More than a decade ago, in 2006, the journal Science published this chart showing the acceptance of evolution in more than 34 countries.
The United States is waaaaaaay near the bottom of that list, with a paltry 40% of people who accept that evolution is true. The only country lower than us when it came to science literacy was Turkey.
That’s in part due to the advocacy of Adnan Oktar, a Creationist who wrote the “textbook” The Atlas of Creation (under the pen name “Harun Yahya”). He’s been very effective in convincing people to ditch evolution. Just last year, Turkey removed evolution from the nation’s science classes entirely.
Beyond that, Oktar has fashioned himself a sort of Turkish Hugh Hefner, surrounding himself with a certain type of woman and calling himself a feminist, a move that has angered Islamic traditionalists.
Over the years, he’s gotten into trouble with religious authorities for things like selling alcohol and mixing belly dancers and religion on his TV show (the dancers were allegedly pressured against their will to appear).And now, according to Turkish news sources, Oktar has been arrested for reasons having nothing to do with science. The Hurriyet Daily News says the charges against him range from “sexual abuse to military espionage.” But it’s way more than that.
According to the detention warrant, Oktar and his followers are accused of forming a criminal organization, sexual abuse of children, sexual assault, child kidnapping, sexual harassment, blackmailing, false imprisonment, political and military espionage, fraud by exploiting religious feelings, money laundering, violation of privacy, forgery of official documents, opposition to anti-terror law, coercion, use of violence, slander, alienating citizens from mandatory military service, insulting, false incrimination, perjury, aggravated fraud, smuggling, tax evasion, bribery, torture, illegal recording of personal data, violating the law on the protection of family and women, and violating a citizen’s rights to get education and participate in politics.
Jesus. He’s had run-ins with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before, but it’s possible he’ll remain in jail for a long time.
(via National Center for Science Education. Portions of this article were published earlier)