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article imageNew Twist on Creationist Efforts to Refute Darwin

By unusualsuspect     Jul 19, 2007 in World
What weighs 12 pounds, has almost 800 pages, scores of beautiful fossil photos, and has been called "a load of crap" by one biologist? It's the Atlas of Creation, thousands of copies of which have been distributed all over the world by a mysterious Turk.
Americans have become accustomed to Christian creationists, but scientists, teachers, members of Congress, and many others have been shaking their heads over their free, unsolicited copies of the Atlas of Creation. It's a beautiful book, but according to its recipients, without any scientific merit.
The book is unusual for creationist literature, which is usually based on the Christian bible. This one, which was apparently printed in carload lots, and has been distributed all over the world, is based on the Koran. Harun Yahya, whose real name is Adnan Oktar, believes that his book proves the "inherent deceit" of the theory of evolution. According to Yahya, Darwin's theory is "a feeble and perverted ideology contradicted by the Koran." He wants to "unmask what the book calls 'the imposture of evolutionists' and the links between their scientific views and modern evils like fascism, communism and terrorism."
The book showed up in France earlier this year, in a French translation, and was distributed to museums, universities and high schools. Even though the French aren't used to having to deal with creationists, they efficiently managed to make sure that the Atlas didn't reach students.
The American response has been uniformly negative, on the basis of the "science" displayed in the book, but also impressed by its physical quality and the obvious expense that went into producing and distributing it. “If you went into a bookstore and saw a book like this, it would be at least $100,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a biologist at Brown University and an author of biology texts. “The production costs alone are astronomical. We are talking millions of dollars.”
No one knows how the books are financed, but Yahya's website certainly contains plenty of opportunities to spend your money on books and videos. The site does have plenty of free, downloadable material, since Yahya says that his goal isn't to make money, but to encourage people “to open their minds and hearts and guide them to become more devoted servants of God.”
There's certainly no fear that the site will open anyone's mind to science. You don't have to go beyond two short quotes on the home page to gain a thorough understanding of Yahya's scientific knowledge. "Darwinism, has long been defunct from the scientific point of view. This great error has been based on the inadequate level of 19th-century science." And "The logic that nothing, but chance, is scientific is a flawed one. It is a logical dead-end. "
Kevin Padian, a University of California evolutionary biologist, who was one of the witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Dover, Pennsylvania intelligent design suit, said that people he talked to who had received copies of the Atlas were astounded by its production values "and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is."
So now there are a lot of scientists and teachers trying to figure out what to do with their copy of the Atlas of Creation. "...for many, it is too beautiful for the trash bin but too erroneous for their shelves."
More about Atlas creation, Darwin, Creationism
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