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Q23: Why do Muslims reject the theory of evolution?

Firstly, I would like to clarify that I am not a scientist so as always, please feel free to do your own background reading on the topic. There are many people who have critiqued Darwin’s theories and you can see some examples of books written on this topic from here:

Darwin on Trial: https://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Trial-Phillip-Johnson/dp/0830838317

Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis: https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Theory-Crisis-Michael-Denton/dp/1936599325/ref=pd_cp_14_2/144-7907358-5567966?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1936599325&pd_rd_r=126eb472-bca9-11e8-90fb-9babd353c434&pd_rd_w=ioqWj&pd_rd_wg=446sQ&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3f5155f5-5438-4fc3-ab83-bf013cfc8883&pf_rd_r=TSACCNKD6WRMMGKE8H35&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=TSACCNKD6WRMMGKE8H35

Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock between Darwin and Design: https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-2-0-Breaking-Deadlock-Between/dp/1944648755/ref=pd_sbs_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1944648755&pd_rd_r=47f69f71-bca9-11e8-b5ac-e1a879402945&pd_rd_w=YwgZv&pd_rd_wg=KrY3e&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=53dead45-2b3d-4b73-bafb-fe26a7f14aac&pf_rd_r=B3S604WTT54T1219R7TX&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=B3S604WTT54T1219R7TX

I will however try to mention a few things here to think about:

Ironically, a lot of early work regarding what would later become the theory of evolution was done by a Medieval Muslim scientist, Ibn Khaldun, who was from what is now Tunisia and he was famous for being one of the early sociologists. In his book, Al Muqaddima, he suggests that plants changed based on their environment and humans are similar to animals but are more advanced than them as they have the ability to reason. This is different from Darwin’s theory as Darwin suggested that humans directly evolved from animals.

From a religious point of view, British scientist, Charles Darwin first published his book, “The Origin of Species” in the 19th Century where he first presented his theory of evolution and he described how animals evolved from primitive creatures. Also, he released a second book, “The Descent of Man” and was criticized because he suggested that humans were descended from apes, which contradicts the concept of creation. This is something that many people from different religions would reject even today.

From a scientific point of view, one of the problems with Darwin’s theory of evolution is the absence of bones that are half human, half ape. In 1912, an archaeologist, Charles Dawson, discovered the “Piltdown Man” skull, which seemed to be the skull of a creature that was half human, half ape as the top half was like that of a human and the bottom half was like that of an ape. Scientists at the time used this as evidence for many years to support the theory of evolution until in 1953 (41 years later), they found out that “Piltdown Man” was actually a forgery and was fake.

Part of the evidence to support the theory of evolution is the presence of bones that appear to be from more “primitive creatures”. Scientists did in fact find people who had different body forms and their skeletons resembled those. These belonged to the Pigmy tribes of Congo in West Africa.
Many African Pigmies were taken to Europe where they were put on display in “Human Zoos” where people could go and see Black African people in a somewhat similar way to how people might go to visit zoos today to see strange and unusual animals. Scientists however used these places as a way of justifying the theory of evolution and to show the superiority of the white man over all other races. Such public “Human Zoos” continued in Europe until as recent as 1960. You can find out more about this such as from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjU3Bob8IFA

In more recent times, James Watson, an American molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner, made comments in 2007 claiming that black people were less intelligent than white people, which angered many people. Despite this, former BBC journalist, Rageh Omar made a documentary where he challenges this idea and whether there really was any link between race and intelligence. You can find out more from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JLH9OKMnbU

From a moral point of view, Darwin’s theory inspired other theories such as by his cousin, Francis Galton. Galton was able to publish a book in the late 19th Century which was influenced by Darwin’s ideas such as the ideas of conflict /competition between animals for “survival of the fittest”. This was the theory of “Eugenics /Social Darwinism”. Galton described it as: “the study of the Agencies under social control, that improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally”.

Eugenics /Social Darwinism was applied practically during the early 20th Century in the US, especially in California, whereby various policies were introduced such as certain people being forcefully sterilized, not being allowed to marry /mix with certain races, not giving required attention to certain patients, euthanasia and more. This was done in order to improve the “natural selection” and to improve future generations. This continued for a while and the Rockefeller Foundation in the US later helped to fund the more famous Nazi Eugenics during World War II where people who were seen as inferior such as Roma people, people with disabilities and Jews were killed in order to build a superior human race. You can find out more from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Abi8MEz7zU

I hope these notes have given you some areas to think about. The reader is advised to do their own background reading if they want any more specific information and to draw their own conclusions.

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