Debates Over Evolution and Creationism Are Headed for the Islamic World

By Eliza Strickland | December 12, 2008 8:43 am

Blue MosqueThe battle that has raged over creationism and evolution in the United States is likely to spread to the Islamic world, a scholar of science and religion argues in a new essay. But author Salman Hameed writes that the opening of a new front in the battle gives scientists an opportunity to reframe the debate. Better education, the spread of Internet access and news about U.S. controversies over evolution are provoking some Muslims worldwide to start to ask whether Islam is compatible with evolutionary theory, Hameed said. “Now is the time that these ideas are going to be solidified. We can shape it. There are positive ways to shape these ideas in which we can avert a mass rejection of evolution,” Hameed said [LiveScience].

The most fundamentalist form of creationism in the United States is based on a literal reading of the Bible, which implies that the earth and all its creatures were created by God in their present form over the course of six days; creationists say this narrative is in direct conflict with the idea that organisms slowly evolved over billions of years. However, Hameed notes that the Koran may be more compatible with evolutionary theory. One of the big evolution problems from the US creationist perspective is the age of the Earth. Logically speaking, if you believe in a 6000 or 10,000 year-old Earth, then you have to reject evolution. In the Muslim countries, young Earth creationism is nonexistent. The Koran is very vague about creation stories, specifically regarding the creation of the universe. If you accept an old Earth, then it makes it relatively easier to accept evolution [New Scientist].

In his essay in Science [subscription required], Hameed explains that evolution is taught in high schools in many Muslim countries. Still, today, only 25 percent of adults in Turkey agree that human beings developed from earlier species of animals, whereas 40 percent of people in the United States agree with this scientific fact, Hameed writes. And Turkey is one of the most secular and educated of Muslim countries [LiveScience]. He worries that evolution is becoming increasingly linked with atheism in the Islamic world, and it also sometimes viewed as a symbol of Western ideas and imperialism. Hameed says these association may cause many people to reject evolution out of hand.

No discussion of creationism in the Islamic world would be complete without a mention of Adnan Oktar, the wealthy Turkish autodidact who self-publishes glossy books that he claims disprove evolution, and has sent them, unsolicited, to thousands of academics and media outlets in Europe and the United States. Oktar has also feuded with Richard Dawkins, the British proponent of evolution and atheism: Oktar successfully brought a case against Mr Dawkins to a Turkish court, claiming that his website contained blasphemous and defamatory content. Internet users in Turkey can no longer access the site [The Scotsman].

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Science and Islam in Conflict

Image: flickr / John Picken

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Human Origins, Living World
  • Brenda Clark

    The earth was created by the only God of the universe, which is Jehovah. The bible explains that clearly in the book of Genesis, the bible may be the oldest book of history but it was published,the the times now we’re dealing with now, man was not made to direct his own steps, that why the bible was created. Be very careful of what you say, God hears you.

  • Damien

    The bible was written by men with political power and used to control the ignorant masses. Looks like it worked.

  • Derek

    Dear Brenda,

    Shut the hell up.

    Love,
    Derek

  • Sparkling Medusa

    The book of Genesis could very easily be metaphorical, not literal. It says in the Bible that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.

    I think the two theories could work very well together.

    Let’s not rule out evolution before we know more details.

    If evolution is the correct theory it does not mean you have to stop believing in God, Brenda.

  • Daffy

    The Bible also says you can cure leprosy by sprinkling the blood of a dead bird over the patient—and then dip a live bird in the same dead bird’s blood and let that bird loose in an open field.

    And that’s the literal Word of God that these people want taught in our schools.

  • logik

    God is not a being that we can name. God is the combination of everything in the universe. God is a life force known as energy. He doesnt control your life, doesnt hear your problems, because you are a part of the life force and therefore you have the ability to alter your path. ‘God’ is not in us, we are in him. Just a defined variable in the cosmological equation set to understand humanity’s purpose in our timeframe. With or without the notion of God, heaven, hell, satan, sins, etc. the universe would still exist, doing the same exact thing it does now.

    On a sidenote, i can completely understand why people pour their money into religious institutions. It’s called FEAR; fear of an existence that couldnt possibly be understood by a brainwashed, closed minded, unintelligent group of people. It really is too bad that science wasn’t underscored in your High Schools, it can really open your eyes to why things REALLY happen, and not just the convenient excuse of ‘God did it’.

    This topic could be debated for the rest of humanity’s existence. This however, is exactly what the religious institutions want. According to Neo-con theory by Carl Schmidt, you have to have an enemy image to have a society. Looks like their are plenty of societies who have enemies (ex. Christianity v. Islam). It’s all about a struggle for political power, and thats what it has been about since the conception of money. There is no way God is going to come out of the sky and verbalize to me he is right, and faith is a pretty awful form of social cohesion…. You dont even get anything out of it guys!!!

    Become your local genius and do some thinking for once, it’s time for people to wake up and smell the coffee of logic brewing in the truth of science.

  • m

    Dear Logik

    I dont pretend to have all the answers. But your fusion of Star Trek (Captain, that is a most illogical course of action) and Star Wars (Use the Force Luke!) was most amusing.

    M

    PS – logic is spelled with a “c”.

  • logik

    in the evenings M sells his body for bong rips of crack under dirty stairwells. by the way, the star trek concept for warp drive (folding dimensions to create a bubble) were pretty damn close.

    the post was merely my opinion on the matter, and i dont really see your opinion on the topic other than discrediting others.

    thanks for the spelling tip, it was meant to be facetious.

  • Gold Dragon 1968

    In reply to Brenda,
    The bible as you know it is definitly not the oldest book on earth. If you are reading it in english, then it’s most likely the King James, which wasn’t published until 1611. Most of Shakespeares plays are older. There wasn’t an agreement about what was the actual contents of the bible until the introduction of the printing press into Europe around the 15th century. Up until that point the bible was regularly rewritten and re-editted for political purposes.

    There are many older books, such as Sun Tzu’s The Arts Of War which is around 2500 years old and is pretty much unchanged from it’s original form and translated into many languages. If it had been taken more notice of in the last century then we probably wouldn’t have had as many wars.

    As to the oldest books, they would probably be some of the Hindu religious text, some of which have been traced back more than 10,000 years.

  • http://clubneko.net nick

    Re: Gold Dragon 1968 – Not only is the King James version full of the errors that had crept in over the 1200 years since the bible was written down (it wasn’t put to paper until a few hundred years after Jesus lived), it is full of things that have been added over the years – there are quite a few works by devout religious scholars who are searching for the true bible that detail the errors that have crept in over the years, and why some of them have happened. Bart D. Ehrman has some excellent books on this topic, and he’s a graduate of religous schooling.

    For the most part, errors crept in due to scribes mis-spelling words or thinking that the ignorant peasants that were commissioning them to do the writing were saying the wrong things, so they ‘fixed’ them. As their customers couldn’t read, no one would notice until it was too late. Laziness is a factor in the mis-spelling or dropping of words or what have you in the copying of texts.

    There are a few really glaring errors, thought – such as the part where Jesus is quoted as saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – that whole scene was tacked on to the end of that section. It is written in a completely different style from the rest of the section and doesn’t appear until well after the first copies of that text that we still have were written. Most of the early text we have of the bible is in ancient Greek and is no older than 400 A.D. (excluding of course the Jewish part, which is probably older than the concept of monotheism).

    This scholarly work of finding the truth in an often mis-copied (sometimes erroneously, sometimes malignantly), most-famous-in-the-world book has been going on for centuries now. The full truth may never be known, but accepting the common english-language versions of the bible as anything more than parables and fairy tales that can’t be taken literally due to centuries of errors (the bible is still being revised, after all) is just foolish in the extreme. Yes, there are good messages in there, yes it is a sound philosophical system. But as the absolute literal word of the absolute truth behind existance? Even if it was when it was first writ that could no longer possibly be true.

    Love Jesus, but love him for what he was – a progressive Jew breaking with the old traditions that had become a stale manacle on the evolution of humanity. We must seek to emulate his actions and not his words for words are easily mistook or misrepresented.

  • Gold Dragon 1968

    In reply to Nick, I have heard of a few earlier copies of new testament scripture, but i greatly doubt much, if any of it was written down before the end of the second century. Though there is a copy of, I believe it’s Acts that is in the British Library, that does not end as the later version do, with the ascention, but with Jesus going off somewhere to do good for others and a line about there being many more tales of his life. As this is one of the most fundemental parts of the bible this earlier version is generally ignored as it doesn’t fit the myth.

    If there ever was any truth to the story of Jesus, which I greatly doubt, then it has long since been lost with all the editing and in some cases blatent lying.

  • Jumblepudding

    you have to understand that all the changes that occured to scripture over the years(up to King James) were inspired directly by God!(sarcasm)After that, according to many bible-belters, is when error started creeping in when people tried to make the scriptures relevant to a society ostensibly based on reason. My favorite dietary rule from the old testament? don’t eat little owls. It’s in there. leave the owls alone.

  • Daffy

    Dang, Jumblepudding, now I have to throw out tonight’s casserole.

  • Gold Dragon 1968

    Does that mean little owls, as in the species or does it mean owls that are small?

  • Skip.

    I believe both Evolution and Creationism are correct.

    God made everything and uses Evolution to fine tune His work. Simple
    as that. Now everybody can be happy.

    One thing, when the Bible says everything was done in six days,
    I think they really mean six events, not six days.

    As I recall reading, on one day God said “Let There Be Light” but in fact
    after the Big Bang, the Universe was too hot for a Photon to exist to carry light for many millions of years. The six days must be six events.

  • LetUsRatiocinate

    Don’t know the Q’uran, but the King James version of the Bible has two distinct creation stories: Genesis 1 – Genesis 2:3, and Genesis 2:4 onward.

    They are different in the sequence of creation. Which is the literally true one?

    I am hopeful that over much time (hope it doesn’t take billions of years) irrationally injecting poetry or myth into some proclaimed/revealed canon of “literal truth” will die a natural death. Sooner would be safer for the world and its inhabitants.

  • Nik

    Purple Monkey Dishwasher. that’s all I have to say about the bible.

  • http://Yahoo nita taefi

    We all have different takes on the Bible’s version of creation. At this point, what does it matter?? We’re here now. Somehow we overcame the cave dwellers and developed into a civilization of artificial lives. Just look down on your next plane trip at the arteries of highways weaving throughout and at the choked string of traffic. I believe in God but still don’t know how we came to be. Only that superstitious illiterate people were passing down this belief of creation in 6 days. Why do we worry? We have the greatest rules from the Bible known as the Ten Commandments! If we lived by them, we wouldn’t have to wonder and think whether any of the rest is important.

  • http://Yahoo nita taefi

    Oh, one more thing! Errors in the bible? Of course there are. Many scriptures were thrown out to fit certain doctrine and there is one which I always have to point out. It’s a matter of one word that is still believed to this day where Jesus walked ON water instead of when he walked BY the water. The Bible has been interpreted and reprinted throughout the centuries as has been proved.

  • Erik

    Hey Gold Dragon 1968,
    I was interested in that Old Testament owl-eating prohibition, too; here’s a quote : ‘These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.’ (Leviticus 11)

    So it sounds like it’s a particular species called “the little owl”. You’re safe to eat baby barn owls. Also, note that apparently God thought bats were birds. I wonder if the modern faithful reject the idea that bats are mammals. After all, it’s in the Bible that they are birds.

    This is great stuff. It goes on with ‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you.’ Since all insects have six legs, you’d be hard pressed to find one that walks on all fours, so I guess we’re free to feel fondly toward them.

    After specifying lots of other inedible things, including ‘the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon’, it kind of gives up on the particulars and ends up with: ‘Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten.’ You heard it: crippled creatures only for dinner.

  • MrHappy

    But you can eat the wolds largest rodent during Lent! When Venezuelans’ appetite for capybara clashed with the church’s ban on eating meat during Lent, a local priest asked the Vatican to give the world’s biggest rodent the status of fish. People rejoiced when the Vatican agreed, declaring that capybara isn’t meat. More than two centuries later, they still consider the 130-pound capybara a delicacy and pay big bucks to put it on their dinner tables. Just another example of religious stupidity. And arrogance.

    Anyone else besides me notice that the more religious a person is, the more arrogant and pridefull they become?

    One thing I’ve always found amazing. Who did God have a chat with to describe how and when he created the universe? The 0.00000000000001% of the population that could write? And how ’bout the rest of the bible? There’s thousands of pages of almost crystal clear descriptions of the activities and words of people who were scattered accross the Middle East and Northern Africa. Pretty amazing for a population where only the wealthiest or the occasional priest could read or write. And I’m pretty sure that they weren’t following around all the people in the bible who’s words are supposedly written down verbatim. So where did the words of Moses and Jesus and and all the others come from? And oh yeah, Noah? The Ark? Two of EVERY animal on EARTH. Really? How bout those from North America? South America? Australia? Northern Europe. Southern Africa? Every other land mass in the seas? I don’t remember hearing about any ocean voyages that he did to pick up all the animals accross the earth. Not to mention, the ship would have had to have been about the size of Rhode Island in order to hold even two of every animal in the Middle East and North Africa alone.

    Then there is the Bible promoting incest thing. Ya, you heard me. Where do you think the human race came from if you belive in the bible? Adam and Eve. Gods invitation to earth and Eden didn’t say Adam and Eve and guests. It was just Adam and Eve. Sooo… Where did the human race come from? Adam and Eve have kids. Those kid have sex with each other and have more kids. Those kids continue the process, and on it goes. So, according to the bible the Human race was created through hundreds of generations of incest. How can it be otherwise? There was ONLY Adam and Eve.

    It’s sad, but every time I’m forced to put up with a religious person or group I am ashamed for humanity. The religion that claims to be so loving and forgiving and such, has been responsible for some of the greatest attrocities against human kind ever. No? Read up on the Crusades sometime. Check out what was done to (mostly) women during the Spanish Inquisition. Ever hear about the Salem witch trials? Again mostly women. And on and on.

    Pathetic.

  • Skip.

    Dear Mr. Happy:

    I agree with you. There are some things I have a problem with as well. And I don’t mean whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons or not.

    Like you said, there was Adam, Eve, Cain & Abel. I may have my facts wrong and I’m not about to go look it up, but, didn’t Cain kill Abel because he was jealous that God liked him better? Then, didn’t God command that Cain work the land for the rest of his life in some miserable fashion? When Cain said he would be killed by the animals or other tribes, didn’t God say he would put a mark or something on Cain that would protect him from the others? What others? Aunts, Uncles, Cousins?

    Wasn’t the problem between Cain & Abel due to God liking Abels offering of a sheep or a lamb or something as a sacrifice better than Cains offering of the best of his crops as a sacrifice? I’m sorry but they both offered the very best they had. I think that was cruel and set less than a perfect example. I agree, much damage has been done in the name of religion.

    Jesus probably did walk on water though. Did you ever see David Blaine levitate? It is not just an illusion.

  • http://crowlspace.com/ Adam

    Here’s a thought. The Bible says “sin” spread into all humans through one man, Adam (my namesake.) Genetically speaking we could all be related to one person just a few thousand years ago – it’s a well known population genetics thing. That doesn’t mean there was no one else around, but a specific person might have spread some kind of “spiritual death virus” to the whole world. By Jesus’s day everyone living had caught the “virus” and so that’s why JC turned up when he did to undo the damage.

    Just an idea.

  • logik

    i believe it was eve that tempted adam with the apple from the tree of sin.

  • Maven

    It is so sad to see that there are so many people that believe so strongly in the word of Bible that they refuse to open their mind to read any other book of science, specifically evolution. The FEAR of death has pushed the Homosapiens, an animal as any other, into acts as destroying the dead by burying, burning, etc. The same fear has caused the human to “create” a being to bring solice and peace after loss of a friend and family, or calm the fear of their own death. It is nice to believe in GOD and I believe in everybody’s belief in god, but I do not believe in a supreme being myself. Natural selection is the answer to the complex beings in nature. It is evidence based knowledge that let us know that we are the cousins to any other animal on earth.
    Please open your mind and read more than one book by the order of your priest, reverent, rabi, or mullah. These people are biased to keep you believe in what they say. It is the only way a glergy make “his flock” to follow their sermons. I don’t think all of the religious clergy even believe in what they preach. It is their way of making a living, it does not matter if they seek richness in matter and money or in dedication to the religion, which gives them the richness of power and content.
    Every religion says “do to others as you want to be done to you”. That is the doctrine of good human being not the belief of human, and not given down by someone human created and named JEHOVAH. Jehovah was the god of war one of many gods jewish nation believed in. I am still amazed by how in today’s knowledge and wisdom of 2008 there is still a tremendous number of people that are ready to kill an unbeliever, an ultimate sin by itself in any religion. I have not seen a doctrine of to kill a believer by a group of atheists. There is a great tendency of hate and discremination by those who believe in bible against those who believe in natural selection as the reason of life on earth, that I wonder who is following the word of passionate GOD. “If” there is something as God I bet you the none believers are the group that will be saved, as they are the truth seekers, righteous, and not liars and pretentious, as well as gentle peacemakers.
    Just read more than one book written by MAN or may be a WOMAN.

  • Zach Watkins

    Islam is a cancer and I hope American and Europe can beat it. My best wishes to my brother’s in Europe! Personally, I would feel more comfortable for Hiter’s SS then with those Islamist.

  • jim sadler

    A bit of learning will enlighten you. Many Christians both in days of old as well as today suffer torture and death as a penalty for their faith. It is not something that is to be taken lightly.
    Do not assume that Christians as a group reject evolution. Obviously evolution exists and is always in play. That simply means that God created evolution and allows it to function just as He allows gravity to function.
    Although the Bible has a time line that is off the wall keep in mind that the ancient portions of the Bible had to be delivered in such a way that people in that era could make some sense of them. A Bible that talked about a double helix, genetics and evolution would serve no purpose to the ancients.
    But what we may be certain of is that the Bible is crafted far beyond the ability of humans to write such a book. It is the most vital writing ever written and remains of ultimate import as it is the single book leading to Christ and the only hope of salvation available to any person.

  • D. Travers

    Brenda,

    The Bible isn’t the oldest book ever published. Furthermore, it’s full of older stories that predate Judaism by a thousand years or more. The Flood, for example, is lifted almost completely from the Epic of Gilgamesh – which can be found in any library.

    Open your eyes and expand your horizons beyond just the one single book you think has all the answers.

  • JAMES CHRISTENSEN .THAILAND.BANGKOK

    Very interesting comment to read on this site here.One thing is for sure. I do not believe in anything, which can not hold up, in a court rom trial.I reject all religion as a spin of power. Davidnisme-Evolution do not have a leg to stand on when compared to creationist science.Islam should stay with ALLAH and not evolution.I am so scared of Muslim, if they come and kill me, for not having the same faith of evolution as they have.I am not kidding here.

  • SC Henrich

    Fear not, the global trend is actually toward secularism despite the sqeecky wheels making all the noise…some interesting statistics here:

    http://thedailyoracle.com/index.php/religious-trends-the-growth-of-secularism

  • http://larianlequella.com Larian LeQuella

    I just love how “bible scholars” with their high school educations attempt to go against Ph.D.s. ;) Here are a few quotes from a man of science that may inspire you to read a little more than just a cobbled together collection of Bronze-Age fables. #17 and #36 in this list are my favorites, but all of them are really good.

    1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. [Carl Sagan]

    2. Such reports persist and proliferate because they sell. And they sell, I think, because there are so many of us who want so badly to be jolted out of our humdrum lives, to rekindle that sense of wonder we remember from childhood, and also, for a few of the stories, to be able, really and truly, to believe–in Someone older, smarter, and wiser who is looking out for us. Faith is clearly not enough for many people. They crave hard evidence, scientific proof. They long for the scientific seal of approval, but are unwilling to put up with the rigorous standards of evidence that impart credibility to that seal. [Carl Sagan]

    3. One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection]

    4. Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don’t practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us — and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along. [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection]

    5. I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. [Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism]

    6. In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. [Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address]

    7. The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity. [Carl Sagan]

    8. You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985]

    9. A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. [Carl Sagan, Contact, pg 244]

    10. The major religions on the Earth contradict each other left and right. You can’t all be correct. And what if all of you are wrong? It’s a possibility, you know. You must care about the truth, right? Well, the way to winnow through all the differing contentions is to be skeptical. I’m not any more skeptical about your religious beliefs than I am about every new scientific idea I hear about. But in my line of work, they’re called hypotheses, not inspiration and not revelation. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 162. ]

    11. What I’m saying is, if God wanted to send us a message, and ancient writings were the only way he could think of doing it, he could have done a better job. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 164.]

    12. Anything you don’t understand, Mr. Rankin, you attribute to God. God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 166.]

    13. The question [Do you believe in God?] has a peculiar structure. If I say no, do I mean I’m convinced God doesn’t exist, or do I mean I’m not convinced he does exist? Those are two very different questions. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 168.]

    14. The Earth is an object lesson for the apprentice gods. ‘If you really screw up,’ they get told, ‘you’ll make something like Earth.’ [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 286.]

    15. Part of my message is that we’re not central to the purpose of the Cosmos. What happened to me makes us all seem very small. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 420.]

    16. (When asked merely if they accept evolution, 45 percent of Americans say yes. The figure is 70 percent in China.) When the movie Jurassic Park was shown in Israel, it was condemned by some Orthodox rabbis because it accepted evolution and because it taught that dinosaurs lived a hundred million years ago–when, as is plainly stated at every Rosh Hashonhan and every Jewish wedding ceremony, the Universe is less than 6,000 years old. [Carl Sagan, _The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark_, p. 325]

    17. I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. [Carl Sagan, 1996 in his article In the Valley of the Shadow Parade Magazine Also, Billions and Billions p. 215]

    18. Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy. [Carl Sagan]

    19. In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed? [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, page 257]

    20. Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. [Carl Sagan]

    21. Many statements about God are confidently made by theologians on grounds that today at least sound specious. Thomas Aquinas claimed to prove that God cannot make another God, or commit suicide, or make a man without a soul, or even make a triangle whose interior angles do not equal 180 degrees. But Bolyai and Lobachevsky were able to accomplish this last feat (on a curved surface) in the nineteenth century, and they were not even approximately gods. [Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain]

    22. We should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. [Carl Sagan, on secular morality]

    23. One prominent American religion confidently predicted that the world would end in 1914. Well, 1914 has come and gone, and – whole the events of that year were certainly of some importance – the world did not, at least so far as I can see, seem to have ended. There are at least three responses that an organized religion can make in the face of such a failed and fundamental prophecy. They could have said, Oh, did we say ‘1914’? So sorry, we meant ‘2014’. A slight error in calculation. Hope you weren’t inconvinenced in any way. But they did not. They could have said, Well, the world would have ended, except we prayed very hard and interceded with God so He spared the Earth. But they did not. Instead, the did something much more ingenious. They announced that the world had in fact ended in 1914, and if the rest of us hadn’t noticed, that was our lookout. It is astonishing in the fact of such transparent evasions that this religion has any adherents at all. But religions are tough. Either they make no contentions which are subject to disproof or they quickly redesign doctrine after disproof. The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough- mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration was needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry. [Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain]

    24. In a democracy, opinions that upset everyone are sometimes exactly what we need. We should be teaching our children the scientific method and the Bill of Rights. [Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan]

    25. It means nothing to be open to a proposition we don’t understand. [Carl Sagan]

    26. There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s perfectly all right; they’re the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny. [Carl Sagan, Cosmos television series]

    27. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    28. If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p. 204 quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]

    29. If you want to save your child from polio, you can pray or you can inoculate….Try science. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p. 30, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]

    30. Since World War II, Japan has spawned enormous numbers of new religions featuring the supernatural…. In Thailand, diseases are treated with pills manufactured from pulverized sacred Scripture. Witches are today being burned in South Africa…. The worldwide TM [Transcendental Meditation] organization has an estimated valuation of $3 billion. For a fee, they promise to make you invisible, to enable you to fly. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p. 16, from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt]

    31. In Italy, the Inquisition was condemning people to death until the end of the eighteenth century, and inquisitional torture was not abolished in the Catholic Church until 1816. The last bastion of support for the reality of witchcraft and the necessity of punishment has been the Christian churches. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p. 413, from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]

    32. If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?….For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    33. At the extremes it is difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from rigid, doctrinaire religion. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    34. Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our own ignorance about ourselves. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    35. Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    36. Is it fair to be suspicious of an entire profession because of a few bad apples? There are at least two important differences, it seems to me. First, no one doubts that science actually works, whatever mistaken and fraudulent claim may from time to time be offered. But whether there are any miraculous cures from faith-healing, beyond the body’s own ability to cure itself, is very much at issue. Secondly, the expose’ of fraud and error in science is made almost exclusively by science. But the exposure of fraud and error in faith-healing is almost never done by other faith-healers. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    37. Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World]

    38. Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

    39. Virtually every major technological advance in the history of the human species– back to the invention of stone tools and the domestication of fire– has been ethically ambiguous. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

  • deb

    Why can’t I believe in creationism and evolution?? The Bible clearly says in verse one “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. In verse 2 it says the earth was without form and void. In between verse one and two something terrible happened. It does not say what happened to the earth only that God had to recreate it. Jewish history traces Adam back 6ooo years. Adam was the first Jew. The first 5 books of the Bible are Jewish history. But remember the land of Nod in the Bible. I think there were other people on earth and maybe they evolved who knows….or were created by Satan?? Or created by God before, and now He has decided to make the Jewish nation to be born into as the Messiah? There is Bible prophecy, Bible Codes, and other Bible mysteries. All I know is I believe there was and is an evolution as everything changes except God. But I also believe that only God could make a rose or a bee, and how all of nature works together. Satan is in this picture somewhere also.

  • Prof CXS

    One of the greatest things that Satan can ever hope to accomplish, is to get us to believe that “he” does not exist… therefore, neither does God… and indifference is just as bad as not believing.

    If you really look closely at all these comments, I think you’ll find fear in every one… and a curiosity to find the truth. It won’t be until we “humans” get our egos in check, that we will truly be open to all the wonders of the universe.

  • Kenneth Lawrence

    “At the extremes it is difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from rigid, doctrinaire religion.” – Carl Sagan, #33 above. That’s why the rigid, doctinaire religion of evolutionism (taught in America’s schools as the “science” of evolution) and the pseudoscience associated with this religious origins belief (also part of the “science” curriculum) have become known simply by the single term “evolution”. This bundling of the two into what appears to be a single scientific name also makes it easier to pass off both this origins religion and its pseudoscientific basis as “science”. If it was recognized that evolution is really just a pseudoscientifically-based religious belief, it would not be taught in science classes. But since evolutionists usually hold the governmental and judicial power to decide these matters, it will be some time before this situation is rectified. But not forever. A nice day to all evolutionists who will go into conniptions when they read this. Not trying to make you angry (I know how touchy you tend to get when your religious beliefs are challenged), but the truth has to be spoken at some point. KL :)

  • Larry D. Gillihan

    In the dinosaur years, God was preparing the earth for human habitaton. Genesis begins the period of human habitation, and there is nothing that says it was 6,000 years ago. This is man’s assumption, taken from the six days of the creation, and mistakenly applying the “thousnd years as a day” concept to the age of the earth.
    Science tells us the earth is billions of years old, and it probably is, but man’s part on it didn’t begin until it was ready. When man’s time came, the dinosaurs and the lush vegetation were destroyed…by an asteroid, or whatever…and the earth was left “without form, and void”, and Adam and Eve were told to “replenish” it. There’s nothing complicated about the story at all when one leaves man’s ideas out of it.
    Scientists are too wrapped up in eliminating God from the story to see it, and “church folks” are too wrapped up in their traditions to have any logic.

  • Kenneth Lawrence

    Deb, the reason there is no verse 1.5 in Genesis is because nothing happened between verses 1 and 2. If it had, God would have put the information there, but He didn’t becaue there isn’t any. But you are right that Satan is in the picture. He wants mankind to believe that we all just evolved from some slime in the ocean, and that we are just smart apes, and that there was no creation of Adam and Eve by God, and that there was no fall from innocence into sin. He knows that if he can convince people of that, then he can convince them that the Bible is untrue and there is no need for man to be redeemed from his fallen nature by faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ. Since Darwinists hijacked science, Satan has been having a field day deceiving people into believing in a billions of years old Earth and in evolution, and leading them away from saving faith in Jesus Christ, and leading their souls into destruction. Humbly ask Jesus to show you the truth about this and He will. I tell you based on years of personal research, that we have all been led down the garden path by atheist and agnostic scientists who have given the public the biggest con job in history. The supposed “science” that supposedly proves the world is billions of years old is a giant con job. Google RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) and get a hold of the RATE DVD to understand. It’s a scientific expose of the phoney “science” of radiometric dating. Listen to God as He has spoken to us in His word, the Bible, and not to fallible and deluded God-denying men, if you want to spend eternity with Jesus. God bless, KL :)

  • Kenneth Lawrence

    By the way Deb, if you want scientific proof that the flood in Genesis happened and covered the whole world and made all the fossils only a few thousand years ago (not over billions of years), Google a recently published book by Mike Oard called Flood by Design and get it and read it. It’s packed with truth that most so-called scientists are in denial of and it is very logical but fairly easy to read for the average lay reader. You might also want to Google a book I recently wrote called The Evolution Delusion and read it through also. It details where the atheist and agnostic scientists went wrong. KL :)

  • http://larianlequella.com LarianLeQuella

    You people crack me up…

  • http://larianlequella.com LarianLeQuella
  • MrHappy

    Kenneth, you are a dangerous person. And I fear for the future of any child that you convince with your idiocy. Science is about MEASURABLE facts. We are able to measure things like the decomposition of radioactive materials. These materials degrade at a specific rate that cannot be altered in any natural way. By measuring the amount of the radioactive isotopes left in a sample of specific weight we can tell to with a few years in some cases how long ago something died. And these MEASUREMENTS which can be repeated and proved time after time by ANYONE who choses do do these experiments, PROVE that the fossils of marine animals are from millions, tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of years ago. P.S. One DVD created by a religeous zealot does NOT equal science. About the flood. Did god go around after the flood randomly putting a few feet of sediment here, a few thousand there, a few miles here and there? If there was one big world encompasing flood, where is the salt layer? Do you think the ocean water would have stayed where it was? The WHOLE world should have a salt layer that follows the topography of the entire planet perfectly. And it shouldn’t be very far down since the time of Noah was only a few thousand years ago. But HEY! Guess what? NO salt layer! How ’bout that. Also, where did the water come from that fooded the planet? God conjure it up out of the air? Where did it go when god was done making his point? And, how about the miles of stone that is sometimes on top of the fossils? You don’t get thousands of feet of sediment from a couple months of flooding. How about the fossils that are dug up from mines thousands of feet below the earth in solid rock? Did God go around after the flood creating random mountains for us to find fossils under sometime in the future? You ARE aware that fossils don’t just exist on the exposed surface of the planet aren’t you? Have you ever actually looked at a geography book? By taking SAMPLES, and MEASUREMENTS, and scans from satellites that can look through the trees and dirt to the solid bedrock, we can see CLEARLY that the non volcanic mountains of our earth were created by being folded together like an accordian over hundreds of millions of years. THIS we can SEE. We can follow INDIVIDUAL bands of sediment from the bottoms of the mountains to the tops. we can see where they suddenly snap off and then continue on a mountin miles away. And, we can tell by the POSITION of the sediment and the items in the sediment whether the sediment was laid down in the position it is in NOW. Or if the land was in some other position when it formed. And HEY! guess what? The fossils that are found on the tops of mountains are often the same ages as the fossils found 10,000 feet below ground. Fancy that. There are just so many ways that I can prove you wrong. Ever hear of plate tectonics? In the middle of the Atlantic there is something called the Mid Atlantic Ridge. this is where the North American and the European plates are moving apart. This movement has been going on for millions upon millions of years. This can be measured from space. You understand the fact that when you have two refence points, with a couple of simple calculations you can find out the distance between something and something else. I’ll give you a hand, it’s called triangulation. Or is that another one of those things that science got wrong? With this meathod we can MEASURE quite accurately the distance between North America and Europe. Or we can use lasers and measure the distance to a nanometer. And guess what? They’re moving apart at the rate of about 1/2 inch per year. We can also measure this movement by examining the magnetic signature of the ocean floor. Are you perhaps not aware that the planets magnetic field “flip-flops” every 800,000 years or so? This can be measured by recording the direction of the magnetic field on the ocean floor. As the crust splits apart, magma fills the fractures. And when it solidifies, the planets’ magnetic signature is permanantly embeded in the rock. And guess what? there are numerous bands of distinct changes in direction of magnetic direction across the ocean floor. Kinda like tree rings. Easy to count, easy to MEASURE. Measure, measure, measure. THAT is what science is about. Facts. Repeatable facts. Church is all about… God works in mysterios ways don’t ask questions.

  • Bibliographic Test

    Caesar wrote Gallic Wars in the time frame of 58-50 B.C. Yet, the earliest copies – 10 total – are from A.D. 900. Time span 1000 years from Caesar to earliest original copies and yet it is taken as FACT that Caesar wrote it.

    Thucydides wrote Histories in the time frame of 480-425 B.C. Yet, the earliest copies – 8 total – are from A.D. 900. Time span 1300 years from Thucydides to earliest original copies and yet it is taken as FACT that Thucydides wrote it.

    Catullus wrote Poetics in the time frame of 84-54 B.C. Yet, the earliest copies – 3 total – are from A.D. 1400. Time span 1500 years from Catullus to earliest original copies and yet it is taken as FACT that Catullus wrote it.

    Plato wrote Tetralogies in the time frame of 427-347 B.C. Yet, the earliest copies – 7 total – are from A.D. 900. Time span 1300 years from Plato to earliest original copy and yet it is taken as FACT that Plato wrote it.

    Tacitus wrote Annals in A.D. 100. Yet, the earliest copies – 10 total – are from A.D. 1100. Time span 1000 years from Tacitus to earliest original copy and yet it is taken as FACT that Tacitus wrote it.

    Pliny the Younger wrote Letters in A.D. 61-113. Yet, the earliest copies – 7 total – are from A.D. 850. Time span 800 years from Pliny the Younger to earliest original copy and yet it is taken as FACT that Pliny the Younger wrote it.

    Suetonius wrote Life of Caesar in A.D. 75-160. Yet, the earliest copies – 8 total – are from A.D. 950. Time span 800 years from Suetonius to earliest original copy and yet it is taken as FACT that Suetonius wrote it.

    Homer wrote Illiad in 850 B.C. Yet, the earliest copies – 643 total – are from 400B.C. Time span 450 years from Homer to earliest original copy and yet it is taken as FACT that Homer wrote it.

    The Gospels of the New Testament of the Christian Bible were written in the time frame of A.D. 60-90. The earliest copies – 15,000+ total – are from A.D. 200, 325. Time span 140-265 years from original text to copies currently in existence, and yet there is skepticism as to its authors.

    There are about 5000 Greek manuscript copies of the New Testament. If you include the Latin, Syriac, and Coptic copies of the four gospels the number rises to 15,000.

    “To express skepticism concerning the resultant text of the New Testament books…is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as is the New Testament”.

  • MrHappy

    If I were to write a work of fiction that I wanted others to believe and relate to, I’d use the names of real cities and real rulers to pad out my story too. Are Shakespeare’s works considered FACT because he uses the names of real cities? Just because… IT IS WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE does not make it fact. Is the earth the center of the universe? Does the sun circle the Earth? Here’s a link for ya. It contains a list of just a few of the inconsistancies within the bible itself. WITHIN the bible. Where it contradicts itself. All on it’s own. If the Bible was created by God, then he must have been having a bad nanosecond that day. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html
    And how about the billions of humans who existed for millions of years before the first chuch or preacher? Did every human before the time of the church go to Hell because there was no church to guide them on the correct path? And talk about arrogance! According to the church and the bible, the Earth, the entire universe, and everything in it was created for humanity. Do you truly… No, ARE you even capable of comprehending the size of the universe? Remember, God is EVERYWHERE! So that means EVERYWHERE in the UNIVERSE. This universe is ~140,000,000 light years accross. Can you comprehend that? The distance around the earth about 25,000 miles. At the speed of light you can circle the Earth 7&1/2 times in one second. One light second is the distance light can travel in one second. (186,000 miles per second) A light year is the distance it can travel in one year. 140 million light years is the size of the universe. 140 million. Get that yet? Do you have any idea how ARROGANT it is of you to believe that the ENTIRE universe was created for humanity??? No to mention how arrogant it is to believe that a being that is capable of CREATING an entire universe would have any interest in spending every second of it’s existance listening to people beg for help in their prayers. And there’s anothere fun one. God, if it exists, CANNOT be a HE. It can only be an IT. Unless God is not the first of it’s kind. If it is a he, then there must have been a SHE for his HE. Otherwise, what’s the POINT of being a HE. Doesn’t the bible state that Adam was created in the image of god? And isn’t God always referred to as He? Well then, I guess if He is a he, and Adam was created in Gods image, then your god is NOT the First, Last, and Only. He must have been BORN from a She-God. Otherwise why is He called He? To be the One God negates the need for sexuality, yet He is He? Chew on that one for a bit.
    Oh yeah, and by the way, the Bible is NOT the first book ever. Papyrus scrolls were still dominant in the first century AD, as witnessed by the findings in Pompeii. The first written mention of the codex as a form of book is from Martial, in his Apophoreta CLXXXIV at the end of the first century, where he praises its compactness. However the codex never gained much popularity in the pagan Hellenistic world, and only within the Christian community did it gain widespread use. This change happened gradually during the third and fourth centuries, and the reasons for adopting the codex form of the book are several: the format is more economical, as both sides of the writing material can be used; and it is portable, searchable, and easy to conceal. The Christian authors may also have wanted to distinguish their writings from the pagan texts written on scrolls.
    Here’s a picture from Pompei from about 79 AD of a woman holding a book.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/Herkulaneischer_Meister_002b.jpg
    Get your facts straight. Oh wait! Sorry, you can’t. You’re religeous.

  • MrHappy

    Sorry! 140,000,000,000 light years accross. Billion with a B. My bad. But I can admit it ’cause I’m not religious.

  • JAMES CHRISTENSEN .THAILAND.BANGKOK

    I am a bloody evil SATAN worshipper. (I am the true embodiment of a real demon from hell) But in the name of SATAN, I have som question for you to answer MR./MRS/MISS…”bibliographic test”. I understand you have to defend your faith from the bible.But where did you get your sciencetific facts, that the autors identity to the bible is true. And all the “billions” of copies there have been produced, since the time of christ.And where did you get your sciencetific facts of that timespan( timeframe) you referer to? …..I apologise if I in any way have offende you, or embarrassed you in any form or shape. Please forgive me, and do so,in the name of your Jesus christ and also pray to the lord for my salvation.( I need a few million dollars in dowry to marry an 8 year old streethooker here in bangkok)

  • Roberto Ruth

    From the time I was old enough to read, I had been reading the bible. To tell you the truth. the reason I don’t believe in God is because I read the bible. I’ll admit all my values come from this so called holy text, and I have learnt much from it. There’s simply TO MUCH life on this planet, to much intelligence and the universe is just to vast for us to be the “children of God”.

  • Science

    Bravo! Bravo! Religion was created to avoid thinking things through and finding a logical answer. With an “almighty” to supervise we can go ahead and say “it was god”. This unreasonable shortcut disgusts me.

  • herb

    Religion was created? By whom? When? Sounds like a strawman argument to me.

  • Maven

    Mr. james christenson, I am so sorry for you. Not only you believe in an nonexisting Satan, but you also believe in a man created God. Both being caused by human imagination. But also you are a pedophile. Please seek some scientific medical treatment. May the New Year 2009 be an eye opening time for you.

  • shg

    Lets all make peace here.If you believe in God you believe in evolution in satan or all.One must want love and human realtionships in life.Let that be a reason not to fight.Happy New Years

  • Kenneth Lawrence

    “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. John 3:16

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Roman 6:23

  • Barry Johnstone

    Perhaps the statement “Religion is the opiate of the masses” is correct. That this debate seems to be almost permanent is indicative of the falsehood of creationism and evolution. Us humans will never be completely united while religion exists, because it is so divisive, judging everything on the basis of what isn’t – rather than what is. I think it was Lenny Bruce who said something along the lines of “truth is what is, not what should be. What should be doesn’t exist, therefore it’s a lie”

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