Has science been hijacked by atheism?

Because of some very vocal contemporary atheists, science has somehow become associated with atheism. This is a fallacious association. In the Middle Ages, most scientific activity originated in the Muslim world and the world’s leading scientists were Muslim. The language of science for seven centuries was Arabic. Muslims introduced the world to the experimental method on which scientific research is based today. According to UNESCO, Muslims established the oldest university still in operation and the first libraries.

Given all these contributions, would it have been acceptable to associate science with the belief in God or with the Muslim faith?

“God of the Gaps?”

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Some believe that it is just a matter of time before science fills in the gaps in our knowledge, thus putting the final nail in the coffin for religion. They don’t understand that to explain the emergence of a limited, dependent universe we need something independent and eternal. Science can only study things that can be sensed, which means dependent things with limited, physical properties. (Hamza Andreas Tzortzis (2016) The Divine Reality, Revised Edition, FB Publishing, p. 109)

Even the statement: “Science is the only way to truth” is not a scientific statement based on observations and proof. As we will subsequently show, there are a lot of background philosophical constructs and subjective biases behind what we consider as “objective” scientific truths.

It is not that we believe in God because we don’t know.  But rather, we believe in God because we know that things don’t just pop into existence without a cause; let alone is a massive physical universe obeying non-physical laws of mathematics inhabited by physical creatures with non-physical consciousness.

It is ironic that, while atheists often accuse theists of adopting this “God of the gaps” argument, some atheists have no compunction in using their inability or unwillingness to see the signs for God—a gap in their perception and logic—as proof that He does not exist.

Isn’t this “Atheism of the Gaps?”

According to John Lennox, some scientists such as Stephen Hawking have an inadequate view of God:

It would seem that he [Stephen Hawking] thinks of God as a “God of the Gaps” put forward as an explanation for when we do not yet have a scientific one.  Hence his conclusion that physics has no room for God as it has removed the last place where He might be found:  the moment of creation.

But this is certainly not what any of the great monotheistic religions believe. For them, God is not only to be found at creation; He is the author of the whole show. God both created the universe and constantly sustains it in existence. Without Him, there would be nothing there for physicists to study. In particular, therefore, God is the creator of both the bits of the universe we don’t understand and the bits we do. And it is, of course, the bits we do understand that give the most evidence of God’s existence and activity.   Indeed, just as I can admire the genius behind a work of engineering or art, the more I understand it, so my worship of the Creator increases, the more I understand what He has done. ( https://kipdf.com/stephen-hawking-and-god-professor-john-c-lennox-oxford_5acbafbf7f8b9aeb918b458c.html, paras. 6, 7)

True science leads necessarily to a Creator

We cannot believe in science while denying all of its “constructs ”:

  • If we believe in science we have to believe that the Universe is real because fantasy is not scientific.
  • A real universe must have a beginning because an infinite system cannot be proven scientifically.
  • A universe with a beginning must have a cause because science is based on causality.
  • The universe cannot be self-caused because it couldn’t have existed (to create itself) and not existed (before its creation) at the same time.
  • The cause must be a First Cause because an infinite regress of creators leads to no creation.

Accordingly, by following the constructs of science, we will necessarily arrive at an independent external first cause: God.

Science leaves the most significant questions unanswered

Science explains how. Religion is needed to explain why the Universe exists and who created it. Finding out how the Universe works does not rule out the need to discover its Creator or the purpose behind its creation.

Science for all its advances still cannot answer life’s basic questions presented by a small child:

Where did I come from?

Where am I going to?

Is science truly unbiased?

Objectivity and the pursuit of truth are the assumed characteristics of scientific research, methods and results. Scientific conclusions are assumed to be free from subjective perspectives, community biases and personal beliefs.  In this section we will examine the truth of such assumptions in contemporary science.

True scientists do seek to eliminate all forms of bias from their research and follow the truth wherever it leads them. As an example, let’s take philosopher of religion and prolific writer Sir Anthony Flew ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew).  He set the agenda for modern atheism in the twentieth century with his Theology and Falsification, which became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the century.

Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that discoveries in science led him to the conclusion that the Universe is indeed the creation of infinite intelligence.  In his 2007 book, There Is A God: How The World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind ,  Sir Anthony Flew followed the scientific evidence to its logical conclusion.  After a lifetime of promoting atheism, he announced that there is one God, non-materialistic, Who does not change, with absolute power and absolute knowledge, the source of all good. (Khurafat Al-Elhad,  Dr. Amr Sharif, Shuruq International Library, 2nd Edition, 2014:  https://www.noor-book.com/كتاب-خرافة-الإلحاد-pdf, p. 414)

What led Flew and other truth-seeking scientists to believe in a Creator is the following:

  1. The Big Bang theory: The world has a beginning and every event has to have a cause.
  2. The world runs according to steady interrelated laws and numbers.
  3. The emergence of life from dead matter cannot be explained otherwise.
  4. The human mind —which does not even understand itself— has the ability to think logically and in abstract terms; to be conscious and self-aware.
  5. The Universe, with its components and “anthropological conditions,” presents the perfect environment for the life of Man.

For truth-seekers, each new scientific discovery inspires awe for God’s design and reaffirms faith in the Creator. In fact, one of the quickest paths to the Creator is through pondering His creation.

…[and] who remember God when they stand, and when they sit, and when they lie down to sleep, and [thus] reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “O our Sustainer! You have not created this without meaning and purpose. Limitless are you in Your glory!  (Quran 3:191)

It is ironic that, while discoveries which confirm the order and intricate design in the universe inspire awe of its Creator and lead many people to religious faith, those discoveries do not always have an impact on the discoverers themselves. So, it is important to view direct evidence whenever possible (avoiding the sometimes misleading and subjective analysis) —as those who hear/see the evidence may get better insight into its implications than those who present it!

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, delivered a religious speech on the Day of Hajj and said: “Let those who are present convey to those who are absent. For perhaps the one to whom it is conveyed will understand it better than the one who (first) hears it.” (Ibn Majah 233)

True science is a vector pointing straight to the Creator. But science itself does not speak. It is people who speak on its behalf. Scientists are human beings and, as such, they are fallible and subject to bias. Any science which proceeds on the bias or foregone conclusion—such as eliminating creationism from serious consideration—restricts the narrative and shapes the outcome before the research even starts. Accordingly,  the conclusions of such research do not deserve to be called science.

In the following sections we show that not all scientific activity serves truth. Academic bias (see Part 8), self-deceit, intellectual terrorism (Part 9) and “stolen concept fallacies” (Part 10) are sometimes practiced, all in the name of science.

…To be continued in Part 8

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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. https://youtube.com/@aslamt9462

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