Atheism

Understanding Atheism series

A two day lecture presented by Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi on the subject of “Understanding Atheism”.

Session 1: Introduction to Atheism (Currently Watching)
Session 2: The Rise and History of Contemporary Atheist Thought
Session 3: Refuting Atheist Arguments
Session 4: Common Arguments Against Islam
Session 5: Atheist Psychology and How to Debate
Session 6: Introduction to Logical Fallacies

This event was hosted and sponsored by Intellectual Wisdom Malaysia (http://intellectualwisdom.com/)

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

Session 4:

Session 5:

Session 6:

21 replies »

  1. Mr. Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi has proved the existence of god. It took him three years of hard thinking he tells us.

    Mr. Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi can concieve of things that I cannot. He can conceive of things like limitlessness and eternity that I cannnot. I suppose he could concieve of colours that I colourblind person could not, and I suppose he can conceive of colours seperate from light. If he can, it is enough to make a colourblind person see red!

    He has conceived things that do not exist in the real world. By being able to do this he has proved to himself that supernatural things do exist.

    He puts the things that he conceives together and calls them god or, as he says, Allah.

    Because he can conceive of things that I cannot, that makes him right that god exists, and me wrong in my belief that his god does not exist. He has thus proved that atheists like me do not exist. He says so in his lectures. Q.E.D.

    Mr. Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi goes further and says that because Allah exists, as he has proved, the Qur’an is true.

    Fortunately I do not have the arrogance that Mr. Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi has or we might resort to violence.
    It is sad because Mr. Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi does not realize it, but as he decides that the things he has proved are true, he has turned himself into god.

    Roy Saich

    • Roy Saich,

      Your arrogant rhetoric is typical — and also, as usual, misleading,

      1) I never claimed the existence of God could be proven by my argument. I clearly state throughout the series (on multiple occasions) that the argument only helps to rationalize belief in God while destroying scientism. So you’re little monologue-drama is just a strawman. No surprise.

      2) You can conceive of the idea of God, though you can’t imagine it in full. The fact that all of humanity can even think of the possibility of something outside the only realm (apparently) that gives them explanation and meaning, shows how absurd the actual belief that the natural world is all that gives explanation and meaning really is.

      3) Another strawman you make is that you assert that I state that “because Allah exist, the Qur’an is true”. No where did I ever make this statement or argument. This is either a misinterpretation of my argument or a deliberate lie on your part. Once again, not surprised.

      4) You claim I’m arrogant while displaying confidence in your lack of knowledge of my actual arguments and then go on to commit a non-sequitur by implying this arrogance leads to violence.

      Let us pray you don’t commit to violence then, such as the recent murders of the 3 Muslim students in North Carolina by a — apparently — not so arrogant anti-theist.

      You also claim that I have “turned myself into god” by promoting the argument Ive made. This is an irrational conclusion and shows just how shallow your thought processes actually are.

      If you took the time to actually think about what I’m saying instead of using all that energy to make a hasty and juvenile response, you might actually provide some real criticism in the future.

      • My thanks to Mr. Asadullah Ali for so admirably proving my point as to his being arrogant. He shows it by not only calling me ‘arrogant’ but also stating that I can ‘conceive of the idea of God’ (I cannot), then accuses me of a ‘deliberate lie’ and ‘shallow’ thought processes, and making ‘a hasty and juvenile response’.

        He fails to say what my reply is ‘typical’ of, or how it is ‘misleading’. There was of cause no intention to mislead anyone.

        I can, however, reply to his points as follows.

        1. He only claims to have destroyed scientism. That is all! He has not, but even if he had that does not ‘rationalize belief in God’. It only leaves an empty space.

        2. The word ‘God’ has no meaning without a definition. He cannot give one that makes any sense. ‘Limitlessness’ and ‘eternity’ will hardly do I would think. Is God all powerful, all knowing and all loving? If not, he cannot be what some people consider God to be, and if God is less than that he is weak. We can join words together like ‘a square circle’ but that does not bring such a thing into existence.

        3. Mr. Asadullah Ali, you either believe the Qur’an is true or you do not so believe. If you do believe the Qur’an is true why do you do so? Are you a Muslim who believes the Qur’an contains errors?

        4. Mr. Asadullah Ali, ‘That arrogance leads to violence’ is often true – see any news programme. What are you praying to, and why? Because you think I will commit murder. Why bother unless Allah hears your prayer and acts in the world. Perhaps he does thunder if he does anything.

        But of course you don’t know if he does anything, so like me you are an agnostic. Why not admit it?

        Roy Saich

        • Roy Saich.

          All the statements I made were well deserved as you are still evading everything I stated and acting like I never corrected you or that you made an error.

          1) Red Herring. Now you are switching to the fact that my argument destroyy scientism after I corrected you regarding your accusations of my argument as being “a proof for Gods existence”. Instead of admitting to this, you are still trying to poke holes in something you don’t understand.

          My argument uses scientism against itself, proving there is more to reason with than simply “science” and paving the way for other arguments in support. Further, it proves that there is some other source OUTSIDE the natural world that gave us this inclination.

          2) I address definitions in the lecture, and I even used the idea of “a square circle” as being meaningless. Your use of the example is further evidence you don’t know what my argument is about nor did you watch the lecture to find out. Rather, you are just spouting the typical nonsense of an atheist with a superiority complex.

          3) Doesn’t matter what I believe in this context, because I never made that argument to begin with. You are just bringing it up out of the blue because you were too lazy to actually listen to what I had to say.

          4) If its “often true” you need to prove that…and if that’s the case the I should fear for you being violent.

          So if you don’t mind, I think I’m finished. You’ve now proven to be a complete waste of mine and everyone else’s time.

          • Mr. Asadullah Ali displays no respect for atheists or atheism in these lectures. He does not wish to elaborate or explain the points he makes and he does not wish to engage in constructive discussion, instead he wants to close the debate down.

            The only point he seems to be prepared to justify is his claim that “he has destroyed scientism and that ‘it proves that there is other source OUTSIDE the natural world that gives us this inclination'”. I have to repeat that if he had done that he would have only left an empty space.

            The ancient Romans were said to have created a desert and called it peace. Mr. Asadullah Ali has created an empty space and called it the supernatural.

            Why does this matter? It matters because the effects of his lectures can only be to increase dissention and antagonism between Muslims and atheists.

            Roy Saich

          • Yes, I’m inclined to agree with Roy Saich here. Asadullard’s arguments are not only couched in the vaguest of terms, but the forcefulness of his expression and lack of manners and respect is fairly typical of Muslim arrogance and propensity to violence in my experience, even if only verbal in this case. Stephen Fry and other genuine intellects have all pointed out that even if some sort of “God” does exist, he, she, or it, has a lot to answer for and is certainly not worthy of our respect. Bone cancer in children? What is that about? Either “God” isn’t loving enough to prevent it, or else “God” doesn’t have the power to prevent it. Therefore, “God” cannot be both “all powerful” and “all loving” as religionists claim. QED.

            • Diesel,

              If you knew anything at all about Islam, you would know the answer to “Bone cancer in children” but it seems you are not familiar even with the foundational concepts in Islam.

              Diesel, It may interest you to know that one of the central concepts in Islam is that everything is a trial. We are tried not only in ourselves or within ourselves but also in relation to others and to the universe as a whole. The child with bone cancer, for example, is a trial for his family and others. Would they succumb to despair or would they remain steadfast in their belief? The child suffers but is guaranteed immediate paradise. So in Islam, there is a deeper meaning and a final resolution to all the seemingly senseless suffering and calamities.

              How can atheism or other faith groups make sense of their tragic existence. For Atheists, God does not exist so it is nature that is creating havoc and suffer. And what is to become of those who suffer according to the gloomy atheistic philosophy— total oblivion! What a depressing worldview! Whether you agree with it or not, wouldn’t you say that the Islamic way of viewing the world is sounder and more conducive to physical and mental health than atheism?

              Ismail

              • Ismail tells us that Allah is responsible for everything including bone cancer in children. It seems that all pains are purged by a trip to Paradise. Allah is worthy of worship for doing all this, is he Ismail?

                These notions are vile! They are not deeper meanings. Please wake up and tackle pains not add to or accept them.

                The Islamic way of viewing the world is clearly worse than atheism as after accepting all the suffering the world has to offer there is Hell.

                Roy Saich

  2. Hi there. A very interesting and informative series so far (just watched session 2). However, I think the argument you present at end of session 2 has some problems. Can’t the argument be used to reach the opposite conclusion, that God has to be a naturally derived concept? More than that, if God is outside the realm of our experience how do we even know that he exists? By the argument’s own premises, anything that lies within our comprehension is part of the natural realm. How then can we come to a conclusion about an entity beyond that? This argument presupposes a transcendental God, it proves nothing.

    • Hello,

      Actually, the argument simply states that people believe in such a concept — and given the other premises, therefore it cannot be derived from the natural world.

      It doesn’t presuppose any God, nor does it argue for His Existence in any way.

      • If I concluded, given the premises, that P3 is naturally derived (or that God is not a conception beyond meaningful experiences), does that render the argument invalid? If not, can you explain how?

        I understand that your argument is not an argument for the existence of God. But the point still stands that the premises in your argument forbid the obtaining of any knowledge beyond what is part of the natural world.

        • Sorry, I meant this: If I concluded that P3 is naturally derived or that God is not a conception beyond meaningful experiences, does that render the argument invalid? *IF IT DOES*, can you explain how?

          • Another thing that I just realized. A flying horse, on the whole, is something not part of the natural world. As you stated in the lecture that there’s no reason for a person looking at the stars to ask the question “what is beyond the stars?”, I think he’s equally unsuited to ask the question “is there alien life on other planets?”. Just because life exists on our planet, it does not behoove a person to ask if there’s life on other planets as well. However, such questions are posed everyday. This apparent disparity is explained away simply as human imagination and wonder. But here lies the problem for you. If P5 is to stand, then all such questions can not be said to be derived from the natural world, since they are not derived from meaningful experiences. All conceptions not based on meaningful experiences are then not based on the natural world. Flying horses, unicorns, the Great Pumpkin; everything that is fictitious is then not part of the natural world (because when an agent looks at a horse and a bird, there’s no reason for the agent to combine them together in his head. The conception of a flying horse, as well as the act of combining the horse and the bird, is not derived from the natural world). My imagining of anything is then a conception not based on the natural world. Even my imagining the screen of my laptop twice its actual size can’t come from the natural world, in this view.

            The result from this line of thinking is that simple extrapolations of concepts derived from the natural world suddenly makes them supernatural, which is too absurd to be taken seriously. The more sensible alternative is to say all concepts of reality are derived from the natural world, which includes the faculty of imagination itself, and that the conception of God is also a result people’s imagination. But embracing this would then completely unwind your argument.

            Note: I actually don’t see how God does not share properties with the natural world. Can you name one property of God that is not simply an extrapolation/inversion/negation of properties within the natural world? Such a property wouldn’t make sense, in my opinion.

            Would love brutal criticism.

            • A flying horse is a composite of natural things –hence the concept is in fact derived from the natural world.

              The concept of “life” as we understand it is also derived from the natural world, thus it isn’t illogical for us to believe other planets (also derived from the natural world) have life.

              There also cannot be any real positive attribute mentioned about God because it does not fully encompass what He is.

              • Of course a flying horse is a concept rooted in the natural world. But not according to your argument, specifically P5. P5 states: “No number of meaningful experiences can direct one to consider the possibility of something meaningful beyond said experiences”. The composites of the concept of an imaginary flying horse are undeniably very real and natural. But no amount of real world experiences could have allowed me to be able to combine the composites together to produce the concept of a flying horse, precisely because P5 forbids that. The only meaningful experiences available are that of a horse and a bird, not a flying horse, which is outside of meaningful experience and is thus a concept beyond meaningful experiences. Similar is the case with wondering whether there’s life on other planets. All the concepts of reality that we have is that there’s life on Earth and that there are planets/moons with conditions like those on Earth in the universe. But to ask if there actually is life like that on Earth on those habitable planets and moons is not a concept derived from the natural world since such a thing does not exist in the natural world and hence is beyond meaningful experiences. If by “meaning” you mean “that which could be understood” and by “concepts of reality”, “that which is understood”, then you might be able to see my point more clearly. If the natural world = all that which could be understood, then clearly something like a flying horse is not part of things which could be understood since it is not part of the natural world. If this is true, there is a contradiction in our experiences, not a coherence and therefore it is beyond our experiences and is supernatural.

                Surely there must be some properties of God that fully encompass what he is. What about the property of person-hood? If it does fully encompass an aspect of God, then this property is a property shared among creatures in the natural world. Also, if you say that God’s properties can not be fully comprehended, then isn’t this itself a property of God? If this is true, then what you say is self refuting, since one can fully comprehend that God’s properties can not be fully comprehended. If this is false, then you have no reason to say that God can not be fully comprehended.

                • I think you misunderstand the argument, to be honest.

                  P5, contends that no number of experiences can direct me towards something beyond said experiences. Beyond here means “other than”, “supra”, etc.

                  Composites are not “beyond” experiences — they are merely a combination of those experiences.

          • I presume you mean P4. I understand your point. But P5 still contradicts P3. To resolve this contradiction, you should add a phrase to P5 like : “No number of meaningful experiences can direct one to consider the possibility of something meaningful beyond said experiences, except via supernatural intervention”. Otherwise, your entire argument self implodes, as the original premise does not allow for ANY meaningful experience to inform us about God. But the addition of that phrase requires a separate justification.

  3. Loved your reference on Dieudonné!! I’m myself from France, and I’ve got to say I loved every single bit of the material you presented during these sessions, worth listening to it over and over again, take notes and get properly equiped for future debates!!

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