There is no contradiction between science and religion. The apparent controversy is faked and not real, projected with the purpose of denigrating religion.
By Mubashir Hassan
The advancements in field of science and technology and corresponding stress on the concept of rationalism and empiricism has apparently widened the gulf between science and religion. In reality this gulf is artificial and it is being propagated that the advancement of science and various discoveries have made religion redundant, notwithstanding the fact that many great scientists have been and are believers in the existence of God.
Actually there is no contradiction between science and religion. The apparent controversy is faked and not real, projected with the purpose of denigrating religion. Science is equated with atheism and it is being put across to students of science that you can’t scale the heights until you are an atheist. Being a believer is regarded as the mark of idiocy.
Doubts about the Creator have deliberately been instilled in the minds of people through wrong presentation of knowledge. Anything purporting to support belief in God is dismissed merely as being unscientific. Wherever science fails to explain any matter, ‘chance’ is furnished as the cause. Contemporary atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett etc. are expending their energies to suggest that the belief in God is a delusion, wastage of time and impediment in the human progress, and that this is an age of reason where you need to support every assertion with reason and reason is what conforms to their ideas. Certainly these people have their impact on the minds of general populace.
Rationality is thought of as a way of thinking which is based on reasoning and on one’s thinking, as opposed to heresy and superstitions. It is a philosophical concept which means reliance only on what a person can perceive through sense organs and application of mind and beyond that there is no knowledge.
Ayn Rand a Russian-born American philosopher, describes it as “The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one’s only source of knowledge, one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide to action.” This type of rationality is even being integrated with our thinking and we are being asked to question everything and to doubt even the sublime teachings. Whatever we can’t understand is not acceptable to “Rationality”.
Man has the power of reasoning and rational thinking. He can think over various matters and weigh alternative prepositions. Through the use of his reasoning he can reach certain conclusions. It is because of this faculty that we have been able to discover various secrets of nature and invent new things, but the intellect of Man has a limit within which it can fathom and beyond that limit it fails.
Science has led us to understanding that the whole of the universe is ordered. The laws of physics governing the universe, the distances between the heavenly bodies, various constants and the various elements found in the nature have a perfect symmetry or are in perfect proportion and the rate of expansion post Big Bang are perfect. But it does not tell us as to why these things are so ordered instead a challenge is posed to the intellect: “No want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?” (Al Quran 67: 3)
Our intellect provides us various theories for various processes or physical phenomenon, but it never provides us any explanation as to why these things should be there. Even those people who put forth these theories, do not believe them to be true, they just put them forward with the hope that they might be true. Our reasoning and intellect can’t account for the origin of life. The theory of evolution fails to explain as to how life originally began. Biology tells us how the cells replicate and how information is stored in DNA and how the same is passed on from one generation to another. But all the biological sciences fail to explain as to what is the origin of this information contained in the DNA. How the information came to be developed in the first place.
When we contemplate on the mysteries and the complexities of the universe, our intellect points to the Creator. That all this can’t be a pure chance. That there is a power, a designer behind all this. That all this is not purposeless.
The creator is beyond His creation. He created the universe out of nothing and when He says “Be”, it is; it comes into existence instantly. He is not bound by Time and Space and He created both these entities. He is not bound by the laws of Physics. It is we who think in terms of time and space because we have been conditioned to think so, as we have grown up and seen others grow up within the confines of time and space. These entities have been set up for the creation and they are bound by it. The creator can change these Laws if He so chooses.
Science tells us about cloning, nuclear engineering, space travel. These branches of knowledge have their own utility and we do not need to dispute them. Science can explain to us the manner these things happen. It explains various processes that are going on in the universe or within our body, but it is beyond the domain of science to tell us as to why should so happen? We are taught the laws of physics, that gravitational waves have been discovered, we are told that the radiations from the beginning of the Big Bang have been detected; so it is proved. We are told that the elementary particle, Higgs Boson, has been discovered at LHC. Science can conclusively know its mass, charge and other properties, but it can’t explain why it exists at all.
Science does tell us that the universe exists, that we exist in this vast universe. But it fails to answer our basic question: why should there be this universe at all. Why do we exist and what is the source of our consciousness. It fails to answer these questions.
Whether string theory, corpuscular theory, quantum theory or the theory of relativity are right or not, is all the same to a believer. Whether there are many universes (as multi-verse theory suggests) or just one, it does not matter. Whether life exists on other planets or not, is of no concern. He Who created life on this planet can create it anywhere else too. It doesn’t matter as to in what manner He created different species. As He willed, so it happened. Let those who are interested explore. In the end they would come to the same conclusion which we have already learned. Anyway, it is ultimately the creator who created all this and the various theories do not make a difference.
Anyway we can’t rely too much on our intellect, our sensory organs, our wisdom and perceived knowledge can deceive us, there is a point beyond which reason and rationality just cease to function. When it ventures beyond that it makes blunders. Through the use of reason, Man reached up to the event of Big Bang, but it fails to go beyond that. It can’t provide a satisfactory reason behind its causes. Certainly intellect can’t peep deeper as it is beyond its ability. To understand the cause of Big Bang we have to depend upon the divine guidance.
In these times when efforts are on to deprive us of our Imaan, we have to be cautious. There is deliberate misrepresentation of knowledge and things are presented in such a way that we get disillusioned with reality. Who knows which of the scientific theories may turn out to be mere assumptions, without any basis and would be discarded? There is much more mystery than can be expressed. There are many things which escape the inquisitive mind of a person. The domain of science is just creation, when it tries to fathom the creator, it errs. It is better for science to remain confined to its own domain and not to make mistakes by delving into something which is beyond its reach.
The highest level of the irrationality and stupidity is when you admit that everything in this universe has a cause. But when you discuss the universe and life therein, you simply glide over as if these were the simplest matters, needing no cause.
As far as a believer is concerned, the grandeur of the universe is always convincing, “Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.”(Ale Imran: 190)
—The writer can be reached at [email protected]