The Book Sent Round the World
The New York Times describes Harun Yahya's goregous coffee table book the "Atlas of Creation". Mailed to scientists a round the world, it is "probably the largest and most beautiful creationist challenge yet to Darwin’s theory, which Mr. Yahya calls a feeble and perverted ideology contradicted by the Koran." Joshua Cohen of Boston University reviews it on Blogging Heads TV.
The book caused a stir earlier this year when a French translation materialized at high schools, universities and museums in France. Until then, creationist literature was relatively rare in France, according to Armand de Ricqles, a professor of historical biology and evolutionism at the College de France. Scientists spoke out against the book, he said in an e-mail message, and “thanks to the highly centralized public school system in France, it was possible to organize that the books sent to lycées would not be made available to children.”
So far, no similar response is emerging in the United States. “In our country we are used to nonsense like this,” said Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who, like colleagues there, found a copy in his mailbox.
He said people who had received copies were “just astounded at its size and production values and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is.
Well whatever the book might be, the response of a "highly centralized public school system in France" that made it "possible to organize that the books sent to lycées would not be made available to children" indicates one thing: it's almost impossible to refute anything these days. Large parts of the public live in hermetic belief systems which maintain for example, that steel doesn't melt when subjected to fire, the September 11 attacks were a Jewish plot, that the Moon Landings were faked, and that the sea level has risen ten feet in the Andaman Islands. That Muslims should believe that Allah created the world is distinctly possible.
The Balkanization of fact and the disparagement of consensus reality has been going on for some time now. Hence, the astonishment of people who live within closed groups to discover the existence of people "out there" who believe in something else. Pauline Kael famously remarked after Nixon's election, "How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him." Probably no one Harun Yahya knows believes in Darwin either. And as to the truth, the scientific, jen-yoowine, solid truth, well that's another matter.
BTW, a question for post-modernists, does it -- the truth I mean -- exist?