Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an agnostic, for he focuses on the question of suffering. If that question is suitably answered then he becomes a great teacher for God the Creator through the process of guided evolution, for all life forms on our planet earth.
David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FRSA FLS FZS FSA FRSGS (/ˈætənbrə/; born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series forming the Life collection that together constitute a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. He is a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each of black and white, colour, HD, 3D and 4K. In 2018 and 2019, he received Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Narrator.
Attenborough is widely considered a national treasure in the UK, although he himself does not like the term. In 2002, he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide poll for the BBC.
If we learn biology from him then we are learning from the best and would be immune from the quacks and half baked ideas.
Let me repeat, he is an agnostic, for he focuses on the question of suffering. If that question is suitably answered then he becomes a great teacher for God the Creator through the process of guided evolution, for all life forms on our planet earth.
He certainly stands in awe of the majesty of nature but raises the question of suffering to deny God. I will try to answer the question of suffering in the words of his hero, Charles Darwin. Let me quote here the concluding paragraph, in the later editions of the legendary book of Sir Charles Darwin, on the Origin of Species that can make one quickly conceptualize the role of suffering in the grand scheme of things:
From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been breathed, by the Creator, into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Once the question about suffering is understood as a tool for evolution, as Charles Darwin suggested, then one is ready to fully appreciate the beauty of God’s creation as suggested by many of the verses of the Holy Quran. Albert Einstein and the Founding Fathers of USA, including President Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were Deists and I invite David Attenborough to start there. Once he has read about them and their Deism, I will invite him to our site, Islam for West.
When any honest scientist studies nature, he feels, like Albert Einstein, the presence of superior reasoning power, revealed in the incomprehensible universe. However, as the novelty of any new discovery in nature wears off, we begin to take the beauty, complexity, organization and co-ordination that we see every day around us for granted and many among us become vulnerable to think that it may have come into existence purely by chance. However, when we come across the newly discovered organization in nature our prior inferences are challenged. We are flabbergasted and astounded for a brief period of time and truly applause the beauty of the creation of God for a little while, until we are duped by the secular propaganda of neo-Darwinism again and begin to take things for granted. Anesthesia of familiarity takes over! The article, The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator for this universe, examines the splendid interior decorations arranged by the bower birds and a lot more.
For additional details about the question of suffering, read a chapter of a book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth: The Question of Suffering.
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