Saturday, August 01, 2009

Darwin and a Nigerian sect

Nigerian police recently killed the leader of a "radical Islamist" sect. While most of the story focused on the raid and the usual, there is a bit about Darwin in there (tip to Sensuous Curmudgeon for bringing this to attention):
Nigerian officials said Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the sect some call the Nigerian Taliban, was killed after being captured Thursday night at the end of a four-day manhunt.
A university graduate, Yusuf had discounted Darwin's theory of evolution, claimed the world cannot be round because the Quran does not say that and credited Allah with creating rain.
Well...I like the fact that he did not stop just at evolution but also went after the shape of the Earth (not even stopping for geocentrism in the middle). If one is abandoning science for religious reasons, why not go all the way.

I don't know much about creationism in Nigeria, but my guess is that the acceptance of evolution would be quite low. Sub-Saharan Africa is a fascinating place to look at science & religion interaction (in particular, regarding evolution), but it is also very complicated because of the melding of strong local customs and traditions. I recently found out a conference that there is a French group that has been looking at the teaching of evolution in schools in several countries, including many from sub-Saharan Muslim Africa. This will be interesting.


Martin Riexinger said...

Kenya might be interesting because being "the craddle of mankind" serves to justify national pride.

Salman Hameed said...

I remember couple of years ago there was an issue with Evangelicals in Kenya. They didn't like being related to the Turkana Boy. Of course, the competing interest is a (justified) national pride.

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