The Objectivity Objective.

| 25 Comments | 4 TrackBacks

Pitch.com, an alternative weekly in Kansas, has an excellent article about the ensuing Kangaroo Court in Kansas:

This week’s debate over evolution is Kansas’ trial of the century!

Unlike traditional media outlets that usually shirk any attempt at understanding the issue, and instead just present “both sides” as if they were coequal, Pitch writer Tony Ortega actually tackles the important question: Who are these people and what are they doing here?

It turns out that one of the people being brought to Kansas to testify (on the taxpayers’ dime) is Mustafa Akyol, an Islamic creationist from Turkey who belongs to a rather shady group known as the BAV. The group has made its mark by publishing and distributing literature from Harun Yahya. Sadly, their tactics have worked well in Turkey…

Turkey is a secular country that aspires to join the European Union and boasts several institutions of higher learning on a par with good Western universities. But beginning in 1998, BAV spearheaded an effort to attack Turkish academics who taught Darwinian theory. 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.

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.”

Sayin is well aware of Mustafa Akyol, whom he identifies as one of BAV’s many volunteers. (Akyol himself has described his role for the group as that of a spokesman.) The organization’s source of funding and internal structure are well-guarded secrets, Sayin says. The Turkish government, he adds, refuses to take an interest, tacitly encouraging the ongoing effort against scientists.

“It’s hopeless here,” Sayin says. “I’ve been fighting with these guys for six years, and it’s come to nothing.” As a result of the BAV campaign and other efforts to denounce evolution, he adds, most members of Turkey’s parliament today not only discount evolution but consider it a hoax. “Now creationism is in [high school] biology books,” Sayin says. “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.”

Let’s see… calling evolution a vast conspiracy, likening those who teach it to communists and fascists, harassing and slandering the scientific community, and doing it all with the government’s implied consent. Sounds kind of familiar. But it could never happen here, could it?

[William] Harris included Akyol on a list of witnesses whom he wanted brought in to testify on behalf of intelligent design in this week’s hearings.

Harris says he hasn’t heard of BAV. Told of the group’s harassment of biologists in Turkey and evolution’s defeat there, he replies, “Great! Congratulations! I mean, that is the point, once people start to see science more objectively.”

Lovely.

Anyway, go read the entire article; it’s excellent through and through.

4 TrackBacks

The Intelligent Design creationists in Kansas are shameless. One of their witnesses is Mustafa Akyol, a member of an Islamic creationist group called BAV, which has been responsible for crushing Western ideas in Turkey. "It's hopeless here,&q... Read More

Inherit The Wind, Pt. Duh from Grouchy's Liberaltopia on May 9, 2005 5:59 AM

C&L has the must read round up: The World is not Crazy, Just the people in Them Evolution trial in Kansas-Round Up You can't make this stuff up! PZ Myers has found a unique item to go with your Bumper... Read More

Inherit The Wind, Pt. Duh from Grouchy's Liberaltopia on May 9, 2005 7:38 AM

C&L has the must read round up: The World is not Crazy, Just the people in Them Evolution trial in Kansas-Round Up You can't make this stuff up! PZ Myers has found a unique item to go with your Bumper... Read More

Inherit The Wind, Pt. Duh from Grouchy's Liberaltopia on May 9, 2005 8:13 AM

C&L has the must read round up: The World is not Crazy, Just the people in Them Evolution trial in Kansas-Round Up You can't make this stuff up! PZ Myers has found a unique item to go with your Bumper... Read More

25 Comments

Tony is a great reporter. He’s not timid when it comes to butting heads with well-funded pseudo-science shams either - he has written some of the most scathing articles on the Church of Scientology to date.

Akyol is a representative of the notorious gang going by the name of Harun Yahia. They inundate the internet and printed media with creationist propaganda plus excursions into such things as Holocaust denial and the like. By calling this Turkish islamist to testify on their behalf, the ID advocates reveal their alliance with militant islamists. One more manifestation of the fact that for ID crowd all means are OK if it works for their goals. How telltale. This country used to get more Nobel prizes than any other country in the world. If the creos succeed, say good buy to good science, medicine, etc.

Harris says he hasn’t heard of BAV. Told of the group’s harassment of biologists in Turkey and evolution’s defeat there, he replies, “Great! Congratulations! I mean, that is the point, once people start to see science more objectively.”

Holy crap.

I knew that the Bush Administration had managed to convince people that we shouldn’t trust ‘Old Europe’. But I didn’t know that the goal was to emulate ‘Really Really Old Europe’ instead.

I suppose the idea is to prove that ID Creationism isn’t just a religious belief of Fundamentalist Christians. Did they invite any Raelian speakers?

Here is Mike Hopkins’ article on Harun Yahya and his views on the holocaust.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/org[…]unyahya.html

I suppose that when science standards take another dive in the USA after creationists manage to be successful in school districts all over the country and have made inroads into universities too, and East Asia and Western Europe are still doing well in science and their economies are thriving, the US government and people will be duly surprised and will accuse these other countries of unfair practices. I hope Europe and East Asia will still be there doing science after the USA has decided to give in to religion-based pressure to discourage science and critical thinking, at any rate.

The article contains a precious gem:

“There is a scientific controversy about evolution. The problem is, if evolution was treated like any other science – objectively – there wouldn’t be a problem.” –John Calvert

Well, no, there’d be no problem at all. But then again, why doesn’t he treat it objectively then? It’s always nice hearing pseudoscientist admitting their folly…

Yvonne Strong Wrote:

I suppose that when science standards take another dive in the USA after creationists manage to be successful in school districts all over the country and have made inroads into universities too, and East Asia and Western Europe are still doing well in science and their economies are thriving, the US government and people will be duly surprised and will accuse these other countries of unfair practices.

As an aside.….as far as international trade practices go, even today.…the US loves a competitive environment.…until it discovers that it can’t really compete.…it then accuses other countries of unfair trade practices.

I’d just like to point out The Pitch is a Kansas City, Missouri paper. We are desperately trying to distance ourselves from the Kansas side of the metro area.

Rafi

Here is Mike Hopkins’ article on Harun Yahya and his views on the holocaust.

Thanks for the link Rafi.

I wonder if Yahya is an HIV-denier like Johnson. Seems likely. Someone should ask.

GWW writes”I wonder if Yahya is an HIV-denier like Johnson. Seems likely. Someone should ask.”

Well, he is certainly a holocaust deniar..

I’ve always felt creationism and holocaust denial go hand in hand; both require massive amounts of willfull ignorance. But Yaha-Yoyo combines them both

I wonder whether the kreationist kooks running the Kansas kangaroo kourt are aware that “Harun Yahya” and the BAV believe oral and anal sex with young, unmarried girls is permissable since, according to their interpretation, such practices are not expressly forbidden by the Koran.

Kevin Drum has a pretty sweet quote up from Kathy Martin:

“There are alternatives. Children need to hear them.…We can’t ignore that our nation is based on Christianity — not science.”

Tell it like it is, sista.

Kathy Martin:

We can’t ignore that our nation is based on Christianity — not science

And really the most fun kind of Christianity: the slave-holding serial-adultering wig-wearing wealthy white kind.

GWW writes”I wonder if Yahya is an HIV-denier like Johnson. Seems likely. Someone should ask.”

Well, he is certainly a holocaust deniar..

I’ve always felt creationism and holocaust denial go hand in hand; both require massive amounts of willfull ignorance. But Yaha-Yoyo combines them both

Just a note here; “he” is actually a “they”. Harun Yahya is a pen name used by a group of Turkish fundies. There is no such person as “Harun Yahya”.

I posted a snippet about them in another thread, but it bears repeating here:

From the NCSE:

“BAV has a long history of contact with American creationists, including receiving assistance from ICR. Duane Gish and Henry Morris visited Turkey in 1992, just after the establishment of BAV, and participated in a creationist conference in Istanbul. Morris, the former president of ICR, became well acquainted with Turkish fundamentalists and Islamic sects during his numerous trips to Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark (Acts & Facts 1998a,1998b). BAV’s creationist conferences in April and June 1998 in Istanbul and Ankara, which included many US creationists, developed after Harun Yahya started to publish his anti-evolution books, which were delivered to the public free of charge or given away by the daily fundamentalist newspapers Akit and Zaman as promotions.”

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/rn[…]ol19/8300_is

First Ahmanson, now the Muslim fanatics. Seems that the IDers have a soft spot for religious nuts.

This is the BAV’s website (it’s written in Turkish, so I can’t read any of it).

There is an english version of the BAV site here. (I believe The Pitch article said that BAV is Turkish for ‘Science Research Foundation’).

Are you sure that Harun Yahya isn’t an actual person? On the SRF website it states that Yahya is the honorary president of the SRF.

And on this page there are a number of pics from various SRF conferences. Included are some fuzzy pics of Duane Gish and Kenneth Cumming at an SRF conference in 1998.

Harun Yahya has this bit of advice on stopping terrorism:

To conclude, the way to stop acts of terrorism is to put an end to Darwinist-materialist education, to educate young people in accord with a curricula based on true scientific findings and to instil in them the fear of God and the desire to act wisely and scrupulously.

Quick, someone get in touch with the the Dept. of Homeland Security! We should be arresting the biology faculties at all the universities, not wasting time with Al Qaeda.

er, not so fast, Lysenkoism has a history of doing just that.

what makes you think it won’t happen here?

Rev. Flank -

The URL you cite for the NCSE’s info on H. Yahya generates a 404 error message.

Searching for “Yahya” with the NCSE search engine produces 2 hits:

NCSE Resource

… Most representative is Harun Yahya´s text The Evolution Deceit. … which was widely distributed free of charge to the public (Yahya 1998). … www.ncseweb.org/resources/rncse_content/ vol19/8371_cloning_creationism_in_turkey_12_30_1899.asp - 39k - Cached - Similar pages

NCSE Resource

… BAV has also published several books under the pen name Harun Yahya and has … It is generally believed that Harun Yahya is actually a commission … www.ncseweb.org/resources/rncse_content/ vol19/8300_islamic_scientific_creationism_12_30_1899.asp - 46k -

The URL you cite for the NCSE’s info on H. Yahya generates a 404 error message.

Doh!!! That’s because the damn editor cut off the last part of it.

Sorry about that.

A bit more on BAV:

The Islamist organization Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (Foundation for Scientific Research), led by Adnan Oktar (better known as Adnan Hodja), draws support from educated and wealthy young people but, unlike the RP, most of its followers do not adopt Muslim dress or regularly attend mosque.

Oktar is responsible for virulent attacks on Jews and Freemasons. Two antisemitic books are distributed by the foundation: ‘Holocaust Lie - The Inside Story of the Secret History of the Zionist-Nazi Co-operation and the Lie about Jewish Genocide’ (originally published in 1995, see also Holocaust denial) and ‘New Masonic Order’.

…Controversy over the book ‘Holocaust Lie - The Inside Story of the Secret History of the Zionist-Nazi Co-operation and the Lie about Jewish Genocide’ continues to attract media attention. In March 1996 Bedri Baykam, a prominent painter and intellectual, published a critique of the book in the Ankara daily Siyah Beyaz (Black and White). Baykam was subsequently sued for slander by Nuri Özbudak, who claims to have written the book under the pseudonym of Harun Yahya. At the trial Baykam exposed the real author as Adnan Oktar (i.e. Adnan Hodja), leader of the Islamist group Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (see Parties, organnizations, movements). In March 1997, however, Özbudak withdrew the case.

Check out this bit of spin from Focus on the Family:

The Kansas state board of education called for advocates of open inquiry and strict evolutionists to state their best case. But those who favor the teaching of evolution refused to show up.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science had a number of evolution experts slated, but pulled out after realizing those experts would be up against proponents of intelligent design.

For the NCSE article, try here.

At the risk of running off topic, I’d like to call attention to the usually decent job the Wichita Eagle does in covering evolution and other science issues.

For example, look at this series on a University of Kansas team hunting dinosaurs in Wyoming: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/ne[…]/6793916.htm

Some cities get newspapers and a few newspaper reporters much better than they deserve based on size of population, thank heavens!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on May 6, 2005 10:19 AM.

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