As I have argued before, the singular, decisive proposition that draws the proverbial line in the sand distinguishing traditional Islamic theological conceptions of Adam from modern evolution is whether or not the first human being had biological origins. Traditional Islamic thought says the first human being, Adam, was a special, miraculous creation of God, having no parents. Modern science says that it is impossible — theoretically, empirically, historically, etc., — that the first human being was not born of (non-human) parents.

So, what is really at stake with the claim that 1400 years of scholarship — involving hundreds of millions of teachers and students — was fundamentally mistaken about a critical component of theology, while the true, correct understanding could only fully be known through the “illumination” of the past 40-50 years of modern science? What kind of impact would there be to the collective Muslim psyche if it were accepted that 40 years of science trumps 1400 years of Islamic intellectual effort? In fact, what would this mean for the very notion of tradition itself? An epistemological coup d’état of this magnitude would no less than eviscerate the tradition-centric, transmission-based Muslim ethos at large. Unfortunately, this coup is well underway.

This is a pressing question in the minds of many Muslims. Some Muslims have decided to leave Islam after reaching the conclusion that Evolution is not compatible with Islamic tenets. Also, critics of Islam argue that the religion is unscientific because it rejects Evolution. Muslims are thus put in the awkward position of defending their