Saturday, March 28, 2009

Zakir Naik and evolution

This name must be alien to most of the people reading this blog but he is quite a popular in indo-sub continent. Recently a muslim friend of mine presented his arguments to me when we discussed evolution so I thought of watching one of his videos about the theory of evolution. The following are my notes on this video that I was supposed to send to my friend but then realized that it would be nice to 1. share it with others 2. have these available somewhere in public:

He starts his speech with the argument that in no book, it calls evolution a fact but theory. Now this only shows his ignorance about the very definition of a scientific theory and this alone should be enough to simply ignore anything such has to say about science. However I will not do that and listen to rest of his speech and address his arguments. Here is my notes on each of his arguments:

1. Quote from Darwin "I do not believe in natural selection, I do no believe in theory of evolution". First of all, could someone please provide me with a citation for this letter Darwin wrote? Although I have a gut feeling that he is just lying but putting that aside, he is talking about the very early days of Darwin when he was very young and hadn't yet really arrived at the theory of evolution so him not believing in it at that time should not be very surprising and have much (if any) weight as an argument.

2. He presented an argument about Darwin admitting missing links that I couldn't quite catch despite the fact I heard it again and again. If he is just talking about missing links themselves, he seems to be ignorant of an important fact that Darwin was able to correctly predict at least a few missing links to be found later that really where found later just like he predicted.

3. The *only* reason theory of evolution is taught everywhere now a days is that church has been against science and theory of evolution goes against the church. I am sorry but this is such a stupid thing to say. This might be able to explain why it's taught in western/Christian countries but how does this explain it being taught in China, Japan and India for example?

Also not all churches have always fought against theory of evolution. Some churches, like Lutheran got over it ages ago and they hadn't challenged the validity of evolution for a long time. In fact I personally know a Lutheran priest who recently wrote any article on how this theory doesn't go against the teaching of Bible.

Catholics have never really been against evolution and recently they've started to show signs of embracing it.

Notice the stress on *only*. This implicitly implies that he denies any evidence supporting it what so ever and that is something quite contrary to reality. If he had denied or challenged the validity of the big amount of evidence present, that would have been very different but simply denying it's existence is nothing but either utter ignorance or lie.

4. Then he describes the states of human evolution according to theory of evolution. He puts them in wrong order and he doesn't even seem to know that homo-sapiens is the name for the modern humans. Surprise surprise, he proves the theory of evolution wrong by criticizing these stages that he got wrong himself. This is just another example of his ignorance about this theory he is talking against so confidently.

5. He talks of 100s of scientists who are against theory of evolution including nobel prize winers but when he give examples, he is only able to mention one Nobel prize winning scientist. I tried to catch the name of that person but didn't quite catch his name or maybe (just maybe) this person doesn't actually exist?

All the other people who mentions, I have never heard of them and searching for their names on Internet doesn't bring-up much, unlike when you search for Albert Einstein, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and other big scientists in the recent times.

It could be just that I don't get to catch the names correctly and google isn't able to suggest anything better but I will appreciate if anyone could provide me this list of scientists.

6. He again come to "there is no proof whatsoever" and then he contradicts himself immediately after that saying "there is some proof on the microscopic level". If he had challenged the proof and/or evidence supporting evolution, that was another thing and I could think about that but simply denying the existence of any proof is simply making a loud noise about one's ignorance to me.

7. He then claims that evolution on microscopic level is not against the Quran so he simply accepts that as a fact. Thinking about this, I wonder where does Quran says that evolution can't happen on non-microscopic level? The only thing in evolution that really does conflict with Quran is evolution of man himself. So why make the difference between microscopic species and non-microscopic ones?

8. He then calculates the chances of evolution happening and comes up with a very small number. How does he do that? By completely keeping two very important facts from his calculation: 1. the incredibly huge amount of number of solar systems in this universe 2. The extremely long amount of time it took. I once saw a program on National Geographic in which they calculated the same probability with these importance facts in mind and they came up with a very big number.

9. He then goes on attacking the 'theory' that homosexuality is genetic, which he concludes by saying it is illogical. However I remember hearing the news 1-2 years ago about scientists finding the exact gene that causes a person to be homo-sexual. Not only that, they even found how it transfers from one generation to another. Anyway, this is off-topic and i don't have any reference so i'll let him win on this one. :)

10. At the end, he talks of the 'theory' that all man are descendants of one man. He says that it's just a theory so he doesn't quote it or anything but since it's in accordance with Quran, he predicts that in 100 years it will be proven. How exactly can he know that? What proof he has in support for this theory that he is comfortable with believing in that, even though it's just a 'theory'?

Looking at the history of all religions (including Islam), it's very easy to predict instead that they all will accept theory of evolution at some point, many in fact has already done so and some (Catholics) are showing signs of doing so in the near future. In fact, they will then claim that this theory was foretold in their religious books long time ago and present it as a big argument everywhere.

In the end, a very simple picture that shows one of the many evidence in favor of evolution (thanks Karl Lattimer for pointing it out):

28 comments:

R. McDougall said...

One thing non-scientists keep getting confused about when trying to talk science, is that unlike their discipline of thought: following the directions of a specific religious teaching on faith only, the words or reputation of scientist is utterly irrelevant to the science.

Darwin could have been a communist or a cannibal, and that wouldn't affect one iota his science -- it would stand on its own, refutable or verifiable based on evidence alone.

Anyone who starts their argument which anything other than an experiment that would falsify natural selection, speciation, or "macro evolution", clearly doesn't have the intellectual standing to even be listened to, as he hasn't even bothered to understand what he is arguing.

Anonymous said...

Lovely Gay smile by the way :).... The Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, "Be!" and it is. (Surat al-Baqara: 117) ........ to get the shit of evolution cleared from your head you can go here = http://www.harunyahya.com/incompatible01.php

Russ said...

I remember him from "every Muslim should be a terrorist"

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/25274_Why_Media_Only_Project_Muslims_As_Terrorist_UPDATE-_Every_Muslim_Should_Be_a_Terrorist

As far as creationism claims go, there is an excellent list at talk origins:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/

There is an excellent rebuttal of Dr Naik here:

http://www.islam.com/reply.asp?id=381583&ct=2&mn=381583

zeenix said...

> When He decides on
> something, He just says to
> it, "Be!" and it is.

Then why does Quran and Bible says that God took 7 days to create heavens and earth?

> to get the shit of
> evolution cleared from
> your head you can go here
> = http://www.harunyahya.com/incompatible01.php


Been there, done that. I have seen many videos made by this Hero of yours. Like all creationists he is also just repeating the same old arguments in different shapes and sizes, that had long been refuted.

npmccallum said...

I'm not Roman Catholic, however, I wanted to let you know that very ancient Christian writers such as Augustine, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa and others wrote complex works commenting on creation as told in Genesis. All of them treat the 7 days as, in some sense, allegorical. The only real Christian doctrines regarding Creation are:
1. God created matter out of nothing ("creatio ex nihilo")
2. Mankind is created with a special ability and purpose, namely, to participate in the divine life ("imago dei" or "Image of God")

This is why ancient Christian churches (such as Roman Catholic, Orthodox, etc) aren't typically as strongly opposed to evolution as more recent Christian sects. Creationism is not representative of the breadth and depth of thought within the historic Christian world.

Anonymous said...

The quran is a book(guide) for all of mankind and jinns. This holy book is not a scientific book. Its a guide for everyone in the world. The world is not full of scientists. There are farmers,carpenters,business men,doctors,... and the quran is also meant for them. Scientific theories need not be explained inside the quran to understand its orgin. 99% of the muslims around the world is not a muslim because of these scientific facts. And remember this book is not just for the 20th century ,but for all humanity until the day of judgement.

As of now evolution is a widely accepted fact. All scientists agree with it. But quran says that adam was the first man created. This is against the theory of evolution. Now consider that one day its proven that adam is the first human on earth, I can be sure that everyone who speaks against quran is not going to accept it. Because scientific facts can never bring true faith in a man's heart.

zeenix said...

> Now consider that one day
> its proven that adam is
> the first human on earth,
> I can be sure that
> everyone who speaks
> against quran is not going
> to accept it.

So we reject a theory that is already proven for an alternate theory that has no proof what so ever only because you predict it will be proven one day? You seem to be a very smart person.

cschalle said...

@Anonymous
You say that the Quaran (although the statement holds just as true for any religious book) is not just for the 20th century but for all time until the end of days. Well I think you point out the exact problem with them, that they want to be eternal, but for every new scientific study done it becomes more and more clear that the Quaran and the Bible where books written in a specific time and build upon the understanding (and superstitions) of the world at that time.

So yes, scientific facts can never bring true faith to a mans heart, if you by that mean blind faith in something unproven and full of self contradictions.

Anonymous said...

books written in a specific time and build upon the understanding (and superstitions) of the world at that time.

The tricky thing is that that determination applies to all scientific works, too. Our understanding of the world changes constantly; if you had asked scientists in 1900 to describe the origins of the universe, life, and human reason as best they understood it, what they came up with would be woefully (and perhaps even laughably) inadequate today. And what today's scientists wrote on the topic would -- well, for one thing, you couldn't get a single consensus document unless you let it dilute to generalities, but that's committees for you -- be regarded as archaic and full of holes in a few years' time, too. We're not better than ancient writers today; we've just got more history in the bank we can draw on than they did.

A different anonymous

shaunm said...

@A different anonymous

"books written in a specific time and build upon the understanding (and superstitions) of the world at that time."

The tricky thing is that that determination applies to all scientific works, too.

The difference between science and religion is that scientists admit and embrace this. We know our that the ideas we embrace at any point in time are only our best approximations. We expect that future generations will make more progress.

Ian said...

I have no useful response to his individual arguments, but reading through them, one point jumps out at me: creationist arguments know no borders. His stuff is nearly word for word the same as the arguments we heard in the States in the 80s and 90s. I wonder whether that would comfort him...

Somebody else already mentioned it, but talkorigins.org has an amazing collection of arguments and rebuttals to this sort of thing. You can't go wrong there. And if you still have unanswered questions, you can go to the newsgroup it spawned from, talk.origins. Folks there are extremely helpful and would no doubt love to answer anything else you want to know.

Anonymous said...

http://www.islam-guide.com/

This book has some interesting information about science in the Quran.

Anonymous said...

> http://www.islam-guide.com/
>
> This book has some
> interesting information
> about science in the Quran.

I have seen many such books and at first look they might impress you but if you read carefully, it is very obvious that they are just tweaking the actual meaning of those verses to match scientific facts.

There are very obvious mistakes in Quran that are nicely documented on this page and I don't see any reason to believe that anyone can possibly explain these mistake having read islamic websites that try to explain them but fail very miserably to provide a reasonable answer to any of these: http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/SKM/contradictions.htm

No need to read books and stuff, just open the Quran and read it. It is very obvious that it was written by a 1400 year old Arab who happen to know a lot about Bible.

-- An ex muslim who had to leave his faith once he realized Quran is nothing but a collection of fairy tales, horror stories and lies.

Donny Viszneki said...

What would be the difference if God created a universe that took hundreds of billions of years to evolve life and finally humans, or if God created a universe that exactly matched the product of those hundreds of billions of years? Is it beyond the power of the omnipotent to create something in seven days -- or even an instant -- that from a very legitimate perspective has a much longer originating process behind it?

Do not mistake "science" and "logic" as being different from one another! The word "evolution" means many different things! Software engineers (Zeenix;) know that evolution describes a generalized framework that is as applicable to computers as it is to microbiology as it is to macrobiology. There is still a difference between whether or not it is logical (and hence scientific) to conclude from the evidence available to us if evolution accurately describes the origins of species on our planet, and whether or not you believe it was all created instantaneously despite its nature as the logical product of a longer process.

That is to say: Evolution and Creationism are not mutually exclusive!

This entire contention has less to do with an apparently logical contradiction of scripture, and more to do with a general cultural divergence: dim-witted (no offense intended) religious followers find it offensive that a person might want to study something that they perceive as already having been accounted for in scripture, and it has little to do with whether or not the two systems can actually be reconciled.

No truly logical scientist would outright deny the possibility that the entire universe or any subset of it is an illusion: however that possibility is by definition simply outside the realm of observable phenomena, and cannot be studied.

A truly faithful person could see all the wonders of the natural universe as testaments to God's wisdom and power. What must be really nagging is that we -- intelligent individuals who are as skeptical of the supposed origins of existence as we are unconcerned -- are more capable of beholding His creations in a much more intimate capacity than they could ever hope for. Religious leaders find this seductive quality of science threatening, and act as false prophets in manipulating their followers down roads of contention instead of fellowship with the institutions of scientific study.

Vijay said...

He talks about the nobel prize winning physiologist called Albert Szent-Györgyi who found Vitamin C.

He wrote a book called Crazy Ape.

I haven't read it!

Please tell me he did say anything against Darwinism!

Vijay said...

I mean he didn't say anything against Darwinism

zeenix said...

Vijay, Thanks for the pointer. I searched a little and according to the readers of that book, the book is about how humans are just crazy apes. So at least it's not this book.

I am sure it must be some specific words he uttered/wrote that these creationists are holding onto as a "proof" that he was against theory of evolution.

BTW, please don't use the word "Darwinism", it's just made-up by these stupid creationists to make it look like another religion rather than what it really is: A well-established scientific theory that is the foundation of modern biology.

Vijay said...

Zeenix, Thanks for the information. Please do post if you get to read that book.

YES! It was a terrible mistake to say Darwinism. Even I dont believe in "isms". I was arguing in one of Orkut community about GOD and somehow this word came in and carried on using it.

http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=128&tid=5338080639036704374&na=2&nst=296

Adduonline said...

To prove the fallacies of evolution one has to apply rational thinking as opposed to scientific thinking simply because subject matter is not a scientific one to start with

Evolution exposed:
www.adduonline.com/articles/evolution.htm

zeenix said...

To prove the fallacies of evolution one has to apply rational thinking as opposed to scientific thinking simply because subject matter is not a scientific one to start with

And you claim that due to some random religious propaganda website saying so?

Go to the biology department of any prestigious institute in any country and say that to the researchers in there and see how they laugh at your ultimate ignorance.

Simply put, Evolution is the corner stone of modern biology and one can not do much in biology these days without assuming theory of evolution to be true. Please prove me wrong by showing me a few famous biologists in the 21st century who doesn't agree to this statement.

Also a bit of explanation of how theory of evolution doesn't fit the definition of a scientific theory would be nice rather than just claiming so.

Anonymous said...

Everyone here who is saying that, scientific facts don't bring people to faith aren't entirely true. whilst there will be some who don't, a lot of scientists have converted to Islam due to the accurate level of science seen in the Quran. The Quran talks about internal waves, the development stages of a baby through the foetus stages.

http://www.quranandscience.com/

A website for those who wish to explore this more, entirely upto you.

http://www.aboundingjoy.com/scientists.htm

http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v5i10f.htm

Thats for your scientists disbelieving evolution.

I'm not forcing my viewpoint upon you, just giving you the option to search into it more.

Anonymous said...

assalammualaikum
(may peace be upon you)

Sorry brother this site just proves YOUR ignorance regarding Zakir uncle

I just dont understand how you agree
upon when someone calls your father an ape...

zakir uncle allhamdulillah has given perfect proofs regarding the falsehood about darwin....

vikidigi said...

Plz follow the link and you will know answers to alll these questions

1
http://www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com/
2
http://www.allaboutscience.org/DNA-double-helix.htm

zeenix said...

vikidigi! Which questions does it exactly answer? All I see is repetition of lies from other creationist sources that have essentially remained the same for more than a century.

If you are a creationist, you might not be able to see it but the video I commented on very obviously is nothing more than a collection of lies & contradictory statements.

I'll make it very simple for you: Go to any biologist of your choice in the world who has (world recognised) contributions to Biology & ask him if there is any evidence at all available against theory of evolution. If he provides anything, please do let me know & I promise to concider it very seriously.

Random creationist propaganda websites are numerous but they have no value except that they are extremely good at making a creationist mind think that there is science behind creationism by very clever play of words.

adduonline said...

there is a difference between scientific thinking and rational thinking.

Anonymous said...

the Qur'an does not say that God created the Earth in 7 days.
Ignorance.

Servent of Allah said...

Science is still learning, so don't be so confident. We still don't khow 75% of our universe, so with this little khowledge don't be 100% confident. 600 years back people used to think that earth is flat and sun is orbiting earth. But in Quran it was said that earth is egg shaped and sun is not orbiting sun. That time Quran had a that challange as well as muslims. We have passed that one and will. So clever guys first learn 100% of universe instead of 25 or lower then come to talk because it is not wise to talk with low knowledgeable person or who thinks withour knowing the rest 75% we will pass!!! nfident. We still don't khow 75% of our universe, so with this little khowledge don't be 100% confident. 600 years back people used to think that earth is flat and sun is orbiting earth. But in Quran it was said that earth is egg shaped and sun is not orbiting sun. That time Quran had a that challange as well as muslims. We have passed that one and will. So clever guys first learn 100% of universe instead of 25 or lower then come to talk because it is not wise to talk with low knowledgeable person or who thinks withour knowing the rest 75% we will pass!!!

cracy idea said...

IT IS SIMPLE TO POOF THAT GOD IS NOT EXIST...
THE MUSLIM/RELIGIONS SAYS GOD CREATED LIFE BUT ATHEIST SAY EVERY THING JUST HAPPENED BY THE TIME WITHOUT ANY PLANE PLAN.. SO IF LIFE CAN COME TO EXIST WITHOUT ANY PLANE OR ANY CREATOR...
THEN HEAR WE R WITH SCIENTIFIC TECHNOLOGIES AND EQUIPMENTS AND ALL THE RESOURCES.. LETS GATHER THE SCIENTIST AND LETS CREATE A LIFE(EVEN A MOSQUITO) FROM NOTHING!!.... THEN ITS PROOF THAT GOD IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THE CREATION...
OTHER WISE KEEP SHOUTING WILL NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES......
BCZ WHAT EVER WE DO ISLAM IS THE FASTEST GROWING RELIGION IN OUR EUROPE AND AMERICA......