Voodoo historian and crank scientist “Harun Yahya” (it’s a pseudonym) has done the Rev. D. James Kennedy one better — he’s sending books to school libraries in Turkey claiming that Darwin is responsible for terrorism.
For years U.S. creationists have bragged about their reach into Turkey and Islam. Whether Moslems regard it as a toe-hold for Christianity, or whether American creationists have any compunction about working to stir up religious strife in Moslem nations, sane people who work for peace, justice and knowledge should be concerned.
In a chutzpa-filled claim that would take away the breath of Baron Munchausen, Yahya claims that Darwin is reponsible for fascism, communism and terrorism — never mind that fascists, communists and terrorists generally denounce Darwin and espouse the views of Yahya on evolution.
To find the front lines of a culture war in Turkey, walk into a kebab shop in the Uskudar district of Istanbul. Meat sizzles on metal skewers, and Persian carpets adorn the walls. Look closely and you’ll find a portrait of Charles Darwin—framed in dripping blood.
This is a “creation museum,” the brainchild of Adnan Oktar. He’s the 50-year-old founder of Bilim Araştirma Vakfi (“Scientific Research Foundation”), a creationist organization mounting one of the most potent offensives against evolution outside of the United States.
And later in the same article:
Turkey is among the most Western of Muslim nations. It teaches evolution in its schools, but, even so, appears to be losing the science education battle. In 1985 the minister of education mandated that creationism be included in science textbooks. By the late 1990s, the BAV was attacking scientists who opposed a creationist curriculum via slander and death threats. The cumulative damage to science has been significant. Ümit Sayin, a neurologist at Istanbul University and outspoken critic of Turkish creationism, estimates that the number of university-educated Turks who understand evolution has dropped to 20 percent from 40 percent over the past 15 years.
BAV, founded in 1990, grew from the Turkish fringe into a global media empire. Oktar claims to have 4.5 million followers worldwide, who read his hundreds of books and essays and have seen the dozens of television documentaries that BAV produces and provides free of charge to Turkish TV stations. BAV’s Web sites offer downloadable PowerPoint presentations and questions to challenge science teachers. The foundation organizes anti-evolution conferences and petitions and runs a telemarketing scheme to sell books by Harun Yahya (Oktar’s pen name), which are available globally in 29 languages. Only Oktar and his lieutenants seem to know where the money for all these initiatives comes from, and they’re not telling.
That’s pretty impressive: A group rises to power with terroristic threats against academics, and then charges that those same academics are the terrorists.
One might wonder why the death threats would be necessary, were there any truth to the claims against Darwin. Yahya prefers the fear that academics might feel. Chilling free speech and serious academic discussion is his goal.
“Atlas of Creation” offers over 500 pages of splendid images comparing fossils with present-day animals to argue that Allah created all life as it is and evolution never took place.
Then comes a book-length essay arguing that Darwinism, by stressing the “survival of the fittest,” has inspired racism, Nazism, communism and terrorism.
“The root of the terrorism that plagues our planet is not any of the divine religions, but atheism, and the _expression of atheism in our times (is) Darwinism and materialism,” it says.
One Istanbul school unexpectedly received three copies recently. “It’s very well done, with magnificent photos – a very stylish tool of creationist propaganda,” said the headmaster, who asked not to be named.
Such a campaign highlights the importance of making sure that good science is taught in U.S. schools. Crank claims of voodoo science and voodoo history will harm our scientific and educational institutions, cripple our technological abilities, and leave the nation behind in critical areas of research, such as disease prevention and cure, and the treatment of biological attacks by terrorists.
Next time you hear a creationist in the U.S. making the same claims that this Islamic group makes, ask them whose side they are really on in the struggle against terrorism, and in the fight for peace and justice.
You can read more:
Update: Yahya makes Larry Moran look positively calm, cool and collected. Go see the Moran controversy, Moran’s view, Brayton’s view, Myers’ view.
Oh, what the heck — here’s the first salvo at Telic Thoughts, too. You’re a smart reader, you won’t be suckered in. Will Telic Thoughts bloggers defend Yahya’s work as “academic freedom,” or will they see it for the voodoo science and history that it is?