Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The New Humanist Takes on Adnan Oktar

Creationist extraordinaire Adnan Oktar (neé Harun Yahya) has a profile in the New Humanist. It is not pretty. The piece, entitled Sex, Flies and Videotape, by Halil Arda, follows the rise of the young Oktar through the ranks of Turkish society. Along the way, some truly scary things emerge:
While Oktar was building a public profile through his books, the real work was taking place backstage, as he began to assemble a group of followers dedicated to his twisted vision. Combining his undoubted charisma (something even his most ardent opponents concede) with a gift for manipulation, Oktar set out to build a cult around himself, drawing extensively on the techniques pioneered by messianic gurus like Charles Manson and Jim Jones, and in particular employing the strategies of the Moonies, the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and Scientology in targeting disaffected but affluent and educated young people, insisting they turn their worldly goods over to the cult, and vigorously enforcing rigid hierarchies and punitive rules.
Creationism and Islamic fundamentalism—what a combination. We also learn something about the scholarship of the man, himself:
It is highly doubtful whether any of these books – or indeed any of the 150 books he claims to have written – were actually written by Oktar. Berk, who was part of the inner circle at the time, confirms this: “There is a group of followers who are commissioned to write the books. For every book, they will take a few key sources written by Christian creationist authors, mostly from the US. They plagiarise the chapters and paragraphs that agree with their creationist approach. Then they add the photos, a few ayat from the Koran, and sometimes a bit of a commentary. None of the ideas belong to Oktar.”
As much as anything, it is his connexions to creationism in the United States that are troubling. In the past the Discovery Institute has accepted the outstretched arm of Oktar, in the mistaken belief that what they don't have in common is unimportant. Read the whole thing.

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