By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam
14 June 2022
Some Silverfish Of Scripture/s May Lunatically Believe That Certain Verses In Quran Speak Of The Expansion Of The Universe (Which's Not There In A 7th Century Book) And Bing Bang Theory, He's Making The Same (Deliberate) Mistake Which Those Highly Prejudiced Hindu Debaters Made In The Past.
Of all the cases cited by psychiatrists, psychologists and historians of science to illuminate the role of symbolism in creative thought, none is more famous than August Kekule's somnolent vision of a snake biting its tail, a dream that supposedly revealed the true structure of the benzene ring to the German chemist.
When I was studying Philosophy and Theology, I often noticed that the exegetes and interpreters of all religions and their scriptures were actually exercising the pseudo-symbolism of a snake biting its own tail. In other words, they were all Arguing in a Circle (Latin: Petito Principii). Let me elaborate it: In classical rhetoric and logic, begging the question or assuming the conclusion (Latin: Petitio Principii) is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion, instead of supporting it. For example, the statement "Green is the best colour because it is the greenest of all colours" claims that the colour green is the best because it is the greenest – which it presupposes is the best. It's a type of circular reasoning: an argument that requires that the desired conclusion be true. This often occurs in an indirect way such that the fallacy's presence is hidden, or at least not easily apparent.
Two practical examples can emphasise the inherent futility and flaw/s of all religious debates and discourses, initiated and indulged by egoistic religious 'scholars.' One of the main premises of Hindu scholars (invariably Brahmins) of ancient India arguing with the helpless Jain and Buddhist monks and scholars was: Brahman was the manifestation of Brahma (Brahmasya Pratiroopam Brahman). Now, how can a debate reach its logical end if you've already assumed that Brahman is the manifestation of Brahma? It barricades all other notions and premises.
Likewise, some silverfish of scripture/s may lunatically believe that certain verses in Quran speak of the Expansion of the Universe (which's not there in a 7th century book) and Bing Bang Theory, he's making the same (deliberate) mistake which those highly prejudiced Hindu debaters made in the past. He has a (flawed) frame of reference before him and he's trying to associate that with the ancient and antediluvian 'wisdom' of the desert bumpkins. All these people keep arguing in a circle without any logical end. Such specious, plausible and utterly futile arguments have no significance other than satisfying one's religious ego.
Now the main concern is: How can this world be made a better place to live in? No religion, god or book can be of any use. Let cosmologists and useless exegetes speculate how this Universe came into being. Ordinary humans of any religion ought not to have any truck with such highly recondite issues that lead us nowhere and have zero pragmatic value. Be practical and do your bit for the humanity. Panini gave grammar to Sanskrit and is called ' The father of Linguistics,' but when he was face to face with a tiger, he was engrossed in a grammatical conundrum of Philology. Needless to say, he was devoured by the hungry tiger. Such gory fate mustn't befall you.
A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian.
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