Monday, October 27, 2008

Dawkins shreds Harun Yahya's Atlas of Creation

Here is a video of Dawkins talking about the Harun Yahya's Atlas of Creation for the first 20 minutes. The remaining 20 minutes are devoted to Q&A and you see a good exchange on the topic of Islamic creationism. It is also great to see Pervez Hoodbhoy mentioned couple of times in the session and an acknowledgement of his efforts for the popularization of science in Pakistan.



Couple of comments on the Q&A. At one point Dawkins wonders if evolution is taught in schools in the Muslim world. I know that schools in Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria definitely include evolution - and I'm pretty sure that Malaysia and Indonesia do too. Yes, teachers often teach it in a bad way (as one of the audience member commented here), but I look at the glass half-full - at least evolution is included in the textbooks and taught as a fact (at least in Pakistan, it also shows up in the 12th grade final exam). Though, to be fair, human evolution is often excluded.

At another point, Dawkins acknowledges that both the Anglican and the Catholic Churches accept evolution - but he sees a difficult path for Muslims as, according to him, they interpret the Qur'an literally. In reality, however, it is more complicated. In contrast to the creation stories in Genesis, the matters of origin and creation are quite vague in the Qur'an. As a result there is much maneuvering room even for literalists (and Young Earth Creationism is already completely absent in the Muslim world). There may be other reasons behind opposition to evolution, but a literal interpretation is not a major factor. Instead, I think, an unnecessary emphasis on evolution-atheism link by many scientists may be the biggest barrier.

18 comments:

Ali Kazim Gardezi said...

Hi,

Just watched the video. Its funny as well as sad how Mr Harun Yahya is playing with people's mind with false comparisons in his book 'Atlas of Creation'.

I think he is only targeting those muslims who believe in creationism by default. And who just want to reinforce (or justify) there believe.

sorensvendsen said...

The issue of evolution in the islamic world is basicly denied based on the notion of Adam being created from clay/mud etc. and then his consort from him, ie. the same as in the GT. Therefore the 'literalist' interpretation will mean that people can't accept human evolution.
And I think this is one of the biggest barriers. However the philosophical implication of evolution might also be a strong 'opponnent'.

Salman Hameed said...

The issue of evolution in the islamic world is basicly denied based on the notion of Adam being created from clay/mud etc. and then his consort from him, ie. the same as in the GT. Therefore the 'literalist' interpretation will mean that people can't accept human evolution.

Yes, but how should one interpret "clay/mud"? Indeed, many have used this ambiguity to defend evolution within Islam and some have gone further to say that evolution is mentioned in the Qur'an. My point was exactly that one cannot make a stand on "mud/clay" as being opposed to evolution. However, you are absolutely right about human evolution. But there the problem comes with the notion of the existence of the soul (The Islamic idea is that this soul was inserted into Adam by God)- and that can become a problem for Muslims (as it is a problem for many other religions too). But people have found ways to get around this issue too.

sorensvendsen said...

"My point was exactly that one cannot make a stand on "mud/clay" as being opposed to evolution."

- no, but the part that his consort was made from him, as in the biblical story of Eva being made from Adam, makes the case more hard to 'interpretate'. Of course people can look at this in metaphorical way, but then when is it literal? Believers of course pick and choose if they feel they have to make their scriptures work in a changing scientific world, others 'literally' takes a metaphorical way (like many christians are doing).

My experience is that many muslims denies evolution because of the literal statement in the qur'an of Adam being created from a specific substance and that his consort is made from him. But yes I have also meet people who argued that the qur'an 'supports' evolution (aswell as hinduist and christians concerning their scriptures).

Is Perwez a kind of Ken Miller of Pakistan? Though I'm a non-religious person, and would prefer a less religious world, I think the like of Ken Miller is important for the integrity of science in a world which has many religious persons. His stance is not to look in the scriptures for verifications for science. His science is one thing and his religion is another. My experience is that this way to look at it is lacking in the muslim world. And again this takes us back to the issue of 'literal' interpretations; ie. either it has to be verified by the book, and if it's not it's false...

Salman Hameed said...

no, but the part that his consort was made from him, as in the biblical story of Eva being made from Adam
Ah - but I don't think the Qur'an describes the creation of Eve in the same way. In fact, again the details of Eve's creation are somewhat vague. Here is an example from (7:189):He it is Who created you from a single being, and of the same (kind) did He make his mate...

Yes, you are right that there are Muslims that reject evolution by pointing out to the special nature of mud/clay. But this Quranic argument is usually not the central one - and this is what I wanted to point out.

Is Perwez a kind of Ken Miller of Pakistan?
Hmm...well not really. He is a physicist who supports secular humanism. However, he has been deeply involved with science & education debates in Pakistan and is very well respected for that. He definitely espouses a more secular view than Ken Miler - but he also understands the some of the religious sensitivities in Pakistan.

As a disclaimer, I have known Pervez for the past 20 years and I consider him my unofficial mentor in there. I see him on every visit to Pakistan - and I think he is doing tremendous work. You can check one his articles on science and Islam here

Samiya Illias said...

Salaams.
A link to this forum was posted at religiscience@yahoogroups.com
I agree with Salman Hameed’s assertion that “an unnecessary emphasis on evolution-atheism link by many scientists may be the biggest barrier”. Personally, I have no problem ascribing the “Creation of the Process of Evolution” to Allah……… he can do everything, not just create from clay! And it does not contradict my belief in the literal translation of the Quran.
I saw the video, visited Richard Dawkins’ website and forum, and downloaded the pdf copy of Harun Yahya’s Atlas of Creation. I checked for the ‘eel-snake’ and the ‘fishfly-hook’ images on the pages as pointed out by Richard Dawkins but could not find them in Harun Yahya’s book. Taxonomically or Biologically, I do not know how accurate or not Harun Yahya’s book is; but then Richard Dawkins also does not appear to be giving exact/accurate objections either.
Regards,
Samiya

sorensvendsen said...

"Ah - but I don't think the Qur'an describes the creation of Eve in the same way. In fact, again the details of Eve's creation are somewhat vague."

- lol. Yeah well that's the problem of translations. And as my arabic is not very good, I would have to for know to rely on the translations; and the different translations differs on this verse, but most says Hawwa was made from(/of/out of) Adam

But it's pointless to debate. My point was that many muslims denies evolution from this point of view (along with other aspects).

But thanks for the reference about Perwez, interesting.

It will be interesting how the development will be. As I have understood the Harun Yahya-doctrine is fairly distributed in the 'moslem world', and most of the other islamic creationists (Naik in India, Estef in USA), I know of, rejects evolution. Though I don't if they have scriptural objections. Some might also include hadiths, which would create a more 'solid' islamic creation-story. Hopefully education will pull through.

Salman Hameed said...

I checked for the ‘eel-snake’ and the ‘fishfly-hook’ images on the pages as pointed out by Richard Dawkins but could not find them in Harun Yahya’s book.

This is too funny. The image of water-snake has been changed by in the pdf version!! I have the hard copy of "Atlas of Creation" - and on page 468 - it has the water-snake picture that Dawkins showed. However, as per Samiya's suggestion I downloaded the pdf version and sure enough now the snake has been replaced by a real eel. I haven't checked the flyfish hook as yet .. but I won't be surprised it it has been replaced too. May be Dawkins can go through the entire Atlas - and Yahya can keep on changing his Atlas.

Anonymous said...

I see that people in vain are still clutching at straws with some of the mistakes from a 800 hundred page book. The book has still done the job in exposing and refuting evolutionism (evil-ution) which is only being kept "alive" by false propaganda and demagoguey in a darwinist dictatorship style by secular establishment in the name of materialist ideology.
It is that simple.

Evolutionism has not gone beyond micro evolution. The fossil record has clearly shown that the fairytale part of species turning into different species, ape, human scenario is the product of fantasy and WISHFULL-THINKING.

Even if there was any proof for evolution it STILL WOULD NOT RULE OUT GOD because chance and random processes which the dressed-up "scientifically" termed false deity natural selection is, is out of the question.

Sadly there are plenty of weak and apologetic Muslims who suffer an inferiority complex and wrongly try to find a compatability between evolutionism and the Qu'ran.
see HY "Why Darwanism is incompatable with the Qu'ran"

As for Dawkins who continues to hide behind the secular establishment with his vain arrogance and ugly mocking and personal insults from a distance, remember that his refusal to engage Adnan Oktar in a public debate in UK or Turkey is on record.

The emperor (evolutionism) has no clothes (genuine concrete proof)in 150 years of propagating this myth and dawkins along with his secular establishment behind him know it.

More importantly a growing number of sincere and objective seekers of the truth know it too.

For those who seek and have seeked a scientific justification
for their atheism and believed that evolutionism offered them such a possibility, you now know inside that it is vain wishfull thinking.
The reason why you do not believe in God is because of your whims and desires in refusing to SUBMIT and WORSHIP HIM.

Anonymous said...

I see that people in vain are still clutching at straws with some of the mistakes from a 800 hundred page book. The book has still done the job in exposing and refuting evolutionism (evil-ution) which is only being kept "alive" by false propaganda and demagoguey in a darwinist dictatorship style by secular establishment in the name of materialist ideology.
It is that simple.

Evolutionism has not gone beyond micro evolution. The fossil record has clearly shown that the fairytale part of species turning into different species, ape, human scenario is the product of fantasy and WISHFULL-THINKING.

Even if there was any proof for evolution it STILL WOULD NOT RULE OUT GOD because chance and random processes which the dressed-up "scientifically" termed false deity natural selection is, is out of the question.

Sadly there are plenty of weak and apologetic Muslims who suffer an inferiority complex and wrongly try to find a compatability between evolutionism and the Qu'ran.
see HY "Why Darwanism is incompatable with the Qu'ran"

As for Dawkins who continues to hide behind the secular establishment with his vain arrogance and ugly mocking and personal insults from a distance, remember that his refusal to engage Adnan Oktar in a public debate in UK or Turkey is on record.

The emperor (evolutionism) has no clothes (genuine concrete proof)in 150 years of propagating this myth and dawkins along with his secular establishment behind him know it.

More importantly a growing number of sincere and objective seekers of the truth know it too.

For those who seek and have seeked a scientific justification
for their atheism and believed that evolutionism offered them such a possibility, you now know inside that it is vain wishfull thinking.
The reason why you do not believe in God is because of your whims and desires in refusing to SUBMIT and WORSHIP HIM.

Joe Morreale said...

I see that people in vain are still clutching at straws with some of the mistakes from a 800 hundred page book. The book has still done the job in exposing and refuting evolutionism (evil-ution) which is only being kept "alive" by false propaganda and demagoguey in a darwinist dictatorship style by secular establishment in the name of materialist ideology.
It is that simple.

Evolutionism has not gone beyond micro evolution. The fossil record has clearly shown that the fairytale part of species turning into different species, ape, human scenario is the product of fantasy and WISHFULL-THINKING.

Even if there was any proof for evolution it STILL WOULD NOT RULE OUT GOD because chance and random processes which the dressed-up "scientifically" termed false deity natural selection is, is out of the question.

Sadly there are plenty of weak and apologetic Muslims who suffer an inferiority complex and wrongly try to find a compatability between evolutionism and the Qu'ran.
see HY "Why Darwanism is incompatable with the Qu'ran"

As for Dawkins who continues to hide behind the secular establishment with his vain arrogance and ugly mocking and personal insults from a distance, remember that his refusal to engage Adnan Oktar in a public debate in UK or Turkey is on record.

The emperor (evolutionism) has no clothes (genuine concrete proof)in 150 years of propagating this myth and dawkins along with his secular establishment behind him know it.

More importantly a growing number of sincere and objective seekers of the truth know it too.

For those who seek and have seeked a scientific justification
for their atheism and believed that evolutionism offered them such a possibility, you now know inside that it is vain wishfull thinking.
The reason why you do not believe in God is because of your whims and desires in refusing to SUBMIT and WORSHIP HIM.

Joe Morreale said...

I see that people in vain are still clutching at straws with some of the mistakes from a 800 hundred page book. The book has still done the job in exposing and refuting evolutionism (evil-ution) which is only being kept "alive" by false propaganda and demagoguey in a darwinist dictatorship style by secular establishment in the name of materialist ideology.
It is that simple.

Evolutionism has not gone beyond micro evolution. The fossil record has clearly shown that the fairytale part of species turning into different species, ape, human scenario is the product of fantasy and WISHFULL-THINKING.

Even if there was any proof for evolution it STILL WOULD NOT RULE OUT GOD because chance and random processes which the dressed-up "scientifically" termed false deity natural selection is, is out of the question.

Sadly there are plenty of weak and apologetic Muslims who suffer an inferiority complex and wrongly try to find a compatability between evolutionism and the Qu'ran.
see HY "Why Darwanism is incompatable with the Qu'ran"

As for Dawkins who continues to hide behind the secular establishment with his vain arrogance and ugly mocking and personal insults from a distance, remember that his refusal to engage Adnan Oktar in a public debate in UK or Turkey is on record.

The emperor (evolutionism) has no clothes (genuine concrete proof)in 150 years of propagating this myth and dawkins along with his secular establishment behind him know it.

More importantly a growing number of sincere and objective seekers of the truth know it too.

For those who seek and have seeked a scientific justification
for their atheism and believed that evolutionism offered them such a possibility, you now know inside that it is vain wishfull thinking.
The reason why you do not believe in God is because of your whims and desires in refusing to SUBMIT and WORSHIP HIM.

omar said...

When I was in high school in Pakistan (decades ago), the chapters on evolution in the excellent American biology textbook we studied, were all "out of course". They were specifically excluded and no questions about them were set in the exams.
To avoid all contamination, several people in our class had either crossed out all the pages or actually torn them out of the book.

DarwynJackson said...

It's sad to see that the Muslim world, which has for so long excluded from the modern worlds developments in science, is being mislead further by the efforts of charlatan pseudoscientists like Mr. Yayha.

It's hard to imagine that any greater disservice could be done to the advancement of children in these societies, who are being denied the tools or even the opportunity for rational inquiry into the realm of 19th century science.

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Anonymous said...

Harun Yahya's books are packed full of inconsistencies. The problem is that the books are aimed at laymen with little or no education in biology, zoology or science in general.
Anyone with a good background in biology or related sciences can easily rip holes in Yahya's cut and paste creationism.

Soren Mjolnirsson

Anonymous said...

Dawkins highlighted the photograph of caddisfly in Mr. Adnan Oktar's opus, Atlas of Creation as a great discovery. However this is the photograph of a model particularly put in the book. Whether the photograph is of a model or not does not change the fact that this living being is still alive in our day. Desperate, speechless and bored in the face of the extraordinary evidences of Creation in the Atlas of Creation that invalidate evolution, Dawkins takes every opportunity to express this photograph of a model particularly put in the book as a great discovery. By this attitude Dawkins, in fact, reveals the pathetic situation in which Darwinism finds itself. Caddisfly lives in our time with the same appearance its millions of years old fossil has. That is, it has not undergone any change. That is why Dawkins feels offended. You can read detailed information:

http://tr1.harunyahya.com/Detail/T/EDCRFV/productId/17945/DAWKINS_HAS_TAKEN_THE_BAIT

Walter Bishop said...

Anonymous (probably Jamshed Moidu AKA Joe Morreale)writes: "...the pathetic situation in which Darwinism finds itself." However Dawkins book The Greatest Show on Earth thoroughly lays out the evidence for evolution and in one paragraph destroys the creationist confection that is Harun Yahya's misconception of evolution.