Is it Really Our War?

Since we are about to inaugurate a giant wall around the Kings palace, and all those kings helpers who feel they are insecure, I thought it would be good to gauge whether we all think that that the current troubles which have spilled over from across the border into our peaceful city are actually Our War – as the govt has defined it – or are we fighting Someone Else’s War…. if so then how do we fare as citizens of Islamabad and Pakistan. Your 1rupee please..

56 Comments so far

  1. kabirdas on November 4th, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

    @ riaz on October 29th,

    2)Religions have also been resolutely hostile to philosophical speculation and to scientific research.
    This is very much true about the people who profess to be the champions of their respective religions,but not the religion itself.You can find such ppl in every region of the world who believe in this or that religion. A difference needs to be made b/w what the religion says and what ppl professing that religion say.They are not always the same.

    The line of argument that you have chosen is just to defend the religion and pass on the blame for its flaws to its followers since it is less risky to blame the followers than the religion itself. How dare we criticize our religion when right from our childhood our faith has been drummed into our ears and rammed down our throat by our parents and priests et al. We have actually been indoctrinated with the most comforting thought that we belomg to a group of people with superior knowledge who alone have a private wire to the office of Almighty, all others being less unfortunate than ourselves.

    After having studied, in my later years because of my compulsive inquisitiveness, both the religion and mdern science and their histories I have come to a firm cnclusion that science and religion are inherently incompatible and antagnostic. In this regard I would like to quote Paul Davies who in his famous book ‘God and the New Physics’ states my point so aptly as follows:

    "For greater part of human history, men and women have turned to religion not only for moral guidence, but also for answers to to the fundamental questions of existence. How was the universe created and how will it end? What is the origin of life and mnkind? Only in the last few centuries science bagan to make its own contribution to such issues. The resulting clashes are well documented. From its origin with Galileo, Copernicus and Newton, through Darwin and Einstein modern science has cast threating light on many deep-rooted religious beliefs.

    The scientist and the theologian approach the deep questions of existence from utterly different starting points. Science is based on careful observation and experiment enabling theories to be constructed which connect different experiences. Regularities in the working of nature are sought which hopefully reveal the fundamental laws that govern the behaviour of matter and forces. Central to this approach is the willingness of the scientist to abandon a theory if evidence is produced against it. Although individual scientists may cling tenaciously to some cherished idea, the scientific community as a group is always ready to adopt a new approach. There are no shooting wars over scientific principles.

    In contrast, religion is founded on revelation and received wisdom. Religious dogma that claims to contain an unalterable ‘Truth’ can hardly be modified to fit changing ideas. The true believer must stnd by his faith whatever the apparent evidence against it. This ‘Truth’ is said to be communicated directly to the believer, rather than the filtering and refining process of collective investigation. The trouble about the revealed truth is that it is liable to be wrong and even if it is right other people require good reason to share recipients’ belief."

    So you see the hostility of religion to scientific research stems from its so called revealed ‘Truth’ which can’t be questioned but is questioned by scientists most of the time. ‘Theory of Evolution’ or ‘The Big Bang Theory’ which now stand as facts are the classic examples of being the cause of religion’s hostility towards science. The poor ‘champions’ of religion have no option but to support the myths of religion otherwise they will no longer be able to call themselves as ‘faithfuls’. What the followers are doing is performing their duty as is required of them by their respective religions.

    NB:
    1.I will discuss your other observations in my next post.
    2. Paul Davies is professor of Theoratical Physics at the University of Newcastle. His research has ranged across much of fundamental physics and cosmology. He has acquired internation reputation as a science popularizer. Beside this one he has written about 18 other books. Some of these books titled ‘ Other Worlds’, ‘The runaway Universe’, ‘The edge of Infinity’ and ‘ The Mind of God’ have received world wide acclaim.


  2. kaami on November 5th, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

    RE: Al-Razi quotes.
    You have read the right ones and like you I am in full agreement with him.

    Also I fully endorse what you have enumerated about science and religion. Science is not just a method of mixing chemicals or burning rocket fuel. It’s a way of thinking which is contrary to religious thought and beliefs, as mentioned in detail in your above post.


  3. kabirdas on November 6th, 2008 @ 12:45 am

    @ Kammi on November 5th

    Sir, I am not sure how Al-Raazi would have felt about your agreement with him but your agreement with him has certainly made my day. It is so pleasing and gratifying to come across some one, once in a while, who is prepared to make use of the faculties with which the nature has endowed us and is brave enough to say ‘Aqil’ is better than ‘Naqil’ and thus not be deluded ‘by the beards of the goats’.


  4. kabirdas on November 6th, 2008 @ 12:50 am

    @ Riaz

    Al-Raazi says:
    "The people who gather round the religious leaders are either feeble-minded, or they are women and adolescents. "

    You say:
    "Not neccessarily. Religious leaders attract everyone. to some extent its true that people who have weak beliefs or little knowledge of religion would either swing 100 percent towards the religious leaders or away from them.but again it depends.its not an absolute statement".

    I and host of other great minds say:
    There is general consensus among all leading philosphers that fundamentally the basis of religion is fear. Lucretius said it as far back as some 2500 yeras : ‘It was fear that first made gods in the world.’ Voltaire said it much later : ‘If there was no God we would have to invent him.’ In recent times Will Durant said it rather differently in ‘God and Imortality’ (perhaps with tongue in cheek): ‘Every soldier is religious until he is promoted to the rear; all generals are athiests.’ Bertrand Russel is of the same view. In ‘ Why I Am Not a Chriatian’ he says: ‘ Religion is based , I think primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown, and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of whole thing—-fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death’. And then in his discourse on’ Human Society In Eithics and Politics’ he makes the statement: ‘There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who can’t face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought!’
    Bertrand Russell also seems to hold a similar view as held by Al-Raazi when in ‘ Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind’ says: ‘I say people who feel they must have a faith or relgion in order to face life are showing a kind of cowardice, which in any other sphere would be considered contemptible. But when it is in the religious sphere it is thought admirable, and I cannot admire cowardice whatever sphere it is in’.
    Sir the point I am trying to make is that indeed, as Al-Raazi said, feeble minded are more prone to get attracted to religion and thereby gather round religious leaders to listen to the comforting myths which help them to overcome their fears and face the perils of life. I believe in the same context Al-Raazi also said which I find rather amusing and true: "as a result of [religious people] being long accustomed to their religious denomination, as days passed and it became a habit. Because they were deluded by the beards of the goats, who sit in ranks in their councils, straining their throats in recounting lies, senseless myths and "so-and-so told us in the name of so-and-so…".

    To be continued


  5. kabirdas on November 6th, 2008 @ 11:16 am

    @ Riaz

    Al-Raazi says: Religion stifles truth and fosters enmity.

    You say: Factually incorrect again. its based on the premis that religion cause war.No.its the people who cause it n then try to use religion to justify their acts.

    I say: I do not see any link whatsoever of this statement with the statement that religion cause wars. That was a separate issue. However, It does have connection with the statement: ‘Religions have also been resolutely hostile to philosophical speculation and to scientific research’ which I reckon I have shown above to be true to a great extent.
    Riaz, you don’t have to go very far (dark ages of Europe when heretics used to be punished most serverly and even burned at stakes) to see the verasity of this statemet. In our case most unfortunately it holds good even in this century. Our Blasphemy laws are a classic example of it. The enmity and hatered between Shias and Sunnis and Deobandi and Bralavi etc is another example of it. Don’t you hear the Fatwas of the bearded goats against not only those people who hold different opinion than theirs or against each other for the same reason for that matter. So and so is Kafir. So and so is Murtid. So and so is Wajibul Qatal. So and so’s Nikah with his wife has become null and void. If you go a bit deep in to the cause of such Fatwas you will find that the reason for this is nothing more than the fact that the guy has expressed some views about some matter which are not approved by our socalled religious scholors or Ulma-e-Karams who are no better than an ordinary Mullah of a mosque. The only difference between a Mullah and an Alam-e-Din is that former remains buried in his Hujra and the latter in his relgious books written by equally ignorant Ulama-e-Din. Both are frogs of a deep well. The latter is more dangerous than the latter. The former is actually the mouth piece of the latter. I am actually shocked by the statements of these self proclaimed pious men which I often find blesphemous.

    It may again be relevant to quote BR in this regard:

    ‘Owing to the idientification of religion with virtue, to gether with the fact that most religious men are not the most intelligent, a religious education gives courage to the stupid to resist the authority of educated men, as has happened, for example, where teaching of evolution has been made illegal. So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence; and in this respect ministers of religion follow gospels authority more closely than in some other". (Education and the Social Order)

    It may also be pertinent to mention two other interesting quotes which I read somewhere but unfortunately don’t remember their exact words and authorship.

    a. With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    b. If, instead of being a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew, we were all athiests, this world would be a much better place to live in.

    To be continued


  6. kabirdas on November 8th, 2008 @ 1:01 am

    @ Riaz

    Al-Raazi says: If a book in itself constitutes a demonstration that it is true revelation, the treatises of geometry, astronomy, medicine and logic can justify such a claim much better…"

    You say: Not sure what exactly he meant by this, but over the top it looks right.
    We can prove religious revelations by science and not the other way around.,coz scientific theories/facts change all the time, while TRUTH doesnt.
    I say: What Al-Raazi means is that if only the contents of the book are taken as an indication of its being a true revelation then the scientific books are more jistified to make such a claim. His statement is particulary true for such scientific doscoveries and theories which were not the child of their times. Works of many scientists appear to be intuitive and give the impression as if they have been revealed to them by some supernatural being. Democritus a-tom (uncutable) theory of matter is a classic example of this. His a-tomic theory of matter expounded some 450 years BC still astounds the modern day particle physists. He is probably best known for two of the most scientifically intuitive quotes ever utterd by an ancient:

    " Nothing exisits except atoms and space; everything else is opinion."
    and
    " Everything exisiting in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity."

    Yes, science can either prove but or disprove many religious revelations. The classic example of the one revelation, a very important one, that has been so thoroughly disproved by science is that of Genesis. How The Theory of Evolution and Big Bang Theory have shaken the very foundation of religion is a well known fact. These theories have now been accepted by the Christian church also though with some reservations like the mechanism of evolution, Natural Selection and Gene Mutation, have been set in motion by God. Even then these theories contradict the Genesis story as described in holy scriptures.

    The socalled TRUTH doesn’t change indeed and that’s the whole tragedy of religion. It becomes obsolete and out of phase with times even if it wasn’t so at the time of its birth.

    Sir, you have made a very loose statement : " coz scientific theories/facts change all the time,"

    Please first note the difference between a fact and a theory. This example will help you to understand the difference. Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution.

    Stephen J. Gould, one of the top biologists of the wprld, has put this as well as anyone else:

    "Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don’t go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s in this century, but apples didn’t suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered."

    The theories do change and thus improve and come closer and closer to the TRUTH. Had science been static like religion we would have still continued to believe that the earth is flat.

    To be continued



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