What will make me a Muslim?

Question to a non-Ahmadi Muslim friend

Friend, I am puzzled by your answers to my questions. Let me refresh your memory.

According to what you told me:

Does reciting the Shahadah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does praying Salaah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does paying Zakaah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does keeping fasts in Ramadan make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does turning to the Qiblah during Salaah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does eating Halal make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does reading the Qur’an make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does building mosques make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does calling their children by Muslim names make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does praying Tahajjud, Nawaafil and Taraaweeh make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does giving Sadaqah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does doing Qurbani of cattle make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does celebrating ‘aqiqah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does celebrating the two ‘Eids make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does observing the Jumu’ah prayers make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does calling the Adhaan make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does believing in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, good and bad destiny, and the resurrection after death make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.
Does believing in Allah and in all His Names and Attributes, and accepting all His commandments and His Shari’ah make Ahmadis become Muslims? NO.

Allah is our Witness that ALL THESE THINGS form part and parcel of our faith. I asked you: Were any of the above-mentioned things, or all of them together, enough to make Ahmadis become Muslims? You said: NO, NO, NO, THAT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE MUSLIM!!!!

So what, I asked, will make Ahmadis become Muslims?

And you told me: If they believe that “Khatm-al-Nubuwwah” means “no prophet of any kind can come after Muhammad (s.a.) except Jesus the 2000-year-old Israelite prophet,” that will allow Ahmadis to become Muslims!

When I asked you: Which sect of Islam should I join? You told me: Muslims are more or less the same, and they are only divided for political and social reasons.

Once again, your answer puzzled me. Are Muslims really more or less the same?

So, Muslims in Asia who pray to all manner of Saints at their graves are more or less the same as Muslims in Saudi Arabia who beat people if they pray at the tomb of Muhammad Rasulullah (s.a.) because they believe that is Shirk?

So Muslims who say their 5 daily Salaah are more or less the same as Muslims who meditate with music and who think they are above Salaah?

So Muslims who believe that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.) is dead and cannot hear them are more or less the same as Muslims who believe he is HaaDir wa Naadhir, omnipresent and can see all?

Are these social differences? I am puzzled.

You told me that according to the judgment of the scholars of the Sunnis, Shi’ites and Sufis of Pakistan, ALL 72 SECTS THAT THEY BELONG TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO CALL THEMSELVES MUSLIM.

But, you said, I do not have that right. So, I asked you again: What must I do to be accepted as a Muslim?

And you reiterated what you had said before: Believe that there is no prophet of any kind after Muhammad (s.a.) except the Israelite Jesus (pbuh) who was taken up into heaven alive and who will come back down again. If you believe that, it is sufficient to make you Muslim in the eyes of the worldwide Ummah!

And I asked you: Even if I pray to Saints at their graves? You said: YES, that won’t invalidate your being a Muslim.

Even if I believe in Jinn-possession? You replied: Yes, that won’t harm your claim to be Muslim.

Even if I do the Mut’a “marriage” for one hour? You said: That’s just a minor point. That won’t annul your right to call yourself a Muslim.

Even if I do dhikr instead of Salaah, to the tune of music and with people dancing about like madmen? You said: YES, no problem, you can do all that and we of the other sects will STILL say you have the right to call yourself Muslim…

But all this perplexes me, my friend. For compare what you said to the simple definition of a Muslim according to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.) – do you even follow him? – It seems extremely doubtful that you prefer what he said over what your “’ulama” have taught you, for you and your leaders never bring his definitions forward when you are asked to define what is sufficient to make a person Muslim. The Prophet (s.a.) said:

“Write down for me [the names of] all those who call themselves Muslim”.
“Whoever prays our Salaah, and faces our Qiblah, and eats what we slaughter is a Muslim under the protection of Allah and His Messenger.”

And you know, my friend, that we Ahmadis fulfil all these definitions given by the Prophet (s.a.)

My friend, I challenge you to bring a definition of a Muslim from the Qur’an or Sunnah where it is so clearly stated that the defining factor is to believe that Jesus is alive bodily and will come back down, and failure to do so entails that one loses the right to call oneself Muslim.

Why did the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.) not add your scholars’ belief in Jesus (a.s.) coming back bodily, as being the defining characteristic of a Muslim? Was he less wise than the scholars of Islam?

To add to my confusion, you also told me: As long as you are a person who believes that Khatm-al-Nubuwwah means that after Muhammad al-Mustafa (s.a.), prophethood (even one without any new Shari’ah) cannot come but a 2000-year-old prophethood can come, then

if you also believe that the Qur’an contains 5 or 10 or 50 or 500 verses that have been abrogated, you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe that you can swear at the first three Caliphs and the holy wives of the Prophet s.a., ridwaanullahi ‘alayhim, you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe that the Imam al-Mahdi already appeared hundreds of years ago and has gone into hiding, you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe that the Qur’an is true when it makes Muhammad (s.a.) say that he cannot go up to heaven and come back down again because he is only a man and a messenger, but then simultaneously believe that he DID go to heaven physically during his Mi’raaj and then came back down again, you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe ‘Ali r.a. shared prophethood with Muhammad s.a., you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe in following Imams who swear, curse and do takfir on other Muslims of different sects, you are still a Muslim
or if you also believe that you should raise your hands in du’aa after every Salaah, even though the Prophet s.a. did not have this practice, you are still a Muslim
So I am puzzled, my friend. You told me that we Ahmadis can enter ANY GROUP OF ISLAM, however strange their beliefs and practices, just so long as we cease to believe in a non-lawbearing prophet after Muhammad s.a.

And to reinforce your statement, you quoted the Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper published on 10th October 1974, where it declared, regarding the decision of excommunication of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at from Islam, that…

“One of the special aspects of this decision has been that on it the consensus of the Ummah has been reached in a substantially correct manner. Throughout the history of Islam, such an overwhelmingly complete consensus has never been reached on any important topic. Other than the great religious scholars, holders of Shara’, all the political leaders and political leaders of each group have agreed on this consensus. Other than these, all noble Sufiyaa, ‘Aarifeen Billah, and the leaders of Tassawuf and such practices had complete agreement. Excluding Qadianis, all the rest of the 72 sects which are considered to be of Muslims, agreed and are happy on the solution of this affair. Among the leaders of the nation and ‘Amaideen, there does not appear to be any group which does not have a joyous attitude regarding this decision. The nation should take notice of this.”

…meaning that ALL of them agreed that every other sect, whatever their despicable beliefs and practices, have EVERY RIGHT TO CONSIDER THEMSELVES MUSLIMS. But because the Ahmadis believe that the Messiah was born a Muslim, AHMADIS CAN NO LONGER BE MUSLIM.

So, my friend, you told me to say: NO PROPHET CAN EVER COME EXCEPT THE ISRAELITE JESUS a.s.

That ONE SINGLE BELIEF will win me the tolerance of today’s Muslims for any unspeakable beliefs, superstitions, Shirk and evil practices I choose to follow, and I shall rightfully be able to call myself a Muslim and all others will also rightfully call me a Muslim!

My friend, to me, this is how you and your people close your eyes on all manner of sin and heinous transgression in your mad, enraged vendetta against the Ahmadiyya community.

The prophecy has been fulfilled: 72 have aligned themselves together on one side, and 1 has been kicked to the other side.

The Prophet s.a. said: Of the 73, 72 will be in the FIRE and only 1 will be saved.

Now show me how the Ahmadiyya Jama’at has ever aligned itself with 71 other sects claiming to be of Islam against any 1 sect claiming to be of Islam. If it has, I will leave it.

For I fear the prophecy made by the Holiest of Prophets, Muhammad s.a.

Do you?

Arguments on the Existence of God: The Moral Nature of Man

Hazrat Mirza Bashir ud Din Mahmood Ahmad, second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, says that the moral nature of man testifies to belief in accountability

——

“The third argument for the existence of God to which the Holy Qur’an points is that the very nature of Man provides evidence for God’s existence, as there are certain sins from which the nature of man recoils. For instance, even the most irreverent atheists will abstain from incest and falsehood and will have nothing to do with excrement, urine and other filth. Why is this so? If there is no God, why does he distinguish between his mother, sister, daughter, and other women? Why does he hate lying? What are the reasons for which the foregoing deeds appear loathsome in his eyes? If he does not stand in awe of some Higher Power, why does he shun these deeds? Lying and truthfulness, justice and injustice should be the same to him. Everything should depend on his pleasure and he should be at liberty to do whatever his heart desires. What law is there that is controlling his passion? It is God that is governing him. His throne lies on the heart. An atheist may pretend to have out-stepped the bounds of the kingdom of God, but it is impossible for him to leap over the bounds of his God-made nature. His abstinence from sin or his reluctance to disclose his sin shows that his heart is possessed of the fear of being called to account by a King, though he may pretend to deny His sovereignty.”

Read more here:

Arguments for God’s Existence

Which is the older language: Arabic or Hebrew? An interesting opinion.

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By Thomas Keyes

Arabic and Hebrew are classified as Semitic languages, the only living representatives of that subdivision of the Afro-Asiatic languages. Because of a number of striking similarities, some 19th and 20th century scholars tried to establish a connection between the Semitic and the Indo-European families, this latter group including English, Russian, Latin, Greek and dozens of others, but nowadays that hypothesis is not widely accepted.

Anyone who has studied Arabic and Hebrew understands that they are indeed related, though perhaps more distantly than, say, Spanish and Italian. If they are but the two branches of a single tree, it would follow that they are of equal age, each tracing its roots to some prehistoric prototype that thrived centuries as a single language in hoary antiquity.

Of course, everyone knows that Hebrew preceded Arabic as a written language by hundreds of years, which of course leads to the presumption that Hebrew is the older tongue.

However, if you compare Arabic and Hebrew vocabulary and grammar, you come to feel that Arabic might be said to be the older language. By this I mean that Arabic has many apparently conservative features that suggest that it more nearly resembles the common prototype.

To demonstrate my meaning, let me compare English and German. German displays a much more elaborate declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs than English. One would assume that, at some time in the remote past, English had this kind of grammatical software too. Checking in an Anglo-Saxon grammar, he or she could confirm that assumption. English did have all those complicated endings too, which atrophied with time.

Taking this analogy to the Semitic languages, we behold the selfsame phenomenon. Hebrew has no declension at all, though it has a fairly complex conjugation. Arabic has a threefold declension and an even more complex conjugation. It seems reasonable to assume that Hebrew once had a much more formidable set of flexions than it has today, probably more nearly resembling those of Arabic, which thus is closer to the common ancestor.

A second thing to consider is grammatical number. English has singular and plural only. Arabic has singular, dual and plural, the plural denoting three or more. Thus we have: safina– one ship; safinatein–two ships; sufun–three or more ships. This is completely general in Arabic, applying to all nouns. Hebrew has a dual too, but it is limited to select nouns for things that come in pairs: misparayim–pair of scissors; yadayim–two hands; yomayim–two days. One would surmise that, at one time, Hebrew also had a full- fledged dual, which withered over the centuries, while the Arabic dual remained intact, closer to the prototype.

Both Arabic and Hebrew have two letters ‘K’, two letters ‘S’ and two letters ‘T’. In Arabic the members of each pair have different pronunciations, whereas in Hebrew the members of each pair are indistinguishable. This more credibly suggests that Hebrew has allowed the pronunciations to fall together than that Arabic has begun to differentiate originally identical pairs, again making Arabic the more conservative language.

Hebrew has two plural suffixes, ‘-im’ and ‘-ot’, where Arabic has ‘-un’ and ‘-at’, similar enough, but Arabic uses them only with participles, whereas Hebrew uses them throughout. For most Arabic nouns, the broken plural applies. The broken plural keeps the consonants in a word in the original order while altering and shifting the vowels: jazira–island; juzur–islands; maktaba–library; makatib–libraries. The broken plural, which is no fun to be sure, does not exist in Hebrew. This too perhaps points to Arabic seniority.

Hebrew is much more disposed to borrow words from other languages. Arabs tend to prefer to use native resources. This in itself doen’t prove that Arabic vocabulary is essentially more conservative, but it surely gives Arabic a purer look.

One countervailing argument is that Hebrew has more vowels than Arabic, definitely a hallmark of a more conservative variation. But the preponderance of the evidence goes the other way.

One would think that a language that went unwritten for many centuries would change more rapidly than one that had been committed to paper, but all the abovementioned features of the Hebrew language were already in existence with the earliest writings, so the atrophy occurred when Hebrew too was as unwritten language. Just why Arabic did not change as much in its preliterate days I can’t imagine, but, all in all, I’d say Arabic is ‘older’ than Hebrew.

Looking for scientific proof of God’s existence?

The videos below have been reproduced from www.rationalreligion.co.uk (previously http://www.endofatheism.com). Do yourselves a favour : keep updated by bookmarking this highly informative and entertaining website, and following it

on Twitter @RRanswers,

on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RRanswers/,

and on YouTube here.

Like, retweet, leave comments, challenge and ask questions, before you’re forced to face up to http://www.endoflife.net and http://www.TooLate.com (And yes, I’ve checked – these domain names don’t exist yet :op)

Enjoy!

 

Parallel Evolution vs Common Descent: An analogy

Photo: Scene from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, by 20th Centruy Fox 
Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim understanding of evolution is that it is intelligently guided and not random, and that different species, though sharing many features with each other, did not necessarily have a common ancestor. Man has always been human right from the very first cell he is descended from. The following is based on an interesting analogy shared by Rizwan Khan, a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the United States. He can be followed here: @Rizwan1770

Here is an analogy that may make our position on evolution easier to understand:

From the moment the sperm meets the egg, it is written in the chromosomes that the child will be either male or female, even though that difference only becomes noticeable half way through the pregnancy. An uninformed observer may say that the fetus is neutral for half of the pregnancy and then it randomly branches off to become a male, but we would explain that the fetus has always been male from the time of conception and that this has been written into its chromosomes; it only became observable at a certain point. Although we are both observing the same phenomenon, our understanding of how that phenomenon unfolded is very different.

Likewise, we may have been similar to other species of life at different stages of our evolution, and we may have appeared indistinguishable to the uninformed observer. Such an observer would say that we were apes and then we randomly branched off to become human beings at the point that those differences became apparent. What we argue is that we were always human. Just as with a fetus, where there is a certain point in gestation at which the effects of the male chromosome become distinctly observable, similarly, there was a certain point in our evolution where the effects of our human DNA became distinctly observable.

Also, it would be absurd if someone said that a fetus randomly branches off to become a male and then simultaneously develops all of the male organs in perfect harmony and in a short period of time out of random variance. These changes are guided by what was already written into our chromosomes. Similarly, we argue that it is absurd to say that apes randomly branched off and then went through very rapid, simultaneous advancements in perfect harmony, in a short period of time, out of random variance. These changes were guided by what was already written in our DNA.

The Revival of True Sainthood by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam

This is an extract from the autobiography of Mawlawi Ghulam Rasul Rajeki (may Allah be pleased with him), who was born into a family affiliated to the Qadiriyyah Order having produced, generation after generation, a profusion of Saints, both men and women, who were reputed in the Punjab for their visions and miracles. From his very childhood, Mawlawi Saheb was assiduous in his Salaah (daily prayers), and diligent in his invocations of blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and other devotions. Allah the Most High led him while he was still in his teens to recognise the truth of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him), and to become his follower, after which, people began to witness saintly miracles at his hand which astounded even his own family. Mawlawi Ghulam Rasul Rajeki (may Allah be pleased with him) stood as a living testimony to the sanctifying power of the Imam al-Mahdi whose coming for the rejuvenation of true Islam had been promised by the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Based on ” The Revival of True Sainthood”

https://theartofmisinformation.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/the-revival-of-true-sainthood/

An Incident at Jamun Bola

“The village of Jamun Bola is situated two miles north of our residence. Many landlords of that village had been the well-wishers of our elders. When they came to know of the circumstances surrounding the illness and miraculous recovery of Jeewan Khan [through the prayers of Mawlawi Ghulam Rasul, in a previous episode], an inhabitant of Dhudrha named Khan Muhammad, who was one of these landlords, came to see my father and said: ‘For some time my younger brother, Jan Muhammad, has been suffering from tuberculosis. As an act of kindness, please instruct Mian Ghulam Rasul Sahib to stay at our house for a few days so as to pray for Jan Muhammad, that Allah the Almighty may grant him health too.” Following his request, and as per my father’s instructions, I set off towards them. Upon my arrival, and having refreshed my ablutions, I began to pray for his brother. After having ended with the salaam, I enquired as to how his condition was. The family replied: “The fever has completely disappeared and he has even started to feel hungry.” Afterwards, within a few days, such strength was born in his thin and weak body, that he was able to walk around. Having witnessed this sign, these people began to entertain some positive feelings about Ahmadiyyat; however not a single person entered into the allegiance of the Promised Messiah (pbuh). As a result, Allah the Almighty informed me: “THE HEALTH THAT HAS BEEN GRANTED TO THIS PATIENT WAS A FINAL ARGUMENT FOR THEM; AND IF THEY DO NOT ACCEPT AHMADIYYAT, THE PATIENT WILL BE MADE TO ENTER THE GRAVE ON THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF THE MONTH OF SHA‘BAAN, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.” Subsequently, as soon as I awoke I asked for pen and inkpot and wrote down this divine revelation on a piece of paper and entrusted it to some of the non-Ahmadis of the village, cautioning them not to disclose the prophecy [to anyone] before the appointed time of death. Afterwards, I set off for the holy court of the Promised Messiah (pbuh) and there I spent the blessed month of Ramadan. When Allah the Almighty, in His wisdom, had caused the incident of Jan Muhammad’s apparent return to health to be talked about everywhere, the disease resurfaced and on exactly the twenty-eighth night of the month of Sha‘baan, he departed from this mortal earth. Following his demise, when the non-Ahmadis exposed my writings in front of the public, they were left speechless. How unfortunate it is that even after this, those people still did not accept Ahmadiyyat.”

An incident at Sa‘dullahpur

“Sa‘dullahpur village is about three miles south of our village. Most of its Hanafi inhabitants were on good terms with our elders. For this reason, I used to visit every so often and preach to this village and try to convince them of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (pbuh). In this village, there was an Ahl-e-Hadith scholar, Mawlawi Ghawth Muhammad Sahib, who was a student of the Ghaznavi family in Amritsar, and was therefore exceedingly hostile and opposed [to Ahmadiyyat]. One day, after the Salaat-al-Zuhr (midday prayer) at the mosque, I began to preach Ahmadiyyat in their presence and gave them some books and periodicals to study. When they found out from my preaching and from the Promised Messiah’s books that I believed Hadrat Mirza Sahib to be the Promised Messiah and Imam al-Mahdi, they started using foul language and abusing the Promised Messiah (pbuh). I reasoned with them saying that they could swear at me all they wanted, but that they should refrain from insulting the Promised Messiah (pbuh). In spite of this, they did not stop their abuse. Retiring to a private place, I fell down in prostration praying before the threshold of God with great sobbing and weeping. During the night, I returned to the mosque without having eaten any food and slept there. When morning drew near, Mawlawi Ghawth Muhammad Sahib came up to me in the mosque and begged for forgiveness, beseeching me to do the following: “For God’s sake, please write a letter for my allegiance to Mirza Sahib, otherwise I fear I will die right now and be cast into hell!” Observing his repentance, and greatly astonished, I enquired the reason for it. The Mawlawi Sahib proceeded to give me the following explanation: “I have seen in a dream that it was the Day of Judgment and the decree of my being cast into hell had been issued. To act upon the decree, angels of a terrifying appearance came towards me. They carried enormous clubs that reached all the way up to the sky. These angels grabbed hold of me and declared: “You have attacked the honour of the Promised Messiah (pbuh), the Imam of the Age, so go now to Hell and face your punishment.” I cried out in horror: “I repent! Please let me go!” The angels took no notice, and said: “Now he repents?” They then raised their clubs to strike me. Out of sheer terror I woke up and in this state I have come to you. For God’s sake, please have my sins forgiven and write a letter certifying my allegiance to Hadrat Mirza Sahib.” Due to this dream, he became an Ahmadi; and thereafter as a result of our combined preaching efforts, dozens of men and women entered into the Ahmadiyya Community.”

Why “Euthyphro’s Dilemma” Is Mere Claptrap: How The Qur’an Solves Atheism’s Greatest Argument

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There is a weapon in the arsenal of atheists believed by some advocates of piffle to be so powerful and holy that only the anointed priests of the holy order of balderdash, also known as the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, can deploy it without all matter in the universe collapsing in on itself during a cosmic game of Flapdoodle. Dr. Stephen Hall summarises it thus:

Are things morally right/wrong, good/bad because God says so, or does God say that they are right/wrong, good/bad because God recognises that they are? If the first option is true, then that means that right/wrong are arbitrary. If the latter is true, then we don’t need God to know what is right/wrong, as we can recognize it just as God does. [Hall.S; Humanism, A Very Short Introduction, p.74]

Taking torture as an example, Dr. Stephen Hall, advocate of Humanism, continues:

If the theist says things are morally right or wrong only because God says so, then morality, it turns out, is still arbitrary and relative. Prior to God’s issuing any commands, there is no right or wrong, and thus whatever commands he issues must be morally arbitrary… In response, some theists insist that, as God is himself morally good, he wouldn’t command us to torture innocent people… Had God said torturing the innocent was right, then it would have been. (In that case) God does not make torturing the innocent wrong by virtue of issuing his commands. Such torture would be wrong whatever God commanded. God’s commands are issued, as it were, for informational purposes only… The theist is now acknowledging that torturing the innocent is wrong anyway – it’s objectively wrong – whether or not there exists a God who issues commands. But then atheists and agnostics are free to help themselves to this same objective moral yardstick.

Is this not a veritable victory for atheism? Is this anything less than a splendid scimitar to the jugular of the Divine? A coup d’état so precipitous and dashing that it left you gob-smacked?

Or, maybe it’s just a short-sighted, sanguine argument. Gibberish. Poppycock. Hogwash and claptrapping barney, as my butler (in one of the multiverses) would call it.

Here’s why.

The Qur’an answers Euthyphro’s dilemma in a very simple, understandable way:

And by the soul and its perfection —And He revealed to it what is wrong for it and what is right for it —He indeed truly prospers who purifies it, And he who corrupts it is ruined.
[Qur’an 91:8-11]

In these verses, God sets out what is ‘right’ as what will lead to the attainment of our purpose in life, namely, spiritual purification and what is ‘wrong’ as the opposite. But what is “spiritual purification”? A bit wishy-washy, is it? Not at all. The Qur’an clarifies:

Verily, he truly prospers who purifies himself, And remembers the name of his Lord and offers Prayers. [Qur’an 87:15-16]

Fulfilling the purpose of our life is how the Qur’an determines what is ‘right’, and spiritual purification is the process of deepening and promoting a relationship with our Creator through remembrance of God’s attributes and communication with Him in prayer. Thus, God’s determination of right and wrong is not arbitrary but is related to the objective of our creation. Moreover, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are not independent of God, as the argument states, for what is ‘right’ is what will improve our relationship with God. This is a matter dependent on God’s nature for the more we imitate God’s attributes as set out by His revelation and also by the conscience He has provided us, the more we are purified through nearness to Him. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ do not, therefore, exist outside of God either. Thus, the premise of Euthyphro’s dilemma that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are “one of two things,” is flawed. What leads to God is what is related to His Nature and constitutes what is ‘right’, while what leads away from God is ‘wrong’ as it is contrary to His Nature.

The nature of our conscience, according to the Qur’an, testifies to the character and Nature of God. The psychology of humans, in its unadulterated form, is a torch-bearer and a reminder of the Nature of God:

So set thy face to the service of religion as one devoted to God. And follow the nature made by Allah — the nature in which He has created mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah. That is the right religion. But most men know not. [Qur’an 30:31]

The right religion, God tells us, is the teaching in which the nature of mankind is kept pure and unadulterated, upon the pattern of God’s Nature. This can also be seen by the fact that God is never described in the Qur’an as “good”, termed “Ihsan” in Arabic. Ihsan or “goodness” is only a characteristic of humans. Why? Simply put, if God was described as “good” then Euthyphro’s dilemma would be valid, as “goodness” could then be said to exist outside of God. Instead, it is goodness that is defined by God’s nature: goodness is God – not the other way around. This can be appreciated by the fact that the opening verses of the Qur’an describe God as the one in whom all praiseworthy qualities originate and find their authorship:

All Praise belongs to and returns to Allah, Creator, Developer and Sustainer of all the worlds [Qur’an 1:2].

All praise returning to God means that anything you see, which you deem praiseworthy, is in fact, merely a reflection of God’s attributes. The Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, echoed this when he described Ihsan or “goodness” in the following manner:

Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then know at least that Allah sees you. [Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 300]

Goodness is therefore to be able to “see God” rather than “seeing goodness”. To see God means to know God’s attributes, to love those attributes and to be motivated to imitate those attributes. Such worship does not simply consist of formulaic prostrating and bowing, but consists of living one’s entire life on the pattern of such praiseworthy qualities. Those who cannot partake of such a high degree of nearness to God, such as to have God’s attributes before the mind’s eye at every moment, can partake of it by remembering that God is aware of them and that they will be held to account for any acts contrary to His nature, also known as “evil deeds”.

Thus, the higher state of “goodness” or Ihsan, is to spontaneously follow God out of love for His attributes, as reflected in one’s own pure conscience. Such a condition is one of total love and obedience and constitutes the active doing of deeds that please God – known as “good deeds”. The lower level is to merely abstain from deeds that run contrary to God’s nature and pleasure, through being aware of one’s accountability to God. Thus, the former consist of positive virtues – the active doing of good, while the latter consists of negative virtues – abstention from evil.

The above phrase of the Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, is both simple and remarkable insofar as he captures with such brevity the entire panoply of human goodness, while simultaneously drawing attention to the roots of those actions: knowledge and adoration of God’s attributes as the motivator of good deeds; and accountability to God as the means of restraint from evil. In tying goodness or Ihsan to God’s essential nature, he cuts to the heart of Euthyphro’s dilemma, exposing the atheist argument for the bunkum it really is.

 

Note: The present post has been reproduced from the End of Atheism blog. The author is Dr Tahir Nasser @TahirNasser

When chickens come home to roost

The following challenge is doing the rounds on social media:

MUSLIMS, REFUTE THIS ANALYSIS OF FREE WILL IN ISLAM.

My comments are preceded by the word “COMMENT“.

 

Four Premises

  • Allah is omniscient.
  • Nothing happens except by Allah’s will.
  • Allah Himself has free will.
  • Allah cannot make a mistake.

COMMENT: Premise 2 is false. Islam informs us that nothing happens except by Allah’s PERMISSION. Allah does not WILL anyone to commit crimes; however He PERMITS them to do so. This is borne out by the following Qur’anic verse:

“And if thy Lord had so willed, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers?” (10:99)*

Forcing people to do things is not Allah’s way.

 

Analysis

1: Because nothing happens except by Allah’s will, all human beings are created only according to Allah’s will.

COMMENT: As pointed out above, everything happens with God’s permission, but that does not imply that God wants everything to be the way it is.

2: Because Allah is omniscient, Allah knows the eventual fate of every person even before the moment of their creation.

COMMENT: This is correct.

3: Because Allah has free will, he has the free will to create or not create any human being he chooses.

COMMENT: This is correct.

4: Therefore, at the moments of creation, Allah is choosing to create some people that he already knows will be saved, and others that he already knows will be condemned to hell.

COMMENT: This is correct, but incomplete. Allah creates people who He knows will CHOOSE to act in a way that will save them, and others that He knows will CHOOSE to act in a way that will lead them to hell.

5: Therefore, since the results of every lifetime are already known even prior to creation, the “test” for salvation is already complete even before the created individual is born.

COMMENT: This is partially correct. The test results are already known to Allah, but knowledge of the results does NOT mean that God is the one producing these results. As for the test being complete, see below.

Q.E.D. Life on earth cannot be a test for salvation. The test is already complete before life on earth takes place.

COMMENT: This is incorrect. God’s knowledge of future events will only be true if the events take place. The test is only complete when all human choices have been made and all future events have happened.

 

Further Analysis

6: If a human being were capable of doing anything to change his fate from the one Allah already determined, then Allah would have made a mistake.

COMMENT: Allah does NOT determine the fate of anyone. They determine their own fate, and are consequently made by God to carry the burden of that self-chosen fate. The question of a “mistake” does not apply.

7: Since Allah cannot make a mistake, a human being cannot do anything to change his fate from the one Allah already determined.

Q.E.D. Human beings cannot have free will.

COMMENT: Incorrect. See above.

 

 Conclusion

  • Life on earth is not a test for salvation. For what is there to test if the results are known ahead of time and there is nothing we can do to change them?
  • Qiyamah, the Islamic Day of Judgment, is a farce. For we are not being judged based on our behaviors, but on Allah’s previous decision.
  • People are not led to Islam because it is superior message or religion, but because Allah decided that they would become Muslims whether they wanted to or not.
  • Since the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived, and who are living today are not Muslim, Allah must have created the vast majority of human beings for the express purpose of condemning them to Jahannam. Therefore the primary purpose of creation must be hell and suffering, not paradise and salvation.

COMMENT: This conclusion is entirely erroneous, due to the false assumption made in premise 2. Certain parameters in life are determined by God, such as the place and date of birth, ethnicity, height, physical abilities, etc., but within these parameters Man creates his own fate. The fact that God already knows what Man will do even before the universe was created, in no way means that God forced Man to make those choices. God sends guidance through His messengers to the whole of mankind. It is entirely their choice whether to arrogantly and viciously oppose it or to accept it with humility and gratitude. Their choices are not forced upon them, and they will have to face the consequences of those choices.

A farmer knowing – even before they hatch – at what time his chickens will come home to roost everyday is not the one making them do it.

 


*This will be 10:100 in translations where the Basmalah (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever-Merciful) is counted as verse number 1.

 

Why Religion Succeeds where Humanism Fails

Why religions succeeds where humanism fails

By Umar Nasser

The original post can be read HERE. Photo credit: Joel Duggan. 

Attempting to critically assess Humanism’s moral teachings is a bit like studying subatomic particles in quantum physics: the closer you look, the less you seem to know. Out of the many moral philosophies on offer, which should we follow? Consequentialism or virtue ethics? Hume or Kant? Is utilitarianism good, bad, or somewhere in between? And who’s setting these rules anyway?

So much for scientific specificity. In the absence of any clear doctrines to critique, one can only go by generalities. Indeed, generalities are the only thing that Humanism can really offer – the more specific we get, the quicker we descend into dissent and disagreements amongst its own ranks. A top-level framework is what is needed, and Humanism’s is essentially to increase well-being and reduce suffering. It’s a position defended explicitly by popular atheist writer Sam Harris, and typifies the Humanist approach. And let’s be honest – it sounds pretty good. Surely every religious person would agree on increasing well-being, and reducing suffering? And if atheists and theists can agree on it, then where’s the need for religion? Can’t we just follow it anyway? Well, let’s find out.

The first and most obvious problem we come across with a principle like this is the issue of utilitarianism. If increasing well-being becomes a numbers game, then surely the heaviest set wins? As such, if I could torture one person and elicit information that could save a hundred, does that make torture OK? Apparently. Similarly, what of situations where an individual feels their well-being increase, without obvious harm being done? Does that make such an action moral? For instance, if someone was inclined towards a consensual incestual relationship, would that be OK? So we are told.

These are common examples, but one is spoiled for choice. Under Humanism’s vague directions, we are left precisely where we began – lost. Take an accountant of the Rothschild’s, the richest family on Earth. Imagine he is one day tempted to steal some money from his luxury-loving employers. Just £1000. He has the skills to easily get away with it. He will certainly benefit from the extra money, and he knows for sure that his billionaire employers will never miss it. He looks at religious morality that tells him such theft is unlawful, and that he will be held responsible. But our accountant is much too enlightened for this religion nonsense. To Humanism he goes! And what does he find? Maximise well-being, minimise suffering. Well he thinks, no-one will suffer, and his well-being will increase. And so it would seem that theft is not only not immoral, but positively a good thing!

Then let’s turn to a rather more sordid affair – literally. A married woman and her tempting lover. She finds herself in a dissatisfied marriage, but feels that it could all pick up if she lets herself indulge just once with her new-found friend. She waits until her husband is out of the country so he can’t find out, but then, her conscience prickles. This is adultery. That can’t be right, can it? As she pauses for thought, Humanism, wonderful Humanism, comes to her aid. She remembers that delightful Stephen Fry video which said we should do what makes us happy. Maximise well-being and reduce suffering…

Well, needless to say, she decides to go and maximise her well-being.

The examples are endless. Imagine the criminal, asked if he committed a crime for which there are no other suspects. Lie with no consequence, or tell the truth with punishment? Or the drug addict who’s considering another high, a unique sensory experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Which version of well-being should he follow, and what compelling reason does Humanism give him to follow one path over the other? The reality is that without a justified model of what well-being is, we’re shooting in the dark. We end up with 7 billion different versions of well-being, everyone’s conception clashing with the other’s, and none being any more right than the next one.

And what then of suffering? Is reducing suffering always good, and increasing suffering always bad? Well, what of the mother who deprives her child of his/her wish, out of knowledge of what is best for it? Is that an immoral act? Clearly not – the child may suffer, but the Mother has an endpoint in mind to which she wants to nurture it. So how could the Mother allow her child to go down a path that she knows is harmful with respect to its ultimate end? Thus suffering is sometimes beneficial.

Indeed, not only is sometimes suffering necessary to be saved from the bad, it can be a prerequisite of achieving the good. Can we develop steadfastness without trials? Can we nurture patience without pestilence? Can we summon courage without obstacles? Ask any toiling student, or sweating body-builder, or weary charity worker – suffering is not only something to be avoided, but often something to be sought after. As such, we do not always suffer when we are suffering.

It should be clear by now, that empty words of well-being and suffering are meaningless without defining a set goal towards which they are directed. Without this, we may well end up doing harm to someone whilst thinking that we are helping them, or imagine that we are saving them from harm when only holding back from them good. Without such a reference point, the villains of the world will seek to justify the suffering they inflict by the well-being they envisage, and Humanism is unable to coherently justify what makes such a vision wrong. Humanism, by failing to offer a set model of what we should be shooting for, allows our morality to become a slave to transient passions and social pressures. We lose sight of our target, before realising we never had one to begin with.

Religion on the other hand gives us a model of well-being, as articulated poignantly in the Qur’an:

Surely, I have not created men high and low, but that they may worship Me.” (Holy Qur’an, 51:57-8)

The Arabic word used here for ‘worship’ means far more than what we are accustomed to from the familiar school assemblies and occasional Church visit. It means to serve, to assimilate the qualities of a Master, to follow in a beloved’s footsteps. Thus, the meaning of this verse is as the Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Communitywrote over 50 years ago:

“[One’s purpose] is to subject oneself to a rigorous spiritual discipline, working with all one’s inherent powers and capacities to their fullest scope, in perfect harmony with and in obedience to God’s design, so as to receive the Divine impress and thus be able to manifest in oneself God’s attributes. This is, as stated in the present verse, the great and noble aim and object of man’s creation and this is exactly what worship of God means. The external and internal endowments of human nature give us clearly to understand that of God-given faculties the highest is the one which awakens in man the urge to search after God and incites in him the noble desire to completely submit himself to His will.”

As is clear, the purpose for which we are created is to become Godly, and thus attain the love of our Creator. As imitation truly is the highest form of flattery, we then seek to become a benefit for others in society by mimicking in our own spheres divine beneficence. But that beneficence takes a form, a shape which is in line with the guidance from the Being Who created us. As He knows all our potentials and inner natures, His guidance is the only one qualified to truly tell us what well-being is and how to achieve it. Only He can tell us what suffering we should endure for a higher purpose, and what suffering must be avoided at all costs.

This is the key difference between religious and atheistic morality. Humanism has no basis for calling one thing right and another thing wrong – such concepts are mere illusions according to its prerequisite beliefs. Moreover, it is fundamentally incapable of furnishing us with any useful guidance on how we should live our lives as it has no purpose towards which it can aim. Each person is a law unto themselves, justified in working towards their own idea of well-being and disregarding anyone else’s, whatever the cost may be.

On the other hand, religion calls towards a Divine Creator who has created us with a set purpose in mind. Achieving that aim is what will give us true satisfaction, for we have been constituted as such. We are given models in the Prophets of how to emulate divine qualities and thus win divine love. This is the well-being that religion tells us we were born to seek. It reminds us that within us lurk souls which act as a barometer telling us how well or poorly we are doing this: an in-built navigation system whose call we all hear. The moral and social teachings of God in religious scripture are designed with all our capacities and temperaments in mind, and are thus effective in creating a society which gives everyone the best opportunity to realise their divine purpose – should they so please. Otherwise they are free to ignore their purpose and enjoy the provisions provided to the spiritual and the worldly alike, though by doing so they deprive themselves of the true inner satisfaction which we have all been created to enjoy.

Without such a destination and route laid out by a Creator, we’re completely rudderless, with no lighthouse on the horizon towards which we can sail. Thick waves roll over us, and we are left in darkness no matter the direction in which we turn.

Find out about some of the moral teachings of Islam as explained by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam over at trueislam.com


 

Follow Umar Nasser on twitter @UmarN91

7 Biology Myths No Electrical Engineer Would Ever Tolerate

A stimulating and unarguably rational post by Perry Marshall. See the original HERE (and don’t miss the great comments underneath it!)

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As an Electrical Engineer, I am appalled at the intellectual slop that passes for science in biology.

Engineers would lose their jobs in droves if they tolerated the mushy thinking and lack of rigor that is routine in the life sciences. Before I elaborate on this, some background.

15 years ago I couldn’t have imagined I would become interested in DNA, biology, evolution or any such thing. Biology in high school was b-o-r-i-n-g. Chemistry in college was a hard slog.

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering. Specialized in communications and control systems. Graduated and developed analog circuits. Worked as an acoustical engineer. Designed the speakers in the 1994 Ford Probe, the 1995 Acura Vigor, the 1995 Jeep Cherokee and the 1996 Honda Civic.

Left acoustics & pursued digital communications. Sold embedded networking hardware, software and IC’s in the automation and robotics industry. Fought digital networking standards battles in manufacturing.

Wrote an Ethernet book, published by the world’s #1 technical society for process control engineers. And now here I am discussing DNA, evolution, and telling you about scientific discoveries so new, you can’t buy books about them in the bookstore.

I’m loving it. As an outsider to the “biology industry” I bring a very particular perspective: That of an engineer who’s performed digital network design (very exact), analog circuit design (a quasi-art form), and acoustics (extremely complex and messy).

All industries become incestuous as they age. They resist change. All professions are run by good ol’ boys clubs.

In every industry, innovations almost never come from the inside. Novel approaches usually come from outsiders. External innovations are opposed by the old guard because they threaten the status quo. Bill Gates was a complete outsider to the computer business. Larry and Sergey, founders of Google, were complete foreigners to the search engine game.

(Early on, they tried to sell their search technology to Yahoo for $1 million but Yahoo turned them down.)

Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, was a complete virgin in the shipping industry. Ray Kroc of McDonalds wasn’t a restaurant veteran; he was a milkshake machine salesman.

All these people had an outsiders’ point of view that enabled them to see what insiders were blind to. Like these men, I am a total outsider in biology.

Yet despite the fact that I wouldn’t pass a test on retroviruses or organic chemistry, as an EE I see certain things with crystal clarity that biologists are blind to.

One reason is, in Electrical Engineering, theory matches reality better than it does in almost any other engineering discipline. Examples: In metallurgy, when you predict the failure load of a steel beam, you’re lucky if your guess is within 10%. In chemical engineering, a 5-10% error factor is considered good for many reactions.

Civil engineers over-design bridges by 50% to 100% just to be safe. But a model of an electrical circuit or computer chip is often accurate to within 1% and sometimes 0.01%.

Because you can’t see electricity and shouldn’t touch it, EE is abstract and very mathematical. It’s also rigorous. I can’t tell you how many times in my engineering classes, the professor would be explaining something like, say, the behavior of a semiconductor, and he would derive the calculus equation from scratch.

Of the appliances in your house, which ones work exactly the way they’re supposed to? Your car doesn’t. Your dishwasher doesn’t. Your refrigerator needs new parts every few years. The mechanical stuff is prone to problems.

But your TV does exactly what it’s supposed to, for years. So does your iPod and your Microwave oven and your clock radio and your cell phone. You can thank an EE for that. For this reason, EE’s have very high expectations of theoretical models… because the model has to be built and it has to work.

Engineers don’t have much tolerance for B.S.

Today: 7 Urban Legends Biologists Believe…. but an Engineer Would Never Tolerate:

1. “Random mutations are usually neutral or harmful but occasionally they confer a benefit to an organism. Natural Selection filters out the harmful mutations, causing species to evolve.”

This is the central dogma of neo-Darwinism and is allegedly accepted by “virtually all scientists.” You will find it in literally 1,000 textbooks and 10,000 websites. To the average biologist and to the average man on the street, it sounds perfectly plausible. And I fully understand why people believe this.

But I’m an EE. I know that the information in DNA is a signal. By definition, random mutations are noise. Telling a communications engineer that adding noise to a signal sometimes create new, useful data structures is like telling a nurse you can occasionally cure a common cold by swallowing rat poison. This is absurd!

You’ll be hard pressed to find any communications engineer who, upon examining this claim, would agree with it.

Have you ever had a data glitch on your computer that improved your files? Ever? There is not a one single principle or practice in engineering that would ever suggest that this is actually true.

All the Natural Selection in the world is powerless without a beneficialmutation. And you’ll never get a major benefit from accidental copying errors. The mutations that drive evolution are systematic and directed, not accidental.

2. “97% of your DNA is junk – an accumulation of evolutionary leftovers from random mutations over millions of years.”

The only reason anyone believes lie #2 is that they believe lie #1. Here’s how any rational person can quickly figure out that #2 is B.S.: Human DNA holds 750 megabytes of data, the same as a Compact Disc.

If 97% of your DNA is junk, that means the 3% that isn’t junk is 22 megabytes. In other words, they’re implying that the entire plan for a human body only takes up 22 megabytes of storage space. Heck, the “Windows” folder on my PC – the directory that contains most of the Operating System – is 27gigabytes.

Does anyone actually think Microsoft Windows Vista is more sophisticated than the human body? Bill Gates sure doesn’t. The fact that a plan for an entire human body can even be contained on one CD is nothing short of a miracle of data compression.

Actual fact: DNA is not 3% efficient. It’s more like 1,000% efficient. The same gene can be used in completely different ways by a dozen different processes. The result is a level of data density that software engineers only dream of.

Engineers see profound elegance where biologists see junk. Which perspective is more in keeping with the aims of science?

3. “You only need 3 things for evolution to occur: heredity, variation and selection.”

Tufts university philosopher and prominent atheist Daniel Dennett famously said this. He would never say this if he had an engineering degree. If this were true, computer viruses (which have heredity, variation and selection) would mutate all by themselves and develop resistance to anti-virus software. They don’t.

If this were true, the pirated copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of Windows XP or The Eagles’ “Hotel California” that you can buy on the street corner for $2 in China would occasionally be superior to the original. It never is.

If this were true, Bill Gates wouldn’t have to employ 10,000 programmers in Redmond Washington. He would just buy truckloads of computers, add random errors to a billion copies of Windows and filter them through natural selection.

Nobody writes software that way. Nobody.

Have you ever wondered why?

Most biologists think evolution just happens automatically. They say all you need is time and a lot of raw materials and it will just happen. So why don’t computer programs ever evolve by themselves? They don’t and they never will – not unless they’re programmed to do so.

Evolution is not a given; in the real world it’s always a design feature. Software programmers will tell you that self-adaptive code is profoundly difficult to write.

Never happens by accident. This pronouncement by Daniel Dennett is Exhibit “A” of pseudoscience.

4. “Biology is nothing more than sophisticated physics and chemistry.”That’s like saying the Internet is nothing more than sophisticated copper wire and silicon chips.

I’m an e-commerce consultant. I practically live on the Internet. I have conversations with people about the Internet all the time. Nobody I talk to ever describes the Internet that way. Do you?

You talk about things like email and Google and Facebook. You tell your friend about the Youtube video where the guy goes to every country in the world and does his little dance jig. And the latest gaffe by Donald Trump.

All those things are information. 90% of Electrical Engineering is concerned with controlling and processing information. Only a small part of EE is concerned with things like motors and generators and watts and horsepower.

Even power equipment is controlled by information. All the interesting things you do with electricity involve signals or digital codes. Temperature measurement or text messages or a radio transmission.

The software is more interesting than the hardware. So it is with DNA. Chemicals are just the hardware.

Until the biology profession accepts that the real power in biology is in the information – the software and not the chemicals – it will continue to slam into brick walls and put forth evolutionary theories that make wrong predictions.

These assumptions continue to get nowhere in Origin of Life research. Information never improves by accident. Information evolves only through highly structured processes.

(By the way, Systems Biology bypasses old-school reductionism and is making great strides.)

5. “Genetic Algorithms Prove Darwinian Evolution.”

A Genetic Algorithm (GA) is a computer program that modifies code and then evaluates the code against some pre-programmed goal, keeping the winners and discarding the losers. GA’s refine software programs through an evolution-like process.

GA’s are not a be-all-end-all by any means, and they have limited application. But they are useful.

Some years ago Richard Dawkins wrote a software program that took the following garbage text:

WDLTMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P

After only 43 iterations, by deleting characters it didn’t want, the program reached its pre-programmed goal: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL

Traditional Darwinian evolution by definition has no goals, just blind natural selection. Dawkins’ program has a definite goal and is programmed to reach it.

This program has nothing to do with formal Darwinian evolution. It’s intelligent evolution.

Every single Genetic Algorithm I’ve ever seen, no matter how simple or complicated, only works if it has pre-programmed goals.

Which requires both a program and objectives. I’ve never seen a GA that actually mirrored Darwinian Evolution. They always sneak in some element of design. Which only adds to the reasons why the Neo-Darwinian theory of purposeless random events is wrong.

Real world evolution is pre-programmed and has goals of some sort pre-loaded. I’ve never seen an exception. This is no different than computer programs that evolve.

6. “The human eye is a pathetic design. It’s got a big blind spot and the ‘wires’ are installed backwards.”

There are many, many variations on this argument. It’s just another version of “Junk DNA.”

When I was a manufacturing production manager, I had to produce an indicator lamp assembly for a piece of equipment. The design had a light bulb and 2 identical resistors, which I thought were stupid. I suggested that we replace the 2 resistors with one resistor of twice the value. This would save money and space.

I told the customer the design was obviously lousy. The engineer got angry and almost took his business elsewhere. Then my boss spent 30 minutes lecturing me. He reminded me that my job was to put the customers’ product into production, not insult him with my warped critique of his design skills.

What I didn’t know was that 600 volts would arc across one resistor, but not across two. A second, “redundant” resistor was an elegant way to solve that problem and it only cost 2 cents.

I learned the hard way that when you criticize a design, you may have a very incomplete picture of the many constraints the designer has to work within.

Designs always have delicate tradeoffs. Some have amazing performance but are extremely difficult to manufacture. Sometimes a minor change in material would make a huge improvement but the material is unavailable. Sometimes you have to make a compromise between 15 competing priorities.

Sometimes people have no appreciation for how difficult that maze is to navigate. I am not saying that there are no sub-optimal designs in biology – I’m sure there are lots of sub-optimal designs. Furthermore I do believe that life followed an evolutionary process and many designs are “best guesses” engineered by the organism’s ancestors.

But human beings must be very careful to not proudly assert that we could ‘obviously do better.’ We don’t know that. We do not understand what’s involved in designing an eye because we’ve never built one.

My friend, if you lose your eye, there’s not a single arrogant scientist in the world who can build you a new one. Especially not the scientists who try to tell you why the design of the eye is “pathetic.”

If I were selecting an eye surgeon, I’d look for one who has deep respect for the eye, not disdain for it. How about you? Every engineer knows that you never truly know how something works until you can build it. Merely taking it apart is not enough. Until we can DESIGN eyes for ourselves, we must be very cautious about what we say. The scientist must ALWAYS be humble in the face of nature and you should be wary of anyone who is not.

7. “There is no such thing as purpose in nature. There is only the appearance of purpose.” “Teleology” is a scientific term which is defined as ‘purpose in nature.’ Atheism denies teleology in the universe. For this reason some biologists have forbidden their students to use purposeful language. In 1974 Ernst Mayr illustrated it like this:

1. “The Wood Thrush migrates in the fall in order to escape the inclemency of the weather and the food shortages of the northern climates.”

2. “The Wood Thrush migrates in the fall and thereby escapes the inclemency of the weather and the food shortages of the northern climates.”

Statement #1 is purposeful, statement #2 is not. Mayr does fancy footwork in order to avoid reference to design in biology. (It also converts all of his writing to colorless passive sentences. Any good writer will tell you passive language is a sign of mushy thinking.)

The famous biologist JBS Haldane joked, “Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”

Everything in biology is purposeful. Which is precisely why biology is fundamentally different than chemistry.

Chemicals have no purpose. Organisms do. You cannot formulate a coherent description of life if you deny purpose.

For proof of this, look no further than the genetic code. Every codon in DNA maps to an amino acid that it is SUPPOSED TO make – but an error is possible.

It is not possible to even talk about any code at all without acknowledging purpose. Purpose is implicit in every strand of DNA in every organism in the world.

In his book “Perceptual Control Theory,” William Powers explains that the study of any goal-directed (control feedback) system is fundamentally different than the study of rocks or chemicals or magnetic fields or anything purely physical. The failure to acknowledge this has wreaked all kinds of havoc in science for 150 years.

Even something as simple as a thermostat cannot be understood if you see it as only an assembly of molecules.

A thermostat is programmed to hold your room at a certain temperature. The thermostat’s purpose can only be understood from a top-down point of view. It has a goal.

In Electrical Engineering, the top-down nature of information is described by something we call the OSI “7 Layer Model.”

Simplified explanation: The 7 Layer model says that in your computer, there’s an Ethernet cable that connects you to the Internet. The copper wire and the voltage on that wire is Layer 1 – the “physical layer.”

Layer 2 is is the 1’s and 0’s that voltage represents. Layers 3, 4, 5 and 6 are the operating system and layer 7 is your spreadsheet or email program or web browser, the “application layer.”

When you send me an email, information is encoded from the top down and sent through your Ethernet cable. When I receive your email, information is decoded from the bottom up starting with the signal on the cable, and I read your email on my screen.

ALL information is organized this way – in a top-down hierarchy. The wire has its purpose. The 1’s and 0’s have their purpose. The operating system has a purpose, my email program has a purpose and your message has a purpose.

You cannot deny purpose in computers or biology without immediately contradicting yourself 2 minutes later. Even a person who denies purpose is purposefully denying it.

Everything I just told you, I absolutely know to be true as a result of my education and experience as an engineer.

Darwinism as we know it CANNOT stand under the weight of 21st century DNA research. It’s impossible. Because I’ve read the literature. Amazon is absolutely littered with books written from every imaginable point of view, both religious and non-religious, pointing to the creaking, groaning edifice of Neo-Darwinism.

It is inevitable that it will fall. And it’s not going to be long. It will be replaced by an algorithmic model of Evolution.

BOLD HYPOTHESIS: When Biologists accept what Electrical Engineers know about information, a whole bunch of problems in biology will be solved:

1. The random mutation theory will be discarded. It will be replaced with Transposition, Natural Genetic Engineering, Horizontal Gene Transfer and Genome Doubling. Suddenly evolution will make sense because it is understood as an engineered process not random accident.

2. We’ll discover that what was originally thought to be junk DNA is actually the heart of the most sophisticated database format ever devised.

3a. Evolution will not be taken for granted but deeply appreciated as an utterly ingenious mechanism, pre-programmed into living things. As software engineers replicate the evolutionary algorithm in computer programs, we’ll achieve huge breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence.

3b: Evolution is orchestrated at a very high level within the organism. It is controlled by a mechanism that is currently poorly understood. This mechanism is beautifully efficient, elegant, fractal, and follows a very exact mathematical protocol. Bioinformatics will become the most rigorous discipline in engineering. The ‘code’ of this protocol will be cracked because of the Human Genome Project and the public availability of DNA sequences. This discovery will lay the foundation of an entire new branch of Computer Science in the 21st century.

4. The “Physics and Chemistry” paradigm of biology will be replaced with a “Bioinformatics” paradigm. Evolution and the origin of life theories will make much more successful predictions.

5. Neo-Darwinism will be discarded because biologists will recognize that biological evolution is just like Genetic Algorithms: It employs pre-programmed goals and educated guesses, not random chance.

6. Rather than assuming designs in biology are “pathetic” or “stupid” we’ll discover deeper reasons for why organisms are the way they are. And greater insights into the subtlety of living things.

7. Everything in biology makes sense once you understand that every single one of the 5 million trillion trillion cells on earth is purposeful and intentional and the original cells were designed to evolve and adapt.

Finally I would like to suggest that there is nothing in the world that can teach us more about digital communications and software programming than DNA.

DNA is an absolute gold mine, a treasure trove of insights of data storage, error correction, software architecture, robust design and fractal data compression.

Every Electrical Engineer and Computer Science major should study it intensively. And there is much we engineers can learn from the biologists – because even the simplest living thing is more elegant than the greatest man-made supercomputer.

As Engineers and Biologists begin to talk to each other, the 21st century will be amazing indeed.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: Innovations almost always come from outsiders. This means that those who read widely and embrace multiple disciplines – pockets of humanity that don’t normally talk to each other – can enjoy long and prosperous careers as innovators. The watchword of 21st century biology will be “Interdisciplinary” – the great mysteries will be solved by people who bring the expertise of other fields to bear on the biggest questions in science.

My challenge to you: Make a deliberate decision to step outside of your normal and familiar environment and innovate. The world will reward you for it.