Leaving Islam





Chance or Intelligence?  

Is this universe formed by chance or was it created by an intelligent being? There is an article published in many Islamic sites called Chance or Intelligence by ANALYS. http://www.islaam.com/articles/chance_or.htm  

It argues,  

“This Universe, indeed displays a remarkable vista of order and consistency.. …. Reflection may lead us to pertinent questions: Could such encompassing order have arisen purely by unintentioned accident? Or could there be an intelligent originator to this spectacular array of living and non-living forms —a designer that may have developed them through processes, which have yet to be fully determined? What conclusions are evidential?  

Is it probable that all the letters on this page unscrambled themselves by chance to form these meaningful and structured sentences? How then, could a human being - with ears, eyes and a mind - have been formed by chance? Is it credible that such a vast universe with an inestimable billions of galaxies could have evolved by accident?”  

Then after making a list of similar questions it concludes that  

“We know that we are not the cause of ourselves, for embryonic development is organized and directed in stages under natural laws. But directed by what and by whose laws? Chance? Or Intelligence?”  

The article goes on to disprove polytheism by saying that it would not be possible because the result “would have be disordered and chaotic due to the conflicting commands of these infinitely powerful entities... Instead of rain, we might conceivably have received a heavy downpour of elephants from the skies.”  

With this he suggest that there must be only one God. Who “must have created and developed all living and non-living things”.  

Then he goes on to say that “the myriad forms of matter and energy as well as the physiological structure of the human being must be subject to the natural laws of this singular and independent governing intelligence."  

And concludes that a reasonable person “would be naturally drawn to the logical conclusion of the existence of a unique originator” 


In this article the author makes a valid assumption and draws an invalid conclusion. He observes that, “this Universe, displays a remarkable vista of order and consistency”. He rightly says that “the myriad forms of matter and energy as well as the physiological structure of the human being must be subject to the natural laws of (a) singular and independent governing intelligence.” But with no reason concludes that this “governing intelligence” is Muhammad’s Allah, to the extent that he unreasonably claims “A reasoning person would be naturally drawn to the logical conclusion of the existence of a unique originator... and therefore must be a Muslim.”

I agree that there is a “governing intelligence” in the universe. But to assume that that governing Intelligence is the god of Islam as described in the Quran is not tenable.

If the creation of this universe was teleological, if there was a purposeful creator behind the locomotive of evolution, then there must be life in all the planets. Or one could say that God is a sloppy creator for he often fails to produce life in most of the planets and succeeds only in a few. The fact that none of the planets in our solar system is livable is proof that it is by accident and not by intent that life has appeared in our planet. It is merely an accident that we humans have evolved as such. This accident occurred 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid hit the Earth, eliminating the dinosaurs and making this planet viable for the mammals to flourish.

The whole creation is the result of accidents. Take for example the pollination of flowers. Millions of pollens are carried by the wind and accidentally some of them fall on the stigma and fertilize it. The same lottery is played when millions of human sperms are released and only one has the chance to hit the ovum. What happens to the rest of the sperms? What was their destiny? Why they were created? If there was a teleological design, why so much waste? Why so much fatality?

Creationists make the example of a monkey behind a typewriter. They ask, “What are the chances that a monkey type Shakespeare’s Hamlet?” I admit that the chances are slim. But the example of one monkey behind the typewriter is not appropriate to explain the mechanism of evolution.

Evolution takes place by trial and errors. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in this Universe. Each galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. Each star hosts a number of planets. What are the chances that some of those planets have the right condition to host life? The answer is staggering. That is simple mathematics. In other words, despite the fact that planets that can nurture life are relatively few (let us say they are one in million) given the astronomical vastness of the universe the number of potentially life supporting planets is mind boggling. But if only one in a million planets are capable of hosting life, that is chance.

Now consider how many atoms are in the Earth? The number is incredibly high. Suppose other potentially life supporting planets are the same size as the Earth and what has happened and is happening here, has, is or will happen in those planets as well. Now let us consider the Earth and see how it gave birth to life. The chances that suddenly atoms get together and form an intelligent human being like Adam and Eve, is virtually none. But their chance of getting together and forming simple molecules is very high. In fact since so many atoms are constantly trying to interact under the right conditions, it is almost inconceivable that they don’t succeed. It would be like zillions of monkeys each given a typewriter typing 24/7 for billions of years and all they have to do is type a simple word. Not a phrase, not a book, just a simple word! It is not hard to imagine that there will be innumerable monkeys who will type many correct words. And of course they will write a lot more words that have no meaning. Even if the chance of writing a correct word is one in a million, considering the huge number of monkeys and the immense time given, even with such a slim chance, dictionaries can be written. 

The next stage is to put these words with meaning together and make simple phrases that make sense. Now imagine that you have a word processor that does not type letters but complete words. What would be the chance for those monkeys pressing the right keys on this specifically designed keyboard to come up with a sensible phrase? Given billions of years and an infinite number of monkeys, the answer is obviously pretty high.

This is the way evolution takes place. It might have taken millions of years for atoms to take form. But once they are formed, the Mother Nature uses them as the building blocks to build simple molecules. Those simple molecules are used as the building blocks for the creation of complex and mega molecules, proteins, acids, fats, etc. These newly formed molecules along with the simple molecules haphazardly interact with each other. A vast number of these chemical interactions, in fact the majority of them, produce nothing. But one in a million of these combinations give birth to simple living organisms.

It has long been thought that fundamental biological property was the sole preserve of the nucleic acids that make up the genes of living organisms. But recently Reza Ghadiri's group at Scripps Research Center in La Jolla, California, demonstrated that small proteins can also self-replicate. Therefore once life is established, a DNA is created or even a protein is formed, there is no necessity to re-create it. It will keep catalyzing or replicating itself. 

However when the DNAs replicate, mistakes happen. And those mistakes are responsible for the mutation of living organisms. That is why no two grains of wheat are exactly the same. It is not a miracle of God but the way genes are copied. Most of these mutations are insignificant and affect only the appearance of the organism. Many of them are fatal; those organisms with fatal mutations do not survive to pass the defective genes to future generations. However, some of those mutations are innovations that allow the species to survive better in its environment. These genetic mutations that happen constantly within every cell of every living being is in fact responsible for the diversity of life in this planet.  

Some religionists speak of "intelligent design". This is not science. If evolution was directed by an intelligent being, at least the majority of mutations would have been a gain for the organism. This is not so. Most mutations are fatal. Mutations that help the organism to adapt to its environment better, are extremely rare. This clearly shows that there is no intelligent being directing the evolution. The evolution happens very much by chance. It happens when a change in the environment kills most of the members of one spices allowing only a small percentage with specific traits to survive. This minute group then pass those traits to their offspring and that is how species evolve. They evolve through fatality, through death and destruction of the majority.  

As you see there is no hand of God at work here! In fact if an intelligent God was responsible for the design of this universe, one could question his justice. For it does not seem to be fair that some creatures are intended to become food for others, or be born defective. Pretty cruel and unfair for a powerful and loving God! 


Well, as I said I am not an atheist; I am not a deist and definitely not a theist. 

Let us go back to our monkeys and their typewriters. They type quite unintelligently  and accidentally some of those words that they type have meanings. What is it that makes those words with meanings different from those that are meaningless? That is the question! We will come back to that. Now let us consider the process of evolution. Thousands or millions of combinations produce nothing. But some are evolutionary successes and are replicated in the subsequent combinations. What is it that makes those successful combinations standout from the rest?

Here is the answer to the above questions. In the case of the words, there must be a language and a grammar for the words and phrases to make sense. Without a language all the words are meaningless. In the case of the evolution there must be a pre-established set of laws, an order or a principle that would give meaning to the successful combinations. This may be better explained with another example. Take the example of typewriting monkeys and replace the monkeys with ignorant men and the words with a radio receiver. You give all necessary components that go in a radio to these men who don’t know anything about electronics and tell them to play with those components and see what they come up with. (I replaced the monkeys with people because I needed them with some manual dexterity. But as far as their mental capacities let us assume that they are imbeciles and deprived of any intelligence) If we have infinite number of imbeciles with infinite number of components can’t some of them by pure coincidence put together a radio receiver that actually works? Of course the chances are extremely high. Even if one in a million of them succeed, we will have huge number of radios that work. For each good radio that works, we have also have millions that don't work. This is not design. This is chance.

So given the chances a radio can be built completely by accident. No intelligence is required. In this example many components would have gone to waste to make one radio that works. That is exactly the way nature operates. An infinite number of planets are there, but only a few of them have the right temperature, right atmosphere and enough water to support life. Millions of pollens are scattered but only one may fall on the right female flower to become a fruit. Millions of sperms are released, but only one of them may have a chance to hit the ovum. This law is universal and precludes the teleology and intelligent design. .

But the point I am trying to make here is why the radio works only when its components are integrated in a specific combination? Only one combination is the right one and the rest are not. What is happening is that when the right combination is achieved, the radio produces a sound. Is the sound or the music generated, from the radio? Of course not! The radio is only a receiver. The music is played not from within but from outside the radio. The same thing is true with the words. Words by themselves have no meaning. The meaning is given to them. The same is also true when molecules form a cell and life appears in them quite miraculously. Here we witness that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Is the life a by-product of the living organism? Maybe it is not! Maybe the life is reflected in the matter in the same way that the sound is received by the radio, or the light appears in the electric bulb. Therefore life must exist beyond the matter as the sound exists beyond the radio. 

Life is merely one of the earlier expressions of existence. There is intelligence, love, justice and many other qualities that more evolved animals, especially we humans posses. These qualities if not entirely absent in the inanimate world of matter their existence is negligible. Wherefrom these faculties come? A religious minded person might exclaim “God”. But as I demonstrated, a purposeful God, as described in the Semitic sacred books, has no role in the evolution. All these attributes are part of the Single Principle. The universe therefore is not chaotic but an orderly one. It has not been created by an intelligent being, but there is a Principle underlying its creation. Law and order govern all things. A Single Principle permeates all the existence. The Principle defines how things happen and the evolution is the process of that eternal happening. If you feel comfortable and do not confuse that Principle with Allah or Jehovah, you may call it God. But the Principle is not a being. This God is neither a he nor a she. It is IT. You cannot talk to God nor God talks back to you. God does not send messengers nor he cares bout you. God is not intelligent but it is Intelligence. God is not loving but It is Love. God is not wise, compassionate, merciful or just but It is wisdom, compassion, mercy and justice. God dose not have attributes because God is not a thing. It is not a being. God is a non-being. The non-being is the mother of all beings. God is the Principle and the evolution is the process. God is HOW and the rest is WHAT! That is all there is, HOW and WHAT.

God cannot be defined, but it can be understood. There are two ways to understand God. One is through the reflection of the world within,  the inner world, and the other is by observing the world without, the outer world. The first method is through meditation and the second is by scientific observation. We can know God and we can experience God but no one can lead us to It.  

I agree that there is a superior intelligence and a principle that make this world go round. There is a Single Principle underlying the creation. The Universe is governed by natural laws that are eternal. 

You may ask WHAT caused these laws to appear. The answer is nothing! If these laws are eternal then they cannot have any cause. Now you may say that any law needs a legislator. Then I ask you who created that legislator? You see? It is much easier to accept that laws are self-subsisting than accept that there is a self-subsisting legislator. If we are going to accept the existence of God as a dogma, something for which we have no evidence but accept it anyway, then why not accept the dogma that natural laws have been there always? This is far easier to digest. For example, 2+2=4. This is a principle. It will not change and it is eternal. Now isn't it more logical to believe that this law exists on its own and no one created it than assume that a deity made 2+2=4? If God did not exist and the universe did not exist could it be possible that 2+2 be something different than 4?


Someone  asked; "If we are just made by atoms forming together and our creation was an accident then how do you explain the soul that you believe in? Atoms cannot form together and make a soul can they? So where did the soul come from? It has to be from god doesn't it?"

This is a subject that none of us can be certain and sure of. Those who pretend that they are, are just charlatans. What we are doing is speculating. That is all we can do at this moment until science comes up with a good answer. My guess is as good as yours. However there are some explanations that are outright ridiculous. What we read in the Bible and the Quran are of this last category. 

I share my thoughts on this subject not as the answer but as my contribution to the vast pool of human understanding. I am still thinking and I am still learning. I am of the belief that we shall one day know the truth just as we finally came to know the truth about the shape of the Earth and it happened to be much different from what religions used to tell us. Until then all we can do is to speculate. 

I believe that there is an infinite ocean of pure reality that is neither outside nor inside the creation. I call It the Single Principle. That reality, is not a substance, it does not have a being. It is the law of creation. As matter evolves, it absorbs and reflects a portion of that infinite reality. Life for example is a manifestation of that reality. It reflects in the living organism when this comes together in that specific combination. In other words the living being becomes an instrument, or better said, a receptacle of that ultimate reality. The more complex is the being the sharper are its antennae and the more reality is reflect in it.  

Take the example of a radio receiver and a television set. One can receive only sounds while the other can receive sounds and images. Some TVs are black and white while others can also receive and transmit colors. Compare this to the millions of life forms that are pullulating in this planet (and who knows how many outside this planet). Each life form is an instrument, they all are organized or built in a way that they can capture life, but then each has specialized in a different way and each reflects hundreds or thousands of other unique forms of the Reality. In other words, we are all instruments, each reflecting different aspects of the same Reality. 

This process is not unlike the light of the sun reflecting on different objects in this world. The light is the same yet once it shines on the planet it is reflected back in millions of colors, hues and shades. Each object reflects that light according to its own capacity, shape or texture, yet these objects are not luminaries on their own. They do not emanate light. They are simply reflecting the colorless light of the Sun. 

I believe this is what is happening with the world of the creation. The mater reflects the Reality and that portion of the Reality reflected in the matter is the spirit of the being.  

Humans are complex instruments; therefore they reflect the ultimate Reality to a higher degree. The reflection of the Reality or the Single Principle in humans is what we call human spirit. Therefore if what I say make any sense, the human spirit is not the product of the matter. It is not born out of the combination of the atoms but is reflected in the body of humans when that is formed, the way light is reflected in a mirror. This would make all humans, animals and as a matter of fact all beings, whether living or inanimate, imbued from the same Reality. We are all manifestations of the Single Principle. To say this in a more familiar language, we are all children of the same God. 

I hope that this answer trigger the process of thinking in you and you come up with better answers. But remember that thoughts are not the only means of understanding. Once the mind is ready it can perceive much higher hidden knowledge by intuition. But you have to doubt first. Doubt all preconceived and antiquated beliefs, think and meditate. If haply you find the answer, or an answer that satisfies you most, please teach me too. 

Ali Sina


Added 2006/06/30

I found the following article on artificial intelligence that if true, it would not only invalidate my above assumption that matter reflects a higher reality it also eliminates the need for God.    

Release date: February 03, 2005

A pioneering new way of creating computer programs could be used in the future to design and build robots with minds that function like that of a human being, according to a leading researcher at The University of Reading.

Dr James Anderson, of the University’s Department of Computer Science, has developed for the first time the ‘perspective simplex’, or Perspex, which is a way of writing a computer program as a geometrical structure, rather than as a series of instructions.

Not only does the invention of the Perspex make it theoretically possible for us to develop robots with minds that learn and develop, it also provides us with clues to answer the philosophical conundrum of how minds relate to bodies in living beings.

A conventional computer program comprises of a list of instructions, and if one of those instructions goes missing or is damaged then the whole program crashes. However, with the Perspex, the program works rather like a neural network and is able to bridge gaps and continue running and developing even when it sustains considerable damage.

“All computer programs can be written in terms of the Perspex. Essentially, it is a new, geometrical computer instruction that looks like an artificial neuron. Any existing computer program can be compiled into a network of these neurons.

“The Perspex links the geometry of the physical world with the structure of computations so, to the extent that mind is computable, the Perspex provides one solution to the centuries-old problem of how mind arises in physical bodies.

Perspexes exist in a mathematical space called ‘perspex space’. Perspex space can describe the ordinary space we live in, along with all of the physical bodies that make up our space, and all of the minds that arise from physical bodies. It provides a model that is accurate enough for a robot to use to describe its own mind and body.

Perspex programs show the very human trait of periodic recovery and relapse when they are damaged; perhaps for the same reason. The Perspex tells us how mind can relate to body so the geometrical properties that govern a Perspex program’s injury and recovery also apply to us because our bodies exist in space. We share a common geometry, and this has implications for our minds and bodies. For the first time, the Perspex makes computer programs prone to injury, illness, and recovery like a human being. And a computer program that continues developing despite damaged, erroneous, and lost data means that, in the future, we could have computers that are able to develop their own minds despite, or because of, the rigours of living in the world.

“The Perspex allows global reasoning to be attained with just one initial instruction. So a Perspex program can operate on the whole of a problem before it attends to the myriad of detail. This is very much like human strategic thinking. It arises from the geometry of the Perspex, not from the specific detail of the program that is being run. This tells us that strategic thinking can be a property of the way our brains are constructed and is not necessarily to do with the substance of what we happen to be thinking about. It might be that some people are better at strategic thinking than others because of the geometry of their brains.






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