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Truly Sad – WordPress Censored in Turkey – Creationist Harun Yahya Involved Monday, August 20, 2007

Posted by henry000 in Adnan Oktar, anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, Atlas of Creation, censorship, Edip Yuksel, education, Europe, European Union, evolution, faith, fundamentalism, Harun Yahya, Islam, rationality, reason, religion, science, Turkey, United States, WordPress.
7 comments

Correction:

I was under the impression that Turkey was a member of EU, which is incorrect. Thanks for the reader who kindly pointed out my mistake.

h3nry – 21 August 2007

This is official: my dear blog host WordPress has been blocked in Turkey due to the so-called “defamation blogs” containing alleged “slanders” made to the Turkish Islamic fundamentalist, and the newest and hottest creationist kid in town, Adnan Oktar – or better known by his pen name, Harun Yahya.

Harun Yahya has recently published a fantastically crafted creationist book called Atlas of Creation that has been translated into many language and been shipped, unsolicited, to the schools and universities in various parts of Europe and the United States (which I briefly blogged here). It is not clear how Harun Yahya financed this book and its junk distribution, but the content of it often violates copyright laws.

Now on to the ban of WordPress in Turkey. It seems that the issue is that a person by the name of Edip Yuksel, a self-proclaimed Islamic reformer, has registered various subdomains of WordPress such as:

http://AdnanOktar.wordpress.com

http://HarunYahyaArabic.wordpress.com

and various other domains to, in the words of Harun Yahya’s legal team, “defame” the Islamic fundamentalist. Be sure to check out the site http://AdnanOktar.wordpress.com to see, I think, photos of what seems to be Harun Yahya in prison and being arrested by police.

Here is the extract of a letter sent to WordPress by Harun Yahya’s lawyer (italics mine):

The number of our attempts to inform and warn you regarding these defamation blogs must have been at least twenty, many times through your support page, a couple of times to your legal department and we even sent a regular mail to Mr. Matt Mullenweg (from the WordPress team). Most of our attempts were unanswered.

These defamation blogs contained slanders to some of my client’s friends as well. They also applied WordPress.com support with their official ID cards and a representative directed them to write to the legal department. So they did but again no response from legal.

So it seems this has been an on-going issue. How did WordPress respond to the letters, it is not known. Needless to say this is quite a tricky and complicated issue. The root cause is fundamentalism vs. reformation, there is the policy and responses from WordPress, and there is the unreasonable law of banning the entire blogging service in the entire country. I would have thought that one reasonable approach is to ban those subdomains in dispute get banned – if they are indeed found to be defamatory and that WordPress is judged not have been carried out its legal responsibilities (I cannot say for certain since most of the content are in Turkish and really, I guess it would be somewhat subjective and I am no expert in this fuzzy legal area). It is worth noting the comment made by a reader edezu from Turkey (italics mine):

This person’s (Harun Yahya) current strategy is to block all the sites which attacks him and his ideas. A few months ago, he made a similar move and blocked “eksi sozluk”, an open dictionary which is, in my opinion, a bastion of free speech in turkish online media, with more than 10.000 writers and about 2.000 entries each day.

Adnan Oktar is taking advantage of the gaps in Turkish laws on the internet, which are sadly on their infancy, to silence all the voices against him. Internet poses a real threat to people like him, where ideas are exposed, and people read them!

Yes, one big gap in the Turkish law indeed. My sympathy goes out to the WordPress gang and the Turkish Internet users. I wonder if the European Union will somehow act or put pressure on this Turkish ruling? What’s the lunatic Harun Yahya going to do next – ban Google?

To all of the people out there who feel that this whole entire evolution vs. creationism debate is something of a fringe interest, or an issue that can be safely dismissed – think carefully again. It is an issue that reflects the bigger war between the fundamentalists and the reasonable, the religious fanatics and the rational, lunacy and integrity.

It is good to know though, as one of the readers jimcolella noted, there is already a petition underway:

On that score, I’ve found there is already a Facebook petition to protest the blockage (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4940847710) and I would strongly recommend all interested parties to write to Al Jazeera’s “Listening Post” programme via their Web site — a great TV prog that covers precisely these types of issues, i.e., freedom of speech… precisely what I’m going to do as soon as I log out of this.

An entire blog publishing service is being censored in an European Union country, the entire freedom to information for the Turkish population is being compromised by a few deranged individuals. This is a truly sad day.

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Dembski – A Classless Bitter Soul Friday, June 29, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, atheism, biology, Chu-Carroll, creationism, Dembski, Europe, evolution, faith, intelligent design, Jason Rosenhouse, Jerry Coyne, rationality, religion, science, Uncommon Descent, William Dembski.
2 comments

A recent blog entry posted by William Dembski – one of the most prolific Intelligent Design proponent – has really infuriated me.

For those who do not know, Dembski posted a photo of the eminent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne right next to a picture of Herman Munster – a Frankenstein monster from an old television show. That is right; Dembski is making fun of how Coyne looks. This sort of personal attack is low, despicable and inexcusable, and has provoked me to attack Dembski. Fellow blogger Jason Rosenhouse called Dembski “a classless, no-talent buffoon” in which I unapologetically agree.

That post was posted a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have tracked some of Dembski’s recent posts, and there is hardly any substance in any of them. They are simply short rants filled with bitterness, anger and negativity. You’d expect someone with Dembski’s qualification to do better than that. Don’t get me wrong – it is perfectly OK to post a rant or sarcastic mockery every now and then – but not continuously, not when you make fun of your opponent based on how he/she looks! This is truly sad.

Dembski Dembski in a grandpa’s sweater

So here is the list of Dembski’s posts for June 2007 in reversing chronological order.

25th June – Teaching ID = A crime against humanity

More short and bitter post by Dembski. I think he is at war against the Council of Europe. Here is what he is up against.

25th June – Dembski Interview with Mario Lopez

This is a transcript of an interview – perhaps the most positive post for this month.

22nd June – Have I been too hard on the NCSE?

Dembski complains about the National Center for Science and Education because of an advertisement states that an understanding of the separation between state and church, as well as the evolution vs. creationism is a plus.

21st June – Point-Counterpoint: Steven Weinberg vs. Eugenie Scott

I am not too sure what the point is?

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Worldwide Atheism Trend and Pattern – A Summary Thursday, May 3, 2007

Posted by henry000 in agnosticism, atheism, Buddhism, China, Christianity, Europe, faith, God, Hinduism, Islam, Italy, Japan, Middle East, North Korea, Portugal, rationality, religion, Scandinavian, science, secularism, South Korea, statistics, survey, Sweden, United States, Vietnam, world.
26 comments

This is the sort of article I have been long searching for – a comprehensive, analytical and scholarly summary – filled with hard data – of atheism trends in the world. This 2005 article is written by Phil Zuckerman and seems to have been part of a Cambridge University publication. Although slightly outdated, it nonetheless provides a reliable and useful source for anyone interested in the study of the atheist demographics.

It is not a short article, so I will take the liberty of summarising it further here. Firstly it outlines the difficulties in conducting a survey on the beliefs and disbeliefs of large populations. Then it provides a good statistics on the atheism population in many countries. Then, most importantly, the Top 50 list of non-believing countries is presented, which I will duplicate here (I have stripped out the population columns due to space limits):

  Country % Atheist/actual # Agnostic/Non-believer in God
1 Sweden 46-85%
2 Vietnam 81%
3 Denmark 43-80%
4 Norway 31-72%
5 Japan 64-65%
6 Czech Republic 54-61%
7 Finland 28-60%
8 France 43-54%
9 South Korea 30%-52%
10 Estonia 49%
11 Germany 41-49%
12 Russia 24-48%
13 Hungary 32-46%
14 Netherlands 39-44%
15 Britain 39-44%
16 Belgium 42-43%
17 Bulgaria 34-40%
18 Slovenia 35-38%
19 Israel 15-37%
20 Canada 19-30%
21 Latvia 20-29%
22 Slovakia 10-28%
23 Switzerland 17-27%
24 Austria 18-26%
25 Australia 24-25%
26 Taiwan 24%
27 Spain 15-24%
28 Iceland 16-23%
29 New Zealand 20-22%
30 Ukraine 20%
31 Belarus 17%
32 Greece 16%
33 North Korea 15% (?)
34 Italy 6-15%
35 Armenia 14%
36 China 8-14% (?)
37 Lithuania 13%
38 Singapore 13%
39 Uruguay 12%
40 Kazakhstan 11-12%
41 Estonia 11%
42 Mongolia 9%
43 Portugal 4-9%
44 United States 3-9%
45 Albania 8%
46 Argentina 4-8%
47 Kyrgyzstan 7%
48 Dominican Rep. 7%
49 Cuba 7% (?)
50 Croatia 7%

where (?) indicates the relatively low certainty/validity. Note that rather than defining the terms “atheism”, “agnosticism” and “non-belief”, which is a tricky issue in itself, the article lumps all three together to simply mean people who do not believe in God. The range of percentages (for example the top non-believing country Sweden is 46% – 85%) gives an indication of the difficulties in reaching such figures. Finally, the author gives his own analysis on atheism trend and pattern using the data.

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Not Only In America – Evolution Science Endangered Worldwide Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Europe, evolution, intelligent design, Japan, rationality, religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, science, Turkey, United States, world.
7 comments

The scientific theory of evolution is under attack – and not just in the United States alone – but on a global scale.

Firstly, the result of a study published last year shows conclusively that the adult populations of US and Turkey are the least likely to believe in theory of evolution. The study was conducted over 34 countries which include Japan, US and 32 European nations. A question “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” was asked, in which correspondents could respond with true, false or unsure.

A graphical depiction of the study is re-posted here. Click on it to enlarge it. Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries

Remarkably, but unsurprisingly, only a paltry 14% of the adult US population actually believes in evolution, completely outnumbered by the one-third who firmly rejects the idea.

Turkey, where 99% of its population is Muslim, represents another worrying trend. Using the result of this study, we can probably safe to conclude that the Muslim population, in general, reject the theory of evolution strongly. In fact, looking at the graph, one could also say that the ratio of rejection is quite high in comparison to US and the rest of surveyed countries.

A second article written recently also adds worry that the anti-evolution movement is gathering pace worldwide. It lists a couple of examples of how evolution is being attacked. One case is that in Kenya, a bitter dispute is taken place as the plan of exhibiting a prehistoric human skeleton is being opposed by local religious forces. Another example involves a well-funded Turkish publishing house mass-distributing anti-evolution books to French speaking schools and universities across Europe. The article also shows an example from Russia, and of course, there is the well-known Intelligent Design movement that is currently taking place in the US.

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