Deus non alligatur. God is not bound. Nibbanam paramam sukham. Unbinding is the Highest Happiness. The Heart is Divinity. God is the primal radiance of Divinity. Nature is the primal manifestation of Divinity. The Buddha is the primal realization of Divinity. La ilaha il Allah. Allah is Complete Wholeness.

11 December 2008

Creationism and Islam

Salman Hameed teaches astronomy and religious studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has lectured in Pakistan on reconciling evolution with Islam.

Hameed spoke with New Scientist about the rise of creationism in the Muslim world, what scientists can do to promote evolution there, and why he thinks Richard Dawkins and other atheists will push Muslims away from evolution.

How is evolution perceived in Muslim countries?

If you ask the question of whether you accept evolution or not, we find that a large portion of people, vast majorities, reject evolution. Compared to the US, where 40% are comfortable with evolution, in the Muslim countries that would go down to 10, 15, or 20%. In Turkey, one of the more secular Muslim countries, the level is between 22 and 25%.

Why the low acceptance rates?

Evolution has not been in the public discourse, so it depends on what people believe evolution is. Right now, there is a misperception that evolution equals atheism.

Are there any religious teachings in the Koran or elsewhere that conflict with evolution, as some creationists claim is the case with the Bible?

The Koran itself does not provide a single clear-cut verse that contradicts evolution.

One of the big evolution problems from the US creationist perspective is the age of the Earth. Logically speaking, if you believe in a 6000 or 10,000 year-old Earth, then you have to reject evolution

In the Muslim countries, young Earth creationism is nonexistent. The Koran is very vague about creation stories, specifically regarding the creation of the universe. If you accept an old Earth, then it makes it relatively easier to accept evolution.

Then what is the basis for Islamic opposition to evolution?

In some instances, evolution becomes a symbol for Western dominance and a sign of modernity. Evolution can act as a lighting rod, as a symbol of the West and everything that is bad about the West - usually translated as material culture or materialism.

1 comment:

bob said...

Hameed spoke with New Scientist about the rise of creationism in the Muslim world, what scientists can do to promote evolution there, and why he thinks Richard Dawkins and other atheists will push Muslims away from evolution.

Who cares? If Muslims want to forever live in the Dark Ages, that's their problem. Dawkins is correct about the non-existence of gods. He's also correct to tell the rest of the world they are deluded.

Then what is the basis for Islamic opposition to evolution? In some instances, evolution becomes a symbol for Western dominance and a sign of modernity. Evolution can act as a lighting rod, as a symbol of the West and everything that is bad about the West - usually translated as material culture or materialism.

I don't know what their problem is, but I would bet they have the same problem as Christians who reject evolution. Like American Christians, Muslims are scientifically illiterate. The solution is better science education.

Muslims think evolution is a symbol of the West? Do they feel the same way about gravity? Is the West so terrible to Muslims?

I have a very low opinion of Christians, especially the uneducated Christians who live in my country, America. To me the Muslims are even worse. It's difficult to be more scientifically illiterate than Americans, but that's what the Muslims are. I suggest get rid of both Christianity and Islam. Both of these religions are insane, and both religions are good for nothing but making people ignorant.