Monday, June 22, 2009

Evolution and intelligent design in Pakistani schools

I came across this article talking about Pakistani schools integrating a strong religious component into their curriculum.

What prompted me to write this post was a mention of how to deal with evolution in the curriculum. From the article:

To their dismay, the book begins with a description of the evolution of man. ‘We need to give them the facts,’ says one teacher. ‘They need to know that Darwinism is just an opinion.’ Some teachers recommend books and videos by Harun Yahya, a controversial Islamic creationist, as a classroom alternative. ‘Our students should first learn the truth as stated in the Quran, and then learn about these other versions.’

I feel for the poor students whose minds will be filled with this pseudo-scientific nonsense as part of their curriculum. The evolution/intelligent design debate has been a very controversial one in America but America at least has a well established and respected body of scientists which can intervene and talk some sense into people. That is hardly the case for Pakistan. We certainly don't need an army of educated people who get their scientific 'facts' from the likes of Harun Yahya and the Quran. In the longer run, the Quran might very well shoot itself in the foot because of its claim of being the final and immutable word of God, or perhaps we might see an imaginative acceptance of evolution similar to Catholicism.


  1. Dont you think it is better that those "poor" children are seeing both the pictures. Atleast you cant say that they are only reading Quranic point of view. When they will grow up they will decide for themselves.

  2. This is disturbing as hell. Thanks for posting about it.

  3. @A: I don't have anything against teaching the creationist story in schools, but I do have a few reservations. First, while it is OK to teach that story in an Islamiat class, it is definitely not OK to teach it in a science class. Secondly, it is dishonest to defend the creationist position and argue against evolution using fishy and deceptive pseudo science. That is precisely what Harun Yahya's books do and that is what got me worried.

    @Butters: I have personally met the owner of the school in question and he is quite an educated man -- that made it all the more sad for me.

    Richard Dawkins discussing Yahya's 'Atlas of creation':

  4. interesting read... we skipped this topic (evolution) entirely, at least they're getting a chance to get into it!

  5. Its always nice to look at the glass half full Gaia :-). I didn't read about it in school either; my first exposure to it was from a biology program on PTV 2, though it did take a bit of time for its repercussions to set in.