the complete debate with materialists see this
Responding to Materialists: Was
it a diversion?
I received the following complaint from one of
the readers of FFI.
Dear Mr Ali Sina,
I love your website very much
and enjoy reading all the articles very much.
However I couldn't help noticing
that recently, you have been spending too much time writing and
arguing about philosophies and materialism.
The danger of that is that you
are sidetracking a bit too much from the main purpose of your website,
i.e. to expose the flaws of Islam.
I think it would be a good idea
if you just concentrate solely on exposing the flaws of Islam, and not
sidetrack into talking about a lot of 'unnecessary' things, which will
please the muslims, as you are sidetracking more and more from the
main purpose of your website.
Thank you and Best Regards.
A Supporter of your
website who prefers to remain anonymous.
Dear Anonymous Supporter.
Thank you for your support. You are right.
Unfortunately I was sucked into this discussion without really desiring
it. At first I thought I will just write one article and leave it at
that. But in practice I could not sit silent and let ignorance
overshadow wisdom. Silence would have been interpreted as defeat. I only
remain silent vis-à-vis arrogant people. When arrogance takes place of
rational thought I always surrender and withdraw. My expertise is in
reasoning not in the art of mudslinging.
Yes, these debates took valuable time from me and
it was a diversion from our main objective in FFI. However it was
beneficial as it proves dogmatism is not limited to religious thinking.
The materialists are genuinely bewildered why others can’t see their
dogmatic point of view just as the religionists and especially the
Muslims are convinced that if anyone read the Quran he will convert to
Islam. Their confusion is such that as one can see in Aparthib’s last
message, they do not even know that they are materialists. They prefer
to think of themselves as skeptics instead.
I do not believe in anything. I doubt everything.
Consciously I dismiss any certitude and allow the chance that the
reality may differ from what I perceive. So as long as I am not a
believer, I am a skeptic. Now if I am a skeptic, what are these
gentlemen who viciously attack me? How can they be skeptics when we have
so much difference among us? They are not skeptics of course. They have
come already to the certitude that the matter is all there is and
anything beyond the matter is hocus pocus. These people are
materialists. Materialism is a faith; it is a belief system.
On one extreme we have the credulous religionists
who believe in anything without questioning it just because it is
the “revealed word”, and on the other extreme we have the
dogmatic materialists who deny anything that defies their notion of the
materialist world. These extremes are in reality the manifestations of
man’s inability to be skeptic. The majority of humanity is not evolved
enough to be comfortable with uncertainty that is the outcome of
skepticism. They need to believe in something. They need certitude. They
want to make sense of everything. The fear of the unknown is frightening
for most people.
This exercise was not entirely meaningless to our
Although my main objective is to point out the
fallacies of Islam and help the Muslims leave it, nature hates vacuum
and people need alternatives. It is important that we do not mislead
them into false ideologies and take them out of the frying pan only to
drop them into the fire. If those who come to see the fallacies of Islam
decide to choose another ideology or belief system, it is entirely up to
them. However they must not be misled into accepting something for
be clear that materialism and rationalism are worlds apart.
The problem with materialism is that it has no
"sex appeal" for the majority of sensible people who realize
that Reality does not end here and life is not as meaningless as this
obsolete school of thought portrays it. For these people, it would be a
hard choice if they are left to choose between religion with all its
promises of after life, spirituality and inner joy and dogmatic
materialism that says matter is an end to itself. We would make our job
much harder if we tried to discredit one false doctrine just to replace
it with another equally false one.
So it is important to make it clear that we are
against Islam because Islam is a dangerous cult that threatens the peace
of the world, but we are not trying to push another dogma, whether
religious or materialist in its lieu. The important thing is that people
leave Islam. What they do afterwards is up to them. They can believe in
any other dogmatic faith including materialism or remain skeptic and
have no faith at all. That is up to them.
It is important that we do not spoon feed people
with another dogma. Our position must be neutral and that means
skepticism. We are not saying they should believe in an immaterial world
or not to believe. This must be their choice. They must realize that
leaving Islam does not mean throwing away all their understanding of
reality and denying their spirituality. This would make our job more
difficult. They must realize that there is no contradiction between
skepticism and spirituality. The materialists are not the standard
bearers of skepticism. They are a bunch of believers who disguise
themselves as skeptics and freethinkers when in reality there is nothing
skeptical about their dogmatic beliefs. As one can see in these debates,
(especially those messages posted by Paul Edwards that I did not see
scholarly enough to publish in FFI but are published as "recommended"
readings in Mukto-Mona: Part1,
these believers can be just as arrogant and aggressive as Muslim
fanatics, and they retort with ad hominen and mockery when they come to
their wits end. What makes a person stoop so low if not his intense
faith? Was Avijit Roy’s last message to me any more scholarly? One can
even see the same degree of arrogance in James Randi’s message. He
initiates the correspondence with me but is angered when I respond to
The bottom line is that you can only be a
freethinker if you do not believe. You can only be a skeptic if you have
no convictions. As soon as your views are tainted with certitude you
become blinded to possibilities.
A freethinker’s only torch of guidance is DOUBT
Another email received from a
reader of this site.
i have been reading your debates with the
i must say that i am really impressed by your point of
view. i am a physics grad student and in my
interaction with other physicists i always encounter this kind
of dogmatic way of thinking. there is strong tendency
to deny mountain of evidence of paranormal phenomena
when it can't be explained away. as you said a true
rationalist is very rare like a gem. i think the
philosophy of rationalism is still evolving and the
last word on it is yet to be written. i have observed
that philosophy excessively relies on such dogmatic
materialism. for example take the case of modern
medicine. there is increasing evidence that there is
strong link between body and mind; human body is a
whole. still modern doctors insist on treating human
body as if it were collection of parts. there is
another strong evidence in modern physics that
reductionism is not correct philosophy. we understand
to a great extent how individual electron behaves but
if we throw bunch of electrons together nobody can say
how they are going to evolve. again nobody
understands why light behaves as a particle sometimes
and as a wave at other times.
but while i reject reductionism of modern science
i also have reservations about the other extreme i.e.
holism. al least from the viewpoint of today's science
i don't know how to study holistic phenomenon. maybe
there is need to completely overhaul the current
methodology of science. i don't know really. but one
thing must be kept in mind as anne beasant remarked
alternative to materialism is not superstition.
when i argue such matters with other scientists
i am always surprised by how they can be so sure of
themselves in regard to materialism. many times i feel
alone and i sometimes think that maybe i am wrong.
but i can't just deny overwhelming evidence of
in my own debates with my physicists friends about
scientific materialism i have observed that, often
debates ultimately boil down to defending one's own
ego, as Mr Roy seems to be doing by accusing you.
i have observed this many times in my own debates with
others and so i am disillusioned by these debates. i
think human ego itself is the greatest barrier to
knowledge. even my own ego overshadows many of these
debates and i regret that later.
but if you look at the greatest minds in science like
einstein for example they became more and more humble
as their 'insight' grew over the years.
persons like you are really very rare who dare
to reject religious madness with rigour but at the
same time apply true rationalism to methodology of
Thank you for the message. As long as you doubt and wonder whether you
could be wrong, you can never go wrong. The moment you are convinced to
be right you are wrong. This is the paradox of epistemology.
Personally I have great suspicion of many paranormal claims. However I
resist the temptation of certitude. After all I could be wrong.
Please join this forum and share your views. I am pleased to have met
you. You are a true skeptic and as I said true skeptics are rarer than