Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Muslims Rejecting Evolution

Ruth Gledhill, the religion correspondent for the Times Online writes an article examining current Muslim attitudes toward evolution. She writes:
Nidhal Guessoum, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, told the conference, being held in Egypt by the British Council, that in too many places students and academics believed they had to make a “binary choice” between evolution and creationism, rather than understanding that one could believe both in God and in Darwin’s theory.
Such is the understanding of many Christians today in the United States and Europe. This is largely promoted by both militant atheists and militant creationists. She continues:
Addressing the conference in Alexandria, organised for the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, he said that concerns among Muslims about evolution were being fuelled by Christian creationists. People in Muslim countries would find creationist theses on the internet and, not realising that these were on the fringes of scientific debate, assume that creationism had scientific credibility in the West.

“It is a serious problem,” he said. “It would be like going to my students and telling them the planets are not related to the stars, there is no relationship between them and gravitational pull or radiation, and they were all created on one day. We would not dream of describing the cosmos in such a ridiculous manner ... We cannot allow people to go into the 21st century with no understanding of science.”
He would not think of it and yet that is exactly what young earth creationists believe—without a shred of evidence to support it. Groups like the ICR that strive for scientific credibility have used the Internet as a tool to spread the creationist message.

The one thing that I teach my students in Information Literacy is that the Internet is a double-edged sword. It is great for finding all kinds of information that you would, ordinarily have to go to print resources to find but, because there is no editing or accountability, anybody can publish anything they want on the Internet without the slightest bit of academic integrity. Less-suspecting individuals will then take this information and incorporate it into their thought structure without realizing that it has no academic merit. That is why this blog (and many others) exists—to combat that in some small way. That I have to try to counter the lack of academic integrity of many other Christians is more than a little troubling.

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  1. The disciples of Christ had no "academic" background and yet they turned the world upsidedown. Perhaps, we are looking at things differently or dealing with issues that are not of first importance. Just maybe, our "too-much learning" has diverted us from what are essential. Are we not riding two canoes on the two rivers of science and religion and now leaning more on the first since the latter can no longer make us feel so, well, learned or wise?

  2. I think you are probably correct about the "first importance" part. What I find frustrating is the number of Christians that think that the "days of creation/evolution" issue is a salvation issue. Those are the people I want to reach.

  3. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Frankly speaking, it is not stunning if one considers that all campaigns of the new atheists entirely rely on Darwinism for proving their point of view : since Darwin, we know there is no God, no life after death, no ultimate purpose...

    It is true that Darwinism allows us to explain living things without God, but it does not necessarily preclude us from believing that God directed the process by influencing chance with respect to the environmental modifications and mutation.
    Clearly, I can not prove it, but it has also not be disproved.

  4. That is what is so maddening. If they were particle physicists or geochemists or electrical engineers, it might not be so noticeable.

    On the other hand, it was almost inevitable that it would be evolutionary biologists striking back simply because, whether you are talking about creationists or ID supporters like Behe, Dembski and Johnson, evolution is the focus. The entire purpose behind the Discovery Institute, it seems, is not to show the glory of God through creation but to simply try as hard as they can to poke holes in evolution. They don't give a rip about geology or astronomy or quantum physics. Those are okay but, by God, we must get rid of that evil evolution!!