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Debating the origin of life

Many schools and universities around the world deal with the theory of evolution, and many institutions rule out its antithesis, namely creationism.

Image Credit:Vazhisojan/Gulf News
Altug Revnak Eti in discussion with students during an exhibition of Harun Yahya's Works at the American University in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: Many schools and universities around the world deal with the theory of evolution, and many institutions rule out its antithesis, namely creationism.

In the UAE, however, the teaching of naturalist Charles Darwin's theory takes the form of "scientific familiarisation" but it will be removed from public school curricula as of next year, said a senior official at the Ministry of Education.

The two arguments, creationism and evolution, are widely labelled as religion vs science and the two concepts have been debated for decades.

According to Abdul Qader Eisa, Senior Supervisor of Biology at the Curriculum Development Centre in the Ministry of Education, the evolution theory is included in the curriculum for Grade 12 pupils in public schools but will be removed for the next academic year.

Public schools have only three classes per week in biology and the new curriculum cover demands the need to include a wide array of new "crucial topics such as the human systems, and recent advances in DNA technologies."

This requires the replacement of the evolution theory, he told Gulf News.

The evolution theory is taught to familiarise pupils with the historical progression of science and to improve their analytical and critical skills, he said.

The lesson on evolution theory also includes the viewpoints of Islamic scholars and a section on religion and science.

Private schools are permitted to address the subject as a scientific theory only without rejecting creationism.

"We belong to an Islamic country, and we believe that scientific evidence proves the existence of God and that he is the creator of everything," he said.

Harun Yaha, a Turkish author with over 200 books published to refute the evolution theory, has established the fossil museum in Turkey along with the Atlas of Creation.

His work is considered one of the few scientific and academic efforts to establish divine creation as a fact.

As quoted in his Atlas of Creation: "Fossils reveal that life forms on Earth have never undergone even the slightest change and have never developed into one another. Examining the fossil record, one can clearly see that living things are exactly the same today as they were hundreds of millions of years ago."

Altug Eti, Science and Research Foundation Istanbul and Harun Yahya Works' representative told Gulf News in an interview at the fossil exhibition at the American University of Dubai that the evolution theory is baseless and it widely dominates the education system.

Harun Yahya aims to correct the "illusion of the evolution theory, especially since all over the world you can't find any academic material that is based on the fact of creation in the education system," Eti said.

According to him, Darwin, the father of the evolution theory observed the similarities among species, which led him to conclude that different species "could have" emerged from one primitive cell and through the process of evolution one species developed into another.

This argument is false, he said, since "cells are complex in nature," adding that genetic constraints and barriers rule out the process of evolution.

For evolutionists, he said, the engine of evolution is mutation but added that laws had been put forth to prove the boundaries of the DNA.

"The gene has fixed information. Mutation can't add information to DNA. It only alters the sequence of the codes within the gene, which causes the living thing to die or develop a form of defect, but it doesn't transform species to something else."

The evolution theory is turning into a social dogma, he said while pointing to the dangers of the concept.

Evolutionists, Eti said, have striven hard and failed to support any of the assumptions on which it was based.
"No other intermediate species in the long imaginary chain of evolution could be identified."

However, Dr. Aaron Bartholomew, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at the American University of Sharjah, said the evolution theory is supported with "overwhelming evidence and that no one has scientifically been able to disprove the theory."

There is a vast amount of experimental, fossil and theoretical evidence supporting evolution, he stated.
Evolution does occur and cells are complex, he said while emphasising that "cells are complex because of millions of years of evolution."

He teaches evolution and biodiversity and incorporates the ideas of evolution into other courses such as ecology, genetics and marine biology but said he does not impose the theory on his students.

They are free to disagree with the theory.

"I have taught students that disagree with evolution who received an A," he said while pointing to the importance of studying evolution to understand biology.

Carl Terry, Coordinator of Science at English College in Dubai, said, "Evolution presents no threat to the educational system since it is stressed that it does not exclude or preclude faith-based beliefs of the origins of man," but taught as a scientific fact.