Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, about whom I had blogged previously, has been engaging with the post-modern mind since quite sometime. He tries his best to make a genuine case for Islam and Qur’an in this day and age. In this post, I have decided to revisit one of his debates with youth of Pakistan about the existence of God.
The debate is quite lengthy and Ghamidi tries to provide many arguments for the existence of Allah. The debate is in Urdu and, unfortunately, no English subtitles are available. Translating the entire debate from Urdu to English is an onerous task that I do not wish to undertake at this point in time. However, I want to discuss one of the arguments provided by Ghamidi that, in my opinion, is incorrect and weakens the systematic effort of Ghamidi to prove the existence of Allah.
From 23:44 to 23:50 in the video, Ghamidi states that intentionality and will has, so far as per human observation, not been demonstrated to exist in matter. It’s here where I feel he is making a mistake. Intentionality and will does surely exist in us human beings, who are a form of matter itself.
From 24:24 to 24:34, Ghamidi says that if it can be demonstrated that matter creates its own self, then the entire case for religion can be withdrawn. Now that is certainly a bold claim. And I believe Ghamidi is in a very insecure position after making this claim.
The word creation is a bit problematic. What we observe in nature is usually transformation rather than creation ex nihilo. One configuration of matter and/or energy is transformed into another configuration either through natural processes or through artificial ones.
While creation ex nihilo is not observed, the term creation as used in common parlance is referred to the aforementioned transformation of matter. In this sense, perhaps, Ghamidi’s argument is weakened because we see matter creating its own self in our very hands. A human being is a specific form of matter that is capable of manipulating the matter around itself including its own self. As Carl Sagan said in the intro of his famous series, Cosmos: “we are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” (3:22-3:30)
We lack complete mechanistic details but the role of the brain in the production of subjective experience is undeniable. Humans are an expression of matter just as a mountain or a tree or a river is. Whereas science may not consider a mountain or a river to be capable of having will and intentionality, humans beings, as a specific configuration of matter, are fairly capable of having intentionality and will.
To sum up, it seems incorrect to assert that matter does not create itself. While it is true that not all configurations of matter are capable of self-replication and manipulation of other forms of matter, there are certain configuration of matter, such as as human beings, that are capable of self-replication and external manipulation of matter and that have intentionality and will.