The Scientific Activist

Yesterday, I mentioned the Atlas of Creation a book by Islamic creationist Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) sent unsolicited to scientists around the world. My boss also received a copy a few months ago, and yesterday he dug up the enormous volume for me. My first impression was that it was even larger and more glorious than I remembered. With hundreds of pages of full-color photos, this book must have been incredibly expensive to produce and distribute.

My second impression, though, was that it was also even crazier than I remembered. In the “to the reader” note at the beginning, Oktar writes:

In these books, unlike some other books, you will not find the author’s personal views, explanations based on dubious sources, styles that are unobservant of the respect and reverence due to sacred subjects, nor hopeless, pessimistic arguments that create doubts in the mind and deviations in the heart.

With the exception of the last two points, this was the exact opposite of what I saw when I opened the book. From the very beginning, Oktar does the opposite of what he purportedly sets out to do. For example, here is a representative passage from the introduction:

Darwin’s claims were of course based on no scientific evidence or findings. But since the scientific understanding and technological means available at the time were at a fairly primitive level, the full extent of the ridiculous and unrealistic nature of his assertions did not emerge fully into the light of day. In such a climate, Darwin’s scenarios received general acceptance from wide number of circles.

Rather than being just misleading, this is obviously, even transparently, incorrect–ridiculously so.

The bulk of the book consists of photos of fossils next to photos of their modern day counterparts. For each, there are of two pages of photos with a small caption that includes the common name of the organism; the size, location, and period of the fossil; and a brief explanation of why this particular specimen disproves evolution. Here are some examples of these captions, selected at random:

There is no difference between alder trees growing today and ones that grew between 54 and 57 million years ago. Alders that lived then had the same systems as trees have today. This is proof that evolution never happened on Earth.

These 25-million-year-old midge and gall gnat, identical to midges and gall gnats living today, are among the proofs that living things never underwent evolution.

There is no differences [sic] between starfish of 390 million years ago and those living in the seas today. Despite the intervening millions of years, starfish have remained unchanged and never evolved in any period in the past.

Ferns that lived 360 to 286 million years ago are identical to specimens of today. These plants have remained the same for hundreds of millions of years, revealing the indisputable fact of God’s creation.

And so on. I think you get the point. It’s a mix of logical fallacies, selective reporting, misunderstandings of the scientific method, religious proselytizing, and mind-numbing repetition. After this section, the last few hundred pages offer some of the arguments usually advanced by creationists against evolution, most or all of which can be found in An Index to Creationist Claims.

I don’t see any reason why it would be productive to go through the entire book (especially since I would risk death by boredom or spontaneous head explosion), but my superficial examination of the book leaves me somewhat perplexed. From what I can tell, Oktar acknowledges that different organisms appeared at different points in the Earth’s history. He also acknowledges that many species have since become extinct. His one tiny thread that he still hangs onto is his idea that none of these organisms have undergone any change. How someone can come to embrace this idea–against all of the evidence of modern molecular and evolutionary biology, against all logic, and even against the natural conclusions one would draw from the evidence presented in his own book–is completely beyond me.

It a beautiful example of rationalization and willful ignorance, one fittingly materialized into such an aesthetically-driven–but not fact-based–volume.

Comments

  1. #1 Stanton
    July 19, 2007

    I strongly recommend buying a blank sketchbook or journal from Border’s or an art supply store, and taking a pair of scissors to make a scrapbook of the marvelous photos in that book.
    That way, you can look at the pictures without them being polluted by Oktar’s deliberate stupidity.

  2. #2 Chris Stevenson
    July 19, 2007

    You have a bug in your html – right after “, Oktar writes:” You have

    In these books …

    Otherwise, my sympathies on the dilemma of what to do with the book :-)

  3. #3 Chris Stevenson
    July 19, 2007

    Sigh. Preview lied. What i mean to say is, there is an unclosed ‘p’ tag there.

  4. #4 Steven
    July 19, 2007

    Funny how these silly books always mention god. How come my evolution textbook doesn’t? Oh yea because its science. lol.

  5. #5 Nick Anthis
    July 19, 2007

    Fixed it. Thanks, Chris.

  6. #6 tardu
    July 19, 2007

    Darwin is dead!

  7. #7 Stanton
    July 19, 2007

    And what is your point, tardu?
    If you think that we’re expecting that Darwin is some sort of scientific messiah who’s planning on returing from the dead, please return to taking your anti-psychotic medication.

  8. #8 nemo ramjet
    July 19, 2007

    tardu, I can see it’s hard not being able to come up with anything rational to say. A little like getting bowel congestion, perhaps? Come on then, say something we don’t know.

  9. #9 THE TRANSITIONAL FORM DILEMMA
    July 19, 2007

    I dont know Darwin lives still, but know that Darwinism has been dead after lack of transitional form of fossil.lol;)

  10. #10 Nick Anthis
    July 19, 2007

    I’m pretty sure a creationist wouldn’t know a “transitional form” even if it bit him in the ass.

  11. #11 berke
    July 20, 2007

    “to the reader” section, available in every Harun Yahya book. It is not a section written especially for this book. As you would probably know Harun Yahya has approximately 200 books on various subject and the great number of them are on belief topics. paragraph that you quoted, refers basically those on belief topics and describes the feature that should be available in every book that is written on belief.

    What mostly annoyed people about this book (Atlas of Creation) is that, it is very clear and easy to understand. Why it so simple and not complicating as it is always in other science books? People who call themseves as scientists cannot digest this.The book narrates a deep fact with a simple narration that every reader can grasp easily.
    There is neither any logical fallacy nor complicated, incomprehensible explanations.
    But you should keep digging into the book. this is good.

  12. #12 guest
    July 20, 2007

    Where is the mixture of logical fallacies, Nick?
    You better point out some fallacies.
    Your post just seems making fun of something without any point.

  13. #13 Nick Anthis
    July 20, 2007

    I’ll just point to the one that occurs hundreds of times in a mind-numbing fashion throughout the book: the idea that because an organism looks similar to a fossil, not only did this species never evolve, but no species evolved. Ever. The first fallacy here is that because these two look similar, they are identical. We certainly know nothing specific about the genetic makeup of the fossilized creature, for example. Putting that fairly picky point aside, though, some ecosystems have been relatively stable over the course of the development of life. It should not be surprising, then, that forms that evolved to be particularly suitable to certain conditions have remained favorable where those conditions persist.

  14. #14 Jeff5102
    July 20, 2007

    That is right. To give an example of a similar fallacy:

    “Science says women get babies. However, there are plenty examples of women who didn’t get pregnant. Ever.

    If you write a glossy book, with pictues of many childless women,you can prove that storches bring babies.

    You can make this book very clear and easy to understand. People who call themseves as scientists cannot digest this.The book narrates a deep fact with a simple narration that every reader can grasp easily.

    In this way, the indisputable fact of of baby-delivery by storches can by proven as a fact.”

  15. #15 berke
    July 20, 2007

    Don’t forget that Darwin developed the whole idea by such “simple mind”. what inpired him in Galpagos is to look at the beaks of finches: he thought “Ho, they must be differentiated by time!”. When he use such an awkward logic there is no problem for Darwinians but when looking “millions of years old fossils and living species and saying they didn’t differentiate apparently” it is not ha?

    The Atlas of Creation is not all about fossil records. It has 7 volume. First 2 published in English, 3 available in Turkish. As for the first 3, each emphisize a specific aspect of the issue. (fossils, molecular, ideological etc) What makes evolution, “a theory in crisis” is not only fossils but evidences from various disciplines.

    I think when the serie completed, it will be a closure for Darwinian period. You should wait for the upcoming ones!

  16. #16 Nick Anthis
    July 20, 2007

    Yes… I can’t wait….

  17. #17 micheal hower
    July 20, 2007

    Just answer one question:
    Can you tell me how a single protein with 500 aminoacids can be formed by chance?
    Evolution claims that all living things decend one from other by chance. However SCIENCE tells us that the possibility that a SINGLE PROTE?N can be formed by chance is 10 to the power of 950, which means it isimpossible.
    Which means it is created.
    Looking forward for your answer.

  18. #18 Nick Anthis
    July 20, 2007

    I think you’re going to have to look at the big picture, Michael. If you are familiar with biological science, it’s pretty clear how something as complex as a protein could evolve over the very long time course over which evolution occurs. Thinking about something as complex as a protein just suddenly coming into being is absurd.

  19. #19 Jeff5102
    July 20, 2007

    I will wait for the closure for Darwinian period.

    So far, the logic “some animals did not evolve, so there is no such thing as evolution” is as idiotic as “some women did not get pregnant, so there is no such thing as pregnancy.”

    My guess is, that the ideological aspect will involve Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao; all of them persons without a biological education.

    Like Mr. Oktar himself as we can read in his biography.

    By the way, berke, are you the same person as Mina Berkmen?

  20. #20 berke
    July 20, 2007

    who is Mina?

  21. #21 berke
    July 20, 2007

    By the way the idea in the Atlas of Creation, of course, is not as you get “some didn’t evolved so not the others”. I think you only read the text under the pictures.
    The argument in the book about fossil records is that “there is not a single intermediate form.”

    Once I had coincided in Wikipedia under some title about evolution it has been listed 50 fossils that is accepted by science as transitional form. How miserable explanation is this? Darwinians should avoid to pronounce this anywhere. Millions of fossils belongs to hundred thousands of complete species have been found and only 50 transitional one available, is that? Shouldn’t be plenty even only between very close species?

    Note: Below answers by Harun Yahya about Atlas of Creation_Press Conference Video with English subtitle June 8th, 2007 which had mentioned in reuter and many other article last month. Adnan Oktar answers questions of foreign press.
    http://www.harunyahya.com/new_releases/news/070608_pressconference.php

  22. #22 Nick Anthis
    July 20, 2007

    I think my comment above still applies….

  23. #23 berke
    July 20, 2007

    Jeff
    I googled Mina Berkman and found who she is. I think you are a wikipedia editor and had trouble with them before.

    I am only a supporter of Harun Yahya like many many others. And may be a cyber activist like you. But definetely not a Darwinian one.

  24. #24 berke
    July 20, 2007

    Nick
    I am afraid your comment could not be applied to intermediate forms. You are mentioning about chance and probabilty. I am mentioning about available records.

    50 so-called intermediate fossils on one side and 250.000 complete species fossils on the other. where are the semi creatures among each of 250.000 ones?

  25. #25 Nick Anthis
    July 20, 2007

    Up more.

  26. #26 Jeff5102
    July 21, 2007

    Berke,

    do you really believe that the examples of transitional forms, given by wikipedia, are the only ones? How naive!

    Please take a look at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html for more details about intermediate fossils.

    By the way, do you have a transcript of the press conference, and a list of the invited journalists? I wonder if Mr. Oktar allowed critical journalists on his boat.

    (And my computer ain’t that strong it can download a 1 GB mvie. Sorry).

  27. #27 berke
    July 21, 2007

    Come on they are all speculative. giive me a list of fossil belong to extinct species, I can categorize by looking the resemblance (as they do), which can be something in between the other two. there are plenty of objection for each of them. they are not transitions but complete species but extinct ones.
    I don’t know about the invited journalists but as you may know reuters, a german newspaper and many others that I cannot remember published articles as attendees of this press conference.
    you don’t have to download to watch the video. At top of the page it is playing. you can see which journalist attended because they introduce themselves while asking questions.

  28. #28 Jeff5102
    July 22, 2007

    Nice! Saying that there are objections, without naming them! That is wonderful!

    And what about your reasoning: you first claim that there are too few intermediate fossils found. When I show there is no problem there, you say that all examples are no transitional forms, but just fossils that look like other species, found before and after. I should say this is exactly the definition of an intermediate species.

    And why could transitions no be “complete species”?

    Furthermore, Reuters is NO German Newspaper, but a British news agency, and I cannot check your claim about published articles, if you cannot remember them.

    And at the moment, the site of Mr. Oktar is off-line, so I cannot see it right now.

  29. #29 Justin Moretti
    July 22, 2007

    So Darwin gets to Heaven and is chatting with God. After a (long!) while, Einstein, Hubble and a few other physics/cosmology oriented types join in.

    Oktar’s book is on the table before them.

    And God says “You know, before guys like you came along, it was easy. People could believe in the Creation and not be too far wrong, relatively speaking.”

    Einstein chuckles.

    “But now,” God says, “the facts are coming out. As soon as I finished writing down those bloody equations and put the last full stop on the Q.E.D., the whole thing just took off by itself!” He takes a deep breath, flicks through the book. “I’d be really happy if I’d designed even a tenth of this stuff. Not that I can’t, of course, but it seems I’m being given the credit for work that isn’t mine. What’s worse, every time I try to admit the truth, some jerk who says he’s working for me tries to hush it up. Oh the shame of it all.”

  30. #30 micheal hower
    July 23, 2007

    Nick,
    If you put all necessary materials for a protein to come into being in a big barrel, if you put electricy, water, salt,which ever chemical effect and material you desire, if you wait in front of it FOR YEARS,even your children,their children and millions of generations wait in front of it, YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE A PROTEIN ALIVE IN THAT BARREL.
    So your claim “a protein could evolve over the very long time course over which evolution occurs” is much more absurd to me than what you have told.

  31. #31 Nick Anthis
    July 23, 2007

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that a protein just magically came into being. Obviously the first organic molecules were much smaller.

  32. #32 gözde demir
    July 23, 2007

    it is very happy for me read this kind of good news about Harun Yahya. ? read all books and watch all films.? hope evey one will read his books..

  33. #33 micheal hower
    July 23, 2007

    I don’t think you get the point dear Nick.
    Not only a protein but any tiny organic molecule can not be formed in that barrel. Molecules as well, are again very complicated living structures, have complexe sytems that can not be formed by chance…(In Darwin’s time they were not known because of primitif microscobes but today’s technology proves us that the tiniest molecules have very complexe structures)
    So you say that these molecules were formed “magically” by chance, but not the protein…?!!
    Even if this is the case, how do these molecules formed “magically” decide to form proteins I wonder…and a perfect one each and every time!!!!
    No magic, no chance, no coincidence can do that… but only God can.

  34. #34 Nick Anthis
    July 23, 2007

    If this concept doesn’t make sense, I would suggest taking some introductory chemistry and biology courses.

  35. #35 Mary Lee
    July 23, 2007

    Evolution is a deceit as Yahya says. I learnt this reality from his books. Nick or some others who believe this deceit can check the books and find the real answers of you questions.
    *How did the life start?
    *There are not any fossil records so this is the proof of the creation.
    and the other details….

  36. #36 Jeff5102
    July 23, 2007

    To give some answers:

    *How did the life start?

    How life started is not an item in evolutionary biology. This is called ambiogenesis, and this is a different part of science.

    *There are not any fossil records so this is the proof of the creation.

    THis is no question at all. But if it were, please follow the link for the intermediate fossils I gave above.

    Please read at http://www.auburn.edu/~stratja/Stratford_cladistics04.pdf a review of one of the few experts who took Mr. Oktar seriously.

  37. #37 Ali Bulaç
    July 23, 2007

    There is not sub forms to explain complexity. If there is evolution, darwinist should find and show us some organs are lost step by step but at the same time other s improved. There isnot any fossil records show this improvement from one to another. also like coelecanth was given as from sea to the land sample has been found in depth of ocean. The all evidence of evolution on animal fossils are false. If these are true, why the darwinist scientist need to make changes and mixes on fossil eveidence?! If this is true why they show us hundred of million of fossil evidence which can be easily found among each poppulation. I mean for example between Human and neantherthal there mustbe thaousands of evidence which must be used as proof for evolution. Please think how many car can you find between Daimler Benz 1940 model and 2007 model show the improvement of the cars’ history. may be thousand isnot it? Why scientist shows us this evidence series for each species living in the world know and which are not living too. they can’t because theydont have any. But like Harun Yahya the creationists can show hundred of thousand of fossil records of living organisms , animals and greens ancestors which have the same form (which shows there isnot any evolution on shape) and same population (THERE ARE MILLIONS OF IT AND ALL THE SAME WITH).
    Also the first complex animals seen on CAMBRIEN per?od also has complez an?mals. Eyes, legs etc are show this complexity that is impossible according to darwinist. Why? Because Darwinsit evolution says that living things first seen as a simple organism. But the reality is NOT L?KE THAT like on CAMBRIEN.

  38. #38 Nick Anthis
    July 23, 2007

    The comments on this post are rapidly descending into the depths of incomprehensibility/inanity. I apologize to my readers.

  39. #39 micheal hower
    July 24, 2007

    I just strongly recommend you visit http://www.evolutiondeceit.com/

  40. #40 Dominic Sandor
    July 24, 2007

    Stanton,

    Who are you pusht?

  41. #41 Britney Spears
    July 30, 2007

    Evolutionist ideas are the precursors to materialistic problems as well as racism.

  42. #42 Pierce R. Butler
    August 4, 2007

    At last, a chance to ask a question to real live Harun Yahya fans!

    Here’s my question: the protagonist of Wilhelmina Baird’s science fiction novel Crashcourse uses a dagger with a very slim blade called a “yahya”. Is there actually such a knife, and is this the root of Adnan Okhtar’s pen name?

  43. #43 Dov Henis
    August 5, 2009

    Beyond Einstein-Hubble And Beyond Darwin

    On The Origin Of Origins

    Dark Matter-Energy And “Higgs”?
    Energy-Mass Superposition
    The Fractal Oneness Of The Universe
    All Earth Life Creates and Maintains Genes

    A. On Energy, Mass, Gravity, Galaxies Clusters AND Life, A Commonsensible Recapitulation
    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/184.page#2125
    The universe is the archetype of quantum within classical physics, which is the fractal oneness of the universe.

    Astronomically there are two physics. A classical physics behaviour of and between galactic clusters, and a quantum physics behaviour WITHIN the galactic clusters.

    The onset of big-bang’s inflation, the cataclysmic resolution of the Original Superposition, started gravity, with formation – BY DISPERSION – of galactic clusters that behave as classical Newtonian bodies and continuously reconvert their original pre-inflation masses back to energy, thus fueling the galactic clusters expansion, and with endless quantum-within-classical intertwined evolutions WITHIN the clusters in attempt to delay-resist this reconversion.

    B. Updated Life’s Manifest May 2009
    http://www.physforum.com/index.php?showtopic=14988&st=480&#entry412704
    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/140/122.page#2321

    All Earth life creates and maintains Genes. Genes, genomes, cellular organisms – All create and maintain genes.

    For Nature, Earth’s biosphere is one of the many ways of temporarily constraining an amount of ENERGY within a galaxy within a galactic cluster, for thus avoiding, as long as possible, spending this particularly constrained amount as part of the fuel that maintains the clusters expansion.

    Genes are THE Earth’s organisms and ALL other organisms are their temporary take-offs.

    For Nature genes are genes are genes. None are more or less important than the others. Genes and their take-offs, all Earth organisms, are temporary energy packages and the more of them there are the more enhanced is the biosphere, Earth’s life, Earth’s temporary storage of constrained energy. This is the origin, the archetype, of selected modes of survival.

    The early genes came into being by solar energy and lived a very long period solely on direct solar energy. Metabolic energy, the indirect exploitation of solar energy, evolved at a much later phase in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere.

    However, essentially it is indeed so. All Earth life, all organisms, create and maintain the genes. Genes, genomes, cellular organisms – all create and maintain genes.

    Dov Henis
    (Comments from 22nd century)
    http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/2SF3CJJM5OU6T27OC4MFQSDYEU

  44. #44 Adam
    June 13, 2011

    Harun Yahya comes from the names Prophets Aaron (Harun) and Yahya (John the Baptist) and from my limited understanding of Arabic yahya means ‘living’ i’m sure all this can be googled

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