Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Guardian interviews Adnan Oktar

The Monday issue of the Guardian carries an interview by religious correspondent Riazat Butt with Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar, who writes under the name Harun Yahya. He is responsible for the Atlas of Creation, Volumes 1-3, a huge effort that was mailed to science teachers the world over last year. Richard Dawkins had this to say about the content of the Atlas of Creation:

I am at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the "breathtaking inanity" of the content . Is it really inanity, or is it just plain laziness — or perhaps cynical awareness of the ignorance and stupidity of the target audience — mostly Muslim creationists. And where does the money come from?

Oktar doesn't say:

Oktar, squeezed into a white trouser suit, declines to reveal how the Atlas industry is funded, nor will he say how much he is paid, or indeed whether he is paid at all. Challenged to explain the apparent contradiction between his beliefs and his plush surroundings, he responds: "I want to resemble Prophet Solomon. Prophet Solomon was like this. He used to be well dressed. He liked being well dressed. His palace was beautiful; there were beautiful people around him. Allah is beautiful. Allah loves those who are beautiful, wants everywhere to be beautiful. Paradise is also beautiful. [The] aim of a Muslim should be beauty."

Surely he knows that at that point in Solomon's life, he was having some issues with his faith:

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech [a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. (1 Kings 11: 4-8 NIV)

No matter. Onward. The interviewer notes:

What he thinks, unashamedly and unapologetically, is that Darwin was lying and that there has been no evolution. He repeats this point throughout the interview.

"Almost 100 million fossils have been unearthed so far. All of these show that plants, animals, humans and insects have never undergone evolution whatsoever and they were all created in the same way by God. We can see this fact in each fossil we come across. There is no fossil proving the contrary. If they can show one, I will reward them 10 trillion Turkish Lira [£4.4 trillion]."

Around a minute later he adds: "There exists no fossil to prove the Darwinian theory. If they can show a few fossils, I will reward them 10 trillion. But there are almost 100 million fossils proving creation. In Turkey, we have exhibited thousands of them."

Although somewhat guarded in their response to these claims, the writer quickly points out:

How does he reach these conclusions, I wonder, imagining him to have laboratories and researchers at his disposal. Oktar himself, by his own admission, has no scientific experience or background. He is not an academic. He studied interior design.

Interior design? That is as bad as having a degree in hydraulic engineering. On his site, there is a section on Letters of Appreciation written by individuals who have received the book. There are no biologists, palaeontologists or geologists listed, only politicians, cultural ministers and ambassadors. Meet the new face of creationism.


  1. Anonymous4:12 AM

    If you are sure about the existence of evolution, then why are you freaking out? Can it be because you also know inside that no such thing called evolution took place in the past? As for Oktar, he hs his own way of expressing creation and he's been quite successful with that

  2. What, exactly, constitutes freaking out? Please explain. With regard to Oktar's view of "expressing creation," if you saw someone teaching people that the world was flat and actually getting support for doing so, wouldn't it bother you?