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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY > Turkish state science council denies ‘evolution censor’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has strongly denied reports that it has stopped printing books on evolution, saying the claims were “black propaganda” against their institution.

“If we aim to censor Evolution Theory we would discontinue publishing any books containing evolutionist approaches, but on the contrary we are publishing the books that are not being published by other publishing houses,” an official from TÜBİTAK told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a phone interview.

A number of reports in daily Sözcü claimed Jan. 14 that TÜBİTAK had put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution.

The evolutionist books, previously available through TÜBİTAK’s Popular Science Publications’ List, will no longer be provided by the council, the daily had claimed.

Titles from prominent writers including Richard Dawkins, Alan Moorehead, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Levontin and James Watson were listed as being among those which would no longer be available to Turkish readers.

However, the official refuted the claims. “There are two books already in our 2012 catalogue regarding evolution, Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ is one of them … Dawkins’ ‘The Selfish Gene’ is not being published because of a publication rights issue, but this is being manipulated,” the official said.

He claimed that “some circles” had kicked off a “black propaganda” campaign against TÜBİTAK to “shadow its success,” following the successful mission of Turkey’s first Earth observation satellite, Göktürk-2.

Göktürk-2 was launched Dec. 18 in China, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan followed the launch at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) campus, which witnessed huge numbers of students protesting the prime minister’s visit.

Erdoğan had called on the academics who supported the students to resign, but the police’s heavy-handed intervention in the protests also stirred a debate among Turkish universities, with some backing the police and Erdoğan and some opposing.

TÜBİTAK had previously been the target of evolutionist circles for alleged censorship practices.

In early 2009 a huge uproar occurred when the cover story of a TÜBİTAK publication was pulled, reportedly because it focused on Darwin’s theory of evolution. The incident led to intense criticism and finger-pointing from various representatives of the publication and its parent institute.

A few months later, the article in question appeared as the publication’s cover story.

January/15/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Fr Grey

1/27/2013 5:30:13 PM

@alkan kizildel Is China your enemy? For historical reasons?

alkan alkan

1/23/2013 9:54:21 AM

"Göktürk-2 was launched Dec. 18 in China," There is a historical irony here. Göktürks have disappeared a long time ago however the satelite that bears their name is put in orbit by their eternal enemy: China..!

american american

1/16/2013 6:02:02 PM

did their position evolve?

Rosalind Polat

1/15/2013 11:56:28 PM

As man is such a greedy, murderous being and if he is created in Gods image what does this say? Or was man loving and kind at creation at turned into this monster along the way?

Rimon Tree

1/15/2013 9:44:45 PM

@ Baris From a scientific point of view you are right, but Genesis should not be read only hardcore science, but more as a symbolic explanation of the coming into existence of everything. that's why I put "creation" into quotation marks.Time does not matter in such narratives. If you want you can consider it the "music of the universe" in contrast to the evolutionary explanation of the universe. People need science for education, but myths for the soul. I hope I am not too poetic! :-((

Brit in Turkey

1/15/2013 8:17:49 PM

I think we should remember that the Bible and Genesis were written a very long time ago before any scientific facts on evolution were known. The fact that there may not be an exact match with Darwin's theories is only to be expected.

Blue Dotterel

1/15/2013 7:50:06 PM

Well, time will tell if TUBİTAK is limiting the publication of these books or not. It does seem though that the HDN should attempt to verify other newspapers reports with the original sources before printing them. TUBİTAK has largely been purged of secularists at the top, so as in 2009, as reported by Baris below, it is not unreasonable to suspect them of some such anti-science nonsense. Still, HDN should know better, and follow up such claims by other new organizations.

boris buyuk

1/15/2013 6:37:36 PM

A very sad state of affairs for Turkey.

Tekion Particle

1/15/2013 5:58:38 PM

I am a fond believer of research backed up by facts and I reject any explanation that does not offer evidence to support the explanation. Evolution is the only method that can explain with evidence the diversity of life on Earth. Simple example: look at the cat family, your house cat is close related to a tiger, a lion and a cheetah etc. How can anyone repute the living evidence that evolution is at work? Those who do are in denial and afraid of the truth. Bytheway, a great U turn by TÜBİTAK.

Baris

1/15/2013 4:07:06 PM

Rimon Tree, Genesis contradict evolution thoery in many ways, most notably in the whole "creation" taking place in only six days, and in the order of events. E.g., according to Genesis, the Earth, plants, light etc, came before the sun and stars were "created", life on land was before life at sea, the age of universe is less than 10000 years, etc. Also, Genesis says everything was created as they are, and therefore inherently rejects evolution. It fails to explain the fossils.
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