Why do socialists have to waffle on for so long? Are they trying to impress people with their knowledge or bore them into acquiescing? This little offering from the Supreme Soviet, oh excuse me, Council of Europe about creation apologetics is sobering. The previous article I posted had to do with the demonstrated link between creation beliefs and morality....noteworthy about the article is that it stressed it merely showed a link, not the underlying cause of immorality. I'll supply the cause of corrupted morals.....departing from the word of God! And chief amongst the saboteurs and deceivers are the mainline denominations with their undermining Scripture and faith and compromising with the world and the devil.
posted in full from:
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
The dangers of creationism in education
Committee on Culture, Science and Education
Rapporteur: Mr Guy LENGAGNE, France, Socialist Group
The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.
Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.
The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.
A. Draft resolution
1. The Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist theories within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights, which are a key concern of the Council of Europe.
2. Creationism, born of the denial of the evolution of species through natural selection, was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon. Today creationist theories are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states.
3. The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education. Creationists are bent on ensuring that their theories are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.
4. Creationists question the scientific character of certain items of knowledge and argue that the theory of evolution is only one interpretation among others. They accuse scientists of not providing enough evidence to establish the theory of evolution as scientifically valid. On the contrary, they defend their own statements as scientific. None of this stands up to objective analysis.
5. We are witnessing a growth of modes of thought which, the better to impose religious dogma, are attacking the very core of the knowledge that we have patiently built up on nature, evolution, our origins and our place in the universe.
6. There is a real risk of a serious confusion being introduced into our children’s minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs and ideals and what has to do with science, and of the advent of an “all things are equal” attitude, which may seem appealing and tolerant but is actually disastrous.
7. Creationism has many contradictory aspects. The “intelligent design” theory, which is the latest, more refined version of creationism, does not deny a certain degree of evolution but claims that this is the work of a superior intelligence and not natural selection. Though more subtle in its presentation, the doctrine of intelligent design is no less dangerous.
8. The Assembly has constantly insisted that science is of fundamental importance. Science has made possible considerable improvements in living and working conditions and is a not insignificant factor in economic, technological and social development. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.
9. Creationism claims to be based on scientific rigour. In actual fact the methods employed by creationists are of three types: purely dogmatic assertions; distorted use of scientific quotations, sometimes illustrated with magnificent photographs; and backing from well-known scientists, most of whom are not biologists. By these means creationists seek to appeal to non-specialists and sow doubt and confusion in their minds.
10. Evolution is not simply a matter of the evolution of humans and of populations. Denying it could have serious consequences for the development of our societies. Advances in medical research with the aim of effectively combating infectious diseases such as AIDS are impossible if every principle of evolution is denied. One cannot be fully aware of the risks involved in the significant decline in biodiversity and climate change if the mechanisms of evolution are not understood.
11. Our modern world is based on a long history, of which the development of science and technology forms an important part. However, the scientific approach is still not well understood and this is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism, synonymous with attacks of utmost virulence on human rights. The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.
12. The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. The creationist movements possess real political power. The fact of the matter, and this has been exposed on several occasions, is that the advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy.
13. All leading representatives of the main monotheistic religions have adopted a much more moderate attitude. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, as his predecessor Pope John-Paul II, today praises the role of the sciences in the evolution of humanity and recognises that the theory of evolution is “more than a hypothesis”.
14. The teaching of all phenomena concerning evolution as a fundamental scientific theory is therefore crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies. For that reason it must occupy a central position in the curriculum, and especially in the science syllabus. Evolution is present everywhere, from medical overprescription of antibiotics that encourages the emergence of resistant bacteria to agricultural overuse of pesticides that causes insect mutations on which pesticides no longer have any effect.
15. The Council of Europe has highlighted the importance of teaching about culture and religion. In the name of freedom of expression and individual belief, creationist theories, as any other theological position, could possibly be presented as an addition to cultural and religious education, but they cannot claim scientific respectability.
16. Science provides irreplaceable training in intellectual rigour. It seeks not to explain “why things are” but to understand how they work.
17. Investigation of the creationists’ growing influence shows that the arguments between creationism and evolution go well beyond intellectual debate. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.
18. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore urges the member states, and especially their education authorities, to:
18.1. defend and promote scientific knowledge;
18.2. strengthen the teaching of the foundations of science, its history, its epistemology and its methods alongside the teaching of objective scientific knowledge;
18.3. make science more comprehensible, more attractive and closer to the realities of the contemporary world;
18.4. firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution by natural selection and in general resist presentation of creationist theories in any discipline other than religion;
18.5. promote the teaching of evolution by natural selection as a fundamental scientific theory in the school curriculum.
19. The Assembly welcomes the fact that, in June 2006, 27 Academies of Science of Council of Europe member states signed a declaration on the teaching of evolution and calls on academies of science that have not yet done so to sign the declaration.
B. Explanatory memorandum by Mr Guy Lengagne, rapporteur
1.Mr McIntosh and eighteen of our colleagues have signed a motion for a recommendation entitled “The dangers of creationism in education”. In order to examine the merits of this recommendation, the Assembly decided to ask the Culture Committee to produce a report on this important and difficult issue.
2.As creationism is first of all a reaction to the theory of evolution, it appeared important to describe this theory. Moreover, the most orthodox form of creationism denies the scientific character of the theory of evolution while claiming to be a science itself. This question cannot be considered without employing some basic definitions.
3.This compelled the rapporteur to discuss in the first part of his report a number of technical matters. These may seem somewhat dry in nature but without taking a brief look at the biological questions involved it is not possible seriously to show that evolution is a real science and that creationism, which falls under religion, cannot lay claim to the status of science – and therefore cannot be taught as such.
Evolution: a genuine scientific theory
4. As far as the origins of the universe, the Earth and species are concerned, several theories clash with one another and a number of questions remain unanswered. In all periods of history, people have wondered about their origins and the origin of the Earth. Where have we come from? Religions claim to provide them with answers, including the idea that there is a supreme being, one God that is at the origin of everything – the universe, the Earth and the human race. This belief in an omnipotent “God Creator” is one of the main tenets of the three principal monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
5. In 1802, William Paley (1743-1805), an Anglican archdeacon, developed the theory of natural theology. He wrote that a person who found a watch on a beach could not deny the existence of a superior intelligence that had designed, made and lost the object. God was no other than the watchmaker of the world and human beings discovered the results of his work in the treasures of nature. Various discussions opposing Paley’s theory of natural theology and the Bilblical story of Genesis were to arise in the 19th century.
6. The first major upheaval came about as a result of the work of John Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), a French biologist. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lamarck presented his basic theory of “transformism” in a work entitled Philosophie Zoologique. A few years later, on 29 November 1859, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published a work entitled “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, in which he also put forward the idea that species evolve. Today, it is considered the founding work of the theory of evolution. According to this theory, which contrasts sharply with the knowledge and fears of the time, the biological characteristics of living beings evolve in the course of time and genuine natural selection operates for the survival of species. Through his activities and this work, Darwin proposed to the people of his time a new hypothesis concerning the evolution of species and human beings. His works mark the end of the agreement between natural history and the Christian tradition, as well as the birth of anti-evolutionist movements1.
7. From then on, there were two camps that faced one another: those who were convinced that Darwin had to be opposed in order to defend Christian theology and those who thought that the theory of natural selection would enable humankind to put an end once and for all to the theoretical foundations of “religious obscurantism”.
8. Creationism thus came about in opposition to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Since we are dealing with science here, we must be precise about the subject we are discussing: What is evolution?
9. It should be pointed out that our genes, from which the word “genetic” derives, carry information about the characteristics of a living organism, whether it be a simple bacterium or a human being. A gene is a “piece” of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA carries the genetic information of every living being. Moreover, the study of DNA is being used more and more outside the area of scientific research, for example to disprove or verify parenthood or to clear up certain criminal offences. DNA, as will be seen, is very widely used in the science of evolution.
10. Populations evolve when individuals with certain characteristics (such as tallness) have more descendants than other individuals. The characteristics inherited from the individuals with many descendants become more frequent in the following generations:
- Biological evolution is defined as a modification of the genetic characteristics in the course of time within a group of living beings or a population.
- Adaptation refers to the characteristics of an organism that improve its ability to survive and reproduce in total harmony with its natural environment. Adaptations are the result of natural selection.
- Biodiversity results from the repeated separation of one species into two or more new species (which specialists call “speciation”). When a single species separates into two, the two resulting species share numerous characteristics as they derive from a common ancestor.
11. Evolution thus explains how organisms adapt to their environment (by natural selection), how the diversity of life was formed (by speciation) and why different organisms share characteristics (through a common ancestor). In this connection, it is important to stress that it is wrong to claim that human beings descend from monkeys. They are closely related to monkeys and have a common ancestor but there is no direct line of descent between the two.
12. There is a considerable body of scientific evidence concerning evolution. Scientists have shown that evolution is a fact because of
- the evidence provided by palaeontological data,
- the numerous cases of characteristics shared by organisms with a common ancestor,
- the reality of continental drift,
- direct observations of genetic changes in populations.
13. It should be pointed out that the human being is just one of the links in the long chain of evolution.
14. Scientific advances and discoveries in the field of genetics have made it possible to demonstrate the existence of genetic mutations that come about at random and are not oriented towards a particular goal. It is the modification of genes in the descendence of living beings that defines biological evolution. Among the organisms that reproduce by sexual means, genetic variability increases through crossing over, the independent assortment of chromosomes and fertilisation. These various mutations and any other processes that rearrange the genetic information combine to bring about the evolution of species and populations and tend to reinforce the variability of individuals and species on the planet. Genetic modifications trigger morphological, biochemical and behavioural differences. Natural selection and/or genetic drift have an effect on the differences between individuals or species in order to produce evolutionary changes.
15. Apart from demonstrating the process of evolution, scientists have been able to show the consequences of this process for life on Earth. Three main characteristics define the latter: the adaptation of organisms to their environment, speciation (the repeated separation of one species into two or more new species), which contributes to the diversity of life on Earth, and the existence of common ancestors. Evolution involves these different characteristics of that life.
16. Palaeontological data, such as the fossil record, provide clear proof of the evolution of species and individuals in the course of time. Fossils are the preserved remains of organisms that lived a long time ago. They enable biologists to reconstruct the history of life on earth and, even though a number of uncertainties remain, provide evidence to give weight to the idea that species have evolved in the course of time. Palaeontology also confirms the existence of new groups of organisms on the basis of organisms that existed previously.
17. The fact that these organisms share common characteristics is consistent with the biological blueprints of the evolutionary relations. One of the main propositions of the theory of evolution is that organisms should carry in themselves the evidence of their evolutionary past, and this is indeed the case. The similarities in the models of development can be explained by their descent from a common ancestor. The proteins and DNA of organisms that share a common ancestor are closer than the proteins and DNA of those that do not share a recent common ancestor.
18. Continental drift, which is the result of the splitting up of the Pangea (the old supercontinent comprising almost all the land that emerged from the Carboniferous period at the beginning of the Jurassic) at least 200 million years ago, also enables proof of evolution to be furnished. The fossils of organisms that evolved when the continents were connected have a wider geographical distribution than those of organisms that have evolved more recently. The effect of continental drift was to separate families of living organisms and thus bring about their development, independently of their descent, as well as the appearance of new species and the extinction of others.
19. Finally, scientists have been able to observe, whether in the laboratory or in nature, genetic changes in the course of time in the populations or species studied. They have also been able to trigger genetic modifications themselves by crossing species. This is called artificial selection. Natural and artificial selection make it possible to provide evidence of evolution.
20. In order to illustrate this point, let us mention a few examples that show the process of evolution:
Research on the fight against AIDS has brought to light new aspects that confirm that evolution has taken place. After developing new treatments for HIV that appeared very promising, researchers discovered that this virus was rapidly evolving in order to keep adapting to its environment. HIV has a particularly elevated mutation rate but that in itself does not make it possible to explain the fact that this virus evolves by considerably increasing its ability to resist clinical therapies. There is often an interval of about ten years between the moment when an individual is afflicted by the virus and when the first AIDS symptoms are triggered. During this period, no appreciable increase in the HIV concentration in the blood is established. However, scientists have shown that the virus has produced millions of viral descendants during this period, which implies that enormous quantities of virus are destroyed very quickly after they have been produced. The body therefore hosts many different strains of HIV that compete with one another and fight to survive against the various clinical therapies. More generally, the recent changes in the AIDS virus are evidence of the ability of any organism to evolve.
21. The resistance of many insects to new pesticides shows they are similarly able to adapt to a new environment in which only those that are most resistant will survive. Resistance to antibiotics also tells us a great deal. Today, many species of bacteria are resistant to all kinds of antibiotics because, as a result of natural selection, only the few bacteria that have resisted have been able to multiply.
22. It is important to note that the number of means of verifying the hypotheses put forward has increased since Darwin. From the form of the fossils discovered to the study of their DNA, the cross-checking of information makes it possible to achieve considerable objectivity.
23. There can be no doubt that evolution is a genuine science.
24. As Guillaume Lecointre, a professor at the National Natural History Museum in Paris, points out, science is the totality of operations that produce objective knowledge. A statement on the world can only be described as objective if it has been verified by an independent observer. This verification depends on three factors: scepticism, rationality and logic and, finally, methodological materialism. These three pillars ensure the objectivity of a scientific result.
25. Scientific research on the subject of evolution has been no exception.
26. At present, scientists from all nations, races and religions agree on the existence of evolution and accordingly no longer try to find out whether it has actually taken place but “how” this has happened. A number of questions remain within the scientific community with regard to understanding all the processes that lead to evolution. In particular this work consists in revealing the mechanisms that have governed the present structuring of biodiversity2. However, no science is ever complete and new discoveries regularly enable progress to be made on understanding “how” things are as they are.
27. In addition, as Hervé LeGuyader emphasises, evolutionist thinking now pervades all areas of biology and, through the historical dimension of the process of evolution, also affects the sciences of the Earth and the universe. The advances in evolution research have in fact resulted in broadening the basis of this theory, so that today the evolution of populations, including human populations, is only part of evolution as a whole. Research being done on evolution is still providing more evidence for the truth of the theory of evolution.
28. One of the discoveries that has been made in the study of our planet and has been confirmed many times, is the dating of the major events that have marked its development:
- the solar system, which includes the Earth, was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago;
- life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago (in the form of unicellular bacteria);
- about 200 million years ago Pangea began to split up to form the continents we know today;
- homo sapiens, ie human beings, emerged between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
It is thus not hard to understand why these discoveries have presented a challenge to those who apply a strict interpretation to the first part of the Bible, ie Genesis.
29. These various discoveries and scientific advances concerning evolution led to strong opposition from various so-called “creationist” movements (the word derives from “creation” in the biblical sense of the term).
30. The most intransigent of the supporters of Creationism claim that the world was created by God in six days and maintain that the transformist or evolutionist theories that conflict with the Bible, according to which God created each plant or animal species individually, can only be lies. They say that science is wrong because, in the strictest possible sense, the Bible says something else – which reminds us, incidentally, of the trial of a man called Galileo.
31. This strict Creationism is subdivided into two branches, one that categorically rejects the scientific discourse and another, also called “scientific creationism” or “science of creation”, that thinks that the science versus religion conflict is only an illusion.
32. According to “scientific Creationism”, the author of creation, as described in the Bible, is always present and intervenes in the various processes that bring about evolution. Within scientific creationism, the debate on the Earth’s age divides the so-called “young-earth creationists” (YECs) from the “old-earth creationists” (OECs). The first apply a literal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, while the second group admit that creation may have taken place over a long period and seek to reconcile the scientific data with the story of Genesis.
33. Alongside these different movements that come together under the heading of strict creationism, we also find so-called progressive creationism, which does not totally reject evolution but argues that creation necessarily involved successive divine interventions.
34. Confrontations between creationists and Darwinists took place throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, especially in the United States. In 1925, at the so-called “Monkey Trial”, John Scopes, a teacher in Dayton, Ohio, was convicted for teaching his pupils the theory of evolution. However, as a result of scientific discoveries and advances, especially in the filed of biology, the theory of evolution gradually gained acceptance. In 1968, the United States Supreme Court declared the anti-evolutionist laws in force in several states unconstitutional.
35. The last quarter of the 20th century was marked by an appreciable resurgence of creationist theories. In the light of the setbacks they had sustained against the supporters of the theory of evolution, the creationists tried to adapt, and did so to such an extent that in the current statements of the “neocreationists” references to God and the Bible are, or at least it would appear, totally absent. There is no longer any question of divine creation. The neocreationist movement, which mainly consists of the advocates of “intelligent design”, defends the hypothesis of the intervention of a so-called superior intelligence. Describing the theory as scientific, the supporters of the intelligent design theory demand that their ideas be taught in biology classes alongside the theory of evolution.
36. However, in 2005 the intelligent design creationists also suffered a setback when the Pennsylvania judge John Jones declared that the teaching of intelligent design in schools violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
37. Nevertheless, creationism (or neocreationism) is still well-developed in the English-speaking countries, especially the United States and Australia. While most curricula in Europe today unashamedly teach evolution as a recognised scientific theory, the same does not apply to the United States. In July 2005, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll that showed that 64% of Americans favoured the teaching of intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution and that 38% would support the total abandonment of the teaching of evolution in publicly owned schools. The American President George W. Bush supports the principle of teaching both intelligent design and the theory of evolution. At the moment, 20 of the 50 American states are facing potential adjustments of their school curricula in favour of intelligent design.
Creationism in Europe
38. Many people think that this phenomenon only affects the United States and that, even if it is not possible to be indifferent to what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic, it is not the Council of Europe’s role to deal with this issue. That, however, is not the case. On the contrary, it would seem crucial for us to take the appropriate precautions in our 47 member states.
39. Alongside Christian creationism there is now Muslim creationism: the creationist arguments of Christian origin became popular among the Muslims with the rise of the Islamist movements at the beginning of the 1980s.
40. Today, creationists of all faiths are trying to get their ideas accepted in Europe. As a result, we have seen several initiatives from these various movements on the Eurasian continent in the last few years, with schools apparently the main target. The beginning of 2007 saw an offensive by the Turkish creationist Harun Yahya, who sent his last and very lavish work, entitled “The Atlas of Creation”, which claims to denounce the deception of the theory of evolution, to a large number of French, Belgian, Spanish and Swiss schools. In France, the Ministry of Education, after consulting specialists, immediately reacted by expressly calling for this work to be removed from the resource centres of the schools concerned as the book met none of the quality requirements laid down for classroom teaching.
41. The creationists are attacking on two fronts: they either deny the scientific nature of evolution or try to put the lack of certainty at the centre of the debate that pits them against the supporters of the theory of evolution. To this end, they rely on the fact that the science of evolution, like any science, is not “closed”, ie it casts doubt on certain elements or describes others in greater detail (without this calling into question the foundations on which it is based).
42. For the creationists of all persuasions, the element of uncertainty that surrounds scientific work on the subject of creation and evolution is much too large to give this theory sufficient credence. Do they need to be reminded that this applies to all science? It is only necessary to cite the example of the atom, which was considered indivisible and was then split into its nucleus and electrons, after which quarks were discovered. However, these scientific discoveries have never challenged the basis of atomic theory! A scientific theory produces new knowledge that it tries to interpret according to the prevailing paradigms, which forces the theory to evolve in order to take account of these new data.3 However, reviewing and evolving a theory does not mean calling into question its basic principle, and the same applies to the theory of evolution.
43. While the most radical creationists adhere to a crude denialism by completely denying the scientific advances and discoveries concerning the evolution of species, other creationist movements proclaim themselves scientific, a claim that is completely contradictory. So-called scientific creationism is in fact the desire to place the narrative of the holy books on a scientific basis. However, as Guillaume Lecointre emphasises, just as the construction of a myth has nothing in common with the construction of a scientific assertion, the statements made in the context of the two theories have very little chance of tying up with one another. Other movements promote the idea that evolution has indeed taken place but is the result of the act of a transcendent will, an “intelligent design”.
44. In the light of these assertions and other claims of scientific legitimacy emanating from various creationist movements, it is justified to ask: How can the creationists claim to be able to provide scientific proof for what they are saying? The scientific nature of an assertion depends to a large extent on the ability to verify its objectivity by reproducing experiments or observations. As we shall show, the scientific character of the alternative ideas put forward by the creationists can be seriously called into question, indeed totally refuted.
45. While the evolution sciences have evolved considerably since Darwin, the creationists have not gone beyond their pitiful level of quibbling4. Evolution has not stopped “evolving” since Darwin theorised it. Science is a body of knowledge constantly being built and rebuilt. The scientific approach consists in continually questioning models, which remain true unless and until they have been refuted. The creationist arguments have never evolved and are not based on any scientific proof. Facts are presented without theory, or theoretical arguments are put forward without any facts to confirm or refute them. Creationism appears more dogmatic than scientific.
46. Guillaume Lecointre has shown that they have been somewhat cavalier with regard to elementary rules of science. The first breach of these rules is their lack of scepticism. In every creationist experiment, faith imposes a preconceived idea of the expected result. Faith does not permit them objectively to accept the result of a scientific experiment if it does not correspond to their beliefs, so it would seem impossible to reconcile faith and science. The second breach noted concerns the fact that even if the creationists seem to comply with the principles of logic, that logic is based on false premises, indeed on a tendentious selection of facts. Finally, mention may be made of a large number of breaches of the principles of methodological materialism and experimentation. As G. Lecointre emphasises, scientific creationism is by definition the very opposite of science because it denies the need for recourse […] to material realities […] in order to establish truths. However, let us repeat: it is not possible to establish knowledge without scientific evidence and without verifying its objectivity and scientific character by the reproduction of experiments and/or observations. The creationists make a number of claims that cannot be scientifically tested and are thus not provable. It is therefore easy to see through the deception of the creationists who claim to follow scientific principles. This deception is all the greater as, being aware that it is impossible for them to prove scientifically what their dogma advocates, some creationists even go so far as to fabricate facts and evidence. Thus, apart from the absurd interpretations put forward by some creationists, it would seem that others do not hesitate to fabricate “pseudo” evidence to try to prove the scientific nature of their statements.
47. Thus the Turkish preacher Harun Yahya seems to employ both these methods. In his numerous anti-Darwinist works, he tries to prove the absurdity and unscientific nature of the theory of evolution, which is for him only one of Satan’s greatest deceptions. However, the pseudo-scientific method he uses in his work The Atlas of Creation cannot in any way be considered scientific. The author tries to prove the non-scientific nature of the theory of evolution by taking and challenging the evidence of evolution. He does not mention any prior questioning. Moreover, as he only compares photographs of fossils to photographs of current species he provides no scientific proof for these statements. Even better, as Pascal Picq mentions by way of example, on page 60 of this work we see a superb photograph of a fossil of a perch with a claim in the caption that this fish has not evolved over millions of years. That, however, is wrong: a detailed study of the fossil and perches living today shows that, on the contrary, they have evolved a great deal. Unfortunately, Yahya’s book is full of this type of falsehood. None of the arguments in this work are based on any scientific evidence, and the book appears more like a primitive theological treatise that the scientific refutation of the theory of evolution. It may be noted that Yahya says he has the support of major scientists. They would also have to be specialists in the biology of evolution!
48. Similar criticism can be made about the “pseudo”-scientific character of the intelligent design theory. Its supporters present the Darwinian theory of evolution not as a scientific theory but as an ideology or a “natural philosophy” and therefore think it either cannot be taught in schools as a “science” or that the intelligent design theory must be taught at the same time. There is consequently a tendency to justify the inclusion of the intelligent design ideas, which are presented as scientific because of the total lack of any reference to the Bible and God, in the school curricula. However, as G. Lecointre has shown, the intelligent design theory is anti-science: any activity involving blatant scientific fraud, intellectual deception or communication that blurs the nature, objectives and limits of science may be called anti-science. The intelligent design movement would seem to be anti-science for several reasons. Firstly, the nature of the science is distorted. Secondly, the objectives of the science are distorted. The writings of the leaders of this movement show that their motivations and objectives are not scientific but religious.
49. The intelligent design theory annihilates any research process. It identifies difficulties and immediately jumps to the conclusion that the only way to resolve them is to resort to an intelligent cause without looking for other explanations. It is thus unacceptable to want to teach it in science courses. It is not enough to present it as an alternative theory in order to have it included in the science syllabus. In order to claim to be scientific, it is only necessary to refer to natural causes in one’s explanations. The intelligent design theory, however, only refers to supernatural causes.
50. In addition, the failure to publish the work done by the various creationist movements is merely a reflection of their non-acceptance by the scientific community. Harun Yahya has his own publishing house, which enables him to publish his works in large quantities. Without this, it would never have been possible to disseminate them to the same extent. Moreover, there is no consensus on one creationist theory in particular. Each of the numerous creationist movements is convinced it possesses the truth. The fact is that the theory of evolution is accepted virtually throughout the scientific world, and the international scientific community’s lack of recognition of the alternative ideas proves that the creationist movements, whatever they may say, remain marginal and can accordingly not be given sufficient weight for them to be included in the school curricula.
51. It therefore cannot be acceptable to teach alternative theories as science. That would constitute a danger in itself and involve the risk of witnessing the development of many different theories, each as absurd as the next. Moreover, it would only sow discord among pupils and students.
52. In this connection, in accordance with the principle of an open attitude to the alternative theories advocated by the scientific creationists, and in order to show the illogicality of teaching the creationist theories alongside the theory of evolution, a movement has, ironically, developed in the United States. The so-called Pastafarian movement supports the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarianism is a parody on religion created in response to the decision of the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design in science courses on an equal footing with the theory of evolution. According to Pastafarianism, an invisible and omniscient being called the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe in one day. The supporters of Pastafarianism are demanding the same place in the school curricula as intelligent design. Full of irony, this pseudo-religion is setting a trend and the cult is spreading.
Creationism and Education: The main creationist initiatives in Europe, overviews and reactions of the scientific and religious communities
53. Turkey, which has been one of the few officially secular Muslim countries since the republic was established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, seems to be one of the main cradles of Islamic scientific creationism. As Jacques Arnoult5 has emphasised, “Turkey appears to be one of the most active and most highly structured centres of this fundamentalist school of thought”.
54. The Turkish Islamist preacher Harun Yahya, whose real name is Adnan Oktar, is one of the most symbolic figures of this movement. He is around fifty years old and has been publishing works on creation or religion for about twenty years. He also has his own publishing house, Global, the head office of which is in Istanbul. In 1991, Oktar set up the science and research foundation Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (BAV). Since its establishment, BAV has been very active in trying to have any reference to evolution removed from Turkish education. It also organises many conferences on creationism in the principal Turkish towns and cities. It would seem that BAV has close links to the American Institute for Creation Research (ICR).
55. The latest work by Harun Yahya appeared in December 2006 and is entitled “The Atlas of Creation”. It is a large book and is the first volume of a series of seven. It attempts to refute Darwinism and the theory of evolution in 772 richly illustrated pages. Its conclusion is clear: “creation is a fact” and “evolution is a deception”. Moreover, the author sharply condemns “the secret links between Darwinism and the ideologies with blood on their hands, such as fascism and communism”. At the beginning of 2007 Yahya launched an offensive aimed at the mass distribution of his work in Europe and throughout the world.
56. It should also be noted that the creationist ideas are already to be found in some Turkish school textbooks, and 75% of Turkish secondary school students do not believe the theory of evolution. However, protest movements have been set up in Turkey. A commission was created in 1998 to respond to the criticism and the creationist attacks on evolutionist ideas and to try to warn the public. TÜBA, the Turkish Academy of Sciences, and TÜBITAK, the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council, have also taken up a stance in favour of evolution.
continued in next post...................