Objective Observer and God
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the policy of NayaDaur Media. We stand for science as well as scientific thinking and approach. It is being published with the sole objective of providing a platform to different schools of thought.
This is in continuation of my last piece https://nayadaur.tv/2019/07/the-arrogance-of-scientists/. One of the basic question philosophers and scientists grappled with is what is a reality? Reality needs an observer. Let me explain this. When eyes are closed you don’t see anything which means from your perspective nothing exists. If someone tells you there is an iron chair in a room then you can’t say for sure it exists because you can’t see it and there has to be a leap of faith to believe it. But when you see a chair with your own eyes then reality reveals itself. This is the most basic form and enough to get by with our lives. But for those that are interested in unlocking the mysteries of the universe, it is not enough.
The next stage is to probe deeper. Just because you see an object shaped like a chair does not mean it exists so you walk over to it and touch it. That is the second confirmation that the chair exists and you have a better realisation of it as you can say it is solid in its form. But when you observe this chair under a microscope it turns out to be not so solid rather comprise of largely empty space between atoms. This means that your perception of it being solid seems to be an error and we know now that it is because of the forces between atoms.
That is the second level of reality. You can go deeper into it at the subatomic level using electron microscope which will reveal yet another level of reality. Scientists agree that laws of physics break down at each level of reality that is at the smallest and the largest scale. For each level, we need a different set of laws to make sense of it.
Now let’s take it to another level. Does a fly or an ant have a similar view of reality like we do? We know that animals have different perceptions of colour and objects because of the physiology of their sense perceptions. This means that the reality of a chair from the perspective of human and animals will be different. This means that the reality is subjective rather than objective. It depends on the limitations and capabilities of the observer.
So how do we learn the objective reality or absolute form of it? One way of finding it is to learn about all possible subjective realities and then combine all that knowledge into one holistic view of it. Is it possible to have an objective reality?
Now let me take you back to the story of Adam as narrated by the Quran. Adam had a dialogue with God and angels at the time of creation. God endowed him with knowledge and then instructed him to reveal it to the angels. That reality was unknown to angels so they bowed down praising the glory of God. Adam then lived in heaven enjoying its fruits. This also means that as the progeny of Adam we carry in our collective memory that experience of living in heaven and dealing with angels. In Heaven, there was one tree about which he had no knowledge as God forbid him to eat from it. Adam’s insecurity of not knowing the reality of that forbidden tree was too much to bear for him. He finally succumbs to the temptation and eats from it. Intellect and knowledge were hidden from Adam after he committed the original sin of tasting from the forbidden tree. It was his greatest strength that was lost as a punishment. Adam lamented and sought forgiveness. God did accept the repentance with the condition that the lost knowledge has to be acquired through hard work. But God promised to send help to regain it but through trials and tribulations.
Quran is one such help God provided to us to regain lost knowledge and learn about the reality of existence. It revealed things that were not in the human consciousness until that time but was eventually confirmed by science. It told us that there are many universes today scientists agree about the high possibility of the existence of multiverse. It taught us that life evolved from water and it is now considered an integral part of the theory of evolution. It informed us that celestial bodies move on a set path so that we have predictive days and nights.
Today we know the earth revolves around the sun. It told us that our life will be recorded and presented to us in the afterlife. Now we can record our lives in the video so it is scientifically possible for God too. Just a hundred years ago if someone was shown a smartphone they would consider the person an alien. God says He will bring us back to life with flesh and bones. Now labs are producing meat that looks, taste and feels like flesh. Why can’t God do it too as promised?
There are still phenomena mentioned in the Quran that is not yet revealed to our conscious – for instance, the existence of another life form that is called Jin. We can’t reject the existence of such beings just because we don’t know about it yet. But the Quran is clear and these life forms even communicated with King Solomon. Instead of looking for aliens in the space maybe we should look for it on earth.
From the story of Adam, we can deduct that all knowledge is a priori and all of us can find it with hard work and efforts. Quran is a tool to unlock that knowledge and we need to ponder over it rather than just recite it. Quran encourages scientific discovery and facilitated it. It is so ironic that Muslims are so far behind in science than those that do not believe in it. We need to change that.