Darwins New Terror: Islamic Creationism
The Darwinists must be feel like victims of a pincer strategy. After years of hassling with American creationists and the Intelligent Design movement in the west, here come the Muslims on the east. A couple of recent reports express the uneasiness evolutionists feel over the rise of anti-Darwin sentiments in Turkey and other parts of the Muslim world.
The current rise of tensions started in 2007 when Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) sent an “unsolicited gift” to schools all over Europe: a lavishly illustrated 850-page Atlas of Creation attacking Darwinism (06/22/2007, 05/22/2008, bullet 2). “The atlas was a timely notice that, although the last couple of decades have seen an increasing confrontation over the teaching of evolution in the United States, the next major battle over evolution is likely to take place in the Muslim world,” said Salmon Hameed (Hampshire College) in Science this week.1
Hameed said Muslims have no consensus about evolutionary theory, but many distrust it because they feel it encourages atheism. They tend to have a wider range of beliefs about creation than Bible-believing Christians. But “Relatively poor education standards, in combination with frequent misinformation about evolutionary ideas, make the Muslim world a fertile ground for rejection of the theory,” he said. The essay was echoed in Live Science.
Hameed said the Koran is less clear about creation than the Bible, leading to differences of interpretation:
Just as there is no monolithic Islam, there is no “official” opinion on evolution. There are indeed verses in the Koran that talk about the creation of the universe and of the living beings on Earth, but specific details are often not laid out. For example, the Koranic narrative of creation includes a 6-day account of creation. The length of each day, however, is not clearly specified. One day has been defined as “a thousand years of what you count” (32:5) or as “a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years” (70:4). The resulting ambiguity leaves open the possibility of a very old Earth. Indeed, young-Earth creationism is wholly absent in the Muslim world, and a universe billions of years old is commonly accepted. On biological evolution, Islamic scholars and popular writers hold a wide range of opinions that represent a broad spectrum of culture and politics, from secular Turkey to the conservative monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim diasporas in Europe and in the United States.
Muslims have a history of accepting the idea of common descent dating back to medieval times, he said. Today, though, fewer Muslims in Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia accept Darwin’s theory than Americans – even though their textbooks often present evolution as a fact, and their religious instruction does not often dispute it. Depending on what the respondents understood by the word evolution, Hameed felt “These results paint a depressing picture.”
Hameed further worried that better education, the internet and news about U.S. controversies over evolution are provoking Muslims to ask questions about Islam’s position on evolution. Citing Yahya as the loudest voice in the debate in the Islamic world, Hameed argued that scientists cannot leave the initiative with the Muslim Creationists. “Now is the time that these ideas are going to be solidified,” he warned. “We can shape it. There are positive ways to shape these ideas in which we can avert a mass rejection of evolution.” For instance, “efforts that link evolution with atheism will cut short the dialogue, and a vast majority of Muslims will reject evolution.” He suggested fomenting respect for science in general.
1. Salmon Hameed, “Bracing for Islamic Creationism,” Science, 12 December 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5908, pp. 1637-1638, DOI: 10.1126/science.1163672.
Hameed claimed that Yahya got most of his material from ICR and the Intelligent Design movement. Notice the one-way traffic. This seems to indicate that few Islamic scholars have taken interest in studying the issue.
Dogmatism is not going to help the Darwin Party win this one. LiveScience declared the statement “human beings developed from earlier species of animals” a “scientific fact.” Saying something is a fact doesn’t make it so. And playing your cards to hide connections between atheism and Darwinism is strategy, not scholarship.
Assuming Hameed is knowledgeable about the Koran, he said that the references to creation therein are ambiguous and subject to various interpretations regarding the antiquity of the earth and the means of creation. The Bible is very clear. This list of references leaves no doubt: creation ex nihilo is unambiguously affirmed by Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, the godly kings of Judah, Ezra, Daniel, Isaiah and the other prophets, Jesus, Peter, John, Paul and the entirety of Scripture. God did not create by means of a slow and gradual evolutionary process. He spoke the world and its creatures into existence by His fiat command (Psalm 33).
If this were a debate over which religious text to trust vs. the authority of “science” (read, the Big Science institutional consensus), it could well result in endless warfare between fallible human beings who weren’t there at the beginning and don’t know everything. Actually, the evidence from natural revelation (article) is sufficient for any individual willing to look at nature and listen to his or her conscience. Paul (Romans 1, Acts 14, Acts 17), John (John 1) and David (Psalm 8, Psalm 19) said that the evidence for God is so crystal clear, people have no excuse: escaping the evidence requires running for cover. Paul further elaborated that the revelation is sufficient to reveal the nature of God and His attributes. This means that not just any god or intelligent designer will do: there is only One, who through His Son Jesus Christ, “lights every man that comes into the world” (John 1:9). The problem is that people run from the light (John 10:1-18, John 3:16-21).
Truth propagation does not require an Inquisition, an Islamic Jihad or a Darwinist Propaganda Strategy. The Darwin Party and religious institutions should leave off the strategizing and tactical warfare, and just encourage people to shut up, open their eyes and ears, and listen to that revelation from their Maker that permeates creation and conscience. Shining brighter is the light of His word: “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105); “The entrance of Thy Word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (v. 130). And now that the perfect light that was prophesied has come (Matthew 4:13-17), the Light of the World, we have all the light we need, and can shed its warmth to others (Matthew 5:14-16). The light God gives brings love, joy, peace, humility, wisdom and understanding. Light received brings more light. Light rejected brings darkness.