Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Video: 50 Academics Speaking about God

Here is a snapshot of some of prominent academics on God from a skeptical viewpoint. The snapshot format is interesting but it may give the impression that these views are relatively uniform. If you are interested in a more nuanced look on this topic (especially when you go beyond the notion of a personal God), check out Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Science & Religion by Steve Paulson. It contains interviews with scientists and philosophers, both religious and non-religious, and presents a fascinatingly complex views on these matters.



8 comments:

M. Akbar Hussain said...

As my credientials are nowhere even closer to the basic qualifications of these elite academics, I still find it a bit uneasy to listen to their comments about a concept they have little or no knowledge about. Whatever they are speaking about the concept of God is entirely based upon their own highly subjective and limited understanding of the said subject, especially without a hint of what the most read religious scripture in the world, the Quran, has to suggest about the idea of God.
I am not endorsing my own views on God, and as I am not even a mediocre in qualifications as compared to these giants of knowledge and understanding, I would resort to a more universal and objective approach to propose my argument against these commentators in this video compilation.
I could only go through the first ten commentators in my limited available time.
1. Lawrence Krauss:
He has suggested that we do not need anything other than the Laws of physics to explain everything that we see.
Can we explain in anyway the origin of laws itself by any known scientific means, science as we define it today? Now that does not automatically mean there is a God, but just to emphasize that how limited an approach this scientist has, as he is suggesting that the laws of physics are not themselves included in that 'everything' that constitutes the universe around us. And to explain the origin of laws themselves would require a basic overhaul of the basic definition of science, I guess.
2. Robert Coleman:
He thinks that as religion suggests of an anthromorphic god, there is no god. So far so good. But is it really what the most read religious scripture suggests too. Quran mentions of a God that is formless, eternal, and cannot be compared to the objects of human understanding. Well it may be true or false, but why would he opt to ignore such a scripture is anyone's guess.
3. Richard Feynman:
He exposed his extremely limited understanding of the religious concept of God by mentioniing a local God...God limited to Earth only. Now it may be true for other religious concepts, but Quran, the most read religious scripture in the world, mentions the existence of many worlds in its very opening verse.

M. Akbar Hussain said...

Where are my comments??????????

M. Akbar Hussain said...

4. Simon Blackburn:
He mentioned, "Religion tries to talk about what lies behind or above it. All ideas have applications in the world as we know it"
Well I still don't understand how this is related to the notion that there is no God. Does not make any difference. Yet Quran suggests the same as he has sugested that everything that is on earth and in the skies is subjected to our undetstanding and application.
5. Colin Blakemore:
He suggests that the concept of God would require the belief in a 'helmsman' that would steer our thoughts and actions. Really? Quran mentions in chapter 53, verse 39 that man can only have what he strives for. So may be he is talking of concepts in other religious scriptures conveniently ignoring the one that is most widely read. May be this is the way a modern scientist works. In my limited knowledge, this is called bias.

M. Akbar Hussain said...

6. Steven Pinker: He suggested that there is "no need to invoke immaterial soul in understanding how a mind works."
Exactly! Just like there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to invoke immaterial software in understanding how a computer works. Right?
7. Alan Guth:
Now he has given the most scholarly reply to a question he has no knowledge about, " I have no idea" he says, which is the best answer I guess. However he has given the example of designer that it is more sophisticated and complicated than the objetc being designed. I think this is a highly subjective and false analogy. Or may be true if someone thinks of God being more sophisticated than the laws of physics themselves, then this argument does not hold enough weight.
8. Noam Chomsky resorts to a more acceptable and direct approach by talking about the need for objective evidences to believe in something. So far so good.
9. Nicolas Bloembergen is non-religious for personal reasons.

M. Akbar Hussain said...

10. Peter Atkins:
He says, "Theologans say no one will ever understand it. Typical of theologans, they don't respect the power of human intellect anyway and no one will ever understand it".
Plain liar. The most read religious scripture i.e. Quran suggests otherwise in chapter 45 verse 13, that the Universe has signs for those who think and observe.
Should I go through the ideas of entire fifty commentators. I don't think so. Analysis of mere firt ten commentators exposes the hollowness of their understanding of a subject thay have limited or no knowledge of. And it is not unexpected. Same happens when a religious cleric talks about purely scientific subjects like evolution. Yet misusing your scientific credenials to propagate your personal views is a dangerous prospect.

Ali said...

Great analysis, Akbar. Totally agree with you. This is nothing but atheist propaganda. I don't know why Salman should be so interested in this.

Akbar, you may not be a quantum physicist or a Nobel Laureate. But your credentials are not less valuable. Just because you were not born and brought up in US and just because you did not go to Harvard, that does not mean you are less qualified than these academics. So please don't underestimate yourself so much.

If all these academics would do research on the Qur'an, I am sure the majority of them will profess "Shahada" and start believing in God.

Atif Khan said...

Awesome video... Please share more stuff like this.

Thanks again.

mo said...

btw guys the same youtube user posted 20 theist academics(they could only find 20 academics who were theists lol) here's the vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfBMFPYuLsE