Richard Dawkins Wants to Convert Islamic World to Evolution

Well, not really. He just wants to sell some books there. But don't tell that to the editors at The Times.

None of Professor Dawkins' books, on evolution as well as religion, has ever been translated into Arabic, and his work has been heavily censored in Turkey. In an interview with The Times, he said that popularising evolution in the Islamic world, where creationist beliefs are strong, was a challenge he is keen to take up. "To be a bestseller in a Muslim country would be a personal triumph," he said.

Last year, the Islamic creationist Harun Yahya (aka Adnan Oktar) successfully had RichardDawkins.net banned in Turkey. The Turkish publisher of The God Delusion received death threats and was put on trial for blasphemy. Fortunately, the judge in the case acquitted the publisher, Erol Karaaslan, and according to the Turkish press:

President judge Hakki Yalcinkaya announced on 2 April that a ban on the book would only result in more sales, and that banning it would limit the freedom of thought.

The court cited implementations by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which argue that because the book criticised the understanding of God in the Jewish Religion it was within the freedom of thought.

As The Times continues:

Professor Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, brings together the scientific evidence that shows the theory of evolution to be true. He hopes to convince those who espouse creationism because they are ignorant of science.

"I suppose anybody who reads it should no longer be capable of thinking that the world is 6,000 years old, should no longer be capable of thinking evolution isn't a fact," he said. "I'd like to think there's got to be something wrong with people who finish the book and don't think that."

Best of luck on that.

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Science depends on facts. It depends on proofs. There is no proof or evidence for evolution. They cannot show even one transitional form. If there would be evolution, it had to be found thousands of fossils to prove that. There had to be fossils like half bird half reptile, half fish half reptile forms. But there isn't any. It has been digged about 200 millions fossils so far and they all are perfect, complete lives. So it shows us that there is no evolution, there is creation.

There had to be fossils like half bird half reptile

have you really looked at a bird? up close and in detail? i wouldn't call them half reptiles, not modern birds anyway, but the ancestry is pretty darn clear once you think about them.

heck, just look at how birds walk, with that head-jogging movement keeping their eyes relatively stationary. if you don't think that little idiosyncracy came from a small- to mid-sized reptilian, what other bloodline would be more likely to have spawned it?

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 28 Aug 2009 #permalink

Valerie,
there are numerous studies in bacteria where evolution is observed real-time. Get familiar with the topic and its associated literature first.

Fossils are illustrative examples, if you want. It just so happens that animals don't decide to die exactly where they would be preserved for millions of years, just waiting for us to discover them and reconstruct their evolution.

My sentiments echo Tobias'. Fossil preservation is extremely haphazard, especially in cases of extreme geological age. Organisms have to die in the right sediments, climate, geological region, etc. in order to be preserved through time. And then, after all that, erosion could occur or something could step on it, even. And then there is the enormous undertaking of actually finding fossils on a global scale. It's amazing that we have as many as we do. Therefore, the old creationist refrain of an incomplete fossil record is not a very well thought-out argument against evolution. Look into bacterial microcosm studies (as Tobias suggested), Archaeopteryx, or even Darwin's finches for evidence of evolution via natural selection.

Valerie's comment reminds me why freedom to write and distribute information is the only way humankind will ever be able to overcome the barriers of tribalism (i.e., us and them). Valerie may be a troll or may be a sincere person, such as a child, with no education, but misinformation has so much power on the web that even trolls and children can do great harm. Information is the only way to fight.

But too bad Dawkins puts his foot in his mouth by suggesting that anyone that can't follow his arguments is stupid. It makes me wonder if all his work is tainted by that kind of clumsy attitude.

By robinottawa (not verified) on 31 Aug 2009 #permalink

Valerie,
there are numerous studies in bacteria where evolution is observed real-time. Get familiar with the topic and its associated literature first.

Arguments such as Valerie's resemble that of persons who walk into a forest, stay there for five minutes and conclude that trees don't grow because they don't see them move at all. Even when there are trees in all kinds of sizes they still don't get it.

Why 5 minutes? Because the ratio of just looking for five minutes to a forest instead of doing that for five years is about the same as the ratio of watching the world evolve for just one century or doing that for 50 million years.

By Jan Willem Nienhuys (not verified) on 23 Sep 2009 #permalink