Pharyngula

Harun Yahya has a youtube channel, and it is surreal. He sponsors these panels of attractive young women with grossly overdone makeup — is he catering to his interpretation of how Western women are supposed to look? I don’t know, it’s just weird — and they talk about science in stilted, broken English for an hour. And when I say “talk about”, I mean “recite facts poorly”, as if they’ve memorized a script. Here’s one of them; you won’t be able to listen to the whole thing, it’s just too agonizing.

I skipped around a bit to catch the tone. They talk about the pituitary, for instance, and how it regulates so many aspects of human physiology. They recite the details, and then ask, how can it do that? It’s just cells! Allah must be doing it!

This is what we get throughout the discussion. I skimmed ahead, and they started talking about the regulation of blood sugar. They don’t get the facts wrong — I suspect it’s all just cribbed straight from some physiology text, but it’s as if they don’t comprehend what they are talking about.

The cells in the islets of Langerhans measure how much sugar there is in 5 liters of blood.

But this is impossible! A cell cannot do that!

The cells release a little key called insulin that opens the gates in cells to let sugar in.

How could it be possible? It is miraculous!

The gates only let sugar in, but not proteins.

How do they know? They are only proteins! They have no intelligence! Allah must will it.

Everything is a miracle. Common facts that I expect my students to grasp without a problem (maybe I’ve been mistaken there) are treated as cosmic mysteries that require a divine intelligence to execute — every little chemical reaction in your body only occurs because Allah is consciously and carefully willing it to happen. Why do glucose transporters only move sugars across the membrane and not every protein that comes by? I thought it was molecular specificity of the GLUT binding sites.

I would like to come before that panel with a sieve, and demonstrate how it works, just to see these women gasp and ask, “But how does it know to let the little particles through and not the big ones? It is miraculous!”

I really wonder about the audience for these videos. There is a whole string of them, and they’re all the same, much like Yahya’s books: declaration of basic biological fact, announcement that it is impossible, therefore Allah. They’re not particularly enjoyable, either, unless you’ve got some weird fetish for watching young women say “Inshallah” over and over.