COVID-19: An Issue in Religion and Science

22 October 2020 (Thursday) 11:00am - 1:00pm (Malaysian Standard Time)

22OCT2020 public lecture poster


Guest Speaker: YBhg. Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr. Osman Bakar, ISTAC-IIUM

Guest Discussant: YM Tengku Datuk Dr. Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen Tengku Ibrahim, Chairman, Board of Directors, Universiti Malaya

Moderator: Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia


  1. International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization (ISTAC-IIUM)
  2. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
  3. Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM)

COVID-19: An Issue in Religion and Science

Despite its detrimental effects on the socio-economic and political fabric of global society, the Covid-19 pandemic has instigated, once again, the long-standing debate regarding the encounter between religion and science. The current debate started with the publication of an article entitled ‘Corona: Our Debt to Darwin,’ written by Pakistani physicist and intellectual-activist, Pervez Hoodbhoy. In the article, Hoodbhoy restates the longstanding polemic denouncing the relevance of religion or tradition within any scientific enterprise, particularly in the current pandemic context.

In response to this article, renowned Malaysian science-philosopher and intellectual-activist, Professor Osman Bakar, in a published article entitled ‘Covid-19 and Darwin: A Response to Pervez Hoodbhoy’, argues that Hoodbhoy’s blanket denunciation of religion is itself without any scientific basis. Neither does it help Muslim scientists in their search for guidelines within their religion for an inclusive scientific culture of benefit to humanity at large. As Hoodbhoy’s main argument is that humanity’s only hope in dealing with the deadly Covid-19 virus is to appeal to Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection, which denies any Divine intervention in creation, Prof Bakar’s response interestingly highlights the shaky ground on which Hoodbhoy’s corona-Darwin link is based.

In this forum, IAIS Malaysia is honoured to have Emeritus Prof. Datuk Osman Bakar discuss the religion-science discourse in the Covid-19 context. We are also honoured to have Y.M. Tengku Datuk Dr. Azzman Shariffadeen, a renowned scientist and systems thinker, as the discussant for this topic, to shed some light on how Darwinian-based mindsets have impacted our social lives, such as in the field of leadership and management.


Watch the recording at IAIS Malaysia's Facebook Page or You Tube channel

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International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
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