[Marxism] Islamic creationism- Boston Globe

Paul Flewers rfls12802 at blueyonder.co.uk
Mon Oct 26 06:40:56 MDT 2009

The article has an interesting part:

'There are attempts within the Muslim world to try to ease the tension
between the two [creation and evolution] by enlisting the authority of the
Koran. Salman Hameed points out that the biology textbook used in Pakistani
high schools, while it does not mention human evolution, does have a chapter
on the broader theory of evolution. That chapter opens with a quote from the
Koran - "And He is Who had produced you from a single being." - that could
be read as giving support to the idea that many species descended from one
single predecessor.

'A similar theological rapprochement explains why creationism has gained
little purchase in Iran. Unlike in Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Iran's majority
religion, has an established clerical hierarchy to interpret the Koran,
making Shia'ism structurally similar to Catholicism. Iran's clerics, like
the Vatican, have decided that evolution needn't conflict with Holy

'"What happened in Iran is that the ayatollahs decided that evolution is OK,
and that there was going to be none of this nonsense about creationism, and
therefore there isn't a lot of it in Iran," says Taner Edis, a physicist at
Truman State University and author of "An Illusion of Harmony," a book on
the relationship between science and Islam.

'Edis is quick to point out that the Iranian clerical establishment's vision
of evolution, in which a divine hand guides the process, is closer to
intelligent design than to the mainstream Western version of evolution.
Still, according to Hameed, it is this relative friendliness to modern
biology - and one of its central ideas - that has allowed Iran to pursue an
aggressive, state-sponsored stem cell research program unmatched anywhere
else in the Muslim world.'

The Iranian regime is thus pretty pragmatic on this topic, a bit like the
Roman Catholic church, which has taken evolution under its wing, as it were.

I can't see why religious people, and I'm writing as an atheist of several
decades standing, can't accept evolution, as there doesn't seem to be any
contradiction between believing in a universal creator and accepting
evolving life-forms. After all, if a universal-creating god is all that he's
supposed to be, I can't see why he couldn't bring into being evolving

Speaking of the Islamic world, the reporter on the Boston Globe could have
looked next-door. Some time back, when the Jurassic Park film and dinosaurs
were all the rage, the late South African Marxist Baruch Hirson visited his
in-laws in Israel, and he told me that the frummer rabbis there were up in
arms because a chocolate bar was being advertised with a dinosaur
illustration on the wrapper. Apparently, such beasts could not have existed
as their claimed age put them living prior to the creation, and on that
logic the chocolate bars were therefore not kosher. 'Are we really living in
the twentieth century?', Baruch asked me, shaking his head sadly.

Well, the US Christian right can look fondly at the Middle East. It's
interesting, this ecumenical concordance on evolution. Muslim, Jewish and
Christian hardliners can all stand united: when it's an agreement about
something reactionary and stupid.

Paul F

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