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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Creationism and popular culture: Turkish creationist in jail?

Nathan Schneider draws my attention to his article on Turkish creationist Harun Yahya (a pen name for Adnan Oktar). He asked for my comments, and here is more or less what I said:

I know little about Yahya myself – and find it useful to know more.

I gathered that he was in some kind of
trouble with the Turkish government recently. Is he really in jail?

My chief worry with Islamic apologetics (which I take to be his primary purpose) is anti-Semitism – a major problem right now in Canada. Yahya says he is totally
opposed to anti-Semitism.

(I don't mind any religion using science facts to bolster its belief system. Such uses can lead to much greater interest in sciences and also to voluntary financial support for research projects. But such projects should never be aimed against another group, only toward bolstering the claims of one's own group.)

A kind person in the Middle East sent me a number of Yahya's books, though not the huge Atlas of which you speak. The books are lavishly prepared - and the style is distinctly Eastern rather than Western.

I admit, I have not read them, but your article motivates me to begin one over the Christmas season, when I have a bit more private time. [I have started this already. - d.]

I was puzzled by your somewhat fatalistic closing: “Simply by writing about Oktar, I reinforce his vision. Anything critical I've written here will be overlooked as the decrepit volleys of Darwinism in retreat.” Or did I misunderstand, and fail to see the irony you intended?

I think Darwinism is necessarily in retreat – as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think that Darwin would be a Darwinist today – he would more likely be the 17th
Altenberger – looking for a non-theistic, non-teleological version of evolution that actually fits the evidence.
Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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