Stolen Concept Fallacy

James Conant is the Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, as well as Humboldt Professor at the University of Leipzig. He  tells us that

“… scientific research is compounded of … empirical procedures, general speculative ideas and mathematical or abstract reasoning.” (

According to Dr. Eyad Qunaibi, Professor of Pharmacology at Jordan’s University of Sciences and Technology, atheistic and materialistic scientists are guilty of a stolen concept fallacy: They claim a materialistic point of view while relying, instead, on [non-materialist]  creationist concepts to practice science. (

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When atheists perform scientific experimentation or research they must suspend their atheistic beliefs and don a believer’s cap before any science can take place. According to Dr. Qunaibi, the resources for science are mind, innate truths, testimony (previous science) and observation.

Accordingly, to practice science, scientists must suspend their materialistic beliefs and assume that their minds are built for recognizing truth and are therefore able to make rational judgments and reach truthful conclusions.

  • Innate truths: These are universal truths innate in humans, such as causality: Every previously non-existing effect needs a cause to bring it into effect; a part is smaller than a whole; the law of no contradiction, e. something cannot exist and not exist at the same time; etc. Materialists deny innate truths and ignore causality with regards to the emergence of the universe.

Yet, in performing scientific research to address “why” and “what is the mechanism” type questions, scientists must rely on these innate truths, including causality —borrowed from creationism— because science itself is built on causality, laws, and order.

Scientists would not spend their lives researching the laws which control this universe. if they did not have faith that it is understandable because it operates according to causality, intelligence and order; that this order was made accessible to an intelligent rational human mind; and that this order is expected to repeat consistently.

Can you think of any important invention which did not assume causality and design?

Can you think of any significant research based on randomness and chance?

  • Testimony/ Previous Research/ Citations/ Cumulative Knowledge: Again, materialism assumes the absence of intent and design and, as such, the outcome of any experiment is not necessarily reproducible. Under such a philosophy, we cannot depend on previous research because the same set of conditions may produce different results. Accordingly, citations are meaningless, as are test outcomes.

The famous atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell himself confirms this:

…we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence, or forgo all justification of our expectations about the future. If the principle is unsound, we have no reason to expect the sun to rise to-morrow, to expect bread to be more nourishing than a stone, or to expect that if we throw ourselves off the roof we shall fall…All our conduct is based upon associations which have worked in the past, and which we therefore regard as likely to work in the future; and this likelihood is dependent for its validity upon the inductive principle. (,%20Bertrand%20Russell.htm,  Chapter VI, para. 21)

Thus, to practice science, scientists need to suspend their materialistic beliefs; to have faith that the future will mimic the past, i.e. that there is order which produces consistent outcomes (, and to believe that testimony is a reliable source of information—a concept borrowed from creationism.

  • Observation: Materialism relies primarily on direct observation and empirical results. However, scientists also make assumptions which are not based on observation. Some assumptions are implicit, such as the innate truths described above and some are explicitly stated at the start of the research. Neither can be proven experimentally.

In addition, scientists study non-observable things by studying their effects (e.g. gravity). They rely on both induction and deduction in formulating theories and stating results.

Thus, materialists need to suspend their materialistic view and accept that non-experimental deduction is a necessary source for information and that non-observable things can exist through their effects—a concept borrowed from belief: God is not directly observable, but His effects are.

Where is the evidence for God?

Demanding proof for the existence of God is paradoxical. As the Arab poet Al-Mutanabi said:

 “Nothing makes sense, if daylight needs proof.”

It is not that the evidence is not there, but that it is so obvious and so overwhelming. It is like trying to prove that the past exists or that you have a conscience. How do you present proof for something hard-wired into every human being—something every child knows instinctively? How do you introduce a God Who has been known and worshipped by most people on the earth across all ages —Whom even atheists turn to in times of need?

How do you provide material or empirical proof for a non-material Being? No tools exist; nothing encompasses Him. It is like being asked to measure the weight of the earth using a ruler.

No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things. (Quran 6:103)

And there is nothing that could be compared with Him. (Quran 112:4)

There is nothing like unto Him, and He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing. (Quran 42:11)

How do you draw attention to the everyday miracles that surround us? Our universe and everything in it is profoundly unnatural:  the universe is something that could have not existed or could have existed differently. But familiarity breeds contempt and obliviousness to what is commonplace. We are so used to order, harmony and stability that we think they are “natural.” We are so used to the miracles that surround us that we no longer think of them as miracles, but as entitlements.

God Himself is ultimately above and beyond observation, but His signs are evident in His Creation and the universe. The idea of God is not a blind belief, as some would have you believe, but a conviction supported by reason and proof.

We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. (Quran 41:53)

A famous Islamic scholar, Al-Ghazali, describes those who do not see the signs of God in the Universe as reductionists lacking a holistic view. He compares them to ants on a piece of paper that cannot lift their eyes from the ink and pen, thus failing to see who is writing.

What follows are some of the signs testifying to the Creator in the universe and in ourselves and the confusing arguments which are presented to counter these clear signs.

Signs in the Universe

The laws which shape the universe are much more complex than those which govern biological life.

The creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of Mankind, but most people do not know. (Quran 40:57)

Science cannot answer the basic questions regarding the Universe:

  • Why is there something rather than nothing?
  • Why is that something the way it is?
  • Why is that something reproduced consistently in an orderly non-random fashion? Why do different parts of this universe share the same components and processes?

Indeed, God holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease [to function]. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. (Quran 35:41)

Signs for Creation in the Universe

  • Science and common logic tell us that every previously non-existent effect has a cause, yet we are asked to exclude the most significant effect —the Big Bang— from this universal law.

Did not those who disbelieve realize that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, then We tore them apart? And We have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (Quran 21:30)

…the Day when We will fold the heavens like the folding of a scroll for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. (Quran 21:104)

Science also tells us that before the Big Bang, which produced the Universe, there was no space, time or matter ( So material causes could not have brought this Universe into existence. Then, who caused the Big Bang?

  • Even if we leave aside the big question of who caused the Big Bang, how can random unguided explosions create intricately balanced systems and complex life forms? On the contrary, our human experience with random explosions is that they cause chaos and destruction, not order and balance.
  • Randomness produces a variety of outcomes, disharmony and inconsistencies. If we deny creation and design, how can we explain that the various parts of our solar system share the same material compositions, follow the same laws and processes, and converge towards a common goal: the preservation of life?
  • Planets and stars all follow the same physical laws and orbit in motion patterns governed by the same mathematical formulas.
  • DNA, in every live plant and animal, uses the same four nucleotide bases.
  • The same water produces all the numerous varieties of plants.

And within the land are neighboring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, [growing] several from a single root and those not, watered with one water; but We make some of them exceed others in [quality of] fruit.  (Quran 13:4)

  • The electromagnetic force which is responsible for giving things strength, shape and hardness; the existence of atoms and their chemical bonding, has only one-force strength, which satisfies this wide range of requirements.

(The Divine Reality – God, Islam and the Mirage of Atheism, Revised Edition, Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, p 153)

  • The earth is precisely positioned to sustain life; the harmony between Earth, Sun, and Moon working together as one intricate system; the mass of Jupiter acting as a cosmic shield; all geared toward the goal of creating the perfect conditions for life. Such a common purpose can never be attributed to random chaotic formations of matter.

A single system of physical laws, the same raw elements everywhere and the consistent motion patterns repeated across this vast universe all point to One Creator.

Melvin Calvin, the 1961 Nobel Prize winner in organic chemistry, is the author of Chemical evolution: Molecular evolution towards the origin of living systems on the earth and elsewhere, (1969, Clarendon Press).  He says:

“The universe is governed by a single God, and is not the product of the whims of many gods, each governing his own province according to his own laws. This monotheistic view seems to be the historical foundation for modern science.”  (

…To be continued in Part 11

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Dr. Raida Jarrar

Dr. Raida Jarrar is a Palestinian American who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Cleveland State University. Following a career of over twenty-five years in the fields of engineering and aviation IT, she worked as a volunteer at one of the largest Islamic centers in the Middle East, where she interacted with visitors of different religious backgrounds and diverse cultures. The series she writes for Al-Jumuah analyzes and encapsulates her discussions with the atheist visitors, presented in a question and answer format for clarity and ease of reference. The answers are sourced from research, discussions with colleagues and mentors, and personal thoughts. Dr. Jarrar also volunteers as a translator for Islamic content and hosts the Aslamt youtube channel, which is dedicated to answering common questions about faith.

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