Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Darwin and God, Together Again?

There is a very interesting article by Inayat Bunglawala, a media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain and a co-presenter of the weekly 'Politics and Media Show' on the Islam Channel, at the Guardian Unlimited site. Entitled "Darwin and God: can they co-exist?", the article discusses his initial acceptance of the anti-evolutionism peddled by Harun Yahya. Thinking he was then ready to "take on" the writings of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, he discovered that he was not.

Of particular note is his take on which approach by pro-science advocates he found most convincing. Roughly speaking, there are those who are willing to accommodate the religious sensibilities of lay people and those who are not. That divide is epitomized by Dawkins, for the uncompromising school and Gould for those willing to separate science and religion.

Bunglawala had this assessment of the two:

Dawkins' work was forcefully argued and took no prisoners from the creationist camp; however, I did find his militant atheism quite off-putting (Madeleine Bunting was right in my view in arguing that Dawkins' approach unwittingly plays into the hands of creationists).

Gould on the other hand, while no less erudite and harbouring the same contempt for the pseudo-science utilised in creationist arguments, presented his case in a graceful manner and sought to convince his readers that biological evolution was the proper arena of science, not religion. And just as it was important for religious scholars not to overstep their boundaries by making unsupported assertions about issues that were within the domain of science, he also gently chided those scientists who made similarly unsupported atheistic claims about what evolution had to say regarding questions of meaning and purpose - questions that have traditionally been the domain of religion.

The rest of the article deals with the attitudes of Muslims toward science. Bunglawala summarizes the situation as follows:

If its encounter with evolution is not to turn out to be Islam's Galileo moment then Muslim scientists have a crucial responsibility to engage in frank discussion about it with students and with religious scholars in an open and honest manner to help address a dogmatic aloofness which can only harm future Muslim science students.

Why does that sound familiar?

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