Posts Tagged ‘islam and evolution’

Islam And The Theory Of Evolution

December 17, 2007

The article is divided in to 2 sections: Islamic perspective of Theory of Evolution and does it disprove God?

Islamic perspective of Theory of Evolution
Research Committee of IslamToday.net under the supervision of Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, wrote about Islamic stance on Evolution. Full article can be viewed at http://islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=792

Article states:
“We as Muslims must ask: Does the theory of evolution – and likewise the theory of natural selection as a mechanism of evolution – conform to Islamic teachings or conflict with them? Is a Muslim allowed to believe in evolution as a scientific theory as long as he or she accepts that Allah is behind it? Is a Muslim allowed to believe in human evolution? If not, how can we explain the fossils of upright, bipedal, tool-using apes with large brains that have been discovered? We wish to re-emphasize that our concern here is not with examining the scientific merits of the theory of evolution. What we want to know is what Islamic teachings have to say about the idea. Whether evolution is true or false scientifically is another matter altogether. When we look at the sources of Islam – the Qur’ân and Sunnah – we see that, with respect to human beings living on the Earth today, they are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Allah also says: “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who is the most God-fearing.” [Sûrah al-Hujûrât:13] The Prophet (peace be upon him) identified the “male” mentioned in this verse as being Adam. He said: “Human beings are the children of Adam and Adam was created from Earth. Allah says: ‘O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who is the most God-fearing’.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3270)] We also see that Allah created Adam directly without the agency of parents. Allah says: “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be’ and he was.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 59] We also know that Eve was created from Adam without the agency of parents. In the Qur’ân, Allah states clearly: “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 1] Therefore, the Qur’ân tells us that Adam and his wife were the father and mother of all human beings living on the Earth today. We know about this by way of direct revelation from Allah. ”

and

“The only thing that the Qur’ân and Sunnah require us to believe about the living things on Earth today is that Allah created them in whatever manner He decided to create them. Allah says: “Allah is the Creator of all things and over all things He has authority.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 62] Indeed, Allah states specifically that He created all life forms: “And We made from water all living things.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 30] We know that “Allah does what He pleases.” Allah can create His creatures in any manner that He chooses. Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur’ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection.”

Therefore muslims believe that Adam and Eve were created without parents. However, Adam and Eve did not evolve from other species. Furthermore, there is no explicit prohibition on believing in Nature Selection or Evolution of other animals. In summary, human evolution is against Quran and Sunnah, however, the evolution of other living things is not denied by Quran and Sunnah, according to the article.

If we for the sake of argument assume that Theory of Evolution is valid, does it disprove God or disprove the concept of a “supernatural being”? Examining the complexity of life might answer this question.

Cells
Cells are made up of many organelles, which are sub-units within the cells, carrying out a certain task. Cells are many times more complex than it was even imagined at Darwin’s time. They are made up of many subunits such as Ribosome, lysosome, golgi apparatus, Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum, Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum, microtubules, cell membrane, mitochondria, nucleolus and many others. Each of these are vital for an ordinary eukaryotic cells and even for many prokaryotic cells. Professor of biology Michael Denton, in his book entitled Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, explains this complexity with an example:

“To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalelled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity(a complexity) beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man…”

W. R. Bird writes in “The Origin of Species Revisited”., Nashville: Thomas Nelson Co., 1991, pp. 298-99:
“The most elementary type of cell constitutes a ‘mechanism’ unimaginably more complex than any machine yet thought up, let alone constructed, by man.”

Every organelle, such as cell membrane, is extremely complex. Cell membrane, as wide as 7nm, consists of: a special type of lipid called phospholipid bilyer, protein channels for facilitated diffusion and active transport, glycoproteins, glycolipids, cholesterol and many other substances. In essence, we find perfection even in something as small as cells and cell membranes.

Proteins
Even biochemical molecules’ complexity is incredible. Let us examine the probability of a protein emerging from chance:

Proteins are made from string of amino acids joined together by peptide bond. A typical protein can contain around 550 amino acids, Haemoglobin contains around 574 amino acids. These amino acids must be in a specific order in the chain. However there are alternative amino acids, which can form a substitute and still result in the same protein, however this is very rare. As a reasonable amount, we shall assume that 500 amino acids have to be in correct and exact order to make 550 amino acids long protein:

Since there are 20 amino acids found in nature, chance of the next amino acid being correct would be 1/20. Thus the probability of making a protein of 500 amino acids being in the correct and exct order by chance:

(1/20)^500 (^ represents ‘to the power of ‘)
or:
= 500 * [log (1/20)/log(1/10)]
= approximately (1/10)^650

Furthermore the amino acids have to be left handed in the protein molecule. If even a single right-handed amino acid gets attached to the structure of a protein, the protein is rendered useless. If protein were coming by chance, theoretically speaking, the protein molecule would have equal number of left-handed amino acids as right-handed amino acids. However in living things, all of the amino acids in the protein chain are left-handed amino acids. Therefore the probability of next amino acid also being left handed is: 1/2.

The probability of all of those 500 amino acids being left-handed at the same time:
= (1/2)^500 (^ represents ‘to the power of ‘)
or:
= 500 * [log (1/2)/log(1/10)]
= approximately (1/10)^150

Furthermore, the amino acids are linked by a special kind of bond known as “peptide bond”. The chances of the next bond being peptide is 50%:

The probability of two amino acids being combined with a “peptide bond” is: 1/2

The probability of 500 amino acids all combining with peptide bonds:
= (1/2)^499 (^ represents ‘to the power of ‘)
or:
= 499* [log (1/2)/log(1/10)]
= approximately (1/10)^150

TOTAL PROBABILITY = (1/10)^650 * (1/10)^150 * (1/10)150 = 10^950

(^ represents ‘to the power of ‘ and * represents multiplication)

So the probability of 650 amino acids stringing together by chance and forming a protein is around 10^950, which is 1 chance in 10^950.

Genes and DNA
There are around 30,000 genes in the human body, incorrect sequences of nucleotides making up a gene would render that gene completely useless. Frank B. Salisbury writes in “Doubts about the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution”, American Biology Teacher, September 1971, p. 336:

“A medium protein might include about 300 amino acids. The DNAgene controlling this would have about 1,000 nucleotides in its chain. Since there are four kinds of nucleotides in a DNA chain, one consisting of 1,000 links could exist in 41,000 forms. Using a little algebra (logarithms) we can see that 4^1000=10^600. Ten multiplied by itself 600 times gives the figure 1 followed by 600 zeros! This number is completely beyond our comprehension.”
Robert Shapiro, a professor of chemistry at New York University and a DNA expert, calculated the probability of the coincidental formation of the 2000 types of proteins found in a single bacterium (There are 200,000 different types of proteins in a human cell). The number that was found was 1 over 10^40000. (This is an incredible number obtained by putting 40,000 zeros after the 1)

Scientists’ comments regarding “chance”
“The spontaneous formation of a polypeptide of the size of the smallest known proteins seems beyond all probability.” — Ali Demirsoy, Kalýtým ve Evrim (Inheritance and Evolution), Ankara: Meteksan Publishing Co., 1984, p. 64

“The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it… It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.” — Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1984, p. 148

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that, in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” — Francis Crick, Life Itself: It’s Origin and Nature, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1981, p. 88

Therefore even if Theory of Evolution is true, it still does not disprove the concept of God, on the contrary the complexity of life seems to necessities the need of a creator or supernatural being.

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