Muslim creationists tour France denouncing Darwin

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor, REUTERS

AUBERVILLIERS, France (Reuters) – Four years after they first frightened France, Muslim creationists are back touring the country preaching against evolution and claiming the Koran predicted many modern scientific discoveries.

Followers of Harun Yahya, a well-financed Turkish publisher of popular Islamic books, held four conferences at Muslim centers in the Paris area at the weekend with more scheduled in six other cities.

At a Muslim junior high school in this north Paris suburb, about 100 pupils — boys seated on the right, girls on the left — listened as two Turks from Harun Yahya’s headquarters in Istanbul denounced evolution as a theory Muslims should shun.

“We didn’t descend from the apes,” lecturer Ali Sadun told the giggling youngsters. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, he said, was “the scientific basis to defend atheism.”

Harun Yahya, one of the most prolific publishers in the Muslim world, gave proudly secularist France a scare in January 2007 by mass-mailing thousands of free copies of his “Atlas of Creation” to schools and libraries across the country.

The Education Ministry quickly ordered headmasters to seize and hide copies of the large format book that, over 768 pages of glossy photographs and easy-to-read text, argues that all living things were created by God exactly as they are formed today.

It followed up with a special seminar to train teachers how to counter a small but growing group of pupils who challenge evolution with creationist theories.

In October 2007, with strong French support, the Council of Europe denounced the creationist views laid out in the “Atlas of Creation” as a religious assault on science and human rights.

1 reply

  1. Since my visits to Hawaii islands and Bermuda, starting in 2004, I have become a staunch believer in evolution, by which I mean common descent of all living beings on the planet earth.

    The two main proofs for the theory of evolution are molecular biology and biogeography. We do not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate biogeography, if we look through the smoke screens and bragging rights, the arguments are fairly straight forward. Bigeography basically means studying which animals and plants are native to which areas, especially islands. Sir Charles Darwin wrote in his famous book about biogeography and Bermuda:

    “Though terrestrial mammals do not occur on oceanic islands, aërial mammals do occur on almost every island. New Zealand possesses two bats found nowhere else in the world: Norfolk Island, the Viti Archipelago, the Bonin Islands, the Caroline and Marianne Archipelagoes, and Mauritius, all possess their peculiar bats. Why, it may be asked, has the supposed creative force produced bats and no other mammals on remote islands? On my view this question can easily be answered; for no terrestrial mammal can be transported across a wide space of sea, but bats can fly across. Bats have been seen wandering by day far over the Atlantic Ocean; and two North American species either regularly or occasionally visit Bermuda, at the distance of 600 miles from the mainland. I hear from Mr. Tomes, who has specially studied this family, that many of the same species have enormous ranges, and are found on continents and on far distant islands. Hence we have only to suppose that such wandering species have been modified through natural selection in their new homes in relation to their new position, and we can understand the presence of endemic bats on islands, with the absence of all terrestrial mammals.”

    These observations alone by Darwin prove the common descent. However, the theory of evolution should be understood as three different issues. Firstly, the common heritage of all animals and plants, secondly, the mechanisms for evolution and thirdly whether evolution is completely blind or guided in some sense. The truth of some facts in evolution does not imply the truth of every thing under the umbrella of evolution. One needs to have a nuance position about evolution to be perfectly enlightened.

    http://knol.google.com/k/biogeography-and-evolution#

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