Prominent science journal Nature, in its November 2006 issue, has mentioned my work in its cover story on “Islam and Science.” It reads:
Some Islamic thinkers are reaching out to the West in surprising ways. The prominent Turkish writer and columnist Mustafa Aykol has creationist views and publishes translations of US proponents of intelligent design. He has been building alliances with US faith-based groups such as the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington state. In an article for the US National Review last year he wrote: “Intelligent Design can be a bridge between these two civilizations. Muslims are discovering that they share a common cause with believers in the West.”
Well, my surname is “Akyol”, not “Aykol,” I am not a creationist (ID is not creationism), and I haven’t published any translations so far, but that’s all OK. It is good to see that Nature is taking a note of the universality of the argument from design (for God) and the cross-cultural implications of the modern theory of Intelligent Design.
Nick Matzke, whom I recently debated, is also quoted in the news story. Mr. Matzke finds it “peculiar that Muslims are adopting a doctrine from US groups that regularly bash Islam in a fairly vicious way,” by referring to the “American conservatives” who support ID. He actually said something very similar in our debate and this is how I responded to that:
Of course believers in different traditions can find common grounds in theism and disagree in other things, especially on political issues. To deny that is like saying, “hey, some Christians who don’t like Islam believe in God; so Muslims should not believe in God.”
Moreover, the parallelism that Mr. Matzke tries to create between “Islam bashers” and “Darwin bashers” is simply not true. First, the ID movement is not a “group of conservative evangelicals” (there are many Catholics there, such as Michael Behe, the number one theorist of ID.) Second, “conservative evangelicals” are not necessarily anti-Islamic. Actually anti-Islamic ideologues in the US are few in number and you can’t put all of them into a single faith category. Third, “Bush administration’s policies in the Middle East” is again a broad category, ranging from the Iraqi War to promoting democracy with peaceful means. We should also note that some of most die-hard hawks in Washington, such as the Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, are fierce opponents of Intelligent Design. There is no correlation between the attitude towards Islam and the attitude towards ID.
Actually what I have personally observed is the exact opposite of what Mr. Maztke is trying to portray. The Christians and Jews in the ID movement are interested in and respectful to Islam, because they see that the real trouble in the modern world is materialism and Islam is on the same side with them in the stance against the arrogant proponents of this philosophy.
“Islam bashing” is definitely a grave problem in the West, which I am trying to do something about. Yet “conservative bashing” would be yet another mistake.