I loved the response in the article of evolutionary biologist, Kevin Padian, about why universities in the US have had a much calmer response to Harun Yahya compared to France:
“In our country we are used to nonsense like this,” said Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who, like colleagues there, found a copy in his mailbox.Too bad so much money is being spent on promoting this kind of work:
He said people who had received copies were “just astounded at its size and production values and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is.
“If he sees a picture of an old fossil crab or something, he says, ‘See, it looks just like a regular crab, there’s no evolution,’ ” Dr. Padian said. “Extinction does not seem to bother him. He does not really have any sense of what we know about how things change through time.”
While they said they were unimpressed with the book’s content, recipients marveled at its apparent cost. “If you went into a bookstore and saw a book like this, it would be at least $100,” said Dr. Miller, an author of conventional biology texts. “The production costs alone are astronomical. We are talking millions of dollars.”
And then there’s postage. Dr. Padian said his copy was shipped by a company called SDS Worldwide, which has an office in Illinois. Calls and e-mail messages to the company were not returned, but Dr. Padian said he spoke to someone there who told him SDS had received a cargo-container-size shipment of books, “with everything prepaid and labeled. It just went all over the country.”
And here is a plug for an excellent new book by Taner Edis: An Illusion of Harmony: Science & Religion in Islam. I have just finished reading it and its perhaps the best book on the subject since Pervez Hoodbhoy's Muslims and Science.
Support for creationism is also widespread among Muslims, said Dr. Edis, whose book “An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam” was published by Prometheus Books this spring.
“Taken at face value, the Koran is a creationist text,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to find a scholar of Islam “who is going to be gung-ho about Darwin.”
Perhaps as a result, he said, Mr. Yahya’s books and other publications have won him attention in Islamic areas. “This is a guy with some influence,” Dr. Edis said, “unfortunately for mainstream science.”
There may be some positive signs. Couple of years ago, bookstores in Islamabad were full of Harun Yahya books. In fact, many had special sections featuring his books. However, now its relatively hard to find his books. I fact, Saeed Book Bank - one of the most prominent bookstores in Islamabad, had no English copies of his books in stock. Similarly, I found out that there were questions on evolution in 10th grade exams. So either his popularity has gone down a bit in Pakistan or this is the calm before the storm.