Wednesday, 28 January 2009

A response to Attenborough’s Guardian comments on God and evolution.



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42 comments:

Barry said...

Their is a lot more evidence for evolution than for your magic invisible being. Actually, there is NO evidence for your magic invisible being.

Religious people are gullible people.

Anonymous said...

so what you are saying is that if we do not fully understand something that is evidence for God?

it would be more rational to invoke aliens than God - more people have seen aliens.

it would be more rational still to do more science and improve our understanding.

do you believe that shooting stars are sent by God to chase away djins?

Tom

Anonymous said...

As Adam stated, a believer in God can easily accept evolution- why cannot it be said that God created all living matter in "stages" as the Quran mentions.

What is questionable is the part of "natural selection/randomness".

This is unproven.

loveProphet said...

The enemies of Islam have no proof whatsoever according to reason for their beliefs, even for evolution of humans..
However Islam has the most solid of proofs that any belief can have and is perectly acceptable to reason and in fact sound reason would testify to its soundness. If any is interested, they can go through the various proofs by searching for them, i can't be bothered in discussing them with blinkered people who won't be open minded enough to see other people's views.
In fact Sayyidina Muhammed(Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) met Allah Most High, the Prophets and Awliya travelled through the different realms and conversed with the Angels so we have direct evidence of Islam.
Science itself makes use of narrations, for example it will report experiments of the past that Newton did or whatever.
And the Muslims can also traverse different realms even in today's days and do miracles.
Those people who think that science is the only way of knowing the world should know that it isn't science that tells them that science is the only method, thus their caught in a self refuting cycle, indicative of their ignorance of reason.

As for the jinn(for which there is direct evidence, such that only the most brainwashed and blind deny it), Sheikh GF Haddad wrote:
"For the Muslim, such contrasting descriptions are routinely never
mutually exclusive. The Qur'an mentions that the jinn are invisible so
this is a ghaybi or invisible matter. Death and burial, for example, are
one thing from the physical perspective and entirely another from the
spiritual perspective. They surely can be and are both at one and the
same time.

The meaning of the pelting of the devils with heavenly rocks is
connected with the angelic protection of Divinely-revealed truth from
the interference of error and falsehood. Such interference had been
taking place freely through the time of all previous Prophets and began
to be barred in the time of the penultimate Prophet, `Isa, upon him
blessings and peace, then was barred more thoroughly in the time of the
Seal of Prophets, upon him blessings and peace.

Imam Muslim in his Sahih narrated from Ibn `Abbas that one of the
Prophetic Ansar Companions told him that they were sitting with the
Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, one night, and there was a
pelting of meteors which caused light (rumiya bi-najmin fa-stanar),
whereupon the Messenger of Allah asked them: "What did you use to say in
the Time of Ignorance if such a pelting took place?" They said: "Allah
and His Messenger know best, we used to say: Tonight some great man was
born, tonight some great man died." The Messenger of Allah said, upon
him blessings and peace: "These do not shoot for anyone's death or
anyone's life; rather, our Lord, exalted is His Name, when He decrees a
matter, the carriers of the Throne glorify Him, then the dwellers of the
heaven next to them glorify Him, until such laud reaches the dwellers of
this lower heaven. Then those next to the carriers of the Throne say to
them: 'What did your Lord say?' They report to them what He said; and
the heaven-dwellers ask each other in similar fashion until the news
reaches this lower heaven, then the jinn snatch it away, after which
they cast it upon their friends, and they are pelted with it. Whetever
they convey accurately is truth; however, they cast things into it and
add to it."

Al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar and Ibn `Asakir narrated from Ma`ruf ibn
Kharrabudh: "Iblis used to penetrate all seven heavens. When `Isa, upon
him peace, was born, Iblis was barred from three of them but he could
still reach four. When the Messenger of Allah, upon him blessings and
peace, was born, Iblis was barred from all seven."

Al-Bayhaqi narrated from Ibn `Abbas in Dala'il al-Nubuwwa: "The devils
used to ascend to the heaven and listen to the word being revealed then
descend to eath and add to it nine, after which the people on earth
would find that one word true and the nine others false. They kept doing
this until Muhammad, upon him blessings and peace, was sent. Then they
were barred from sitting there. They mentioned this to Iblis and he
said: 'Something must have happened on earth.' He sent them forth and
they found the Messenger of Allah, upon him blessings and peace,
reciting the Qir'an between the two mountains of Nakhl, whereupon they
said, 'This, by Allah, is what happened.' This is why they are being
pelted. When the star disappears from your sight it means it hit one of
them. It never misses. However, it does not kill it but only burns its
face, its side, its hand."

Regarding the verses 72:8-9: {And (the Jinn who had listened to the
Quran said): We had sought the heaven but had found it filled with
strong warders and meteors; and we used to sit on places (high) therein
to listen. But he who listens now finds a flame in wait for him
(shihaban rasadan)}, a microbiologist, Adel Abbas, wrote in his book
_And His Throne Was on Water_ (Amana Publications 1997 p. 20-21): "It is
very interesting that the word rasad is used to describe the type of
piercing flame awaiting the intruder. In Arabic, this word signifies a
three-dimensional point in space at a specific point of time and often
is used to indicate the position of celestial bodies. Given this, rasad
describes how the piercing flame reaches an intruder by anticipating its
three-dimensional trajectory in a specified fraction of time. This is
not unlike modern rockets.""

Anonymous said...

It seems when people are presented with contradictions in the theory of evolution they resort to a notion of blind faith, not unlike what we see from a lot of Christians. Do you guys invoke Darwin to bring forth the missing link so that all the doubters in evolution are finally silenced?

Anonymous said...

Barry - you are arrogant beyond belief. I hope you do not use ad hominem arguments when debating with "gullible" people.

Tom - the above is applicable to you as well. However, as always with you "rational" folk there are many holes in your argument.

1) I haven't heard anyone claiming they have seen aliens - what you are talking about are UFOs.

2) Science will never be able to prove/disprove everything. It's been nigh on 300 years and we still don't know what charge is. Similiarly, it's been about 350 years and we still don't understand gravity.

3) The verse you refer to is talking about mentions devils not jinn. Also, you are extremely reductionist in thinking that all devils have red skin, goat legs and horns.

Anonymous said...

fine, so loveprophet does believe that meteorites are sent the chase away djinns. the rest of us will stick with astrophysics.

as you asked, the "proof" of the existence of these invisible creatures is no proof at all. You cannot "see" atoms but they can be detected and measured. why do you think that believing in something for which there is zero evidence is rational?

perhaps you could be so kind as to explain fossils to us. the fossil record (including microfossils) now goes back billions of years and shows steady development followed by the occasional mass extinction and "surge". Human fossils and their ancestors go back into the "millions of years ago".

what would it take by way of discovery or evidence to convince you that evolution is real?

Tom

loveProphet said...

Anonymous who just posted an attempt to refute me.

You show little knowledge of the subject matter at hand, perhaps you didn't even read my original post.
This is shown by your stubborn belief that Islam would go against astrophysics and that any Islamic explanation is mutually exclusive to the physical explanations of phenomena.
As for Jinns, documentation about experiences, even many in today's times, are widespread and common and can even be seen by people like you if you attempted to visit a real Muslim exorcist, even in Western countries. But will you be brave enough to do that?
As for the microfossils, who said i deny evolution of all species?
Do you have any open-mindedness or honesty in you? Why do you have to accuse others without any evidence whatsoever?
As for human fossils going back to a few million years, so what is the effect of this upon my belief? How is it devasting for a Muslim to believe in humans being on Earth for millions of years?
However when you see the fossils of the last 5 MYA, through an objective eye, you will see that the hominin fossils can either fall into human-like fossils or ape-like fossils.
The Human Genus, Bernard Wood, et al., Science 284, 65 (1999).
Your post strongly shows prejudices about Muslim beliefs and your blind following of non-Muslims and your stubborn refusal to even try to understand Muslim's views.
Fact is, evolution cannot even accept, let alone predict the fact of the existence of souls in humans, only religion does. See the UN project on the soul that was recently launched and the evidence through NDEs.
This is a serious criticism of blind evolutionists.
What would it take for you to ditch your blind following of naturalists and ditch your blatantly false misconceptions?
Do you really think that Muslims should give up their beliefs for some hypothesis with so many holes as human evolution?
Have you studied evolutionary biology at undergrad level?
I know I have but from the likes of your post, it doesn't look like you even have read one evolutionary biology textbook.

Anonymous said...

well, actually Mr Anon, i do not believe in devils at all. your testable evidence that they exist is what exactly?

i do like your arrogance in blithely stating that I meant UFOs, not aliens - but then you also put "rational" in quotation marks. I meant aliens - thousands have seen them and lots claimed to have been abducted and experimented upon. now i happen to think that they were deluded, but nevertheless more have had the alien delusion than the god delusion. i also happen to think that both are forms of shamanistic experience, but that is a tentative opinion. unlike you i can live with doubt - in fact its the only honest condition.

man in his "modern form has been around for tens of thousands of years. we then had Newton and then, 250 years later, Einstein. Maybe it will take another few hundred years for the next step in understanding - and?

at least we can be sure that progress will be quicker than under a caliphate with its inevitable bearded thought police.

I cannot see the caliph putting much cash into evolution research either.

Tom

loveProphet said...

I wonder why the founder of modern science was a pious Muslim called Ibn al-Haytham under a Caliphate?
This fact is taught in universities throughout the West, including Harvard...

Anonymous said...

"bearded thought police", seriously?...

the inductively fallacious premise that religion and reason are mutually exclusive

the demand for 'empirical evidence' by blindly imposing an epistemological bias.

Why is it that the so called 'free-thinkers' are invariably the most obnoxious?

Anonymous said...

loveprophet - nobody doubts islam's golden age 1000 years ago.

what we worry about is its direction since, particularly from 1924.

Tom

Anonymous said...

Muslim exorcists driving out djinns? Do djinns speak Arabic? Catholic demons all seem to speak Latin.

Sorry, i have given up medieval superstitions for Lent.

Loveprophet - you seem to think that your beliefs qualify as facts whereas others' facts are simply wrong beliefs.

It can only be a matter of time before you prove that the quran is perfect and from god by citing the quran.

You can hold whatever strange views you wish, but I do worry that the west, having had its enlightenment, is now being sucked back into the dark ages of religious hatred and mindless "belief".

No doubt when the Mahdi comes I will be executed for saying such things.

Anonymous said...

"It can only be a matter of time before you prove that the quran is perfect and from god by citing the quran."

"I do worry that the west, having had its enlightenment, is now being sucked back into the dark ages of religious hatred and mindless "belief"."

More of the same - inductively invoking reason against religion, a product of the rift between the two in the West.

You speak of the enlightenment of the West seemingly oblivious as to its intellectual roots.

And I thought theists were gullible, ignorant and irrational... or did I?

Anonymous said...

A few simple questions then for muslims who don't believe that humans evolved:

Why is there DNA from ancient viruses in the human genome ?

Why does mitochindrial DNA show a clear line of ancestry with other apes ?

Why do humans often have jaws crowded with teeth ?

Precisely where and when was 'adam' placed on the planet ?

Jesse aka "lao tzu" said...

Firstly, micro and macro evolution are distinguished by time scale, not by their relevance to the emergence of humans from a nonhuman species. Macro evolution is merely the accumulation of the same evolution that occurs in micro evolution, but over a longer period of time. Additionally, "apes" is a taxonomic category that includes humans and our closest biological cousins; it is not the name of any individual species. We did not evolve from apes any more than we evolved from vertebrates. We evolved from non-human apes.

Secondly, the fact of evolution is that life has changed over time, as is self-evident from the fossil record left in geological strata covering the history of life on this planet over the past billions of years. It is far simpler to find religious apologists who mistake this observation for a hypothesis than to find a scientist who views this fact as any more controversial than the observation that dropped objects fall downwards. The mechanisms by which these changes take place along with the mathematical constraints inherent in any one mechanism constitute the theory of evolution. A proof, or even a suggestion, that any one mechanism is insufficient does nothing to dispute the fact of evolution itself.

Thirdly, atheism, like evolution, is not an absolute, but rather the accumulation of a list of potential gods we can definitively exclude from the realm of possibility. Because evolution is true, any god credited with a near instantaneous ex nihilo special creation does not exist. The universe-creating god of Genesis, like the universe-creating god of the Qur'an, is non-existent to whatever extent it is asserted any of the universes described in these sacred texts is our own. To the extent that theses universes, as described, are merely figurative or metaphorical, or evidenced in some realm naturally inaccessible to us, the gods credited for their creation are equally figurative or metaphorical and lack sufficient relevance to be worthy of refutation in detail. They are an airy mist that neither impedes progress nor obscures our sight.

Fourthly, the theistic gods such as those in the Abrahamic traditions, fashioned self-servingly by human priesthoods, reflect so clearly the foibles, evolving superstitions, and archaic ruling structures of the societies from which they emerged, that it is entirely reasonable to wonder how any intelligent adherent could engage in sufficient self-deception as to avoid recognizing the evolution of their own beliefs from a species of religion entirely unlike the one they profess. In turn, what must follow is the recognition that their own most cherished beliefs will soon enough be considered quaint in the fullness of time.

Moreover, a remarkable series of discoveries begun toward the end of the 19th century and progressing since then have pushed aside the blinders of an archaeology constrained by biblical filters to expose the origins of Abrahamic monotheism itself. Where we have strong evidence that the universe as we know it today is not eternal, we have even stronger evidence that its origins some 15 billion years ago cannot be laid at the feet of the monotheistic god who first emerged in the sixth century prior to our common era, as dated by the hypothetical virgin birth of an itinerant preacher in the Roman province of Palestine.

And so it goes.

Morrigan said...

Adam - You state:

"Secondly, Attenborough regards evolution a “fact”. Well, that’s surprising because many scientists do not view evolution in this way. A credible hypothesis maybe, but not a “fact” as it were. Many scientists view inconsistencies in the theory that need to be resolved before such bold claims can be made. One such inconsistency emerges from the very process of evolution. If man did evolve from apes, J.D. Barrow and F.J Tipler suggest that there would have to be ten steps in this evolution of Homosapiens However, the process would take so long that before the process could even come close to what we look like now, the Sun would have disintegrated."

For a start, it's standard practice in academia to provide references to books or papers where quotes are taken from. Could you possibly provide this for your claims about Barrow and Tipler please as I'd be fascinated to learn what these 'ten steps' are in the original texts as I’m certainly familiar with some of Barrow’s writings.

I note also that you use the exceedingly loose phrase 'many scientists'.

How many do you mean by that?

I'm sure that you must be aware of the extensive research out there by many different independent bodies that shows that the vast majority of scientists accept evolution as de facto true.

Can I suggest that you carry out your own research starting here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

Perhaps you can favour us with a list of, say, Nobel prize winners who reject human evolution.

Secondly, to claim that there are 'inconsistencies' in the theory - and that's theory in the scientific sense, not the popular usage - and that these suggest a fundamental weakness is to demonstrate a serious lack of understanding of current evolutionary research.

Someone recently likened current biology to physics in the early 1930s. We've had our relativity moment – molecular genetics - and we're now entering the quantum era.

I'd suggest that in this context epigenetics will prove to be another fascinating field that's only now being explored.

To once again challenge the islamic belief system, epigenetics is suggesting some very good evolutionary reasons for male homosexuality.

Perhaps a scientifically literate muslim can explain why their god has designed the universe in such a way that the best predictor of male homosexuality is the number of older brothers that a male has ?

In evolutionary theory, this is straightforward. The embryo is essentially a parasite on the mother and the evolutionary system has learnt over the millennia that more male offspring she produces, the greater the threat that they will all compete for dominance and resources amongst each other. By chemically influencing the gender development of the subsequent males she reduces competition, gains support - and probably gets some great musical comedy, art and literature and dedicated teachers along the way ;-)

Apologies for any stereotypes there, folks, but non-breeders do tend to put their energies into other things.

Why such a socially advantageous biological strategy should be condemned as 'evil' is beyond me.

Science in its current sense has only been around for less than 200 hundred years. The scientific method provides a way for people from wildly different cultures, languages and beliefs to agree about the way the world is made and how it works. I may be wrong, but I can’t remember any instances of people being stoned to death for suggesting alternative scientific theories….

I should add that even not believing in a Bronze Age deity doesn’t stop one having ‘religious/spiritual’ experiences. I’ve had many in my life and very wonderful and awe-inspiring they are too. They’ve also incorporated however the knowledge and experience in my rational mind as well, so I tend to think that I might be having the best of both possible worlds.

Go on Adam – wheel out your muslim scientists to refute science on science’s terms, rather than invoking sophomoric sophistry.

I look forward to an interesting debate as it’s only by being shown that one is wrong that one ever learns.

PS: Eloquent statement Lao Tze ! ‘So it goes’ sadly indeed, in the mental Dresdens happening out there everyday through religious indoctrination…..’The mind of a believer is like the human eye – the more light trying to get in, the tighter it closes’

PPS: I did post earlier as yet another anonymous asking a few simple questions about viral DNA and crowded jaws. Surprised there's no answer yet using the muslim world model, as opposed to the evolutionary one that does explain things clearly. Good old Occam !

Adam Deen said...

I don’t usually reply to comments of this condescending nature, however in your case I will make an exception.

“For a start, it's standard practice in academia to provide references to books or papers where quotes are taken from. Could you possibly provide this for your claims about Barrow and Tipler please as I'd be fascinated to learn what these 'ten steps' are in the original texts as I’m certainly familiar with some of Barrow’s writings.”

It wasn’t meant to be an academic piece; it was a quick response to common presumptuous talk of the theory being viewed as “Fact”, i.e. gravity. Not quite the same is it? Regarding the reference, have you read The Anthropic Cosmological Principle ? I also notice you didn’t address my third point.

“Secondly, to claim that there are 'inconsistencies' in the theory - and that's theory in the scientific sense, not the popular usage - and that these suggest a fundamental weakness is to demonstrate a serious lack of understanding of current evolutionary research.”

There is dispute internally amongst scientists about the theory itself. The late Professor S J Gould, from Harvard University, argued that the degree of gradualism championed by Charles Darwin was virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species. He proposed Punctuated equilibrium, morphological stability and rare bursts of evolutionary change as an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the real problem is not the evolution of man but the lack of evolution in Islam?

I am reminded of the quite recent "monkey trials" in America and even today there are many American fundi Christians who hold views that are similar to the Islamist position because they are all reading literally from the same Middle-Eastern Abrahamic songsheet.

However, some Americans aside, the rest of the Christian world is perfectly comfortable with evolution os "gods chosen tool".

In fact much of the original work on human evolution was conducted by a Jesuit priest.

I also want to know what all those annoying fossils are - and the "ancient DNA" question is an excellent one.

No doubt in the future our understanding of the mutation mechanism will improve as our "reverse engineering" of the genome progresses.

However progress will not be made by people who insist that its all supernatural and that in any case all is predetermined and so free will itself is illusary.

One wonders when the weight of evidence becomes too great even for the fundies. The flat-earth society was only disbanded late in the 20th century!!

Tom

Morrigan said...

Adam – thanks for your response.

A number of comments in return:

Yes I’m familiar with the anthropic principle which seems currently to have ended up as a rather stale debate around the theme of ‘we’re here because we’re here because we’re here’. Latest thinking seems to involve multiverses, string theory and other stuff that makes my brain hurt.

As far as similarities between gravity and evolution are concerned, both are observable and predictions can be made on the basis of current theories – though there is still much to be learned about both. Just check out current research on gravity waves.

Evolution is eminently falsifiable – all we need to is to discover a bunny rabbit in the same fossil strata as a dinosaur !

Re your mention of Gould, he never rejected evolution – but merely challenged the then status quo. That’s called science and it would hardly be surprising if Darwin got everything right first time as he was writing with only a limited knowledge of the fossil record and zero knowledge of molecular genetics. Gould wrote his seminal paper back in 1972, long before molecular genetics got going and 37 years is a long time ago in scientific terms.

Can I suggest that you take a look here http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-mustread.html if you really want to understand the current shape and evidence for evolution.

We might draw an analogy here with Newtonian physics. While relativity and quantum physics have radically altered our views of the universe – and it’s thanks to quantum physics that I’m able to write this – that doesn’t make Newton wrong. Similarly, new findings such as the issue of epigenetics that I raised are not challenging the central theory but instead increasing our understanding of it.

Can I also suggest that you read this excellent recent article from New Scientist ‘Why Darwin was Wrong’ - http://tinyurl.com/d49sw2 This should help resolve your misunderstandings about the current state of research.

To return to your third point, I couldn’t agree more – but it does rather alter one’s conception of ‘God’ from the idea of a personal deity that’s concerned about whether I eat bacon sandwiches or need to have the end of my willy chopped off to make ‘him’ happy.

I note also that you seem to have avoided answering my questions on:

What’s ancient viral DNA (HERVs) doing in our genome if we were made from dust/clay ?

Why do so many humans need orthodontists ?

What’s the Islamic theory around the causation of male homosexuality ?

And I’ll chuck in another one about why mitochondrial DNA shows our clear line of descent – and the timescales of speciation – from shared ancestors with other apes ?

Oh, and precisely where and when on this planet did Adam appear according to Islam ?

All the best

loveProphet said...

Can you elucidate more on this:
"And I’ll chuck in another one about why mitochondrial DNA shows our clear line of descent – and the timescales of speciation – from shared ancestors with other apes ?"

loveProphet said...

Also i'd mention some answers to some questions that I believe are misleading:

Firstly there is no "Islamic theory" about the origins of man, Islam is not a scientific field. Thus there is no Islamic theory about the causation of homosexuality.
It doesn't matter to Muslims if homosexuality is partly genetic or not since it is well known in the scientific literature that a considerable degree of homosexuality is due to the environment and thus is under the control of humans.
Also neuroplasticity also leads one to believe that homosexuality is not hardwired in humans.

Secondly science does not encompass everything nor is it the only reliable key to knowledge.

Thirdly we are not sure of the time and place of origin of Adam(AS) on the Earth as it is irrelevant to our beliefs. It makes no difference to us whether he came 3 MYA or 5 MYA.

Morrigan said...

Thanks for your enquiry LP !

Re your question about mitochondrial DNA, can I suggest that you just look at the Wiki entry on the topic - it's pretty clear. I can also suggest doing a search at www.talkorigins.org for more supporting materials.

I must admit to being a bit surprised that you've asked for this as you apparently stated in another post that you'd studied evolution at degree level. I'm surprised that this wasn't this covered in your course.

I'm curious about your statement "Firstly there is no "Islamic theory" about the origins of man, Islam is not a scientific field. "

Surely the 'Islamic theory' of the orgins of man is that god took some clay/dust and animated it - then created Eve from a rib and then placed them on the planet.

As such it is perfectly capable of being challenged and its claims placed against contradicting evidence.

Couldn't agree more about the multiple reasons behind the expression of male homosexuality. I was mainly using this as an example to show how research can explain the positive evolutionary reasons behind some complex behaviours.

My question - given the evidence available - was why a deity would design the world this way, reducing conflict in a tribe/clan and giving support to the mother - yet punish someone simply becuase they happened to have had lots of older male brothers.

Anyway, I've yet to see any really convincing arguments about why male homosexuality is such a bad thing for society if it's brought into the open, leaving gay people able to lead lives free from blackmail or violence.

I'd also dissent with your linking of neuroplasticity with gender issues. Yes, mankind is infinitely and polymorphously perverse - to quote James Joyce - but so many homosexuals and transsexuals speak of knowing that they had different genders at very, very early ages. Indeed, given the intense pressures placed on gays by many societies one would have thought that many would wish to change. Just look at the tragedy of people like Alan Turing - who indirectly probably saved millions of lives.


You also claim "Thirdly we are not sure of the time and place of origin of Adam(AS) on the Earth as it is irrelevant to our beliefs. It makes no difference to us whether he came 3 MYA or 5 MYA."

Followers of Islam always seem to state that it respects knowledge and reason highly, so the tone of your statement seems a little contradictory. You've made some extravagant and precise claims about how Adam and Eve were created - surely it's only natural to want to know where and when the first humans appeared - especially if 'atheist scientists' are discovering evidence that contradicts your beliefs ?

And, finally, as you have some biological knowledge can you help answer the questions that I raised about HERVs and crowded jaws.

I'd also be interested in learning why Muslims think that Allah created so many species in the past only to regularly wipe them through the mass extinction events caused by asteriods and volcanos ?

How do you rationalise this in the context of Allah creating a perfect universe ?

Cheers !

loveProphet said...

Well Morrigon, you've based your arguments on a lot of faulty premises. You then went on into ad hominem.
One is about my question about mtDNA and "Eve", it was actually because I didn't understand how someone can actually claim to know about Islam and yet think that it would contradict Islam. Thus I asked you to clarify since maybe you came across something about the issue that is new or I didn't know.
But now it is obvious to me that such is not the case and you simply didn't know what you're talking about.
Wiki is firstly not a good source.
Secondly talkorigins is full of evolutionist brainwashing that contains outright dishonesty and out of date scientific information.
Every blind evolutionist I come across just quotes or links to the horrible site. See it being falsified on the topic of "junk" DNA.
Well if you had studied human evolution before then you'd know that the mitochondrial "Eve" is just the last woman who's remaining mtDNA has survived until now. Estimates of her period vary a lot, between 100-800 thousand years ago although there were other women at that time.
For Muslims it is no problem and it doesn't suggest that she was some non-human species.
Sure there's the use of microsatellite DNA etc used to construct human phylogenies but that's a different matter.
But wait, there's a lot of controversy about mtDNA and human phylogenies, i'll post about that later insha'Allah, right now I am busy.

Morrigan said...

LP: Thanks for your response and I look forward to seeing your material on HERVs, mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA as well as evidence of dishonesty and 'out of date' material on talkorigins.

I'd certainly be interested to see how you compare and contrast this with the disinformation and dishonesty that sadly appears on many Muslim websites - from Harun Yaha to those still promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as truth.

I'm sure that you can forgive a little scepticism when it comes to reconciling Muslim claims that man was made perfect out of clay/dust - a fairly common Middle Eastern creation myth of the time, I umderstand - yet our species seems to have the same genomic history, baggage and flaws as every other species on the planet.

I also understand that the basic human form is essentially female and that males are effectively mutations - the Y being an eroded X chromosome - hence the greater vulnerability of males.

Once again, its seems rather odd for a deity to organise things this way and claim to have created Adam first - which once again also appears to contradict the Islamic creation myth ? A believe one hadith speaks of the 'crooked rib' from which Eve was made.....

Similar questions apply to issues like the loss of the ability to synthesise vitamin C or the appearance of sickle cell anaemia.

Presumably, Allah must have created the human genome at the same time as he created Adam. Were all these 'flaws' inserted as well ?

Pip, pip !

PS: A Muslim take on the reasons for all the extinction events would also be much appreciated !

Morrigan said...

PS:

LP - Have you considered designing an experiment or line of research that will clearly demonstrate that current theories of human evolution are totally flawed and that we were in fact specially created ?

You could win a Nobel Prize on behalf the whole Muslim world and convert many people !

loveProphet said...

The simplest answer to almost all your "evidences" is that Allah Most High could have used the DNA of an ape-like species, edited it and used it to create Adam(AS).
Thus all the evidences, whether the Alus, ERVs are blown apart.
If you say why He did that, then I say that He can do whatever He wills, it is His choice. It matters not to the facts whether you understand the reasoning or not.
It is like a mobile lands on an island that has had no contact with the outside world and its human inhabitants take this mobile yet they don't understand what its purpose is and why it was made and so they conclude that it wasn't made created.
Humans have souls that are immaterial, this is something that the evolutionists have not been able to explain, nor can they explain how consciousness arises from the brain and many other unique characteristics of humans.
Yes Hawa was created from Adam(AS) and Allah Most High is perfectly able to do such things.
It makes no problem for the Muslims that humans have many similar characteristics as other species but we do have many differences like the highest intelligences, technology etc that evolution did not nor can it predict.
It is not my fault that you lack logic and sound knowledge of Islam.

loveProphet said...

Ok I don't tend to waste my time in debating with people who show a lot of ad hominem against others but I have to answer this issue of endogenous retroviruses and others. Morrigon mentioned the one's in humans.
Firstly our ignorance of the past is no reason why we should reject something that is proven via different routes(i.e. Islam).
Secondly science is constantly changing, thus it would be futile to put scientific hypotheses(like human evolution) in a higher position.
Thirdly science is based on human observations and inferences that are fallible whilst Islam is based upon Allah Most High Who has Perfect Knowledge.
Fourthly evolutionists were saying for many years that junk DNA is a proof of evolution but now its admitted by many of them that many components of junk DNA do have functions like in the regulations of genes. Thus if we don't know the purpose of one strand of DNA or a sequence of nucleotides, it doesn't mean that we can automatically assign it as proof for evolution and against God.
For ERV("ancient DNA"), you should see a recent 2008 paper, "Retroviral promoters in the human genome," in the journal Bioinformatics (Vol. 24(14):1563–1567 (2008)) that discusses the fact that "Endogenous retrovirus (ERV) elements have been shown to contribute promoter sequences that can initiate transcription of adjacent human genes. However, the extent to which retroviral sequences initiate transcription within the human genome is currently unknown."

Fifthly it can be that we don't know the purpose of certain things because of our incomplete knowledge or technology and will find it out later, as has been the case many times before.


Ok back to mEve(my shorthand), note that this isn't to do about the Islamic position as I said that it isn't contradictory to it.
The hypothesis is based on the proposition that mtDNA is passed down through famales only and that there is no recombination.
However this premise is becoming increasingly untenable as recombination is likely to occur and has been known to occur.
See How clonal are human mitochondria?, Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Mar 7;266(1418):477-83.
Its just science i'm discussing there.
Now someone can debate this but the fact is that there is a difference of opinion amongst geneticists on the issue of mEve.

As for you saying "How do you rationalise this in the context of Allah creating a perfect universe ?"

We believe that Allah Most High has created the universe as He wants it to be. Don't you see children with birth defects? Yet we say that Allah Most High created these children too. Its just that Allah Most High has chosen to create things how He wants them to be.
So you're question shows extreme ignorance of Islamic theology.
Also perfect is subjective.

You said:
"I'd also be interested in learning why Muslims think that Allah created so many species in the past only to regularly wipe them through the mass extinction events caused by asteriods and volcanos ? "

Allah Most High created them(can be through evolution) for reasons that He knows. He is not asked about what He does, but rather man is asked about what he does.
Your question could be answered if we knew Allah Most High fully.

"Followers of Islam always seem to state that it respects knowledge and reason highly, so the tone of your statement seems a little contradictory. You've made some extravagant and precise claims about how Adam and Eve were created - surely it's only natural to want to know where and when the first humans appeared - especially if 'atheist scientists' are discovering evidence that contradicts your beliefs ?"

Islam deals with what is useful to us in this world and the next, it is of no use to us to know when and where man appeared. Its just curiosity.
However Islam doesn't stop science from answering other things or answering curiosities.
As for using scientific methods on the subject of human origins, it makes a number of hidden yet pertinent assumptions:
1) that man was originated through fully natural processes, without Divine intervention
2) scientific knowledge will provide the answer eventually
3) humans can know enough to find out the truth of the origin of humans without recourse to revelation

Now the first one is just begging the question as it assumes that God didn't create man. The second and third has no proof.
So what we need to do is see what method provides the best account of creation in terms of it being the truth.
Science continuously changes, thus it can't be used as something superior than revelation from God.
Science uses only human knowledge(which is limited) whilst revelation uses God's Knowledge(which is perfect) eventually.
Thus revelation is preferred if it can be proven to be from God. If science is used on the issue and thought to provide the whole answer, then it is due to faulty reasoning of those who claim to use it.
In conclusion whether the Islamic or evolutionist account of humans is correct rests on deciding if Islam is true or not.
So you're welcome to debate on the topic and that topic is the mu'jizah of the Qur'an and the mutawattir Ahadith.
As for gays, we're sidetracking but it is clear that a number of homosexuals do give up being gay and become heterosexual. I've known some.
In regards to homosexuality being bad, the first reason is that God has forbidden it. Then one can go into the wisdom behind it(like higher rates of HIV and other viral diseases) but that is another issue.
As for HERVs or ERVs, i will discuss that later insha'Allah.
But know that HERVs have at times been found to have functions like two env genes from the HERVW families to code for the syncytin proteins responsible for cell fusion. There have been some known for being used as promoters. (Kapitonov et al, Anthology of Human Repetitive DNA, Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Vol 1). As for the cases where no protein coding has been found, then it can be because we are searching in the wrong place, time or using technology that is not suitable enough or that our theories are lacking or that it may have other regulatory functions etc.
Thus to claim such things as proof of evolution is purely evolution of the gaps.

Also you claim that the Islamic account is a myth, thus you already show how blinded you are in your beliefs and that you believe what you believe without considering the other side of the argument.

“I also understand that the basic human form is essentially female and that males are effectively mutations - the Y being an eroded X chromosome –“

This you said is complete conjecture and not based on any sound proof.

“I'm sure that you can forgive a little scepticism when it comes to reconciling Muslim claims that man was made perfect out of clay/dust - a fairly common Middle Eastern creation myth of the time, I umderstand”

Can you give me a reference for it being the belief of non-Muslims in the Middle East? Your lack of references doesn’t tell me much about your knowledge of the subject matter.

“yet our species seems to have the same genomic history, baggage and flaws as every other species on the planet.”

I’ve answered that before. You also miss the point that it is well known amongst biologists and anthropologists that humans are very unique and have characteristics that no other species has, even the chimps. What you see as flaws are just subjective and due to your lack of knowledge, hence your Darwin of the gaps.

You said:
“Have you considered designing an experiment or line of research that will clearly demonstrate that current theories of human evolution are totally flawed”

So will you fund me? Also have you considered how impossible it is to falsify human evolution when whatever data goes against it, the theory just makes another “just-so” story?
Besides eventually it will be proven how flawed the idea of human evolution is, their proofs have been tumbling down and continue to do so Alhamdulillah. E.g. “junk DNA”, just see talkorigins claiming that as proof yet we have: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070712143308.htm
“Scientists have only recently begun to speculate that what's referred to as "junk" DNA -- the 96 percent of the human genome that doesn't encode for proteins and previously seemed to have no useful purpose -- is present in the genome for an important reason. But it wasn't clear what the reason was. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have discovered one important function of so-called junk DNA.”

As for extinction, Allah Most High creates whatever He wills and for whatever reason He wills, it doesn’t matter for us why He did so.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam, Morrigan, LP et al....

Fascinating discussion, I hope it continues. Most such forums would have ended in personal abuse some time ago :)

Not to go off-topic, but Morrigan, I believe that most theists such as I take a common sense approach to this topic. The notion of an Ultimate Creator is not scientifically provable but common sense tells us that cause and effect cannot go on indefinately without becoming circular. The first law of thermodynamics says that energy can be converted and not created, but the principle of causality suggests that energy had to come from somewhere, and it suggests that the laws themselves had to be created too. Atheists often define the parameters of the discussion rather narrowly to avoid such issues.

The Holy Quran advocates that we ponder upon creation. It also says that if God so intended we would all be believers, but we are here to be tested in our belief and our actions and rewarded/ punished accordingly. It is for this reason that the "Why doesn't God just write His name in the sky" suggestion is misconceived because if that happened there would be no test.

The common sense approach suggests that all of our world, our organs, our faculties, the sky, the fish and the little birdies tweeting away in their nests, the sheer complexity and interconnectedness of it all, had to have a Designer/ Organiser. The notion that it came from a random pre-historic explosion, is (.. here comes an old analogy...) akin to saying that you can plant a bomb in a field and explode it and when the smoke clears you have a three-floor library with electricity, itemised books, an elevator, a microfiche, and a nice bit of skirting on the walls.

In the Abrahamic tradition (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) God repeatedly asks us to consider His signs. The eclipse which we see is only possible because the distance between the moon and the sun is in the same ratio as the difference in their respective size. If it was even slightly different, we wouldn't get a total eclipse. This is dismissed by atheists as a mere coincidence but such coincidences are innumerable, they fly in the face of probability, and to believers it seems more plausible that there is an Organiser/ Creator.

In a nutshell, in my humble opinion, the evidence of God is in His creation (and the evidence for Islam is in the Holy Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet/ Imams (s)).

Toodloo.

Morrigan said...

Apologies if I’m making work for you Adam but text highlights didn’t come through on the last post – rather confusing for the reader, I’m afraid. Here’s a second try. Could you delete the earlier one ?

“The simplest answer to almost all your "evidences" is that Allah Most High could have used the DNA of an ape-like species, edited it and used it to create Adam(AS).
Thus all the evidences, whether the Alus, ERVs are blown apart.”


Hmmn – aren’t you contradicting the Koran and hadiths here ? They don’t speak of god taking an existing creature (shades of 2001) and modifying it - but of gathering clay (from different parts of the world to represent the different races one Islamic legend has it, I understand) and making something from scratch. Is Allah now a genetic engineer and how exactly do you make DNA out of clay ? Wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler if the Koran’s tale actually supported the physical evidence around and within us ?

There’s also the small issue of Adam supposedly being thirty metres high. There were beliefs like that around at the time based on the findings of giant fossil bones – once again something blagged from the ancient Greeks: http://tinyurl.com/7fpxb

“Humans have souls that are immaterial, this is something that the evolutionists have not been able to explain, nor can they explain how consciousness arises from the brain and many other unique characteristics of humans.”

And where’s your evidence for human ‘souls’ being immaterial ? As far as I can see, all the evidence for human mental processes remains firmly grounded in brain chemistry and experiments in non-localised consciousness (Out-of-Body and Near Death experiences) have failed to find any evidence, though research obviously continues. I’d suggest you’re taking purely subjective experiences as evidence – something every other religion is capable of doing with as much objectivity as Muslims.

The same applies to consciousness – a fascinating topic. There’s a lot of interesting research been done on the human propensity for religious/transcendental experiences and, once again, it seems firmly rooted in brain chemistry. William James and Aldous Huxley were the first to flag this up and it’s worth revisiting their writings in the light of current knowledge.

I should perhaps add that I’m not denying the validity or importance of these experiences or of similar traits such as falling in love or child-parent bonding (good old oxytocin) just because they’re based on the physical plane. It’s just that there’s no need to invoke the supernatural because once you do you just making the same evidence-free claims as any other religion.

”It makes no problem for the Muslims that humans have many similar characteristics as other species but we do have many differences like the highest intelligences, technology etc that evolution did not nor can it predict.”

Not really. Our rapidly expanding knowledge of animal behaviour and cognition shows that there are many similarities in other species demonstrating that the building blocks of more complex human behaviours are already there – it’s how they’re coordinated in the human brain that, logically enough, makes us human. Similarly, if you look at human behaviours, it’s clear that many of the core programs that we’re running have their origins in our evolutionary tree which are then modified and moulded by the effects of culture and environment.

“Firstly our ignorance of the past is no reason why we should reject something that is proven via different routes(i.e. Islam). Secondly science is constantly changing, thus it would be futile to put scientific hypotheses(like human evolution) in a higher position. Thirdly science is based on human observations and inferences that are fallible whilst Islam is based upon Allah Most High Who has Perfect Knowledge.”.

Hmmn – I don’t really know where to begin with such a tautologous argument. Islam obviously isn’t proven otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. Of course science is changing – that’s its incredible strength. As far as your last point is concerned, I’d suggest that it’s all too obvious that Islam is based on human observations and influences as demonstrated by it reflecting the beliefs, myths and tribal social mores of 7th century Arabia.

“Fourthly evolutionists were saying for many years that junk DNA is a proof of evolution but now its admitted by many of them that many components of junk DNA do have functions like in the regulations of genes. Thus if we don't know the purpose of one strand of DNA or a sequence of nucleotides, it doesn't mean that we can automatically assign it as proof for evolution and against God.
unknown. Fifthly it can be that we don't know the purpose of certain things because of our incomplete knowledge or technology and will find it out later, as has been the case many times before.”


Couldn’t agree more and while there does seem to be experimental evidence that some DNA is literally junk in some species (i.e. experiments in stripping out this DNA and seeing what happens) , you’ll find some interesting current debate on the topic and on HERVs (linked to human placental development, for example) at:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

It does however once again raise the question of where the human genome came from if we were made from clay/dust and why we in fact seem to be a hybrid incorporating viral and bacterial DNA as well.

"I'd also be interested in learning why Muslims think that Allah created so many species in the past only to regularly wipe them through the mass extinction events caused by asteroids and volcanoes ? "

”Allah Most High created them(can be through evolution) for reasons that He knows. He is not asked about what He does, but rather man is asked about what he does. Your question could be answered if we knew Allah Most High fully.”


I think this is known as the ‘godidit’ argument. Once again, the Koran and hadiths go into a fair amount of detail about the creation of the earth and the universe but fail to mention its long prehistory. Why would a deity cause so much pain and suffering to millions of species as they fried, froze or drowned during the various extinction events ?

“As for you saying "How do you rationalise this in the context of Allah creating a perfect universe ?"
We believe that Allah Most High has created the universe as He wants it to be. Don't you see children with birth defects? Yet we say that Allah Most High created these children too. Its just that Allah Most High has chosen to create things how He wants them to be. So you're question shows extreme ignorance of Islamic theology. Also perfect is subjective.”


Godidit, once again.

“Islam deals with what is useful to us in this world and the next, it is of no use to us to know when and where man appeared. Its just curiosity.”

The origins and transmission of genetic diseases ? The elimination of the ignorance behind racism ? The contradiction of various belief systems that allows human to come together on the basis of mutually agreed rational evidence ?

“As for using scientific methods on the subject of human origins, it makes a number of hidden yet pertinent assumptions:
1) that man was originated through fully natural processes, without Divine intervention
2) scientific knowledge will provide the answer eventually
3) humans can know enough to find out the truth of the origin of humans without recourse to revelation

Now the first one is just begging the question as it assumes that God didn't create man. The second and third has no proof.”


I think that you’re getting the argument the wrong way round here. Given the number of deists originally involved in researching evolution it’s an ironic claim for a start. More importantly, those initial assumptions of supernatural influences have not been supported so far by any evidence that indicates special creation and the more we find out the less we need to invoke that old ‘god of gaps’. How many unprovable assumptions is your theory based on ?

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by ‘the second and third has no proof’. So far, science seems to be dong a pretty good job at explaining where we came from and, when it comes to revelation, I have to ask you which particular ‘revealed’ creation myth you prefer – there are thousands out there. ‘Revelation’ isn’t limited to Muslims y’know !

Perhaps you can illustrate precisely where revelation has trumped the scientific method and where the current scientific flaws are in the current theories of human origins ? Is mental illness caused by people being possessed by djinns and should they be tortured with hot irons to get the demons out – a form of psychotherapy still practiced I believe in some Muslim countries ?

You said:
“Have you considered designing an experiment or line of research that will clearly demonstrate that current theories of human evolution are totally flawed”

So will you fund me? Also have you considered how impossible it is to falsify human evolution when whatever data goes against it, the theory just makes another “just-so” story?


Once again, an unconsciously ironic argument, especially when it’s religions that originally invented the best-guess ‘just-so’ story idea to keep control of their followers. And, once again, I have to ask for your evidence of direct flaws in the current understanding that we share a common ancestor with other apes. As far as I understand it – and I’m always delighted when theories have to be dramatically revised to accommodate new facts – all the new data that comes in only reinforces the truth of the overall theory and improves our understanding of how it actually operates in practice – such as recent work in epigenetics and, as you agree, ‘junk’ DNA.

The advances in molecular genetics in the last couple of decades seem to confirm previous theories of the human lineage. I’d be fascinated to learn of any evidence you have to the contrary that challenges the central tenets of that theory !

You also claimed that talkorigins was guilty of ‘outright’ dishonesty. I’ve usually had quite a high regard for that site and would like to learn where exactly they’ve demonstrated this as opposed to simply not keeping the site as up to date as it should be – one reason why I referred you to Pharyngula which carries current discussions and the details of contemporary research papers. To repeat one of my earlier points, I'd certainly be interested to see how you compare and contrast errors or old research on talkorigins with the disinformation and dishonesty that appears on many Muslim websites - from Harun Yaha to those still promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as truth. I’ve even run across Muslim sites that claim that Darwin never studied biology and simply made everything up.

“I'm sure that you can forgive a little scepticism when it comes to reconciling Muslim claims that man was made perfect out of clay/dust - a fairly common Middle Eastern creation myth of the time, I umderstand”

Can you give me a reference for it being the belief of non-Muslims in the Middle East? Your lack of references doesn’t tell me much about your knowledge of the subject matter
.

Check out Sumerian/Babylonian creation myths – they’ve even got the flood there.

Another good example of myths in the Koran involves the tale of Iram’s destruction – already known in folktales before the Koran. As I’m sure you’re aware, archaeology has found that it was a fairly straightforward case of severe subsidence. Surprising then for Allah to claim it was down to his wrath…

On top of that is, of course, the standard superstitious bestiary of djinns, ghouls and other local nasties. How else would Arabs perceive sand-devils if they don’t know about thermals ?

As for gays, we're sidetracking but it is clear that a number of homosexuals do give up being gay and become heterosexual. I've known some. In regards to homosexuality being bad, the first reason is that God has forbidden it. Then one can go into the wisdom behind it(like higher rates of HIV and other viral diseases) but that is another issue.

Once again, I couldn’t agree more with your first statement but I’d suggest that for them it was a ‘passing phase’ as the cliché goes. Human sexuality/gender is a spectrum – not a binary either/or as Islam claims and I’d argue that far more pain is caused by denying that reality in terms of lives blighted by guilt or even ended by draconian punishments. Heterosexuals will indulge in homosexual acts in certain situations for a wide variety of reasons – from male dominance behaviours to a simple need for human contact and intimacy when women are absent - such as in prison. Given tolerant societies, gays are just as capable as heterosexuals of forming enduring and loving relationships and contributing to society.

Why, however, would your god design a mother’s womb to increase the chances of producing a homosexual son based on the number of male children she’d already had ? Evolutionary theory provides a sensible answer while the Islamic response once again seems to be ‘goddoesit’.

Anonymous: Thanks for your contribution but once again it sadly seems to fall into the ‘godditit’ camp. You seem to use the phrase ‘common sense’ rather carelessly – much of what we’ve discovered about the world through the use of science is contradictory to ‘common sense’ explanations - such as quantum physics. Could I politely suggest that you do some background reading into the realities of biology and the sheer arbitrariness of biological design as illustrated by the issues debated above. Yes, everything is incredibly interconnected and we need to adopt a far more holistic perspective than previous reductionist models – such as the excellent work on symbiosis pioneered by Lyn Margoulis – but I’m afraid there’s no evidence of purposeful design so far that I’m aware of – though I’d be fascinated to be shown that I was wrong.

Apologies for not touching on some of the other topics you raised in this post, but I thought I’d better stop now !

Thanks for the debate – I always enjoy having my preconceptions challenged and being forced to do more research. It’s the best way to learn about the universe !

Pip, pip

loveProphet said...

Unfortunately your points just didn't get to my arguments or failed to understand them. Thus I don't see any need to refute them.

Anyways to broaden your mind beyond talkorigins, see:
http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

Anonymous said...

Hi Morrigan

I’m Mr Anonymous from post 29. Thanks for your response and your ongoing highly thoughtful contribution.

On the issue of common sense, if you think about it from God’s perspective, any religious text would need to appeal principally to common sense (as well as to instinct, intuition) because most people even today, let alone historically, would only have this as the means to judge religion. They did not have Bunsen burners and microscopes. The best argument appeals on different levels, and the beauty of the Holy Quran is that it has verses to satisfy everyone, from paupers to professors (and quantum physicists).

You say “I’m afraid there’s no evidence of purposeful design so far that I’m aware of – though I’d be fascinated to be shown that I was wrong”. This is genuinely baffling to me. Look around you, sir (or madam?). How can you say there is no evidence of design? I have seen Professor Dawkins say the same thing and I am perplexed. He says “our knees could be better designed to support our frame, our vision could be peripheral…” – true, we could all be supermen and have flight and X-ray vision, but there is a world of difference between saying that our design is flawed and saying there is no design whatsoever. Common sense!

I am not well-read in the field of biology but it strikes me that a lot of these debates seem to come down to arguments such as your “DNA versus clay” point. I don’t believe that Allah (S) could not have described deoxyribonucleic acid in a way which would be understood by 7th century Arabs. Nobody is saying we exist as clay now, but rather this is how we were before, shaped by Allah, one of whose names is the Fashioner. (We believe that one of the miracles of Jesus (a.s.) is that he modelled a bird from clay and then breathed into it and it became a bird by Allah’s command).

In the same way that you describe some of my points as being ‘godidit’, I think, with respect, that most of yours fall into the arena of ‘nowthatweunderstandthemechanismgodcouldnothavedoneit’. It is a commonly held misconception amongst atheists that the supernatural means something beyond any kind of explanation. In my opinion, the physical and supernatural planes are not mutually exclusive: rather, the physical plane is the means by which the supernatural plane takes effect.

As such, and to address your specific examples, oxytocin is one of the means by which God ensures that child-parent bonding takes place. Subsidence was in all probability the means by which God’s wrath was manifested against Iram. You say “Surprising then for Allah to claim it was down to his wrath…” – this is misconceived. If I kill a man “out of anger”, it is not the anger itself that kills him. The anger is the motivation. The means which I choose is separate (probably potassium cyanide, least messy).

In the same way, evolution and intelligent design to my mind is not an either/or. Evolution was the means by which intelligent design took place. In the Biblical story of creation (“Yom” by the way means Period, not Day, and the Holy Quran also says Period) God created the sea creatures/ birds on the 5th Period, and the land animals/ humans on the 6th. As to why God created creatures only to wipe them out, we can only speculate (those dead creatures have given us a lot of oil) but the absence of an answer to every specific question does not mean the absence of God.

You state that “those initial assumptions of supernatural influences have not been supported so far by any evidence that indicates special creation and the more we find out the less we need to invoke that old ‘god of gaps’. How many unprovable assumptions is your theory based on?” I would suggest with respect that the biggest gap of all is how and from where did energy and life itself originate – generally ignored by atheists.

loveProphet said...

I think I'll actually bother to correct some of your points Morrigon, although I honestly don't believe you made any sound or understandable points but for the benefit of any, I hope to dispel some of your misinformation once again insha'Allah.

You said:
"Hmmn – aren’t you contradicting the Koran and hadiths here ? They don’t speak of god taking an existing creature (shades of 2001) and modifying it - but of gathering clay (from different parts of the world to represent the different races one Islamic legend has it, I understand) and making something from scratch. Is Allah now a genetic engineer and how exactly do you make DNA out of clay ? Wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler if the Koran’s tale actually supported the physical evidence around and within us ?"

No i'm contradicting neither the Qur'an nor Ahadith and I have asked some Muslim scholars.
Please don't talk on such topics if you lack basic knowledge of Arabic or exegesis of the Qur'an or even basic knowledge of Islamic theology.
The Qur'an doesn't describe every detail of the creation of Adam(AS) so my explanation is perfectly acceptable. The explanation I mean is of using DNA similar to an ape-like species and editing it and using it to form Adam(AS).
Also I didn't talk about making the DNA out of clay, once again you are making strawman arguments.
But nevertheless, Allah Most High can create whatever He wills and however He wills so its not a problem anyways.
The physical evidence you talk about is nothing but a figment of your imagination and of those who deny Allah Most High.

“There were beliefs like that around at the time based on the findings of giant fossil bones – once again something blagged from the ancient Greeks: http://tinyurl.com/7fpxb”

Again you failed to address my original point, and instead you choose deception in trying to answer me. You point to the Greek beliefs of a creature completely unrelated to Adam(AS) or the first human. Not to mention that Greeks weren’t Arabs.

“And where’s your evidence for human ‘souls’ being immaterial ? As far as I can see, all the evidence for human mental processes remains firmly grounded in brain chemistry and experiments in non-localised consciousness (Out-of-Body and Near Death experiences) have failed to find any evidence, though research obviously continues. I’d suggest you’re taking purely subjective experiences as evidence – something every other religion is capable of doing with as much objectivity as Muslims.”

You provide no proof for any of your claims and you just dismiss all evidences on the basis of your whims. I suggest you read “The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul” by the Neuroscientist Dr Mario Beauregard.
Actual scientific studies have been done and the evidence is conclusive to the existence of an immaterial soul. All atheistic and material explanations of such phenomena show extreme ignorance and prejudice of the subject matter for example the explanation that they were hallucinations(though the subjects reported events that happened during the cardiac arrest that they couldn’t have known, being unconscious) or the result of chemical activity of the brain(again there was actually no brain activity and even if there was, the patients still could not explain what had actually happened in the operation theatre and elsewhere).

You said:
“The same applies to consciousness – a fascinating topic. There’s a lot of interesting research been done on the human propensity for religious/transcendental experiences and, once again, it seems firmly rooted in brain chemistry. William James and Aldous Huxley were the first to flag this up and it’s worth revisiting their writings in the light of current knowledge.”

Again this shows extreme ignorance of the subject matter, especially since those who believe in the soul do believe that the brain is a medium for the soul. Thus there wouldn’t be a problem with certain parts of the brain being active the most at such times. I also recommend the book I mentioned that discusses what you said and blows it apart.
Also you make the unproven assumption that Muslim spiritual experiences(not been studied) are the same or similar to the non-Muslim ones.
But considering what you mentioned is often done through fMRI, I suggest you read:
http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2009/01/another-shock-for-brain-imaging.html
“The brain imaging community is about to experience another shockwave, just days after the online leak of a paper that challenged many of the brain-behaviour correlations reported in respected social neuroscience journals”

You said:
“Not really. Our rapidly expanding knowledge of animal behaviour and cognition shows that there are many similarities in other species demonstrating that the building blocks of more complex human behaviours are already there – it’s how they’re coordinated in the human brain that, logically enough, makes us human. Similarly, if you look at human behaviours, it’s clear that many of the core programs that we’re running have their origins in our evolutionary tree which are then modified and moulded by the effects of culture and environment.”

Well I honestly do hope that you study basic genetics and anthropology since you aren’t aware(or are concealing it) of actual differences between humans and other species. Also it wouldn’t be problematic to believe that One God would have created creatures with similarities i.e. a common design. Indeed it is intuitive.

It doesn’t tell me of your willingness to be objective that all you quote from in regards to the current topic is the work of blinded evolutionists who clearly have wrong views about their opponents.

You said:
“Why would a deity cause so much pain and suffering to millions of species as they fried, froze or drowned during the various extinction events ?”

And each of the creatures(apart from humans and jinns) praises Allah Most High. Besides He is the Owner of all, thus He is free to do whatever He wants with whomever He wants.

You said:
“The origins and transmission of genetic diseases ?”

That is upto science to find out.


“The elimination of the ignorance behind racism ?”

Islam has always been against racism.

“The contradiction of various belief systems that allows human to come together on the basis of mutually agreed rational evidence ?”

The reasons why the different belief systems(including yours) haven’t become Muslims is because of arrogance, stubbornness, ignorance etc.

“Given the number of deists originally involved in researching evolution it’s an ironic claim for a start.”

Well deists deny the belief that God can interfere in the creation so your point is invalid.

“Perhaps you can illustrate precisely where revelation has trumped the scientific method”

Ever thought of the steady state theory? Yet Islam contradicted it and Islam turned out as a winner.

“Is mental illness caused by people being possessed by djinns and should they be tortured with hot irons to get the demons out – a form of psychotherapy still practiced I believe in some Muslim countries ?”

You have gross misinformation and have been fed a lot of propaganda or have been very incompetent in verifying information.

“Check out Sumerian/Babylonian creation myths – they’ve even got the flood there.”

You make the flawed assumption that any similarities would mean that Islamic beliefs are wrong.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, archaeology has found that it was a fairly straightforward case of severe subsidence.”

Actually that is still considered a punishment from God. If He had wanted, He could have given them an abundance of pasture etc.
You really need to be less emotional and more logical and learn a bit of theology.

As for homosexuals, it is sufficient that they have free will and the ability to control and change themselves, even through neuroplasticity.
As for evolution providing explanations of such things, it provides explanations of everything. Its just like other pseudoscientific theories that just can’t be falsified and can explain everything because they can incorporate any scenario with “just-so-stories”.


To be honest, your lack of references and knowledge and amount of mistakes just put me off from treating your claims seriously.

loveProphet said...

I reiterate my original claim that you can disprove Islam by disproving the objective claims for the mu'jizah of the Qur'an and the mutawatir Ahadith.

loveProphet said...

I'd also like to stress that there isn't a conflict between Islam and science in terms of those things that are proven with considerable certainty.
However conflicts arise when scientists take science beyond its realm, to that which it can't handle.

Manzaib said...

I am a believer of GOD, although I try to be objective in my approach of my understanding of any evidence put forward by both sides. To this day I have not had an arguments with evidence that has remotely changed my stance that "God exist".

Thank you Adam Deen for sharing your understanding.

Manzaib

Anonymous said...

loveProphet: You are a very clever guy (girl?). You have increased my faith a lot - especially since I don't know much about evolution/biology. May Allah (SWT) bless you and keep you on the straight path.

Michael Solomon said...

..continued
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
I have established rationally you have a GGGF (well everyone has). Now the problem arises – who is he…his name? his character? etc .etc. This information can only be established with sound historical facts. Also, historical facts with also determine how much I know about him. I can know what he was like minute by minute if he had a kept a blog, like this one. History will throw contradictions, different stories , consistencies and inconsistencies and consensus on certain things - about the facts about him depending where you look, the source you look at, who the source was and based on what they knew about him. Easiest way to establish the facts is just by corroborating all the evidences and whatever we see as consensus amongst the people then we must accept as true.

Similarly who was William Shakespeare ? we came only know by historical evidence – it goes for any name – these are just names in history the only way we know about these people is through verbal or recorded history and ultimately ‘putting our trust’ on people to pass on the correct information about them (from people of history to current and beyond, in the future)

Similarly, who or what God is, and is like, can only be established through historical evidence ( as we do not have any other methodology of finding out about God)– we are faced with the GGGF scenario above. Without doubt the theists were the majority in history , and they accepted God was the cause of the universe. This consensus amongst theists is enough and we do not need to delve into what God is like for this discussion.

To know the real facts about God you need to find the historical record(s) which you can trust – i.e, what we call divine revelation then you can use various methodology to determine which one(s) are correct, none,some, all or just one.
What Muslims say is , it just one left – The Final Revelation – The Quran – which is a self-evident Miracle (the literary miracle) to establish it’s claim that is, it is – The Final Revelation of God.

Lastly, if my GGGF did something I did not like – the fact is… he did exist. I cannot turn round and say “he does not exist because he did not fit my picture of my perfect GGGF”. Atheists keep using the same fallacy on God – just because they do not like something God does, or do not understand the wisdom behind something, they fall into this trap and fallacy and conclude God does not exist because God does not fit the picture of ideal of what I think God should be lik (i.e. suffering and problem of evil) – amazing!


As you rightly said, Morrigan, William Ockham's "occam's razor" is so pertinent for the God fact- the best explanation is the most simplest explanation

Cosmic Clay said...

I believe David Attenborough was astonished at the contents of the sermon moreso than the concept of God when he said that he couldnt believe what he was hearing from his headmaster - who was giving a classical Christian sermon. I would probably be astonished as well, hearing about the supposed death of Christ for the sake of our sins, etc.

In any case, I would like to clarify that Attenborough clearly denied himself to be an atheist but rather an agnostic. There may still be some hope with him if only he wasnt so bent on the "If God was merciful why then does _insert something "bad"/sad/terrible_ happen in the world?" issue.

Overall though I thought your article was wonderfully written and addressed many crucial points :)

Ahmed said...

@loveProphet...MashAllah...Well done!..Do you have a blog or youtube account?

trubble said...

There is much inaccuracy in the article, and much more in the comments section.

Evolutionary Biology is far too wide a subject to teach it here, but rest assured it is built on foudations as strong, if not stronger, then any other discipline of science. Proof you want? Proof you can get. Thousands upon thousands of papers are available analysing every minute aspect, all peer-reviewed, all challenged and found accurate. Different areas of science all confirming the work of others. Genetics confirms so much.

For those that speak of micro versus macro evolution, there is yet to be suggested a mechanism by which your micro evolution stops before becoming macro, all there are are arguments from incredulity, which as I'm sure you know, are fallacious.

One last thought for you; if your god is indeed omniscient and omnipotent, then why would he not be able to create us by evolution? Is the task too much for him? Evolution is marvellous not just for what it creates but also for it's remarkable simplicity. Is simple-yet-effective not worthy of divinity?

Anonymous said...

Simply to the evutionists…

How can a number of mechanisms come together (ie, natural selection, speciation, allele frequencies etc) come together to form a reality which is immaterial (ie, consciousness, the universe has consciousness)from a reality which is material? Basically how does something material form a separate paradigm of reality which is immaterial?

Evolution does not even have it's foot in the door regarding consciousness, morality etc.

Secondly, why is there is no equivlant to evolution in physics or quantum physics? Even Dawkins admits this reluctantly. You see other fields of science can work across different theories and fields of science. The physics behind the laws of the universe can be applied in general across the board, but evolution is stuck in its own field, cannot even reliably prove itself in it's speciality. Why can't we use evolutionary mechanisms else where. For example the big bang theory is an explanation for the origin of the universe not a reason for but an explanation, the maths, the physics used to learn and understand the big bang have a broader application, the big bang theory has an equivlant in physics, biology, etc etc. Evolution theory does not do this, to call it a fact, like we call the big bang a fact, it's has to have a general application, but it don't. Even the chief of atheists Mr Dawkins admits that we could really do we with finding an evolutionary equivlant in physics, in order to give the theory more credibility and a general application.

Therefore evolution does not form basis for fact but speculation all be it credible in some cases and highly debatable in other cases.

Alot of talk about DNA etc. What about the info in DNA. Where did this originate. If I gave you a computer program or book with a code. Information written on it. Will you assume the info was a result of the materials coming together, random process taking place and viola! You have the enigma code. This is absurd. Because we know that the information itself is immaterial but encapsulated or embedded in something material. So where did this immaterial information or coding come from in our DNA? Evolution, if so then back to square 1. How does something material form a reality which is immaterial?