Monday, January 14, 2013

A halt to the publication of evolution books in Turkey

by Salman Hameed

This is part of a continuing battle over evolution in Turkey - and this battle is also quite political. Here is the news item (tip from Rainer Bromer):
The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution, daily Radikal has reported.  
The evolutionist books, previously available through TÜBİTAK's Popular Science Publications’ List, will no longer be provided by the council.  
The books have long been listed as “out of stock” on TÜBİTAK's website, but their further publication are now slated to be stopped permanently.  
Books by Richard Dawkins, Alan Moorehead, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Levontin and James Watson are all included in the list of books that will no longer be available to the Turkish readers.
Read the full article here.

I do not have much information about this particular action. But here are a couple of quick thoughts: If this is true, then this is simply idiotic. Evolution has become a political issues between the secularists and the Islamists (terms used very broadly here) for a while - and this may simply be another salvo. The same had happened in 2009, when a TUBITAK magazine cover commemorating Darwin's bicentennial was replaced by a story on global warming (see this post: Controversy over Darwin censorship in Turkey). All said, because of the political underpinnings, we still have to be cautious in believing every reason given by both sides.

Also, for outsiders, this may seem like another episode of Harun Yahya's influence. However, this may have nothing to do with Yahya. Even when I attended the creationist symposium in Istanbul last May, the presence and influence of his group was quite minimal.

I will post an update if I hear something more about this.

Also see:
Students attack anti-evoltuion fossils in Turkey


DonE said...

Looks like there's an update and a response from TÜBİTAK on the same site:

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks Don! I will post it up front as well.

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