Monday, 7 March 2011

It Could Be Worse

I've had the occasional run-in with Christian Religious Fundamentalists. To put it mildly. They tend to have very fixed ideas about how the Universe is ordered, and tend to be highly resistant to mere facts that contradict their world-view.

But it could be worse. I've had few actual death threats, and none of them credible. Some aren't so lucky.

From The Independent:
A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin's theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.

Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled "Islam and the theory of evolution".

But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque's committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. "I seek Allah's forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused," the statement read.
But even that could be worse.
Evolution "is not a matter of iman [belief] or kufr [disbelief]," said Dr Hasan, "and people are free to accept or reject a particular scientific theory." He also attacked clerics who made pronouncements about science they didn't understand, declaring that "any such fatwas about science from people ignorant of the subject matter are null and void."

Like Christianity, Islamic opinion is divided over evolution. More than a millennium before Darwin, Muslim scientists had posited ideas about species survival and generational change that bore striking similarities to Darwin's eventual theory.

Most Islamic scholars have little problem with evolution as long as Muslims accept the supremacy of God in the process. But in recent years a small number of orthodox scholars, mainly from Saudi Arabia – where many clerics still preach that the Sun revolves around the Earth – have ruled against evolution, declaring that belief in the concept goes against the Koran's statement that Adam and Eve were the first humans.
These preachings, based on the Koran, which is the Guaranteed Last And Final Word Direct From God, about a geocentric universe cause certain difficulties for the Saudi Space Research Institute in the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology. Ibn Baz's "Textual and rational proofs of the rotation of the sun and the motionlessness of the earth" is particular;y inconvenient.-

When I last blogged about the issue, death threats had not yet been made in the West against scientists.

So it could be worse... and there are people who are working to make sure it becomes so.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

It could be worse indeed. And there are always people working to make it so.

Lloyd Flack said...

There have been death threats against climate scientists since then.

MgS said...

Perhaps slightly unrelated, but there have been a surprising number of doctors assassinated for providing abortion services.

... every one of those assassinations has been conducted by someone inspired by the screaming fundagelical anti-abortion crowd.

Anonymous said...

If we absolutly know there would not be doubt. Everyone dies, the question is "Why"?