Turkey Will Not Teach Evolution

June 24, 2017

As goes Turkey, so goes Texas?
Placating the Taliban faction, Turkish authorities pull back from teaching science.

More proof that science is to dictators like sunshine is to vampires.

Great civilizations don’t have to stay great. Incredibly, there is a process in which humans back away from knowledge, toward ignorance, hatred, and superstition.

I used to marvel that, in places like Pol Pot’s Cambodia, teachers, scientists, scholars, the educated class, were specifically targeted for prison and death. That’s not an isolated example.
I don’t wonder about it so much any more – we can see the same dynamic at play all around us.  In the 90s, Newt Gingrich’s Republican congress zeroed out the Office of Technology Assessment. Too many inconvenient facts.
Now Republicans are gutting science in government agencies, going after the Center for Disease Control, degrading science education all over the country, attacking teachers and schools.

Islam’s retreat from science has lessons for the West, if it’s not already too late.


Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

Durmuş said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught.

There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East, who believe it contradicts the story of creation in scripture, in which God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after shaping him from clay. Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school biology courses in the region.

The final changes to the curriculum are likely to be announced next week after the Muslim Eid or Bayram festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The draft changes had been put forth for public consultation at the beginning of the year.


State and local legislatures in the United States are experimenting with new ways to target the topics taught in science classes, and it seems to be paying dividends. Florida’s legislature approved a bill on 5 May that would enable residents to challenge what educators teach students. And two other states have already approved non-binding legislation this year urging teachers to embrace ‘academic freedom’ and present the full spectrum of views on evolution and climate change. This would give educators license to treat evolution and intelligent design as equally valid theories, or to present climate change as scientifically contentious.

“The strategies of creationists have gotten more sophisticated,” says Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education(NCSE) in Oakland, California. The first academic freedom bills popped up in the early 2000s, but until this year only three had become law: one in Mississippi in 2006, one in Louisiana in 2008 and another in Tennessee in 2012.

Eleven bills designed to alter science-education standards have been proposed this year across the United States. A handful of those measures have either abandoned the traditional academic freedom model for more roundabout methods, or are using watered-down versions of it.

Back-door approach

The Florida legislation, for example, does not try to change state or district education standards. Instead, it enables any tax-paying resident of a given county to file complaints about the curriculum of the schools in their district. A complaint would trigger a public hearing to determine if the material in question is “accurate, balanced, noninflammatory, current, free of pornography … and suited to students’ needs”, according to the legislation.




37 Responses to “Turkey Will Not Teach Evolution”

  1. indy222 Says:

    I just saw one of thse disgusting Heartland “Why Scientists Debate Global Warming” booklets which arrived at my college not long ago. I’m thinking of having my climate students , as an assignement or extra credit, tear apart every claim with solid science.

    You, Peter, would be a great choice, given your vid skills, to do the kind of merciless debunking filled with images and clips as you are so good at. It would be a great resource for many, many instructors being sold this nonsense.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I’d love to get my hands on one of the booklets, and the accompanying DVD. I am beginning a dialogue with the administrators in charge of science education in my county schools about what guidance they are going to give to science teachers about using these Heartland materials. The present “academic freedom” and “teaching controversial subjects” policies/regulations are less than adequate.

      Good recent piece on desmogblog:


    • greenman3610 Says:

      If anyone has a copy to share, let me know

      • dumboldguy Says:

        If you get one, I’ll pay for copying and shipping me one.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Did some digging, and you can download the booklet and dvd from this link at Heartland. Lots of other sickening stuff available there too.


      • One of the endearing things about you fellows is how loathe you are to even partly wade into material you despise. You rail against “the lies” the Heartland Institute puts out, but yet right here you all but confess that you’ve never even read it. Meanwhile, one of the other commenters several posts back thought it was odd that I owned Gore’s DVD and movie companion book. For Pete’s sake! (inadvertent pun there) I own a STACK of AGW material, it’s invaluable stuff! Jeremy Leggett’s Carbon War book provided me with a particular line that’s just one more bit of evidence totally undermining Ross Gelbspan’s narrative on exactly when he ‘discovered’ that skeptic scientists are ‘industry crooks.’ Peter’s own videos of Oreskes were invaluable to me on detailing where her own narratives fall apart.

        Funny thing about all this, it appears you guys don’t even read your own material in any depth. For all the effort to support ‘AGW science’ through character assassination, you’d think your leaders would be more careful when it comes to keeping their lines straight on accusing skeptic climate scientists of being in some kind of industry conspiracy. Funnier yet, you don’t need to trust me on any of this, you can do what I’ve done entirely on your own. Oreskes tells the tale of how she met Eric Conway at an obscure German conference and he alerted her to who the people attacking her 2004 Science paper were???? Find out exactly when that specific conference occurred and you will find yourself asking why your heroine felt compelled to tell this tale over and over again that way ….. and that’s just ONE of myriad examples of how elemental critical thinking will open your eyes to what’s wrong with the collective political side of the AGW issue. Lose faith in all that and then your beloved AGW issue itself is now in peril, since you’ll now be obligated to defend it on science points instead of telling everyone to ignore one whole side of the issue.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Russell’s back!—-whoring for Heartland and climate change denial as usual. He and the deniers keep trying to make the case that there’s an “issue” and that it has more than one “side”. As the situation on the planet deteriorates, that becomes harder for them, although the election of The Orange Menace has emboldened Heartland and caused them to double down on their sick bullshit.

          I have looked at a lot of Heartland stuff—-it’s sickening to see what liars they are and how they misuse and misinterpret data to try to “prove” that AGW is not occurring. Going to their website is almost as dangerous to one’s mental health as visiting Russell’s GobsOfSHITFiles site, but I DO recommend that people look at this stuff that Heartland is sending out to teachers. It’s mostly not new, just a rehash of the same tired old parrot-speak from the denier world.

          It’s laughable that Russell would say “I own a STACK of AGW material, it’s invaluable stuff!” Of course he would—-he couldn’t write his lies without knowing what the truth was. What’s even more funny and delusional is that Russell thinks we have to “defend AGW on science points”. AGW is based on science, and needs no defense. What needs defending is the work of the lying SOB’s like Russell and Heartland who whore for the fossil fuel interests and delay progress.

          • For new readers here who don’t perhaps have the time to read what you already have, name 5 lies in the Heartland booklet (along with your climate science expertise which enables you to say what the lies are), and then name 5 outright specific falsehoods you found within my GelbspanFiles blog posts and what the evidence is demonstrating them to be something I should have known was false out of the gate.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            For those new readers who may not know who and what Russell is, watch the first 30 seconds of this video of Russell speaking (whoring) at a Heartland conference.

            For someone who admits he knows no science (his schooling is in graphic arts and business) he shows a lot of balls in challenging me like this.

            For new readers who may not know my background, I am a former science educator (8 years) with an undergraduate degree in physics and a graduate degree in biology and school administrator (23 years) who worked closely with science teachers and sat on science curriculum and textbook committees in one of the country’s biggest and wealthiest school districts. I have been active in environmental issues since before Earth Day in 1970, and since retiring from education 25 years ago I have read many dozens of books about climate change, and not just the science of it but books about the politics, economics, psychology, sociology, and history that so impact how we deal with the problem. I have far more “expertise” in making judgments about what are the lies in the Heartland materials than Russell does, whose expertise is self-admittedly non-existent

            The Heartland booklet is a collection of many DOZENS of tired old lies, all of which have been debunked here on Crock and on other websites like Skeptical Science and desmogblog. I am not going to waste the time playing Russell’s game beyond giving one example from page 27—-the Global Warming Petition Project, which Heartland would have us believe shows that there is no consensus on AGW. In reality, it is one of the biggest lies anyone has ever told, and Heartland just keeps repeating it in spite of that.

            “The Global Warming Petition Project (2015) is a statement about the causes and consequences of climate change signed by 31,478 American scientists, including 9,021 with Ph.D.s. The full statement reads:

            We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth”.

            As for Russell’s feeble and pathetic attempt to up the hit count on his GobsOfSHITFiles site (it’s quite low) , I can only say that the whole site is a lie—-Russell only developed the site as a way to whore for fossil fuels and Heartland and make $$$, not as a way to make the world a better place.

          • For those new readers who were just advised by commenter “dumboldguy” to only watch the first 30 seconds of my climate conference presentation, notice how he doesn’t advocate that you watch the remaining 12 minutes. Why? Because neither he nor other Crocks commenters or Crocks blog owner Peter Sinclair is able to dispute what I say, none of which has anything to do with climate science. Notice additionally that “dumboldguy” essentially confesses to having zero climate science expertise, which likely accounts for his inability to dispute any of the specific science assessments within the Heartland booklet he despises. Notice also how he makes no specific effort to dispute what was said on pg 28 of the booklet. Meanwhile, the most telling thing about “dumboldguy” is how he has long proclaimed my blog to be full of lies, yet when pressed personally by any one of you, new readers or old, without me listening in on the conversation, I’d wager that he still cannot privately disclose to you what my lies are within that blog. What would that tell you about his credibility? Think about it.

  2. vierotchka Says:

    Very sad but true, especially in view of just how much Islam has contributed to western science in past centuries.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      And the operative part of that statement is “in past centuries”, and those are not recent. An interesting look at why Islam has not made many contributions in the last 100+ years:


      • vierotchka Says:

        That is entirely due to the US’ and the UK’s constant interventions in and occupations of Muslim countries, dividing them up and separating them through ethnic and cultural territories into artificial countries under the control of the US and the UK, all for stealing their oil.

        • Tom Bates Says:

          You are delusional. The modern age in Islamic countries began when westerners arrived and kicked the clerics out of power who had been in power for about 200 years. When the Islamic countries kicked the westerners out after WWII the people who took over were western educated and they also kicked the clerics out of power. Unfortunately for Islamic countries the clerics have managed to regain all or most of their power and the Islamic countries are slipping backwards into the 5th century again.

          • toby52 Says:

            Bit simplistic, Tom. Try C. de Bellaigues “Islamic Enlightenment”. Things are more complicated e.g. Iran has an Islamic Republic, and the Republic part is a western import. The struggle goes on within Islam and is not over.

          • andrewfez Says:

            Unfortunately for Islamic countries the clerics have managed to regain all or most of their power

            How’d they do that?

          • webej Says:

            How they did it? Unfortunately, in many cases by democracy!
            A lot of nationalism and anti-Western sentiment helped in many cases.
            Strength for conservatives in Iran or Turkey comes from the country side.

        • ubrew12 Says:

          My own take on the modern history of Iran is that the US-backed coup that installed the Shah was about control of ‘British’ oil. Unfortunately, the Shah killed all his moderate (read: popular) opposition, as dictators are wont to do. And that leaves? The guys who are so radicalized, they really don’t care if you kill them or not. Shortly: the Ayatollahs. Honestly, you kill an Ayatollah, and where’s he going? So, when the Iranians had finally had enough of the Shah, guess who were the only people left to fill the power vacuum? And ordinary Iranians have been paying ever since. It’s a complicated history. We in the West should confine ourselves to promoting Western values, and not oil hegemony, and leave them to their own evolution. If we do, I’m confident they’ll go ‘Back to the Future’, eventually.

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    “State and local legislatures in the United States are experimenting with new ways to target the topics taught in science classes, and it seems to be paying dividends. ”

    That seems an extraordinary statement coming from Nature. A scientific journal hailing the degradation of science? How is science served by subjecting jr. high and high school science teachers to relentless harassment for teaching science? It’s time for some other changes to curriculum across the country: logic needs to be taught, with an opening into critical thinking and degunking advertising, political, religious and other claims. We need to embrace psychotherapy as a means to a wiser and more aware (including self-aware) citizenry. We need to have a citizenry who doesn’t fall for lies.

    • Tom Bates Says:

      Not only is it an extraordinary statement it is a vast distortion of the truth. The problem is much of the science being taught is not actually science, it is PC thought pushed as science by liberal leftists who have seized the reins of power in the system much like the clerics have seized power in Islamic countries. The problem with both groups is they cannot tolerate alternate ideas so suppress them.

      Teaching of science is a necessity for our country. Teaching of PC thought is not. Much of the science that is taught is simply reading out of a book, taking tests from that book and is boring as heck to most of the kids. Chemistry for example is no longer taught in most schools, nor is physics, nor is biology. It is a bit of something here and something there most of it presented in such a way as to drive kids out of the subjects. Here is an example. When I was in middle school , a long time ago and in a far distant galaxy, we actually were given chemicals in the lab course which could kill you if used wrong to do experiments. One of the things I did when the teacher was not looking is make gun powder which I took home and exploded making a nice boom. Today that whole thing would be unthinkable in the PC world of teachers. Yet those very experiences set me up for life on experiments and science as a good thing. Todays kids have a book and multi choice answers.

      • lesliegraham1 Says:

        ‘PC thought’
        Yeah – like the basic laws of physics are ‘PC thought’.
        I didn’t think you could possibly get any more ridiculous but you’ve proved me wrong so well done on that score at least.

        Now could you just explain why gravity is PC thought. I’m sure you can.

      • lesliegraham1 Says:

        ‘PC thought’
        Yeah – like the basic laws of physics are ‘PC thought’.
        I didn’t think you could possibly get any more ridiculous but you’ve proved me wrong so well done on that score at least.

      • Physics does not follow politics. It does not care if you are left or right on the spectrum… how hard is it to grasp that?

      • toby52 Says:

        The usual evidence-free ranting. Avoid.

      • BL Brown Says:

        Maybe you’re too slow to have learned and too dense to understand this, Tom, but making gunpowder is bloody dangerous. Learning lab safety is part of learning to have a little respect for nature and the basic fact that it will kill you in more ways than you can imagine if you don’t learn to be careful and pay attention to what you’re doing. Leaving kids to play with that kind of stuff without training and safety equipment is a very bad idea. Similarly, messing with the earth’s energy flows on a large scale is a very stupid, thoughtless experiment, dangerous in the same way as, but on a much larger scale, than your youthful escapade with carbon, sulfur and potassium nitrate…

        On a different point, if you’re all that concerned about good chemistry instruction in the schools, maybe we need to pay higher education taxes so schools can buy good equipment and hire well-trained science teachers, like the Finns do.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      J4Zonian says “[Nature wrote:] ‘it seems to be paying dividends.’ That seems an extraordinary statement coming from Nature” You misunderstand: Nature is not celebrating the outcome, it is wryly impressed by the strategy as an investment of time and money. We may not like what Heartland is doing, but we can respect the cleverness with which they do it. When you’re getting paid by an industry with $22 trillion at stake, they are going to hire the ‘best’ people.

      The Bates Motel said “Chemistry… is no longer taught in most schools, nor is physics, nor is biology.” Umm, WHAT??? Do you actually think it helps your case by telling verifiable WHOPPERS here on Crocks? I had a low opinion of you before. What am I supposed to think now? Look, Trump notwithstanding, if you intend to LIE your way to the head of the class, you are in for a hard fall. I must question any education that would have informed you otherwise.

  4. vierotchka Says:

    Not to forget the notorious “Adnan Oktar (born 2 February 1956), also known as Harun Yahya,[1] is a Turkish author as well as an Islamic creationist.[2] In 2007, he sent thousands of unsolicited copies of his book, The Atlas of Creation,[3] which advocates Islamic creationism, to American scientists, members of Congress, and science museums.[4] Oktar runs two organizations of which he is also the Honorary President: Bilim Araştırma Vakfı (BAV, literally, “Science Research Foundation”, established 1990), which promotes creationism and Milli Değerleri Koruma Vakfı (literally, “National Values Preservation Foundation”, established 1995) which works domestically on a variety of moral issues.[5]

    “In more recent years, Adnan Oktar has been known for his televangelism on his TV channel, A9 TV, noted especially for featuring ‘kittens’, his female devotees.[6] His organization is commonly referred to as a cult,[7] and he has been described as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey.”[8] Oktar filed more than 5000 lawsuits against individuals for defamation in the last decade,[9] which led to the blocking of a number of prominent websites in Turkey.”

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adnan_Oktar

    He has had a definite negative influence in the West.

  5. Tom Bates Says:

    The muslims do not believe man evolved any more than fundamental christians. that has zero to do with teaching science in the USA except there is always a tension between the religious thought and science.

    None of this has anything to do with climate or Trumps election and whether man is changing the climate. The data simply does not support the hypothesis man is having a significant influence on climate. Something Trump and others are aware of.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      “The data simply does not support the hypothesis man is having a significant influence on climate.” Demonstrable fact: CO2 has risen 40% since 1850. Strangely enough, this rise is ENTIRELY explained by adding up human CO2 emissions since 1850.

      So, I must assume you just don’t think CO2 is of consequence to Earth’s temperature. CO2 has demonstrably risen 40%. And you don’t think that matters. OK: what effect does it have? The metric for this has been defined since 1896: the ECS (equilibrium climate sensitivity to doubled CO2). Scientists have been calculating this value since then, and getting largely the same average value: 3 C (per doubling of CO2, from 280ppm to 560ppm). Since YOU think the ECS is much lower than that, what is it? And please show your work. Honestly, Scientists have been calculating this value since 60 years before there were calculators. The first guys who did so took several months to get the answer, and yet the answer has always hovered around 3 C. Tell us why you think it is lower than that. What makes it lower? If ‘the data’ don’t support 3 C, then what does ‘the data’ support. Don’t weasel out of this: give an answer. What’s the ECS, and show your work. If you’re going to talk for Science, you OWE the public your work. Where is it?

      • Tom and many other lukewarmers generally don’t understand positive feedbacks so if you present them with the facts about how greenhouse gases trap heat, they do not yet grasp the idea of the consequences of e.g. 1 degree of warming has on other systems that provide additional warming. I hope some day they do get it.

  6. ” in which God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after shaping him from clay.” Come on. This is a much more plausible explanation for human existence. Why fill young growing minds with facts, when you can fill them with BS instead? It’s too complicated and the theocracy wouldn’t want to lose any privileges, would they?

  7. redskylite Says:

    Eid Mubarak to all Crockers on this festive occasion (end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan). (Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and other Arab countries announced on Saturday that Sunday will be the first day of Eid al-Fitr 1438.

    Iran, Oman, Morocco, South Africa, Brunei and Sri Lanka have not sighted the moon, and thus declared Monday June 26 as the first day of Eid al-Fitr.)

    Turkey has had a bucketful of problems especially lately and it is a worrying state of affairs. However in other places around the middle east science is followed with keen interest and in Abu Dhabi’s universities it is a key topic. U.S professors and academics are welcomed in these institutions. The Masdar city where renewable energy is researched is making many achievements, and receiving interested parties from around the world.

    “Emirati brothers shock scientists with breakthrough invention”

    The team said their invention would help develop better batteries, semi-conductors and better solar power.

    Abu Dhabi – Two young Emirati brothers and a UAE based American nuclear chemist have developed what could be the-next-big-thing in science, which they claim: “Has the potential to change the world of technology, as we know it.”

    Mohammed Al Fahim, 29, his younger brother Rashed, 24, and Dr Larry A Burchfield, 65, have always had a long passion for science. However, in the world of physics and chemistry, one truly needs to think outside the box to discover something astonishingly groundbreaking and potentially change the lives of millions, if not billions of people – the Al Fahims and Dr Burchfield done just that, right here in Abu Dhabi.


  8. redskylite Says:

    And a view on the topic of evolution (dated June-25-2017) from the Emirates mainstream media “Gulf News” for interest. Where it mentions Darwin Evolution theory will also be dropped in some schools.


  9. ubrew12 Says:

    After watching that Neil deGrasse Tyson piece on the history of the Middle-Eastern ‘dark ages’, I have an observation:
    “Countries that don’t teach evolution, fail to evolve.”

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