I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

McGill Symposium on Islam and Evolution

On March 30-31, the McGill University Evolution Education Research Centre held a symposium on Islam and evolution. Recordings of the symposium are here. A list of the symposium panelists is here and the panelists' pre-symposium abstracts are here. A few names are familiar or I have seen them before: Josh Rosenau, Brian Alters, Salman Hameed. I am disturbed that of the scientific specialists on the panel, none appear to be evolution skeptics.

It has been my general impression that Islam is much less evolution-friendly than mainstream Christianity and Judaism. According to Darwinist standards, Moslem countries should be the laughingstock of the world, but I don't see Darwinists doing a lot of laughing at Moslem countries. Maybe the Darwinists, aware that "fatwa" and "jihad" are terms of the Islamic religion, are afraid to laugh at Moslem countries.

Some important points seem to have been ignored by the panelists' abstracts:
(1) Predominantly Moslem countries have low rates of acceptance of evolution. An article says,

. . . .only 25 percent of adults in Turkey agree that human beings developed from earlier species of animals, whereas 40 percent of people in the United States agree with this scientific fact, Hameed writes. And Turkey is one of the most secular and educated of Muslim countries.

Hameed cites data from a 2007 sociological study by Riaz Hassan which revealed that only a minority in five Muslim countries agree that Darwin’s theory of evolution is probably or most certainly true: 16 percent of Indonesians, 14 percent of Pakistanis, 8 percent of Egyptians, 11 percent of Malaysians and 22 percent of Turks.

Also, in a survey of 34 nations, mostly Christian European nations but also including the USA, Japan, and predominantly Moslem Turkey, Turkey had the lowest acceptance rate for evolution.

(2) Moslem countries do not have so-called "separation of church and state" (or separation of mosque and state). On the contrary, in some Moslem countries, Islamic law -- sharia -- is the basis for civil law. In the USA, a lot of the controversy over evolution is centered around the idea of separation of church and state.

(3) Islamic clergy appear to be less organized and less hierarchical than Christian clergy -- for example, Islam has no counterpart of the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hence, Islam has no single person or small group of people who are perceived as speaking for the religion's official position on evolution. Some titles of Islamic clergy are ayatollah, caliph, mufti, and imam.

(4) It doesn't seem that Moslems do a lot of hand-wringing about how disbelief in evolution is affecting the technological competitiveness of predominantly Moslem countries. If belief in evolution affects technological competitiveness at all, and I assert that it does not, only a small area of technological competitiveness is affected.

(5) Though the foundations of modern science are imports in Moslem countries, Moslems made important contributions to science and mathematics during the Middle Ages. The legacies of these contributions are still with us -- for example, our numbers consist of Arabic numerals, "algebra" is an Arabic word, and many stars have Arabic names.


Not surprisingly, one of the most biased abstracts is from Josh Rosenau of the ardently pro-Darwinist National Center for Science Education (the abstract also represents Peter Hess, who is not listed as a symposium panelist). The abstract says, "American Christian creationist movements have three major pillars that have persisted for over a century." The first alleged "pillar" is:

Evolution is a failed science, soon to be replaced by creationism

IMO many creationists think that evolution is too strongly entrenched to be completely replaced soon.

The second "pillar" is,
evolution cannot be reconciled with religious belief, and people must choose between the two

Yet hardly anyone believes that people must choose between heliocentrism and religious belief (the bible implies geocentrism because in the bible, the earth was created before the heavenly bodies were created). The difference here between evolution and heliocentrism is that the evidence for heliocentrism is much stronger.

The third so-called "pillar" is,

. .. .and voters or students in the classroom are entitled to pick and choose between the two.

This is not a pillar of creationism -- people can't be told what to believe.

Another biased abstract was written by Ehab Abouheif:

We may now be witnessing the beginning of what could become a large-scale clash between Islam and the science of evolution. I will argue that this conflict is largely based on political ideology rather than a proper understanding of the “theory of evolution” and what it represents for Islam. Most of the current discussions on evolution taking place within Islamic societies proceed in complete absence of insight from professionally trained evolutionary biologists who are also knowledgeable about Islam, or who are at least able to communicate with the Muslim world.

Darwinists have this fallacy that no Darwin doubters know or understand evolution theory.

A number of articles about the evolution controversy in the Islamic world have recently appeared [1] [2] [3] [4].

This blog has a number of articles about Islamic views on evolution. These articles are in the two post-groups titled "Evolution controversy abroad."

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Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Creationism gained supporters in the early 20th century in the West (William Jennings Bryan, for instance,) thanks to the absurdity of so-called Darwinist "science:" and to the vastly harmful influence of Darwinism on history. Darwinism played a key role in fostering Communism, eugenics, war, racism, and Nazism. Hence the arbitrary dogmas of Darwinism were fought by Bryan and by many others.

It's apparent that Darwinism has also played a role in fostering Islamic fundamentalism. It's no suprise that many Muslims want to save their people from indoctrination in Darwinist pseudoscience.

Hence the rise of creationism in Islamic countries.

Monday, April 06, 2009 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Harun Yahya (Adrian Oktar) is probably the best example of an Islamic opponent of Darwinism.

Monday, April 06, 2009 1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

It would be suprising if the menace of Darwinism didn't play a role in stimulating the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. But another factor was certainly the greed of US and European leaders for control of Arab oil; so that they frequently intervened in the internal affairs of Arab nations. The most notorious example was probably the CIA plot which overthrew a democratically elected government in Iraq, in 1953, and installed the Shah as monarch. So eventually the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini ousted the much-hated Shah, and created an extremist Islamic regime in Iraq.

Monday, April 06, 2009 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...


That's Iran, not Iraq.

Monday, April 06, 2009 3:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, April 06, 2009 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Right, Larry. I wrote Iraq when I meant Iran. Iranian democracy was overthrown by the CIA in 1953, and the Shah installed as monarch.

Monday, April 06, 2009 5:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Røst I Ødemarken said...

Moslem countries should be the laughingstock of the worldThey are ... but they have no sense of humor.

Monday, April 13, 2009 10:22:00 PM  

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