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The Burden of Proof – Atheism and Islam

by | Oct 3, 2021

Recently, I have been watching, debates, discussions, and lectures that treat about the subjects of Atheism and Islam. On the side of the proponents of Atheism, you find people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence Krauss, Alex O’Connor, and many, many more.

A common theme in their philosophy (not to call it belief), is obviously the absence of a divine presence (thus the definition of Atheism). Therefore, any way of life that includes the divine is deemed, irrational, unscientific, and illogical; Thus, it is false. Basically, for atheists, any religion is farfetched at best and a complete fabrication on a good day. However, there seems to be one religion that keeps sticking out like a thorn for them (even if they consider all religions as equal fallacies); Islam.

Why Islam, because it is the ultimate Monotheistic religion, way of life, and truth. Bold claims, right! Therefore it must be substantiated with some kind of proof, or at least evidence, right!

Well, as we have mentioned last week, logically, you cannot prove that something does not exist. Whether it be in matters of faith or any other aspect, no matter how farfetched it might seem. With that said, it is not because you cannot prove the inexistence of something that makes that something by defacto real. This is where Bertrand Russell’s famous teapot fits into the equation:

“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.”

Bertrand Russell, Is there a God, 1952.

The teapot argument is used to rationalize the “irrationality” of advancing the claim that there is such a thing as a god to begin with. Actually, this reasoning looks pretty promising from the get-go; but as you dive in a little deeper, this teapot literally does not hold water.

The thing is, advancing any assumption, theory or belief falls on the beholder to prove its worth, rather than the denier to disprove it. The burden of proof is on the shoulders of the believer, not the other way around; if so, it would be considered a fallacy.

Yet, in most scientific spheres, absolute proof is not required to confirm any theory. We did not have to go to the moon and look down at Earth to say the world is round. We did not need microscopes to advance the presence of pathogens which can induce sickness. And we surely did not wait for the arrival of the electron microscope to formulate the atomic theories.

Therefore, when it comes to the topic of the presence of a god, it should not be treated any differently; favorably, or disfavorably. If there is reasonable proof or logical trails to follow, then the advanced assertions should be taken seriously and looked into (as we have been doing and continue to do through this blog In Sha Allah). As for Mr. Russell’s teapot, don’t hold your breath looking for it!

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

If anyone is a betting man, he knows that most of the time he will lose; it is a question of numbers. Winning every time is improbable and practically impossible. When flipping a coin, you have one chance out of two of getting it right. 50%, not bad; but repeat it four times straight; not too confident, are you?

Let’s transpose that example to the prophet Muhammad; he got every single verifiable (with our limited knowledge to date) phenomenon right. Not only he got them right, but most of them are also explained; not just enunciated or left for interpretation. Let’s say there are about 20 scientific/natural phenomenon (Actually, more have been mentioned and others left out since a multitude of authors have done a better job than me explaining them. Plus, 20 seems like a pretty round number, and we don’t want to sound boastful either) that were elucidated 1400 years ago, by an illiterate Arab that had no aspirations to science whatsoever… When you do the math: ½ at the power 20 is ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½. That gives you the possibility of 1/1 048 576 of getting it right. That is less than one in a million probability; becoming less and less a betting man…Keep in mind, considering that the questioning is in a yes or no format; true or false to a given question (without formulating the solution and adding all the explanation that comes with it in the Quran and Hadith).

The thing is, it is not because the prophet Muhammad was an expert in astronomy, geology, chemistry, nuclear physics, biology, botany, entomology, oceanology, or even historical science that he got it right all the time. It is because the only thing he got right out of all of this is that he wholeheartedly believed in Allah. All these, verses, signs, scientific phenomenon were not explained or tackled by the prophet Muhammad; they were brought forth by Allah, the All-Knowing.

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.

Surah Al-Anam (6 – 59)

Faith

the process of belief