Answering The Critics of Human Evolution

I have been sent a few emails asking me to watch a video by a chap called Yasir Qadhi in which he allegedly rubbishes the idea of human evolution. I tried to look at the video but it came up with a copyright violation so I have been unable to view it so I cannot comment further about it.

Anyway, for those of you that still have any doubts about the fact of human evolution, if you are not willing to read the marvellous scientific literature on this topic (and there is so much wonderful material out there!) then do consider spending just 5 minutes watching the above clip of Professor Kenneth Miller – the author of the splendid book Finding Darwin’s God. The video was made in 2005, just a year after a very important discovery about the human chromosome number 2. It is just awesome.

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44 Responses to Answering The Critics of Human Evolution

  1. LibertyPhile says:

    For your information:

    “Turkey’s science state council halts publication of evolution books”

    “The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) has put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution, daily Radikal has reported.”

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-council-of-state-halts-publication-of-evolution-books.aspx?pageID=238&nid=39047&NewsCa/tID=374#.UPQr1wBl5c

    It’s also worth a quick look at the comments on this article. I assume (hope) the one by Baris is meant to be ironic.

  2. This does not prove humans and chimps share a common ancestor. It is, as Miller himself, states, what would be expected if common ancestry were true i.e. circumstantial evidence, not direct conclusive evidence.

    So let’s for a moment not assume common descent. If this assumption is removed, there is no reason to believe, based on this one evidence alone, that we descended from a common ancestor with chimps. If the evidence proves a “fusion” event, there is no reason to believe the fusion happened outside of the human lineage. We may have originally have had 48 chromosomes which were then reduced 46 in our own lineage (i.e. within the homo lineage) – that is entirely possible. Moreover, this so-called fusion does not explain any morphological, anatomical and cellular differences between us and chimps.

    If the argument is not from the apparent fusion (which could just as easily be explained as having happened in the human lineage), but from similarity, there are many problems with using genetic homology as proof of Darwinian evolution. There is no need to go into that here.

    For a reply to Miller and Chromosome 2, see Casey Luskin, here where he addresses other problems with Miller’s argument: http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1392

    If this is an example of what would be expected assuming common ancestry, let’s look at an example of what wouldn’t be expected, based on a very recent finding: the sequencing of the gorilla genome just last year. The standard evolutionary phylogeny of primates holds that humans and chimps are more closely related to one-another than to other great apes like gorillas. In practice, all that really means is that when we sequence human, chimp, and gorilla genes, human and chimp genes have a DNA sequence that is more similar to one-another’s genes than to the gorilla’s genes. But huge portions (30%) of the gorilla genome contradict that phylogeny. That’s because these gorilla genes are more similar to the human or chimp version than the human or chimp versions are to one-another. New Scientist: “But despite the ancient split, the remaining 30 percent of [the gorilla’s] genome turned out to be more closely related to humans or chimp than those species are to one another…” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328553.700-gorilla-dna-unlocks-secrets-of-our-species.html

    Nature: “In 30% of the genome, gorilla is closer to human or chimpanzee than the latter are to each other.” http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7388/pdf/nature10842.pdf

    Evolution News (an ID outlet) discusses it here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/03/gorilla_genome_057391.html

  3. irumat says:

    @muhammadunali – Casey Luskin’s article is interesting, thank you. But the gorilla/chimp rebuttal is weak. Incomplete lineage sorting is not an ‘ad hoc’ explanation.

  4. That’s very interesting information from Ken MIller, thankyou. I have not seen Yasir Qadhi’s clip either but I read that he makes a theological case, rather than a scientific case against human evolution.

  5. TheAkh says:

    The way you refer to SHAYKH Yasir Qadhi as some ‘chap’ and then ensure you include “Professor” ahead of Kennith Miller’s name is quite telling really.

    Shaykh Yasir Qadhi did not rubbish the idea of human evolution. He approached the subject from a scriptural and theological perspective. He did not (and said he should not as theologian) refute evolution and argued it was entirely compatible with Islamic theology: with the exception of the creation of Adam (saw), which we must believe was distinct and miraculous. His arguments for this were compelling and I would urge you to watch the whole debate (vs Usama Hasan) when the Deen Institute upload the videos. His approach to the subject allows one to accept the overwhelming arguments for evolution (and reject the nonsense of the Harun Yahya brigade) whilst being faithful to both the Quran and Sunnah (without resorting to obtuse readings).

    • Why ‘must’ we believe that ‘the creation of Adam’ was ‘distinct and miraculous’? Clearly, Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem – who is a very distinguished and qualified Muslim scholar – does not believe this to be the case and says the language used in the Qur’an is figurative and the story of Adam is symbolic in meaning.

      You are free to believe what you want – as am I. I prefer an interpretation which does not conflict with the facts as we know them from science.

      It would be a very strange kind of God who deliberately tried to mislead humankind with DNA and fossil evidence about their own origins.

      • I’ll tell you why we must believe Adam’s creation was miraculous:

        Muslims cannot deny that ‘Isa’s (Jesus) mother Maryam was a virgin, and he was born without a father. This is explicit in the Qur’an. Now, I assume you would accept, that if Jesus was alive today (and indeed according to Islamic teaching he will come again), and we looked at his DNA, we would find a Y chromosome, and we would find all the scientific evidence of him having been born of both a mother and a father. In other words, he would be a human being just like other human beings. There would be no scientific reason to suspect that he was born miraculously or supernaturally. Yet, on faith, you and I accept that he was born miraculously without a father from a mother who “no man has touched” as the Qur’an says.

        Would it be fair if someone said to you about your belief in the miraculous birth of Jesus: “I prefer an interpretation which does not conflict with the facts as we know them from science” or “It would be a very strange kind of God who deliberately tried to mislead humankind with DNA” proving Jesus had two parents? No, of course not. Because it has nothing to do with science, but with a belief grounded in revelation.

        Now, when it comes to Adam, there is far less scientific evidence that he was descended from non-human ancestors than the evidence that would be available that Jesus descended from two parents. Yet you find it difficult to accept that his creation might have been miraculous and special based on revelation. But, and here’s the important bit, the Qur’an explicitly says that Jesus’ creation was similar to Adam’s: “Verily, the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him [i.e. Adam] from dust…” (3:59)

        The question you must answer is: in what way is Jesus specifically similar to Adam?? What is the basis of the comparison in this verse? If Jesus’ birth was miraculous, then why cannot Adam’s formation also be miraculous?

        I know you have a knack for not answering important questions, but just ponder over these for a while, and you’ll realise that once you accept miracles and particularly the extraordinary birth of Jesus, the blind scientism that you adopt no longer holds valid.

      • irumat says:

        God does not mislead. Humans interpret the facts and can mislead themselves. Did God mislead man in believing the earth was flat? Did God mislead man in believing the sun revolved around the earth?

        Don’t be an idiot.

        • 1. I don’t believe that Jesus will return.
          2. I am pretty sure it is not an article of faith to believe the Jesus will return. It is more plausible that the ahadith concerned were influenced by Christian beliefs. I seem to recall that some Muslim scholars have also said something along these lines.

          3. I did not say God misleads. Read my reply again. I was saying that if we believe the creationists account then the fossil and DNA evidence would mean that God is deliberately trying to mislead us. As I don’t accept the creationist interpretation, I don’t accept God is misleading us.

          4. It is not scientism to believe humankind evolved. Either mainstream science is corrrect or not. I find the scientific explanation of how humankind evolved far more convincing than creationist or ID accounts.

          • sajid says:

            Hello

            “It is more plausible that the ahadith concerned were influenced by Christian beliefs. I seem to recall that some Muslim scholars have also said something along these lines.”

            Apart from mere supposition and your personal subscriptions to erroneously held beliefs, where did you get this from???

            Please give references.

            Sajid

  6. azhar says:

    All your positive adjectives are a bit nauseating Innayat and Sheikh Yasir isn’t just some chap. No wonder why it looks like your getting the excommunication treatment. Evolution and human evolution is pretty much fact – not a fully fledged fact right?

    • If you don’t like reading my positive adjectives then you are welcome to go elsewhere. No one is forcing you to read this blog!

      The excommunication stuff is actually quite amusing and reinforces my view about why a secular state is the best safeguard for free thought and beliefs.

      • azhar says:

        So, where does Islam fit into the secular state? I like reading your stuff, the above post was just a bit nauseating.

        • azhar says:

          I meant your original post! Do you not think we should emulate the Rashidun Caliphs and try to build a state on those original principles? Or does everything need modernising and reinterpreting?

        • I don’t think Islam should be privileged over any other faith. A secular state should be non discriminatory and not judge or value people based on their religious or ethnic affiliation.

          • azhar says:

            I agree that a state shouldn’t be discriminatory and rest of it. Should Islam, play any role in governing a muslim state?

            i am assuming you want a reformation of Islam – so enlightenment can take hold and thus progress? Please correct me if i’m wrong?

  7. Again you don’t address the important questions, and instead focus on side issues.

    Let me ask you a simple question:

    1. Do you believe Jesus was born without a father?

    2. Do you believe the Jews were justified in their belief that Maryam fornicated, for which the Qur’an condemns them (4:156)? Are they not justified on “scientific grounds,” as a woman carrying a baby in her womb must have conceived it through intercourse? Or do you reject this simple “scientific” conclusion?

    Answer these two questions.

    [It is in fact an article of belief that Jesus will return as established in mutawatir hadith – hadiths of the same authority as the Qur’an as they are mass-transmitted just like the Qur’an. This was shown, for example, by the erudite Syrian Muhaddith Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah in “al-Tasrih bima Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih” in which he also disproves so-called scholars like Mahmud Shaltut who said otherwise. Many earlier scholars also said the hadiths on Isa’s second coming is mutawatir like Ibn Kathir. The early scholar Al-Tahawi includes Isa’s second coming amongst the articles of Islamic faith in his famous creedal statement. It is also indicated by a couple of verses of the Qur’an based on some interpretations (4:159, 43:61) – but this is NOT a point to dwell on here]

    • 1. I hope you don’t mind if I refuse to submit to an interrogation of my religious beliefs.

      2. This blog is about human evolution. If you have a more compelling explanation for the fusion of the chromosomes and what it means then please do share it with us.

      3. As stated a number of times now, I have listened to various creationist and ID ideas, but I just do not find them convincing. I regard the arguments and actual evidence presented by the scientists about human evolution to be much more convincing.

      • “I hope you don’t mind if I refuse to submit to an interrogation of my religious beliefs.”

        That is entirely hypocritical.

        Remember, you are asking *Muslims* to accept that Adam was descended from non-human ancestors.

        The reason for asking about Jesus’ miraculous birth is because once you accept that – and all true Muslims accept it – we are no longer limited to so-called scientific explanations in the arena of revealed knowledge. Nobody saw Maryam conceiving the baby but based on scientific reasoning it would be claimed that she conceived him through copulation (just as the Jews believed). But as Muslims we reject this view because it is inconsistent with a knowledge that is grounded in revelation.

        Similarly, nobody saw Adam’s formation, and it is true most scientists believe based on many lines of evidence that humans and apes share common ancestors. However, it is entirely possible – once God, revelation and miracles are accepted – that God could have brought him into this world miraculously. And this is what most Muslims believe based on a knowledge grounded in revelation not science [although, I have argued the scientific data that we have does not preclude this view and in fact supports it; see “Science and Human Origins” by Luskin, Axe and Gauger, the latter two holding PhDs in biology].

        Epistemologically, therefore, whether miracles such as Jesus’ birth are accepted or not, creates a marked difference in one’s outlook and response to these types of questions. I think because you are avoiding the question of miracles and particularly Jesus’ birth you don’t see where most Muslims are coming from. Most Muslims take the verses of the Qur’an seriously, and believe revelation is a higher form of knowledge. Science can never conclusively say how the first human originated. So if the Qur’an is absolutely and unambiguously clear – and it certainly is – that Adam had NO parents, Muslims are not likely to accept any amount of empirical evidence you pile up on them. – in just the same way as if a Jew or nonbeliever were to pile up evidence showing that a boy must have a father as proof that Jesus had a father.

        Basically: If you really want Muslims to accept the belief that humans descended from non-human ancestors, you have to engage *seriously* with scripture and theology. It is simply not enough to say “professor so-and-so” said “such-and-such.”

        If you don’t believe in Jesus’ miraculous birth, then we have to engage at a completely different level. This is why the question is important. If you really want progress in the Muslim community as you claim, you have to grapple with this question.

        • I am not asking Muslims to believe in evolution. I ask that everyone, including, Muslims, be prepared to read the scientific evidence in favour of evolution before making up their minds on the topic. Personally, I found the scientific evidence to be very compelling and far more convincing than creationist and intelligent design arguments.

          One big problem I regularly see are Muslims who hold to a literal interpretation of the story of Adam. This issue has clearly been recognised by some senior Muslim scholars like Abdul Haleem etc who have urged Muslims to look at the story symbolically.

          You seem to be a clear example of someone whose interpretation of religion is preventing him from accepting the results of scientific inquiry. That is when religion becomes a problem.

          • “You seem to be a clear example of someone whose interpretation of religion is preventing him from accepting the results of scientific inquiry.”

            I have already given scientific reasons for why I believe what I believe. You have said my understanding of science is woeful but you have not been able to show one factual or interpretive error. I have shown you a clear factual error that you made. Moreover, I gave a long list of credentialled scientists who oppose Darwinism: http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

            What would you say to a materialist scientist who tells a believing Muslim regarding his belief that Jesus was born without a father: “You seem to be a clear example of someone whose interpretation of religion is preventing him from accepting the results of scientific inquiry”?

            You *must* answer this question to know where Muslims are coming from.

            • I have just had a read through this thread again from the beginning. I started out by pointing to a wonderful clip of Professor Ken Miller sharing an exciting new discovery that the human chromosome number 2 has been found to be the result of a fusion of a pair of chromosomes, thereby helping to explain why humans have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) and other primates have 48 (24 pairs).

              Let’s consider this: Does this discovery lend credence to a) Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection (mutations and resultant reproductive advantage), b) creationism, or c) Intelligent Design?

              B and C have clearly nothing to offer as to this discovery as Prof Miller himself points out. This discovery is yet another in a long line of discoveries from multiple disciplines which contributes to compelling evidence that Darwin was right.

              Now: how did we get to the ridiculous point in this blog where a discussion is demanded about about Jesus and his virgin birth? I will tell you how – because you have allowed your religious interpretation of the Qur’an to cloud your thought processes.

              Your interpretation of religion has become a problem that is preventing you from appreciating the science of evolution.

              I have already spent too much time pointing out the obvious to you. I hope you don’t mind if I now move on…

              • I’m afraid most genuine Muslims will allow their reading of the Qur’an to cloud their thought processes. You know, because they believe it is true. And your refusal to answer a basic question like belief in the virgin birth of Jesus puts a question mark over your claim to accept the Qur’an as true.

                Anyway since it is not possible to engage with you as a fellow believer, let’s look at your so-called scientific claim:

                Why are you looking at one piece of evidence like this supposed chromosomal fusion event?

                There are many recent discoveries that lend credence to ID over Darwin. For example, the ENCODE project which has debunked the myth of “junk DNA” (http://www.nature.com/encode/category/research-papers#/threads). Another example which supports ID over Darwin is the finding of “convergent genetic evolution” where similar DNA sequences are found in distantly related organisms (i.e. those which could not have had those sequences in their putative common ancestor) (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121025130922.htm). Another example is the fact “there is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates” as Darwin believed (http://www.mk-richardson.com/pdf/Anat%20Embryol.pdf). Another example is that higher forms of classification appear before the lower forms in the fossil record. Darwin believed in a gradual branching of life where species become genera and genera become orders and orders become classes and so on; instead phyla appear first and then the lower forms of classification (A comparative study of diversification events: the early Paleozoic versus the Mesozoic, Erwin DH et. al., Evolution 41:1177 – 1186). Another example is Carl Woese’s (recently deceased) observation in 1998: “No consistent organismal phylogeny has emerged from the many individual protein phylogenies so far produced.” Another example is the fact that many so-called “homologous” features (which on Darwinian theory should have been from common ancestors) do not share the same developmental pathway or genetic programming. Another example is the vast differences in the non-coding areas of our genome compared with apes (http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/Research/Rapid_Evolution_Of_Non-Coding_DNA_Since_The_Split_Between_Human_And_Chimp_Genome.asp).

                I have discussed all of these in my article. Yet none of these mean anything to you because as is clear you are a dogmatic Darwinist and no amount of scientific evidence will make you question the Darwinist account. I don’t even think you read Casey Luskin’s reply to Miller where he raises several problems with a Darwinian account of a so-called chromosomal fusion event, with respect to how such an abnormality would become fixed in the population. Anyway, I think you – as with many other propagandists for Darwin – are using religion-bashing as a substitute to good evidence for Darwinian theory.

        • azhar says:

          Thank you for that explanation. Can you then say that human evolution can be accepted with empirical evidence but cannot be accepted with theological evidence? Due to the nature of miracles – which cannot be empirically verified.

          • Human and chimp common ancestry may be a valid interpretation of the available evidence. I believe – scientifically (I have a background in science) – that this is a wrong interpretation. For scientific reasons why, see “Science and Human Origins” by Douglas Axe, Casey Luskin and Ann Gauger.

            But what I was arguing is that even if there was overwhelming evidence of human and chimp common ancestry (of course there cannot be conclusive evidence as human origins were not observed), based on revealed knowledge, Muslims must accept that Adam was created separately. And I was trying to convey that a belief in miracles totally changes the rules of the game.

  8. LibertyPhile says:

    @ muhammadunali

    You are right of course, the evidence for evolution is circumstantial. That’s why it’s called the “Theory” of Evolution. But (most) scientists are pretty good at admitting they don’t know the answer to everything (yet) and you have many examples of science improving its explanations over time (I nearly said examples of science evolving!).

    Galileo’s theories couldn’t explain all the behaviour of the planets, Einstein developed his ideas in stages and our understanding of the forces of nature have come a long way since Newton’s day.

    The site you point at (Scientists who oppose Darwinism) says they are sceptical that random variations account for evolution, but they don’t appear to have a better explanation. They are not showing Darwin is wrong.

    You can go on all you like about knowledge gaps and deficiencies but your belief in what explains them is based on your subjective judgement and your emotions. Well, you are entitled to that view, but it gets a bit boring if you won’t admit it, and pretend it’s somehow scientific and rational.

    Where you could be wrong is in saying “of course there cannot be conclusive evidence as human origins were not observed”. I don’t know the number, but it is very big, the number of planets in the cosmos that could support life (as we know it). Perhaps out there somewhere is the ancestor of man and chimpanzees strutting his stuff. Perhaps we will meet him one day.

  9. sajid says:

    @ muhammadunali

    Mashallah you should have your own thread.

    Inayat isnt going to go down the road of openly admitting that he disbeleives in the verses that discuss the creation of adam – he prefers to rely on two people from over a plethora of other Muslims scholars inorder to dupe himself and other Muslims in almost certain damnation.

    Inayat continues to state:

    “This issue has clearly been recognised by some senior Muslim scholars like Abdul Haleem etc who have urged Muslims to look at the story symbolically”.

    Senior scholars but you only metion one lone wolf? get a hold on on how damaging this can be to your faith!!

    Sajid

    • My goodness. ‘Almost certain damnation’, eh? Two of the chaps you are rubbishing have translated the Qur’an into other languages. Still, no mercy for them, I suppose.

      You sound every bit as loony as the Christian creationist I debated with last week.

      Funny what religion does to some people.

  10. sajid says:

    Come on Inayat dont be so childish, How do you expect Muslims to react to your dismissive attitude to the Quran by clinging on to a translation and commentary by a single fringe translator who against centuries of commentaries that came before him?

    e.g. On the basis of this lone translator who espouses the fantasy that the Quranic narrative of Adams creation is figurative, you have dismissed what the Quran says.

    So do you also dismiss the conception and birth of Isa as well ? Because it demands a Muslim believe in the miraculous nature of Allahs powers and nature

    Why are you trying to be the odd one out singling yourself out from the British Muslim community just so you can chinwagg with Nikki Cambell?

    Dont get me started on your comments about Jesus not returning – very worrying no wonder you left the MCB or were you kicked out?

    sajid

    • You are free to follow whoever you want and I will follow whoever I want. Hope you understand the concept.

      Everytime I see a religious extremist now it confirms my views that a secular state is the least of all evils. Just imagine the intimidation and threats that those who have different religious views would be subjected to by these extremists. Actually, we don’t need to imagine it. We see the fruits of that extremism every day in Pakistan. How sad.

  11. sajid says:

    Classic. Pure classic. You see no way out and try to divert the topic with your attempts at off tangent remarks i.e. in this case Pakistan!

    Please stick to why you see it obligatory to get Muslims to subscribe to views that are in opposition to the Quran and Hadith?

    sajid

  12. I think it’s only fair that I ask this again. You accused (slandered?) me of being woeful in my understanding science. I believe I have a right to ask, why? Is it because I don’t agree with the party line. Or is it based on actual scientific evidence? If so, where in my relatively long explanation of the science did I go terribly wrong? tinyurl.com/aa94cf7

  13. irumat says:

    Inayat,

    First, to be absolutely clear, you have every right to believe whatever you wish to believe. I want to say that because this is not an argument against your certainty in common ancestry, but rather your reading of Prof. Abdel Haleem’s book, where you say that “He says in his book – very rightly in my view – that the story of the creation of Adam in the Qur’an should be understood symbolically and not literally.”

    When I first read that, it sat uneasily for me because I have read his book several times and did not come away with that interpretation. I just now picked my copy of “Understanding” off the shelf to see what he actually does say. In Chapter 10, under the ‘Form and Function’ section from which you take your quote for your previous blog post, you should re-read because you are making a conclusion that he does not make. In the context of the entire paragraph (pg 131), he is talking about the far fewer *physical details* in the Quranic story (compared to the Biblical story), and even those few that are mentioned should understood symbolically i.e. “two Hands”. He is talking here about an issue debated by muslim theologians, as you well know.

    In fact, in Chapter 10, on pg. 137 he says regarding the moral teachings of the story:

    “Fourth [moral teaching], in the Qur’an the fact that Adam, like Jesus, was *created without a father* is used as an argument against those who used the virgin birth of Jesus to support their belief in his divine status (3:59).” (my emphasis)

    Read the entire chapter and listen to what he is saying rather than reading the word “symbolically” and ignoring the entire rest of his chapter.

    Wa salaam.

    • This is the quote from Prof Haleem’s book:

      “In the Qur’anic version, even such details as God forming Adam with His own hands and the number of days in which He created Heaven and Earth have to be understood, on the instructions of the Qur’an itself, symbolically because elsewhere in the Qur’an we are told that there is ‘nothing like God’ (42:11; 5:103; and 112:3), and that ‘the angels and the Spirit ascend to [God], on a Day that lasts fifty thousand years’ (70:4). Because of the declared figurative nature of the language and the lack of detail in the Qur’an, Darwin’s theories of evolution did not have the same effect on the Muslims as they had in the West.”

      It seems to me that Prof Haleem is saying that the story of Adam’s creation in the Qur’an is to be understood figuratively, not literally, and therefore, Muslims do not have the same problems with Darwin’s theory of evolution as many Christians did.

      I agree with the first part (ie that the Qur’anic account should not be interpreted literally) but disagree with the second (ie the idea that Muslims have less problems accepting Darwin’s theory of evolution.) My own experience is that many Muslims have very serious issues with Darwin’s theory. That is why I always recommend people to read books on the topic by well-known and respected scientists before making up their minds on the matter.

      • What is your understanding of what irumat quoted from Abdul Haleem:

        “Fourth [moral teaching], in the Qur’an the fact that Adam, like Jesus, was *created without a father* is used as an argument against those who used the virgin birth of Jesus to support their belief in his divine status (3:59).” (my emphasis)

        Do you accept that according to Abdul Haleem Adam was created without a father just like Adam based on the teaching of Qur’an 3:59?

      • irumat says:

        I think he’s arguing that specific physical details are meant to be taken symbolically, which is not a new position (i.e. what does “two Hands” or “a day” really mean). And certainly the rest of the chapter treats the story as a real event (your quote is half-a-page from the 14 pages of that chapter). I think his argument vis a vis evolution must be based on some misconception of evolution (say, concerned with the time it took to create Adam), because I don’t see how he can argue that the theory of evolution doesn’t impact the story and then claim later that one of the moral teachings from the story is the Adam, like Jesus, was created without a father.

  14. TheAkh says:

    Br Inayat, I’m keen reader of your blog and generally agree with much of what you say. However, reading some of your comments over the last two days are DEEPLY confusing to me. Firstly, the Quran should shape how we see our world, not ‘cloud’ it. The correct* reading of the WORD OF GOD surely is SCIENTIFIC evidence, in that, as a believer, you would consider it undeniably true.

    The issue of the birth of Isa (saw) is critical issue, which you have avoided; and that is your right as this is your blog I suppose! But if, as it appears, you want to take wholly rationalistic reading of the Quran, you have NO way of explaining the birth of Isa (saw). Thus you are forced to reject those ayahs- which I am sure you realise is quite problematic. You could I suppose turn to some minority reading of those ayahs as figurative also (as you have done with Adam (saw)), but to my knowledge no-one has yet to provide such an understanding (I wouldn’t be surprised if they appeared soon though!).

    *you may argue the point that you are free to accept which reading of the quran is correct. Let’s suppose I accept that Prof Haleem understanding of creation of Adam (saw) as a valid reading, you will though have to concede there is no alternative reading of the creation of Isa (saw). This why I believe a wholly rationalistic reading of the Quran fails; and why the issue is very relevant. If you don’t mind I would really like to hear what your views and understanding on the ayahs regarding Isa are, as I could I guess be wrong and your approach to the rational reading maybe be consistent and agreeable.

    • “you will though have to concede there is no alternative reading of the creation of Isa”

      Maybe – I really don’t know. Just as some Muslim scholars are now questioning the traditional interpretation of the creation of Adam it is possible that the story of Jesus may also be reinterpreted by some Muslim scholars in the future.

      All, I know at the moment is that I do not find the traditional interpretation of the creation of Adam at all convincing and regard the scientific evidence for common ancestry to be overwhelming and extremely convincing!

      • TheAkh says:

        Fair enough, thanks for replying.

        I see what your saying and I hope you realise the point I was making. Think I’m gonna stick with Sh Yasir Qadhi view on this: it is sound and sensible. Watch the debate when you get the chance.

      • irumat says:

        @TheAkh

        For example, perhaps the virgin birth of Jesus relates to his ‘spiritual birth’ and nothing to do with his ‘physical birth’.

  15. LibertyPhile says:

    @ muhammadunali

    You are very good at accusing others of not addressing points. What have you to say regarding the point that scientific explanations improve over time (and in the case of evolution will eventually answer any apparent shortcomings in the theory as understood today)?

    For example, our understanding of the forces of nature from the time of Newton, and apples falling on his head, to the Higgs Boson.

    And what do you think of the possibility of empirical proof of evolution in the existence of life on other planets.

  16. “Maybe – I really don’t know. Just as some Muslim scholars are now questioning the traditional interpretation of the creation of Adam it is possible that the story of Jesus may also be reinterpreted by some Muslim scholars in the future.”

    You just made your “belief” in the Qur’an the most redundant thing ever. With this attitude the Qur’an can’t tell you anything. God exists? Muhammad is His Messenger? The Afterlife? Who knows, it is possible that some “Muslim scholars in the future” will reinterpret all of these things. And you still expect Muslims to take you seriously as a “Muslim” Darwin-supporter?

  17. Usama Hasan on an internet show last Sunday made an interesting point (I forget his exact words) regarding the Isa-Adam analogy in 3:59. He said yes, the verse says Adam was made from clay, yet everyone agrees Isa was born from his mother’s womb. So he seems to mean that you could also argue that Adam had a mother from this verse. This seems quite a useful argument for evolution advocates.

    However, on the existance of a first human, one of the atheists on the show said that according to scientists, the emergence of humans as a distinct species would never have passed through a bottleneck of less than thousands of individuals (“Y-chromosome Adam”, and “mitochondrial Eve” are not helpful arguments in this respect – they lived many thousands of years apart and are merely the most recent common ancestors that all of us alive today share, but many subsets of us of course have earlier human ancestors in common in this view).

    • The problem with that explanation is that it completely ignores 1) the background to the verse and 2) the purpose of the analogy. The background to the verse is that the Christians claimed that Jesus was divine because he was born without a father. And the purpose of the analogy is to show that Jesus is not unique in this attribute. Thus, the verse is basically stating that Adam is similar to Jesus in that he did not have a father. It is *not* saying that Adam is similar to Jesus in that he had a mother. Thus the possibility of Adam having a mother or not is not addressed in this verse. But what is unambiguous is that on the basis of this verse, the Qur’an is absolutely clear that Adam had no father. This is undeniable, and this is what Usama Hasan needs to address. Moreover, the early commentators of this verse said that the analogy is meant from the perspective that Adam had no mother or father while Jesus had no father. That he had neither father nor mother is also indicated by the next part of the verse (“He created him i.e. Adam from dust and then He said to him, Be, and he came to be”).

      Avnar: “on the existence of a first human, one of the atheists on the show said that according to scientists, the emergence of humans as a distinct species would never have passed through a bottleneck of less than thousands of individuals”

      That is what many scientists working in the field believe. However, if you check out a recent book called “Science and Human Origins,” in the last chapter (The Science of Adam and Eve), Ann Gauger, addresses the question of whether humans could have passed through a bottleneck of just two people. She shows that this is indeed possible. I agree with you, however, about mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam – they are merely the most recent common ancestors and lived thousands of years apart.

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