Friday, December 12, 2008

"Evolution Arguments Headed for the Islamic World"

"[E]volution is taught in high schools in many Muslim countries, although this is often in a very religious environment, Hameed says. Also, science foundations in 14 Muslim countries recently signed on to a statement in support of the teaching of evolution, including human evolution (it is human evolution that is often the sticking point for Muslims, rather than all evolution, he says).

The solution is for Muslim biologists and doctors to present evolutionary theory as the bedrock of biology and to stress its practical applications, Hameed writes, adding that efforts to link evolution with atheism will defeat efforts to help Muslims accept evolution."
-Article from Livescience

I just don't get it. These people are about to fall into the same trap that Europeans and Americans have: Trying hard to pussyfoot around people's beliefs instead of stating outright that there is a conflict. The truth is that Darwin himself (and most of his successors) tried to act like God and Evolution could get along just fine. But they can't. And it gets even worse: All the attempts to comfort the worries of the religious don't seem to have made them anymore likely to accept evolution: Stephen Jay Gould argued over ten years ago that religion and science were completely separate functions of human life, with one never impacting the other. But did this allow Christians to accept evolution? No. Young Earth Creationists are some of the most vociferous opponents of Gould's suggestion.

Even if Genesis' (or in this case the Qu'ran's) creation story could be watered down with enough interpretive work to make it fit with Evolution, we still have the fact that evolution is utterly incompatible with an all knowing, loving, and all powerful god. Think about it: Ken Miller has often argued that Intelligent Design has disturbing theological implications because, since 99% of all species have gone extinct, it means God is either cruel or incompetent (as dinosaurs would represent a grand mistake of the creator). Furthermore, one would have to admit that nasty diseases like Malaria and Smallpox were designed by God. But as Michael Behe has pointed out, setting up a process like evolution, which is bound to result in bad design (the human female's pelvis is not as large as it should be to birth her large headed offspring, thus making childbirth a painful-and deadly-process) and nasty things like parasites, makes God just as responsible as if he had deliberately designed those things in the first place.

We also have the fact that evolution is not an economical way to design human beings: Why waste billions of years guiding the evolutionary process when you could poof human beings into existence? It's like choosing to fill a bath one cup at a time when you could just snap your fingers and instantly have a tub full of warm water.

Evolution is also a good argument for atheism because atheism necessitates a natural cause for the complexity and development of life while theism would seem to predict a supernatural cause for life, or at least a more economical, less nasty natural cause for life than Evolution by natural selection.

So my question is: Why not give the Muslim world a good jumpstart into modernity by just telling them that Evolution is true, and that it severly conflicts with theism?

7 comments:

Baconeater said...

FYI, Little Green Footballs also has a post on Islamic Creationism

I get what you are saying here, but you are quoting Ken Miller, who himself is a Catholic. No offense, but that is like when creationists quote those who understand and accept evolution completely in an attempt to refute evolution.

I do think that full acceptance of evolution is compatible with belief in God...the non contradictory God who doesn't exist to most theists:)

If someone wants to say that evolution is a plan of a passive God who jump started the universe with man in mind, we can't disprove it. And if that person also says that God "tried" to inspire a particular bible, again, we can't disprove that statement either.

In other words, adding God to actual observable facts (as in evolution) can be compatible.

Johan Karlsson said...

OT:

I recently stumbled upon some creationists who claim that according to the ENCODE-project the genetic code contains information in several "dimensions". According to them this makes all mutations harmful (even if the mutation is positive in one "dimension" it will be negative in others).[source].

I'm trying to debunk it, but my knowledge about molecular biology is slim.

Do you have any comments about this argument?

Best wishes,
Johan (Sweden)

AIGBusted said...

Hi BEAJ,

While it is true that some versions of God are compatible with evolution, not all are. The God of the Abrahamic faiths is one who deliberately created the universe with life in mind, and who is all good, all powerful, and all knowing cannot be compatible with Evolution (at least based on my reasoning). You could leave out one of the attributes I mentioned, but then you would be going back on the very scriptures you claim to believe (if you're a jew, muslim, or christian).

AIGBusted said...

Johan:
I'm not sure if I can debunk the entire article you referenced, mainly because these findings are somewhat new and my knowledge of molecular biology is rudimentary.
However, I caught two errors in the article just skimming through it:

1. The author thinks that "junk DNA" is not evidence for evolution since it is funtional.

Rebuttal: Just read the 29 Evidences for Macroevolution, the section on pseudogenes. It explains why pseudogenes do not need to be completely functionless in order to be evidence for evolution.

2. The author thinks that "evolution cannot create new information".

I've rebutted this claim numerous times on my blog, and I even have an article on Infidels.org which debunks this claim (It's on the mainpage, called "Answers in Genesis: Ten Falsehoods").

Johan Karlsson said...

Hej!

Thanks for your comments! Much appreciated.

/Johan

Abdul Alhazred said...

... evolution is utterly incompatible with an all knowing, loving, and all powerful god.

So is the doctrine of Hell for non-believers.

AIGBusted said...

Good point Abdul. Hell was the main catalyst to my deconversion, BTW.