Channel: Mohammed Hijab
I'd like to start by giving everybody a
form of prayer. May God's peace and blessings be upon every single one of you. And welcome to tonight's discussion. And I think it's a very important topic. It's an important topic between believers, atheists, skeptics, and those in between. The discussion tonight will examine whether the belief in evolution disproves the existence of a creator, and how Darwin's theory of evolution is utilized, understood, and conveyed in contemporary society. The structure is going to be very simple. We're going to have approximately 20 minutes each from each of the speakers, then there'll be a discussion between the speakers followed by a question and answer session.
Everyone is mature.
Everyone is polite, everyone is tolerant. Everyone is compassionate. Everyone is a decent human being. We've all evolved to become an adult. No. All right. So basically,
let me introduce our respected speakers we have on my right, Professor, Jeremy Pritchard. He's an active biologist and a senior lecturer in the School of bio Sciences at the University of Birmingham. His research career started in Wales and currently he focus focuses on aphids in Birmingham, with stops in the USA, New Zealand and Europe. He has published in many prominent journals, including the Journal of Experimental biology, global change biology and biotechnology letters. His expertise is in how plants grow and are affected by changes in environment, the stress, including insect pests.
His expertise is also in evolution and creationism, and he teaches and in teaching and learning strategies at the school and university, he's a card carrying Darwinist. I don't know what that means. Maybe we'll find out today and is involved in teaching evolution at all levels from primary school to university of the Third Age.
Please give him a warm welcome.
Also, to my right, we have support Ahmed, he is a well known public speaker and writer who has debated prominent academics on philosophy and science. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in philosophy, and has a particular interest in the philosophy of biology and is specializing in this field. He is also the co author of a forthcoming book called failed hypothesis, essays on the philosophy of science, atheism, consciousness, Darwinism and Islam.
I don't know who's going first. I do apologize, Professor, Professor, if you don't mind. Please the audience. Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, so nice to be here. Nice to talk to you about this question wasn't quite as specific as you just
as opposed to me was, does evolution undermine God? And
in my philosophy, No, it doesn't. So, you know, we can all go home.
Now, I have beliefs and not beliefs, and I have a view of the world. But I thought what would be useful is to briefly, if we're talking about the relationship between religion and science, I thought it would be useful to briefly give an overview of how I see sciences coming to where it is now from, say, the ancient Greeks. Okay, because I think unpicking an understanding where we are now and how we look back helps us understand that the type of question that you're posing tonight,
so Darwin's great insight, from my view, is that he provides us with the so called tree of life. He provides us with a coherent view of how organisms are related, how they've changed through time. But importantly, and people often overlook this, how all organisms are equal, at the ends of the branches of these trees of this tree. before Darwin.
people tended to think about the organizing the world, the living world and then the inanimate world as a hierarchy.
With some things higher than others, and better than others,
Darwin's theory joins ideas that we largely accept today are a mechanism of biological change
over the history of how we came to the position that the that we accept, largely today.
The history of this is not the history of how the mechanism developed the the ideas that Darwin had, but whether change had happened at all,
biologically, or even in the geological world.
What I'm going to argue is, in fact that the development of those ideas of change was dangerous to society. And that to some extent, that was encapsulated in the relationship and the developing relationship, and to some extent, the existing relationship between science and religion, science and God. So the Greeks, for example, would look at the world and see the world like we do, organisms all around them, they would see stones, beetles, worms, people, maybe even the gods, and they would organize them, they would see that there was some things were simple, some things were complicated, and they would organize them into a hierarchy, like a ladder. It's simple things at the bottom, and
complicated things at the top.
Important thing about this ladder is it's static, you can't move up. Okay, so it's not like a escalator and new Street Station, although they're often static these days, as you may well, well know if you take the train through new Street. However, the important thing about this is this disconnected the living world, it was what we refer to as the grid the Greeks refer to as the great chain of being, and it gives us an organization, it means that things are not random. But it gives us some things that we carry through today, often in error, for example, that complex things are better, which isn't necessarily true. And it gives us this idea of progress that we could strive to
move upwards. Even though this, this ladder does not move. So there's some concepts there that I subsequently picked up in, particularly in western medieval society. And in Western society, at that time, in the medieval time,
it was a feudal society, and you had all the money or the power at the top of that hierarchy, with the slaves, the serfs of workers at the bottom with very little money, it's in the interest of a society like that, that nothing changes. Because if things change the people in power, lose some of that power, that influence
and this you can argue, is encapsulated in, in the Bible story, in the creation story in Christian thought, in which the world is created in six days, and then remains like that, subsequently, things are constant, things do not change. Things are always apt as they have been, and to the people at the bottom of the pile, you will receive your reward in heaven.
So change is dangerous.
And if you want some evidence that that that is the case, of course, at this time, it was the burgeoning of the of the Islamic science Golden Age. And where people working like philosopher Al biruni, working on lots of things very famous practical to create a named after him on the moon, dark side of the moon. So you have to go around the lunar spacecraft to see it.
But he was thinking about lots of things, including simple things, what we might recognize is simple that rivers erode valleys and carry the silt down the mountain and deposit it in a Delta at the bottom. Rivers change the environment gradually, very simple idea. And through a convoluted series of
pictures because of the library, Alexandria burning down and the Moors and the Christians in southern Spain, or libraries in Granada and so on. These ideas came to be picked up in the West and developed and that they be picked up being used from the Greeks through Alberni back to the west.
And these were picked up in the 1200s by the Pope. And these were recognized as dangerous ideas because they were ideas about change. Very simple, we might think, and they were banned, because the logical conclusion of that if you follow it through is changes happened. And what it says in the Bible is not in fact, true.
So ideas have changed, dangerous,
even in the West at that time, there was
People studied nature, but they didn't study it. And it's the basis of modern science, what we refer to as natural theology, that we studied the living world to study the creation and therefore get to know God better. And in this, we have people like Linnaeus, philosopher, scientists, slightly naiise, who give us the definition of a species, they look at the world, and they see that there are some things that are pigeons. There are some things that are eagles, there are some things that are donkeys, and they're, they're different. They're definable, and they're always the same. And we can say, we can therefore give it a Latin name, Homo sapiens, whatever, because we can define that
thing, and it remains the same.
So he gives us this idea that species are fixed, and he gives us clear species description. So it well defines that that word.
And that is the framework into which natural theology, the study of the natural world comes along.
it gives us even the idea of that we can,
natural theology can can be used to almost argue for the existence of God. So the idea of the watchmaker argument that if we look at a watch, we would deduce that a watchmaker had designed it because of its complexity and its function. And we have, we can have the same, the natural theologists would argue the same about observing something complex, like an AI, that has clearly been apparently designed in order to see in a complex way, and the designer, therefore is God. So intelligent design was one of the consequences of that.
But we're not
there at the moment. Now, things have changed in in the way that we view the world. And, in a sense, the seeds of that change was sowed, in a way by Linnaeus, because by describing species, very clearly, people started to be able to see that the world wasn't random. But that there were if you looked at the species, and organized them, some species were more similar to each other than others. So the eagle is more similar than it is to to the to the pigeon, than it is the donkey. And so as an organization starts to emerge. And so what people start to say, Well, why are some things more similar to each other than others.
And one of the answers was, descent with modification from a common ancestor saw there was a common ancestor and ended with changes to this ancestor, there was a split between our two species and so on down. So that diversity comes from descent with modification from a common ancestor, there was not
a mechanism for that, necessarily, it was just a description of Earth potential phenomena.
And other things happened. Galileo removes the world from the center of these perfect universe, the perfect spheres. The microscope sees new worlds in drops of water, voyages of discovery to the other side of the world, see by sea organisms, animals not mentioned in the Bible, and so on. And within society. We started particularly in Birmingham with the lunar society, we started to get ideas about change in society, the lunar society, a group of people used to meet in Birmingham discuss ideas, ideas about changing machinery, ideas about change in society, anti slavery campaigners, for example, in the lunar society, which ties into Darwin's ideas about equality of organisms, direct
links there. But these ideas again, were still seen as dangerous. So the lunar society, for example, some of the lunar society, their houses were attacked by mobs and they were burned down in Handsworth because they were thinking about change, and people, particularly in England, so change is dangerous. Because in France, there was revolution going on one of the most serious sorts of, of change changes dangerous.
So at this point, we had, then a world in which
either the world had been created, and then things like volcanoes and earthquakes happened, catastrophes. And so the world was created, but then pockmarked by these catastrophes, people could see volcanoes, people could see earthquakes.
But then people were also picking up those ideas about gradual change, things sort of things that Albania talked about, that gradual change happened, and we had a phenomena called uniformitarianism. In that the world that we see about it with the processes that operate in the world in both the geological and potentially the biological world, are the same process.
cities that have always operated, there is a consistency. There isn't this big bang, and it's changing and we wait for the next earthquake, things change gradually over time.
So I'm obviously skating very quickly over this. But once that change, particularly in the biological world has been established as a fact, then you have to think as a scientist about well, how do we how does that work, we describe something and what's the mechanism by which which that change occurs, and do a lots of suggestions about this. And Darwin himself comes up with a theory that we now use as the baseline today, and it's very simple. Darwin noted that more individuals were produced by most organisms than can possibly survive. And so there's a lot of them die.
He noted that individuals have different from each other, that individuals vary.
And he also noted that
those variations are inherited.
The key thing is that he suggested that
the possession of a certain variation might allow you to survive, rather than another one. So the chance of survival of those overproduced individuals is not a random process. It's a process if you like, in inverted commas of selection, some of them are selected by the environment to survive in sunlight. So if it was cold, and you had a set of organisms, some who randomly had furry coats, and some of them who didn't, the ones who'd furry coats would survive because they can keep warmer, their survival is not random. They just survive, because they can keep warm because randomly they have a tag.
at the time Darwin was writing,
the Victorians viewed the world as a, if you like one view of it as a pastoral it'll, it was a beautiful place, nature was lovely. We had lambs gambling, in the field trees, we had grass and waterfalls, bird singing,
beautiful place to be
a lot of the reaction to these mechanistic ideas about biological change, come from a reaction against that, how can beauty be created by death, and destruction. And so this is why you may be familiar, you've may be familiar with the phrase, but if not the poem, but the phrase nature, red in tooth and claw by Tennyson. And it's essentially a diatribe, probably too strong word, but a cry of despair, from a man who feels that his religion has been taken away that God has been taken out of the equation, because God has now been separated from the from the physical world. And it's interesting, actually, and I didn't realize this until quite late, because I taught Tennyson's poem
and this Friday, which is reflected this debate that was going on in society at the time, I thought it was post Darwin's publication that Darwin published in 1859. But that poem by Tennyson was published in 1842. So it wasn't just Darwin, who came up with this, these ideas have been developing and recurrent in people's thoughts for a while.
that the idea, I think, wasn't just in that brief overview, and obviously, it's loads of information. I think my colleague probably knows a lot more about an IT. But I think it's interesting to see how we move from,
or the development of science comes out of that natural theology, that religious view of the world. And there's a separation there
potentially depends on how you want to live your life what your philosophy is.
And I think people like Thomas Aquinas, the Christian philosopher, actually articulated that quite well. That you can only come to know your God by revelation. Whereas the net, you can't come to me to understand that, through observation of the natural world, these two things were separated. And I have Christian friends that I speak to about this. And that is their view. That is their view of their world that they study evolution. They're comfortable with it the processes that we may talk about later. But their their their religion is a personal internal thing. And their God is is not physically in the world like that.
Not my not my words, words of other people. Anyway, I hope that is an interesting overview of where I see some of these ideas come from
interested in people's thoughts in the follow up, thank you for listening.
We're gonna start as Muslims do Assalamu alaikum Peace be upon you. First, I'd like to thank Professor Jeremy Pritchard for taking part of this dialogue. And also the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, Whoever doesn't thank the people does not Thank God. So alongside him, the Birmingham ISOC, and also beacons of sanctity and all of you tonight for attending. So we start in the Name of God, the Lord of mercy, the giver of mercy.
So I'm going to pretty much Of course, I'm going to agree with Professor Jeremy pictured here that Darwinian evolution does not undermine God, but maybe for different reasons, which we can discuss. Now my case is the following. Darwinian evolution does not undermine God. Evolutionary Biology works in a neutral framework in a metaphysically neutral framework. What does that mean? That means they are dealing with real life problems which impact every single person in this room and every single person in the world, which is antibiotic resistance. They are not involved in trying to spread atheism. They're trying to stop the spread of bacteria, humbler? Not humbler, greater goals? And to
when we actually speak about evolution, what are we actually referring to, because evolution can mean many different things in many different contexts. So we're actually speaking about Darwinian evolution, which is the twin claim that all of life, bacteria, human beings, leopards, Lady Gaga, everything going back goes back to a single common ancestor. Alongside that, how did this change happen? How do we get how do we get from bacteria? To elephants? How do we how do we have a link between philosophers and primates? It's actually through the mechanism of natural selection. Now, I'm just going to be frank about my position. I believe Darwinian evolution to be a valid scientific
model theory and paradigm, I do not believe intelligent design or Creation Science or anything like that is a valid scientific theory. Now, that's what this debate is, what this debate is actually about is about the PR problem that is associated with Darwinian evolution. Now the problem is, there is a difference between the public understanding which some of us have, and the academic understanding. Now the public understanding this looks like a pretty much atheistic theory. For example, in the very popular book, sapiens, written by the atheist biologist, Yuval Noah Hariri, this is what he says, there are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no
laws and no justice, outside the common imagination of human beings. Now, that is a statement written in a science book by a scientist. But clearly that's not a scientific statement. Or take the late evolutionary biologist and atheist philosopher, Julian Huxley, not to be confused, not to be confused with th Huxley, but he was his grandson. This is what he wrote in his book, religion without Revelation, this was published in 1927, a long time ago. But
this particular statement, I believe, is very important for reasons which you might mention later on.
It will soon be impossible for an intelligent, educated man or woman to believe in a God as it is now to believe that the earth is flat. So again, we have an evolutionary biologist, writing for the public. And the statement obviously, is not a scientific statement. And take the most popular atheist manual, if you like, or book that we have in the world, The God Delusion, the central argument of The God Delusion is based upon Darwinian evolution. And Richard Dawkins is a great writer and one of his most I think it's his best work the blind watchmaker, which is actually what made him famous. He actually has this statement, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually
satisfied atheist. Now, again, this is a book about science written by a scientist from Oxford, but it is not exactly a scientific statement.
And why this is important is because this is the view that I'm going to be challenging today. I do not think this is a view which is even shared by Darwin, because Darwin was never an intellectually satisfied atheist. In fact, Darwin said, it seems to me absurd to doubt that
Man may be an audit theist, and an evolutionist. Now, Darwin had a very complex sort of relationship with God. And we need to take into account the words of john Headley from Oxford University a professor of science and religion there, we should be careful about pigeonholing a man who wouldn't pigeonhole pigeons. So I'm just gonna be pigeon holing him for sake of brevity. But we can go into details about why he went through those transitional changes later, he first off started off as a Christian. Now, as a Christian, he actually wanted to at one point as Professor precharge nozel, he may have briefly spoken about, he actually wanted to become a priest. Later on, he became a deist.
Now what is a deist idea is to somebody who believes in God but does not believe in religion, he just believes in God. Later on in life, he became an agnostic, because of the problem of evil, so nothing to do with science. What's really interesting is Darwin actually said, in my most extreme fluctuations, I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of God. In fact, this is a very interesting incident, when a reviewer wrote a review about Darwin's book origin of species. And he said, this conception that the creator makes the initial creation, which then evolves naturally into all the forms of life that we have today is just as noble have a thing for
God to do as for God to create every species individually, Darwin was so impressed by these words, he actually included it in his second edition of the origin of species. So clearly, he was not an intellectually satisfied atheist. And I don't think he would agree with this sort of taking his theory and making it into a theistic type of theory. In fact, he explicitly wrote and this is in a book, a very important book, I think, written by Nick Spencer, Darwin and God. Darwin particularly wrote, I had no intention of writing atheistic Lee. Now, I believe Darwin is correct and the popularizers like Richard Dawkins and Julian Huxley and others are incorrect in regards to theology
in terms of undermining evolution, undermining the existence of God. Because of the conflation of two types of naturalism. There is methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. Now, methodological naturalism very simple. We're all scientists, we walk into this science room, and we all have a working assumption. Whenever we look at nature, we're going to use natural effects being explained by natural causes. Very simple things, we're not going to refer to them as an immaterial mind, the soul God, anything like that. The second type of naturalism is philosophical naturalism, which is outside of this room as a belief system. We only believe that nature exists and there is no
God, there is no soul, there is no objective morals or anything like that. Obviously, these are two different things. One is a working assumption in science. And two philosophical naturalism is actually a belief. Now, methodological naturalism is actually very controversial. While it's not controversial, it's been made to appear controversial. But this is the very reason why I mentioned earlier that I do not believe intelligent design as a theory to be silenced because it's not in line with methodological naturalism. Now what Elliot soba, an atheist, prominent philosopher of biology, where he explains about this particular conflation as this evolutionary theory is neutral in regards
to the second definition of naturalism, which is philosophical naturalism, he only adopts the first
he also has a very important statement about this, the theory of evolution does not really does not rule out deism the thesis that God starts the universe in motion and forever after declines to intervene. But the theory does not also rule out a more active God whose intervention into nature fly under the radar of evolutionary biology. So this is very important to understand what whenever a scientist is working within his field, a reference to God or anything, metaphysical is something that they obviously cannot do. And Scott Todd has a he's another evolutionary biologist, and he explains this in I think, in a bit more clearer terms. Even if all the data points to an intelligent
designer. Such a hypothesis is is excluded from science, because it is not naturalistic. So that's methodological naturalism. Of course, the scientist as an individual is free to embrace a reality that transcends naturalism. So just to give you a brief example, Darwin was against slavery, he actually hated slavery, he considered one of the great evils. Now, obviously, raw is not something which is based on science. That is his philosophy that is, you know, a view that he holds doesn't nothing to do with methodological naturalism because from a methodological naturalism point of view,
evolution has made us be mortal, purely as a collective fiction to help us survive. Now, obviously, you can have moral views outside of holding methodological, naturalistic views. Now, the idea that evolution undermines god that's obviously been cleared. But I want to do in my last couple of minutes is focus upon, I think, a more important question, which is, does evolution undermine the Abrahamic God? Because obviously, as we mentioned earlier, it doesn't undermine the deistic concept of God, it doesn't undermine the theistic concept of God, but does it undermine the Abrahamic conception of God? And the answer is very simple. Yes and no. It's Yes, if somebody has a
misunderstanding about what science can achieve, and if somebody thinks that science gives us absolute results, which do not change, no, if they have an academic understanding of science, if they actually understand the philosophy of science, which is that science gives us working models about the world, which are then replaced by other models. And science has a working assumption of methodological naturalism. And it also has many other multiple assumptions in the theories they actually proposes. This is explained Well, in philosophy of science, a new introduction by Oxford University, this is all mainstream stuff by the philosopher gillean, Barca and Philip kitcher
sciences revisable. Hence, the talk of scientific proof is dangerous, because the term fosters the idea of conclusions that are graven in stone. So whether you are going to do some complicated language, I can explain a bit later whether you hold the view of scientific realism, or what's known as scientific anti realism, both camps and this is a pretty much consensus in the philosophy of science, that science doesn't give you absolute results which are written in stone. Theories can be revised theories can be changing. If you look at the history of science, if we look at chemistry, physics and biology, we have this constant evolution, we have this constant change like the
professor was highlighting. This is even highlighted by the Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins, in his book or devils Chaplin, we must acknowledge the possibility that new facts may come to light, which will force our successes of the 21st century to abandon Darwinism, or modify it beyond recognition. That's the first time I mentioned the word Darwinism. So if you, we need to separate out some things. Evolution simply means biological change of time. And Darwin proposed the idea of universal common ancestry, along with natural selection being the main driving force, but as the professor pointed out, the idea of common ancestry or universal common ancestry was known before Darwin, in
fact, Professor Mani Williams from Oxford University, a professor of Sanskrit at the time of Darwin, he actually said the ancient Hindus were Darwinist 3000 years before Darwin. So the idea of universal common ancestry goes back obviously before but Darwin proposed the actual mechanism, which is sometimes referred to as Darwinism sometimes referred to as Neo Darwinism.
So we should not neglect the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of science when we are trying to understand these issues. So Darwinian evolution does not undermine theism deism, or even the Abrahamic God, you can be somebody who believes, and I actually know of Muslims who are working within the field of evolutionary biology. They're working with the Quranic paradigm, which is that if you save a life, you save the lives of all when evolutionary biologists are working across the world, they're trying to save lives. They're not involved in these sort of theological disputes. So you can say yes, common ancestry in some aspects in terms of the tree of life, not all obviously,
but in some aspects may conflict with my personal belief, but I can accept it as a valid scientific model and contribute to this field. Now, Darwinian evolution, according to a mainstream understanding of the philosophy of biology is a framework which is based on a probabilistic framework, which has assumptions and they are valid disputes are conceptual, and a scientific level. Now, philosopher of science, philosophy of biology, sorry, Eliot, sober, he explains this in his book, evidence and evolution, published by Cambridge University, again, a mainstream textbook on this issue, the philosophy of biology, and he explains the Tree of Life is based on a probabilistic
framework. So like the professor was mentioning earlier, things look, we should look similar. There's the assumption that they have a common ancestor which is known as homology, but that assumption of homology is something which has a
Which has no arrival. But there is a complexity in there, there is a challenge in there, which is homoplasy, that we have similarities at biochemical level at a genetic level, at a anatomical level and linguistic level, and even at a psychological level, which are not due to common ancestry. So, what he says in regards to this is both of the following thoughts are therefore, naive.
Humans and chimps must share a common ancestor because they're so similar. And humans and mushrooms must have arisen independently, because they are so different, there is no must within a probabilistic framework. Now not to take his words, our context, he does believe in human chimp ancestry. And he does believe it to be true in the literal sense. What he's saying here is from a scientific point of view, from a philosophy from a philosophy or biology point of view, what science can lead you to is, is based on a probabilistic framework, there are also assumptions within the theory. It is based upon the assumption of gradualism. And also that natural selection is the main
mechanism. But obviously, there are other things at play, like genetic drift, and that mutations are random. They It was a conference in 2016, in November, in the role with the Royal Society members where they came together, the oldest and the most prestigious society in the world. And the central question that they were discussing was, was Darwin right in terms of natural selection? Now, some of the biologists were saying, Yes, yes, some of them were saying no. Right. Now, as it stands, I would say the vast majority of biologists across the world believe Darwinian evolution is the correct mechanism. The reason why I'm highlighting these changes in these differences, is to show that
that's just the way that science actually works. And till today, we still have biologists like Masatoshi Nye, and like Eva Blanca, who are trying to put forth mechanisms, which they believe are alternative to Darwin, such as Neo mutation ism, and neo lamarckism. Now, I am not endorsing any of them, I am only highlighting that they exist. This is to show that that's the way that science actually works. Now, the view that somebody can actually hold, as I mentioned earlier, is the view that you can accept Darwinian evolution to be a working model theory paradigm, you can accept that this particular theory is based on a probabilistic framework, which has assumptions, and these
disputes are conceptual, and a scientific level. We can accept it as the best thing that we have currently in science, but not to be absolutely true. So you don't have to accept it theologically. Now, the late atheist philosopher of science, David stove, he was an atheist and eminent philosopher in his book Darwinian fairytales, he was a critic of Darwinian evolution. But he mentioned something which I think we can agree with whether we agree with Darwin, we don't.
Darwin's explanation of evolution, even though it is still the best one available, is not true. So what's he basically saying here? Like I mentioned previously, there's two particular ideas here. There's universal common ancestry, which is pre Darwinian, but Darwin also endorsed it. And there's the Darwinian mechanism. So he's referring to the Darwinian mechanism, he thinks is the best one available, but it is not true in the absolute sense. So just to summarize, evolution does not undermine God. This is based on a conflation of two types of naturalism, methodological and philosophical naturalism. Evolution does not undermine a deistic concept of God a theistic concept
of God. And no, does it undermine an Abrahamic concept of God, this is based on the misunderstanding that science gives absolute truth. Science is based upon what is known as the problem is based upon induction, where you take a set of observations and you make a general conclusion. Now, you can always have a new data which can challenge your previous data. And you can always have a new interpretation, which can challenge your previous interpretation. So the problem of induction is a reason why science can never give you absolutely, absolutely certain results, which never change. In fact, there was an interesting discussion with the philosopher, Steven law, and Richard Dawkins,
which you can watch on YouTube. And a question asked Richard Dawkins, how can we be certain in science when it's based upon induction? And he said, Well, science works. The problem with that is is induction so you can't use induction to prove induction. That's circular reasoning. David Hume, who highlighted the problem of induction still took science as a working model. We still have the problem induction in science today, but it doesn't mean we throw out the baby with the bathwater we go with the science leads us but we don't have to accept the results are absolutely certain now
What I'd like to end upon is a statement of Darwin from like the, like I mentioned earlier, the book by Nick Spencer, Darwin and God. Now, Darwin had a very complex relationship with God. And he had some very interesting philosophical ideas about freewill and predestination, and so on and so forth. But there's one aspect which I really wanted to highlight, because when I read this, in that book, I just thought, Okay, this, I, I can resonate with Darwin here, because this is the type of all a type of all when a person looks into nature, as God says in the Quran, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for those with intelligence. So when
someone looks into nature, it should be something which brings them closer to God. So Darwin said a statement which I really felt close to, I cannot persuade myself, that electricity acts that the tree grows, that man aspires to the loftiest conceptions, all from blind brute force. Everything good I have said is from God, every mistake is my own. Thank you very much.
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters and friends.
I learned a lot. I've been writing notes a lot from Professor, then a lot from brother support. Thank you for that.
So now is the time for us to have a brief discussion, I'm going to slightly move my check my check, I will have a check. And my chair either backwards. And if you could just slightly turn here, professor. So I think the way to start this off is with a question from yourself, Professor just so boring, just have a discussion. And if there's, if there's any swords drawn, I'm in the middle. So I'm going to be a silent spectator for now. So professor?
I mean, I agree with most of what he say. I mean, I can't think of anything specifically. I don't. I, I think the ideas about Darwin that he talked about are right. I mean, I think I think he he didn't want to be a clergyman, I think he was part of a society in which people of that class had to look for.
He studied medicine in Edinburgh, and couldn't stand the sight of blood. And when his father found out that he wasn't going to be a doctor anymore, he pulled his money, and brought him home. And for somebody of his class, I think being a cleric was the next thing he could go shooting and click beetles, which was one of his things. And so he did actually qualify, because as a, as a religious religion. But just before he had to go back to Shrewsbury and find a church, he managed to get himself a birth on the Beagle. And the whole course of his life changed. I mean, no, I mean, I haven't got any specific rapier like questions sure to defend against, I mean, just a discussion.
Yeah. But so I mean, I in my diary for being a scientist, and being somebody who, I did some work and putting together an idea, but these ideas of how change came about. And I'm quite fascinated by the idea that these ideas of change are dangerous, and they influence what we, the way we interpret these things now.
But I tried to trace it through and look at people writing about this stuff. And, you know, through the 1700s, and looking, where did Darwin's ideas actually come from, and they, you might disagree, but I can't see anywhere where they just, they're part of a sequence, he seems to have that insight himself, building on the stuff of others, but he builds something new from what was lying around. And this idea that before, even Lamarck, for example, talked about hierarchies and ladders and things, he made a lot of move. But he still got a hierarchy. And I think, I think I think to Darwin does does come up with this, this new stuff with the tree. And I like the idea that you talked about
about slavery that was very important to Darwin. And there are some new biographies about him. Where that's a drive that idea of equality. If you look into the origin of species, the only picture is that of a tree, but it's not a tree, like we would have with the branches around. It's flat. And I think that's deliberate that everything on the end of those branches is equal because it Darwin's time there were philosophies around that there were 27 different species of human which, of course, was promulgated by the West as part of the dominant imperialist. Yeah, I mean, it's interesting, you're speaking about Darwin's belief, his disbelief, not disbelief, because he never became an
atheist. But his doubts about God started with the death of his basically daughter, right. And also his son passed away two days before he actually gave his paper to like the Royal Society. And what's really interesting is that, throughout near the end of his life, he became an agnostic because of the problem of evil, but he was constantly going back and forth. And what's interesting is that
Eliot sober writes about him that he's a methodological naturalist. So he said, Okay, that's like nature. I can't like, I'm not going to assume that God intervenes. But he was never settled with the idea that
this is all purposeless. That is that there's the universe is all the product of some sort of blind, brute force, right? What I'm really interested in is why he became a beacon for the sort of secular atheist sticks or crusade against religion, and Christianity in particular. And today, when you mentioned Darwin's personal beliefs, people are very surprised that like, okay, so he's no longer, you know, pigeon holed as the, the head of the sort of movement. And when when I read works, like, if you consider it works, The God Delusion, and you just find dominant, Darwin so prominent in there, and I think Darwin would not be happy with that, with his name being used in such a manner.
Yeah, I think that's right. I mean, I think Darwin has become the cipher that we defend. And you know, we'd all you can't say that because Darwin said it in an almost, you know, religious fervor sort of way. It's worth remembering Darwin was wrong about a lot of things. The sixth edition of the origin of species.
Actually, Darwin was, which is the last one that Darwin contributed to. Darwin was searching for a mechanism. Because you mentioned Neo Darwinism, which is the synthesis of modern genetics with Darwin's ideas about differential survival. He didn't really like the phrase natural selection, because it implied a selector, whereas it's actually life or death, depending on the environment. And Darwin, Darwin was looking for a mechanism by which this variation is inherited, and lummox ideas which were obviously wrong about inheritance of acquired characteristics, the classic thing of a giraffe stretching its neck to reach some leaves, and therefore, then having an offspring with a
longer neck had been disproved before, if you cut the tail off a mouse, it doesn't have a baby with no tail. If you lose your finger, you don't have children with no fingers. This inheritance of quite characteristic isn't true. But Darwin came up with an idea and puts is called germ mules and Pan Pan Genesis. And it's in each in the origin of species has been disproven. Yeah. And it's it. Although it's interesting. I, I used to think that and I'd still do broadly, but I set my first year students in essay called Islam, our is epigenetics the new lamarckism Yeah, because there is there for those of you know about genetics, that your genes could be switched on or off, because it's cold or warm,
and helps you adapt to the environment. And people have now finding out that some organisms, their offspring, B, they plants or people have an altered, those genes are still switched off. So the environment, they've acquired a characteristic because of the environment, and then they pass that on to their offspring. And by some definitions, that's lamarckism. Yeah, of course, it doesn't cascade down the generations in the same way. And it doesn't change the genetic code is definitely not progressive, because that's one of the ideas of Lamarck, which, you know, we don't have evidence for that things are getting more and complexities, obviously, confusing. But what's really
interesting is when it comes to actually lummox ideas and and you know, the way he was ridiculed for almost 200 years, if you read Darwin, Darwin actually flirts with the idea of acquired characteristics. He's finding it difficult to understand the inheritance process, because there was no mechanism. At the time Darwin was writing, Mendel had done his genetics. So the genetics was there. But nobody realized the significance, partly because Mendel was talking about round and wrinkly peas. So you, you were either this or you were this. Whereas as you said, in your presentation, we're talking about gradualism, and that you can't be a little bit more wrinkly. So
the genetics was wrong. It was qualitative changes, rather than quantitative changes. And it wasn't until later that we came to understand that genes can have many effects, and many genes can have single effects. You know, so many genes affect your height, for example, you wouldn't be this tool or this whole, this whole gradation. And when that came, people realized in the 20s and 30s, that that was,
could be combined with that was the mechanism, then we get the Neo Darwinism is, as you say, the paradigm today, you know,
what I think very important for people to take away as well is the distinction between methodological and philosophical naturalism. Because that is, I think, central to the whole confusion between
science undermining God, Darwinian evolution undermining God, and this is why I think it's very important to bring in philosophy of science within science. This will
narrow the gap, as you know, between the popular understanding and the academic understanding and also that
It'll help people to appreciate that there's different ways of looking at the world is not just, you know, let me just put on these lenses of science, right? There's other ways of actually acquiring a truth. I remember a few years ago, I had a conversation with someone.
And I said, Do you believe in God? And he said, I believe in science, he said, in a very religious way. But you know, can science pay your bills? Can science tell you what's right and wrong? Can science tell you if you had if Plato existed? You know, that's testimony. So there's many different routes of knowledge. And I think this is why it's, science has done so many great things in our contemporary society, that, you know, we, we just put all our eggs in that one basket. So how do you see that sort of playing out in the next couple of years? And the way people think? Well, I think I think the key point is the one that you made when you spoke about about uncertainty in science and
proof. We can never prove anything in science, because we work with statistics, we work with probability. So you know, and that's why scientists don't come up very well on a radio when they're against a politician. You know, and you say, Well, if I, if I eat this food, will it give me cancer? And somebody might say, yes, it does, because it happened to my child, and scientists will say, well, and the interviewer will say, Well, does it cause constituent? Well, it might do.
And you might be one in 100 chance, or there are so you can't say it doesn't, you know, and I think that that understanding of sciences, as a way of dealing with uncertainty and trying to, in a way Sciences is, is a way of understanding how uncertain we are, yeah. in, in, in something that we observe.
And, and, and that that's how we we organize the world? I think, I think I think the thing, the thing of the interesting thing, we haven't really touched on some of these ideas, but when you mentioned a bit about morality, for example. So as an evolutionist, I would, I would want to be able to what we call reverse engineer, any characteristic. Okay, so you would say, and I don't like using the word why, in in an evolutionary context, I try and persuade people that evolution is should be saying, how does something improve the fitness of an organism? What is the selective advantage of that? Not? Why does a bird have wings by but we use it as shorthand. Why is a philosophical
question. But why does a bird have what he says, having explained himself, a bird has wings, because if it has wings, it can fly away and not be eaten. And the genes for having wings will be maintained in the population. That's a reverse engineering idea that sets up a hypothesis. But we can also set up
we can reverse engineer anything, it doesn't mean that that thing has a function. So you could say, what's the point of a chin? Right? Well see that is, but
what what is the function of a chin? Well, it might have no function, you could think of a function, you could probably ask you all you could come up with different ideas sets about, but a chin may be just the result of development in a way our teeth are and how our jaw has to be. So not everything, as you said, has to be have an evolutionary explanation. I mean, we also have, like,
Stephen Jay Gould, wrote about this extensively, we have these so called malade mal adaptations that we have this evolutionary byproducts. And, you know, the chin may be a byproduct of this, or whatever the actual hypothesis is. But this is why it gets very dangerous when someone takes scientific ideas, and then tries to understand morality through them. Like the philosopher Michel Roos, he says about morality, that this is an illusion created by the genes. Now, this is actually quite dangerous territory, because imagine telling a 15 year old, you know, in the inner city, Birmingham that your morality is the illusion of your genes. I mean, that is not going to go down to
Well, yeah. So we should be careful about what science to take its conclusions, and then use that as a sort of acid to burn away theological ideas. Yeah, you know, there's there's many different ways of looking at the world. Yeah. And I think it's very, very important to separate those out. And one thing that we should, you know, try and do as, as educators, as people who want to narrow the gap between the public and the public and academic understanding, is get people to start reading because we just listen all the time, you know, you hear someone say, I mean, how many times have you heard, this is the gene for x, but you will never find a credible scientific journal saying, okay, that is
the gene for, you know, bad behavior. So, we need to educate ourselves in that. And we need to understand that, for us to actually just to benefit from science is not enough. If you really do want to be grateful to science, then we should understand how it works, and also the philosophy side of it and what the philosophers actually say about what is based upon what they can achieve and what it can actually achieve.
I think that's right. I mean, I think I think it's an interesting discussion to have about morality. And and freewill is you touched on, because our brains give us a much more nuanced view of the world. And we have a view of the future, we have a view of the cell of ourselves, we have empathy, which most organisms don't have. And it's important for society and our previous evolution in groups and to be successful in the environment, which we came through as a group where we could share tasks.
But that that also gives us a responsibility and an opportunity. And if there was a gene, that meant that you didn't have empathy, and there are people who, who lack empathy.
And there may well be a genetic basis to that it isn't a single gene, it will be like your height or combination of genes. But you know, does that make that person evil or not evil? Because it's not their fault. And that that is a moral issue. And there's also legal distinction, if you have a gene that makes you do something, and you and you kill somebody, are you guilty of murder? Or is it not your fault because of your genetics, and that, that, because of where we are in our evolutionary trajectory, in a way, it's a curse, it's a responsibility, because you have to develop a philosophical, moral view that takes that biology into account, because we are more complicated. Not
only that, I mean, that's it, that's very interesting insight, but also that when they are scientific ideas, those scientific ideas have a basis. And that basis, if you give someone that scientific idea, without giving them that actual basis, then they can use those to actually run away and come up with conclusions, which don't make any sense. Like when
the famous Selfish Gene book came out, some people misinterpreted that as a type of
vindicate vinification of morality, right? It was like, okay, we, we can be selfish, greedy, as good. But anybody who understands the philosophy side of things will understand, okay, Wait, hang on a second, that's based on the idea of The Selfish Gene, which is that the gene is the unit of selection. And that basically, that's just a model that we have within population genetics, and you cannot get a lot from an is even just a naturalistic fallacy. People don't get that people don't get what is based upon what the framework is, what you can't do, and we what you can do, you just get the you know, we even have the joke in the office, sometimes when someone's doing something very
selfish, we say, Oh, it's The Selfish Gene. Right. And that's why it's, it's very, very important. It's very, very important to have these sort of discussions where people from a background of science and philosophy can come together and say, Okay, let's try and mitigate the difference between the public and the academic. The idea of altruism is something that's, that was a big problem in the development of evolutionary theory, because you, as you say, that you get your genes through to the next generation is the objective if of evolution if I can give it a face.
But we see altruistic behavior where an organism might sacrifice itself or spend energy that it could have spent on itself, helping somebody else to reproduce. Right. So I mean, you know, a bird might, it's been observed that if birds are bringing up a fledglings in a nest, that another bird might help them out, why would that bird help them when it could go and have its own nest and get its own genes through to the next generation. So it looks like altruistic non selfish behavior. But of course, the reason is that bird is related to the other birds. And while it might not be in a position to have a nest itself, maybe it was too late and getting a food or nesting site. By helping
its parents have more success with its own eggs, it's getting more of its own genes through to the next generation, even if they're not in the bird itself. And I think that's some of the of the Selfish Gene. Just about The Selfish Gene, though, you say this gene is the unit of selection, one of the things that Dawkins gets wrong there is the gene isn't the obvious selection, because the consequences of all the genes working together to make a body that's what the environment sees with a woolly coat or not a woody coat, and that's what lives or dies, not the individual genes. And this is also very important, because the Selfish Gene idea was WD Herman hammer Hamilton, he popularized
it, and it's been dominating evolutionary biology for decades. And when your Wilson's book came out to social conquest of Earth, and he challenged that with his alternative group selection, there was a big online spat which I'm sure you're aware of with Richard Dawkins and Elliot. So
loosen Wilson so they're having this old dispute.
I'm only sort of interested in this whole philosophy side of things. Yeah. So we're having a shift, according to some in evolutionary biology about the unit selection, is it selfish? Or is it so? Is it the gene? Or is it group? Now, what's interesting is that when they're going back and forth, so Richard Dawkins, obviously very upset, you have The Selfish Gene idea. And he's, he's got the social conquest of the earth group selection idea, when they're going back and forth online. This is when a philosopher can watch Okay, what's going on? So there's two scientists having this old debate. And the interesting thing about the debate was, it was about not accepting a paradigm change, because
that's sometimes hard for scientists to do when they're stuck within a paradigm. They're looking at the world through that paradigm. Now, eo Wilson, got very upset because of Richard Dawkins challenging him on that particular issue. And Richard Dawkins says, you know, you shouldn't read his book, and eo Wilson replied back saying, Well, you know, science worked in this particular way, where, you know, it was all about votes, right? Because, you know, Dawkins got all these people saying, These are the people who actually support me, he said, we would still be burning things believing in phlogiston. And using geocentric maps. So sometimes scientists and, and credible
scientists can get involved in discussions, because they get stuck within a paradigm and Thomas Kuhn wrote a very important book about the scientific structure of revolutions, is that sometimes scientists can get involved in what's known as normal science. So they're getting involved in this process. And they're looking at the world through a paradigm. And then big when a new paradigm comes like say Darwinian evolution is being as a mechanism is being challenged by neo lamarckian evolution or Masatoshi, nice new mutation ism or, or evolution by self, by genetic engineering, by forgot his name. So any of those paradigms? It's actually according to Thomas Kuhn, a almost impossible
religious experience, right? To change from one paradigm to another because it's been working so well. And we saw this at the beginning of the 20th century with quantum theory, and classical mechanics, Newtonian mechanics, that some of the scientists just did not want to accept and plate tectonics. Yo, I will have to
do a paradigm shift right now. And I think it's time we have about seven minutes for question answers. That was an amazing discussion, I think around applause for that.
So we're gonna take it from the floor. We're gonna start with questions for professor. And then we'll move on to questions for the board. Or if you have questions that apply to both, they can both answer as well. So
first question. Yes. The gentleman at the back with the hand you Yes.
Okay, good. For the sake of the audience, you didn't hear that? If science doesn't undermine God, why do people like me? And you refer to Dawkins and others? Why do they continue to basically push this narrative? So professor?
You'd have to ask Dawkins, I mean,
I mean, I think I think he's put himself in a very radical position. Yeah, I'll come clean, right? I'm an atheist. Right. And I had an experience when I was very young, in school, being told by a priest, you have to believe this, or you go to hell. And I used to lie awake at night, forcing myself to believe and I couldn't. And it wasn't until I was 15, that I resolved on this. I don't have to do this. So for me, I don't it doesn't. It doesn't worry me. For Dawkins, I don't know. Maybe he's got some issue. I don't know.
I mean, he doesn't. I like him a lot. I like I don't know, the man. But I mean, I like what he writes. And I think it's provocative, and it stimulates debate. And that's helpful. But I think the position and we were talking about it earlier, I think the position that you can know everything for certain is not my experience of science, it's about dealing with uncertainty. And you could push everything back and to naturalistic processes all the way to the Big Bang, if you wanted to, you could make those arguments was before that. I don't know. I think they're natural processes that we don't understand them. I never understand. It could be gold, but I don't think it is but it could be
so I think you can't know that.
You can know by faith, but you can't know it by study.
Question for support. Yes, sir.
Okay, good question. So as I mentioned,
This evolution doesn't obviously undermine the, the deistic concept of God, the theistic concept of God, does it undermine the Abrahamic concept of God? Now, evolution can mean many different things. So for example, in Sub Saharan Africa, you we have people with certain mutations, which can actually, they become immune to malaria. That's the type of evolution if you like human evolution, so what you actually particularly talking about is human chimp ancestry. Which, if you look at the tree of life as a whole, as a Muslim, looking at the Quran, you can't say much about the tree of life in general. So the, the, you know, the whale may have had
a, a mammal like a common ancestor, right? We can't say how many origins right Darwinian theory at the moment says one, but in terms of the human, chimp ancestry and the Quran, Quranic scholars say, That's not possible that, you know, wherever you are, relate this species, that species, that's not possible. So how do you reconcile that? Because that is obviously a direct conflict in one particular area. Now, the way I see is is not a conflict. It's a conflict if you believe science gives you absolute certainties, because you have two different ways of looking at the world. So one way of looking at the world is this, okay, I'm only going to use science. Now, what does science
actually say about human chimp ancestry? Regardless of what you hear on, you know, YouTube videos refuting evolution, there's this scientist to disabuse this scientist disagrees, is actually a complete consensus amongst evolutionary biologists that human chimp ancestry is, is true. From a lack I mentioned earlier, based upon the assumption of homology, their similarities are due to common descent. That's there, there isn't. There's no skirting them. So how do you reconcile that? Well, if you believe that that's based on a probabilistic framework, right, and that's based upon the assumption of homology that similarities are due to common descent. And, like I mentioned
previously, we also have the problem of homoplasy, that we have similarities at biochemical, genetic and anatomical level, which are not due to common ancestry. And this, there's lots of evolutionary biologists have written about this. So you'd actually have to do a sort of epistemic weighing. Right. So we have science, which is based, which is giving us one particular idea, which, as Elliot sober mentioned, is based on a probabilistic framework, which is based upon the assumption of homology, which is also based upon the assumption of methodological naturalism, which is also based upon the assumption that natural selection is the driving force, which is also based upon the
assumption that random mutations is the fodder for that natural selection, and so on and so forth. I'm not knocking that I'm just saying that's just the way it is. And you have the Quran. Okay, so which one do you go with? Do you say, Okay, let me throw out the baby with the bathwater project science completely. You could just say, Well, okay, I'm a Muslim, I believe the Quran is true, I believe is personally true, because of these particular reasons, I believe it because of this particular miracle of the Quran, or this particular prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him or whatever. So you have that sort of thing, then you have this. So you can say, you know what,
I'm just going to accept it as a working model. I'm going to accept this as valid, valid scientific theory model paradigm, I'm going to work within that field, and contribute to that field. And I'm going to do what God wants us to do, which is to save lives. What's very important is not to do what actually happened in I'm not gonna mention the name of the university in London, where there was an evolutionary, a class on human evolution, and the Muslim students walked out, because they said, This conflicts with our faith. Now, how are you going to live in the world? If If there's something in science which conflicts with your worldview, and you decide, right, because this scientific idea
conflicts with my personal worldview, I'm just going to work out work out, you're obviously not going to get very far. So the simple thing is, accept it as a working paradigm accept it as valid science. Do not you don't need to get rid of your theological beliefs. And also understand that human chimp ancestry, to be honest, in terms of science is a very small discrepancy in terms of the Quran. In science, there's a much bigger discrepancy, which existed in the 50s. In the 50s. The vast majority of biologists are sorry, physicists, in fact, all of them believed in the static state model. They believe the universe is eternal. It always existed and always will exist. Even Einstein,
Niels Bohr, all these great guys right? Now, the static state model says the universe has no beginning. And they obviously had scientific
predictive model predictions which came true and so on and so forth. Now that contradicts the Quran which says the universe has a beginning.
Now, what would you do if you're a scientist in the 50s? reject the science refuse to do physics? No, you'd carry on you'd say, Okay, let's see where this goes. later on. The Big Bang came and that's more in line with the Quran. 50 years from now, the Big Bang may be replaced by the static state model. So what do you do? You simply do an epidemic wing, you don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, what we shouldn't do and I believe and I'm gonna be very frank about this. I don't believe Muslims should be supporting intelligent design. I see a lot of them
I don't believe we should be supporting Creation Science or any of those things. And I don't believe that those discussions which happened, like Dover in America, and so on, and so forth, where they've made the universities and the schools into a battleground of religion versus science, and they've even taken this at a level where even the Vice President of in America, Mike Pence, you can watch a video of him actually trying to get rid of Darwinian evolution and replace it with Creation Science, just just googling it. This is a few years ago, we don't want Muslims to get involved in those sort of discussions. We just want them to get involved in science, do science, try to save lives, do what
you can, and understand that something which, you know, is made up in terms of Okay, this is what we believe that happened billions of years ago, millions of years ago, 67 million years ago, there was a
split between human beings in chimpanzees or whatever, how is that going to stop you on a day to day level, to not get involved in things like antibiotic resistance, which we don't solve, will actually take us back to a new Dark Ages. And just a few months ago, I had a meeting with
a prominent and one of the most prominent people working in this field at the moment, Dr. freed Han, and he's an evolutionary biologist who's a Muslim who's working on this particular issue of antibiotic resistance. He's dedicated his life to the field of evolutionary biology, because he believes and he said this himself, the Quran says saving one life is like saving all. Imagine if he said, right, I'm not gonna get involved in this field. Because this contradicts my belief, you get nowhere. So we're trying to give people a pragmatic approach where they can contribute. And they can actually understand that it's not their role to get involved in those theological discussions, they
can just take this practical solution and apply in their lives.
Okay, we have time for one final question is can be a question for both. Has anyone got a question that could be applied to both? This is faster and support
for both sister?
You have one for both.
Okay, come on for both. So I do apologize. Maybe you could ask him off. Sorry.
is a scientific
question. I think there's two aspects to that. I think Firstly, his family background I mentioned the lunar society. His both his grandfather's Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin were members of the lunar society. So he had a history of understanding change, and, and what the impact of these would be, as you said, he trained as a cleric, so he knew the current paradigm of what those ideas of change would do. When he was on the Beagle.
Captain Fitzroy, he was a creationist who Darwin sat across the table from and heard the consequences. Darwin's own wife, Emma, was effectively what we would recognize as a born again, Christian today. So he was exposed to those ideas. And you could argue that, you know, some of the reluctance some people do, some people disagree, the reluctance to publish the way that he exposed individual bits of the theory to the scientific community without revealing the whole can partially be explained by that understanding. Remember, he's writing in the time, around the 1840s, where people in in Ireland are dying of famine, for biological reasons. So the biological impact of that
the death of people who are riots in London, it's, you know, that change and this idea, and the stories that are coming from his grandfather, about the lunar society and the burning of the South. So there's that. But I also think you can flip it, and talked about the slavery and things and the fact that he's thinking about his biology, and his ideas of change and how things are, and we touched on the morality a little bit and the way that organisms
are equal, and that humans are equal. I think he was very aware of that. And, to a certain extent, that was one of his, the things that he wanted his science to say. And I think he would have been very disappointed with the way that there was a there was a direct relationship with the way his ideas of superiority and strength was used all the way through to the Nazis and, and the final solution which can be directly traced back through philosophers like Nietzsche, and that would have really upset him.
So it's a it's a very variable
One question and I'm sure you know more than me on this topic, but he was reading Thomas Malthus, his book on, you know,
essentially economy, how it works, and about demand and supply and how you always have a lot more demand than there is supply. And that's actually what some historians say how he developed his ideas of natural selection, that you have this this huge, huge amount of demand and very little supply, and which creates competition, and then the majority have to basically fall by the wayside. So he was impacted by those ideas. And interestingly, he was also impacted by the general idea within society, which was that they were moving away from this type of,
well, they're moving towards this, this this sort of belief about the world about progress, right, that things get progressively better. And like, Professor Jeremy precharge, explains, in his he explained today, but also he's got a really important
TED talk on this, where he explains about how everything is on the same level from a from a Darwinian point of view, that you don't have this is better than that. Interestingly enough, there's some academics have interpreted that he had some of the old remnants of the ideas of the great chain of being, he still believed in these sort of ideas of progress. And today, Darwinian and Neo Darwinism would totally reject the whole idea of progress. So he was definitely a product of his own title, I want to focus on more.
Just to summarize his his on his theology, his theology, if you actually look at some of the and there isn't really much much work on this. But if you look at the letters that he wrote, personally to people like Isa gray, and others, he actually said, My theology is muddled. Because he wasn't happy with the idea. There is nothing like that total philosophical naturalism. He wasn't happy with that. But then at the same time, he just couldn't understand why there was so much suffering. And he'd gone through personal suffering in terms of his own illness. And in terms of the the death of his daughter, Emma, which would you do? She would not Emma wish would, Mr. Darwin, and that was his
wife, isn't it, your daughter was going down. So she's buried in Malvern, if you want to go, so that really hit him. In fact, you know, that you could, because it's quite hard to reinvent, you know, reverse engineer what basically happened, but the problem of evil is a big problem for him. And I just like to
just highlight that the problem of evil, I think, is is something that, you know, we should look into the views of Darwin and also consider as Muslims, that the Quran gives us an answer about the problem of evil in chapter 18, about God being the wise is not just about, you know, God being all powerful and all loving. And, in fact, Darwin just keeps bringing up this issue again, and again, he just keeps saying, I just do not understand how God can be all loving when, when this particular suffering is taking place. Now, interestingly enough, he was reading a lot about philosophy he was actually reading about
what's the name of that philosopher, Kant, who's reading about Kant and reading about others, and reading about freewill and predestination. And so you know, he was a product of his time, definitely. And I believe that if he was here today, then on the minimum, he'd want to, I believe, read the Quran, simply because he wasn't afraid of reading other people's worldviews in order to sort of get a more broader picture. And which is actually one of the things which you can say about Darwin was that he was a compiler and a synthesizer, because he took his ideas from people like Charles Lyell, which was about plate tectonics, essentially, how old the earth is. He took ideas
from theories about economics, that's how you got a bit of natural selection. He took certain ideas for about language. And he applied that to evolution. And he made a comparison between the evolution of language and the evolution of species. So here's a synthesizer, and I believe that we should we should all in that way, be open to read the works of other people so we can actually gain more knowledge. That's a really good note to end. I think it was an amazing discussion. These are the type of discussions that we all should be having, especially on campus. And I'd like to thank Professor Pichardo and support Ahmed for being very polite and courteous. And it was an amazing
discussion. I've met a lot. Thank you very much for your time, but slightly over time. I do apologize. But I think they both deserve another round of applause.
So have a great evening. Thank you for coming.