Thanks To Harun Yahya, Turkey Has Become The Center Of Creationism

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In his newly published book, Taner Edis, an associate professor of physics from Truman State University, considers the theory of evolution and belief in creation in the Islamic world. The book discusses the change in the views regarding the theory of evolution of Muslims living in Turkey in particular, and states that since the 1990s Turkey has become the center of Islamic creationism and has gone way beyond the Christian world on this subject. Some of the statements in the book on this subject read:
  • The work of “Harun Yahya,” said to be a pseudonym for Adnan Oktar, was central to the newest wave of creationism. . . .  around 1997, he reappeared as the leading figure of Turkish creationism. A number of books under the name of Harun Yahya hit the shelves, promoting creationism alongside some other preoccupations of Islamic conservatives in Turkey. An organization called the Science Research Foundation promoted the Yahya books and made creationism a centerpiece of its views on science and culture. These efforts tied in with a series of “international conferences” promoting creationism, in which Turkish creationist academics shared the stage with American creationists from ICR and similar organizations.
  • From the beginning, the distinguishing feature of Harun Yahya’s creationism was its very modern, media-savvy nature. Previously, Turkish creationism was a low-budget operation, even when it found official endorsement. . . . Yahya’s operation changed all this. The books that appear under Harun Yahya’s name are attractive, well produced, lavishly illustrated, on good quality paper. . . .  this means that creationist literature looks better packaged than books popularizing mainstream science. Moreover, Yahya did not stop at books, or even at advertising creationism through “conferences,” op-eds, and media events. Soon well-made videos and slick monthly magazines promoting Yahya’s creationism appeared on the market. Indeed, there must have been few forms of media that escaped Harun Yahya’s attention. For the many Turks who cannot afford DVDs, there are creationist videos in the cheaper and quite popular VCD (Video CD-ROM) format. For those put off by the price tag on slick books—though their prices are artificially low—there are cheap booklets on low-quality paper, giving abridged versions of Yahya’s prodigious output. . . . Those online can visit one of the many Web sites devoted to Harun Yahya and creationism, from those that claim to expose the many lies of Darwinist media to the main site that makes practically everything written under the Yahya name available at no cost.
  • Yahya’s creationism appeals beyond the core audience of conservative religious believers. There are many pious but also modernized people, many who work in a high-tech world but seek to anchor themselves in tradition and spirituality. So the Harun Yahya material is distributed in secular book and media outlets, not just in religious bookstores or stalls adjoining mosques. They are available in some supermarket chains, just like Christian inspirational books are found in Wal-Marts across the United States.
  • Even the way the Yahya material uses the Turkish language indicates a desire to reach a broader audience. . . . The Yahya material uses a simpler, less Arabized everyday Turkish. . ..
  • The way Adnan Oktar and others associated with the Yahya material present themselves also reinforces the modern image of the new creationism. . . . they conspicuously endorse modern clothing and modern lifestyles. . . . They are … leaders who have a key to reconciling science and religion . . .
  • . . . Yahya touches on just about all the typical creationist themes, alleging that transitional fossils do not exist, that functioning intermediate forms are impossible anyway, that the evidence for human evolution is fraudulent, that radiometric dating methods are unreliable, that physical cosmology produces clear signs that the universe is a divine design, and that evolution at the molecular level is statistically impossible.
  • Yahya also explains why Western scientists and Turkish fellow-travelers are so enamored of evolution if it is so clearly false. Like Christian creationists, Yahya thinks that beguiled by the secular philosophies of the European Enlightenment, scientists got caught up in a long war against God.
  • . . . Harun Yahya favorably cites old-earth creationists who proclaim that the big bang proves the existence of God, and enthusiastically adopts the [creation] view that physical constants are fine-tuned to produce intelligent life and that this fine-tuning cannot have any naturalistic explanation. . . . He uses any suggestion that Darwin was wrong or that the universe is a divine design . . .
  • As a growing media operation, the natural next step for Harun Yahya was to go global. Harun Yahya books, articles, videos, and Web materials were made available first in English, French, German, Malay, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Serbo-Croat (Bosniak), Polish, and Albanian. Interestingly, Western languages and languages used in the periphery of the Islamic world preceded languages of the Islamic heartland. This is not a great surprise—creationism finds its largest market in partially westernized countries like Turkey and in the Muslim immigrant communities in the West. . . . Still, translations into Urdu and Arabic soon followed, as did Indonesian, Estonian, Hausa, Bulgarian, Uighur, Kiswahili, Bengali, and more. Harun Yahya books are now available in many Islamic bookstores around the world, especially as English translations have been printed in London, the global center of Islamic publishing.
  • This global venture appears to be another success. Harun Yahya has become popular throughout the Muslim world; he is no longer just a Turkish phenomenon. Articles under Yahya’s name regularly appear in Islamic publications all over the world. Even in the United States, mass-market introductory books . . . present Yahya as a “top” Muslim scientist with a worthwhile critique of evolution.
  • From small meetings in San Francisco to a series of public presentations in Indonesia, from books to videos to the small Creation Museums that opened in Istanbul in 2006, the gospel of Yahya’s Islamic creationism continues to spread. The popularity of creationism might be a sign of modernization in the Islamic world . . .
  • Harun Yahya does not have to work hard to convince readers that nature is [created]. He just presents the wondrous interlocking complexity of nature, and the conclusion becomes obvious.
2008-01-06 03:25:23

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