Common Misconceptions of Theory and Fact in Science
12 Oct 2016
Mohamed Ghilan presents a scientist’s definition of terms like “theory” in order to debunk those who try to push the non-acceptance of biological evolution by saying it is “only a theory”.
Ghilan defines theory as “an explanation, a model, that takes into account all of these observations that you have, all of these hypotheses that you constructed.” He notes that as a scientist, “you accept that model in science as the correct model, thus far.”
He notes, using a verse from the Qurʾān, 30.7, that even non-believers are presented as having ilm, knowledge. He strongly recommends that if one speaks about a topic like biological evolution, one needs to understand the topic well, and suggesting that “it’s just a theory” demonstrates right away that one does not “understand how this theory was constructed”.
He closes by suggesting that what appear to be contradictions means that one does not yet have all the information. His recommendation is to “let it be and go on from there.”
This short presentation was apparently created by Al-Madina Institute.
Islam: The material on Islam is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable. The presentation specifically suggests there is no necessary conflict between science and Islam.
Science: The discussion here of facts, theory, hypothesis and speculation presents a normative scientific understanding. Ghilan sometimes constructs both those supporting and rejecting evolution in terms that are beyond what one typically finds among biologists. Evolutionary biologists, for instance, would not suggest that “evolution is proposed to be … the one indisputable fact that explains … life”.
History: There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.
About Mohamed Ghilan
Mohamed Ghilan, whose family traces their roots to Sudan and Yemen through Saudi Arabia, currently resides in Canada. He received his bachelor of science in 2010, majoring in microbiology in Victoria, British Columbia. At the same time, he began studying Islam as an academic pursuit, and speaking publicly on the topic. In 2015, he earned a PhD in neuroscience, still at the University of Victoria.
Ghilan has maintained a connection with Al-Madina Institute, a non-profit educational institution based in the United States.
Ghilan is active on social media, with a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. His former Twitter feed has been removed. He maintains a blog/podcast, Andalus: Finding Divinity in Modernity, for which he solicits donations on Patreon.
“Mohamed Ghilan”, web site, <https://mohamedghilan.com/>, accessed 4-6-18.
“Mohamed Ghilan”, Teachers, Al-Madina Institute, <https://almadinainstitute.org/teachers/mohamed-ghilan/>, accessed 4-6-18.
“Mohamed Ghilan”, Al-Jazeera, author profile (2013-14), <https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/profile/mohamed-ghilan–.html>, accessed 4-6-18.
“Mohamed Ghilan”, LinkedIn profile, <https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamed-ghilan-a4455745/>, accessed 4-6-18.