Khamis, 1 Mac 2012

My report on Role of extinction and evolution in biodiversities and Islamic perspective on current issues: a case study

The Role of Extinction and Evolution in Biodiversity

In biology and ecology, extinction defined as the end of an organism or of a group of organisms. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point. It is difficult for us to determine the extinction of the species because it potential range may be very large. Hence , the method of extinction is determine where a species presumed extinct abruptly after a period of apparent absence. Mass extinctions are relatively rare events; however, isolated extinctions are quite common. Only recently have extinctions been recorded and scientists have become alarmed at the high rates of recent extinctions. Most species that become extinct are never scientifically documented. Some scientists estimate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100. It is difficult to estimate the trajectory that biodiversity might have taken without human impact but scientists at the University of Bristol estimate that biodiversity might increase exponentially without human influence. [1]
Evolution is the process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms, especially by natural selection. In other hand, evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organization , including species, individual species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins. Through evolution, new species arise through the process of speciation—where new varieties of organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche—and species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. The relationship between animals and their ecological niches has been firmly established.[2]
Extinction and evolution keep happening around us with the Power of Allah S.W.T . Indeed Allah made everything with reasons. In Surah Al-Qamar:ayah 49 Allah have mentioned that “Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure.” In conclusion, I will try my level best to give the easiest understanding upon extinction and evolution.
Extinction of biodiversities are believed to been occurred before age of the dinosaur. Scientist proof it based on the fossils found and the abrupt absence of an organisms . Nowadays technology we can discover the age of the fossils by carbon-dating method . Thus, we can determine when the fossils that we found are expected to be alived. A species becomes extinct when the last existing member dies. Extinction therefore becomes a certainty when there are no surviving individuals that are able to reproduce and create a new generation. A species may become functionally extinct when only a handful of individuals survive, which are unable to reproduce due to poor health, age, sparse distribution over a large range, a lack of individuals of both sexes (in sexually reproducing species), or other reasons. Scientist classify the extinction into 2 types namely historical extinction and modern extinction.[3]

Historical extinction is where the organisms that are declared as extinct are the organisms that believed to be exist before the human being or to be precise the organisms that live before Adam A.S descend to the earth. For example dinosaur, historical plant and etc. There were mostly found in the form of fossil. In other word, they also can be classified as mass extinction. Mass extinction is a sharp decrease in the diversity and abundance of macroscopic life. They occur when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation. Because the majority of diversity and biomass on earth is microbial, and thus difficult to measure, recorded extinction events affect the easily observed, biologically complex component of the biosphere rather than the total diversity and abundance of life. [4]
Modern extinction is where the extinct of organisms are believed to be extinct because of human attitude and interest. In other word, there are extinct because of the activity of human. For example, the dodo, the passenger pegion , Asiatic ostrich and etc. Another small relative of the marine biology that is endangered by human activities is the Manatee (West Indian or Florida Manatee), a slow-swimming, friendly marine mammal that feeds on sea grass and lives in the coastal waterways of Florida and in other coastal areas around the Caribbean. There are about 2,000 animals in the population, but at least 200 die each year, mainly from collisions with speedboats. Florida's response to this problem has been to post "go-slow" signs on the waterways, and to rely mainly on voluntary compliance. They have also established some very small sanctuaries.  These efforts are not working very well. The death rate has not declined; 2006 saw the largest number of deaths so far recorded, and boat-related deaths were the second highest.  Save the Manatee Club is now filing lawsuits to try to get the government agencies to better enforce the laws protecting manatees.[5]
There are many factor of extinction. For historical extinction many of the science scholars cannot predict which one is true. They just came out with a theory that verdict to most of the extinction are causes by the nature or in real word “Allah want it to be”. Allah descend the disaster to the earth like earthquake, asteroids, abrupt change in temperature (climate change) ,predation, competition and disease. Climate change is caused by number of things. The effects that climate change has on extinction is very big. The biodiversity in the earth cannot keep up with the drastic change in temperature and climate. As more species die, it is difficult for the survivors to find food. Modern extinction is causes by human activities and attitude. For example the mass hunting of Dodo bird consequence to the disappearance of that species until now, habitat degradation by deforestation , genetic pollution by nuclear activities and pollution to the nature.[6]
 Evolution occur everyday in our life. It does not occur to animal only, but all of the organisms including plants , viruses and bacteria. Human are also not except from the evolution. For example, we know that Father of all human was 60 cubit, based on the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah : The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said: “Allah created Adam and he was sixty cubits tall.” . Nowadays the average of people height is 1.7 meter. In addition of the evolutionary of human, Islam disapproved the theory of evolution of Darwinism. Although, Darwin was right in term of evolution of organisms, his mistakes is about the theory of evolution of human. His verdict was we were the evolution from the ape. This is very contradict with Islam, Christian and many religions believe that we are actually derive from Adam a.s . [7]
Another example of evolution of animal is bear. We can see the difference between polar bear, sun bear and many other species of bear. Scientist believes that actually bear come from one species, but then it change according to the climate so that they can adopt with the environment. The other example of evolution is the virus influenza H1N1. H1N1 is the virus that affected only to the pigs, but because of their evolution they can infected and kill many humans.  The peacock, though it is often used by creationists as an argument against evolution, is a great example of how it works. It has been proved that peahens will choose males with brighter colors. Therefore, if they continue to only mate with the brightest males, then only the brightest males will pass on their genes, and then only the brightest of that generation will pass on their genes. Over time brighter and brighter birds emerge until you have something as flamboyant and unnecessary as the peacock. Because of this, the alleles for the less bright peacocks will fade away (natural selection).[8] The simplest example of evolution is E-Coli virus. The process of evolution acts on an E. coli cell by creating a mutation in the DNA. It is not uncommon for the DNA strand in an E. coli bacterium to get corrupted. An X-ray, a cosmic ray or a stray chemical reaction can change or damage the DNA strand. In most cases, a particular E. coli cell with mutated DNA will either die, fix the damage in the strand or fail to reproduce. In other words, most mutations go nowhere. But every so often, a mutation will actually survive and the cell will reproduce.[9]
Evolution basically cause of the change in genes or DNA. However, we are interested in what make those gene or DNA change or act discretely compare to it usual habit. The poplar cause of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is the process by which genetic mutations that enhance reproduction become and remain, more common in successive generations of a population. Natural selection consist of three things that is variation ,different reproductive success and inheritance. Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is a process that is inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals, leading to differential rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait differences are heritable Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced by the progeny of parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place. This process creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform. Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, non-adaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.[10] Secondly is mutation. Mutation is changes in organisms DNA’s. In molecular biology and genetics, mutations are changes in a genomic sequence: the DNA sequence of a cell's genome or the DNA or RNA sequence of a virus. They can be defined as sudden and spontaneous changes in the cell. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, as well as errors that occur during meiosis or DNA replication. They can also be induced by the organism itself, by cellular processes such as hypermutation. Mutation can result in several different types of change in sequences; these can either have no effect, alter the product of a gene, or prevent the gene from functioning properly or completely.[11] Thirdly is genetic drift which means random changes in the frequency of traits due to chance factors. Fourthly is gene flow. Gene flow is changes changes due to movement from one place to another and have offspring at the new place. Lastly is non random mating which means individuals with particular traits are chosen as mates (also called assortative pairing) .[12]
Although extinction is the end of a species, it also give positive impact for evolution. For example, can you imagine the dinosaurs are still exists and live among us? Of course it will be difficult for us to do daily activities. That is the important of extinction. It gives space for the small population to enlarge their population. Extinction allows the evolution of new species to replace the species which have gone extinct. It also allows the diversity of species.  In addition, extinction also benefits for human kind where we can diminished viruses or bacteria that cause disease. For example, small pox viruses are the legendary viruses that happen to human long time ago. Nevertheless, scientist had found the vaccine for this disease and nowadays the cases of small pox viruses are nil which many people believe that this viruses had extinct.[13]
Extinction benefits sometime but mostly not especially on modern extinction. As we know , modern extinction causes by the activities of human , human interest and human attitude. Although we kill the viruses to conserve our health, we also had killed innocent living things by our activities. For example , the dodo bird had extinct because of mass hunting of it, many of seabird and aquatic life died because of water pollution that cause by human activities. This does not show our role as the vicegerent that Allah s.w.t has put the trust on us to take care this world. There are many negative effect of extinction. We must remember that mostly of our food and basic need in our life are come from the living things around us. Can we imagine how will our live go on without them? Another example of negative effect is the unbalance of nature food chain. For example, the loss would result in an epidemic of rats, which the snakes eat in great abundance. Rats carry disease, eat our food, and damage houses and crops. Being overrun by rats would cost billions of ringgits, and could even start an epidemic of diseases.
Thus, we must have a consciousness about our nature. It is time for us to conserve the earth and play our role as a khalifah. We must support the campaign that related to conserving the nature like Go Green and Earth Hour. Besides that the government also must enlarge and increase the area of forest sanctuary in order to protect the environment. Lastly, to avoid modern extinction is only by ourselves because those type of extinction come from us.
Islam embrace scientific research and there is no evidence of conflict between Islam and science. In fact , it is regarded as Fardhu Kifayah for Islam to achieve progress in every field of knowledge. However this progress must not collide with faith. It must parallel with the limitations set by religion. Allah had shown His guidance in Al-Quran, hence we must follow all the rules or boundary that have been set.
Most well-known topic is about cloning.Islam does not prohibited cloning but it is with condition. For animal cloning, it must bring about real benefit to all human and results no harm to both of the parties and it must not torturing the animal that we want to clone because causing harm to an animal is forbidden in Islam. However, the cloning of human is prohibited in Islam. Cloning of human contradicts with diversity of creation, Allah created the universe on the base of diversity but the cloning is based on duplicating on the same thing. If the cloning of human is permitted how will we determine the relation of the clone? It is brother, sister or sibling? This is a confusing point. There many reasons that depict cloning of human contradict with Islamic views. In conclusion Islam does not prohibited cloning but cloning human is absolutely forbidden unless it is for treatment like cloning heart and other parts of the body. It becomes clear that cloning a whole human is completely prohibited even it is for the purpose of treatment.However,, if it goes into cloning only specific parts of the human such as hearts and kidneys, for the purpose of treatments, this is permitted and actually recommended and rewarded by Allah. [14]
Muslims are also wonder about one of the main processes that evolutionary theory proposes to explain how evolution take place .But the Darwinism theory shows a contradiction between what we learn in Al-Quran and his theory. According to his verdict, Darwin believes that the homo sapiens that he called today are the evolutionate of apes long time ago. Islam believes and in fact many religion agreed that we are derive from Adam a.s and Hawa a.s  as mentioned in Al-quran “The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be’ and he was.” (Quran 3:59]. When we look at the sources of Islam-The Quran and Sunnah- we see that with respect to human beings living on the earth today, they are descendants of Adam and Hawa. The direct creation of Adam a.s can neither be confirmed nor denied by science in any way. This is because the creation of Adam a.s was a unique and singular historical event. It is a matter of the Unseen and something that science does not have the power to confirm or deny. As a matter of the Unseen , we believe it because of Allah informs us about it. We say the same for the miracles mentioned in the Quran. Miraculous events , by their very nature, do not confirm to scientific laws and their occurrence can neither be confirmed nor denied by science. In conclusion, Islam resist the theory of Darwinism that human are the evolution from the ape. [15]
Praise to Allah s.w.t that I have finally finished the assignment regarding summary of the role and extinction and evolution in biodiversity. Based on it, I can gain the knowledge on extinction and evolution. It also gives consciousness to me about the important and current issues on extinction and evolution. During I doing this assignment, there are many obstacles that I need to face like difficult to understand the scientific terms and articles. Anyway Alhamdulillah I can coop with those problems with the presence of technology and helps from my friend. Another thing is , I realized that the knowledge of evolution and extinction are been conquered by the non-muslim scholars like the example of Darwinism on his theory of evolution. In fact the first scholar to discover the evolution theory is a Muslim scientist. So where is the Muslim now? I hope our Muslim society can discover this knowledge in depth. Thank you.

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