Turkish Creationist: Islam Encourages Scientific Progress… Wait, What?

This is Harun Yahya (a.k.a. Adnan Oktar) in the introduction to his book Atlas of Creation: Volume 1:

Some 150 years ago, the British naturalist Charles Darwin proposed a theory based on various observations made during his travels, but which could not be supported by any subsequent scientific findings. In essence, his theory of evolution consisted of various scenarios, assumptions and conjectures that Darwin dreamed up in his own imagination.

Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar

And this is Yahya writing for the Huffington Post the other day under the headline “Islam Encourages Scientific Progress“:

Science is an important reality that enables us to know the universe we inhabit, the Earth and our own bodies and to be able to appreciate all the beauties around us. Scientific advances have enlightened human life and opened the door to a healthier way of living…

The spread of scientific thinking and concentration on rationality will further increase the numbers of such people and the contributions they make. That is why it needs to be better understood that the Quran encourages rational thinking and scientific research and activity. In this way, more enlightened people will appear from within the Islamic world and bearing in mind that societies are today in ever greater interaction with one another, such progress will clearly be of great benefit to both the Islamic world and to the world as a whole.

There’s obviously no doubt that Muslims have contributed to the scientific and mathematical worlds and will continue to do so… but Yahya is the worst possible spokesperson for them. As someone who denies the “important reality” of science, he has no business extolling how wonderful it is.

And I would tell him so except — surprise! — the comment section on the post is closed.

How did he get to post this, anyway? Doesn’t Huffington Post have standards?!

Oh… right.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

    If Harun Yahya would just accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, Bryan Fischer would have him on as a guest, as they both have similar “theories” about reality.

  • Tommykey69

    In essence, his theory of evolution consisted of various scenarios, assumptions and conjectures that Darwin dreamed up in his own imagination.
    These clowns always seem to forget Alfred Wallace.
    And what about all those circumnavigations of the globe by Muslim scientists and naturalists during the 19th century? Oh, that’s right, there weren’t any.

  • indorri

    Where is this world in which Islam was not theologically dominated by al-Ghazali and all scientific thinking thereof not thoroughly gutted?

    • Amandatheatheist

      Several hundred years ago.

      • Mad Scientist

        and almost non-existent today, if i may add.

  • Ryan Jean

    Yahya is correct that there were advances made by scholars in the islamic world, but as with almost all apologists pulling the “great advances from people of faith” card, he is ignoring that every major advance — in science, mathematics, medicine, etc. — was made in spite of those scholars’ faith, not because of it…

    • Lagerbaer

      That is a bit unfair. When comparing Islam shortly after its inception with Christianity at that time, it’s true that scholars in islamic countries had more freedom in their pursuit of knowledge, and were even encouraged to do so. But this changed looooong ago.

      • Richard Whereat

        The crusades happened as a direct result of Islamic military incursions into Europe. So the Crusades can’t be blamed here. Blame the reason for their military incursions into europe, the religion.

        • Spuddie

          The Mongols are actually more to blame here. They destroyed the Caliphate and sacked much of Muslim Central Asia.

      • Mad Scientist

        Yes, looong ago, i agree, right, but just maybe it helps the few enlightened muslims out there, helping reduce the number of suicidal nuts destroying our planet.

        So maybe its unfair, but at least some poor “islamic” soul may be saved, eh ?

    • Stev84

      What happened is that Islam took a sharp turn from science-friendly policies towards faith around the 11th century and 12th centuries. There was also a whole school of thinking that encouraged reasoning and lawmaking independent of scripture. Actually the pressure from the Crusades might have contributed to that change.

      • Richard Whereat

        The crusades happened as a direct result of Islamic military incursions into Europe. So the Crusades can’t be blamed here. Blame the reason for their military incursions into europe, the religion of Islam.

        • Spuddie

          Except those incursions coincide with the rise of the Moorish & Turkish Empires and a general increase in learning not their decline. The decline happened when the Mongols sacked and destroyed much of the cultural centers of Central Asia working their way towards Europe. If not for Genghis Khan’s heart attack followed by splitting of the Mongol Empire, Europe would have seen the same fate.

      • Spuddie

        See my comment above. Mongols are the cause for the sharp turn.

  • http://www.summerseale.com/ Summer Seale

    “There’s obviously no doubt that Muslims have contributed to the scientific and mathematical worlds and will continue to do so…”

    The first part of the sentence is absolutely correct. The second part, unfortunately….

    As it stands, the scientific progress in the Muslim world is almost nonexistent. I highly recommend reading the following two articles on the subject.

    http://physicstoday.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_8/49_1.shtml?bypassSSO=1

    http://www.economist.com/news/international/21570677-after-centuries-stagnation-science-making-comeback-islamic-world-road

    The first is by a professor in Pakistan who broke down the simple numbers and comes to dismal conclusions about science in the Muslim world. The second is a little more hopeful.

    However, I would say that there is absolutely no hope unless the Muslim world completely throws off their religious shackles and dark ages mentality from a dark ages religion which has not progressed since the Middle Ages in any reasonable way.

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      You do realise there are Muslims outside the Middle East right?

      • http://www.summerseale.com/ Summer Seale

        Exactly where did I say that this was only about the Middle East? Did I even use the words “Middle East” in my reply? Or did you just assume that I did because you, for some reason, take me for some sort of right-wing evangelical hater of all Muslim people and “Ayrabs”, or some such stupid nonsense?

        I fully realize that Pakistan is not in the Middle East. I fully realize that more Muslims live in Indonesia than anywhere else (and India as well). I fully realize that Farsi is not Arabic, that Iranians are not Arab, that Turks are not Arab, that Kurds are a separate identity from most Turks, and that Turkish is not Arabic either.

        Please don’t make assumptions about me in the future. It pisses me off to be taken for an ignorant right wing moron. I’m not ignorant, I’m not a moron, and I’m not even on the right.

        • Quintin van Zuijlen

          Let me rephrase that, you do realise there are Muslims in non-Muslim majority societies, right?

          • twadd

            Your point being?…

            • Quintin van Zuijlen

              That however reprehensible and backwards (current) Muslim majority/dominated societies might be, Muslims, as individuals, almost certainly are making real scientific, mathematical and technological advances right this moment.
              As far as I can tell, that’s what Hemant meant.

    • Mad Scientist

      Summer Seale says

      “However, I would say that there is absolutely no hope unless the Muslim
      world completely throws off their religious shackles and dark ages
      mentality from a dark ages religion which has not progressed since the
      Middle Ages in any reasonable way.”

      It is not easy to lose a religion. It takes a monumental effort. But the reward is – freedom, and i speak from personal experience.

      Few dare to even walk this path. Few dare even to think about it.
      I think the atheist world can help by showing the way nicely and gently. Baby steps.

  • http://twitter.com/ecalpat Emrah Alpat
  • http://www.facebook.com/garret.brown.7 Garret Shane Brown

    I always find it funny when people cast Darwin as some sort of atheist trying to disprove god when he was a christian himself. All he was doing was following the evidence, and I suggest the rest of you christians do the same.

    Before everyone starts correcting me on what his religious views were, I know he eventually became more like an Agnostic. At the time of “The Origin of Species”, his view was at least a theist though.

    • Tommykey69

      I read Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle and there is a passage where he praises the work of Christian missionaries in Polynesia.

  • C Peterson

    He’s generally correct about Islam supporting science… a thousand years ago. Not so much in recent centuries, however. And his creationist views just go to show that.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Of course Islam supports science. Harun Yahya himself has done important research on the evolution of fish hooks.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      Was going to mention this, but you beat me to it. This is excellent contrast with his criticism of Darwin.

  • DougI

    There has been a history of religious people, even religious institutions supporting some scientific inquiry. However, no scientific progress has ever arose from the fundamentalist sects of religion.

  • Taz

    Not only is this ignorant jackass allowed to post, he’s allowed to close comments. What the hell is HuffPo doing?

    • ortcutt

      I wonder how much they’re charging him to publish there.

  • ortcutt

    Harun Yahya is a world class loon, and raving anti-Semite. It’s pretty sad that the Huffington Post feels fit to publish a piece by the author of “The Holocaust Lie”, “The Dark Magic of Darwinism”, “Children Darwin Was Lying!” and “Judaism and Freemasonry”.

  • Mad Scientist

    This harun Yahya guy is correct, but it isn’t the mainstream head chopping ugly Islam today he is talking about.

    He is talking about the original Islam which brought forward Verifiable Science ( and of course peer scrutiny or review ) to the world

    Along the way this Islam thing got broken and distorted, It became “religion”. What started as Science is now against Science. Go figure !

    Islam those days means to be able to freely question God, and the laws of God, and muslims those days live in glee watching people trying to beat laws of nature. Much is learnt this way. And Science is still very much the same today.

    Only Islam has changed.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X