Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Conversation on Faith

I share with readers some material e mailed to me by one Encik Suhaimi Mohamad. Thank you very much for this very interesting piece. It is a conversation that took place between a professor and APJ Abdul Kalam who went on to become India's President. Wishing all Muslims a glorious Ramadan. Ahlan Wa Sahlan Ya Ramadan

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
He asks one of his new students to stand and.....
So you believe in God?
Absolutely, sir.
: Is God good?
Is God all-powerful?
: Yes.
My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him.
Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
(Student is silent.)
You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Is Satan good?
: No.
Where does Satan come from?
From...God.. ..
That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)
Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Yes, sir.
So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)
Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you.
Tell me, son...Have you ever
seen God?
No, sir.
Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
No, sir.
Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.
Yet you still believe in Him?
According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist.
What do you say to that, son?
Nothing. I only have my faith.
Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.
Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
And is there such a thing as cold?
No sir. There isn't.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat.
But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold . Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat . We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)
What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?
Student :
You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright
light, flashing light....But if
you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In
reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?
So what is the point you are making, young man?
Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Flawed? Can you explain how?
Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.
Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)
Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)
Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter.)
: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable. )
I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.
That is it sir.... The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. ..And if'll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same...won't you?....
this is a true story, and the

student was none other than........ .
Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam ,
the former president of India .


Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 07:26  


Make sure Nik Aziz gets to read this (if he can read at all)!

F-1 Driver

Nik 19 August 2009 at 09:38  

Dato' and F-1 Driver,

Talking about Faith; The difference between Nik Aziz and DS Najib is that the former has FAITH whilst the latter has HOPE.

Hope is the Source of Pain, and hope operates on the level of something other than what there is. We hope, dwelling in the future, that things might turn out right. We do not experience the present, do not face the pain or neurosis as it is.

Faith is a more realistic attitude than hope is. Hope is a sense of lacking something in the present situation. We are hopeful about getting better as we go along. Faith is that it is okay in the present situation, and we have some sense of trust in that.

Is 1Malaysia mooted out of hope? Or did it emerge from Faith?

Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 10:58  

I have came across this many times before. I am not too sure whether such exchanges really happen. If it did, was it really the good Prof?

Nonetheless, fiction or not, it will always be a good read.


SAJ 19 August 2009 at 11:14  

Excellent....Thank you very much for sharing.

msleepyhead,  19 August 2009 at 13:29  

Salam Dato',

Nice story, though it's been linked to Einstein before this:

Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 13:59  

I do not think this conversation of defining Faith need to be turn to political. I sure enjoy anology that is simple yet solid on faith.

If faith does not presence in us human , what are human

Jamal JB

Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 15:13  

if you believe god exist with all your heart, you sure to find something to back your faith.
if you believe god does not exist with all your heart, you sure to find something to back you belief.

it's the choices that shaped our life and believes.not god.

Syed SP 19 August 2009 at 16:30  

Have you tried to authenticate the source? Because I have read many variants of this story, and I am not sure which is the correct one.

Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 16:43  

F-1 Driver,

Why Nik Aziz ??

Why Not the Mufti of Perak ?? or Hadi Awang ???


Greenbottle 19 August 2009 at 22:47  

certainly don't want to argue with abdul kalam . he is a genius par excellance but this article doesn't sound quite right to you have the actual link where i can actually read it as it really is?

Anonymous,  19 August 2009 at 22:56  

this so called conversation has been going around for quite sometimes, but this is the first time that it was attributed to APJ Abdul Kalam! I think it just an urban legend!!

Are You Gonna Go My Way,  20 August 2009 at 15:09  


You have linked your blog with some cool music video...but suprisingly no ZEE AVI. let all Malaysian know that we can make it big in the US and the world. She could be the first Malaysian to win the grammy..

meepr0,  20 August 2009 at 21:59  


unfortunately you and all the other religionist are wrong.

1) Evolution is not some artsy-fartsy concept rubbish the "student" in the story mentioned but is backed up with hard facts and evidence.

Even then some facets of evolution is not taught as "fact" (or at least it should not be by a good professor) but as a strong theory based upon circumstantial evidence, ie, an educated guess.

This, then is a far superior concept as opposed to "God" for which nowhere even NEAR such overwhelming evidence exists as for evolution.

2) Then again, many other facets of the evolution theory can indeed be proven, and scientists have viewed it with their own eyes!

3) The student is completely flawed in bringing up "cold" or "darkness".

Cold and darkness are not measureable scientific concepts - just descriptive words for the English language for certain conditions, similar to hunger, or emptiness, which cannot be measured but yet exist due to the intricacies of the language.

This conversation, then, is most definitely an urban legend as a good professor would have ripped the students argument to shreds and made him the class laughingstock.

Anonymous,  22 August 2009 at 07:52  

Is Zee Avi still a Muslim? She has a picture of Jesus Christ in her You Tube and sings No Christmas For Me.What is her producer trying to do? (or maker of her You Tubes?)

Why can't Zee Avi be herself (a Muslim) to go international.I have nothing to be proud of if she has to be someone else to make it big in the West.

Apocryphalist 22 August 2009 at 14:18  

The Professor and The Moulvi:
Part A


I have dealt quite extensively on the usages of Science and Philosophy to confirm Religious dogmas elsewhere before, particularly here and there. This tale that you quipped, though inspirational and motivating, unfortunately, contain both scientific errors as well as historical (yes, it had been credited to people more credible than Dr Abdul Kalam though where I think it originated from are from the deep vaults of a lebai or a mullah pesantren, perhaps from someone whose knowledge of Science do not go beyond anything other than how to SPELL it).

Fortunately, I have come across this tale whizzing around in the internet some 10 years ago in a mass-spam kind of thing (the version then was an Atheist Professor confronting a modern-day Saladin in an Egyptian University, but ah, well wait a bit and I am sure we will get some different kinds of permutations elsewhere). The following is a reply I sent out about 10 years ago to the spammer and his list. Enjoy it too.


Dear Readers,

No doubt, arguments put forward by our young hero in this moving, albeit apocryphal, Young-Muslim-Wonder-Kid-Puts-To-Task-Experienced-And-Elderly-Atheist-Professor tale inspire the goosebumps of many young muslim preachers and wannabe defenders of the faith; but the flaws dictated therein are legion: so much so that they make the very foundations of the arguments themselves crumble, like Dust in the Wind (and for heaven’s sake THAT wasn’t from a KANSAS song).

In a nutshell, it’s a story about an atheist of a professor who lectures in a class full of muslim students (now HOW, escapes me: don’t they have some interviews before giving these tenureships away? But I digress).

Apparently the Professor, perhaps out of some previous night’s indigestion, proceeds to provoke the muslims about God and Godhood, about Existence and Existentialism, about Good and Evil. The muslims stumble in the first round, faze, and are nearly delirious until some young Sir Galahad (probably in Turbans) comes to the rescue of the Religion-in-Distress, gives the professor a piece of his mind, and makes the old guy wish he never was born, or never was posted in this Bolehwood University,and I bet you all a silk pyjama five generations of his offsprings wouldn’t too, but again I digress.

Well what’s wrong with the picture, you ask.

Everything. That’s what.

...continued ...

Apocryphalist 22 August 2009 at 14:22  

The Professor and The Moulvi:
Part B

First and foremost his analysis about heat is wrong. “Cold”ness is not, as he says, the absence of heat. Coldness is just a qualitative measure of sensation dependent on, generally speaking, the human body with regards to the temperatures surrounding him. “Coldness” is a purely human phenomenon. “No such thing as cold, otherwise we could go colder than 458” is also a puzzling statement. He probably refers to Absolute Zero, measured in Fahrenheit (which is –459.68, actually) but then the reason we can’t “go colder” than this is not because there is “no such thing as cold”, but because there is an unreachable limit capped by the Third Law of Thermodynamics: it is a state in which atoms are practically motionless, and we just can’t approach this singularity regardless of whether there is such a thing as cold or not!

And then he drops a bomb about Evolution. Just because “no one sees a man evolves into monkey” so evolution must not be something true. Excuse me. Does this guy know evolution? At all? Does he know, according to the theory (note: a THEORY) how long it takes for a microbial organism to evolve into something just one degree higher in complexity? MILLIONS OF YEARS. And you want to see it flash across your eyes in a jiffy to ascertain its truth?

His other “scientific” comments, about challenging the professor to give him “a jar of darkness” is entertaining, albeit draped in slapstick tomfoolery. His contention that no one seeing Electricity and Magnetism should parallel one’s inability to see Life and Death, is an embarassment, and his final swansong about Science being flawed an indication of the lack of some basic understanding of Scientific principles. [Apocryphalist note: in the permutated version there was mention of this “jar of darkness”].

Of course, nothing then beats the asininity of the argument “The professor has no brains because no one has ever seen his brains”. Dey, Molvi. Would you like someone else say the same counter-refutive argument on brains and brainlessness regarding someone whom you hold dear? Say the prophet SAW himself?

“Does this Apocryphalist guy know only how to criticise but never offers any solutions?” you are itching to ask. “Particularly when faiths and dogmas are apparently assaulted day in and day out by these provocative theories of Science”?

Perhaps. But it is not my intention here to give a full treatise on this whole Science-Religion schnooze. We can do that in Another Time, Another Place (can’t figure out who sang that one). But my whole point is this: “Kalau kail panjang sejengkal, lautan dalam jangan diduga”. Meaning to say, don’t give these infantilistic kinds of arguments when you are trying to counteract or convince opponents of repute. It will only result in the assertion of the fact that the muslim debatist lacks proper sensible, if not conceptually solid, pieces of facts on which his arguments stand. After all, isn’t a stronger, more intellectually-sound muslim a better muslim?

You have a problem with Philosophy? Well hey study it deeply. Take courses in it. Read more. And read about THEIR philosophers so much so that you can now be in a position to snap their arguments easily. You can screw Hegel. Or put Russell to task. Or demerit Kurkegaard. But for heaven’s sake, don’t give your old kampung arguments to your semiotics professorial opponents. Don’t like Evolutionary Theory? Well I have a problem with it too. But I don’t go around preaching facts like, since no one saw Bozo turn into Ronald Reagan, therefore Darwin was just a delirious piece of shit when he sailed the HMS Beagle.


En ceste foy je veuil vivre et mourir - Francois Villon, Ballade pour prier Nostre Dame

Terima Kasih atas keadilan mu, Tuan Doktor - Kassim Selamat to Dr Asmadi, Ibu Mertuaku

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP