A RESPONSE TO DR. HAIDAR BAGIR on DarwinismeOctober 28, 2008 at 10:18 am | Posted in Artikel: Wawasan | 9 Comments
A RESPONSE TO DR. HAIDAR BAGIR
An article by Dr. Haidar Bagir titled “Islam and the Theory of Evolution – A Response to Harun Yahya” has appeared in the magazine Republika, which is published in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. In this article, dated March 14, 2003, Dr. Bagir criticizes the author’s books and writings on the theory of evolution.
We would first of all like to express our delight that our Muslim brothers in Indonesia have great interest in and support for Harun Yahya’s works. In this way, Indonesian Muslims have once again revealed their enormous sensitivity to matters of faith, the basis of Islam, as well as displaying the exemplary behavior befitting believers.
Dr. Bagir’s article is also a most auspicious development. Even if we do not share the views he expresses, he has become a means whereby this important subject has once again been brought onto the country’s agenda.
Dr. Bagir’s errors in his article can be briefly summarized as follows:
1) Dr. Bagir writes that in his works Harun Yahya criticizes the theory of evolution on two basic grounds; “theological and ethical”. This claim totally ignores the wide-ranging scientific evidence of the invalidity of the theory of evolution set out in the author’s books and articles, such as the fossil record, the genetic similarities and differences between living things, the effect of natural selection and mutation mechanisms, and the irreducibly complex systems in living things. If the writings of Harun Yahya about the theory of evolution are to be criticized, this should first of all be done with respect to the scientific evidence, which represents the foundation of his works on this subject; yet Dr. Bagir disregards these.
2) It is true that the author also deals with the religious and moral aspects of the theory of evolution. Yet the criticisms offered by Dr. Bagir in this regard are not correct.
First of all, it is required to shed some light on the matter which Dr. Bagir seems to have misunderstood. He believes that the respected author employs the connection between Darwinism and philosophies and ideologies such as materialism, fascism and communism as evidence against Darwinism. That is not the case. In none of Harun Yahya’s books and writings has the logic “Darwinism supports harmful philosophies and ideologies, therefore Darwinism is wrong,” ever been constructed. What shows Darwinism to be wrong, and which is ignored by Dr. Bagir, is the scientific proof.
The link between Darwinism and such ideologies and philosophies as materialism, fascism and communism bears an enormous significance from the point of view of demonstrating why Darwinism is such a major problem. Some people are unable to discern this important difference, and are unable to see why the intellectual struggle against Darwinism should be a priority matter for Muslims. The philosophical and ideological fruits of Darwinism demonstrate that this theory is not a scientific theory or hypothesis, and that it alters people’s and societies’ entire world views, and these changes go on to have damaging results. People and institutions who see no harm in Darwinism would doubtless act with greater sensitivity were they to grasp the theory’s philosophical and ideological dimensions
3) The criticisms made by Dr. Bagir on religious matters generally rest on an attempt to draw a parallel between the theory of evolution and Islam. Yet this parallel is deceptive.
First of all, the claim that the Qur’an contains an account of creation compatible with the theory of evolution is incorrect. As Harun Yahya has established in considerable detail in his book Why Darwinism is Incompatible with the Qur’an, the Qur’an contains no account of living things evolving from one another in an evolutionary process. On the contrary, the Almighty Allah reveals that He created living things with the command “Be!” in other words in a miraculous manner (Qur’an, 16:40). In the verse “Allah created every animal from water.” (Qur’an, 24:45), it is revealed that living species did not emerge by evolving from one another, but that Allah created them all from water. It is furthermore revealed in the Qur’an that man is not descended from another creature, but that Allah created him, in a miraculous manner, from clay (Qur’an, 15:26).
It is true that certain thinkers in Islamic history have supported the theory of evolution, and Dr. Bagir relies on this fact. Yet that is not to say that every individual with the name of “Islamic thinker” in the history of Islam actually thought correctly. Indeed, during the Abbassid period in particular, some Muslim thinkers were heavily influenced by ancient Greek philosophy and became caught up in a number of non-Islamic ideas. Those who defended the theory of evolution were again those same thinkers, or were influenced by them. Among these thinkers were some who were so influenced by ancient Greek philosophy as to deny the existence of the hereafter. The debate between the great Islamic scholar Imam Ghazali and Ibn-i Rushd, who had been influenced by ancient Greek philosophy, is of great importance on this subject. Ghazali invalidated the arguments of Ibn-i Rushd, who tried to build a parallel between the Qur’an and ancient Greek philosophy, explaining that Muslims could never regard any non-Islamic source as comparable to the Qur’an, and that the only absolute truth was the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It can be seen that Harun Yahya is a firm believer in this view of Ghazali.
4) One feature of the age we are living in is that the absolutely true judgments of the Qur’an and the Sunnah have been affirmed by evidence revealed by science. This is explained in the works of Harun Yahya.
One argument employed by Dr. Bagir to show that Darwin’s theory of evolution is compatible with Islam is his portrayal of the Darwinist principle of “the survival of the fittest” as compatible with the Qur’an. This is a great error.
Let us consider the following paragraph in order to grasp Dr, Bagir’s error:
Back to the issue of Darwin’s theory, we in fact can learn from the principle of “survival of the fittest”. In fact, the life of Muslims – be at individual, national, or international levels – are governed by this principle. Muslims, being still less fit up to this day, have fallen to the victims of other nations (remember the tragedy of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Chechnya?).
In other words, Dr. Bagir considers the worldview adopted by certain powers which oppress Muslims to be a just, right and correct one! Starting out from the cruelty of the oppressors, he is saying, “Look, there is cruelty in the world, so cruelty must be right!”
Yet there is no doubt that the fact that the Social Darwinist mentality is a powerful one in the world we live in still does not mean that it is right. On the contrary, one of the fundamental differences between Muslims and the cruel, is that the latter are Social Darwinists and the former are just, compassionate and tolerant.
Dr. Bagir also maintains the need for Muslims to support Darwin’s principle of “the survival of the fittest” if they are to be a power in international relations:
Ideal Islam, as frequently shouted by people, as a religion which is ya’luw wa laa yu’laa ‘alayh (to overwhelm and not to be overwhelmed) can only possibly be achieved when we meet the requirement contained within the principle of survival of the fittest.
In my view, it is clear that this is a most mistaken analysis:
a) Of course Muslims need to be strong, yet there is a world of difference between being strong and Darwin’s view that “only the strong survive.” Muslims need to be strong because they are charged with bringing justice to the world and protecting the poor and oppressed. They are responsible for protecting not just the rights of their co-religionists, but also those of members of other religions, and freeing them from oppression. It is most surprising that Dr. Bagir should have drawn a link between Islam, which envisages “being strong and bringing justice to the world,” and Social Darwinism, which believes in “being strong and oppressing others.”
b) It is also quite evident that Muslims have no need of inspiration from Darwinism an outdated, 19th century theory, in order to be strong and defend their rights. At no time in the 1,400-year history of Islam, beginning with our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his companions have Muslims ever drawn inspiration from a dogma such as “the survival of the fittest,” but have rather taken the Qur’an and the Sunnah as their guides. Today, too, Muslims need no other morality, wisdom or guide than the proper morality Allah taught in the Qur’an.
5) Another claim made by Dr. Bagir is that Harun Yahya adopts a “suspicious, if not nihilistic” approach to modern science, in other words that he opposes it. Everyone who studies the works of the author, who enjoys a great worldwide readership, will see that this is a false imputation. On the contrary, considerable space is devoted in the author’s works to science and the results produced by it. Dr. Bagir’s erroneous evaluation on this subject stems from the fact that he regards science and the theory of evolution as being equivalent to one another. The fact is, however, that there is no such equivalence. Just like other 19th century errors, such as Marxism or Freudianism, Darwinism is a dogma imposed on science. Harun Yahya, and a great many other thinkers who use scientific criteria to criticize the theory of evolution, is attempting to free science from that dogma. Far from opposing science, this is actually serving it.
This is the response to Dr. Haidar Bagir’s claims in regard to Harun Yahya. We hope that this debate will have an auspicious conclusion by once more bringing the invalidity of the theory of evolution onto the agenda. We offer our thanks to Republika for allowing us to respond, and our deepest respect and affection to the Indonesian people.