It’s an act worthy of Nicolae Ceauşescu, or Idi Amin — but the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar has taken legal action that effectively blocks more than a million weblogs from access in Turkey — all the blogs on WordPress, the host of this blog.
Here’s the general announcement to WordPress clients. This site has the text of the threats from Oktar’s lawyers to WordPress.
Here’s a link to Matt’s blog, which has more discussion.
Adnan Oktar is the guy who pays people to write under the name Harun Yahya. Under that name he has published dozens of anti-evolution screeds. You may recall that, in the past year, he has financed the publication of an 800-page book, handsomely bound with scores of pictures (many of them plagiarized), claiming evolution could not account for features of living things. The scientifically vacuous book was delivered to schools and libraries across Europe in 2006, and then to thousands of U.S. scientists, teachers and libraries earlier in 2007. (Here’s a good summary of creationism and Islam, from Taner Edis.)
I suggested in comments that protests should be made to the European Union. Turkey is working to gain admittance to the EU, and childish, totalitarian eruptions such as Oktar’s getting a court to censor a million blogs, significantly detract from Turkey’s chances and case. There is high irony here, too — Oktar is one of those who has willingly spread false claims that evolution was a cause of the Holocaust (when he’s not busy denying the Holocaust happened; consistency and accuracy are not among his strong points) — heck, just a few months ago he was claiming evolution is the cause of terrorism.
Do you have better ideas about what to do?
I hope the few of you who read this blog will spread this word far and fast.
Such disruptions of communication over an entire nation are the dreams of terrorists. Are we to understand that Adnan Oktar does this because Darwin convinced him? Or are his actions direct denial of his earlier claims?
I have been a journalist for a long time, having joined the Society of Professional Journalists in 1974. I spent many years in Washington, slugging it out against people who wished they had the power of censorship, and some who actually did have that power in other nations. I do not recall any similarly stupid activity outside of totalitarian governments, most of which are now gone.