Leaving Islam




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Response to Randi James 1st rebutal 

Although I said I am not going to respond to any critique of my article “What it Takes to be a Rationalist” I am afraid I could not resist the temptation. This is not my first broken promise. 

I thank my three erudite critics for responding to my article and admire their scholarly mind. However I think I have to respond to them and I’ll start with the rebuttal of Mr. James Randi 


Dear Mr. Randi, 

I thank you for clarifying your challenge. I had heard this challenge here and there but did not know who was behind it and what was its exact condition. Now that you were kind enough to clarify that I have to say that the challenge is already met and the million dollars should have already been paid several times. 

Paranormal is not my field of interest. But luckily a couple of nights ago the Discovery Channel of Canada aired a program called The Ten Ultimate Mysteries. What a coincidence! It was a show about Crop Circles, ESP, UFO, Bigfoot, Faith Healing, Spontaneous Human Combustion, After Life and other related subjects known as mysteries. It also talked about clairvoyance or “Remote Viewing”.  It said that the U.S. government expended 20 million dollars on this project during the Cold War to spy on the Soviets and to counter a similar project that the Soviets had. One of the persons working for this project was Joseph McMoneagle. http://www.mceagle.com  McMoneagle claims that in 1981 the American General  James Dozier, was kidnapped by the Italian terrorist group Red Brigades. He claims to have zeroed down on the floor, the street and the city (without being able to read the house number) and saw the General chained to a wall heater. This information arrived to the right person in charge of the search one day after the General was found exactly in the same city, street, floor and condition as seen by McMoneagle.   

By all means I think this would be quite extraordinary. All you have to do is to verify this claim. It is possible that McMoneagle is lying. But if you can verify through independent sources that he actually was able to see all that while General Dozier was still in captivity, you must comply with your promise and pay the million dollars. But don’t pay all that money to McMoneagle, there are other fascinating stories that defy any explanation, keep enough of that money for others too. In fact do not pay more than a few hundreds of dollars to McMoneagle because there are thousands of cases such as his, which beyond a shadow of doubt prove there is something not quite normal that cannot be dismissed as coincidence or trick. 

Or perhaps you really did not mean to pay that money and your main goal is to attract some propaganda. Muhammad also has a challenge. His challenge is “produce a surah like this”. Many people have produced better surahs but none of that satisfies the followers of this prophet of tricks. What satisfies you as proof? The story of McMoneagle, if true, satisfies me. If true, doesn’t it satisfy you? If not, why not? Have you calculated the odds of just guessing the city, the street, the floor and the General being chained to a wall heater? Unless you are a believer and nothing satisfies you just as no “surah” written by anyone would satisfy a Muslim to be equal or better than what Muhammad “revealed”. When faith comes in the reason goes out. 

The same program talked about an experiment of telepathy. One person was placed in a room and his associate in another room. The person sitting in room A was shown various images one at the time, the person in room B was given four choices to pick the right image shown to the person in room A each time. Only one of the images was correct. If telepathy did not exist at all, then the chances of the person in room B picking up the right answers should not have been more than 25%. However test after test showed that the answers were correct 34% to 35% of the time. 

I would say this experiment is enough to prove that there is something to telepathy and it should not be dismissed as hoax. Now of course the success rate was not very high, nevertheless it is enough to prove that there is something to it. I am not concerned about its unreliability at this moment. All I care is to verify that it exists. When the first airplane became airborne it did not travel across the Atlantic; it fell after a few hundred yards. But it proved that air travel is possible.  Today all we want to know is that telepathy is possible. If those reports are true, then we have to conclude that it is possible. 

Now let me explain why I called the self-proclaimed skeptics,“ self proclaimed”. Well, it is because I do not see them as skeptics. If people go to that extent to deny the evidence, as in the case of the self-proclaimed skeptics then they should not be called skeptics. Skeptics constantly doubt their own beliefs. In fact skeptics do not believe. I doubted my beliefs in Islam but I did not dismiss religion altogether. Then I doubted my belief in religion but sill believed in God. Then I doubted God. At one point I dismissed any paranormal but now I doubt. 

What is paranormal?  Isn’t it anything beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation? Well I do think that there are phenomena that are beyond the range of normal experience, they are not normal and cannot be explained scientifically. Now this does not mean that they will always remain beyond scientific explanation. However, the science of today cannot explain them and that is something undeniable. If you do not agree, then please explain the crop circles and if you are sure they are hoax, I will pay you to create something similar to them overnight without anyone seeing you and do it on thin ice. 

Speculating and trying to make sense of the things we do not understand is healthy. This is how we humans have reached where we are. However, what is not healthy and I call dogmatic is denial of the evidence of things that we do not understand. 

I also agree with your description of science. I am not questioning the validity of science. My beef is with people not with science. It is people who are dogmatic not science.  As I said dogmatism is not in what we believe; it is in our attitude. I could believe in many things that could be wrong. As long as I am willing to let those beliefs go if they are proven untenable, I am not dogmatic. 

Science is not dogma, but the belief that anything that cannot be explained by science is not true, is dogma. 

Finally I also agree with you that paranormal is not my line of expertise. However, I personally have had three experiences that cannot be explained by science and hence by definition they are paranormal. I am entitled to talk about my own experiences. I already mentioned about the globe of light. I will talk about the next one now. 

I was in my bed but not asleep. Suddenly I heard the sound of the breaking of the chinaware in the closet. I used to put my best chinaware on the upper shelves of my bedroom closet to keep them out of way. When I opened the door, I saw that the soup bowl that was sitting on the top of the plates was shattered in minute pieces. The biggest piece was less than one square centimeter. No other plate was broken. Now I do not believe this has to do with ghosts or anything like that. I think this has to do with some stored tension inside the bowl that shatters it in this way. However, I do not know of any scientific explanation for this phenomenon yet. So if it can’t be explained by science, it is paranormal. That is the dictionary definition of paranormal. Obviously we do not know much about the life of the atoms and particles. When science can explain that, we will no more call it paranormal. 

Later I learned that similar phenomena was witnessed by others as well and they call it poltergeist. Poltergeist means a ghost that manifests itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder. There are also reports about objects being thrown in air. I suspect what I saw had nothing to do with ghosts, there were no bad odors, and the breaking of the plated did not continue. But if these other reports are true, I have no explanation for them. I can’t deny that my china broke in pieces without any pressure exerting on it. This I saw myself. Too bad you were not there or I would have demanded the million dollars that you offer for anything not normal. Now you want proof. Is this something I can prove it to you? 

Anyway, thank you for your response to my article.  






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