Censorship

Turkey Bans Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins' Website

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Creationism is not just for certain fundamentalist Christians anymore. Monsters and Critics is reporting

Turkish internet users have been blocked via a court order from accessing the site of prominent British biologist Richard Dawkins after complaints from lawyers for Islamic creationist author Adnan Oktar, the website of Turkish television station NTV reported on Wednesday.

A court in Istanbul ordered that Turk Telekom block access to the site and since the weekend Turkish internet users seeking the site have been redirected to a page that says in Turkish 'access to this site has been suspended in accordance with a court decision'.

NTV reported that Oktar complained he and his creationist book 'Atlas of Creation' had been defamed by comments made by Dawkins on the site.

'I am at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breathtaking inanity of the content,' Dawkins, a distinguished advocate of the theory of evolution, wrote on his website in July referring to the Atlas of Creation.

The book has caused controversy not just through its advocation of creationism but also through how thousands of copies of book were distributed to schools in a number of European countries. 

Thank whatever deity (or none) for the First Amendment which protects both free speech and religious practice.

Hat tip to Eric Jon Magnuson.

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  1. Well, his site is a little too busy. Maybe ban it until he springs for some real web design.

  2. I see they don’t want to join the EU anytime soon, then.

  3. BTW, our embassy in Yemen was attacked. I guess all those people who said “we haven’t had an attack on our soil since 9/11” and counted the 1998 embassy attacks as “American soil” can STFU now.

  4. I see they don’t want to join the EU anytime soon, then.

    I dunno, the EU is not that big on protecting the rights of expression.

    Anybody who denies the fact of evolution is a moron, purposely ignorant or a liar. I’m looking at you Pat Robertson. You’ve more in common with the fundie Islam clerics than you know.

  5. Atlas of Creation.

    Garden of Eden………..Map 6, G-4

  6. Was it a Sharia court?

    Actually, off the top of my head I would say that Turkey is one of the freest, most secularly governed countries with an Islamic majority. And they’re still too gutless to allow a little criticism.

  7. damned literalist HTML tags. They should know what I want.

    Hmmmph.

  8. I see they don’t want to join the EU post Renaissance world anytime soon, then.

  9. Well. in the industrialised world, or what ever the criteria, Turkey was the only nation that doubted evolution more than the United States.

    This might also be overturned. Remember Elif Safak? Her novel brought charges of “insulting Turkiness”, and we all hear about that, but few knew the charges were eventually dismissed.

    Adnan Oktar is a darling of the American creationists. Read up on him. I’m sure the American nutbars are jealous.

    I do think that Oktar use his “turkishness” and “libel” for his successes in getting parts of the internet blocked.

  10. Thank whatever deity (or none) all those dead white men of European descent for the First Amendment which protects both free speech and religious practice.

  11. Jesus Christ, that’s unbelievable!

  12. I am extremely grateful the first ammendment prevents such bans in the US. I hope Dawkins’ experience inspires him to reform UK libel laws.

  13. If I had to guess, I would hypothesize that the Turkish court was not so much endorsing creationism as smacking down an Arrogant Westerner (TM) who dared insult a Turk.

    Incidentally, I noticed this in the linked article:

    “In May, Oktar was found guilty of creating an illegal organization for personal gain and sentenced to three years imprisonment. He is appealing the decision.”

    It seems like Turkish law has a few repressive tendencies.

  14. kinnath | September 17, 2008, 11:54am | #

    Thank whatever deity (or none) all those dead white men of European descent for the First Amendment which protects both free speech and religious practice.

    Let us also be grateful for John Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration” and the source text he quoted for inspiring said dead white men to write the 1st ammendment.

  15. For Oktar’s sake, let us hope that the Turkish prison system has *evolved* since the movie Midnight Express.

  16. You ever been in a Turkish prison, Bobby?

  17. BTW, our embassy in Yemen was attacked. I guess all those people who said “we haven’t had an attack on our soil since 9/11” and counted the 1998 embassy attacks as “American soil” can STFU now.

    What people would those be? Oh yeah, the ones in your head.

  18. Mad max, you need to read up on the charges Oktar was convicted on.

    Here’s one link.

    http://www.mukto-mona.com/debunk/harun_yahya/index.htm

  19. Capelza,

    Interesting link. If these things are true, he would seem to deserve a prison sentence.

    From the link:

    “He and his followers claimed that they had only engaged in ‘anal and oral’ sex. They preferred this kinds of sexual intercourse since according to Koran, he claimed, these acts are not impermissible outside of marriage.”

    Then I guess he’d fit right in at any prison, especially a Turkish one.

    (That’s the last Turkish prison joke, I promise, unless I think of a new one).

  20. I’m not sure how many people realize that Saudi Arabia is actually the principal exporter of creationism. They have been publishing creationist books (some very expensive, with leather binding, gold leaf, glossy pages, etc) and sending them here free of charge for some time.

    For the xenophilic leftists who run Western schools, throwing away such a book is problematic in a way it wouldn’t be if the authors were Christian.

  21. Doesn’t help that Dawkins is, you know, a giant fucking asshole, even if he’s (probably) right.

  22. And, of course, these blocks are trivial to get around. This is a page on getting around a similar YouTube block, but they should work for arbitrary sites.

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/03/howto_evade_tur.html

  23. Who was that National Review writer who put out a book about the need for an alliance between Islamic fundies and American conservatives?

  24. joe,

    Dinesh D’Souza?

  25. “Who was that National Review writer who put out a book about the need for an alliance between Islamic fundies and American conservatives?”

    They already have an alliance. They just don’t realize it.

  26. Sounds like something D’Souza would write. he hates secularism like religious people hate secularism.

    Also, I don’t think dawkins is “a giant fucking asshole”. He wrote a book, and goes on shows sometimes to try to make religious people look stupid (which isn’t very hard). Let’s be honest, when you’re not only right, but surrounded by people who are very stubbornly wrong, your dickishness will come out a lot easier.

    The most dickish thing i’ve ever heard him say was to a college audience that included some people from a conservative Christian school that claimed to have dinosaur fossils that were a few thousand years old. He told them to “enroll in a real university”. Wow, what a prick.

  27. “Doesn’t help that Dawkins is, you know, a giant fucking asshole, even if he’s (probably) right.”

    I can certainly understand that criticism because I believe that his style doesn’t necessarily work in every situation.

    However, I also feel that it’s time that we stop pussy footing around on the issue, and begin marginalizing such beliefs in the public sphere.

    When dealing with such sly tactics that Creationist supporters have formulated, you soon realize that you must speak boldly in a language that they understand, or let them forever influence mainstream opinion.

    It’s a constant problem when dealing with irrational people in any context. They play by a different set of rules, built around visceral responses, not rational discourse.

  28. Turkey is a country? Who is Richard Dawkins?

  29. Are you kidding?

    You guess Turkey doesn’t want to join the EU? Granted, the banning of this site is completely absurd, and I’ve never heard of anything like this happening in Turkey.

    However, the only real freedom of speech limits in Turkey previous to this absurdity were for “insulting Turkishness”. Obviously, a broad category for limiting speech, and one that needs to go. But it’s use has not been very frequent, although that’s a relative term — once is too much.

    However, before you castigate Turkey, remember that European countries have similarly outrageous policies, if in all cases less broad. Consider France, which, relevant to the topic of Turkey, has made it a crime to dispute the characterization of the plight of the Armenians following the rebellion of many of their brethren who defected to the side of Russia in WW1 (as well as the plight of the Armenians who died in pogroms following terrorist attacks by Armenians on Turks). This is an absurd law since many very qualified academics such as Lewis and Mango dispute the characterization. (Read Mango’s New York Times book review of the atrocious piece of attempted history called “The Burning Tigris” by Peter Balakian.)

    I think Turkey will fix this soon, but this is truly an absurdity. Creationism has very little (make that zero) ground among the secular elite that control the government and the higher courts.

  30. And for Mad Max, prisons everywhere are awful. Turkey is quite a modern country, in general. You can thank the US and Western Europe for the horrible drug laws that have been imported to all parts of the world.

    There’s plenty of people in jail with much longer sentences than the escapee would’ve served in Turkey who had the same amount of hashish in America. Life sentences, etc. And there are “gay-for-the-stay”‘s galore in the prison’s of the world, no more and no less in any particular country.

  31. I don’t understand why the Turkish are so upset with the genial host of Family Feud.

  32. Thank whatever deity (or none) all those dead white men of European descent for the First Amendment which protects both free speech and religious practice.

    Well, at least until Bernanke gets his little paws on it. Surely the Fed will want to bailout the Constitution soon. It’s just as bankrupt (without remaining value) as the rest.

  33. I don’t understand why the Turkish are so upset with the genial host of Family Feud.

    Dude, have you seen The Running Man? That guy’s cold, man. I think he killed Mick Fleetwood with his bare hands. Although as the 1992 Clinton campaign showed, that was probably a good thing.

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