Curious Muslim Meets Atheist Scientist
Channel: Mohammed Hijab
File Size: 26.76MB
So what's your background?
background? I'm a biologist.
I like it
was University. But we try to find
the easy answer was,
yes. Give me a reason why you're fascinated with life. Because it's very difficult to me from Scotland.
No problem. I mean,
it's always interesting speaking to someone with expertise,
more or less in the subject.
So, William, I want to ask you a question. Sure. girlfriends. What is your? What's your thesis of how we got here? Not as biological entities? Well, I'm speaking about the bigger picture. What How do you explain it? What what's your understanding of?
It's not, it may not be as satisfying a conversation as you think it might be. Because generally, my answer is, I don't know. Which leaves a lot of people like *, that was a short conversation.
session, let me let me put forward
a series of statements.
And they'll be very much straightforward things. Okay, I'm not going to.
And he told me whether you agree or disagree, I might not be able to do that. I don't I don't like yes. In those situations. Life is very complicated. I don't know nothing about life. I'm speaking about the bigger picture, then we can go zoom into life. Yeah. Just um, whether you agree or disagree, but we'll see all right.
there is no doubt that there is existence
something exists Okay, something exists, you agree?
that existence is divided into necessary and contingent. Now, let me explain the term let me define the
unnecessary existence is something which exists
without depending upon something else.
A contingent existence is something which depends upon something else to exist. Moreover, if you take it out of existence, and impossibility will not occur.
you agree with that? No. Okay, so explain why you don't do that. It's a presupposition that you can't prove or disprove, I believe is possibly the easiest thing to prove. I would argue
there's two options. There's three things possibly that could exist.
The impossibilities which cannot exist, like a squared circle, can't exist, agreed.
You have contingent things, which are things which depend upon other things to exist, like me and you. You depend upon your parents. I depend upon my parents to exist.
And there are things which don't depend upon anything to exist necessary existence.
Would you agree that this is a final classification? No, we don't know. From my perspective, we don't know the origin of the university said nothing about the universe. Well, things that existence have to exist somewhere. No, no, look, in my statements. so far. I've made zero mention of the universe.
I haven't said nothing about universe. Yeah.
All right. So far, I have been speaking ontologically Okay, which means I've been speaking abstractly, I've not been speaking cosmologically I've not been making mention of
things of the universe. Right? So let me tell you why it's impossible for that to be only contingent existences.
If there was only contingent existences,
we would not necessarily exist.
Because it's impossible for there to be a series of dependent things.
That's an impossibility.
Who knows? Let me know this is a mathematical thing, right? Like you know, you have mathematical sets. Yeah, a set.
You have if you have a series of things
Which are all dependent upon something else? You need something outside of that series, which is independent in order to make those things
exist, existence would not be possible without a necessary existence.
Maybe So no, it's not maybe this is yes or no. Because I'll tell you why. For me, it's not because I believe it, I don't believe like I say, it might not be my main alternative, I might not go the way you think, well, because I'm of the position that I don't believe in. People knowing the truth, I think that reality is much more complex than we can understand. There's such things you can explore, like different levels of spirituality, higher levels of awareness, altering your mind, state of psychotropic chemicals, seeing different places and realms, which are talked about in many different belief systems. In fact, beings of entities of our ways of living, these things are, I think, far
more complex than we can distill into like one hook. So that's my stance. I mean, we exist and that's, that's fine for me. Okay, no, these are all cosmological realities. Yes, I know, I know, you, I know you're going to two plus two equals two, me two plus two, two, plus two equals four is not a cosmological reality. It's something in the mind is an abstract station. It's an abstraction. If you like, well, I can say yes. And then we can continue if you like, but is it not? I mean, can you prove a cube? Can you prove otherwise? Can you? Well, let's, let's say let's accept it, and let's see where you go with it. Well, I can tell you from as a matter of fact, okay.
that no human being, who's a philosopher from Aristotle, who wrote a book called The metaphysics, up until Bertrand Russell, who died very recently. Yeah, who attempted to say logic and mathematics are the same thing
can prove that mathematics, for example, is in the real world, from a cosmological perspective. It's an existence. We agree that mathematics exists, but it's not a cosmological one. Going back to what I was saying, in the same way now, contingency, which is possibility, possible existence means if it is possible for you to have worn another jacket today. Yes. It's possible for that jacket to have been another jacket.
Yes, but you've had to copy me.
And maybe see, obviously, now, here, the point is I'm making is all I'm saying is that we can classify existence things into possible existence, unnecessary existence. In other words, if you take this thing out of existence, nothing else would exist. That's a necessary existence.
Okay. Yeah. All right. You agree? More or less? No problem. But you see that you see the logic in that? Maybe? So I'm not an expert in logic, no problem. But you know, the actual formalized logic, no, logic is necessary to study it to be able to talk about it effectively. So I think to be honest with you, it's overrated, in a sense, because you have different kinds of logic. Yeah, predicate logic, propositional logic, even if you do, what do you call it computer science, you're going to do logic to some extent, right?
It just requires you to put things together here. What I'm saying is, you cannot This is my statement, you cannot have a series of dependent possible things. You have to have one thing outside of that series that allows all of those things to exist otherwise, what does it depend upon? Right? Why can you not just say that something needed to create that,
then then that thing that needed to create it is the necessary existence? Right? It can no continue, you know, turtles all the way down into into infinity. So infinity in terms of number of terms of quantity, doesn't matter. But actual infinity, or what kind of potential infinity, what kind of infinity are we talking about here? I don't know. Yeah. Okay. So no problem. If you say it's infinity, if the series is an infinite series, first and foremost, it's impossible to have an infinite series. Yeah, the reason why is because if you have an infinite series, and you have something added to it, it will contradict its infinite infinity, right? I don't know I think a
series, a series is by its nature bound
by what is bound by the fact that it's a series. So if you put something into it, or if you take something out of it, it will contradict its infinity, but let's just say we can keep going. Yeah, right. So there's a necessary existence. Yeah. Okay. Sure. Okay. So everything depends upon this. And it depends upon nothing. You can you can tell me, Okay, no problem. Now, if we agree that there's a necessary existence, which everything depends upon and it depends upon nothing.
Can you have more than one necessary existence?
It's impossible to have more than one necessary existence because one of them will have to depend upon the other one. So by nature, there would only be one necessary existence.
Correct. Okay. All right. So we've talked about the fact that there must be
Logically speaking even or ontological level, just using abstraction, there must be a necessary existence which everything depends upon and it depends upon nothing, it must be one. And it also must be unique.
You know why it must be unique?
Because had it had something, for example, it was a composite.
If it was a configured entity of many different parts, then it would depend depend upon its parts for its existence, for example, like yourself, right? You are a human being I'm a human being, I have many different limbs, and paths. And without those limbs and parts, I couldn't exist. So, in essence, I depend upon my parts to exist, at least physically, right. So it must be something which is doesn't have any parts.
But the interesting thing is, I don't mind Okay, no, no, I mean, all of this stuff actually doesn't it doesn't affect them. It doesn't affect me that much. No, it does affect you. And I'll tell you why. Tell me why. Because if we accept all the premises that are put forward, then in effect, what you've done.
One more thing I'll say to you is
if we agree with the fact that there is time, yes, there cannot be something which precedes it.
Right? Okay. Because then it would, in effect, either be contingent on that thing dependent on it, or it would depend, it would be caused by it. If we believe in causation, obviously, David Hume, you're Scottish than believing he had some issues with causation. So I'm not even using that word right now. Right.
Okay, so here what? I want to shake your hand. You said you're an agnostic? No, I didn't ask him. Okay. So what do you believe? Do you believe in God?
It depends what you mean by God. I mean, the necessary existence one independent? Well, right, you're trying to put me in a position where I have to say yes.
to anything, I've just done that I've just, I've just done discussing explication, ever. So it's your explanation I would like, yeah. So what is God to you? God is all those things we talked about. Because in the Quran, it says Paulo, I'd say he's God's one and only. So allow some of the one that everything depends upon and he depends upon nothing. Right? Let me he doesn't have any children. No, was your childhood anything? Which shows that there was nothing that preceded him? Right when I'm here coloca fauna had a completely unique, right. So the things that we said are necessary for a God to be a god are in the things that we've rationalized are, in fact, in place. Okay. So therefore,
does this make sense to you? rationally? I know where you're going? Sure. Right. So it can't be, for example, a plethora of gods.
Because they'll be they'll be?
Definitely not. I mean, I don't necessarily agree with the star. So Oh, we did agree with this thought. We have to be honest here. We don't. We don't have to be honest.
No, no, no. It's good, to be honest. But it's hard to be honest. When you don't know all the truths of the universe, which none of us do. We don't talk about a universe a lie on. Do you know why we're not talking about the universe? When I say that I mean, existence existence that we can comprehend, which is what we've been doing and discussion of logic knows and exists, let me explain to you something, right. This is an ontological argument.
an ontological argument means just like mathematics, right? Is something which resides in the mental abstracted realm, we can easily transfer it to the cosmological realm easily, right.
And it can be applicable in the cosmological realm, but it can exist without a cosmological inference. Sure, an idea? Yes, an idea, just like mathematics, but a real one just like mathematics. Yeah. So abstract mathematics.
Abstract mathematics is real. You're not?
I'm not an expert. But I've heard some interesting things about No, no one will tell you that. I mean, you're not going to tell me that math is not real. No. Same thing is, because let me tell you something like scientific, the scientific method, your biologists?
What is it based upon?
You know, it's based on the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of science or metaphysical, non tangible principles of logic. And so they are abstractions.
So the whole of science is based on abstractions. If it wasn't, if abstractions were any less than cosmic cosmology, then surely they should be underpinned by it. Well, the opposite is true. Okay, let's keep going. So no, I'm just telling you the epistemic weight of ontological reasoning can sometimes supersede that of cosmological reasoning. You're Scottish. Obviously, David Hume believes in the problem of induction.
He talks about the swans and all these things, right. I've never read Hume. You should man is one of your main guys, you know? Yes. But he's actually the probably the greatest Scottish philosopher of all time. Um, maybe I'm making a
good Who knows? Maybe he knows but what I'm saying is that there are problems
As science has inductive problems, right? Or limitations, I should say, yeah, inductive problems. So, having said that, if we agree that there is an entity which is necessary which everything exists upon which everything depends upon which if you take out of creation, nothing would exist, and the possibility with a curve, that is one, and that nothing came before, if you do believe in time,
then what we should say there for is that you're no longer
that much of a skeptic, because you've actually taken on board the religious notion. Oh, really, it really depends, because we've yet yet to get into the specifics. All right. So,
in the Quran, right? These are the four parameters in that chapter, right? That He is God wanting only the attorney besought of all meaning the independent. He has, he has no children, nor is he given the children, and there's nothing like him is unique. Now, having said this, these are four parameters.
that excludes trinitarianism. Because we have the father is God, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit's got exclusive completely, because we said they cannot be more than one necessary existence. So if we exclude trinitarianism, and policies, and by extension, we've gotten rid of two major religion in the world, which is Hinduism, or one understanding of Hinduism, one understanding of it, and Christianity. Right, right. So we asked the question now,
if this is more reasonable in an inference than the atheistic one,
what does this unnecessary existence want from us biological entities in the world? Is there a connection between question was a very good question, is there a connection between us and this necessary existence? Why would there be? Well, we know for a fact, we know from reasonable discursive reasoning, that there must be at least one kind of relationship. The fact that he gave us existence, or it gave us existence. Yeah. If it gave us existence.
If it gave us existence, then there was a relationship of giving existence. That's one thing.
Yes. Okay. So that's definitely that could be a natural force that gave existence by being a natural force was impossible for it to be a consciousness to this entity and purpose. When we don't i don't see a logical reason that it would have purpose to doing it could be a natural force that can observe, maybe it's,
it caught me, it cannot be material. And I'll tell you why. It cannot be natural. It must be immaterial. Well, it's made? No, no, no, no, it can't be. In fact, that's one thing. Logically, it cannot be a material entity. And I'll tell you why. Everything which is a material entity is a composite configuration. And as we discussed, a composite configuration is dependent upon its constituent parts. If something is dependent upon its constituent constituent parts to exist, it must be dependent and if it's dependent, it can't be necessary. Right? No, I understand what you're saying. Right? deeper, therefore, it cannot be material. I didn't necessarily say material, but
well, natural natural force. What do we mean by natural? Well, like? Well, both of us here are no experts in the cutting edge of particle physics, right? So we don't know all that there is we're discovering more things every day. Physics is Apart from this, this this this discussion How convenient? It can be? If you want it to be? Well, why not? Well, we can bring it in. But what I'm saying is we can have this discussion without having a cosmological inference. That's how that's how deep is this is almost as if it's a mathematical discussion. Why not? Why not be all inclusive? We can if you want, it makes more sense. So but we have already from first principles agreed that that
makes sense. From this ontological on this ontological level, I haven't agreed. The universe could have always existed. I've said nothing about the universe always
been pedantic. Let's go with that. We've talked about ontology existence could have always existed. No problem. Just need to have a star. Do you believe that the universe always existed? I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea. No idea. Told you. You're a clever man, right?
You've completed a degree in biology and you're a clever man. We've made an ontological argument. It's been done. Now we know that must be unnecessary existence. If you say the universe always existed, yeah. Which we don't agree with, right? We
let's say for instance, the theistic position or for it to be more specific Muslims, we believe that the universe had an explicit beginning and that God created the universe, ex nihilo, which means from nothing. Yeah. However.
Let's go to the fact that for the sake of argument, no problem. I mean, today, I want to, you know, say I want to give it to you. Let's go with it. The universe always existed much bigger problems. has time always existed. Who knows? Who knows if the universe always existed? My question to you is, has it existed with time or no time? Whoa, is that time
To be I don't want to be what's the right word? I can on semantics. But what do we mean by time? Time refers to two tenses and action. So we refer to past, present and future. We refer to a unit of measurement. Yes. Which, which measures this transition from past, to present, present to future and so on.
So if you believe in this, I don't think I can say I believe in it, do you believe time exists? I don't like the word belief. do accept time exists. I live in my life that it does exist in the view that it is alright, so I can't say definitely epistemic. Lee, you accept the value of time?
Well, you could live without a concept of time, I suppose. Just be more difficult. Is that time?
No, bonus mine, William, please. exist? Lots of different ones, William? Yeah, that's fine. So if you don't know much about cosmology, which is your position, it's better to go back to ontology because then we'll get more certain truth. I don't think we can get certain truths. That's my that's my stance. Man. Is that your? Well, yeah, we should go into the, into the deadlift, like a theistic position is, is quite an interesting one, rather than a God that maybe just created if I say, I exist, no, forget about existence.
There is existence, is that a undeniable statement or not?
Well, we can say that it is yes. Okay. So there are some things so that is an undeniable position. Something something exists, something exists.
That is no doubt that there is existence.
Something exists. So the reason why I've taken you off cosmological discussion is because I know you're always going to say, I don't know. But that's that's the honest position, no problem. So in that case, let's go away from doubt into certainty. Because not seriously because this is I'll be honest with you right for answers. And it's so obvious, then why doesn't everyone believe it? Because they've been socialized. Otherwise? Let me tell you something, right. The Quran says I'm fully human.
I'm hella Kusama. What you love Bella, you don't know me? I'll tell you the answer. I'll tell you what the translation right it says, Did they create themselves or whether themselves to create where they create from nothing? Or they themselves the creators of themselves? Did they create the universe? They have no certainty. So in other words, the chronic position is that an atheist or even agnostic by definition, will never attain certainty. That that is a position, right? Problem is a big problem, because I thought it was a problem.
From your perspective, it's less of a problem, because you're kind of like agnostic, right?
In saying I don't know, for an atheist who makes a definite claim that there is no God, yeah, it's a problem to make a positive definite claim. But actually, when it comes to the nitty gritty, you have very little certainty. Do you see the point? The point here? No, I already know that. Yeah. So you're looking for me. So you agree with me and you'll do the plan. Alright. So that's that's the same thing there. You're sure there's no God is a difficult possession. Just like saying you're sure there is one? I don't think it's a difficult position. Because man, you just went through the process. We mean God by some force outside of physical creation. But who knows what that is? I
haven't said, I haven't said any true. I have not said anything about force. I've not used that word. I've not said anything about that book. These are your words. Sure. That's an easy argument. I'll be honest with you, William, it's an easier argument to refute. But let me just summarize why I said to you before, okay, I'm just I'm putting in propositional statement form. Yeah, I'll ask you some questions, no problem. statement, one, I said,
There is no doubt there is existence, statement one, Statement two, existence is divided into necessary and possible, necessary means, that this existence,
depends upon nothing in order for it to exist.
Possible means, it depends upon something else was existence and it could have otherwise not existed. Necessary means if you take it out of existence, impossibilities will occur. Possible means if you take it out of existence, impossibilities will not occur. In other words, if I take you out of existence, or you take me out of existence, no impossibility, no logical impossibility will occur. Therefore, we said if there's a series of things, which are only possible existences, we will need something outside of that series, which is a necessary existence in order for existence to exist. Therefore, necessary existence is by definition necessary. Therefore, there must be something
which everything depends upon, and it depends upon nothing. Also, that thing has to be one because if there were two necessary existences, there would be two things which necessarily claim to have nothing depends upon one of them would have to depend upon the other. And in addition to that, it will have to be unique. If that's the case, then actually what we're saying is that there's one necessary existence, which everything depends upon and it depends upon nothing, and existence would not be justified without that necessary existence and impossibility would occur without that existence, therefore, not
No. Therefore, therefore, therefore, there is, as the Francis COVID law says alone and only the one
alone summit the bit Eternally Besought of all the independent the thing that everything depends upon and he depends upon nothing. Let me tell you that he does not have is not a child of anyone knows he does he give me a call over and there's nothing like him at all, and is unique. The thing the parameters that the Quranic discourse puts forward, are not only immediately realized, could be argued from an intuitive perspective, but also, right, logically attained through discursive explication of ontological epistemology, ontological argumentation, like I've just done, right? We don't even need to go into cosmology, let's talk about. So let's say consciousness, right? Yes. We
have no idea what consciousness is. That's nothing to do with the argument, right? Yes, consciousness is very, very interesting. I'm gonna keep talking because I think it's interesting. Okay, go ahead. Go ahead, say, let's say this consciousness that we apparently through the world foods, right. We don't know where it comes from. We haven't discovered that in science. Maybe we won't. Who's to say that? That force, right. There is not God itself? Yeah. Okay. So we say that God is not we say that the things because God is a semantic term that comes from the German word good. It's a it's has connotations, especially for an atheist. He doesn't like the word. Look, don't talk
to me about God. Right? That's what I'm saying. Let's just say the thing that we've just discussed here, maybe with the parameters experiencing itself, we're saying that you have two things here. Number one, you have this reality, which is that which is the ontological basis for God's existence, then you can say something else. If you believe in causation, you can make the causality argument, which is that everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist, therefore, the universe has a cause. If, of course, you don't believe the universe began to exist,
then you don't need to say that this, this argument doesn't apply to you. But we don't need the argument. Okay. Yeah. Can be
So let's say all these things are right. Yes. Um, where do we go from there we go. From there we ask. Okay. Last question. Why now? Because what does the necessary existence? What does this summit feel like the thing that everything depends upon? And it depends upon nothing? What does it want from us? That's an interesting question. Right? Why would that have?
Okay, why did it put us into existence? That's the question. Ah, and this is a logical question. I've heard the answer, and I find it exceptionally dissatisfied. Okay. Tell me why. Why is the answer to worshiping? Okay, it's otherwise that oh, this is
my question, right. What is worship this great thing? Let me answer the Christian
worship is submission of will. submission. Yes. Interesting. Yeah. It literally means that you voluntarily submit your will to the necessary existence. It's really what worship is. Let me say your worship is asking for our life energy.
Let me tell you exactly what worship is. All right. worshipping is realizing who you are. That's what it is. That's interesting. Yeah. It's all it is. to worship God is to realize that you're you're dependent.
So we don't have any real power. Absolutely. All of your power is ceded to you from the necessary existence. Your existence is as a result.