Afzali

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  1. Reason is more respectable than science! When a religion does not respect the laws of reason - laws such as the impossibility of contradiction, how can we expect it to respect the laws of science? When people like Feuerbach criticizes Christianity he does it from a more fundamental standpoint i.e. the standpoint of reason. He says: THE grand principle, the central point of Christian sophistry, is the idea of God. God is the human being and yet he must be regarded as another, a superhuman being. God is universal, abstract Being, simply the idea of Being; and yet he must be conceived as a personal, individual being or God is a person, and yet he must be regarded as God, as universal, i.e., not as a personal being. God is; his existence is certain, more certain than ours; he has an existence distinct from us and from things in general, i.e., an individual existence; and yet his existence must be held a spiritual one, i.e., an existence not perceptible as a special one. One half of the definition is always in contradiction with the other half: the statement of what must be held always annihilates the statement of what is. The fundamental idea is a contradiction which can be concealed only by sophisms. A God who does not trouble himself about us, who does not hear our prayers, who does not see us and love us, is no God; thus humanity is made an essential predicate of God; – but at the same time it is said: A God who does not exist in and by himself, out of men, above men, as another being, is a phantom; and thus it is made an essential predicate of God that he is non-human and extra-human. A God who is not as we are, who has not consciousness, not intelligence, i.e., not a personal understanding, a personal consciousness (as, for example, the ―substance‖ of Spinoza), is no God. Essential identity with us is the chief condition of deity; the idea of deity is made dependent on the idea of personality, of consciousness, quo nihil majus cogitari potest. But it is said in the same breath, a God who is not essentially distinguished from us is no God. (The Essence of Christianity).
  2. What are the contributions of science to philosophy? (6) (B.) Science prepares new grounds for philosophical analysis. Every science begins with a number of basic and universal problems, and they develop in order to elaborate and explain specific and particular cases with the appearance of new fields which sometimes appear with the aid of other sciences. Philosophy is no exception to this rule, and its first problems are limited, and it has developed and will develop with the appearance of wider horizons, horizons which sometimes are discovered by mental efforts and the exchange of ideas and thoughts, and sometimes through the guidance of revelation, or by gnostic disclosures, and sometimes they appear by means of things which are established in other sciences, which prepare the ground for comparison with other philosophical principles and new rational analyses, such as the problems of the truth of revelation and miracles given by religion, and other problems, such as the world of images and forms, given by the gnostics (`urafa). These have prepared the grounds for new philosophical investigations. Likewise, the progress of empirical psychology has opened up new problems for the philosophical science of the soul. Therefore, one of the services the sciences render to philosophy, a cause for the broadening of its vision, the widening of the range of its problems, its development and fruitfulness is to prepare new subjects for philosophical analysis and comparison with its general principles. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  3. What are the contributions of science to philosophy? (5) A) science demonstrates the premises of some proofs. At the beginning of this lesson we indicated that sometimes in order to solve some problems of the philosophical sciences empirical premises can be used. For example, from the absence of the occurrence of perception despite the existence of material conditions the conclusion may be drawn that perception is a non-material phenomenon. Likewise in order to establish the existence of the spirit one may employ the biological fact that the cells of the bodies of men and animals gradually die and are replaced by other cells so that during several years all the cells of the body (except the cells of the brain) are replaced, and by adding the fact that the structure of the cells of the brain also gradually change with the consumption of their contents and renewed nourishment, for individual unity and the persistence of the spirit are cases of consciousness and are undeniable. The body, however, is constantly in a state of change. Hence, it becomes clear that the spirit is other than the body, is persistent and unchangeable. Even in some proofs of the existence of God the Exalted, such as the proof from motion and the proof from creation, in one sense, empirical premises are used. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  4. What are the contributions of philosophy to science (4) Likewise, the subordinate laws of causation, such as the law that every effect has a specific and suitable cause, for example, the roaring of a lion in the jungles of Africa does not cause a man to be afflicted with cancer, and the singing of a nightingale in Europe would not cure him. Also the explanation of these and the following laws are worthy of no science but philosophy: the law that wherever a complete cause occurs, its effect will also necessarily come into existence, and until a complete cause occurs, its effect will never be existent. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  5. What are the contributions of philosophy to science (4) Likewise, the subordinate laws of causation, such as the law that every effect has a specific and suitable cause, for example, the roaring of a lion in the jungles of Africa does not cause a man to be afflicted with cancer, and the singing of a nightingale in Europe would not cure him. Also the explanation of these and the following laws are worthy of no science but philosophy: the law that wherever a complete cause occurs, its effect will also necessarily come into existence, and until a complete cause occurs, its effect will never be existent. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  6. What are the contributions of philosophy to science (3) b) Philosophy discusses the principle of causality on which all sciences are based. As has been repeatedly indicated, the most general principles required by all the real sciences are discussed in first philosophy, and the most important of them is the principle of causality and its subordinate laws, which we explain as follows: All scientific endeavors turn about the discovery of causal relations between things and phenomena. A scientist who spends long years of his life in the laboratory to analyze and synthesize chemicals searches to discover what elements cause the appearance of what material, and what properties and accidents will appear in it, and what factors cause the analysis of compounds, that is, what is the cause for the appearance of these phenomena? Likewise, a scientist who sets up an experiment to discover the microbe which causes a disease and the medicine for it, really is searching for the cause of that disease and its cure. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy) Hence, scientists, prior to beginning their scientific endeavors, believe that every phenomenon has a cause, and even Newton, who discovered the law of gravity, by observing the falling of an apple, was blessed by this same belief. If he had imagined that the appearances of phenomena are accidental and without a cause, he would never have been able to make such a discovery. (For further details, see, Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions)
  7. What are the contributions of philosophy to science (3) b) Philosophy discusses the principle of causality on which all sciences are based. As has been repeatedly indicated, the most general principles required by all the real sciences are discussed in first philosophy, and the most important of them is the principle of causality and its subordinate laws, which we explain as follows: All scientific endeavors turn about the discovery of causal relations between things and phenomena. A scientist who spends long years of his life in the laboratory to analyze and synthesize chemicals searches to discover what elements cause the appearance of what material, and what properties and accidents will appear in it, and what factors cause the analysis of compounds, that is, what is the cause for the appearance of these phenomena? Likewise, a scientist who sets up an experiment to discover the microbe which causes a disease and the medicine for it, really is searching for the cause of that disease and its cure. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy) Hence, scientists, prior to beginning their scientific endeavors, believe that every phenomenon has a cause, and even Newton, who discovered the law of gravity, by observing the falling of an apple, was blessed by this same belief. If he had imagined that the appearances of phenomena are accidental and without a cause, he would never have been able to make such a discovery. (For further details, see, Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions)
  8. What are the contributions of philosophy to science (2) a) Philosophy proves the subject of empirical science. The establishment of the subject of science. We know that the problems of every science turn about a subject which includes the subjects of the problems of that science. When such the existence of such a subject is not self-evident, it needs to be established, and this establishment is not within the scope of the problems of that science, for the problems of every science are limited to propositions which represent the states and accidents of the subject, not its existence. On the other hand, in some cases, the establishment of a subject by means of the research methods of that science is not possible. For example, the methods of the natural sciences are empirical, but the real existence of their subjects must be established by the rational method. In such cases, it is only first philosophy which can assist these sciences and establish their subjects by rational proof. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  9. The relation between philosophy and science (1) There is more or less of a relation between the natural and philosophical sciences, as well. In order to solve some problems which are raised in the philosophical sciences, one can employ premises which are established in the empirical sciences. For example, in empirical psychology it is demonstrated that sometimes despite the existence of necessary physical and physiological conditions for seeing and hearing, perception does not take place. Perhaps all of us have had the experience of meeting a friend but failing to see him because the focus of our mental attention was elsewhere, or a sound may have caused our eardrums to vibrate although we did not hear it. This subject can be used for premises to solve one of the problems of the philosophical science of the soul, and it may be concluded that perception is not simply due to the category of material interaction, otherwise perception would always take place when the material conditions were satisfied. On the whole, on the one hand, it assists other sciences and satisfies some of their fundamental needs, while on the other hand, it benefits from the other sciences in one sense. (For further details see, Ubodiyat, An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy)
  10. What is the use creation when attaining perfection is not necessary? (3) It is possible to say that if the resultant of the motions of the world is not positive and that the result of the collection of all their motions is not the obtaining of more perfection for existents in this world, then the creation of such a world would be vain and useless. The answer is that on the basis of divine wisdom we can prove that the creation of the world is not vain and useless and its results are wise. However, the positive character of the resultant of the motions does not imply that every motion necessarily is perfecting and causes more perfection for the moved itself. (For further details see: Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions) Based on the above explanations the perfecting character of every motion can be accepted only in the sense that the existence of the moving thing attains to something existing, which it previously lacked, although it previously may have possessed something similar or more perfect, as was mentioned regarding the relation between the potential and the actual.
  11. Why motion if no perfection? (2) If motion does not bring about the perfection of the moved, then why does the moved undertake the motion? What motivation could it have? The answer is that, first, not every motion arises from the consciousness and motivation of the moved, as was mentioned regarding natural and constrained motions. Second, it is possible for a conscious existent to perform a motion in order to attain a real or imaginary pleasure, but out of negligence for the natural consequences or due to the intensity of the desire for the mentioned pleasure, this motion leads to the loss of more valuable perfections. Anyway, the irrationality and imprudence of such a motion does not imply that it is impossible. (For more details, see: (Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions)
  12. Are all motions evolutionary? (1) The correspondence of Aristotle’s definition to various types of motions does not imply that the perfection which is obtained through motion is ontologically superior to the perfection lost by the moving object. It cannot be concluded that the moving existent necessarily becomes more perfect, comparing its present station with its previous condition …. Is it really acceptable to say that everything which moves from one place to another thereby becomes more perfect and attains new perfections superior to those it had possessed? Can it really be proved that the wilting and declining processes of every vegetable and animal are the results of the perfection of another existent? (Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions) Based on the above-mentioned explanations, one can say that not every motion is evolutionary or perfecting. How can we say that when we see for ourselves the contrary? We see that all living beings including animals and plants decline and finally die after becoming old and aged. We see that apples decay after they are ripe. If all motions were evolutionary then one could deny devolution but now that all motions are labeled as evolutionary one is not in a position to deny devolution. It may be concluded that there is no reason to hold that every moving thing under the influence of motion achieves a perfection superior to its previous perfection, regarding its ontological level. Innumerable experiences show that not only is there constant motion, but also declining and weakening motion exist, in the sense that the moved gradually loses its present perfections or possesses perfections which are not superior to those it has lost.
  13. Christianity fraught with contradictions! Thus in ancient Judaism, Jehovah was a being differing from the human individual in nothing but in duration of existence; in his qualities, his inherent nature, he was entirely similar to man, — had the same passions, the same human, nay, even corporeal properties. Only in the later Judaism was Jehovah separated in the strictest manner from man, and recourse was had to allegory in order to give to the old anthropomorphisms another sense than that which they originally had. So again in Christianity: in its earliest records the divinity of Christ is not so decidedly stamped as it afterwards became. With Paul especially, Christ is still an undefined being, hovering between heaven and earth, between God and man, or in general, one amongst the existences subordinate to the highest, — the first of the angels, the first created, but still created; begotten indeed for our sake; but then neither are angels and men created, but begotten, for God is their Father also. The Church first identified him with God, made him the exclusive Son of God, defined his distinction from men and angels, and thus gave him the monopoly of an eternal, uncreated existence. (Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity) Feuerbach is a philosopher. In the beginning he was a practicing Christian. As he found out that Christianity was full of contradictions (that are in disagreement not only with science but also with reason), he abandoned Christianity. According to Christian god is both human and divine; something we cannot understand!!
  14. Nothingness The mutakalimīn (Muslim scholastic theologians) have imagined that the qualification is ‘ḥudūth’ (the property of having come into existence), that is, every existent which is ḥādith, and which at one time did not exist and afterward came into existence, will be in need of a cause. So, being qadīm (eternal) is considered to be confined to God, the Exalted. They argued that if an existent had existed from eternity (azalī) and had no previous condition of nothingness, then it would not be in need of another existent to bring it into existence. Contrary to them, the philosophers believed that the qualification for the subject of the noted proposition is contingency (imkān), that is, every existent which essentially has the possibility of non-being, such that the supposition of its non-being is not impossible, is in need of a cause. The shortness of length of its life will not make it needless of a cause, rather the longer its life the more it will be in need of a cause, and if it is supposed that its life is infinite, then its need for a cause will also be infinite. Thus, it is not intellectually impossible for an existent which is an effect to be eternal. (For further details see, Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instructions) Based on the above explanation, if you are a theologian you need to suppose a state called non-existence that precedes the existence of any existent, because according to theologians the criterion for needing a cause is huduth. If you are, however, a philosopher you do not need to have such a presupposition, for according to a philosopher, it is the contingency of an existent that tells us that it needs a cause.
  15. The unbelievers of Makkah said to the Prophet (saws) that if you are truly a prophet split the moon and if you do we shall believe. It was a full moon that night. And so the Prophet (saws) prayed to Allah to grant Him this miracle, and the moon was split. Half was seen over mount saffa, and the other half was seen over mount Kaikaan. The people said that the Prophet (saws) has placed a spell on us, however if He played a trick on us, then He can't play a trick on all the people in the world! Abu Jahl said:" Let us wait until the people of Albadiah come, and if they saw the moon split, then it is true, if not then we all know it was a trick of magic. When the people of Albadiah came they said that they too saw the moon split, and the disbelievers said" oh, how powerful Muhammed's magic is!" Then Allah revealed Surat al Qamar: "The hour has come near and the moon has split, and when they see a sign, they turn and say 'this is a continuous magic' and they disbelieved and followed their desires.." This took place in the days of the Prophet Muhammed (saws) in Makkah. (For further details see: Sahih Bukhari, tradition no. 4583, Ibn Kathir's al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 3, p. 117 and Tusi al-Tibyan, vol. 9, p. 443).