Science and Religion – 1 – Galileo moment


Praise be to Allah, blessings and peace be upon our Prophet, as well as his relatives and followers. 

I would like to dedicate this lecture to our honorable and precious teacher, and the grand intellectual, the Egyptian professor Amr Sharif. I want to do this, so that I will comfort my mind and be somewhat satisfied; because I deeply feel that this virtuous person, and grand high-impact intellectual has not received what he deserves of praise, consideration, celebration, and appreciation of his works -although he has been writing for long years, and provided the Arab library with excellent books that have a new style of authentication. is style would put the aware reader -they exist despite being very few-, in the heart of the global intellectual scene/situation, especially the Western one. He did not receive the credit for what he should have been celebrated, applauded, appreciated, and praised.. 

I will dedicate this lecture of mine to this virtuous man, whom I ask God – Blessed and Exalted be He – to grant him a long life, and to bless his time and life, so that he can inspire us and provide the Arab library and also, to the Arab and Islamic thought with more of his works. By the way, the subject of the relationship of science and religion, and the philosophy of science, are on the list or at the top of his research and writing interests – may God bless him -, The issue of the relation between science and religion, and religion with science, – we will not say conflict, no! Of course the relation now is different! – What is the relation between science and religion? Evidently, in order for you to realize the extent of the importance of this subject, it is better for us to study a saying by the great philosopher, who also cared about this subject a lot, and had his own contributions in it, Alfred North Whitehead ! the very famous English -then American- philosopher. He said that the fate of humanity, relies on the relation between science and religion, and on how this generation deals with it. Astonishing! That much? evidently, this topic can appear to some of you -as Muslims-, As a pure academic subject, which has a scientific side, a historical side, a theological side, but it is rather closer to luxury. Luxury ?! The future of religion in our countries, the future of faith, the future of Islam, and the attitude towards the Book (Quran) and the Sunnah depend to a great extent on this issue! Come today – and I am not telling you to conduct a scientific study – but just take a quick tour, in this Cyber space, say in the YouTube space.. and you will see that the majority of the atheists of our Arab and Muslim youth became atheists because of what? Because of the clash, confusion and conflict between science and religion.. especially in cosmology, and more specifically in the evolution theory.. 

The theory of evolution.. Of course, this is not a case specific to Muslims, this is a general case in the whole world, especially the Western world. In general, this is caused mainly by the evolution theory, and -with lesser extent- by cosmology as well. You will tell me that this reminds us of Sigmund Freud’s very famous speech when he talked about the modern man – that is, in the Modern Era, after the end of the Middle Ages, in the Modern Era -, he said that this man’s pride and narcissism were lacerated with three severe deep wounds! Three times – he said – this modern man was struck on the head. And that is actually right! The first strike was at the hands of Nicolaus Copernicus, in what is known as the Copernican Revolution! Why the Copernican Revolution? Because Before Copernicus, for more than a millennium or so, the dominant cosmological model, in the ancient and medieval world was the Ptolemaic model. Ptolemy of Alexandria! Who believed that the center of the universe – the entire Universe or Cosmos – is what? It is the earth. And the sun revolves around the earth, and all the other astronomical objects, revolve around the earth, even the sun! Not only the moon, but all of them. They used to call the sun and the other planets “the seven classical planets”.. they all revolve around what? around the earth. This is called Geocentrism or Geocentricity, i.e. the Geocentric model which states that the earth is in the middle Sweet! This remained, and by the way, it explained a lot of things! But insufficiently.. As an example on these things -which I do not want to talk about (because this is out of our topic), is the astral parallax. 

In order to explain this parallax, we say briefly what it is – and I explained it once in an old sermon or in a lecture -. Now when you stand at a certain angle, you stand like this, you see the star, some star! Move to another place, see it from another angle, you will find that the star changed its position! This is called parallax! We call it astral parallax.. How is Parallax explained (based on Ptolemy)? he called it Epicycles – In ancient and medieval astronomy; epicycles -. It is a complicated explanation. Orbit upon orbit, i.e. the big orbit exists, and also there are orbits on it! The star or the planet that rotates – Ptolemy says – rotates in two ways; In this small arc, and as it revolves in it, it also revolves in the greater arc. A very complicated issue! But he explained it. Something strange! He explained,he was able to explain all these astronomical secrets, he interpreted them, he succeeded. Successful model (if we only judged from the regards of explaining what is happening)! Let us go back to Freud later, I did not complete my previous point about the saying of Whitehead. He said that the fate of humanity, will depend on the stance of the contemporary generation towards the issue of the relation between science and religion. Why, Alfred? He said because the two greatest sources of knowledge and inspiration are religion on the one hand, and science on the other. These are the two! Our greatest sources of knowledge; Religion and Science. So it is very, very important that we disassemble, understand and study deeply the relation of what? Science with religion, and religion with science. And if there is some kind of conflict, we disengage it. If there is a possibility to promote and develop reconciliation, or cooperation, and integration between science and religion, then we should do it. We are required to do that, as Muslims, Christians, Jews, scholars, clerics. 

We are required to do this! Of course you will tell me no; what is happening now is almost the opposite! There is a state of contention between the advocates of Islam – especially on the Salafi method – and between science! Yes, of course – unfortunately – it exists, at least partially, if not entirely. So we go back. The first strike was with Nicolaus Copernicus. Why? Because Copernicus said enough is enough.. Freud answers why; because Copernicus revealed that the center of the world or the universe or existence is the sun, not the earth.. And the earth and the rest of the classical planets / objects revolve around the sun. You will tell me now, of course! Neither the sun is the center, nor the earth is the center! Neither is the galaxy is the center! That is, the solar system with all its planets, this is just a point on the edge of the galaxy, thirty thousand light-years away from the center; the center of the galaxy that light travels in a hundred thousand years, and it contains about four hundred billion stars, on average! There are two trillion galaxies like it! These are the recent numbers, in the recent years! This is scary indeed! Neither you are the center, nor is your galaxy the center, we are all done on this matter! 

But this made man dizzy! And he was wounded by a narcissistic deep, painful wound! But why is that? After he was certain of the fact that he was the powerful obeyed master in this planet called Earth; the blue planet, and that this planet in turn, is the center of existence, the center of the worlds,- after that he was pushed directly, with his planet to the margins, to become one planet among others, revolving around the sun. The sun took all the glory, Hence the Church’s position against this Copernican system! That is what it was called – the Copernican system – . The second wound, a wound that may be deeper and more painful than the Copernican wound! What is that? It came with Charles Darwin; it came when this Englishman came, the English Naturalist, or the Natural Philosopher. They called him the Philosopher, and until now this is still the case. The word “Science” by the way, is a very modern word, the words “Science”, and “Scientist”. “Scientist” in particular, began in the late nineteenth century, and it was not circulated and widely used until the beginning of the twentieth century. Before that, what were they called? They were called by “natural philosophers”. 

When Galileo was attacked, he was attacked under the name and title of what? Philosopher – I think he is from Florence, yes – the Florentine! The Florentine philosopher – not scientist -. They said! There was no word such as “Scientist”. And then you ask what kind of philosopher? A Naturalist; researcher in nature, or a natural philosopher. There was no “Scientist” word; it did not exist at the time. Anyway, that is important! It is very important in analyzing the relation, i.e. it is not as we think. Let’s go back (to Darwin), this man, as you know of course, tried to prove and argue that, all the animal kingdom, even the plant kingdom, and all the kingdoms of life! or all domains – because there is a division of kingdoms, and there is a higher division; Domains – All forms of life have evolved and evolved from a cell, or a few cells. – he said this could be from one, two or three cells -; very simple protocells, which evolved over millions of years, hundreds of millions of years, and billions of years. 

And here we entered into a clash with religion, the Western Christian religion in particular; Because they believe that the age of the Earth is much less than that. Some of them state that the earth is as old as humankind, a little earlier than him. So how old is he (the human)? They say (the start was at) four thousand and four BC. That is, six thousand years from today. I remember that Bishop Ussher – this one I think was Irish – I did not revise this, but I also mentioned it years ago -, he made a calculation like this, he said, I am able to determine when man was created! God created man approximately on the twenty-fourth of October, four thousand and four BC, at approximately ten o’clock in the morning. Masha Allah, very accurate calculations! That is, if Gabriel descended with similar information, it would not have been revealed in this precise detail. And of course they (who believed Ussher) rejoiced, and called him a genius, a brilliant, and encyclopedic! Terrible indeed! Charles Darwin came and said to them, (paraphrasing) “people, this earth is hundreds of millions of years old, or even billions of years”. -“O man, say and change, you are an atheist, you are an infidel heretic”. And he told them, “…even man, for sure is hundreds of thousands of years old. Not seven thousand years, nor six thousand years. What are six thousand and seven thousand years?” He told them hundreds of thousands of years is the human life. 

Here, of course, the charge of heresy, blasphemy, and disbelief is ready, and so on, and the collision, of course, between these sciences and religious texts and their interpretation arose. And more than that; you become as a human being, with your moral system – the moral code that you have -, with your Worldview, or the religious “Weltanschauung” (in German), which made you the successor of God, the center of the universe and the master of the earth, etc.! You now become, or the unlucky becomes (Dr. Adnan avoids direct speech to avoid offending listeners), as any monkey, pig, or dog, but superior in degree, not in kind! In kind he is the same thing! scores only differ! But the nature and the essence are the same, and we all return in the end to matter and so on, and it’s over! So, a very terrible clash emerged! So, the whole relation (between science and religion) is about to be exclusively reduced to conflict, especially in the American West, in the USA! When we say science and religion, the relationship is reduced, since decades, (to conflict only)! Since the days of the Scopes trial! They call it the monkey trial! And you know the movie “Inherit the Wind”. It is a very popular movie, we watched it, it is in black and white, and a very beautiful movie! It is all about this topic. The topic or issue of the relation between science and religion is about to be reduced to one model; What is that model? The Conflict. Clash of science and religion, Warfare; War of science and religion, conflict of science and religion, clash of science and religion. An object of dispute, the clash between science and religion! Then the subject of clash, the subject of conflict, the subject of war, is about to be reduced to the theory of evolution, and biblical interpretations, these biblical interpretations and understandings! This is the whole story! 

Science is evolution, and religion is Genesis’ view on this issue. This whole story takes place in the American West, although it is wider than that, but this is really its most important chapter, and its most critical chapter, and it still is! This fight and this tension has moved to the Islamic world, especially with this age of the Internet and YouTube! Now you can hear everyone and anyone who can talk telling you about evolution, .. elevation, monkeys, humans, and so on! A lot of sites and stuff! The whole thing! We want to start over again! Imagine that! Let us go back to the third narcissistic wound. It was with Freud himself, with Sigmund Freud. He was understanding and aware! He wounded us the third wound, when? When he made us understand that we are not always in charge, and we are not in control of our personalities, and our decisions are not in our hands, and we do not make decisions with full awareness and thorough study and robust plans which don’t escape any minor details. 

He told you that these are all illusions! So what is the answer, Mr. Sigmund? He says (paraphrasing) that you have two parts; You have the apparent awareness, and we are able to allow you to estimate it by a ninth, or by a tenth. He said the other nine-tenths of your consciousness are called subconsciousness. Like an iceberg, you see it in the ocean, a tenth of it appears, and nine-tenths of it are underneath the water surface. Nine-tenths of your consciousness is subconsciousness.. Unconsciousness, or Subconsciousness forms nine-tenths of your consciousness, and you do not know. It is a big story! And he has evidence and things, what a big topic! Bien sûr, les gens se sont sentis très vexés, très offensés.. Of course, people felt very, very insulted; so it turns out that we are like worms then?! Like robots?! More like machines that are driven by things over which we have no control, rather we have no apparent awareness of them? Don’t I know what made me do this or that? He said you do not know. You do not know the reason for most of what you do, you do not know why you love person X, why you hate person Y, why you exploded from anger once, why you accepted a certain condition,…etc.! And the reasons you put forward / provide are all refutable, and in fact the real motives that moved you and sent you to do and to take and to leave, …etc.. are mystical motives, over which you have no control, even you have no awareness of them (as Freud says). 

You would say: “Woe to myself! , What is left for me? Neither my earth remained in the center, nor my origin is honorable, nor am I a descendant of angels or the son of heaven. It turned out that I am the son of monkeys and the son of a living cell in the end; this is shocking to the core! After all that, also my consciousness, my mind, my understanding, my study, my philosophy, my thought, my choice, my intent, my intention, all of those also I have no choice in them? Am I not aware of them either? And it (subconsciousness) moves me from where I do not count and do not know? This is so shocking! What is left? I am vanished!” The human really felt lost! thus you can clearly see this in the western culture; They really have abundant literature that expresses absurdity! Abundant literature, theater plays, stories, and novels! They have strange philosophies and orientations in life! What do all of those confirm and affirm? The absurdity and the state of loss and nihilism that many of them live in. Poor people! These (three) blows are undoubtedly very powerful and well-established blows! These are the three basic stations regarding the relation between science with religion, and the relation of religion with science. beautiful! Leaving this aside, we come now to another introduction: Has the relationship between science and religion always been, is, and will remain a conflictual relationship? Which is just Conflict? Attention! This proposition was only widely accepted, until before the sixties of the twentieth century. 

That is, from the sixties until now, the situation has changed. We have almost sixty years between now and then! Sixty years ago, this (conflictual) proposition was common, dominant, and acceptable. That was the default! It is like that! When we say science and religion, we mean that there is conflict! You will tell me “but to this day this is true!” This answer is what makes me sad and feeling sorrowful. Young Arabs, especially atheists and agnostics, speak with the mentality of sixty years ago! That is, they did not update themselves, their knowledge, nor their readings.. They believe that the ruling, recognized, and interpretive model for the relationship between religion and science is the conflict model! We tell this person (who thinks the conflict model is ruling the relation between science and religion) this was from the past, my dear, it was from the past. You will ask me “This model is no longer acknowledged?” No, it is still acknowledged, but it is the weakest and least favored model among historians of science. You will ask “Are you serious??” , I swear by God I am. It is the least favored model! That is, perhaps this model now takes only ten percent of the interest, and the rest is for the other models that I will read to you. 

This is one of the goals of today’s lecture, this is a very important goal, so pay attention! Of course, I do not say that this conflict model was inaugurated, but rather was confirmed and strengthened, with two big works that traveled east and west, and were translated into most living languages, including Arabic. (the first one is) A book in two large volumes, I read it when I was young,and as for the other book, I completely read it before that. The first book I think – I have not revised this one either – is by a great scientist, and a famous academic, I think he is the one who founded Cornell University, Andrew Dickson White. The name of his book is: “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom”. Not in Christianity, but in Christendom. This book lies in two large important volumes, and it is all just facts! In astronomy, in biology, in geography, …etc.! What does the science say? And what does religion say? The stance of the scientists, the stance of the church, the stance of the clergy and the disagreements and what happened, and the mentioning of person X being imprisoned, and person Y was tried, and person Z was exiled, and person W was burned, …etc. 

This is what happened! When you read, actually you will say that indeed there is a terrible conflict! But this is in the nineteenth century. The other book is smaller than the latter, that is, perhaps about its quarter. I read both books. The second book is authored by the physician, chemist, and humble historian of science John William Draper, and is called “History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science”. This man -as I mentioned to you in my lectures on evolution- was probably one of those, who attended the famous Debate between Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and Thomas Henry Huxley; Darwin’s Bulldog. Draper was present at the debate. He mentioned this in his book “History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science”, and reproached them (people of his country) by using the Islamic stance (on evolution) as an example! , and this is a beautiful thing! He reproached / shamed them! He told them (paraphrasing) “We, in Britain, where science and modernity are immense, and in the nineteenth century!…” This was a great science century, in which physics, chemistry, …etc. prospered to a large extent, they saw themselves, to the extent that at the beginning of the twentieth century they thought that physics had nothing to add! They thought that they are done with everything; that they have reached the ceiling of science, that is to say they got to the bottom of science. That is how they saw themselves in the nineteenth century. And he told them (paraphrasing) “… We are still arguing against the obvious truth; That there is evolution and advancement, and that there is a change in living beings, including humans. The Muslims, from very ancient times, hundreds of years ago, decided on this fact, and supported it!” . He took this information (about evolution is Islam) from Ikhwan As-Safa (Brethren of Purity), Al-Jahiz, Ibn Khaldun, and Miskawayh, who supported evolution, all of them by the way. Draper continues: (paraphrasing) “…I call this theory – The evolution theory – I call it the Mohammedan theory!” 

So you have two very famous classic works, I wouldn’t say they inaugurated, but they confirmed and reinforced the conflict model between science and religion. And they kept being translated and cited in forums, studies, research, and debates. The matter remained in this case, and the dominant model is the model of what? The Conflict. Science and Religion; Conflict, clash! Science and religion; state of quarrel and altercation!Up until the sixties! Who inaugurated a new period, with a new model? An American scientist. He is a scientist, but also a historian of sciences more than a scientist – Mashallah – .. and a theologian as well, meaning – Mashallah – the man has a multiplicity of specialties. He is well known; His name is Ian Barbour. In Arabic we pronounce it: «Bar»-«Boor». In the 1960s, Ian Barbour published his first work. Until recently, until three or four years ago, he published works! I – thank God – read them; they were very useful and important, I found treasures written by Ian Barbour, treasures! , in all the subjects he deals with – mashallah -! A beautiful man indeed! 

This man has published articles in – not On, but In – in Science and Religion! Issues in Science and Religion; Essays in Science and Religion. Issues «IN» Science and Religion; Essays in Science and Religion, not «On». He discussed religious and scientific issues, and through this in-depth, detailed and unprecedented discussion, he showed the world a new model! A model that can, of course, be reduced to the word “the integration model”, the integration model! He said that the model we should be leaning towards in the first place in the relationship of science and religion, is not conflict. The conflict model does not explain a lot of things; this is a failed model, very weak, it explains simple things, and fails to explain most things. Astonishing! Of course, this is a blow, and this is unpleasant news for the atheists, the simple, happy Arab atheists! They pick up a word from here and a word from there! And Galileo this, Galileo that.. Atheists, of course, are happy that religion burns scientists! They (the religion people) burned Galileo, tortured him, insulted him, etc.. and science is always in conflict with religion (as they say), etc.. No this is not true at all ! You will tell me to read Bertrand Russell’s book, “Religion and Science”, translated by Ramses Awad, – this is the brother of Louis Awad, and invite me to read the writings of Bertrand Russell, Especially his famous book! Of course, in dozens of articles, he talks about science and religion, from a conflicting angle! Bertrand Russell, and his book – not a big book, about a hundred pages – on science and religion, follows the same dominant model (at his time); the conflict model. Even Carl Sagan, who died in the 1990s, followed the same conflict model in his book “The Demon-Haunted World”! Also today, Sam Harris – the atheist American neuroscientist – follows the conflict model! And there are others like those. 

Why? First, we should pay attention to the fact that these are not historians of science, none of them is a historian! Carl Sagan, an astronomer and physicist, and Bertrand Russell, a philosopher, were not once historians of science. Russel was a historian of philosophy -besides being a philosopher himself- , but he did not and cannot be a historian of science. The history of science is another topic; it is a very, very massive specialty! I mentioned to you a short time ago Robert Merton’s book, “Science, Technology & Society in Seventeenth-Century England”! A huge book chronicling a very limited time slice, in a wondrous way which made scientists, and historians very impressed! That is, they acknowledged him, and said to some extent that his model of interpretation is also generalizable. Wonderful thing indeed! These are massive specialties! Don’t tell me Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, Sam Harris. 

Those are out of the field, out of the field. We have a field or a new field of study, – know it this way, academic studies say -, which was launched by Ian Barbour, in his book “Issues in Science and Religion”, in the mid-sixties of the twentieth century. We now have a new field, and work has begun on it, and there have been found – Mashallah – of course dozens of historians, and dozens of theologian historians as well, who researched in this field, with this new breath, and of course everyone adds and refines and so on! On the other hand, what type of model dimmed? It is the Conflict model.. in favor of two other models; the Integration model, and the independence model, or the separation model! What does separation mean? Religion has its field,and science has its field. Religion has its method, and science has its method. Religion has its language, and science has its language. And so on! Separation model indicates that each one works alone. We now have what? Three main models. Of course, you will tell me you heard that there are four! Yes, Ian Barbour himself came up with these three models, and added the Dialogue models, the dialogue! But I did not find it very useful. The three are more important and deeper. Other historians have eight models! No, in fact they can be reduced – because 

I studied all of them, thanks to God -, they can be reduced and referred to the three main models. So today we may make use of what is left from the lecture time to explain the three models, each to the extent possible; Because the explanation is very long; many books have been written on this aspect! Then we will point out some issues, which should be given attention, but we will not discuss them in details! That is, today my speech will be more about the relationship models, than about dealing with issues between science and religion. Of course, we do not want to talk about many issues (in this lecture for the lack of time) But I can mention to you six important examples of them. I nominate them to be, at the top of the issues that should be reconsidered in Arab and Islamic thought, just as Westerners have been reconsidering them for decades. We are also called upon to reconsider and give our opinion. Of course, at the forefront is the issue of evolution, and there are other issues, five or six others, that we will mention – God willing – in the last part, but we do not want to address a single issue of them; Because their discussion will take dozens of hours. We will just introduce the three patterns and models of the relation. So the subject of conflict is the first model, as we said. 

Here we can mention many events that nominated/paved the way for this model in its time to be the dominant one. Now this model has been retracted when the historical investigation of these events have been reconsidered. What did it start to lose? Its supporting arguments; its justification. You will tell me we do not understand! What do you mean? I will answer you. Il y a eu un fait iconique, effectivement «très symbolique»! Now there is the iconic event; it is an iconic incident. This is also called by the historian, the great writer, and one of the symbols of research now in this new field, and he is one of the most famous of all – Peter Harrison -. Harrison is the author of the book “The Territories of Science and Religion”, As if he is saying that they are different regions! Like geographic domains, different regions -territories- , for science and religion. We shall see why he used this geographical expression. Peter Harrison is a very wonderful person! One of the best thinkers, who researched this issue, among dozens of others! 

Moreover, he is humble, such that he tells you about other projects and their advantages, What a wonderful person this man is really! He is Australian, an Australian historian of science, Peter Harrison! What I want to say is that the historical investigation of these events made us look at them from a new angle. Not as we formerly thought! What does he say? He says that the incident regarding Galileo Galilei is a paradigmatic event! “Paradigmatic” is from “Paradigm”. Germans, for example, say “Paradigma”; Because there is the G in “Paradigm”! A Paradigm is the heuristic model. I will explain it, if I talk today about the objectivity of science and the relativity of science, and about Thomas Kuhn, – this is an American physicist, and a grand historian of science, I think he published his book for the first time in 1963; which is entitled “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”-. An extremely important book. This is one of the most important books. It is a Milestone! What do they call it? Milestone! A Milestone in the History of the Philosophy of Science in the Twentieth Century. 

You will ask me is it like the book “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”? Exactly, like the book “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” by the Anglo-Austrian Karl Popper. Which also resembles Thomas Kuhn’s book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Thomas Kuhn’s. If we talk about Thomas Kuhn and his method and about science between objectivity and relativism, we will delve into this matter, otherwise we will leave it to another opportunity – God willing -. That is, in order to understand what Paradigm is. What is Paradigm? Because Thomas Kuhn explained all scientific progress and scientific change as a shifting, a shift, in what? In paradigms. 

There is a Paradigm which remains in control for a 100 or 200 years. and after that it begins to suffer from crises, its ability starts to wane regarding what? Regarding following up and explaining the facts. This continues until it is brought to a critical point; Critical, calling for the need to change it, it no longer fits! This Paradigm then is no longer desired. A new Paradigm replaces it afterwards. So how does this happen? The community – the scientific community – almost all of it, all of it!, collectively works methodologically and research-wise and explanation-wise. Afterwards a review takes place, which itself is based the prevailing Paradigm. There is always a Paradigm! that is, to make it clear; Before Charles Darwin, there was a paradigm in understanding biology, and the whole kingdom of life, all kingdoms of life! A specific paradigm, its name is the ladder of existence. Or they call it the Great Chain of Being -Scala naturæ-; this is from the days of Aristotle, that was a paradigm! That was a paradigm. And this is also found in works of Ikhwan al-Safa (brethren of purity), in the works of Miskawayh, and in the works of Ibn Khaldun. By the way, this is a second subject! How did they understand evolution?. Frankly, and contrary to what is rumored, they did not understand it from the Darwinian perspective, no! They understood it from the perspective of the Great Chain of Being. This is another topic, (but I mentioned it) to be scientifically and historically accurate as well. 

Then Charles Darwin came, and he said that there is organic evolution, a real organic evolution. We entered a second paradigm, imposing itself a little, a little only (at the beginning)! Now at the moment we are in – of course and for decades -, the paradigm that dominates in this field, is the theory of evolution, regardless of people accepting or rejecting it. Almost no scientist questions or argues about it; any respected scientist. Scientific societies, universities, .. schools, textbooks, all of them! This is the dominant Paradigm. By the way, as Thomas Kuhn explained, a Paradigm does not influence in a narrow range that is, within the scope of, for example, biology. Nay! It casts its effects on the scientific methodology (of biology) itself, and the scientific methodology of related sciences, even physics and chemistry! It will also affect philosophy, imagine that! It will affect the different approaches of thought, the literary criticism, history, sociology, politics, and economics! Now even the word evolution can be found in almost all fields of knowledge! Evolutionary approaches! Something strange! And it takes inspiration from the core of the organic evolutionary theory! This is a Paradigm. We now live in what Paradigm? The Evolution. Like it or not. And in physics there exists another paradigm! We used to have the Newtonian Paradigm; Newton! It worked for two hundred years, then it was replaced! New models came, replaced it! Relativity and Quantum. New Paradigm! They now work on this, they tried to make it one unified theory, which would be another Paradigm that is deeper; they have not succeeded so far, this is a big topic! We go back (to Harrison), what does he say? He says this is a Paradigmatic event or events. Amazing! 

Because it is exemplary and important. I said Iconic! Harrison says the event is about Galileo, it is Galileo’s trial. What is the story of Galileo? I will not talk about the man’s biography; it does not concern us here. Quite simply, the man was a mathematician, a physicist, and an astronomer, with minor contributions to technology, 

Because the one who made the telescope, as I said shortly, is a Dutchman, but Galileo improved and developed it, to the point that he improved it threefold, and then many multiple-folds after that, but the inventor is Dutch. That is Galileo from a scientific point of view, in a very short and extremely incomplete summary. He adopted the model of Nicolaus Copernicus, he said I no longer believe, as I used to, that the earth is the center of the world or the universe! No, the center is the sun. Clear? beautiful! Nobody talked to him. In the beginning, in 1613 – as I remember -, he sent a letter to one of his students, stating his justifications for adopting this model, and expressing to him that (paraphrasing): «If we adopt this model which is more accurate and correct from my point of view, we will not fall into a quarrel or contradiction with what?..» .. with the Bible!”. He told him : «My point of view is that the model does not disagree with the Bible.. .. despite the fact that they see it does.» He said: «I think we will not be in conflict with the opinion of the church.» Now there is a new issue that you need to pay attention to. 

By the way, in the history of science now, there is something new. Of course, in the seventeenth century something happened for the first time! This is not my idea, this is Harrison’s idea, whom I mentioned earlier, the Australian. He said in the seventeenth century something happened for the first time in the history of the relation (between science and religion), and if it had happened in the Middle Ages, it would not have been understood, and there was no possibility in the first place for it to happen, Impossible! There was no possibility! That is, the scientists did the following! In the language of their time,they are called natural philosophers. I mentioned to you more than once that Isaac Newton, who wrote his great book “Principia”, that is, the Principles; mathematical principles – of natural philosophy. He did not say for physics, or for cosmology. He called it natural philosophy; Because the word “science” did not exist then. “Science”, or “natural science” did not exist; the name was natural philosophy. You will tell me this corresponds to the fact that philosophy is the mother of sciences! Exactly, philosophy is the mother of science. And after that sciences got independent one by one! See? Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry appeared, and the last one to appear was Biology, with Darwin. 

Then, we ceased to be philosophers, that became science. Why? Because philosophy is speculative, right? And sometimes if you do not firmly define it, it can be normative, it can! Unfortunately, especially if it was a religious theological philosophy; part of it will be normative. As for Mr. Galileo Galilei, from Florence, as we said, did something new for the first time, which could not have happened before him in the Middle Ages. It happened in the Modern era, in the seventeenth century! What is that? The natural philosopher offers religious interpretations! You will tell me strange! For the first time this happens, and it is forbidden before that! Why? Because the only person authorized to provide religious interpretations is the clergyman (regarding Christianity). Bishop, Cardinal, Pope, not the natural ‘scientist’, Forbidden! (As if they say..) «Natural philosopher, stick to your field, and don’t meddle in religion». Religion (Christianity in this context) was monopolized by whom? By those I mentioned. You will tell me this happened in the seventeenth century for the first time because of the influence of religious reformation! Exactly, the Religious Reformation offered many positive things, .. and some others that were negative. At the top of the pros of religious reform, Lutheran in particular, then Calvinism, then the others, what is the top advantage? It was creating boldness and daring in people – to read the Bible, with their own eyes, and their cultural backgrounds. This means that this Book is not restricted to the Pope, nor the Bishop, nor the Cardinal, nor other clergymen! You too can read it! But it is written in Latin, and not all of us understand Latin! Luther told them “leave it to me.” For the first time the Bible – the Germans call it “Die Bible”, – was translated from Latin into German. 

The German language experts, the Germans themselves, advised to translate it into German, so that the people would understand it- all the people! Even the uncultivated. Martin Luther was knowledgeable. He translated it, and told them to go ahead. After that, the chain reaction started. It was translated into other European languages. Translate, translate, translate! They told people “every one of you has the decency and has the authority. We as reformists affirm you have the authority. Open this Bible and interpret, read and understand alone, do not wait for me to explain everything to you”. These emboldened people, as well as natural philosophers, who would later become scientists, to have a position in interpreting and understanding the Bible. So now the picture has begun to integrate in front of you; you have begun to understand the words that I informed you with; which is How did religion at the beginning of the Modern era contribute to giving science legitimacy! This is the answer, these were the beginnings, and still are! That is, had it not been for the revolution of religious reform, the emergence of modern science would have been much delayed. You will ask: “then is that the only reason?” No, I am telling you religious reform is a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient. It alone will not cause a scientific revolution, but without it, the scientific revolution would not have taken place. Did you get what I meant? This is what “necessary, yet not sufficient” means. There are other things that must come together. This is the first simple thing. There are other deeper things, which Religion introduced, religion! So modern science was born in the womb of religion, what do you think? Yes, in the womb of theology. So now how can someone say the relation is conflict!? 

There is no conflict, no! On the contrary, it seems that the relation between them is better than we thought, and science should be humble, otherwise it denies the favors of his father and mother; who are they? Theology. It had a massive favor on science. We will see how later. These are the new issues in this topic, which are now about sixty years old, and we have entered the seventy now. These models are all new, not the old conflict model. (Back to) Galileo – in his letter to his pupil, and later in his letter to the Grand Duchess, Mother of the Duke; the Duke who employed Galileo – will provide explanations, and will present methodologies in religious interpretation! Great audacity! By the way, this is one of the reasons for anger and trial against him! (As if they say:) “You entered our field, you entered the theological field, what is your relation with this?! Stay with your telescopes, with your objects, with your pendulum, with your calculations and mathematics, and don’t get involved in religion at all!” He nevertheless entered, he said (paraphrasing): “No. I am religious in the end.. I am a believer!.. A believer in the Savior, a believer in the Bible, and I want to introduce this, and it’s my right!” Religious reform paved the way for this. Did you understand what I meant? So we go back, and acknowledge whom? Merton. Merton who wrote «Science, Technology & Society in Seventeenth-Century England». Pay attention! Always be careful when criticizing senior researchers. That is, do not think that you are simply smarter than them. It is true that Galileo and those who followed were Catholics, but eventually, what the reformist revolution is in essence? It is Catholic. That is, there was no outside religion that came to the European space and reformed. It was among the Catholics themselves! Martin Luther himself was an Augustinian Catholic friar, right? So the Protestantism, the protesters’ revolution, is what type of revolution? Catholic! Within the womb of Catholicism; to reform it. Then it (the revolution) divided it (Catholicism) into two branches, and then it, in turn, split into many branches. 

The reform came from the inside! And this affected whom? Galileo and his ilk. He took some fruits (he was influenced). So Merton’s words are generally correct, and it is not problematic that those we mentioned were Catholics, and not Protestants. It is not a requirement that he (Galileo) converts in the religious aspect, but the effects of the religious reform revolution did not leave him, he did not escape from it, not at all! He rather enjoyed it. What did Galileo say to his student? He said to him, “I see that if we accept this Copernican system, it is not necessary for it to contradict with religion, on the contrary! I think it is compatible with religion.” That was a secret letter, we do not know how the letter was leaked; it came out! Maybe the disciple was proud of it, he gave it to another one; we do not know how the letter was leaked, but it was, then the church got very angry.. The Church was angered on two sides, of course. The first side is that he adopts the heliocentric system, .. the Heliocentricity. Heliocentricity; The sun is the center, not the Geocentricity. This is the opposite of the norm. You will tell me why? i.e. what is the relation? Does the Bible say this? No, not the Bible, but Aristotle! What does Aristotle have to do with it? Aristotle was Pagan! Aristotle was considered a pagan philosopher! Yes, this is the problem of the Church, especially in the scholastic period, i.e. after 1000 A.D. 

One of the most prominent figures of the scholastic period was Anselm of Canterbury, and then who? The biggest figure ever was Thomas Aquinas! of Aquino. Thomas Aquinas is the biggest figure of this, to this day by the way. To this day, Europe has not given up or has not gotten rid of the overwhelming influences of Thomistic thought, Thomistic theology, and Thomistic philosophy. A powerful man he is! By the way, I will not say he was a leech, but we can easily consider him, and we are assured, as one of the devoted students of the Islamic heritage, for what is known in particular as the Latin Averroism! That is a big story! Latin Averroism! Thomas learned it through his older teacher, this teacher was a Latin Averroist, and he studied the legacy of Ibn Rushd (Averroes). Indeed, Thomas d’Aquin’s teacher studied Averroes. Then after that came Roger Bacon, not Francis Bacon, Roger, in the thirteenth century, who was imprisoned for fourteen years, and prevented from publishing his works. Roger Bacon used to cite Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and others. And he used to say (paraphrasing): “in relation to them, we are nothing, and by analogy to them we are nothing, we do not understand anything! We must be humble and learn from them. These people are great thinkers!”.That’s why he was accused of heresy, and was imprisoned for fourteen years. It is said that he knew Arabic, Roger Bacon! The first to speak of the seeds of features; Features of the experimental method, was not Francis Bacon in the Novum Organum, but rather Roger Bacon, in the thirteenth century. Roger Bacon is one of the most prominent figures of the scholastic school, the Scholasticism, this scholastic philosophy. Which is what? It is a theology- according to Aristotelian logic. How did ‘Sheikh’ Aristotle reach them? By Latin Averroism, Averroes! And then they got to know him, and then they even got to discover him, from other ways independently, but that was later. (Among the scholastics) also is Ockham; William of Ockham. He was the last of the great scholastics, and to him is attributed the “Ockham’s Razor”! This is a scholastic philosopher. Clear?

What is important is that all of these people owed intellectual and philosophical allegiance to whom? For Aristotle. That is how scholastic philosophy works, via Latin Averroism. And before that, what was it? Nay, (before that), Western Christianity had nothing to do with Aristotle! Whose loyalty was acceptable and common among them? It was the Platonic system; Plato, and also the Plotinus of Alexandria, the author of Neoplatonism. With whose influence? Under the influence of a man who studied the works of Plato and Plotinus before he returned to religion and became a grand theologian. Who is he? Saint Augustine! Saint Augustine of Hippo, who died at 430 A.D.He is the one who introduced Platonicism and Plotinism to the Western Christian context. Clear? And indeed, Plotinism is closer to the spirit of the monotheistic religion than Aristotle, and we will see why soon along with other things that we mentioned – God willing -, I hope that we will not forget them. After that, Aristotle entered (the Western Chrisitanity) through Latin Averroism, and he became a reference! An authority! An authority they call it.. .. an authority which you cannot object against; there was some sort of intolerance. 

So let us return to our brother Sheikh Galileo; The letter was leaked, and as we said, the church expressed an angry and very upset position. They prevented him from publishing his works, prevented him from defending this Copernican model in any way, they told him (paraphrasing) “it is forbidden, adhere to your limit, and do not exceed it! We do not want to hear anything from you!” This was in the year 1616. The letter was written by him in 1613. In 1616 it was leaked.(Paraphrasing) “Do not you dare!” They told him, and threatened him. Poor man got scared, and stopped talking! after that; The year 1632 came. Barberini was a big cardinal, friend of Galileo, and a scholar, and he had a lot of knowledge. By the way, it was not uncommon to find a great bishop or a cardinal, for example, who had knowledge in mathematics, astronomy, grammar, and such, that is, they knew! They were intellectuals, they were the intellectuals of those times (in Christian Europe)! They are the Clerics by the way, they are the same people! Barberini had some knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, and he knew that this Galileo was a great scientist, and he had scientific achievements, so he was sympathetic to him, and mediated for him with the Pope and so on. “No problem”, (Paraphrasing) they told him, «you can express your thoughts, but just stay away from Copernicus. As for other things; about the pendulum, motion, inertia, relative motion – not Einstein’s relativity – , you are welcome to talk about them as much as you like, .. but stay away from Copernicus!». The poor guy believed that he was relieved, so he went and published his work that is considered to be causing a lot of anger; “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”. That was its title, «Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems».. the two great systems of the world! 

What are the Two Chief World Systems he is referring to? The Ptolemaic, and the Copernican. The dialogue took place between three characters: a person who is a supporter of Ptolemy, a person who supports Copernicus, and a neutral person who listens to both, but is not a follower of anyone. As if he says you (as a reader) are free; give people freedom, each one adopts the view / stance they want. Of course the church got angry, very angry! They assumed he got back defending the Copernican system, and he wrote a big book. This -fortunately- has been translated into Arabic, imagine! In three volumes. So he was summoned to court, as we said of course with respect, he was not imprisoned, he was not put in a cage, he was not humiliated, but he was treated with respect and dialogue. After that, he clung to his opinion, defended it, and discussed the evidence. He was threatened! At last they raised the tone; (Paraphrasing) “ you can then be subjected to torture. There is the dislocater, there is the crippler, and there is something else! And you know about them.” Of course, you will tell me, “were there in those days the Inquisition?” Of course there were! They had been for many years before that! Four hundred years before that time! The Inquisition was launched in the thirteenth century, by order of the Pope himself! Mr. Galileo is in the seventeenth century, we are now in the year 1633, when the trial of Galileo took place! Galileo’s trial takes place in the year 1633 AD! 

He was seventy years old. He was an old, poor man! He was threatened, so he backed off. He said (paraphrasing) “there is no problem. They told him to (paraphrasing) “sign now, swearing by the Almighty God in the strictest of oaths, that you renounce these ideas, do not believe in them, do not support them, do not spread them, and you will not call for them later, by any means, do you swear?” He said “I swear”. – “And confirm that the earth is static?” He said “static, does not rotate and is the center”, – “and the sun revolves around it?” He said “no problem, I say”. Now here, there’s a myth that has not been proven, but a myth! That this poor man, swearing and speaking, hit his leg like this, and said “And yet it rotates!”. This can only be a myth spread by his followers. Of course, he was sentenced to prison, then it was commuted directly. He was not imprisoned. His sentence was commuted from prison to house arrest. Indeed, he remained in his home for ten years. He wrote some important books, and died. He died in his home, under house arrest, .. without torture, dislocation, or paralysis, not at all, not at all! This is what happened. Now – we know this, we’ve heard it a thousand times before – what’s new? What’s new is that the stereotype; That Mr. Galileo was persecuted in the church, and science and scientific proof were suppressed by pure theology.. That is incorrect! In fact, the discussion that took place was largely scientific. How about that.. The man was debated scientifically. You would say: What?! (In surprise).. Yes, indeed. This is what we were not aware of, and now the historical investigation has begun to explain it in detail. There are records coming forward, in detail! First of all, the major weakness of Galileo’s position, do you know what it was? He does not have enough scientific evidence to support the Copernicus system. 

Copernicus’s system failed to explain many things astronomically (at that time), it just couldn’t! Other systems interpreted them. For example, The Ptolemy system used to explain the parallax of the stars. The Copernicus system as Galileo understood it and defended, was not capable (at his time) of explaining it; it was incapable! They said to him (paraphrasing) “go ahead, if this theory is correct, why is it (parallax) not explained? We can easily observe the Parallax phenomena with our eyes. With our eyes, we see it, it’s normal, it’s easy.. So why are you unable to explain it (with your new theory)?” He has no explanation! Secondly, the Copernicus system, as presented and defended by Galileo, failed to explain the phases of Venus. Venus has phases like the moon. The moon phases were (successfully) interpreted by both systems; the Copernicus and the Ptolemy systems.. Copernicus interpreted them, Ptolemy interpreted them..correct! The phases of the Venus are explained by Ptolemy (system), but Copernicus (system) was unable to explain them (at that time), he is powerless! Did you understand what I meant? .. «Here you go», they told him, explain! And a lot of such things, which historical investigation has now accurately revealed. So he wasn’t just a victim of church fanaticism, not at all! His position was suffering from scientific inadequacy. (paraphrasing) «From a scientific point of view, there is a deficiency in your evidence, ..and you want to destroy our old model, upon which we interpret the world! No brother».. bring us enough evidence, and then we will see. As for this, with incomplete evidence like this, nope..». So from a scientific point of view, this is what happened. 

As we said, the man was treated with respect and reverence, he was not humiliated, nor was he put in bars, ever! Clear? So the issue was also in part a struggle of science with science, again.. A struggle of science.. with science! By the way, it is rare to find someone who talks about the conflict of religion and science, who reminds you of the truth that is more than clear and more than flashing-obvious; that Science always has conflicts within it, and fierce struggles! Science vs science, model vs model, theory vs theory, scientist vs science, or scientist vs scientists, always! This has always existed! is not it? continuously! It is not always true to explain that this is (religious) persecution and that it is domination. Conflicts occur, differences of opinion, right? Until one of the conflicting sides, a theory, or a hypothesis proves its worth, with real force (evidence), it’s over! People will follow that side. This is an important aspect that we must know. Another source of anger against ‘Sheikh’Galileo; Because he was old, poor guy! What is that? As I told you, the man interfered with what did not concern him, which is the religious interpretation.. Although we – not only for me, but for all Western world thought now -, we thank him for daring to do this. Why? Because he did it with dexterity and intelligence. 

You are surprised that this man in the seventeenth century – and of course he touched and lived this state of tension, between science and religion – presents proposals for disengagement, to defuse and mitigate the conflict, with this quality! I swear this is shocking! But this is Galileo, a genius, no doubt! That is, he is one of the geniuses, not any human being, not just a simple scientist or an ordinary thinker; he has a big brain, a mind! Galileo is an icon, not an ordinary thinker, a great contemplative, a gifted! Where is that mentioned? He mentioned this in his letter to the Grand Duchess, who is the Grand Duke’s mother, – as men are called Dukes -. Galileo was originally an employee of the Duke, working for him, financed by him, funding his scientific research. The Grand Duchess Christina said to ‘Sheikh’ Galileo (paraphrasing): «Frankly, Mr. Galileo.. I am suspicious and anxious about the fact that this new knowledge with which you are working, you and Kepler and Tycho Brahe, and before you Copernicus, can disagree with the Bible. I am really concerned, this is a serious matter! We lose the book, we lose our own faith!» So he went and wrote her a curious letter.. -Glory be to God-! The summary of this beautiful genius letter – I invite you to read and benefit from it. Everyone who wants to talk about the relationship of science with religion must in fact, read Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina – ! in which he paved the way for four principles in dealing with this hot file, four principles.. Just amazing! 

The first principle relates to ‘Suspension’. It is a designation that I have just given to the principle, in order to simplify its understanding. We can call it suspension. It is a word from myself so that we understand this principle. What is suspension? He says (paraphrasing): “you -as a natural philosopher…” – whom now we call the Scientist; They used to call him the natural philosopher – “…when you study the world, the nature, the earth, plants, animals, stars, planets, orbits, etc.! you have to put your religious dogma and scripture in pairs. Do not disbelieve in it, and do not use it, hang it. Say to it: Remain «suspended», God bless you.. Leave me alone to complete my work, leave me alone until I complete my work freely.. Genius principle, isn’t it? You would probably tell me that this principle methodologically can be translated into one famous sentence. What is it? It is the well-known colloquial phrase; The cart and the horse. Do not put the cart before the horse, right? useless! The horse must be in front of the cart. How do we reflect this to our topic? Premises and consequences? Exactly! It is forbidden to put the premises at the end, the premises are at the beginning, the last thing we get to are the conclusions, right? But when you come to doctrinal principles, biblical interpretations, and sacred text, it is over, you closed the bow, it’s over! is it not? The case is over, you close the subject before it begins! Say no, I will not use the sacred text, I have nothing to do with it or its interpretations, I am now a natural researcher! I study the plant, the animal, the bacteria, the amoeba, the moon, the sun, the stars, the Parallax, the Venus Phases, etc.! Leave the for the moment. I study the thing with its approach, according to my capabilities and mechanisms. 

Beautiful! This does not mean that you erase the Bible, but suspend its consideration momentarily. Now he imagines Duchess Christina saying to him, «So what if.. «What would happen if.. your scientific investigations end up with results that differ with the Bible?” What will happen? He told her (paraphrasing): « Here we come to the second principle!.. I suppose that when the venerable Lord got to recognize us and communicated with us, He did not communicate through a single approach, nor a single method, nor a single language! But rather two methods, two approaches, and two languages! As we say now; The described universe, and the visible universe..» The sacred text and the world around us..».. Of course, it is the idea of the two books (In Arabic Kitab Mastour & Mandur).. The Book written (Quran) and the Book observed (The universe).. 

I say this and I implore God to absolve me and on behalf of all of you, Praise be to Allah (God), Lord of the worlds.


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