At Science, Framing Evolution in the Muslim World
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
In a Policy Forum article this week at Science, Hampshire College professor Salman Hameed discusses the reasons for widespread rejection of evolution across Islamic countries.
Surveys show, for example, that public acceptance of evolution stands at lower than 20% in many Muslim nations. The reason, Hameed details, is that few citizens have had exposure to evolution in school and so to form an opinion about evolution, instead rely on what they might pick up via interpersonal sources or in the media.
The result is that many Muslims misperceive evolution as equaling atheism and as a direct threat to their religious way of life (an outcome not unlike the U.S.) To close his essay, Hameed cites our past article at Science on framing, advocating that any communication initiative on evolution needs to be tailored to the political and cultural realities of the specific country and that a frame of religious compatibility needs to be emphasized.
The message about evolution in the Islamic world needs to be framed in a way that emphasizes practical applications and show that it is the bedrock of modern biology--thereby capitalizing on the existing proscience attitude (13). The national academies of Muslim countries will need to tailor the specifics of the message according to the political and cultural realities of their respective countries. Religion in the Muslim world plays a much larger role in the social and cultural landscape, and thus, our discussions with the general public need to take that into account. As scientists, we should present, without compromise, the best available science. Evolutionary ideas about human origins may face serious obstacles, but a peaceful religious accommodation is also possible. However, efforts that link evolution with atheism will cut short the dialogue, and a vast majority of Muslims will reject evolution.
A general respect for science affords scientists a high prestige in the Islamic world. Research scientists, especially biologists, should take advantage of this and write for Muslim audiences in the form of newspaper and magazine articles. At the present time, Harun Yahya is the loudest voice in the debate over evolution in the Islamic world. At this critical juncture, we cannot afford to leave the initiative with Muslim Creationists.
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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