Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Different Take on the Problem in Turkey

Debora MacKenzie has an article for NewScientist on the rise of creationism in Turkey but suggests that this may not be the problem that people see it be. The recent controversy involves the pulling of an issue of the journal Science and Technology because it had a cover story on Charles Darwin:
Whether the cancellation was an administrative glitch, censorship, or just an attempt to sidestep controversy, the row is highly revealing. Evolution is a lightning-rod issue in Turkey. Every leading newspaper reported the story. The Turkish Academy of Sciences called for an investigation and for Cebeci to resign (neither seems likely, although another senior TÜBITAK official resigned in protest).

Scientists, who mostly suspect censorship, demonstrated in Ankara; readers returned their March issues of Bilim ve Teknik. New Scientist's blog raised impassioned comments from Turks.

Those at the centre of the fuss say it portrays Turkey in the wrong light. "I am sad to think that people are seeing my country through this incident. Most people are secular," says Atakuman. Cebeci adds: "The outside perception of these events as censorship of science has caused great sorrow at TÜBITAK."

TÜBITAK is The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. The vocal presence of Adnan Oktar a.k.a. Harun Yahya cannot be good, though.

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