Science & Religion Part 2
Channel: Bilal Philips
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Episode Transcript ©
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This will last a lot of different things and last prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and and all those who follow the path of righteousness until the last day.
The topic, religion and science
is one, which has its roots in European history.
We're in a conflict developed between the Christian church and scientific inquiry
that conflict has created in the western scientific mind, a generally negative attitudes towards institutionalized religious
attitude that people hold,
which is a product of history
is that science is based on facts.
And religion is based on blind faith.
Therefore, science is something which we can rely on, because it can be proven based on facts. And religion is something
which is in some ways, irrational science being rational, because it's based on facts, you can reason with it, you can understand it, whereas religion is looked at as something irrational This is the general attitude, which we find
prevalent in the world today.
Now, this is this concept is understanding, as I said, is a product of history.
It is not something which was always held. It was not these are not diseases were always health. These are products of certain developments which took place, particularly in Europe,
where modern science as we know it evolved out of.
And if we go back, actually, to the history, to look at the origin of the science of science in general, we'll find the fact that its origin was not so much in the facts, and the rational understanding of these facts, as we would be led to believe today,
if we take the general definition of science, and this is what I'm quoting from marriage, students encyclopedia, simplified version, science is the sum of human knowledge of the universe.
This definition, of course, includes everything. It includes religion, because religion provides certain knowledge about the universe, as well as what we understand to be science in general includes philosophy.
Writing differences, any field of knowledge, which pertains in any way, shape, or form to the universe, would then be classified as science and this general definition.
However, the definition goes on to say it deals with facts. And here is where the sciences say, Well, here's the difference now between science and religion, philosophy,
science deals with facts.
Everybody else is dealing with ideas,
which may be a product of human experience,
however, that definition doesn't stop there. It says it deals with facts. And with the relationships between them.
Here, we now step into another field. First, they said, science gears and sex,
problems, facts and things that we observed, things which are measurable, etc. But then it goes on to talk about the relations between them, because it's not just the observation of the facts, but a relation is developed between them an explanation is given
to these facts is facts are strung together to form some story, some picture,
which is explained, now comes philosophy. Because these facts, as you know, cases, facts
do not tell us anything.
It is when you put ideas to those facts when you string the facts in a particular form. And then you draw that relationship between that the facts can now tell us something.
And when you go to make that relationship, that gets the ideas that you're going to put there. This now is a reflection of Europe philosophy.
So what this is, in fact, telling us is that science
is based on philosophy.
It is in fact, based on philosophy.
is based on a philosophy on an understanding on a on an explanation.
But it's also based on certain facts. There are certain facts which it brings together.
And with the philosophy it produces our understanding of the universe.
Science has certain facts which sticks together maybe the same time.
And with its understanding its philosophy, it gives us another picture of the universe.
What has happened is that in history, in relationship to Christianity, these pictures have conflicted.
And because of this conflict,
modern society has looked at religion as being irrational,
unprovable, and chosen science, as its new religion.
Because this is what is, in fact, this happened. Science, in modern times has become the religion of modern men. It explains, or seeks to explain why a man exists,
how he exists, how he came to where he is gone? Where is he headed? All these questions when you look into the scientists, who are, you know, delving into the secrets of the universe,
subatomic particles, etc. What are they looking for? They will tell you, we're looking for the building blocks of nature,
to be able to create,
to understand ultimately, they believe that my hands are in the right questions,
doing the right experiments, you will ultimately be able to understand everything
when in fact, is the blood of this world.
This is the philosophy is capable of not only understanding, but creating
when we look in the past.
And the definition of science
comes from the Latin, Skandia, which means knowledge. When you look in the past, to what Western science considers to be the origin of science,
we see a period of time
in around the seventh to the fifth century, before the time of Christ in Greece,
or I should say at this point that was philosophy
was geared primarily to determining the basic elements of the universe.
Philosophy of that time period in Greece was geared to determining the basic elements of the universe. They were asking the same questions that the scientists today, but in that time, the missionaries was considered philosophy.
Now, it's called back.
In that period, no differentiation was made between science and philosophy.
Major science came to be regarded as a component, part of philosophy, and finally, as a set of disciplines altogether separate from philosophy. So we see that science and the concept of science went through a period of evolutionary change and change. And the same questions asked by science today was asked by the originators of science in their philosophies of the past.
And the leading figures, people like Plato
and Aristotle, who selected science, you know, represents the major figures.
that it was more normal and dignified to seek answers, by reasoning rather than by experiments.
They felt that experimentation is for the ignorant, those who have to go into play with matter etc. Those who are the true scholars, the higher mind they understood things from the reason
they looked at the universe around them and using
Their minds and their logic and the reason they were able to draw
conclusions, established principles and laws governing what existed around them.
As such, you find that certain concepts developed from that time, for example, that if you drop a heavy ball
and a light ball, at the same time, you got a heavy ball in your hand, you know, like a cannon bone,
and you have a marble, small ball, you drop the two of them, the heavy ball will hit the ground before the snowball.
This is what was reason. It looks logical, it was bigger, it was heavier, it should hit the ground before the armor was just smaller and lighter. This was a principle for claim way back before the time of Christ.
And which was only experimentally checked around the 15th century, when they finally got around to checking this idea. And they did drop the heavy ball and the light bulb, they found that both of them hit the ground at the same time.
And this is after many centuries, at first, there were people accepted this idea of what appeared to be logical and reasonable.
But as I said,
this was the beginnings of science,
and these beginnings,
actually never changed.
The philosophy has remained. So today
it has been modified.
the basis of modern science today is in philosophy.
What we found, as we went on to the history of Western science, we found that after the time of the Greeks, and the early 100 200, after the time of Jesus found that the Roman Empire took over,
brought the Greeks under their control. And with it, most of this area of the Mediterranean area.
And the Greeks, the Romans were not as much into science into reasoning, etc. They were more concerned with administration. So we find that scientific inquiry sort of went on it declined during this period.
And something happened
when the spread of Christianity
we find that around the fourth century, this period,
that the concept of the Trinity
was adopted by the Holy Roman Emperor at the time, Constantine, and this will impose on the rest of the Christian world.
This is in the fourth century, you had a Council of Nicea and 325, and a series of other councils in which this sanitarian concept was introduced into Christianity. And prior to that the majority of Christians were Unitarians, they believed that God was one,
not three in one, but just one.
what we find is that after this period of the introduction of the concept of Trinity, we find Europe entering with the beginning of this sixth, fifth sixth century, entering into what came to be known as the Dark Ages.
From the sixth century, all the way up to the 11th century is referred to in European history as the Dark Ages.
This is the age This is a period of time, when knowledge which is lost.
Most of the literature, the writing, the scientific theories of the Greek etc, was mostly forgotten. A few monks in monasteries maintain
some of this knowledge, but it was used basically to serve the purpose of the church.
The church scholars would take the some of the theories of the past which seem to fit or provide some kind of room for the development of the new Christian philosophy. And they had a tight rein on any kind of scientific inquiry.
They established what was to be the understanding of the world and they wanted no competition.
During this period,
we find Islam was established in the Middle East,
the seventh eighth century. And from there,
it spread over North Africa into Palestine and into Spain into southern Europe.
And this is a time now, when the sciences,
the sciences of this, the Greeks were translated into Arabic.
And Arabic became the language of science. What was translated was not nearly translated, and just kept in read, but was developed upon science which was in Persia in, in India was brought over, combined, and Muslim scientists works with this and develop science to a very high level establishing universities in balance regional region of Palestine and, and that and, and Spain, North Africa, Morocco, etc.
And during this period, we find the
And what happened is that towards the end of the Spirit around the 12th century,
we find a renaissance beginning in Europe.
from European scientists, scholars going to Spain, taking information back from Palestine from the crusades, we find a revival of knowledge in Europe.
And it was during this period, that, you know, some of the great philosophers scientists like
Thomas Aquinas and Roger bacon, etc, you know, develop the theories and concepts which became the basis for modern philosophy, and science.
However, after an initial spurt,
we find it the church,
trying to rein things back in to get it back under control.
And following the bubonic plague in Europe, what is known as the black plague a lot of people died,
the church gained sway over the situation. Scientists really couldn't explain what was happening, people turned back to depend on religion, and the church established itself against firmly all people, all scientists or scholars who are proposing ideas which are contrary to what the church had established from way back in the dark ages and prior, were now put under scrutiny. In position, forts were set up. And those who are found to hold ideas contrary were executed. For example, one, Giordano Bruno was executed for heresy. In 1600s, Utah, he stated that the universe was infinite and the earth only a small body in it.
We know of Copernicus, who had published a sun centered theory about the solar system about the universe. Prior to this, it was held that the Earth was the center. You know, according to the Greek philosophers, which the church adopted, the earth was the center of the universe, everything else revolved around the Earth. You know, man was the most important being in this universe. So
the earth centered concept was attractive to the early Christian Church. So now when Copernicus, from his observations, etc, he was an astronomer, determined that in fact, the sun was the center and the Earth revolves around it. He himself was so afraid for his life, he did not publish this until the year that he died.
He published his thesis on the sun density theory of the
The year that he died, just like you'd worked it out many years before, you know, in fact, he had finished his work in 1529, but it didn't publish it into 1543.
You know, when he died, just for fear of what was going to happen to him from the clergy.
Gonna kneel, he carried on Copernicus ideas he had he accepted them and tried to promote them. And the church called him up, Tried him, told him at first because, you know, he was a favorite son
of Italy. They told him at first just to cool down don't promote the theory and or Be quiet. You don't want you know any problems. But he insisted. And, after his insistence, you know, when he did do some writings which supported Copernicus's theories. He was in trouble.
called outside, convicted of teaching false doctrine and compelled to announce the Copernican theory and was imprisoned, ledger would change the house arrest where he died. But he kept on writing in any case, but this is what was happening to the scholars there in Europe.
However, the contact which had been made with Muslims in Spain, in Palestine, etc, continued to bear fruit. And combined with
a reformation movement which developed in Europe,
people like Calvin and Martin Luther, challenging the Roman Catholic Church and Martin Luther challenge began when he had taken a pilgrimage to Rome,
to go to the spiritual center to renew his spiritual feelings to get further spiritual understanding. When he came to Rome and he found the Pope, you know, was sitting on a throne like a central king, he had a crown of gold, which is so heavy, he couldn't even put on his head, it had to be strung up from the ceiling by, you know, by wires. You know, he was shocked.
He was sitting there and Golden Rose was, you know, stocks and sectors essentially, that's like a temporal King, when Luther returned from low and condemned what he saw
as corruption in south and Calvin and the other side of the Reformation movement, which broke away from Roman Catholicism, and developed what is now known as the Protestant movement Protestantism.
we had scientists who took advantage of this period of
breakup, the spirit of rejection of the Roman Catholic Church, and started to delve into questions concerning religion in general.
what we found one out of this period, along with Protestantism is atheism as a theory
as a reasoned principle.
It produced later
the Marxist dialectical materialism which is
often called scientific socialism,
where in human history is reduced to an economic struggle between the haves and the have nots.
And all social systems become an expression of the class's religion, being a tool used by the ruling class to maintain the status quo. And God, a fictitious friend of the rich, who predestined their rule over the poor. That was
the sum total of what religion represented. On the other hand, you have other body of scientists,
develop what is known as the Darwinian theory, where in human existence is determined to be the result of natural forces. There was no need to go to look into the supernatural to explain man's existence, why he's here, where he's going, why is what he is, etc, etc, natural selection or survival of the fittest becoming the principle, which determines man's existence and where he's headed.
we have, when we look into this period,
some reasons which has have led the scientists of the Spirit to come to these type of decisions.
One of them, I feel is fundamentally based in the Trinitarian concept,
the concept of the Trinity, wherein men is required to accept
that God is one, and at the same time he has three.
The facts tell us that one plus one plus one equals three. But religion, from the fourth century onwards, in Europe, thought that one plus one plus one equals one in relationship to that.
So this is something which is inexplicably
and it's something which the church puts under the heading of a divine secret,
you cannot understand, no matter what explanations you tried to give, it cannot be explained. So, it is something which goes against the nature which God created man in wherein he analyzes things logical.
So there is something that these signs
which doesn't seem logical to them which they cannot express. This is why you find people like, for example, Newton, Isaac Newton, he rejected the Trinitarian concept. But he didn't believe in God, but all of the scientists did.
You know, actually, it was really a minority among the scientists, but they tended to be the most vocal, even today.
There's a general understanding that we have that, you know, the scientists in America
are atheists, they don't believe in God, there's not really true
foil that you're taking of the majority of scientists in America is that some 80% of them believe in God.
They may not accept traditional religion, or the traditional understanding of God in terms of God becoming man, etc, etc, of Christianity, but they believe in God.
There's only a 15 to 20%, who actually disbelieve in God. However, this 10 or 15%, are very vocal.
You know, they're very, you know, enthusiastic and promoting their ideas. So, if one were to read, or to watch a television or etc, in America, you have people like Carl Sagan, you know, who, you know, is one of the best, you know, explainers of scientific theory. In layman's terms, you know, he's able to take that complex ideas of astronomy and biology and biochemistry, and put it in very simple easily understood why this man is a confirmed atheist. He gets a lot of television time. So if one were to watch television, America scientific type things, you would assume that she's, you know, all these people really don't believe in God. But he is just one among a few who are actually,
as I said, very vocal in their explanations.
People as I said, like Newton, for example, Isaac Newton, he believed in one God, and He provided you know, what came to be the, the unifying theory of science of that period of time. But he relied on this belief in the existence of God.
And he would discuss an idea with some of the density of stick friends, and prove to them through, you know, reason and logic that God does exist. However, the Trinitarian god of Christianity, he did not accept.
So, when we look at this process,
and then we go over to now look at Islam and science,
we see that there is obviously a difference between the two from the very root.
the Islamic concept of God is that God is the unit,
one, indivisible, nothing, no, God is one, in the pure essence.
This concept, was a concept which is arrived at by the Greeks, the same Greeks, placed on our topic, Aristotle, they use reasoning to come to this conclusion, without revelation available to them, they use pure logic and reasoning to come to the conclusion that there was one God.
So, if we use as you said, We are the rational mind,
without the influence of theories, etc, it's worth arguing logically come to the conclusion of the existence of one God.
So for Islam,
there is no problem here, there is no fundamental contradiction, you know, irrationality in this concept of God.
So, there is no conflict in the base between what we could say, philosophical science, because really you don't like you said, science is not purely facts, it is there is a philosophy there involved which involves reasoning, etc. This philosophical science, when it reasons using the facts, it will come to that same conclusion.
The majority of the scholars, scientific scholars, all this, and that was a set of conclusions arrived at by the origins of what is known as Western science to Greek philosophers.
Furthermore, we find, as a young brother read,
he read from the first verses, which were revealed of the plan, from a chapter known as an alum, or the leech like clot, blood reference to the development of men within the womb of a
It begins, epilogue
This is the first commandment given to the Prophet Muhammad makes a lot of peace and blessings be upon
We've got this little beacon
in the name
of T who created.
It goes on to say, I live in Panama, Liliana.
There are a lot of top man what he didn't know.
And that a lot of top men, right, not only to read but to write.
This is the beginnings of the revelation, knowledge is there.
We find in the Quran, when God commands concerning beliefs, he says, Allah and Allah, Allah
know, you should have knowledge that there is no God. But
knowledge precedes faith, the Islamic system, knowledge precedes faith, we are required to know who God is, before we can worship Him.
Because if you don't know who God is, then you can end up with the sincere in some desires, worshipping a tree, or a stone, or the size or animals or men.
No one can question the sincerity of your worship.
But because it was not based on knowledge, you're worshipping other than God, thinking that in fact, you're worshiping God. That isn't what has happened to much of mankind.
So knowledge is something and we said that science was
just totality of man's knowledge of the universe. Knowledge is something which we look at as being revealed by God to man, for the service of men.
A law doesn't require that when he created Adam,
he taught him the names of everything.
You gave him knowledge, the ability to classify, to identify the things around him, this is what makes men part of what makes men superior to the animals. Yeah, animals may deal with their environment, but they're not able to classify it and utilize it. And to build on the knowledge that they have previously, animals, what they have is what is natural to them. And they just utilize it without reflection or anything. But man's ability to classify and identify, this allows him an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between them to build on this knowledge and to advance
with every generation.
Like an author, for example, if you observe an author, an author is to see animals found in North America,
which will build from here, back to down trees and gather the pieces of the trees and make homes underwater homes, something very complex.
But the archer cannot build on that knowledge. If you take the otter out of that environment, and you put him on the desert you finished, you put him in a an environment that doesn't have water from both these type of loans, you can't survive, he's not able to transfer that knowledge he has into another environment who has man, he's able he knows how to build a home in the desert, you can transfer that knowledge adopted and build it in the jungle, and he can build it in the North Pole
is able to apply his knowledge.
We believe this is from God. So therefore, in Islam, there is no contradiction between knowledge in the true sense.
And the teachings of Islam, what you find when you look into the Quran itself, a variety of
So knowledge of the universe,
God speaks of a variety of different practices, which only in our recent times you have been able to identify
the process of the formation of milk in the cow. The development of the embryo in the womb of the mother is de identified and described described in such detail that one of the leading embryologist Dr. Moore from Canada. He revised his book on embryology including because prior to this he had mentioned when he's looking at the history of embryology, he had given all the different theories that were in Europe, you know, which are a lot of wild stuff. And sure that the, you know, wasn't allowed to the discovery of the microscope, etc, etc, that you know, in the 19th century, 20th century that
The correct concept of the development of the embryo was understood.
Finally, he came across he was shown he was invited to a conference. And the rest of the plan concerning the development of the embryo was given to him to analyze. And to his surprise, he found a description which matched modern sciences understanding so closely that he amended his book, that book, putting in a section there that, surprisingly enough way back in the 14th century, in the eighth century, you know, 1400 years ago,
this description did exist, of the development of the embryo. At a time when there were no microscopes, there was no way really that man could possibly describe this as the evolution of the development of the embryo.
He left it at that one request in Well, there are some other steps that should be taken is what you found, as a matter of fact, one embryologist from Thailand who attended the same conference after he travelled back, he declared that he was a Muslim, I was enough for him.
Because this was something obviously, which could not have been the product of a man.
And when you go through the crime, and said, there are a number of references to to theories and facts, which modern science has have not accepted as being facts as a whole, which were way beyond their time is not understood in that period of time. Of course, some people may say, Well,
if we go back to the ancient philosophers of Greece, etc, we find some of them proposing concepts which have now become accepted. That is
true. However, at the same time that these scientists propose some ideas, which turned out to be fact today, they also made some colossal blunders, they made some statements, as I told you about the heavy ball and the light ball, there are many others, which are really, really outlandish, which modern science, you know, rejects totally.
So though they have a few instances of correct predictions, they have many instances of misunderstanding. Whereas when we go to the crime, we find that all of the reference to scientific or natural phenomena match what is known by scientific practice.
It is consistent.
And this is not the normal pattern of that set of people who prophesied or you know, just speculate on the scientists, in the secular sense. I don't mean to be religious, those who speculate you're not going to be consistently correct, they'll be correct sometimes, but many times it will be interesting. So we find here the Koran speaking about these various natural phenomena, you find a calling man to knowledge, falling man to learn to understand, to understand that this knowledge came from God, and that it is to be used for the benefit of men. At such science found at home in the Muslim civilizations, as I mentioned, it took the Greek books of Greece and India, Persia, etc. Just
edited books develop the sciences, and sciences were held in esteem.
In the Muslim world, scientists were held in esteem.
They were not afraid of being,
you know, put before in position for sports or are executed for theoretical statements essential No.
This is not the case. So we find historically, science has a very strong, established basis, within the bounds within the fold of Islam. There has been no struggle between science and Islam.
However, to do reality,
we know that there have been in the past theories proposed by Muslim scientists which have been proven wrong in the past.
So it doesn't mean that every theory produced by Muslim scientists is correct.
We also have had
in not too distant past, you know, some religious scholars who have made statements for example, if the earth is flat,
which contradicts what we know to be modern science. However, these statements of individuals are not considered to be Islam, per se. These are just
we say reflections of individuals, these are not considered to be Islamic law. So now we have a challenge between science and
the individual, for example, said there isn't sufficient
People brought that within wagon enough evidence, any box office and accepted those routes, actually, in over 1000 years before that.
Maybe about 100 years before that's one of the Muslim geographers, it's Ricci. He proposed that the Earth was a Muslim geographer. And he laid out his reasoning, his arguments based on the facts that he observed from traveling, seeing how land approaches when you're, you know, you're in the sea, when you're approaching the shoreline, the land seems to increase the hours you see all the different further Slack, you know, you would see the line even from a distance, it would just appear, you know, more clear as you got closer. But what if what he found was that the land was invisible at a distance, and became more and more visible, showing more and more as he came to us,
which seemed to imply that the Earth was in fact round. And so therefore, as you're coming over the horizon, the thing becomes visible, this was his line of reasoning. And also there are verses in the grants, which were used to support this concept.
So what we find here is that though we may find
Muslim scholars or scientists making statements at different points in history, which may contradict what we now know, to be scientific fact, these do not get ahead of themselves represent a conflict between religion and science. These are merely opinions, and Muslims as a whole, reject those opinions. When the evidence comes to the contrary, we have no problem science, Islam ramaco problem and dealing with what we may classify as scientific facts.
But as I said,
science, within the Islamic scope, is looked at as being something given by God to men to serve men.
So, historically, science within the Muslim world has been used to improve the quality of life of man. Whereas what happened, as the process of
science developed in Europe and in the West, is that science wants to divorce itself from religion.
Religion became separate science is now separate.
The moral values of religion were also removed, so sciences no longer had no moralistic guidelines.
It was it became now the tool of the state, or the capitalist, those who are in control of the economy.
on a state level,
it could be used to justify dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
obliterating you know,
1000s of lives.
Because morality is taken out of the issue of survival mode, survival of the fittest, Darwin's theory comes back into play.
On the economics frame, you have so many scientists will develop new improvements
for products, but the big companies will stop the development of these improvements until it is convenient to them.
Many of the new developments which are put in the motorcar today to improve gas
usage etc, diesel develop when she started two years ago, but the gas in the oil companies, the car production production, car producer, they
hid these facts from the general public, they did not implement them, because it was it would affect their their profits at that time.
So when they had their maximum profits out of using the old gap government, and people are now crying for something else when they introduced the view,
but they were all so we find science, you know, in the West, generally speaking, not serving the interests of men, but serving the interests of certain elements. You find people spending billions of dollars to go to the moon, to explore Mars, in America spending billions of dollars to go to the moon and explore Mars. And at the same time, it has nearly a million people living in the streets.
You know, when we think of people who live and die in the church, we think of Calcutta You know, that's what comes to my mind, you know, going into west to accompany my Calcutta, India, where people live in dynasties. Know, in America.
close to a million people are there living in the streets without hope
Dying when the winter comes suddenly getting frozen to death.
people dying of malnutrition.
This exists in America