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Muslim Medical Students Boycott Darwin Lectures 1319

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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  • The Daily Mail? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:07AM (#38187290)
    Why are we discussing a Daily Mail article?

    The Daily Mail is closer to a tabloid than to a newspaper. Technically it's 'middle-market', so it has some real stories in there, but I'd never rely on it as a sole source for any opinion or discussion....which is what this summary asks us to do.
  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:11AM (#38187316)
    This is the UK, one of the most politically-correct countries in the world. If they fail the exam, they might sue the university for religious discrimination.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:13AM (#38187332)

    So, the article is from The Daily Mail, also known as The Daily Racist. Not that silly fairytale believing people aren't acting silly, but how big of an issue is this, really? Is there an agenda pushing this "news"?

  • Re:Then fail them (Score:5, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:18AM (#38187358)

    I've met people who have biology degrees from quality institutions, and they don't 'believe' in evolution. I've met their professors, and I ask them how they could possibly get a degree in it, and their response was essentially that they had fully mastered the material... they simply didn't agree with it.

    There's something to be said for that argument. But personally I believe the scientific method is "all-or-nothing" - either you agree that it works, or you don't.

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:23AM (#38187374) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure about random, but if something is chaotic, it is directed by Eris.
  • Re:The Daily Mail? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:28AM (#38187740)

    yeah emigrating to a country, refusing to adopt its culture/values/a smattering of its language, building ghettos with their own judicial and education systems are not components of a bloodless takeover.

  • Re:No degree (Score:3, Informative)

    by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:28AM (#38187746)
    Depends if they end up praying for you as a treatment... here in the UK we've had some nutjob christian church telling people here to stop their AIDs treatment and god will cure them, 6 have died so far -
    Imagine one of the pastors retraining and becoming your doctor
  • Re:Up to them (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:36AM (#38187798)

    In the UK you don't get a medical license when you get a degree - you get your license from the General Medical Council. Having a degree in no way guarantees you getting your license.

    Plus you have to complete two years of work in the NHS before you can practice privately - there is no other way to get a full license in the UK.

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

    by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:43AM (#38187840)
    Here's just one that I found.

    The point is, this stuff is happening. How YOU define it or not is up to you. We can see evidence of evolution within our own genome. The real issue is that something as complex as human life evolving from a previous life form cannot be seen in real time. But the evidence is there. If you choose to ignore it then it's your prerogative to do so. Just don't impose it on the rest of us.

    There ARE other explanations for these observations, but none as compelling as evolution. I don't doubt that we may find a better explanation (or at least a more complete understanding) in the future. But as it stands, it is not the "only reasonable explanation" (as you put it) just the best.

    I've read Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box and a number of other papers that he's written. He's a smart guy, he does believe in evolution, just not evolution by natural selection. He believes in evolution directed by Intelligent Design. However, his evidence is sorely lacking. Mainly because the invisible hand of an intelligent designer is only possible by inference (i.e. we only assume that the watch had a watch maker because we've never seen one being created spontaneously). But if we did have observations (as we do with evolution) that such a thing were possible, why invoke a supernatural cause?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:45AM (#38187862)

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

    by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @04:48AM (#38187882)
    I'm just curious what you mean by "I have seen countless countless cases were fossil evidence has been falsified. And I have never seen a single case of one species evolving into another. Quite the opposite in fact it seems to me that the DNA we are made up of is rather fragile and tends to degenerate rather than improve."

    What do you mean by falsified? What are these cases of fossil evidence? why do you think that DNA is fragile and degenerates rather than improves. As a quick example, Amoeba have among the largest genomes documented. Mutations within that could cause all sorts of new gene expressions (both bad and good). Probably, most of them bad... the point is, over a long timeline, those beneficial mutations will be selected for and end up in a more fit organism. Check out sickle cell anemia within the African population. That's a single allele within the population, but couldn't you see that as more and more develop (say... because of geographical separation from other members of the same species) that they might even become a different species altogether?
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @05:42AM (#38188224)

    Very few are actually religious

    One exception is Robert Winston [], who made it clear that he did believe in Jewish spirituality in the series The Story of God []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:01AM (#38188304)

    Einstein proposed several experiments which challenged quantum mechanics. Over the years, as it has become possible to test the experiments, it has turned out in favor of quantum mechanics. The fact that Einstein made statements and experiments which could be tested, and were tested, shows that Einstein was definitely a scientist.

    The dice-playing reminds me of a supposed counter-quote from Niels Bohr (Danish physicist). I cannot verify the quote however:

    "Not only does God play dice, he also cheats."

  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:33AM (#38188442) Journal

    He must've been a very bad physics lecturer then, because that's quite a fundamental misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. (Not to mention a very fundamentalist one - it's something that creationists have been pushing a lot.) The second law only requires that the entropy of a closed system increases; localised entropy decreases are entirely OK so long as entropy increases overall. If it wasn't for this life couldn't exist at all!

  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:43AM (#38188500) Journal

    For some odd reason, Islam seems to emphasize obeying the laws of non-Islamic countries in a way that Judaism doesn't though. I have no idea why, but it's why you get things here in the UK like tabloid fear-mongering about the possibility of sharia courts based on laws designed to allow Jewish religious courts, which is bizarre as there's not much interest in setting up sharia courts at all whereas the Jewish population needs those religious courts and considers any restriction on them anti-semitic because they're so important.

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

    by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:16AM (#38188632)

    Nice story, but Catholics are not discouraged from reading the Bible. They hand them out in those Catechism classes you're criticizing. Good thing, too, since otherwise Catholic children might go and pick up one that's missing a whole slew of books the protestants found uncomfortable and edited out.

    Probably not a good idea to get your information about Catholicism from anti-Catholic propaganda literature, since "Catholics can't read the Bible" is the sort of ridiculousness found only from such sources. What's next, you'll accuse us of polytheism and ancestor worship?

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

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:19AM (#38188658) Homepage Journal

    It requires faith on my part to believe that the 1001st time I drop the rock it will also drop to the ground.

    You are abusing the word "faith" here.

    You think you are going for b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust (see m-w [] for full listing), but you aren't.

    Using the word "faith" in this context is dishonest. The word you want to use is "prediction". There is no faith in any meaningful sense of the word involved. In the extremely general over-broad meaning that you are aiming for, everything would require "faith" - drawing breath and "believing" that you will again be inhaling air and not suddenly a toxic gas, gravity not turning upsides-down, everything.

    But that isn't what the word "faith" implies. Rather, consistency of experience is a base assumption about reality that we learn to make very, very early on. You are abusing the word "faith" and trying to extend its meaning well beyond what it really means.

  • by bryonak ( 836632 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @07:43AM (#38188808)

    An incredibly widespread misconception...

    From Einstein's letter to Max Born, 1926:
    "Die Theorie liefert viel, aber dem Geheimnis des Alten bringt sie uns kaum näher. Jedenfalls bin ich überzeugt, daß der Alte nicht würfelt."

    "The theory offers a lot, but hardly brings us closer the the old guy's secret. Anyway, I'm convicted that the old guy doesn't play dice."

    Einstein never said "God does not play dice", but rather used a slightly derogatory term to describe the metaphor of finding the world formula.
    Other quotes by Einstein, easily verifiable:

    "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

    "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:50AM (#38189150)

    From what I've heard recently, the pilgrims went to the US not to escape religious persecution, but to enable it, they went to a land where they could be free to persecute the crap out of whoever they felt like in order to keep their societies pure.


  • by zero.kalvin ( 1231372 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:03AM (#38189246)
    I suppose yes, and you should have both. Example: back to Lebanon, I left that country for many reasons, but while I don't believe in God or religion ( actually even bordering on being an anti-theist but that's another issue) I am still technically A Muslim Sunni as far the civil authorities back there. So you see you can't be without religion over there, as far the state is concerned I am still recognized as a subject of the Sunni courts in matters of heritage, marriage, death and life, etc etc. So over there you can have freedom of religion, but not from religion. I could be mistaken, but If I do get myself completely crossed out of "religion"( meaning to be officially recognized as an atheist) I can't own a land, I can't get a passport, I might lose many of my civil liberties ( there is no civil marriage in Lebanon, though it is recognized if it is done outside of the country). Now recently there have been some efforts to remove the indication of religion on some official papers, but you still belong to one, but government employees are showing a lot of reluctance ( and even out right refusing sometimes) to do the paper works for citizens who ( like me) wants to do it. So back to the original point, yes: 1) Freedom of religion means freedom to choose or not choose a religion. Whether you want to be a Sikh, worship the devil, or simply without any sort of beliefs. 2) Freedom from religion means not being subjugated to the whims of the religious groups.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:54AM (#38189778) Journal
    Depends on the bits of the Bible you read. If you read the Old Testament, God is a vindictive, self-absorbed, insecure little shit. At the start of the New Testament, he got laid and turned into a bit of a hippy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @01:00PM (#38191858)

    > I recall the pilgrims came to America to find freedom from religion

    You weren't there, so you recall what you were taught, and you were taught the same bullshit I was. The political types we know as the Founding Fathers came over in the 1700's. Throughout the 1600's, the import of the colonies was Puritans, who were so insufferably sanctimonious and uptight, they got kicked out of England. They wanted freedom from state control of their religion so they would be free to instigate their dream of a Taliban-like state that they briefly had in England under Cromwell.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:06PM (#38192696) Homepage

    For US readers who might not know about the Daily Mail I'll just leave this here: []

    Please don't post links to Daily Mail "news".



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