Muslims and Evolution: A Study of Pakistani Physicians in the United States


This study investigated the views of Pakistani-American medical doctors regarding biological evolution. We used a mixed-methods approach, chiefly consisting of a short interview that presented evolution in the contexts of microbial, animal, and human evolution; evolution’s acceptability or unacceptability to Muslims; and evolution’s relevance to medicine. The participants were 23 doctors attending a convention in the United States. Fourteen participants accepted evolution, three rejected evolution, and six held other views. While a majority of participants indicated that they accepted evolution, a slightly smaller plurality accepted human evolution. A majority of participants, including some who did not wholly accept or reject evolution, thought that one could mutually accept evolution and also believe in Allah. Nearly every participant, including two who rejected evolution, thought that evolution was relevant to medicine. We find that participants assigned a plurality of meanings to the theory that depended on interactions between a participant’s perception of religion, science, medicine, and a host of other cultural influences. This study is the first of a collection of studies carried out by the authors, who collected data with the same instrument in five other countries with significant populations of Muslim doctors and medical students.

Keywords: Muslims, Culture, Evolution and religion, Evolution and medicine, Evolution acceptance, Evolution rejection

Everhart and Hameed, 2013, Evolution: Education and Outreach

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