This paper was prepared during my one-term stay (June – September, 1995) in Kuala Lumpur/ Malaysia, where I lectured for the second time at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), administered by its founder–director Professor Dr Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas to whom hereby I wish to express my feelings of gratitude.
I am indebted also to Professor Dr. Alparslan Açikgenç (University of Fatih/Istanbul), Dr. Dustin Cowell (Department of African Languages, University of Wisconsin/usa) and Professor Dr. Ernest Wolf-Gazo (American University in Cairo/Egypt) for their comments, suggestions and corrections on the draft.
(1) Although evolution as a term came to be used in biology and was primarily meant to designate an exclusively biotic process, it gradually grew out of, and went even beyond, the bounds of this special domain. Eventually, it has become a kind of trademark to a particular civilization, within which we have been living over the past one hundred years, and, moreover, the one which casts at present its spell over all nooks and crannies of our entire globe. The present civilization, in addition to the preceding one, namely the modern western European which was backed up by the materialist–mechanicist world picture and laicist–secularist world view, added to those aformentioned elements the very conception of evolution. in the materialist–mechanicist world view, the religiously determined belief in necessity was still there, though it might be in a rather dormant state. But, with the advent of the post-Darwinian doctrine of evolution, the last vestiges of necessity had also to vanish. Furthermore, thanks to the conception of evolution and also as a necessary outcome of the modern western European civilization’s cardinal principle, secularism, the idea that human is a Got-granted sanctity had to be thrown overboard. Stated in a different manner, evolution is the one conception that draws to the end the thought process set off by secularism.
(2) While laicism is a doctrine about political conditions, secularism refers to the inner state of the human being. Again, laicism is the outcome of the mediæval Christian European civilization. Europe was twice divided into two. On the one hand, the old rift between Rome of Ancient times and her North-Eastern Germanic neighbour had been going on during the Middle Ages, while on the other the socio–politcal authority had been shared by two opposing power bases, namely, the clerics, who claimed a hierarchically ordered successorship to Jesus, God in human shape, and the worldly laymen. The latter, in turn, were again dividedamong themselves into the ruling nobility (dynasties), landlords, farmers, landless peasants (servants), slaves and merchants (mainly Jews) who at a later date formed a new class, the bourgeoisie. A constant struggle between the clerics and laymen went on for the supremacy over who would rule the Christian state. The scores were finally set by the 1789 Revolution, at the end of which the laymen won a resounding victory over the clerics. Once the clerics were overcome, the laymen on continental Europe began to quarrel among themselves: class struggle, first between nobility and bourgeoisie, afterwards, between bourgeoisie and proletariat.
(3) The regime based upon the political power exercised by clerics is called theocracy. Anyone accusing this ruling class for whatever reason is relentlessly charged of committing blasphemy, because the cleric regards himself and his peers as God-sanctioned and prolongation of the Divinity in the world. He is in a sense infallible.
(4) Had there been no military, there would have never been any civilian. Any one who does not belong to the military establishment is a civilian. Likewise, one who is not a cleric must necessarily be a layman. Furthermore, a regime, if not theocratic —i.e., political power held not by clerics—, must be laic. What would there be, then, if you have no clerics? You cannot have a theocracy as a regime. This is exactly the case with the commonly accepted Islam, that is, the Sunnite islam. There has never been in history a state bearing the adjective “Islamic” or “Müslim” and ruled by clerics, merely because such a class does not exist in the fundamental creed of Islam.
(5) In Islam and for that matter in the unadulterated revealed religion, the Divine message and God’s messenger —i.e. the Prophet— are followed, in order of importance, by conscience and reason. The former is regarded as God’s speech, and the latter as our own faculty to interpret and attune it to each and every element we receive from the outside —perception. With the onset of the modern European civilization, conscience was not seen any more as God’s speech in us —humanism. After having denied my inner self, conscience
(6) The human who accepts her/himself as consisting of a mechanically-functioning being constructed from matter will not exceed the level of ‘manness’. ‘’Man’
(7) Evolution, though it has to face, due to its treatment of the past, insurmountable difficulties concerning verification and falsification, and hence not yet well-established; particularly with respect to its heuristic function, epistemologically, however, it is a member of life sciences in its own right.
(8) Towards the end of the nineteenth century, evolution was seen to have outgrown the inere size of a scientific hypothesis,though it might appear, especially to its fanatical adorers, rather as a theory.More and more it was taking over the gigantic dimensions of a doctrine woven out of a trefoil of cardinal dogmas: random mutation, struggle for existence and natural —whatever this natural means!— selection. It was no longer a modest attempt at describing the great variety of species, but a daring inquiry into the nature of the origin and formation of species. Toward the Twentieth century, it had attained the status of a stronghold of the newly emerging, that is, the present-day civilization, the one I may call Anglo-Judaic global civilization.The clear-cut process of human’s dehumanization, begun after the advent of the modern western European civilization in the Sixteenth century, has been almost finalized by the Anglo-Judaic global one. The ultimate ideal of the Humanus religio–ethico–bellicus wasto overcome his biotically determined man (Homo)side through struggle, the Qur’ânic Jihad. The purpose of life for the Homo biotico–economicus,on the other hand, is to ‘hominize’ himself through constant individually conducted competition, exploitation —thence imperialism— and material acquisition —the drive for profit. Starting with capitalism, the ‘center board’ of the Anglo-Judaic global civilization, all contemporaneous ideologies, such as communism, fascism and national socialism, have snatched their due share from the doctrine of evolution.
(9) I shall, in what follows, attempt to differentiate analytically and illustratively the hypothesis of evolution from the socalled doctrine of evolution. The treatment of the definition and dissection of the problematic term Anglo-Judaicglobal civilizationwill be the subject matter of a separate, independent study.
II. INITIUM SAPIENTIAE TIMOR DOMINI
Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified… And do mischief on Earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.
(1) A new civilization to be dominant worldwide is emerging for the first time in history, i.e. the contemporaneous Anglo-Judaic global civilization.This is in fact a direct outcome of the modern secular western European civilization which can be traced back as far as the Lutheran Reformation that took place in the early Sixteenth century.
The Reformation launched in the early decades of the Sixteenth century thus brought the existing civilization to a crossroads: a fresh beginning was being sought. This beginning brought about a new civilization, the modern secular western European, which was set apart from the foregoing one. It was unique in its kind in that for the first time in history a spiritually-minded legacy was put aside.
(2) Seldom do we come across facts that might seem as cross–cultural. In fact, the common grounds that lie behind this phenomenon are values superimposed globally by the modem secular western European, as well as, especially from the late Eighteenth century onwards, by its offspring and successor, the Anglo-Judaic worldwide civilization.
In this treatise I try to expound how both secular civilizations replaced a spiritually-minded legacy with various world pictures (G Weltbild)derived from particular sciences. The modem secular western European civilization, through a conception represented primarily by celestial mechanics, with heliocentrism as the focal point, as well as the Anglo-Judaic contemporaneous global civilization, through the notion provided by biomechanics, focusing thus on the hypothesis of evolution, lead to the world picture known as mechanicism–materialism.
(3) Out of the world picture comes world view (G Weltanschauung)and so does ultimately ideology along with its ethical, political and economic consequences. However, ethics or morality pertain only to the monotheistic revelatory religion; therefore, in all other traditions, social rules need to be qualified as mores or customs.While religionis in principle a God-given, and thus superhuman structure composed of moral guidelines, i.e. codes of faith; ideology,on the other hand, is a human-made closed circuit philosophical construction set up mainly by economic–political dogmas.Hence, the latter emerges, as a result of the homo economicus in contradistinction to religion’s homo religio–ethico–bellicus.
III. AMOR FEMINÆ
The Prophet said that woman prevails exceedingly over the wise and intelligent, while, on the other hand,gnorant men prevail over woman/ for in them the f›erceness of the animal is imprisoned.
Rumî: Mathna›uî, Book I / 2433 & 2434.
(1) There are many more than just a few features so far known to us that set the human being apart from ali other living and, of course, non-living things. Indeed, we do not even need to go to very far-fetched facts treated by that artificial and unfamiliar undertaking, termed since Aristotle (384-321) as “science”,to realize this. One of our vital, enchanting and, at the same time, common endeavours of daily life is the feeling of lovetowards our friends, parents, children, kin and country; the ladder may lead us up even to the most transcendent and absolute being, God. Although love can be generalized at all levels of our lives, it emerges, primarily, out of the source wherein the relationship between woman and man is cherished. Is it unique to humans? Yes, it is! Let us not be duped by its strong biotic ‘flavour’. It is part of our primary biotic constituent elements: the firing mechanism of reproduction, the necessary device that empowers the species to survive. Still, in human beings this is not the whole story. Without resorting to the supreme level, love of God, we can discover love’s very human complexion already at the biotic level, or more precisely, in reproductive-sexual mechanisms. Let us pick up this common-place version of love from a newspaper story and see what distinctive human characteristics it displays:
“…Marina closed her eyes and made a wish before blowing out the candles on her cake. It was not difficult for her friends to guess what it was as she had made similar wishes two years running. She wants a good husband.
Beautiful and intelligent, with a great sense of humour, and financially independent, it may seem surprising that at thirty two, Marina is still very much single with no boyfriend in sight.
But then she is not alone. Marina is among the growing thousands of Malaysian women in their thirties who are still unattached. ‘… I cannot stand hypocrisy and I do not like being treated like a fool. …All I want in a man is honesty. He does not have to look like…’ she laughs. ‘But seriously’ she continues ‘he can be average-looking but he has to be genuine..’
Equally-attractive Florence, a journalist, airs almost the same complaint. She is thirty six and admits to being more than ready to settle down and have children but bemoans the fact that the right man has not come along either.”
If the desire to get married and bear children were some kind of elaborate extension of a mere reproductive-sexual drive, then the two persons mentioned in the foregoing newspaper excerpt would not remain so unyielding. Animals, even those belonging to groups with highly complex organizations, cannot chose their mates for copulation. Olfactory and/or audio-visual —that is, chemical–hormonal— factors trigger copulation processes. Thus, there is no sense in qualifying copulatory–triggering mechanisms; love affairs are primarily a matter of choice involving free will, an essentially human attribute.
Again, in this context, going back and referring to Maulânâ Jalâ al Din Rumî (henceforth Rumî: 1207 – 1273), we perceive that when the veil of form is swept aside, the Sufi poet beholds in woman eternal beauty, the inspirer and object of all love and regards her, in her essential nature, as the medium through which that beauty reveals itself and exercises activity. Ibn al-Arabî (1165 – 1240) went so far as to say that the most perfect vision of God is enjoyed by those who contemplate Him as woman.
From time immemorial, love has been the central theme in human life, with woman as the principal player of this drama. Man assumes a rather accessory role in this ‘play’. Love, just as the humanness which it reflects to the fullest extent, is twofold: it has its biotic (reproductive-sexual) side and its spiritual aspect. While man stands for the biotic layer —through his easy excitability by sight, smell and sound coming from the opposite sex— woman represents the Divine-spiritual facet of love. This is, of course, a gross generalization, without which we are, after all, unable to proceed with the investigation of our subject matter. Generalization provides us with the necessary pattern or paradigm of the subject matter under investigation.
Following the Taoist yin – yang principle, we canpin down female rudiments in man and in woman certain male factors. A man who develops a very complete, purified and unbiotic love towards God is known to be a saint (A walî). Furthermore, the overcoming and suppression of eroticism, in other words, animality must be regarded as an enormous achievement of the self (A Jihad)for man as male. It is more usual for man to assume the image of the saint. The more a man moves away from the erotic level and comes closer to that contemplative stage we call love, the more he will display womanly attributes such as patience, consistence, care —of which motherlinessis the ideal state—, compassion, determination, willpower, thoughtfulness, in contrast to straightforward physical activity, understanding, penetrating vision, intuition of existence and essence, the ability to dig into the depths –archæology– of the other’s soul (alter ego), and hence succeed in bridging over the hiatus between ‘you’ and ‘I’. Love,briefly defined, is the closing of the gaps that detach ‘you’ from ‘I’. All that lies outside and beyond ‘I’ is some sort of ‘you’ or ‘non-ego’. Plato (427 – 347) calls the basic or initial phase of this development ‘eros’ —sexual passion— and the supreme stage ‘Sophia’ (A Hikmat).In ‘eros’, ‘love’ stretches itself from ‘I’ to ‘you’, that is to ‘my–next–to–me’
(2) It is merely the angle of our view, or the lens through which we are looking, that determines whether an event, or a process, is value-vacant or value-laden. It is evident enough that we cannot cut ourselves loose altogether from our humanness when stepping out into nature in order to investigate it. Does not value-vacancy mean to put one’s humanness into brackets? This is, after all, another sort of human attitude: a negative, simulated one. Why, then, deny or hide the fact that whosoever observes or investigates nature is a human being? Within the limits of mediumscale physics, that is, classical mechanics, this bracketing of our humanness might not affect the state of affairs in any manner.
However, it means a great deal in the life sciences and in those branches of physics as well that investigate the various microcosmic domains such as quantum mechanics and macrophysics, cosmology, for instance. This bracketing alters the chief axiom upon which the epistemology of modern science stands; that is to say, the assumption that science’s subject matter, nature as a whole, as well as its myriad different varieties of elements, is not value-laden. Nature, the subject matter of Galilean–Cartesian–Newtonian, namely, modern science is value-vacant. Hence it can only be described and explained along mechanistic causal paths, and never according to purposiveness. In addition to the axiom of the ‘value-vacancy’ of science’s subject matter, modern science’s ‘mechanistic causal’ explanatory pattern is its other principal axiom. Both axioms intend to impede possible incursions of anthropomorphic, anthropocentric, subjective, sensational, and emotional elements into the matter under scrutiny. But intention or design as such already indicates that there is, nevertheless, an overt or implicit sort of evaluation which, in turn, demonstrates that the human view of nature is of course value-laden. We are up against a value-ladenness that pretends to remain value-vacant. This is the plain paradox upon which modem science and, in fact, the New Age resides. Modern science’s postulation that the research object of natural stuff and conditions should be regarded as value-vacant has promoted materialist– mechanicist–laicist modern western European civilization to an ever more alien and even hostile stance toward nature. Indeed, mechanism with its two other siblings, materialism and laicism, epitomizes man’s alienation from himself and nature. Evidently enough, from the time it was first defined by Aristotle, science has never tolerated that sentiments, daily grievances and current political considerations ever creep into its research activities. But in order to reach this goal it is wrong, if not completely senseless, to remove man, the executive agent of research and evaluation, from the scenery.
Moreover, what would be the scientific advantage if we delete the question “why?” with regard to organisms and their organs? Common-sense questions like, “why are there eyes?”, “to what end do incisor teeth serve?”, “why do dogs turn round before lying down?”, “why do planets not run loose from their respective stars?”, are semantically different from asking “how do planets revolve?” Yet, the former questions are not regarded, in the natural course of our daily lives, as conveying misguided information. Only within the scientific domain is the human view of life and the world accepted as deleterious to knowledge. Anyhow, do these strenuous efforts to keep science clear of ‘human flavours’ really pay of?
There is noway to give an instantaneous ready-made answer to this question.
Now, before further elaborating upon these arguments, let us ask what science is. The answer is to be found in modern science, the role model of which was formed by Galilean–Cartesian–Newtonian, namely, classical mechanics. Likewise, it is according to the understanding of classical, that is, Galilean –Cartesian–Newtonian mechanics that the modern era’s world picture gradually took shape from the late Seventeenth century onward. This is the world picture from which all modern world views and ideologies sprang forth, capitalismbeing the spearhead and principal one among them.
(3) The world picture that stems from classical mechanics is known as materialism–mechanicism–laicism. Materialism is so termed because, according to its assertion, ‘matter’is the basis of all sensible research. Any statement which cannot be based upon matter, must be, in principle, considered speculative. Within the materialist–mechanicist–laicist mentality there can be nothing more humiliating and devastating for a thinker or researcher than being accused as “speculative”.
As for mechanicism, it has come to mean that everything material in the universe and nature runs according to the nomology of mechanics and along routes traced by engineering. In accordance with this view, the Universe is constructed in a simple manner, engine-like, open to all experts in the matter, and intelligible. Anything that does not run like an engine and can therefore neither be described to the minute details nor conceptualized through induction and clearly defined along the mechanistic causal path is rejected at once as something unscientific. Whatever thing or process that does not fit into the frame of the materialist–mechanicist philosophy-science system is accepted as unreal. Hence, real is the mechanic process, which can be conceived and thereupon explained within the logico–empirical fabric. This leaves no place for theological truth which, in principle, should be looked for beyond the domain of all logico–empirical possibilities. This kind of assessment of the world, nature and human life we term laicism.In other words, ridding our lives of all possible and imaginable theological and holy rudiments is the matter of an ideology; that is, laicism. The purge starts with the main vehicle of human communication, namely language. The most radical version of this purge, as Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas maintains, has been undertaken againg the languages of Muslims,
Once language has got rid of theological elements —terms, phrases, concepts— it will become easier to draw generations away from traditional influences emanating from religion. A person removed from this religious fabric will lose her/his most important support and become wieldy, and uniformity takes place where personal stamina is lacking altogether.
Personality represents our humanness, and when this ceases to develop, it is merely the biotic side that remains; consequently a dehumanizedbeing arises. A human being oblivious of her/his spirituality regresses to the level of an economic (L Homo economicus)and biotic being (L Homoferus).
Thus it is the human being, endowed with spirituality, who can be qualified as value-laden.
IV. ECCE HOMO
Of course! I know whence I originate:
Unsatiated like the flame,
I glow and consume myself
I grasp will turn to light;
And what I let go turns to pitch black;
No doubt, I am flame!
(1) While traveling by train from Vienna to Budapest, in May 1994, I noticed two women, around twenty years of age, coming out of their compartment. They appeared to be chain smokers and avid talkers. They were debating so ardently that they usually forgot there might be people around overhearing them. I could figüre out from their conversation that they had just met on the train on which they were traveling. One of them was Serbian, light blond, in the early stages of pregnancy, whereas the other was Hungarian, a slim brunette with an eloquent countenance. Their beauty was rather eye-catching and the theme and manner of conversation utterly indicative. The blond must have been slightly older than the brunette. This was to be seen from her appearance as well as the way she counseled the other one on the intricacies of life, particularly concerning the relationship with males:
“Do not believe them, their approach is almost always the same: until they trap you they are gentle, show a feigned tenderness and understanding. Once you are in their fold they will display their true face; in other words, they are going to lie to you and betray you all the time. On the other hand, they will expect you to be loyal and devoted, regard you as meek and submissive and themselves as strong breadwinners.”
In perfect German she kept on with her anti-male discourse, while the other one listened quietly, but tensely, interrupting now and then her recently acquainted pal with brisk questions in a relatively poor German. The blond woman switched over to disclose certain important points of her life:
“At present I am traveling to Belgrade to visit my parents. But I am not going to stay in that boring awful hole (Kuhkaff)for long. I got pregnant by a guy I came across. The baby will enable me to acquire permanent residence and later citizenship in Austria as well as a regular, considerable child allowance. Austria as well as other central European countries are, after all, noticeably short of offspring, Therefore, it seems to me that particularly Germany and Austria are willing to offer generous sustenance to childbearing women, especially if they are fairskinned. So why not utilize such a prodigious opportunity? What shall I do with the baby? All right; I am going to give it away to a foster house (Kinderheim). There they will certainly take good care of it.”
After having traveled for nearly three hours we arrived in Budapest. When the brunette got off the train, the blond stayed on to continue her journey.
What sense can we draw out of this talk? If we undertake to generalize the foregoing episode, the consequences seem to be rather ominous; consequences which may even jeopardize the foundations of human life, based as it is on the family. The disintegration of family life has turned into such an everyday occurrence that its repercussions can be witnessed all over the globe, as we can see in Sussy Chako’s novel “Chinese Walls” (1994), rewiewed by Wong Phui Nam in his fortnightly appearing literary column in “The New Straits Times”:
“Born and raised in Hong Kong by Indonesian-Chinese immigrant parents, resident at various times in the United States and countries in Asia and Europe until her return to Hong Kong, married to a Greek musician and now workingfor an international Corporation, Sussy Chako (Xu Xi) may seem to belong to the kind of corporate world that exists in the pages of business magazines published out of Hong Kong … “Chinese Walls” is about love and the moral perversions that result from the blocking up of the channels of the heart through which flow the natural human affections. There is the mother of the family who denies her motherhood to her children, transferring her capacity for love to collective abstractions such as ‘Chineseness’ and tradition, unaware of the contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic Church. All this she does out of her sense of deep isolation, as the culturally displaced, long-suffering wife of a philandering businessman husband. The husband himself, the father of the family and an eight generation Indonesian-Chinese, finds his own outlets in occupying himself with his mining ventures, in cultivating a boastful pride in his business successes and with prostitutes and geishas. Ultimately, however, he finds the grace to admit to his daughter his one great failure in life, which is a failure to love. The constant quarrels of the couple drive Ai-Lin and the younger of her two brothers into an incestuous relationship as a defense against the vanishing security of their world. Maimed for life, the brother loses a clear sense of identity of himself and grows up into a bisexual, eventually to die of AIDS as an illegal alien in the United States.”
(2) The disintegration of human communal life is not a single, onetime event in history. But it never before occurred on such a scale that in so short a span of time, within the one hundred and fifty years, that is to say, 1850 – 2000, it has virtually left no person untouched worldwide. The down-right disintegration of communal life has brought in its wake the decadence and degeneration of persons, the deformation of the human psyche. All naturally and culturally assigned places of each and every being —humans, among others— have become confused, confounded and finally lost. First and foremost, communities have been torn away from their respective frameworks of belief, and thus left virtually shelterless.
(3) We encounter outstanding civilizations, such as the ancient Chinese, Indian, Pre-Islamic Iranian, Sumerio–Assyrio–Babylonian, Hebraic, Egyptian, Palestino–Phoenecian, Ægean, Christian, Islamic, modern western European and Amerindian, throughout the last, say, five thousand years.in contradistinction to noncivilized ones, from some of the distinguished civilized cultures, including the Chinese, Indian, Middle Asian Turkish and Mongolian, Tibetan, Korean, Japanese, Khmer, Thai, Malay, Incan, Aztec, Iranian, Sumerio–Assyrio–Babylonian, Hebraic, Egyptian, Palestino–Phoenecian, Antique Ægean, Roman and Teutonic, remarkable traditions of wisdom and technical wizardry have emerged. Nevertheless, with the exception of the Antique Ægean, none of these ever brought about that historic watershed, the philosophy-science system’s constitution. The foundations of both philosophy and science were laid in Western Anatolia —Asia Minor. But the institutionalization of philosophy in terms of definition and education was achieved by Plato —moreover the founder of the first institution for higher education in history, the Academy—, and that of science —out of philosophy— by Aristotle, creator of the most ancient institution for higher education after the Academy, the Lyceum. Both the Academy and the Lyceum are the precursors of the latter-day Madrasah in the Islamic realm and the university in Europe and America.
(4) Aristotle defined and founded science along the patterns that living beings —the organismic domain. In opposition to the Sophists, the intriguing forerunners of modernity,he did not deny the archaic animisticlegacy altogether. In fact, sophism is the first historic stage of the unfaltering process by which humanity came to lose its ingenuous naturalness. Hence, sophistry embodies many of the attributes that make up modernity such as witticism, effectiveness, stylishness, snippiness, cleverness, cunning, trickery, deceit, pretense, arrogance, sarcasm, impertinence, impiety, exploitation and hostility towards as well as alienation from Nature.
On the other hand, breaking off with the animistic custom, Aristotelian classical science took up single facts unimpededly as objects of research. Yet, it regarded nature and the world as an ordered, harmonious whole —Cosmos— in line with the animistic belief. He regarded, with admiration and wonder, the world as a ‘pre-established harmony’. Where ‘struggle’ or ‘strife’ reigns, there is no order, no necessity, just chaos.In Aristotle’s view, however, the universe is an ordered whole —Cosmos— subjected to and administered by the eternal law of reason —Logos.
Now, all that can be explained is of course also knowable; concurrently, what is unexplainable is unknowable. Hence, the ultimately unexplainable is certainly the absolutely unknowable. If Divinity is the absolutely unknowable, how do we, then, come to ‘know’ Its attributes? Logically, it is impossible to start to mount the absolutely unknowable from the known and knowable. So what we do is to believein them —or we do not believe, which, in turn, is also a belief.We can know only that which is given to us in our mediate or immediate experiences. All that goes beyond the extent of our experiences is not only unknowable, but also unimaginable. We work out our perception data through imagination. Hence hypotheses, the thresholds to knowledge, are brought about. So the precondition of knowledge is nothing except imagination. Unless there is imagination, there will be no knowledge. If, consequently, the contents of our beliefs cannot be extracted from experience and, thus, are not given in our imaginations, from where do they come then? There are two options: they emerge either, from the human’s inner nature, in other words, genes, or from a supernatural source; This is, after all, a fake dilemma forged by the modern laic European civilization’s materialist–mechanicist world picture. According to it, if there is any substance to the term ‘belief’, then the fact with which it corresponds must arise from genetic processes. In case this cannot be demonstrated, ‘belief’ should be accepted as null and vacant, and consequently be thrown into the ‘dustbin’ of history. Since belief is a human being’s most essential attribute, and at the same time the key to open the gates of knowledge, to pluck him of this ‘ground’ means to rob him of his humanness. In this case man is left over to his biotic solitude and wildness. It is only after he grows out of his ‘manness’ into ‘humanness’ that his true form and function becomes apparent: the ‘not–lonely–any–more–culture–founding human being’ versus the ‘lonely–wild–non-viable–biotic–being’. In his man–phase, he is the outcome of and subject to a natural process: evolution;whereas elevated to the ‘supra–man stage’, he unfolds and forms himself freely: history.While evolution is a process, running beyond human involvement, history is a man-directed procedure, in short, development. Briefly reiterating, history is the increasingly believing and thereby knowing human developmentarian —unlike nature’s blind process of culture formation. Furthermore, beliefs are culture’s founding blocks. Therefore, where there is a human being, there must be beliefs. Accordingly, unless there are beliefs, there is no human being: ubi fides, ibi homo.
V. HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS
“The first thing Allah created was reason.And He said to it ‘turn thy face to Me’ and itdid. He said ‘turn thy back to Me’ and itdid. And He said: ‘swearby My greatness that I created nothing closer to Me than thee. I draw forth by thee, I endow by thee, I reward and punish by thee”
(1) “Traditionally, homo has been associated with brain enlargement, the acquisition of culture, a reduction in emphasis on mastication as a means of food preparation and breakdown, and a bipedal gait…”
Due to the above and other of his physical features, man has been classified in the genus Homo which, in turn, is considered to form a part of the animal kingdom. With respect solely to his biotic features, man is certainly a member of the animal kingdom, and proceeding from this, stands in the realm of living beings. Together with all other living beings, he is made of subatomic, atomic, molecular, cellular and histological structures, and the question may be asked: is this all? According to the mechanicist–materialist–laicist modern world picture, the answer is a definite, “yes”! If nature, non-living and living beings as well as man himself, are looked at through the ‘window’ of the aforesaid world picture, all events, features, mechanisms and functions can be located within the coordinates of time and space.
The difference between man and other living beings, including primates for that matter, does not amount to any thing more than quantitative diversity. This has been the superficial and deficient ‘official’ view of the laicist modern western European and contemporaneous Anglo-Judaic civilizations. First it was man’s abode, the Earth, to lose its sanctity; then it was time to quit his own status: an incessant process towards a total uniformization. in a completely mechanized world, every possible hallmark is eradicated, a case nowadays encompassing all humankind.
(2) “Life began about three billion years ago, probably just once. The earliest organisms were short tretches of nucleic acid floating in a chemical sea. Since then, tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of different species of animals and plants have appeared on Earth. Most are extinct, but many millions are alive today. Whence did they all come?
“One view is that every living being has a distinct and independent origin by special creation; another is that most organisms evolved from simple life–forms but that humans are unique, as they are Deity’s representatives on Earth… Most biologists believe that all creatures are interrelated and descend from a common ancestor. The most effective proponent of this idea was Charles Darwin. His theory of evolution, set out in 1859 in “The Origin of Species”,is now so widely accepted that it is in danger of becoming an orthodoxy…” Most of the current text books of biology accept the fact of human evolution; “…an acceptance now so complete that we forget that in its day it represented a basis for any scientific argument. Why do nearly all scientists believe that evolution has occurred and that we are its products?
Darwin’s argument of ‘descent with modification’ is simple; it has four main parts:
—Organisms differ from each other in ways that are inherited: there is variation;
—more are born than can survive: a strugglefor existence;
—certain inherited variants increase the chances of their carriers’ survival and reproduction: natural selection;
—selection leads to the accumulation of favoured variants which, over a long period, produce new forms of life: the origin of species.”
All living beings grew out of the same roots, the prokaryotes. Furthermore, non-living and living beings arise from a common source, that is, matter. In classical mechanics matteris considered as “consisting of massive atoms which combine to form molecules in accordance with the principles of chemical combinations. The mechanical energy associated with the motion of the molecules within any body accounts for its temperature; the fields of force between them explain gravitational, electric, and magnetic attraction and repulsion…”
This much, however, can be said: “Throughout the centuries that have elapsed since the revival of natural philosophy during Renaissance, the concept of matter has changed its character quite fundamentally. Accordingly, in the present state of scientific thought, all earlier questions about, for instance, the relation of matter, life, and mind need to be entirely reconsidered. When, for example, Descartes classified matter and mind as distinct substances, he was putting the concept of mind and mental activities in opposition to a concept of matter as inert extension, a concept which is now discredited…”
So we arrive at a leveling stage: a stage wherein everything is placed and assessed on the same level. Epistemologically this state of affairs is treated within a formal framework called algorithm. Indeed, an algorithm represents mirrorlike the philosophical outlook of mechanicism–materialism.
(3) “An algorithm is a formal process that can be counted on —logically— to yield a certain kind of result whenever it is ‘run’ or instantiated. The idea that an algorithm is a foolproof and somehow mechanical procedure has been around for centuries, but it was the pioneering work of Alan M. Turing, Kurt Gödel and Alonzo Church in the 1930s that more or less fixed the current understanding of the term. Three key features of algorithms are important here:
i. Substrate neutrality: the power of the procedure is a result of its logical structure, not of the materials that happen to be used in carrying it out. Long division works equally well with pencil or pen, paper or parchment, neon lights or skywriting, using any symbol system one might prefer.
ii. Underlying mindlessness: although the overall design of the procedure may be brilliant, or may yield brilliant results, each constituent step is utterly simple. The recipe requires no wise decisions or delicate judgments on the part of the recipe reader.
iii. Guaranteed results: whatever it is an algorithm does, it always does it, provided the algorithm is executed without misstep. An algorithm is a foolproof recipe.
Algorithms need not have anything to do with numbers. Consider the process of annealing a piece of steel. What could be more physical, less ‘computational’, than that?
Darwin’s ideas about the powers of natural selection can be lifted out of their home base in biology. Darwin himself had few inklings about the microscopic processes of genetic inheritance —and even those turned out to be wrong. Because of substrate neutrality, however, his basic insights have floated like a cork on the waves of subsequent research and controversy, from Mendel to molecular biology’.”
Here it can be seen that algorithm is the right method to be used both in physics —computationally— and in the life sciences —to a great extent non-computationally. In both cases —i.e., physics and biology— we are moving basically along the same formalized logic. Whereas the former displays a quantitative —i.e., numerical and computational— aspect, the latter shows us a qualitative one. Nevertheless, even the qualitative facet of the life sciences is highly formalized. The formalization of the life sciences is done under the rubric of set theory.Along with biometrics,set theory can be considered as the most feasible way to express biotic factsand biological argumentations.While both biometrics and biomathematicssuit physiology, biophysics and biochemistry —molecular biology—, set theory can be applied to solve classificatory problems arising from bio-disciplines such as evolution, systematics and taxonomy.
(4) Since every living thing, from bacteria to mammalia, is a being that displays a ‘background story’ —anthropomorphically expressed, ‘historicity’— all life sciences and their particular disciplines relate in a certain manner to evolution. This is even true for such sciences as physiology and morphology, which form the core of biology. Thus, understandably enough, evolution has, especially from Charles Darwin onwards, become biology’s ‘backbone-discipline’.
(5) Furthermore, evolutionary arguments are expressible within the framework of the set theory
Undefined terms → Primitive terms (intuitively ‘understood’). Concepts commonly ‘understood’ throughs → Postulates —unproved propositions that make statements about the undefined terms— → Definitions → Theorems —propositions that are logical consequences of the postulates—
A set is considered to be ‘specified’or ‘determined’when it is said that any given object is or is not in the set.
The individual objects that constitute a set are called ‘members’ or ‘elements’ of the set. Set B = [a, b, c, d, e]; Object ‘a’ is a member of the set ‘B’: ‘a’ Î ‘B’. Object ‘z’ is not a member of the set ‘B’: ‘z’ Ï‘B’.
The members of two sets are in ‘one-to-one correspondence’if the members of the sets can be paired in such a way that each pair consists of one member from each set, all members of both sets are used, and non-member of either set is used twice.
If sets ‘A’ and ‘B’ have precisely the same members, the sets are said to be equal: ‘A’= ‘B’ or [a,b,c] = [b,c,a]; if sets ‘A’ and ‘B’ have any different members they are said to be not equal: ‘A’ ¹ ‘B’ or [a,b,d] ¹ [a,b,c]. No two members of a biological set can ever be regarded as identical.
If we determine that every member of set ‘A’ is also a member of set ‘B’, it is said that ‘A’ is a subsetof ‘B’: ‘A’ Í ‘B’ or [a, b, c] Í [a, b, c,d]; and [a, b, e] Ë [a, b, c, d] or [6, 8] Í [4, 6, 8, 10]; and [4, 5, 6, 7] Ë [4, 5, 6]; and [4, 5, 6] Í [4, 5, 6] ® ‘A’ Í ‘A’ every set is a subset of itself, If ‘A’ Í ‘B’ and ‘B’ Í ‘A’, then, ‘A’ = ‘B’.
If ‘A’ is a subset of ‘B’ and if there is at least one member of ‘B’ that is not a member of ‘A’, then, it is said that ‘A’ is a proper subsetof ‘B’: ‘A’ Ì ‘B’ or [a, b, c] Ì [a, b, c, d] or [4, 5, 6] Ì [4, 5, 6, 7]; therefore, ‘A’ Ì ‘A’ and therefore ‘A’ º ‘A’; but ‘A’Ë ‘B’ or [a, b, e] Ë [a, b, c, d], therefore, ‘A’ Ì ‘A’, therefore, ‘A’ º ‘A’.
If ‘C’is the set composed of the members of ‘A’ together with the members of ‘B’, it is said that ‘C’ is the ‘union of sets’ ‘A’ and ‘B’. The ‘union of sets’ ‘A’ and ‘W’is the set of objects that are members of at leastone of the sets ‘A’ and ‘B’.
In the foregoing passage (5.), the logical sequence of an attempt to formalize biological statements can be followed. This formalization remains, yet to a great extent uncomputationalized. As a result, the formalized statements in biology still do not supply most of the life sciences and their disciplines with the necessary firm, unambiguous terms and solid, consistent formulations we come across in the physico–chemical sciences.
(6) An organism cannot evolve. Only, organisms in the plural —successions of organisms— can evolve… What can evolve is that which connects organisms in lines of succession and is passed on from generation to generation. That is not actually a material but genetic information; not substance but form.
… Not only is it possible to imagine the first organisms as simply being genes but it is in fact probable that the first organisms were something close to this…”
“…Evolutionary trends in morphology are the result not only of genetic evolution within species, but also of the differential survival and multiplication of species. However, the former process is the fundamental one. The fate of species depends on the ability of the individuals making up the species to cope with the environment, and such an ability can only result from the natural selection of genes.”
“…‘gene’ material is any substance which, in given surroundings —protoplasmic or otherwise—is capable of causing the reproduction of its own specific composition, but can nevertheless change repeatedly —‘mutate’— andyet retain the property of reproducing itself in its various forms.”
“According to the modern interpretation of the fossil record, the first traces of life appeared on Earth about 3,5 billion years ago, within a billion years or so of the planet’s formation. The earliest identifiable life forms were prokaryotes: primitive unicellular microorganisms that, like present-day bacteria, lacked a distinct nucleus.”
“… There is what is called a molecular clock that gives a time of five to ten million years for the splitting of the hominoid lineage into hominids and pongids. It is generally agreed among geneticists that the effects of mutations are on the average detrimental. Only a very small proportion of them are advantageous and so form the raw material for evolution. Every one of the tens of thousands of genes inherited by one individual has a minute probability of change in the process of reproduction. The probability is in the range of l in 10 000 to l in 250 000… If the mutations are detrimental, they are eliminated by natural selection. Sometimes, as in sickle cell anemia, there is a double effect, detrimental in itself as a blood disease, but beneficial in that it offers considerable resistance to malaria. Hence its inheritance may be assured.”
“Organism evolution in the vertebrates may provide an example of an autocatalytic process mediated by the brain: the bigger the brain, the greater the power of the species to evolve biologically … the pressures generated by one cultural shift will sometimes be relieved by the next cultural shift, rather than by a genetic response… This has probably been true of the human species for some 35 000 years, when the human brain reached its present size.”
“… Among animals in the wild only chimpanzees display the combination of a fusion–fission society, territoriality and female exogamy. Anthropological research, however, suggests that this form of organization is typical of human societies in the hunting-and-gathering phase.
“Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of human beings: the DNA of the two species differs by only a tiny fraction… Thus human beings and chimpanzees not only are close genetic relatives but also share a unique social structure.
Understanding the evolutionary forces that shaped the chimpanzee community may shed light on how human hunting-and-gathering societies evolved…
… The two species —chimpanzees and orangutans— are closely related: their DNA differs only by only 2.2 percent…”
“Percentage difference in nucleotide sequences of DNA between selected pairs of animal species:
|Human – Chimpanzee||2.5|
|Human – Gibbon||5.1|
|Human – Green—Old World—monkey||9.0|
|Human – Capuchin—New World—monkey||15.8|
|Human – Lemur||42.0”
A considerable increase in cranial capacity or brain size during the past two million years has taken place: Australopithecus africanus:from 2 to 1.5 million years, between 400 and 600 cc. Homo habilis:from l800 000 to l300 000 years, 600 – 800 cc. Homo erectus:from l400 00 to 400 000 years, 700 – 1200 cc. Homo sapiens: 400 000 years, 1300 cc —Homo sapiens neanderthalensis:100 000 – 40 000 years, l800 cc; Homo sapiens sapiens: since 200 000 years, l800 – 2000cc.)”
“Although the length of pregnancy in the higher apes is much the same as ours, man has a longer infancy phase —time during which the young is wholly dependent upon its mother. This period becomes longer and longer as one progresses up the primate order and man’s is double that of apes:
|Gestation||126 days||238 days||266 days|
|Juvenile phase||2 years||7 years||14 years|
|Adult phase||11 plus years|| 30 years
||55 plus years”
(7) After all this brief rundown on evolutivo–genetics, we may ask again the age-old debated question about man’s origin, descent and composition.
From the early Seventeenth century onwards, western European manner of thinking, within its mechanicist–materialist frame of mind has been in the habit of regarding all imaginable processes, events and things as basically material mechanisms. Everything that does not adjust to this context is rejected as merely speculative or fictitious.
Classical —the Galilean–Newtonian— science, indeed, provides an utterly disciplined frame of reference for and boosts thereby the scientific endeavour. Furthermore, classical mechanics is the context for doing science in the right and ‘orthodox’ manner. According to this outlook, any attempt to overstep the limits of the materialist–mechanicist frame of science is a violation of the basic tenets of epistemology. Finally, for scientism, positivism’s background, surpassing the bounds of the materialist–mechanicist world picture is exactly that which religion considers as heresy or blasphemy.
‘Reduction’and ‘simplification’ are the two main pillars, out of three —the third being ‘quantification’— supporting modern science. As far as it only concerns science as such, that is, pure or hard science —whereby non-living things and processes are ‘mechanically’treated and ‘positively’ regarded— reduction and simplification —accepting the investigated case to be monolithic and repeatable— as well as quantification —analysis, synthesis and measurement— are definitely suitable principles. The success of the methodology, based, in turn, on the aforesaid principles, proved itself so immense that certain Modern thinkers started to assume that it was the right manner to explain away all imaginable cases —irrespective whether they are repeatable, quantifiable, finally simplifiable or not. Classical mechanics has become to be seen as a so-called ‘all-opening passkey’; out of it a whole ‘world picture’ (G Weltbild) has emerged: materialism–mechanicism. The entire reality is currently thought to be the explanatory content of materialism–mechanicism. Consequently man, as a part of this reality, has a random place within this world picture. Like all other living beings, he is nothing more than an engine.
We have already expressed our doubts that man is merely a living being, let alone an engine. Fundamentally, man is a biotic being. As such, he ensues from other antedating living beings. This, however, does not reflect the truth. ‘Man’is one face of the coin, while ‘human’is the other. Human is the source of the ‘spiritual’ aspect, whence psycho–socio-cultural reality stems. For this reason the human aspect is complex, complicated, hence scientifically unexplainable. Since it is scientifically unexplainable, man is seen to have occupied the whole spectrum. In fact man takes, in evolutionary terms, precedence over the human. in order for humanization —the result of which is the human— to take place, phylogenetically as well as ontogenetically, hominization —the process of man’s coming into being— must have occurred. Contrary to human, man is the focal point of scientific research. ‘Under the ægis of materialism–mechanicism’ ‘manhood’ has monopolized the whole ‘humanness’ and as such is being the object of scientific research.
(8) Now, I have attempted to present the following: I tried to describe the devastating effects of the contemporaneous civilization that we are experiencing in our daily lives. I have emphasized mainly the immense alteration in the assessment of woman’s place in society, as well as her stance and attitude with regard to herself and her main functions. This I did because woman, particularly as the childbearing and rearing human, is the centre of society. Almost worldwide, we can say, the male gender has always been there only insofar as it fosters and protects ‘home and hearth’. At this point, as in many others, life and religion join hands.
Reaching its climax in the mid-Twentieth century, the Anglo-Judaic worldwide civilization
Here I revert to what I have said at the onset of this passage (7.), that is, the question of man’s origin, descent and composition. The question precisely about man’s origin should stand for the ultimate limit whither scientific research on man might legitimately be conducted. Just as there are taboos in our individual lives, likewise there are restrictions on our collective existences. For instance, since times immemorial, regardless of which cultural background, it is unthinkable for a sane and decent grown-up person at any point to be inclined to imagine his parents’ sexual intercourse that would represent his biotic reason for being. No doubt the imagery content of the foregoing example is revolting. So is the curiosity that leads us to the interrogation about man’s origin. In short, this interrogation and the response given to it give rise to the hypothesis that ensues from unconnected premises and remains on hazy empirical evidences. But more important are its ef fects, felt in the domain of morality.
The first historical turning point was when Nicolaus Copernicus consistently and flagrantly declared that the Earth was no longer, in Aristotle’s words, the brightest and best of all possible worlds. This declaration brought about a new historic era, the modern laicist western European civilization. The Earth lost thereby its holiness and became an ordinary planet, just like any other. That the Earth, even in the physical sense, was no longer the centrepiece of the Universe delivered such a devastating blow on the humans’ psyche that they could not recover thenceforth from the impact they had to endure.
The second huge watershed came when Charles Darwin, with his hypothesis of evolution, brought the human being down to the level of man, one among other animal species. This, in turn, represents the land-mark of transition from the modern western European to the contemporaneous Anglo-Judaic global civilization.
If not otherwise indicated, the translations into English are by the author himself.
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EVOLUTION: THE EPITOME OF THE EMERGING CONTEMPORANEOUS GLOBAL CIVILIZATION
Şaban Teoman Duralı
Department of Philosophy
ABREVIATIONS: A Arabic; Fr French; G German; Gr Grek; L Latin
It is an honor for me to present this paper to dedicate to this volume in commemoration of a great Muslim scholar, Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas. It is my pleasure also to announce that I did my research for and prepared the greater parts of this paper during my (June – September, 1995) stay in Kuala Lumpur/ Malaysia, where I lectured at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC). Professor al-Attas was then the founder–director of this abode of knowledge, to whom hereby I wish to express my feelings of gratitude. The topic which I have chosen for this volume is crucial for a number of reasons. First of all, the concept of takâmul in the thought of Professor al-Attas occupies a prominent place. In many of his seminars he raised this issue and tried to clarify this notion from the perspective of Islamic thought. On the other hand, the modern concept of evolution poses a critical juxtaposition between this concept and the predominant modern day civilization. It is the aim of this humble contribution to deal with the problems of this critical juncture.