibility, an uncaused cause is required. That ‘uncaused cause’ must exist outside of the time, space and matter of the universe it has caused. Religion says this cause is Allah or God, while atheism suggests it could be an unconscious, non-sentient thing that it can not further describe. Religion relies on Revelation in support of its position, while atheism relies on guesswork. Consider what we see in the universe. Certainly, it seems mind bogglingly large, it contains various types of matter / energy, has laws with certain relative values and contains systems that produce particular results. Some of these results include complex life that possesses intelligence, consciousness and will. Remarkably, the values of the physical constants are exactly as they need to be to enable carbon based life. Granted, none of this forces us to believe that the uncaused cause must be the Allah of theism. But if the uncaused cause somehow has the inherent ability to cause a universe containing life, consciousness, intelligence and will, the notion that it too could possess these attributes is not precluded. Is it more reasonable to expect the ‘uncaused cause’ to be greater than what it has caused, or lesser than it? I stress again, nothing is science or philosophy will force us to believe this. Yet nothing in science or philosophy closes the door on this belief. I would strongly advise all human observers of the universe to approach Islam and the Quran with an open mind and without a priori scepticism, without cultural or personal bias. You too may then obtain belief, Allah willing.
  21. A Refutation Of Atheism

    Selam all, I thought I'd add this thread here, due to its relevance. It is a response to a post by a proponent of atheism on these forums. The original thread may be accessed here: A Case For Atheism, Warning: a physics equation lurks within. Browsing the net on an unrelated matter, I recently stumbled upon this thread. As this is an Islamic forum, comprised presumably of many Muslim readers, I felt compelled (for the benefit mainly of my fellow Muslims) to join specifically to respond to oooo's original post. I therefore apologise for the lack of timeliness of this response. I don't expect that I will convert oooo from atheism to theism - this is in Allah's hands only. But hopefully I can demonstrate to other Muslim readers the weakness of oooo's basis for denying Allah's existence. I should acknowledge that my post relies heavily upon the work of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, author of the Treatise of Light (or Risale-i Nur). My Islamic and philosophical assertions are paraphrased from his words. I will try to remain brief, referring readers instead to the Risale-i Nur itself, particularly the '11th Word' and the '4th Ray', for a more comprehensive argument in favor of Allah's existence. Risale-i Nur Implicitly, it would appear to me that oooo is basing her atheism on the following chain of reasoning: Premise 1. If Allah exists, He would surely offer incontrovertible proof of His existence within the physical universe (without having recourse to metaphysical phenomena such as miracles, Divine revelation or prophethood). Premise 2. There is no incontrovertible proof of Allah's existence in the physical universe, in that we can not demonstrate His existence through testable, scientific means. Premise 3. Furthermore, there appear to be 'natural' explanations for the existence of phenomena within the universe, if not for the universe itself. Conclusion: Therefore, Allah does not exist. With respect, I submit that this reasoning is fundamentally flawed. oooo attempts to disprove the existence of Allah without a proper understanding of the nature or attributes of Allah, or of the universe for that matter. Such an understanding is essential. How can one disprove that which one does not understand? Understanding Allah through a properly informed knowledge of His attributes, and His wisdom in the creation the universe, will in turn provide the basis for our belief in His existence. Returing to oooo's reasoning, Premise 1 is incorrect. Allah, being an infinitely beautiful and loving being, created the universe and everything in it for the purpose of displaying the beauty and perfection of His attributes. This in turn required the existence of conscious beings to appreciate the multifarious types, levels, degrees of that beauty. Allah created humans to be the most equipped of all conscious beings to appreciate His beauty, and to reflect His beauty and attributes through their own actions, character and behaviour. This requires free-will and indeed, humans have been given a limited free-will. If Allah were to fully manifest Himself in the universe, through incontrovertible physical proof that forced every human to believe, humans would be robbed of their free will. In other words, Allah will not create a situation where we are forced to believe, as this would operate contrary to His purpose in creating the universe and humans in the first place. Instead, Allah will provide strong indications of His existence in the universe, and will employ messengers to herald these indications. Attempting to establish faith in Allah's existence by relying on physics alone will, in most cases, lead to an impasse. One may use their free will to ignore Allah's Messegers and books, but can not then complain that there lacks incontrovertible physical evidence to justify belief. Premise 2, as is evident from the discussion above, is correct and is actually necessitated by Divine wisdom. Indeed, Allah is not 'testable' or 'falsifiable' in the scientific sense. Does this mean belief in Allah is invalid? Absolutely not! The fact that we can not 'falsify' something does not always diminish its value as an explanatory tool for phenomena in the universe (consider String Theory, for example). To reiterate, Allah's 'unfalsifiability' in the physical universe does not prove His non-existence. This is particularly so, given that Allah is the creator of space, time, matter and the physical laws, and is not bound, nor able to be described in terms of them. Premise 3 is arguable, and even if true, does not disprove Allah's existence. Demonstrating how a thing works does not necessarily do away with its maker, if it has one. I don't wish to get into a lengthy refutation of each of oooo's points. I only wish to point out the following: 1. Evolution is not a useful explanatory tool for abiogenesis. Relying on the pre-existence of a living, self-replicating organism, the theory the invokes 'random' mutations and natural selction to explain biodiversity. It does not explain, or even seek to explain, how life actually came about in the first place. No doubt, attempts have been made to explain abiogenesis via other chance or 'necessity' based mechanisms, but to date, these have failed to prove how life first came about. Therefore, the theory can not be relied upon to show that Allah is not required to create life, and certainly can not be used to disprove Him altogether. In fact, Islam provides us with significant assistance in relation to the matter of abiogenesis or Life. It informs us that there are certain matters which are 'not veiled'. That is, certain phenomena do not have any 'apparent causes' attached to them to veil the hand of His Power. (For example, the apparent 'cause' for light on the earth is the photons emitted by sun - the sun being merely a veil to Allah's power.) So what are the things that are unveiled? Well, sure enough, one is said to be Life. It is no surprise then, that nothing in science can adequetely explain how Life first came about. Of course, this does not force us to believe. We still have the choice to invoke what can be described as the 'Argument from Hope' - that one day science will, once and for all, show us how life first came about (hopefully!?!) Or perhaps the idea that life on Earth actually originated from Mars (see Paul Davies - The Fifth Miracle)! 2. Quantum Fluctuations and guesses about the origin of the universe such as the Multiverse idea, do not disprove Allah's existence. The notion of quantum fluctuations of virtual particles, that appear to pop up in oppositely charged pairs without apparent cause, and briefly violate the first law of thermodynamics before annihilating one another, in no way contradicts what we know in Islam. And in no way disproves Allah. More on this shortly. But first, are the appearance of these virual particles actually an appearance out of nothing? Not at all. 'Something(s)' are still required to enable their appearance, namely a space/time field. These are not 'nothing'. (As an aside, I wonder whether further work on Dark Energy may shed some more light on this matter down the track?) Secondly, the use of the concept of quantum fluctuations to explain the creation of the universe is an extrapolation that is hitherto unproven. Sure, some eminent physicists have proposed the idea in peer-reviewed journals. But conclusive proof of how the universe came about still evades us. I feel it is invalid to rely on this notion then, as evidence for the lack of Allah's existence. Notwithstanding the above point, Islam (unlike some other faiths) has no issue with any scientific theory that may someday prove how the universe was created through so called 'natural processes'. Ours is not a God of the Gaps, but a God who is The Necessary Existent (Vacibul Vucud), who is the Causer of Causes (Yusebbibul Esbab). Personally I would find such a theory much more intellectually satisfying than the current best guesses like the Multiverse idea, that only push the problem of explaining the origin of the universe to another place. If I were an atheist, holding 'falsifiability' as the sole determinant of an idea's value, I would be loathe to rely on something like the 'Multiverse' idea to prove or disprove anything. From Non-Existence to Existence. Ultimately, regardless of how far science may progress, it is bound to reach an impasse. This is at the point where something goes from non-existence to existence. Again, Islam guides us on this and tells us about another matter which is 'unveiled' (recall the discussion above under Evolution). This is Existence. The coming of a thing into existence, from non-existence, after all the causes have been peeled away, is 'unveiled'. That is, Allah has not put in place an apparent 'cause' as a veil to His Power in relation to his bringing physical existence about. I apologise if I have not illustrated this point clearly, but let me put it like this. If science could uncover every possible working of the universe, it would eventually reach a point where it could not find a 'cause' for how the very first 'thing' in our physical universe came about. At this point, atheists might point and say, 'See, it created itself!' But of course, the reason does not accept this, as may be seen below. Allah's Name of Samed (the Eternal Absolute by one translation). Things can not create themselves. If something is in a state of pure non-existence, it can not bring about its own existence. It requires something else to cause its existence. If nothing exists at all, that thing that we define as a God, or Allah, The One who is Samed and Necessarily Existent, is required to bring things into existence. I submit that this does represent an Argument from Incredulity. Consider this. There is pure and absolute 'nothing' in terms of a physical universe. Then, something, whether its a 'quantum fluctuation of a field' or a 'singularity of infinite density' suddenly comes into existence with no discernible cause (after all, there are not even causes in our story here). Then this initial thing, so packed is it with beauty, wisdom, power, functionality, co-ordination and meaningfulness, morphs into the universe we know and love today. We can not deny we exist, nor can we deny that we perceive myriad pleasures through the beauty of the universe and its constituent parts (and especially through our children, families and fellow humans). And we admit that we love to exist, that we would hate not to exist. And we see that while beautiful things come and go, beauty itself endures. Under all these circumstances, are we not justified in refusing to accept that all this could not have created itself? Consider also that we have been endowed with the faculty of reason. Do you think it is an accident that using this very sense of reason, the majority of all humans, past and present, refuse to accept the non-existence of a Creator? How did Allah come into existence? "If things can not create themselves, how did Allah come into existence?" asks the atheist. The second part of this sentence contains an oxymoron. By definition, Allah can not 'come into' existence, for He has the attributes of having always existed and not requiring anything for His eternal existence. To claim that the existence of a such a God, who bears these attributes, is not possible given the known laws of physics, is to express what I feel to be the Argument from Incredulity - of which theists are so often accused. Or else it is to express an Argument from Ignorance. In Islam, we know Allah to have infinite power. The mind boggling majesty of the universe is just a single indication of this. We also know Allah to have brought time and the universe, including all its laws, matter and mechanisms into existence from non-existence. We know He is not bound by any of these. We also know a little about the nature of Allah, through the manifestations of his attributes visible in the universe. And that is where our knowledge ends for now. We can not see or in any way perceive, or conceive of, Allah's actual Essence. His Essence is absolutely Unique (Ferd) and outside of the human experience. We can not, therefore, properly understand, much less deny, Allah's infinitude and Eternal Pre-Existence with the limited human intelligence and imagination Allah has gifted us in this life. We are merely on the commencement of an infinite journey of discovery. Thanks for your time in reading this post, and I apologise again for its length. For further reading and discussion of the Risale-i Nur, by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, please go wordvision(contact admin if its a beneficial link).au or just google Risale-i Nur.
  22. A Refutation Of Atheism

    It would seem to me that the concepts of an ‘infinite chain of causes’ and ‘timelessness’ are mutually exclusive. If something is a ‘chain of causes’, this assumes the existence of some type of time continuum. As josh0335 has demonstrated, an infinite or beginningless chain of causes is an impossibility. So you can not attribute infinitude to this imaginary ‘chain of causes’. The best you can do in this vain, is to posit that our universe was caused by a ‘finite chain of causes’, existing in a different space / time. But then you engage in question begging / infinite regress.
  23. A Refutation Of Atheism

    Indeed it has. My aim, in responding to oooo's original post in favour of atheism was to show to the existence of Allah/God can not be disproven. Science does not disprove Him, nor does philosophy. As has been borne out in this thread, and elucidated by josh0335, the best atheism can do is say 'we can not know what the first cause of the universe was'. It can not say, 'the first cause of the universe was not God'. In other words, 'strong atheism' fails unless it can show that there must be no God. Clearly, it can not do this.
  24. A Refutation Of Atheism

    I'm not being tricksy here at all. I'm saying there are many scientists who believe in Allah / God /Theism / Deism, as opposed to 'few'. I think this is a fair assertion to make. Do you have the stats to support your claim, or are you relying on your intuition? You are in the habit of drawing invalid conclusions from my assertions. I am not suggesting that science looks for answers to philosophical or religious questions. 'Why', in the sense that I'm using it, relates to the initial cause. Asking what happens afterwards may be described as asking 'how'. So far science has only described 'how' the universe has evolved subsequent to the Big Bag. It has not answered 'why' the Big Bang ought to have occurred, nor 'why' the constants have the values they do. I submit that this is absolutely something that science asks. Anyway, you may choose to preface these important questions with 'how' if you prefer. It matters little - the fact is, they remain unanswered. It is noteworthy that you claim there is no wisdom and no intelligence, to be seen in the universe. This is a classic mark of atheism. Are you prepared to at least accept the use of these terms metaphorically? Do you deny that there is complexity or intricacy in the workings of the universe? Use whatever expression you like, the reality of complexity in the universe can not be denied. While 'evolution by natural selection' (arguably) explains how life may have evolved once it ‘got going’, there’s nothing to explain why the universe itself has the staggering complexity that it does. You might say, ‘it’s due to necessity – arising from the laws of physics’. But this fails to explain why the laws of physics emerged, with the exact values they do, to enable such complexity. So whether you choose to call it ‘wisdom’ or ‘complexity’, you can not deny that the universe does work to produce staggeringly complex things, including human life – the most complex thing we know of. You may choose to say that there is no apparent wisdom in these complex things, but they are still complex things! As an aside, Paul Davies sees an important component of complexity as being ‘information’. A metaphor perhaps? Now, science has no answer for what started all this ‘complexity’ off. That is, we don’t know what caused the Big Bang. I simply ask you, is more reasonable to assume it got started off on its own, or that some type of external agent deliberately started it? You can not try to explain things away by dreaming up a ‘multiverse’, or an ‘infinite series of universes’ or other ad hoc ideas. By doing so, you simply push the problem to another place. Wattle, the argument does have a name, as does the counter-argument, as does the response to the counter-argument. The particular counter-argument you use has been used before, and has been responded to quite famously John Leslie – I’ll get into it shortly. The ‘Argument from Design’ is a type of ‘Teleological Argument’ and is very valid indeed. Its counter-arguments are purely philosophical – not scientific – and do not constitute ‘scientific proof’ that defeats the argument. The debate, as it relates to our discussion here, goes a little like this: The universe (once it got going), could have been any number of ways. It could have had any number of physical laws or constants, which could have had any number of different values, relative strengths, properties etc. The fact that have exactly the values they do, to enable ‘complexity’ culminating in biological life, points strongly to the universe having been designed with complexity and complex life in mind. The counter argument is quite facetious. It says: The universe had to have been some way. It just happened, accidentally to be the way it is. After all, all possibilities are improbable. If the universe wasn’t right for life, we wouldn’t be here to observe the fact. John Leslie responded to this nicely, using his famous Firing Squad analogy: A man is convicted of a crime and is to be executed by firing squad. The firing squad consists of 100 trained marksmen, shooting from a short distance. The man hears the marksmen shoot, only to find that he is still alive, looking back at the marksmen. So the marksmen all missed! Now, can you say that the man should not be surprised that he is still alive? That if the marksmen had not missed, he wouldn’t be here make the observation, so that therefore, it’s unremarkable that he has made the observation? Of course not, because it highly remarkable that all 100 marksmen misses the target. This is an outcome that is against all odds. In the case of our universe, and the existence of complex life, it’s true that we wouldn’t be here to observe it if the universe wasn’t fit for life. However, as with the Marksmen analogy above, the odds are stacked enormously against the universe having all the necessary constants, at exactly the right level, to enable complex, intelligent life. In other words, the universe having these exact properties is ‘remarkable’, in addition to being unlikely. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure all this out. So atheists have had to come up with ad hoc ideas to do away with the problem. The most common of these is the Multiverse idea – ‘There may be an infinite number of parallel universes, therefore it’s no longer ‘remarkable’ that ours should have the properties that enable intelligent life. Or alternatively, there may be an ‘infinite series of universes’, appearing one after the other. Again, this would do away with the problem. Conveniently for atheists, science can not prove any of these ideas. They are patently ‘untestable’, just as Allah is ‘untestable’. So how then, is atheism any less a faith than religion? May I suggest something Wattle? You seem to have a penchant for quote mining people’s posts, trying to poke a little hole here, a little hole there. But can you offer any tangible evidence of your own in favour of atheism? I look forward to the opportunity to respond, Allah willing.
  25. A Refutation Of Atheism

    Check your email brother... May Allah guide you.
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