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Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr on Science and Civilization in Islam
Posted: 23 June 2008 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]  
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eucaryote - 24 June 2008 12:49 AM
Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 12:33 AM
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Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 09:16 AM

The most important of which, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has been widely read throughout the Muslim world since the very beginning.  And, I don’t think his advice about debates above is not applicable to us here by any means.

Anyone who can speak of “religious science” with a straight face is someone to be deeply suspicious of. The concept provides a rough index as to degree of delusive thinking.

Haha.  Rough index?  Anyway, dog, since you are so scientifically inclined, why don’t you define science for us then.

Yes, let’s do get back to some basics… you see there is a difference between “shared conviction” and “observable physical evidence…....and/or experimentation”.

From Wikipedia

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the effort to discover, understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of existing phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate phenomena under controlled conditions.

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

All you have done here is describe the “material sciences”.  What about the “social sciences”?  Look deeper into the meaning and come again.

Once again, please define “science”, not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ science.

Sorry Jack,

You and your behavior are of the physical, material world. The biological world is a function of the physical, chemical world. I hate to break it to you but you are just a bag of, (misdirected), matter. Everything that you are is a function of the real, natural world.
It’s true that you should be proud though, you are some of the only mud that ever had a chance to sit up and look around. (thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)

Where is your evidence that humans are nothing but material beings?  Sure it may appear that way but how do you know that this is the case in reality?  You don’t, and physical sciences can’t test these claims, but that doesn’t mean that such claims are invalid, only that they are out of the frame of reference of science.  Likewise, where is your evidence that physical science is the end all of knowledge, that there is nothing else worth knowing or nothing else that is knowable by other means?  Indeed, what is your definition of knowledge?  In retrospect, I would appreciate if you could first at least define science, which you haven’t done yet.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 01:38 AM
eucaryote - 24 June 2008 12:49 AM
Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 12:33 AM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 05:41 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 04:48 PM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 02:50 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 09:16 AM

The most important of which, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has been widely read throughout the Muslim world since the very beginning.  And, I don’t think his advice about debates above is not applicable to us here by any means.

Anyone who can speak of “religious science” with a straight face is someone to be deeply suspicious of. The concept provides a rough index as to degree of delusive thinking.

Haha.  Rough index?  Anyway, dog, since you are so scientifically inclined, why don’t you define science for us then.

Yes, let’s do get back to some basics… you see there is a difference between “shared conviction” and “observable physical evidence…....and/or experimentation”.

From Wikipedia

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the effort to discover, understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of existing phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate phenomena under controlled conditions.

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

All you have done here is describe the “material sciences”.  What about the “social sciences”?  Look deeper into the meaning and come again.

Once again, please define “science”, not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ science.

Sorry Jack,

You and your behavior are of the physical, material world. The biological world is a function of the physical, chemical world. I hate to break it to you but you are just a bag of, (misdirected), matter. Everything that you are is a function of the real, natural world.
It’s true that you should be proud though, you are some of the only mud that ever had a chance to sit up and look around. (thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)

Where is your evidence that humans are nothing but material beings?  Sure it may appear that way but how do you know that this is the case in reality?  You don’t, and physical sciences can’t test these claims, but that doesn’t mean that such claims are invalid, only that they are out of the frame of reference of science.  Likewise, where is your evidence that physical science is the end all of knowledge, that there is nothing else worth knowing or nothing else that is knowable by other means?  Indeed, what is your definition of knowledge?  In retrospect, I would appreciate if you could first at least define science, which you haven’t done yet.

Well, it’s true that in addition to material, we along with everything else are mostly “made up of” empty space. We only know the natural world Jack, your supernatural world only exists in your imagination. No one can know something that is only imagined. Though knowledge is a little harder to define than science, the validity of any definition of knowledge will lie in truthfulness. Truthfulness must be demonstrable to justify belief. If you cannot demonstrate the truthfulness of what you imagine, then it does not constitute knowledge. Ultimately knowlege must be based on empiricism, logic and reasoning. It must be based on what is natural, not on what is un-natural.

As you say, your inability to demonstrate what you imagine does not mean that your thoughts are not true but it certainly constrains your ability to claim them as true. If you can’t claim them as true then your thoughts become arbitrary and cannot be used to justify belief. As you see in this world people certainly do imagine all kinds of things which cannot be demonstrated and all of these things could not be true, especially since so many are in direct conflict. You of course, don’t believe in the vast majority of these imaginings of people either. Likely you don’t check your horoscope, believe that uri geller can bend spoons, think that for $29.99 per minute you can talk with a psychic on the telephone that can tell you your future. Probably you just think that ganesh is a cute blue elephant, you’ve never been kidnapped by aliens and are skeptical of those who make this claim and you think that joeseph smith to be the outright charlatan that he was and not an emissary from the planet komo.

Still, even for all of this skepticism on your part, of what others consider knowledge, you still think that some iron age prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse and you claim this as knowledge.

I did define science. I contrasted it with religion. Both were Wiki definitions, so it’s not just my opinion. You just don’t like being wrong. You want room for hocus pocus in science as in religion.

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Posted: 27 June 2008 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]  
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eucaryote - 24 June 2008 10:28 PM
Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 01:38 AM
eucaryote - 24 June 2008 12:49 AM
Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 12:33 AM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 05:41 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 04:48 PM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 02:50 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 09:16 AM

The most important of which, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has been widely read throughout the Muslim world since the very beginning.  And, I don’t think his advice about debates above is not applicable to us here by any means.

Anyone who can speak of “religious science” with a straight face is someone to be deeply suspicious of. The concept provides a rough index as to degree of delusive thinking.

Haha.  Rough index?  Anyway, dog, since you are so scientifically inclined, why don’t you define science for us then.

Yes, let’s do get back to some basics… you see there is a difference between “shared conviction” and “observable physical evidence…....and/or experimentation”.

From Wikipedia

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the effort to discover, understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of existing phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate phenomena under controlled conditions.

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

All you have done here is describe the “material sciences”.  What about the “social sciences”?  Look deeper into the meaning and come again.

Once again, please define “science”, not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ science.

Sorry Jack,

You and your behavior are of the physical, material world. The biological world is a function of the physical, chemical world. I hate to break it to you but you are just a bag of, (misdirected), matter. Everything that you are is a function of the real, natural world.
It’s true that you should be proud though, you are some of the only mud that ever had a chance to sit up and look around. (thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)

Where is your evidence that humans are nothing but material beings?  Sure it may appear that way but how do you know that this is the case in reality?  You don’t, and physical sciences can’t test these claims, but that doesn’t mean that such claims are invalid, only that they are out of the frame of reference of science.  Likewise, where is your evidence that physical science is the end all of knowledge, that there is nothing else worth knowing or nothing else that is knowable by other means?  Indeed, what is your definition of knowledge?  In retrospect, I would appreciate if you could first at least define science, which you haven’t done yet.

Well, it’s true that in addition to material, we along with everything else are mostly “made up of” empty space. We only know the natural world Jack, your supernatural world only exists in your imagination. No one can know something that is only imagined. Though knowledge is a little harder to define than science, the validity of any definition of knowledge will lie in truthfulness. Truthfulness must be demonstrable to justify belief. If you cannot demonstrate the truthfulness of what you imagine, then it does not constitute knowledge. Ultimately knowlege must be based on empiricism, logic and reasoning. It must be based on what is natural, not on what is un-natural.

As you say, your inability to demonstrate what you imagine does not mean that your thoughts are not true but it certainly constrains your ability to claim them as true. If you can’t claim them as true then your thoughts become arbitrary and cannot be used to justify belief. As you see in this world people certainly do imagine all kinds of things which cannot be demonstrated and all of these things could not be true, especially since so many are in direct conflict. You of course, don’t believe in the vast majority of these imaginings of people either. Likely you don’t check your horoscope, believe that uri geller can bend spoons, think that for $29.99 per minute you can talk with a psychic on the telephone that can tell you your future. Probably you just think that ganesh is a cute blue elephant, you’ve never been kidnapped by aliens and are skeptical of those who make this claim and you think that joeseph smith to be the outright charlatan that he was and not an emissary from the planet komo.

Still, even for all of this skepticism on your part, of what others consider knowledge, you still think that some iron age prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse and you claim this as knowledge.

I did define science. I contrasted it with religion. Both were Wiki definitions, so it’s not just my opinion. You just don’t like being wrong. You want room for hocus pocus in science as in religion.

I do believe in the possibility of people having access to an unseen world, and apparently, many scientists believe in this possibility too, which is why some of them, the late Carl Sagan for example, sent messages into outerspace in hopes to discover such a world.

Now, do I believe anyone who says they know my future?  Certainly not.  However, do I believe it is possible to predict aspects of the future?  Sure why not.  We can get a sense of someone’s future by looking at their DNA.  That’s one way to do it.  Maybe there are others we are not aware of.  The point is that there is nothing to suggest its not possible.

Why I believe there is no god, but God and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger and the way of life that follows from this, is precisely because it best answers (i.e. in a coherent, intellectually satisfying manner) most of the important questions - why are we here, where are we going, and how ought we to live our lives?

As to why I would believe in a flying horse, as opposed to a blue elephant, the answer is only because the source of one belief is a reliable chain of transmission or narrations all the way back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), whereas the latter is based on an unknown source.  Of course, sources of information are extremely important.

Let’s say you take Sam Harris to be completely sane, upright, and truthful.  Would you believe Sam Harris if he told you he had an otherwordly experience?  I wouldn’t knowing something about Sam Harris’ record when it comes to truth, but perhaps you would.

Only the other day, an aunt of mine recounted with amazement her experience of being cured of an immobilizing back pain at the hands of a traditional healer, whereas she had initially gone to various doctors and specialist to have her condition Dx’d and Tx’d but found no help.  There are way too many accounts to narrate here of similar stories about alternative medicine, which find little credence with the journals of ‘Western’ or ‘modern’ science.  While I may not believe in every instance of healing at the hands of a traditional healer, I do not discredit the possibility that there is truth in that ‘science’ of healing.  Likewise, given that she is not otherwise ‘crazy’ or a liar, I trust my aunt’s understanding of her recovery as perfectly valid.

When it comes to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was known as Al-Amin, the truthful one, even before he given prophethood, after considering his life, I have no reason to not believe that he “flew through heaven on a horse”.  At the same time, I realize that the nature of this “horse” may not be as we understand it, just like heaven and hell, and God are not as we think of these when we think in literal terms.  Similarly, would you believe in a scientist who talked about dinosaurs without presenting you with fossil evidence?  You might, depending on which scientist was telling you about it and if the reasons were compelling enough.  Not that the ‘burakh’ must be understood literally, but even if you were to assume this, is it too difficult to concieve of a flying horse in the light of all the strange creatures that have ever existed and exist even today?  Indeed, not even a blue elephant is too strange a thing.  God is capable of creating anything, glory be to Him.

Anyway, I recommend that you read Religion Vs. Religion by Ali Shariati to get a sense of the distinction between true religion, and everything else that one could call false religion.

Finally, regarding the semantics of the word ‘science’, clearly today it has come to be associated with the study of the physical world, but the word, taken from the Latin ‘scientia’, refers to ‘knowledge’.  That the only knowledge we have is knowledge of the physical world is, as you know, only an assumption, which religion disagrees with.  Furthermore, science as you define it does not have the capacity to ‘contain’ the truth claims of religion, not Islam’s claims anyway.

[ Edited: 28 June 2008 05:07 AM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 28 June 2008 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 27 June 2008 12:19 PM
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eucaryote - 24 June 2008 12:49 AM
Jack Shooter - 24 June 2008 12:33 AM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 05:41 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 04:48 PM
eucaryote - 12 June 2008 02:50 PM
Jack Shooter - 12 June 2008 09:16 AM

The most important of which, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has been widely read throughout the Muslim world since the very beginning.  And, I don’t think his advice about debates above is not applicable to us here by any means.

Anyone who can speak of “religious science” with a straight face is someone to be deeply suspicious of. The concept provides a rough index as to degree of delusive thinking.

Haha.  Rough index?  Anyway, dog, since you are so scientifically inclined, why don’t you define science for us then.

Yes, let’s do get back to some basics… you see there is a difference between “shared conviction” and “observable physical evidence…....and/or experimentation”.

From Wikipedia

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the effort to discover, understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of existing phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate phenomena under controlled conditions.

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

All you have done here is describe the “material sciences”.  What about the “social sciences”?  Look deeper into the meaning and come again.

Once again, please define “science”, not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ science.

Sorry Jack,

You and your behavior are of the physical, material world. The biological world is a function of the physical, chemical world. I hate to break it to you but you are just a bag of, (misdirected), matter. Everything that you are is a function of the real, natural world.
It’s true that you should be proud though, you are some of the only mud that ever had a chance to sit up and look around. (thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)

Where is your evidence that humans are nothing but material beings?  Sure it may appear that way but how do you know that this is the case in reality?  You don’t, and physical sciences can’t test these claims, but that doesn’t mean that such claims are invalid, only that they are out of the frame of reference of science.  Likewise, where is your evidence that physical science is the end all of knowledge, that there is nothing else worth knowing or nothing else that is knowable by other means?  Indeed, what is your definition of knowledge?  In retrospect, I would appreciate if you could first at least define science, which you haven’t done yet.

Well, it’s true that in addition to material, we along with everything else are mostly “made up of” empty space. We only know the natural world Jack, your supernatural world only exists in your imagination. No one can know something that is only imagined. Though knowledge is a little harder to define than science, the validity of any definition of knowledge will lie in truthfulness. Truthfulness must be demonstrable to justify belief. If you cannot demonstrate the truthfulness of what you imagine, then it does not constitute knowledge. Ultimately knowlege must be based on empiricism, logic and reasoning. It must be based on what is natural, not on what is un-natural.

As you say, your inability to demonstrate what you imagine does not mean that your thoughts are not true but it certainly constrains your ability to claim them as true. If you can’t claim them as true then your thoughts become arbitrary and cannot be used to justify belief. As you see in this world people certainly do imagine all kinds of things which cannot be demonstrated and all of these things could not be true, especially since so many are in direct conflict. You of course, don’t believe in the vast majority of these imaginings of people either. Likely you don’t check your horoscope, believe that uri geller can bend spoons, think that for $29.99 per minute you can talk with a psychic on the telephone that can tell you your future. Probably you just think that ganesh is a cute blue elephant, you’ve never been kidnapped by aliens and are skeptical of those who make this claim and you think that joeseph smith to be the outright charlatan that he was and not an emissary from the planet komo.

Still, even for all of this skepticism on your part, of what others consider knowledge, you still think that some iron age prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse and you claim this as knowledge.

I did define science. I contrasted it with religion. Both were Wiki definitions, so it’s not just my opinion. You just don’t like being wrong. You want room for hocus pocus in science as in religion.

I do believe in the possibility of people having access to an unseen world, and apparently, many scientists believe in this possibility too, which is why some of them, the late Carl Sagan for example, sent messages into outerspace in hopes to discover such a world.

Now, do I believe anyone who says they know my future?  Certainly not.  However, do I believe it is possible to predict aspects of the future?  Sure why not.  We can get a sense of someone’s future by looking at their DNA.  That’s one way to do it.  Maybe there are others we are not aware of.  The point is that there is nothing to suggest its not possible.

Why I believe there is no god, but God and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger and the way of life that follows from this, is precisely because it best answers (i.e. in a coherent, intellectually satisfying manner) most of the important questions - why are we here, where are we going, and how ought we to live our lives?

As to why I would believe in a flying horse, as opposed to a blue elephant, the answer is only because the source of one belief is a reliable chain of transmission or narrations all the way back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), whereas the latter is based on an unknown source.  Of course, sources of information are extremely important.

Let’s say you take Sam Harris to be completely sane, upright, and truthful.  Would you believe Sam Harris if he told you he had an otherwordly experience?  I wouldn’t knowing something about Sam Harris’ record when it comes to truth, but perhaps you would.

Only the other day, an aunt of mine recounted with amazement her experience of being cured of an immobilizing back pain at the hands of a traditional healer, whereas she had initially gone to various doctors and specialist to have her condition Dx’d and Tx’d but found no help.  There are way too many accounts to narrate here of similar stories about alternative medicine, which find little credence with the journals of ‘Western’ or ‘modern’ science.  While I may not believe in every instance of healing at the hands of a traditional healer, I do not discredit the possibility that there is truth in that ‘science’ of healing.  Likewise, given that she is not otherwise ‘crazy’ or a liar, I trust my aunt’s understanding of her recovery as perfectly valid.

When it comes to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was known as Al-Amin, the truthful one, even before he given prophethood, after considering his life, I have no reason to not believe that he “flew through heaven on a horse”.  At the same time, I realize that the nature of this “horse” may not be as we understand it, just like heaven and hell, and God are not as we think of these when we think in literal terms.  Similarly, would you believe in a scientist who talked about dinosaurs without presenting you with fossil evidence?  You might, depending on which scientist was telling you about it and if the reasons were compelling enough.  Not that the ‘burakh’ must be understood literally, but even if you were to assume this, is it too difficult to concieve of a flying horse in the light of all the strange creatures that have ever existed and exist even today?  Indeed, not even a blue elephant is too strange a thing.  God is capable of creating anything, glory be to Him.

Anyway, I recommend that you read Religion Vs. Religion by Ali Shariati to get a sense of the distinction between true religion, and everything else that one could call false religion.

Finally, regarding the semantics of the word ‘science’, clearly today it has come to be associated with the study of the physical world, but the word, taken from the Latin ‘scientia’, refers to ‘knowledge’.  That the only knowledge we have is knowledge of the physical world is, as you know, only an assumption, which religion disagrees with.  Furthermore, science as you define it does not have the capacity to ‘contain’ the truth claims of religion, not Islam’s claims anyway.

No Jack, Carl Sagan was not investigating “unseen worlds” or anything supernatural. He was investigating seen worlds. Your insinuation is an insult to the man’s memory.

So you don’t believe in ganesh because the story is “based on an unknown source”. But you believe in muhammad, (may memory of him rapidly fade into oblivion), presumably because the source of the myth is better known, by you?? Are you pretending to be rational Jack? You do know that hinduism along with most other religions, also has deep and long histories which are also used as (false) claims to truth.

Clearly we see that these claims to truth are at once mutually exclusive, contradictory, and arbitrary with respect to truth.

I think that science is perfectly capable of studying ancient, backwards cultures and religions and seeing them as they are, biological artifacts of intelligence. All religions fundamentally represent the same kind of mental illness.

What science cannot do is evaluate phenomena that do not exist in any way.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]  
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Anyone who can speak of “religious science” with a straight face is someone to be deeply suspicious of. The concept provides a rough index as to degree of delusive thinking.

Haha.  Rough index?  Anyway, dog, since you are so scientifically inclined, why don’t you define science for us then.

Yes, let’s do get back to some basics… you see there is a difference between “shared conviction” and “observable physical evidence…....and/or experimentation”.

From Wikipedia

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the effort to discover, understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of existing phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate phenomena under controlled conditions.

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

All you have done here is describe the “material sciences”.  What about the “social sciences”?  Look deeper into the meaning and come again.

Once again, please define “science”, not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ science.

Sorry Jack,

You and your behavior are of the physical, material world. The biological world is a function of the physical, chemical world. I hate to break it to you but you are just a bag of, (misdirected), matter. Everything that you are is a function of the real, natural world.
It’s true that you should be proud though, you are some of the only mud that ever had a chance to sit up and look around. (thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)

Where is your evidence that humans are nothing but material beings?  Sure it may appear that way but how do you know that this is the case in reality?  You don’t, and physical sciences can’t test these claims, but that doesn’t mean that such claims are invalid, only that they are out of the frame of reference of science.  Likewise, where is your evidence that physical science is the end all of knowledge, that there is nothing else worth knowing or nothing else that is knowable by other means?  Indeed, what is your definition of knowledge?  In retrospect, I would appreciate if you could first at least define science, which you haven’t done yet.

Well, it’s true that in addition to material, we along with everything else are mostly “made up of” empty space. We only know the natural world Jack, your supernatural world only exists in your imagination. No one can know something that is only imagined. Though knowledge is a little harder to define than science, the validity of any definition of knowledge will lie in truthfulness. Truthfulness must be demonstrable to justify belief. If you cannot demonstrate the truthfulness of what you imagine, then it does not constitute knowledge. Ultimately knowlege must be based on empiricism, logic and reasoning. It must be based on what is natural, not on what is un-natural.

As you say, your inability to demonstrate what you imagine does not mean that your thoughts are not true but it certainly constrains your ability to claim them as true. If you can’t claim them as true then your thoughts become arbitrary and cannot be used to justify belief. As you see in this world people certainly do imagine all kinds of things which cannot be demonstrated and all of these things could not be true, especially since so many are in direct conflict. You of course, don’t believe in the vast majority of these imaginings of people either. Likely you don’t check your horoscope, believe that uri geller can bend spoons, think that for $29.99 per minute you can talk with a psychic on the telephone that can tell you your future. Probably you just think that ganesh is a cute blue elephant, you’ve never been kidnapped by aliens and are skeptical of those who make this claim and you think that joeseph smith to be the outright charlatan that he was and not an emissary from the planet komo.

Still, even for all of this skepticism on your part, of what others consider knowledge, you still think that some iron age prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse and you claim this as knowledge.

I did define science. I contrasted it with religion. Both were Wiki definitions, so it’s not just my opinion. You just don’t like being wrong. You want room for hocus pocus in science as in religion.

I do believe in the possibility of people having access to an unseen world, and apparently, many scientists believe in this possibility too, which is why some of them, the late Carl Sagan for example, sent messages into outerspace in hopes to discover such a world.

Now, do I believe anyone who says they know my future?  Certainly not.  However, do I believe it is possible to predict aspects of the future?  Sure why not.  We can get a sense of someone’s future by looking at their DNA.  That’s one way to do it.  Maybe there are others we are not aware of.  The point is that there is nothing to suggest its not possible.

Why I believe there is no god, but God and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger and the way of life that follows from this, is precisely because it best answers (i.e. in a coherent, intellectually satisfying manner) most of the important questions - why are we here, where are we going, and how ought we to live our lives?

As to why I would believe in a flying horse, as opposed to a blue elephant, the answer is only because the source of one belief is a reliable chain of transmission or narrations all the way back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), whereas the latter is based on an unknown source.  Of course, sources of information are extremely important.

Let’s say you take Sam Harris to be completely sane, upright, and truthful.  Would you believe Sam Harris if he told you he had an otherwordly experience?  I wouldn’t knowing something about Sam Harris’ record when it comes to truth, but perhaps you would.

Only the other day, an aunt of mine recounted with amazement her experience of being cured of an immobilizing back pain at the hands of a traditional healer, whereas she had initially gone to various doctors and specialist to have her condition Dx’d and Tx’d but found no help.  There are way too many accounts to narrate here of similar stories about alternative medicine, which find little credence with the journals of ‘Western’ or ‘modern’ science.  While I may not believe in every instance of healing at the hands of a traditional healer, I do not discredit the possibility that there is truth in that ‘science’ of healing.  Likewise, given that she is not otherwise ‘crazy’ or a liar, I trust my aunt’s understanding of her recovery as perfectly valid.

When it comes to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was known as Al-Amin, the truthful one, even before he given prophethood, after considering his life, I have no reason to not believe that he “flew through heaven on a horse”.  At the same time, I realize that the nature of this “horse” may not be as we understand it, just like heaven and hell, and God are not as we think of these when we think in literal terms.  Similarly, would you believe in a scientist who talked about dinosaurs without presenting you with fossil evidence?  You might, depending on which scientist was telling you about it and if the reasons were compelling enough.  Not that the ‘burakh’ must be understood literally, but even if you were to assume this, is it too difficult to concieve of a flying horse in the light of all the strange creatures that have ever existed and exist even today?  Indeed, not even a blue elephant is too strange a thing.  God is capable of creating anything, glory be to Him.

Anyway, I recommend that you read Religion Vs. Religion by Ali Shariati to get a sense of the distinction between true religion, and everything else that one could call false religion.

Finally, regarding the semantics of the word ‘science’, clearly today it has come to be associated with the study of the physical world, but the word, taken from the Latin ‘scientia’, refers to ‘knowledge’.  That the only knowledge we have is knowledge of the physical world is, as you know, only an assumption, which religion disagrees with.  Furthermore, science as you define it does not have the capacity to ‘contain’ the truth claims of religion, not Islam’s claims anyway.

No Jack, Carl Sagan was not investigating “unseen worlds” or anything supernatural. He was investigating seen worlds. Your insinuation is an insult to the man’s memory.

So you don’t believe in ganesh because the story is “based on an unknown source”. But you believe in muhammad, (may memory of him rapidly fade into oblivion), presumably because the source of the myth is better known, by you?? Are you pretending to be rational Jack? You do know that hinduism along with most other religions, also has deep and long histories which are also used as (false) claims to truth.

Clearly we see that these claims to truth are at once mutually exclusive, contradictory, and arbitrary with respect to truth.

I think that science is perfectly capable of studying ancient, backwards cultures and religions and seeing them as they are, biological artifacts of intelligence. All religions fundamentally represent the same kind of mental illness.

What science cannot do is evaluate phenomena that do not exist in any way.

The point is that Carl Sagan took the possibility of the existence of other life forms, aliens if you will, things that were not seen, but likely to exist in outerspace, seriously.  Perhaps those beings do exist as the likelihood which Sagan realized suggested, but that they are not discernable to us (yet), just like there are millions of species of bugs and microscopic life that have not been discovered yet.  Limiting science the way you seem to want to do is a disservice to the pursuit, which essentially seeks to know the nature of reality, material and non-material.  This is where our definitions of science part.  I see science as a pursuit to understand reality as it is, whereas you, and unfortunately, many others like you, reduce science to the pursuit of knowledge of material things only.  Reality is much greater than that, and Carl Sagan suspected this, but because he couldn’t prove it, he had to conclude that there extraterrestial life does not exist.  Similar to your own feeling I am sure, that all the signs suggest that God exist but because you cannot prove it, you refuse to believe.

Science (Western science) cannot evaluate any phenemona that appear to not exist according to the tools of such science.

Finally, I suggest you learn a little bit about how Islam’s key texts were transmitted since their beginnings approximately 1400 years ago.  Compare that to the transission of the Vedas, and then get back to me.  If you can still say that all traditions are equal in terms of the reliability of their transmission after even a basic study, I will convert to your “understanding” of things.

By the way, here is a little information to help you start from the Islamic corner, presented by Dr. Johnathan Brown:

http://ibnalhyderabadee.wordpress.com/2007/02/15/hadith-collections-and-criticism-with-dr-jonathan-brown/

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Posted: 28 June 2008 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 28 June 2008 06:17 PM

The point is that Carl Sagan took the possibility of the existence of other life forms, aliens if you will, things that were not seen, but likely to exist in outerspace, seriously.

Jack the key word here is “likely”. Likelihood is another word for probability, something that can be calcuated and reasoned with some accuracy. Sagan’s calculations and reasoning led him to postulate the existence of life elsewhere. He did not require belief to support the postulate, or support from others who believed.

Islam is just like all religions, you have no reason to support your mythology or distinguish it among mythologies. The fact that your myths extend to preliterate peoples is typical of such myths. Even joe smith was pre literate.

Again, your beliefs represent a form of mental illness. Belief is not a virtue.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]  
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eucaryote - 28 June 2008 06:41 PM
Jack Shooter - 28 June 2008 06:17 PM

The point is that Carl Sagan took the possibility of the existence of other life forms, aliens if you will, things that were not seen, but likely to exist in outerspace, seriously.

Jack the key word here is “likely”. Likelihood is another word for probability, something that can be calcuated and reasoned with some accuracy. Sagan’s calculations and reasoning led him to postulate the existence of life elsewhere. He did not require belief to support the postulate, or support from others who believed.

Islam is just like all religions, you have no reason to support your mythology or distinguish it among mythologies. The fact that your myths extend to preliterate peoples is typical of such myths. Even joe smith was pre literate.

Again, your beliefs represent a form of mental illness. Belief is not a virtue.

Likelihood is exactly what this is all about.  Given the wonderous nature of the world and various other reasons, I believe in the likelihood of God existing.  All you can try to do is attempt to deny these reasons, such as, for example, your claim that all religions are myths, which in reality is reflective of ignorance on your part, for you speak without studying the origins of such ‘myths’.  Again, learn about the transmission of the Qur’an and hadith, and then get back to me.  I’ve already provided you with resources about this topic, but can offer more.

You need to understand something: unless you have studied a thing properly, you have no good reason to pass judgements about it, and when you do pass judgements without knowledge, you come across as ignorant.  As the Arab proverb goes, “If you have no shame, do what you like.”

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Posted: 28 June 2008 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 28 June 2008 07:36 PM

Given the wonderous nature of the world and various other reasons, I believe in the likelihood of God existing.

Again, learn about the transmission of the Qur’an and hadith, and then get back to me.

You need to understand something: unless you have studied a thing properly, you have no good reason to pass judgements about it, and when you do pass judgements without knowledge, you come across as ignorant.  As the Arab proverb goes, “If you have no shame, do what you like.”

That nature is “wonderous” to you does not constitute reasoning “that god exists”, what ever that means.

Transmission, yes, this how we describe the movement of pathogens through populations.

And, clearly you are ignorant of science and what it is. As the old canine proverb goes, If you have no brain, believe what you like.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]  
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eucaryote - 28 June 2008 07:53 PM
Jack Shooter - 28 June 2008 07:36 PM

Given the wonderous nature of the world and various other reasons, I believe in the likelihood of God existing.

Again, learn about the transmission of the Qur’an and hadith, and then get back to me.

You need to understand something: unless you have studied a thing properly, you have no good reason to pass judgements about it, and when you do pass judgements without knowledge, you come across as ignorant.  As the Arab proverb goes, “If you have no shame, do what you like.”

That nature is “wonderous” to you does not constitute reasoning “that god exists”, what ever that means.

Transmission, yes, this how we describe the movement of pathogens through populations.

And, clearly you are ignorant of science and what it is. As the old canine proverb goes, If you have no brain, believe what you like.

Sure it does.  If God exists, the wonderous nature of the world is a sign of His nature.  For example, looking at the sophistication of the world tells us that, if God exists, His creative power is more than what we can imagine, as we believe Him to be as per the claims of religion.  Likewise, as the hadith says “God is beautiful, and He loves that which is beautiful”, which is confirmed by our observation of the world.  Again, if He exists, as I believe he does, the world can be interpreted as a sign of His majesty.  Likewise, nothing in revelation, in the Qur’an anyway, conflicts with our understanding of the world and vice versa.

Anway I have previously outlined the argument concerning the rationality of believing in God as opposed to not believing in Him.  It goes something like this:

1. World is wonderous = fact we both agree on.
2. World has a Cause = belief, based on religous claims and personal experiences
3. World has no cause = belief based on personal experiences

In reality, that the natural world has no meaning is a belief you hold, not a fact.  Moreover, it is a dangerous belief, which is in itself a proof of its falsehood if you could only discern reality.  Furthermore, if there is no truth in reality, no consciousness, only a number of organisms that have randomly evolved to this end for no particular reason, then why even try to suggest that I am wrong about my beliefs?  Indeed, if we follow your line of thinking all the way through, what is right and wrong but a mere mental construct which has no basis in reality?

In retrospect, is a human’s life worth more than a dog’s?  Apparently not.

[ Edited: 28 June 2008 04:36 PM by Jack Shooter]
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