Abid Ali, Converts, Tue, Feb 11 2014 #(2230)

3

Mr.
Dear Richard Sir,
Humbly and respectfully I would like to introduce myself as I am Abid Ali from India (Kolkata). I am a product of an orthodox Muslim family and was very religious too, but in 2009 when I read your ‘God Delusion’, it shuddered me completely. Generally, the views about atheist are very negative in the eyes of ignorant believers. They think atheist are heartless, sadist and callous, which I had too. But my views are reversed after reading your mesmerizing book. Since then, I have read books on Science, Education and atheism voraciously. I am a great fan of Sir Bertrand Russell, as well as yours and thankful to you as you introduced him through your book. I read many of his works. Now, being a teacher I spread about veracity of Evolution and illegitimacy of Creationism. I hate religions now. I have watched many of your videos on Youtube, still watching them.
Sir I need a help from you regarding a criticism against the poor design argument. I am not able to apprehend how to answer what is the called argument of ‘Insufficient Human knowledge’ which says that something seem like they have no purpose because the purpose they have is so specialized but what we deem vestigial or useless, are they truly so? In some cases, this has also been shown to be false. For example, for many years it was believed that the human appendix served no purpose whatsoever, yet it has recently been discovered that it serves an important role in the development of fetuses and infants. Endocrine cells appear in the appendix of the human fetus at around the 11th week of development, which produce various biogenic amines and peptide hormones, compounds that assist with various biological control (homeostatic) mechanisms. In young adults, the appendix has some immune functions. Also, it was once thought that tonsils were useless, but in fact they have minor disease-preventing properties. In other words, insufficient human knowledge may make things that actually are useful seem useless.
Another one is:
Unproven assumptions
Several generic philosophical criticisms can be directed towards the first premise of the argument – that a Creator God would have designed things ‘optimally’. The argument hinges on an assumption that the human concept of ‘optimal design’ is the same as that of God, but there is no proof that this is valid. This is, in effect, the argument of the Book of Job.
I consider religious believers are drunkards and intoxicants and lames who cannot do without a psychological crutch, i.e. ‘Faith in God’.
I would like to question here, how come an illiterate charlatan like Zakir Naik entered and lectured in support of Islam inside Oxford University in your lifetime. I can’t really believe that person like him could step into the University. Please rectify my knowledge on this, if possible.

I have written an article to FFI and Islam-watch on another Islamic liar, promoter of Pseudo-science and a religious ignorant and sham ‘Harun Yahya’ who is very much admired in Islamic world.
www.islam-watch.org/authors/163-abid-ali/1465-harun-yahya-epitome-of-an-islamic-liar-deciever.html

Please Sir, if don’t have any inconvenience then, reply me with the refutation of this criticisms.
I don’t have any other aim of my life other than eradicating Islam.
We just need hope and inspiration from you, to work better. Richard sir, your writing is just awesome; we can’t express in words the beauty of your scripts and the way you put up words into wisdom. I know Urdu and English well, if you need any sort of need, then consider me at your service.

Thanks and regards,
All my love and reverence,
Abid Ali

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Abid Ali,

    Sorry no one has got back to you on your questions, but you may notice we have had a big change on the website and no one is quite sure how it all works yet. If you are still watching the site or get an email saying you have a reply (ie this one) hang in there – I’m sure an answer will be coming along shortly. I’m afraid, I’m not qualified and will be as interested in the answers as you!

    What I can do is say welcome to the world of the secular and well done on your efforts to educate those around you.

  2. @ letter – Sir I need a help from you regarding a criticism against the poor design argument. I am not able to apprehend how to answer what is the called argument of ‘Insufficient Human knowledge’ which says that something seem like they have no purpose because the purpose they have is so specialized but what we deem vestigial or useless, are they truly so? In some cases, this has also been shown to be false. For example, for many years it was believed that the human appendix served no purpose whatsoever, yet it has recently been discovered that it serves an important role in the development of fetuses and infants.

    It is worth noting that there are many examples in evolution, where some organ becomes redundant when its original function becomes obsolete, but it then gradually develops new features as these are selected for from secondary effects.

    Tear ducts and glands in humans primarily lubricate the eyes, but in other animals, they have evolved a diversity of other functions including scent marking.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preorbital_gland

    Evolution is an opportunist, not a designer!
    It takes what it has, and modifies it to new purposes, as would a back-street mechanic. – A totally different process, from starting with a drawing-board design and choosing suitable materials to manufacture a new component.

    The argument of insufficient human knowledge from creationists, is usually a projection of the inadequacy of their personal knowledge on to others, in an a attempt to pretend all views are equally unevidenced, and therefore to pretend their clueless assertions are equally valid to those presented by well evidenced science.
    It is the argument of false equivalence, with a bit of doubt-mongering thrown in! – Usually presented to an audience who have no understanding of a complex subject, they have looked up for the purpose of blinding the audience with high-sounding pseudo-science.
    They know that a biologically ignorant audience, can be conned by making up nonsense about complex subjects (usually blindly copied from AIG website where they will be told someone with scientific qualifications endorsed the pseudoscience ) where the audience will be unable to understand the advanced subject matter or the scientific methods used to explain it .

    Any explanation of complex biology will simply go over the heads of an uneducated audience, making the simplistic “god-did-it-by-magic”, a more readily understandable concept for them. Creationists also flatter ignorant audiences by pretending the uneducated have (indoctrinated) views which are just as (or more) valid, than those based on scientific evidence.

    If you look at the example I have given, an uneducated audience would not understand the anatomy of various animals, or the complex chemistry of glands, so it is completely dishonest to encourage them to think they can make informed judgements on the work of specialist scientists, or be in a position to evaluate the deliberately misleading pseudo-science presented by creationist con-men.

  3. So Polite…

    Dear Mr Abid Ali,
    The fact that you are teaching science will be of great benefit to future generations. Helping your students to think for themselves, to ask questions without fear, are the greatest gifts a teacher can give. (However your students will not appreciate it while they are still children.)

    To help you with your poor design argument.
    A good designer will design good products.
    An average designer will design average products.
    A bad designer will design bad products
    A good mechanic can improve a bad design,
    A bad mechanic will just make it work and run off with your money.
    No mechanic, you just have to rely on luck, some will live, most will die (like 98% of all species that have ever lived).
    But if you are lucky enough to live this time, you will be better prepared for next time. (inherited traits).
    Looking at all life, there are no designers, and no mechanics, (until artificial selection, see below.)

    I would also like to offer the following bits of practical advice, I am not a teacher but an engineer, but I have given talks on evolution to some adult groups. It helps to emphasise the following points.
    1 – It would be immoral to run human society on the concepts of evolution by natural selection. (this is a very strong point that many theists will agree with, and so they will be willing to hear more about what evolution actually is)
    2- The theory of evolution by natural selection, ONLY attempts to explain how the variety of life came into being.
    3- The theory of evolution by artificial selection is DIFFERENT from that of natural selection, and started when human beings worked out were babies came from.
    4- Biological evolution has nothing to say about the origin of life.
    5- Evolution by natural or artificial selection does not disprove god/s, It only shows that no god/s are required.

    And finally, science is all about telling the truth, In that respect, it is very ethical. But it also helps if you can tell a few jokes in your science classes.
    Hope that is of some use.

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