Harun Yahya’s disciples to begin another UK tour

The latest Harun Yahya UK tour entitled ‘The Collapse of Darwinism and the Fact of Creation’ is due to start next week beginning on Monday in London.

I have written several articles on Cif about my own experience of reading Harun Yahya’s works and a couple of years ago I even engaged in a head-to-head Guardian Take 2 debate with Harun Yahya (his real name is Adnan Oktar).

Briefly: I first came across Harun Yahya’s glossy works back in 1998 and to my untrained eye they looked very impressive. The first of many books I read by Harun Yahya was ‘The Evolution Deceit’. It had very high production values and contained plentiful and seemingly authoritative quotations from many senior scientists apparently showing that they held grave doubts about evolution and Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Boiled down to its core, The Evolution Deceit argued that Darwin’s theory had been exposed as a massive fraud that had only been kept alive by materialists for the purpose of undermining faith in God. There had been no evolution at all – all species had been created individually and were not descended from ancestral species.

It was all very superficially impressive. It was only when I began reading the actual books of prominent scientists including Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould who had been so often quoted in Harun Yahya’s books that I realised that the massive fraud was not on the part of Darwinism but appeared to be in Harun Yahya’s own prolific writings.

The quotations from scientists in Harun Yahya’s works were highly selective and deceptive. Evolution in reality was a fact. The ‘theory’ part (and how depressingly often had I heard the ignorant refrain ‘it’s only a theory’) referred to the mechanism of evolution which Darwin primarily identified as being Natural Selection. In short, evolution was not a theory in crisis. There was really no question that the overwhelming majority of scientists strongly supported Darwinism as an immensely powerful framework that explained how all plants and animals on earth were related to each other. It was wonderful eye-opening and mind-expanding material. Harun Yahya’s works on the other hand had been at best highly misleading and at worst downright dishonest in comparison.

On one occasion I queried a popular Muslim author of a series of Islamic books about evolution. He said he did not believe in it. When I asked him whether he had in fact read any works on the topic by actual scientists he admitted that he had not.

Some months ago I blogged about how Muslims needed to rethink the concept of ‘ulama (people of knowledge). We tend to regard ‘ulama as being bearded men who spend years on end studying old Arabic books. Yet scientists are surely the people of knowledge when it comes to scientific topics. It does not make much sense to go to a religious person who has little or no scientific training and expect them to be capable of answering a question on a scientific topic such as evolution.

Anyway, I don’t want to get on a soapbox. I just think it is a shame that so many Muslims continue to fall for Harun Yahya’s anti-evolution writings without having taken the time to read actual books on evolution by mainstream scientists and then making up their own minds on the basis of the evidence presented.

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13 Responses to Harun Yahya’s disciples to begin another UK tour

  1. Zulfikar Ali says:

    Salaams, I agree with your statement. However just look at the way Br. Hasan has been treated in recent months just shows that the mind of many Muslims is a closed book, evidence exists so it should be weighed up on its merits and not summarily dismissed as nonsense.

    Is there no valdity to the argument that the evolutionary process is a creation of the Almighty?

  2. hass says:

    The word “Theory” in science means something entirely different that in layman terms. We have the “theory” of gravity too! Is gravity “just a theory”??

  3. Julaybib says:

    “Is there no valdity to the argument that the evolutionary process is a creation of the Almighty?” This is known as theosophic evolution, and there is nothing in this view that contradicts the concept of biological evolution. Perhaps Harun Yayha might find Muslims less receptive to his ideas if certain scientists quit their God bashing.

  4. Julaybib: Yes, I specifically mentioned in one of my Cif pieces that Dawkins’ stridently atheist agenda was in my view putting many religious people off from studying and appreciating evolution properly. For those who can’t stomach the idea of reading Dawkins I would recommend ‘Finding Darwin’s God’ by Professor Kenneth R Miller. It is a wonderful book by a practising Christian and eminent scientist.

  5. 'Uthmān says:

    I haven’t read Harun Yahya’s works and, judging from what I’ve heard about them, I don’t think I particularly want to. However, despite not being qualified to judge whether or not Darwinism holds true on a scientific basis, I reject Darwinism for the following reasons:

    - I don’t see how it can be reconciled with the clear, explicit verses from the Qur’an which talk about how Adam (peace be upon him) was created. To try and read Darwinism into the Qur’anic verses seems far-fetched and, given the unambiguous nature of the verses, frankly ridiculous!

    - I’m aware that there is not a consensus on the issue even amongst the scientific community since there are certain problems with the theory that have yet to be accounted for, preventing it from being accepted as a fully-fledged fact.

    Combining these two reasons leaves me at the stage where I am now.

    Adam Deen wrote an informative rebuttal to Usama Hasan’s 2008 CiF article on evolution which can be found here: http://adamdeen.blogspot.com/2008/09/responding-to-usama-hasans-muslim-apes.html

    I don’t think the title of the piece was appropriate, but it’s a well-written article nonetheless and contains further details related to what I mentioned above.

  6. ‘Uthman: Have you actually read a book about evolution or Darwinism by a noted scientist before deciding that you ‘reject Darwinism’? The whole point of my post was to try and encourage people to read about the evidence first before making up their minds whether they accept evolution or not.

  7. 'Uthmān says:

    Inayat,

    The answer is no, I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong – I’m well aware that evidence does exist for macro evolution, however conclusive. However, even if I were to be convinced of the scientific evidence in favour of it, there would still be the problem of reconciling it with the Qur’anic account of creation. That’s why my point about the lack of consensus amongst the scientific community on the issue is important – for if there was a scientific consensus on the issue, then people who believe in the verses of Qur’an really would be in a pickle. But there isn’t a consensus which means that, seeing as I do believe in the Qur’an, it makes sense to take the view that Darwinism is false even before reading a book about it by a noted scientist. I’m not content to try and reconcile the two if that means injecting some far-fetched interpretation into explicit Qur’anic verses.

    As far as I’m concerned, either the Qur’an comes from God or Darwinism is true. We can’t have both. I’m intellectually convinced of the former for separate reasons e.g. it’s miraculous nature from a linguistic, historical etc point of view so the Qur’an originating from God is not an issue of doubt for me. Since the Qur’anic account of creation contradicts that of Darwinism, and also taking into account the fact that not all scientists subscribe to Darwinism, it follows for me that Darwinism is false. Yes, all of this without reading a book about it!

  8. ‘Uthman: I don’t want to labour the point which is really a very simple one: before you decide whether evolution is true or not, do take the time to read a decent book or two on the topic eg ‘Finding Darwin’s God’ which I mentioned earlier in this thread and then make up your own mind. I know the interpretation of the story of Adam has become a hang-up for many Muslims but I think that is at least partly a reflection of the pitiful intellectual state that much of the Muslim world is currently in. It could well be that there are multiple valid interpretations of a particular Qur’anic story or allegory.

    There are numerous verses of the Qur’an which condemn the attitude of blindly following others and state (I am paraphrasing from memory): “And they say ‘We will only follow what our forefathers believed’. What! Even though their forefathers were ignorant and without sense?”

    You may also remember the admirable attitude adopted by (again, from memory) Mus’ab ibn Umayr who was sent by the Prophet to Yathrib to preach to the non-Muslim inhabitants. He told them why don’t you just have a listen to the words of the Qur’an. If you like it then I will happily recite more verses for you. If you do not like it then you can always walk away.

    So, once again, read about evolution and then make up your mind. Your point about there being an alleged ‘lack of scientific consensus’ about evolution is just plain wrong and ignorant I am afraid which is not surprising considering you admit that you have not read a book on the topic.

  9. Bernard Crofton says:

    @ ‘Uthmàn

    Define “theory”.
    Define “miracle”.

  10. Stublore says:

    @’Uthmān
    Let me ask you a question or two.
    Who told you “that not all scientists subscribe to Darwinism”?
    By not all exactly how many do you mean?
    Of those who do not subscribe, how many if any offered a reasonable explanation for their disagreement, how many offered a better more robust explanation?
    I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark here, and assume the same people who peddled the koran are those who told you that there is no scientific consensus of evolution, am I right?
    If not perhaps you can show me some peer reviewed paper(s) citing the evidence for this alleged controversy, explaining how evolution is false(I am making the assumption here you know the relevance of the peer review process to science, you do, don’t you??).

  11. Megazulu says:

    At least it’s good to see the Muslim world coming to terms with evolution even if it’s still debatable at the moment.

  12. 'Uthmān says:

    @Bernard:

    The following definition of ‘theory’ which I found on the web does it for me: “a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; “a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory”” However, I am aware the the term ‘theory’ in the sense of ‘theory of evolution’ carries a slightly different meaning than in the sense in which it is used in our ordinary everyday language, if that’s what you were getting at. I’m not one of those who peddles the “it’s only a theory” argument.

    As for ‘miracle’, I think the most appropriate definition would be “an event which lies beyond the productive capacity of nature”.

    @Stublore:

    The idea that “not all scientists subscribe to Darwinism” was something that I got from Adam Deen’s article which I referenced above. Here is the link once again: http://adamdeen.blogspot.com/2008/09/responding-to-usama-hasans-muslim-apes.html. It doesn’t address the question of “how many”, but it does quote explanations from scientists who do appear to disagree. As for how “reasonable” or “robust” these explanations are from a scientific perspective, I couldn’t tell you since I don’t have the necessary scientific knowledge or background to be able to judge that.

    In the comments section to that article, a commenter called “loveprophet” makes what I think are interesting comments about the relationship between those who doubt evolution and the peer-review system. They also point towards what is apparently a peer-reviewed article which does not support evolution. I’m not claiming that the comments are correct, but I think they present an different perspective which you might not have considered before.

    Anyhow, both of you should probably note that my attitude towards evolution has changed slightly since I wrote my comments on this page, as should be evident from my comment here, noting my last point in particular: http://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/usama-hasan-and-the-evolution-controversy/#comment-669.

    And finally, this isn’t really the ideal place for us to have this discussion. I don’t visit Inayat’s blog very often and just chanced upon seeing your comments here. Moreover, it wouldn’t really be fair on Inayat if he kept having to approve our comments just because we want to have a discussion amongst ourselves. If you guys really want to continue discussing this, I wouldn’t mind if you added me on Facebook and we can talk about it there. http://www.facebook.com/ozzy8491

    If not, then I’ll let you have the last word here, should you choose to.

    Regards
    ‘Uthmān

  13. Rizwan says:

    “It could well be that there are multiple valid interpretations of a particular Qur’anic story or allegory.”

    It appears that you have more time for reading and validating Darwin than for the Quran. Why do you are so up to date on Darwin and so fuzzy on the Quran’s position on Adam? I notice you recently refer to your “Rabbi friend” do you think he is more deserving of your time and companionship than an Muslim equivalent?

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