Seems like just yesterday that I was talking about the censorship-happy creationists. Turns out, it was five days ago. Creationists like to pretend that they are censored (so they can stoke beliefs of victimization), but tend to be much more active at preventing critical comments from showing up on their blogs. Well, you can’t read WordPress in Turkey now. Why? Because Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya – *the* major creationist group in Turkey) was unhappy about the things that wordpress bloggers were saying, so he talked the Turkish government into blocking WordPress from the entire country. (Timpanogos has some more commentary on this.)
For those not familiar with Harun Yahya (the pen name of Adnan Oktar), he runs an organization that creates all kinds of creationist materials. Recently, he claimed that evolution is the source of terrorism:
Oktar’s group claims Darwin is responsible for communism, fascism, and terrorism. Terrorists, according to Oktar, are “social Darwinists hiding under the cloak of religion,” while communists, still active in Turkey, are in “bloody alliance” with Darwinism. “Evolution is a communist and fascist belief,” offers Tarkan Yavas, BAV’s president. “The Muslim community understands that now.” (Link)
Adnan is the founder of BAV – Bilim Araştirma Vakfi (“Scientific Research Foundation”), which is a creationist group. (What an Orwellian naming scheme.) They lead (and won) the fight to get professors to stop teaching evolution in Turkey. How did they do this? By scaring and browbeating professors into silence.
In 1985 the [Turkish] minister of education mandated that creationism be included in science textbooks. By the late 1990s, the BAV was attacking scientists who opposed a creationist curriculum via slander and death threats. The cumulative damage to science has been significant. Ümit Sayin, a neurologist at Istanbul University and outspoken critic of Turkish creationism, estimates that the number of university-educated Turks who understand evolution has dropped to 20 percent from 40 percent over the past 15 years. (Link)
Professors there say they were harassed and threatened, and some of them were slandered in fliers that labeled them “Maoists” for teaching evolution. In 1999, six of the professors won a civil court case against BAV for defamation and were awarded $4,000 each. (Link)
According to the court documents, “a severe and unjust attack was perpetrated on the plaintiffs’ personal rights, by listing the names of the scientists defending the theory of evolution and describing them as communists and separatists on the flyers distributed by the foundation.” (Link)
But seven years after BAV’s offensive began, says Istanbul University forensics professor Umit Sayin (one of the slandered faculty members), the battle is over.
“There is no fight against the creationists now. They have won the war,” Sayin tells the Pitch from his home in Istanbul. “In 1998, I was able to motivate six members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences to speak out against the creationist movement. Today, it’s impossible to motivate anyone. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked by the radical Islamists and the BAV.”
“Evolution is presented [by BAV] as a conspiracy of the Jewish and American imperialists to promote new world order and fascist motives … and the majority of the people believe it.” (Link)
So, they accuse “Darwinism” to be the cause of terrorism, but use slander and death threats to get their way.
Despite all of Adnan Oktar’s underhanded and nasty ways, the Kansas board of education decided to bring him in to testify at their 2005 pro-Creationist court case (which was widely regarded as a Creationist kangaroo court designed to confer legitimacy to creationism). Scary the kinds of allies US creationists can attract, isn’t it?