Why did the MCB and MINAB take so long to support Usama Hasan?


by Sunny
10th March, 2011 at 5:21 pm    

As I pointed out yesterday, both the Muslim Council of Britain and MINAB have now sent out statements condemning the threats against Usama Hasan.

This is to be welcomed. There’s a letter in the Guardian today too, titled ‘We need freedom to speak about Islam‘.

But the question for the MCB and Mosques And Imams National Advisory Board (Minab) should be why they took so long to speak out. This issue kicked off after I blogged about it. Then the national media jumped on the story and then, belatedly, Muslim organisations released statements in support.

But lots of people knew about the campaign against Dr Hasan before I blogged about it. They knew a prominent imam was being threatened by fanatics, and yet they remained silent about it.

This isn’t just me saying it: a lot of Muslims are also privately saying this. So why didn’t the MCB and Minab act earlier? Their response has been far too late in this matter and seems to indicate they only act if the national media spotlight shines on particular incidents.


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  1. tony — on 10th March, 2011 at 5:37 pm  

    oh sunny, we are all waiting in anticipation to see what you will say next before we can comment.

  2. tony — on 10th March, 2011 at 5:38 pm  

    get over yourself

  3. Effendi — on 10th March, 2011 at 6:00 pm  

    I think to be fair to the MCB and to MINAB (I know, I know), they have at least, to their credit, joined the campaign in support of Usama. On this one at least, it has been right to be better late than never.

  4. Imran Khan — on 10th March, 2011 at 6:47 pm  

    “They knew a prominent imam was being threatened by fanatics, and yet they remained silent about it. ”

    Maybe they were helping in the background. MCB often helps people quietly. I am no great fan of MCB or Minab but you are making massive assumptions here.

    Interesting on the selection here as Quilliam didn’t issue a statement until a few days ago and Usama Hasan was one of their own. So why give Quilliam a free pass? One would have though with so much tax payers money they could issue a press release faster for one of their own?

    When they did they mainly harped on incorrectly about Saudi/Wahabi scholars with no proof and that went by without comment here. Selective outrage!!

  5. blue — on 10th March, 2011 at 8:14 pm  

    it’s a mad world – http://www.irvine11.com/

  6. Jemmy Hope — on 10th March, 2011 at 8:25 pm  

    Too late, the man has repudiated his own statements. Hasn’t he?

  7. Pigeon Post — on 10th March, 2011 at 10:40 pm  

    @imran khan. Quilliam was actually the first organisation to publish a defence of Usama Hasan – on Monday – and I think their director had already been quoted in the Guardian speaking in Usama’s defence the previous day.

    By comparison BMSD published their statement only on the Tuesday and then everyone-else jumped on the bandwagon. I think it’s only fair to point this out…

    All credit to Sunny and PP though for being the first to bring this issue to mainstream attention however.

  8. DM Smith — on 10th March, 2011 at 10:44 pm  

    with all respect, i think that the important thing is that all these groups come out in defence of Usama Hasan – and in favour of free speech and against religious fanaticism.

    in many ways this is an important milestone. Too important perhaps to be lost in a ‘i was first’ competition.

  9. Sunny — on 11th March, 2011 at 12:52 am  

    Too late, the man has repudiated his own statements. Hasn’t he?

    Err no he hasn’t. He still believes in evolution, otherwise he wouldn’t be giving out lectures on it.

  10. fugstar — on 11th March, 2011 at 12:53 am  

    i understand how you need to be making value out of the situation, but community organisations have many ways of acting other than statement issuing. stop being so bloody narcassistic.

  11. Boyo — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:18 am  

    Isn’t around half of MINAB MAB = Muslim Brotherhood? There’s your answer.

  12. cjcjc — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:26 am  

    Why didn’t they act earlier?

    Internal disagreement I’m guessing.

    Wiser heads were clearly eventually able to point out that not condemning *death threats* is probably not good PR, even if the man concerned is a hellbound Darwinist!

  13. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 12:24 pm  

    @Pigeon Post – not true the Orthodox Salafi Community started highlighting the dangers of the people who were attacking Usama Hasan back in January when this debate first kicked off. So Quilliam with all their tax ££££££££ took a long time to say anything. They only said somethign when it was in the media. In sharp contrast the orthodox Salafi community actually highlighted the dangers of the people having a go at Usama Hasan far far earlier.

    As I said given Usama was one of their own, then Quilliam were very very very slow in their response.

    Quilliam don’t want to acknowledge this because they have used this to bash Salafi/Wahabi scholars. So overall a rather pathetic response considering how much money and funding they have received.

  14. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 12:24 pm  

    “Err no he hasn’t. He still believes in evolution, otherwise he wouldn’t be giving out lectures on it.”

    Not according to his last statement.

  15. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 12:27 pm  

    “Internal disagreement I’m guessing.

    Wiser heads were clearly eventually able to point out that not condemning *death threats* is probably not good PR, even if the man concerned is a hellbound Darwinist!”

    This is just becomming a witchhunt. After Usama Hasan’s previous controversial comments then various Muslim organisations in London gave him a platform to speak at events. They didn’t make say look at us we are giving him a platform, they quietly got on with it and Usama Hassan accepted.

    What proof do you have taht they have not supported him in the background.

    Where was Quilliam who he helped at the outset? Nowhere.

    Each time it is the Muslim Organisations in London that gave him a chance to speak to Muslims and they did it without bragging in the press via meaningless releases.

  16. Sunny — on 11th March, 2011 at 1:14 pm  

    Not according to his last statement.

    Nuance was never your strong point

  17. Jemmy Hope — on 11th March, 2011 at 1:58 pm  

    “Nuance was never your strong point”

    If that was directed at me, I concur.

  18. Jemmy Hope — on 11th March, 2011 at 2:59 pm  

    Oops! Not directed at me, but the cap fits.

  19. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 3:31 pm  

    Sunny – “Nuance was never your strong point”

    I think you have trouble accepting his positions which do keep changing. But it isn’t about nuance its about simple plain understanding what he said. The only record we have is his publci statements, yours is opinion unless you have spoken to him which again you have not stated.

    Usama Hasan said:
    “A Further Clarification and Retraction
    March 4, 2011 by Usama Hasan

    With the Name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful

    A FURTHER CLARIFICATION &
    RETRACTION

    Further to my detailed statement dated 15th February 2011 about evolution, I would like to state, after reflecting on the matter and listening to the advice of others:

    1. I regret and retract some of my statements in the past about the theory of evolution, especially the inflammatory ones.

    2. I do not believe that Adam, peace be upon him, had parents. …

    Usama Hasan
    London, Friday 4th March 2011″
    http://unity1.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/a-further-clarification-and-retraction/#comments

    In point 2 if you have trouble digesting it he says clearly that he does not believe Adam had parents which means he believes he was created. He does not elaborate how. What is the nuance there? Adam did not have parents is a clear statement.

    Also if you bothered to listen to what he said in his lecture which I have, then he said that he believed that the theory of evolution fits with the Qur’an in the Adam was created by God but that this was through evolution. No matter what else you take from that it is clear that Usama Hasan even in his evolution theory believes that God created everything.

    Where is the mystery nuance?

    You cannot put your own spin on things as he has been making public statements on this either in pertson or on his blog.

    Also you are veering away from the point which is to bash Muslim Orgs for not speaking up for Usama but your mates are Quilliam who had help from Usama Hasan at the start were so late as well, why?

  20. Boyo — on 11th March, 2011 at 3:40 pm  

    Doh. He retracted his statement due to intimidation by medieval nut jobs, as usual. And you’re proud of this?

  21. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 3:47 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    You are becoming an apologist for intimidation. Stop it. You are better than that.

  22. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 4:32 pm  

    “Doh. He retracted his statement due to intimidation by medieval nut jobs, as usual. And you’re proud of this?”

    Duh! Even taking away from waht he retracted he still always said he believed in the merging of creation and evolution. He believed Adam evolved but that was as a result of creation started by God.

    At least understand what he said before saying this.

    Also I ahev always said that those who threatened him are idiotic so how am I proud of them?

  23. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 4:36 pm  

    Douglas – “You are becoming an apologist for intimidation. Stop it. You are better than that.”

    I am not an apologist for intimidation. I state clearly they are foolish people and the Police should deal with them.

    There are a lot of people here who are starting to bash Muslims and it simply isn’t true.

    People are also trying to infer into Usama’s various positions their own understanding and all we have as fact is what he said on record. Either we take him at his word or we don’t. I only have his statements to go on.

  24. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 4:54 pm  

    I came across this for what it is worth:

    http://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/usama-hasan-and-the-evolution-controversy/#comment-625

    “3. I contacted Usama at the weekend to find out from himself directly whether he really believes in his ‘retraction’ statement that Adam had no parents. He had previously ridiculed the notion that Adam had been ‘beamed’ on to the earth and in his statements he had affirmed his belief – which he shared with the overwhelming majority of today’s scientists – that human beings had common ancestors with apes. So does he really now believe Adam appeared fully formed on earth as if by magic? ‘No, I don’t. I’m uncommitted on the issue,’ he responded to me. I then reminded him of what his retraction statement had said ie Adam had no parents and appeared as a miracle. So, I asked him the same question again hoping to get some clarity from him. ‘I prefer not to comment further at this stage,’ he responded.

    If Usama is concerned that if he was to be clearer about his true beliefs on evolution he may well be putting his safety in greater danger from extremists then that really is a terrible indictment of the pitiful intellectual state of UK Muslims and the vile influence of a tiny minority of fanatics.”

    So looks like a possible clarification compared to his own blog.

    Alothough people don’t like them it is inteesting that he is getting support from more and more organisations and mosques:

    http://www.eastlondonmosque.org.uk/news/307

    http://www.isb.org.uk/pages06/PR_080311_UsamaHasan.asp

    So the people who are threatning him are in the minority.

    But again this support doesn’t get much attention. Wonder if Yahya Birt will now link to show that people from SalafiTalk exposed the individuals who were making takfir early on and mainstream organisations ahve provided support.

    Also as Quilliam keep bashing Salafi/Wahabi’s and used this as an opportunity to do this as well. It migth be worthwhile pointing out to Sunny and others that the mosque at which Usama Hasan leads prayers is from the two major groups of that community. So despite the silly nonsense from Quilliam, the Salafi/Wahabi community is the actual mosque he leads and many of the scholars he speaks are yes Salafi/Wahabi so that shows how things get misrepresented.

    Go to the mosque and ask the people and many will be Salafi/Wahabi so if Quilliam are true to their word then they should ask Usama to leave the mosque as it goes against their own preaching!

  25. Boyo — on 11th March, 2011 at 5:14 pm  

    “There are a lot of people here who are starting to bash Muslims and it simply isn’t true.”

    Are you suggesting that being Muslim means rejecting evolution?

    That would be like saying the Pope’s not Catholic ;-)

    Bashing people who believe human beings were born of moon beams or indeed spare ribs is not Muslim bashing, it’s medieval-bashing and would apply equally to born-again Christians or whomever.

    What makes this particularly sad is the intimidation that appears to have accompanied it, reminiscent of the habits of the Inquisition.

  26. Boyo — on 11th March, 2011 at 5:33 pm  

    Don’t you think it is something of a paradox we are reminded there were “streetlights in Cordoba” and of the mathematic advances of early Islam, yet at the same time the sum of scientific advance is rejected? Can’t you see a trend between the decline in Islam and the repeated surpression of scientific and cultural advance? How else did Islam come from being the most progressive faith of its time to the least – and certainly most troubled – of today?

    On the same basis, should “true” Muslims use electricity or the fruits of nuclear power if it was not mentioned in the Koran? Watch the television or use the internet?

    It seems to me that as usual the religion is interpreted according to individual prejudice, not revealed truth. Do you really think that God – the creator of everything for all time – is petty enough to disapprove?

  27. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 5:53 pm  

    Boyo – “Are you suggesting that being Muslim means rejecting evolution?

    That would be like saying the Pope’s not Catholic ;-)

    That is not what I meant. We have complaints that Muslim organisations were too slow to speak out and yet some of them started speaking out in January before the media picked up the issue and before the media and pickled politics favourite Quilliam Foundation spent a bit of their £1 million pounds to issue a factually inaccurate statement taht also carried with it a beggig bowl. Other Muslim organisations have spoken out.

    Muslims as law abiding citizens also have the right to choose what they believe and also who they pray behind and these things are being dictated as if Muslims are so stupid they need help. No other community has to put up with government funded think-tanks pushing their own agenda deciding what is and is not acceptable and labels of extremist even if they abide by the law because they do not adhere to the narrow definition of the government funded thinktank.

    In the USA the rigth wing are holding hearings even though right wing christians have caused more terrorist incidents than Muslims and more Muslims have co-operated with law enforcement that rigth wingers and yet Muslims are labelled as uncooperative and lumped with McCarthyite hearings. Which is what is happening here, its simple McCarthyism or McQuilliam with only Sufi Islam acceptable as the neocons said it could be manipulated.

    If Usama Hasan has been so poorly treated by Salafi/Wahabi types as Quilliam imply then why is the mosque he has been preaching at for so long an adherant to that philosophy. They even listened to his views.

    Its simple bashing of Muslims despite the evidence, that is all this has become.

  28. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 5:55 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 24,

    You are, perhaps, recognising that he was threatened.

    Much as I would like to think I was better than that, if someone threatened to murder me and mine, I too might waver.

    Do you think I believe that Anjem Choudhary or, more to the point, our friend from Islam Awakening are representative of muslims generally? If so, then you must think I see the reverend Iain Paisley as the voice of christianity. For the record I do not.

    _________________________________

    I am quite pleased that Sunny’s old sparring partner Inayat Bunglawala has come out with what I think is a probably, for once, a mainstream position. I always thought the boy would come good. (I always thought he wasn’t quite the simple caricature that some people tried to portray him as.)

    ______________________________

    It would have been far simpler for you to just say these idiots represent no-one and mainstream muslims reject them. But you can’t just do that, can you? You are still entrapped in some sort of childish notion that any criticism of muslims, even death threatening ones, must be defended at all costs. A sort of circling of the wagons. It really isn’t good enough.

    I wouldn’t be bothering my arse about this, except you really aren’t following the first rule of digging a hole for yourself. The first rule: Stop digging!

    :-)

  29. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 6:04 pm  

    “Don’t you think it is something of a paradox we are reminded there were “streetlights in Cordoba” and of the mathematic advances of early Islam, yet at the same time the sum of scientific advance is rejected? Can’t you see a trend between the decline in Islam and the repeated surpression of scientific and cultural advance? How else did Islam come from being the most progressive faith of its time to the least – and certainly most troubled – of today?”

    Well many in the west say that Muslims contributed nothing and stole all the knowledge so there is plenty of denial.

    Islam does not stop debate on these issues but Muslims have their beliefs.

    Lack of good education and opportunities migth have something to do witht he decline as well. Many Muslim academics leave to go to the west in search of better money and research.

    “On the same basis, should “true” Muslims use electricity or the fruits of nuclear power if it was not mentioned in the Koran? Watch the television or use the internet? ”
    Yes they should because it was not prohibited. If it is not prohibited and it is for the good then it can be used.

    Nuclear power was not prohibited so it can be used. The creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) was given as fact so it won’t be disputed as it is part of belief.

    The Muslims preserved ancient Greek, Indian, Egyptian etc. works but they did not agree with all of them.

    “It seems to me that as usual the religion is interpreted according to individual prejudice, not revealed truth. Do you really think that God – the creator of everything for all time – is petty enough to disapprove?”
    Ah but that is the point do you believe that God is the creator or some random set of chance that is so remote and continues to have massive odds keeps evolving something that is good.

    Usama Hasan has a right to his view and can express it and Muslims have a right to their views and beliefs. Why is one acceptable and the other somethign that has to be countered?

    If Muslims are so narrow minded why did they agree to listen to Usama Hasan? Yes there were troublemakers there but Muslim people listened to him and tried to discuss with him.

    The Chief Rabbi was forecd to rewrite a part of one of his books and was the Jewish Community subjected to this tabloid backed riddicule? No. Each community has its issues and Muslims spoke out against a minority who lack the knowledge to discuss these issues so have a go at them and not an entire community.

    Senator King would be so proud of what is going on here, maybe he should be invited to hold a hearing!

  30. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 6:17 pm  

    Douglas – “You are, perhaps, recognising that he was threatened.”

    Do you read what I said – I have always said he was threatened and it was by a minority of trouble making takfiris. I objected to the Quilliam style labelling of entire communities who spoke out months ago before you, Sunny, the media got on the bandwagon and said these people were trouble.

    “It would have been far simpler for you to just say these idiots represent no-one and mainstream muslims reject them. But you can’t just do that, can you? You are still entrapped in some sort of childish notion that any criticism of muslims, even death threatening ones, must be defended at all costs. A sort of circling of the wagons. It really isn’t good enough.”

    Actually you are being childish because I have said this multiple times. I was the one who highlighted the errors in the first article. Sheesh come on if you want to criticise then at least be fair.

    The lazy people simply label anyone who disagrees with them as Salafi/Wahabi Extremists and go on their meery way.

    To prove your point show me where I back the idiots?In fact on here in the original post I was the one who replied to Shahin Amin and others regardibng the principles of takfir. So i actually confronted the people spewing nonsense and then get accused of not speakign out. Utter tosh – so bring your evidence. I have always said they are extreme and the law shoudl deal with them.

  31. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 6:22 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Usama Hasan has a right to his view and can express it and Muslims have a right to their views and beliefs. Why is one acceptable and the other somethign that has to be countered?

    To what extent do you think your ‘scholars’ have actually read or understood cosmology or evolution? You were challenged – by me – quite some threads ago because you claimed that you had discussed evolution and some chap you knew who was a scientist, He had been utterly defeated by your debating skills.

    I asked you then, and I’ll ask you again now, what questions did you pose that were so irrefutable that the scientist went away with his tail between his legs?

    This could be your big moment, perhaps a Nobel Prize beckons you?

    Given that you try to defend everything about faith and nothing about science – much of the latter having Arab, if not muslim origins – perhaps you could share with us the insights that have led muslim ‘scholars’ to more or less reject the vector of scientific endeavor. If muslim scholars are still arguing about the number of angels on a pinhead or the muslim equivalent, then they (and you) are wasting your lives.

  32. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 6:45 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Muslims as law abiding citizens also have the right to choose what they believe and also who they pray behind and these things are being dictated as if Muslims are so stupid they need help. No other community has to put up with government funded think-tanks pushing their own agenda deciding what is and is not acceptable and labels of extremist even if they abide by the law because they do not adhere to the narrow definition of the government funded thinktank.

    Well, the fight for sense within islam is a bit out in the open now isn’t it? If you choose to ‘pray behind’ idiots, then so be it. You will indeed be a drag on society generally with your own creationist theme parks and your very own TV channels. It’s a dead end but very lucrative if you get in early enough. I think there is a very successful model in the USA.

    And there are people like me that will say to themselves, where the hell did it all go wrong?

    Get a grip.

  33. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 6:54 pm  

    Douglas – “Usama Hasan has a right to his view and can express it and Muslims have a right to their views and beliefs. Why is one acceptable and the other somethign that has to be countered?”

    With respect you know this was in reference to religious belief and not threats. You statement was:

    “It would have been far simpler for you to just say these idiots represent no-one and mainstream muslims reject them. But you can’t just do that, can you? ”

    I asked you for proof of that statement and because you cannot find it then you decide to shift the debate. Either prove your statement or do the right thing and withdraw it.

    “To what extent do you think your ‘scholars’ have actually read or understood cosmology or evolution? “You were challenged – by me – quite some threads ago because you claimed that you had discussed evolution and some chap you knew who was a scientist, He had been utterly defeated by your debating skills.”

    Again you are distorting what I said and I said he could not answer many questions. Are you an actor as you like to be overly dramatic?

    They are not my scholars but accepted Muslim scholars and I think you have great difficulty understanding this but even Usama Hasan spoke to them. His father has extensive links with them, the mosque he preaches at has extensive links with them. Do you get the picture?

    I don’t know if they read books on evolution, I suspect they have. You cannot grasp two simple facts:

    1. Islam has always had debate about science.
    2. Belief in religion is not linked to science. Many Muslims, probably a majority believe that Adam was created by God. It is a belief as you have belief that humans evolved.

    “I asked you then, and I’ll ask you again now, what questions did you pose that were so irrefutable that the scientist went away with his tail between his legs?”

    The questions were to do with:

    Formation of features such as eyes, how does evolution cope with reproductive organs moving from species to species, the development of lungs etc when moving from sea to land and vice-versa, how evolution copes with mental issues as species change, why some animals stopped evolving. It was a long discussion.

    “This could be your big moment, perhaps a Nobel Prize beckons you?”
    Well I tell you what if I get one I’ll put alongside the several you have received for refutting religion. How about that? As one of the most acclaimed nobel academics perhaps you should be helping Usama Hasan as he was unable to convince his own flock of his position. Please do email him and offer your Nobel Laureate skills in refuting those nasty Muslims from his mosque who said they didn’t believe him, the wicked scoundrals.

    So will you be contacting Usama Hasan to offer Nobel Prize Winning Support?

  34. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 7:00 pm  

    Douglas – “You will indeed be a drag on society generally”

    Yes I am a great drag on society as my taxes pay for people like you to tell me what I can believe as you spout on about freedom but its according to your criteria which is why you fund Quilliam with my tax money to tell me what I can and canot believe.

    Its why Muslims fought to save your skin so you could then tell them what to believe.

    Brilliant and I am the drag on society! I work for a living and don’t tell people what they must believe. I have my beliefs and I try to explain them as best as I can.

  35. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 7:45 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 34 first:

    Douglas – “You will indeed be a drag on society generally”

    Yes I am a great drag on society as my taxes pay for people like you to tell me what I can believe as you spout on about freedom but its according to your criteria which is why you fund Quilliam with my tax money to tell me what I can and canot believe.

    Its why Muslims fought to save your skin so you could then tell them what to believe.

    Brilliant and I am the drag on society! I work for a living and don’t tell people what they must believe. I have my beliefs and I try to explain them as best as I can.

    It has fuck all to do with how much money you or I have provided the exchequer. I am quite willing to believe you have given them millions of pounds more than I have. Incidentally, I pay for myself. I am not a benefits scrounger nor a cost to the community. At least, not yet.

    And so bloody what? You do not get bragging rights, as least as far as I am concerned, because you paid more than me. And, as I suspect you are very young, I doubt even that.

    You are not a financial drag on society, OK Imran?

    You are however joining the side of people that will drag us down. For ‘pretending stuff’ is not where we are at. We are not a society that can actually develop without, at the very least, telling everybody else that you are utterly and completely wrong – and not feeling frightened to do so – is a fundamental right.

    ’cause you just are. Without bending it into a metaphor, we were not formed from clay by god. Get over it. It is rubbish.

    And you know what? The whole threat of apostasy and consequental death by daft believers is something that most UK muslims seem to have given up on.

    You are becoming more and more an apologist for what I see as the Paisleyite tendency in the muslim faith. A bunch of folk that haven’t grown up and can’t.

    I have my beliefs and I try to explain them as best as I can.

    So have I Imran Khan, and despite this spat, I have always (well, maybe not always, I have, over the years fallen out with almost everyone, including the editors) considered you a great commentator on here.

    This is not your finest hour.

  36. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:04 pm  

    Douglas – “You are however joining the side of people that will drag us down. For ‘pretending stuff’ is not where we are at. We are not a society that can actually develop without, at the very least, telling everybody else that you are utterly and completely wrong – and not feeling frightened to do so – is a fundamental right.”

    But the point is you keep saying that and you keep saying I won’t condemn the people who threatened Usama, but you won’t provide evidence. One quote, not one.

    “’cause you just are. Without bending it into a metaphor, we were not formed from clay by god. Get over it. It is rubbish.”

    Look Darwin doubted his own theory due to the overwhelming lack of evidence try reading his own worries about his theory and you might understand why people don’t accept it. Usama Hasan even before he was threatened was changing positions.

    “And you know what? The whole threat of apostasy and consequental death by daft believers is something that most UK muslims seem to have given up on.”
    Again you spout Quilliam and tabloid nonsense. These things are not applicable here and only a tiny minority of people have made such threats and most are far removed from most of the Muslim community so why keep bloody bringing it up. Especially with the support he has had. You are not getting the fact that most Muslims don’t agree with him but haven’t threatened him. Most Muslims including senior scholars havbe not made apostasy of him Do you understand this simple fact?

    I am getting fed up because you don’t listen and keep making baseless accusations.

    You can’t convince people of your belief and you want to impose it by childish means and its you taht is being Paisleyite. Most people listened to Usama Hasan which is more than you and many people here do to Muslims as they expalin their belief. So who is more willing to listen?!!

    You dogma is that you want to attack the very people who have actually defended Usama’s right to speak but not agreed with him because like Senator King you are lumping all Muslims together.

    He had his say, people listened to him many times. A tiny minority threatened him so go call them names and not those that gave him a chance.

    Incidentally as you speak of freedom of speech then why did his family as is clear from the recordings threaten to throw out anyone who would not listen to him and yet he did not have to listen to them. Excellent and fair debate? Why did his family say that people who would not pray behind him could not come to the mosque, its a community mosque not a family one. Strange how the application of freedom is restricted to only those whose views you want heard!

  37. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:16 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    “And you know what? The whole threat of apostasy and consequental death by daft believers is something that most UK muslims seem to have given up on.”
    Again you spout Quilliam and tabloid nonsense. These things are not applicable here and only a tiny minority of people have made such threats and most are far removed from most of the Muslim community so why keep bloody bringing it up. Especially with the support he has had. You are not getting the fact that most Muslims don’t agree with him but haven’t threatened him. Most Muslims including senior scholars havbe not made apostasy of him Do you understand this simple fact?

    Yes, I do. Do you?

  38. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:31 pm  

    Douglas – “Yes, I do. Do you?”

    I always have and you still don’t. I am waiting for my explanation of why you, Sunny, Quilliam and others are quiet in fact mute at the fact that Usama and his family are denying to their own Muslims at the mosque the freedom they demand for themselves? Why threaten to throw people out of a mosque if they won’t listen to or pray behind Usama but he didn’t have to listen to them?

    Where is the outrage on that issue? Is that freedom or is that dictatorship?

    Why make false accusations as Quilliam did and the intial posting did here about Saudi Scholars? Where was your outrage when this was highlighted?

    The irony here is that his family used their connection with senior Saudi scholars to argue that they and Usama had to be heard!

    You’ve not yet manage to show a single point as you hurl baseless accusations about me not speaking against a tiny minority when in fact I drove a few of them away from here.

    The simple fact is you want to impose your belief on Muslims via people like Usama Hasan not prove it but impose it.

    So now put up or withdraw your baseless accusation. Show me where I did not condemn the tiny minority who threatened Usama or withdraw your baseless accusation?

    The crap that Muslims have to put up with is being told to adhere to freedom of speech and then being denied that very right if they choose to disagree with what they are hearing. Usama has to have his say but anyone who disagrees with him is in drain on society.

  39. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:43 pm  

    Dear brother muslim,

    You say:

    br Imran ,Douglas is . Just ignore him and don’t respond. Whatever you do, dont throw more bananas to the monkey

    First off:

    Douglas is one of PP’s resident obsessive Muslim haters.

    Only in your pathetic little head.

    Can I, perhaps, use your nonsense technique for pulling ‘the muslims’, your favoutite phrase, into line?

    “The muslims”, is your idea for collectivising muslim thought into something you seem to think you rule. There is little evidence that ‘the muslims’ are about to be your friends. In fact, they think you are a tit. It is nothing but you being assumptive about your ‘righteousness’. I don’t think you represent ‘the muslims’ anymore than you represent anyone, except yourself.

    So, piss off, muslim.

  40. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:53 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 39,

    Sunny, Quilliam and others are quiet in fact mute at the fact that Usama and his family are denying to their own Muslims at the mosque the freedom they demand for themselves? Why threaten to throw people out of a mosque if they won’t listen to or pray behind Usama but he didn’t have to listen to them?

    Well, AFAIK, neither Sunny nor I are being exactly threatened. Do you like your new friend ‘muslim’?

    He is your enemy, not me.

    I couldn’t care less if you want to follow a stupid religion – there are plenty of them around.

    I do care when a religion is stupid and your good chum ‘muslim’ – how clever is that? – talk shite. And appears to think his nonsense is truth. What a dangerous lunatic.

  41. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 8:56 pm  

    Douglas – “So, piss off, muslim.”

    Why should he piss off? You want to dish it out but you can’t take it.

    The person has a right to his or her view.

    Post your evidence or follow your own advice above? Much of what you said is in your head.

    Darwin said:
    “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graded organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”

    The fossil record is not so clear cut as you like to imply and scientists are now questioning this record which is why some are now being denied tenure by Evolutionists who don’t want discussion or debate as they claim but only those who agree with them. Dictatorship and not freedom to discover as you claim. Every false label you try and pin to Muslims is actually true of evolutionists.

    Lack of fossil records, their desperate attempt to label fossils which may be damaged as being a missing link and so forth show the lack of challange for evolution theory.

    Your friend Usama will not explain why if Adam evolved how Eve appeared and why he even accepts Adam as the first man? How did the reproduction of his near humans become so minute for a generation to produce Adam and Eve and then expand out again? Or does Usama not believe in this at all?

    I am stil waiting for your to provide one point and you keep shifting ground so are you now prepared to withdraw your false accusation against me?

  42. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:03 pm  

    Douglas – “Well, AFAIK, neither Sunny nor I are being exactly threatened. Do you like your new friend ‘muslim’?”

    Again you won’t answer the question. I am talking about the threats made to the Muslims who pray at the mosque by Usama’s family and why you and this blog have not condemned those? Why the silence?

    “He is your enemy, not me.”
    I don’t consider either of you as my enemy.

    “And appears to think his nonsense is truth”
    This coming from a person who is making false and baseless accusations against me and won’t provide any evidence. So I am asking again that you either provide the evidence, withdraw your remark or follow your own advice to Muslim.

    Also with regards to evolution then Evolution scientists claim that as things are not done by design then everything happened by chance such as natural order etc. and the chances of that are so minute and yet they kept happening so what the the chances of consisten natural order by miniscule chance time and time again! Its nonsense and even some scientists are now speaking out including those from prestigious institutions – not religious people but scientists. And the evolutionary response is threats to careers and demands of imposition of only their thought. That is the theory you are promoting, don’t discuss just accept – trust us its proven!!!!!!!!

  43. Imran Khan — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:04 pm  

    Douglas – Still waiting for your evidence or withdrawl of your statement that I didn’t condemn those threatening Usama when I did here many times.

    Time to put up.

  44. douglas clark — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:09 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 42,

    Perhaps the brave ‘muslim’ will come back and answer that.

    Why should he piss off? You want to dish it out but you can’t take it.

    Eh!

    I have challenged you to provide the damning evidence that evolution is wrong. Not once, but twice. brain dead ‘muslim’ is very welcome to try to come back, I doubt he will. ‘Cause he is thick as two short planks.

    But you remain the silent wee muslim apologist for adam as a result of god playing with clay. Just cause you lurve your religion. I think it is nonsense, so I do.

    Either you engage, or piss off Iram Khan.

    Here’s your chance to do it.

    We could start from the beginning, and work forward.
    Why do I think I have said this aleady?

  45. Muslim — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:28 pm  

    Br Imran bigots like Douglas Clark try and hide their prejudice towards those who are different and racism with the old ‘Muslims are not a race’ shtick

  46. Boyo — on 11th March, 2011 at 9:29 pm  

    “Usama Hasan has a right to his view and can express it and Muslims have a right…”

    Weasel words spring to mind Imran. Your clear inference is that this man is not a Muslim, whereas you know full well that to become a Muslim one only has to accept Mohammed as the Prophet, etc.

    It is not for you to judge whether he is or is not a Muslim. To do so is plainly blasphemy. Are you a greater judge than God? I do not think so.

    Your are entitled to your Creationist opinions, of course, although the Pope squared your particular circle quite eloquently:

    “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

    He said evolution did not answer all the questions: “Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question, ‘Where does everything come from?’”

    But this is not really about evolution, is it. This is about who is in and who is out. The threat Usama presents is the threat of progressive thought.

  47. joe90 — on 11th March, 2011 at 11:09 pm  

    post #47

    what is progressive about what usama hasan has said? little vague on the detail at the moment.

  48. Yahya Birt — on 11th March, 2011 at 11:59 pm  

    Imran @24, as-salamu alaykum,

    The link you sent would not intelligible to most people I’m afraid.

    If your organisation wants to put a short clear statement up on your website along the lines of other community organisations that have made a stand on this issue then I would be more than happy to put it up. This is not about a Salafi-bashing exercise it is about having a decent community and society where we can handle difficult and controversial matters civilly and reasonably. And not chucking someone out of the faith for following his religious conscience or intimidating them. That’s all. The door is always open.

    Wa s-salam, Yahya

  49. Farouk Ghani — on 12th March, 2011 at 12:00 am  

    I am shocked by the perception that Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board is dominated by Muslim Association of Britian.

    MINAB is a democratic organisation, the Muslim Association of Britain has influence in appropriately 2% of Mosques in the UK, and has very little influence in the organisation, apparently only 4 of the 50 members.

  50. KJB — on 12th March, 2011 at 12:02 am  

    Lol. ‘Muslim’ is like an alarm clock that always goes off at the wrong time. Careful, you might just set a precedent there!

    Douglas is fiery, but he is not any kind of hater. I agree with him.

    Here’s a question, Imran: a lot of our ‘home-grown’ terrorists presented a moderate, Westernised image of themselves to stay safe and evade the attention of their non-nutjob fellow Muslims, and capture by the authorities.

    Does this make them atheists? Agnostics? Secularists?

    Like fuck it does. You are absolutely an apologist. We don’t trust your (semi-coherent) views on anything. You are in no position to tell us what a person whose life is in danger – or who has good cause to believe that their life is in danger – really believes. I’m sure that you applied some convenient double standards on this front when testimony was extracted from Muslim suspects over terrorism charges under torture in the past.

    You are not in a position to tell a person receiving death threats how to behave. Take your gloating over Usama Hasan’s plight – because that is EXACTLY what it is – and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  51. AbuF — on 12th March, 2011 at 1:13 am  

    I’m not sure why you are all bothering with “muslim” – it is quite clearly Munir under one of his bewilderingly wide range of alternative handles. We all know about Munir – he is a complete fuckwit.

    Imran Khan – might I suggest that being assessed as working towards National Curriculum Level 3 in Science does not give you carte blanche to display with such completely unwitting abandon your contempt for modern science and your near total ignorance of the most basic elements of scientific method?

  52. douglas clark — on 12th March, 2011 at 1:24 am  

    muslim @ 46, @ 48,

    Br Imran bigots like Douglas Clark try and hide their prejudice towards those who are different and racism with the old ‘Muslims are not a race’ shtick

    No, I don’t. I don’t think muslims are a race. I think you alone, and not most muslims, are unbelievably stupid.

    KJB @ 52.

    Thanks.

    You want to hate. You have an almost unique ability to find offence when none is offered. That defines idiots such as your good self. You want to see enmity when none is offered..

    Frankly you are a fool. And you assume the right to take a title such as ‘muslim’?

    Don’t think so. Think you are an assumptive twit.

    You are so up your own arse of what you think is your religion that you have lost any sort of humanity. Quite frankly you have lost the plot.

  53. douglas clark — on 12th March, 2011 at 1:31 am  

    KJB – sorry if that appeared to run on as an attack on you. You probably know better, but it was never directed at you. I really have to give up on this ‘you’ idea. It makes me look stupid. I meant:

    KJB @ 52.

    Thanks.

    _________________________________

    (muslim)

    You want to hate.

    etc, etc… That was not obvious from my post. My enmity is directed at ‘muslim’ who I think is a fool and not you.

    ________________________________

    You are a good person, and I apologise for not making that clear.

  54. KJB — on 12th March, 2011 at 2:03 am  

    Lol @ AbuF. I couldn’t resist taking the piss, guv’nor! ‘Muslim’, whoever the hell it is, reminds me of the dim one from Four Lions.

    No worries, douglas… you might want to slow down a little in your comments, or re-read or edit (I try to do all three) just to save yourself time! :-)

  55. douglas clark — on 12th March, 2011 at 2:37 am  

    KJB,

    Thanks. It wouldn’t be me if I was right all the time. Or, if I took time to breathe. Or if I was right all the time. Respect, and all of that stuff.

    Nuff said. You are a seriously nice person. Thanks for that.

    ;-)

  56. Boyo — on 12th March, 2011 at 9:21 am  

    Muslim/Munir/Blah

    “archzionist” hahaha. I would trouble you for proof, but you never have any, for anything.

    Douglas a “muslim hater”? Maybe many things but not that.

    Really – it’s just smears with you, isn’t. Says a lot about your philosophy.

  57. Boyo — on 12th March, 2011 at 9:23 am  

    “what is progressive about what usama hasan has said? little vague on the detail at the moment.”

    Er… evolution?

  58. Rumbold — on 12th March, 2011 at 9:40 am  

    Munir/Muslim has been deleted (as per normal).

  59. Ravi Naik — on 12th March, 2011 at 2:48 pm  

    although the Pope squared your particular circle quite eloquently:

    “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

    I am sure Dawkins was not too happy about this. His whole shtick these days is to claim that evolution is an indictment against religious belief. Talk about delusion.

  60. AbuF — on 12th March, 2011 at 5:30 pm  

    Yahia Birt claims:

    If your organisation wants to put a short clear statement up on your website along the lines of other community organisations that have made a stand on this issue then I would be more than happy to put it up.

    However, as Yahia B has not put up *anything* by *anybody* on his site *to date*, I would not hold your breath.

  61. jamal — on 13th March, 2011 at 4:30 pm  

    i see this debate has turned into extremist secularists v extremist muslims :)

  62. Imran Khan — on 13th March, 2011 at 10:40 pm  

    Boyo – “Weasel words spring to mind Imran. Your clear inference is that this man is not a Muslim, whereas you know full well that to become a Muslim one only has to accept Mohammed as the Prophet, etc.

    It is not for you to judge whether he is or is not a Muslim. To do so is plainly blasphemy. Are you a greater judge than God? I do not think so.”

    Really you have great difficult reading and show a complete disregard for fairness. I have never said Usama Hasan is not a Myuslim and if you had read my early statements instead of shooting your mouth off you’d know I said clearly that the only people who can say that a person is not a Muslim is a senior scholar and in Usama Hasan’s case they have said no such thing. As I pointed out they have spoken to him.

    So are just trying to stir trouble. I have never said Usama Hasan is not a Muslim and you are simply distorting what I said so you can go off on one.

    If you knew about Islam which you clearly don’t from your statements then to become a Muslim one has to accept Allah as the one true deity worthy of worship and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a messenger.

    If there are any weasel words they are yours as you twist what I said to suit your own silly agenda which is not about debate but name-calling.

    Again this whole thing is about using any excuse to bash Muslims. It is strange that Munir/Muslim or whoever he is is denied comment because he is abusive and others such as you and Douglas are given free reign to have a go at anyone who holds a religious belief and also especially Muslims.

    You crocodile tears for Usama Hasan are about as close as Zarkozy talking about women’s righst whilst tellng his own wife how to dress so his own lack of height is not apparent.

    Just because I disagrees with Usama Hasan on evolution it does not mean that I have question whether he is a Muslim or not.

    It really shows that whilst you keep going on about freedom to speak that you become especially abusive to people who believe in a religion if they disagree with you thus denying them an opportunity to present their position.

    I’ll make it easy and clear for you as you have trouble, I believe that Usama Hasan is a Muslim and all those people who have threatened him should be dealt with by the Police and I hope that no harm comes to Usama Hasan and his whole family and that he is able to make his position know without any fear of threats or intimidation or abuse of any kiind.

    Is that clear? Thats much more than you give me. I now remember why I stopped writing comments here because people like you don’t want to debate but rather be abusive with impunity from those who are supposed to moderate discussion.

  63. Imran Khan — on 13th March, 2011 at 10:50 pm  

    Douglas – “I have challenged you to provide the damning evidence that evolution is wrong. Not once, but twice. ”

    If your stopped being abusive and actually read what you said let alone what I said then you would remember that you asked what questions I asked and not to provied damning evidence. Your approach to discussion is to be as abusive as possible espcailly to people who believe in religion whilst not recalling anything you’ve said.

    I actually answered your question but clearly you are not interested in being civil in discussion and are a complete waste of time to discuss with.

    “Either you engage, or piss off Iram Khan.

    Here’s your chance to do it.

    We could start from the beginning, and work forward.
    Why do I think I have said this aleady?”

    Given how abusive you are then it is you who should leave. Except you won’t as the moderators give you so much leeway as their bulldog to be unleashed on people of religion. I suggest you try reading my replies and you’ll see I have made every effort to answer your points.

    It is strange that you are allowed to basically make incorrect statements about me, which I have asked you numerous times to provide evidence for or withdraw and you just won’t admit you are wrong.

    So again I ask you for your evidence or withdraw of your statement that I didn’t condemn those threatening Usama when I did here many times. If you won’t provide the statement then it just shows what type of discussion you resort to and the moderators let you get away with.

    You won’t do it because you get so confused about what you are discussing and with whom but show me where I didn’t condemn those who threatened Usama Hasan.

    As usual you’ll be allowed to get away with this which shows that there are different standard for Muslims who are abusive and non-Muslims who are abusive.

  64. Imran Khan — on 13th March, 2011 at 10:55 pm  

    AbuF – “Imran Khan – might I suggest that being assessed as working towards National Curriculum Level 3 in Science does not give you carte blanche to display with such completely unwitting abandon your contempt for modern science and your near total ignorance of the most basic elements of scientific method?”

    I don’t have a contempt for modern science. It is you who is ignorant of the most basic elements of scientific method as now even leading scientists want to be allowed to question the methods of evolution. So what does that say about your knowledge in this area?

    Just because someone does not agree with evolution then it doesn’t not mean they reject modern science and its simply diversions to say they do.

    If you knew about evolution as you claim then tell us what doubts Darwin had about his own theory? In his own words.

  65. joe90 — on 13th March, 2011 at 11:36 pm  

    post #57

    progressive because he believes in a theory? theory is code for speculation or hypothesis it is not fact, so you have dodged answering the question posed.

  66. douglas clark — on 14th March, 2011 at 12:03 am  

    Imran Khan @ 63,

    I do get annoyed when people don’t engage, and you certainly haven’t. You have claimed, wrongly in my view, but I am open to correction, that you have put questions about evolution that silenced a scientist.

    I want to know what these questions were, and you deliberately refuse to provide them. It is little wonder that I find the person who claims superiority in this discussion – you Imran Khan – is a little short on the actualité. And a passive aggressive to boot.

    I withdraw, unreservedly, my comment that you should ‘piss off’. That was a consequence of your stubborn refusal to state your case. Please, do tell about the amazing logic you applied.

    Yes, you managed to piss me off sufficiently to be annoyed, well actually very annoyed, at your complete refusal to state your case.

    Which, I see you have still not done.

    I cannot argue against you if you do not state your case.

    ____________________________

    Does that mean you have won?

    No, it means you couldn’t argue your way out of a wet paper bag.

    It is very frustrating.

    Would you prefer it if I stated mine first?

    It might be a bit lengthy for Pickled Politics, but it is, more or less, cogent.

    ______________________

    So, Imran Khan, you deliberately pretend that your religion – whatever that might be – is better than in your face evidence?

    ___________________________

    Just so’s you know, I have been censured by the moderators around here. I happen to think that arguing from zero proof, as you do, should also be censured.

    It would upset me if I was banned from commenting here. It would upset me a lot more if I was banned for challenging what you have to say.

    Because, so far, you’ve got nothing.

  67. Boyo — on 14th March, 2011 at 8:16 am  

    Thanks for the clarification Imran. It’s true I did not read all your other comments, but I drew my conclusions from your words that I did read. My apologies if that was a slip of the pen.

    I don’t however agree you should confuse disagreement with abuse. Munir/Blah etc is banned because he is a genuinely abusive troll, his labelling of me as a “ultrazionist” a good example, for the simple fact that I have dared to seek a certain balance in past discussions. Like Sunny and most progressives here I am for a return to 67 borders, two states, the lot. I have actually worked with Palestinian in the OT (unlike, I suspect, Munir). Some kind of “Zionist” that makes me…

    Neither am I anti-religious. I am actually a person of faith, be it a very liberal sub-Christian one. I owe a great debt to Sufis and believe there is much potential in Islam. It is held back however by obscurantism and a tendency to mob rule and manipulation. This is its great shame because what could be a very powerful path to truth is, due to human frailty, distorted and abused.

  68. Boyo — on 14th March, 2011 at 8:21 am  

    @65 Well done Joe you win the prize for the guy who got left behind in the cave ;-)

  69. douglas clark — on 14th March, 2011 at 8:35 am  

    Boyo,

    At least on this thread, I have read everything that Imran Khan has to say. So far, he has nothing to say.

    That is who he is. A person who is just there to annoy, rather than debate.

    That is your Imran Khan.

    Frankly, he is a waste of space. For he claims a truth, when no truth is evident. And he avoids the discussion….

    That is what your new friend is about.

  70. douglas clark — on 14th March, 2011 at 8:39 am  

    Joe90 @ 65,

    Stop embarrassing yourself:

    progressive because he believes in a theory? theory is code for speculation or hypothesis it is not fact, so you have dodged answering the question posed.

    You are incredibly stupid or dense. You choose.

  71. Imran Khan — on 14th March, 2011 at 6:06 pm  

    Douglas – if you stopped for a few minutes hurling abuse at people and actually spent some time reading then you’d know I answered your question some days ago.

    Yet rather than making a sincere effort to read what the other person is writing, you choose to stoop to nasty personnal attacks and that really says a lot.

    I also answered another question you asked at the same time.

    I don’t mind discussing with you but your approach and personnal attacks have driven off many people, and that may make you feel good but it doesn’t help people to get to know each other.

    Despite repeated requests by me you have refused to prove or withdraw your false accusation against me and you persist in attacking me. Although I don’t want to see you banned this is totally unacceptable behaviour and if you were out in public you would ta least be cautioned. I suggest you calm down and behave and if you can do that I will go back through the posts and copy my reply. If you persist in being abusive then there is little point is there? Your choice.

  72. Imran Khan — on 14th March, 2011 at 6:08 pm  

    Douglas – “You are incredibly stupid or dense. You choose.”

    Again is this necessary? This is just simple abusive behaviour.

  73. douglas clark — on 14th March, 2011 at 6:17 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 71.

    I answered your question some days ago

    Not that I’ve noticed. Point me to it Imran. I really want to see what you have to say.

    Incidentally, I am usually quite polite to most folk around here. I would be quite astonished that anyone left here just because of little old me. Quite an amazing accusation to make, really.

    You are assuming that your repeated requests are going to get any further withdrawal than I have already made @ 66. I have pointed out already that your passive aggressive style is utterly contemptible. You, sir, are a one trick pony.

  74. douglas clark — on 14th March, 2011 at 6:28 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 72,

    Joe 90 had this to say:

    progressive because he believes in a theory? theory is code for speculation or hypothesis it is not fact, so you have dodged answering the question posed.

    So, yes I do think I am justified in saying:

    “You are incredibly stupid or dense. You choose.”

    And, if you don’t know why, don’t bother replying.

  75. Don — on 14th March, 2011 at 7:22 pm  

    Imran responded at #33

    The questions were to do with:

    Formation of features such as eyes, how does evolution cope with reproductive organs moving from species to species, the development of lungs etc when moving from sea to land and vice-versa, how evolution copes with mental issues as species change, why some animals stopped evolving. It was a long discussion.

    Although how the evolution of the eye could have stumped anyone is a mystery – it’s one of the most elegant examples of evolution through natural selection one could hope to find. Lungs are scarcely a mystery either – existing structures are intensified to deal with changed environmental conditions. I’m not sure what ‘mental issues’ are, unless it refers to actual changes to the brain and to how a creature responds to environmental conditions.

    They don’t seem to have been very taxing questions.

  76. cjcjc — on 14th March, 2011 at 7:50 pm  

    Where are all these medieval types coming from?

    Has there been a tear in the space-time continuum?!

  77. Wibble — on 14th March, 2011 at 10:33 pm  

    Even though the “discussion” referred to earlier contains daft notions such as “how does evolution cope” (it doesn’t because it’s a process), the following is not tremendously helpful either (a bit along the lines of “well, because it’s obvious”):

    “Although how the evolution of the eye could have stumped anyone is a mystery – it’s one of the most elegant examples of evolution through natural selection one could hope to find.”

  78. Don — on 14th March, 2011 at 11:15 pm  

    Wibble,

    If you need links to find out how the eye evolved then you are beyond help.

  79. AbuF — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:08 am  

    Imran Khan

    It is you who is ignorant of the most basic elements of scientific method as now even leading scientists want to be allowed to question the methods of evolution.

    As I made absolutely no comment about the value of evolutionary theory, I am puzzled as to why you have assumed my position is such.

    Clearly, you are also a mind-reader.

    Alternatively, you are very challenged by reading skills.

    Incidentally, if you can come up with a reputed, peer-assessed paper that challenges the evolutionary foundations of modern biological sciences, I would be most interested to know of the same.

    Yrs, a scientist.

  80. AbuF — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:09 am  

    Imran Khan

    It is you who is ignorant of the most basic elements of scientific method as now even leading scientists want to be allowed to question the methods of evolution.

    As I made absolutely no comment about the value of evolutionary theory, I am puzzled as to why you have assumed my position is such.

    Clearly, you are also a mind-reader.

    On the other hand, you are very challenged by reading skills.

    Incidentally, if you can come up with a reputed, peer-assessed paper that challenges the evolutionary foundations of modern biological sciences, I would be most interested to know of the same.

    Yrs, a scientist.

  81. AbuF — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:11 am  

    Also, Imran Khan

    You might want to re-read what you wrote: a theory is not the methodology of a theory. You comment that scientists want to challenge the methodology – one might well achieve this without recourse to challenge of the theory.

    For example, I might challenge the method by which a theoretical model has been derived, whilst fully accepting the conclusions drawn from that model.

    I hope this is not going over your head.

  82. Wibble — on 15th March, 2011 at 9:27 am  

    Whatever, Don. I have no problems with evolution.

    Bottom line is that you didn’t make an argument in 75.

  83. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 11:52 am  

    Douglas – “Not that I’ve noticed. Point me to it Imran. I really want to see what you have to say.”

    The fact you remain rude and unable to provide evidenxce for your false claim means I no longer want to talk to you. You simply want to be rude and aggressive to try and win over your point.

    Sorry but discussing with you is a waste of time as you fail to read what people say.

    It is pointless discussing with someone who is not following what is going on.

  84. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 11:57 am  

    Don – “They don’t seem to have been very taxing questions.”

    These were long discussion, I just outlined the intial questions and subjects areas.

    I didn’t do all the discussing, some people I know who don’t accept evolution and have done Science based doctorates asked many questions as well and contributed.

    It was then I learnt that some people with science based degress and post-grad qualifications had asked to debate with Dawkins but without success.

  85. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 11:59 am  

    AbuF – “I hope this is not going over your head.”

    You are so smart everything you say goes over my head. I suggest you talk to Muslim people who are at your level and don’t accept evolution.

    Some of the Islamic Societies in London may be able to help you.

    Regards.

  86. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 5:42 pm  

    Douglas – Not that you deserve this but given that you are older than me and I’d like to try and be respectful to you and I actually don’t want to be like you, here is some of the questions which formed the discussion and these were here if you had bothered to read what was being discussed:

    “The questions were to do with:

    Formation of features such as eyes, how does evolution cope with reproductive organs moving from species to species, the development of lungs etc when moving from sea to land and vice-versa, how evolution copes with mental issues as species change, why some animals stopped evolving. It was a long discussion.”

    Later on I also said

    “Darwin said:
    “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graded organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”

    The fossil record is not so clear cut as you like to imply and scientists are now questioning this record which is why some are now being denied tenure by Evolutionists who don’t want discussion or debate as they claim but only those who agree with them. Dictatorship and not freedom to discover as you claim. Every false label you try and pin to Muslims is actually true of evolutionists.

    Lack of fossil records, their desperate attempt to label fossils which may be damaged as being a missing link and so forth show the lack of challange for evolution theory.

    Your friend Usama will not explain why if Adam evolved how Eve appeared and why he even accepts Adam as the first man? How did the reproduction of his near humans become so minute for a generation to produce Adam and Eve and then expand out again? Or does Usama not believe in this at all?”

  87. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 5:44 pm  

    Douglas – Now I have stated again some of what I discussed, its your turn to provide evidence for your false slander of me that I did not condone what was happening to Usama Hasan. Please provide your evidence or withdraw your slander?

  88. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:16 pm  

    Imran,

    I think you may have misunderstood the passage from Darwin which you cited. It was part of Darwin’s style to set out all possible objections to the theory and then deal with them systematically. Many creationists sources tend to cherry-pick and quote the (rhetorical) objections but omit the explanation which follows.

    The full explanation is here;

    http://darwin.thefreelibrary.com/The-Origin-of-Species/9-1

  89. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:21 pm  

    Don – “I don’t however agree you should confuse disagreement with abuse. Munir/Blah etc is banned because he is a genuinely abusive troll, his labelling of me as a “ultrazionist” a good example, for the simple fact that I have dared to seek a certain balance in past discussions.”

    I don’t want Douglas banned but I am highlighting how much leeway he is given, he is abusive as can be seen above with his statements and that goes beyond discussion or debate. He has made salderous and false accusations againts me which he won’t prove and he won’t withdraw. He gets away with it.

    If you dare to ask why then the moderators get abusive.

    “Neither am I anti-religious. I am actually a person of faith, be it a very liberal sub-Christian one. I owe a great debt to Sufis and believe there is much potential in Islam. It is held back however by obscurantism and a tendency to mob rule and manipulation. This is its great shame because what could be a very powerful path to truth is, due to human frailty, distorted and abused.”
    I think that is changing slowly. Mob rule came about because groups like HT falsely promised so much and then didn’t stick to their own doctrines. Did you know that the founder of HT said that if he did not found a Caliphite in 50 years he would disband the organisation but 50 years came and went and he carried on! But the wider issue is that many Muslims practise their faith and get on with their lives and its unfair to tell them what they can and cannot believe based on recommendations from government funded thinktanks.

    Each religion has its beliefs and foundations. Belief in creation is one of these and it should not be open to such abuse by people when Muslims say this. I wonder if some of the people calling Muslims backward would dare to call other Abrahamic Faiths the same if they believe in creation?

    Muslims have never stopped study of sciences even with those that they disagree with and hence the major works of the ancients were perserved.

    If Usama Hasan want to prove to his fellow Muslims the theory of evolution then he needs to say more than he is a scientist and those who disagree with him don’t understand science.

    For all those having a go at me listen to his own words, and he was given a fair amount of time and even after people walked out he was listened to.

    His views have been refuted by organisations who have not said he is outside the fold of Islam. So then he has a point from which to reply as has Bunglawala. But much dialogue seems to be through CIF and not to their intended audience.

    In your Christian faith you have beliefs and foundations that you hold as sacred. People keep going on about Judeo-Christian culture of Europe and yet Muslims have been contributing to this culture for over 1300 years and yet no mention of this.

  90. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:26 pm  

    Don – Thanks for the explanation. To have a proper debate on this issue I think it would be nice to see Dawkins and other evolutionists debate with scientists who don’t accept evolution.

    Dawkins mostly tends to debate with religious theologians. If the tehory is so strong then I don’t understand why Dawkins and otehrs are so carefully about who they debate with? Surely if they are so certain then why the need for such careful selection of debates.

    I know many people who work in sciences who would like to contribute to this debate and yet each time they ask, they can’t get agreement.

    Surely for Dawkins this is easy and yet it doesn’t happen. A man so certain and yet so selective about hsi debates.

  91. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:32 pm  

    Don – Also people may not like it but yes Muslims believe in creation. Usama Hasan tried to merge creation with evolution. But he has been unable to convince his own father of his ideas. Shuaoib Hasan defended his son’s right to his ideas but didn’t accept the ideas themselves.

    I’d be interested to know if Bunglawala’sfamily accept his ideas on evolution?

    I’d be interested to know if Yahya Birt believes in what Usama Hasan says?

    I don’t accept Usama Hasan’s explanation as there are too many gaps in what he is claiming. However Brother Usama Hasan has a right to live without being threatened or having his family threatened and it is a great shame that here was an opportunity within the Muslim Community for people to present their views and because of a few stupid people we have been denied the opportunity to hear the discussion most of which is now being conducted via the internet.

  92. jamal — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:36 pm  

    Many of the people defending evolution need to look at what they are saying, they are sounding like obnoxious teenagers who just like to swear and call anyone that disagrees with them medieval or cave dwellers.

    the level of debate is really terrible.

  93. Ravi Naik — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:52 pm  

    Many of the people defending evolution… the level of debate is really terrible.

    What is terrible is that we are having this debate in the 21st century. The bottom line, in my view, is this:

    - it is backward to believe in creationism in the literal sense that God created Adam and Eve. This has been debunked by science. Any Christian, Muslim or Jew that believes what the Book of Genesis says is ignorant.

    - Contrary to what Dawkins and creationists say, evolution as a scientific fact has absolutely nothing to do with whether God exists or not. Evolution is seen by many people who believe in God as the mechanism for creation. Darwin himself was a theist, not an atheist.

  94. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 6:52 pm  

    Imran,

    This is becoming an interesting discussion, although it has diverged rather a lot from the OP. As so often. I’d like to raise a few more points.

    You say that scientists who question the fossil record, ‘are now being denied tenure by Evolutionists who don’t want discussion or debate…’ Without knowing the identity of the scientists in question it is impossible to respond to that claim. There undoubtedly have been cases where creationist views have been a stumbling block to tenure and opinions are divided about that. But I would like to know who you have in mind. Without that it’s simply an assertion.

    The term ‘missing link’ is meaningless. Intermediate fossils are common. In fact it could be said that every fossil is a link to its ancestors and descendants, but every one that is found necessarily creates two more which are still ‘missing’.

    if Adam evolved how Eve appeared…

    I have no idea what Mr Hasan believes, but surely you are not suggesting that the male and the female of species evolved independently? That would be bizarre.

    their desperate attempt to label fossils which may be damaged as being a missing link…

    Again I’m going to have to ask you for some indication of the incidents you are referring to. Otherwise you might seem to imply a conscious conspiracy by Evolutionists which now dominates almost every discipline, from astronomy to zoology. And I’m sure you don’t mean that.

  95. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:02 pm  

    Douglas – “I have pointed out already that your passive aggressive style is utterly contemptible. You, sir, are a one trick pony.”

    Douglas you basically made a false accusation against me that I was tolerant of the threats to Usama Hasan – a statement you won’t prove and won’t withdraw.

    I have repeatedly supported Usama Hasan’s rights to state his views without fear and threat and highlighted to people that Ahmad bin Hanbal the notable Islamic scholar debated with people in a good manner and this is an example for Msulims.

    Then you need to prove your point and it is you who is a onetrick pony because you are abusive and won’t back up your own statements and are given massive leeway to do so by the moderators.

    Debate is one thing by it is digusting behaviour to accuse someone of something that they have not done and then stick by it. Your actions are simple disgraceful and the allowance given to you to allow you to tell people to piss off is in fact similar toi the behaviour that Usama Hasan suffered. One is condemned and one is tolerated when in fact both should be condemned.

    “That is who he is. A person who is just there to annoy, rather than debate.

    That is your Imran Khan.

    Frankly, he is a waste of space. For he claims a truth, when no truth is evident. And he avoids the discussion….”

    Again this is not discussion but plain simple abuse that is being allowed to go by unchecked. This is just simple character attacks without basis or foundation espacilly as I had answered his question already! So why is Douglas allowed to get away with this and examples are made of religious folks.

  96. jamal — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:08 pm  

    ravi naik

    It’s not terrible in my humble view to have a debate on any subject including evolution.

    But some who have resorted to swear like a drunken sailor at anyone that questions the evolution theory, is terrible in my view.

  97. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:16 pm  

    Don – “But I would like to know who you have in mind. Without that it’s simply an assertion.”

    In the USA you hear of scientists making these claims and then there are counterclaims. However evolutionists have demanded that only evolution is taught as a science and creationists demand only creationism is taught as a science which is hardly in keeping with debating issues.

    There was the documentary Expelled and then the counter Expelled Exposed.

    Then we had:

    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

    “I have no idea what Mr Hasan believes, but surely you are not suggesting that the male and the female of species evolved independently? That would be bizarre.”

    I was questioning what Usama Hasan said that Adam evolved and he accepted the Qur’an but then he didn’t explain where Eve came from. If Adam had parents then where did Eve come from and if they both had parents then there must have been others born of those parents. He doesn’t explain these fundemental issues with his merging of the Qur’an and Evolution.

    “Again I’m going to have to ask you for some indication of the incidents you are referring to. Otherwise you might seem to imply a conscious conspiracy by Evolutionists which now dominates almost every discipline, from astronomy to zoology. And I’m sure you don’t mean that.”
    I’d like to know what level of study is done on fossils to indicate they are an intermediate species between humans and apes. I’m not saying its a concious consipracy but call me stupid which many people have but what is the criteria of deciding a fossil or fragment is intermediate and not just the way the fossil was preserved.

  98. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:20 pm  

    Ravi – “- it is backward to believe in creationism in the literal sense that God created Adam and Eve. This has been debunked by science. Any Christian, Muslim or Jew that believes what the Book of Genesis says is ignorant.”

    Then millions of people are ignorant!

    “- Contrary to what Dawkins and creationists say, evolution as a scientific fact has absolutely nothing to do with whether God exists or not. Evolution is seen by many people who believe in God as the mechanism for creation. Darwin himself was a theist, not an atheist.”
    Which is kind of what Usama Hasan was saying but then this has many questions.

    However because its Muslims here who are the creationists then people are quite happy and being allowed to be abusive to an excess. That is not good for any debate.

  99. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:31 pm  

    Imran,

    Your response at #88 was to a comment by Boyo, not myself. I am certainly not ‘a person of faith.’

    Dawkins does discriminate about who he will debate. About one request for a debate from a creationist he remarked that ‘It would look good on his resume, not so good on mine.’ He has been known to engage with these people, but a full debate would lend them a legitimacy they do not have. By all means let creationists or others ignore the science and choose faith, that is everybody’s right. But don’t let them then demand a place at the table of science.

    By the way, have you read ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’?
    Once again I strongly recommend it.

  100. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:40 pm  

    Don – Sorry for the confusion!

    “Dawkins does discriminate about who he will debate. About one request for a debate from a creationist he remarked that ‘It would look good on his resume, not so good on mine.’”
    Frankly that is a nonsense argument and running away from the debate. It just illustrates that he is selective and not interested in debate. What does he have to worry about?

    “But don’t let them then demand a place at the table of science.”
    Ok fine but then why hide away from debate. If the science is sooooooo proven and exact why then not enter a debate they are so so certain of winning?

    Again why does Dawkins agree to debates with Christian Theologians other than because it looks good on his CV. The man is controlling how the debate happens to ensure only his view wins the day!

  101. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:49 pm  

    Gosh, this fast moving and we will invariably cross post but never mind.

    Imran,

    Yes, I have heard people making these claims and I’m familiar with a few of the cases,but I really wanted to know who you had in mind specifically. I’m also familiar with Expelled, a very dishonest movie which did not make its case.

    We do indeed have ‘Dissent from Darwin’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Scientific_Dissent_From_Darwinism#Defections_and_disagreements

    I’d like to know what level of study is done on fossils to indicate they are an intermediate species between humans and apes.

    Did you follow the link I gave you earlier, to Australopithecus’? But why ‘between humans and apes’? would evolution be acceptable if it led to every creature except us? Isn’t creationism ultimately about vanity?

  102. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 7:51 pm  

    Imran,

    I have to walk the dog and make dinner now. And there is an interesting programme on BBC 2 later. But I hope to continue this discussion.

  103. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 8:08 pm  

    Don – “Did you follow the link I gave you earlier, to Australopithecus’? But why ‘between humans and apes’? would evolution be acceptable if it led to every creature except us? Isn’t creationism ultimately about vanity?”

    Yes I am reading the information at the link.

    However evolution leaves a great many unanswered questions. The breeding pattern during evolution is another question. As organs moved how did breeding occur? As regards the Physcological behaviour of species as they evolved then there is little allowance made for the Physcological distress going on in the mind. If the primary sense was to be the eye then what happened as the eye developed. As animals went from land to sea and vice versa how did they know how long they could do things and if their limbs would cope.

    All this is about chance and order and if you combine the two then everythign cannot happen by random chance and keep repeating in such order as the possibility is so remote. If it is by evolution then why can’t science repeat it so easily? Why can’t science evolve a brain from other animals.

    Evolution is not acceptable to a Muslim if it involved every animal except humans. It just isn’t acceptable. We believe that all animals have their own nations (not state like nations).

    “Isn’t creationism ultimately about vanity?”
    Not at all. I’d say that evolutionist like Dawkins are vain and only love their own view and are not interested in even discussing any other view. As I said its not as if Muslims have not tried to discuss with evolutionists but often debates are full of abuse.

    As I said if you recall the purpose of this thread it was to do witht he fact that Usama Hasan was being denied the right to express his view and the abuse he faced which later became intimidation and then death threats. But equally we have people here being abusive because Muslims are expressing their view on creation. So why is one not acceptable and the other is tolerated?

    Does it really matter if a scientists does not believe in evolution if he is good at his or her chosen science? Surely science should be willing to put up with belief and maybe write it off as an intermediate species to evolution than demand people accept evolution without question. That seems like a dictatorial theory much as it accuses creation of being!

  104. Imran Khan — on 15th March, 2011 at 8:09 pm  

    Don – “I have to walk the dog and make dinner now. And there is an interesting programme on BBC 2 later. But I hope to continue this discussion.”

    No problem enjoy. I’ll do my best to keep up but am getting busy at work!

  105. Don — on 15th March, 2011 at 10:34 pm  

    Imran,

    a great many unanswered questions.

    Better unanswered questions than unquestioned answers.

    Goodnight.

  106. AbuF — on 15th March, 2011 at 10:55 pm  

    Imran Khan

    So, in fact you are unwilling and unable to substantiate your claim that reputable scientists have published peer-reviewed papers that challenge with evidence the bases of evolutionary theory. In other words, you simply fabricated this claim in order to support your argument.

    You ask me to talk to Muslims who know about such things. OK, how about the Muslim Association of Scientists and Engineers (MASE), a very serious and reputable group of /cough/ scientists and engineers who are also devout Muslims. They not only repudiate your nonsense, but support this with considerable evidence *and* have openly condemned the persecution of Imam Usama Husan. I suggest *you* take a look at their website.

    Let me explain the issue you are too obtuse to grasp:

    Imagine someone derives the quotient, so: “12 divided by four is the same as ’12 – 4 – 4 – 4′ and then I count up the number of 4s I used”.

    Formally, this person is quite correct. Indeed, this *method* of ‘division by chunking’ (or repeated subtraction) is the basis of division (indeed, it shows how division is logically a derived rule founded in the operations of addition and negation – but don’t trouble yourself about the realm of necessary truths, as you seem to think that science is solely concerned with contingencies).

    Now, I might challenge this person’s *method* on the basis that it is not *as efficient* as another *method* that I might proffer.

    But (and here is the clincher), I am making a criticism of *method* not the answer (the quotient, which happens to be three in this case). My grounds for criticism were *methodological*. I was not challenging the correctness of the result (nor the method, in this case), but the way in which this result was achieved.

    Again, if I were to ask, “What is 12 divided by four?”, and I got the correct response – but the responder was unable to tell me *how* they derived this answer, I might be concerned that they were guessing (or, at least, were utilising a rote-learned knowledge of the times tables and a primitive grasp of the rule of inverse operations). Again, no challenge to the correctness of the answer; but here a concern that the responder is not aware of the *process* needful to derive this answer.

    Consider the disputes inside evolutionary theory. People have argued that Darwin’s bases for deriving a evolutionary theory were faulty (or rather, that this base of knowledge has expanded exponentially – especially with the breakthroughs in genetic level information about life-forms). The evidential bases of evolutionary theory have enlarged and enriched – and have sometimes posed issues for prior theorising; but the theory of evolution itself has not been negatively stressed by these new findings and discoveries – it has been enriched and has proven itself able to *adapt* to meet these challenges.

    What is problematic about your views is twofold: on the one hand, you clearly have an extremely poor grasp of the very basics of the scientific method in toto – and not just as applicable to the biological sciences. Your views are out of kilter not only with established practices of scientists (whether religious believers or not), but also the observations made by those of us interested in how science works as a methodology and branch of epistemology (the theory of knowledge).

    On the other hand, you are singularly dishonest in your presentation of your views. Unable to actually back-up or support your stance, you have been caught actually fabricating claims.

    Please evidence your claims. In short, put up or shut up.

  107. Wibble — on 15th March, 2011 at 11:41 pm  

    “However evolution leaves a great many unanswered questions. The breeding pattern during evolution is another question. As organs moved how did breeding occur?”

    Your questions aren’t valid. You’re making an assumption that big changes happen very quickly under evolution. The other thing, why is a debate necessary with Dawkins? There are plenty of scientists who would be able answer your questions.

    As I understand it (and my understanding is basic), evolution just means that characteristics that enhance an organism’s ability to reproduce, given its environment, are the ones that dominate over time. The reason for this is that organisms with these characteristics get to breed / reproduce and pass them on. For example, if there is a particularly cold spell of weather individuals who can better tolerate the cold, or find shelter, or inactivate themselves until the weather improves have a better chance of survival and going on to reproduce.

    There is no arrow of evolution aiming towards an ideal (evolving “towards” Man), it’s simply whatever is required for individuals to reproduce. The Dodo was perfectly well adapted for its environment but not to cope when humans came along.

    There is an element of randomness – a mutation could give an advantage in an environment, and different organisms within a population have a spread of characteristics (we don’t all have the same strength of vision, hearing etc) and some of these will be advantageous. There is an arrow in that by reproducing the characteristics can dominate and be refined e.g. more acute vision or hearing for a bird of prey.

    The amount of generations / time need to observe perceptible change in real organisms is very large. However, computer simulations can be done based upon specifying simple rules for passing on characteristics.

    I thought you might have some interesting questions such as why sexual reproduction occurs. I understand that this question has been difficult to answer using evolutionary theory, but at least the scientists admit these things.

  108. joe90 — on 16th March, 2011 at 2:22 am  

    post #106

    your argument focus on a change in biology which most accept rather than evidence of evolution.
    If we look at natural mutations they cannot create genetic information that is not already in the genetic code it is either deleted or changed around.

    You cannot even observe mutation in a labrotory at the macro level, when we look at macrolevel of mutations they are more often harmful than beneficial. Example the chernobyl accident and the resulting radiation poisoning and mutations within humans led to disease, disability and death, it did not lead to new superhumans.

    When people use examples of fruit flies or peppered moths you have to ask why bother, because these are just variations within a species and not evidence for evolution, as for using computer simulation as a substitute for real evidence come on :)

  109. AbuF — on 16th March, 2011 at 4:28 am  

    joe90

    I have read some ill-informed, cut-and-paste nonsense in my time – but yours is plain bananas. To wit:

    You cannot even observe mutation in a labrotory at the macro level, when we look at macrolevel of mutations they are more often harmful than beneficial.

    This is completely self-contradictory nonsense.

    your argument focus on a change in biology which most accept rather than evidence of evolution.

    This is an outright lie. Equally, evolution theory is a theory of biology, by the by – hence the concentration on biological science in discussing it.

    Evolution takes place, in part, through variation in specie – the counterposing of variation with evolution means that you clearly do not understand either.

    FFS. Did you go to school?

    If we look at natural mutations they cannot create genetic information that is not already in the genetic code it is either deleted or changed around.

  110. AbuF — on 16th March, 2011 at 4:29 am  

    Oh, you are aware that evolutionists have more to back-up their claims than the sort of examples given in GCSE textbooks?

    No. I thought not.

    Next. Move along, nothing to see here apart from a medievalist loon proving his own ignorance.

  111. Boyo — on 16th March, 2011 at 7:53 am  

    Imran, I’m sure it’s okay to believe in evolution and God and be a Muslim. This is not about Islam, it’s about Creationism and any Born Again Christian would receive the same reception. Let’s move away from the Muslims are Victims meme (do you know where memes come from by the way?).

    “Your friend Usama will not explain why if Adam evolved how Eve appeared and why he even accepts Adam as the first man?”

    Because he was afraid? History is littered with examples of wise men who have been obliged to deny what they know to be true. Galileo springs to mind. I think it is disingenuous for you to keep pressing this point.

    Tracking your arguments you appear to have little consciousness of the awesome passage of time (as few of us do!). Mutation and change are very slow – consciousness is not required – and the process occurred in tremendously hostile environments. Many species – from dinosaurs to neanderthals to the wooly mammoth – have been wiped out, and there is evidence human kind was reduced to a handful of people.

    Evolution is literally the survival of the fittest. Dogs have a tremendous sense of smell, for example, because as small mammals it was only safe to come out at night. The feathers on birds once were scales – their dinosaur past. Have you ever wondered why we have a tail bone?

    Even our minds are the product of evolution – our imagination a conceptual tool for planning, possibilities and to keep us safe (and anxious too – worry is a survival strategy). No, we don’t have all the answers (because no one was there ten million years ago), so it is endlessly debatable, but observation and logic makes a strong case for evolution.

  112. AbuF — on 16th March, 2011 at 9:47 am  

    Excellent post, Boyo.

    To pick up on this howler from Imran Khan:

    Your friend Usama will not explain why if Adam evolved how Eve appeared and why he even accepts Adam as the first man.

    How about Imam Husan being a little more subtle than the literalism to which you evidently adhere. Any exegesis may take on an allegorical or metaphorical form, as well as literalist one. This is not simply a preoccupation of Christian theologians. After all, how else does one square this Qur’anic dilemma:

    (1) Allah is said to be sitting on his throne. Elsewhere there is reference to His arm…

    But:

    (2) Allah is said not to be in any way similar to any part of his Creation.

    (3) Thus, Allah has no human attributes (arms) or habits (sitting, for example) (this is required for His ineffability, incidentally).

    (4) Thus Allah cannot be said to be sitting anywhere (as sitting is something that sorts of His Creation do) or being in possession of arms (in the way we understand them).

    (5) But all this contradicts (1)!

    The only way out of this paradox is to assume that the “sitting on his throne” or comments about His arm (or any other body part) are *not* to be taken *literally*.

    How about the following (a well known and ancient paradox of any deity said to be omnipotent):

    It is said that Allah can do anything He wants (He is omnipotent).

    So, presumably Allah can make a rock that He himself cannot lift (as He can do anything, then logically He must be able to do something like this).

    NB – we are not asking why He should do this; simply that it follows from the meaning of all-powerfulness that its intension (what it is about) will generate such a paradox.

    I leave the solution to others. It might be that we have to interpret “omnipotence” in a new way – or that we have to think about such matters as metaphors or allegories. In other words, we are forced to consider matters in ways more complex than simple literalist dogmatic cant will allow.

    In any case, such is the way of theology beyond the unthinking, lazy literalism that is contemptible in itself and dangerous when it insists that others comply to its half-baked, knee-jerk, ignorant certainties.

    Khoda Hafiz.

  113. Kismet Hardy — on 16th March, 2011 at 10:44 am  

    That was brilliant abu

  114. douglas clark — on 16th March, 2011 at 11:32 am  

    joe90 @ 107,

    You may care to read this:

    http://tinyurl.com/62tweo

    Though you are quite right to say that most mutations are not positive.

  115. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 12:21 pm  

    AbuF – First you claim superior knowledge and then continue with name calling and then expect me to discuss with you.

    That isn’t going to happen unless you have the manners to talk in a civil way.

  116. Kismet Hardy — on 16th March, 2011 at 12:37 pm  

    Imran, I’ve been reading this thread with deep interest more than any in recent times (I’m a simpleton and can only connect with things that interest me), but I have to say you confirm my long standing suspicion about the religious:

    You get offended too easily

  117. IbnHazm — on 16th March, 2011 at 3:48 pm  

    Abu F,

    Quran doesn’t say Allah is sitting on a throne. In Surrah Taha, verse 5 it says Allah is established upon the throne. This is ‘mustahibaat’ which Allah describes in the Quran in Surah 2 verse 5.

  118. IbnHazm — on 16th March, 2011 at 5:02 pm  

    *mutashahibaat

  119. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 7:52 pm  

    IbnHazm – He dos not understand the explanations of Allah (swt) and is trying to prove how clever he is by pretending their are contradictions without understanding that features can be different being the created and the creator.

    He wants everything explained by science but science can be wrong as well but is seen as infallable.

  120. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 8:00 pm  

    Kismet Hardy – “You get offended too easily”

    Why is it that evolutionists have to resort to insults against anyone that disagrees with them to prove their point.

    Other people too have said that the level of insults and name calling by such well educated people is beyond the pale.

    Also one individual resorted to untruths and is allowed to get away with it. Would you not be offended if someone said something untruthful about you and then refused to prove it?

    You want me to accept being called backward, from the dark ages and told to piss off as well as everything else and then not be offended because people who are so sure of their science need to resort to questioning people’s education and intellect rather than proving their point.

    It is rather interesting that when religious types behaved like this it is seen as the dark ages and when the evolutionist behave in minus the torture then it is seen as enlightening people.

    It is rather strange that when Usama Hasan was not allowed to express his views it is seen fit to highlight the issue on this blog and the media but when religious types are not allowed to express their view and subject to name-calling then people are content to stay quiet.

  121. Don — on 16th March, 2011 at 8:20 pm  

    Imran,

    You have certainly been getting a lot of input on this issue and no doubt you have a lot to digest, well done on hanging in there. If you still have the time and energy I’d like to address a few of the points you have made.

    First, you seem to think that Dawkins’ refusal to debate creationism is ‘running away’ from the debate and implies a lack of real conviction. The fact that Dawkins is the name every creationist wants on their resume is indicative here.

    As you probably know, Dawkins and Gould were at loggerheads for a number of years, primarily over NOMA, but were later reconciled and shortly before Gould’s untimely death were preparing a joint letter to the NYT on exactly that point. A creationist would not have to win the argument to ‘win’ the debate. Just appearing on the same platform as an established and reputable scientist would enable the creationist to claim that they had a credible scientific position and that creationism was therefore a legitimate scientific position. It isn’t, Check Kitzmiller v Dover.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

    On one of the rare occasions when a reputable scientist did agree to share a platform with a creationist the creosphere declared a ‘home run’. Not because of the real universities.

    http://www.arn.org/docs/pjweekly/pj_weekly_011202.htm

    A second reason for declining such debates is that it takes twenty seconds to ask a dumb, dishonest question (What good is half an eye? Why are there still monkeys? What about the second law of thermodynamics? What about the bacterial flagellum? etc.) but at least twenty minutes to provide an honest and intelligent answer. That is not a good debating environment as the creationist is not trying to win a real point but rather to impress the uninformed who are his constituency. I gather from some of your comments that you are familiar with the Discovery Institute and no doubt you are aware that they have a play-book for exactly this situation, with suggested questions and questions to avoid because they have been so thoroughly exploded.

    It would be a bit like me challenging the World Heavyweight Champion to a title fight. If through some weird combination of circumstances it was accepted, I’d be knocked flat in seconds. But I’d still pick up a substantial purse.

    You ask The breeding pattern during evolution is another question. As organs moved how did breeding occur?

    As others have pointed out you seem to not have grasped the time scale involved here and the minute changes which occur over many generations. Breeding would not be an issue, we have recently discovered that homo sapiens and neanderthal were able to breed successfully. Even with a new variation an individual would be able to breed within its immediate group, the divergence would take hundreds of generations to have that effect.

    Douglas recently posted a link which referenced Lenski’s work on e coli. If you have the time I strongly recommend googling that particular piece of research. Not only does it elegantly demonstrate how evolution is observable in real time but it also highlights the difference between real science and creationist sniping and idealogically driven obfuscation. Lenski’s correspondence with Schlaffy is a bonus.

    Similarly, your concern about psychological distress among evolving creatures suggests that you imagine that change was abrupt and that there was some sort of awareness of difference. Take for example the evolution of the horse.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_horse

    A modern horse, whether Clydesdale or Arab, is recognisably a horse. It is very different from it’s earliest direct ancestor of 50+million years ago. But at no point during that time would any horse have been significantly different from its mother, grandmother or 10 times great grandmother. If we actually had a complete fossil record of the evolution of the horse we would be able to see very clearly that the horse of today is distinct from the horse of 10 or 20 million years ago but we would not be able to find definitive moments of change, because there are none.

    Does it really matter if a scientists does not believe in evolution if he is good at his or her chosen science?

    Fair point. Does it matter? It depends on what you mean by scientist. If someone qualifies in their field should it matter what they believe about areas outside their field? I don’t care if my optician believes in creationism, a flat earth, fairies or feng shuai as long as they give me the right lenses. But if someone wishes to be accepted by an institution which is based around scientific research and teaching then I think it becomes relevant if they patently disregard the scientific method when it conflicts with their inclinations or desire to believe in an ancient text.

    A doctor might be very capable at disorders of the ears, nose and throat but a teaching hospital would be right to be concerned if he revealed during interview that he was committed to the idea that storks brought babies.

    I think that’s enough for now. look forward to your response, if you have the time. Dog walking calls yet again.

  122. Don — on 16th March, 2011 at 8:28 pm  

    Imran,

    Another cross post. I agree you shouldn’t be subject to abuse, but it is hardly comparable to death threats. This is the internet and debate can get robust at times. Hell, in the past Douglas has given me rougher treatment than he has given you and we’re supposed to be on the same side. Address relevant arguments, disregard rudeness. Works for me. Mostly.

    Anyway, dog pawing anxiously at leg so must go.

  123. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 8:44 pm  

    Boyo – “Because he was afraid? History is littered with examples of wise men who have been obliged to deny what they know to be true. Galileo springs to mind. I think it is disingenuous for you to keep pressing this point.”

    It is not disingenious for me to press the point because it is an important point. You need to look at events in order they occured. He was threatened after his speech but by then he had made his views known as was his right. If he was afraid at that point then he would not have spoken out but he did. Subsequent events have proven that he needed to have been cautious. But again the idiots who are threatening him are only doing so because they are unable to articulate their beliefs, possibly to gain credibility and for their own means. Basically they have hijacked the issue whcih is an important issue.

    However some of his co-religionists have peacefully raised points and they are valid points which at some point he should answer.

    Also as many people were willing to listen to his views peacefully then they should be able to ask questions regarding his views and also to decide if they want him as their Imam. These things should not be imposed surely.

    His words are Adam had “near human” parents so that raises lots of questions some of which I have raised. At some point when the nutters have lost interest he may have to put forward his views and answer questions.

    “Tracking your arguments you appear to have little consciousness of the awesome passage of time (as few of us do!). Mutation and change are very slow – consciousness is not required – and the process occurred in tremendously hostile environments. Many species – from dinosaurs to neanderthals to the wooly mammoth – have been wiped out, and there is evidence human kind was reduced to a handful of people.”
    There are many unanswered questions in evolution and it is being presented as fact. If things were so clear cut then religion would have died out by now if evolution was so clear cut.

    Science is littered itself with mistakes down the years and presenting evolution as concrete fact when many questions remain is not science!

    “so it is endlessly debatable, but observation and logic makes a strong case for evolution.”
    They may make a very good case but it is not established fact.

    Also as I explained and with many people flying off the handle but for some Muslims, possibly a majority, belief overrides everything. Muslims believe in a Creator and they believe that Prophet Adam (pbuh) was created by the Creator and they believe the Qur’an is the word of the Creator and so forth. It wouldtake a lot to convince them otherwise. I am not convinced but the arguments I have seen.

    Also I have heard Dawkins etc. speak about the subject and although many people here say I am backward and stupid as is their right, I have my beliefs and Dawkins etc. have not convinced me. I respect your right to hold your belief in evolution as well.

    As regards Dr. Usama Hasan, I hope he is able to discuss this issue with his fellow Muslims but it needs to be a fair dicussion to all.

  124. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 8:52 pm  

    Don – “Another cross post. I agree you shouldn’t be subject to abuse, but it is hardly comparable to death threats.”

    But I didn’t compare it to what was happening to Usama Hasan. Of course it isn’t the same. I compared my treatment to others here and not to Usama Hasan.

    But being called backward, from the stone-age and intellactually challenged, not having a grasp of English hardly aid proving evolution.

    If I said anything about Douglas or other people then I would be banned.

    Look lots of people here complain about the inability to discuss Islam/Muslims etc. whilst discussing them and in some cases being abusive. Then of course Muslims get defensive.

    Enjoy the walk.

  125. Imran Khan — on 16th March, 2011 at 9:11 pm  

    Don – “First, you seem to think that Dawkins’ refusal to debate creationism is ‘running away’ from the debate and implies a lack of real conviction. The fact that Dawkins is the name every creationist wants on their resume is indicative here.”

    Dawkins is attacking religionists and won’t give them the opportunity to reply. That is runnign away from the debate. He wants to be heard but won’t give the other side an opportunity to reply.

    The reason people want to debate him is because he attacks them and is given the opportunity to do so. They are not afforded such an opportunity.

    Dawkins will partake in match-ups he knows he can win for example against Christian Priests who do not understand science. So he knows he can dazzle them with science so he’ll do the debate.

    Pretending he doesn’t debate is not true, he does but he is selective. Surely if his case is so strong he would wipe the floor with creationist scientists but he snipes at them from a distance.

    So yes it is running away. Surely for the advancement of science which he says he is for then he’d do this. If he won he could take people away from the thing he hates the most – religion!

    Will try and go through the rest later!

  126. douglas clark — on 16th March, 2011 at 11:18 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    If I said anything about Douglas [....] then I would be banned.

    Highly unlikely.

    I can assured you I have been slandered, libeled and words you never heard in the Bible by all sorts of folk on here.

  127. Boyo — on 17th March, 2011 at 7:50 am  

    “If things were so clear cut then religion would have died out by now if evolution was so clear cut.”

    Not at all. I’m getting weary of posting this, but one more time!

    LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI said the debate raging in some countries — particularly the United States and his native Germany — between creationism and evolution was an “absurdity,” saying that evolution can coexist with faith.

    The pontiff, speaking as he was concluding his holiday in northern Italy, also said that while there is much scientific proof to support evolution, the theory could not exclude a role by God.

    “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/ns/world_news-europe/

  128. Wibble — on 17th March, 2011 at 9:57 am  

    joe90 #107

    “your argument focus on a change in biology which most accept rather than evidence of evolution.”

    No, you’re conflating speciation with evolution and, I’m guessing, you’d have a very inflexible definition (that reflects your lack of understanding) such as moths changing into something completely different. You need to get to the irreducible complexity pages in your favourite creationist web sites to try to put up a more sophisticated argument.

    What I’m talking about is the changes of the proportion of a trait within a population in response to the environment the population finds itself in. I’m not talking about the distribution of traits within a generation.

  129. Imran Khan — on 17th March, 2011 at 7:00 pm  

    Boyo – “Not at all. I’m getting weary of posting this, but one more time!”

    I am getting weary as well of your position. The Pope is not from the Islamic World so his views are for his own congregation.

    The Pope is interested in numbers and doesn’t want people drifting off to other faiths such as Islam. So he is trying to appeal to all people.

    Islam is not about numbers, Muslims have central beliefs which cannot be changed. Muslims simply have to convey the message of Islam and it isn’t about numbers of converts even if some Muslims mistakenly say this.

    Belief in the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) is established in Islam. Sceince changes but belief cannot. One hundred years ago the theories for physics were different to what they are now, so science changes positions. Who is to say that in 100 years time science may shift position on evolution? So belief in basic principles of religion is central and if you believe in the concept of a Creator then you believe what you are told regarding creation – it isn’t open to change.

    For example 1400 years ago the Qur’an stated that ants had a language of their own. According to science lets say 200 years ago this may not have been true so if you said this then you were considered mad. Now science acknowledges that ants communicate in their own language. So science changes and belief doesn’t.

    If the Pope is willing to say that evolution and the bible can co-exist then that is up to him. What will he adapt next?

    If you believe in a divine message then you cannot change its core beliefs otherwise you don’t believe truely in the power of a Creator.

    So if Islam is not in line with the Pope then so what? The Pope doesn’t like Islam anyway and doesn’t want it in Europe as he doesn’t support Turkey. So drawing a line in the sand and saying but the Pope said so isn’t going to sway the day.

    Put another way there is no compultion to use only camels as transport so cars, planes etc. are permissable. The creation of man is from when God created Adam, it isn’t open to discussion because it is clearly stated.

    Don’t forget that Usama Hasan himself tried to merge evolution with the creation of Adam so he knew that creation is a central belief in Islam and thus he tried to adapt this to evolution.

  130. douglas clark — on 17th March, 2011 at 7:38 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Belief in the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) is established in Islam. Sceince changes but belief cannot. One hundred years ago the theories for physics were different to what they are now, so science changes positions. Who is to say that in 100 years time science may shift position on evolution? So belief in basic principles of religion is central and if you believe in the concept of a Creator then you believe what you are told regarding creation – it isn’t open to change.

    You really believe that religion, which remains static can defeat an evolutionary body like science? You really haven’t a clue, have you?

    Just a bit of analysis on what you just said.

    Belief in the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) is established in Islam.

    Well, yes. It flies in the face of what we know but, feel free.

    science changes bit belief cannot

    Well yes, that’s why you are going to lose this discussion big time. Facts alter cases, cases that are not altered by facts are religious dogma.

    One hundred years ago the theories for physics were different to what they are now, so science changes positions.

    Well yes, and no. We know things better now. Quantum theory post dates your cut off point and lets you and I communicate, to the extent that we do. Would you deny that? I expect you would. The (approximate) age of the Universe is 13.8 billion years. That is a fact that we didn’t know a hundred years ago.

    The stuff you are made of came out of first generation stars novas and supernovas. (I sound like Brian Cox, but I knew this sort of stuff before he made it popular.)

    We know these things, beyond doubt.

    Who is to say that in 100 years time science may shift position on evolution?

    Y’know what? It probably will. But it will certainly not be in the direction you crave.

    So belief in basic principles of religion is central

    Eh! To whom? This is complete non sequitur. It really is not woven out of anything like the whole thread of what you have said. It is a conclusion based on nothing whatsoever. What gives you the right to express that as a reasonable outcome of your ruminations, other than blind faith?

    …and if you believe in the concept of a Creator then you believe what you are told regarding creation – it isn’t open to change.

    And there you have it.

    The circular arguement, circulated.

    Your god, in fact everyone’s god, is just a god of the gaps, a piece of wish fulfillment about how important you see yourself.

    Quite sad, really.

  131. Imran Khan — on 17th March, 2011 at 8:03 pm  

    Douglas – “You really believe that religion, which remains static can defeat an evolutionary body like science? You really haven’t a clue, have you?”

    Its not a war you know. People have a right to believe in creation, last I checked it wasn’t illegal.

    “Well, yes. It flies in the face of what we know but, feel free.”
    What you think you know which is not accepted by significant numbers of people.

    “Well yes, that’s why you are going to lose this discussion big time. Facts alter cases, cases that are not altered by facts are religious dogma.”
    How have I lost, I still have my belief and you have yours. No one died and it isn’t a world war discussing these issues. You need to lighten up a bit. I think you’ll lose and you think I’ll lose.

    “Well yes, and no.”
    Well yes actually as science has proven to be wrong from the past century and before. Trying to dress up this fact is nonsense. Science has changed and that is a fact and many previous theories have been proven wrong.

    “Y’know what? It probably will. But it will certainly not be in the direction you crave.”
    Obviously you have that gift that makes you know these things as fact. Maybe you should enter the lottery because you have the ability to see into the future so clearly and precisely.

    “Eh! To whom? This is complete non sequitur. It really is not woven out of anything like the whole thread of what you have said. It is a conclusion based on nothing whatsoever. What gives you the right to express that as a reasonable outcome of your ruminations, other than blind faith?”
    To those that follow a religion core beliefs are not changed. You really don’t understand these things do you? As an example Jews/Christians and Muslims believe that Moses led them out of Egypt – that isn’t going to change is it, it is a central belief. The belief that Muhammad (pbuh) is a Prophet is central to Islam and it isn’t going to change. The fasting of Ramadan, the pilgramage (Hajj) etc. isn’t going to change. People might not practise these things but the tenants of faith will not change.

    That is all I said and the right i have to say that is as a Muslim. What right do you have to say they will change? You don’t understand my religion.

    “And there you have it.

    The circular arguement, circulated.”
    Similar to your circular argument on evolution that you say everyone must believe.

    “Your god, in fact everyone’s god, is just a god of the gaps, a piece of wish fulfillment about how important you see yourself.”
    I don’t see myself as important. If I did then I wouldn’t talk to you. It is because I don’t see myself as important that I take continual crap from you and try and stay polite despite your attempts to turn this into a massive fight.

  132. douglas clark — on 17th March, 2011 at 8:56 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Before we go on:

    this is a lie:

    I don’t see myself as important.

    Yes you do. You think you are so important that you are the voice of god.

    Well, sunbeam, you aren’t:

    its not a war you know. People have a right to believe in creation, last I checked it wasn’t illegal.

    It is a war. It is a war about attempting to prompt people into thinking for themselves and not listen to the likes of you.

    “Well, yes. It flies in the face of what we know but, feel free.”
    What you think you know which is not accepted by significant numbers of people.

    That is just daft. If there are significant numbers of people that believe something you don’t, does that make them right? I have a personal aversion to astrology. Lots of people read it and believe it. I have several amusing stories on that subject for another day. The point is do you? If they outweighed you in numbers would you change your beliefs?

    Probably not. Because what? That their beliefs are stupid and contrary to what you believe?

    So, Imran Khan, that is not the measure of truth.

    It really is not.

    You say:

    To those that follow a religion core beliefs are not changed. You really don’t understand these things do you? As an example Jews/Christians and Muslims believe that Moses led them out of Egypt – that isn’t going to change is it, it is a central belief. The belief that Muhammad (pbuh) is a Prophet is central to Islam and it isn’t going to change. The fasting of Ramadan, the pilgramage (Hajj) etc. isn’t going to change. People might not practise these things but the tenants of faith will not change.

    I am saying that all religions are being subverted by science. Which probably explains your rather arriviste position.

    Every religion is simply a ‘god of the gaps’, a cover up for what we do know and what you prohibit people from knowing. Because that is what you do Imran Khan, you tell lies to deny truth to people.

    It is wrong for you to lie to people about such things as the commonality of their DNA with a monkey. That is jus a lie.

    But your denial of that is just a typical religious big cheat in any debate. It is what you do, Imran Khan, you lie about commonality, you lie about evolution and you lie about your religion. In the sense that your religion is lying to you. And you swallow it wholesale.

    And stop telling me to be polite, for you are such an obvious passive aggressive character that anyone that is reading here will see through you.

  133. douglas clark — on 17th March, 2011 at 10:13 pm  

    Quite odd that my home site suddenly appears to be:

    one pps resident obsessive muslim haters t64w

    Eh!

    What terrible liars these religious fruitcakes are.

  134. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 3:24 am  

    After reading this thread I now believe god probably exists. I think he made everything then he fucked off. He’s never shown in centuries, he ain’t gonna. So now it’s ours. So let that be that.

  135. Boyo — on 18th March, 2011 at 7:42 am  

    “I am getting weary as well of your position. The Pope is not from the Islamic World so his views are for his own congregation.”

    Well no, because I was refuting a specific claim of yours: “If things were so clear cut then religion would have died out by now if evolution was so clear cut.”

    Christianity remains the world’s largest religion and the Pope its most senior spokesperson, so I don’t think his views are so easily ignored.

    In any case, I think we are not really discussing the same things – you are keen to justify the literal interpretation of the Koran, principally with the (quite necessary) use of sophism, while I and others are trying to convince you of the scientific untruth of this, although that need not have a bearing on its symbolic value.

    But it is silly to deny the progressive nature of scientific learning – fact builds on fact, observation upon observation. I mentioned Galileo earlier, who observed the passage of the sun, etc. Evolution is much the same – the accumulation of observations that lead one to a logical conclusion. While it is true that nothing is certain, really one might as well argue that the world is flat and balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle. Do you really think that 100 years hence our science will discover that this is in fact the truth?

    The Prophet was a humble man from the desert and interpreting his revelation in respect to his own (indeed, Abrahamic) tradition. I’m not going to argue theology with you because its pointless, but the bald facts are that when Islam stopped learning it began to decline – even now its high numbers are driven not by conversion but by high birth rates, a clear sign of poverty. The concentration of poverty and conflict in the Islamic world is not a coincidence – and blaming the West is no excuse.

  136. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 10:19 am  

    “when Islam stopped learning it began to decline”

    I realise so much here

  137. Imran Khan — on 18th March, 2011 at 5:53 pm  

    Boyo – “Christianity remains the world’s largest religion and the Pope its most senior spokesperson, so I don’t think his views are so easily ignored.”

    The Pope is only the head of the Catholic Church and as such many Christians do listen to him and many don’t. His views carry limited if any weight in the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh,Bhuddist world.

    For example just because the Pope can live with evolution and the bible it doesn’t mean Muslims and Jews will.

    “In any case, I think we are not really discussing the same things – you are keen to justify the literal interpretation of the Koran, principally with the (quite necessary) use of sophism, while I and others are trying to convince you of the scientific untruth of this, although that need not have a bearing on its symbolic value.”
    I don’t think you understand, there are some things in the Qur’an which are open to discussion such as conveying the message of Islam. There are other things which are not open to discussion and creation is one of them.

    “But it is silly to deny the progressive nature of scientific learning – fact builds on fact, observation upon observation. I mentioned Galileo earlier, who observed the passage of the sun, etc.”
    I didn’t deny it – I said that science has made mistakes. That is also undeniable as truth. In 100 years time with more research it may be discovered that evolution was incorrect.

    “and blaming the West is no excuse.”
    I didn’t blame the west, this is a shift in discussion!!

    When Islam was learning the basic beliefs were still the same. There are many factors for the decline in the Islamic world. Many scientists from the Islamic world work in the Europe and the USA now. The problems are not to do with religion the problems are to do with the lack of learning. Islam didn’t stop scientists from learning in the past so it can’t be used as an excuse for the decline.

  138. Imran Khan — on 18th March, 2011 at 6:12 pm  

    Douglas – With respect I think your grasp on the discussion is no-where near coherant and you are simply interested in bulldozing your views out and being rude to anyone who disagrees.

    Discussing with you is a complete waste of time as your ability to comprehend what someone is saying is non-existant and thus its a waste of time replying to you.

    “Before we go on:

    this is a lie:

    I don’t see myself as important.

    Yes you do. You think you are so important that you are the voice of god.

    Well, sunbeam, you aren’t:”

    This is just a pack of baseless lies. Show me where I said I was the voice og God? I won’t hold my breath as you haven’t proved your last lie. You are simply a smear merchant.

    “It is a war. It is a war about attempting to prompt people into thinking for themselves and not listen to the likes of you.”
    No they should listen to someone like you. I’ve never said people have to listen to me – all I did was give my views – my views – do you understand. You are nothing but a sad person hiding behind a keyboard talking about wars without understanding what people are saying. I don’t think you understand the concept of this blog its so people can give their views thats the whole point of the blog. Its not so that you decide what people think.

    If this is a war to you then next time Usama Hasan is speaking go along and tell the people this is a war and you are here to help Usama. Do you want his contact details or do you just hide behind this blog to call it a war? Either put up or shut up? I’ll see you there if you decide to step outside your keyboard zone.

    This is one of the most stupid statements ever made, turning a discussion on evolution into the status of a war in which people die.

    “Because that is what you do Imran Khan, you tell lies to deny truth to people.”
    More lies. Prove where I lied?

    You just won’t prove your points and this is straight forward slander and libel.

    “It is what you do, Imran Khan, you lie about commonality, you lie about evolution and you lie about your religion. In the sense that your religion is lying to you. And you swallow it wholesale.”
    More crap. Where did I lie about my religion? Where did I lie about evolution?

    “And stop telling me to be polite, for you are such an obvious passive aggressive character that anyone that is reading here will see through you.”
    No they’ll see you for what you really are. No-one ever proved their position by bulldozing it on people.

    You slander to try and denigrate people and you are allowed to get away it.

    I’d rather not talk to someone with such manners.

  139. Imran Khan — on 18th March, 2011 at 6:33 pm  

    Oh and Douglas the only reason you are allowed to get away with calling me a liar and smearing me with untruths to back up your lame arguments is because the moderators allow you to. They should instead challange you to prove I have lied or warn you but you are part of the select in-crowd.

    Munir/Muslim is banned for similar things so it says a lot that you have not been so much as warned.

    So because you follow a narrative the blog likes then you have the leeway. No way would you be allowed to get away with such things otherwise.

    It is a scandal that you can make such statements without evidence and get away with it.

    As any Muslim knows they would never claim to speak for God and you accused me of it and that is disgusting and a massive insult. But hey you are allowed to get away with it scot free because you back the narrative which is being pushed that Usama Hasan’s view is the view to be followed.

    The kind of statements being made about Muslims and Islam would not be made about other faiths and people would be pulled up.

    But you won’t be stopped because simply by supporting evolution you are allowed to carry on.

    The danger with the way you are behaving is that the evolution push is now operating in the same way as the inquisition and there is not allowed to be any dissenting view.

  140. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2011 at 8:21 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Two posts? One after the other. Both personally addressed to me?

    Which includes, in the first, the immortal line:

    “Discussing with you is a complete waste of time…”

    As any Muslim knows they would never claim to speak for God and you accused me of it and that is disgusting and a massive insult.

    But dearest Imran Khan, it is what you have been doing ever since you first posted here.

    You can be as insulted as you like, but you are the one that takes whatever is in the Koran and spins it to suit yourself. ‘Tis you that relies on ancient fairy tales, not me.

  141. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2011 at 8:36 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    And another thing.

    Frankly you want to have a veto over who comments here and what they are allowed to say, don’t you?

    This place is better for it’s pluralism and not at all helped by your ideas on censorship and chastisement. Generally speaking it’s a free speech sort of a place.

    Pickled Politics encourages free speech and I doubt you’ll be the straw to break the camels back.

    As far as I’m concerned you come across as a bit desperate. If you were half as secure in your religion as you pretend to be you wouldn’t feel at all threatened by what I write here.

    Just sayin’

  142. Boyo — on 18th March, 2011 at 9:41 pm  

    Imran, as I understand it, Munir etc is banned because he’s a racist troll. Honest offence is tolerated.

  143. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 4:29 pm  

    Douglas – “As far as I’m concerned you come across as a bit desperate. If you were half as secure in your religion as you pretend to be you wouldn’t feel at all threatened by what I write here.”

    You have lied on multiple occassions about me which is grossly unfair and being the type of person you are you won’t prove it or withdraw it. You approach to honest discussion is simply to state gross mistruth’s and then pretend you are correct.

    I don’t object at all to your honest comments but your lies I have every right to object to. If I was a vindictive person then I would sue you for libel.

    If you want honest debate then don’t libel. Its a bloody simple concept that you don’t want to follow.

    Lies are not debate.

    I don’t speak for God, the words are there in the Qur’an and if you have the guts to read Usama Hasan’s discussions with senior Islamic scholars then they said the same to him, and before you try and say it no I am not comparing myself to them.

    You ability to debate as has been seen in the past barely goes beyond insulting people.

  144. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 4:35 pm  

    Boyo – ” Honest offence is tolerated.”

    It isn’t honest though and he hasn’t provided any evidence to back up his point. He just spouts them off.

    Despite repeated requests he hasn’t proved his statement that I tolerated the threats to Usama Hasan. So is that honest?

    Even though I said repeatedly the threats were wrong and said so to the idiotic Muslims here who were making takfir, Douglas still wrote this and won’t prove the point so it is a damn lie and he is allowed to get away with it.

    Any discussion needs to be honest and fair to all sides and dishonest comments need to be called out and they are not being.

    This is just one example and its plain lies which have not been sunstantiated and any impartial editor reading the threats can see it isn’t a fair or honest comment.

    It can’t be that one side tries to discuss fairly and honestly and the other can resort to underhand tactics to sway people. This isn’t a tabloid newspaper!!

    If you think his comment is honest then show the evidence?

  145. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 4:39 pm  

    Doulas – “Frankly you want to have a veto over who comments here and what they are allowed to say, don’t you?

    This place is better for it’s pluralism and not at all helped by your ideas on censorship and chastisement. Generally speaking it’s a free speech sort of a place.

    Pickled Politics encourages free speech and I doubt you’ll be the straw to break the camels back.”

    I don’t have veto but then I am not the one lying. Free speech doesn’t allow lying. Don’t try and take the high moral ground as you lied about me and now hide behind free speech which is a typical way to cover up your own deceit in commenting using lies and then saying its free speech.

    It really is simple when writing d prove the comments you make with evidence of what the person said.

    Your lie against me was that I was tolerating threats to Usama Hasan so now prove I did or everyone can see the slander. Go through the commenst man and you’ll see this is a blatent slander. But you won’t do that and instead hide behind free speech.

  146. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 5:18 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    I am not a liar. But we certainly do have a different idea about where truth lies. My truths are your lies and vice versa. You say you don’t like my comments. If you were honest about it, you hate my comments.

    They challenge your self importance and that you do not like.

    _______________________________

    You are starting to get hysterical Imran – can I call you Imran – you have written three posts in succession whose main claim to fame is that I am a liar.

    Y’know what, take a chill pill or summat.

  147. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 5:26 pm  

    ” Tis you that relies on ancient fairy tales, not me.” – that is undoubtedly one of the best lines on this thread.

  148. Boyo — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:08 pm  

    @144 Heavens Imran, time to move on or anyone will think you doth protest a wee bit too much. This ain’t about how offended you are by Douglas, who has managed to offend almost every regular poster here, but about evolution etc (but let’s not get started on that again either).

    There’s certainly no conspiracy (to my knowledge!) to protect Douglas, but there is basically a qualitative difference between telling someone to piss off and employing racist, sexist or homophobic abuse.

  149. Boyo — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:14 pm  

    “Free speech doesn’t allow lying.”

    Sadly I think you will find it does. I think we’ve had the free speech debate elsewhere have we not?

    Free speech is just that – free. There are no qualifications, which is why I believe its advocates are mistaken.

  150. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:18 pm  

    “there is basically a qualitative difference between telling someone to piss off and employing racist, sexist or homophobic abuse.”

    Look making up fairy tales to smear people is not part of free speech and is called slander.

  151. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:32 pm  

    Douglas – “I am not a liar. But we certainly do have a different idea about where truth lies. My truths are your lies and vice versa. You say you don’t like my comments. If you were honest about it, you hate my comments.

    They challenge your self importance and that you do not like.”

    I think given your advanced age it is difficult for you to digest that you can challenge my importance or lack of if you are telling the truth – telling the truth and not making up false accusations against me. I’ve asked you numerous times to show just once where I tolerated threats against Usama Hasan, which was your lie against me, and you just won’t prove your point and are hiding behind your freedom to speak.

    You asked me a few times – three I believe – for the questions I asked the evolutionist and I had already replied after your second request.

    I have asked you now almost two dozens times and you won’t show me a single statement where I did as you said? So isn’t that a plain simple lie?

    Its quite simple keep it honest – is that too much of a challenge for you? If you position is so strong as you keep harpin on about then why resort to untruths?

    If you were the advocate for your position you claim you are then you would have the guts to prove your assertion and the fact that you rely on making up a lie and then hiding behind free speech is frankly bollocks.

    If you are not a liar then prove at least where I tolerated threats agianst Usama Hasan. You keep waffling around the issue but you don’t have the guts to prove your point.

    Telling people what I understand went on in the discussion between Usama Hasan and scholars in the Middle East does not mean I speak for God which is another calculated slander.

    Again next time if as you say this is a war and you want to stand up on this issue then will you accompany Usama Hasan in his discussion at his mosque?

    You don’t get it that people are entitled to discuss the issue honestly without being lied about. All I am asking is you don’t make up false accusations about me.

    How would you like it if someone did it to you?

  152. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:39 pm  

    “Sadly I think you will find it does. I think we’ve had the free speech debate elsewhere have we not?

    Free speech is just that – free. There are no qualifications, which is why I believe its advocates are mistaken.”

    If free speech is so open then it can become impossible to know if someone is telling the truth and people can just make baseless accusations and not have to prove them. People will never know who is telling the truth.

    Its nonsense to say free speech doesn’t have limits it does and these are recognised even under freedom of speech leglislation.

    This discussion started off about evolution but has decended into people simply bashing Islamic belief.

  153. Imran Khan — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:50 pm  

    “” Tis you that relies on ancient fairy tales, not me.” – that is undoubtedly one of the best lines on this thread.”

    Its a common approach by Dawkins – hardly original.

    A theory that is not proven is hardly fact based itself and can also be called a fairy tale. If it was then people would be leaving religion in droves but they are not.

    Lets face it Douglas is proof itself that evolution doesn’t exist. No way could someone like that have evolved.

  154. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:06 pm  

    Boyo @ 148,

    You think?

    This ain’t about how offended you are by Douglas, who has managed to offend almost every regular poster here…

    Well, I am shocked. And here was me thinking that you all loved me.

    Am I the only person left that thinks that ‘community leaders’ and / or ‘religious scholars’ are perhaps, a bit passé? Which I seem to remember was part of the deal.

    ____________________________________

    Imran Khan says this @ 150:

    Look making up fairy tales to smear people is not part of free speech and is called slander.

    Well, reading them and then interpreting them any which way is also very very healthy. I do not recall slandering Imran Khan, beyond the apology I gave at 66, he is getting nothing.

    Lets all head back to his post @ 33. Oh! I know.

    Douglas – “Usama Hasan has a right to his view and can express it and Muslims have a right to their views and beliefs. Why is one acceptable and the other something that has to be countered?” [That was me]

    With respect you know this was in reference to religious belief and not threats. You statement was: [that was him]

    “It would have been far simpler for you to just say these idiots represent no-one and mainstream muslims reject them. But you can’t just do that, can you? ”[me again]

    I asked you for proof of that statement and because you cannot find it then you decide to shift the debate. Either prove your statement or do the right thing and withdraw it. [him again]

    Eh! It is up to him to give references, web sites, proof or evidence even.

    I think it was about there that I realised that Imran Khan isn’t interested in debate. I must admit it was far later that I read that drivel.

    But there it is.

  155. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:13 pm  

    Me @ 154,

    Well, reading them and then interpreting them any which way is also very very healthy.

    Last word is ‘unhealthy’.

  156. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:49 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 151,

    I love this line:

    I think given your advanced age it is difficult for you to digest that you can challenge my importance or lack of if you are telling the truth…

    .

    That is just hell of a funny.

    If you care to recall I thought initially that you were better than the arguments you were making. See here @ 21:

    Imran Khan,

    You are becoming an apologist for intimidation. Stop it. You are better than that.

    But you have thought, if we can call it that, that escalating your position would change that. When it hasn’t Imran.

    You did say @ 15:

    This is just becomming a witchhunt.

    You will be unsurprised that I agree. I’d prefer it if you walked away from it completely, instead of just being a twit.

    Well, the odds are not good…

  157. Don — on 21st March, 2011 at 8:23 pm  

    Lets face it Douglas is proof itself that evolution doesn’t exist. No way could someone like that have evolved

    Are you suggesting Douglas was intelligently designed?

  158. Rumbold — on 21st March, 2011 at 8:33 pm  

    Hahaha. Having met him I would say so.

  159. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 8:41 pm  

    Oh Don,

    Thank you, thank you indeed for that. Do you think my chum Imran is actually taking the piss out of religion?

    Imran Khan @ 153,

    …Lets face it Douglas is proof itself that evolution doesn’t exist. No way could someone like that have evolved.

    Oh! My sides are aching.

    My pal Imran is the voice of god and a completely perfect human.

    Oops, thank goodness I got over that!

    Else I would have to have gone to A & E for help. Y’know the sides which are split.

    That is just so funny.

    _________________________________

    It is obvious that I was intelligently designed. They are called my parents.

  160. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 8:46 pm  

    Rumbold @ 158,

    Hmm…

    But not in a bad, semi-godlike, way? Surely?

    ;-)

  161. Rumbold — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:01 pm  

    Douglas:

    I wouldn’t go that far…

    Heh.

  162. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:11 pm  

    Anyway, I am in dire need of some love around here, as I have been deserted by folk I supported, like boyo and women.

    And sensible people like ordinary muslims. Who are around here but silent because of the likes of the brain dead Imran Khan, He can make you uncomfortable, when he ought to be sent right up his fundamental orbit.

    And it is right that the likes of you should say that Imran Khan is wrong.

    Why? Because he scares you. That is what he does. It is pathetic.

    Tell Imran Khan to go away, and anyone like him.

  163. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:16 pm  

    Hmm..

    I am very fond of Rumbold.

    I am very fond of Don.

    It is up to you whether Rumbold, Don and I are right or wrong.

    I happen to think that we are the three musketeers. I’d be the other chap.

  164. Don — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:36 pm  

    I’m no musketeer. More of a lone gunman.

    Except I don’t want to shoot anyone.

  165. Rumbold — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:54 pm  

    Don:

    I’m no musketeer. More of a lone gunman.

    Except I don’t want to shoot anyone.

    So you are not much use then.

    Douglas:

    I shall be Athos.

  166. Refresh — on 21st March, 2011 at 9:57 pm  

    Douglas,

    Well here is some tough love. We’re all fond you, but you have to admit this hasn’t been your finest.

    This thread has been absolutely appalling. And there is another in the making where M*O*R*G*O*T*H seems to be getting a bear hug.

    Up until about #30 I thought there was room for an epic debate. It just spiralled into the **** after that.

    Why would anyone be afraid of Imran? I seem to recall you and he make good sparring partners.

    In this particular episode it seems you were demanding his slapping down of some insignificant others before you would engage in debate. Ordinarily that would not be problem, but I would resent it too if I was asked continuously to damn others *because* you presumed I shared the same outlook.

    You repeatedly asked him to tell you what his questions were to an evolutionary and Don had to remind you in #75 that Imran had done so back at #33; Don, I believe, was hoping you would move on.

    And quite frankly even now I don’t fully understand what the issue has been about. And I do want to hear *different* voices on evolution AND science.

    And here is my re-starter for 10:

    ‘Science is only fact until the next re-discovery’ – discuss.

  167. Don — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:22 pm  

    Rumbold,

    So you are not much use then.

    To whom?

  168. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:34 pm  

    “‘Science is only fact until the next re-discovery’ – discuss”

    Excellent point Refresh. But the argument is not just about science – its about blindly following religious texts and whether that can be reconciled with science.

    I was reading about one of NASA’s dream project within the next 2 – 3 decades they believe would be to blast the polar caps of Mars and unleash the nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen trapped underneath to create a life sustaining atmosphere.

    If that does happen, then how do you build an ecosystem – do you take each species from earth and put them on Mars – would that work? or through adaptations new species would emerge – or what happens?

    All the religious texts I know of talk about heaven and earth and yes hell – they talk about planets but lifeless as God created earth to sustain life.

    If human beings succeed in making Mars liveable – how does that reconcile with religious texts –

    I am not denying God – because the more science discovers the more we find out about things we cannot explain.

    For example, why do the cells for the arm goes to the right place 99.99999% and not on the leg – why doesn’t the remnant of the umbilican chord not burn?

    And religious texts do not give the answes to these – I have tried to find them.

    Would love to hear your thoughts?

  169. Don — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:44 pm  

    If human beings succeed in making Mars livable

    If we wanted to make it a priority, we could. That’s engineering. But why would we?

    We need to focus on getting out of the Solar System.

  170. Refresh — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:46 pm  

    ‘All the religious texts I know of talk about heaven and earth and yes hell – they talk about planets but lifeless as God created earth to sustain life.’

    Well I was given, out of the blue, an extraordinary snippet last weekend that there are other worlds that sustain life, according to religous texts. And what’s more there are texts which support the view that there are many more dimensions beyond the three we relate to. That is parallel universes to the fans of Zaphod Beetlebrox.

  171. Wibble — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:53 pm  

    Imran made a claim how he and others had stumped a Cambridge Zoology graduate who specialised in evolutionary theory. When Douglas asked him to state the questions asked, the questions given show a lack of understanding of (or, perhaps, misrepresentation of) what biological evolution is all about.

    “And here is my re-starter for 10:

    ‘Science is only fact until the next re-discovery’ – discuss.”

    Correct as a statement, but, perhaps like Imran, you’re saying in the hope that it will make evolutionary theory appear less valid. Unfortunately, it’s the best theory at this time to explain what is observed.

  172. Wibble — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:02 pm  

    “And I do want to hear *different* voices on evolution AND science.”

    Don @ 121 gave excellent reasons why scientists would not want to give creationists a platform.

    “And here is my re-starter for 10:

    ‘Science is only fact until the next re-discovery’ – discuss.”

    It’s a correct description of the process. However, it does not invalidate Evolutionary theory, which is the what you and Imran are hoping for when making statements like this.

  173. Refresh — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:06 pm  

    ‘ But the argument is not just about science – its about blindly following religious texts and whether that can be reconciled with science.’

    That is exactly the problem – following anything blindly leads to extremist positions which result from calcification of the collective mind. This can be observed on both sides of the evolution debate.

    Reconciliation of science and religion needn’t be so painful, my view is that there is so much to be discovered that we rule nothing in and rule nothing out. If and when people do, they do it for ideological reasons. And that it is wrong to presume religion and science are adversaries.

  174. Refresh — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:10 pm  

    ‘However, it does not invalidate Evolutionary theory, which is the what you and Imran are hoping for when making statements like this.’

    I wasn’t making a statement. I was trying to break away from what had passed for debate until now.

  175. Don — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:27 pm  

    ..it is wrong to presume religion and science are adversaries.

    I disagree.

  176. douglas clark — on 22nd March, 2011 at 4:13 am  

    Refresh @ 166,

    I am interested in astronomy. Morgoth claimed to be an astronomer. He was a tad pretentious in his knowledge of things like cosmic background radiation, but he wasn’t wrong as such. We do, more or less, know that the Universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Not 6000 years old. And we can judge that in lots of ways. I’d direct you to the podcast where a Christian, and a very nice person to boot, gave five or six reasons to believe that. She is an astronomer and a Christian. I wish I could remember more.

    _____________________

    Her name is Pamela L Gay, the podcast was Slacker Astronomy, if your interested you can probably find the podcast I’m talking about.

    ______________________

    Shamit @ 168,

    Could you give me a reference to NASA wanting to terraform Mars? Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an excellent series of books about that idea, and frankly, put me off it.

    You’ll be aware of the Drake equation? What is interesting about it is not it’s accuracy, it is it’s predictive potential. When Frank Drake wrote it, not one term in his equation was any more than a guess. But nowadays we do know a lot more about star formation and that extra solar planets exist. That gives us some measure of the first two terms. I accept that we are a long way off proving, or finding, extraterrestrial life. What I am pretty sure about is that we are more likely to do so now than we were back in 1960. When he suggested it.

    ___________________________

    Don @ 169,

    “I’m no musketeer. More of a lone gunman.”

    Quite witty.

    Except I don’t want to shoot anyone.

    We need to focus on getting out of the Solar System.

    Yes, but how?

    Charlie Stross would appear to argue it is impossible. And I bloody love his books.

    http://tinyurl.com/35oj6ru

    I think he is wrong. But it isn’t going to be easy.

  177. douglas clark — on 22nd March, 2011 at 4:30 am  

    We are a long way away from the original post, and it is quite fun, isn’t it?

    I like how threads on here wander off topic a lot and then snap back when the other issues are resolved. You are all very good at lateral thinking.

    It is, as Stephen Fry might say, quite interesting.

    If there is another web site on the planet that does this, I have still to encounter it.

  178. Rumbold — on 22nd March, 2011 at 8:35 am  

    Don:

    I just meant a lone gunman who doesn’t want to shoot people isn’t much use.

  179. boyo — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:01 am  

    I certainly haven’t deserted you Douglas, I was just pointing out you can be rude, which you know to be true. I don’t think you’re malign though, which is what’s important!

  180. boyo — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:19 am  

    Speaking as a (liberal) religious person, I can confirm science and religion (indeed, God, Heaven and Hell) can mix.

    The established religions and Dawkinite atheists/ humanists may be surprised to hear it, but they share the same side of the coin – a proof, or otherwise, of the objective existence of God etc.

    But as Heidigger demonstrated, existence is not objective, but subjective. Jung, asked if he believed in God, replied I don’t need to believe, I know God exists.

    I’m currently reading Thich Naht Hahn’s wonderful Be Free Where You Are (a recording of a speech he gave at a high security prison), where he quite properly observes that there are no greater heavens or hells than those we foster in our own minds.

    Indeed, he echoes the sentiments of St Bob Marley: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/ none but yourselves can free your minds

  181. Refresh — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:31 am  

    Douglas, Shamit

    I have come across someone noting the mention of wormholes in religious texts, and I know the Big Bang theory is not an issue in Islam. Furthermore there is no argument, as far as I can make out, over the age of the universe. I would like to see Pamela L Gay debate her theory with someone knowledgeable about science and Islam.

    That last thought makes me wonder whether its the Dawkinites (to borrow Boyo’s term) that should be excluded from debate – at this stage.

  182. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:59 am  

    My dad, bless him, has a charming comeback for big bangers. ‘If a scientist tells you that there was a explosion in a forest and all the trees flew into tiny pieces and mixed in with cloth to by chance create that chair you are sitting on, would you accept that as true? When things explode they do not turn into new things that work perfectly, there is only a bloody mess.’

  183. boyo — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:10 am  

    Well I found this recent interview with Jan Morris startling….

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/jan-morris-were-on-the-brink-of-colossal-cataclysmic-change-2240989.html

    Although i’m never sure why people feel so optimistic about aliens. I would certainly reign in SETI until we could be sure we had developed some kind of system to stop us, once being found, not eaten….

  184. Refresh — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:50 am  

    ‘Although i’m never sure why people feel so optimistic about aliens. I would certainly reign in SETI until we could be sure we had developed some kind of system to stop us, once being found, not eaten….’

    I am sure the neo-cons would find a way of persuading the aliens that muslims make for a tastier dish. I am not convinced Independence Day was for all mankind. I much prefer the Day After Tomorrow. The one where the developing world welcomes US refugees.

  185. boyo — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:15 pm  

    Hoooo The Day After is for wimps. If you really want a depressing nuclear war film it has to be Threads

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threads

    Sheffield is nuked, no one notices.

    Joke! The best book on the same theme though is Ridley Walker, probably one of the great books of the 20th C.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridley_Walker

  186. boyo — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:19 pm  

    What always struck me about these things however was the assumption it would be the end of the world, when presumably only the West (inc Russia) would have been nuked.

    Although on a more serious note the greatest chance of serious fallout is now India/Pak, which seems as likely to kick-off as it ever did in the Cold War.

  187. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 2:13 pm  

    I have come across someone noting the mention of wormholes in religious texts, and I know the Big Bang theory is not an issue in Islam. Furthermore there is no argument, as far as I can make out, over the age of the universe. I would like to see Pamela L Gay debate her theory with someone knowledgeable about science and Islam.

    That last thought makes me wonder whether its the Dawkinites (to borrow Boyo’s term) that should be excluded from debate – at this stage.

    One of the biggest strengths of science is that if evidence appears that directly contradicts what constituted a scientific fact or a model that was used to predict or explain natural phenomena, then it becomes invalidated. For this reason, God is out of the realm of science because the existence of God is unfalsifiable: it cannot disprove that what we observe is not an indirect creation from a higher being. Which is why, in my view, Dawkins is wrong to think that evolution can be used to disprove the existence of God, or to say anything on that matter.

    On the other side of the “debate” we have Imran Khan who believes that every word in Qur’an is true because it is derived from God, so I wish there was no pretense from his side and others like him that science matters, because there is an overwhelming body of evidence that the creationist story is plain wrong and could not have happenned – regardless of whether you believe in evolution.

    So, I see little point of having a debate between Dawkins and creationists, when both make the mistake of mixing religion and science in order to paint the other side as delusional.

    I would rather hear a dialogue between evolutionists with an open mind such as Stephen Jay Gould and reformists like Dr. Usama Hasan.

  188. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 2:39 pm  

    If aliens come here and are anything like us:

    1. They’ll eat us (assuming we’re edible) just like human beings eat all other “lower” forms of life on Earth or hunt us for sport.

    2. They’ll harm us, just like we do to those weaker than ourselves, in exploiting the Earth’s resources. This may or may not be intentional, but they’ll not care (okay, maybe they’ll have some “Bleedin’ Hearts” ;) )

    3. They’ll see what we’re like and possibly decide to destroy us for the “greater good”.

    The best that could be hoped for would be for them to leave us alone / ignore us.

    They could intelligent machines because the conditions and distances / timescales mean that they could better survive. Something like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracewell_probe

  189. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 2:42 pm  

    Refresh @ 180 Why is the Big Bang not an issue, whereas Evolution is?

  190. Refresh — on 22nd March, 2011 at 4:06 pm  

    ‘Refresh @ 180 Why is the Big Bang not an issue, whereas Evolution is?’

    That’s just the point isn’t it. I don’t know if it is. Given the stupid path this thread took we are unlikely to know.

  191. Don — on 22nd March, 2011 at 4:53 pm  

    Wibble,

    I’ve heard it suggested that if aliens were like us they would have wiped themselves out long before they got to inter-stellar travel.

    And even if that isn’t the case, they are sure to make one of the six basic alien errors.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_19025_6-giant-blind-spots-in-every-movie-aliens-invasion-strategy.html

  192. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:08 pm  

    “But the argument is not just about science – its about blindly following religious texts and whether that can be reconciled with science.”
    With respect the same can be said of science and that is what is going on with evolution, it is a theory not a proven science. Dawkins in a Newsnight interview a few years ago conceded this point and then said he was more certain of evolution than god.

    That was the point I tried to make to Douglas before he went off on one, namely that if you hold religious belief then you accept that without question on core beliefs.

    “All the religious texts I know of talk about heaven and earth and yes hell – they talk about planets but lifeless as God created earth to sustain life.

    If human beings succeed in making Mars liveable – how does that reconcile with religious texts – ”

    Again the Qur’an clearly states that all life requires water and it states that there are more worlds than earth. God is referred to as the Lord of the Worlds – worlds being plural.

    So for Muslims this isn’t an issue.

    However even science may struggle to create an atmosphere to hold water on the planet.

  193. Don — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:21 pm  

    The established religions and Dawkinite atheists/ humanists may be surprised to hear it, but they share the same side of the coin – a proof, or otherwise, of the objective existence of God etc.

    Really? Surely for most of the established religions proof would negate free will and the need for faith. And what would constitute proof of god?

    I’ve never heard a prominent atheist – even a Dawkinite one – claim that it was possible to disprove the existence of god, only that scientific advances make the hypothesis increasingly improbable, unevidenced and unnecessary. Many of us also find it undesirable, but that’s just subjective.

    As Russell pointed out with his teapot, you can’t logically prove a negative.

    Ravi,

    So, I see little point of having a debate between Dawkins and creationists,… Agreed.

    …when both make the mistake of mixing religion and science in order to paint the other side as delusional.

    But wouldn’t you agree that creationists are actually delusional in their claims? What has Dawkins ever claimed as factual, of having a real truth value, that you regard as delusional?

  194. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:29 pm  

    Holiday Destinations for Douglas

    “Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811197

  195. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:34 pm  

    Douglas “But you have thought, if we can call it that, that escalating your position would change that. When it hasn’t Imran. ”

    So this is what you call proof. You really don’t have an understanding of discussion and debate. More hot air from someone who could fly their own Hot Air Ballon without the need for burners you spew out so much.

    I suggest you now put down the shovel and stop digging.

    You are living proof that evolution doesn’t exist because only God could have created you and not natural selection.

  196. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:40 pm  

    “What has Dawkins ever claimed as factual, of having a real truth value, that you regard as delusional?”
    Even Dawkins admitted that he pushes a theory which is not totally proven but he pushes it as fact. So Dawkins entire claim is based upon assumptions and probabilities of natural order which do not have total proof.

    As for the claim that he doesn’t want to give scientific credence to creationist is total hogwash because he will debate with creationist clergy who he knows he can defeat so that proves he is selective with whom he debates.

    A theory isn’t a fact as it can be totally proven. Dawkins can’t totally prove evolution as e relies on being able to make signifiacnt assumptions in linking evolution to the fossil record.

    Dawkins when pushed into a corner admits this so why can’t you?

  197. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:41 pm  

    “it is a theory not a proven science.” And what do you think are examples of “proven science”?

    Is your problem that nobody has seen a population of fishes that is solely dependent on living water turn into something like lungfish that can breathe air?

  198. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:43 pm  

    “so I wish there was no pretense from his side and others like him that science matters,”

    Hold on when I said that it doesn’t matter what science thinks as this is core belief your mate Douglas went ape!!

    I’ve made this point numerous times and got told I was speaking on behalf of God. Core beliefs in most religions do not rely on science.

    When did I pretend otherwise!!!!!!!

  199. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 5:47 pm  

    “And what do you think are examples of “proven science”?”

    Embryology is a provenm science as we know how a human develops in the mother’s body.

    Parts of geology are proven science as is astronomy and so forth.

    Again even dawkins accepted that evolution is still a theory so why try and say it isn’t when your chief propoganda man accepts this when cornered on TV.

  200. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:11 pm  

    “Again even dawkins accepted that evolution is still a theory so why try and say it isn’t when your chief propoganda man accepts this when cornered on TV.”

    All of science is based upon theories so he was hardly “cornered”. The power of the theory is how well it explains known facts and predicts others.

    But to get to the nub of the issue is that you have a fundamental issue with Evolution.

    As for his being a “propaganda man”, he is fantastic at explaining the science and it’s nothing like your misunderstandings / misrepresentations.

  201. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:28 pm  

    Don @ 190 LOL. The Doctor Who ones speak English and have a naive arrogance like James Bond villains in that they’ll truthfully explain how they’re going to destroy us.

  202. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:33 pm  

    “As for his being a “propaganda man”, he is fantastic at explaining the science and it’s nothing like your misunderstandings / misrepresentations.”

    What misrepresentation?

    My issue with him is the fact he won’t debate like for like and his incorrect claim that he doesn’t want to give them credence then why debate with clergy who he knows he can defeat because isn’t that giving them credence?

  203. AbuF — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:41 pm  

    I am persistently amused by the manner in which Imran Khan continues to evade all arguments that pin his position down as absurd, ill-informed and ridiculous.

    I am still waiting for the names of reputable scientists who do not work under the theory of evolution. Imran Khan claims to know of these people. Who are they?

    I would agree that Khan is not misrepresenting Dawkins, however. Misrepresentation would require Imran to have a clue what Dawkins was on about in the first place.

    To wit: theories are not proven science. LOL!@

  204. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:49 pm  

    Basically, what AbuF said.

    “What misrepresentation?”

    The misrepresentations (because now I don’t think it’s misunderstanding) inherent in the daft questions you asked to “defeat” somebody who “specialised” in evolution. You can’t argue against the theory by (mis)representing it as a poor interpretation of Darwin’s (150 year old) original. You’ve got the 150 year old interpretation wrong, let alone subsequent supporting research in other fields.

    Even intelligent design arguments have moved beyond the “you cannot jumble up a collection of parts at random to get a working machine” arguments to irreducible complexity for the cell and bacterial flagellum. So, even they are to some degree admitting an evolution process.

    Once again, I refer you to Don’s post at 121. You’d do well to read the rest of that also if it is indeed misunderstandings on your part.

  205. Don — on 22nd March, 2011 at 6:54 pm  

    Imran,

    I really hope you and Douglas can just drop it, as it is messing up a potentially interesting discussion. It doesn’t matter who started it, can we let it go?

    Even Dawkins admitted that he pushes a theory which is not totally proven but he pushes it as fact. So Dawkins entire claim is based upon assumptions and probabilities of natural order which do not have total proof.

    Could you please provide a reference or link, as this does not match with anything I know about Dawkins’s position. On the ‘fact’ versus ‘theory’ issue it has been pointed out to you before that you don’t seem to have quite grasped the distinction between the two in scientific terms. Evolution is an observable fact. Evolution through natural selection is a theory, but not in the sense that it is a hunch or guesswork. Proof is a term only properly used in mathematics.

    As for the claim that he doesn’t want to give scientific credence to creationist is total hogwash because he will debate with creationist clergy who he knows he can defeat so that proves he is selective with whom he debates.

    I don’t agree that it is hogwash, otherwise I wouldn’t have said it. Dawkins (and Gould) refused to debate creationist soi dissant scientists because they didn’t want to give creationism any false credibility as science. In many places creationism is pushing hard to be accepted in schools as an alternative theory. Being even fleetingly acknowledged by a real scientist would feed into that. Being willing to debate with religious believers is another matter.

    A theory isn’t a fact as it can be totally proven. Dawkins can’t totally prove evolution as he relies on being able to make significant assumptions in linking evolution to the fossil record.

    No. Really, just no. Dawkins does not rely on the fossil record at all, in fact he has stated that fossils, while fascinating and useful, are by no means necessary to demonstrating the reality of evolution. Rather paradoxically he points out in ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ that if we actually did have a complete and unbroken fossil record taxonomy would be screwed.

    Dawkins when pushed into a corner admits this so why can’t you?

    Because I haven’t been pushed into a corner and you haven’t shown any evidence that Dawkins has been on this point. You are still making a lot of assertions and still not backing them up.

    Again even dawkins accepted that evolution is still a theory so why try and say it isn’t when your chief propaganda man accepts this when cornered on TV.

    My chief propaganda man? What?

    If we are to make any progress I think we should establish that we both understand the same thing when we use the terms ‘evolution’ and ‘evolution through natural selection’, and by ‘theory’ in common parlance and ‘theory’ as a scientific term. This seems to be a recurrent disconnect.

    Would I be right in thinking that you believe that the Clydesdale horse, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, modern humans, the vampire squid from hell and the bumble bee were all created as they are at a specific moment in time and have remained unchanged?

    If not, then you accept that evolution is a reality, albeit you might argue the mechanism.

  206. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 7:26 pm  

    AbuF – As suggested before you need to discuss with people at your higher intellectual level and not with me. Just a polite reminder that as you implied I am much stupider than you so no need for me to try and grapple with your vastly superior intellect.

  207. Wibble — on 22nd March, 2011 at 7:27 pm  

    Basically what Don & AbuF have just said.

    One more thing Imran: you are attempting to argue against Evolution by (mis)representing it as a misinterpreted version of Darwin’s original (150 year old) theory. Since then the theory has been evolved in line with new observations, discoveries in the fields of chemistry, genetics, and techniques (mathematical modelling, computers). You can be sure that the theory has been pretty stressed.

    Einstein was troubled by quantum mechanics. He came up with paradoxes to support his arguments, but these paradoxes were based upon arguments according to standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. He did not say that quantum mechanics was a revision of J.J Thomson’s plum pudding atomic model and then make his arguments.

    Do you understand now why you are misrepresenting?

  208. Don — on 22nd March, 2011 at 7:35 pm  

    My issue with him is the fact he won’t debate like for like and his incorrect claim that he doesn’t want to give them credence then why debate with clergy who he knows he can defeat because isn’t that giving them credence?

    What like for like? Name a scientist who proposes creationism and who also can claim to be ‘like for like’ with any serious scientist. Who are we talking about here? Ray Comfort? Dr Dino? Clowns.

    ‘Debate’ doesn’t just mean talk to. It means sharing a platform and recognising that your opponent is more or less on a level footing. Dawkins will debate on matters of ethics and the nature of belief with, say, the former Bishop of Oxford but that is not on the scientific issues. These people already have credence within their field, he is stepping onto their turf. He does not debate with ‘made from mud, talking snake, 6,000 year old earth’ literalists. He may engage with or confront them, but not debate. They are not qualified for that.

  209. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 7:43 pm  

    Don – “I really hope you and Douglas can just drop it, as it is messing up a potentially interesting discussion. It doesn’t matter who started it, can we let it go?”

    Ok.

    “Could you please provide a reference or link, as this does not match with anything I know about Dawkins’s position.”
    I think it was on Newsnight, I am trying to dig it out.

    This is interesting and it is from someone who believes in Evolution:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Science-Religion/2001/09/Bullied-And-Brainwashed.aspx?p=1

    Will try and answer your other points later.

  210. Imran Khan — on 22nd March, 2011 at 7:56 pm  

    Don – It is dictatorship to say that theology can’t be studied and Dawkins has done that. If his thinking is fact then why the need to force it on people and not allow for any thing other than his view? Dawkins campaigned against a Chair of Theology at Cambridge.

    I am not stopping you believing in Dawkins but I don’t have to and I don’t agree with what he said.

    Again I point out to you that Usama Hasan was unable to convince his own mosque of his view of evolution. He couldn’t convince his father. Dawkins sneers down at people who don’t believe him and forces his views down peope’s throats which isn’t proving them. People here have taken up his approach.

    AbuF, Don, Douglas can believe what they want and can teach their friends and family what they want. If I want to believe in religion and God then that too is my right. If I think Dawkins is wrong then its my right to say so with what knowledge I have.

    I am not convinced by evolution and I am less convinced when Dawkins antics involve forcing his position on people and not allowing for debate.

    We are going round and round and I don’t see that you understand what I am saying and I may not understand what you are saying.

  211. Don — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:21 pm  

    It is dictatorship to say that theology can’t be studied and Dawkins has done that.

    No, he said that he doubted that theology was a real subject. That is an opinion, not a dictatorship. For dictatorships look elsewhere.

    You talk repeatedly of Dawkins – one retired academic – why is he so important to you? How exactly does he force anything on anyone? For ideas being enforced look elsewhere.

    If I want to believe in religion and God then that too is my right.

    Of course it is, that has never been in dispute and I wonder why you raise the issue.

  212. KB Player — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:40 pm  

    Dawkins sneers down at people who don’t believe him and forces his views down peope’s throats which isn’t proving them. People here have taken up his approach.

    Dawkins certainly sneers, but you can ignore that. Dawkins is not great at hiding that he thinks people who believe in a holy scripture account of how life evolved on this planet are fools. He has mellowed a bit recently.

    Forces his views down people’s throats? You mean he writes books and articles, has fronted a couple of television programmes and runs a blog. He doesn’t run the Department of Education. His influence emanates from his ideas and his eloquence. You are perfectly free to ignore him if you want.

    I think you are much more likely to have “a view forced down your throat” if you live somewhere say with a theocracy in charge, or where leaving your religion is a capital crime.

    Believe what you want. Just don’t act as if it is against your basic human rights when people tell you that what you believe is silly and doesn’t make sense.

  213. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:34 pm  

    I’ve never heard a prominent atheist – even a Dawkinite one – claim that it was possible to disprove the existence of god, only that scientific advances make the hypothesis increasingly improbable, unevidenced and unnecessary.

    But wouldn’t you agree that creationists are actually delusional in their claims? What has Dawkins ever claimed as factual, of having a real truth value, that you regard as delusional?

    Don, what scientific discovery or theory known to mankind has made it less probable that God does not exist? The issue is that many people pin the existence of God to falsifiable claims – that is claims that can be demonstrated false if they are not true. For instance, the Shroud of Turin as the cloth used to bury Jesus, that complex design can only stem from a more complex entity, Bible/Qur’an as perfect books. The fact that science has disproved these assertions and keeps advancing in all directions, it does not make the existence of God less valid.

    Dawkins reminds me of someone who starts counting, and when he reaches 10,000,000 he states that he is closer of reaching infinity than when he started. To me, that is also a form of delusion.

  214. boyo — on 23rd March, 2011 at 12:00 pm  

    Don @193

    “Really? Surely for most of the established religions proof would negate free will and the need for faith. And what would constitute proof of god?”

    Yes, but this was developed as a response to the “proof” or otherwise argument. In any case that’s not my argument at all – you are side stepping my point about subjectivity. If you want to debate theology with a Christian or a Muslim go ahead. Oh, you are…

  215. douglas clark — on 23rd March, 2011 at 6:47 pm  

    OK,

    Y’know what?

    here is the arguement in scientific terms:

    If you believe that Earth is specifically the only planet in the Universe that can harbour life then you believe in what is called the strong anthropic principle. before you even get to the formation of Earth, this has to be a Goldilocks Universe. If even one of the fundamental constants were different, then the Universe would have been sterile.

    That is bad enough.

    The actual creation of the solar system is also a work of art, in some senses. The fact that we orbit in an area where water is liquid, that we have a stabilising Moon, that Jupiter got shot of cosmic debris, that planetary orbits are damm near circular and not elliptical – the list is actually pretty well endless.

    If it wasn’t for all of that, we couldn’t exist.

    This is one scientific argument in favour of at the very least an old God. Many scientists were persuaded by that. Including Einstein.

    The problem with that is that assumes there is only the one Universe, rather than a multiverse. Allow a multiverse and we are still lucky, but you can forget about cosmic constants and just concern yourself about local conditions. We are here because this Universe, and indeed this Solar System allowed the development of life. Which is where abiogenesis rears it’s head and you are into Dawkins territory thereafter.

    There are lots of ideas about how prokaryotes, who actually still rule the roost, developed in the first place, and I have no more insight into that than the next person. But there are a number of reasons to think life started on Earth at least around 3.5 billion years ago, and there is extraterrestrial evidence of fairly complex amino acids, which are building blocks for life. So, it may, at the microbial level at least be universal. Wherever there is a Goldilocks planet or environment.

    The rest of it is simple Darwinian evolution, at least after you jump the prokyrote / eukaryote boundary. Well, it is if you believe in deep time, like dinosaurs being well and truly dead before mammals were much better than mice.

    That is probably wrong somewhere, for I am a mere layman, but it at least lays out some of the evidence.

    (Dear Ravi Naik – you say:

    I would rather hear a dialogue between evolutionists with an open mind such as Stephen Jay Gould and reformists like Dr. Usama Hasan.

    So would I but sadly Stephen Jay Gould died on May 20, 2002.)

  216. Ravi Naik — on 23rd March, 2011 at 6:59 pm  

    So would I but sadly Stephen Jay Gould died on May 20, 2002.

    I am aware of that, Douglas. I am hoping there are others evolutionists like him that can shed light about the boundaries of science and religion.

  217. Refresh — on 23rd March, 2011 at 7:58 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    What would you say to religious texts which talk about multiverses, other inhabited planets, wormholes and the like?

    What do you say to texts which talk of things which were later unearthed by scientific enquiry?

  218. KB Player — on 23rd March, 2011 at 8:18 pm  

    What would you say to religious texts which talk about multiverses, other inhabited planets, wormholes and the like?

    What do you say to texts which talk of things which were later unearthed by scientific enquiry?

    I would say:-

    1. Science rules. Scientists don’t find it confirms their view of the world when their findings coincide with what a religious text says. But the religious jump up and down, and say, Look! We’re right.

    2. The religious are selective. If a scientific finding agrees with something in their texts, they say, Result! If a scientific finding contradicts something, they ignore it or say that the science is wrong. (See Science rules, above, point 1).

    3. The religious make huge interpretations of what are brief or ambiguous texts to make them fit a scientific theory. So if Genesis says “Let there be light” they’ll say – Big Bang! Beginning of the universe! Those bronze age scribes, they anticipated everything every cosmologist and astrophysicist say using the latest measuring devices!

  219. douglas clark — on 23rd March, 2011 at 8:23 pm  

    Refresh,

    What would you say to religious texts which talk about multiverses, other inhabited planets, wormholes and the like?

    What do you say to texts which talk of things which were later unearthed by scientific enquiry?

    I have no idea.

    It seems to me that earlier texts about the multiverse have just been intelligent guesses.

    It is ridiculous to assume that people that lived before us were stupid. It seems to me that they were just as able to ask sensible questions as we are. They may have had even more misunderstood parameters than we do. But the question is still valid. These people were just as good as us.

    It is religion that put’s the brake on that.

    It is the ultra – religious that deny that.

    That is what they are, and they are first order denialists.

    For them, everything is down to an interventionist, and personal God who, apparently tells Imran Khan what to believe before he is born, tells him, exactly, how to follow his life, and then gives him – for no reason whatsoever – eternal life in heaven eating raisins, or damnation.

    Whichever, his daft God has pre-considered his fate.

    Quite frankly, that is a ridiculous idea of what the Universe is about.

    Frankly we all need guns against the the universal bastard that is … God.

    ’cause he is an ultimately fucked up evil idea.

  220. Refresh — on 23rd March, 2011 at 9:02 pm  

    KB Player,

    Perhaps you’ve demonstrated the great divide. The jumping up and down happens on both sides. And the tone generally tends to be ideological, which hardly allows a proper discussion.

    Douglas Clark,

    Can we stop using Imran Khan as a proxy, please?

    Specifically, I submit, it means that these thoughts and ideas came from somewhere. It also means that we are in a constant state of exploration. This is true for the religious as it is for the scientist.

    It goes wrong when there is an agenda attached. Often related to power and influence. Science has been subordinated, in its time, to some repulsive ideologies and often to the grasping of power and money. Does that make science inherently evil?

    What I don’t understand is why you dismiss so lightly the thought that such texts exist. Given only a post or two back you correctly helped reset the debate by talking about multiverses (which is what spurred me to comment). For what its worth I do not share your certitude in many areas of life and the universe.

    I would say there are huge swathes of people who are in a similar position. They look to scientists for answers and find them wanting. They turn to the priest and find him wanting.

    And then they turn to Pickled Politics and guess what, they begin to wish they hadn’t. Which is where I am at the moment.

  221. douglas clark — on 23rd March, 2011 at 9:17 pm  

    Refresh.

    I humbly say that this is rubbish:

    Can we stop using Imran Khan as a proxy, please?

    Specifically, I submit, it means that these thoughts and ideas came from somewhere. It also means that we are in a constant state of exploration. This is true for the religious as it is for the scientist.

    No. It is not.

    It is certainly not true of the religious. Their ideas are damned stupid because they do not evolve.

    That is why they are not in any state of exploration.

    These idiots are in a steady state, ridiculously stupid idea of what we are all about.

    So, you are wrong. Get over it.

  222. Refresh — on 23rd March, 2011 at 9:47 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    ‘No. It is not.’

    ‘It is certainly not true of the religious.’

    I am not sure you can say that, when right here you have people who believe in God and are trying to understand new discoveries and make use of them. The religious would or could say that these things exist thanks to the work of God.

    They could say that science is a religious exploration of God’s work. Where you would have a problem, stasis if you like, is where the religious get in the way of honest enquiry. I don’t see that happening, in the main.

    What I do see is a bunch of people with calcified minds denying each other the opportunity to explore each others hypotheses and beliefs.

  223. KB Player — on 23rd March, 2011 at 9:49 pm  

    KB Player,

    Perhaps you’ve demonstrated the great divide. The jumping up and down happens on both sides. And the tone generally tends to be ideological, which hardly allows a proper discussion.

    Can you give me an example in recent history when a scientist has said, “This particular finding shows that the words in whatever holy scripture is right?” The religious use science to bolster up what they have written in their scriptures, but it’s one way traffic.

    And would you quote me the texts which talk about multiverses, other inhabited planets, wormholes and the like? If they said, “they are at the edge of the And5omeda nebula XX light years away” I’d be impressed. If they said, “their gravitational field is this and their atmosphere is that.” I’d be impressed. If it’s something like “a new heaven and a new earth” it’s not much cop.

  224. Refresh — on 23rd March, 2011 at 10:08 pm  

    KB Player,

    I wish you had said that the first time round.

    Well I am discovering things as questions arise, I don’t often sit there pondering. Not usually.

    I rely on fellow-commenters to make me think. I see it as a learning process.

    From what I’ve found I think you will be disappointed, as it makes no references to speed of light as a basis of interstellar measurement (at least not in the lingua franca of modern science). And it should not surprise you that its couched in religious terms, which I suspect will probably lead to yet another diversion.

    http://www.speed-light.info/islam_life_other_planets.htm

  225. KB Player — on 23rd March, 2011 at 10:41 pm  

    (Quran 65.12) Allah is the one who created seven heavens and from Earth like them (of corresponding type); [Allah’s] command descends among them (heavens and earths) so that you may know that Allah is capable of anything and that Allah knows everything.

    Well, I don’t see how science supports that statement. Seven? Isn’t seven a favourite number among the religious? People in medieval times liked to say “seven planets, seven metals, seven deadly sins” and thought this added up something like a divine plan. So if we discovered eight planets would that make you more sceptical of this statement?

    In Islam, Earth is not a unique planet. Other planets like Earth do exist throughout the universe. Actually the Quran says that other planets also have land animals:

    (Quran 42.29) And from His signs He created the heavens and the Earth; and the land animals that He scattered in BOTH of them (heavens and Earth); And He is capable of gathering them (in one place) if He wishes.

    So? There may or may not be other planets with land animals. This is just a god that creates things with a wave of his wand.

  226. KB Player — on 23rd March, 2011 at 10:44 pm  

    Oh, and this “wormhole”. As god is capable of gathering these creatures in one place, you say he must be doing it via a wormhole. But there’s nothing whatsoever about wormholes in the text you quote, just the ability to gather. I know nothing about interstellar travel but if the scientific term had been by a Startrek style molecular teleporter, you would have interpreted this gathering ability as being with a Startrek style molecular teleporter.

  227. Refresh — on 23rd March, 2011 at 10:48 pm  

    ‘So?’

    Go explore.

  228. Wibble — on 23rd March, 2011 at 11:42 pm  

    As a break away from the serious discussion, look up Isaac Asimov’s “How It Happened” (they did intend to put in the full explanation) and the “Last Question”.

  229. douglas clark — on 24th March, 2011 at 2:50 am  

    Refresh @ 222,

    I don’t think it is impossible to hold an opinion of the divine and a scientific view simultaneously. It would be ludicrous for me to think that, as many great scientists have done so. Newton with his clockwork Universe, Darwin with his failure to publish because he knew what it would mean for Christianity and Einstein with his concept that he was trying to ‘read the mind of God’. There are many other examples. It is not inconsistent to believe in a progenitor intelligence, although it may be unnecessary. It is also true to say, as many do, ‘I am large, I contain contradictions’. If you read Dawkins for instance, he goes on at length to explain why he is moral despite the fact that evolution is anything but.

    ____________________________________

    Despite that, what I am saying is that the further scientific explanation of the Universe goes, the less need there is for a divine presence. Divinity becomes a question of filling in the gaps that science still struggles with. The whole idea of ‘the god of the gaps’.

    What bothers me, interests me maybe, is that this Universe can probably be described, at least in outline, mathematically. We can measure to incredible accuracy numbers that make us possible. But there are still a huge number of things we don’t understand and have only a glimpse of, dark matter, dark energy, inflation and why it appears to be accelerating, etc, etc. These are things that we ought to be curious about, along with abiogenesis and just how the heck we ended up talking to each other over what is, essentially, a demonstration of quantum mechanics.

    It is also interesting that the likes of Fred Hoyle, who is remembered more for what he got wrong – the steady state theory – actually contributed massively to what we do know about the Universe. It was he that demonstrated how we are made of stardust. How ordinary stars can create elements all the way up to iron. And how supernovas create the rest. Totally astonishing that he didn’t win a Nobel Prize for that.

    To repeat, for the nth time, religion isn’t a help, it is a hindrance.

    I am aware that some far out ideas, like some concepts in modern cosmological theory contain things that are, at the least very difficult to prove experimentally. Until we can, they too should remain in the ‘speculative’ explanation area which is usually the preserve of religion.

    As far as I know wormholes are not natural, or to rephrase that have not been seen in nature, but neither have white holes either.

  230. Boyo — on 24th March, 2011 at 6:56 am  

    “It is ridiculous to assume that people that lived before us were stupid.”

    Good point Douglas, however it is demonstrable bollocks to suggest religion does not evolve. Buddhism evolved from Hinduism. Sufism evolved from Islam. Protestentism evolved from Catholicism and Unitarian Universalism evolved from that.

    These evolving ideas have shaped our culture, whether you happen to have noticed or not.

  231. douglas clark — on 24th March, 2011 at 8:00 am  

    Boyo,

    Religions evolve? Not sure about that. Change, certainly. Split, fission? Yes. Evolve would imply that the newer of your three examples was better than the elder. Would hindus, muslims or catholics agree that the others are, in some way, more evolved faiths than theirs?

  232. boyo — on 24th March, 2011 at 9:19 am  

    You would be suggesting that I think we are better than monkeys Douglas. I think that’s open to dispute.

    This is a very good take on evolution:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Evolution-Gollancz-S-F-Stephen-Baxter/dp/0575074094/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300958187&sr=1-1

    One which indeed suggests (without giving too much away) monkeys as well as being our past may be our future… There’s a good Voyager moment too.

  233. douglas clark — on 24th March, 2011 at 11:09 am  

    boyo,

    OK I’ll bite. I’ve always liked Stephen Baxter.

  234. Jai — on 24th March, 2011 at 11:37 am  

    Buddhism evolved from Hinduism. Sufism evolved from Islam. Protestentism evolved from Catholicism

    Religion does indeed evolve over time (or is frequently subject to different interpretations; the two are of course not necessarily mutually exclusive). However, there is an error in the analogy quoted above: Although Buddhism became a separate religion from Hinduism, and Protestantism became a separate division from Catholicism within Christianity, Sufism is not a separate religion from Islam. (Incidentally, it is also worthwile mentioning that Sufis are not a “third sect in Islam” distinct from Sunnis and Shias either).

    Sufis, both the Sunni and Shia variety, are Muslims themselves (despite what both Islamist extremists and the Far-Right may claim), and they regard their spiritual beliefs as being entirely in line with what they believe to be the true interpretation of Islam. As has also been discussed in extensive detail numerous times on PP, Sufism became the dominant mainstream version of Islam in India during the past 800 years, and even more so during the past 500 years.

    *************************************

    Regarding arguments between some religious people and their opponents about evolution, people on both sides of the fence would do well to see the film “Inherit the Wind”, starring the late great Spencer Tracy. There are some pertinent messages in the film for everyone involved.

    **************************************

    Regarding the issue of the universe, extraterrestrials, evolution etc, I strongly recommend that people check out “The Eerie Silence” by Dr Paul Davies. The book is brilliant, and it covers quite a few of the (non-religious) “big picture” topics currently being discussed by commenters. Dr Davies has written about these issues from a rigorously scientific & academic perspective and in considerable eye-opening, thought-provoking detail. Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eerie-Silence-Searching-Ourselves-Universe/dp/0141037784/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300965332&sr=1-2 (Make sure you also read the reviews for more information about the book’s premise & contents).

  235. Refresh — on 24th March, 2011 at 5:44 pm  

    This is becoming THE life, universe and everything thread.

    Douglas Clark,

    If Newton was alive today, would you take him seriously?

    I am sure Dawkins is moral, within his own framework of morality. The question is what framework would we have had if religion wasn’t around? How would have morality evolved?

    If natural selection alone was at play, what would civilisations have looked like? Survival of the fittest would in one scenario mean the globe would be full of maruading dictators.

    Could we talk in terms of civilisation and morality?

    Dawkins seems to be a self-reverential experiment in as much as he appears to claim for himself a moral framework without acknowledging evolution in the social domain.

  236. Boyo — on 24th March, 2011 at 10:54 pm  

    “How would have morality evolved?”

    Surely it evolved, at least partly, through religion. It’s ridiculous to regard religion as some stone age, static phenomenon. What many humanists, secularists and certainly the followers of the atheistic movements of the 20th Century forget, for example, that their utopianism has a direct link to Christianity and building heaven here upon earth.

  237. douglas clark — on 24th March, 2011 at 10:59 pm  

    Refresh @ 235,

    Don’t know if I can answer you directly about Newton.
    He was a man of his time, IIRC he spent quite a lot of his life looking into alchemy as well as sitting under apple trees. And running the Royal Mint. He felt that the Universe was a piece of clockwork and that God had set it in motion. I have no idea whether or not he’d have been the same man nowadays as he was back then. But he was an undoubted genius. Y’know the game, out of everyone who ever lived, who would you invite to a dinner party? Well he’d be one of my choices.

    Your question about civilisation and morality is a far harder one to answer. There are quite a few examples of birds and mammals that co-operate. Migrating birds benefit from flocking for instance. Wolves, usually, hunt in packs, as do dolphins. There are pretty complex social interactions seen amongst elephants. Humans also seem to have always operated on at least a clan or tribe basis, going right back to the dawn of history and before that even. Whilst I appreciate that that is far too rosy a picture of the human condition it seems that there were rules and rituals long before any of our main religions became established. It is also quite interesting that homo sapiens appear to have interbred with both Neanderthals and the Denisova hominem which might be significant, or it might not.

    Indeed the earliest written law that we have access to – the Code of Ur-Nammu – appears to have been written by a man, around 2100bc. Whilst Ur had it’s gods it is the man that gets the credit. It is actually quite interesting having some penalties that certain societies have right up until now.

    My problem, and the one I have thought about quite a bit, is with the professional priesthoods that have been built up around religions. As far as I can see they are parasites on any society. If it was possible for a human being to introduce, and presumably impliment a legal code that actually covers much of the morality that we now all hold onto, more or less, 4000 years ago, then what has religion done for us?

    To bring it right up to us and the present day, the British Humanist Association had a survey conducted for them that, whilst people would tick a ‘religion’ box if asked which religion they were, if they were asked the follow up question ‘are you religious?’, a sizeable majority said they were not. See here:

    http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/771

    It does not appear to me, hush my mouth, that society is actually falling apart because of a lack of religiosity, it seems to me rather the opposite.

    If I may I will leave you with the thoughts of a Mr Bob Dylan, sung by his g/f, who has the purest voice I have ever heard. Might invite them to my dinner party too! Says it all for me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTtVTNTfg80

  238. douglas clark — on 25th March, 2011 at 12:13 am  

    Boyo @ 236,

    The question that I think Refresh posed was whether religion had been an advantage to us or not?

    You say:

    What many humanists, secularists and certainly the followers of the atheistic movements of the 20th Century forget, for example, that their utopianism has a direct link to Christianity and building heaven here upon earth.

    The question for you is whether it would have happened quicker without Christianity, or any other religion come to that. It is an Occam’s Razor sort of an argument, would heaven on Earth have been established more quickly without religions or not? Are they necessary?

    I’d argue not, but that flies in the face of ignorance and genuine fear of the forces of nature. Explanatory ideas, no matter how outrageous, were better than none at all. Whether that subverted a pure, innocent hunter gatherer society as some might have it, or applied to brutal savages as others would, when both are describing the same people. And both completely ignorant of the intelligence of our ancestors within their technological constraints.

    I have argued elsewhere on this very thread that ancient people were not at all stupid.

    I get quite angry at the idea that early models of ‘how the world works’ are viewed with contempt by moderns. If you were to think about how little technology they had, and yet they built Stonehenge, then the whole damn lot of them were doing the best they could with what they had. That was what we now call an astrolabe.

    These were very intelligent people.

    The Druids equivalent of Jodrell Bank. It was the best they could do with the technology they had available and it probably cost them more as a society than Jodrell Bank cost us.

    They were interested in what the night sky had to tell them. They were curious. They were just like us.

    My point?

    I think my ideals are as well expressed by people like that compared to some of my contemporaries. They went to an enormous effort to establish facts, not fictions.

    In fact it is their desire to show that the universe follows predictable patterns that makes them more acceptable to me than subsequent moralists. And they did this, circa 4500 – 5000 years ago. To repeat, the effort that these people undertook is quite astonishing. And admirable. They were the NASA of their era.

    I salute them.

    What went wrong?

  239. Boyo — on 25th March, 2011 at 6:11 am  

    You are quite correct to admire the ancients Douglas – Greco-Roman civilisation underpins our own. The tragic tale of Late-Roman philosopher Hypatia is illustrative of the transition from logic to a more “spiritually” led society, and it is not a happy one.

    On the other hand, leaving aside Eastern religion for now, I’m afraid I do believe credit where it’s due, and the step-change in ethics brought about by the Jewish philosopher Jesus has made a positive difference to Western society and in the end, coupled with the logical tradition of the Greco-Romans, made us what we are.

    Put aside the hocus-pocus for now, and look at the central message of Jesus – love. Forgive us our sins, and forgive those who sin against us. His final message – love each other. This was tremendously radical at the time, whether in Jewish or Roman tradition. The idea that a rich man had less a chance of getting to Heaven than a camel through a needle was a philosophical thunderbolt – it led to what (my favourite philosopher) Nietzsche described as a “slave religion”. He sought to release us from our chains of guilt, the passive-aggressive religion of the slave – that the meek shall inherit the earth – and free us to be superman in all our glory, good and bad.

    Yet this emphasis on “love” has shaped our society and underpins the progressive movement. The NHS is, arguably, one manifestation – socialism is, arguably, too. We are so familiar with the assumptions that sit behind the world we live in, that we can miss their origins.

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