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Evolution and Intelligent Design in the age of faith and reason Is there an Islamic perspective? Imran Nasrullah, Esq.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolution and Intelligent Design in the age of faith and reason Is there an Islamic perspective? Imran Nasrullah, Esq."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolution and Intelligent Design in the age of faith and reason Is there an Islamic perspective? Imran Nasrullah, Esq.

2 Background Several school districts across the country have enacted local measures to place Intelligent Design into the school curriculum along with Evolution as a viable alternative to Evolution. Several school districts across the country have enacted local measures to place Intelligent Design into the school curriculum along with Evolution as a viable alternative to Evolution. Other measures required a disclaimer to be placed in school science books stating that Evolution was a theory with unexplainable gaps, and that other explanations, i.e. Intelligent Design should be taught. Other measures required a disclaimer to be placed in school science books stating that Evolution was a theory with unexplainable gaps, and that other explanations, i.e. Intelligent Design should be taught. Part of a concerted effort between Christian conservatives and Intelligent Design proponents Part of a concerted effort between Christian conservatives and Intelligent Design proponents Set up battle lines between secularists/atheists and religious conservatives Set up battle lines between secularists/atheists and religious conservatives

3 Background Christian conservatives view Darwinism and Evolution as an atheistic domination over American culture Christian conservatives view Darwinism and Evolution as an atheistic domination over American culture Intelligent Design appears to be gathering momentum even among non-Christian conservatives Intelligent Design appears to be gathering momentum even among non-Christian conservatives Battle line now seems between people of faith versus secularists/atheists Battle line now seems between people of faith versus secularists/atheists Secularists claiming that Evolution and the Science obviate the need for God Secularists claiming that Evolution and the Science obviate the need for God

4 The culture war Christian conservatives (primarily) have come to see Evolution as a threat to their religious beliefs Christian conservatives (primarily) have come to see Evolution as a threat to their religious beliefs Take over of the education system by atheists Take over of the education system by atheists Devolution of American culture by Godlessness Devolution of American culture by Godlessness

5 The culture war Evolution has been claimed by Atheists/Secularists Evolution has been claimed by Atheists/Secularists Evolution obviates the need for God because it demonstrates that life and species arise without divine will Evolution obviates the need for God because it demonstrates that life and species arise without divine will Science is increasingly perceived as a threat to faith. Science is increasingly perceived as a threat to faith. –Evolution is considered one of the cornerstones of modern science Conservatives are attempting to bring faith-based Cause into science class Conservatives are attempting to bring faith-based Cause into science class –Allegedly through Intelligent Design Alternative to Evolution Alternative to Evolution – As a counter to efforts by Atheists/Secularists

6 Darwin’s discovery Darwin himself was reluctant to publish his findings because the current climate of religious orthodoxy. Darwin himself was reluctant to publish his findings because the current climate of religious orthodoxy. –Aware of the religious implications of his theoryatural selection can be expressed as the following general law (taken from the conclusion of The Origin of Species): –If there are organisms that reproduce, and –If offspring inherit traits from their parents(s), and –If there is variability of traits, and –If the environment limits the size of natural populations, –Then those members of the population with maladaptive traits (as determined by the environment) will die out or reproduce less, and –Then those members with adaptive traits (as determined by the environment) will survive to reproduction or reproduce more –The result is the evolutionary change of populations and eventually of species. species He waited until he was 50, happily married, and settled before publishing He waited until he was 50, happily married, and settled before publishing Darwin would have been branded a blasphemer, and sedition Darwin would have been branded a blasphemer, and sedition Darwin, himself, was religious and believed in God (early career was seminary school) and thought Evolution as another example of God’s handiwork Darwin, himself, was religious and believed in God (early career was seminary school) and thought Evolution as another example of God’s handiwork

7 Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection Darwin's theory of evolution has four main parts: Darwin's theory of evolution has four main parts: –Organisms have changed over time, and the ones living today are different from those that lived in the past. The world is not constant, but changing. –All organisms are derived from common ancestors by a process of branching. Over time, populations split into different species, which are related because they are descended from a common ancestor. It also explained why similar species tended to occur in the same geographic region. –Change is gradual and slow, taking place over a long time. This was supported by the fossil record, and was consistent with the fact that no naturalist had observed the sudden appearance of a new species. This is now contested by a view of episodes of rapid change and long periods of stasis, known as punctuated equilibrium. This is now contested by a view of episodes of rapid change and long periods of stasis, known as punctuated equilibrium.punctuated equilibriumpunctuated equilibrium The mechanism of evolutionary change was natural selection. The mechanism of evolutionary change was natural selection.

8 Natural selection Natural selection can be expressed as the following general law (taken from the conclusion of The Origin of Species): Natural selection can be expressed as the following general law (taken from the conclusion of The Origin of Species): –offspring inherit traits from their parents(s), and –If there is variability of traits, and –If the environment limits the size of natural populations, –Then those members of the population with maladaptive traits (as determined by the environment) will die out or reproduce less, and –Then those members with adaptive traits (as determined by the environment) will survive to reproduction or reproduce more The result is the evolutionary change of populations and eventually of species. The result is the evolutionary change of populations and eventually of species.species

9 What is science (methodology) A methodology by which observation of natural phenomenon posits a hypothesis- a theory of explanation regarding the phenomenon- which in turn is tested against controlled observation. A methodology by which observation of natural phenomenon posits a hypothesis- a theory of explanation regarding the phenomenon- which in turn is tested against controlled observation. –The failure of the controlled observation to support the hypothesis renders the hypothesis untenable. –Controlled observation must be measurable and observable –Testing of the hypothesis must be repeatable and reproducible by others Iterative process of inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning Iterative process of inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning –Inductiion: the attempt to create some general principle –from some observations-which both describes what happened and, more importantly, explains why it happened- Hypothesis –Deduction: From the general principle which putatively describes accurately and explains the observed phenomenon, to testing of hypothesis to assess its validity by predicting outcomes. This is accomplished by creating predictions - these are phrased as statement in the form "if principle P is true, then event E should occur or fact F should be true." Testing: Once we have predictions, it is time to go out and actually see what we find by collecting more observations. We try to determine if some fact (F) is already true about the world or if some event (E) occurs or can be caused to occur. Testing: Once we have predictions, it is time to go out and actually see what we find by collecting more observations. We try to determine if some fact (F) is already true about the world or if some event (E) occurs or can be caused to occur. Accumulated body of knowledge of the observable world (physical reality) obtained through the systematic pursuit of observation, hypothesis, prediction, and testing Accumulated body of knowledge of the observable world (physical reality) obtained through the systematic pursuit of observation, hypothesis, prediction, and testing

10 Intelligent Design Irreducible Complexity Irreducible Complexity –The notion that certain biological systems/organs cannot be reduced any further without compromising their innate function. –Therefore, how could the system/organ evolve into its present form since certain basic components, unless “installed” simultaneously, are absent or in a deficient state –The conclusion: there must be an intelligent designer Finding a watch on the beach Finding a watch on the beach Flagella on a bacteria Flagella on a bacteria The optical system of the eye The optical system of the eye

11 Irreducible Complexity What happens when you remove a component? Can this arise through evolutionary means?

12 Paradigm shift A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies which cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm within which scientific progress has thereto been made. The paradigm, in Kuhn's view, is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications which come with it.paradigmworldview When enough significant anomalies have accrued against a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis… Eventually a new paradigm is formed, which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual "battle" takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm. -Kuhn Kuhn used the duck-rabbit optical illusion to demonstrate the way in which a paradigm shift could cause one to see the same information in an entirely different way. optical illusion

13 Paradigm shifts – Max Planck “…a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." – Max Planck – –Newtonian physics to relativistic physics – –Maxwell’s theory of aether to Einstein’s universe (spacetime) Science is a human endeavor and therefore susceptible to human biases, prejudices, and politics – –Science seems susceptible to dogma, just like religion… – –“"microevolution," the ability of species to adapt to changing conditions in their environment. But he holds to the opinion that science has not convincingly shown that one species can evolve into another…I think there's a lot of problems with evolutionary dogma." -Dr. Gregory J. Brewer Intelligent Design could be another reconciliation between Ultimate Reality and physical reality – –If only the secularists and ID could stop talking past each other Are other advances in science, mathematics, and cosmology suggesting additional mechanisms at work besides Evolution

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15 The role of faith in religion and science Does Evolution necessarily obviate religion? Does Evolution necessarily obviate religion? Does religion necessarily exclude Evolution? Does religion necessarily exclude Evolution? Interpretation Darwinian fundamentalists (secularists primarily) and religious fundamentalists Evolution is a natural law and thus one of the laws God and His creation

16 Faith Much of science is taken on speculation and faith despite the lack of data, observation, etc. Much of science is taken on speculation and faith despite the lack of data, observation, etc. –Many worlds hypothesis/multiverse –Universe is part of a “foam” of other universes Having the right conditions for life are Cosmologically remote, and yet we are willing to believe in those odds; on the other hand, belief in God is considered to be putting faith in the improbable Having the right conditions for life are Cosmologically remote, and yet we are willing to believe in those odds; on the other hand, belief in God is considered to be putting faith in the improbable

17 December 21, 2005 Judge Rejects Teaching Intelligent Design By LAURIE GOODSTEINLAURIE GOODSTEIN HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology courses because it is a religious viewpoint that advances "a particular version of Christianity." Eleven parents in Dover, a growing suburb about 20 miles south of Harrisburg, sued their school board a year ago after it voted to have teachers read students a brief statement introducing intelligent design in ninth-grade biology class…The statement said that there were "gaps in the theory" of evolution and that intelligent design was another explanation they should examine. -New York Times February 15, 2006 Ohio Board Undoes Stand on Evolution By JODI RUDORENJODI RUDOREN COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 14 — The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 Tuesday to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its second serious defeat in two months. The board… stripped the language from the curriculum partly out of fear of a lawsuit in the wake of a December ruling by a federal judge that teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., public schools was unconstitutional.Ohio Darwin's defenders celebrated the reversal as a sign of a backlash against the inroads made last year by critics of evolution. But leaders of the Discovery Institute, the intellectual home of intelligent design, warned that Ohio's move would create a backlash of its own. "The effort to try to suppress ideas that you dislike, to use the government to suppress ideas you dislike, has a failed history," Mr. West said. "Do they really want to be on the side of the people who didn't want to let John Scopes talk or who tried to censor Galileo?“ -New York Times In the News


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