the complete debate with materialists see this
Finally I would like to
respond to my respected friend Aparthib Zaman
is an anathema to Dogma. Scientific method is based on skepticism and
rationalism. So science cannot be called a dogma or a religion by
definition, neither can anyone make science their dogma or religion.”
I absolutely agree with you that
Science is anathema to Dogma. I have no problem with your definition of
science. However, dogmatic people can be dogmatic about anything
This reminds me of an
interesting episode that took place recently. Dali Lama came to our town
and reserved the stadium for his conference. All the thousands of seats
were sold in 20 minuets. Then two fans of this messenger of love and
peace started fighting over one ticket. This was so funny that became
the news and someone said, these two guys should definitely be given the
front seats because they need to listen to Dali Lama more than anyone
Now, my friend, I do not doubt
that scientific method is based on skepticism and rationalism. My
question is, are all those who claim to be scientific minded, skeptics
and rationalists in the true sense of the word? May be these people,
more than anyone else, need to be skeptics and rationalists. I can claim
to be a great musician; that does not mean that I am what I claim to be.
The proof of the pudding is in eating it. My inability to play music
also does not prove Music is no art.
I said most scientists are
dogmatic and you objected. What I meant is on the issue of spirituality.
On other issues they are least dogmatic than the rest of the population.
Say for example I could be open minded on most issues but when it comes
to Iran and Iranians I hold an untenable belief that my people are more
intelligent than others. This is of course dogmatism based on prejudice.
As long as people, scientists or others, deny the evidence of realities
beyond what science can explain, they are dogmatic. This is not to say
that science is dogma.
science cannot be a dogma, then upholding science cannot be a dogma. Is
it possible to uphold it to a fault? NO. Just like you cannot be too
honest or you cannot be too rationalistic, you cannot be too
This is a true statement. You
can’t be dogmatic if you uphold science but you can be dogmatic if you
claim that beyond science nothing is real. There is nothing wrong if you
are too honest but it would be wrong if you act with arrogance and
rudeness under the pretext that you are being honest. It is wonderful to
be too rationalist and too scientific. The problem arises when you deny
the existence of other realities beyond science.
You said: “Either
you believe in science or you do not.”
I do believe in science, but who
said belief in science means rejecting my commonsense or my spiritual
sense? Here is the problem with the pseudo rationalists. They seem to be
limited by the material world. I do not think anything that
scientifically or logically can be proven to be false should be accepted
as true. In my response to Brent Meeker I spoke of the Single Principle
underlying the creation. The principle cannot be contradictory within
itself. The spiritual world (if exists) cannot be in contrast with the
material world. However, things that do not fall within the parameters
of science cannot be defined by science. By this definition many
so-called miracles attributed to Jesus and Muhammad are false. They are
false because they contradict science and logics. Muhammad could not
have ascended to the seventh heaven riding on a winged pony. The heaven
does not have layers and you can’t travel out of the Earth atmosphere
with a winged creature or machine. So this story is obviously fairy
tale. The story of Muhammad splitting the moon is also fairy tale.
However the theory that we humans are spiritual in essence and our
spirits survive our physical death is not contrary to science. Science
simply cannot explain or quantify this phenomenon. Yet there are plenty
of evidences to make us suspect there is more to us than the flesh and
We have to be careful about the
difference between what science is unable to resolve and what science
can disprove. Crop formations exist. They are observable phenomena. Just
like aurora borealis we can’t deny their existence. One theory is that
they are hoaxes. But this theory is not very tenable because some
circles have appeared on snow and on thin ice. Our known technology does
not allow us to create such intricate shapes. So many of these circles
remain unexplained. If they are unexplained, they are paranormal. That
is the dictionary definition of paranormal. It seems that some people
have more problem with the term paranormal than what it really stands
for. But paranormal is anything that cannot be defined by science. So
these crop circles are paranormal until the day they are explained.
You mentioned the case of the
milk drinking Hindu god Ganesh. This phenomenon was observed all across
the world and according to the reports some of the statutes of Ganesh,
made of marble or brass drank liters of milk. This is bizarre. The
phenomenon was measured and witnessed by skeptics and scientists. The
whole India was paralyzed for three days and the stock market stopped
because everyone lined up to feed the Ganesh with spoons of milk. I
never went to see this myself, but unless all the media unanimously
decided to fool me, I am inclined to believe that these people actually
saw something that amazed them. You said that science explained that
already. I did not do much research on this but a few sites
that I checked out did not talk about the scientific explanation of
this phenomenon. Would you kindly tell us what is the scientific
explanation of this? Now I am very curious to know.
On this subject you wrote:
“It was not just personal testimony. But the
occurrence was explained by science. Even if there was no immediate
scientific explanation available there is no justification for rushing
into a non-scientific explanation invoking vague and undefined objects
or entities. It is not the scientists/rationalists/science that explain
them away with absurd and implausible theories, as Ali Sina has opined,
in connection with crop circles, but rather the dogmatic proponents of
the paranormals who do.”
I do not quite understand. Was
this phenomenon explained by science or it wasn’t? At first you say
that it was and then you claim that it wasn’t. Then you conclude that
I should not rush to explain these phenomena with absurd and implausible
theories. I am not trying to explain anything. I am not a Hindu and I do
not believe in a god with the elephant head. All I am saying is that
what I heard is that scientists could not understand the phenomenon. It
is entirely possible, (remember possible does not means certain) that
the answerer lie somewhere outside the domain of today’s science. I
think this is skepticism. What is your response to that? You say no. You
do not allow yourself to utter a world about the limitations of the
sacred science. You do not speculate, do not doubt, do not
question. You believe in the infallibility of the holy science.
My response is that science is
constantly evolving. Things that today are out of the parameters of
science tomorrow may be part of it. Let us take an example: According to
today’s science, we know that interstellar trips are impossible.
Objects and especially living beings cannot travel with the speed of
light and even they do it takes them tens of years to travel from one
solar system to another and millions or billions of years to go from one
galaxy to another. However, science has discovered that space is curve.
Imagine holding a paper in your hand and that paper represents space.
Put a dot in at the top of the paper and another at the bottom of it
each representing one galaxy. Now imagine that the distance between two
dots or galaxies is ten billion light years. But since we know the space
is curved, let us bend the paper so the to dots almost meet. If you go
form one dot to another moving on the surface of the paper it takes you
billions of years traveling at the speed of light. But if you somehow
manage to find your way out of the sheet of the paper and jump directly
from the point A to the point B it may take you much less time.
Some scientists say that there
might be “wormholes” that join one part of the space to another.
Remember that most of the space is black matter and therefore to us
invisible. So it is not impossible that wormholes exist.
This is all science fiction. It is pure imagination. We have
found no evidence of such wormholes. Shall we dismiss these theories
just because science has not been able to prove them yet? What if they
were ancient theories? Would they become fairy tales automatically?
The point is that our science is
at its infancy. For each discovery we make ten more questions emerge. As
the sphere of our knowledge expands, its surface that is in contact with
the unknown also expands. It would be irrational to dismiss any theory
for explaining the phenomena that we do not understand. As long as these
theories are not contrasting with the known science, we should not
reject them. Theories do not become obsolete just because they are old.
The theory that humans have souls that survive their death is as old as
humanity. It has never been challenged by science. On the contrary with
the advances of the medicine more people who are declared clinically
dead do come back and their tales of after life is astonishing. Is that
all the chemical reaction of the brain? Do you have any scientific
evidence that this is the case? Or is it possible that human soul lives
independent of the body and that consciousness is not a function of the
brain but a reflection in it. In other words may be the brain is not the
organ of mind but an instrument in which the mind reflects the way light
reflects in a mirror or radio waves are captured by the radio. This is
also a theory. Why should we accept one theory and dismiss the other.
Both theories are plausible. Dogmatism is denial of one or the other
without any proof. That is why I call the pseudo rationalists dogmatic.
They are dogmatic because they are unable to accept plausible theories
as possibilities. Mind you, I am not saying spirits exist or life after
death is real. I am saying that this is a plausible possibility and
should not be dismissed blindly because our limited science has not been
able to fathom it.
“Science never offers absurd or implausible
explanations, rather offers plausible ones, guided by Occam's razor.”
Occam’s razor states: “one
should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities
required to explain anything”
explanations given by scientists enough to explain all the unexplainable
phenomena such as out of the body experiences, ball lightning,
telepathy, remote viewing and so on? Most so-called scientists even deny
the existence of such phenomena. Those who admit their existence also
admit that they do not know the correct answer, and their theories to
explain such phenomena are not fool proof. There are holes in their
theories. So we obviously do not have all the necessary explanations.
Then why this adamant refusal to consider the possibility that may be
the answer lies somewhere else beyond what science has been able to
unravel up to now? Isn’t this dogmatism?
It is healthy to
speculate and think out of the box. What is unhealthy is to accept or
deny any speculation without any solid evidence.
In my article,
“What It Takes to Be a Rationalist”, I called the Iranian scientist
who had an extra sensory perception and yet denied this to be a
paranormal experience a dogmatic. My dear friend Aparthip thinks I have
been unfair in doing so and that Iranian was a true scientist because he
did not deny the experience but rather did not want to call it
Again we seem to
have difficulty in understanding the meaning of the word paranormal. Paranormal are phenomena that actually do occur out of human
mind and cannot be explained by science. We are not talking about things
that are merely imagined. Those are hallucinations. This scientist
acknowledged the existence of a mental image that was not just
hallucinatory but prophetic. He could not explain it with his knowledge
of science yet he was insisting that paranormal is pure gibberish. If
this is not dogmatism I do not know what it is. If I see my cat going
through the wall (assuming that I am not hallucinating) this is a
paranormal phenomenon. If you can show that actually all cats after
eating strawberries can go through walls and we all understand how and
why this happens then it is no more a paranormal thing.
What I notice is
that you have no problem with the occurrence of the unexplainable. Your
problem is with the word “paranormal”. May be this word evokes
negative feelings in you. Also you do not wish anyone having theories
that may not be supported by your understanding of science even though
you acknowledge that science is not complete.
There is no problem
believing that one-day science will demonstrate everything. In fact
science is the body of human knowledge, everything that we know and will
ever know will eventually become part of our science. Dogmatism is the
assertion that what today is not part of the science repertoire will
never be. Today telepathy is not part of the science. Can you be sure
that it will never be? Today the crop circles are not part of the
science, are you sure they will never be. Today Qi (pronounced Chi)
thought to be the vital energy in human body is not part of the science,
are you sure it will never be?
Take the example of
Qi. Our medical instruments cannot detect it, but the Chinese manage to
cure their patients by manipulating it with acupuncture, Qigong and
other means. There is no scientific proof for Qi, but can you deny its
existence when people actually do get cured by tinkering with it?
Acupuncture works even on animals, so you can't dismiss it as
If you deny the
existence of Qi, how can you explain the success of the Chinese
medicine, which is based on Qi? If you accept the existence of Qi why
don’t you accept the existence of human spirit? May be spirit is the
Qi after all. Who knows?
The problem with
the pseudo rationalist community is that they have selective minds. The
science is constantly pushing forward, advancing and conquering new
territories but the pseudo rationalists are stuck with their limited
imaginations. They will not allow themselves to think out of the box,
unless someone else does it first and expands the boundaries of that
box. Meanwhile they will look down at him, ridicule him and call him
heretic until he manages to convince them that what he says is science.
It is good to be
skeptic and not accept any outlandish theory as science unless that
theory is proven with ample evidence. What is wrong is the attitude that
defies the possibility of finding anything new outside the boundaries of
of “scientific dogmatism” was not a blunder. The Nazis were not
scientists, but they took a scientific theory and built a dogma around
it. Lamarckism per se was not a dogma. It was a plausible theory on the
mechanism of evolution that proved to be wrong. As we both stated, false
scientific assumptions are not dogma. It is the unreasonable denial of
any other possibility outside the adopted theory that is dogma. If
anyone, take the scientific assumptions as divinely ordained, infallible
and unquestionable, that attitude is dogma.
critics like Ali Sina view science as something similar to religion and
thus like religion, there can be dogmatic adherents of science as well,
according to him.”
That is not true at all. I do not view science as
another religion. My whole argument is to denounce those who do that. It
is not me who thinks science is similar to religion. It is the pseudo
scientists who have not left their religious attitude and approach
science like religion. To be a scientist you have to be a critical
thinker and above all a skeptic. You cannot be a skeptic and a believer
at the same time. If you “believe” that beyond the known science
there is nothing and anything falling outside of it should not be even
touched or discussed, you are a dogmatic. Science is not another
religion, science is not dogma, but one can take it as a religion and be
dogmatic about it.
“Anyone can choose to be dogmatic about an
issue, he can be a religionist, a scientist or a even true rationalist
like Ali Sina. But Science or scientists as a community will never be
another dogma or religion or followers of such.”
Here you are actually echoing me with the
exception of calling me a dogmatic. I am saying exactly the same thing
while calling the pseudo rationalists dogmatic. Now in principle we both
agree on the definition of science and dogmatism. We both agree that
science is not dogma but scientists can be dogmatic. That is a good
progress. Now the question remains which one of us is dogmatic.
I do not believe in anything unless it is proven
to be true and then I “know” but still don’t believe. I also do
not deny anything unless it is demonstrated to be false. I hardly call
this attitude a dogmatic attitude. I constantly question my beliefs and
I am open to change as I have demonstrated throughout my life.
What about you? Do you agree that there are
phenomena that science cannot explain and that there are theories that
might be true even though they are beyond the scientific
experimentation? If you do then you agree with me, but if you don’t
then you are dogmatic. For me anything is possible unless it is proven
to be impossible. For you, there is a limitation and that limitation is
set by our limited understanding of science. Now according to the above
assumptions, I can’t be called dogmatic, but you can.
What is the difference between you and a
religionist? You have taken humans’ limited understanding of science
as absolute authority. A religionist does the same thing with his
religion. You deny the possibility that there are realities that are
beyond our limited understanding of science. A religionist has the same
attitude towards his religion. For you any theory that may fall beyond
our limited understanding of science is heresy. A religionist feels the
same way about his religion. So why shall we call a religionist a
dogmatic and not you? Your answer is that science is absolute truth and
should not be compared to religion. Ask this question from a religionist
and he will give you the exact same answer. He will tell you that his
religion should not be compared to any other religion or to the
“manmade” science because his religion is from God and is the
Do you see the similarity? Do you see why I call
the pseudo rationalists a bunch of dogmatic folk that merely have
changed their religion but not their religious attitude?
Now please do not interpret this as a personal
attack. Of course you are aware of my respect for your person. I am
merely trying to elucidate the idea of dogmatism and why the so-called
rationalists are not immune to it.
You also called me dogmatic. Please show me how.
May be, you merely did so, as our friend Brent Meeker pointed out,
“Dogmatism: A term used by many and various philosophers to
characterise their opponents' view more or less derogatorily.”
Is so that is fine with me. But I call people
dogmatic not just to disparage their views but rather in the true sense
of this term, i.e. blind adherence an authoritative principle, belief,
or statement of ideas or opinion, considered to be absolutely true.
Let me quote one dogmatic statement of yours. You
” Only religion will be religion and dogma will
be dogma. Science is not a religion or a dogma, so it can never be or
turned into one.”
As I explained above, in the case of Nazism,
science was taken as dogma. Again you may argue that that was not
science and I agree. However we are not talking about science but about
the ability of humans to be dogmatic about anything including science.
Of course science is not dogma. We both said this on several occasions.
Dogma is an attitude that many humans have and they can be dogmatic
about anything, including science.
“No one can adopt or make science a religion.
You cannot use a pen to hammer a nail. Neither can you use a hammer to
write. They are not made for such uses. Science is not made for use as a
This is another dogma. Anything can be misused,
including science. Think of Buddhism. After you read this beautiful
philosophy you think it is impossible for anyone to use it for killing
others. Yet the fact is that even Buddhists can be terrorists and use
their religion as the pretext to kill.
How about logic? Do you think logic cannot be used
to prove illogicality? If you said yes, think again! Look at so many
religious universities and truly intelligent and knowledgeable people
who strive hard and invent philosophies to demonstrate their irrational
religions are logical and rational. In Islam we had great philosophers
such as Al Ghazali and Rumi who became followers of the stupid Muhammad
and built philosophies and theologies based on the nonsense doctrine of
that crazy man.
Anytime you feel you have found the source of the
absolute truth, you are in a great danger because in that precise moment
you have lost it.
The truth is only in doubts. Doubt everything and
find your own light.