Google Analytics Usage Data
Islam and evolution: A defense
MetadataShow full item record
CitationDoko, E. (2022). Islam and evolution: A defense. Kader, 19(3), 899-913.
Arguably most crucial issue in science-religion interaction in the Muslim context is the relation of Islam and the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. Muslim scholars are divided into two main camps. On the one hand, Muslim scholars with more traditional inclinations think that Islam conflicts with evolution. On the other camp, we have more scientifically oriented Muslim thinkers who think that theory of evolution is fully compatible with Islam. These thinkers, primarily practicing scientists, usually either offer a metaphorical reading of some of the Qur’anic verses or reinterpret them. In this paper, I will take a middle ground and try to evaluate the compatibility of the traditional reading of Qur’an with the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution without invoking metaphorical reading or reinterpretation. We will also accept the standard scientific narrative without any distortion. First, I will defend the claim that the scriptural creation narrative is incompatible with the theory of evolution is analogous to the problem of evil, i.e., the claim that evil is incompatible with the God of classical Theism. Using this analogy, I will argue that rather than trying to find a complete and plausible account of how the Qur’anic narrative and the theory of evolution can both be true, we should search for more modest approaches which just aim to show that two accounts are compatible—similar to defenses in the context of the problem of evil. After sketching both the scientific as well as the scriptural accounts, and after arguing that the only potential conflict lies in the common ancestry thesis, I will present two such defenses which aim to show the compatibility of the Qur’anic narrative with the theory of evolution. First, the "double creation defense" involves scenarios at which Adam is created twice, once in Paradise, which is described by scripture, and the other one on Earth described by evolutionary science. As such, both accounts can be true at the same time and therefore are compatible. Second, "the multiple ancestors defense" argues that God might have created Adam out of clay directly, with his descendants reproducing with evolved homo sapiens. As such, both creation narratives coexist without inconsistency.