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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Creationism and popular culture: Turkish creationist in jail?

Nathan Schneider draws my attention to his article on Turkish creationist Harun Yahya (a pen name for Adnan Oktar). He asked for my comments, and here is more or less what I said:

I know little about Yahya myself – and find it useful to know more.

I gathered that he was in some kind of
trouble with the Turkish government recently. Is he really in jail?

My chief worry with Islamic apologetics (which I take to be his primary purpose) is anti-Semitism – a major problem right now in Canada. Yahya says he is totally
opposed to anti-Semitism.

(I don't mind any religion using science facts to bolster its belief system. Such uses can lead to much greater interest in sciences and also to voluntary financial support for research projects. But such projects should never be aimed against another group, only toward bolstering the claims of one's own group.)

A kind person in the Middle East sent me a number of Yahya's books, though not the huge Atlas of which you speak. The books are lavishly prepared - and the style is distinctly Eastern rather than Western.

I admit, I have not read them, but your article motivates me to begin one over the Christmas season, when I have a bit more private time. [I have started this already. - d.]

I was puzzled by your somewhat fatalistic closing: “Simply by writing about Oktar, I reinforce his vision. Anything critical I've written here will be overlooked as the decrepit volleys of Darwinism in retreat.” Or did I misunderstand, and fail to see the irony you intended?

I think Darwinism is necessarily in retreat – as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think that Darwin would be a Darwinist today – he would more likely be the 17th
Altenberger – looking for a non-theistic, non-teleological version of evolution that actually fits the evidence.
Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


Another reason not to sign on to the mega-expensive Darwinfest in 2009 ...

Sara Coelho wonders in "Ancient Insect Hails From Sunken Island" (ScienceNOW Daily News 17 December 2008) :
Which came first: the tree lobster or the island? You may not have been asking that odd question, but researchers have nonetheless answered it with a report indicating that one species of this flightless insect is apparently older than its native home, Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia. The find suggests that the bug originally evolved on an older island, one now submerged under the Pacific Ocean.


The DNA analysis revealed something else unexpected: The three tree lobster groups are not closely related. That means that their similar stocky body shape evolved separately as an adaptation to a ground-dwelling lifestyle, a process known as convergent evolution. (The wings of birds and bats are another example.) It's a "very interesting and new ... case of convergent evolution in an unusual animal system," says evolutionary biologist Marco Passamonti, an expert on stick insects based at the University of Bologna in Italy. "This research seems to me very well-supported and sound."
But hang on to this, Darwinbots: Darwin's is the best idea anyone ever had. Keep repeating it, and take pills as needed.

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A message to my American readers

... who are often kind donors to my PayPal button, which enables me to maintain an independent news desk in the intelligent design controversy.

I wish you Americans a Prague summer forever, not merely a Prague spring.

But even a Prague spring is welcome.

We enjoyed that here last year in Canada - when a number of thugs were forced by good citizens to give up their human prey.

Also, to quit demanding that everyone "talk around" about what happened to disappeared people. (= Aqsa Parvez, a possible teen “honour killing” victim, for example, who was reportedly buried in an unmarked grave, until good citizens took up a collection for an appropriate headstone.*)

(NONE of this is any thanks at all to the government, which generally chooses to strenuously defend the predators! In Canada, it is typically good citizens who beat back the predators and their numerous government/government-funded supporters, using private resources.)

Yes. It’s all horrible. But don’t despair.

There is still a role for the good citizen - the one who neither advises nor submits to arbitrary measures.

We have shown that in Canada in 2008. And we will again in 2009.

Cheers, Denyse

(*Note: I have no private information about what happened in the individual case that will go to trial in the Greater Toronto Area this year. So far, there are only allegations. But the claim that we cannot use the term "honour killing" - let alone the current collaboration of feminists to make it difficult to talk about the problem - is shameful. Good Canadian citizens will say what we think reasonable, until we hear convincing evidence against a given proposition.)

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Intelligent design and popular culture: Podcasts to listen to while driving

The Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin explores intelligent design's merit here and here in paleontology. The podcasts are taken from printed material here.

Welcome to the Year of Darwin: Darwin and plagiarism

My friend Malcolm Chisholm writes to say
The Wall Street Journal offers this story about Darwin plagiarizing Wallace [his co-theorist of the theory of natural selection as the origin of new species.]
I went to school in the town where Wallace lived and is buried, and can testify that he is an "un-person" there with almost no public recognition. This has given me a life-long interest in Wallace. However, I have never heard the plagiarism charge before.

What is interesting about the WSJ article is what it ignores. It implies no disagreement between Wallace and Darwin, just an argument over priority. Yet, Wallace was a strong ID believer, for instance explicitly suggesting that angels created the Earth. For this reason the idea that Wallace was more Darwinian than Darwin is ultimately doomed to failure. Hence the need for the Darwinians to treat him like a mad aunt kept in the attic.

Anything that raises the profile of Wallace will eventually "out" Wallace's ID stand, and should be welcomed.

Yes, Malcolm. Darwinism is nothing but an attempt to foist atheism on the public via a creation story that is supposedly "scientific." Anyone who looks underneath it carefully soon realizes that it is not of interest to science as such. Science is about evidence, not speculations.

It is sad to think that so many well-meaning taxpayers are paying for the indoctrination of students into the religion of materialist atheism, via school-based Darwinism, and that dying liberal churches are gladly fronting it. More on that later.

I hope the assets of those churches end up transferred to Third World hospitals, where they will do some good.

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Happy New Year! Were you, like me, born in Saskatchewan, or some similar place?

Then enjoy this. If you were not born in Saskatchewan or some similar place, you will never know what you missed. But by all means enjoy this Western art anyway.

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