11 October 2016

On Evolution

One topic has been buzzing my head in the last few months; evolution.

After re-learning about planet earth, from the book that I shared the other day, I feel that it is important to learn about evolution. All these urges start when I internalize my role as a  mother.
I need to learn the planet so that I can explain to my son about his home. I study evolution so that I can answer once he asks about his ancestor. Or at least I will have some confidence to explain to him about the topics to some extent, ignites his curiosity, and guide him to learn deeper.

The latter topic is particularly important because there is some fundamental parts of the theory that is conflicting with my believe as a Muslim. Meanwhile, evolution theory is like the theory of gravity or electromagnetism in physics, it becomes the root of other branches of science. To add, by and large, the theory is still adopted in the basic school curriculum.

I read Collapse of The Theory of Evolution by Harun Yahya years ago, back when I was still in high school/first year in college. At that time, my conclusion was that as a muslim, I have to reject the theory. It go against my believe. Period.
But after I decided to learn the topic somewhat deeper, I realize that I never tried to understand the point of view of the other side, of those who support the theory. This thought  brought me to read some part of The Beak of The Finch by Jonathan Weiner (the book won Pulitzer Prize, fyi) and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. To give myself a more balanced input, I re-opened Collapse of The Theory of Evolution book, yet this time, I feel some difficulties to affirm the contents of the book as a whole.

What I personally find hard to believe is that, if evolution is really ONLY made up of lies, as the anti-evolutionist stated time and again, how could the theory become so powerful? I know, even among its supporter, evolution theory is struggling to find core evidences until now. But still, how could the majority of scientist still support it? To add, scientists are debating about lots of other major theories anyway. I probably am a naïve, but again, I find it difficult to accept that the base of the ever-growing belief on the evolution theory is only one word, conspiration.
How could evolution then intercorrelate with other many fields of science? How could it be somewhat fit to describe the changes experienced by the living creatures in general? With some background in science and research, I also personally find that the general argument of evolution does make sense.

On the other hand, there is indeed one crucial point of evolution theory that clearly goes against my believe: the human evolution. Evolution theory stated that human today is simply a product from million years of evolution; while the Quran clearly stated that Prophet Adam had been directly created by Allah, in the heaven, then sent down to earth.

Hence, I was so thrilled when I found this video, alhamdulillah.
Shaikh Yasir Qadhi, himself has a basic in science, a degree in chemical engineering and of course a PhD in Islamic theology, gives a plausible reconciliation between evolution theory and Quranic scripts.

The conflict between evolution and Islamic believe, as far as I'm aware, are mainly in two things: (1) that evolution happens randomly, and again, (2) that homo sapiens is simply a product of evolution from previous species.

So there's this thing called microevolution and macroevolution. Simply put, microevolution is the change within one particular type, mostly to adapt. Meanwhile, macroevolution is major change like, say, from horse to giraffe.

There is no problem in affirming these events from Islamic point of view. But as a Muslim, of course we believe that NOT a single thing on earth is a product of randomness. Everything is measured, and be it micro or macroevolution, each of these is part of Allah's plan.

Then, imagine if macroevolution is the result of domino-effect microevolution series. Sapiens is the final card of this domino, but instead of being general part of the previous cards, this final card is created directly by Allah in the heaven, and sent down to earth, "inserted" to the path of the human evolution domino.
Does it have scientific explanation? No.
Can we proof it? No.
Which is why it is called miracle.
It's like the explanation of Prophet Isa's birth. Should there be medical equipment as advanced as it is today in the time of Siti Maryam, doctors would obviously consider that the fetus growing in her pure womb is the result of general reproduction mechanism. But is it? No. Can we proof it scientifically today? No. Yet we believe in this miracle.

To add, among the challenges faced by the evolutionist in explaining Sapiens as an improvement from the previous Hominid (as explained by Harari), is its advanced capability in language. It is far exceeding the capability of its predecessors. Despite the limitations in physical strength, this capability is the thing that makes them (or rather, us) very powerful compared to other species. Sapiens is the only creatures on earth with advance language capability.
On this matter, Islamic theology have the answer. In Quranic script, it is mentioned that, the first thing that Allah teach to Prophet Adam is the name of things. Or in other words, language. So there it is, problem and answer fit like lock and key.

Incompatibility between religious scripts and science was indeed a serious issue in the medieval era, but alhamdulillah that's not the case with Islamic tradition. The irrefutable truth of Quran and the discoveries of human wrapped up in science are intertwining beauty, both of them shall go along.
It is mentioned in the Quran itself that human should use his/her 'aql to think. When there seem to be a conflicting issue between the two, of course we believe in the Quran first, and then continue to learn, to understand and reconcile Allah's written (naqli) and observable  ('aqli) signs.

Wallahu a'lam bish shawab.

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