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Islam's Darwin problem - Comments

clunkclickeverytrip's Avatar Comment 1 by clunkclickeverytrip

Lying is easy - the truth will prevail.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:14:00 UTC | #409024

OlavRokne's Avatar Comment 2 by OlavRokne

especially when the theory of evolution is portrayed among Muslim thinkers, as it often is, as an instrument of Western intellectual hegemony.

To me, this is one of the key problems with the rise of Islamic creationism. It's not possible for us Western sources to refute it without appearing to be culturally insensitive.

Oddly enough, I've heard the same reaction from First Nations (I.E. Innuit or American Indian) creationists -- the theory of evolution is discounted because it was discovered by a white guy.

Poisoning the well might be a rhetorical falacy, but it's surprisingly effective.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:15:00 UTC | #409026

JesperB's Avatar Comment 3 by JesperB

without appearing to be culturally insensitive

I like being culturally insensitive. I wear my insensitivity like a badge of honor. After all, it only means that I think the modern post-enlightenment secular free democratic Western world that has given the rest of the world pretty much all modern science, medicine and other knowledge (Including universal human rights), rocks. Yup. It rocks.

Sometimes I fear that "cultural insensitivity" is a euphemism for "Not completely hating the West and all it stands for", which in some circles is a bad thing.

I'll certainly agree on your main point - that it is a major problem that Muslims and others throw away evolution for no other reason than "They didn't come up with it". A major stumbling block for the spreading of scientific knowledge.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:37:00 UTC | #409031

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 4 by Sally Luxmoore

Richard's books need to be available on the internet in all the most common languages spoken by muslims. The young people will find them there and will at least have the chance to understand that the viewpoint prevailing in their country / culture is challenged, and that there is proper evidence for Darwinism.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:41:00 UTC | #409034

ty90's Avatar Comment 5 by ty90

I totally agree with you Sally Luxmoore.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:21:00 UTC | #409044

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 6 by rod-the-farmer

Sally raises a good point. Anyone know what the status is, or even if there IS one, regarding translation of any of RD's books into the more popular languages used in muslim countries ?

"The entire Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth the number that Greece translates." The report adds that in the 1000 years since the reign of the caliph Maa'moun, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in just one year.

The above quote comes from an article on this site. It would seem there are few science books of any type translated into Arabic. The omens are not propitious.,1511,Science-and-the-Islamic-World,Pervez-Amirali-Hoodbhoy

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:41:00 UTC | #409053

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 7 by nalfeshnee

Sally – we need to extend the Reason Project as you suggest to provide free Arabic (e.g.) translations of such books.

In fact, it need not be the entire book – a "potted" version would do just as well.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:48:00 UTC | #409064

UncleVanya's Avatar Comment 8 by UncleVanya

Where do you start£

There are some amazing quotes in this piece, but for my money the best has got to be:

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a professor of religious studies at George Washington University, has written that evolution "survived to this day not as a theory but as a dogma{hellip}a convenient philosophical and rationalistic scheme to enable man to create the illusion of a purely closed universe around himself."

That quote actually seems to make more sense if you subtitute "evolutionary" for "religious" at the start and "religion" for "evolution" just before the quote...

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:51:00 UTC | #409066

jaytee_555's Avatar Comment 9 by jaytee_555

I was under the impression that Richard's website was banned in Turkey . Yet on holiday there recently, I had no problem in getting onto this site. This was at an internet cafe in a popular holiday resort. Has the ban been lifted, or was I simply lucky and managed to get in through a 'hole in the wall'?.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:57:00 UTC | #409071

ozturk's Avatar Comment 10 by ozturk

@jaytee - I use the site everyday, but I put in a techno 'fix' a long time ago in order to get around the ban. So, whether it's readily available or not, I'm not sure. I'll look into it.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 17:01:00 UTC | #409072

rjj_98's Avatar Comment 11 by rjj_98

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 17:03:00 UTC | #409073

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 12 by Dr. Strangegod

The rise of Islamic creationism, then, may be a sign that more of the Muslim world is at least wrestling with the idea of evolution, and more broadly with the power of scientific explanations.
I suspect that this is in fact the case. The louder the creationists get, the more we get to talk about science. On the surface it may seem like a sign that we are loosing ground, but I think it may be the opposite.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 17:04:00 UTC | #409074

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 13 by RichardofYork

After reading "The Greatest Show on Earth" I can still say "But its just a theory!"its so easy to say .Anyone wanting to believe other explanations for the rise in complexity of so many species, and the extinction of the vast majority of species can do so with impunity and with backing from well funded theocrats . I think the time is right to forget all about the argument , as there isnt one . Let them drown in their own bronze age vomit. As you can tell I'm a bit pissed off with it all

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 18:41:00 UTC | #409108

carbonman's Avatar Comment 14 by carbonman

Here in the Middle East the kids are well briefed by their elders against possible contamination by evolutionary theory. Couple of quotations from out of the mouths of babes and sucklings:

"I don't believe we came from animals." Mariam, 9, writing in her exercise book after a lesson on animal adaptations to their environment. Human evolution hadn't been mentioned in the lesson.

"Some people believe we are monkeys. Ha, ha." Abdulla, 9, offering unsolicited comment during a lesson on the environment. Again, the lesson hadn't touched on human evolution, or evolution of any kind for that matter.

These comments are typical, and they suggest kids are being primed by some teachers and by their parents before the relevant questions arise in their minds.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 19:21:00 UTC | #409118

prolibertas's Avatar Comment 15 by prolibertas

"For evolution in the Islamic world, it’s very unfortunate that Darwin was a white Brit, because otherwise it would have gained wider acceptance".

I find this racist against white people. I'm not being facetious; imagine if General Relativity had been worked out by a black man in Nigeria, and for that reason was rejected by Westerners: "For General Relativity in the Western world, it's very unfortunate that the scientist was a black Nigerian, because otherwise it would have gained wider acceptance".

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 21:19:00 UTC | #409150

epeeist's Avatar Comment 16 by epeeist

Comment #427419 by prolibertas:

imagine if General Relativity had been worked out by a black man in Nigeria, and for that reason was rejected by Westerners:
Bad example I'm afraid. It was rejected as an example of "Jewish Science" by the "Deutsche Physik" movement.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 21:42:00 UTC | #409156

alexo's Avatar Comment 17 by alexo

If Rod the Farmer's information is correct, it is nothing short of shocking, the analogy is communism in its worst incarnation. (One could equally substitute facism or indeed any other totalitarian creed) where the banning of books was commonplace. Whilst I'm not saying that this is the case in the muslim world due to the lack of translated books (for whatever reason) one can't help suspecting that this would in fact happen, all the more reason for putting books such as Richard's online - now very easily done, I suggested this a few weeks back in another thread. I realise that there are revenue issues and intellectual property rights involved but the risks I think are outweighed by the potential advantages, after all Hollywood has not ceased making movies because of DVD piracy!

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 21:50:00 UTC | #409159

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 18 by Border Collie

Something Monty Pythonish keeps nagging me about this ...

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 23:00:00 UTC | #409184

johnscarborough's Avatar Comment 19 by johnscarborough

As RichardofYork says:
Let them drown in their own bronze age vomit.

9/11 was supposedly a revolt against western civilization impinging onto muslim values, however they required western civilization to accomplish it- i.e. jet aircraft.
If they had to use their own technology all they could manage is to catapult a few camels in the air.


Tue, 27 Oct 2009 23:23:00 UTC | #409186

ozturk's Avatar Comment 20 by ozturk

Comment #427340 by jaytee_555

I was under the impression that Richard's website was banned in Turkey.
- still is. I have just tried on a PC without the techno fix, and no go. You were lucky - it seems your internet cafe folks had a work-around as well.

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 07:07:00 UTC | #409255

Naptess's Avatar Comment 21 by Naptess

I found An Arabic translation of “the Blind watchmaker” in my father's book collection
It was named "New in natural selection” by Richard Dawkins. It was issued in 2002 by General Egyptian book organization The national ‘Reading for All' campaign “The family library”

I just discovered the book today; it’s translated by a man called: Mustafa Ibrahim Fahmy & Since I never read the original book I can’t tell how accurate his translation is
"In the introduction he writes that the actual name of the book is the blind watch maker and that he although doesn’t believe all what’s written he respects it as scientific arguments"

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 07:44:00 UTC | #409258

Naptess's Avatar Comment 22 by Naptess

Found a download link to the Arabic Version of the book i have ..if you think this could help


Wed, 28 Oct 2009 08:00:00 UTC | #409259

scoobie's Avatar Comment 23 by scoobie

Drake Bennett's was a well written and informative article. Thanks!

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 08:47:00 UTC | #409265

jamiso's Avatar Comment 24 by jamiso

"collaboration between government officials and American creationists, some of whom spent time in Turkey in the 1970s and 1980s on expeditions to Mount Ararat to find the remains of Noah’s Ark." hows that search going?

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 09:12:00 UTC | #409267

passutoba's Avatar Comment 25 by passutoba

carbonman...I teach in the middle east too...i've heard both those statements in my class many times.....with slightly older kids I make sure to put them right and tell them about the common ancestor, not that 'we are from chimpanzees' (another one I hear often)..that seems to strike some resonance, and I have also drawn a basic family tree...I'm not even a science teacher but i just can't let these things go!

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:26:00 UTC | #409309

Sheol99's Avatar Comment 26 by Sheol99

For muslims, their Koran is not like Bible for xtians. Muslims think that their Koran is a science book as well, actually the mother of all science. It works both ways, muslims work very hard to interprete proven scientific ideas as mentioned in Koran (the most famous are the 'blot' origin of human as embryo, and the astronomy). And they also discount everything that they cannot relate to Koran as untrue.
For muslims, true science must relate to Koran, even if it is very far removed relationship, and if you cannot state the relationship, by definition it is not science.

So, islamic creationism is nothing like xtian one. They might join forces on specific targets, but in general they are different. And muslims despise xtians as people misled, both spiritually as well as scientifically (because Koran is 'scientific - in all sense of the word - for muslims).

And then, the power of the muslim leaders against their followers, are several order of magnitude difference than what you usually see on xtians.
In some issues, all muslims are obligated to 'support their brothers', that includes the sanctity of their prophet and the book. So never expect any formal support of other muslims to a debate between muslim and an outsider. This - of course - create a lot of misunderstanding on terrorism.

I think the xtians acting very similar to muslims now about 300 years ago.

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:47:00 UTC | #409314

DrawingYou's Avatar Comment 27 by DrawingYou

Islamic creationist, like their counter part in the west, want to have their cake and eat it too. I work in a major hospital and see desperate “believers” praying that science works (although they wouldn’t see it as that.) They want a miracle and know that science delivers. But they refuse to give science credit but instead claim that their invisible buddy did it. They eat the fruit of “western” science (modern biology) but try to kill the tree (evolution by natural selection) that is the foundation of modern biology. If we in the west were not so ready to give the world the fruits of our labor to those who hate us for having come up with the idea, and let them reap the rewords of their beliefs they would die sooner and not add to the pollution (mentally and environmentally) around the world.

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 06:54:00 UTC | #410185

Prithvi's Avatar Comment 28 by Prithvi

Islamic creationists fondly quote Harun Yahya's "arguements"(mainly because they're completely ignorant of evolution, not that Harun himself knows anything) and Harun Yahya steals these "arguements" from Western creationist websites. If something decisive could be done about creationism in the West, I think the situation will improve here in the East. And of course, the West needs to stop supporting Islam. I hear an aweful lot of Islamic institutions in Britain get support from the government. Believe it or not, these endorsements actually have a subtle impact on Islamism in Muslim dominated areas(for example, South Asia. I know because I live there)

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 14:11:00 UTC | #410238

HankFox's Avatar Comment 29 by HankFox

Seems to me this is all a matter of allowing the corrective force of reality to have its way.

The USSR discovered that you can believe anything you want, scientific and otherwise, but you can't make if be true. And you can't avoid the consequences of your mistakes.

Let the Islamic world believe in creationism all it wants. It will find its biologists hopelessly outclassed in vital new research, its schoolchildren greeted as second-raters on the international job market, and its economies hamstrung by the poisonous beliefs it embraces.

I feel the same way in this as I do about creationists in the U.S. If they don't want science and reason, don't force it on them. Just step back and let them enjoy the consequences of their mistakes.

This is a no-sweat situation that will correct itself in time.

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:04:00 UTC | #412821

jdiggitty's Avatar Comment 30 by jdiggitty


Unfortunately, a lot of people get to enjoy the mistakes of entrenched dogma who don't deserve it, don't want it, and don't care for it.

Just look to the Evangelicals and right-wingers in the US and tell me we aren't all paying for the consequences of their mistakes.

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:29:00 UTC | #412835