Turkey is The Headquarters Of Creationism

On 14 July 2007, The Independent, one of Britain’s leading dailies, carried a report titled “Turkish scientists confront creationists" theory." In its report, the paper, which has a circulation of 250,000, described the impact of Harun Yahya’s work:

Tensions are rising in Turkey"s schools and universities as academics and scientists confront the growing influence of Islamic creationists.

... Haluk Ertan, a geneticist at Istanbul University, [says] "and yet Turkey has become the headquarters of creationism in the Middle East." Tarkan Yavas, the public face of the Science Research Foundation (BAV), a ... group that has led the charge against evolutionary theory in Turkey for 15 years, boasts: "Not just the Middle East, the world."

Headed by Adnan Oktar, a ... charismatic preacher, BAV made international headlines in February when it mass-mailed its lavishly illustrated, 6kg Atlas of Creation to scientists and schools throughout western Europe. Hundreds of pages juxtapose photographs of fossils and living species, arguing the similarities disprove claims that species adapt with time. Elsewhere, belief in evolution is blamed for communism, Nazism and - under a large photograph of the World Trade Centre in flames - the 9/11 attacks.

"Hitler and Mao were Darwinists," Mr Oktar told journalists last month on a luxury boat trip arranged to answer questions about the atlas. "Darwinism is the only philosophy which values conflict."

A survey last year showed that only 25 per cent of Turks accepted evolution. In a similar survey in 2005, almost 50 per cent of science teachers said they questioned or rejected the theory. "Darwinism is dying in Turkey, thanks to us," says Mr Yavas.

... BAV, ... has organised hundreds of conferences on creationism over the past 10 years as well as a recent flurry of American-style "creation museums" ...

There have been scientific conferences in towns along the Anatolian peninsula in the past few months. ...

Nazli Somel, a former teacher writing a doctorate on Turkish creationism, says: "When the creationist movement surfaced in the early 1990s, many scientists just laughed at it. It"s good to see they"re taking it seriously now."

... up-market versions of creationism have powerful supporters in Turkey.

2008-10-02 02:37:50

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