This blog post is going to be bias, despite my best efforts to remain impartial. So my qualifying remarks are that I am not an evolutionary biologist, but I am a neuroscience graduate student who has a contention that nothing in biology makes sense until you put it in the context of evolution. The power of evolution stems from the eloquent way it connects all creatures, tissues, and molecules on this earth. It also provides a window into the past and allows us to make predictions about how organisms will change in the future.
So why does “The Evolution Deceit” by Harun Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar) concern me whatsoever? There are two main reasons. First, every so often I come across a forum conversation that sorely misinterprets what is meant by evolution. Most of these misconceptions are summed up in The Evolution Deceit. Second, many of literary works I’ve read that take a stance against the “theory” of evolution are laden with logical fallacies; but none more so than this book by Oktar.
I’ll start by clarifying just what is meant by evolution, something Oktar decided was not the best way to proceed. What is evolution. Of the various definitions that one might formulate about it’s exact meaning, evolution can basically be described as the change of inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. This change is the product of two opposing forces: processes that constantly introduce variation in traits, and biological/environmental circumstances that make particular trait variations become more common or rare.
It is also important to note what is not meant by evolution. I assure you that evolution does not preclude the existence of a god; likewise, its axioms make no attempt at disproving a deity. In a related idea, evolution does not endeavor to describe the original formation of life on earth, which is left for those who do research in a scientific paradigm called abiogenesis (i.e. the study of how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter).
So if this is true of evolution, then where do Oktar and I digress? I conclude that if there is a god, there is a greater likelihood that this deity created what scientifically appears to be evolution, than the likelihood organisms were created in their current state. Harun Yahya does not share this position in his writings.
One does not have to look much farther than the back cover of his book, “The Evolution Deceit” to begin to understand Yahya’s position on evolution. It reads:
For some people the theory of evolution or Darwinisim has only scientific connotations, with seemingly no direct implications in their daily lives. This is, of course, a common misunderstanding. Far beyond just being an issue within the framework of the biological sciences, the theory of evolution constitutes the underpinning of a deceptive philosophy that has held sway over a large number of people: Materialism… It is our hope that The Evolution Deceit will for a long time continue its contribution towards the refutation of materialist-Darwinist dogma which has been misleading humanity since the 19th century. And it will remind people of the crucial facts of our lives, such as how we came into being and what our duties to our Creator are.
Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.
[I will continue to add to this post throughout the week]
Actually I won’t. Pretty much everything I could possibly bring to light can be found on the wikipedia article titled: Creation-evolution controversy