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Heart Soul – Episode 19
Channel: Lauren Booth
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Episode Transcript ©
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Welcome to heart and soul with me Lauren booth, your place to reflect. Have you ever heard the saying it's a dog eat dog world? Well, I tell you what driving into Doha to work seems to prove that theory, I almost got forced off the road this morning. Yet this is also a realm a reality of birth, love between parents and children, spouses and friends in the scientific life in the scientific light, it appears that we live in an ordered realm but with a vast random aspect, which allows for cruelty and ultimately pointlessness. Joining me today to explore science, through the eyes of Islamic understanding is Hamza sources. Hamza is an international public speaker on Islam. He's an
instructor for the Islamic education and research Academy in the UK. And his first book on Islam and atheism is due to be published later this year. I recommend his blog, which is full of great content, and is Hamza resources.com. And if you can spell that you'll be very blessed indeed as salaam alaikum. Brother Hamza.
Hamdulillah, very well, I really wanted us to, to take a look at the unseen through the eyes of Islamic Islamic science, if that's a possible thing, because we live in an age where the two are said to be mutually exclusive. You work in this area Hamza, how do you approach the two topics?
Very, very massive topic to discuss. I'll try my best. I think the important thing to understand is we have to really know what science is because many of us, even when we're studying science, we don't know the philosophical assumptions underpinning science now, especially the postgraduate level, on science itself, the philosophy of science. And it was amazing because it taught me that science is not the gospel truth, right? science doesn't need to set. If someone claims us 92 certainty, then that's a very unscientific conclusion. And what we understood is based on things like the problem of induction, and other philosophical problems, that finds will never lead to
absolute truth. And sometimes we make a big mistake. And this is the mistake that's even echoed by the likes of Richard Dawkins and other academics and popularizers, where they think science leads to absolute truth, because it works. Now, we first have to understand that just because something works, it doesn't mean true. Let me give you a quick example. In the 1700s, we had this theory called the theory of phlogiston. Now it was an interesting theory. Basically, when things burned, or when they were burnt, they released something called syllogistic. Hated F, this theory was working. And Dan rubber fought in the 1770s. He used this workable theory, and he discovered the truth of
nitrogen. But after a few years, they then found out that fluffy stone was actually false. So what do we learn from this? This is one example amongst many, what we learned from this is a solid, that you can get a truth from something that works that is based on a false hood. And something could be working, but it could it may not be true at all.
So we have to understand these principles before we start talking about religion and science. Before we start talking about science in Islam, because you have to understand that they have two different kind of what you call epistemic foundations epistemic means the sources of knowledge, that
the study of knowledge now, and this is very interesting for us to understand another key problem in the way we look at science is we have to understand that we always have limited observations we're not going to see every we're never going to have an infinite number of observations, right? We're not God right in the Islamic tradition, we believe allies and Hakeem al Hakim me too wide. In a technical perspective, this means Allah God has the totality of wisdom and knowledge in a in a very interesting
saying you could say that
Basically Allah has the picture, we just have the pixel. And this is extremely important because it gives a sense of humidity in the gaining knowledge. So another sort of coming back to the other problem, you may never have all of the all the observations at your disposal, you always have limited observation. Just like David Hume, the famous quarter skeptic and many other philosophers, they said that you can always have another observation that is at odds with your previous observation. So therefore, your conclusions can always change. For example, if we look at the Big Bang, for example, many people think this is like, gospel truth, you know, the Big Bang is, in fact,
it's actual fact. It's no, if we study to get the popular magazine, when we study in academia, we will see that there is some data, background radiation, all of these scientific pieces of data. But there are around 17 different models that explain the same data. And these models contradict one another. And what there is no kind of consensus of which model is best to explain the data. You have the oscillating model, the quantum fluctuation model, the Friedman lemma entire model and all of these models. And the parameters he is, is a list of beautiful aspects of science, but it doesn't need to absolute. Isn't it beautiful to always be in this constant flux of learning and gaining new
observations, and having the humility of saying, you know what, even something works, it may not be true. And this leads to the survey of the realist and the anti realist and the realist argue that scientific theories are a representation of the state of affairs, meaning they represent truth, they mirror the reality that it will sustain all scientific theories on how confirmed they are just interesting models that explain reality, but it did not reflect the state of affairs. Okay, so I'm just going to waffling on too much. No, no, no, no, this is great. But let's bring us back to two one. I want to propose this as a definite can something come from nothing? I mean, I remember is it.
I said, Why bring it up. I remember, as a child lying in my bed, my dad used to try and tell me to go to sleep. And he'd say, look, if you if you're not sleep, you just try and think of what is at the beginning of the universe, and what is at the end of the universe. And I'd lie there and I try and fly backwards, backwards, backwards. And you get this concept of forever, whoa, you're just falling into nothingness. There has to be a start. And if you call it a bang, so what? We'll do a few things, based on what we've just mentioned so far, but science will lead to certainty that science can never even answer this question anyway. Because it's a meta physical question. And
that's the problem with kind of modern day science and popularizes. They blur the lines between philosophy, metaphysics, and science itself. I mean, by the very nature of the question, science can answer it, because what you're basically saying is,
no, there is a state of nothingness meaning from that is not observed an absence of being an absence of potential and absence of anything. That is a non scientific reality to science. According to Professor Elliot sober, mainstream philosophy of science, he says, scientists can only deal with things that they can observe the very definition of nothing, you can't observe nothing, right? So it's not even a scientific question. However, some scientists have tried to do linguistic gymnastics and play around with the word nothing. For example, they say nothing is an absence of time and space. But there is still something physical there. So if you change the meaning, yes, you can have
a coherent model by Professor Lawrence Krauss, he wrote a book, the universe from nothing, but he's nothing, as he says, is something already confused by life. So the point here is that he's just doing linguistic gymnastics, which is very interesting if you know nothing for, for anyone with common sense, even philosophically minded means an absence of potential an absence of being its non being. It's an absolutely anything. So from that perspective, science getting into the question, so we have to rely on metaphysics or philosophy or just normal reason. And normal reason tells us that, if you had, for example, zero, and you plus, and you add another zero, and you add another zero,
well, you're going to get zero, right? And even conceptually, think about it, you have nothing, which is the absence of anything, no potential, and you add more nothing, and just add more nothing, you're still gonna get nothing. There is something I wanted to add here that I heard recently, which which kind of blew my very unscientific mind, which is that in the sight of eternity, and foreverness,
everything that isn't forever is nothing because it's so small. It's so small, it doesn't matter. So, what I'm trying to say is we can't quantify our existence. There are things outside of the natural world. I mean, science.
was, was a system that was put together to try and measure things in a way that we could believe in. And that that is a credible way of looking at the physical world. But then we have what philosophers have called the problem of consciousness, those whole metaphysical questions and feelings. That the Why are we here? Why am I in love? Why am I not in love? You know, there's a lot here now, I mean, it's gonna be very hard for the listener to basically
jump around conceptually. So we start off by saying signs up to certainty that you have the physical problems, just because it works, isn't it? It's true, we have the problem of limited observations. You have the realism, anti realism, the philosophical discussion that has ended up by saying they both agree that scientific theories are defeasible, meaning that could be wrong. And then we start talking about confounding come from nothing. We said it's not a scientific question is a metaphysical question. Sometimes scientists have tried to address it, but they have to change the meaning of nothing. And now we're moving on to consciousness, which is really one of my favorite
topics or an essay for this, my post grad. And
this is a defeater against any type of white post Kosilek physicalist, materialist understanding of the word physicalism. And materialism essentially means that you can reduce everything to physical processing, okay? It doesn't mean you have to reduce it necessarily to pieces of matter, but you would use the physical positivism physical stuff. Now, what's very interesting about consciousness Actually, let me ask you a question. Yeah. If the Lord
What is it like for you to wake up in the morning and have some English tea?
It's a happy place for me English tea.
Okay, what does that means? I want you to take that internal stuff that you're feeling when you're waking up in the morning, English tea, and I want you to give it to me, I want to express exactly the way you experience having an English tea in the morning.
It is a comforting feeling because I like this first you smell it and you What's the internal experience of comforting, comforting, it's a place of safety and recognition, familiarity and a bit of nostalgia. Good. What does that mean, though? It doesn't mean anything in the physical world, it only means something in my concept of reality. Okay, great. So this is exactly what we're concluding here. What we've just exposed is something called the hard problem of consciousness. If you read the works of Professor David Chalmers Professor
Horan, altre, and many others you will even Professor Thomas Nagel when he wrote the famous 1970s paper consciousness. Now what's interesting here is you have an inner subjective experience. That's very first person. Now the minute you start talking, we'll try to put it in scientific language. It becomes third person in a way I can't understand what you're going through internal, inner subjective experiences unique to you. And this is the hard problem of consciousness for example, what is it like for sister Lauren to have a chocolate now? Why did you bring up chocolate that's just rude what you just said cream cake. I mean, what are you hinting here?
I think that's a good place to take a break Hamza, we'll be right back after the spoken word.
The hour is
when the blessing is taken out of time. And it goes faster and faster when earthquakes increase and natural disasters when the weather becomes extreme when Arabia turns green when barefooted bedwin is competing building buildings to the sky like Cerro de Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai when literacy increases, but knowledge is lost when the believers will be many but weaker than froth when false prophets appear know that the hour is near though sometimes I get the feeling that it's already here. The last prophet sent to mankind told us about the signs that will happen on earth before the ending of time when music is widespread and people wear it on their heads when children are filled
with rage when the wife is respected and the mother is disobeyed when the pious will disappear, and trust will decrease when people are intimate in public streets when women will be dressed but appear to be naked when the institution of marriage is no longer sacred when the liar is believed and the people are deceived and the worst of the worst are chosen to lead when the number of police begin to increase when trials
began to appear in the East when all the nations will gather against the believers see that our has a face. And these are its features. When the one who was killed doesn't know the reason they had to die, and even the killer himself doesn't even know why when nothing of Islam remains except for the names and people abandon the religion for a worldly gain when there is war between Muslims and Jews when the speakers will be many and the scholars will be few when the followers of Mohammed will be setting up rivals praying to grades and worshipping idols when people gathered for congregation, and no one prays with concentration when the mosques will be lovely, but the hearts will be ugly and
lives will be ruined and the conquests for money when interest will increase. And there is so much credit and debt that no one would be able to avoid its effects. The signs are so clear that the hour is near. But sometimes I get the feeling that it's already here.
When no one is able to make the hij to visit the Ancient Mosque when the believer wakes up and his faith has been lost. When the anti christ appears. That's when I'd be swinging God and make God come out from the east when Jesus descends from the skies dripping of pearls, then, you know, we have approached the end of this world when the sun rises from the west, and the pen has been lifted, there will be no repentance. If you have been submitted. These are not just events that the Prophet predicted, because prophecies are promises that are already scripted. The last prophet sent to mankind told us about the signs that will happen on earth before the ending of time. The first will
be his death when he breathed his last breath. And it's been over 1400 years since he was laid to rest. But before he left, he told us about the end what was written by the pin. He told us about Iraq, where the trials will begin. And we are living in the last days holding on to hot coals doing our best not to lose our souls, the minor signs have appeared, and the hour is near. But sometimes I get the feeling that it's already here.
Welcome back to heart and soul with me Lauren booth. Joining me today is Hamza sources. And we were talking before the break about subjectivity. Well, it's so perfect to the point, you know, chocolate is now you've lost.
Okay, that's the I remember.
Yeah. So what is the vehicle to meaning and meaning is representation of intersubjectivity. So that's one part of the hard problem of consciousness. The other part is, and as Professor to an artist says, Why do we have in a subjective conscious awareness, and feelings and experiences
coming from non conscious physical processes? These two points form what you called the hard problem of consciousness and there is almost a consensus amongst materialists and non materialist on the problem. And let me just repeat what the problem is, what is it like for a conscious being to have an inner subjective experience? And why do they have the inner subjective experience from physical processes? Now, this is what you call the hyper conscious another been some responses.
A response that we hear about is called eliminative materialism, which is they say, Look, why are you calling this the hard problem? Science in history has always had hard problems, and he solved it. So what's the big deal? There is no such thing as internal consciousness. It's just an illusion. Right? And this is interesting, because even in the 1991, dan Dennett, he wrote a book called consciousness explained and he basically said, Well, we don't really have internal experiences. They're just illusionary and professor and Caravaggio and others, they responded by saying, hold on a second. You're just explaining away what requires explaining. And that's why they had his book
called consciousness explained it should have been quoted consciousness explained away. So you have the unlimited materialist. But that's a false argument. Why? Because this is not about science catching up, we have to understand it's not a scientific question anymore. It's a metaphysical meaning can find which deals with third person facts. Deal with First Person facts. No, you're de sculpting the scientific method. Okay, I'm going to bring it down to I'm going to bring it down to an example and then we'll go to a break to give my brain a rest because Yeah, because this is such
Have an incredible experience speaking with you.
When if you're if you're a mother, and you've given birth to a baby, and for some reason, you have to be separated from that baby and you're in another continent, and somebody shows you a picture of that baby, your milk is gonna come down. It's and that is a physical reaction to a photograph.
And this is a feeling just before we get a break, yes to complete what you're saying. To show that it's not a scientific question. If we were to map out your brain, for example, looking at that photograph, we will never be able to find out what it's like for you to see the photograph because all we have is neurochemical patterns and firing in the brain. You can't derive from that your internal subjective feeling. This is why all science can do is look at these graphs and use correlations, your science, the science of correlations, you have the neurochemical firings, you can't make the logical leap now, now know what it's like to learn to ca to see a photo of a baby.
This is impossible. Science is the sculpting and that's why many philosophers and even scientists are saying this is not a scientific question anymore, because the subsequent is a rational one. And to be honest, this really points to the divine wish we could talk about after the break. Thank you Hamza, you'll be back with us after this incredible piece of spoken word.
My being and for the desert, for the stillness, the emptiness, the silence, drowning out out of my mind, drowning inside, softly, slowly, know me
face to face with my naked nothingness. In the name of his oneness. I bear witness the way and less than dust that doctors will know us just him. know us just him know us. Just him lead me to a desert plane when nobody knows my name, and nobody cares, busying their own hearts with the sacred art of calling the name from which all life came. Maybe I'll join this desert choir, attire nomatic, wrapped in six yards of fabric protection from the sun space of protection Lest I forget that someday, when my soul mates of eternity, I'll be shrouded this way. Find me in some corner, weeping like a Mona lamenting her lover, emptying my soul into the sun's empty my heart into his hand until
there are no bullets left in my chamber until I have no choice but to surrender to give me what you will.
I'm imagining a mockup sky, where the heavens have rose tinted cheeks Like a Virgin bride. The scent of prayer perfuming the night of darkness will be cocooned in remembrance of Gods names of basketball flight butterflies to be of by the horizon
and daydreaming of the Desert Storm. Because London's lights are blinding me and I'm listening out for God's voice. But the city screamed so loudly. I can't hear myself.
I need some time away from a place where concrete competes with my lord's artistry. Every part of me is yearning for the landscape that profits would navigate cloaked only in God's grace in China and only by God's face. Oh my things, what I would do for a taste of how it feels to be raised. To be able to say Sakina doesn't live here anymore. All that's left is God's names. That's all we have time for today. May Allah subhanho wa Taala give you a blessed evening and a safe drive home. More for me tomorrow. Thanks to my producer. Have a chef Assalamu alaikum