I will be attending Religious Responses to Darwinism 1859-2009 conference at St. Anne's College, Oxford (from Jul 15-18). In addition to that, this coming Tuesday, I plan to take a day-trip to Darwin's Down House (right) outside of London. There is a new exhibition there to celebrate the bicentenary of Darwin's birth. I will try to blog from the conference and will include pics from the day-trip.
In the mean time, you can find more information about the conference speakers here and contributed papers here. My paper is titled Muslim Responses to Darwinism in South Asia 1859-2009 and here is the abstract:
Muslim scholars in South Asia have debated Darwin's theory of evolution since the 1870s. The primary debates have not centered on the scientific details – but rather they have primarily been motivated by political and cultural factors. For example, Syed Ahmad Khan, an advocate of the adoption of British values and education system for the progress of Muslims, not only accepted Darwin 's ideas in 1870s, but he reinterpreted them to be in harmony with the Qur'an. In 1881, while visiting British India, Jamal-al-din-Afghani, wrote the first major Muslim response against evolution. However, the primary focus of his book was to counter the political stance of some of his contemporaries, such as Khan. Today, we continue to find a complex reaction to evolution in Pakistan: the theory is presented as a scientific fact in high school biology textbooks, but human evolution is omitted. The growth in biomedicine and biotechnology is concurrent with widespread rejection of the theory (only 14% of Pakistanis accept evolution). I will present an analysis of the reception of Darwin's theory by Muslims in South Asia – both historically (in British India) and in contemporary Pakistan (by religious scholars, medical doctors, and biology teachers).