Physics professor discusses Muslim evolution, creationist debate
Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2012 21:03
Muslims say they believe in evolution but the belief is close to creationism with intellectual design, physics Professor Taner Edis of Truman University in Kirksville, Mo., said in a lecture at Trinity University.
His talk explored "Creation Versus Evolution: The Muslim Debate" Feb. 9 in Chapman Auditorium.
Edis introduced "The Atlas of Creation, Volume 1" by Huran Yahya, a Turkish Muslim author whose books repudiate the existence of evolution. He said this author is against Darwinism.
Edis said creationism is highly unacceptable in the culture of the United States, but intelligent design is not acceptable either.
He said in public education and in high culture, creationism is not part of the curriculum, but in an informal setting, such as a church, creationism is embraced.
Edis raised the question of why this is so.
His conclusions on the way that evolution is defended in the United State depend on a view of the compatibility of science and religion.
"Creationism in the country, politically to hold back from creationism in the U.S. going into public education and intellectual high culture depends on a strong alliance between the scientific community and liberal religious circles," Edis said.
Edis said fundamentalists and atheists who believe in science disagree with this idea, but it is beneficial in politics.
He said the debate of creation versus evolution among Muslims is very similar to Christians.
Muslims and Christians believe in creationism by divine guidance because religious ideas are vague and believers can interpret them individually.
Also Edis said Muslims and Christians believe man came from Adam, and the more the scientific notion of imposing evolution is unacceptable to them.
In a Gallup poll in the 1980s, Edis said, "The United States, when asked the question about creationism, the percentage was 45 percent believe in a young earth point of view and 45 percent take evolution under common descent but believe it to be under a divine guidance, and 10 percent go for a naturalistic point of view, where God is not involved at all."
According to Northwest Creation Network, young earth means the earth, life and everything in existence was created by God approximately 10,000 years.
The problem for the biologist, however, is the idea of a guided creation does not provide enough for a scientist to work with.
Edis said evolution is being considered by some Muslims, such as Suheyman Ates, a Turkish theologian who defends the idea of evolution.
Iranian Seyyed Hossein Nasr believes in a traditionalist view, where Darwin's theory is the worst threat and a divine power controls all aspects of nature.
A traditionalist view is embraced by scholarly individuals who believe Islam answers questions based on the Quran and Sunnah scriptures, which are final.
There are Muslims who deny evolution, such as Huran Yahya, then there are some Muslims who say that evolution is guided process.
Modernists have a fundamentalist point of view where they believe in guided creationism. They are more liberal-minded and rely on their own interpretation, which mixes religion and science.