ঈশ্বর সৃষ্টির সন্ধানে

মানুষ এবং ঈশ্বর –  স্রষ্টা কে, সৃষ্টিই বা কে? চরম প্রশ্ন, পরম প্রশ্ন। নাস্তিক এবং আস্তিকরা যুগযুগ ধরে বিতর্কে  জড়িয়ে পড়েও কূলকিনারা করতে পারেন নি। একটা মধ্যপন্থা বেছে নিয়ে (পালিভাষায় যাকে বলে ‘মজঝিম পটিপদা’) তাই কিছুজন আবার নিজেদের বলতে শুরু করলেন ‘অ্যাগনোস্টিক’ (চেনাশোনা বাঙ্গালী সেলিব্রিটিদের মধ্যে অমর্ত্য সেন একজন) । আমি বহুদিন ধরে দুটো হাইপথেসিস নিয়েই ভাবনাচিন্তা করছি, এবং স্বভাবতই স্রষ্টা মানুষ এহেন হাইপথেসিস নিয়ে বেশী উত্তেজিত বোধ করেছি। যদি এমনটা হয়েই থাকে, তবে কিভাবে হল? কি কারণ? কন্সপিরেসি থিয়োরী শোনা যায়, প্লেন টালমাটাল হলেই অক্সিজেন মাস্ক পরে ফেলতে হয় যাতে চরম বিপদে শেষের মুহূর্তে মাথা বেশি কাজ করতে না পারে। এ ক্ষেত্রেও কারণটা কি খানিক তাই? নশ্বর জীবনের যাবতীয় দুঃখকষ্ট যাতে কিছুটা সুদিং আবহাওয়ায় সয়ে নেওয়া যায়? ঐশ্বরিক জগতের মোহ থাকল ওই অক্সিজেনের কাজ দিতে! নাকি, আমার আপনার মতন মানুষ সেট অফ রুলস তৈরী করলে বাকিরা নাও মানতে পারে, তাই এক ‘সুপার’ (থুড়ি সুপ্রীম) পাওয়ারের আগমন? প্রশ্নগুলো চমৎকার, ভাবনাচিন্তার অনেক খোরাক দ্যায়। সেই ভাবনাচিন্তা থেকেই লিখেছিলাম এই সিরিজ ‘ঈশ্বর সৃষ্টির সন্ধানে’ (সুন্দর একটা কাকতালীয় সংযোগ সৃষ্টি করে বেরিয়েওছিল ‘সৃষ্টি’ পত্রিকায় (২০০৯)। অফ কোর্স,  পিওর লজিক দিয়ে দেখলে অন্য হাইপথেসিসটাও সত্যিই হতে পারে। কোনটা সত্যি সেটা যাবজ্জীবনে জানা সম্ভব নয়, তাই যত দিন যাচ্ছে আমার স্ট্যান্ডটাও অ্যাগনোস্টিকদের সঙ্গেই কনভারজ করছে।

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7 thoughts on “ঈশ্বর সৃষ্টির সন্ধানে

    • You are missing the point. As Bertrand Russel suggests (and hence the ‘pure logic’ phrase) “An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.”, agnostics in some sense a subset of atheists who are desperate to disprove the existence of god but at the same time acknowledge the fact that a scientific hypothesis testing in this regard is beyond our intellectual means.

      On a separate note, read ‘Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters’ to understand why ancient people created legendary tales such as ‘Byangoma – Byangomi’.

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  1. sudip says:

    Pure logic can only form conclusions given axioms. And you can always question the validity of those axioms. So any knowledge (with the possible exception of mathematics) can be questioned and a follower of ‘pure logic’ should be agnostic with respect to everything in this world. This philosophical dead end is known as radical skepticism.

    It’s funny that you bring up Bertrand Russell. He was of course aware of this problem. This is what he had to say, “I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely.”

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    • It all essentially boils down to ‘deduction vs. induction’/ ‘deductive reasoning vs. inductive reasoning’ debate. In pure deductive reasoning, conclusions come from a set of propositions (built on a set of axioms) – this is pure logic. Hence, if you follow deductive reasoning, the hypothesis ‘god exists’ might be established. On the other hand, inductive reasoning requires particular evidences, which of course can not be provided in this context.

      Not many people buy radical skepticism because inductive reasoning does work in natural science framework and is considered almost as a foundation pillar in modern social science.

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  2. Related to what you discuss here, Prabir, let me share a few of my own thoughts on this.
    (a) I disagree with your deduction/induction dichotomy in this context. Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” If we apply that Sagan Standard to religious belief, we find that the theists, followers of religions and believers in one or more deities, have so far presented only indirect, circumstantial evidence in support of the presence of god. Ergo, it cannot be a burden on the atheists/agnostics to have to provide direct evidence in support of absence of god. Indirect and circumstantial evidence should be fine to meet this challenge.

    (b) Let’s consider how theists of all descriptions have defined god in their scriptures and other writings. If you brush off most of the superficial oddities and differences, even disregard the dichotomy between male and female gods in various cultures, the three most fundamental properties of god that all god-focusing religions agree upon are omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence.

    (c) Let me now submit to you to consider these features deeply. You’d notice that I am not going into any natural science argument yet. “Omnipresence”: not a mere word. It means, the presence at all spaces across time, everywhere at every moment, simultaneously; presence in every particle of every conceivable form of matter, in a perfect, unbroken continuum of time. “Omniscience”: the knowledge of everything that has happened, that is happening, and that will happen, across space and time. Again, not a mere word. Take for example a biological event. An Omniscient Being knows exactly when and where a teratogen or a carcinogen causes a cellular signaling event or binds to which DNA strand from which chromosome to effect a change in nucleotide incorporation leading to a mutation event, which would eventually result in a cancer or a congenital disorder in a newborn. Imagine this: an Omnipresent, Omniscient Being would know exactly down to the last second when and where that Taliban bastard would whip out his gun, point it at Malala’s head and squeeze the trigger. What’s more, such a Being would be there, right at that very moment when this is happening – not only out and about, but in the Taliban bastard, in his finger, in his gun, in the bullet, and in Malala’s skin, tissue, cranial bones and brain matter that the bullet would pierce.

    (d) Now consider the Omnipotence: the power to do anything and everything – across space and time. This is what inspires the most fear in the theists; this is why all religions across the world sing paeans to the Supremely Powerful being in appeasement; this is why since the beginning of human civilization, some folks have been attributing unknown, ill-understood, fearsome natural events to some god. This is the reason behind all those genuflections, sacrifices, confessionals, promises to be good, and so forth amongst the religious believers.

    (e) Now tell me, this Omnipotent Being, despite being Omnipresent and Omniscient, couldn’t lift a fucking finger to stop the brutal, murderous shooting of an innocent little schoolgirl? Couldn’t stop the carnage in Columbine, Arizona, Aurora, Newtown, the Pakistan Church? Couldn’t prevent or stop the brutal, murderous violence on JSP, or other women across India and elsewhere who are being sexually violated, tortured and murdered every single day without relent? Couldn’t prevent those Evangelical parents who murdered their children by refusing them live-saving medications or beating them to death – on concordance with their chosen child-rearing practices derived from their Holy Book? What price fucking Omnipotence?

    (f) Regardless of whether such a being could not perform as advertised or chose not to, the neat result is the same: the three fundamental claims that theists make in support of god are bunkum, untenable, and frankly, unnecessary. God or godliness or god-bothering is not even necessary for morality, ethics and empathy – characters embedded in basic human nature, that religions have tried for long to shanghai, in order to prop up a fear-based set of rules. Because you see, fear makes it easier to control people.

    For the agnostics, therefore, the god hypothesis becomes a matter of omphaloskepsis, or more appropriately, intellectual onanism. For atheists, it doesn’t matter. In your first comment, Prabir, you have alleged, “… atheists… are desperate to disprove the existence of god…” “Bollocks,” I say.

    Discounting the obvious obnoxious idiots that one finds everywhere in all sides of all camps, I submit to you that by-and-large, atheists are not bothered about god – except, and this is an important exception, when the devout, the theists, make it a point to lavish their proselytizing zeal on the sundry public, or engage actively in a practice that would bring harm to another individual or a group. Religion-inspired-and-abetted hate and bigotry against LGBTQ communities, and religion-enabled marginalization and disempowerment of women across cultures jump to the mind as instance when vocal atheists have been prompted to speak out in excoriation of religion and god.

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  3. Kausik da – first of all, thanks a bunch for posting such an energetic and well articulated response, as always I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment. While I do realize that you speak your mind, I can not ignore the fact that you don’t have an unbiased perspective here (and whatever perspective you have is too declarative). I do agree that the notion of atheism has changed over the time, but you should know that the deduction-induction dichotomy is still very much a part of the atheist philosophy. You can not overlook the fact that atheists showed more interest than any other sect in disproving Descartes. Even the twentieth century atheists like Paul Kurtz spent years in merely tweaking the existing dichotomy.

    As I have mentioned earlier, the agnostics’ concern is purely logical. Neither they romanticize about it, nor does the concern stem from mere escapism. The more you think about it, you do see a point – who but a subgroup of atheists can be called for if atheism itself is destined to emerge as a mere faith, lacking rationality? Your whole argument based on the non-existence of the Omnipotent being is rather irrelevant in this atheism vs. agnosticism debate. The focal point here is – do we or do we not possess the requisite knowledge to understand the ‘grand design’?

    You say “by-and-large, atheists are not bothered about god”, can’t disagree more. Did you get a chance to read Richard Dawkin’s ‘The God Delusion’? I presume you did; how can you reconcile your viewpoint with the core argument presented in that book? For every ‘The God Delusion’, I can perhaps think of one ‘God is not great’, which stands firm with the more romantic notion you presented earlier. But then you must know that atheists like Chris Hitchens do acknowledge the complexity of the universe, and at some point of time even refrain from calling themselves ‘Atheist’.

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  4. toa says:

    discussion ta porte besh moja lagche.my two cents:

    @kausik da: to play devil’s (thuri god’s) advocate here one can argue that maybe god is not concerned about human fate/actions of human being per se but just maintaining the order(if it can be called so!) of the world, or he is just busy watching TV :P(like the super computer in Hitchhiker’s Guide).

    Prabirendra da Richard Dawkins er argument (ja lekha ba vdo dekhechi)koyek jaygay besh khapchara legeche, where he is prone to jumping conclusions to prove his point and attacking/ridiculing ‘religion’. As much as I am with the atheist camp here I am not a fan of his dismissive arguments. amar nijer monehoy ‘religion’ is just a mere tool. to control people,for good or bad. Dawkins’ dismissive attitude of anyone practicing religion as being utterly foolish- is feeding in the fundamentalist mentality he is trying to oppose in the first place.

    once when i argued once with a friend of mine that it is neither necessary nor sufficient to be religious to be a “good” person, he replied that you never know the counterfactual, that had this non-religious person been a religious fellow maybe he’d become a further better person to which i replied it could just be the opposite in case a religious person becoming atheist. Whether god exists or not is not a testable hypothesis, more so in these days where scientists have found with quantum physics that something can exist beyond time and space. alochona choluk, philosophy is fascinating!

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