Creation in Turkey

on November 14, 2009
Featured in News to Know

Turkey is a nation uncertain of its identity, and that holds true in the creation/evolution debate.

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Washington Post staff writer Marc Kaufman examines the rising tide of creationist teaching in Turkey, where the origins debate is in the context of Islam rather than Christianity.

“They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution,” biology teacher Sema Ergezen told Kaufman. According to Kaufman, Ergezen’s negative experiences as an evolutionist are becoming more and more common in Turkey.

Kaufman writes, “With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin’s theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.” A recent poll showed that less than a quarter of Turks consider evolution the explanation for life.

Widely known in Turkey and in much of the rest of the world is journalist Adnan Oktar (better known by his pen name Harun Yahya), a Muslim creationist whose organization produces creationist materials. “Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed,” he says.

Kaufman quotes John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, a cousin ministry to Answers in Genesis: “Why I’m so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society,” Morris said. The article mentions that representatives of ICR have spoken at Turkish conferences.

According to Kaufman, “If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won’t be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.” But this assertion seems to assume that “evolutionary thinking” is an effective synonym for science, which misses many of creationists’ points.

Do we feel solidarity with Muslim creationists?

Do we feel solidarity with Muslim creationists? The question is largely similar to whether we feel solidarity with those in the Intelligent Design Movement. On one hand, we certainly use many of the same arguments and agree that evolution is an unscientific, by-faith explanation of origins from a naturalistic standpoint. Just as those in the Intelligent Design Movement may generate scientific research we agree with, and just as they may point out societal problems evolution has led to, so also may Muslims.

On the other hand, it is very easy to exaggerate the bond of Muslim and Christian creationists, as the Post article seems to do. The problem stems, first, from a focus on the creationist element of each group’s identity and, second, from forgetting that creationist views are intellectually submissive to religious views. Answers in Genesis is a ministry upholding God’s Word first and foremost—and, because of that, our mission is entirely incompatible with an organization promoting a Koranic worldview. Our position on creation is an outgrowth of a biblical worldview, and our mission is closely tied to defending that connection.

Thus, to even imply that we would find Muslim creationists more like-minded than evolutionists (Muslim or otherwise) misses the point. Any worldview that fails to begin with God’s Word is ultimately flawed, just as any individual without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ remains responsible for their sins before a just God.

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