“Intelligent Design” battles in the United States get all the media attention (I highly recommend this PBS documentary on the Dover case), but Counterknowledge notes that anti-evolution challenges from the Muslim world are gaining traction:
Darwin’s theory, perhaps fittingly, has always had to fight for its survival, and is fighting still. But while the battlegrounds used to be in the Southern states of America, and the main opponents Christians, a new enemy to Natural Selection is beginning to emerge from the shadows in the Middle East.
A worryingly low number of people across the Islamic world, when polled, agree that Darwin’s theory is “probably or most certainly true.” A troublingly low 60% of Americans agree with Natural Selection, but this is eclipsed by Egypt’s 8%, Pakistan’s 14%, Indonesia’s 16% and Turkey’s 22%.
Islamic scholars are divided on the subject of Creation. Some argue that the Qur’an, unlike the Bible, contains no specific timeframe with which to take up arms against scientific fact. These moderate scholars, such as the author Yahiya Emerick, see no conflict between Islam and evolution, saying:
“Because we do not reject the evidence presented to us by Paleontologists (fossil hunters) and other scientists, we can accept some of what they say, also, about the origins of life on Earth and the existence of dinosaurs and other creatures in the fossil record. However, we read in Allah’s book that He caused it to happen and that by studying it we increase our faith in Him. Therefore, we disagree with those who say everything happened without Allah, by mere chance only.”
However, fundamentalist scholars like Nuh Ha Mim Keller, an American convert now living in Jordan, argue that:
“As for claim that man has evolved from a non-human species, this is unbelief (kufr) no matter if we ascribe the process to Allah or to “nature,” because it negates the truth of Adam’s special creation that Allah has revealed in the Qur’an.”
Worryingly, it seems that the latter view is gaining strength. The vicious anti-Evolutionary sentiment in Adnan Oktar’s book “The Evolution Deceit”, circulated for free in Turkey, seems to have become the prevailing view there. Oktar, writing as Harun Yahya, continues to write against Evolution, and to send unsolicited copies to scholars like Richard Dawkins, as well as distributing them in Turkey.
A sociological experiment: keep an eye on how many people who (rightly) sneer at creationism start making excuses for it, if it becomes a “Muslim” thing.
Update: Charles Johnson posts a “mission statement” for American conservatives who oppose creationism:
There is absolutely nothing “conservative” about wanting to amend the Constitution of the United States, to make it an explicitly Christian document. This goes totally against every principle of the founding fathers — they built in protections against this kind of thing specifically to prevent what Mike Huckabee is advocating.
There is nothing “anti-Christian” about standing against this kind of thing. You are absolutely entitled to believe in any God — or lack thereof — in this country. But you are not entitled to force the teaching of your beliefs into science classes as “intelligent design” or creationism or whatever name these deceptive people put on it. And they currently have efforts under way in at least ten states to do exactly that.
A true conservative respects and honors the US Constitution. He/she does not try to enshrine his/her own religious beliefs as the law of the land. There’s a name for this practice: “theocracy.” It should be repellent to anyone who really believes in conservative principles.