Saturday, February 03, 2007

Islamic Creationism book swamps French schools & universities

Just to add variety to evolution/creationism debates, we have Turkish author Harun Yahya (this is his pen-name) who has made Islamic Creationism quite popular in the Islamic world. He has a very slick website, documentaries, and a collection of over 100 books attributed to him (yes, and most of these were written in the last 2-3 years). Now his latest book, Atlas of Creation (770 pages), has been sent to tens of thousands of French schools and universities. Its not clear who is funding this campaign, but Harun Yahya's group appears to be doing quite well. Apart from the usual creationist diatribe against evolution, it describes Darwin's theory of evolution as the "true source of terrorism".
The book features a photograph of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center with the caption: "Those who perpetuate terror in the world are in fact Darwinists. Darwinism is the only philosophy that values and incites conflict."
Here is the news article regarding this.

While there is no danger of French schools and universities suddenly adopting Atlas of Creation, this type of campaign can certainly have an impact in Muslim countries. I have had a chance to read through some of his books, and they are a hodge-podge of 'spontaneous creation" and some Intelligent design. And of course, the usual proclamation that theory of evolution is a hoax:
This book will provide you with not only such information as what fossils are and where and how they are found, but also a closer examination of a variety of fossil specimens, millions of years old, that are still able to declare, "We never underwent evolution; we were created." The fossils discussed and illustrated in this book are just a few examples of the hundreds of millions of specimens that prove the fact of creation. And even these few are enough to prove that the theory of evolution is a major hoax and deception in the history of science.


Anonymous said...

Harun Yahya is a very prolific writer, and he touches a wide variety of subjects in his writings. He tries his best to support his view point through logic and reasons. One should prove his point as fair or foul through arguments, discussions, and reasons rather than writing a pernicious mini-article about him or his work.

Anonymous said...

Whether it be the theory of evolution or the concept of intelligent design, we are still in no position to make definitive statements unless we at least know whether life started beyond Earth or not? At least this is what I think. Harun Yahya and his advocates or Drawin's advocates have their own ways to believe what they wish to believe. A theory is a theory, always open to scrutiny and discussion. Not withstanding any criticism on the percieved totality of theory of evolution defies scientific attitudes, and is akin to intolerance. Thinking beyond our wish-list of beliefs and interest is the essence of a scientific understanding.

Anonymous said...

The ONLY philosophy that values and incites conflict? I'd love to read that argument...


Salman Hameed said...

Re: Akbar
I actually agree that all things should be open to criticism. But we don't (usually) challenge the theory of gravity - lets start telling kids in schools that its just a theory and that we neither have to teach it nor understand it. This argument can be made, but the losers will be the kids for being left out of a well-established theory that not only explains some of the workings of the universe, but its understanding also helps us in launching satellites, flying planes, make safer buildings, etc. The theory of evolution is as well established as the theory of gravity. In fact, Darwin did not come up with the idea of evolution, as some people mistakenly think. He provided an explanation (natural selection) of how evolution would proceed in the natural world. In fact, he was not alone even on this: Alfred Russell Wallace had independently proposed the same mechanism, and thus the theory of natural selection is attributed to these two together. While evolution has been accepted by virtually all scientists for over 100 years, Darwin's idea of natural selection has seen a lot of criticism and has been modified over the years. The discovery of the DNA did show that his overall idea about the process of evolution was right. But theories about evolutionary processes have progressed way beyond anything that Darwin ever worked on - 150 years is a long time in science. Thus if we omit the teaching of evolution of schools, we will be depriving kids of knowing about the foundations of modern biology which has led to amazing progress in medicine and in other fields.

Anonymous said...

You are quite correct and the theory of evolution and the concept of natural selection are the great gifts of science and help in understanding the work of nature, just like theories about gravity or subatomic particles, etc. And to make it understandable to kids, we do stick to the old and simple explanations that gravity is a 'force', and the that the light 'always' travels in straight line. And yes the way Mr. Oktar and others present their explanation based on ready-made examples and no practical efforts to prove the credibilty of their work cannot be much appreciated. That is why I say that they have their own ways to believe what they wish to believe. Isn't the fabric of nature getting more and more complicated - fractal style, the more we study it. Our equations are getting longer and wider. However criticizing evolution or any other theory is amenable to those who do some practical research, spend their resources and time, and come through a conclusion. It is upon us what conclusion we draw from the infinite complexity and ultimate perfection of the nature. Some may conclude a self-born and self-sustained process that brought its own birth and progression, and some may find an agent behind it, more powerful than our own understanding of God. It is the defiant nature of man to scrutinize and raise questions and find answers about his surroundings. Suppose there had been no concept of God, then the same evidences about nature would have been used to prove the existence of one. One thought...Science is all about HOW, and religion is all about WHY.

Salman Hameed said...

>One thought...Science is all about HOW, and religion is all about WHY.

Absolutely. Cannot agree more with you. Evolution happened. Big Bang happened. These are the HOWs. What meaning we make out of it is upto individuals and religion certainly provides answers to some of these "why" questions.

Unknown said...

By the way, Yahya never claimed he is the Mahdi. He always comments in his speeches that, if a muslim claims such a thing, this is a great sin.

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