Article appeared Friday, January 18th, 2013 in The News Today, Bangladesh
The Revelation (262) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD
Superstition: Do we say we believe in the Creator and
at the same time
make sure we follow thelocal superstitions,
just in case?
Let us pause for a moment, and think about this situation. If wepray to the Creator and at the same time follow local or cultural superstitions what are wedoing? Could it be a case of hedging bets
just in case there is a creator
just in case thesuperstition happens to become true? Do we actually believe in either or do we believe in
That is, does the superstition hold power or is it the Creator who holds all the Power?
should both wield power?
The Creator has gone to the trouble of designing and making us. He has given us existence, anenvironment to operate in, faculties, facilities and opportunities to enjoy the good things of our lives. Together with knowledge He has given us the intelligence to evaluate prevailing ideas or concepts as well as evaluate our own thoughts, our sense of justice, our intentions, and thethings that we do as well as evaluate personal beliefs. Given that each has been made a uniqueindividual and given a personal sense of justice, should one evaluate prevailing beliefs andsuperstitions or simply
what everyone else is doing?Can superstitions be evaluated? As a case, we can look at superstitions over
cats. Toconfirm our suspicions a variety of questions may be asked. The difference between other catsis simply the color of the coat. So is it the color of the coat which carries some sort of power or are all cats powerful? If it is the color, do black dogs and black cars also have power? As a test,we may take a black cat into a laboratory and make other animals
cross the path of the black cat
. Do things start going wrong whenever a black cat gets on its feet and starts walking? Wemay collect data on what happens every time a black cat starts walking on earth to confirm our hypothesis. As Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626), the English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and author who established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry
, pointed out,
The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits,
but not when it misses.
So, whether or not superstitions are true or hold any power can be scientifically established bycollecting a variety of data and carrying out inductive reasoning. Equally, can we use inductivereasoning and collect data on the work of the Creator? Just as the information content in abinary computer program cannot randomly occur, the information content in DNA cannot berandom. In addition, the irreducible complexity
of biological life forms indicates the existenceof highly intelligent and purposeful design. Such purposeful complexity negates the possibility of any random occurrences. For example, random numbers generated by a dice or a pair of dicesdo not have a purpose in mind. In addition, data may be collected from our environment andpersonal lives. For example, what do scientists look for when they do research? Do they look for
‘laws’ that govern behavior?
Can purposeful laws be attributed to randomness? Also, what kindof data can we collect on the blessings in our personal lives? Who could be responsible for timely and purposeful blessings? In addition to all of this, scriptures provide
dataon the Creator. Again, as the celebrated author Francis Bacon points out,
Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.
During their time prophets also faced prevailing superstitions and beliefs that had no basis.Using their intelligence they worked out the truth as did Abraham. He challenged the thenprevailing beliefs and collected data on each. Consequently, based on his search and