#33 Reflections: Intellectual Arrogance
“Is it not a kind of intellectual arrogance which makes modern man reject the possibility of life-forms other than those which can be observed and measured by him?"
Muhammad Asad — Road to Mecca
Today I was talking to a non Muslim who was very insistent on basing all his reasoning on science — the fact that there is no God, the fact that heaven and hell is a myth, the fact that Moses didn’t split the sea and it was just an earthquake or something.
It’s usually hard to have a conversation with people who think along these lines because the framework of thinking is radically different between them and any person of faith. The reason for this is because a person of no faith instead unconciously becomes a follower of the religion of science instead.
And according to science nothing is possible until proven otherwise.
But one of the tenants of faith for the believer is to believe there are somethings that are out of their scope of understanding. Somethings of the unseen that they must believe in.
A person of faith realises that human knowledge is limited. And this is difficult to explain to a non-believer.
But this quote was a game changer. The first time I came across it, I was blown away because it so beautifully summarises the fallibility of the human being. And even more so, the fallibility of science.
Once upon a time, people thought the smallest thing possible was a spec of dirt.
Then hundreds of years later, the microscope was invented and they discovered the speck of dirt is made of atoms.
Then hundreds of years later, stronger microscopes were invented and they discovered the atom could be broken down into elctrons, neutrons, etc.
Who knows, one day they might invent a machine that allows them to see angels? I’m not saying that it will happen, but one cannot deny the possibility.
True scientists know that there are more things they don’t know about this world than they know.
So when it comes to the belief in things such as angels or jinns, an afterlife and also a God, why is it suddenly an impossibility?
Why can’t one accept that although these things can’t be scientifically proven currently, there is a chance they do exist? But just outside the realm of the vast vault of knowledge that science has yet to tap into.
And so I asked him, isn’t it intellectual arrogance to assume that only what science had discovered till today is the absolute truth?
And I think that hit him. Because it’s something he’d never considered.