Islamic Scientific Creationism
Islamic Scientific Creationism: A New Challenge in Turkey
Originally published in RNCSE 19 (6): 18-20, 25-29. The version on the web might differ slightly from the print publication. At the time that “Creation Science: A Successful Export?” was published in RNCSE (Matsumura 1998), there was an notable debate among intellectuals, scientists, lay people and fundamentalist Islamists concerning Islamic scientific creationism in Turkey. Since the early 1990s, the Science Research Foundation (Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, or BAV) has undertaken a new mission of spreading an Islamic version of scientific creationism in Turkey, the ideology of which was mainly imported from the US. However, it was not until late 1998 that many scientists and academics, as well as Turkish science institutions, such as TUBITAK (the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council) and TUBA (the Turkish Academy of Sciences), protested the pseudoscience of BAV and published declarations against Islamic scientific creationists. To understand better the Islamic scientific creationism movement in Turkey, it is expedient to review the history of the Turkish Republic and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey.
Islam and Creationism
The Qur’an, like the Bible, accepts the creation of the universe, the earth, and life on earth by Allah (the God of Muslims) in 6 days. According to Islamic sources and the Qur’an, Allah created the soil first, then the mountains, light, and the animals, and then Adam (Qur’an: Hjcr 26-29; Zumar 6; Ta Ha 116-119; Baqarah 31-34, 36-37; A’raf 19; also see Arsel 1996, 1997a, 1997b, 1999; Dursun 1992). Adam is created from the soil. However, scholars acknowledge that the Qur’an has been modified and rewritten through the centuries (Lebster 1999; Dursun 1992).
The Qur’an accepts the divine validity of the information presented in the sacred books of Jews and Christians; consequently the creation accounts in the other sacred books are also accepted by the Qur’an. In the Qur’an, the description of Adam and Eve’s adventures in Eden is not as detailed as it is in Genesis, but it is obvious that the creation story in the Qur’an was influenced by Genesis. However, the Qur’an provides no basis on which to estimate the age of the earth, in contrast to the scriptural accounts that form the basis of much of Christian “scientific creationism”.