On 28th October 2016, AMI student Glen Moran was invited to present a paper at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s Annual Conference. His paper, entitled ‘Perceptions of Biological Evolution Amongst British Muslims’, was based on his PhD which explores British Muslim perceptions of Evolution, at Newman University in Birmingham.
Glen is currently working as part of a large research project called ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum’ exploring contemporary British Muslim perceptions of evolution theory and day-age creationism, as well as looking at the sources that influence such perceptions. Previously he worked on a range of issues related to Islam, particularly Muslims in Britain. He has obtained an MA from Cardiff University and a BA from the University of Exeter, as well as a diploma in Arabic language from the University of Damascus, Syria. Alongside this he is currently a second year student at Al-Mahdi Institute
An abstract of his paper reads;
There is a common perception, both in academic literature as well as in the popular press, that Muslims in the UK reject evolution. However, this perception is not rooted in substantial research. Drawing on 40 interviews examining British Muslims’ perceptions of evolution, this paper demonstrates that the situation is far more complex than has generally been assumed. It shows that participants from different ethnic and national backgrounds display different levels of understanding and acceptance of evolution. As a result, the paper argues that the participants’ religion is not the sole factor influencing their perceptions of evolutionary theory, as is often assumed. This finding is significant given that some have used debates about Islamic creationism to propose a ‘clash of civilisation’-style narrative. Instead, the paper argues that the influence of context is essential in shaping the way participants viewed evolution and the position of evolution within their own religious beliefs.
The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion aims to promote and communicates social scientific research about religious institutions and experiences. Founded in 1949, SSSR fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among scholars from sociology, religious studies, psychology, political science, economics, international studies, gender studies, and many other fields. Its flagship publication, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, is the most cited resource in the field.
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