Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Fruitless Fight against Evolution

Every so often I am confronted by Muslims who (I suspect) take their ideological cues from fundamentalist Christians and leap towards the conclusion that Darwinian evolution is a refutation of the Islamic account of creation. A certain Turkish author, writing under the pen-name Harun Yahya, has focussed this sentiment with his books and articles on the subject, with particular zeal for attacking Darwin himself. That Darwin looked forward to the extermination of the Turks probably doesn't help matters.

Anyone with a high-school science education (which is what I had when I first encountered "Evolution Deceit") can tell that my brother Muslim is writing like an ignoramus. No, evolution does not contradict the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so please stop making yourself look like an ass.

More disappointing, and more amazing, are the number of intelligent, educated Muslims who buy into this tripe. I'm not talking about illiterate people trying to eke out a living in the deserts of Sindh or the Sahara - I'm talking about people with university degrees, even advanced medical and scientific degrees, who implicitly accept that there is a dichotomy between accepting that all the scientific evidence supports evolution, and believing in the purposeful creation of the universe by the Almighty God.

Of course, we are talking about an omnipotent, supernatural God, so He can do whatsoever He likes, and if He wants to create the earth as we know it intantaneously, de novo, He could. Maybe He did. If God did, however, He left around a lot of evidence that species evolve, diverge, and change - this is the logical basis for so much of our modern research in molecular biology - we could not properly discuss or seek out new hypothesis without, for example, the idea of a "conserved gene," i.e., one that can be found replicated with high fidelity within members of a taxonomic category. We know where to look for clues to human biology because we know our relationship to other creatures so well. Similar copies of a gene that is vital to life itself can be found in both snails and humans . . . but one that codes for hair-follicle cell differentiation is more likely to be found in a lemur, and an even more similar one is likely to be found in an orangutan.

For the purposes of our work with living things, knowing that is far more useful than trying to judge the intentions of God, which He has already said are beyond our ken.

Do these people really think that God literally took clay, and literally fashioned it into man? That seems like a lot of work for an omnipotent being who, when He declares a thing, says only unto to "Be," and it is.


If you read it in this way, the text will have no meaning to you, and you will be caught between an untenable position and the loss of your faith. The Qur'anic account is not meaningless, however. In it we see that the entire human race is descended from only two people - that we are one inter-related family. We see that there are two sins that will lead to our destruction - arrogance, as with Iblis, and greed, which compelled the first humans to disobey their Lord. Finally, we see a clear separation between the material and the supernatural - we are clay, but the djins and the angels are smokeless fire.

We can cling to irrationality, or we can accept the clear signs that God has laid out for us. That is the choice - creationism vs. evolution is a distraction.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: