Turkish funding agency denies grant to evolutionary biology

| 32 Comments

Science reports today that Turkey’s main science-funding agency denied a grant to a workshop on the grounds that “evolution is a controversial subject.” The purpose of the workshop was “to expose Turkish biology students to population genetics, game theory, and evolutionary modeling.” The organizers of the workshop had asked for approximately $18,000 (US) to cover the cost of students’ lodging and speakers’ travel. The workshop will go on, with private donors contributing the $18,000.

A spokesman for the funding agency, Tübitak, told Science that the proposal was rejected on its merits, despite wording in the rejection letter that

evolution is both nationally and universally a controversial subject. … It is difficult to regard it as an activity on which a consensus can be reached. … Since evolution is still a debated issue, the degree to which the organizers represent the community/country is very questionable.

The organizers of the workshop

are calling this [rejection] the first open admission of a bias against evolutionary biology by Turkey’s conservative government. The government began blocking educational evolution websites in 2011, and recently TÜBİTAK stopped publishing books on evolution, a decision it claimed was based on copyright issues,

according to the Science article.

32 Comments

Evolutionary biology.

In other words, biology.

Glen Davidson

This is what ID creationists mean by “critical thinking.” The Discovery Institute has a history of supporting Turkey’s Islamist government, saying that they’re more “free” than the secularist faction, so the ID thought police will again be applauding still more anti-Darwinist censorship– as if they haven’t had enough in the past.

Turkey has a horrible history of suppressing free speech of evolutionary scientists– scientists are often threatened with death and called Marxists– and at least one Kansas ID creationist politician has applauded them for their suppression of free speech in Turkey: “Great! Congratulations! I mean, that is the point, once people start to see science more objectively.”

Much of the extreme, violent hostility towards evolution in Turkey and the Islamic world can be traced to the indefatigable Harun Yahya, sex cult leader, anti-Semite and author of the laughable Atlas of Creation, with its pictures of “unchanging species” represented by photos of fishing lures made of thread and foam.

Harun Yahya’s creationist cult was trained in anti-science conspiracy theories by Henry Morris’ Institute of Creation Research, several of whose members (including John Morris, his son, but not Henry) have made trips to Turkey to hold high-profile “scientific conferences” with the Islamic cocaine-snorting sex cult guru, who sexually enslaves and physically beats his female cult members. My blog post on Harun Yahya (at blogspot); also mirrored here at WordPress) gives links to various documentation on that and Turkey’s abysmal history of suppressing evolutionary scientists.

Here Denyse “Sneery” O’Leary at Uncommon Descent gives a fawning, on-her-knees interview with the cocaine-snorting sex cult guru and internet censor himself.

Denyse O’Leary writes:

“The conventional wisdom offered by many media sources in North America is that doubts about Darwin are a product of American evangelical Christianity in the deep rural South… Unless I have lost the plot, your doubts could not stem from that culture.”

[Denyse O’Leary’s on-her-knees interview with sex cult guru, anti-Semite and internet censor Harun Yahya]

Yes Denyse, you blithering toff, you have lost the plot. Harun Yahya copied his ideas from American Young Earth creationists, just like ID did.

The DI has supported Mustafa Akyol, formerly a member of Yahya’s cult, who apparently left it later. The DI helped bring Akyol to Kansas in 2005, when he was still a cult member, to testify at that Kansas kangaroo court. IIRC, his travel costs were paid by Kansas taxpayers! From my blog post:

As for Mustafa Akyol, the BAV [Yahya’s creationist org] spokesman whom the Discovery Institute helped bring to the Kansas school board [44]– the president of the DI, Bruce Chapman, says that Akyol “broke with [the BAV] in 2003, sharply disagreeing with many of its views, especially its link to anti-semitism.” [57] This date is false; Akyol was a spokesman for the BAV in 2005 [10] when the DI helped bring him to Kansas [44].

(In 2009 Akyol described a break with Adnan Oktar, and he “now think[s] biological evolution is an established fact.” [58])

[Diogenes on Harun Yahya (at blogspot); also mirrored here at WordPress]

The scientific enterprise in Islam collapsed many years ago and it never recovered. That’s what fundamentalists are hoping to bring about in our own country.

I wonder if the EU authorities working with Turkey will bring this up as Yet Another Roadblock to Turkey joining the EU? One can only hope so…

“the degree to which the organizers represent the community/country is very questionable.” Actually Mr(I assume Mr)Tubitak what is ‘questionable’ is why science should ‘represent’ these spheres of ‘community/country’ at all. Is this a popular decision, or should we perhaps consult people who know things, you nit-wit?

TUBITAK (I make no attempt at representing Turkish orthography) is an acronym for the name (in Turkish, which again I make no attempt at) of the Turkish government science funding agency. There is no Mr. Tubitak.

Let me get this straight. In America, where people actually have free speech, the fact that ID is useless and IDists are mad.

In Turkey, the banning of free speech and evidence based science is considered “free speech” and good.

They do live in their own little worlds don’t they?

Embarrassingly, a 2006 study ranked evolution acceptance in the United States only just one spot above Turkey, out of 34 countries (where Canada seems to be absent…).

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

ogremk5 said:

Let me get this straight. In America, where people actually have free speech, the fact that ID is useless and IDists are mad.

In Turkey, the banning of free speech and evidence based science is considered “free speech” and good.

They do live in their own little worlds don’t they?

I wish they did, but in fact, the balance between authoritarianism and freedom in Turkey is quite similar to that in the US, and possibly something very close to the “world average”.

People I know who trained in scientific/mathematical fields in Turkey tend to have received excellent education (caveat - biased sample; those who got good jobs in the US).

The US authoritarian right wing is a strong, emulated, world wide influence. So is the hard core Islamic right wing represented by things like the Taliban and the Saudi government. While the US religious right and the Islamic authoritarian right are ostensibly “enemies”, while the US religious right doesn’t use as much domestic violence, and while the Islamic right doesn’t give as much time to advocating right wing economics, overall, the overlap between the two groups is remarkable - substitute “Christianity” for “Islam”, “liberals” or “atheists” for “the west”, and so on, and they pretty much say exactly the same things. And then right wing groups in Turkey and elsewhere imitate those “celebrity authoritarian” tendencies from the US and the “cross town right wing rivals” of the US religious right.

Turkey is a fairly key geopolitical state. Not because they “represent a secular Islamic country”. There is enormous ethnic antagonism between Turkish speaking people and Arabic speaking people (also between Persian speaking people and Arabic speaking people). For whatever reason, Egyptians gave up speaking the medieval Greek and late variants of Egyptian they had at time of the Muslim conquest and took up Arabic. Turks didn’t, and they aren’t likely to be viewed as “representatives of Islam” by non-Turks. (There are large groups of Turkic speaking people in some of the former Soviet Republics, who are likely to be culturally influenced by Turkey). Still, they’re a key emerging economy, a member of NATO, a key player in both the middle east and the Balkans (controversially but undeniably so in both cases). What happens in Turkey does potentially matter.

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

Yeah, but wait until it warms up!

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

That wasn’t very polite.

I’m going to report you (and you know what they do to impolite Canadians, don’t you?).

stevaroni said:

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

That wasn’t very polite.

I’m going to report you (and you know what they do to impolite Canadians, don’t you?).

I have no idea where the idea that Canadians are polite comes from. I spent most of my childhood in Canada, and my brother lives in a major Canadian city. I have never detected any excess of politeness.

harold said:

stevaroni said:

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

That wasn’t very polite.

I’m going to report you (and you know what they do to impolite Canadians, don’t you?).

I have no idea where the idea that Canadians are polite comes from. I spent most of my childhood in Canada, and my brother lives in a major Canadian city. I have never detected any excess of politeness.

Quebec and Ontario spoil it for the rest of us. But I guess that wasn’t a very polite thing to say…

sorry, eh.

To the Politeness Re-Education Centre, the lot of you.

(Remember: our neighbours may not share our sense of humour. Or spelling.)

W. H. Heydt said:

I wonder if the EU authorities working with Turkey will bring this up as Yet Another Roadblock to Turkey joining the EU? One can only hope so…

You mean asking for legislation outlawing criticism of religion is not enough?

On the similarities between Islamic and Christian fundamentalism: The old “Illuminati” card game used to have an alignment card “fanatic”.

All other alignments were congenial with cards with the same alignment. But “fanatic” was unique. “Fanatic” was always opposed to “fanatic”.

True, dat.

Thank you John Harshman. I Will therfore change my ending to, ‘you nit wits’.

stevaroni said:

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada. We have reached the pinnacle of biological perfection.

That wasn’t very polite.

I’m going to report you (and you know what they do to impolite Canadians, don’t you?).

Impolite Canadians are stripped of their hats, and are dowsed in fresh carrot juice before being thrown to a hungry moose.

Karen S. said:

The scientific enterprise in Islam collapsed many years ago and it never recovered.

To be fair, there are still plenty of competent scientists in the Middle East, in spite of the best efforts of rabid, anti-science religious fanatics.

That’s what fundamentalists are hoping to bring about in our own country.

With the lunatics who fund the Discovery Institute, they intend to Jesusify science to their liking. Of course, forcing science to be Jesus-friendly is tantamount to destroying it.

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada.

Sadly, some of our Members of Parliament might agree with this statement, including our Prime Minister and, embarrassingly, our Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear.

For PT readers unfamiliar with Goodyear, here is what our government’s science representative had to say about evolution a few years ago. Happy face-palming!

“In a March 2009 interview, The Globe and Mail asked Goodyear if he believed in evolution. He responded, “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” While many scientists and educators expressed shock at this, others defended the minister, citing statistics that show a majority of Canadians believe God played a role in creation. Later that day, however, Goodyear said that he believed in evolution during an interview with CTV News. When asked to clarify this belief, Goodyear responded “We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. (Wikipedia)”

Maybe the question “[if he] believed in evolution” would be better phrased as “does he acknowledge that the theory of evolution is supported by the evidence that’s been studied by scientists in that field”.

Henry

“In a March 2009 interview, The Globe and Mail asked Goodyear if he believed in evolution. He responded, “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” While many scientists and educators expressed shock at this, others defended the minister, citing statistics that show a majority of Canadians believe God played a role in creation. Later that day, however, Goodyear said that he believed in evolution during an interview with CTV News. When asked to clarify this belief, Goodyear responded “We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. (Wikipedia)”

Wow, Goodyear has outdone American creationists!

Karen S. said:

“In a March 2009 interview, The Globe and Mail asked Goodyear if he believed in evolution. He responded, “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” While many scientists and educators expressed shock at this, others defended the minister, citing statistics that show a majority of Canadians believe God played a role in creation. Later that day, however, Goodyear said that he believed in evolution during an interview with CTV News. When asked to clarify this belief, Goodyear responded “We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. (Wikipedia)”

Wow, Goodyear has outdone American creationists!

Prometheus68 said:

fnxtr said:

There is no evolution in Canada.

Sadly, some of our Members of Parliament might agree with this statement, including our Prime Minister and, embarrassingly, our Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear.

For PT readers unfamiliar with Goodyear, here is what our government’s science representative had to say about evolution a few years ago. Happy face-palming!

“In a March 2009 interview, The Globe and Mail asked Goodyear if he believed in evolution. He responded, “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” While many scientists and educators expressed shock at this, others defended the minister, citing statistics that show a majority of Canadians believe God played a role in creation. Later that day, however, Goodyear said that he believed in evolution during an interview with CTV News. When asked to clarify this belief, Goodyear responded “We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. (Wikipedia)”

Sadly as a Canadian, I can report that we have a government led by a closet fundamentalist (Harper), he has eviscerated science in Canada far more savagely and effectively than your American anti-science lot were able to do under 8 years of GWB. It’s tragic, Canada will be “catching up” to Turkey.

Karen S. said:

“In a March 2009 interview, The Globe and Mail asked Goodyear if he believed in evolution. He responded, “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” While many scientists and educators expressed shock at this, others defended the minister, citing statistics that show a majority of Canadians believe God played a role in creation. Later that day, however, Goodyear said that he believed in evolution during an interview with CTV News. When asked to clarify this belief, Goodyear responded “We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. (Wikipedia)”

Wow, Goodyear has outdone American creationists!

You know, I recently read some stupid article about “things Americans do that no-one else understands”, and of course, everything on the list was also something Canadians do.

I’ve tried to explain this for years. Canadians tend to be similar to whatever type of Americans live nearby. I spent most of my childhood in the Maritimes. The New England influence is less than it once was, but people are still mainly Boston Bruins fans where I come from. Vancouver is clearly similar to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, and much less similar to say, Edmonton. Other than having a booming economy and some royalist tendencies, Toronto fits pretty well into the Midwest.

Air travel and immigration restrictions on travel to the US have forced Canadians more together, but there has always been a lot of regionalism, and the influence of US culture is enormous. Actually, the influence of Canadians on the US is enormous, too. We just forget how many famous figures are Canadian.

Canada does not border the South, and problems that are especially related to the history of the South tend to be less severe in Canada, just as in Minnesota. However, Michelle Bachmann is from Minnesota, and there are parts of Canada where a Canadian clone of her could easily be elected.

It also shows the lie about “Teach the Controversy”. They’re not interested in teaching any controversies. As soon as creationists get into positions of power, they immediately move to shut down evolutionary research/teaching (including, if we remember, a certain US high school educator who was sacked merely for circulating news of a scientific meeting on evolution).

Chris Lawson said:

It also shows the lie about “Teach the Controversy”. They’re not interested in teaching any controversies. As soon as creationists get into positions of power, they immediately move to shut down evolutionary research/teaching (including, if we remember, a certain US high school educator who was sacked merely for circulating news of a scientific meeting on evolution).

I presume you mean Chris Comer, Texas official, fired for sending email about pro-evolution seminar?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

This is a very welcome development. As well as being a deeply controversial subject, evolution is also a useless one. If we can cut off the financial life support to evolutionary biologists in the United States, as the Turks have done, then we can effectively extirpate the theory itself which is entirely dependent on taxpayer support.

Why don’t you tell us who you are, d533? Are you a scientist? In what subject? Where did you get your degree?

This is a very welcome development.

Oy. A new troll. Please do not feed it.

Matt Young said:

This is a very welcome development.

Oy. A new troll. Please do not feed it.

Are you sure it’s not Atheistoclast? Turkeytroll sounds suspiciously similar to it.

Are you sure it’s not Atheistoclast?

Good catch! The IP address is consistent with AC’s. I will send the comment to the BW right away.

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