Waiting for evolution in Pakistan’s classrooms

Published: February 20, 2012

The narrative of how life came into existence was not so hard to swallow at that young age.

When I was in class III, my school teacher showed us an unusual illustration in our science class. It was the classic drawing of the evolution of man, from monkey ancestor to homosapien, and I remember thinking back then: well, that makes a lot of sense, we look just like monkeys.

There was no big debate in our science class. The teacher just taught us evolution (change via natural selection across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations), and we just absorbed the information and assumed it to be true. The narrative of how life came into existence was not so hard to swallow at that young age; the story was simple and elegant.

Luckily for us, it was also true.

Unfortunately, today some of the teachers and professors in our classrooms would prefer to tiptoe around the the subject of evolution either out of fear, ignorance or outright hostility.

Where does this fear, ignorance and hostility come from? How is it possible that something a young child can absorb and understand is simply unacceptable and unteachable? The answer to this question is also simple: evolution is a scientifically proven narrative to the creation of life, and that (to some religious people) is seen as a threat to the religious narrative. This is where teaching science moves from education, to politics.

The politics of education

Following in the footsteps of the Creationist craze spreading in the US, there is now a growing body of literature on ‘Muslim Creationism’ – an attempt to scientifically explain the existence of life and the evolution of man through religion, as a response to the now widespread acceptance of evolutionary theory.

This Islamic (dev)olution on the science front has been led by the likes of Harun Yahya, alias Adnan Oktar a man whose books are found in many Pakistani homes with titles such as “The Evolution Deceit”, “Disasters Darwinism Brought to Humanity”, “The Design in Nature” and “Fascism The Bloody Ideology of Darwinism”.

Bear in mind this body of ‘scientific’ literature is written by the same man who has written “The Holocaust lie” and been accused in Turkey of creating an illegal organization, the “Science Research Foundation” for personal gain, blackmail and extortion, not to mention threatening and defaming professors of science.

Luckily in Turkey, the professors successfully sued Oktar’s organisation. Sadly, in Pakistan, going under the Yahya alias has let this pseudo science permeate among people willing to accept anything with the ‘religion’ label tagged to it.

There are countless critiques of Yahya’s nonsense available, perhaps most poignantly by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins pin pointing factual errors, incorrect photo captions all the way to highlighting how Yahya has simply ignored all scientific research contrary to his ideological standpoint.

To cite just one example, Yahya’s seminal work, The Atlas of Creation is so disgracefully put together that it misidentifies a sea snake as an eel (unrelated species) and labels Google images of fishing-lures as actual species.

Where do the lies begin? The question should be, where do the lies end?

Fallacies of logic are aplenty in Muslim creationist texts. Creationists look foolish again and again as new evidence and new theories come up to fill the gaps they point to as evidence against evolution. Where are the fossils showing humans evolved, ask creationists? Here they are say scientists. In fact, here are eight different forms from homohabilis to homosapien. Aha! But where is the ninth and the tenth form ask creationists – that is surely evidence that the theory is flawed. Well, damn, say the scientists – we just dug up two more, which means the last slew of creationist books now need to be updated with newer, smaller gaps.

The above fallacy identifies just one critical reason religion should not step into the domain of science. Religion does not evolve or change fast enough to keep abreast of science, and when religious ‘science experts’ tie key parts of religious texts to science theories or facts that change, all it does is make a mockery of the religion. This is sadly the state of biology in the Muslim world, where research is limited the moment it steps into the quagmire of religious pseudo-science; where Muslim scientists and teachers are threatened and/or fear alienation from their community; where young children are taught that God created all living things, but let’s not find out how.

Read more about evolution here.

Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_ twitter.com/jhaque_

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Whatever

    After the fervent LGBT advocacy, usual mullah bashing, scare mongering us off anything remotely religiously oriented (rape at Islamic universities, marks being cut off for not being a Hafiz) this was the only piece remaining (introducing evolution into school books) before we finally become a glorified purified race capable of calling ourselves a civilised nation. Since we are so ashamed of our Islamic history, culture and teachings(atleast not fashionable to embrace publicly) in this new modern day and age, why dont we also don light blue eye contact lenses, dye our hair blonde and paint our faces white to get rid of the baggage of our background, culture, religion entirely and properly so that we are properly part of the Western civilisation.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Are you done or do you have anything else to say?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Is there any aspect of Pakistan that you don’t have a problem with?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Sure I believe in evolution and I have studied from Pakistani textbooks. But that doesn’t mean that I believe human beings evolved from monkeys. Evolution is a vast science, and its not necessary for us to believe we came from monkeys if we accept evolution. As to what’s true, and how we actually came about, monkeys or not, I prefer not to think about it. After all, in the end, what difference does it really make today?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Creationism’s large in your favourite country, the US. People there are very intolerant of theories of evolution, or any suggestions that the Earth is more than 10,000 years old. Since the US is clearly the pinnacle of civilization, and we’re just backwards, ignorant, intolerant, hateful creature who have, essentially, no good reason to even live, at least as ourselves, shouldn’t we follow the dominant view in the US on creationism?Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com Shumaila

    I was pleasantly surprised to note some time back that evolution is part of the matric curriculum, indeed it is explained quite nicely in the books. Evolution is such an elegant theory, and there is virtually no scientific consensus against it. I really can’t grasp why there is so much resistance to it, and when that resistance will melt away. The controversy seems so silly when you see how evo-bio is such an established discipline, and indeed, how even other disciplines have incorporated evolutionary explanations.
    .
    As Theodore Dobzhansky, biologist, said way back in the 1973 – “Nothing in biology make sense except in the light of evolution.”Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    We’ve set a dangerous precedent that wherever science and religion collide head on, it is the evidence-backed science that must bow its knees before the faith-based religion. The brouhaha about evolution is a classic example.

    Also, treating science and religion as separate magesteria, as the author suggests, rarely ever works. Very often, we get to observe theists justifying the scripture on the basis of ‘scientific miracles’ i.e the argument that a religion is true because its beliefs are consistent with science, something that people a thousand years back had no way of knowing.

    And where science does not quite agree with the religious text, they conveniently declare science and religion as separate, non-overlapping fields…thereby evading the onslaught of scientific investigation upon home territory.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MirrorMr Mirror

    Want to see 21st century learning at work in Pakistan, visit http://www.ourpgs.com/ I’ve seen their work. Yes that’s true Education in Pakistan as a whole is a fake n fraud while parents think that by paying heavy fee they are securing the future of their children. Deplorable state of education in Pakistan is reflecting in every aspect of our society.Recommend

  • Ayaz Aslam

    “It was the classic drawing of the evolution of man, from monkey to homosapien, and I remember thinking back then: well, that makes a lot of sense, we look just like monkeys.”

    Well, humand did not evolve from ‘monkeys’. We share a distant common ancestor with monkeys but it would be incorrect to say that we evolved from them. The drawing shows not monkeys but ape-like creatures (notice there is no tail). Our closest relatives are Chimpanzees and Bonobos, then come Guerrillas, Orangutans and Gibbons; after that we rendezvous with monkeys.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Mustafa Moiz,

    You believe in evolution but don’t believe in humans evolving from apes?

    I suppose that’s the product of the widespread notion that science is simply an opinion and it makes no difference if we choose to reject it.

    So what if I don’t believe in gravity? The earth keeps revolving around the sun regardless of my beliefs. However, I wouldn’t feel particularly proud of my ignorance, and I’d fully expect to be ridiculed for my position.

    There’s some controversy among evolutionary biologists about how evolution works, but almost nobody within the scientific circles questions whether we evolved from apes. We did. We ended that debate in 1990′s, when the Gallup poll revealed that over 98.85% biologists believe in natural selection (and the evidence for natural selection has nearly quadrupled since then). The only controversy now lies outside the scientific circles.Recommend

  • samad khan

    excellent blog and a much needed one.you can see in the comments above how much the very mention of evolution and science irritates the religious fanatics.they would rather have us ditching science and only believing in what the mullahs scream about on the loudspeakers.the extent to which the religious rightwing has invaded our school system is shocking.the very mention of evolution has sent the bigots into a spin.Recommend

  • cha cha

    @Mustafa Moiz:
    its not human from monkeys, its about both human and monkey were evolved from some common ancestor.

    As to what’s true, and how we actually
    came about, monkeys or not, I prefer
    not to think about it. After all, in
    the end, what difference does it
    really make today?

    it makes the difference as- whether you are accepting facts or not.Recommend

  • Babar

    Well… Evolution of life is a proven fact nowRecommend

  • Pinky

    Unfortunately, today teachers and professors establishing Pakistan’s science and biology curriculums would be loathe to mention the subject of evolution
    erm shouldnt it be “loath” instead of “loathe“? hehe, it always makes my day when i catch ET at it ;p

    PS: i hope i dont turn out to be wrong myselfRecommend

  • Amused

    A really good article, I have met some muslim creationist in London Hyde park as well at speakers corners. They were spreading blatent lies about how the world has created in 5 days by allah etc, and how the darwinism is wrong and blasphemous and nobody should teach evolution etc. It was sad it’s happening in western countries as well and lots of people mostly muslims were standing there without countering any of their claims!

    If the number of people believing this “false science” grows then I fear dark days are ahead for real science, retional explanation and logic. In evolutionary term, it will be the fall of men as the only tool (brain) humans have mastered and survive this long will be lost with this dumb creationist scinece.. oh how my spine shivers!!Recommend

  • Ignorant guy

    I don’t believe in evolution because my outdated religious scriptures say so. :3Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense

    I have always been intrigued by evolution of man. Deeper studies showed that science and Quran usually always prove the same thing. Regarding evolution it is my belief as a child (that I thought up myself) that before Adam came to earth it was inhabited by apes. Adam was the first ‘man’. This does not hurt the muslim beliefs nor does it actually dispel the notion of evolution. However muslim scientists must be allowed to ponder about this theory and come up with something better if proven wrong.Recommend

  • Saif

    Its really sad how people delve into science and bash Islam on how regressive it is compared to observation and research theories whereas its the other way around.
    Firstly, science is the outcome of all natural mechanisms observed and researched upon by mankind. I for one put more faith in god than in man, at times when religion and science do not concur.
    Secondly, the big scientific renaissance, which the whole world booms about evolved from muslim scientists and engineers who studied all aspects of nature and mechanics extensively, drawing on theories produced by indians, greeks, romans and arabs.
    THIRDLY (INTENDED FOR MUSLIM READERS ONLY) THE QURAN HAS GIVEN ENLIGHTENING INFORMATION ON THE THEORIES OF CREATION, CONSTELLATIONS, BIRTH, MEDICINE, BIOLOGY, ECONOMICS, SOCIAL SCIENCES, LAW, WAR (YOU NAME IT) ETC. I CANNOT DIGEST THE THOUGHT THAT THE WORD OF MAN CAN BE MORE ACCURATE ON A CONCEPT WHEN GOD HAS ALREADY DEFINED IT.
    Do everyone a favour and refrain from turning them away from religious doctrine. Because in the end, that’s the only thing that will matter.Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    I dont get it, we studied evolution in our matric curriculum, so whats this hype for? I still remember it starts right from the very first chapter where they have explained the model by two scientists of how life evolved from simple prokaryotic to complex forms and there was also this chapter about theory of darwanism and natural selection etc etc. Our teacher explained it all pretty well without scratching out any religious controversy and no one was bothered in class. And that was the time in 2007, has the biology syllabus been changed or what?
    Yes evolution should be taught whether one believes in it or not, this is the dynamics of any science, you have to study all theories irrespective of your liking or personal views. But since the kids are taught this in schools then i dont see any point of making it an issue? Recommend

  • Journeyman

    Two words, “Nahjul Balagha”.
    http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/
    These sermons were given by Ali ages before the first theory of evolution or the creation of the universe were conceived. The vagueness of the wordings can only be attributed to the average intelligence of an individual at that time.Recommend

  • Mj

    You don’t believe in evolution, you accept it based on evidence in its favor – just like you would for any other scientific theory. Creationists need to understand that they are entitled to their opinions but not their own facts. If someone wishes to reject evolution then they should also not take anti-bacterial vaccines and medicines.Recommend

  • Asher

    Evolution is a fact now.Recommend

  • ET strikes again

    I am so ‘ignorant’ please help me understand it (and first time I heard about evolution when I was in school so your basic ‘issue’ here does not exist at first place). From your article, can I conclude that evolution is a childish idea coz a child can grasp it so quickly? Do you really think that life is so simple? (for your info, science has not yet come to understand what rooh (spirit) is). Richard Dawkins is an aetheist, and aethiests like the idea of evolution coz it fits into their imagination of “No God” world. What is the proof of evolution, just a few fossils? You collected them and joined them to form the shapes you like? Please ‘enlighten’ me why there are still monkeys in this world? They did not learn to become human? There might be some monkeys out there “evolving”, you should go out there and observe by yourself rather than accepting what B.S is being put in your mindRecommend

  • Shaizy

    That is why it is said “Half knowledge is more dangerous”… Let me give you a little flair on evolution… Keeping aside the Haron Yahya stuff, many authors have found many deficiencies in the Darwin Theory (most of them are atheists as science is currently dominated by the atheist body)… The modern biological science questions Darwin on the issue of ‘beginning of life through chance’ which is intrinsically impossible as the theory states ‘the survival of the fittest’ but fails to mention on how the model which is on its core depends upon the ‘chance’ can signifies the perfect model… Secondly, religion do undermine science in many aspect but not in all… Its not a black-white equation, we need to see the entire spectrum that lies in between the extremes… The scientists like Al-Razi who was the opponent of prophet-hood theory, his work is been taught in our science books… So it’s not that we try to measure everything through religion… However, let me assure you that the Darwin Chapter is been included into the new designed curriculum… So your argument stands baseless now… Thirdly, it’s a logical fallacy that if we haven’t seen anything, we shouldn’t believe in it… It’s a materialistic approach to measure by neglecting the abstract philosophies… Fourthly, the Einstein theory of “time-space relationship” and Habel model of “expansion of the universe” does signifies the possibility of “day of Judgement” which most of the pseudo scientists never ready to agree as it puts the burden of religious duties onto the society and will make religion as the supreme authority rather than the religion. Recommend

  • Mj

    @ET strikes again:
    Each and every living thing is constantly evolving based upon environmental pressures and adaptation. You have to understand that humans and apes share a common ancestor. They branched out around 3-5Million years ago, and within the last million years or so there have been many subspecies of human-like hominids from the genus Homo. Modern human or Homo sapiens only arose in the last 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Species adapt to their environment and changes can take thousands of years or more. Regarding your question on why there are still monkeys, can I ask you that if Urdu came from Farsi, Arabic, and Hindi then why are they still around?

    I’d also suggest that you watch this video on evolution.Recommend

  • Logic & Reason

    “where young children are taught that God created all living things, but let’s not find out how”…ahhhh, you contridited yourself by bringing in religion.Recommend

  • Atif

    @ET strikes again

    infact fossil records are the biggest enemy of ‘Darwin theory’ please search the ‘Precambrian explosion of life’ and you will realize. I am not against reading it in syllabus because you dont need to have to faith on it before studying it. Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @ET strikes again:
    Seriously, is that your understanding of evolution? We definitely need so teach Evolution in our schools so ignorance may subside!Recommend

  • misspink

    Blah blah blah. I’m a Pakistani Muslim who’s been born and raised abroad. I’ve studied in British private schools and completed my university education in Canada, so obviously I’m familiar with evolution and all its ideas. From quite a young age though, I didn’t really buy into it, and my ideas weren’t based on Islam- before you crib about that. Anyhow as I got older, and read some more, I decided I didn’t in fact believe in evolution as far as humans are concerned, not in the way Darwin proposes it anyway.

    So what would you conclude about me? Am I a science-averse mullani type as well? That assumption itself is extremely ignorant. People can have myriad reasons for believing or not believing something, and everyone’s entitled to their beliefs. You want to believe in evolution, go for it, you don’t, don’t. However, don’t go passing judgements on people or religions that don’t believe in evolution, or actually Darwinism to be more exact. If we want, we too can bash your ape evolved selves for being stupid and ignorant enough to not know Darwin’s background, his religious/anti-religious beliefs, and his motivation and agenda. So please, keep your Darwinism loving zest to yourselves thanks.Recommend

  • Hameed

    As usual,journalists using psuedo-science aka evolution to criticize religious ideas.
    When the accumulated knowledge of the entire humans cant produce a single living cell,how on earth, am i supposed to belive organs complex such human eye to have come about by random mutations and natural selections.

    No one observed any change in the information of DNA with all their powerful techniques.

    By the way,I am a computer scientist dealing with bio-informatics,so please spare your sermon about unintelligent people,incapable of understanding the great evolution.
    I for one,have no doubt the tehory of evolution is a psuedo science sustained by propaganda using all these fake latin names.Recommend

  • Ramem

    Evolution is a process that describes how life forms can change over time. The issue is not whether the process happens or not. The main issue is whether the explanation of this process somehow attacks the religious knowledge, especially authentic revaluations. While it is foolish for religious people to assume that this is necessary so, it is equally foolish and childish for the scientists to assume so.

    The apparent conflict in the evolutionary theory and revealed Islamic knowledge can easily be resolved, although it is not so easy to do so for Christians believing Bible as Gods revelation.

    This later point is the original source of conflict as observed by commentators above. The recent atheistic evangelism has exasperated the issue further. So much so that Muslims have started to fear it… Although historically Muslim scientists have always been entertaining the idea without fear or shame. Evolution was an Islamic Theory Before Darwin was Even Born.

    I am disappointed by the author for trying to fan the conflict without offering a constructive resolution. If his purpose was to dare the fanatics than he may be winning some points… but otherwise the piece is very biased and only reflects bigotry.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat’s Nightmare

    Hold on your horses right there boy.

    Evolution is the best MATERIALISTIC explanation of origin of man. That is exactly why 98.5% of scientists accept it. However, this position assumes that man/life’s origins are materialistic. There is no proof for that. There is no evidence showing how life originated.

    This is where a scientist has as much of a blind belief as a theist. “Science will discover it one day.” Sure, it would. Just speed up the discovery now, would you, so that I can at least evaluate your belief by evidence.

    Moreover, there are many questions which evolutionary theory cannot answer.

    It is presumed that ribozymes might be the earliest chemicals with catalyst activity. Show evidence that functional ribozymes can self-assemble from ribonucleotides on their own accord. You cant. You have not so far. If you have, I’d love to read the Publication! Recommend

  • Adnan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee-humanlastcommon_ancestor

    The last common ancestor — the fossil has not been found Recommend

  • Silas

    @ET strikes again:
    There are still monkeys because humans didnot evolve from monkeys, but monkeys and humans both evolved from a common ancestor which is now extinct. If humans evolved from monkeys, monkeys wouldn’t be there. THis is a common misconception about evolution that humans evolve from monkeys which people like you use to disprove evolution. HUmans never evolved from monkeys, so this question is stupid that why monkeys are still there. Pehlay apnay facts sahi karo phir evolution pay bat karo. Har banda mu utha kay ye sawal puch laita hay k why are monkeys still there.Recommend

  • RAW is WAR

    can we look in Quran for answers?Recommend

  • Tizi

    Here most people grow up without clashing Creationism and Evolution. Accepting the THEORY of Evolution should not mean foregoing Islamic teachings.

    Some comments here were ignorant of the random selection process involved in evolution. That easily answers how some species have evolved in many different forms, how some have become extinct and by definition, how some are yet to be. It’s hard to refute this process as you can easily witness random selection under a microscope when observing genetic mutation.

    Yet, that’s not to say that God wasn’t responsible for that process in the first place. If your Holy Book says the earth was created in 5 days, why take it literally? why assume that it means an earthly day? Parameters between what is divine and what is merely human are vastly divergent.

    Many of our thick minded religious zealots pick up insecurities from their evangelical Christian brethren without realizing that they don’t really face these problems. Alas, they have neither studied their religion properly, nor do they have adequate knowledge of Science to be able to make any definitive opinion. Recommend

  • http://sadafmujeeb.wordpress.com/ Sadaf Mujeeb

    @Mustafa Moiz:

    “Is there any aspect of Pakistan that you don’t have a problem with?”

    Unfortunately Mustafa, there isn’t much LEFT in Pakistan to BE proud of except local critics like Express Tribune and individual rebels and human rights advocates who’re raising their voice and TRYING to get the truth out there so that we can all start working on CHANGING things.

    Science is not an opinion or “belief” like religion, it is experimented, provable, observable and measurable fact. I’m not going to argue that one is better than the other, there is and can’t be any logical comparison between the two. I agree with the author and think that the state of Pakistan’s education system is deplorable. Scientific and occupational integrity is all about rising above the cultural, religious and personal biases, being as objective as humanly possible and staying true to your discipline. I often always talk with respect to Psychology because that is my field of interest, and I am honestly terrified by the kind of opinions our PHD sporting professors own up to in class regarding certain variances and individual differences that Psychology deems to be normal, but THEY EXPLICITLY suggest are NOT. I believe it’s alright to talk about your opinion once you make sure that the impressionable children you’re talking to KNOW that the subject they’re studying says the OPPOSITE and has a million reasons for it.

    I believed, for the longest time, that Darwins Theory of Evolution had been disproved, because our 6th grade Science teacher told us so. She said it was a recent discovery which is why our books didn’t mention it. I felt incredibly betrayed and lost when I found out, a good 3 years later, that this was not true, especially ALL our teachers kept endorsing this idea anyway.

    Teachers have a moral and ethical obligation to not blatantly LIE to their students about certain facts regarding their subjects. If they do, it would be defined as Abuse of Power. A science teacher should teach students what science says, and an Islamiat teacher can teach kids what religion says so that, ultimately, children can make their OWN choice. I feel that religious educators are incredibly insecure if they feel the need to LIE and make sure students are given inaccurate information that suggests only ONE possible outcome instead of several. Recommend

  • ScienceFTW

    If you have the same questions as those from one above comment :

    [Please ‘enlighten’ me why there are still monkeys in this world? They did not learn to become human? There might be some monkeys out there “evolving”]

    , it means that you have no idea what evolution is and how it works. It also means that instead of displaying your ignorance on the topic, you’d better educate yourself about it. The comment section of a blog is no place to teach you the basics of evolution.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    ET strikes again,

    There might be some monkeys out there “evolving”, you should go out there and observe by yourself

    Glance at the hour needle of your wrist watch. Is it moving? No, it appears to be standing still. So I suppose the logical conclusion is that hour needles do not move.

    Evolution is a slow process, and hundreds of thousands of years may pass before any noticeable change is produced. 50-70 years, especially for higher organisms like apes, mean absolutely nothing in the evolutionary time scale. Recommend

  • http://sadafmujeeb.wordpress.com/ Sadaf Mujeeb

    @ET strikes again:

    “Please ‘enlighten’ me why there are still monkeys in this world? They did not learn to become human?”

    Clearly, your school did NOT educate you regarding the basics of evolution, much like mine, because if it did you would not have asked such a rudimentary question.

    First of all, we did not evolve from monkeys, monkeys and humans have a common ancestor that lived about 40 million years ago. It is a common mistake to think that human beings are MORE evolved than other animals, when in fact we’re just DIFFERENTLY evolved, in the sense that we adapted to a different environment. If you follow the Darwinian theory of evolution, you’d understand that he suggested that only a PART of any species evolves according to the local conditions that they’re put in, and the rest remains the same thus creating an increasing range of diversity. Recommend

  • Asim

    Don’t know which fancy schools you are studying in ladies and gentlemen, hamary matric school mae yeh evolution nahi tha. And for good reason.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I find this discussion fascinating. I am a Hindu and find no difficulty in accepting evolution while not having to disavow my faith. That is because Hinduism is asks us to seek God within – there is no indication that God created this world (the nasadeeya sukta actually states that Gods came after creation). Even the act of creation is said to be a descriptor of the primordial force that permeates the universe, which needs to be peeled away if we one is to realize true God. It is difficult for muslims to fathom, let alone accept – but allows Hindus to happily learn science while remaining fairly devout. Even those who don’t have this knowledge prescribe to the underlying philosophy.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jahanzaib-Haque/149352001744540?ref=ts Jahanzaib Haque

    Just to fix an error in my blog: humans did not evolve from ‘monkeys’, we share a distant common ancestor with monkeys – given that we are dealing with a technical subject, it is my mistake to use common rhetoric in the blog in saying ‘evolved from monkey to man’ (which is actually inaccurate).

    And to make it more interesting – did you know that Chimps are evolving faster than humans?

    http://www.livescience.com/1429-chimps-evolved-humans.html


    PS: It is encouraging to see that a number of schools, matric and otherwise in Pakistan do in fact teach evolution (as did/does mine). However it is unfortunate to see that that teaching is either flawed, or does not exist for some (and here I am talking about the more urban, progressive schools with decent funding – lets not get into schools that don’t even have basics in place).

    Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Faraz Talat’s Nightmare:
    The best way for people arguing against evolution is to throw a red-herring argument and call it a win, as did you about ribozymes et al! Evolution does not and i repeat (with a caps lock in case you don’t notice) DOES NOT explain origination of life. It only explains how life evolved after the fact. How life originated is still being studied and there are a lot of different theories out there. But if you like to think that God or some supreme being started/sparked life on earth, then go for it, but then it begs the question, how did that supreme being come to existence in the first place? And no, a faith based answer doesn’t do…Recommend

  • yousaf

    @ author—The answer to your query is within start of your column.”there was no big debate”.The day the debate got bigger the wait-for-evolution will end-up………………light is about to go out,so the rest later please,sorry!!? Recommend

  • Doosam

    Very well written Jahanzaib Haque!

    Evolution seems to contradict the Quran only if one takes the Adam & Eve story ‘word for word’. It is itself mentioned in the Quran that not every story therein is to be taken literally and that allegories and metaphors are widely used. The Quran is not a book of history or science but a book of guidance where there’s a moral lesson to be learned in each of its parables.

    Over the past 150 years archaeology in the Near-East (esp. Iraq) has shown that many of the stories in the Quran and Bible have parallels in ancient Mesopotamian mythologies which predate the Bible by over a thousand years. For e.g. the Creation story and that of Noah’s flood have uncanny resemblance to mythologies in Enuma Elish (Babylonian) and the Epic of Gilgamesh (Sumerian) which shows that many of Quranic/Biblical stories have ancient Mesopotamian roots. In the Bible and Quran, these same stories were narrated in such a way that their ancient audiences could relate to stories that they already somehow knew. However, they were told with a huge a Monotheistic twist; instead of multiple gods & goddesses it was now One God who created the world and is controlling it.

    When it comes to science we do not have to see it through the prism of Quran or any other religious text. The scientific evidence for Evolution (including evolution of modern human from ape ancestors) is incontrovertible and we don’t need to put it through a Quranic test to validate it.Recommend

  • misspink

    @ BlackJack

    Not all Muslims who believe in the religion are averse to the theory, nor is it impossible to merge it with the religion, albeit maybe not in the way it has been proposed by Darwin. Regardless, it doesn’t prove the religion wrong, or the theory right.

    Anyway I don’t want to make this a religious debate, but I noticed you mention the word “Gods”. You do know that in the original scriptures of the Geeta, it was stated that God is one right? All these deities seem to have come into being later due to various reasons. Just wanted to make that point, nothing more.Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Shaizy:
    You wrote “religious duties onto the society and will make religion as the supreme authority rather than the religion.”

    Mind explaining to us ignorant folk, which religion are you referring to? Is it Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Bhaai’ism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc? If it is Islam then is it sunni, shia, ahmedi, sufi, ibaadi, ismaili, bohri etc.? If it is sunni then is it Barelvi, Wahabi, Deobandi, Salafi, Ahl-e-hadith etc? Or is the answer is as as simple as, the one that YOU believe in is the one that is going to lead to salvation (and others could go to hell for all you care) when the OH-SO-DREADED day of judgment comes knocking, rather blowing horns at your door? Recommend

  • Doosam

    For all those Creationists (Islamic or Christian or other) out there please read:

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/

    There are also many books on human evolution, I’d recommend “Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction” (5th Edition) by Roger Lewin.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Nightmare,

    “However, this position assumes that man/life’s origins are materialistic. There is no proof for that.”

    Is there really no proof of that, or is that what you keep telling yourself so you can feel better about your position?

    There is actually a mountain of palaeontological, genetic and anatomical evidence in favour of evolution. Here (link). I hope you have a good reading stamina..Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Whatever:
    Muslims can’t be blue eyed blondies wearing western attire? What a ridiculous generalization. There are muslims of all ethnicities all over the world; we don’t all look the same, act the same, dress the same or think the same. Recommend

  • Mj
  • BlackJack

    @misspink:
    Pls read my post carefully, I have mentioned ‘God’ in 2 places, a ‘primordial force’ (which should be fairly easy to understand as not being multiple entities) and ‘Gods’ in one place – related to the Nasadeeya sukta. If you read the specific passage (should be available online), you will find that the translation reads Gods. It is not only in the Gita but in many of the Upanishads that Parabrahman is described. I humbly agree that this is not a religious debate (I am not really religious myself) – the intent of my post is to merely indicate that Hindus may be more comfortable with the theories of evolution (Darwin or others) because our philosophy does not provide for an external God that sets the rules and punishers unbelievers, and who can be disproved by scientific advances. The religion (or philosophy) is nothing more than a search for the truth, and does not subscribe to any one set of doctrines or teachings – and this search, coupled with acceptance of the cyclical nature of time and understanding of multiple levels of reality (transcendental vs pragmatic vs material) sometimes helps weather many storms.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Doosam,

    I’m curious, if the whole scripture is not to be taken word-for-word, how do you sift out the allegories from the literal commands? How do you know that the religious account of creation is just a metaphor, but the account of heaven and hell is literally true? Perhaps heaven too is just an allegory for “something nice”, and doesn’t actually exist, going by your reasoning.

    No, it seems to me that whenever a religious belief becomes too hard to defend scientifically, it is simply metaphorized to avoid further scrutiny.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Nightmare,

    Oh, and yes. Origin or life, or abiogenesis, is a topic separate from evolution. Just because I don’t know how my laptop was manufactured, doesn’t mean I have no way of knowing how it reached me (factory—> supplier—> distributor—> consumer).

    Evolution stands on it’s own with or without the origin of life fully explained (evidence, for which, I presented in my previous post).Recommend

  • Hatu

    Good article. Evolution is a fact as well as a theory. The fact that gene pool changes and the theory that how it really happened. Of course, it is difficult to find evidence of evolution, which is only in the form of some scattered bones of animals that existed millions of years ago. We can’t say the theory is flawed.
    I would like to ask from those who say they don’t believe in evolution: What better (more comprehensible, logical, evident, and useful) alternate they suggest to the theory; it is surely the basis of modern biology.Recommend

  • http://tzsest@hotmail.com Tarek Siddick

    That the writer of the article , writes like a true academic (Western to boot) and then continues to the very end in all socio enducated unfurling of his knowledge should not be considered “impressive”. Simply because the Reader’s Digest it’self says that all vital knowledge trickled through Spanish Arabia into Europe….the word Technology(Skill) is derived from the Arabic word Thicna. That said, the West itself takes pride in many an international naturalised Western citizen who has even achieved such high levels as in winning the Nobel prizes in their name.
    The picture of the fetus is an interesting subject as is the depiction of evolution from Ape to man. As a Muslim and follower of the Last of Scriptures ,The Quran(That which is Read ,For men of understanding….The Book of Mercy , The Intellectual Book of Nature…. it is intersting to note that scientists after 1400 hundred years have come upon the Big Bang theory as mentioned in the Bible and more accurately in the Holy Quran. Findings also show now that their is no link between the dna and the Ape. While “Child birth, from a “single life cell” (Clot), into a leach like forn and then when bones are cloathed with flesh and when Angels blow the spirit informing man of his lot in this world” as discribed in a conference , so pricisely in the Quran that led an highly qualified Ameican Doctor to stand up and say, “I have only one question”? and that was, “How do I become a Muslim”?. Clearly we are more educated on many a subject matter in Books and not in the Book of Books the Quran, from the looks of things. And may the Lord bless our planet and Peace on Earth…….Recommend

  • Faraz Talat’s Nightmare

    Gullible Nomore: I was talking about origin’s of man, not origin of life.

    I am well aware that evolution theory does not apply to origins of life as you already need a working DNA/mutations/proteins for natural selection to work on. So fail for you.

    And just like that, the process of evolution of man from primitives is not observable. If it is then do provide direct evidence, rather than drawing inferences from circumstantial evidence based on homologous organs, based on similar gene sequences etc. These similarities in no one conclusively prove descent from common ancestor.

    Mr Faraz Talat:

    “Is there really no proof of that, or is that what you keep telling yourself so you can feel better about your position?”

    This is a strawman, I can say the same thing about you. Is there really proof of that, or is that what you keep tellign yourself so you can feel better about your position?

    Wikipedia link, eh. Ill give the endogenous retrovirus “proof.” The link you provided justifies its position based on “rare and random event.” Well insertion of the viral genome via integrase into the genome is not really “random.” Ill give example from research on HIV, a type of retrovirus. http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2007/06/01/gr.6286907

    Integration site is not totally random. There are preferred hot spots in genome where retroviruses integrate. Hence the whole claim which was based on “random and rare” event does not stand anymore.Recommend

  • faraz

    The idea of God is fascinating. It simplifies life and provides emotional and mental relief. Without any proof or evidence, the majority believe in the existence of God at it gives meaning to life. Although I do believe in God, I wonder why God would punish mankind for not believing in Him. Belief is a psychological state in which you consider some abstract set of ideas as true, without evidence or proof. Now why would one burn in hell for not believing in something which can’t be felt through the 5 senses or understood through logic of mind? Recommend

  • Kyle

    @Hameed:

    “When the accumulated knowledge of the entire humans cant produce a single living cell, . . .”

    Abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution of existing life. This point has been made so many millions of times that there is no excuse for someone claiming your credentials to repeat this red herring.

    “No one observed any change in the information of DNA with all their powerful techniques.”

    Completely and utterly incorrect. You either know nothing of the subject matter and are lying about being a computer scientist dealing with bio-informatics, or you are a computer scientist dealing with bio-informatics who is lying about genomic information.

    Any child can easily grasp simple mechanisms wherein new information enters a genome and the list of known examples is endless.

    Cereal grains are natural hybrids, which in plants often repsult in polyploidy, the duplication of the entire genome. In fact, they are generally tetraploidal or hexaploidal. Much more common is the duplication of small fractions of the genome, even single genes. Once a gene is duplicated, one copy can mutate freely while the other copy performs the necessary function(s).

    Here’s an analogy that any child could understand. Nucleotide bases are represented by letters. Genes are represented by words. The original “gene” is:

    CHIMP

    A gene duplication event occurs:

    CHIMP CHIMP

    A single point mutation occurs in one copy:

    CHIMP CHUMP

    Where there was X quantity of information, there is now Y > X information. New information.

    No computer scientist dealing with bio-informatics is so incompetent as to actually believe the nonsensical creationist Big Lie about “no new information”. Are you lying about your credentials or lying about the science?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Faraz Talat:
    I believe scientific views can be flawed but I also believe that religious views can be flawed. In the end, I’m not a biologist or geneticist so it doesn’t affect me, and I’m not a religious cleric either, so I don’t care how we came about. For me, it doesn’t affect the now.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @cha cha:
    Well, it doesn’t make a difference for me, since I have nothing to do with biology and don’t have much interest in biology or religion. The whole argument of where we came from and we we’re going is equally depressing on both sides for me. I just stay out of it.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Sadaf Mujeeb:
    Then why do so many of the Express Tribune and other critics hide or distort so many facts?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    In my school I was taught evolution, at least as far as I had to study biology. Also, as far as I had to study Islamiat, I wasn’t taught anything contradicting evolution.Recommend

  • Herman Cummings

    The evolution theory is an irrational falsehood, zealously embraced by atheists, that is a phony conclusion of the 600+ million year fossil record. There is no “valid supporting data” for evolution. In a court of law, or in a public forum, the same evidence that evolutionists would use to try to “prove” the validity of that theory, I would utilize to reveal the truth of Genesis. In order to believe in evolution, you have to purposely ignore certain facts of reality. For example, when you see illustrations of primates being pictured as evolving into humans, it can be shown in a court of law that such a premise is impossible, because certain human and primate traits are different, and could not have ever been shared. The only “common ancestor” that humans and primates share is God Himself.

    Current Creationism has refused to teach the truth of the Genesis text, and either teaches foolishness (young Earth), or false doctrines (non-literal reading of the text). Creationists thoughtlessly try to prove “Creationism”, rather than seeking and teaching the truth of Genesis. How can an untruth, ever prove another lie, to be in error? You can’t do it. That is why Creationism fails. It essentially is also a lie, and should be discarded, even by Bible believers.

    The correct opposing view to evolution is the “Observations of Moses”, which conveys the truth of Genesis chapter one. It is the ONLY true rendition of the Hebrew text. Everything else, unfortunately,
    is false and foolish interpretations of scripture.

    Those that imply that God used evolution are infidels at worse, or clowns at best, that refuse to learn the truth of Genesis. The truth has been available for more than 18 years. Such a discussion is currently silly, and shows stubbornness against learning the truth of God’s Word.

    There are no “creation stories” in Genesis. In fact, about all of theology and creationism have no idea what Moses was writing about. You can’t simply take an advanced book of math or science, and try to read from it on your own without personal instruction.

    For example, Genesis declares that mankind has been on this Earth, in his present likeness, for more than 60 million years. The “male and female” in Genesis chapter one was not “Adam & Eve”. Has modern science discovered that yet?

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com Recommend

  • Rapid

    @ET strikes again:
    You are ignorant and proud of your ignorance. Take a DNA test . Your DNA should read ATIG instead of ATCG. “I for ignorance” in your DNA must have replaced “C for Cytosine”.Recommend

  • ayesha

    @Hameed: “As usual,journalists using psuedo-science aka evolution to criticize religious ideas.”

    They are not criticizing religious ideas. The author is criticizing the unwillingness to teach well-proven scientific concepts just because they do not match what is written in a religious book. The issue is not with religion but with the education ministry.Recommend

  • ayesha

    @Asim: “Don’t know which fancy schools you are studying in ladies and gentlemen, hamary matric school mae yeh evolution nahi tha”

    That is the exact point the author is making. That in the past evolution WAS taught in Pakistani schools and now it isn’t in the matric curriculum because the country is now much more radicalized than it was.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    If my comments aren’t being published how can I reply to people who have replied to my earlier comments?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    So Jahanzeb Haque you mixed up monkeys and apes, who are completely different. Does that make this article as flawed and disgraceful as Harun Yahya’s The Atlas of Creation?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @ayesha:
    Except that the author is wrong. As you can see by the comments of readers, many of us have been taught evolution at school and no one questioned it.Recommend

  • Doosam

    @Lonelyliberal PK: unlike science, religion can be interpreted in many ways, at least I think so. While many Muslims (or devout Christians) may not think that Darwinian evolution is at odds with their religion, there are many others who see no conflict at all.

    If you may think that everything in Quran (or Bible or any Holy Scripture) is to be taken literally then it is one trait that you share with the religious fundamentalists (eg. Creationists, Islamic fundamentalists etc.). They choose to believe their holy books word for word while you (I’m assuming) choose not to believe any of it. Still it is you whom I respect more as they only follow blindly while you use reason.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Nightmare,

    As I expected. No amount of scientific evidence can ever sway you, because you’ve already made your mind on what you wish to believe. And do you even know what a strawman argument is?

    It’s the kind of reverse reasoning I’ve witnessed countless times among creationists. Select the conclusion of your choice, and work your way backwards to rationalize it by denying opposing evidence.

    Like it or not, evolution through natural selection remains the official scientific theory for biodiversity, accepted nearly unanimously by biologists all around the world because of its overwhelming evidence. A mutating DNA does not care for your approval or denial.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Mustafa Moiz,

    In that case, why trust anything scientists do? Why go to a doctor and take the drugs he prescribes you? Medical science can be flawed, right? Who knows, penicillin might kill you.

    Science is based on evidence. Experts may get some things wrong when they’re going by logical reasoning in things for which they haven’t yet procured hard, physical evidence yet. However, evolution IS substantiated by hard, physical evidence and is not just a logical conjecture. In fact, there’s more evidence for evolution right now than there is for the gravitational theory of why an apple falls to the ground.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Doosam,

    You didn’t answer my question.

    I get what you’re saying, and literalism in religion can be quite harmful. What I’m asking is how you get to decide which parts of the scripture are metaphorical, and which parts are actually true.

    Is the account of heaven where food never rots, or that of Moses splitting into a sea into two, simply an allegory too? If not, how do you know that this is literally true while the account of creation is just a metaphor?Recommend

  • Mj

    If creationists are right, does that mean the humankind is product of incest? Once after the initial creation, and the second stage after Noah’s flood.Recommend

  • wasim saqib

    Either you were taught in a Madrassah or never took a biology or science class in Pakistan.
    Is there any religion which doesn’t have a creation story? Creationism is taught even in American classrooms and perhaps in every classroom in this world where religion is taught or discussed.If it hasn’t effected scientific research in America or elsewhere then it won’t effect us either.

    Theory of evolution proves the evolution of life but doesn’t explain the origin of life. How the first
    prebiotic life cell was formed science hasn’t been able to prove that as of yet.
    There is no harm in learning the religious point of view along with scientific, as long as we attempt to rationalize.Recommend

  • IndiKid

    Religious people crying against Evolution and instead believing in fantasy tales. One question for the religious types – if everything thing needs a Creator, who created GOD???Recommend

  • Radial

    In a prestigious private school in Karachi in the late 80s or early 90s, a teacher asked a classroom whether anyone believed in the theory of evolution. A boy who didn’t grasp that the teacher was being sarcastic raised his hand and proceeded to explain why. The teacher cussed him out in the most colorful language and then told him that a complaint would be lodged with the parents. That was the day that boy decided that this teacher and his sort were complete lunatics.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Faraz Talat:
    I didn’t say whether science was flawed or not, I just said I choose to ignore questions about who we are and where we came from and where we’re going, I just find those subjects depressing.Recommend

  • IZ

    Hello Jahanzaib,

    Generally I agree with your point about the folly of creationist thinking and the harmful effects of rejecting scientific evidence in informing our understanding of the natural world. However I do have to take some issues with your article.

    Firstly humans are not descended from monkeys. In fact, monkeys and humans (and other contemporary primates) are descended from a common ancestor. In fact the fallacy that evolutionary theory believes humans are descended from monkeys is one touted by creationists to misrepresent evolutionary theory and should not be repeated.

    Secondly the idea that evolution is not widely mentioned or taught by science teachers and professors is an outright falsehood. In fact evolution is a part of all mainstream science curriculum. There may be a small minority of creationist-inspired science curricula in the country but just how widespread they are is a matter of conjecture. Maybe you should have tried to do some research into the topic before making an unsupported allegation which is clearly contradicted by plenty of anecdotal evidence?

    Thirdly your assertion that there is no research into the biological sciences in the Muslim World because biologists and scientists are threatened and fear for their lives is frankly ludicrous and it is certainly untrue for Pakistan. Now I’m wont argue that scientific research in all fields is stunted and that there is a cultural as well as material/economic reason for why this is so. But to ignore the work being conducted at, say, the International Center of Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Karachi, or the fact that there has been important research conducted in the fields of microbiology (especially related to diseases), zoology, botany and agriculture (especially in developing crop seeds with improved resistances to disease and higher yields, etc. – much of which has been conducted under the aegis of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and other scientific institutions) is a little silly. There are people doing important and praiseworthy work and to completely write them off as if they didn’t exist is condescending and libellous.

    I’m pointing this out because I feel this article, while well-intentioned, was not well-researched and I find this disappointing because creationist zealots will always find it easier to attack poorly constructed representations of evolutionary theory than well-researched ones.

    Having said all of this, the spread of the new “Muslim” creationism in the last 3 decades in the Muslim world has had terrible effect and certainly has been undermining any attempt to promote science and scientific thinking in the Muslim world. What is ironic is that many die-hard Muslim creationists actually spout ideas and theories that have been imported from evangelical Christian creationists in the west. For example in Turkey, creationist ideas as spouted by Harun Yahya, etc. were given a big leg up when the education minister turned to the fundamentalist Christian Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas to formulate a creationist curriculum. Like a leaking nuclear reactor, these toxic ideas have seeped into mainstream Islamic thought thanks to the patronage of oil-rich Muslims not known for their breadth of learning or scholarship. So when Muslim creationists attack the theory of evolution as a false western idea they are actually espousing a false western idea themselves and presenting it as “Islamic”!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat’s Nightmare

    Aha, now argument from authority. Just because all scientists accept it, there is no probability that it can be flawed. The fact of the matter is though that I give my skeptical mind a preference over the word of scientists. I study the work of scientists and try to work out if there conclusions follow from the evidence.

    As I’ve shown you, by providing you work done by these very scientists, retroviruses do not insert “randomly” into genome. Hence the whole argument which was based on such a random occurrence does not apply anymore.

    And then you went on a ad hominem by insulting the logic of “creationists.” You already assumed I am a creationist JUST because I presented evidence countering your claim all the while I had not said ANYWHERE that life was created.

    But if you wish to believe in life magically diversifying out of primordial soup, believing in the Mighty Darwinian Forces creating mutations and evolving humans, you are free to do so. I do not deny mutations, yet just because DNA mutates, it in no way proves human DNA was something else before it became human DNA. That is YOUR inference, based on the belief and assumption, that humans can only form through that process.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Whatever:
    So in your opinion, how should the topics of LGBT, rape, evolution in Pakistani textbooks be approached/dealt with?Recommend

  • Awais

    @Asim:
    What was that reason?Recommend

  • Awais

    @ET strikes again:
    I guess you accepted the B.S of religion that was put into your mind…Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Faraz Talat’s Nightmare:
    “There is no evidence showing how life originated.
    This is where a scientist has as much of a blind belief as a theist. “Science will discover it one day.” Sure, it would. Just speed up the discovery now, would you, so that I can at least evaluate your belief by evidence.
    Moreover, there are many questions which evolutionary theory cannot answer.
    It is presumed that ribozymes might be the earliest chemicals with catalyst activity. Show evidence that functional ribozymes can self-assemble from ribonucleotides on their own accord. You cant. You have not so far. If you have, I’d love to read the Publication!”

    So by the above statement you meant origin of MAN?? Wow you’re an evil genius!

    “The fact of the matter is though that I give my skeptical mind a preference over the word of scientists.”

    So, since you’re such a huge skeptical scientist yourself then you must know that an established theory of how life evolves cannot just be debunked by saying “hey i don’t think this is right.” You have to bring your own research and an alternate theory with solid evidences. What is your evidence, rather a theory of alternate development of life? Until you bring that you can keep believing that your imaginary friend created everything in an instant!Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Evolution is a scientific fact that can not be denied. This is where religion fails yet again as it’s only discourse is to get into shouts and cry and slandering.Recommend

  • Deb

    @Jahanzaib Haque

    Of all your articles that I’ve read this one is the best.
    Please keep writing.Recommend

  • Doosam

    @Lonelyliberal PK:
    You have to consider the time and context when the Old Testament was written (7th century BCE to 2nd century BCE). It was an age of heroes, of myths and legends, about the same time when Homer wrote his Iliad. So the fact that there are legendary fables and miraculous deeds in it is not surprising at all. The 7th century AD Arabian society was not too different, folk tales like ‘Arabian Nights’ continued to be written till much later.

    It is not too difficult to decipher what is an allegory or a legend and what is to be considered a matter of fact. You have to use logic, reasoning and consider the context & historical time period to which the story belongs. You have to read and study more about the history & cultures of the ancient Near East. For e.g. the miracles are probably legendary tales, the stories of Creation and the Flood are weaved from myths originating in earlier cultures of Mesopotamia and the concepts of heaven & hell derived from similar notions in Zoroastrianism and Greek/Roman mythology.

    So is it all just ancient myths and legends mashed up together and presented as Holy Scripture and nothing is to be taken as the literal truth? Now the literal truth is that there is a moral code to adhere to, which is there for the well-being of all living beings. The ‘Tauhid’ (or Oneness of God) is also a truth, that there is one primeval and omnipotent force (call it god, Allah, god of the gaps etc.), which, even though is not physically proven by science but neither denied by it as well.

    The nature of that force is to be gauged from the 99 names or attributes which include: The Almighty, The Omniscient, The Originator/Initiator/Creator, The Giver of Life, The Evolver/Fashioner of Forms, The Provider, The Forgiving, The Highest, The Subduer, The Destroyer/Afflicter, The Resurrecter, The First, The Last, The Everlasting/Infinite.

    In the end it is ultimately a matter of belief. But what is regrettable is that many of those who believe do not read more and therefore end up holding dogmatic views.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat’s Nightmare

    @Gullible Nomore:

    No, I do not have to bring my own evidence and theory. All I have to do as a scientist is find flaws, rational and logical flaws in the dogma. As I have done so with one such example. That of retroviruses. Yes, HIV is not an endogenous retrovirus. Yes, they are different viruses. But HIV is the most studied retrovirus. All retroviruses follow this: RNA genome -> DNA -> integrate into host genome -> make mRNA copies and replicate. So findings from HIV can generally be used to understand how endogenous retroviruses integrate. If you have evidence to show that endogenous viruses TRULY integrate randomly in host genome, please present evidence so. I am willing to admit that, provided you provide some sort of evidence and not wishy wash talk. Recommend

  • Mohsin Hasan

    @Jahanzaib Haque:
    That’s more like it :)Recommend

  • Moiz

    @ET strikes again:
    If you actually bothered to do the research yourself, or just scrolled through the comments, you’d learn that we didn’t come from monkeys, we came from a kind of ape that was the ancestor of both us and them. and monkeys are evolving, every offspring is the evolved form of its parents. what do you expect them to do, sprout wings and play the guitar? evolution takes millions of years. and it doesn’t cater to your whimsical demands.

    btw- you proved your ignorance when you said the phrase “just a few fossils”.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Nightmare,

    No, it’s not ad verecundium. It’s a way to help you realize how substantial and undeniable the evidence for evolution is. To remind you that natural selection is not controversial within scientific circles.

    Also, not listening to the scientific experts doesn’t make you a skeptic free-thinker, it simply makes you ignorant.

    You don’t argue with the chemists who tell you that the atomic number of caesium is 55. You don’t argue with the physicists about the equations of thermodynamics, and accept what the physics book tells you. But when it comes to evolution, you suddenly decide that you don’t want to listen to the scientists anymore and believe whatever the heck you want to? Smart!Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Doosam,

    History is not unfamiliar with this game theists play. For centuries, the Catholics followed the biblical commands literally. People were killed for working on Sabbath. Sinners were stoned, burned and decapitated, as prescribed by the bible for various offences.

    But as they evolved with time, and these beliefs became harder to either defend or follow, they stopped following them literally, as their ancestors had done for so long, and only consider them as allegories. They had always believed in genesis literally, but when the evidence for evolution started becoming undeniable, it too started becoming a metaphor.

    And why not? That’s certainly more convenient than admitting that the scripture got it all wrong.

    Now history is repeating itself in the Islamic world as it’s just starting to draw away from literalism. This is, of course, a welcome change! But like the situation with Christianity, this too appears to be deliberate manipulation of religion to make a 7th century system a little more palatable to the 21st century mind.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    I agree with the author completely, and just want to add that it is highly ironic that those posting about the “glorious Islamic history” and the roots of the Renaissance in the Islamic Golden Age do not realize that Muslim Golden Age scientists believed in, and wrote about evolution (as a statement of fact, although, of course, the explanations and compelling evidence came much later with Darwin et al).Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Faraz Talat’s Nightmare:
    Ok i’m a bit confused, so if the integration of endogenous viruses in host genome isn’t random, what does that prove? Just trying to understand this interesting fact that you provided a little better.Recommend

  • Aloof

    So which classroom text teaches Harun Yahya? They all put Darwin’s theory into books and nowhere is the creationism put. Some people just need a topic to incite controversy right?Recommend

  • siddiqui

    Evolution is definitely the most plausible of the theories out there but it is still a theory. All the talks about a common ancestor resembling chimp or human were jeopardised by the discovery of Arthipedicus http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/10/091001-oldest-human-skeleton-ardi-missing-link-chimps-ardipithecus-ramidus.html.

    There isn’t any conclusive evidence about evolutionary which is why it still remains a theory. All the claims that we will discover the evidence in support of it is blatant dishonesty. You search for truth, not for what you think to be true.Recommend

  • BT

    What do the evolutionists here have to say about Dr. Zakir’s comments?Recommend

  • Hameed

    @Kyle:
    You seem not able to differentiate information from chaos!!!
    As usual started your typical darwinist name calling…

    All mutations that cause distortions are NOT INFORMATION.
    Almost all mutations are observed to be harmful and lethal.You have to demonstrate “New Beneficial Information” which is caused by Random Mutations.Recommend