The emergence and running of the universe: cause and effect or a divine power?
“Warm air near the Earth’s surface tends to absorb moisture in the form of invisible water vapor from bodies of water, moist ground, and from plants. Warm moisture-laden air is inherently unstable and tends to rise. Clouds are formed when the air is lifted and cooled to saturation temperature which is also known as the dewpoint temperature. The altitude of the saturation level determines the altitude of the cloud base. The vapor begins to condense onto airborne hygroscopic particles like dust and salt from sea spray. This process of cooling and condensation continues until the air achieves temperature equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere and stops rising. The altitude of equilibrium tends
to determine the altitude of the cloud tops, although if the vertical air currents have become very strong, momentum can push the tops to even higher altitudes. Colder air at surface level absorbs less moisture than warm air and tends to be more stable. This type of airmass can become more moist and unstable over water, but otherwise usually requires an external lifting agent like an active front or area of low pressure to trigger cloud formation.”1
In a science class of a high school or a science book or magazine, all the natural events are explained with causes in a discourse that you read about clouds above. You learn that something constantly causes another thing, and always anything is caused by some other thing. According to that understanding, there are some forces in the universe, and they cause everything to run in a smooth, perfect way. However, these forces are independent of each other, and they are not interrelated. Furthermore, they are not coordinated by any other conscious power. Yet, we are not able to say that they are not dominated by a supreme power according to this way of explaining, because the champions of this approach, which is actually the mainstream scientific approach and prevailing in all academic circles, suggest that there is a supreme power which coordinates all this universal mechanism and its name is nature.
Not too long, only two hundred years ago, scientists would also explain everything with causes; however, this was not an obstacle to believe in a God. They believed that it was God who set up all this mechanism with these causes and they were studying the mechanism that He set up. However, the concept of a mechanical universe devised by Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists that the history of science has ever recorded, led all the scientific circles accept a universe which works like a clock without interference of a supreme divine power. Newton himself was a believer of God and he said that the universal order was created by God and he presented the orbits of the planets as the proofs of existence of God. He defended that the creation of living beings and granting of them with eyes corresponding to the light in the external world could not have been explained by coincidence or pure chance. Newton reconciled the concept of mechanical universe with the causal approach and design proof. After Newton submitted his theory into the French king of then, the king inspected the book and then asked “So, how do you explain the role of God in the universe?” Newton answered that He was the who set up the universal machine and now it is working on its own.
The scientists after Newton did not agree with him, and with the effect of positivism on science they totally gave up the idea of a divine power which created the universe and runs it forever. With the secularization of the sciences, the belief of God was excluded from academia and a secular understanding of science became norm in scientific circles.
Now, as I mentioned above, explaining the emergence and working natural processes through causes has become standard and we can categorize all discourse under the three phrases; the first: Causes create this, let’s say an animal. The second: It forms itself; it comes into existence and later ceases to exist The third: It is natural; nature necessitates and creates it. What is worrying is that the believers also use these phrases without realizing their implications. That quasi objective approach of science strengthened the hands of atheists and infiltrating the academia they spread their atheistic ideas. In consequence of this structural change in scientific educational system, unfortunately a generation who did not believe in God was raised in twentieth century.
The flimsy roots of materialism based on causes
So, are the claims of materialist philosophers and scientists irrefutable? Was nobody able to strike a blow against them? Well, of course, some did. The earliest response to materialistic positivist challenge in nineteenth century came from a eminent Muslim scholar in Turkey called as Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. He was strange both in terms of his way of clothing and manners and perception of the world and life and knowledge. It was 1922 when he first noticed that that monster of unbelief was trying to grab the belief of Turkish nation. He was in Ankara and witnessed the joy of people due to the victory of the Turkish Army over the Greeks. However, deep inside that monster was acting treacherously to capture the belief of people. To prevent and defeat that ideology he issued a brief brochure on materialism, but since that brochure was in Arabic, it did not display its effect. As he issued a treatise on naturalistic idea in later years, many things had already changed in Turkey.
The three main ideas of materialist science that we stated above were formulated by Nursi in his Treatise on Nature. The first of them, you remember, was “causes create things”. In the phenomenon of formation of clouds, which we described extensively in the introduction of the article, that kind of a perception can be easily noticed. If we put aside the special terminology of that area of knowledge, what they tell us is as follows: Warm air which is formed by the light of sun turns the water of rivers, lakes, and oceans into water vapour that rises into the air. That water vapour forms clouds, which contain small drops of water or ice crystals (depending on how high the cloud is and how cold it is). As clouds rise higher and higher, the air gets colder and colder.
You see how huge the power attached to the causes (i.e. sun, wind, cold, heat) is. They exert power, they push, they transform, and they make everything. And most of us do not question this type of a discourse, because any other language will not be considered “scientific” by some circles.
Let me describe how that kind of an explanation looks like, adapting an example from Imam Nursi: Imagine that you are sick and a friend of you tells you where he can find an effective medicine for your illness. Then he goes and returns with a potion and a strange story which is how he got the potion. He tells you that he went to a pharmacy, to take that potion but he saw that instead of a ready medicine there were jars full of ingredients in the shelves of that pharmacy and a specialist on pharmacology was needed to make the potion from the ingredients in jars and phials which was needed to cure the illness, because that specialist needed to take varying precise amount of ingredients from the jars separately. One ounce from that one, five ounces from the other one and ten ounces from the next one needed for that potion to show its effect. If the demanded amounts couldn’t be provided, the potion would be useless. Then suddenly he saw that a strong wind stroke into the pharmacy and knocked over the jars and the precise amounts from the jars were spilt and came together and formed the potion needed for illness. Of course that kind of a story would be the craziest one that you ever heard.
However when it comes to macro-scale natural events it seems that we are easily captured by the idea that the light, heat, coldness, wind, rain are the real factors that have real power and can create beings. Furthermore if a man wearing a thick glass and white uniform, and is called scientists tells us such kind of a story we believe it without questioning. If a potion needs a specialist who has the power and knowledge for making it to come into existence, the entire universe also needs a creator who has an endless power and knowledge and wisdom to create and govern it.
Irrationality of Atheism
Believers and atheists have been in conflict for centuries. “Does Allah exist or not?”
To put forward either of these arguments, are not the both sides expected to talk depending on proofs, trying to prove their arguments and disprove the arguments of the other side? In case of such discussions, unfortunately, some irrational situations are probable to occur, as well. For this reason, discussions end without attaining any results. Then, people start on other discussions that would not end.
There are two specific terms in the science of debate; these are dominance and stubbornness. Dominance means trying to procure acceptance for a proof less claim. As for stubbornness, it means refusing a proved argument with demagogy. Scholars of science of debate consider these situations as inappropriate for debate method and to be neglected.
I personally think that atheists choose both the way of dominance and stubbornness in their debates, which is as follows:
When we say as a proof for Allah’s existence “A letter must have a writer, a house must have a master-builder and a village must have a headman.” we see that atheists get angry. They say, “What kind of a proof is this?” or “This is too simple!” and claim that what we have said cannot be taken as a proof, and we could not and can never convince them with this proof.
The sentence “A letter must have a writer, a house must have a master-builder and a village must have a headman” is actually simple, but is also rational. It is not important whether the proof is simple or quite strange. It just has to be rational.
It is wrong that atheists refuse this proof claiming it to be “simple”. What they have to do is to disproof this sentence with evidences and proofs. If they cannot disprove this sentence, then they have to admit that their cause have been and will be destroyed with such a simple proof.
Indeed, this is what makes them angry and disturbs them.
This situation of theirs can be an example for stubbornness, namely responding a proof not with an anti-proof but with pressure and demagogy.
Similarly, atheists have also employed the way of dominance skilfully. That is;
Atheism is not based on mind, logic or proof but on mere acceptance. For example, evolutionists, in response to the question “How did life come into being on earth?” say, “accidentally”. “How did other forms of life evolve and come into being out of one single cell?” this is “accidentally” too. So, “Is there any proof for these coincidences?” Of course, there is not. It is coincidence, namely mere accident, and there is not a rule or proof for it.
At this point, let us handle the question with regard to probability calculus:
Suppose that we have stamps in our hand numbered from 1 to 10. When we put these stamps into a bag and pick randomly from among them, we can pick the number 1 by one chance out of ten. Nevertheless, the probability of picking the stamps all in order from 1 to 10 is one out of 10 billion (10.000.000.000). Moreover, this is only a probability. In other words, when we repeat the action of picking the stamps and do it for 10 billion times, it is not certain that the stamps will exactly come out in order at the end.
If the probability of picking ten stamps all in order from 1 to 10 is 1 out of 10 billion, then what is the probability of the quite complex but orderly lining of the numberless atoms, cells and organs in our body? Think upon this for the bodies of all plants, animals and people.
Attributing all these to chance and accident arises only from bigotry and prejudgement. That is to say, atheists rely on an mere acceptance. They say, “I say so, and this is how it is.”
Martin Lings tells the following in his book “Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions”:
Yves Delage, a former professor of zoology at Sorbonne University, says: “I accept that until now no one has come across a form that is the ancestor of another form, and that there is no single evidence to show that such a thing occurred even one time. But still I believe evolution to be true as though it was objectively proved. In short, science expects us to have faith in itself. Indeed, the idea of evolution is put forward as a kind of reality produced by inspiration. 2”
French geologist Paul Lemoine, who compiled the fifth volume (about living organisms) of Encyclopaedia Françoise, says the following after going through articles of various authors: “All of these show that evolution theory is in no way possible. In fact, contrary to how it seems, in effect, no one believes in evolution theory any more… Evolution is type of dogma that shepherds no longer believe but keep defending for the sake of the continuation of their herds.3”
In this regard, we can say that atheists are employing dominance to sell evolution. That is to say, a proofless claim is wanted to be sold to everybody as though it was a proven reality.
Let me tell a joke that is famous in Turkey:
Temel (a famous hero of jokes) asks a riddle to his friends “It is yellow, stays in cage and sings. Tell me what it is!” His friends tell the names of all species of singing birds such as canary, nightingale, etc. No matter what they said, Temel replied in the negative. Then they said “We couldn’t know; now you tell us!” Temel says “It is hamsi (a specific kind of fish available in the Black Sea, Turkey)” His friends got angry at him saying “Is it possible that a hamsi is yellow?” Temel replied, “I painted it.” They said “Could it stay in a cage?” “I put it there.” They said
“Could it sing like a bird?” Then Temel laughs and says “And this is the puzzle in the riddle.”
Atheism is a riddle like that of Temel.
- Martin Lings, Antik Inanclar ve Modern Hurafeler (Ancient Beliefs and Modern Supersititions), Agac Yay., Ist., 1991, s. 10 (translated version)
- Encyclopedie Francaise, p. 11 (translated version)