Steve Paulson: So far, the rejection of evolution seems to be a predominantly Christian movement. Do we see much of this in other religious traditions?
Ronald Numbers: We are now. It was mostly a Christian tradition, although to a certain extent, the reason we didn’t see this in other religious cultures is because it was so dormant. Most modern Muslims weren’t accepting evolution, but they weren’t coming out in opposition to it. Most ultra-Orthodox Jews didn’t accept evolution, but they didn’t see any reason to say anything about scientific evolution. Today — espeially in the last decade or two — we’re seeing anti-evolutionism erupt in these non-Christian cultures. It’s very big in the Muslim culture. The center for that is in Turkey, and the leader goes by the pen name Harun Yahya. His work circulates in millions of copies. They’re translated into virtually every language [spoken by] Muslims.
My two cents
This is promising news, especially after my reading about evolution being accepted in some Christian seminaries even 50 years ago. Why were the people of previous generations less confident or willing to challenge evolution in comparison to activists today? It’s like they sat on their hands, then a future generation decided to do something about it.
I also like how the other Abrahamic religions are taking their cues from Christianity. It was especially pleasing to hear it take hold in a country such as Turkey; I remember reading of Turkey a few years ago when they had big marches/protests of people saying that Turkey should be secular; by challenging the secular take on origins, then maybe the rest of the secularism in the culture can start falling away.
Paulson, S. (2007). Seeing the light — of science. Available: http://www.salon.com/2007/01/02/numbers_12/. Last accessed 10th Dec 2012.