Creationist “Atlas” Hits Turkish Schools

Reuters reports:

A lavishly illustrated “Atlas of Creation” is mysteriously turning up at schools and libraries in Turkey, proclaiming that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is the real root of terrorism.

Arriving unsolicited by post, the large-format tome offers 768 glossy pages of photographs and easy-to-read text to prove that God created the world with all its species.

…”The root of the terrorism that plagues our planet is not any of the divine religions, but atheism, and the expression of atheism in our times (is) Darwinism and materialism,” it says.

The book, as expected, is by Harun Yahya, the Turkish creationist and Holocaust denier. The book itself – which appears to concentrate purely on the subject of fossils – is previewed on his website.

As Reuters explains, there’s a political context here: Communists in the past would publicise Marx and Darwin, while creationism in schools would help to undermine Turkey’s secular nature. Education Minister Huseyin Celik is quoted as having told CNN that:

“If it’s wrong to say Darwin’s theory should not be in the books because it is in line with atheist propaganda, we can’t disregard intelligent design because it coincides with beliefs of monotheistic religions about creation,”

There’s also a quote from another Islamic group:

“Darwinism is dead,” said Kerim Balci of the Fethullah Gulen network, a moderate Islamic movement with many publications and schools but no link to the creationists who produced the atlas.

Fethullah Gulen is an educational philosopher who pontificates on the subject of evolutionary biology on his website:

It would be difficult to find another theory which, like Darwinism, has been battered and defeated so many times, and yet the corpse of it revived artificially again and again…To our knowledge, no scientific hypothesis except this one was ever sustained on the basis of so many, and so important “missing links.” What the scientists have discovered through observation proves the opposite of the evolutionary theory true: in spite of having many varieties, bacteria have not evolved into anything different and higher though they adapt very quickly…Man is, as we put it, exactly the same as he was created on the first day…

The alternative to evolution is design which necessarily leads to the concept of a transcendent and unitary power, the Designer Creator, God. Therein lies the reason for the continuing tyranny of the Darwinist theory: the fear that to acknowledge the Creator will bring down the edifice of an autonomous science, an autonomous human reason…

Gulen is apparently quite an influential figure. His website also includes a report which notes the following (footnotes removed):

The more than 300 elementary schools, high schools, college preparatory institutions, dormitories, and universities in over 50 countries that are associated with his name stem from a circle of students, colleagues and businessmen who formed about Fethullah Gulen in the 1960s. The schools have been established by individual agreements between the countries in which they are located and the educational companies founded for this purpose. Each school is an independently run institution, but most of the schools rely on the services of Turkish companies to provide educational supplies and human resources.