Monday, December 31, 2012

Students attack anti-evolution fossils in Turkey

by Salman Hameed

So here is some advice. If you don't agree with someone - however idiotic their position - don't resort to violence. There are a number of psychics operating here in western Massachusetts - and they are taking advantage of individuals - but that doesn't mean one has to go and attack their shops and stalls. So here comes the news that "leftist" students in Turkey have attacked a "fossil exhibit" at a metro station on the campus of Uludag University in Bursa (tip from Rainer Bromer):

A group of 30 students in Bursa have allegedly vandalized a fossil exhibition at Uludağ University, beating three security guards, breaking into the exhibition and damaging the fossils.  
The students recorded the attack, shouting slogans and taking photos with the damaged fossils, which they claim are fake. The exhibit has been organized by an anti-evolution group that claims the fossils on display prove that life forms have not changed over thousands of years, while others doubt the authenticity of the fossils. 
This is probably an exhibit of Harun Yahya's group - and yes, most of the stuff written by his organization is intellectual garbage. But evolution is a charged topic in Turkey and it maps onto the political landscape as well. This past May, I had a chance to witness a protest against a creationist conference in Marmara, and there was a sizable presence of cops (see pictures and my post here).

Here is Mustafa Akyol commenting on this affair: 
A very interesting attack took place the other day at Uludağ University in Bursa, a major Turkish city. A group of some 30 students broke into an exhibition, beat up three security guards, and shattered some of the objects on display. The damaged objects were none other than animal fossils, as this was a “fossil exhibition.” 
Now, before going deeper into the story let me stop here and ask what most Western readers would think when they hear about this news? My bet is that most of them would readily assume the militant students in question are “religious fundamentalists” who can’t stand to see facts about Darwinian evolution and, ultimately, science itself — the torch of reason, enlightenment and modernity.  
However, the facts in this incident were quite the opposite. The fossil exhibition was intended to promote not Darwinian evolution, but its main adversary: creationism, or the view that species have been divinely created rather than evolving gradually. And the students who attacked the exhibition were “fundamentalists” not of religion, but rather of one of its arch enemies: They were the members of the Turkish Communist Party or the “University Collectives,” a Marxist student association.
I hate to say this, but Akyol has a point here (by the way, Akyol used to be with the Harun Yahya group, then was an ID supporter, before settling in for theistic evolution: See my post - Mustafa Akyol's clarification on evolution). However, this is coming at the backdrop of student protests against the brutal crackdown by the AKP government. This doesn't excuse the actions here - but may provide the larger context of the incident. 


Tim Allan said...

It is a shame that the rationalism of science is confused with emotional belief. A lack of rational thought, linked with emotion and belief is just as dangerous to scientific advancement as it is to religion.

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