Islam and Evolution discussion from 2010

I just found that the video of a discussion about Islam and Evolution that I took part in 2010 is available on the web. It turned into a more general discussion about science and religion as well. Ehab Abouheif, a biologist, leads off by explaining why evolution and Islam are compatible for him; I come in with a more skeptical point of view.Anyway, since I enjoyed this event, and I think of it as a good example of what can happen in the context of a dialogue between a believer and a nonbeliever, … [Read more...]

Ramadan

I'm visiting Turkey right now, and two days of my stay will overlap with Ramadan, starting tomorrow.It's a country where it's very hard to get away from religion in the best of times. (Plus everyone always assumes everyone else is Muslim.) Now, on the eve of Ramadan, it's all Islam all the time. I've already had enough. At least I'm in a big city, so I expect I'll still be able to get some food and drink during the daytime in areas tourists are likely to hang around in. … [Read more...]

Books on Islam

I occasionally get asked for recommendations about books to read on Islam, particularly if lately I've been grumbling about superficial descriptions of the religion.Usually I pull out some intro-to-Islam undergraduate textbooks. There are many good examples. But I wonder if they are really not to the point. After all, especially for skeptics, there may be little useful in learning about ritual details, the history of the Sunni-Shia split, Muslim legal doctrines, specifically Islamic theological … [Read more...]

“Ground Zero” Islamophobia

Surprising though that may be, I still run into people who think that "Islamophobia" is an illegitimate term. I don't see how anyone observing right wing politics in the US can seriously say that deep-seated irrational hatred of Islam is not a widespread problem.Mind you, Islamophobia does get used by Muslim groups and Muslim-majority countries as an excuse to attempt to stifle criticism. But then, every ethnic and religious group does that. To some supporters of Israeli nationalism, every … [Read more...]

McGill Symposium on Islam and Evolution webcast

The McGill Symposium on Islam and Evolution, where I was one of the panelists, is now available as a webcast.The first half-hour lecture is mine. If you want to get a comprehensive picture of the creation/evolution wars in the Muslim world, watch them all. … [Read more...]

Myths of Islam

As with any other religion, there is plenty of material critical of Islam available on the web today. Some of it is even pretty decent as an introduction to problems with Islam.For example, there's the "Myths of Islam" page, part of the thereligionofpeace.com web site. It aims to get beyond some of the pro-Islamic propaganda that is easily available. And the web site of a whole seems like a good place to visit, if for some reason you enjoy staying up to date on outrages committed by the violent … [Read more...]

Jihad as a misunderstanding

I'm finishing up writing a book on Islam and science. While working on it, I collected an awful lot of stuff that I can't use. This quotation, for example, discussing the early conquests of the Islamic Empire:Now they had, by the order of God, to make Islam known to the outside world, but there was no telecommunication system or press or any other mass medium of communication. There was only one course to take, namely, personal and direct contacts, which meant that they had to cross the borders. … [Read more...]

The Hidden Imam

In his speech before the United Nations last fall, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prayed that Allah (God) might usher in the era of the “Hidden Imam.” It was a curious remark that at the time I filed away and resolved to research later. Well, it’s later. The “end times” to be precise, for the Hidden Imam is an eschatological figure in Islam that will bring about a new world order:"The Hidden Imam ... will eventually leave his Greater Occultation and appear (zuhur) to the world of humanity. … [Read more...]


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