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Evolution and Islam: Public Lecture & Panel

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Evolution and Islam: Public Lecture & Panel at Hampshire College, October 2 and 3

AMHERST, MA — As part of an international conference of scholars discussing "Darwin and Evolution in the Muslim World," hosted by Hampshire College, the public was invited to two open presentations:

On Friday, October 2 at 6 p.m., Ronald L. Numbers delivered a lecture titled "Creationism Goes Global: From American to Islamic Fundamentalism." Numbers is the Hilldale Professor of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include the history of science, medicine, and religion. Professor Numbers has written or edited two dozen books, including Galileo Goes to Jail, and Other Myths About Science and Religion (Harvard University Press, 2009), The Creationists (1992), and Darwinism Comes to America (1998).

On Saturday, October 3 at 6 p.m., a panel discussion addressed the topic of "Evolution and Islam." Panelists included two scholars from Canada's McGill University—Brian Alters, who holds the Tomlinson Chair in Science Education, and Ehab Abouheif, Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology—and Truman State University physics professor Taner Edis. Edis is the author of An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam (2007).

Both public events were held in Franklin Patterson Hall on the Hampshire College campus and were free of charge.

Hampshire professor Salman Hameed organized the Darwin and Evolution in the Muslim World conference, which was supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

 "Consistent with the diversity of the Islamic world, Muslims hold a variety of opinions regarding evolution. There are indeed some vocal Islamic creationists who outright reject evolution and many Muslims follow suit. But there are also Muslims who find no contradiction between Islam and evolution. In fact, evolution is included in high school textbooks of several Muslim countries, such as Pakistan and Turkey. These opinions are often shaped by the cultural, political, and social contexts of the respective societies," said Dr. Hameed.

"If we want to understand Muslim responses to evolution, we have to address this topic from a multidisciplinary perspective. For this purpose, we are bringing together experts—historians of science, sociologists, science educators, and biologists—from all over the world to Hampshire College to discuss this topic."

Scholars attended from universities in Germany, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Canada, and the United States, with participants from throughout the Five College consortium.

For more information on Professor Numbers' lecture and the panel discussion, please email


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