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Muslim Medical Students Boycott Darwin Lectures 1319

Posted by samzenpus
from the designer-animals dept.
First time submitter Readycharged writes "The Daily Mail reports on a piece from The Sunday Times revealing that University College London have seen an increasing number of Muslim students boycotting lectures on Evolution due to clashes with the Koran. Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics, says, 'I've had one or two slightly frisky discussions with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it's Islamic overwhelmingly.' He adds, 'What they object to — and I don't really understand it, I am not religious — they object to the idea that there is a random process out there which is not directed by God.' The article also reveals that Evolutionary Biologist and former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins also experienced Muslims walking out of such lectures."
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Muslim Medical Students Boycott Darwin Lectures

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:55AM (#38187240)

    I would rather not have a religious whack-job as a doctor.

  • Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:57AM (#38187244)

    Well, I suppose it's within their rights to up and leave a lecture because they don't like the topic. However, when they subsequently fail the exam due to their refusal to attend the lecture or personal disagreement with the topics taught, they shouldn't complain. I don't understand why you'd even take a class knowing full well that you don't accept fundamental parts of it.

  • So fail them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrekkieGod (627867) on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:58AM (#38187250) Homepage Journal

    I don't get what the problem is. If you don't grasp the material, regardless of the reason, you fail the course. I sure as hell don't want to be treated by a doctor who doesn't understand evolution.

  • by mellon (7048) on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:58AM (#38187256) Homepage

    Why do they think that the "random" process is not the face of God, or something? If things work a certain way, that's the way they work. If it's God's will, it's God's will. If you think the two are contradictory, you have no faith. The problem is with you, not the science or the religion.

  • No degree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:59AM (#38187258)

    If they do not accept evolution, they should not be issued with a medical degree.

    It's that simple.

    If they are so fucked in the head they don't accept evolution, I don't want them practicing medicine in this country.

  • Re:So fail them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jehlon (467577) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:02AM (#38187276) Homepage

    Seriously. Just fail them. Tell them the only way they'll get a degree from a respected institution is to not be an idiot. Doesn't matter what your degree is in, if you think your magic book has all the answers you are delusional and not degree-worthy material.

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:02AM (#38187278) Journal

    I don't know what else to say.

  • Then fail them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kanweg (771128) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:02AM (#38187282)

    To suppress closed mindedness, exams on evolution etc. should be show stoppers. Don't pass them, no graduation. This is science. Can't handle facts? You're in the wrong business. Don't like the facts? Prove them wrong by the rules.

    Bert

  • No doctor for you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:05AM (#38187286)

    Then the school should make the course mandatory, and fail them as doctors if they do not show up.

    I went to school to become a programmer, I would have failed if I didn't show up for Math, even though I almost never use it as a System Developer now a few years after.

    I see no problem in failing doctors cause they do not show up to Darvin class, I would not want to be treated by a Doctor that does not understand the body, and I am sure our customers would not like a programmer that don't know any Math.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:08AM (#38187300)

    Especially a medical class.

    I don't ever want to be examined or treated by a doctor that lets their religion get in the way of the study of basic biology or any other part or medical study.

    Not to mention that 'random' and 'evolution by natural selection' are not equivalent.

  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:12AM (#38187324)

    This.

    The story is basically anti-immigration trolling. A statistically unverified, anecdotally reported "increasing number" of anti-evolution Muslims making their way into the gold-paved halls of med school and thus upper society = OMG TEH BRITANNIA IZ BEING OVERRUN BY SALADIN'S HORDES. OUR PRECIOUS FISH AND CHIPZ WILL BE REPLACED BY HUMMUS.

    Also, hummus is yummus.

  • by vga_init (589198) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:17AM (#38187352) Journal

    First I should say that we ought to know a little bit more about this story before we can make a complete analysis, but as a Muslim, I will be the first to say that there is no problem with evolution. I'm not going to go into all the details of the argument about whether or not evolution explains the biological origins of man; there are mountains of evidence supporting evolution and no other plausible alternative explanations. What I would like to say is there is really no inherent conflict between believing in a Creator and accepting evolution. In Islam especially the case for conflict is weak because the Qur'an lacks a creation story as detailed as the one laid out in Genesis. Yes, the Qur'an has references to creation and even Adam and Eve (the first humans), but conspicuously absent from the Qur'an are any statements that defy the scientific view of evolution. Does the Qur'an say that Adam and Eve were put on the Earth right after the Earth was created? No. Does it say no other creatures existed or preceded humans? No. In fact, one verse of the Qur'an talks about God breathing His spirit into Adam, which some scholars have read to mean that Adam was alive prior to becoming human (in a spiritual sense), and that Adam may even have had parents instead of being materialized spontaneously. Either way there is really no timeline for creation, and Islamic theology suggests that God is *active* in creation, meaning that God didn't just create everything all at once and stopped, but that creation is a current and ongoing process (in line with evolution).

    I do believe that there is no basis in Islamic tradition and culture for rejecting evolution--on the contrary, Islamic emphasis on science and knowledge would make Muslims more receptive to the idea. To me this habit of denying evolution is something that Muslim communities learned from Christian communities, and the article actually does a good job of pointing this out.

    As for the lectures, what I want to know is if it's really the mere idea of evolution that is offending the students, or if the lectures contain unnecessary statements that are specifically hostile to God and religion. If the course material or the professor is unfairly preaching atheism or making wild assumptions like "God has nothing to do with evolution" then I'd say the students have some legitimate grounds to object. The article doesn't make this part of the story very clear, but at least in one way suggests that this may be what's happening.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kanweg (771128) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:27AM (#38187384)

    The students are not asked to like the facts, or to drop their beliefs. They are to meet scientific standards, however. Refusal to look at facts objectively disqualifies you as a scientist. In case of a court case, the students should lose, even in the UK.

    Bert

  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:30AM (#38187404)

    Because it gives the vocal and radical atheist crowd on /. another opening in which to harp on religion which, in turn, results in the vocal religious crowd to attempt to defend their beliefs. Note that I don't consider most of the responding religious believers to be radical because they're trying to stand against aggression rather than being the aggressors.

    The moderate atheists on /. are either quiet, or a minority in these threads. It might also be that a lot of their posts get lost in the shouting, but the rare ones that leak through show a measured, intelligent person that doesn't feel they have to belittle another person for the sake of stroking their own ego.

    And again, yes, they still post things that are negative to religion while being moderate. You don't need to preach about taking fire and sword to churches and talk about purging the believers in some ill-minded attempt at "enlightening the human race" or such drivel to be critical of religion.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ldobehardcore (1738858) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `siobud.nevets'> on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:30AM (#38187408)
    It's goes to show how backward-bending western society is when you can sue for religious discrimination when it's obviously a case of academic discrimination.
    Discrimination against those who didn't learn enough to pass the expensive course they took.
  • by afc_wimbledon (1052878) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:36AM (#38187448)
    Only if you make up the religion yourself. Otherwise the priest class do the governing, and are sometimes part of the government, or are manipulated by the ruling class.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:39AM (#38187468) Homepage

    If I understand it correctly, one of the Quran's directives is to seek all knowledge. I hypocrisy is a human failing, not a religious one... but then again, religion is a human failing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:39AM (#38187470)

    The timelines in evolution contradict the creationist timeline and hence qualify as "blasphemous".

    In this century, we have recognized both alcohol and tobacco as being dangerous to individuals and costly to society. In my lifetime, I'm pretty sure we'll add the automobiles to that list. Sadly, I doubt I'll live long enough to see religious faith recognized similarly.

  • Re:So fail them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:40AM (#38187474)

    Try disagreeing with a philosophy or even a literature professor. They often mark you very highly. :-)

    I'm sure the religious fanatics also allow you freedom to disagree with opinions. Disagreeing with their (interpretation of) $holy_book however is an entirely different matter.

  • by lavaface (685630) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:41AM (#38187476) Homepage
    That an articulate and measured comment like this is modded flamebait is a true indictment of how out of control Slashdot groupthink has become. I wish I had mod points.
  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:43AM (#38187488) Homepage

    You are not a scientist.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:43AM (#38187494)

    While the UK is particularly bad, I have yet to see any case of the type you are describing here - I have seen religious discrimination claims on other grounds, but never one against a failed medical finals...

    It sounds like a lot of the UK things are myths as well - the CCTV figures for instance were extrapolated from one street, and counted private cameras as well.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:47AM (#38187506) Homepage Journal

    >>I don't intend to pick on a Muslim, your weirdly rational writing struck a profound cognitive dissonance within my head in contrast to the actual content of your writing.

    If you haven't met rational religious people before, you really need to get out of the house more often...

  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:48AM (#38187512)

    The story is basically anti-immigration trolling. A statistically unverified, anecdotally reported "increasing number" of anti-evolution Muslims making their way into the gold-paved halls of med school and thus upper society = OMG TEH BRITANNIA IZ BEING OVERRUN BY SALADIN'S HORDES. OUR PRECIOUS FISH AND CHIPZ WILL BE REPLACED BY HUMMUS.

    Indeed. The very first thing I thought upon reading the summary was, "What about all the other muslim med students who don't have a problem at all with studying evolution? Why are they focusing on a tiny minority of fundos rather than the vast majority of regular mos?"

  • Re:Up to them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bosef1 (208943) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:51AM (#38187526)

    I'm not a scholar of the Koran, but Sura 5:32 echos wisdom from other sources: "...and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." So, yeah.

  • by neyla (2455118) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:55AM (#38187548)

    It's almost as if religious folks -know- that they're wrong. Thus to preserve their wrongheadedness, it's requires to not even learn about the alternatives. (presumably, learning would risk realising that the alternative theories are correct.)

    Learning about something, doesn't require *agreeing* with it. I've read both the Koran and the Bible, and spend hundreds of hours learning about both. I don't *agree* with it,but it's still useful to understand it and know about it.

    But religious folks are frequently panicked about the idea that they might have to learn about something they themselves don't agree with. In my opinion, they're scared. And rightfully so. The thing about reality is that it does not go away, even if you don't believe in it.

  • by theNAM666 (179776) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:57AM (#38187562)

    You can either ignore the lectures and be uninformed, or listen to them and be misinformed.

    -- Mark Twain

  • Re:So fail them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:02AM (#38187578)

    "fake"? I'm not disagreeing with your statements sentiment, but I have yet to see a degree course which has the requirement to take on a religious style belief of the subject...

    The students fulfilled the course requirements - what more is required of them? They did the work to get the degree.

    Just because an English Lit degree requires me to state that Keates was a literary god doesn't mean that I have to rate him personally or even read his works for personal enjoyment.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maroberts (15852) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:04AM (#38187596) Homepage Journal

    One can argue that Evolution is not a scientific fact - and it is indeed a theory (albeit one backed by lots of evidence).

    However it would be extremely foolhardy to do a subject at University (Genetics) which depends on the Theory of Evolution as one of its main supporting pillars, unless you have a complete understanding of it.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:07AM (#38187610) Homepage

    There is a fundamental difference between rationality and lunacy that masquerades as rationality. Religion is firmly in the latter category.

  • by gregrah (1605707) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:07AM (#38187614)
    Unless sound scientific evidence is discovered that suggests that "there is a God who has an active role in the guidance of evolution", then there is absolutely no reason to discuss such a concept in a science class.

    P.S. you deserve to get modded as a troll for using the phrase "Slashdot groupthink".
  • Re:So fail them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:09AM (#38187630)

    Viruses and bacteria evolve rapidly, I may not but things living in me may be evolving.

  • by Hieronymus Howard (215725) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:09AM (#38187636)

    I've never heard anyone call it the Daily Racist, though I've often heard it called the Daily Heil, the Hate Mail and the Daily Fail.

  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vell0cet (1055494) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:20AM (#38187700)
    True. I use this example to explain the difference. And why a lot of science DOES actually depend on faith. (Please read the rest of this post before flaming me)

    If I drop a rock 1000 times and it falls to the ground. The only thing I can say for certain is that the last 1000 times I dropped the rock, it fell to the ground.

    It requires faith on my part to believe that the 1001st time I drop the rock it will also drop to the ground. However, my belief is grounded in previous FACTUAL observation. Scientist recognize this, which is why they called it "a scientific theory". Because, if for the 1001st time I drop something, it might be a helium ballooon, in which case I have to figure out why that's different than the rock that I dropped before.

    Sadly, religion tends to say that because the helium balloon didn't drop to the ground, all the other knowledge I gained from the rock dropping is now completely an utterly wrong and uselss. Religious observations are NOT based on fact. Can you say for certain that Moses talked to a burning bush? Have you? However, you CAN drop a rock 1000 times and see what happens for yourself.
  • Re:Then fail them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:20AM (#38187702) Homepage
    That's why you're always allowed to go and disprove a theory by providing a better one. Throwing up your hands and saying you don't believe it on faith of something unproven is not science, it is emotionalism.
  • by janek78 (861508) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:22AM (#38187714) Homepage

    I was going to write basically the same comment. You'd think that if they truly believed they would not have a problem going to a lecture and hearing arguments against their belief. It's the furious opposition to education that betrays how little some people *really* believe. They just cover their ears and go "la la la" not to hear anything that would lead to even worse cognitive dissonance than they already have to face.

  • by bmo (77928) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:23AM (#38187722)

    Whoever modded this down is a twat.

    This is exactly the question I pose to fundies - "For the sake of argument I will stipulate that God exists. Who are you to deny God His tools? God made the Universe and everything in it, including Evolution which is a manifestation of Creation itself. You think you know better than God? Who here is really denying God?"

    I never get a decent enough answer. Maybe because they're wrong and can't spot allegory (Genesis) if it came up and slapped them in the face.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:25AM (#38187726) Homepage

    Newsflash: At least here on Slashdot most of the people bitching about it honestly don't give a shit whether it's Muslims Christians or some Native American dropping peyote to visit spirit animals. If some ignorant fundie religious twit walks out of a medical class because they refuse to hear anything about evolution, then flunk their ass on the test and let them get a degree in burger flipping or French literature.

    -

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:28AM (#38187736)

    Hey hey hey! Let's just remember there are plenty of sane religious folk in the world. Some top physicists/biologists/chemists/etc... and scientists in general are religious in one way or another.

    Let's not put the crazy with the sane...

  • Pragmatism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vell0cet (1055494) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:28AM (#38187742)
    I don't care if you don't "believe" in evolution. It is the basis by which many of our concepts of biology come from. Even if it isn't FACTUAL by your standards, it's the best description of how the medicine and biology we practice work.

    I was once talking to a physicist friend of mine and she was explaining to me that the math is NOT the reality, it's simply the best representation that we have currently, and using it helps us to manipulate the world around us.

    If you really CHOOSE to not believe it, you should at least take a pragmatic approach and understand the usefulness of understanding the concepts.
  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou (1360093) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:33AM (#38187776)

    Because we also focus on the tiny minority of idiots who believe in intelligent design bestowed from upon high by the Noodly Appendage.

    Sorry ... I meant God and his intelligently designed banana [youtube.com].

    But I may be mistaken in thinking, that we should laugh at, ridicule and point fingers at all religious nutjobs, and not just the ones of my own skin colour and my country's largest denomination.

    I don't care about the colour of their skin OR their religious freedoms - they're idiots.

    PS.
    We also focused on Ted Stevens and his series of tubes [thedailyshow.com] and made fun of him for it. Should we instead have focused on the 534 other members of congress, who weren't this stupid? No - we shouldn't.

  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:39AM (#38187812)

    I'd rather not have a whack-job as a doctor, religious or not.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:40AM (#38187818) Journal

    Evolution applies to bacteria and viruses, which is very much pertinent for a doctor.

  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:46AM (#38187868) Journal

    Why not? Do you have any knowledge that would indicate that the facts reported in that article are wrong? If so, why not write that in a comment? Or, perhaps, they omit some other facts to cast a certain light on the situation? Then bring them on!

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:51AM (#38187902) Journal

    God does not play dice.

    -- Albert Einstein (aka Anti-science Jewish fundamentalist)

    It is worth noting that the great man produced little of scientific note later in life, mostly because he could not accept the evidence produced by the quantum scientists. If you allow your beliefs to interfeer with reality, you can no longer do science.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:53AM (#38187912) Homepage Journal

    congratulations

    you've successfully wrote a comment that makes ignorant creationists look better in comparison

  • by ZankerH (1401751) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:54AM (#38187916)
    Every religious person has obviously failed to apply sanity to the "should I believe crazy shit?" problem.
  • "bye" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harvey the nerd (582806) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:56AM (#38187936)
    "Ok. 'Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out"

    You're welcome to get your medical or other degree from ibn Osama bin Kamel Inst of Technology, etc if our university is no longer your first choice.
  • There is More ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by golodh (893453) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:58AM (#38187952)
    I mean there is a little more to fervent religionists not wishing to be exposed to any thoughts that may clash with their dogma.

    As I see it, the reason is fear of "being led into temptation" (spiritual this time, not carnal), and fear of getting it wrong (so that they are due for a severe, and quite possibly eternal, ticking-off by their vengeful deity in afterlife).

    This is a theme that has pervaded religion as provided by the Catholic Church throughout the (Middle) Ages.

    Why-ever do you think that Catholics are (and have been for as long as the Catholic Church exists) discouraged from reading the Bible on their own instead of the officially approved Catechisms?

    Because the flock cannot be relied upon not to err when reading of and thinking about theological matters, and for very good reason: theological reasoning can be err ... complex and subtle ... to phrase it politely. And erring is dangerous for the soul. That's why The Flock needs a shepherd (the Latin word for that is: Pastor) as provided by the Catholic Church, in order to guide them along the True Path through the thickets of thought.

    We're seeing the very same thing with Fundamentalist Christians in the good old US of A, now enthusiastically mirrored by a resurgent Muslim Fundamentalism.

    The most surprising thing to me is that people are actually surprised. Religion, after all, is (as I see it) first and foremost a desire for an inviolate frame of reference (spiritual and intellectual) that provides an answer to all vexing questions ("the Lord is my shepherd") and solace ("pillar of strength"), and solace ("thy grace ... etc").

    Can you not understand how awfully threatening it is when someone in a white coat starts uprooting the emotional and intellectual certainties this provides? Especially if he makes a convincing case that large parts of "the Gospel" simply have no relation to actual reality? If "God's Word" is shown to be wrong in any respect, be it ever so minute, then what of all the rest of it? The whole edifice of trust comes crumbling down. Believers will certainly not thank you for that.

    In times past a popular way of dealing with such heretics was to burn them at the stake. Nowadays the preferred method seems to be to use IED's.

  • by hairyfish (1653411) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:06AM (#38188006)
    Dude, it's "losing". It's hard to come across sounding educated when you can't spell.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:14AM (#38188048)

    fine prove it..or at least offer some evidence. you've made quite a claim.

  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:25AM (#38188114) Homepage

    Probably not going to happen that way, "accommodations will be made" just like for the female Muslim nurses who don't have to bare their arms and keep them clean, or for the ID makers who allow women in full face coverings to be photographed for their official picture. Anyone that doesn't "accommodate" them is "racist."

    Life in the 21st.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:25AM (#38188116)

    Preface: I am not religious.

    I guess you could call me an optimist or idealist, but I always thought that when you went to college or any university of repute where you CHOOSE to study something like the science of evolution, or you CHOOSE to go to a lecture about evolution, why would you bring your religious baggage with you? I thought the idea of attending a lecture or university was to expand your mind, not defend your beliefs.

    Again, maybe it's because I'm an optimist, but shouldn't these "scholars" behave a little more... I don't know... scholarly?

    In my experience, most students just want the degree and enough knowledge to pass a job interview. Everything else is pedantic over-elaboration.

    During orientation for one of the university programs I entered, a Dean told us that their worst problem with cheating wasn't the slackers, but the pre-med students, because there's so much competition for getting into med school.

  • by hairyfish (1653411) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:26AM (#38188126)
    The simple fact is that religious people don't truly believe the stuff they claim. They might want to believe it, but not to the same level that I believe a bullet to the head will kill me. If you honestly believed 100% that when you die you go to a beautiful place then why mourn death? Why be afraid of death at all? It should be like winning the lotto when you find out you have a terminal illness, or a friend dies. Why even look when crossing the road, when that could be your path to nirvana? Because deep, deep down they don't believe. Just like the rest of us they know it's the end, but there's some sort of cognitive dissonance preventing them from accepting objective evidence.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:27AM (#38188130)

    I strictly believe in a right to believe your religion in peace. So I will not say that the very idea of Creationism is wrong, If I (and they) want to believe that, it is my(/our) right.

    That's fine, but by the same token you have to afford us the same right - to say that we believe that Creationism is wrong.

  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe.jwsmythe@com> on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:27AM (#38188134) Homepage Journal

        Just because one person, or a million people, believe in some fictional story, does that make it any more real?

        There are people who believe in witches, vampires, lizard aliens, the illuminati, secret underground military bases, secret underground alien bases, Yggdrasil, hell, heaven, purgatory, and valhalla.

        There are people who believe in luck. How many people go to Vegas to become rich? How many play the lottery, knowing that this time is their lucky break?

        Just because you want something bad enough, or even if someone wrote a book about it a while back, doesn't make it real.

        Fairy tales have their place. Society has set aside one day a week where people can discuss their fictional beliefs. The rest of the time, I prefer that people stay firmly rooted in reality.

  • don't mix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:33AM (#38188174)
    That's what you get when you mix religion with ... anything.

    Religious beliefs should have no place in a non-religious institute (be that a university or something else), and that means neither the teachers nor the students should bring up religious issues in such an environment. If I understand correctly the starting point, students refused to attend a class dealing with a non-religious issue, although others might (and are, as I see above) disagree. The point is, Darwin's and related theories might not fit into some religious dogmas and ideas, nonetheless they belong to teaching. If some don't want to hear about it, they should be judged as any other student would be judged who refused to attend a class or take an exam.

    A student is not required to believe in everything (s)he's taught, nor is (s)he required to integrate what (s)he hears into her/his religious belief. One must be able to differentiate and separate these issues and be able - and grown enough - to not be such sensitive to these issues.

    Everyone can enjoy and practice their religion and live according to their beliefs, but should not require everybody else to adhere to their religion in any way. If they go to a non-islamic university, then they should not expect it to follow islamic rules and teachings. It's ridiculous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:38AM (#38188192)

    Hurrrrr, very funny, except that most creationists are willing to accept micro-evolution, which is what the cartoon describes.

    What's in question is macro-evolution - the ability to generate features out of nowhere - for example, eyes and ears. Things that are only useful once complete, and can't be reduced into indivual evolutionary steps.

    But, hey, I guess it's fun to mock people if you don't bother listening to their arguments.

    Oh, and I'm aware that people have worked on coming up with a way to explain how eyes and ears evolved, that's not the point. The point is that the cartoon is a strawman attack: it attacks an arguement that ID-proponents are not making.

  • by TheMMaster (527904) <hp@NOspam.tmm.cx> on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:38AM (#38188194)

    That's not actually a big surprise is it? All these religious people preaching the love of their deity are all scared, really, really scared. That's the problem. They can't listen to other arguments and risk going to incarnation of a less pleasant afterlife, hell, or whatever other things they might believe in.

    Religion is about instilling fear and shame in it's followers and this is just another example of what effects it has.

  • by xmundt (415364) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:44AM (#38188242)

    Greetings and salutations.....
              My first reaction is "well, why are they going to college in the first place??" For much of their existence, colleges existed to provide a safe haven for the free flow of ideas and alternative theories. Many times, I, and a number of other students, would end up sitting around a table discussing a new theory in computer science, or, cosmology, or political science. We debated topics such as the morality of War (When I was in college, the Vietnam War was in full swing, so it was a topic near and dear to those of us that were classed 1A, and, had selection numbers in the single and double digits), and what America's place in the world should be. There was always a collection of quite divergent views at the table, and more often than not, little or no agreement. However, we all listened to the arguments of the other person, debated points about them, and thought about their point of view. The only folks that were not welcome were the extremists who would degenerate into screaming matches and insist that it was "their way or the highway".
              WHile the education we received from the faculty was important, even there, some of the most important lessons learned came not from the lectures, but, the discussion in class and in meetings with the professor, where disagreements about the interpretation of some facts were expected, and, debated when they arose.
              From a personal example, when I was taking some history classes ranging from the colonization of America and the spread Westward, to the massive social upheaval of the early 1900s in Russia, I ran into problems with my professors over my analysis of the events. Why? Well, at the time most of them held onto the concept of "manifest destiny" - the divine right of Americans to roll across the middle and Western united stats, crushing the native population under them, or, of the people to rise up and overthrow their government. I, however, was more a follower of "Economic Determanism" - holding that the best way to explain large scale actions of society was to follow the money. I could, without too much trouble, find what I felt to be an obvious and strong economic pressure that caused these changes in society. Needless to say, my papers discussing social trends were not received well by the professors. In order to get even an adequate grade, I had to provide at least twice the foundation for my arguments that other students (who DID toe the party line) had to include. Even in the best case, though, my papers were, typically, marked down by a half to full grade simply because I disagreed with their point of view. However, I did not get into a huff and walk out of class, or boycott anything. Rather, I worked twice as hard to justify my point of view, and, to ensure that my arguments were clear and well supported. I did pass the classes, but only just, but, the lessons I learned there both about life in general, and, the nitty-gritty of organizing supporting points for a given argument were a valuable addition to my life and remain so today, some 30 years later.
              regards
              dave mundt

  • by semi-extrinsic (1997002) <asmunder@stud.EU ... o minus math_god> on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:55AM (#38188282)
    Comment to undo erroneous moderation. Please ignore.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:26AM (#38188394)

    The reason religion is getting nuttier is because there are less and less gaps for it to fill. So when you have a subset of religion who defines itself by being able to provide answers to the questions science can't, it gets threatened when science provides more and more of those answers. The gaps that you can fill get smaller and smaller.

    That is why there is more and more of it. For some, religion fills a spiritual needs and specific answers about the world aren't a part of it, and as such science isn't a threat. It is a different thing. However for others, they need their religion to be right about explaining things, and science keeps encroaching on that. So they lash out and get all anti-knowledge.

    Though it has been going on in Islam for a long time. Again, the talk by Dr. Tyson covers that.

  • by makomk (752139) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:45AM (#38188516) Journal

    If you honestly believed 100% that when you die you go to a beautiful place then why mourn death?

    Because their friends and family and loved ones have still lost someone very dear to them. If you think about it, funerals are for the living as much as they are for the dead, if not more.

  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:55AM (#38188558)
    I went to university in a country where more than half of the population is Muslim(I am talking about Lebanon). I remember during Quantum Mechanics and Relativity lectures "religious" students tend to object more often and refuse to accept certain things, most of the objections were on a religious basis. I still remember a certain day, when the speed of light in vacuum was being discussed, and some students stormed out of class, because the the professor ( whether he correctly used the term or not) used a term which described the speed as absolute, and the objection was that only Allah/God can be absolute, and that they can't tolerate staying in a class where such blasphemy was taught. It was 4 students out of ~50.
  • by prefec2 (875483) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:16AM (#38188634)

    This does not have something to do with the religion. It has something to do with a strange interpretation of the text. Normally, people should read a text and put it in the historical context. Otherwise the language cannot be understand, as language is not a constant thing. Language reflects the traditions and context of the time it is used in, which is no surprise as it is used to communicate (and yes books are also communication). Furthermore, people use analogies to illustrate their thoughts. And in ancient times, people used to describe wonders to elevate a important person. Therefore, texts shouldn't be over interpreted, like god made everything in 6 days. We know today that time and the progression of time is not a constant. And for the assumed deity which exists out of time, 6 days is a stupid construct. It is much more logic to assume that the people of that time, assumed that the creation of everything happened in 6 phases. And this is not untrue, by what we know today. We need matter and energy to form planets and stars. We need planets to create/evolve simple life. We need simple live to evolve complex life. And yes humans appeared very late and from our perspective now the "creation" is complete.

    I always wonder why religion fanatics believe in a most stupid deity which act upon a strange set of rules. And by following those rules they act disrespectful to others. Fundamentalists are a little different, they try not to be disrespectful. However, the core message for all those religions out there is: "Be nice to each other." And we all fail greatly in that.

    Furthermore, if the god thing is true and one day we stand before god, he will not ask you. Have you always believed in creationism or evolution. He will ask if you tried to be a good person.

  • by aurizon (122550) <bill@jackson.gmail@com> on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:26AM (#38188702)

    This desire that Science must be subjugated to religious interpretation essentially destroyed Arabic Science after islam arose. Prior to islam the Arabs were scientific leaders. After islam, their students were all directed to an internalized study of the koran - ad absurditum. Islam actively suppresses any potential reformations (like all the old time religions, they wanted to grab converts and keep people from leaving). I recall the pilgrims came to America to find freedom from religion - as distinct from freedom of religion. In schools here in Canada the islamist students hound the other students into the 5 times/day prayers. The students need freedom from this oppressive process - freedom from religion...

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:55AM (#38188876) Homepage Journal

    but as the core assumption is unprovable it is really religious.

    Actually, the core assumption was "unprovable" only at the very inception of the scientific method. The vast body of scientific results since then have largely worked to prove the correctness of that assumption. To put it simply, turns out, the universe (at least the parts of it we have been able to get at thus far) is largely orderly, and even when it doesn't seem to be, when we look, we tend to find orderly rules that govern the apparently random behavior.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:55AM (#38188880) Journal

    Gosh, so... no secret Jewish courts but there are a lot of Sharia courts. Mmm, kinda ruins your whole argument doesn't it?

  • by heathen_01 (1191043) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:10AM (#38188954)
    Is there a meaningful distinction between "Freedom from religion" and "Freedom of religion"?
  • by cptdondo (59460) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:20AM (#38188996) Journal

    Actually, Islam had huge cultural advances. Algorithm comes from the arabic, Al-Khwrizm taught the Europeans how to do basic math. A lot of the European renaissance was fueled by Islamist intellectual input. True, Europe moved on after that and the Islamic cultures fell into their own dark ages.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:58AM (#38189198) Homepage Journal
    In turkey, muslim doctors who actually practice the religion (most are muslim only in name and tradition) refuse to touch and treat women. female muslim doctors who practice the religion refuse to treat men.

    if you let this evolution refusal thing keep going on, the radicalization will increase.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:07AM (#38189286)

    Refusing to believe in various aspects of your medical training because they conflict with your own beliefs, that's the kicker.

    Doesn't matter that it's evolution, it matters that they put personal conviction over and above real learning.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:14AM (#38189348) Homepage Journal

    No. You're assuming that assertions with no weight in evidence have equal value with those assertions which have support in evidence. That is fundamentally unsound thinking. It's the same kind of cognitive error that makes newspapers give equal time to evolution and "gawd didit." The reason that science shows regularity is because science looks at what is real and attempts to reveal it in human terms of metaphor, from math to rules to randomness. In the process, it consistently finds regularity. If irregularity were present, it would find that just as well (see quantum mechanics for a good example of this.)

  • Re:There is More ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:44AM (#38189690) Journal

    Nice story, but Catholics are not discouraged from reading the Bible

    You'll have to excuse the grandparent for not paying attention to recent history. When an organisation presents itself as the guardians of an immutable truth and has a certain policy for the first 85% of its lifetime, it's forgivable to assume that the policy is still in effect.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:01AM (#38189880) Homepage

    The problem isn't so much that Islam is irrational (Christianity is just as irrational), the problem is that Islam works much harder to consume the individual with learning the contents of the Koran, leaving much less time for learning how the world actually works.

    That's quite wrong: Ask your typical American fundamentalist Christian about whether it's better to spend time studying physics or studying the Bible, and you'll get a very clear answer. Christianity has in some places attempted to define the value of pi by legislation, for instance. And that's even ignoring the usual Christian opposition to the teaching of evolution that continues to the present day.

    You also have to explain why during the period between about 750-1200 CE, the Muslim world and Mecca in particular was one of the 2 major centers of scholarship and science (the other being China), while Christian Europe had mostly paltry scientific output throughout the same period.

    There's nothing that gives any indication that Islam is any more hostile to science than Christianity, or does any more to crowd out scientific thought with religious thought. Religious idiocy exists in every society and every religion.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:17AM (#38190064) Journal

    Some top physicists/biologists/chemists/etc... and scientists in general are religious in one way or another.

    That is not evidence that religion is compatible with science. That is only evidence that human beings can hold incompatible ideas in their mind simultaneously.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sribe (304414) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:30AM (#38190216)

    Of course, I'm a crazy old jerk who thinks those jackass pharmacists who refuse the morning after pill to rape victims (cause they were asking for it, or cause it was god's will, or somesuch random asshattery) should be legally enjoined from working those kind of jobs...

    Seriously? You seriously think that any pharmacist is within his rights to question a woman as to whether or not she's a rape victim? ;-)

    Quit being polite. Any pharmacist who refuses to fill any legal prescription (unless he believes the prescription to be a medical error and present a physical danger to the patient) is by definition refusing to do his job, and should be fired.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:48AM (#38190406) Homepage Journal

    "Reading a religious book constrains a persons thinking to think that its true what they read."

    FFS, did you actually THINK about what you just wrote? You have made the best case ever for censoring all political treatises that go against (fill in which ever belief, philosophy, political party, or whatever you wish here). You can justify outlawing all works of fiction with this. Sci-Fi, fantasy, historical novels, you name it. It MUST either be provable fact, or it's fiction. Not to mention - you've also made a case for banning many scientific works. Face it - the most basic scientific facts had their beginnings as nothing more than theories.

    I think that what you MEANT to say is, because you disagree with any religious writings, you would like to see them all banned.

  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Monday November 28, 2011 @12:12PM (#38191312)
    Now, what if what we refer to as "God' has an unmitigated perspective on our fourth-dimensional objects? God is able to observe all our aspects and the choices we make throughout our three-dimensional existence. This isn't as much predestination as it is omniscience. We still have free will to make the choice, but God knows the choice we make.

    And by choosing the initial conditions of the universe each "free will" decision would be obvious from the very beginning and thus simply an effect of the choice of initial conditions. So there's an infinite class of predicates over the initial conditions like has_sin(IC) or has_death_and_suffering(IC) and god just happened to pick a universe that satisfied both of those predicates? Why not satisfy candyfloss_for_everyone(IC) and indefinite_but_personally_chosen_lifespan(IC) or even free_energy(IC)? Not to mention that it would be fairly obvious from the beginning how many humans would spend eternity in everlasting torment (if you buy into that particular belief). It seems like a good god might want to optimize that number a little better than many current beliefs suggest.

    It would also be simple for an omniscient god to know the complete results of every possible choice of initial conditions before choosing which universe to create and pick the best possible universe. Most importantly, a truly benevolent god would be wise enough not to create any universe at all if the best possible universe wasn't perfect.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <[bassbeast1968] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:39PM (#38193702) Journal

    Well I say a good judge of whether something works or not is how they function when they have their idea of utopia, and as we have seen countries that are pure Muslim and run everything based on Sharia are total hellholes with NO freedoms except the freedom to be a good little drone.

    I'm sure I'll get hate for daring to point out PC bullshit IS bullshit but the numbers don't lie and if anyone wants the citations I'll be happy to provide them. You look at any chart and the more Muslims a place has? The more violent it becomes. Muslims just don't play well with others and the fact they refuse to even hear a lecture that goes against Islamic teachings really don't surprise me, this is the same bunch that went apeshit and rioted over fucking cartoons. Can you imagine if Christians rioted every time there was a Jesus cartoon? South Park would have probably caused cities to burn!

    Sooner or later the west is gonna have to accept there is NO "religion of peace" when it comes to Islam, that is a total lie. Islam simply doesn't play well with others, Muslims simply don't respect the rights of others to believe as they will, and you will NEVER see Christians or any other group for that matter treated as an equal in a Sharia country. The sooner we accept this and accept that a path of appeasement is a path of subjugation the better off the west will be. Look at the EU and how Sharia ghettos are springing up all over the place, is that REALLY how we want things to be here?

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