Turkish Scientists Respond to BAV
During the early 1990s, when Harun Yahya’s small inexpensive books started to circulate among the public, academics did not take BAV and Harun Yahya seriously, despite the long continuing dissonance between university and scientific circles and right-wing governments over democracy, secularism, and the creation/evolution issue. University academics simply ignored the books, and most of the biology and medicine professors considered it beneath their dignity to answer the arguments of Harun Yahya and other creationists. A similar position was taken by the intellectuals before 1980s – disregarding the majority of the public and some peripheral movements was an important factor that probably contributed to the rise of fundamentalism in Turkey (for details, see Narli 1999).
However, at the turn of the millennium, scientists and academics in Turkey realized that they were besieged by fundamentalist Islamists and a public convinced by Harun Yahya that evolution has collapsed. Even so, most of the scientific organizations and university professors remain unmoved to act against the pseudoscience of BAV. However, the authors of this article believe that defending science and evolution is indispensable in a democracy, and we believe that every single statement of Harun Yahya and BAV should be opposed by using scientific knowledge. As a part of our effort to do so, we have written numerous articles to defend evolution and inform the public about what science really says (see Kence 1982, 1985, 1994a, 1944b; Sayin 1998c, 1998d, 1998e).
After BAV’s conferences in 1998, we organized an independent commission to answer the arguments of BAV and to warn the public about the pseudoscience of Islamic scientific creationists. The short-term goals of the commission were to:
1) Publish declarations about the scientific facts to the public in response to the activities of BAV;
2) Gather support from scientists in Turkish universities;
3) Write and/or translate books about evolution and inform the public, as well as other scientists, about current scientific information;
4) Contact other centers, foundations, and scientific institutions, especially in the US and Europe, that are also defending science and evolution against scientific creationists;
5) Publish and distribute answers to the arguments of the Islamic creationists and their pseudoscience; and
6) Inform governmental agencies, universities, schools, and the mass media about the danger of Islamic creationists and their pseudoscience.