Pharyngula

Irony meter test

As a public service, I provide here an extremely rigorous and intense test of your irony meters. Please set your resistance values to at least one gigOhm, make sure all shielding is in place, and please have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit handy. If you are using some cheap off-brand meter, do not click to read anything below the fold. You have been warned, and I will not be liable for any mishaps.

Harun Yahya has a new book…or more likely, it seems, yet another rehash of the same old stuff. This one, though, is streaming straight from Bizarro World.

Imagine yourself meeting a person who insists that white is just a lighter shade of black, for example, or claims that the clouds in the sky are simply huge bunches of cotton. He believes things that no reasonable person with normal awareness and judgment could believe. He claims it is raining even though the sun is shining; and if you take him outside and show him the evident sunlight, still he persists in his claim that rain is falling and he even declares that he’s getting wet! You would probably say that he seems to be under a spell.

This book’s title, The Dark Spell of Darwinism, comes from this very analogy. The goal of Darwinism is to get people to reject the obvious fact of Creation, which is clearly evident and assured, and to believe in the myth embodied in the theory of evolution. Darwinism, and the theory of evolution, are incredible and illogical beliefs. But over the past 150 years, countless individuals have adopted these ideas passionately, and nothing can convince them to give them up. All the scientific evidence and plain facts in the world haven’t been able to free them from this spell’s influence. Rather than indicating any lack of conceptual ability, their attachment to Darwinism shows that they are under some kind of spell.

In this book, Harun Yahya aims to rescue people from Darwinism’s influence by revealing the exact ways in which it effects its persuasions and by uncovering the efforts that Darwinists make to prevent this illusion from losing its power.

See, creationism is science and evolution is the religious myth. If only those scientists could just see the scientific evidence!

If your meter is still holding up, move on to the author’s profile.

A
leading Muslim intellectual from Turkey, Harun Yahya is the author
of many books concerning the world of Islam such as the relationship
of science and Islam, interfaith dialogue, and the importance of
unity among believers of all faiths. Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership
from all nations, languages and religions, and many of his books
have been translated into more than 40 languages. His works have
also been received with interest by Western scientific circles,
and some of his scientific texts have been reviewed in various scientific
journals as the most important expositions of Islamic creationism.
These journals include The New Scientist, Science, NCSE (National
Center for Science Education) Reports,
and The Cladistics.
[sic—could it be Cladistics, the journal of the Willi Hennig society? Also amusing since Yahya calls cladistics a fallacy.]

“Received with interest”? Well, in the sense that if you sent them a maggoty dog’s head in the mail, it would be “received with interest.” His books have been reviewed, all right…negatively. It takes a special measure of gall to pretend that the contempt scientists have for your work is a mark of esteem.

Comments

  1. #1 Corkscrew
    August 6, 2006
  2. #2 Greco
    August 6, 2006

    He claims it is raining even though the sun is shining; and if you take him outside and show him the evident sunlight, still he persists in his claim that rain is falling and he even declares that he’s getting wet!

    Huh? Don’t they have rainfall with sunlight in Turkey? Or is this a strictly Brazilian phenomenon?

  3. #3 Bob O'H
    August 6, 2006

    Curious. Searching for “Harun Yahya” in New Scientist doesn’t bring up any hits. Same for Cladistics. Science has one hit: a News Focus piece titled “Creationism Takes Root Where Europe, Asia Meet”. The only mention of Harun Yahya is this:

    They’ve also swamped the country with sophisticated books such as The Evolution Deceit and The Dark Face of Darwinism (both published under the pseudonym Harun Yahya), which some scientists complain have become more influential than textbooks in certain parts of the country.

    I think the quality of Science’s reviews is slipping. :-)

    Bob

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    August 6, 2006

    I’ve seen rain during sunshine in Alabama, New Mexico, Massachusetts and southern France. Most people call these “sunshowers”, although some go for “pineapple rain” or “the Devil is beating his wife”. (See the Dialect Survey.)

  5. #5 just john
    August 6, 2006

    Y’know the “… is clearly evident” is one of the few arguments that is obliterated simply by disagreeing with it. It’s up there with “Everybody agrees with everything I say.”

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    August 6, 2006

    Furthermore, it is entirely legitimate to call white “a lighter shade of black”: a black object and a white object both reflect light equally well across all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum. The black object just reflects less light in total. (Not that the two are the same, of course: believe that and you’ll get killed at the next zebra crossing. . . .)

  7. #7 idlemind
    August 6, 2006

    Umm, you’d never see rainbows if there were no sun when it rains.

    I’d say this one pegs my Idiocy Blitherometer as much as my Irony Meter.

  8. #8 Koray
    August 6, 2006

    Turkey has her share of fundies. Somebody ought to be assuring them.

  9. #9 June
    August 6, 2006

    “… the obvious fact of Creation, which is clearly evident and assured …”

    Given, as an axiom, the existence of a god with powers that transcend the laws of physics, no further discussion is possible, necessary, or useful.

  10. #10 NelC
    August 6, 2006

    This guy came up before, didn’t he? I remember searching New Scientist’s site for Harun Yahya and not having much luck, same with his real name, Adnan Oktar. There is a wikipedia article on him, though.

  11. #11 QrazyQat
    August 6, 2006

    You know, maybe if scientists got together sometime, had a meeting, looked through the research on evolution, and tried to come to some decision about what it meant — that’s what we need to have happen…

  12. #12 d
    August 6, 2006

    My imperfect memory recalls something about him once in New Scientist, in the “wierd news” section at the end of the magazine.

    Fortunately I got my irony meter mil-surplus. Made by Lockheed/Martin, it weighs a ton and probably cost the taxpayers more than than the toilet seat on a B-1 bomber. But if you can lug it around, it damn sure does the job.

  13. #13 Ian H Spedding
    August 6, 2006

    In some circumstances, anger can be taken as a measure of fear. The increasing vehemence of this sort of attack on the theory of evolution could be interpreted as an index of how strong its influence is feared to be. It make sme think of that little exchange between Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting:

    Hooker: ‘S good. He threatened to kill me.
    Gondorff: Hell, kid, they don’t do that, you know you’re not getting to ‘em.

  14. #14 Molly, NYC
    August 6, 2006

    A leading Muslim intellectual from Turkey . . . Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership from all nations, languages and religions, and many of his books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

    y’know, he wrote this stuff himself.

    Molly, NYC

    (A leading intellectual from Antarctica, Molly enjoys a wide readership from all nations, languages and religions–every last one!!!–and many of her books have been translated into more than 40 languages, including Esperanto and Pig-Latin. She is the natural daughter of Josip Tito and Sandra Dee, and is the heiress to a zircon mine.)

  15. #15 Christopher
    August 6, 2006

    You owe me a new irony meter.

    Yeah, the idea that offspring inheret traits from their parents, and that over time these traits could cause them to become radically different from distant ancestors? Preposterous.

    It’s much more likely that somebody scooped up a bunch of dirt and cast a spell over it to create life.

  16. #16 Dan
    August 6, 2006

    Heh. “Zircon mine.”

    Got a good giggle out of that one, I did.

  17. #17 NJ
    August 6, 2006

    Heh. “Zircon mine.”
    Got a good giggle out of that one, I did.

    I guess I’m missing the joke, unless the actual meaning was “a cubic zirconia mine”. We just finished up a manuscript discussing variable fluorescence in zircons from an old mine near Zirconia, NC.

  18. #18 Sastra
    August 6, 2006

    It is clearly evident and assured that belief in evolution is exactly like belief that there is no sun, because science puts such a high value on faith, the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (C. Darwin, ‘Origin of Species.’) That is why scientists at their conventions are forever standing around in circles, holding each others hands, bowing their heads, and encouraging mutual belief in evolution as a sign of obedience, meekness, and the humility of an open heart.

    Or so I assume.

  19. #19 NotAnOctopod
    August 6, 2006

    Uch. Actually, where are good sites on the internet to deal with silly-seeming anti-scientific (or, at the very least, oddly pro-islamic-seeming) arguments? Because a member of my family converted to Islam some time recently and, if I have to here them one more time extol to me the virtues of the Islamic method of slaughter or the evils of eating Pork (peace be upon it), or how there are many incredible scientific facts revealed in the Koran blah blah etc etc and I have no way to call their bluff I will go mad. Seriously.

  20. #20 Graculus
    August 6, 2006

    If you gang off-the-shelf irony meters in parallel they can absorb tremendous loads.

    Just saying…

  21. #21 craig
    August 6, 2006

    I’m just wondering if any of the usual creationism defenders that post here will show up to defend an Islamic creationist.

  22. #22 Kagehi
    August 6, 2006

    Another one for the Irony meter:

    http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2006/08/kentucky-schools-rediscovering-old.html

    Seems Kentucky has an obscure statute denying the distribution of “sectarian” works in schools. Sounds great, right. Wrong! Kentucky courts have also declared in several cases that Christian and Jewish scripture are **not** sectarian…

  23. #23 Theo Bromine
    August 6, 2006

    Y’know the “… is clearly evident” is one of the few arguments that is obliterated simply by disagreeing with it.

    I must disagree – their position really is that the evidence *against* evolution is “clearly evident”, and if anyone disagrees, it does not negate the clear evidence – when somone disagrees they are *ignoring* the evidence because it conflicts with their preconceived notions of how the world ought to work. (Preconceived notions like, for example, the laws of physics.)

  24. #24 George Cauldron
    August 6, 2006

    He claims it is raining even though the sun is shining; and if you take him outside and show him the evident sunlight, still he persists in his claim that rain is falling and he even declares that he’s getting wet!

    The SF Bay Area gets rain and sunshine at the same time pretty often. Creedence Clearwater Revival even wrote a song about it.

    I’m just wondering if any of the usual creationism defenders that post here will show up to defend an Islamic creationist.

    I have once or twice seen Evangelicals defend Creationism on the grounds that it doesn’t antagonize Muslims like Evolution does. Hard not to laugh, there.

  25. #25 PZ Myers
    August 6, 2006

    Take a look at this. Quotes from John Morris, Duane Gish, David Menton, and others, all singing the praises of Turkish creationists.

    It’s a site by and for Harun Yahya promoters, so I’m kind of hoping these creationists were quote-mined. It would be delicious justice.

  26. #26 futurelegend
    August 6, 2006

    PZ: Take a look at this. Quotes from John Morris, Duane Gish, David Menton, and others, all singing the praises of Turkish creationists.

    Well, Islamic Creationism is a bastard child of ICR, so I dont think theyre mined. But just so you dont miss out on a laugh, theyre doing it to lead the heathen Muslims to Jesus.

    NotAnOctopod: Actually, where are good sites on the internet to deal with silly-seeming anti-scientific (or, at the very least, oddly pro-islamic-seeming) arguments?

    HY has its fair share of Creationist Claims on Talk Origins. Also Google ‘Taner Edis’ – hes written a few articles on Islamic Creationism and I think he talkes about them in ‘Why Intelligent Design Fails.’
    Ive gotten to speak with a few Islamic Creationists, and they usually fall into two groups (ugh or these two groups at the same time).

    1) The Quran is perfectly scientifically accurate and it predicts evolution.
    Ignoring the fact that this is silly, if the Quran predicts evolution, why do we have the problems we have in Islamic countries with teaching evolution (see: the mess in Turkey)?

    2. The Quran is perfectly scientifically accurate and it says evolution is a lie.
    Do to the Islamic Creationisms connection to American Christian organizations, I just answer this with “If the Quran is so accurate, why did you all get your Creationist propaganda from the Christians?” Ive never met a Muslim Creationist that knew the history of Islamic Creationism.

    Im not sure about all the prophesy stuff that youre probably going to get from them, but read Edis’s stuff and youll be set on their Creationism.

  27. #27 RBH
    August 6, 2006

    My irony meter is calibrated in megaDembskis. Anyone know the conversion factor to get gigOhms?

  28. #28 Mnemosyne
    August 6, 2006

    … the evils of eating Pork (peace be upon it) …

    Actually, not eating pork in the desert if you don’t have proper refrigeration makes perfect sense, which is why it’s forbidden in both Judaism and Islam, two desert religions.

  29. #29 Desert Donkey
    August 6, 2006

    Fer cryin’ out loud. That is some funny stuff. He/it/they ought to ring up Colbert and see if they can get a full time gig writing this stuff. Irony, indeed.

  30. #30 Rey Fox
    August 6, 2006

    Yeah, I’m sounder the spell of a scientific theory that denies our special place in the world and/or universe.

    What’s that bringing up on your sarcasm meters?

  31. #31 NotAnOctopod
    August 7, 2006

    Futurelegend, thanks! That will be of a good deal of help, I’m sure, next time the subject is brought up.

  32. #32 thwaite
    August 7, 2006

    …forbidden in both Judaism and Islam, two desert religions.

    “my people are the people of the dessert,
    said t e lawrence, picking up his fork”

    More helpfully, perhaps, the current (3rd, 2001) edition of Philip Appleman’s critical reader DARWIN includes excerpt from HY’s ’97 book, along with an excerpt from Thomas McIver discussing Orthodox Jewish Creationsts, and several more mainstream religions’ statements on evolution. This kind of religious material was almost absent from the 2nd edition – in 1979 it wasn’t such a flashpoint.

  33. #33 Magnus
    August 7, 2006

    So Harun Yahya is the guy who is going to insist it’s a sunny day when it’s actually raining, force me to go outdoors and when i get wet and end up sick in bed with pneumonia he’ll tell me it’s Gods/Allahs punishment for not believing in the “facts” of creation.

    “All the scientific evidence and plain facts in the world haven’t been able to free them from this spell’s influence.”
    It’s all the right arguments used the wrong way. HY is the one under the spell, i highly question his “intelectual” credentials.

  34. #34 Porlock Junior
    August 7, 2006

    When you have sun and rain together, you get a rainbow, as already mentioned. (Assuming you’re facing in the right direction, etc.) The Lord gave Noah the rainbow as a sign, as we know from some old spiritual as well as the Old Testament. In Turkey, though, being neither Christians nor Jews, they have opted out of the rainbow; so no sun and rain together. Their loss; but is it really as bad as losing bacon?

  35. #35 Grimgrin
    August 7, 2006

    Damnit PZ, i had an expensive irony meter, it’s now a melted puddle of plastic and metal.

    Why is it that “Everyone is stupid except me (or us, depending)” arguments crop up so commonly in this debate?

  36. #36 Tatarize
    August 7, 2006

    Imagine yourself meeting a person who insists that white is just a lighter shade of black

    This is actually correct. Grey is a color where the amounts of red, green, blue are all equal to each other. Black is 0,0,0 whereas white is 255,255,255. These are two different hues of the same color. Combine this with the existence of sunshowers (rain when the sun is shining) and you have 2/3 of his examples. I almost wish that clouds were made out of cotton just so I could point and laugh 100% rather than this poor 66.667% I am currently entitled to.

  37. #37 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 7, 2006

    RBH:

    I thought Dembski was an information measure, more specifically the absence of information. I think you have mistaken your bullshit meter for your irony meter.

  38. #38 Snark7
    August 7, 2006

    Well alas, this isn’t as funny as it may look from the US. This craphead is actually doin some very good advertising of his stupid beliefs. His writings are distributed widely via peer2peer networks and a lot of muslims take the shit he’s spewing very seriously.
    Which may well become a bit of a problem in Europe and especially Germany, where I live.

  39. #39 craig
    August 7, 2006

    The Lord gave Noah the rainbow as a sign,

    holy crap – you mean God’s GAY?!?!?

  40. #40 Ginger Yellow
    August 7, 2006

    Isn’t this the same guy who testified at the Kansas show-trial?

  41. #41 Caledonian
    August 7, 2006

    Um, ‘white’ is the name we give to a particular shade range of equal reflectivity, as is ‘black’. The creationist kook is correct — white cannot be regarded as a lighter shade of black because you can’t have a shade of a shade.

    We have to give the devil his due — calling creationists on their supposed errors when they’re actually correct only harms our position in the long run.

  42. #42 Peter McGrath
    August 7, 2006

    Bent the needle. If he lives in Turkey, he should be able to prove it all by finding the Ark. Maybe bringing that pair of woodworm aboard was a mistake.

  43. #43 PZ Myers
    August 7, 2006
  44. #44 Caledonian
    August 7, 2006

    These are two different hues of the same color.

    ‘Hue’ means ‘color’. ‘Tint’ refers to how close to white a color is, while ‘shade’ refers to how close to black a color is. By tradition, ‘tint’ is used to refer to colors that have been altered to be brighter than gray, while ‘shade’ refers to those that are darker than gray.

    White really isn’t a brighter shade of black. It is a tint of gray.

  45. #45 Runolfr
    August 7, 2006

    Maybe it’s just my inherent western prejudices or the influence of the bigoted western media, but I’d gotten the impression that “Muslim intellectual” was something of an oxymoron.

    I suppose Muslim intellectuals really exist somewhere, but the oxymoronic ones certainly seem to get all the press.

  46. #46 Keith Douglas
    August 7, 2006

    Greco: I don’t know about Turkey, but I can assure you rain falls with sunlight here, in Montreal, Canada.

    About Yahya: As I recall, the name is actually a pseudonym for a collective, like Bourbaki. Only, of course, the latter contributes to knowledge, the former ignorance and superstition.

    Kagehi: Sectarian presumably means Methodist or Episcopalian or Baptist (etc).

    PZ brings up something important – the difference between how physicists (sloppily, in some cases) understand colour and how psychologists and so on do. In particular, there is no function wavelength -> colour that doesn’t also take into account surrounding colours, illumination and indeed the state of the organism. (For a first blush approximation to what I take colours to be, there’s a paper about “colour relationalism” on my website.)

  47. #47 Steve_C
    August 7, 2006

    That doesn’t really seem complete. Grays can have color too.

    I was taught that black absorbed more lightwaves where as white reflected more lightwaves.

    You seem to be saying that grays are the foundation of all color theory.

  48. #48 Nymphalidae
    August 7, 2006

    I read Cladistics pretty frequently, so just to see I looked through the back issues through 2003, and I couldn’t find a review. If somebody else can find the review (if it exists) I would be interested in reading it.

  49. #49 natural cynic
    August 7, 2006

    Porlock Jr: In Turkey, though, being neither Christians nor Jews, they have opted out of the rainbow; so no sun and rain together.

    Not to get cladistic on you, but the story of Noah is ancestral to all three – Islam, Christianity & Judiasm [Islam is more closely related to Judiasm].

  50. #50 Caledonian
    August 7, 2006

    That doesn’t really seem complete. Grays can have color too.

    I was taught that black absorbed more lightwaves where as white reflected more lightwaves.

    You seem to be saying that grays are the foundation of all color theory.

    Um… I have no idea where you got those ideas from, but I think you should send them back. Hope you kept the receipt.

  51. #51 craig
    August 7, 2006

    It is a tint of gray.
    I thought it was a whiter shade of pale.

  52. #52 Steve
    August 7, 2006

    I was taught that black absorbed more lightwaves where as white reflected more lightwaves.

    You seem to be saying that grays are the foundation of all color theory.

    It’s kind of a gray area.

  53. #53 Foggg
    August 7, 2006

    Torbjörn’s correct. Informationiness megaDembski’s cannot be expressed in gigaOhms.
    Alternate units are giggle-Flops and Bytes-of-the-tongue.

  54. #54 Mike
    August 8, 2006

    Irony meter test? More like Liar Meter test, and mine is pinging continuously while reading anything from Yahya.

  55. #55 Pete K
    August 8, 2006

    What about rainbows and snowflakes? And the clouds mentioned? These complex entities look “designed” too, don’t they? So were they “created”, or do they develop via physical and chemical processes? Or does God supervise the laws and processes?

  56. #56 King Aardvark
    August 8, 2006

    I had a moment of curiosity when reading this post: I wanted to find out where the term “irony meter” originated and when. I looked for it on Wikipedia, but found that Wikipedia doesn’t even have an entry for irony meter. This is a travesty. We need someone to write a Wikipedia article on Irony meters, pronto. It is too important an item to leave neglected.

  57. #57 moioci
    August 9, 2006

    King A.,
    I got one started for you. Other researchers will have to fill in the gory details, though.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony_meter

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