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J. Rinehart jrineharNOSPAM at snake.eou.edu
Mon Apr 9 20:04:09 EST 2001

Ferit Guleryuz wrote:

> I am writing to you from Istanbul, Turkey on behalf of the Philosophy
> Dept. students at Istanbul University. Our purpose in contacting you
> is asking for your kind help. Please let us briefly explain you the
> challenging situation we are facing in Turkey regarding the book "Evolution
> Deceit" published by Harun Yahya.

<rest of message snipped>

Sigh...These are the same tired arguments the fundamentalist Christians are
parading before school boards in the United States and have been since the turn
of the century; the sad thing is that in the US, at the grassroots level, these
people are actually taken seriously, as if their pseudoscience had some
validity. That's likely because the US population, as a general rule, isn't
very familiar with science, and I think that's OUR fault, as scientists, for
not making a strong effort to get our work out into the public in an
understandable format. However...

As far as countering the creationists, the talk.origins archive
(www.talk.origins.org) is an exceptional tool. A number of books have been
written refuting the creationist's "science"; some examples include Futuyma,
"Science on Trial", and "Scientists Confront Creationism", edited by Laurie
Godfrey. While these books are slightly dated, Futuyma provides an updated
appendix to his chapters, and the basic arguments of the creationist movement
haven't changed since the 60's, so the Godfrey book is very appropriate. Elliot
Sober also has a new text, "Philosophy of Biology" (2nd edition), that has a
marvelous logical analysis of creationist argumentation.

Heck, direct them to the recent genome studies. How else does one explain a lot
of structural aspects about the fly genome? How does one explain pseudogenes in
the same chromosomal location between closely related species, these
pseudogenes containing the SAME sequence errors that render them
non-functional? How does one even explain their presence unless duplication and
subsequent mutation, is invoked? Everything about genomes cries out as a
testimonial to evolution. These people ignore it because they choose to, or
they don't understand it, or they don't WANT to. And besides, why should
Christians have a lock on truth in religion?

Funny, isn't it...almost any good undergraduate biology textbook or molecular
genetics textbook provides irrefutable evidence for evolution, yet so many
people fail to understand it. Natural Selection is probably one of the simplest
concepts in biology yet it is ferociously subtle, challenging even advanced
students. Go figure.

J. Rinehart, Eastern Oregon University, USA

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