Islam, Homo sapiens’ Evolution, and the First Humans
23 Feb 2015
In this video blog (vlog), Kamran Ahmed uses handwriting on a black screen to show how, in his view, there is no contradiction between his understanding of biological evolution and the Qurʾān.
Ahmed opens with verse 23:12 of the Qurʾān, that man was created from “wet earth”. He then presents a progression of life from 3.5 billion years ago to the physically modern homo sapiens about 200,000 years ago. He discusses “scientific Adam” and “mitochondrial Eve”, saying that DNA suggests that all humans descended from them (although perhaps not together) between 140 and 200 thousand years ago. Ahmed does this by saying God created the miraculous Adam and Eve on the pattern of the homo sapiens body, but created them directly, without evolution.
Ahmed indicates that he sees this as a break in evolution, which had been working before that and continues to work (including on humans) after that.
He portrays this as a miracle, like Jesus’ birth. Ahmed also contrasts homo sapiens as a physical entity to humans, which he suggests have abilities beyond any other animal. Ahmed notes that this distinction between homo sapiens and humans is not one that science makes.
Ahmed also connects homo sapiens with the Angel Gabriel.
The material on Islam is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable.
Although some of the presentation of evolutionary biology is accurate, Ahmed’s presentation of the theory of coalescence, a population genetics theory, is not quite correct. Rather than there being a single “mitochondrial Eve” and “scientific Adam” for all humans, there could be one for each gene on the X or Y chromosome. This individual would represent the “most recent common ancestor” for that gene. And in all likelihood, these multiple “Eves” and “Adams” lived in different populations, from twenty thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand years apart.
There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.