LOCAL > Hundreds protest anti-evolution meet in Turkey

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

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Some 300 people, including academics and students gathered in front of Istanbul’s Marmara University yesterday to protest the creationism symposium. DHA photo

Some 300 people, including academics and students gathered in front of Istanbul’s Marmara University yesterday to protest the creationism symposium. DHA photo

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Istanbul’s Marmara University’s campus yesterday to speak out against Turkey’s “first-ever academic creationism symposium” that was organized by a student club, backed by the university’s administration, and attended by about 50 people.

“It is a new step taken against science, this is called the Islamization of the universities,” said Professor Atilla Şenel, a prominent anthropologist who was among the protestors. Police prevented Şenel was from entering the two-day symposium titled “Why does science deny inter-species evolution?”, by request of Marmara University’s rector. “This is a part of the program aiming ‘to raise a religious generation.’ Those academics who give presentations in that room have nothing to do with science. They can preach in a mosque but not in a university,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News. “If the symposium’s organizers wanted to engage in a scientific debate, they would allow those with opposing ideas to be in the room.”

Only those who held invitations were allowed into the symposium, where some 50 students listened to the first day’s speakers. Nihat Buğra Ağaoğlu, one of the organizers of the event, said he came to Marmara University to study medicine as a conservative man years ago, but he became depressed when he was taught about evolution. “They did not teach us any theory but Darwinism; we were strangers in our own land,” said Ağaoğlu, who is completing a PhD in genetics.

Ağaoğlu, who also works as a project coordinator at the Health Ministry, said the organizers of the event received threats. “They threatened to kill us, they said we were bigoted and had no place in academia,” he told the Daily News. In his opening speech Ağaoğlu said, “If science was against their beliefs they would find a way to struggle with it, as well.”

Among the presenters on the first day of the symposium was Professor Turan Güven from Gazi University, who said he did not take Darwin’s theories seriously. “He [Charles Darwin] wrote that humans had four legs and they tried to stand up to see their enemies, so that they became two-legged. You have got to be kidding me,” Güven said.


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mara mcglothin

5/17/2012 10:23:21 PM

BERK Most of the general population of the USA laughs at those "bible colleges". I have seen inside one of the museums on television and it showed animated Adam and Eve petting their "dinosaur". How ludicrous. Also none of these people actually believe in carbon dating because then the whole creationism theory goes right out the window. They cannot acknowledge that the world began many many many years before the time of Jesus. Very sad. We all have our simple minded folks.

Red Tail

5/17/2012 9:07:21 PM

US Observer. You say that evolution theory lacks many central pieces and has holes. But lets instead flip the coin, and tell us about all the data and logics and reasoning you have supporting creationist theories. If you want to read something interesting, google "the monkey trial".

american american

5/17/2012 6:34:59 PM

berk, that is a good point. fortunately in america we have plenty of media outlets on tv and in the press where anti-education fanatics are taken to task for their beliefs.

Murun Buchstansangur

5/17/2012 5:41:17 PM

@USObserver. Evolution Theory is just that; a scientific theory. Science demands that it is tested and retested. As far as 'dismissing creationism' goes though, what exactly is the theory and where are the supporting data? Of course there are none because it is a fairy story. No more. By all means provide criticism of evolutionary theories but don't try and categorise religious mumbo-jumbo as an alternative.

Sean Tracy

5/17/2012 5:21:30 PM

@ US Observer- 1- Can you give an example to support your claim about the shortcomings of evolution? I can give you about 250,000 peer-reviewed articles that support it. 2- Creationism and ID do not even fulfill the criteria required to be a science, let alone have one single peer-reviewed study published to support it. Creationists are incessant at misrepresenting science and the scientific theory of evolution, but their arguments are almost always based on their own ignorance of both.


5/17/2012 4:49:15 PM

I honestly do not see a reason necessitating a protest and or the exchanging of insults. Debate in conjunction with scientific proofs is the best way towards the establishment and or formulation of educated opinions. Regards

de Wit Hans A.

5/17/2012 4:29:23 PM

@Berk: that concern about the USA and their religious bigotry is absolutely right But it doesn't effect mainstream academic research and development whilst in Turkey they not even started R & D properly yet. Here the problem.

US Observer

5/17/2012 3:57:08 PM

I'm not very religious but Evolution Theory has many, many holes. Those who are blindly following Darwinsim and dismissing Creationsim need to re-examine the data. Evolutionist make claim after claim which end up disproven. More debate and analysis and less threats and intolerence is whats needed.

Berk Özmeral

5/17/2012 3:25:17 PM

Not much different from the US. There are many bible colleges that focus on teaching creationism and creationist museums. In some states as many as 50% of the people dont believe in evolution and one state even wanted to teach creationism in public primary schools. Even some politicians said they dont want evolution taught. By this logic, shouldnt you westerners be concerned America is becoming a Christian Iran?

de Wit Hans A.

5/17/2012 1:17:48 PM

@ozman, can you please refrain from personal ad honımem attacks. Thank you.
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