Turkey Bans Darwin from the Internet

Back in 2009 we wrote Turkey: Country or Creationist Website?, in which we mentioned that Turkish judges can ban websites, and:

A Turkish court had banned world famous evolutionist Prof. Richard Dawkins’ Web site (richarddawkins.net) in Turkey on the grounds that Adnan Oktar’s personality was violated by the comments in this site. The court had reached the decision to ban the site on Sept. 3 [2009]. The site was accused of containing insults against Oktar’s (also known as “Harun Yahya”) book titled “Atlas of Creation.”

For more on that guy, see: Harun Yahya Offers Eight Trillion Dollar Prize! We concluded that post by observing that Turkey is exhibiting all the symptoms of Creationist Website Syndrome (CWS), and we said:

When websites or countries go crazy, it’s a badge of honor to be banned. Perhaps one day they’ll get around to banning your Curmudgeon. One can hope.

It appears that things haven’t improved in Turkey; indeed, they may even have grown worse. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Darwin censored by the Turkish government’s porn filter, which appears in London’s Daily Telegraph. The author is their assistant comment editor, Tom Chivers. The bold font was added by us, and we’ve deleted their links:

Worrying news from Turkey, where a government body has moved to block sites that mention evolution or Charles Darwin.

The Council of Information Technology and Communications (BTK) released the “Secure Internet” filtering system on 22 November. Sites that includes the words “evolution” or “Darwin” are filtered if parents select the child-friendly settings on the filter, as though it’s porn.

For now, American creationists can only dream of having such power, but their dream is reality in Turkey. Let’s read on:

… Oktar, [a/k/a] Harun Yahya, claims in large, lavishly illustrated books that evolution is a “disproved” theory (just for the record: it isn’t. It’s the absolute cornerstone of everything in biology, without which nothing makes sense) imposed by Western imperialists to keep Muslims in their place. A 2006 survey of 34 countries put Turkey 34th, just behind the US, in the rate of popular acceptance of evolution.

Panda’s Thumb wrote about that survey when it came out: Well, at least we beat Turkey. They have a graph showing all 34 countries in the survey. Let’s continue with the Telegraph. Their writer says:

I’ve moaned about this before, but it is completely baffling to me why evolutionary biology, and not cosmology or plate tectonics or radio-carbon dating, has become the whipping boy for science-denying creationists. Those other three are just as solid in their refutation of a literal reading of religious works. Maybe it’s a visceral dislike of the idea of sharing a common ancestor with apes.

There’s the irony, because the more creationist a nation is, the more ape-like it seems to us. Here’s the article’s conclusion:

Evolution is a fact, like gravity (and a theory, like gravity). Some parts of some holy books might seem to disagree, but then a part of the Bible seems to imply that π=3. It’s a real shame to see the Turkish government, and British students, go down the route of believing a book of metaphors over the evidence of the world.

His mention of British students is something we recently wrote about (Creationist Weirdness in the UK). We’ve previously written about Creationists And The Scriptural Value Of Pi. Of greater importance is that the National Center for Science Education has put up an article about the latest Turkish situation: Evolution censored in Turkey?, which suggests that the evolution block may have been lifted, at least partially.

Hey, is there any way to find out if this humble blog is banned in Turkey? Maybe if someone is planning to visit there, they could turn on the porn filter and try to access us. It would be fun to know the result.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Turkey Bans Darwin from the Internet

  1. Has the DI objected yet?
    They waste no time whining about excluding material from classes in which it has not has not earned the right to be taught, even though that material is freely available online. So they must have had a fit over real censorship like this.

  2. It sounds like the ban is selectable – in the porn filter. If a person doesn’t select the child-friendly setting, then the sites are still accessible. I suspect it won’t have much impact in practical terms.

  3. One of the professors of theology at my alma mater (who happens to be a Jesuit, Catholic Priest) was asked who the most danger group of people in the world is (grammar?) Instead of naming a specific religious or political or terrorist group, he said simply (paraphrasing, since I don’t have the quote in front of me), people who hide evidence. The more I think about this statement, the more I find it to be true.

  4. Hey guys, we are in a global battle for scientific and engineering talent and expertise? Anything any other country does to hobble themselves helps us. And with the DI, AIG and ICR, we need the help.