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God, Darwin, and Evolution
Lecture Series: Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam (with Video Recording)
Judaism and Islam have theological explanations for the origins of the world and humanity. These testify to a God who created the world and all living creatures in a unified act of Creation, assigning an elevated role to human beings.
Charles Darwin’s magnum opus The Origin of Species (1859) launched the discipline of evolutionary biology, which gives evidence that all living organisms are descended from other organisms and that humans are ultimately the product of an evolutionary process that took millions of years. Darwin’s insights marked a sea change in our understanding of how life emerged.
How does theology treat these scientific approaches? How do Judaism and Islam envision their belief in Creation today?
A discussion between Natan Slifkin and Fatimah Jackson (Howard University, USA). Moderator: Dr. Kathrin Klausing (Institute for Islamic Theology, Osnabrück University).
Natan Slifkin is the founding director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, Israel. He is the author of numerous publications about Judaism and the sciences, including The Challenge of Creation and the Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom.
Fatimah Jackson is a biologist and anthropologist. She is a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on the study of human-plant coevolution and the spread of anatomically modern humans.
About the Lecture Series
Scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology over the past centuries have called into question the centrality of humans as the “crown of creation.” Today, religious and scientific positions are often seen as irreconcilable. While some present religions as incompatible with a modern worldview, others demand that creationism be giving equal billing in school as an alternative to the theory of evolution. In the past, this conflicting relationship between religion and science was hardly the rule. Many theologists were also scientists and made significant contributions to our understanding of humanity and the surrounding world.
This lecture series sets out to explore the tensions and affinities between Judaism, Islam, and the sciences. It aims to supplement the narrative of conflict with other narratives. To that end, the lecture series delves into subjects such as evolution and creation, belief in miracles, biological determinism and free will, historicist critical analysis of sacred texts, and how Jewish and Muslim religious educators approach the sciences.