Science

Can Science Prove The Existence Of God?

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Nargis Mandry

It is a common misconception that science and religion are essentially incompatible. Scientific knowledge – the study of life and the universe – can only cement faith not weaken it. After hearing a minister preach about the dangers of science, Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer wrote: “Scientific investigations pushed on and on, will reveal new ways in which God works, and bring us deeper revelations of the wholly unknown.”

With regard to the belief in an Almighty Being, we find that many scientists believe in God; in fact there are very few among them who deny the existence of God and there are more who do not deny. According to a 2009 Pew Research Centre survey, over half of American scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power.

The Holy Quran clearly indicates that the study of the creation of the heavens and the earth leads to Almighty God: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.” (Al Quran 3:191)

The Holy Qur’an draws attention very effectively to the existence of God by referring to the creation as follows: “Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed up mass, and then We opened them out? And We made of water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” (Al Quran 21:31)

The verse suggests that the universe (the heavens and the earth) was at first a closed up mass and God then split this mass open and formed it into the universe, in particular our solar system, and then He created life out of water.

Now let us look at the universe from a scientific point of view. Scientists use the Big Bang theory to explain the origins of the universe. The theory is that around 14 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was packed into a single incredibly tiny point (a closed-up mass). This began to enlarge rapidly in a hot explosion, and it is still expanding today.

Furthermore – when it comes to living things – be it plants or animals – science has shown water is an essential element for life. In some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. And – a human newborn baby is 75% water. We’re born as wet as a fresh potato. Tomatoes are wetter (93.5% water). Apples, too, but only slightly (80%).

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientist of the 20th Century said: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the limitless superior being who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

Now let us turn our attention to the alternation of night and day. Science has shown us that we have day and night because the Earth spins on its axis – an imaginary line passing through the North and South Poles. We don’t feel the earth moving because it turns smoothly and at the same speed. The Earth takes 24 hours to make one complete turn.

Furthermore – we have seasons because the earth is tilted – the Earth leans towards the sun (in summer – making it hot) or leans away from the sun (in winter – making it cold). The Earth is tilted at angle of 23.5 degrees.

According to Sir Isaac Newton (one of the world’s great scientists): “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and Powerful Being.”

Need further convincing? The origin of human life on earth is a scientific problem which is not yet solved. There are plenty of ideas, but few clear facts. The basic idea behind Darwin’s theory of evolution that all the different species have evolved from simple life forms – doesn’t hold. Through advances in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics over the past 50 years, we now know that there are in fact tens of thousands of complex systems on the cellular level. Molecular biologist Michael Denton wrote, “Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10 to the power of minus 12 grams, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machinery built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.”

What is clear is that species change over time, give rise to new species, and share a common ancestor. The ‘Out of Africa’ theory suggests modern humans all share common ancestors who migrated out of Africa around 2 million years ago. This is supported by genealogy studies which show white Europeans carry at least 1% DNA that is African in origin.

The Holy Qur’an clearly indicates that God created mankind: “And certainly He has created you in stages.” (71:15) At another place the Quran says: “And We did create you and then We gave you shape; then said We to the angels, ‘Submit to Adam;” (Al Quran 7:12)

These verses indicate that man was created through a gradual process and that man had been in existence before Hazrat Adam(as).

In short, the Quran teaches that man’s physical creation and development and intellectual development are the result of a process of evolution. Hazrat Adam(as) was not the first human being, but was the first human being whose intellect was capable of accepting and bearing the responsibility of revelation.

Thus, the modern scientific theory of human evolution, origins of the universe and creation of life correlates with what was revealed fourteen hundred years ago in the Holy Quran. In other words – science has unwittingly proven the existence of God.

I conclude with the following verses from the Holy Quran: “This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous,” (Al Quran 2:3)

 

References:

• The Holy Quran. Published by Islam International Publications Limited. UK edition 2006
• Scientists and Belief. Pew Research Centre. 2009 http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/
• Views of Scientists on the Existence of God. Prof. Saleh Muhammad Allahdin. May 2009 http://www.reviewofreligions.org/1493/views-of-scientists-on-the-existence-of-god/
• Quran, Adam and Original Sin. Belal Khalid. 2018 https://www.alislam.org/library/articles/quran-adam-and-original-sin/
• Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution. https://www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com/

 

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Science · Women

Women in Science

Blog Women In Science

Iffat Mirza, Raynes Park

When we think of women and science the most well-known names that spring to mind are Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Ada Lovelace. Each was a pioneer of modern science and they have continued to serve as inspiration for generations of girls and women who have expressed interest in the sciences and have overcome many obstacles to achieve their aspirations. However, the issue remains that the male to female ratio of recognised scientists rests in the favour of men. It is surprising to note that of all the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, only 2.3 per cent are women, while in the field of physiology and medicine, only 5.3 per cent are women. (1)

The truth is that women have always been involved in the sciences but are only just beginning to be recognised for it. There is evidence of women in ancient civilisations contributing to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The earliest noted female in a STEM profession is Merit Ptah, who lived between 2700–2500 BCE, during the Ancient Egyptian era. (2) She was known as ‘the Chief Physician’ and was greatly respected in the court, however, as one would expect, there are far more recorded instances of men’s contributions to science.

Since the Dark Ages, particularly in Europe, many women were excluded from higher education and therefore from scientific societies, yet continued to contribute where possible, and were indeed, pioneers in many theories and discoveries. Indeed, many fundamentalists in many parts of the world would wish to see a return to the Dark Ages where women are confined to the four walls of the home. Belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, I am grateful that I have always been encouraged to pursue an education. The fifth Caliph of the community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has reminded us that that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had placed great emphasis on the education of girls. However during the late 19th or early 20th century, girls and women had little access to education and particularly very few Muslim girls had the opportunity to pursue secular or religious education.

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him), revived the true teachings of Islam and encouraged the pursuit of secular and religious knowledge amongst all Ahmadi Muslims including women. Hence, Ahmadi Muslim girls have been excelling in education and outperforming boys in many countries. Indeed, many women of our community are pursuing higher education in the sciences.

Women such as Ms Naeema Ahmad are paving the way towards a number of breakthroughs in many areas of science. She is the Founder and CEO of Africa Alternative Energy Initiative (AAEI). She is also the winner of the continental-wide Gathering of Africa’s Best Award in 2017. It is so encouraging to not only see women such as Ms Ahmad leading projects such as alternative energy, but also being recognised and appreciated for their works. This is what inspiration looks like.

One is inclined to ask, ‘how do we improve this?’ Steps have indeed been taken, for example the UN have declared 11th February as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Furthermore, there are plenty of organisations conducting admirable work in offering bursaries, scholarships, and training for women who wish to pursue the sciences. However, the fact of the matter is that this can be too late for many girls.

Particularly in the British educational system, children are made to think about their career paths from about the ages of 14-16, whilst they are choosing and completing their GCSE qualifications. Therefore, young girls must be inspired and supported before they reach this age. It is imperative that primary and secondary students be taught about the many women that have led scientific research – not only in previous centuries, but those leading the disciplines in modern society. Serving as inspirations from a young age, girls will grow knowing that ‘scientist’ is not a profession reserved for men, which unfortunately is a stereotype which is consistently reinforced. As a young British woman, who has only just left the British school system, I cannot remember being taught about any female scientists in my GCSE curriculum, three year ago. This confused me. I knew that there were plenty of accomplished women in science throughout history, so why did I only ever hear of the men?

As with any problem, it must always be tackled at the root. In this case that means portraying the sciences as a realistic and achievable dream to young girls. To do this, they must be taught about the fascinating breakthroughs that women have achieved through the years: from Merit Ptah to Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim woman in space.

1 http://www.un.org/en/events/women-and-girls-in-science-day/
2 https://www.britannica.com/biography/Merit-Ptah
Science

The Ideology Of Cryogenic Freezing Debated

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By Faiza Qadeer, Luton, UK

Recently there was an article on Sky News which really interested me because it was about a terminally-ill 14-year girl from the UK who won a legal case shortly before her death to be cryogenically preserved in the hope that she may be brought back to life at some point in the future.

What is Cryonics?

Arctic explorers have learned that humans cannot stand extreme cold weather conditions. When our cells freeze, they produce ice crystals which break down cell walls as they develop, which would cause the body to mush once it is warmed up again.

The purpose of cryonics is to preserve human life by using cold temperatures around -196c so that a person beyond help by today’s medicine might be preserved for decades or even centuries until future medical technology can restore them back to life and full health.

The stages of cryonics are:

  • To declare the persons death and contact the cryonics team immediately.
  • To ensure the body is stabilized by keeping oxygenated blood circulating to minimise deterioration.
  • Next the body is injected with heparin (anticoagulant) to refrain blood from clotting.
  • Water is then removed from cells and replaced with human antifreeze.
  • Then the body is then cooled on dry ice till the temperature reaches -130 C.
  • Lastly the body is placed in a large container filled with liquid nitrogen at -196 C, which can hold up to 4 people.

Advantages of Cryonics

If the cryonic strategy works and humans can be revived after death unharmed, the possibilities will be infinite. It means that no one has to die! It could also mean that the option of dying for 100 years then being woken up to live another life would be possible. Would you not want to live another day or better still, see what the future is like?

Natural disasters seem to be happening everywhere these days; earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis all have destructive powers that are sometimes beyond comprehension.

Cryonics could preserve life so that after a disaster, the region could re-populate with plant, animal and human life.

For generations, science fiction authors have imagined that cryonics could be the answer to how humans can travel safely to stars and planets beyond our solar system and science is starting to catch up with those theories; there could be a possibility that the answer is near!

Cryonics could allow people with a deadly virus to be preserved so that the illness does not progress until a cure or treatment can be found.

People who die young can have the opportunity to continue their lives from where they left off.

Disadvantages of Cryonics

Nevertheless the costs and work to preserve people through cryonics may ultimately be pointless and the theories might not ever render into facts.

If the demand for cryonics increased, this would put pressure on resources currently available such as fossil fuels. If and when the theory of cryonics is proven we may be in a position where millions of people could be revived causing further pressure on countries to accommodate the sudden surge in population. Having more people on earth would impact the food and oil supply. How would we preserve enough resources for a larger more densely populated area?

The theory of Cryonics touches on many ethical issues. Death is a natural part of life. For Christians, Muslims and other major religions, to interfere with ‘Mother Nature’ is deemed wrong and unethical as they would be playing God. One thing that comes to mind regarding cryonic preservation is how is it possible for the scientists of the distant future to resurrect the dead without restoring their souls?

Also, what if the process takes decades, how will these ‘patients’ adapt to their future environment, most probably all their loved ones might have already passed away by that time. It would be hard to re-create your life again with no support, family and friends in a new environment.

How would people treat each other if death is not an option? If people could be preserved for an indefinite period waiting for a cure to a disease,

we would certainly have different dynamics in every choice that we make and not all of those dynamics would be positive. It violates the sense of what is certain and precious in life.

Cryonics is used on people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine. Why only preserve those who die of incurable illness, what about those who die of other causes? How is that fair?

If cryonics works wouldn’t everyone want to have a longer life? The cryonics process slows down the metabolism of cells but it may not actually slow cell aging.

Someone may emerge from being cryogenically preserved only to rapidly age. So what’s the point if your money is going to be wasted on watching yourself grow older faster?

Conclusion

In my opinion, from a purely scientific perspective, your money is probably better spent, while you are still alive, on scientific research into incurable diseases in the hope that a cure is found in this day and age.

As a Muslim I feel and strongly believe that we should not be trying to play God by attempting to preserve and then bring incurably ill people back to life in the future when a cure is found. This is because I believe that there is everlasting life after death, you are here in this world for a purpose and God created you and only God will know when our return is?!

In conclusion analysing the pros and cons there appear to be many more disadvantages than advantages which suggest that cryonics should be stopped and re-thought.