I have written several articles on Cif about my own experience of reading Harun Yahya’s works and a couple of years ago I even engaged in a head-to-head Guardian Take 2 debate with Harun Yahya (his real name is Adnan Oktar).
Briefly: I first came across Harun Yahya’s glossy works back in 1998 and to my untrained eye they looked very impressive. The first of many books I read by Harun Yahya was ‘The Evolution Deceit’. It had very high production values and contained plentiful and seemingly authoritative quotations from many senior scientists apparently showing that they held grave doubts about evolution and Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Boiled down to its core, The Evolution Deceit argued that Darwin’s theory had been exposed as a massive fraud that had only been kept alive by materialists for the purpose of undermining faith in God. There had been no evolution at all – all species had been created individually and were not descended from ancestral species.
It was all very superficially impressive. It was only when I began reading the actual books of prominent scientists including Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould who had been so often quoted in Harun Yahya’s books that I realised that the massive fraud was not on the part of Darwinism but appeared to be in Harun Yahya’s own prolific writings.
The quotations from scientists in Harun Yahya’s works were highly selective and deceptive. Evolution in reality was a fact. The ‘theory’ part (and how depressingly often had I heard the ignorant refrain ‘it’s only a theory’) referred to the mechanism of evolution which Darwin primarily identified as being Natural Selection. In short, evolution was not a theory in crisis. There was really no question that the overwhelming majority of scientists strongly supported Darwinism as an immensely powerful framework that explained how all plants and animals on earth were related to each other. It was wonderful eye-opening and mind-expanding material. Harun Yahya’s works on the other hand had been at best highly misleading and at worst downright dishonest in comparison.
On one occasion I queried a popular Muslim author of a series of Islamic books about evolution. He said he did not believe in it. When I asked him whether he had in fact read any works on the topic by actual scientists he admitted that he had not.
Some months ago I blogged about how Muslims needed to rethink the concept of ‘ulama (people of knowledge). We tend to regard ‘ulama as being bearded men who spend years on end studying old Arabic books. Yet scientists are surely the people of knowledge when it comes to scientific topics. It does not make much sense to go to a religious person who has little or no scientific training and expect them to be capable of answering a question on a scientific topic such as evolution.
Anyway, I don’t want to get on a soapbox. I just think it is a shame that so many Muslims continue to fall for Harun Yahya’s anti-evolution writings without having taken the time to read actual books on evolution by mainstream scientists and then making up their own minds on the basis of the evidence presented.