Sunday, March 04, 2007

Intelligent Design Conference in Turkey

It seems that Turkey will be the conduit for anti-evolutionary ideas to the Islamic world. On the one hand there is Harun Yahya (see SRN: Feb 3, 2007), who aligns his organization with Creationist scientists in the US (promoting the idea that all species were created as is), and on the other hand there is Mustafa Akyol, who wants to promote the idea of Intelligent Design (ID) of the variety supported by the Discovery Institute also in the US (promoting the idea that evolutionary theory cannot explain certain biological features and that the best explanation is that these have been designed by some intelligence). So on February 24th, there was an ID conference in Istanbul that was apparently attended by 500 people.

The conference was titled "The Origin of Life On Earth" (you can find talk abstracts at thewhitepath.com)
First, Mustafa Akyol made an opening speech in which he criticized the mindset of Turkish intellectuals who equate science with materialism without question. In the speeches given by David Berlinski and Paul Nelson, a brief but comprehensive criticism of Darwinism and naturalism was introduced along with a summary of basic Intelligent Design arguments. John Lennox made a broader criticism of scientific materialism and reductionism. The last speaker, Alpaslan Açıkgenç, explained how Islam looks at science, nature and life. The presentations were followed by questions and answers.
Aah...so the basic goal was to attack naturalism. It doesn't appear that these talks were really addressing the issue of the origin of life on Earth - unless we include the last talk that was relying directly on the Quran for evidence. After all evolutionary theory explains the diversity of life on Earth but doesn't really address the issue of origin of life nor does ID. (Check here for What is the theory of evolution?)

It will be interesting to see how ID does in Muslim countries. It sounds vaguely scientific and it talks about 'design' which resonates well with several passages in the Quran. The ID proponents in the US go to extreme lengths to not specify the "Designer" as God. This way they can make an attempt to sneak ID in the school system without violating the Church & State separation. However, this issue doesn't exist in most Muslim countries and there is a real danger of such a theory being brought into schools (and colleges). Ironically, Turkey may be one of the few Muslim countries where ID with explicit religious connections will have a hard time getting into the education system.

1 comment:

william said...

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