Contrary to what its supporters claim, evolution is not a scientific theory but a pagan belief. The idea of evolution first appeared in such ancient societies as Egypt, Babylon, and Sumer, after which it passed to ancient Greek philosophers. Pagan Sumerian monuments contain statements denying creation and claiming that living things emerged by themselves as part of a gradual process. According to Sumerian belief, life emerged by itself out of the disorder of water.
As part of their own superstitious religions, the ancient Egyptians believed that "snakes, frogs, worms, and mice emerged from the mud of the Nile floodwaters." Just like the Sumerians, the ancient Egyptians denied the existence of a Creator and thought that "living things emerged by chance from mud."
The most important claim of the Greek philosophers Empedocles (fifth century BC), Thales (d. 546 BC), and Anaximander (d. 547 BC) of Miletus was that the first living things were formed from such inanimate substances as air, fire, and water. This theory posited that the first living things suddenly emerged in water and that later on some of them left the water, adapted to life on land, and began to live there. Thales believed that "water" was the root of all life, that plants and animals began to develop in water, and that humanity was the end result of this process.3 Anaximander, a younger contemporary of Thales, held the false belief that "man arose from the fishes" and the source of life began with a "primordial mass."4
Anaximander's verse work On Nature is the first available written work based upon the theory of evolution. In that poem, he wrote that creatures arose from slime that had been dried by the sun. According to Anaximander's erroneous way of thinking, the first animals were covered with prickly scales and lived in the seas. As these fish-like creatures supposedly evolved, they moved onto land, shed their scaly coverings and eventually became human beings.5 (For further details, see The Religion of Darwinism by Harun Yahya, Abu'l Qasim Publishers, Jeddah, 2003) His illogical theory can be considered the first foundation of the present-day theory of evolution, for it has many similarities with Darwinism.
Empedocles brought earlier ideas together and suggested that the fundamental elements (i.e., earth, air, fire, and water) came together to create bodies. He also believed that man had developed from plant life, and that only chance played any role in this process.6 As mentioned earlier, this concept of chance and its role in creation form the principle basis upon which the theory of evolution is built.
Heraclitus (d. fifth century BC) made another illogical claim, that because the universe was in a process of constant change, there was no point in questioning the mythical account of its beginning and maintained that it had no beginning or end. Rather, it simply existed.7 In short, the materialist belief upon which evolution is based also existed in ancient Greece.
The deceptive idea of spontaneous generation was supported by many other Greek philosophers, particularly Aristotle (384-22 BC). This idea said that animals, in particular certain worms, insects, and plants, came about by themselves in nature and so did not need to undergo any fertilization process. Maurice Manquat, well known for his studies on Aristotle's ideas on natural history, once said:
Aristotle was concerned with the origin of life so much that he accepted spontaneous generation (the coming together of inanimate substances to spontaneously form a living thing) in order to explain certain events that could not be accounted for in any other way.8
On careful inspection, one can see considerable similarities between the ideas of past and present evolutionist thinkers. The roots of the materialist idea that the universe has no beginning and no end, as well as the evolutionist view that living things emerged as the result of chance, lie in pagan Sumerian culture and were common among materialist Greek thinkers. The ideas that life emerged from water and a mixture known as "primordial mass," and living things emerge only because of chance, form the bases of these two ideas that are linked despite the passage of so much time.
Thus, Muslims who think that evolution is logical support a theory whose roots are embedded in ancient ideas that have been shown to have no scientific basis. Moreover, such ideas were first proposed by ancient materialist thinkers and contain pagan meanings.
Actually, evolution is not restricted to ancient Sumerian culture or ancient Greek philosophers, for it forms the essence of such major contemporary belief systems as Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. In other words, evolution is no more than a theory that is completely opposed to Islamic belief.
Some Muslims who support evolution, despite historical findings to the contrary, claim that the Qur'an supports this supposed "Creationist Theory of Evolution" and try to find the source of evolution in the Muslim world. They assert that this idea first emerged from Muslim thinkers and, when their works were translated into foreign languages, evolutionist thought appeared in the West.
However, the few examples given above clearly reveal that evolution is no more than a primitive belief dating back to ancient pagan societies. It would be a great mistake to try and show that evolutionist thought, built upon materialist foundations, can be ascribed to Muslims when there is absolutely no clear scientific and historical basis to support such a claim.