by Salman Hameed
More will follow. But here is a quick update. The seven hour debate/discussion over Islam and evolution turned out to be an unqualified success. There were 800 people in the audience and they all stayed till the end. The quality of the talks, with one notable exception, was outstanding. The exception was a Harun Yahya acolyte, Oktar Babuna. I think this may be a turning point for the discourse over Islam and evolution. There was substance in all the talks - and that is one of the reasons it exposed the shallowness of Harun Yahya position, and ended up, literally, as comic relief towards the end of a long day (more on this in an upcoming post). This doesn't mean that everyone agreed. Far from it. There was an intense debate on human evolution and can that be reconciled with Islam - both personally by Muslims, and as a theological position.
And while I liked Ehab Abouheif and Usama Hasan's talks (as well as Yasir Qadhi's delivery), I'm now a huge fan of biological anthropologist, Fatimah Jackson. She was funny, soft-spoken, authoritative, and thoughtful. The focus of her presentation was human evolution, and she did a fantastic job of explaining what we know about hominids, and then showing how she has been able to reconcile her own Muslim faith with human evolution.
I have to get some hours of sleep before an early morning flight tomorrow morning. Will have more on this later.