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Nov 20 2009

Harun Yahya on evolution

(My latest book God vs. Darwin: The War Between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom has just been released and is now available through the usual outlets. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the publishers Rowman & Littlefield, and also through your local bookstores. For more on the book, see here. You can also listen to the podcast of the interview on WCPN 90.3 about the book.)

In the previous post, I discussed the book The Creation of the Universe (2000) distributed under the name of Harun Yahya, which is the pseudonym of Adnan Oktar, a Muslim creationist based in Turkey. He has now put out an even more expensive 800-page glossy publication called Atlas of Creation (2006) that gives the creationist arguments against evolution. He has not deigned to send me a copy of it as yet, maybe because I am not on lists of biologist academics or I have dropped down in the rankings of worthy recipients. Darn!

They say politics make for strange bedfellows but so, apparently, does religion. Perhaps no group in America is as hostile to Islam as the evangelical/fundamentalist Christians. But this group has also demonstrated that when it comes to advancing their cause, they are willing to forge alliances with almost anyone. We have seen them cavorting with right-wing Israeli politicians in supporting their appallingly repressive policies towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories because they think such policies advance the day of the glorious Rapture. Of course, on that day Jews and all the other infidels will be slaughtered in a bloody rampage by the forces of Melvin. Why would Melvin commit such mass murder? Because he loves us.

Now, adopting the old dictum of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, American Christians are also joining up with Oktar/Yahya to spread their anti-evolution message worldwide. Scholars have found that Muslim creationists are importing creationist ideas from America to foster their own anti-science extremism in the Islamic world

What is disturbing is that Muslim creationists are not only spreading anti-evolution thinking, but are using it to buttress a virulent form of Islamic fundamentalism that sees the ‘Christian’ west as an enemy. This unholy alliance of supposedly holy groups is going to breed even more extremism.

Islamic creationists differ from Christian creationists in that they are not committed to a young Earth idea. They are willing to accept that the Earth has existed for billions of years. Their range of anti-science views go from demanding that all living species were special creations of god to one in which all species except humans have evolved. But they all denounce the theory of evolution by natural selection as not only wrong but as an idea that has had evil consequences.

As I said in the previous post, Oktar/Yahya’s book The Creation of the Universe (2000) deals mostly with the origins of the physical universe but he has an appendix titled The Evolution Deceit that rehashes the old, familiar, and discredited creationist arguments against evolution.

He says that there must be a creator since all the things that we see could not have occurred by ‘coincidence’ (which is the word he uses for chance), thus ignoring the fact that natural selection is anything but chance but is a highly directed process. He calculates the odds that the base sequences in amino acids and proteins could have occurred by pure chance and writes out the result with a huge number of zeros.

He then reproduces the same bizarre argument about hybrids as Christian creationists, saying that evolution requires a “a bird popped all of a sudden out of a reptile egg” and “the existence of half-bird/half-reptile or half-fish/half-reptile freaks”. Since none of these have been found, evolution must be false (p. 180). He also has the same mistaken idea that a ‘transitional’ form means something less than perfect, saying “Every living species appears instantaneously and in its current form, perfect and complete, in the fossil record.” (p. 184)

Oktar/Yahya has had a love-hate relationship with the intelligent design creationism movement. In his 2000 book, he speaks favorably about ID because they are against evolution. But in a more recent press release, he denounced intelligent design as “another of Satan’s distractions”, since they did not explicitly acknowledge that Allah is the creator of all things but instead spoke vaguely of a ‘designer’ or some kind of ‘force’. Oktar/Yahya has no patience for such wishy-washy euphemisms.

However, ever since the 2005 Dover, PA trial shattered the ID fa├žade that theirs was not a religious theory, intelligent design creationists have been more open about the fact that their secretive designer is none other than (drum roll, please) Melvin. So now Oktar/Yahya seems to be willing to join up with them again.

The Discovery Institute, backers of the intelligent design version of creationism, have seemingly joined forces with Oktar/Yahya, thus finally shedding all pretenses that what they were advocating was a purely scientific idea.

So the Christian and Muslim creationists are joining forces against evolution. But it is only a matter of time before these two groups turn against each other because, after all, Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible belief systems. They each think their own god is the true one and their own book is the one true revelation. They cannot both be right. Allah and Melvin cannot co-exist.

POST SCRIPT: Richard Dawkins on Harun Yahya

Dawkins gives a talk to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain where he exposes the shallowness of Oktar/Yahya’s book against evolution. Dawkins speaks for 16 minutes and then takes questions from the audience.

Unfortunately, the video does not show some of the images Dawkins projects on the screen that illustrate the ludicrousness of Oktar/Yahya’s claims, but you can see a few of them here.

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