Human Origins: Theological Conclusions and Empirical Limitations
For more on this topic, see Evolution in the Scales of Scripture
Islamic scripture is unequivocal on the creation of humankind from Adam and Eve
The Domino effect: Empirically impervious and theologically sound
Misrepresenting the philosophy of science
Scientists sometimes deceive themselves into thinking that philosophical ideas are only, at best, decorations or parasitic commentaries on the hard, objective triumphs of science, and that they themselves are immune to the confusions that philosophers devote their lives to dissolving. But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science, there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.31
I don’t demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don’t know what it is. Reality is not a quality you can test with litmus paper. All I’m concerned with is that the theory should predict the results of measurements. Quantum theory does this very successfully.33
The great divergence—understanding the fundamentals of human nature
The world of academe is currently in the grip of a strange and worrying epidemic of biologism, which has also captured the popular imagination. Scientists, philosophers, and quite a few toilers in the humanities believe—and would have the rest of us believe—that nothing fundamental separates humanity from animality.38
The claim that a single chimpanzee using a stone to crack open a nut is the same kind of thing as a large international team of scientists cooperating to invent and construct the Large Hadron Collider in order to discover how fundamental particles interact is, I suggest, somewhat less than valid.40
Some writers, as we have seen, try to bridge the gap between us and apes by arguing that it is not as big as it looks and that it is ultimately not real. Others, however, are aware that the gap is a yawning gulf and seek an explanation that is proportionate to the scale of what has to be explained.42
Darwinism, therefore, leaves something unaccounted for: the emergence of people like you and me who are indubitably sighted watchmakers.
...something rather important about us is left unexplained by evolutionary theory. We are not mindless and yet seem to do things according to purposes that we entertain in a universe that brought us into being by mindless processes that are entirely without purpose. To deny this is not to subscribe to Darwinism but to embrace Darwinitis.44
Beyond polemics: Evolutionary science vs. Evolutionist dogma
1 Abdul-Latif ibn Abdul-Aziz al-Rabah. Makanat al-ʿUlum al-Tabi’iyyah fi’l-tarbiyyah Islamiyyah. Doctoral dissertation. p. 267.
2 Ibn al-Qayyim. Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, (Mecca: Dar ʿAlam al-Fawa’id 2010) vol. 3, p. 1190. He makes this comment in the course of addressing why astrology cannot be considered a true science due to its lack of substantiating logical and empirical evidence. Similarly, in his discussion on embryology, Ibn al-Qayyim considers anatomic dissection (tashrīh) and empirical research to be sound and impenetrable evidences (Tuhfat al-Mawdud fi Ahkam al-Mawlud. Mecca: Dar Alam al-Fawa’id, p. 376).
3 Nicolaus Copernicus (d. 1543 CE) was an astronomer whose view that the Earth orbits the sun (heliocentrism) was condemned by the Church.
4 Galileo Galilei (d. 1642 CE) was the Italian astronomer who was tried in the inquisition for his championing of the Copernican theory of heliocentrism. Deemed guilty of heresy, he was sentenced to house arrest.
5 Giordano Bruno (d. 1600 CE) was an Italian scientist who viewed that the universe was infinite and believed in a plurality of worlds. His cosmological views were amongst the charges against him in the inquisition, and he was ultimately burned alive at the stake.
6 These opposing extremes are reminiscent of a passage from Ibn al-Qayyim where he describes two different groups. First, he describes the errors of the philosophers in rejecting religious tenets based upon fallacious arguments. Then he says, "The second group confronted the first group by rejecting everything they said, rejecting things that were true alongside things that were false, and they supposed that the necessary consequence of believing in the Messengers was to reject what the first group knew by logical deduction (ʿaql daruri) as well as their premises based on sensory perception (hiss). And to falsify these ideas they presented arguments that can never substitute for truth. And woe to them, if only they had not combined this tremendous blunder with attributing that to the Messengers as well. But instead, they supposed that the messengers came with what they said. So the heretical philosophers assumed the worst of the Messengers and assumed themselves to be more learned and more knowledgeable than them, while those who thought better of the Messengers said, “They were not unaware of what we say but they spoke to these people with what their minds could fathom of common speech to benefit the lay masses, but as for the true realities they concealed them from them.” And what led [the second group] to this was rejecting the portion of truth with the [first group], and feeling proud to challenge them on things that are known by necessity, like the roundness of the orbits or the Earth, or that the light of the moon is reflected from the Sun, or that a lunar eclipse occurs because of the Earth’s position between the moon and the sun casting the moon in its shadow." (Miftah, pp. 1417-1418).
7 See Ibn al-Qayyim’s discussion in Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, vol. 1, p. 533 where he discusses these two categories of signs along with the Qur’anic examples. This work will be cited frequently in the course of this article as many of the reflections and insights of the author on scripture and nature are pertinent to the subject matter of this paper.
8 There is a narration which states, “Allah created four things with His Hands: the ’Arsh (throne), the Qalam (pen which records fate), Adam, and Paradise. Then He said to all other creation: ‘Be,’ and it became.” (Mustadrak al-Hakim 2/349). Al-Dhahabi agreed with al-Hakim’s authentication of this tradition.
9 Sahih Muslim, 2611. In other narrations, Iblis prods Adam’s lifeless form, taunting him and threatening him, “If I gain authority over you, I will destroy you. And if you gain authority over me, I shall defy you.” See Tarikh al-Tabari (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiya 1987), vol. 1, p. 64.
10 Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, 3367.
11 Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, 3698.
12 This is the dominant reading of Qur’an 4:1. Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi mentions another interpretation, in which the verse is taken to mean “and created from it (i.e., the same clay) his spouse.” Cf. Al-Bahr al-Muhit (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, nd) vol. 3, pp. 154-155.
13 Ibn Sina, Kitab al-shifa', Al-ilahiyyat. Edited by Ibrahim Madkour, George Anawati, and Said Zayed. Cairo: al-Hay'a al-misriyya al-'amma lil-kitab, 1975. p. 441. Ibn Sina explains that since human beings cannot survive individually but rather are dependent on one another, they must be able to cooperate and construct communities; this requires law and justice. But given the fact that justice and morality are relativistic and subject to different opinions, there needs to be someone with the authority to legislate principles that will be obeyed and thus, the need for a Prophet. Ibn Sina prefigures the perspective of French Sociologist Emile Durkheim (d. 1917 CE) who saw religion as the fundamental social institution for the function of a moral community.
14 Ibid., p. 443. See also the discussion in Dimitri Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian tradition: Introduction to reading Avicenna's philosophical works, Brill (2014). p. 345. The Muslim jurist and staunch Aristotelian philosopher, Ibn Rushd, attempted to exculpate the falasifah and argued that both the discourse of scientific demonstration and religious description are true and applicable in different domains. See Taylor, Richard. Averroes on the Sharîʿah of the Philosophers. In The Judeo-Christian-Islamic Heritage: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2012), pp. 283-304.
15 Ibn Sina, Risalah al-Adhawiyyah fi Amr al-Ma‘ad. (Cairo: Matba’at al-I’timad 1949).
16 Ibn Sina, Risalah fi sirr al-qadar, in Majmu’ al-Rasa’il al-Shaykh al-Ra’is (Hyderabad: Dairatul-Maarif Osmania 1935), p. 4.
17 Benedict de Spinoza, The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza, translated from the Latin, with an Introduction by R.H.M. Elwes. Revised edition (London: George Bell and Sons, 1891). Vol 1. p. 93. Spinoza was directly influenced by the falsafah tradition through Elijah Delmedigo, a Jewish Averroist. See “Spinoza on Philosophy and Religion: The Averroistic Sources,” The Rationalists: Between Tradition and Innovation, eds. Carlos Fraenkel, Dario Perinetti and Justin Smith, The New Synthese Historical Library of Springer Academic Publishers, 2010, pp. 58-81.
18 Al-Safarini. Lawami’ al-Anwar al-Bahiyyah. (Maktabah al-Islamiya Dar Al-Khani 1991), p. 116.
19 Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. Qanun al-Ta’wīl. ed. Muḥammad Zāhid al-Kawtharī (Cairo: al-Maktabah al-Azhariyyah li-turāth, 2006), pp. 7-11. Al-Ghazali cautions that one should not affirm one possible metaphorical interpretation over another. This is because once we depart from the apparent meanings of the texts, there is no means by which to know precisely which meaning is intended by God, unless one is able to enumerate every possible interpretation and falsify all of them except for one, which he deems unlikely.
20 Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. Faysal al-Tafriqah baynal Islam wa al-Zandaqah. (Damascus 1993), pp. 28-33.
21 Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. Ihya ʿUlum al-Din – Kitab Qawa’id al-Aqa’id. (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm 2005), p. 122.
22 For a more detailed study of Ibn Taymiyyah’s views refer to Yasir Kazi, Reconciling Reason and Revelation in the Writings of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), An Analytical Study of Ibn Taymiyya's Darʾ al‐Taʿārụd, PhD Dissertation, Yale University 2013.
23 Ibn Taymiyyah. Dar Ta’arud al-ʿAql wal-Naql. (Riyadh: Al-Imam University 1991), vol. 1, p. 198.
24 Ibn Taymiyyah explains that acceptable re-interpretation (ta’wil maqbul) is nothing other than clarifying and explaining the intended meaning of a statement (tafsir wa bayan al-murad) based on clear evidences. Ibn Taymiyyah, Dar Ta’arud al-ʿAql wal-Naql, vol. 1, p. 201.
25 Al-Rāghib al-Isbahānī, Mufradat Alfadh al-Qur’an. ed. Safwan ʿAdnan Dawudui. (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1992), p. 894.
26 It is worth also commenting briefly on the spurious claim that historical Muslim figures adopted belief in biological evolution. Figures like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Miskawayh mention a sequence of plants, animals, then human beings, however, this is not in the context of origins. Rather, they were referring to the ancient Greek concept of scala naturae, or ‘The Great Chain of Being,’ in which every object in existence is placed on a linear scale, beginning with minerals, and ending with God Himself. The purpose of this ‘Great Chain’ was to give legal and moral weight to those higher up in this scale, and there is no suggestion of a progression from one state to another. This error of reading biological evolution into the writings of these authors has been pointed out by many specialists, including T. J. de Boer over a hundred years ago; see T. J. de Boer. The History of Philosophy in Islam. Translated by E. R. Jonas, B.D. (London : Luzac & Co., 1903), p. 91.
27 From a linguistic perspective, it is necessary to understand qasas as historically true accounts. Adnan Zarzour. ʿUlum al-Qur’an. (Maktabah al-Islami 1981), p. 362.
28 Philosopher Thomas Nagel is one who appears to find this line of argument convincing. He writes, “It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection […] given what is known about the chemical basis of biology and genetics, what is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into existence spontaneously on the early earth, solely through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry? […] In the available geological time since the first life forms appeared on earth, what is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection to produce the organisms that actually exist? [...] I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science.” (Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, pp. 6-7).
29 It is useful to remember that biological evolution does not describe things progressing in a linear sequence, but rather through various branches in the phylogenetic tree. While the domino example may overemphasize the sequential nature of evolution, one must remember that evolution is not a linear stepwise progression from one species to the next but involves processes of genetic diversification and genetic drift that take place in populations.
30 Indeed, it is fascinating to note that Islamic theology has already deconstructed this objection—it was none other than Iblis (Satan) who fallaciously accused God of deceiving him into thinking that Adam was inferior to him, due to the latter’s biology and humble origins (he couldn’t fathom how a creation from dust would be preferred over himself—a being created of smokeless fire). See Qur’an 7:16 and 15:39.
31 Dennett, Daniel. Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, 1995, p. 21. Dennett himself, however, has been taken to task for his own unexamined baggage concerning rejection of religion and support for scientism, in Leon Wieseltier’s review, "The God Genome." New York Times, 02/19/06. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/books/review/the-god-genome.html
32 Bas van Fraassen. The Scientific Image. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980) p. 8.
33 Hawking, S., & Penrose, R. (1996). The Debate. In Hawking S. & Penrose R. (Authors), The Nature of Space and Time (pp. 121-138). Princeton University Press. See also Adrian Bardon’s A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time, pp. 75-76 for other quotations.
34 While scientists often use the term ‘data’ casually, the term can refer to a diverse array of matters including computer simulations, mathematical models, conceptual analysis, qualitative field observations, chemical analysis, and so on, all of which are epistemically distinct. Just as Ibn Taymiyyah unpackaged the notion of ‘intellect’ (ʿaql) to scrutinize its contents (including personal opinions, syllogisms, rhetoric, etc.) the same must be done with the term ‘data.’
35 Bas van Fraassen. The Scientific Image. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980) p. 72.
36 For an excellent discussion of the issue of observability drawing on Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, providing a refutation of the most common objections to this paradigm from scientific realism, refer to Wiltsche, H. A. (2012). What is wrong with Husserl's scientific anti-realism? Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, 55(2), 105-130. For an example of the application of van Fraassen’s views in the realm of evolutionary biology, refer to Sandy Boucher’s discussion on functionalism versus structuralism as opposing epistemic stances adopted by evolutionists: Boucher, S. C. (2015). Functionalism and structuralism as philosophical stances: van Fraassen meets the philosophy of biology. Biology & Philosophy, 30(3), 383-403.
37 For an overview, see Frigg, R., & Votsis, I. (2011). Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 1(2), 227-276.
38 Tallis, Raymond. Rethinking Thinking. The Wall Street Journal. Nov 12, 2011. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204618704576642991109496396
39 Even manifest differences must be originally rooted in similarities undergoing incremental variation, as in transformational homology. Rieppel, O. (1994). Homology, topology, and typology: The history of modern debates, in Hall, B.K. (ed.) Homology: The Hierarchical Basis of Comparative Biology, (San Diego: Academic Press), p. 88. It has been argued that the Modern Synthesis (MS) Theory, the orthodox paradigm in evolutionary biology, is insufficient in accounting for evolutionary novelties. Refer to Pigliucci, Massimo (2008). What, if anything, is an evolutionary novelty? Philosophy of Science 75 (5):887-898. Pigliucci writes:
...while the MS has been very successful at expanding Darwinism to account for genetics and population biology, it has failed to sensibly incorporate both developmental biology and ecology; while the MS has given us an account of genetic variation and of how it changes in populations over time, it has reached an impasse on the question of the origin and evolution of phenotypic novelties and organismal body plans (p. 895).
40 Hands, John. Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe. (Overlook Books, 2016). pp. 536-537.
41 Ibid. p. 532.
42 Tallis, Raymond. Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. (Acumen Publishing 2012), p. 214. It should be noted that Tallis prefaces his discussions with numerous disclaimers that he affirms the biological evolution of human beings and is an atheist humanist—the fact that he feels the need to even spell this out demonstrates the unfortunate extent to which the subject has become politicized in the public discourse such that to even raise intelligent questions about the assumptions of the mainstream scientific community is deemed academic heresy.
43 Another aspect of the problem from an evolutionary perspective is accounting for why such a massive gulf emerged between humans and other primates; i.e., why the ecological niches or the magnitude of selection pressures were so divergent between the species, and tremendously more significant in advancing the capacities of humankind. This has been the subject of considerable debate and opinions on the matter remain largely conjectural. Any potential empirical answer to this question (identifying a possible discrepancy in the evolutionary opportunities or environments of humans versus non-human primates) will always seem inadequate without an accompanying ontological foundation to justify the presence of said radical discrepancy in the first place.
44 Tallis, Raymond. Aping Mankind, pp. 212-213.
45 Ibn Atiyyah (d. 541 H) notes that this verse is inclusive of several unique characteristics ranging from physical form (surah), senses (hawas), and having one’s intellect (ʿaql) and perception (idrak) adorned with discernment (tamyiz). See Tafsir ibn Atiyyah (Qatar: Ministry of Awqaf 2007), vol. 8, p. 647.
46 Chomsky, N. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (MIT Press 1965), p. 47. Like all pioneering observations, this raised criticisms from opponents and responses from proponents. See Legate, Julie & Yang, Charles (2002). Empirical re-assessment of stimulus poverty arguments. The Linguistic Review, 18, 151–162.
47 For instance, consider the following sentence (a Chomskyan adaptation): ‘The man who is leading the prayer is knowledgeable.’ If one were to convert this into a question, one is required to transpose the second instance of the word ‘is’ to the front of the sentence and not the first: ‘Is the man who leading the prayer is knowledgeable?’ versus ‘Is the man who is leading the prayer knowledgeable?’ People can instinctively identify the incorrect speech without any knowledge of the underlying structural syntactic determinants, and children readily identify such structure-dependence when they learn language. For more discussion on this subject, and examples of scalar implications and polarity in everyday language use, the interested reader may refer to Chierchia, Gennaro. Logic in grammar: Polarity, free choice, and intervention (OUP Oxford, 2013).
48 Ibn al-Qayyim. Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, (Mecca: Dar ʿAlam al-Fawa’id 2010) vol. 2, p. 792.
49 Asoulin, Eran. (2016). Language as an instrument of thought. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 1(1), 1-23.
50 Linguistic theorists often capitalize ‘Language’ to distinguish the faculty that all humans possess from the non-capitalized ‘language’ which refers to things like Arabic, English, French, Urdu, Turkish, etc.
51 There is an ongoing debate amongst linguists about whether all modern languages go back to a single ancestral language (linguistic monogenesis) or several languages (polygenesis), a question which has been said to be “difficult if not impossible to determine using the evidence of the present.” See Schreyer, Christine (2002) "A Proto-Human Language: Fact or Fiction," Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology: Vol. 10: Iss. 1, Article 9. From the perspective of Muslim scholars, debates over the origin of human languages (asl al-lughah) have also been diverse: the linguist Ibn Faris (d. 395 H) was of the view that they were all given by God, while Ibn Jinni (d. 330 H) believed they were invented by humans. Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) held that languages were part given and part developed.
52 The Qur’an never uses bayan to describe communication in non-human creations. One may wonder about what we may learn about language capacity from the example of Prophet Sulaiman's knowledge of animal speech, most notably the ant and the hoopoe in Surah al-Naml. However, Al-Qurtubi comments in his exegesis of 27:16, “People are in agreement that Sulaiman understood the speech of that which did not speak (kalam man laa yatakallam), and speech was created even in plants, so that a plant would say ‘I am such-and-such tree, with this comparative benefit and harm.’ So what then do you suppose about animals?” Similarly, on the Day of Judgment, God will make a person’s skin speak just as “He makes everything speak” (41:21). Therefore, one must avoid taking these as normative biological descriptions about animal cognitive capacity, but rather instances wherein God elevates the generic primordial sentience found in any creation to the level of meaningful communication that might be apprehended, as in the case of a talking wolf (Sahih Bukhari), a crying tree trunk (Sahih Ibn Hibban), and even the entirety of the heavens and earth (41:11).
53 Jackendoff, R.. How Did Language Begin? Linguistic Society of North America. https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/how-did-language-begin
54 Limber, J. (1977). Language in child and chimp? American Psychologist, 32, 280-295.
55 Even after intensive instruction, the bonobo Kanzi failed to show comprehension of the hierarchical structures in language, outperformed by a human toddler between 18 to 24 months of age. See Truswell, R. (2017). Dendrophobia in Bonobo Comprehension of Spoken English. Mind Lang, 32, 395-415.
56 Hauser, M. D., Chomsky, N., & Fitch, W. T. (2002). The faculty of language: What is it, who has it, and how did it evolve? Science, 298, 1569-1579.
58 Pinker S., & Jackendoff, R. (2005). The faculty of language: what’s special about it? Cognition, 95, 201–236. See also the response of Fitch W. T., Hauser, M. D., & Chomsky, N. (2005). The evolution of the language faculty: clarifications and implications. Cognition, 97, 179–210.
59 Dunbar R. I. M. “Why only humans have language,” in The Prehistory of Language eds. Botha R., Knight C. (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009) p. 14.
60 Ibn Taymiyyah mentions it as proof of God teaching humans language (bayan). Majmu’ al-Fatawa (al-Mansura: Dar al-Wafa' lil-Taba'a wal-Nashr, 1998), vol. 9, p. 36.
61 See the discussion in Abu Su’ûd, Muhammad ibn Muhammad. Irshad ʿAql Salim ila Mazaya al-Kitab al-Karim. (Riyadh 1974). Vol. 1, pp. 144-147. Learning “the names of all things” goes beyond simply acquiring vocabulary, for many reasons. First, where is the unique virtue in teaching Adam something that the angels could just as easily have learned? And how would that address the angel’s question about the human potential for bloodshed? Evidently, it relates to a unique capacity for conceptualization, for discerning the meanings of the unknown based upon what is known, which ties into humankind’s spiritual journey.
62 In this connection, consider also the hadith which mentions that the angels report to God about witnessing His human servants glorifying Him, seeking Paradise, and seeking refuge from Hellfire despite this being unseen to them, whereupon God announces His forgiveness for them (Sahih al-Bukhari 6408). Language allows human beings to understand realities they have not witnessed, thus providing them the means of traversing the epistemic distance between them and God.
63 Language is intimately connected with the Islamic concept of the fitrah as discussed in Khan, N. Fitrah - The Primordial Nature of Man. (1/1/15). http://spiritualperception.org/fitrah-the-primordial-nature-of-man/
64 Ibn al-Qayyim. Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, (Mecca: Dar ʿAlam al-Fawa’id 2010), vol. 2, p. 666.
65 Cf. Tallis, Raymond. Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, pp. 217, 230.
66 Davies, Paul. The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?, (NY: First Mariner Books 2008) p. 5.
67 Nagel, Thomas. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, p. 35. Another problem consciousness poses for naturalism is the breakdown of its normal causal explanatory apparatus. How do we account for the fact that one thought caused the next thought in my 'train of thought' while simultaneously acknowledging that it was one electrochemical impulse which caused the next electrochemical impulse? This leads to a problem of overdeterminism and causal exclusion. See Kim, Jaegwon. Mind in a Physical World. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998, p. 38.
68 Badr al-Din al-ʿAyni (d. 855 H) writes, “The human soul is that which each individual refers to with the pronoun, ‘I’.” Umdat al-Qari, (Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah 2001), vol. 2, p. 303.
69 Brown, Jihad. The Problem of Reductionism in the Philosophy of Mind and its Implications for Theism and the Principle of Soul: Framing the issue for further Islamic inquiry. Tabah paper series. no. 7 (2013). http://www.newdualism.org/papers/J.Brown/Brown-Reductionism-Tabah-2013.pdf
70 There are many similar passages, such as the verse which mentions the devout voluntary obedience of the Heavens and the Earth to God (41:11).
71 The Trust (Amanah) refers broadly to moral accountability, to follow the commandments of God by one’s volition. Qur’anic exegesis mentions that inanimate entities (jamadat) were given understanding (fahm) and discernment (tamyīz) to make a choice regarding carrying the trust (khuyirat fi’l-haml); see Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, Bahr al-Muhit, (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, nd), vol. 7, p. 253.
72 Hermansen, Marcia. The Conclusive Argument from God: Shah Wali Allah of Delhi's Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha. (Islamic Research Institute, 2003), p. 54.
73 Ibn al-Qayyim, Tarīq al-Hijratayn wa bab al-sa’adatayn. (Cairo: Dar al-Salafiya 1394 H). vol. 1, p. 15. Alternatively, the absence of any spiritual inclination can cause one to be lost in the senseless pursuit of materialistic distractions and heedlessness (ghaflah), debasing oneself to the level of creatures who possess minds but do not benefit from them (Qur’an 25:44,47:12).
74 Some classic examples have been used to illustrate phenomenal consciousness and how it is independent of physical perception, including the case of philosophical zombies, inverted color vision, Mary the color-deprived scientist, among others. Refer to Tye, M. Philosophical Problems of Consciousness. In The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. eds M. Velmans and S. Schneider. (Wiley-Blackwell 2007), 23-35.
75 Chalmers, D. J. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996).
76 This analogy can be helpful: “This aspect of consciousness can be likened to the light from a film projector. The projector shines light onto a screen, modifying the light so as to produce one of an infinity of possible images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we experience—the forms arising in consciousness. The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to this ability of consciousness to take on form. We know all the images on a movie screen are composed of light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself; our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but we are usually aware only of the many different perceptions, thoughts, and feelings that appear in the mind. We are seldom aware of consciousness itself.” Peter Russell. The Primacy of Consciousness. https://www.peterrussell.com/SP/PrimConsc.php
77 Ibn al-Qayyim. Wabil al-Sayyib min al-Kalim al-Tayyib. (Makkah: Dar 'Alam al-Fawa'id), p. 119.
78 For instance, when discussing verse 17:70 “Verily We Have honored the children of Adam,” Ibn al-Qayyim presents a long list of such unique distinctions of humankind which includes cognitive, aesthetic, and moral features. Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, (Mecca: Dar ʿAlam al-Fawa’id 2010), vol. 2, p. 748.
79 Midgley, Mary. (2011). Why The Idea Of Purpose Won't Go Away. Philosophy, 86, 545-561.
80 Ironically, the anti-religionists claiming ‘bad design’ are guilty of precisely the same fallacy they call the “God-of-the-gaps” fallacy wherein a claim is staked on a present gap in knowledge, dismissing the possibility for empirical research to close the gap.
81 For instance, the physiologically obtuse presumption that the retina is backwards, because the photoreceptors are situated behind axons, has been shown erroneous by the functional benefits conferred by this optical arrangement which permit spectral waveguiding and situating photoreceptors closest to the highly vascularized choroid. See Labin, A. M., & Ribak, E. N.. (2014). "Color sorting by retinal waveguides," Opt. Express, 22, 32208-32213; and Nickla, D. L., & Wallman, J. (2010). The multifunctional choroid. Prog. Retin. Eye Res., 29 (2), 144-168.
82 For instance, the argument about the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) fallaciously looks only at the adult organism to presume that a shorter course is optimal. However, this ‘bad design’ argument entirely neglects the embryological sequence of events, and what is most efficient based on the process by which the anatomical structures in a creature are assembled during embryogenesis and organogenesis. Thus, ontogeny may provide a more relevant explanation than phylogeny. Moreover, the course of the RLN is not incidental; rather, there exist sensory and autonomic fibers to the cardiac plexus and connections with sympathetic cardiac nerves, which have recently been better characterized as a result of fetal cadaveric research: B De Gama et al. (2014).The recurrent laryngeal cardiac nerve in fetuses. International Journal of Morphology, 32 (2), 415-419.
83 Take for instance the causal confusions and conflation of categories of explanation for why humans have acquired big brains: instrumental hypothesis (we became smarter so we could eat better), Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis (we became smarter so we could steal better), cultural intelligence hypothesis (we became smarter so we could learn better), Vygotskian intelligence hypothesis (we became smarter so we could cooperate better), Scheherazade hypothesis (we became smarter so we could mate better), social brain hypothesis (we became smarter so we could have more friends), etc. See Dunbar RIM, Shultz S. (2017). Why are there so many explanations for primate brain evolution? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 372: 20160244.
84 Lloyd, E. A. & Gould, S. J. (2017). Exaptation revisited: Changes imposed by evolutionary psychologists and behavioral biologists. Biological Theory, 12, 50-65.
85 Lloyd, E. A. (2015). Adaptationism and the logic of research questions: How to think clearly about evolutionary causes. Biological Theory, 10 (4), 343-362.
86 Boucher, S. C. (2015). Functionalism and structuralism as philosophical stances: van Fraassen meets the philosophy of biology. Biology & Philosophy, 30(3), 383-403.
87 See James Woodward, Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) and discussion in Humphreys, P. (2006). Invariance, Explanation, and Understanding. Metascience, 15 (1), 39-66.