Monday, December 3, 2012

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?
Epigraph: "He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise." (Al Quran 59:25) 
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD

First something about the big picture, Christian apologists want to make a case for Christianity based on laws of nature and science, by showing that there ought to be a Transcendent Creator of our universe.  They make this case, in one breath, and in the very next, deny all of science, by insisting on Eucharist, man-God of Jesus, who is not Transcendent, resurrection and miracles that violate laws of nature.

Atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma. However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work. However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

In a trilateral discussion between atheists, Christians and Muslims, I believe we can appreciate reality better and come up with better theology, especially if the discussion not only involves the Creator and purpose of the universe, but, also His complete Transcendence, Original Sin and evolution of life on our planet, Trinity, Mother Mary and Eucharist.

Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist[1] and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford,[2] and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.[3]
He has emerged as a lead apologist for atheism and an articulate defender against dogma, which is not backed by reason.
Professor Richard Dawkins seems to divide the physical reality of the universe into simple things like stones and clouds and complex things that are the living beings.  He opens his book the Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design, with the following words:
"We animals are the most complicated things in the known universe. The universe that we know, of course, is a tiny fragment of the actual universe. There may be yet more complicated objects than us on other planets, and some of them may already know about us. But this doesn't alter the point that I want to make. Complicated things, everywhere, deserve a very special kind of explanation. We want to know how they came into existence and why they are so complicated. The explanation, as I shall argue, is likely to be broadly the same for complicated things everywhere in the universe; the same for us, for chimpanzees, worms, oak trees and monsters from outer space. On the, other hand, it will not be the same for what I shall call 'simple' things, such as rocks, clouds rivers galaxies and quarks. These are the stuff of physics. Chimps and dogs and bats and cockroaches and people and worms and dandelions and bacteria and galactic aliens are the stuff of biology.
The difference is one of complexity of design. Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. Physics is the study of simple things that do not tempt us to invoke design."1
But, tell this to a quantum physicist that rocks, clouds and rivers are 'simple things,' and do not require an explanation!  Dawkins claims that 'physics is the study of simple things that do not tempt us to invoke design,' not so fast!  This is only his assumption created by the anesthesia of familiarity, and a passionate desire to prove atheism. Non-living things certainly require an explanation and of course the living things require a greater explanation.  The assertion that the stone does not require an explanation is only his delusion and with his passing years it has become more entrenched in his mind.
Such an assertion could have been true prior to the Big Bang theory but no more.  According to Aristotle the universe was eternal and this continued to be the physics of the nineteenth and the twentieth century until Edwin Hubble's discovery of the expanding universe.  Where did the Big Bang come from?  Who made the laws of nature and why do they conspire to make this universe suitable for life?  Is multiverse universe science or only confabulation of those scientists who are fundamentalists in their atheism? Here we will focus on only one type of evidence and only one type of element or stone for our purposes, namely carbon and why it requires an explanation.  A diamond is a precious stone and is made entirely of carbon (just like the graphite in a pencil). But, while graphite is very soft, the carbon atoms in diamond form in such a way as to create the hardest known substance. The word carbon probably derives from the Latin carbo, meaning variously 'coal,' 'charcoal,' 'ember.' The term diamond, a corruption of the Greek word adamas, 'the invincible,' aptly describes the permanence of this crystallized form of carbon.  Pure diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance known.  The Encyclopedia Britannica describes, "On a weight basis, carbon is 19th in order of elemental abundance in the crust of the Earth, and there are estimated to be 3.5 times as many carbon atoms as silicon atoms in the universe. Only hydrogen, helium, oxygen, neon, and nitrogen are atomically more abundant in the cosmos than carbon."  Encyclopedia summarizes that originally in the universe, carbon has been produced by a nuclear reaction involving helium atoms, "Carbon is the cosmic product of the 'burning' of helium in which three helium nuclei, atomic number 4, fuse to produce a carbon nucleus, atomic number 12."2  Life as we know it would not be possible without carbon.  The Encyclopedia Britannica describes:
"More than 1,000,000 carbon compounds have been described in chemical literature, and chemists synthesize many new ones each year. Much of the diversity and complexity of organic forms is due to the capacity of carbon atoms for bonding with each other in various chain and ring structures and three-dimensional conformations, as well as for linking with other atoms. Indeed, carbon's compounds are so numerous, complex, and important that their study constitutes a specialized field of chemistry called organic chemistry, which derives its name from the fact that in the 19th century most of the then-known carbon compounds were considered to have originated in living organisms."3
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