The Great Debate UK
Debate continues to swirl around the theory of evolution Charles Darwin proposed 150 years ago in his groundbreaking book, “On the Origin of Species,” despite its universal acceptance among scientists.
Before Darwin’s discovery, the world was generally thought to have remained more or less the same since its creation. This belief, based on Biblical interpretations, was contested through fossil studies showing that species change over time.
Darwin’s legendary round-the-world 1831-1836 voyage aboard the HMS Beagle generated his most significant observations and discoveries, inspiring his work on natural selection.
Although Darwin first used the term “natural selection” in a paper in 1842, it wasn’t until 1859 that he published his controversial theory that all living beings share a common ancestry — a discovery that remains vital to modern biology.
Muslim creationism is back in the news. There's been a spate of articles in the U.S. and British press recently about the spread of this scripture-based challenge to Darwinian evolution among Muslims, mostly in the Middle East but also in Europe. The fact that some Muslims have embraced creationism, a trademark belief of some conservative American Protestants, is not new. Reuters first wrote about it in 2006 -- "Creation vs. Darwin takes Muslim twist in Turkey" -- and this blog has run several posts on the issue, including an interview with Islam's most prominent creationist, Harun Yahya. What's new is that these ideas seem to be spreading and academics who defend evolution are holding conferences to discuss the phenomenon. (Photo: Portrait of Charles Darwin, 12 Feb 2009/Gordon Jack)
There are too many recent articles about Islamic creationism out there now to discuss each one separately, so I'll have to just link to them in the ... New York Times ... Washington Post ... Boston Globe ... Slate ... Guardian ... National ... Beliefnet ... ... Many of these articles highlight the role of Harun Yahya, the once secretive Istanbul preacher and publisher who has gone on a PR offensive in recent years and turned very media-friendly (as Steve Paulson describes in that Slate article). But as Michael Reiss, a London education professor and Anglican priest told the Guardian, "what the Turks believe today is what the Germans and British believe tomorrow. It is because of the mass movement of people between countries. These things can no longer be thought of as occurring in other countries."