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Turkey's Science Research Council Stops Publication of Evolution Books 444

Posted by Soulskill
from the jesus-rode-tyrannosaurs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) has put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution, daily Radikal has reported. The books have long been listed as “out of stock” on TÜBTAK's website, but their further publication is now slated to be stopped permanently. Titles by Richard Dawkins, Alan Moorehead, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Levontin and James Watson are all included in the list of books that will no longer be available to Turkish readers. In early 2009, a huge uproar occurred when the cover story of a publication by TÜBITAK was pulled, reportedly because it focused on Darwin’s theory of evolution."
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Turkey's Science Research Council Stops Publication of Evolution Books

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  • Note to myself: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:07PM (#42628549)

    Don't hire people from Turkey, Kansas,...

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:08PM (#42628555)

    Yeah, feel free to reapply in a few centuries.

    Actually, don't.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:16PM (#42628641)

      Islam has been growing there, this is not unusual thing for Islamic countries.

    • by velvet_stallion (2623191) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:16PM (#42628645)
      Turkey doesn't seem to mind following behind the world by a couple of centuries. The Ottoman Empire refused to allow the printing press until 1729, but closed it, then reopened it again later in 1784. Same group objected to it as to evolution, the all-knowing theocratic wise men. Religion = Suppression of Thought. Science = Freedom of Thought.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's because they never managed to separate religion from politics.

        I'm not sayin religion is bad, but when you lead the country, you can't have two agendas. In this case, it's pretty obvious which won.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:47PM (#42628983)

          I'm not sayin religion is bad

          Why not?

          • Zowie! Modded as troll! And this isn't even Turkey!
          • by sjames (1099)

            How might you feel about a religion that held discovery of God's creation through science to be it's highest sacrament?

            • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:00PM (#42630227) Homepage

              I would think it was pointless.

              Gilding the lilly. Why tarnish science with make believe?

              • by sjames (1099) on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:32PM (#42630467) Homepage

                From the standpoint of social structure, there is a scientific basis for religion. Children who are told some being is watching are more likely to leave a plate of cookies alone when asked even if they don't believe that the being will do anything but watch.

                In general, people are more likely to behave in an ethical manner when they believe someone will see what they do, even if they don't expect any consequences for being seen.

                I would prefer that we let a benevolent sky being do the watching rather than the guys back at the precinct.

                That isn't to say that there isn't a long history of organized religion abusing the power of belief for their own ends, of course. That is what I personally object to. Perhaps if the abusers had actually believed someone was watching...

                • by riverat1 (1048260) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:12PM (#42632031)

                  I think you are right. I've been told several times over the years by religious people that I can't be a moral person because I don't believe in God. My response is that if it requires fear of God to make you act morally then you really aren't very moral but just reacting to the threat of punishment. If you do the right thing even though no one's looking (including God) then you can really call yourself a moral person.

                • by Tablizer (95088)

                  Children who are told some being is watching are more likely to leave a plate of cookies alone when asked even if they don't believe that the being will do anything but watch.

                  But in practice after getting away with it a few times, the child learns that there is no punishment, and apply this lesson to the rest of their life.

                  Maybe they feel that God wants them to lie for money because God wants them to be personally wealthy because they pray more or some other BS rationalization. It's easy to rationalize when

        • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:47PM (#42628985)

          they never managed to separate religion from politics

          Did they even try?

          I'm not sayin religion is bad

          Then I will. Religion exists because lights in the sky go boom and it doesn't rain when you want it to and things happen you can't understand.

          Guess what, today we can understand those things and so religion is quite literally at odds with modern life. Sure we dress it up and ignore the ugly parts 'we' don't like but then somebody else decides, hey smiting neighbors is a good thing and justifies it with the Bible or whatever your religious source is.

          If it ain't based on cold hard facts it has no business governing anyone other than the individual who believes it.

          • by gary_7vn (1193821) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:19PM (#42629307) Homepage
            Did they even try? Well, yeah. "In the years following 1926, Mustafa Kemal introduced a radical departure from previous reformations established by the Ottoman Empire.[73] For the first time in history, Islamic law was separated from secular law, and restricted to matters of religion.[73] Mustafa Kemal said “ We must liberate our concepts of justice, our laws and our legal institutions from the bonds which, even though they are incompatible with the needs of our century, still hold a tight grip on us.[74] ” On 1 March 1926, the Turkish penal code was passed. It was modelled after the Italian Penal Code. On 4 October 1926, Islamic courts were closed. Establishing the civic law needed time, so Mustafa Kemal delayed the inclusion of the principle of laïcité until 5 February 1937. Ottoman practice discouraged social interaction between men and women in keeping with Islamic practice of sex segregation. Mustafa Kemal began developing social reforms very early, as was evident in his personal journal. He and his staff discussed issues like abolishing the veiling of women and the integration of women into the outside world. The clue on how he was planning to tackle the issue was stated in his journal on November 1915; “ The social change can come by (1) educating capable mothers who are knowledgeable about life; (2) giving freedom to women; (3) a man can change his morals, thoughts, and feelings by leading a common life with a woman; as there is an inborn tendency towards the attraction of mutual affection.[75] ” Mustafa Kemal needed a new civil code to establish his second major step of giving freedom to women. The first part was the education of girls and was established with the unification of education. On 4 October 1926, the new Turkish civil code passed. It was modelled after the Swiss Civil Code." Wiki
          • by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:58PM (#42629643)

            Did they even try?

            Yes. Very hard indeed for a nation so closely tied with religion - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atat%C3%BCrk's_Reforms [wikipedia.org]

          • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:02PM (#42629683)

            Guess what, today we can understand those things and so religion is quite literally at odds with modern life.

            Some religions are, some aren't. Most of the incompatibility comes from dogma, which varies over time and among sects. It may surprise you to know that several major religious sects support teaching evolution and actively oppose teaching creation.

            Sure we dress it up and ignore the ugly parts 'we' don't like but then somebody else decides, hey smiting neighbors is a good thing and justifies it with the Bible or whatever your religious source is.

            As if there were never another pretext for war besides the Bible, and all atheists were pacifists. People who want to smite their neighbors will make up a reason to do it, religion or no.

            If it ain't based on cold hard facts it has no business governing anyone other than the individual who believes it.

            I wholeheartedly agree that other people's religion should not govern me, and by the Golden Rule that also means my religion should not govern anyone else. However, I would point out that the separation of church and state, which you elegantly and passionately summarize here, is itself not based on "cold hard facts." It's ideology. Not all ideology is bad.

        • by billstewart (78916) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:30PM (#42629385) Journal

          Turkey's government was radically secular for close to a century, since Kemal Ataturk's nationalists kicked out the Allies, Sultanate, and Caliphate after the WW I fall of the Ottoman Empire. They were fairly aggressive about it - requiring western-style clothing, banning fezzes, and suppressing non-Turkish cultures (such as the Kurds), enforcing use of a Latin-based alphabet instead of Arabic alphabet (and too bad for you if your name used not-officially-Turkish letters.) They did strongly push education of women, banned headscarves even for women who wanted to wear them, and let women vote (at least in the years they were paying attention to votes.) They've even had women as Prime Minister. Islam was still permitted as a religion, and was still the most common religion, but the government was not Islamic.

          They stayed secular until a few years ago when more Islamists got elected to Parliament, but have loosened up since then.

    • by swb (14022) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:22PM (#42628697)

      I think they're less enthusiastic about joining than they used to be.

      Turkey's been doing relatively well economically, especially relative to the general economic drain-circling that the EU has been experiencing for the last couple of years and I don't see them as eager to join in the mess that the Euro Zone has become.

      What they seem more interested in is regaining their Ottoman Empire regional standing. I keep waiting for them to say "enough" and intervene in Syria, allowing them to recreate some of the Ottoman empire. Lebanon would fall into that orbit very quickly in the absence of Syrian influence.

      • by danlip (737336) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:52PM (#42629039)

        EU != Eurozone. There are 27 countries in the EU, and only 17 in the Eurozone. The mess you are describing is specific to the Eurozone (and the fact that countries in it can't print their own money).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alexander_686 (957440)

        It does run both ways.

        For years the EU has been putting up barriers and slowing down the processes that has stalled the talked for the better part of a decade. This ranges from petty (Greece & Cyprus) to cheap political grandstanding (Islamophobia, cheap labor). Would you want to join a club where the petty internal politics didn’t want you? And this was before the financial crisis.

        Personally, I think if Turkey had been allowed to join this would have cemented Turkey into a secular block allowing

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "I think they're less enthusiastic about joining than they used to be."

        Good. Unless Europeans hate their own culture they have no reason to defile it by admitting Superstitionist countries. It's taken long enough to weaken Superstition in Europe itself.

        Anyone who admires Islam should be willing to move to the most Islamic countries. I gently suggest the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. THAT is the sort of society religion builds. Religionists should go wallow in it.

    • by stressclq (881842) *
      Assuming the same speed of civilization, we'll be there in 570 years, but don't hold your breath..
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:11PM (#42629759)

      Most European countries have similar book bans.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial [wikipedia.org]

      The Western perspective dominating Slashdot is that Turkey is banning "truth," while Europe is banning lies, while the Turkish perspective is just the opposite.

  • The sad part is, in a few decades when the country is an impoverished backwards mess nobody will have much sympathy. They did it to themselves.
    • Re:goodbye future (Score:5, Interesting)

      by similar_name (1164087) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:32PM (#42628809)
      The really sad part is that they will blame it on secularism. There will be calls for more religion.
    • The sad part is, in a few decades when the country is an impoverished backwards mess nobody will have much sympathy.

      Then when the country starts breeding western-hating under-educated terrorist morons everyone in the west will wring their hands and wonder how it could have possibly happened.

      • by celle (906675)

        "Then when the country starts breeding western-hating under-educated terrorist morons"

              Nuke'm, problem goes away.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:13PM (#42628617)

    Wow, I thought the US was the only stand-out / weird-country with anti-evolution nuts in power.

    I guess there are other countries in this unfortunate "club"

    If you don't want to believe in it (or that it's even possible) then fine... believe in whatever you want.

    But stop trying to prevent other people from learning it. Please. And please stop trying to pass religion off as science... such as those museums that say Adam rode on a dinosaur, and that dinosaurs were vegens until the apple incident.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:23PM (#42628705)

      Wow, I thought the US was the only stand-out / weird-country with anti-evolution nuts in power.

      The US is just the squeakiest wheel, because we have an open press and debate our problems for the whole world to see. I can easily believe other countries have plenty of dirty laundry and just keep it to themselves.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:29PM (#42630457) Homepage

        No, it actually is one of the worse but Turkey is an even more extreme example, here's a quote from WP:

        A study published in Science compared attitudes about evolution in the United States, 32 European countries (including Turkey) and Japan. The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the United States was Turkey (25%).

        Only the Abrahamic world religions in general and Protestant Christianity in particular has a big issue with evolution, this graph [wikipedia.org] shows how in the US Buddhists and Hindus are the most accepting. The national figures for India are also very strong and in line with western Europe. Sure a lot other countries have other vices, but creationism is usually not one of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sribe (304414)

      Wow, I thought the US was the only stand-out / weird-country with anti-evolution nuts in power.

      ARE YOU KIDDING? Please tell us you were kidding, that you're not *that* provincial, that you believe Western rationalism really is the norm throughout the entire world, including Muslim countries and Africa?

      • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:44PM (#42628951)

        Please tell us you were kidding, that you're not *that* provincial, that you believe Western rationalism really is the norm throughout the entire world, including Muslim countries and Africa?

        Over the years I've noticed this is a pretty common theme on Slashdot - You could post a story about some backwater, torture-filled nation lead by some despotic religious zealot and 26 replies will immediately say "Yeah, but the USA is TEN TIMES WORSE!"

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:04PM (#42630265)

          Over the years I've noticed this is a pretty common theme on Slashdot - You could post a story about some backwater, torture-filled nation lead by some despotic religious zealot and 26 replies will immediately say "Yeah, but the USA is TEN TIMES WORSE!"

          Over the years I've noticed this is a pretty common theme on Slashdot - people point out problems in other countries, others draw parallels to the US and some pseudo-patriot type comes along and exaggerates those parallels in order to complain about the people pointing them out.

          The problem with your complaining is that while Americans have very little influence over other what other governments do in other countries, here at least we claim to have the democratic process in order to fix our own problems. But you can't fix what you don't know about. "My country, right or wrong. If right to be kept right, if wrong to be set right."

    • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:31PM (#42628807) Homepage

      "I don't want to live on this planet any more."

      I just don't get it. How are we not animals? How do we not recognize the extreme similarities between us and our animal cousins? The theory of evolution isn't "a fact" but it is a general truth which is evolving and growing as our understanding grows. And frankly, some things are just obvious... painfully obvious. Ever see those growing fetus diagrams where you can't tell if it's human or something else because we ALL start off looking the same?

      Sorry, but just no.

      And when people work so hard to deny, hide and destroy information which is contrary to their beliefs surely don't understand the nature of learning, understanding or of thought. I guarantee you that even if by some bizarre reality, all information about our animal nature and the notion of evolution vanished from the earth in a flash, people would STILL arrive at this obvious conclusion just exactly as people all over the world at different times came to realize that "air" has mass.

      • "I don't want to live on this planet any more."

        That opening quote is from one of my favorite Futurama episodes. And thus well chosen.

        I believe that Evolution is right, or at least as right as we can ever be.

        But if someone is strong in their beliefs of... well.. however the earth and man came about. I'm not going to trounce on their rights to believe it.

        But it's sad when someone tries to stifle science, in any form, because it goes against something they believe.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:50PM (#42629013) Homepage

        Bad tempered crazy Sky God is going to zap you with a thunderbolt for saying that.

        Or not....

      • The hilarious part, at least in the US, is that the bible thumpers are 'generally' the most vocal 'free market less gubmint' types.

        And yet they deny evolution which the most totally 'free market' we know of. It's literally kill or be killed, survive, adapt or die.
    • ...and that dinosaurs were vegens until the apple incident.

      Don't you dare drag vegans into this.

      • :-)

        But seriously: according to the people that try to convince me that the christian-bible-creation thing is right... they say that dinosaurs were all herbivores until Eve+Adam ate the apple.

        Because, you know, the T-Rex and such had sharp meat-eating teeth just for show. SUUUURE

        • I clicked submit too soon.

          About the SUUURE thing... fine... i don't believe it. But honestly, I don't try to convince anyone evolution is right as I believe everyone should just chill and believe what they want. The problem is, said person would not stop trying to convince me HE was right. Until I walk away.

          That, and he was trying to use science to explain the teeth thing that even I know was not science.

    • by jdbuz (962721) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:20PM (#42629315)
      Turkey is the perfect reflection of the US, only switch Muslim for Christian.

      As a green-eyed American Caucasian, when I started my 6 month consulting gig in Istanbul in 2007-2008 I was kinda scared at first. I saw all these minarets poking up from mosques everywhere, heard the call to prayer a few times each day, and folks back home were pushing a law that would officially say Turkey committed genocide. But then I started working with my technical counter parts and guess what? There was the quiet guy, there was the hilarious guy (we're still friends), there was the unbelievably smart guy (still the best Oracle consultant I've ever worked with), there was the hot girl, there was the guy who talked my ear off about how backwards he thought Muslims were, and there was the kindhearted Muslim guy who made sure I never ate lunch alone. Every archetype that I knew from the US was represented. I found them brilliant and extremely motivated. And I even saw a lot of women in high level jobs wearing fashionable clothes.

      Then I got to know the city, saw some of the music scene, a little of the club scene, and soaked up some of the history. They have their own George Washington named Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who in 1923 established the Republic of Turkey, switched them from Arabic script to Western European (making my job of typing on their keyboards much easier!), and separated Mosque from State.

      But exactly like in the US the religious groups find ways to work their agenda into the secular government. For example, you can't buy pork. Why? Because from political pressure it was found "unhealthy" and one by one the farms were shutdown until there were none. There's lots of these examples, including the article to which we're responding. Once my eyes got adjusted I almost felt as if I were in the US, even the mosques I realized were no more numerous than our churches.

      Their economy is far stronger than Romania, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, and Portugal, all members of the European Union, and the EU would do well to admit them. Turkey is the litmus test for Muslims and Christians. They are us and we are them. If we can make it work there I'm afraid we won't make it together anywhere.
  • Meanwhile... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Creedo (548980)
    Upon hearing this, Bobby Jindal and Sam Brownback both started looking for ways to implement this in their states.
  • Ugh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:16PM (#42628651)

    I'm an American citizen of Turkish ancestry, and the fact that the US and Turkey come in at 49 and 50 of a list of 50 western nations in terms of percentage of population that believe in evolution upsets me to no end. When Erdogan and his cronies took over the first thing they did was jail all the generals. Why? Because the military always would step in and keep the country from getting too Islamic. Well the US decided to back Erdogan when he did this and now look whats happening, one more slippery step towards Turkey becoming a theocracy.

    • by swb (14022)

      Considering the power the military has traditionally had, what kept them from doing this early or even late in the Erdogan era?

      I'm familiar (at least from what I read in the NY Times...) with the jailing of the military officers (most ex-military from what I read) on somewhat shaky grounds, but I would think that if the active duty military wanted to depose him, they would easily as the vast majority of the officer corps and probably most senior enlisted had likely already been vetted for their secularism a

    • I really wonder how you got modded up like that.

      The military are not elected, and have destabilized the country several time by staging coupes, executing elected prime ministers and such.

      Protecting the country against something unpopular is always a pretense to dictatorship and corruption.

      The solution to elected radicals in power is preparing for an alternative via the political process, NOT by supporting miltiary dictatorship against elected officials.

      Shame on an American advocating the miltiary toppling a

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:17PM (#42628661) Homepage

    What a backwards country, to be so afraid of science as to effectively censor it.

    Glad I live in 'merica. FUCK YA!

    • by silviuc (676999)
      Actually the US gvt. actively supports what the current prime-minister of Turkey does. They also actively supported the egyptian dictator until millions of people raised up and took back their country from him, Your gvt. seems to make a lot of bad calls supporting all kinds of bad people. Bin Laden was one of them for f's sake. Yeah, you have a lot to be proud of man.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by grasshoppa (657393)

      In case anyone missed it, that was loaded with irony.

  • It needs to cover both evolution and devolution.

    By the way, we need to request that Turkey give us all their wheels and sources of fire in exchange for pretty stones we'll happily provide them. When they ask why, we tell to just ask us again in 20 years, if they still can.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:28PM (#42628755)
    but you can't make her think. Dorothy Parker
  • Ebooks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:41PM (#42628903)
    I suspect that Richard Dawkins & co. may be more than willing to distribute Turkish translations of their books on their own initiative. ;-) Perhaps even for free, it's not such a big market, and Haharun Hahayaya needs some counterweight anyway.
  • Thats nobodies business but the Turkey's Science Research Council .
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:57PM (#42629089)
    I fear there will be fewer and fewer people to argue with and it won't be a good thing.
  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:00PM (#42629121) Homepage
    the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (T&#195;oeBITAK) lost all international credibility with other technical and scientific organizations.
  • It's the ANTI-Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey. Oh, and good luck with that EU membership thing.

  • SHhhhhhh...dont tell them the world is round, im afraid they could not handle it at this delicate time.

  • who is famous for his defense that religion is not incompatible with science? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria [wikipedia.org]
  • I have friends in Turkey. Two doctors my wife and I met when we traveled there 12 years ago. They were secular, but bathed in the culture of Islam. I am sure that they are not happy about repressing science.

    When we traveled through Turkey the vast majority of people were very friendly and helpful. This is true with the Muslims I met just a couple months ago in Jordan. However, we could not help but notice as friendly as they were, about 1/2 of the population lived as slaves. One vocal male friendly Mu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:31PM (#42629391)

    This news is from Jan 14. Turkish state science council denied this rumor the next day (Jan 15) and provided some evidence that it's not true. The newspaper published it and did not follow the story anymore.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-state-science-council-denies-evolution-censor.aspx?pageID=238&nID=39102&NewsCatID=374

    At least, this fact should be in the summary as well.

  • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:34PM (#42629431) Homepage

    For Greeks

  • by Legion303 (97901) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:33PM (#42631265) Homepage

    Hear that, Kansas Board of Education? Time to step up your game.

  • by Brannoncyll (894648) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:51PM (#42631379)
    ...two steps back. Seems like so many people can't wait for the next fucking Dark Age.

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