The worst diffuses well

It’s really a shame: the United States does have some very good things, like an excellent higher education system (which is declining with drooping support, but that’s a different subject), a fine Constitution, and good pizza, but what is making headway in the rest of the world? McDonalds and creationism. Turkey has the creationism bug even worse than we do, and guess who infected them?

In the 1980s, Turkey was still reeling from a military coup d’etat. The socially conservative government that took control after the junta relinquished power changed the science curriculum in schools, Kence says. After the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court case “Edwards v. Aguillard,” which prohibited the teaching of creationism in American public school science courses, he says creationists’ gaze moved abroad. Turkey came calling.

“In collaboration with American creationists, the Minister of Education in Turkey called the Institute for Creation Research and asked for their help,” he says. New textbooks were printed and distributed, and over time teachers began to teach creationism and evolution side by side.

A spokesperson at the Ministry of Education confirmed that government-sanctioned biology textbooks label evolution as a theory, as do scientists everywhere, but also teach creationism alongside it, as a rival theory.

It’s pathetic and sad, too, when I look at the Turkish creationist literature, like Harun Yahya’s junk: it isn’t original or interesting or exotic, it really is exactly the same crap the ICR and similar evangelical creationist missionary outfits have been peddling since the 1960s. You can look at that ghastly Atlas of Creation that Yahya was mailing out to scientists everywhere and trace everything in it back to Duane Gish and Ron Wyatt and all the wacky Ark hunters who go off to Turkey to hike around Mt Ararat and spread gospel tracts.

The people who gravitate to creationism really are the bottom of the barrel, without a single original idea in their heads. And that seems to be true world-wide.


  1. raven says

    The American creationists also got South Korea which just took evolution out of their biology textbooks, thanks to a fundie xian President.

    I suppose they are working hard in Africa as well. Uganda is one of the places they’ve been with their gay genocide plan.

  2. Sastra says

    The only “original” ideas in creationism — or pseudoscience in general — is the ingenious way evidence and argument can be molded so that a superficial, sympathetic glance in that direction will look like science is confirming what people instinctively thought to be true anyway. Being superficial and sympathetic are considered methodological virtues when we’re dealing with Faith. Motivated people are nothing if not ingenious. It makes then ingenuous — which eventually leads to deception, of self and others.

    From what I can tell, the more a culture thinks that there is something special, significant, or superior to being a “person of faith,” the more pseudoscience you’ll find. I suspect that’s because compartmentalization can only go so far before it has to be abandoned. It makes no sense to think of reality as containing different sorts of objective truths which can be known using “different ways of knowing.” Unless your spiritual/religious views are explicitly and consciously adopted as poetic concepts for the mundane — which makes you a defacto atheist — then you’re going to start sneaking your personal “truths” over the line into everybody’s truth.

    And you’re going to feel very noble and enlightened when you do it.

  3. bobbyearle says

    …it really is exactly the same crap the ICR and similar evangelical creationist missionary outfits have been peddling since the 1960s.

    I’m still waiting to hear something new. Anything.

    The wait continues.

  4. says

    No, I think the artificial flies used in Yahya’s illustration were original. That’s probably it, though.

    They do leave out the young-earth BS for the most part, just for the record. Practically makes them IDiots, if still not quite that vapid.

    Glen Davidson

  5. steinbart says

    Sorry, but – good pizza? Not to be mean or anything, but what America did to good pizza might be worse than its contribution to the global rise of creationism. ;)

  6. alektorophile says


    Hear hear. I second that assessment. Among many sins: pineapple. Really? Pineapple? On a pizza? What’s wrong with you people?

  7. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Turkey has also been in the news of late due to debate on abortion rights. A quick search on Google News tells me that the government is dropping the plans to create further restrictions on abortion, though.

  8. marilove says

    A good Hawaiian pizza is THE BOMB. If you use fresh ingredients, it is just the right amount of sweet acidity, mixed with the great meaty-salt flavor of good Canadian bacon.


  9. lx1907 says

    I was born and raised in Turkey. I’ve graduated from high school in 2001. My experience have been with private schools in Turkey, so the next person in public school may have had a different experience.

    At the time of my high school years there were no debate of evolution vs. creationism. I haven’t realized there was such debate until I came to the states for college. Biology classes covered fairly good ground in evolution with minor mention of the human ancestry. Since the curriculum was approved by the ministry of education I can only assume this was similar in other high schools.

    From what I’ve been following in the media things have changed drastically in Turkey within the last decade. Religious right gained huge support, so the secularism of the country eroded a little in each election.

    Last month, abortion was the hot topic. Those who in favor of banning would point the finger and say it is also being considered in the US.

  10. DLC says

    #6+7 : Pizza. yeah and you can buy boiled cat in paris too, so?
    Or, in scientific terms, you’re taking “worst-sample” and generalizing.

    Our education system has turned out top level people in almost all fields of endeavor, and will continue to do so if we keep it from sliding down the drain into shitsville.

    Allowing creationist bullshit to be taught in schools would only hasten that decline. Consider how much remedial education we have to do with college freshmen as it is.

  11. ibyea says

    I am sick and tired of fundies and conservatives winning everywhere. When are liberals gonna start growing some fangs?

  12. macrophage says

    “…without a single original idea in their heads…”

    Well they do continuously copy someone else’s book without even crediting the original author.

  13. jamesevans says

    Hopefully this factors into Turkey’s EU membership bid. I assume a country’s educational system is evaluated during the process.

  14. scifi says

    He Nerd,
    Your assignment, even if you don’t choose to accept, is to go to Turkey and counter the creationist movement. Your wasting your time here.

    Seriously, the creationist movement with their literal belief that everything was created around 6000 years ago and their stupid attempt to prove the myth of Noah’s ark is truly frustrating. A creationist hit me with the statement that 45% of the population believes this. I countered that that was because most people hope for continuation of consciousness after they die, so they will believe anything to back up their wishful thinking.

    And Nerd, I repeat that I am not a creationist, I just believe that the start of the universe required a creator. At the same time, I realize that since I no longer believe in Christianity, this could mean this is it, you only go around once. If so, so be it. I prefer knowing the truth. Too bad most atheists here don’t care about the truth. They are more concerned about stating that our universe started naturally and will firmly stick to this belief and ridicule any suggestion that a creator just might have been required even though the atheist has no proof for their belief. To that I can only say one thing. Keep the Faith baby. :-)

    PZ, though I’m not a “creationist”, I would have loved to debate you tomorrow, but I have no web camera and am going to be out bike riding anyway. Good luck on your debate with true creationists, though I don’t think you will need it. They are such a dumb lot. The one I debated, Paul G. Humber, quit on me when I suggested he was delusional for suggesting that Noah’s global flood and ark was authentic and not a myth. BTW, I did watch the debate between Michael Shermer and Hovind. I m must say that I was surprisingly impressed with Hovind’s debating skills especially since he was arguing man-made Biblical text as authentic. I was somewhat disappointed with Shermer. Perhaps Christopher Hitchens would have been better, but where he shines is not science, it is showing the bad things about religion. On that subject, there is no one as good.

  15. says

    You know, scifi, you are such a pompous dumbass that you are immediately and permanently confined to posting on the TZT thread. I don’t want to see your idiocy anywhere else.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And Nerd, I repeat that I am not a creationist, I just believe that the start of the universe required a creator.

    Definition of a creationist, which your meager mental talents fails to acknowledge. Your creator is imaginary, as you have no evidence to support that delusion. MAKING YOU A DELUSIONAL FOOL.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see no links to evidence from Sciloh, so it said nothing. When one like ShiFi is a proven liar and bullshitter, as it is, they must supply citations to support everything they say. Their word and OPINIONS are worthless drivel.

  18. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    And Nerd, I repeat that I am not a creationist, I just believe that the start of the universe required a creator.

    You really aren’t very smart.

  19. truebutnotuseful says

    scifi wrote @ #15:

    I am not a creationist, I just believe that the start of the universe required a creator.

    “I am not a Christian, I just believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that if I accept him as my personal savior I will be saved from the eternal lake of fire.”

    “I am not a Libertarian, I just believe that all taxation is theft and unlimited personal freedom trumps a stable society.”

    “I am not a mammal, I’m just a hairy, warm-blooded, nipple-having vertebrate.”

    “I am not a fan of Spiderman, I just believe that Spiderman is superior to all other superheroes. Also, there are pictures of Spiderman on my underwear and bedsheets.”

  20. scifi says

    Funny, I gave you a complement. So who really is the pompous ass here? Ban me, I don’t really give a shit. This blog is nothing more than a wasteland of pompous asses.

  21. Amphiox says

    Just because you gave a backhanded, transparently dishonest “compliment” to PZ doesn’t change the fact that the rest of your pathetic post was piece of stinking pompous idiocy, shiffy.

    Like everything else you’ve posted in a long, long time.


  22. consciousness razor says

    scifi is feeling a little banhammered right now.

    Great, now he’s probably having an out-of-body experience. Just what he wanted.

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This blog is nothing more than a wasteland of pompous asses.

    Yeah, we don’t believe a word a proven liar and bullshitter like SciFi/Shiloh says, and we refute his fuckwitted idiocy with facts and logic. Makes it hard for a presuppositionalist wanker to effectively preach their fuckwittery. The laughter and facts get in the way…

    What SciFi/Shiloh never learned:
    What is the null hypothesis, and why it is used.
    What parsimony is, and how it is used.
    What logic is, and how it is used.
    What common definitions are, and how they are used.
    Why extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence.
    Why not far less than ordinary evidence cannot back extraordinary claims
    How to acknowledge being refuted.
    How to acknowledge absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
    In order to prove a negative, that which is being refuted must be sufficiently defined to be falsifiable.
    If not defined sufficiently to be falsifiable, it is nonsense, like the stupornatural.
    On ad infinitum.