Introduction: The Consciousness Beyond Matter and The Col Lapse of Mechanism
Before the spread of materialist philosophy, the scientific world accepted the fact that Allah had created the universe and everything in it from nothing and kept it under His might at all moments. Materialism, however, first denied Allah's eternal dominion over nature. The view known as mechanism advanced the proposition that all the systems in nature and the universe functioned like machinery, in a self-contained manner. One of the foremost 18th-century representatives of this thesis was the Frenchman Pierre Simon de Laplace, who explained the motion of the Solar System by using the laws of gravity. And in a reply to Napoleon, who questioned his theory, he fell into a serious error by denying that the functioning of the universe was under the control of Allah.
In the 19th century, these errors grew still further: the falsehood was propagated claiming that not only the functioning of the universe could be explained solely in terms of natural laws, but so could the origins of living things. In other words, in the same way that Allah's dominion over nature and the universe was denied, so was His original Creation. The forerunner of this rejection was Charles Darwin, who maintained that living things were the product of natural laws and coincidence. In the 19th century, the "eternal universe" model dominated, maintaining that the universe had existed for ever and functioned solely by means of natural laws and coincidence. By the 20th century, materialists imagined that they had accounted for everything in terms of their own theories.
However, the 20th century unfolded in a way they never expected. A string of scientific discoveries in the fields of both astrophysics and biology proved that the Universe and living things had been created. The hypotheses of Darwinism collapsed, one after the other. The Big Bang theory showed that the universe had been created from nothing. New findings showed the great creativity and fine tuning in the material world, again revealing claims of materialism to be groundless.
Over the last years, these two important issues—the scientific collapse of Darwinism and the Creation of the universe from nothing and its fine tuning—have been raised by a great many scientists and scientific writers. In the 1970s, physicists and astronomers raised the Anthropic Principle, which showed that the universe was not a mass of coincidences but on the contrary, reveals an extraordinary Creation and arrangement ideally suited to human life in its every detail. We have already examined these subjects in detail in our previous works. (See Harun Yahya The Creation of the Universe, and The Chain of Miracles.)
All these books concern the origin of the universe and living things and refute Darwinism or the "eternal universe" view that prevailed in the 19th century. The refutation of the materialist view of the functioning of the universe and living things, that is to say of "mechanism," has not yet been revealed in such detail, however.
In fact, scientific findings make this rejection both possible and necessary. It is impossible for the materialist logic, to account not only for the origin of the universe and living things, but also for their functioning.
What Molecular Biology Reveals
From molecular biology came the greatest impact to the evolution theory in the 20th century. According to the scientists, the cell, the fundamental unit of life, was full of irreducibly complex molecular machines. It was impossible to account for the origin of these machines in terms of Darwinism's blind mechanisms, that is natural selection and mutation.
Today, the known fact that molecular biology has invalidated the claims of Darwinism has been stated in a wide-ranging manner by many biologists who question the theory. One point that frequently escapes notice, however, is that coincidence and natural laws cannot explain not only the origins of the molecular machinery and other extraordinary entities within the cell, but also the way these structures function.
To clarify this with an example, consider DNA, the cell's data bank. DNA is a long molecular chain in the form of a spiral staircase, present in every cell. All the data regarding that cell's physical and chemical structure—as well as the entire organism to which the cell belongs—are encoded along that chain. On its own, however, the presence of such a data bank inside the cell has no significance. The use of that data bank is also of the greatest importance. In other words, the data it contains must be read in the correct manner and actions taken according to the information obtained.
Some of the molecular machines in the cell charged with this task are known as enzymes. These find the necessary information for the production of proteins that the long DNA chain requires, and then open up the DNA, in order to read it. They produce a copy of the information in the appropriate region of the DNA and meanwhile, twist the DNA in order to skip past unnecessary sections. When this reading has been completed, they fold the DNA up again and return it to its original form. They perform all these extraordinary processes at the astonishing speed of 1/1,000th of a second. Every cell in your body produces an average of 2,000 new proteins every second.1
These functions carried out by enzymes—of which DNA replication is only one of very many—are truly astonishing. But most molecular biologists have become accustomed to not being astonished. Therefore, if you ask them how enzymes manage to accomplish such complex tasks, in all likelihood they will reply, "chemical reactions and physical effects within the cell require these." According to this claim, in the same way that it is natural for sodium and chloride to combine to make sodium chloride, or salt when brought together, so the tasks performed by enzymes also consist of similar chemical reactions.
Yet their reply would be erroneous, because an important part of the processes inside the cell consists of flawless actions that do not stem from chemical or physical effects. Some of the best examples of that appear not in the cell nucleus, but in the membrane, the subject of this book. The cell membrane seems to know what is needed inside the cell and either admits or rejects outside substances in accordance with those requirements.
One of those realizing the extraordinary nature of this is the Israeli biophysicist Gerald Schroeder, trained in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), studied biology for many years, published papers in a great many scientific journals and played a role in nuclear research. As he writes,
After touching on these important matters, Schroeder describes the error of the materialist education he received.
As you see, Schroeder believes the logic of self-contained nature, which has dominated the scientific world since the 18th century, to be mistaken. He also maintains that the claim that the cell membrane functions solely as a result of natural laws—which is an absolute dogma of materialist science—is incorrect.
Schroeder's explanation is that the molecules that constitute life behave in a flawless manner:
One important distinction is that although intelligence is observed in matter, it is impossible for that intelligence to stem from matter itself. You can see this most clearly by comparing animate and inanimate substances. While intelligence is openly displayed in living matter—in a cell, for instance—there is no such intelligence in inanimate matter. Yet both proteins that constitute the cell and the same molecules that constitute the stones along the road consist of the same kinds of atoms, assembled together. Their materials are fundamentally the same. Yet while we observe no intelligent action in the molecules in the stone, astonishing intelligence can be seen in those of the cell. (In addition, inanimate substances in nature have never been observed to develop into living organisms, although this is the basic claim of the theory of evolution.)
Gerald Schroeder draws attention to this and emphasizes how intelligence appears in the molecules in organisms:
In fact, there is no secret here, only a certain truth. The intelligence that appears throughout the material world is not a property belonging to matter itself, but one exhibited in it. It shows evidence of Allah's existence in a scientific way. The molecules that constitute our bodies stage unexpected displays of intelligence through the inspiration of Allah and actually once again reveal the infinite Wisdom of Almighty Allah, their Creator.
Allah created the entire universe from nothing and maintains the universe He has created, and all the living and non-living things in it, under His control.
In the Qur'an, which our Lord has sent down to us as a guide, Allah reveals that He enfolds all things with His infinite knowledge:
"It is Allah Who created the seven heavens and of the Earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge." (Surah Talaq , 12)
". . . There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock ... " (Surah Hud, 56)
The Knowledge That Enfolds the Universe Is That of Allah
Following a great many endeavors, the scientific world that embarked with mechanist and other materialist conceptions in the 18th and 19th centuries has now faced the fact that the universe and living things were created and are maintained under control at every moment—some proofs of which we shall examine in this book.
The entire universe consists of proofs of Allah's infinite knowledge. The more science investigates nature in detail, the more reflections of that knowledge are revealed. All efforts over the last two centuries to reduce the source of that information to matter alone (in other words, to portray matter as a product or attribute of itself) have proved fruitless. It has emerged that all materialists—Darwin, Laplace, Freud and Engels—were mistaken.
This book shall examine events taking place in the cell, which are more complex, planned and rational than could possibly have been imagined 40 or 50 years ago. None of the molecules we shall be discussing possesses a mind with which to plan and carry out the rational actions it performs. An incomparable intelligence is exhibited in these molecules, although the source of that intelligence does not belong to matter itself. That same superior intellect appears in the extraordinarily sensitive balances that formed in the aftermath of the Big Bang, in the nuclear reactions inside giant stars, or in the structures of the elements that are ideally suited to life. As Schroeder puts it, "a single Consciousness, an All-Encompassing Wisdom, pervades the universe." 6
That consciousness pervading the universe is the infinite knowledge and mind of Allah. As Allah reveals in one verse of the Qur'an:
"Your god is Allah alone, there is no god but Him. He encompasses all things in His knowledge." (Surah Ta ha, 98)
1. Gerald L. Schroeder, How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth, New York: The Free Press, 2001.
2. Ibid., p. 62.[emphasis added]
3. Ibid., p. 64. .[emphasis added]
4. Ibid. Front matter.
5. Ibid., p. 59.
6. Ibid., p. 146.