Saturday, 31 December 2011

Interview : Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar)

Interview with Dr Musharraf Hussain and Harun Yahya, September 2009

Harum Yahya: Author of the Evolution Deceit,calling in from Turkey. NB: As Harum does not speak English, his words were translated by a colleague of his, Brother Oktar)

Dr Musharraf Hussein Al-Azhari: twelve years bio-chemical researcher and fifteen years director here at the Karimia Institute and the Imam of the Mosque.

BFTF : Br Yahya, could you please give some background about the books you have been writing and also about the science and research foundation that you have has set up to accomplish all this.

Harun Yahya : I have written three hundred books which have been translated into more than sixty languages. There are a group of thirty people who help me out, there are associate professors and professors in this group, and what they do is they gather the information from different languages, for example English, German and they bring up the pictures and translate the quotes and bring them and I interpret them and in that way I write my books. This year 80 million of my books were sold around the world and 80 million books were downloaded from my website, so inshallah, every time it goes up and more and more and it’s progressing

BFTF: You are perhaps most famous for your work on evolution and the world around us really, so if I could just set the scene for you. When we look around us we have this magnificent, truly awe-inspiring planet around us, these millions, countless, literally countless species and different types of plants and animals, birds, sea creatures, small insects and so on, and I just wanted to understand really what your perspective was on how this had come about, you know have all these creatures always been here? Have some come and have some gone?

Harun Yahya: Well Allah created it at the beginning, and Allah created it through time. Allah created at the beginning some parts of the living creatures, and then another part, and at the end Allah created humans and we know that from the fossil evidence. Fossils tell us... there are 200 million fossils, up to 300 million fossils today and they show there is no change at the beginning, and from a million years ago species and the species living now there is no change at all, and that proves creation by Allah. They don’t change from the very beginning and they stay the same throughout their tenure on the Earth. So we don’t need any other evidence, this evidence tells us exactly, very evidently that Allah created all the living beings and there is no evolution. If there was evolution, if evolution was a fact there would be some change, however there is no change, and 200 million fossils tells us that Allah created all the living beings.

BFTF: OK, so just to take an example of a cat. So is your position that’s always been here? How did that cat come to be is what I’m trying to understand really, just to get an understanding of your position really.

Harun Yahya: Well for example if you look at the cat fossils we see for millions of years cats never change, they appear in the history all at once, and they never change for millions of years. It is the same for lions for example, it is the same for tigers, for 60 or 70 million years, we have fossils that are 60 or 70 million years old that are exactly the same, there is no change at all. If you check for example the cranium of these animals it is the same as today, the teeth are the same as today, there is no change at all. This is Allah’s artistry, Allah created them and it is Allah’s miracle that Allah also created these fossils which tell us there is no change at all.

BFTF: Doctor Musharraf if you could come in there with your training as a bio-chemist and also from your experience from Al-Azhar University, how does that read to you really?

Dr Hussein: Well what I would like to understand from Brother Harun is where does he get this notion from. The palaeontology and the science of fossils obviously shows very clearly that there has been evolution, that things have actually changed, I mean that is the reality, fossils are very clear proof of how things have actually changed. I think what I’m trying to understand is where does he get his idea that things haven’t changed because the palaeontology and the science of fossils shows very clearly that there has been an evolution, and I’m not talking about evolution in the terms of the atheist’s concept that there is no hidden hand of God behind it, that it is a blind, by chance transformation and change, I’m thinking as a believer in God, as the “Rubb-ul Al-Ameen”, one of the names of Allah is “Rubb”, and if you look at the translation of the word “Rubb”, it is very clearly always mentioned by the Mufassarin (Interpreters of the Quran) as ‘the one who takes things from an imperfect state into the state of perfection’, in other words the translation is ‘evolver’, God is the ‘evolver’, the one who takes things through stages and develops them until they reach the state of perfection.

Harun Yahya: Well in palaeontology the required transitional forms were never found, I’ll give personally anybody who brings even one single transitional form seven million dollars, which is ten trillion Turkish lira, seven million dollars, if you have a single transitional form I will pay seven million dollars to you

BFTF: I’ve read this on the website and I just wanted to understand, could you give me an example of a transitional form that would qualify for the award, just so we can understand what you mean by that exactly, what do you mean by ‘transitional form’?

Harun Yahya: Well we never see transitional forms. For example Darwin’s claim of the evolution of the cat and tigers, they can never show a transitional form. Transitional forms are creatures which are mutated and pathological and a-symmetrical abnormal creatures, and we have never seen pathological forms of the transitional forms which show the transition from water to land for example, and I will give this amount of money to anybody who brings that.

Harun Yahya: Darwinists cannot bring even a single transitional form because I will pay this amount of money so also, the impossibility of the emergence of proteins by chance, that also refutes the Darwinists claims, not even proteins alone but even single acids could not have been formed by coincidence. Darwin himself tells us, in fact I can read a quote right now from his book ‘On the Origin of Species’ that there are no transitional forms. In Darwin’s time they were digging all around the world, all the layers of the Earth, and they found many fossils but they never found transitional forms.”

Dr Hussein: Well Brother, can I just stop you here, I think really the latest scientific findings, for example last week there was a major conference of palaeontologists here in Bristol University, where a Chinese expert actually had discovered what is a really remarkable fossil which looks like something which is between the birds and the dinosaurs, and it was claimed by this scientist that this is the transitional form between the dinosaurs and the earliest kind of birds. I think to be honest this is a fantastically important science, and there is so much expertise out there and there are so many, literally thousands, of examples of transitional forms, but what I want to know from Brother Harun is how is this in any way against our faith in Allah being the creator and Allah being the originator? The Qur’an describes Allah as “Al-Kharliq” (the Creator) and also as “Al-Badi” (the Originator), these are some of the words that the Qur’an uses for the creativity of Allah. How does this go against this belief, you know to believe that Allah created different forms, they progressed, they evolved effectively, you know Allah is the evolver, so here we’re constantly talking about Allah as being the evolver, how does this go against this idea of creation, can you explain that?

Xiantingia (China) - internediate fossil between dinosuaurs and birds

Harun Yahya: There are angels and demons in the Qur’an as you know and they were not created through evolution. There are houris in heaven and demons were not created through evolution, and the houris of heaven were not created through evolution. There is no evidence for evolution in the Qur’an so what you are talking about, these birds, have been existing for many millions of years . . . there is nothing between dinosaurs and birds.

Dr Hussein: Well the evidence is there, but let me just ask you this question. We know that (in a verse of the Quran) Allah is talking to the angels and saying to them “I want to create my Khalifa (Vice-regent) on the earth”, OK. And this is very clear, Allah created mankind, my understanding of this, and of course again people can differ with this, is that Allah created mankind, that is Adam (AS) in his form as he is, as human beings, there is no doubt about that. That is my very clear understanding that Adam (AS) is not evolved from anything, he was created by Allah as Adam (AS), as human being, and dignified in a very special way, that is Allah’s special creation. But as far as other animals are concerned, particularly when we look at the orders and then the families of creation and then the species within them, what is it that stops us from accepting this notion when there is evidence out there to show that undoubtedly evolution has occurred? I just cannot see what is against our belief that Allah created Adam (AS) as human being, but within the animal and plant kingdom there has been evolution going on.

BFTF: When you look at all the different ways that dogs have been bred, and plants have been bred, isn’t that right in front of you over the last few hundred or thousand years, isn’t that evolution right there? When you look at a little Dachshund to a huge Great Dane, or you look at the different types of vegetables, or fruits, or even flowers that you can buy, and the pressure that’s been put on those by the plant breeders or the animal breeders, isn’t that evolution right there in front of you?

Harun Yahya: Well this is variation of these animals and plants, this is not evidence for evolution, and actually most of them have disappeared with time, so if you looked at the previous form you would be even more surprised, but this not evolution this is only variation, and variation is not evolution. . . Well of course you get surprised if you see different kinds of animals or plants, but that shows us the power of Allah, and the power of creation of Allah, these different kinds of animals and different kinds of flowers shows us only the power and artistry of Allah

BFTF: You’ve written quite widely about the environment and our duty as a khilafa (stewards), our stewardship really of the Earth, and I just wanted to know if you could give some background on that and really your perspectives on how we should look after the environment. I’m thinking about trees, the lungs of the world and the environment in general.

Harun Yahya: Well all these living things, the plants and animals and humans, are a reflection of the creation of Allah, so Muslims should be very meticulous to protect the environment and the sanctity of all these plants and forests and trees, and we should approach them with love. . . . The idea of evolution goes back to the time of the Pharoh, the ancient Sumerians and ancient Greece. So it is a pagan religion which goes many, many of thousands of years back. With the findings from palaeontology, genetics and all the scientific branches, we destroyed their claims of evolution, of Darwinism.

BFTF:. One thing we try to do hear at the Karimia centre, we aren’t quite there yet but we are along the way, is we try to use paper that is FSC certified, so the forests have been well managed and they aren’t chopping down, for example, rainforests with all the loss of flora and fauna that entails. I just wanted to know how you approach that, and what steps you take with the paper you use in the millions of books you are printing to make that that’s from a sustainable source really.

Harun Yahya: Well instead of staying as a tree, it is much better to transform to cause hidayat(guidance) for people these trees.

Harun Yahya: Right now again only 1% of the species are alive. So there are estimates, according to scientists, between 10 and 30 million species alive today, but this is only 1% of all the species, 99% became extinct. So if you had all the species living together you would be very surprised, but this in Allah’s power. Allah could create endless number of species however Allah only created the 10 or 30 million species alive today.

Harun Yahya: Now let me read a quote from Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species”, Darwin confesses in his book, Darwin said, this is Charles Darwin, “Why if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of species being, as we see them, well defined? But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the Earth?” So Charles Darwin himself says there is mathematical symmetry is perfect in living beings. He goes on; “Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” This is from Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” page 172, which means, Darwin himself says there are no transitional forms which collapses the theory of evolution because at the time of Darwin thousands of workers...

BFTF: If I could just jump in for a second, I’ve read I think 2 or 3 pages from your website and I’ve tried to check some of these references out and what I find quite often is that there is a part of a quote, and I’ll give you one example, it’s not the one you’re mentioning but for example, you’re website quotes Darwin as saying: “To suppose that I, with all its contrivances, could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree”. So clearly it looks there as though Darwin is saying that it’s absurd that I could form through evolution. But you leave it at that. What you don’t write is the rest of what Darwin wrote, which is to explain well actually this is how it could happen, and how small variations could add up, and it seems a little bit misleading when you just put part of the quote and then you don’t put the rest

Harun Yahya: The quote we just read about Darwin, about Darwin’s confessions, the lack of transitional forms destroys Darwinism right at the bottom, it destroys the very foundation. There are 200 million fossils without any transitional forms...

Dr Hussein: Can I just add to this that Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species” was written 150 years ago, it really is out of date, it’s of its own time. We’ve moved on 150 years, science has really moved on leaps and bounds since then, and we now are looking at genetics of things really. We’re looking at the level of genes, and we’re able to do genetic engineering these days. Now I think that young Muslim scientists who have studied biology and genetics and also know their Deen (faith), are really like many Christians and people of faith who believe in God as the designer, as Qur’an calls Allah the “Musawwir”, the fashioner, the one who is Al-Bari (the Evolver), these are some of the beautiful names of Allah. There is no contradiction between having that faith and understanding those qualities and attributes of Allah, and this idea that Allah is the strategic planner of the evolution.

BFTF: OK, well I’d just like to mention two points and then I’d like to ask you a question Doctor Musharraf. I’ve got an article here that points out that of twelve Pakistani biologists interviewed only one had rejected evolution, and also that in 2006 the Pakistani and Indonesian academies of sciences, and in many other Muslim countries I understand, have signed a statement urging parents and teachers to educate children about the origins and evolution of life on Earth. Now I can only see in that report that the science bodies, the government sponsored science bodies, in Muslim countries are doing. But the question I wanted to ask you Doctor Sab is, and evolution is a very good example of this really, what your feeling is about having a plurality of views, having access to different types of information and different viewpoints, what is your view point on that?

Dr Hussein: I think the fact that these two great nations, the Indonesian and Pakistani scientists have, and I’m sure many other scientists in other parts of the world will agree with them, that these views about how possibly things could have evolved, and in my view they don’t contradict my Imaan (faith) in Allah as being the one who is behind all this. Muslims who haven’t got a deep understanding of science have sadly just taken the creationist Christian’s view. There is a very big difference between the modern Muslim who believes in evolution, and the Christian creationists who didn’t have that true understanding But can I just end by saying it has been really wonderful talking to you Brother Harun, and really I admire the work that you’ve done, mashallah (what Allah wishes), and all those wonderful books that you’ve written on other subjects, this is one subject where I sort of disagree with your view on evolution because I think it is a very old Christian view rather than an enlightened Muslim scientists view and therefore I would challenge you on that.

Harun Yahya: We cannot talk about evolution because 200 million fossils disprove evolution, there are no transitional forms, they all prove the fact of creation by Allah all of a sudden because for millions of years they never change, so without transitional forms it is impossible to defend Darwinism, to defend evolution. So science tells us exactly the opposite, so it is not scientific to defend evolution without any evidence. 200 million fossils, 250 million fossils, it’s going up to 300 million right now, just disproves evolution and shows us the emergence of species all the time.

Muslim students weigh in on evolution”

Article by Prof. ABDUL MAJID, Ass.Prof., Dep of Zoology, Postgraduate College, Mansehra, PAKISTAN

IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution

MuslimVoices article on Muslims views of Evolution

National Geographic : Evolution in Action

BBC Learning Zone : Evolution of the Eye

Image Source : Xiaotingia

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Hansard - Straight from the Horses Mouth

The picture of the legislative process in the House of Commons and the House of Lords that we see in the media is, sadly, a cartoonish, soundbite ridden, sensationalised version of what actually goes on.

Sometimes only a few dozen seconds are given to coverage of a debate. BFTF can't explain how to make a omelette in that time, so it seems unlikely that a complex discussion can be distilled down to such a short timeframe!

Fortunately, modern technology offers us a way of bypassing the media and listening dorectly to what our lawmakers are saying, often at great length, detail and passion.

You can listen to them on the Parliament Channel - perhaps the most unexpected delight of the digital television revolution. Indeed I am listening to it in the background even as I write this!

And one can read about what has been said in Hansard, the written record of the debates in Parliament.

Below you can find a little information on two debates that BFTF has seen. The first relates to a House of Lords debate on Christians in the Middle East; the second relates to a Select Committee hearing regarding the HMRC (i.e. Revenue and Customs)

House of Lords debate on "Christians in the Middle East" from 9th December 2011.

You can read the full account of the motion here, hopefully you will find it as thought provoking as BFTF did.

But, if you are someone who is a bit pressed for time, below are a few of the comments from the Most Rev Rowan Williams, Lord Sacks and Lord Ahmad.

The Archbishop of Canterbury - Opening Comments
. . at the present moment, the position of Christians in the region is more vulnerable than it has been for centuries. The flow of Christian refugees from Iraq in the wake of constant threat and attack has left a dramatically depleted Christian population there, and perhaps I can say in passing how very glad and grateful I was to have stood alongside the Grand Mufti of the al-Azhar mosque in Cairo at a press conference here in London some three years ago joining in condemnation of attacks on Christians in Iraq. Similar senior voices from al-Azhar have been heard more recently in condemnation of anti-Christian outrages in Egypt itself . .

. . . No one is seeking a privileged position for Christians in the Middle East, nor should they be. But what we can say-I firmly believe that most Muslims here and in many other places would agree entirely-is that the continued presence of Christians in the region is essential to the political and social health of the countries of the Middle East. Their presence challenges the assumption that the Arab world and the Muslim world are just one and the same thing, which is arguably good for Arabs and Muslims alike. They demonstrate that a predominantly Muslim polity can accommodate, positively and gratefully, non-Muslims as fellow citizens, partners in an enterprise that is not exclusively determined by religious loyalties even when rooted in specific religious principles. . .

. . .One of their real grievances is what they experience as the twofold undermining of their identity that comes from a new generation of Muslim enthusiasts treating them as pawns of the West and, on the other hand, from a western political rhetoric that either ignores them totally or thoughtlessly puts them at risk by casting military conflict in religious terms. Talk of crusading comes to mind. . .

Lord Sachs
. .It was Martin Luther King who said:"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends". . .

. . .We have already heard today about the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt, of Maronite Christians in Hezbollah-controlled areas in Lebanon, of the vast exodus of Christians from Iraq and of the concern of Christians in Syria as to what might happen there should there be further destabilisation. In the past year, we have heard of churches set on fire, of a suicide bombing that cost the lives of 21 Christians as they were leaving a church in Cairo, of violence and intimidation and of the mass flight of Christians, especially from Egypt. .

. . . we make a great intellectual mistake in the West when we assume that democracy is, in and of itself, a step towards freedom. Usually, that is the case, but sometimes it is not. As Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill pointed out in the 19th century, it may merely mean the "tyranny of the majority". That is why the most salient words in the current situation are those of Lord Acton, in his great essay on the history of freedom, who said: "The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities". . .

. . . religions that begin by killing their opponents end by killing their fellow believers. In the age of the Crusades, Christians fought Muslims. Between the Reformation and the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, Christians fought Christians-Catholic against Protestant. Today, in the Middle East and elsewhere, radical Islamists fight those whom they regard as the greater and lesser Satan, but earlier this week we mourned the death of 55 Shia worshippers at a mosque in Kabul and another 28 Shia who were killed in a terror attack in Iraq. Today, the majority of victims of Islamist violence are Muslim, and shall we not shed tears for them, too? The tragedy of religion is that it can lead people to wage war in the name of the God of peace, to hate in the name of the God of love, to practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion and to kill in the name of the God of life. None of these things brings honour to faith; they are a desecration of the name of God. . .

The Archbishop of Canterbury (Closing Comments)
My Lords, I am deeply grateful for a debate that in both variety and quality has not disappointed expectations. Wider points have emerged, and I shall touch on one or two. . .

. . .The definition of religious liberty, we have been reminded, is not always a simple matter. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Exeter pointed out that we are speaking not simply of the liberty to worship but a liberty of conscience - a mental liberty. That includes asking some difficult questions about the rights of conversion, which many noble Lords have raised in their contributions today. . .

. . .I was delighted to hear the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, quote the late Lord Acton on the test of liberty being the treatment of minorities. It was the same Lord Acton who observed that a coherent doctrine of religious liberty was at the foundation of all serious talk about political liberties. We have a number of issues there worth taking up and holding in our minds. . .

. . .We have also been reminded by a number of noble Lords about the significance of education and adequate communication in this field. Points have been made about the poisonous effect of certain kinds of school textbook, for example. . .

So there you go. BFTF was surprised that there does not appear to be any Muslim Imam in the House of Lords to represent the Muslim community and, perhaps more importantly, Muslim thinking. So BFTF sent an email to the local MP asking why this was the case.

Select Committee Hearing on the HMRC
Moving on, quickly and briefly, to the second debate that BFTF heard which was oral evidence submitted to the Public Accounts Committee's session on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Standard Report with Antony Inglese, General Council and solicitor, and Sir Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Secretary, from Monday 7 November.

You can read the full transcript here.

BFTF just wanted to bring you the beginning of the hearing, when Antony Inglese (from HMRC) got an absolute mauling from committee member Richard Bacon:

Antony Inglese (AI): There are conventions in Parliament about what can be answered on legal privilege-Ministers, for example. There are various ramifications of the legal privilege point. At the moment, there is a judicial review being brought against HMRC.

Richard Bacon (RB): Oh, really? Can you give us the case number, please?

AI: We have had the pre-action protocol letter by a pressure group and we are now looking at our response.

RB: Are there any proceedings?

AI: Proceedings are imminent.

RB: What is the answer to my question?

AI: The way judicial review works-

RB: What is the answer to my question, Mr Inglese? Are there any proceedings?

AI: For the purposes of the sub judice rule, we have had a letter before action-

RB: Yes, I understand that you have had a letter before action. Once again, what is the answer to my question: are there any proceedings before the courts?

AI: Proceedings are imminent.

RB: Are there any proceedings before the courts now? Yes or no?

AI: At this moment, no.

It's cracking stuff and great to see HMRC being held to account.

So, dear reader, there you go. The tools are there to hold your elected representatives to account and to praise them when they do the right thing.

Friday, 2 December 2011

"We are not aware of any evidence to support this claim"

The ability to think critically and analyse information is a crucial tool in avoiding the wool being pulled over ones eyes by organisations or people who wish to mislead, misinform or just plain lie.

For example, during the Leveson enquiry (which investigated press intrusion and phone hacking allegations), the singer Charlotte Church, alleged that her phone must have been hacked because News International knew about her pregnancy before she had even told her mother. In response, a News International spekesperson said "We are not aware of any evidence to support this claim".

That's a pretty strange form of words. Surely News International either DID, or DD NOT hack Ms Church's phone. It's a pretty black and white thing.

So why the complicated phrase?

BFTF imagines a burglar who, having performed a number of careful burglaries, wearing a balaclava and gloves at all times, then burns all his burglaring clothes and equipment and scatters the ashes at sea.

If accused of being a burglar, he would, presumably, be entirely accurate in saying that he was "not aware of any evidence to support this claim"

A phone-hacking tabloid reporter, yesterday

BFTF, on reading the story in more detail, noted that there were links to the written testimonies of some of the witnesses. Reading the testimony of Charlotte Church provided a distrubing account of a tabloid press that was predatory and would routinely print stories that were utterly without foundation.

Ao much so, that BFTF was moved to writing a message for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Dear Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport,
I'm have no doubt that you are a very busy person, so I'll be brief :

I have been very disturbed by the testimonies of the witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry. In particular, that way in which the tabloid press treated Charlotte Church, even when she was still a child, is something that I find difficult to reconcile with a civilised society.
I do not think it is acceptable for a newspaper to print a countdown to a girls 16th birthday.
I do not think it is acceptable for a newspaper to print lurid stories about a singers parents or other family members.
I do not think it is acceptable for a newspaper to fabricate entire stories.

On a related note, I do not think it is acceptable for a newspaper to print an almost daily drip-drip feed of stories that demonise minority groups - this is really dangerous and stokes the flames of community distrust.

Please take the opportunity of the Leveson Inquiry to fix Britains print media so that it, like Radio 4, becomes something that I can be proud of.

Image Source : Wikipedia

Update (9th Dec)
Received a response from the "Ministerial Support Team" and the Department of Culture Media and Sport. The response said that
"The Government shares many of the concerns set out in your letter"
and that
" the Government is determined that events involving particular communities should not be exploited by anyone as an excuse to start blaming, persecuting, or preaching inflammatory messages about any particular group. . . The Coalition Government is working to strengthen its approach to integration and cohesion, including how all forms of extremism, hatred and intolerance can best be tackled."

Dear Reader, perhaps you would like to challenge the local or national government on an issue where you feel they are being unfair or unjust. It would be great to hear what results you get !