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Nura: More about survival of the fittest, Occam's razor and I up against a brick wall. Part I

Reader comment on item: Counting Islamists
in response to reader comment: Re:Plato

Submitted by Plato (India), Nov 21, 2008 at 03:41

Nura, you wrote:

>>If the hereafter is an imagination, than it has been since the beginning of human religion!<<

So what? Belief in ghosts has been there since human civilization arose or even before. Therefore ghosts exist? You can do better than that, Nura.

>> The belief in a hereafter is not easy invention or imagination of the human mind. If it were based on this then humans would have not believed in it a long time ago.<<

Maybe not easy but it is easy for charlatans in the form of shamans, witch-doctors and prophets to mould minds that are evolved to need a purpose for whatever they do to feed them the fairy story of an after life. People accepted it because they could not see any purpose in life which ended at death and the fairy story of life continuing elsewhere is comforting. You do find it comforting, don't you Nura? Because you wish to see purpose in life does not automatically give life purpose. If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

>>The hereafter is more than the "pleasures" you mock. Allah makes it very clear what the true reward is for the believer: seeing his face. This is the ultimate goal of the believer, not pure wine, or green silk.<<

Nura, you gave me innumerable Koranic descriptions of the pleasures of paradise and now you come back and say the greatest pleasure is looking at the face of Allah. So Allah has a face. Very interesting! How many trillions of years are you going to sit staring at His face?

>>I certainty don't mind either, but this is not my primary focus. My primary focus is pleasing Allah and being in his presence. Everything else is secondary.<<

Again remember the many ayas you quoted describing paradise? Why does Allah waste the limited space in His book if this is not the ultimate goal He has for us. How many ayas can you quote telling that us that staring at His formless face for zillions of years is our ultimate goal. Let us hear it from you, Nura and compare it with the number of verses on paradise.

>>I said that? When? Where in my posts? Evolution does not make "mistakes". It just does its "job" without thinking of consequences. Millions of species have disappeared for ever, did evolution "care" that they were "mistakes"?

You said with when you agreed that evolution does not have a consciousness. You can't have it both ways. Either the force of evolution made conscious, purposeful, and intelligent decisions that made life possible, or it was just a coincidence. A coincidence, meaning mistake.<<

I know I am arguing against a brick wall but here goes anyway. Let us for a microsecond leave Allah out of the picture for argument's sake. Gravity built the universe with its clockwork mechanisms of galaxies, stars and the solar system. Does anyone claim that gravity is conscious, intelligent or has a purpose? Similarly the rules of evolution are not conscious, intelligent or purposeful.

Coincidences or mistakes as you call them have made a big contribution (now don't jump to the conclusion that I am saying coincidences have consciousness) to why we exist as we are today. One of the first rules of evolution is that in any replicating mechanism or organism there will be errors (mistakes) during replication. When you make a photocopy of a document you cannot be absolutely sure that every microdot has been accurately copied. A slight fluctuation in, say, the voltage during copying may cause a minute, even unnoticeable error or mistake.

That minute mistake is enough for evolution to work with. There are three possibilities when this kind of mistake happens to an organism in its habitat. One, it makes no difference. Two, the mistake makes it incrementally less efficient than its brothers and sisters in, say, absorbing energy from the sun and so has incrementally less chance of surviving as compared to the original copies and so eventually mistake/mutation probably disappears entirely. Three, it makes the organism incrementally better than its companions who are original copies in absorbing solar energy. That makes the organism incrementally better at surviving than its relatives. Over generations the ones with the mistake (now it is no more a mistake but an improvement) will leave more progeny than the original copies and so its descendants take over the habitat. This natural process of selection by the environment of a mistake is what you think is a conscious, intelligent being guiding organisms towards greater and greater complexity.

>>Does evolution think at all? You must realize the dilemma by now. If you charge that evolution, alone, is the cause for existence of everything thing that we see, then it must have an intelligence.<<

Read what I have written above. There is no dilemma. I have not said that evolution is the cause of existence. Existence could be said to be the cause for evolution. I have said that evolutionary rules or laws are the cause of biological organisms that finally led to self-conscious beings like us. The universe had to be in existence before evolutionary rules could bring us into existence.

>>No force that than create the mechanisms of our bodies down to the enzyme, can do so without a perfect knowledge.<<

Nura, now ask yourself how this force with perfect knowledge came into existence. If it came into existence without any reason or cause i.e. a causeless effect (Allah), then so can the universe. Now apply Occam's razor to existence: "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities.

Let me apply this principle to existence: 1) The universe came into existence (the effect) because it was caused by Allah. Allah is Himself an uncaused effect. 2) The universe is an uncaused effect.

Which is the simpler solution and so the best? You can choose not believe in this principle

>> If this force is intelligent, than it must also have consciousness.<<

Can you deny that today's computers are intelligent? Does that make them conscious?

>>Do a check. Darwin never attributed any purpose to evolution and evolution does not care whether an organism lives or dies. If death makes room for new life so be it, if it does not, no matter either.

I don't need to check, this is fundamental Darwinism!<<

Nura, name me one book which says that Darwin attributed purpose to evolution. It looks as though you have decided what is Darwinism for Darwin!

>>The survival of the species….this is what it is all about. Survival of the strongest in order to propagate the species. The weak has to die in order for the strong to live. Maybe you should brush up on your Darwinism.<<

In nature strength and weakness are relative terms. The mistake you are making is in thinking that Darwin said physical strength alone constitutes fitness. Fitness has a lot to do with the environment an organism finds itself in. An elephant will not survive in Antartica. The puny little penguins do. The tiger can kill a camel several times its size but it cannot survive in the sahara as the camel does.

>>You are contradicting yourself. If evolution does not care about the survival of anything, then why did it design a way for adaptation?<<

Evolution does not know anything about words like care, design or adaptation. It does not KNOW. It is just a consequence of the way matter interacts and mathematical probabilities, maybe even possibilities.

Adaptation is just a word we use to explain the fact that when an organism reproduces the environment either filters out certain naturally occurring mutations (errors/mistakes) or retains them as a result of which over several generations organisms arise that are a perfect fit for their habitat. Evolution does not design anything for adaptation.

The mighty dinosaurs who ruled the earth could not survive a change in climate that occurred millions of years ago. But a lowly rat like creature that scurried about under their feet could, and eventually gave rise to you and me. What was the magic that did it? Evolutionary rules working on mutations. Survival of the fittest in not necessarily survival of the muscularly stronger.

>>The only ways species, including humans, have been able to survive all this time is through adaptation on a biological level. This is the source for survival instincts in which most animal life depend on for survival. Organisms such as bacteria and virus are constantly mutating for survival.<<

Right on. Darwinism 101. Now we are getting somewhere. You seem to understand adaptation and mutation. Now ask yourself whether mutation and adaptation combined can lead to more and more complex organisms than viruses and bacteria. Whether the rodent scurrying under the feet of dinosaurs could have slowly mutated into humans also I leave to your imagination.

>>On the contrary, the entire purpose of evolution is not to just establish life, but to maintain it. It would care.<<

Just reflect a little more on evolution. The purpose you see in evolution is because we have purpose on our brain (I think Richard Dawkins said that. No one explains evolution better than Dr. Dawkins, I suggest you pick up some of his books)

>>If Allah exists why does He strike down one innocent girl …..It is just one of Allah's whims as he keeps saying in the Koran He will do what He pleases.

This is the silly statement. I guess the girl who was born as a princess is more deserving of cancer? Who cares in what situation these girls were born in, it is not for you or me to decide what is fair in regards to them.<<

Nura, you are sadly mistaken. It is not you or me who decides which innocent soul to torture, it is the most merciful, most beneficent Allah. I am asking you by what logic He can claim that He is the most merciful and most beneficent. Check the dictionary, maybe Allah has changed their meaning to most merciless and most unbenevolent.

>>I would argue that the princess should not have to suffer because of her statues of a princess. Perhaps the princess would be able to afford treatment had he been diagnosed with cancer. Who knows!<<

Exactly, Nura, who knows? You are the one who keeps claiming all kinds of great qualities for Allah. You simply seem to have no answer as to why there is suffering when there is a merciful creator. Just admit you don't know.

>> My point is that Allah makes it very clear to us that hardships affect both the good and the bad. Is this not the case?<<

Yes it is the case. I am asking how that can be the case when an all-merciful Allah exists. Simple question. You throw up your hand and say, who knows, which translates to only Allah knows.

>>Do you expect the good to never suffer at all? This is not heaven.<<

No I do not. But what I expect is that a creator who claims to be the most merciful will not make a young soul suffer unspeakable tortures without any reason whatsoever.

>>Allah does what he pleases out of his infinite knowledge.<<

Which translates to: you simply have no clue to why a merciful Allah created suffering. A score of ten on ten for this answer.

>>(what is this ranking? they can sit closer to the formless Allah to see Him better?)

First, as I mentioned you have the love and good pleasure of Allah.<<

Tell that to the little girl I was talking about. Nice way of showing love, your Allah has!

>> He is pleased with his servants who are patient with him.<<

What is He, some kind of sadist, who likes to see what tortures He can inflict to see who will break and if they do punish them for it?

>> Seeing him, being in his presence for an eternity is infinitely more rewarding than any hardship suffering that one can endure in multiple lifetimes;<<

You talk as though you have been there in His presence although you only read about it in an Arabian story book. Investigate how truthful the story teller was. People who lie invariably claim they are truthful

>> we only have one on earth. Allah promises us that everything that we do and believe is worth something.<<

Did Allah tell you that personally? What good did Saddam Hussein's massacring his own people do? What was it worth to him and to those who were gassed or tortured to death? Are they now devouring Allah's pie in the sky?

>>There is a prophecy that when the messiah (Jesus, PBUH) returns and establishes justice on the earth, there will be a time of utopia. There will be plenty to eat, a very happy existence for everyone, although it will not last forever. <<

Why has this prophecy of justice and plenty been reserved for people of the future? What crimes did people of the past and the present commit to make them undeserving of such pleasures? Just remember the little girls's story. Allah has no reasons for His actions, except His pleasure a la our own earth-bound dictators.

>>The only happiness that will last forever is in Paradise. There will be no sickness, hunger, thirst, sadness, poverty and injustice. Heaven is the best that you can imagine multiplied by infinity.<<

Yes I can imagine all the pleasures of heaven. But what I can't imagine is why Allah could not create the same atmosphere here on earth. He has the power but He does what He will, including torturing little girls with incurable cancers. Instead of wanting to look at His face forever, I would run away from Him.

>>They probably will have to inflict suffering on themselves by flaying their bodies, sleeping in the cold, …….. (Allah does love suffering humans, does He not? He has even designated a whole month of suffering for His sake).

You are speaking of the shia sect. They do not flog themselves for Allah's pleasure for the record. They flog themselves displaying the painful death of Ali (PBUH).<<

You got me totally wrong. I am saying that if in the future there is no suffering people will have to inflict suffering on themselves to please Allah as He so loves to see humans beings suffer for no particular reason (except His will of course). That will be one route by which they can gain high ranking when staring at Allah's face. You did say that if you suffer needlessly it will increase your credit-rating with Him.

>>Al-humduiliah, Allah asks very little from us. To believe in him alone, take care of our family, act justly with people, treat our parents good, pray, fast, give charity, go to Hajj, and take care of our bodies. There are no wound inflicting rituals that Allah commands from us.<<

There is no order from Allah, yet Muslims circumcise male children which inflicts a wound on the body. Praying five times a day with all the attendant rituals, maintaining the taboos of wudu and genuflecting takes away a considerable part of your free time.

>> The most difficult is fasting, but we are allowed to eat before dawn and after sunset.<<

You just eat when others sleep, what is so difficult about that?

>> There are no human sacrifices.<<

Yes, but you celebrate with the blood of millions of animals a human sacrifice that almost took place on Allah's orders.

>>On the contrary, Allah has commanded that we be moderate in our worship to him.<<

Praying five times a day, fasting a twelfth part of a year and traveling thousands of miles to circumambulate a black stone is not my idea of moderation in worship.

>> He asks very little from humanity and his servants and what he asks, is only for our own benefit. He asks for humans to not take partners with him, this is not too much.<<

Why is Allah so averse to partners? Why has He never given us even one good reason for His dislike of partners. They are there to share one's burden. The havoc that is going on on earth is an indication that Allah is in sore need of a good helping hand.

>>I have already stated the wisdom behind suffering.<<

You have said that suffering brings you more credit in Allah's book of accounts. If this is an example of Allah's wisdom I can only feel sorry for Him.

>>In hardship being forgotten, I am not saying that the events will be forgotten, just that when the person sees his reward in paradise, he will say that he never suffered anything.<<

The hardship is the event. What exactly do you want to convey? And how do you know what people in heaven will say?

>> He will feel more happiness in that he triumphed in light of hardships, so he must remember the events. Remembering will be a source of more happiness rather than pain.<<

What is this triumph? Staring at Allah's formless face?? LOL

>>Paradise is described according to the stretch of the human mind. How else can it be described? We as told that its description in the Quran is not measure for its reality which is beyond human imagination.<<

It is Allah describing paradise, not his creatures. Is Allah so inarticulate in the language of his choice that He can't describe it adequately for us?

There are tens of verses about paradise, perhaps next only to descriptions of Hell, in the Mother of all Books, authored by Allah and yet He could not convey a proper of description of it to humans. Blasphemy!

>>Plato, I have read the ideas of Darwinism including latter theories called social Darwinism.<<

Reading about ideas is very different from understanding them. That takes much, much more effort than just reading.

>>Because a theory is harsh does that invalidate it?

LOL, why don't you use that same reasoning when thinking about the existence of a "harsh" God or the harshness of Hell.<<

You conveniently forget that I was questioning your reasoning where you had stated "Darwin's theory is actually the harshest". You seemed to be implying that as the theory of Allah is less harsh (ie a god who dispenses love as he pleases) it is better to accept it. I am saying that because a theory is ‘harsh' it does not invalidate the theory.

>> You believe that God does not exist SOLEY because of the harshness in this world, yet you embrace a theory that is harsher, in that suffering has no purpose, on the grounds that harness does not prove fallacy?<<

Quote from my posts which show that I have stated anything that silly. I am stating that when Allah claims to be the all powerful, most merciful and most beneficent sole creator you cannot explain the suffering of this world. It is not the same as saying that I believe that because there is purposeless suffering in the world Allah cannot exist. I am saying that the Allah described in the Koran is a fiction of the Muhammad's imagination because it conflicts with the image it has built up of Him as the most merciful, most beneficent.

>>You have proven my argument! I agree, just because there is suffering in the world, does not mean that there is no God.<<

I agree too but with the proviso that this God cannot then claim to be most merciful, most beneficent and the most powerful. You have only proved it to your own satisfaction. Be happy in your belief.

>>I wouldn't quote Dhimmie….<<

Why??

Regards

Plato

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