Is Evolution Less Problematic For Muslims Than For Christians?

understanding-quran

I recently purchased a copy of Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem’s book “Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Style“. I enjoyed reading his English translation of the Qur’an a couple of years ago and particularly his introduction which revealed him to be a man who was very learned in his field of study. He is after all a Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

From what I have read so far of “Understanding the Qur’an” it is a very helpful guide to the Qur’an and Professor Abdel Haleem’s mastery of his topic is hugely impressive and indeed inspiring.

However, I will have to disagree with him about how Muslims regard Evolution. He says in his book – very rightly in my view – that the story of the creation of Adam in the Qur’an should be understood symbolically and not literally. To quote:

“In the Qur’anic version, even such details as God forming Adam with His own hands and the number of days in which He created Heaven and Earth have to be understood, on the instructions of the Qur’an itself, symbolically because elsewhere in the Qur’an we are told that there is ‘nothing like God’ (42:11; 5:103; and 112:3), and that ‘the angels and the Spirit ascend to [God], on a Day that lasts fifty thousand years’ (70:4). Because of the declared figurative nature of the language and the lack of detail in the Qur’an, Darwin’s theories of evolution did not have the same effect on the Muslims as they had in the West.”

I wish that was true! From my own encounters with Muslims, too many of them appear to reject human evolution in a knee-jerk response. Over a thousand years ago, Islamic civilisation was at its most creative and innovative. Now look at us today. How far Muslims have fallen! How sad! Today, the overwhelming majority of Muslim nations are not trailblazers in the sciences, but simply dumb consumers.

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29 Responses to Is Evolution Less Problematic For Muslims Than For Christians?

  1. Fuad Ali says:

    Do you believe in the miracle birth of Isa (as) Jesus as described in the Quran ? If so, why is it so hard to accept the creation aspect of Adam and Eve as opposed to the human evolutionary aspect which still to this day even with genetic biological evidences is not 100% conclusive. The problem with you Inayat, is that you pretend to act intelligent, just because you have read so many books on Evolution over the course of 15 years and believe whatever is told. As a scientist involved in evolutionary molecular biology, there are many points of disagreements amongst us scientists but it does make it a Law of Nature, hence why it is still a theory. Like with all things in life, things can become political, thus science has to make a distinction between facts and scientistism, which you inherently fail you grasp as an IT professional, not surprising, as many uncultured rationalists do.

    With regards your poor understanding of Quran, language,and general Shariah, its very evident, beyond your ISB circles, you have not sat with any scholar, learnt anything, have no clue about
    kalam, islamic creed, and how Islamic textual sources work. I suggest you start of by reading this:
    http://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/darwinism-in-the-eye-of-the-mind/

    No doubt, you will rubbish it off before reading it but reflects your arrogance and ignorance on the matter from an Islamic perspective.

    “Now look at us today. How far Muslims have fallen! How sad! Today, the overwhelming majority of Muslim nations are not trailblazers in the sciences, but simply dumb consumers.” – As someone who talks much about the political problems in the ummah, the reason for their decline is more complicated than embracing a complete post-Cartesian ideology, who no doubt are feeling the guilt trip with their new found “environmentalism” . The only sad situation. is how far the Muslims are from the Quranic ideas and how those champions of Science, how much they have rape the world, simply they knew better!

    • This blog was written to call into question an assertion made by Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem in his book “Understanding The Qur’an” in which he claimed that Muslims have less problems accepting Darwin’s theory of evolution because they accept that the story of Adam in the Qur’an is meant to be interpreted figuratively, not literally. In my experience, plenty of Muslims today have very serious problems accepting evolution and in practice they seem to interpret the story of Adam literally, not figuratively or symbolically as Abdel Haleem was claiming.

      Your comment above simply serves to underscore the point I was making!

      I will ignore the insults you directed towards me – they say more about you than me!

  2. Nazir Khan says:

    It is true many Muslims have issues with evolution but less so than Christians…. i see no harm in Muslims believing in some aspects of evolution but most of us oppose the type of human evolution that is being fed to us by atheist.

    Inayat do you believe that humans evolved from apes?

  3. Assalamu ‘alaykum. Any comments on above article?

    • I have read that article and my view is that it is unfortunately yet another very poor Muslim attempt to try and refute the theory of evolution. Let’s take some points the author raises:

      1. Right at the outset of his article, he says: “Many Muslims are confused about the topic of evolution, and there is growing pressure from certain individuals for common Muslims to accept ideas that they know are contrary to their religious beliefs.”

      So the author starts out by asserting that the theory of evolution is contrary to the religious belief of Muslims. So, he has already prejudged whether evolution is true or not based on his religious views. That is not science, but dogma.

      Remember, that well respected Muslim scholars like the late Muhammad Hamidullah (who translated the Qur’an into French) had no problems reconciling their Islamic beliefs with the theory of evolution.

      2. The author says he will present ‘the Islamic view on the matter’ regarding the theory of evolution. I recoil whenever I hear someone say they will present ‘the Islamic view on the matter’ – particularly, when all they are really doing is presenting their own point of view. It would be better to use the phrase ‘a Muslim viewpoint on the matter’ to acknowledge that other Muslims may have different views.

      3. The author acknowledges that the fossil record shows that the earliest organisms were very primitive and gradually over millions of years more complex organisms appear in the fossil record. He says he rejects evolution but does not provide any alternative theory to account for this. Remember that new species that appear in the fossil record always – without any exception – resemble immediately earlier species.

      Still, I am hopeful. Over the past couple of years we are beginning to see some accomplished Muslim scientists beginning to talk about evolution and how it can be reconciled with Muslim beliefs. I believe this trend will get stronger.

      • 1. That comment was made as an introduction to the article and is not part of the article itself. Moreover, it has nothing to do with the content and substance of the argument.
        2. Can you address the lengthy explanation of Islamic textual evidence which shows there was a direct, special creation of Adam – the fact that the scriptures say he was created outside of this world, in an adult form, emphasize a direct creation, and clearly show he had no parents. Theology cannot simply be brushed aside. But just as you claim to respect science, you should as a Muslim also respect serious Islamic theology.
        3. He does not say he rejects “evolution” but some of its meanings (particularly, universal common descent and the power of the Darwinian mechanism). Furthermore, to disprove a theory, one is not obligated to provide an alternative. As for your comment: “Remember that new species that appear in the fossil record always – without any exception – resemble immediately earlier species” – I feel *this* is not scientific but dogma. The author clearly shows in the Cambrian explosion a number of phyla abruptly appear fully-formed without any connection to earlier fossils. Please prove otherwise. [Dawkins himself said: "It is as though they [i.e. the Cambrian species] were just planted there *without any evolutionary history*.” (The Blindwatchmaker p 229)]

        It seems it is your position that is a dogmatic pandering to certain scientific opinions (e.g. those of Dawkins, Ken Miller), and it appears it is in fact *you* that had *your* mind made-up before you read the article. That is somewhat understandable as you probably have not had exposure to other scientific opinions (especially those of Jonathan Wells, Douglas Axe and Michael Behe – please read their works referred to at the bottom or visit http://www.evolutionnews.org/). But in the meantime, please take the points in the article seriously and address them carefully; which you clearly have not done in your reply. Thank you.

        • Although you say that there is ‘Islamic textual evidence which shows there was a direct, special creation of Adam’ I have already said that this is merely a viewpoint – though sadly very widespread amongst Muslims and Christian creationists. Other Muslims, including Muhammad Hamidullah and it would seem – from the extract I posted above – Muhammad Abdul Haleem, believe that the story of Adam is not meant to be understood literally but symbolically and should be reconciled with the theory of evolution.

          The various Muslim attempts I have seen to date that try and refute Darwin’s theory of evolution including the likes of Harun Yahya, Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Abdul Mabud etc have been dreadfully shoddy in my view. It is no wonder then that Muslims are generally in such a pitiful state when it comes to making advances in science. I hope this will change as we see more Muslims gain a decent education and read more widely, insha’ Allah.

          Let’s take your quote from Richard Dawkins about the Cambrian fossils. I have read that quote so many times over the years in Christian and Muslim creationist literature. When I question those who bring up that quote it always turns out that they have not actually read Dawkins’ actual book in which that quote appears (The Blind Watchmaker) but have simply come across that quote in some creationist book.

          So, let us go to Dawkins’ book ‘The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution’ in which he discusses that very quote about gaps in the fossil record and the mischief that the creationists have tried to make with it:

          “What would be evidence against evolution, and very strong evidence at that, would be the discovery of even a single fossil in the wrong geological stratum. I have already made this point in Chapter 4. J.B.S. Haldane famously retorted, when asked to name an observation that would disprove the theory of evolution, ‘Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian!’ No such rabbits, no authentically anachronistic fossils of any kind, have ever been found. All the fossils that we have, and there are very very many indeed, occur, without a single authenticated exception, in the right temporal sequence. Yes, there are gaps, where there are no fossils at all, and that is only to be expected. But not a single solitary fossil has ever been found before it could have evolved. That is a very telling fact (and there is no reason why we should expect it on the creationist theory). As I briefly mentioned in Chapter 4, a good theory, a scientific theory, is one that is vulnerable to disproof, yet is not disproved. Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours. Sceptics of evolution who wish to prove their case should be diligently scrabbling around in the rocks, desperately trying to find anachronistic fossils. Maybe they’ll find one. Want a bet?

          “The biggest gap, and the one the creationists like best of all, is the one that preceded the so-called Cambrian Explosion. A little more than half a billion years ago, in the Cambrian era, most of the great animal phyla – the main divisions within the animal world – ‘suddenly’ appear in the fossil record. Suddenly, that is, in the sense that no fossils of these animal groups are known in rocks older than the Cambrian, not suddenly in the sense of instantaneously: the period we are talking about covers about 20 million years. Twenty million years feels short when it is half a billion years ago. But of course it represents exactly the same amount of time for evolution as 20 million years today! Anyway, it is still quite sudden, and as I wrote in a previous book, the Cambrian shows us a substantial number of major animal phyla

          ” ‘…already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists.’

          “That last sentence shows that I was savvy enough to realize that creationists would like the Cambrian Explosion. I was not (back in 1986) savvy enough to realize that they’d gleefully quote my lines back at me in their own favour, over and over again, carefully omitting my careful words of explanation…

          “I have dealt with the Cambrian Explosion at length, especially in Unweaving the Rainbow. Here I’ll add just one new point, illustrated by the flatworms, Platyhelminthes. This great phylum of worms includes the parasitic flukes and tapeworms, which are of great medical importance. My favourites, however, are the free-living turbellarian worms, of which there are more than four thousand species: that’s about as numerous as all the mammal species put together. Some of these turbellarians are creatures of great beauty…They are common, both in water and on land, and presumably have been common for a very long time. You’d expect, therefore, to see a rich fossil history. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing. Apart from a handful of ambiguous trace fossils, not a single fossil flatworm has ever been found. The Platyhelminthes, to a worm, are ‘already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.’ But in this case, ‘the very first time they appear’ is not the Cambrian but today. Do you see what this means, or at least ought to mean for creationists? Creationists believe that flatworms were created in the same week as all other creatures. They have therefore had exactly the same time in which to fossilize as all other animals. During all the centuries when all those bony or shelly animals were depositing their fossils by the thousands, the flatworms must have been living happily alongside them, but without leaving any significant trace of their presence in the rocks. What, then, is so special about gaps in the record of those animals that do fossilize, given that the past history of the flatworms amounts to one big gap: even though the flatworms, by the creationists’ own account, have been living for the same length of time? If the gap before the Cambrian Explosion is used as evidence that most animals suddenly sprang into existence in the Cambrian, exactly the same ‘logic’ should be used to prove that the flatworms sprang into existence yesterday. Yet that contradicts the creationist’s belief that flatworms were created during the same creative week as everything else. You cannot have it both ways. This argument, at a stroke, completely destroys the creationist case that the Precambrian gap in the fossil record weakens the evidence for evolution.”

          (Richard Dawkins,The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, p147 – 149)

  4. You haven’t addressed *any* of the substantial points but just pulled out a quote from Dawkins’ recent book that doesn’t really say anything new. So let’s break it down:

    1. Do you agree your comment: “new species that appear in the fossil record always – without any exception – resemble immediately earlier species” is clearly false (even if it is as Dawkins claims this apparent lack of an evolutionary history is just an apparent gap and not a real gap , which by the way paleontologists say is incorrect e.g. James Valentine said: “The [Cambrian] explosion is real; it is too big to be masked by flaws in the fossil record.”)

    2. How do you address the *clear* evidences of Adam’s creation outside this world in Jannah (which would rule out descent from ape-like ancestors); the fact the Qur’an 3:59 clearly implies he was born without a mother and a father – which are documented in full detail in the article above?

    3. Do you accept the clear pattern of the fossil record is *against* what would be expected if universal common ancestry is true, as you should expect an inconceivably great number of transitional fossils; but even the few that do exist are plagued with problems? This is also explained in the article. Also the “tree of life” expected by universal common descent is turned upside down as phyla appear first, then classes, orders, families and genera. Again this goes against the Darwinian point of view.

    [As a side note, you'll notice Dawkins' quote does not support your comment, nor does it help him. He agrees the fossil record suggests sudden appearances; but simply says because many sudden appearances happened over vast eons of time, this doesn't agree with "creationists" as "Creationists believe that flatworms were created in the same week as all other creatures" (which the article above clearly does not accept). It is basically attacking a straw-man, and not addressing the real issues. It is as though refuting one opinion vindicates another opinion! Completely silly.]

    Please, please, address the real issues. Or is it just as the article states that some Muslims have dealt with the theory of evolution and Islam quite irresponsibly because of *both* a lack of scientific literacy *and* Islamic literacy?

  5. This will be my last response to you on this thread. As you may appreciate, I don’t have time to go on forever in circles.

    1. Yes, I should have qualified my statement by saying “until we get back to the Cambrian explosion’ at the end of that line. Scientists have, in my view, provided many credible reasons why we do not have many fossils from the pre-Cambrian era. Dawkins’ example of the Platyhelminthes is a very convincing example to me.

    2. I don’t regard the ‘evidences’ you present about Adam as ‘clear’ at all! As I have mentioned several times now, the fact that Muslim scholars such as Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem and Muhammad Hamidullah say that the story of Adam is not meant to be taken literally sounds eminently reasonable to me. I also believe that the Qur’anic accounts of the universe being created in six days is not to be interpreted literally either.

    3. No – the fossil record displays exactly what we would expect according to Darwinian theory ie the most primitive organisms appear in the earliest fossil record, then fishes, then reptiles and then mammals. Mammals do not appear before reptiles, and reptiles do not appear before fish.

    Remember, all that you would have to do to disprove Darwinism is to find a fossil that is out of place. Or present a more compelling theory of how species have appeared on land and sea. Creationists have been trying for over 150 years now without success…

  6. OK, allow me to make one last reply. With all due respect, you appear to have no understanding of scientific data and arguments, or Islamic theological proofs.

    1. You seem to think the Cambrian is the only example of sudden appearances, and then you say: “Dawkins’ example of the Platyhelminthes is a very convincing example to me,” whereas if you had actually read the passage, Dawkins uses Platyhelminthes as an example of a species that appeared suddenly very recently (i.e. long after the Cambrian) without any apparent evolutionary history in the fossil record! And in fact, the prevalent pattern of fossil data is one of sudden appearance and long periods of stasis. This is also true of humans (hominid fossils also having appeared recently, like 2 million years ago, whereas the Cambrian is over 500 mya). See Casey Luskin here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/08/the_genus_homo063151.html + the related articles on the side; where he summarises his main points from the book Science and Human Origins.

    2. If you don’t regard them as clear then *you* are liable to explain them with an interpretation that is fitting to them. Adam says on the plains of resurrection that he was responsible for expelling us from the very Jannah the believers would enter; how can this be explained as a metaphor, unless life after death is also a metaphor?! Furthermore, his creation is compared to Jesus’ who was born without a father; and the comparison only makes sense if Adam was born without a mother or a father. Mentioning one or two recent academics is *not*, I repeat, is *not*, a theological argument. You should take a few courses on basic Islamic theology. (this is a serious piece of advice – no patronizing intended). The two academics do not address these particular evidences.

    3. A very clear illustration of using the data selectively. What you mentioned would be expected if universal common descent were true, but that does not prove universal common descent; moreover, all the other aspects of the data that are not expected by the theory are, well, no explanation is necessary for them according to you. Typical Darwinian handwaving.

    As this is the last of our exchange, I would like to make a sincere request. Please purchase Jonathan Wells’ (PhD, developmental biology) book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinian Evolution and Intelligent Design, as well as Stephen Meyers’ The Signature in the Cell, and if you have more time, Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. These are *excellent* works that deal with these topics thoroughly. Don’t look at critical reviews, until you have actually read the books; and then look at the reviews [to be fair, that is]. In the meantime, you may also like to look at this article by Jonathan Wells where he rips apart a recent book by a Darwinist called Why Evolution is True: http://www.discovery.org/a/10661 – he shows how all the evidences, including fossil evidence, is used selectively; and the actual data proves otherwise, with full documentation from the scientific literature. It may challenge many of your assumptions.

    Once you’ve read these works, please get back to me on whether you have reevaluated your position. You can post a comment on my blog (http://www.notesonalimamalazam.wordpress.com). And yes, I am the author of that article. Wassalam.

    • Sometimes, I can’t help myself and keep responding even when I should know better!

      1. Yes, I do know that Dawkins’ example of the Platyhelminthes was a modern example. However, he was using that example to illustrate a possible reason why we do not have many pre-Cambrian fossils ie soft-bodied creatures leave far less traces of their existence than bony creatures. That seems to be a good and compelling piece of reasoning.

      2. I don’t have to explain anything about Adam to you. I am not your religious guru. I am free to accept the interpretations of those Muslim scholars I regard as providing a sensible interpretation of the Qur’an. You are free to follow whoever you wish too. Just as I do not take the Qur’an literally when it talks about the universe being created in six days I also do not take it literally when it comes to the story of Adam.

      3. You have continually tried to dismiss Darwin’s theory of evolution but have offered nothing superior in response. I do not regard Intelligent Design to be a scientific theory. I understand that there was a major court case in the USA a few years ago which the proponents of ID lost and the judge ruled that it was a religious ideology falsely masquerading as science.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/dec/22/evolution.schoolsworldwide

      A few years ago I read ID hero Michael Behe’s ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ but found it unconvincing and regarded his arguments about alleged ‘irreducible complexity’ as another instance of poor ‘God of the Gaps’ type reasoning.

      So, to reiterate. I have tried to read widely and have concluded that mainstream scientists are correct when they say that Darwin’s theory of evolution provides a compelling account for the differences we see between all creatures (and indeed plants) around us. The story of Adam is best understood in my view as a figurative story to illustrate that all human beings are part of one family.

      • 1. So you willing to believe that, despite what paleontologists have said, and relying on a science writer? From Wells’ article: Some of Darwin’s modern followers have likewise argued that Precambrian fossils existed but were later destroyed, or that Precambrian organisms were too small or too soft to have fossilized in the first place. Since 1859, however, paleontologists have discovered many Precambrian fossils, many of them microscopic or soft-bodied. As American paleobiologist William Schopf wrote in 1994, “The long-held notion that Precambrian organisms must have been too small or too delicate to have been preserved in geological materials… [is] now recognized as incorrect.” If anything, the abrupt appearance of the major animal phyla about 540 million years ago—which modern biologists call “the Cambrian explosion” or “biology’s Big Bang”—is better documented now than in Darwin’s time. According to Berkeley paleontologist James Valentine and his colleagues, the “explosion is real, it is too big to be masked by flaws in the fossil record.” Indeed, as more fossils are discovered it becomes clear that the Cambrian explosion was “even more abrupt and extensive than previously envisioned.”

        2. There is a *valid* interpretation of the six-days creation, where “days” can be explained as long periods of time. This is valid linguistically and hermeneutically, and has been approved by many early commentators. And yes, you are certainly liable to explain the Qur’an and hadith evidences, as a Muslim; as if you are unable to come up with a valid interpretation of them that fits your belief, that is tantamount to rejecting those hadiths and verses i.e. specifically those that say Adam was created outside of this earth in Jannah – the same Jannah believers will enter in the Afterlife; and that Adam is similar to Jesus, in that he had no parents while Jesus had only one. And blind following of recent academics is not an excuse.

        3. Judges do not judge what is and what is not science. Scientists do. For ID being science, address the points here if you can: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/why_intelligent1066741.html

        ID is *not* a God of the Gaps argument. Let me explain why (and it has been explained hundreds of times before by ID theorists): ID makes a *positive* case for design. It does not state: because we do not know how this happened, therefore we conclude design – which would be a god of the gaps argument. Rather, it states: certain features are, based on our uniform experience, clear indicators of intelligent agency; and it attempts to show that biological systems are full of such features; thus we can infer intelligent design in biology. Stephen Meyers’ 600-page book Signature in the Cell is probably the best book to understand this theory and its application.

        This is not an alternative to universal common descent (as some ID theorists accept UCD), but is indeed incompatible with the Darwinian account. Read Jonathan Wells and Stephen Meyer – they are clearer and easier to read. Behe does try to explain much more difficult systems, which is why you may have found him hard to understand.

        As for an alternative to UCD that explains the similarities between living systems, see the brief explanation of “common archetype” or “common design” in the above article, quoting Louis Agassiz.

        • 1. Are you seriously suggesting that the overwhelming majority of paleontologists regard the Cambrian Explosion as evidence that undermines Darwin’s theory of evolution? I recall reading many books by the late Stephen Jay Gould who in addition to writing splendid science books was also a paleontologist and a staunch evolutionist. In addition, you seemed to have missed the whole point about Dawkins’ example of the Platyhelminthes. If you insist that the fact that we do not seem to be able to find ancestors for the Cambrian fossils undermines Darwin’s theory then how would you explain the Platyhelminthes for which we also (yet) have not found fossils? Do you think they had no pre-history and simply appeared yesterday?

          2. I am not certain of the wisdom of quoting Hadiths about Adam in opposition to what science tells us about man’s ancestry. We know that many ahadith are fabricated as even Muslim scholars admit.

          3. ID is not science according to mainstream scientists. The overwhelming majority of scientists appear to reject ID and regard it simply as creationism repackaged as pseudo-science. Until it is taken seriously by scientists, I am not convinced that I should waste any more time than I already have reading about it (and I did!).

          Thank you for this exchange, but I am afraid I do not find your arguments at all convincing. I will stick with what I have learned from mainstream scientists until I find something more compelling.

          • 1. No I am not suggesting that, but I am suggesting that they accept Darwin’s theory of evolution *in spite* of the evidence. It’s funny how you turn the tables on me as if it is my responsibility to explain the lack of evolutionary history for Platyhelminthes! That is a sticking point for Darwinism, not someone who rejects Darwinism. And it totally contradicts your earlier statement: “new species that appear in the fossil record always – *without any exception* – resemble immediately earlier species,” even in the way you later framed it.

            2. I did not only quote hadith, but 3:59 of the Qur’an. Furthermore it is disingenuous to state “even Muslim scholars” admit there are many fabricated hadiths when a hadith that is *unanimously* accepted as authentic by Muslim scholars is quoted. The hadith quoted comes from Sahih Muslim, the hadiths in which are accepted as authentic by Muslim scholars. Furthermore, it is not only that hadith which is used to prove Adam was in Jannah before he came down to earth; but several verses of the Qur’an.

            3. ID is taken seriously by scientists. See for many examples of peer-reviewed ID articles in science journals: http://www.discovery.org/a/2640 Also check out this lab which does work from an ID framework: http://www.biologicinstitute.org/ – main people are Douglas Axe and Ann Gauger, both reputed biologists. It’s just that ID is not taken seriously by the scientists *you* like to quote. Take for example, Richard Sternberg, a former research associate at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, who holds 2 PhDs – he is sympathetic to ID and says it should be included in discussions on evolution. Embryologist, Jonathan Wells, biochemist, Michael Behe, microbiologist, Douglas Axe are all well-credentialed *scientists*. The latter two use their peer-reviewed scientific work as support of their ID views.

  7. AA Zameelur Rahman (I assume that is your real name as you have said you are the author of that article),

    1. Whenever I speak with creationists or ID’s they keep repeating that there is some massive conspiracy at work amongst scientists. They say that these scientists do not really believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution but say that they do believe in it publicly to avoid being scorned, losing funding etc. You too have said above in your post on |Jan 1 2013 (9.44pm) that paleontologists “accept Darwin’s theory of evolution *in spite* of the evidence.” I am afraid I do not find your argument to be credible. I tend to believe scientists when they say Darwin’s theory has enormous explanatory power and that creationism and ID are nonsense.

    2. I have already responded to your point about Adam in the Qur’an by saying that there are clearly alternative interpretations of those verses which can be happily reconciled with evolution. I gave examples of some very prominent Muslim scholars who also believe this to be the case. I acknowledge that perhaps most Muslims do not believe in evolution but I think that is more a reflection of the poor state of Muslim education and scholarship for a number of centuries now. We were once leaders in many fields. Not anymore and with good reason.

    Now a couple of questions for you based on your belief in ID:

    3. Do you believe that the Platyhelminthes had ancestral species as evolutionary theory predicts or do you think that they appeared fully formed in an act of special creation?

    4. If you believe that ID is a genuine scientific theory then please provide some examples of predictions that it has made successfully that cannot be accounted for by evolutionary theory. I just want to see the difference between a ‘God of the Gaps’ approach and your approach with ID. After all, a good scientific theory has explanatory power and makes predictions that are then in principle falsifiable. The more successful predictions that a theory makes then the more compelling it becomes. That is why mainstream scientists regard evolutionary theory as being immensely powerful and convincing.

    • 1. I wouldn’t go so far as saying it is a conspiracy, but there is certainly an issue with challenging Darwin’s theory in academia. You can watch a documentary called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” that documents this trend.

      2. Neither you, nor your academics, have given alternative interpretations to those verses/hadiths that show Adam was created outside of this world, and had no parents.

      3. I have no clue specifically about Platyhelminthes, but this is one of the predictions of design theory: as designing agents are not constrained to produce technological innovations in structure from simpler precursors or to maintain the function of these simpler precursors through a series of intermediate steps, they would predict a top-down pattern of appearance in which large-scale differences in form emerge suddenly and prior to the occurrence of lower level differences. And this is exactly what happens contra Darwininism, as phyla appear first then the lower level forms. Furthermore, as ID predicts living systems are functionally integrated systems, it is predicted that they cannot undergo major innovations without destroying the whole; hence it predicts sudden appearances and stasis over time in the fossil record. These are predictions ID makes and Darwinism does not – and ID turns out to be correct. (see: Signature in the Cell, Appendix A, pp. 488-9)

      4. Some examples have been given above. For other examples see Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, Appendix A (“Some Predictions of Intelligent Design”). I will give you another example: In the 70s, 80s (and in fact right till today) Darwinists argue/d that there is an excessive amount of “junk” in our DNA (i.e. function-less nucleotides) that prove our existence is an accident of nature. In the 1990s, both William Dembski and Forrest Mimms (design theorists) predicted that junk DNA will be found to have function. And indeed over the last 10 years or so it has been found that over 80% of the genome is functional. For full details, see Jonathan Wells’ The Myth of Junk DNA.

      It is clear you are not familiar with ID literature. So why do you not take up my advice and start reading those books (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Signature in the Cell to start off with)?

      • AA Zameelur Rahman,

        1. I asked you the question about Platyhelminthes because I wanted to see what kind of scientific answer you would try and provide. In the end – and as I fully expected – all you did was to point to a ‘God of the Gaps’ type explanation ie it appears fully-formed and (allegedly) without ancestors and hence Darwinian evolution is false. I don’t find that convincing at all! Just compare your very hazy response with Dawkins’s very sensible response that many soft-bodied creatures will simply not fossilise as easily as bony creatures.

        2. As I mentioned in an earlier response, I did indeed read the flagship ID book by Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, but I found it highly disappointing and full of God of the Gaps type reasoning. Behe’s example of alleged ‘irreducible complexity’ in the bacterial flagellum has in my view been convincingly debunked by scientists:

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13663-evolution-myths-the-bacterial-flagellum-is-irreducibly-complex.html

        I think that mainstream scientists are correct when they say that ID is not a scientific theory but actually repackaged creationism in pseudo-scientific language.

        I don’t think either of us is going to convince the other to change their minds about evolution.

        My hope is that people reading this thread will, insha’ Allah, take the time to read good books by genuine scientists and then make up their own minds about Adam, human evolution, and our relationship with the creatures all around us.

        • I’m sure people reading this thread will see that you don’t answer questions and don’t address the substantial points that were raised, and instead put things in my mouth (e.g. nowhere did I say “it appears fully-formed and (allegedly) without ancestors and hence Darwinian evolution is false”). I did not bring up irreducible complexity, you did; and then you decide to post a link to a so-called refutation. It seems you are just responding to an inner dialogue in your head, and it doesn’t matter what anybody else says. When a point of yours is thoroughly answered you just ignore it, move onto another point, and then repeat the same point that was refuted earlier. So I think we’ll leave it at that. Wassalam.

          • Mohammed Eesa says:

            Salaams

            Thank you for such a thought provoking posting. I have one question and please feel free to respond privately if you like.

            Can I ask a direct question, do you believe that Hazrat Adam (as) evolved from an Ape ?

            Jazkallah Khair

            • Wa ‘alaykum assalam.

              No, of course, I don’t. The scriptural evidence was explained in the above article.

              As for the scientific evidence, I would recommend buying “Science and Human Origins” by Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe and Casey Luskin, where they show why Darwinism fails to explain human origins (there is just too short a time between the putative common ancestor of chimps and humans to give rise to humans by a Darwinian mechanism); and they show that the fossil evidence in fact shows a sudden appearance of human-like fossils (namely, sapiens, erectus and neanderthals). You can purchase the book on Kindle.

              Since I mentioned the book Signature in the Cell as an excellent starting-point for understanding ID theory, readers of this thread can watch a presentation by the author of the book, here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/01/intelligent_des_5068021.html

  8. Pingback: Question Has Bunglawala disbelieved? - Page 15

  9. Kash. says:

    Inayat, jazakallahu khair for your posts – they are definitely thought provoking. I would be more open to accepting alternative understandings of the story of Adam if it weren’t that the aayat and hadith that tell the story seem so explicit in their detail as to make it impossible for them to be understood symbolically. Can you point us in the direction of these alternative understandings of the story of Adam (or if you have the time, to very briefly summarise them so that they can be reconciled with the theory of evolution)?

    Another problem for me personally was that the Muslim references that were produced by Dr. Hasan previously seemed to be extremely shoddy: poets, selective translations, etc. Though, in the light of copious research from mainstream scientists that can be quite easily disregarded.

    • The verses in the Qur’an about Adam seem personally to me to be full of symbolic meaning. Looking at the extract above from Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem – he clearly also believes this to be the case.

      There really is no question scientifically that homo sapiens have a pre-history as do all living creatures around us. We did not emerge on earth fully formed out of nowhere. We evolved over immense periods of time as did all currently living creatures.

      How best to interpret the verses of the Qur’an about Adam? Well, personally, I regard them as drawing attention to the fact that all human beings are part of a wider family.

      At what point did our ancestors start believing in God, heaven and hell etc? Perhaps when our ancestors developed the ability to make moral choices.

      In this regard, I find the verses about Adam and the tree to be particularly interesting given the moral choices that humankind are able to make. I briefly touched on this in a blog over a year back:

      http://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/when-did-apes-become-human/

      When discussing the story of Adam, the Qur’an on several occasions mentions that Adam disobeyed His Creator’s order to refrain from eating the fruit of a tree ie it is implicit in the story that he had been granted the free will to obey and disobey.

  10. LibertyPhile says:

    Well done! What wonderful example of what is wrong with Islam, and why, indeed, its believers have made such a small contribution to human progress.

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