This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Science, Technology and Society project focuses on understanding the reception of evolutionary biology in the Muslim world by focusing on Muslim physicians and medical students in 5 Muslim majority countries (Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey) and three diasporas (Germany, UK, US). While the last couple of decades have seen an increasing confrontation over the teaching of evolution in the US, biological evolution is still a relatively new concept for the majority of Muslims and a serious debate over its religious compatibility has not yet taken place. At the same time, a complex interaction between evolution, culture and religion is already underway. For example, biomedical and biotechnology departments have been established at universities across the Islamic world. Evolution is also included the high school curricula of many Muslim countries, although human evolution is often excluded.
This study: a) Identifies those conditions under which conflicts arise for educated Muslims (physicians and medical students) between scientific and religious beliefs, and b) Uses views on evolution as a means of understanding how educated Muslims negotiate the broader relationship between science and religion. This project fills a gap in the dialogue over science & religion by adding Muslim views to the larger debate. Understanding Muslim responses to evolution may also provide a new context to look at debates in the US.