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Written by Student Rights on 5 February 2012 at 3pm

Harun Yahya at the University of Central Lancashire: Report

Following a week of events on university campuses across the country involving hard-line Turkish creationists Harun Yahya, Students Right have received both emails from those who attended as well as video of an event at the University of Central Lancashire.

In our original article we showed how Harun Yahya use the guise of educating students about evolution to spread deceitful and misleading lies which have led to an increase in students boycotting lectures on the subject. Having watched the video of the event, we can provide further evidence of that today.

The speaker from Harun Yahya, Dr Oktar Babuna, introduced as a medical doctor specialising in neurosurgery, wastes no time in launching his attack on the concept of Darwinism. To do this, he declares that “Darwinism, which denies the existence of a creator, has been the ideological foundation of the many perverse ideologies of the 20th century such as communism, fascism, anarchism, terrorism [and] racism.

This startling claim is compounded by the statement that “Darwinism and its concepts inevitably lead to communism, and communism inevitably leads to violence and to terror.” Politicising the issue in this way allows him to blame Darwinism for the deaths caused by Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Hitler, before saying that “If you take Darwinism away, no philosophy of conflict remains. There is compassion, mercy, love, tolerance, justice and democracy in religion.

Religion as the answer becomes the mainstay of the next section of the talk, as does obfuscation of the facts and outright fabrication in an attempt to discredit evolution. Babuna declares that “the first cell on earth was necessarily [a] complete cell possessing all these required functions and organelles and this definitely means it has to be created”. This is due to the fact that “life can only start, continue and end by his [Allah] will, and this is what science tells us”.

He supports this by saying that “there are no beneficial mutations, this is what science tells us. Mutations are always harmful...mutation can only develop pathology or asymmetry” and that this is proof of creation. This is simply not true, an example of Babuna using his credibility with students at the talk to lie to them. He also does this when he states that “not one single intermediate fossil has ever been found” and that “evolutionists never show fossils, because fossils refute evolution.

While it may seem amusing to see a man say with a straight face that “According to Darwinists, huge dinosaurs...some of them 12 tonnes, 15 tonnes, by chasing after the flies...trying to catch the flies with their front legs, their front legs transformed into wings and they started to fly”, this does have an incredibly damaging effect. If a speaker is presented as a credible authority then some students will take what he says seriously regardless of how ludicrous it seems.

This is compounded by the religious motive behind these talks, an attempt to insert doubt into the minds of people who see evolution as a challenge to their spirituality and to attack atheists and secularists. This can be seen when Babuna declares that “the reason Darwinism is defended against so many scientific evidences is to keep atheism alive” and that those like Richard Dawkins who teach evolution are “a pagan priest because he’s defending a religion which is against the scientific findings”.

This goes hand in hand with a recent increase in challenges to secularism on campuses. This week also saw Hamza Tzortzis begin a month long tour in which he will lecture on creation, Islam and science and how it is rational to believe in a creator. We have also seen Atheist, Secularist and Humanist societies threatened with violence and accused of racism for posting cartoons of Muhammad.  Here at Student Rights we will continue to challenge this across the UK and will be standing alongside those many students who reject the ideologies of people like Harun Yahya and Dr Oktar Babuna.