Plunging into the deep end

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// November 6th, 2006 // Blog

I have set myself two challenges in the past week that both require some serious time and effort – well, they aren't called challenges for nothing.

The first is to write about evolution and the origins of man from an islamic perspective.

The second is to explain why disbelief in God can be construed as being the greatest crime against oneself and humanity.

Sounds melodramatic, i know, but it's serious stuff folks.

I have all the ideas of what i want to say up here [points to skull], but how to get it onto there [points to the screen]?

I also have a bad habit of going on and on and on… i need to be concise for the sake of the reader.

A massive task for a newbie like me.

If only i was still on holiday!

Anyway, don't expect to see these entries for a while. I am far too bogged down in the lab these days. I will definitely try though as pent up thoughts tend to bug me and must be released asap.

Thank Allāh for blogger.com! [end of plug]

13 Responses to “Plunging into the deep end”

  1. Lucyp says:

    Evolution and God. Big topics and maybe better served when you have built up more of a readership, just because they are such huge subjects that you may feel they are wasted on the few of us that visit here at the moment. They deserve a wider audience.

  2. iMuslim says:

    Well, i’m not sure when and how my readership will increase – if ever. I’ll work on it!

    The evolution topic has been on my mind for a while now. However it’s been a few years since i studied it at university so i am planning to contact one of my old profs to see if he can recommend a good review of the latest research that has been published. So it is definitely a “work in progress”.

    The other topic i can probably explain quite quickly – when i have the time!

    Thanks for the advice, Lucy.

    BW

    iMuslim

  3. Lucyp says:

    I have a half written pro-evolution piece that i keep meaning to finish but i try to keep things topical so until i can shoehorn it in somehow, i am afraid it will always stay half written.
    The only way to increase your readership is to go to both like minded and opposite blogs and leave comments. I have been doing this for about a year and i seem to have a steady 10 or so regulars but i am always looking to increase it.
    If i can help you i will, we need more females!

  4. iMuslim says:

    Aww, that’s kind of you! I have now told a select few of my “real world” associates about my blog. Not any of my colleagues though. I don’t think i’ve written anything that would terrify them – but you never know! I don’t feel like risking it just now.

    Then again, i am a bit fed up with the lack of debate in the group. They’re lovely people, mashallah, but we’re all so focussed on our own projects, we rarely discuss anything interesting or philosophical.

    Wrt the evolution article i wish to write, it won’t exactly be anti-evolution, more anti-evolutionary biologist. To put it simply, i loathe them. Not all of them – but many of them. It’s less to do with my religion and more to do with scientific principle. Not sure if anyone will believe that, but hopefully my essay will make things clear, inshallah.

    Anyway, i’ll stop myself before i launch into full rant mode! Save it for the article!

  5. Daniel says:

    Well, I’ve just increased it by one, imuslim. Have looked in a few times but been somewhat intimidated. Cheers!

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can find the standard Islamic critique of Darwinism/Evolution here:

    http://www.harunyahya.com/c_refutation_darwinism.php

  7. iMuslim says:

    DANIEL! I’m so shocked by your being intimidated! Am i really that scary?!!! Please let me know if so and i’ll work on it!

    Anon – Harun Yahya’s book on Evolution was what actually woke me up to the whole debate! Can you believe it? I’m a biologist and a muslim and i never stopped to think until a year ago: do the two agree? D’oh! But that says to me the theory of evolution has more place in the world of philosophy then the world of real science. I’ve never needed to turn to it to explain any of my findings. It’s not the essential concept non-scientists are made to believe it is, except in the actual field of evolutionary biology! Although the theory has bearings on the wording of some non-evolutionary biology papers, it is not incorporated into the actual analysis of data. Amazing! Just goes to show that i’m not the only scientist who forgets to question important concepts.

    I do have two criticisms on Harun Yahya’s book.

    The first is that i think some of the anti-evolutionary arguments are over-simplified. I suppose the authors were trying to cater for the lowest-common-denominator, but the book i read was aimed at “experts”.

    The second is all the anti-materialist philosophy he includes as standard at the end of every book. Some of the stuff is waaaay out there. I mean, it is true that the mind is entirely dependent on the senses but a lot of the implications of the philosophy are not proven in Islam, or even mentioned. One of the major rules in Islam is to only speak upon sure knowledge so he was definitely pushing the boundaries IMO.

    Other than that I found many of the points laid out in the book to be scientifically sound – so much so that i actually cried at one point!! That is quite embarassing to admit. I was just so overcome with emotion when i realised that my mind had been “programmed” to blindly accept the theory without question all throughout my lifetime of education. I felt like i’d been lied to, or at least only shown one side of the story and denied the right to choose which one i wished to accept. This must sound soooo weird, but it’s all true!

    As a muslim scientist i want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – so help me Allah!

  8. Anonymous says:

    “The first is to write about evolution and the origins of man from an islamic perspective.

    The second is to explain why disbelief in God can be construed as being the greatest crime against oneself and humanity.”

    What will you do with these when they are written?

    Here’s a different fun way of utilising spare time on the internet:

    http://teaser.wow-europe.com/

  9. ConcernedEngineer says:

    iMuslim,

    Check out my blog under the May 2006 archives. I have a blog there about evolution and intelligent design.

    I hope my comments at DT’s blog didn’t offend you.

  10. iMuslim says:

    Anon: i plan to publish them on my little blog for your perusal! The reason why i want to write about those two particular topics was because of conversations i have had with other bloggers. I’m not sure about the URL you pasted but thanks for the suggestion anyway!

    CE: No offence taken and thanks for the info. I’m not anti-evolution per se but am just fed up with the way the theory (emphasis on the word theory) has been forced upon the scientific community and the public as if it were fact. There is no compulsion in religion, so why should there be compulsion to believe in a yet-to-be-proven biological principle? This kind of bullying is just not scientifically acceptable.

  11. ConcernedEngineer says:

    imuslim,

    With all due respect, don’t say things like, “Evolution is only a theory.”

    Theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an extremely strong word. Extremely strong. When something is considered to be scientific theory, it has been shown through vigorous experimentation and thousands of repetitions to be true. When a hypothesis is run through the mill of the scientific method and shown to be true, then it becomes accepted as scientific theory.

    Many ignorant Christians make the same error; I’m continually calling on my brethren to get educated before they speak.

    I would say that macro-evolution does not deserve to be called scientific theory. It is merely a hypothesis, and it has not been shown to be true via the scientific method. Thus, it does not deserve to be called theory.

    For more on this topic, check out my blog.

  12. iMuslim says:

    Thanks for the correction CE.

    However i have always been given the impression the words theory and hypothesis were synonyms (according to the dictionary.com):

    the‧o‧ry
    –noun, plural -ries.
    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
    6. contemplation or speculation.
    7. guess or conjecture.

    hy‧poth‧e‧sis
    –noun, plural -ses /-ˌsiz/
    1. a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.
    2. a proposition assumed as a premise in an argument.
    3. the antecedent of a conditional proposition.
    4. a mere assumption or guess.

    Hypothesis is a weaker version of theory though, as you said. Hypothesis is usually the idea you propose before you begin experimentation.

    However theory is still theory until it is proven without a doubt to be fact, and that was the basis of my gripe.

    I shall try be more careful of the terminology i use!

    BW

  13. ConcernedEngineer says:

    “Hypothesis is a weaker version of theory though, as you said. Hypothesis is usually the idea you propose before you begin experimentation.”

    That’s correct. That’s exactly the axe that I have to grind. Anyone can come up with a hypothesis, but in the scientific community, for a hypothesis to reach the status of theory, it must have gone through all the steps of the scientific method many times over and in various conditions and circumstances by several people within the scientific community, etc, etc. There are all kinds of loops to jump through before a hypothesis reaches the level of scientific theory.

    And when it does, then it is – scientifically true – about as close to fact as you can get. Statistically, the probability of a legitimate scientific theory turning out not to be true is extremely small.

    For this reason, I argue that macro-evolution does not deserve to be called scientific theory. No one has observed ape-like animals evolve into human persons. Not even once. That our DNA is extremely similar means only that our DNA is extremely similar.

    The engine that runs a Ford could be very similar to the engine that runs a Honda. Similar car engines imply similar design – not that the same tornado came through the same junkyard and happened to arrange similar parts in a similar way. In the same way, simularities between apes, monkeys, and humans imply that our Creator utilized similar designs. From a scientific perspective, similarities do not prove the theory of macroevolution.

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