‘Nature does not explain, she is herself in need of an explanation’.
‘Why is blood red in colour?’ If you were to ask a doctor the reason, he would answer, ‘Because your blood contains millions of little red discs (5 millions to each cubic centimeter), each some seven thousandths of an inch in diameter, called the red corpuscles.
‘Yes, but why are these discs red?’
‘Because they contain a substance called haemoglobin, which, when it absorbs oxygen from the lungs, becomes bright red. That is why the blood in the arteries is scarlet. As it flows through the body, the blood gives up its oxygen to the organs of the body and the haemoglobin becomes brownish—this is the dark blood of the veins.’
‘Yes. But where do the red corpuscles with their haemoglobin come from?’
‘They are made in the spleen.’
‘That’s marvellous, Doctor. But tell me, how is it that the blood, the red corpuscles, the spleen, and the thousand other things are so organised into one coherent whole, work together so perfectly that I can breathe, run, speak, live?’
‘Ah! That is nature.’
‘When I say ‘‘nature”, I mean the interplay of blind physical and chemical forces.’
‘But, Doctor, why do these blind forces always act as if they were pursuing a definite end? How do they manage to coordinate their activities so as to produce a bird which flies, a fish which swims, and me…. who ask questions?’.
‘My dear friend, I a scientist, can tell you how these things happen. Do not ask me why they are like that.’
While there is no gainsaying the fact that science has set up for us a vast storehouse of knowledge, this dialogue clearly shows that it has its limits. There is a point beyond which it can offer no further explanations. Its discoveries then fall very far short of giving us the kind of answers provided by religion. Even if the quantum of scientific discoveries were increased by billions, the necessity for religion would in no way be obviated, for such discoveries throw light only on what is concrete and observable. They tell us what is happening. They do not provide answers to the question, ‘Why is it happening?’ and ‘What is the primary cause?’ All such discoveries are of an intermediate, subsidiary and non-absolute nature.
If science is to replace religion, it shall have to discover the ultimate and absolute explanation. Let us take the example of a machine which is functioning without our being able to see how it works, because it is enclosed in a metallic casing.
When we remove this casing, we can see how the various cogwheels move in conjunction with a number of other parts of the mechanism. Does this mean that, in discovering the mechanics of the thing, we have truly understood the cause of its motion? Have we really grasped its secrets? And does the possession of knowledge about the functioning of a machine give us proof that it is selfmanufacturing, self-replicating and works automatically? If the answer to this is ‘No’, then how do a few glances at the mechanism of the universe prove that this entire system came into existence unaided and of its own accord, and is continuing to function independently? Criticizing Darwinism, A. Harris made a similar remark: ‘Natural Selection may explain the survival of the fittest but cannot explain the arrival of the fittest!’
To be continued, Insha Allah…