Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3. The Universe - Divine Computer System

A computer model of the universe based on the Quran was proposed for the first time in 1998 in my book The Divine Expert System, which was published by the Muslim Association for Advancement of Science, Aligarh. Its revised version The Computer Universe: A Scientific Rendering of the Holy Quran was published in 2006 by Adam Publishers, New Delhi. The model described the universe as giant computer designed, programmed and created by Allah with purpose as opposed to the scientific worldview that it originated itself by chance with no purpose to serve.  The computer model offers a new window to look at the universe and understand the self-regulated functioning of the universe, deterministic mode of behaviour of the universal components and how substances acquire their characteristic properties. A living organism is treated as natural biocomputer or biorobot.

In 2004 (four years after the publication of my first book, The Divine Expert System), Prof. Seth Lloyd of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, published a research paper entitled “Computational capacity of the universe” in the journal Physical Review Letters, and Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram Media, USA, published a book A New Kind of Science. Lloyd published another book Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos in 2006. Very recently (in 2009), a book Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Denis Bray suggesting that organism is a computer has also come out. All these works based purely on science support the concept that the universe works like a computer.

The computer model of the universe developed in the light of the Quran is briefly discussed here. The basic change that the computer concept of the universe based on the Quran brings into our present knowledge of the universe and cosmology is that it is divine instructions rather than matter and energy per se that represent the fundamental units of reality. Detailed discussion may be found in my two books The Computer universe: A Scientific Rendering the Holy Quran, and An Introduction to Islamic Science (Adam Publishers, New Delhi).

Evidence supporting the concept of computer universe

Physical, chemical and biological sciences at best explain to us and provide information on properties of various forms of energy and matter. There are however certain fundamental questions about the universe that cannot be addressed in science. Some of these are: a) origin of chemical structures with specific properties, b) origin of rules and laws in the physical, chemical and biological segments of the universe, c) existence of universal constants, d) interconnectivity and coordination of the universal components to function as a single system, and e) origin of natural processes and mechanisms. The question of their origin poses one of the most difficult riddles to human intellect. Strictly speaking the question is beyond the realms of secular science. Self-regulated functioning of natural systems, occurrence of natural cycles and phenomena, and spontaneity of physical, chemical and biological reactions and processes do indicate the existence of a computerised set-up. It is possible to explain the various aspects of the universe considering it as a computer system. It also implies that whatever happens in this computer universe is determined by Allah’s program which rules out the element of chance from it.

Natural evidence

There is sufficient evidence to justify the comparison of the universe with a programmed, self-sustaining system. Everything around us, be it a microscopic bacterium or a mega system like galaxy, is a programmed system in its own right. All these components are integrated to produce the whole system – the universe.

Natural laws and determinism: The physical components of the universe from subatomic level to megasystems comprising galaxies and beyond obey certain rules and laws that can be described in mathematical terms. In 1623, Galileo stated: “Philosophy is written in this very great book which always lies open before our eyes (I mean the universe), but one cannot understand it unless one first learns to understand the language and recognize the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language…without these means it is humanly impossible to understand a word of it…” [1]. According to Einstein, “Our experience…justifies us in believing that nature is the realization of the simplest conceivable mathematical ideas” [2]. As Richard Feynman put it: “Every one of our laws is a purely mathematical statement in rather complex and abstruse mathematics…It gets more and more abstruse and more and more difficult as we go on…It is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way that people can feel, without their having some deep understanding of mathematics” [3]. The famous mathematician-physicist Pierre Simon Laplace’s doctrine of complete determinism is a tribute to the success of Galilean-Newtonian principles. According to him, the entire universe is like a clockwork mechanism – to a supremely intelligent mind with all-seeing eyes and unlimited calculating powers, the present would completely determine the future, and for that matter, the past as well [4]. As a philosophical belief about the material world, determinism can be traced back to the time of Ancient Greece, several thousand years ago. Determinism became incorporated in modern science around the year 1500 A.D. with the establishment of the idea that cause-and-effect rules completely govern all motion and structure on the material level. According to the deterministic model, the universe works like a perfect machine without deviation from the predetermined laws. It was the work of Isaac Newton, which firmly established determinism at the core of modern science. He demonstrated that the three laws of motion, which he advanced, could accurately predict in time the orbits of the planets around the sun, the shapes of the paths of projectiles on the earth, and the schedule of the ocean tides throughout the month and year. Newton’s laws are completely deterministic because they imply that anything that happens at any future time is completely determined by what happens now, and everything that is happening now was completely determined by what happened at any time in the past. Determinism remains even today as the core philosophy and goal of physical science [5]. As rightly pointed out by Sir Isaac Newton “(the beautiful universe he observed) could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and Powerful Being.”

The cause-effect relationships can either be linear or non-linear. The concept of linearity relates to the effects that are proportional to causes. For example, if a ball is hit twice as hard, it will fly twice as quickly. Many practical situations are observed to behave in linear fashion. But there are also others that are not linear [6]. In expressing the measurement appropriate for a given system (e.g., Solar System, a falling object on the earth, ocean currents, etc.), the values of the measurements at a given starting time are called the initial conditions for that system. Newton’s laws imply that for any given system, the same initial conditions will always produce identically the same outcome. But there is a hitch. The accuracy of prediction depends on the accuracy of the measurement of the initial conditions. A seemingly insignificant difference in the measurement can create unexpectedly huge difference in the outcome. In other words, the measurements should have infinite accuracy to make accurate prediction. Unfortunately, even with our most sophisticated instruments, infinite accuracy cannot be achieved. Such systems are called “chaotic”. For example weather as a whole is a chaotic system. It is because of this, our weather forecasts are reliable only for the short-term and not for the long-term. The long-term weather forecasts even made with the most sophisticated computer methods imaginable will always be no better than guesses [5]. But this does not mean that the universe is not deterministic; it only means that we cannot make accurate prediction because we cannot make measurements with infinite accuracy due to the limitation in our instrument capability. The chaos is deterministic if we can make the measurements of the initial conditions with infinite accuracy. It is, therefore, called “deterministic chaos”. Because of this nature, the term “butterfly effect” is sometimes used to imply such phenomena. It refers to the idea that a flap of butterfly wings (which is insignificant) in a location can cause a storm in another part of the world.

The existence of immutable laws in nature is undisputable. How did these rules originate? Although we have theories of inorganic evolution and organic evolution, they do not explain or account for the origin and existence of natural laws. There are a large number of laws and rules described in physics, chemistry and biological sciences. The existence of universal constants is a reflection of the operation of these rules uniformly over the entire universe. Faraday constant (96.5 kJ mole-1), Avogadro number (6.022 x 1023 mol-1), Planck constant (6.626 x 10-34 Js), velocity of light (2.998 x 108 m s-1), gas constant (8.314 J mol-1 K) and Boltzmann constant (1.381 x 1023 kJ K-1) are but a few examples. It is according to these laws and rules the universe has been designed, developed and perfected as a coherent system by Allah. Their origin cannot be attributed to chance or accident because formulation of the laws requires intelligence. The intelligence is, however, not immanent in the system but must be assumed to exist outside of the system. The existence of laws of nature is one of the unquestionable proofs of the existence of a Programmer for the universe. We cannot think of spontaneous unassisted origin of these laws without the involvement of a super intelligence. Although we experience, observe and study innumerable laws and rules in operation in nature, the need of intelligence or a creator for them has neither been acknowledged nor recognized in science!

We cannot deny the fact that a programmed reality exists in nature.  The countless number of celestial bodies of colossal size tracing their own paths in the cosmos without collision is indicative of a perfectly programmed behaviour.  The gravitational forces responsible for this meticulous and amazing consistency in the peripheral motion and recurring relative positions of stars and planets do not operate in an arbitrary manner, but obey certain eternal laws prescribed by the Creator Allah.  It is because of this, we are able to formulate principles, which can reflect the natural order.  The high degree of success achieved by man-made mathematical models in describing and/or predicting several natural phenomena adds strength to this reasoning.  Failure of the models can only be due to the lack of understanding of the rules governing them, insufficient knowledge of the variables involved and the nature of their influence or due to the less accurate methods of measurement but not because, rules do not exist and mathematics does not fit in. What can be concluded from the success of the mathematical models and theories in the quantitative interpretation of natural phenomena is that the universe has built-in rules and regulations to enable it to function like a self-controlled and self-sustained system. To make one realize how much these rules mean to the functioning of the universe, let me quote none other than Stephen Hawking, the renowned British mathematician, “…if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars either would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (fundamental numbers) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” [7, p. 125]. Further, “The initial rate of expansion (of the universe) also would have had to be chosen very precisely for the rate of expansion still to be so close to the critical rate needed to avoid recollapse” (due to gravitational attraction) [7, p. 127]. These rules and properties could not have come into existence accidentally. Instead the universe has an Authority who designed and perfected it the way it is. To quote again Stephen Hawking: “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us” [7, p. 127]. (This statement is quoted here not to indicate that his views support religion and God. He is an atheist.).

Built-in controls: The fact that phenomena of natural cycles, planetary movements and a host of others occur with clockwork precision and accuracy leads to the obvious conclusion that our universe is controlled and works according to a pre-set program like a computer-controlled system.  Consider, for instance, the working of the sun (natural nuclear reactor) in comparison with man-made nuclear reactor.  Nuclear reactions such as fusion and fission are energy-yielding reactions of the highest order.  Of these, nuclear fusion is supposed to be the ultimate kind as far as our knowledge goes.  In man-made reactors, fission reaction is taken advantage of for energy generation.  When heavy elements like 235U are bombarded with neutrons (1n), their nuclei become unstable following neutron absorption. The unstable nucleus breaks down to smaller daughter nuclei (fission fragments) and more neutrons with concomitant release of gamma radiation (g) and enormous amount of energy. A simplified, generalized nuclear fission reaction may be written as follows.

                        235U  +  1n    145La  +  88Br  +  3 1n  + g + energy

The daughter nuclei produced in the above reaction are lanthanum (La) and bromine (Br). The neutrons so generated can in turn split other atoms producing more neutrons and the process goes on as a chain reaction.  The reaction once started can proceed unabated and lead to explosion (because of the release of huge amount of energy) unless it is controlled. The control of the nuclear reaction is accomplished by regulating the production of neutrons using neutron absorbers like cadmium. These materials absorb neutrons and maintain the desired neutron flux in the reactor.  In fact the nuclear reactor and the atom bomb work on the same principle with the difference that in the former the reaction is controlled while in the latter, it is not controlled.  With the advent of modern computer systems and robotics, human experts no longer directly man a nuclear reactor. Several hundreds of critical process parameters are monitored and controlled by highly sophisticated computers to prevent it from turning into a rogue one.  Outside the reactor and the laboratory, we have the sun up there in the sky giving us energy ever since it began. The sun is also a reactor that works on the fusion principle involving hydrogen atoms.  The sun is at 3 x 1016 km from the centre of the Spiral Galaxy (the Milky Way) and it rotates with a velocity of 200 km per second about this centre.  Its radius is 6.69 x 105 km and its mass is 2 x 1030 kg.  The fusion reaction involving hydrogen (H) atoms leading to the production of helium (He) that is going on in the sun is represented below.

(a)        1H + 1H 2H +  +1e

(b)        1H +  2H → 3He + g

(c)        2H  +  2H → 3H  +  1H

(d)       2H  +  2H → 3He +  1n

(e)        3He  +  3He4He +  2 1H   

(f)        3H + 2H 4He +  1n

Where 1H is ordinary hydrogen, 2H is deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and 3H is tritium (radioisotope of hydrogen), +1e is positron, g is gamma photon and 1n is neutron. The fusion reaction taking place at the centre of the sun is supposed to reach temperatures of 107 K and pressures exceeding 1011 atm.  The solar fires reach out as far as 105 km from the surface of the sun with velocities of 500 km per second. Our reactors fade into insignificance when they are compared with the sun.  The rules that govern a reaction inside our reactor are equally applicable to such a reaction occurring outside of it.  This would mean that if our reactor needs controlling, the sun (the natural reactor) also needs controlling to prevent it from exploding.  The fact that the fusion reaction has been going on in the sun ever since it started functioning and that it has not exploded so far, proves that the fusion reaction going on in the sun is a controlled (programmed) phenomenon; the control program is immanent in it.

Spontaneity: Every natural process is a spontaneous phenomenon.  Physical, chemical and biological processes are spontaneous phenomena as though the reacting species know how to react and what they should produce under different conditions.  Their properties and mode of behaviour in diverse environments are all fixed.  Evidently, divine programs are there latent in their structures.

Sequential development: We find a developmental sequence in every phenomenon.  A plant develops from a seed through cell division and differentiation.  An animal also develops similarly through various stages from the zygote. There is clear evidence of the existence of a genetic program in living organisms.  This program is responsible for the development and moment-to-moment existence of living organism. Several millions of instructions are carried in a biological program. Every biological mechanism is suggestive of the sequential execution of the instructions contained in the genetic program of the organism concerned. Whether it is the biological program responsible for the biological activities of an organism or the programs for physical and chemical processes, these programs can be understood as sets specific number of instructions given in specific sequence. It is their operation in the given sequence that manifests in the evolution of a non-living or living system, chemical and physical reactions and phenomena, biological processes, etc. These provide clear evidence of the existence of divine instructions (information) in the universe. Information cannot originate by itself through chance and accidents. It needs a creator. The existence of programs in nature is an unfailing proof of the existence of Programmer God for the universe.

A couple of examples are considered here to illustrate the existence of programs in nature. Every biochemical process has its own specific instructions (we observe them as reaction steps) and sequence. Photosynthesis is a biochemical process that enables a plant to harness solar energy from the sun. In the process light energy is converted into chemical energy through synthesis of carbohydrates. (In this context it is reminded here that sun is the source of energy provided to Allah’s human robot testing laboratory – Earth. It is through plants by the mechanism of photosynthesis Allah converts the solar energy into a form consumable by organisms. This aspect is covered in post 8, which discusses  Earth as Allah’s laboratory for testing human robots.). It has been estimated that 200 billion tons of carbon is fixed as carbohydrates each year. The biochemical reactions involved in photosynthesis occur in the chloroplast stroma. Melvin Calvin elucidated the basic steps in this process, which is named after him as the Calvin Cycle. There are three basic events, which characterize this process. These are carboxylation, reduction and regeneration. The simplified biochemical steps may be written as follows.

Step-1 involves the addition of CO2 to a 5-carbon acceptor, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RUBP) leading to the production of two 3-carbon molecules (3-phosphoglycerate).

Step-2 involves the reduction of 3-phosphoglycerate into a carbohydrate.

Step-3 involves a complex series of reactions, which regenerates the
5-carbon acceptor RUBP.

One CO2 is gained with each cycle. Six cycles lead to the formation of a 6-Carbon sugar. Each reaction step which we characterize based on our observations may consist of several instructions (steps) at the molecular level. The complete biochemical reactions that characterize the phenomenon of photosynthesis can be therefore best treated as reflection of the existence of ‘photosynthesis program’. The ‘photosynthesis program’ stipulates the reactions and their sequence for execution. Thus we may conceptualize the mechanism of photosynthesis (a biochemical process) as the execution of a small program designed for that purpose. Such a perception is lacking in science. Every natural phenomenon would appear as evolution because it reflects the sequential execution of instructions carried in the divine program and not accident as scientific community views it.  

Brain as computer: Brains of animals are capable of storing and processing information. Human brain is the most advanced of them all. Plants also function like a computer. Leaves regulate their uptake and loss of gases by conducting simple calculations based on ‘distributed computation’ – a kind of information processing that involves communication between many interacting units. In distributed computation, signals exchanged between components of the system define the process for solving a problem [8].

Natural designs: Anyone can recognize design and a purpose for the universal components.  Natural designs are perfect. We acknowledge this fact knowingly or unknowingly by trying to imitate them in our technology. In the millions of species living on Earth, we do not observe even a single case of half-developed organ incomplete in its structure or inefficient in its functioning. (This observation also goes against Darwin’s theory, which says body structures are evolved gradually through numerous intermediate steps). Several kinds of designs can be identified and recognized in nature. Apart from the structural design of each component of the universe, there are innumerable processes and mechanisms that exhibit spectacular operational designs. Depending on how they are viewed by our senses, they would appear to range from the simplest to extremely complex phenomena. We are so familiar with many of these natural phenomena in our daily life (e.g., gravity, wind, rain, etc.) that they have ceased to inspire awe in us or to attract our attention. Our stomach is capable of digesting every kind of meat. Suppose that you are able to cut out a piece of your stomach and swallow it. It will be immediately digested. But so long as that piece remained part of the stomach (i.e., before you cut and removed it), it was not digested at all by the stomach! In other words, stomach produces juices containing enzymes and other substances capable of its own breakdown but remains at the same time unattacked and safe while it selectively breaks down the food materials arriving to it! Evidently, there is a mechanism (production of alkaline substances) designed to prevent it from getting digested. When a morsel of food is taken into the mouth, the teeth chew only the food material and spare the tongue as if it can distinguish the food material from the tongue. We also know that blood can exist as liquid only inside the blood vessels; everywhere else, it clots.

Womb in mammalian species does not offer any advantage to their females but yet it ‘evolved’ against the expectations of Darwin’s theory. Womb provides the most ideal environment and infrastructure for the development of the young during a specified period. It anticipates the deposition of male sperm, its fusion with female egg to form zygote and its further development into a foetus. Breasts develop in the females not for their own benefit but for the benefit of another individual (which in Darwinian terms, a competitor) – the baby.  Meiosis is a mechanism designed to reduce the chromosome number in the cell to one half (from 2n to n) during gamete formation. The process is not an arbitrary one in the sense that it is not a simple reduction of the chromosome number to half; but the reduction is achieved through the separation of homologous chromosomes so that the resulting cells will have one of the chromosomes of each homologous pair. Fertilization brings together the male and female gametes restoring the cell chromosome number to 2n.  Just look around; we will find in everything a design most appropriate to it to serve the purpose for which it was created. A perusal of the scientific literature will reveal this overwhelming truth in greater detail.

Quranic indicators of computer universe

There are several verses in the Quran, which point to a computerised set-up of the universe. These relate to the structural components, natural mechanisms and functioning of the universe, monitoring and real-time recording of the goings-on, testing of human beings, recording of the activities of each human individual, judgement of human beings based on individual dossiers, to cite but a few. Some of the relevant messages are given below.

“Glorify the name of your Guardian Lord, most high, who created and further gave order and proportion, who ordained laws and granted guidance.”           (Q. 87:1-3).

“Verily your Lord is God who created the skies and the earth in six days and is firmly established on the Throne (of authority) regulating and governing all things….” (Q. 10:3).

“For to anything which We have willed, We only say the word, “be” and it comes into being”. (Q. 16:40).

“So He completed them as seven skies…and inspired in each sky its duty and command (instructions or programs)…” (Q. 41:12). 

“This Our record speaks about you with truth, for all that you did were put on record by Us”. (Q. 45:29). 

“Read your own record; sufficient are you this day to make out an account against you”. (Q. 17:14).

 “With Him are the keys of the unseen, the treasures that none but He knows. He knows whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls without His knowledge. There is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered), but is (inscribed) in a clear Record (Memory)”. (Q. 6:59).

These verses offer clear insight into the nature of functioning of the universe like a computer. The verses reveal to us that the universe is a self-regulated programmed system created by God. Divine commands (instructions or programs) are immanent in the living and non-living systems. Existence of mechanisms for real-time monitoring and recording of all that is happening in the universe further supports the computer model of the universe.

Computer model of the universe

Concepts, theoretical models, mechanical models, etc., are developed by man to improve his own comprehension of nature and natural phenomena.  Nature herself offers several clues to man for modelling and making things useful to him.  For instance, man got the idea of aviation technology from bird’s flight in air.  Conversely, man also seeks to understand a natural phenomenon by comparing it with his own ‘creation’.  A typical example is the comparison of human brain with a computer.  The computer technology, particularly areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and neural networks, has also gained much from the knowledge of cybernetics of biological systems especially those relating to information processing in brain and transmission of nerve impulses.

Several such comparisons can be struck between natural and artificial (man-made) systems and components.  The purpose of drawing these analogies here is not to make a comparison of the anatomical, morphological and/or functional superiority of one over the other, but to bring into focus a meaningful and comprehensible picture of natural system vis a vis its nearest artificial (man-made) counterpart.  The level of sophistication of Allah’s organizational set-up that runs the whole universe is beyond human imagination and perception.  But certainly in our computer technology is a miniature clue that can guide us to visualize the absolute realities. 

For example, consider the expert system developed by Hal Lemmon in the USA for cotton management in large-scale farms [9].  The system called by the acronym, COMAX (Cotton Management Expert) is the first of its kind to be integrated with a simulation model for daily use in farm management.  The program for the simulation of cotton crop growth and development integrated with Comax is Gossym.  It can provide a complete simulation from seed germination to crop harvest on a computer within a few minutes.  This expert system works as follows.  Comax consists of a knowledge base, an inference engine, Gossym, a weather station and data (e.g., seeding rate, soil parameters, etc.).  The knowledge base is a set of ‘if-then’ rules and facts.  Each day the system automatically calls the weather station by telephone as it is driven by weather variables.  The inference engine examines the rules and facts to decide what is to be done.  It prepares data files accordingly to hypothesise the weather and also to hypothesise application of water and nitrogen.  Then it calls Gossym which reads the data files prepared by the inference engine and simulates the growth of the cotton plant under the condition specified in those files.  Results from the simulation (such as the day the simulated crop experiences water stress) are saved as facts in the knowledge base. If the recommendations of the Comax are carried out through a set of dedicated peripherals as and when the commands come, the cotton field will receive all the necessary inputs such as water, nutrients, etc., in right amounts and at right times.  An observer who is unaware of the Comax behind the scene of events will be amazed at the seemingly independent and spontaneous way of functioning of the farm in a well co-ordinated manner for achieving its targeted goals. The functioning of the universe can also be viewed as programmed phenomenon directed towards achieving the objectives set by God. The whole universe may, therefore, be considered as divine computer system.

Basically a computer system consists of software and hardware components. In the computer jargon, the term ‘software’ describes the programs. A program is a set of instructions written in a suitable language in the proper sequence and is loaded into the memory of the computer for executing the task intended for. The software is thus the unseen component, which drives the computer to perform the task specified in it. The term ‘hardware’ describes all the visible components of a computer.

Supposition of the universe as divine computer system necessitates the existence of Divine Master Program (DMP). DMP is considered here as the cosmic software. For convenience in discussion, the DMP may be perceived as having composed of two subprograms namely, the abioprogram and the bioprogram [10]. The abioprogram (abiosoftware) determines abiogenesis (origin of the inanimate world) and the characteristic properties of the inanimate components. It thus forms the source of chemical information. The bioprogram (biosoftware) determines biogenesis (origin of living species) and the characteristic properties of the living matter. It thus represents the source of biological information.  

Insofar as energy is information and the whole universe can be visualized as infinite number of information packets, the concept of memetics with required modifications can be readily applied to the computer model of the universe. The term “meme” was originally proposed by Richard Dawkins to mean “replicator” [11]. Memetics is a fast catching-up concept in epistemology with “meme” describing a piece of knowledge that is transmitted from one individual to another and gets replicated in the process [12]. In the cosmological context, memetics can be thought of as a separate science that describes the universe as divine information-laden system. With further development of the computer model of the universe, memetic science will find wider application in describing and explaining the various facets of the universe.  “Meme” is used here not with the connotation of a “replicator” or with the other characteristics originally assigned to it. A Meme is defined here as a piece of divine information (energy) in the abiotic or biotic segment of the universe. The meme originating from abioprogram may be referred to as “abiomeme” and the meme derived from the bioprogram may be called “biomeme”. Accordingly abiomemetics (chemical information) forms the science of non-life and biomemetics (biological information) forms the science of life [13, 14]. 

Abioprogram – the divine source of chemical information

The Quran reveals to us that Allah’s instructions (programs) are immanent in the universal components: “So He completed them as seven skies…and inspired in each sky its duty and command…” (Q. 41:12). “And among His signs is this – the sky and earth stand by His command…” (Q. 30:25). The mode of behaviour and functioning of the component systems of the universe are, therefore, governed by these programs (divine instructions) encoded by their structures. The fundamental physical constituents of the universe are energy and space. For convenience in discussion and for a better understanding of the concepts proposed, the physical universe may be viewed from the level of atoms and molecules. Energy exists as matter and non-matter (e.g., electromagnetic radiation, heat, electrical, etc.) forms. In whatever form it exists, it has a structure. Each substance has an intrinsic chemical structure. This, in turn, confers specific properties to that material. Presently we know over one hundred and fifteen chemical elements (Table 1) with several atomic species (isotopes) for each of them. Each element has certain atomic structure, which determines its physical and chemical properties. These elements can combine in numerous combinations obeying certain specific rules to produce a wide variety of substances each with specific structure and properties. How does this happen? Are the elements intelligent entities to invent and decide their structures, properties and rules by themselves? This is one of the most fundamental aspects of the working of the universe that has not been and cannot be addressed in science. The rules that govern the formation of chemical structures as well as acquiring properties by them are prescribed and governed by the divine abioprogram. Similarly for non-matter forms (e.g., heat, electricity, etc.) of energy also, the abioprogram determines their nature of existence and behavioural pattern (properties). Various forms of energy can be conceived as embodiment of divine information in coded form. The abioprogram immanent in various matter and non-matter forms of energy can be therefore explained in terms of a structure-code concept. The atom is considered here as the basic unit of matter for illustrating this concept (Table 2). We may assume that the structure signifies a code ‘written’ in a special language like the symbolic language used in computer machines.  This code (semantic content) is deciphered in terms of the abioprogram and the structure derives its properties. The Quranic message that God’s commands are built into the universal components (Q. 41:12) can be explained that way. Innumerable substances found in the universe owe their vastly diverse properties to their structures, which, in turn, are decided by the composition and arrangement of atoms.  Structure at the level of a molecule (substance) is defined here as the totality of the elemental composition and arrangement of the atoms.  In the structure-code concept, the elements form the alphabets (Table 1) and along with their arrangement through bonding, etc., the structure (comparable to a word) is formed. The structure so formed is a code that carries chemical information (Figure 1). The chemical information is deciphered in terms of its properties.

Table 1.  Chemical elements that form the alphabets of abioprogram  

Atomic no.




















































































































Table 2.  An illustration of the Abioprogram-based structure-code concept in acquiring properties of matter in comparison with the acquiring of meaning by a word in English language

Building block

A set of alphabets can carry meaning only if it is affiliated with a language. The meaning of a word depends on its alphabetic composition as well as the order in which they are arranged. Two words may be different in their alphabetic composition or in their arrangements. For instance, English words ‘nest’ and ‘sent’ have the same alphabets but different arrangements whereas the words ‘take’ and ‘buy’ are different in their alphabetic composition. Likewise, different chemical structures are formed based on the composition and arrangement of the atoms of the elements. The structures of n-butane and iso-butane have the same elements and same number of atoms with the chemical formula of C4H10; but the arrangement of the atoms is different in the two substances. These two structures correspond to English words ‘nest’ and ‘sent’. The chemical structures of water (H2O) and benzene (C6H6) are different in their elemental (alphabet) composition. They are comparable with English words ‘take’ and ‘buy’ (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Illustration of structure-code concept in relation to acquiring properties by substances based on the abioprogram

By this analogy, the phenomenon of how chemical structures (substances) derive their properties based on the divine program can be explained. Periodicity in the properties of elements which provide the basis for their classification (Periodic Table) and also for the prediction of properties of a hitherto unknown element; specificity in the change of properties of a substance with a change in structure, etc., are clearly the clauses of the abioprogram operating at different levels of structural hierarchy.  Recognition of at least some of these rules is now helping us in the search for new compounds with specific properties.  For instance, computer-aided molecular modelling (CAMM) has become a powerful tool for studying virtually any chemical structure.  The method works on the reverse logic of structure-property relationships.  In this case, we specify the properties; the computer will give us the structure of the molecule in return.  Use of this technique in the search for new drugs has enabled the researchers to cut shot the long list of candidate molecules to a smaller number expected to have the required biological activity.  In fact by studying the structure-property relationships, we are deciphering the abioprogram at various hierarchal levels of the universe. The chemical structure may be thus likened to a kind of algorithm conforming to abioprogram. The universe is therefore nothing but divine information-laden system (see also the post 2 on energy and process of creation to understand what is energy and how God’s instructions are carried by it).

Bioprogram – the divine source of biological information

A living system (organism) is composed of non-living elements and structures (i.e., abiostructures).  The properties of the abiostructures that make up the biosystem are therefore determined by the abioprogram.  But what makes a biosystem behave differently from an abiosystem is the special program, the bioprogram stored in its cell. This program dictates which abiostructure of the system should come into action and when.  This is similar to the functioning of our own computer machines.  The hardware components of our computers are abiostructures and their properties are abioprogram-determined.  But when a program is loaded into the machine and executed, these abiostructures take orders from the program and perform the task in accordance with the instructions in the sequence given in it.

Organism as  natural biocomputer or biorobot

An organism is natural biocomputer or more precisely biorobot in view of the presence of sensors, etc., in the system. Cell, the basic unit of living system, is biochip (Figure 2). Typically the size of a cell is approximately 10-6 m (1ยต) and mass, 5 x 10-9 g. A human individual is made up of 1014 cells, the result of approximately 50 cell divisions [4]. The structures in the cell (organelles and nuclear structures including DNA) constitute the hardware to execute the bioprogram stored in the memory, the chromosome. Since these structures are intended for the execution of the bioprogram, they are produced in the cell in accordance with the program.

Figure 2.  A generalized diagram of the biochip (living cell) contrasted against man-made computer chip. A: Biochip  B: Computer chip
Note: The figures were not drawn to scale. The biochip is microscopic whereas man-made chip is macroscopic.
CM: Cell membrane; C: Cytoplasm; M: Mitochondria; G: Golgi body; R: Reticulum with ribosomes attached; L: Lysosomes; N: Nucleus which houses chromosomes; n: Nucleolus

At several places the Quran indicates rooh as the cause of life. This Arabic word may be considered to mean divine biosoftware. “When I have fashioned him (first man, Adam) and breathed into him from My rooh, you (angels) fall down in obeisance to him.” (Q. 15:29). This verse refers to the creation of Adam. After moulding him into shape from clay, God breathed rooh into the model creating Adam. It can be scientifically interpreted as, when Allah installed (breathed) the divine biosoftware (rooh) in the non-living clay model, it sprang to life (Adam). The term nafs is also used in several contexts to mean rooh. The Quran also reveals that it is removal (or in computer parlance, deletion) of nafs (biosoftware) that causes death (Q. 6:93). In other words, a dead body is like a computer without software.  

The rooh is the bioprogram or biosoftware of an organism. Like computer program it is also non-physical or intangible (ghayb) to man. It is stored on a physical medium like the computer software. The chromosome (Figure 3) is the storage device or hard disk of the organism. Life can be defined as the manifestation of execution of bioprogram and death as deletion of the biosoftware from the biosystem. A dead body is like a computer without software (see also post 4 on phenomena of life and death).   Computer, robot, toys, etc. that run on man-made software can be considered as forms of ‘artificial life’. Going by this definition, all things – the so-called living and non-living things – are living things as they are run on some kind of software. Three forms of life can thus be identified namely, a) the physical universe and its components, b) biological organisms and c) artificial forms. These three forms constitute the three known forms of life. Strictly speaking, nothing exists as ‘non-living’. Our distinction of living and non-living things is based on the type of divine software. We consider a thing as ‘non-living’ if it is run on abioprogram and we consider a thing ‘living’ if it is run on bioprogram. The term ‘non-living’ is a misnomer in computer concept. However we shall retain this term in the usual sense for convenience in discussion.  

Figure 3.  Illustration of biomemory organization as sectors on a chromosome

Divine governance of the universe

A schematic representation of the divine governance of the universe based on Quranic revelations is presented in Figure 4. The Quran provides a good account of Allah’s Kingdom and mode of control and regulation of the affairs from His abode. “Verily your Lord is God who created the skies and the earth in six days and is firmly established on the Throne (of authority) regulating and governing all things….” (Q. 10:3). “He rules (all) affairs from the sky to the earth; in the end all affairs will go up to Him on a day that is a thousand years of your (man’s) reckoning.” (Q. 32:5).

Figure 4.  Diagrammatic representation of divine governance of the universe

There are many angels (malak in Arabic) in His Kingdom serving Him obediently. “Praise be to God who created the skies and the earth, who made the angels messengers with wings….He adds to creation as He pleases: for God has power over all things.” (Q. 35:1). The angels are immortal (Q. 7:20). They are assigned specific duties and are at His command. The angels mentioned in the Quran include messenger angels (Q. 35:1), angel for executing death of human beings (Q. 32:11), angel for guarding Hell (Q. 66:6), angel for recording (Q. 50:17-18), etc.  All these revelations imply that angels depending on their duties have the divine software necessary to carry out death, to guard Hell, to do the recording, etc. The angels are intelligent beings as can be inferred from their logical analysis of the nature of human beings from the information about human beings Allah gave them (Q. 2:32) when Allah announced His intention to create the human race (Q. 2:30). “Behold, your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? While we do celebrate your praises and glorify your holy (name).” He (Allah) said: “I know what you do not know.” (Q.2:30). The angels do their job exactly as commanded by God (Q. 66:6). The angels may therefore be considered as intelligent dedicated robots functioning at Allah’s command. We may visualize that when Allah gives a command, the angel concerned will pick it up and execute the job through the appropriate program.

Although Allah’s abode is outside of the physical universe (extracosmic), there is connectivity between the two for transmission of His commands to the universe and flow of information from the universe to Allah’s abode.         “He knows all that goes into the earth and all that comes out of it, all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends thereto. And He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Q. 34:2). “…He Who knows the unseen – from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the skies or on the earth; nor is there anything less than that , or greater, but is in the Perspicuous Record.” (Q. 34:3). Everything that is going on in the universe is being recorded in real time and is stored in the divine Memory (the divine Register or Record mentioned in the Quran). All the information about the universe is thus available to Allah. And He knows everything, He hears everything and He sees everything. Apart from the self-regulated nature of the universe controlled by Allah’s software, Allah also executes any command at His Will. Some verses reveal that (Q. 15:57-60).  All these are immensely possible for the simple reason man can also design such computerised set-up with God-given knowledge should need arises for testing his robots in a laboratory.             


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