Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Islamic creationists?

In my persual of scienceblogs.com (where I hope this blog will be one day when my readership is greater than 10) I found mention of a huge, glossy, intelligent design textbook by a man from Turkey who has sent copies of the Atlas of Creation to universities all over the U.S. Here's a link to the New York Times article about it : Islamic Creationist and a Book Sent Round the World

The author, Harun Yahya, has an admittedly impressive website (in its vastness, not content) where you can download the book for free. This book is full of the same crap I've seen in other creationist or intelligent design literature. There is an obvious lack of understanding of the mechanisms for evolution. Just read Chapter 2: A brief history of the theory for a complete butchering of the history of evolution.

In addition to all of the other errors, there are a few things that come up again and again in anti-evolution literature that really annoy me:

1. Calling those who accept evolution as the fact that it is "Darwinists." Charles Darwin simply got the ball rolling (Alfred Russell Wallace deserves some credit too). So much of our current understanding of evolution happened far after Darwin. I feel like calling it "Darwinism" instead of "evolution" makes it sound reducible to one man's idea without 150 years of additional evidence. It gives the impression that if you read Origin of Species and don't understand it then obviously this "Darwinism" stuff is bunk. I suppose "neo-Darwinist" sounds less credible than the proper "evolutionary biologist."

2. Saying that evolution is "random" or "coincidence," as Yahya prefers to say. Obviously the first turtle didn't just appear randomly or coincidentally from the dust! Evolution, on the contrary, is the NON-random process of selection for characteristics that allow an organism to reproduce more successfully. The mutations that lead to emergence of new characteristics are random, but what happens to the organism with the mutation is not.

Now that I've already written this blog, part of me wonders if I should even be acknowledging this total piece of crap book. By being written about in the NY Times it already has more attention than it deserves. But perhaps now that it's out there it is our scientific responsibility to make sure that people are properly informed and not led astray by the glossy plagarized color photos. Well, you can go check it out for yourself.


Paulina said...

I couldn't agree more. I keep trying to read the creationist literature in the hopes of understanding their point of view, but it is a painful read.
One thing I would add to your list are the endless attacks on the personality and morality of the 'darwinists'.

Nicki said...

A copy of the creationist book mentioned here is now sitting in the middle of the table of our landscape ecology lab. I was wondering where it came from :).