November 23, 2006
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.
At first sight, it looks like it could be the work of United States creationists, the Christian fundamentalists who believe the world was created in six days as told in the Bible.
But the author’s name, Harun Yahya, reveals the surprise inside. This is Islamic creationism, a richly funded movement based in predominantly Muslim Turkey which has an influence U.S. creationists could only dream of.
Creationism is so widely accepted here that Turkey placed last in a recent survey of public acceptance of evolution in 34 countries—just behind the United States.
“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.
… Aykut Kence, biology professor at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, said time for discussing evolution had been cut out of class schedules for the eighth grade this year.
“The students will just learn there is a theory called evolution defended by Darwin back in the 19th century,” he said. “However, views of Islamic thinkers from the Middle Ages about evolution and creation have been included.”
… “Atlas of Creation” offers over 500 pages of splendid images comparing fossils with present-day animals to argue that Allah created all life as it is and evolution never took place.
Then comes a book-length essay arguing that Darwinism, by stressing the “survival of the fittest,” has inspired racism, Nazism, communism and terrorism.
“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.
If you have a (paid) subscription, the latest issue of Nature also has an article on the spread of creationism in Europe.
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