Friday, 30 December 2016

Existence of God : Myth or Reality?

The philosophy of Atheism in its fundamental sense tends to laud rationale and logic, but is actually considerably irrational. Its propagators and prophets tend to put a lot of stock in “empirical methods” and “logical” arguments but its core stays away from rational thought and logic. In this work, we shall analyze the rationale to renounce and denounce the essence of atheism.

To start with, atheists, sadly, don’t realize that by adhering to an empirical method one can never disprove God’s existence because in order to disprove existence of God experimentally, one ought to possess comprehensive knowledge of everything. In other words, one ought to be omniscient, which consequently and by definition would make him God. Hence, the only one who is qualified for disproving the existence of God empirically, is God himself.

If we continue to apply the sets of laws built by atheists on the logic they have developed, we see a similar result. The “people of science” laud scientism, which is a view that a proposition is not true if it is not proven scientifically. This idea is self-defeating, because the idea of scientism itself can’t be proved scientifically. As we dig deeper into atheism we find the immature argument of existence of evil and suffering in the world which sadly, presupposes that a good God wouldn’t allow suffering and evil to persist in the world. We have Carl Sagan admirers assuming the eternity of universe but, unfortunately, their wishy-washy arguments are clearly refuted by the Big Bang theory and the second law of thermodynamics. And then we have the Prophet of Atheism, Richard Dawkins and his book, ‘The God Delusion’ which simply presents, few rehashed arguments in a new fancy look. Dawkins considers his best argument to be the ‘larger problem’ of who designed the designer of the universe [1].

The argument in its entirety is flawed. If the Designer itself has a Designer then the Designer of the Designer would have yet another Designer, and so on and on to infinity, which if taken into account from a broad perspective would suggest that the Universe existed forever thereby contradicting with the Big Bang theory. This implies that the Designer is uncreated and therefore eternal.

God’s existence is not merely logically promising but also philosophically, very essential. I shall be presenting two arguments in this article
       

    
 1. Argument from causality: The Quran presents the following argument:  “Or were they created by nothing? Or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create heavens and earth? Rather, they are not certain.”[2]

Let’s scrutinize this verse.

(a)    “Or were they created by nothing?..”

Created by nothing? Does it sound rational? Forget being rational, is it even close to sane?  It’s an undeniable philosophical principle that nothing comes out of nothing. Consider an example of, say, a “BOOM” explosive noise. Obviously, this ‘BOOM’ sound would have a cause which your curious eyes would look for. In order for something to even BEGIN to exist, it must have a cause/creator.

(b)   “Or were they the creators (of themselves)?”

Now that we know, that there must be a cause for any entity which begins to exist, the subsequent question arises who that cause/creator is? Did that very entity create itself? Surely not! Because that would imply that it must exist and not exist at the same time which is logically incoherent. Before proceeding any further, let’s quickly summarize the above discussion:

1. Anything which BEGINS to exist has a cause/creator.

2. If Universe began to exist it must have a cause/creator.



Now, let us dissect and confront the concept of the origin of universe. Did it BEGIN to exist or, is it eternal? If the former is true, the conclusion would be that there is a cause/creator of this mind boggling universe, while the latter being the truth would imply that the universe doesn’t have any creator/cause. In the light of science, I can assert with full conviction that yes, it did begin to exist. The Second Law of thermodynamics is the irrefutable argument for my claim that the universe had a beginning; this scientific concept is infused with a particular law called the ‘law of entropy’ which explains the directions of various processes that occur in the natural world. ‘Entropy’ is a measure of how energy is distributed evenly in a system. For instance, he
at always flows from a body of a higher temperature or energy to one of a lower temperature or energy.

According to the second law of thermodynamics, processes in a closed system tend to go towards higher entropy. If we apply second law of thermodynamics to this universe we would reach the conclusion that the universe must have begun to exist at some point of time, the universe being a closed system. If the universe had never had a beginning of existence (if it was eternal), it would imply that the universe had been existing for an infinite amount of time which would be highly illogical since with so much time this universe would have already been in a state of heat death or ‘thermodynamic equilibrium’ because when a system is in thermodynamic equilibrium, transfer of energy gets neutralized within. Hence, as the universe continues to expand it will gradually become cold and dead. Since universe is not suffering from any heat death, it can be unambiguously inferred that it must have begun to exist at some point of time.

As is evident from the above argument, the universe did begin to exist. Therefore, it must have a cause/creator just like any other entity. For example, for a chair to begin to exist, it must have a cause/creator which is its carpenter.

As of now, let me draw the inferences:

1. Anything that BEGINS to exist has a cause/creator.
2. Universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, universe has a cause/creator.



2. Argument from Design: The intricate brilliance of the created order giving structure to our universe indicates the existence of an infinitely intelligent Designer, because our universe is extremely fine-tuned to make its existence and existence of human life possible. It’s intuitively obvious that merely an unplanned, unexplained accident could never be solely capable of producing the order, beauty, elegance, and the seeming purpose that we experience in the natural world around us.

Below are few examples and observations that appreciate how finely-tuned and intricately designed our universe is.

• The Strength of Gravity & the Atomic Weak Force: Physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life permitting universe. [3]

• Big Bang’s Low Entropy Condition: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang’s low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010 (123). Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010 (123).” [4]

• Volume of the phase space of possible universes: Roger Penrose of Oxford University states “In order to produce a universe resembling the one in which we live, the Creator would have to aim for an absurdly tiny volume of the phase space of possible universes” Now, how tiny is this volume? According to Penrose the volume of the phase space would be 1/10 to the power of X which is 10123. This is smaller than the ratio of a Proton! This precision is much, much greater than the precision that would be required to hit an individual proton if the entire universe were a dartboard! [5]

• If the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable and hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium. This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The existence of the di-proton would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the Universe’s hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang. [6]

This intelligent design of universe doesn’t simply imply existence of a creator but also furthers God as an Omniscient (all knowing) and Most-Wise being. Therefore, the theory of accidental creation of our extremely fine-tuned universe, for no reason at all, is utterly irrational and absurd. These are signs which God has provided us to reflect on. The Quran mentions these signs in several verses, such as following:

“In the creation of the heavens and Earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people’s benefit, and the water which God sends down from the sky – by which He brings the Earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind– and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and Earth, there are signs for people who use their intellect.” [7]

Atheists feel they have taken a heroic position by relinquishing the belief in existence of God. There are prejudiced people, both atheists and theists, who have prejudged an issue and believe stubbornly whatever they prefer, no matter how many facts and reasons show otherwise. Better ask yourselves whether you are prejudiced or open minded? Whether or not you are willing to change your mind if sound arguments are presented to you? I hope readers will be intellectually sincere in choosing sides.

References
[1] The God Delusion, p157-158
[2] Quran, 52:35-36
[3] Hugh Ross, The creator and the Cosmos, p115
[4] Roger Penrose, “Time Asymmetry and Quantum Gravity,” in Quantum Gravity 2, ed.C. J. Isham, R. Penrose, and D. W. Sciama (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 249; cf. Hawking and Penrose, Nature of Space and Time, pp. 34-35.
[5] Penrose 1989, p.343
[6] Paul Davies, 1993. The Accidental Universe , Cambridge University Press, p70-71
[7] Quran, 2:164

By Fuzail Ahmad


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Fasting And Its Health Benefits

Fasting And Its Health Benefits

Fasting for Muslims is more of a religious obligation than any other thing, that doesn’t, however, mean that other benefits cant be extracted from it. Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan every year and their way of fasting is very different from the medical or experimental ones. It is not just restraining from eating & drinking, it is lot more than that. The Quran states “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa (good deeds and God-consciousness)” [1] and the Prophet of Islam said “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting)”.[2]

Thus, we see that fasting in Islam doesnt just include skipping meals, it also includes refraining from any deceit in speech and action, abstaining from any offensive and indecent speech, avoiding arguing, fighting or having lustful thoughts.

Ramadan fasting reinforces control of whims and helps to build up good conduct. This decontamination of body and soul complements the personal and superficial spheres of a person. The extreme hunger and thirst shape the behavior and pattern of those who fast, it encourages humbleness and avoiding of sins and helps avoiding the outburst of uncontrollable lusts and desires. Since I am a student of Medicine, I would concentrate more on the medical benefits of fasting.

A lot of work has already been done on the subject of medical aspects of fasting. These include the works of Dr. Allan Cott, Fereidoun Azizi, Hossein Rasouli, Al Hazmi, Al Hourani and more recently by Dr. Shaheena Kamal, Dr. Rabinderjeet Singh, Kamal Mansi. The methods chosen by these people to study things related to fasting are different but their findings are almost similar. In following few paragraphs I will try to illuminate their findings.

Benefits Of Fasting

Impact of Fasting on the Digestive System:

The intestinal contraction decreases during fasting, [3] this benefits patients with spastic colitis and some other intestinal motility disorders. Dr. Cott writes in his “Fasting as a Way of life”,

“fasting brings a wholesome physiological rest for the digestive tract and central nervous system and normalizes metabolism.”[4]

Impact of Fasting on the Cardiovascular System:

The findings and researches show marked and significant increase in plasma level of HDL (high density lipoprotein also known as ‘Good Cholesterol’) in last 10 days of Ramadan.[5] HDL is a protective factor against development of heart and vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and coronary heart diseases and also decreases the risks of heart attacks. Increase in HDL is thus a good news for heart and blood vessels. In an another survey, cholesterol, LDL- C and serum triglyceride were found to be reduced significantly after 21 days of fasting which again is good news for our heart and blood vessels. [6]

Impact of Fasting on Nervous System:

Recent researches and studies have revealed that fasting (short term fasting in particular) induces neuronal autophagy.[7] Autophagy, or “self-eating,” is the process by which cells recycle waste material, down regulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Our brain’s health itself is very much dependent on neuronal autophagy. Hence with the increase in autophagy our brain works more proficiently.

Additionally, short and intermittent fasting, like that of Ramadan, increases production of brain derived Neurotrophic factor (BNDF), a protein that interacts with parts of brain that regulate memory, learning and higher cognitive functions.[8] It helps existing neurons to survive while promoting neurogenesis and development of synapses. Recent studies also show that BNDF improves glucose regulation and cardiovascular function.[9]

Impact of Fasting on Senses:

The owner of one of the few fasting centers in USA, Dr. Ralph Cinque, a graduate from UCLA and Western States Chiropractic College, is also a founding member and past president of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians, he writes:

“Fasting increases the acuity of other senses as well, including hearing and smell, and sometimes even vision. Fasting can sharpen the mind too” [11]

Fasting Leads to Detoxification:

Our body breaks down & devours fat reserves for energy during fasting [12] which mobilizes and eliminates the toxins present in the fat deposits. This fact makes Ramadan a golden opportunity for Muslims to cleanse their bodies. Intermittent fasting also protects from environmental and metabolic toxins. [13]

Fasting and Nutrient Absorption:

The absorption of nutrients improves during fasting because of significant increase in level of a hormone called ‘adiponectin’.[14] The efficient absorption of nutrients leads to health benefits throughout the body, as better absorption of nutrients sequentially improves functioning.

Impact of Fasting on Body Weight:

Almost all the researches done in various parts of world show that the subjects fasting for almost a month loose weight from 1.5 to 4.0 kg. What is more interesting is that it has been found that overweight and obese people lose more weight than normal and underweight people. [15]

Fasting and Defense Mechanism:

Intermittent fasting leads to increase in the level of antioxidants like Mitochondrial Superoxide Dismutase. This prevents free radical induced cell damage. [16]

Impact of Fasting on Psychology:

Those who observe fasts during the month of Ramadan describe a feeling of inner peace and serenity. The personal aggression is minimum during this month. Studies reveal that intermittent fasting helps reducing stress as well. [10] The Prophet of Islam is reported to have said: “..and if somebody fights with him (the person who is fasting) or abuses him, he should tell him twice, “I am fasting”…” [17]

Fasting also leads to good deeds, since throughout the day, hunger reminds the person the reason he is fasting for. Since most of the people fast for the sake of religion, it reminds the person of religious obligations and hence leading to good deeds or avoiding of bad ones.

Ramadan fasting also improves resistance and can get rid of diseases and conditions like peptic ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, edema of ankles and legs, swelling in abdomen, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, ischemic strokes, synaptic pathology, cancer, etc.

It is no wonder that in his ultimate wisdom , God says:

“…And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.…” (The Holy Qur’an)

References:

1. The Qur’an 2:183
2. Sahih al Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127.
3. Sana SK. Cyclic motor activity, migrating motor complex. Gastro – enterology 1985;89:894 -9
4. Cott, A., “Fasting Is A Way Of Life”, New York: Bantam Books, 1977.
5. Maislos M, Khamaysi N, Assali A, Abou-Rabiah Y, Zvili I, Shany S. Marked increase in plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol after prolonged fasting during Ramadan. Am J Clin Nutr 1993;57:640-2..
Adlouni A, Ghalim N, Benslimane A, Lecery JM, Saile R. Fasting during Ramadan induces a marked increase in HDL and decrease in LDL-cholesterol. Ann Nutr Metab 1997 ;41:242-9
6. Aziz, K. ;Raja, R. J. ;and Marri, S. H. Variation in lipid profile during fasting in Ramadan in healthy male adults –J. P. M. A, 1992; 42 (10): 242-3.
7. Young JE, Martinez RA, La Spada AR. Nutrient deprivation induces neuronal autophagy and implicates reduced insulin signaling in neuroprotective autophagy activation. J Biol Chem. 2009;284:2363–2373.[PMC free article] [PubMed]
8. Mattson MP (2005) Energy intake, meal frequency, and health: a neurobiological perspective. Annu Rev Nutr 25, 237-260.
9. Duan W, Guo Z, Jiang H, Ware M and Mattson MP (2003) Reversal of behavioral and metabolic abnormalities, and insulin resistance syndrome, by dietary restriction in mice deficient in brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Endocrinology 144, 2446-2453
10. Mager DE, Wan R, Brown M, Cheng A, Wareski P, Abernethy DR and Mattson MP (2006) Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting alter spectral measures of heart rate and blood pressure variability in rats. FASEB J 20, 631-637.
11. http://www.drcinque.com/facts.html
12. . Rehman. Jamil ur ; Shafiq Mohammad. Changes in blood glucose and lipid profile during Ramadan fasting. JAMC 2000. vol 12 : page 13-15
13. Steinkraus KA, Smith ED, Davis C, Carr D, Pendergrass WR, Sutphin GL, Kennedy BK and Kaeberlein M (2008) Dietary restriction suppresses proteotoxicity and enhances longevity by an hsf-1-dependent mechanism in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell 7, 394-404.
Hfaïedh N, Allaqui MS, Croute F, Soleilhavoup JP, Jammoussi K, Makni Ayadi F, Kammoun A and El Feki A (2005) [Interaction of intermittent fasting on the cytotoxic effects of nickel in rats at puberty]. C R Biol 328, 648-660.
Hfaiedh N, Allagui MS, Carreau S, Zourgui L, Feki A and Croute F (2008) Impact of dietary restriction on peroxidative effects of nickel chloride in wistar rats. Toxicol Mech Methods 18, 597-603.
14. Kadowaki T, Yamauch T. Adiponectin and adiponectin receptors. Endocr Rev 2005;26:439–51.
15. Takruri HR. Effect of fasting in Ramadan on body weight. Saudi Med J 1989; 10:491-4.
16. Descamps O, Riondel J, Ducros V and Roussel AM (2005) Mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and incidence of age-associated lymphoma in OF1 mice: effect of alternate-day fasting. Mech Ageing Dev 126, 1185-1191.
17. Sahih al Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118

By Fuzail Ahmad


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Rebuttal to the Islamophobe on "God must be crazy"

Our cyber space has been contaminated with lot of filth and hatred pouring articles about Islam, with objectives to hoodwink innocent audience and put a pull stop on the propagation of Islam which seemingly is being a thorn in neck of these Islamophobes. While throwing stones at others, Agniveer, ‘The Deceiver’ in his extreme-hatred, has, brought some far fetched conclusions in his un-scholarly, factless and ridiculous article - a concocted garbage. So, in this very article, I will explore the lies of agniveer about Islam and its canons. After a thorough analysis, refutation and cremation of the futile article of agniveer viz. ‘God must be crazy!’ in the end, inshaa’Allāh(If God wills), we shall see who actually is crazy God or 'The Hypocrite' viz., 'Agniveer', In additon, I will be revealing some popular and irrational beliefs of Arya Samajists. This article is in fact a golden chance for me to put forth a comparative study of Islam and Protestant Hinduism(Arya Samaj) on some of the important aspects.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Surah Ikhlaas

Surah al-Ikhlaas, an apparently small chapter of Quran, is quite significant one, as it presents the most important creeds of Islam - Oneness, Eternity & Uniqueness of God. It is Islamic theology, in concise, since  it defines God very precisely. It reads as follows :

Saturday, 6 July 2013

If God really is all-powerful, why can't he become a human?

The theory of anthropomorphism, manifestation of God in different forms, like, human, animals, trees and other creatures is the central theme of several school of thoughts of Hinduism, Christianity and some other minor religions.