Now: WEIT in Arabic

December 4, 2019 • 8:00 am

When they started translating Why Evolution is True into different languages (I think there are 18 of them now), my fondest wish was to see it in Arabic, for Muslim lands, due to the religious creationism inherent of many believers, don’t get much instruction in evolution. In fact, Turkey, once a bastion of enlightenment among Muslim countries, has gone backwards under the Islamist Erdogan government, who has now eliminated the teaching of evolution from all classes before college. (Iran, however, is an exception; I understand that evolution is taught regularly there. Plus they speak Farsi, not Arabic, and I’m not sure whether this book would even be useful to Farsi speakers.)

I tried for several years to find someone who wanted to translate it, and I didn’t want any royalties, as having the evidence for evolution presented to the Arab-speaking world was important to me.

It took a while, but eventually the Egyptian Translation Service, with the help of Professor Samy Zalat, agreed to do the job. Then it was interrupted by Arab Spring, and so it was delayed for half a decade.

But now the book is out, although it isn’t advertised and seems to be available in small numbers at only one bookstore in Cairo. But I got a copy today from Samy, and so I’ll show you what it looks like.

As for availability, it’s on the internet as a pirated version, and so if you’re an Arabic speaker and want the book, perhaps judicious inquiry can lead you to a copy.

The cover—dinos and fish and planes, oh my!

The title page:

A page with an illustration:

And the back cover:

Apparently where you can get it:

If you can read Arabic, I would love to have a translation of the front cover, title page, and back cover. Please put them in the comments if you’re so kind as to translate.

49 thoughts on “Now: WEIT in Arabic

  1. They have misspelled your name: It reads “Cooni” It should be كوين

    Also your first name is supposedly transliterated to جيري in Arabic, which is bizarre as that reads “Jeery”

    1. He’s correct about your last name – it does seem like a misspelling. I didn’t catch that at first.

      Your fist name is fine though. That’s a common issue when transliterating names into Arabic – it’s never going to be perfect given the differences in alphabet and phonetics.

      1. It seems to be a universal problem when transliterating names into a language with a different alphabet. Sometimes the letters are ‘translated’ to nearest equivalent, sometimes it’s attempted phonetically.

        I have a copy of the Russian military map of part of Cornwall** and many of the place name ‘translations’ into Cyrillic are quite entertaining.

        (** There’s a map shop in Riga, Latvia, which somehow scored a truckload of Russian military maps of the world and they sell them on Ebay).


    2. ‘Why Evolution Is Completely False’ by professor Jeery Cooni.

      Apart from those minor details, the translation on the cover is perfect.

  2. Cover:

    “Jerry Coyne

    Why Evolution is True


    Samy Mohammad Zalat”

    Along the edge of the cover in the top right:

    National Translation Center

    Title Page:

    “Why Evolution is True

    Author: Jerry Coyne
    Translation: Samy Mohammad Zalat”

    The back cover would take longer. Don’t have time right now. Sorry.

  3. Congratulations Prof!
    Next the children’s book long in the offing, ehich I hope isn’t dead in the water.
    Then the children’s [& adult’s] penguin book, which is a natural for you now.

    Oh & as pointed out by Dominic last December HERE on WEIT… 🙂

  4. Super!

    But I’m confused- Is that the same cover as the translation from – was it last year? I seem to think it was Egyptian? I have no idea…

  5. BACK COVER The process I used below is somewhat borked I suspect! 🙂

    [1] USING OCR TO GET THIS [can’t get it to align right as it should]:

    لم تحظ التساقليارنتي القيكنذطه عنها وأجاربر عليها العام ممخئصوصي. ٠١الكو١ن
    الذي نعيننر فيه بيلآ هزا القير من التعجمب والغضسي مثل التطور،
    ربما نرجع نيللي إل أنه لا يمكن أخذ ما يتعلق قنىيانجرارتن الماثلة والجسيتارت
    العابرة بمحمل لتيحمصوي٠ معرفة ةالتطور وما جاء به يمكن أين ١نيغير نظننا
    للحياة، فو يظهر لنا سمكاننا في هذه الحياة الزاخرة والحافلة ويربطنا يكل
    كاتي جى يعيغرى على أريننا الآن وبعغءرارنح الألوعع مانى رالكاثنارنر اليس
    سبقتنا يالعيأنر عليها. .يستطبنع التطور أون يقدم لنا الرواية الحقيقية عرق
    نياتنا فيبعدنا بذلللا عن الاساطير الت قبىايننونمينا بها لآلاقى السنين ،إلا

    أن ا لبععنريرا اها روايادنت مرع٠به ةوغيرإ يرونها منية ةللغاية


    She did not enjoy the tyranny of Alkiknththa and forced by the year Mkhosaosi. 1 CO 1
    In which Bela was shocked by the agitation and mystery like evolution,
    Perhaps Nelly returns that it is not possible to take what relates to the canals of the present and the jesetart
    Knowing the evolution and what came with it can change the way we think
    For life, Fu shows us our place in this busy and busy life and connects us to tireless
    Katie J. is tempting to show us now
    Preceded us Aalanar them. Evolution evokes the real novel presents us a sweat
    Our intentions are to keep us away from the myths that have been received by us for years

    The fact that it is a ruiadent is terrifying.

    1. Gosh, I wish I could write like that – in English! The syntax! The vocabulary! I’d have a cult following in no time.

      1. It has a RomCom crossed with SciFi Warring Galactic Empires feel about it. I would defo read the parallel universe version of WEIT portrayed in that translation. Do Bela & Nelly survive & become firm friends or does Katie J. stick her oar in & ruin everything? I need to know!

  6. Back cover, per google lens.

    The questions revealed and answered by science about the universe in which we live did not get so much wonder and anger as evolution. Knowing the evolution and what has come about can change our outlook on life. Evolution can provide us with the true story of our upbringing, thus keeping us away from the myths that we have accepted for thousands of years.

    My apologies of this is duplicate; my first post didn’t seem to come through….

  7. That is bad-ass…like the writers of Snakes on a Plane came up with the book cover. It’d definitely catch my eye if I saw it on a shelf.

  8. I remember hearing a statistic(at the time I believed it, but thinking back on it it sounds a bit too neat to be true) that more books are translated into Spanish in a single year than have been translated into Arabic over the last two thousand years.

    It’s probably not quite as bad as that, but still, the fact that you managed to get WEIT past the Islamic censors, even if it’s in small numbers, is impressive.

    You never know how transformative a single book can be to a person, especially in a culture where people are encouraged not to ask about evolution.

    1. If memory serves, it is a point that Richard Dawkins made somewhere along the way. Or maybe it was Christopher Hitchens. I get my new atheists all confused. 😉

      1. ‘New Atheists’…all of that seems like such a long time ago.

        If it was Dawkins it was probably right. He was pretty meticulous.

    2. Here is the relevant data(cited by Sam Harris)

      Most Arab countries have not learned from the lessons of the past and the field of translation remains chaotic. In terms of quantity, and notwithstanding the increase in the number of translated books from 175 per year during 1970-1975 to 330, the number of books translated in the Arab world is one fifth of the number translated in Greece. The aggregate total of translated books from the AlMa’moon era to the present day amounts to 10,000 books – equivalent to what Spain translates in a single year (Shawki Galal, in Arabic, 1999, 87)3 . This disparity was revealed in the first half of the 1980s when the average number of books translated per 1 million people in the Arab world during the 5-year period was 4.4 (less than one book for every million Arabs), while in Hungary it was 519, and in Spain 920. (Figure 2.9.)</blockquote)


      1. Thanks, it was from The End Of Faith, you’re right.

        No wonder so many young people turn to extremism. The hardliners have such a loathing of extra-religious culture.

    3. “You never know how transformative a single book can be to a person, especially in a culture where people are encouraged not to ask about evolution.”

      This is so true — in any culture including our own (western democracies).

      I’ve certainly had some transformational books. The God Delusion and WEIT are right up there.

    4. That is sad. WEIT should be translated in all languages even when beliefs are different from their own culture You would think after a Thousand years, this would have changed. Science and religion can co-exist together

  9. Congratulations, dr. Jerry Coyne! I hope the delay will be timely after all. It seems the number of apostates it rising as we speak.

  10. Congratulations on the translation!
    I heard long ago that teaching the evolution of plants and animals, Darwin style, was ok in Iran, and the concept is included in biology textbooks. The sticker is that teaching human evolution is prohibited.

  11. As I have often said, education is the solution to stupidity. This should help. I will be interested to see if it gets wider distribution. I imagine a young Arab student, in some countries, hiding a copy under the mattress to be read in secret.

    1. Being raised in a deeply religious culture can sometimes give particular emphasis to the conversion to science when it finally takes place. One of CS Lewis’s characters said it quite well, although in a different context: “As the desert first teaches men to love water, or as absence first reveals affection, there rises up against this background of the sour and the crooked some kind of vision of the sweet and the straight… there it was solid, massive, with a shape of its own, almost like something you could touch, or eat, or fall in love with. … He was not thinking in moral terms at all; or else (what is much the same thing) he was having his first deeply moral experience.”

      For me, what happened as I read the works of Dawkins and other inspiring science writers was the realization that there is something big and beautiful and inspiring out there- Truth, and Evidence, and the unimaginably long and complex history of life on earth, compared to which the myths of my religious upbringing seemed positively insipid.

      I can well believe there are young Muslims, up late at night with a flashlight reading the copy of WEIT they keep hidden under their mattress, trembling and feeling heart palpitations as the world of science and reality unfolds to them for the first time.

      I can also imagine the religious parent who discovers the book and feels disappointed that it wasn’t pornography. Porn is so much easier to deal with…

  12. has become clear to many rational people that the theory of the atheist Darwin has been consigned to the trash can of history, because it was refuted by the disbelieving scientists of the West before Muslim scientists, as it is contrary to common sense and the teachings of various religions.

    Empirical science has proven the falseness of this theory, on the basis of definitive evidence, and that it is not a scientific theory at all.

    Specialists have refuted the idea of evolution in animals and plants, in ways that make this theory unfit for continued examination, let alone believing in it.

    We do have specialists in the arab world and the they work is well known in eygpt and other places who have clarified the falsnes of this satanic adelogy such as dr.iyad qunaibi

    1. I don’t know where to start with this ridiculous comment, except with the knowledge that I”m going to ban the sender after I respond.

      1. Darwin was not an atheist; he was probably a deist.
      2. Evolutionary theory has not been refuted because it’s “contrary to common sense”
      3. I wrote a book on the empirical evidence for evolution. You apparently haven’t read it.

      And I don’t say this often, but you’re a blithering idiot. Bye.

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