Adnan Oktar

Have you heard the news? Adnan Oktar, a Turkish Creationist known for being slightly off the wall, has put a bounty of ten trillion Turkish lira on ‘any intermediate-form fossil that demonstrates evolution’ (paraphrasing). 

That’s ten trillion Turkish lira. Almost eight trillion dollars. Four and a half trillion pounds Sterling. Five and a half trillion euro. 

In other words, a lot of money.

This is essentially Kent Hovind’s challenge, except that Oktar is offering way, way more money for far less evidence. Hovind was essentially demanding proof of five different theories, with the caveat that you’d also have to prove that God was not involved in them in any way – which is obviously impossible. Oktar apparently just wants a single example of a transitional fossil that ‘demonstrates evolution’. This guy has produced an 800-page book (almost an encyclopedia) explaining why numerous fossils are evidence of Creationism rather than evolution, so I’m guessing showing him Archaeopteryx isn’t going to cut it.

I haven’t been able to find the original announcement (is it available in English?), so I have a few questions about this supposed offer:

1) Does he actually have that much money? He’s apparently a member of some sort of cult-like organisation that collectively has considerable wealth, but still – trillions of Turkish lira? I smell a fraud.

2) What exactly is he looking for? Hovind is a classic example of why these ‘challenges’ are never genuine, and I doubt Oktar is deluded enough to believe that there aren’t any transitional fossils out there. What’s the catch?

Before you rush off to become a multi-trillionaire, you should see what PZ Meyers has suggested would be a good way to use the money:

 

Instead, though, I’m going to suggest something that will help out the entire country. The US government should immediately send a plane to pick up Mr Oktar, bring him to our country, and take him on a guided tour of the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, accompanied by Niles Eldredge, Kevin Padian, Jerry Coyne, Sean Carroll, and the entire scientific staff of those museums. Afterwards, they can accept the check from Mr Oktar, run down to the local bank and cash it, and use one trillion dollars to resolve the current financial crisis, seven trillion can be sunk immediately into the American educational system, and they can send the change left over to me as a reward for coming up with this brilliant plan.

 

I did a bit of reading on Oktar and discovered that his brand of Creationism is apparently almost identical to the Christian variety, except that he believes evolution is responsible for Buddhism –  in addition to the usual parade of materalism, Nazism, communism (isn’t that contradictory?) and atheism. Who knew?

10 Responses to Adnan Oktar

  1. Penguin_Factory says:

    “Nazism, communism (isn’t that contradictory?)”

    Every time someone mentions Fascist Communists, a historian dies.

  2. Lottie says:

    […] he believes evolution is responsible for Buddhism – in addition to the usual parade of materalism, Nazism, communism (isn’t that contradictory?) and atheism.

    I think my brain just melted.

  3. forknowledge says:

    I see I’m not the only one who’s identified the problem. By what mechanism do these people think atheism can directly lead to two wildly conflicting ideologies?

  4. Viggy says:

    I have to agree that this guy is a little out there with the last paragraph you stated. BUT, I also agree with the fact that there is no intermediate-form fossils. Archaeopteryx and many other intermediate-fossils have evidence of tampering and/or being a hoax. Archaeopteryx isn’t considered an intermediate-fossil anymore, it is considered a bird.

    Secondly, if you look up the intermediate stages of how a creature that doesn’t fly and then learns/is able to fly then you have 2 separate evolutionary theories trying to explain flight without any evidence.

  5. forknowledge says:

    I have to agree that this guy is a little out there with the last paragraph you stated. BUT, I also agree with the fact that there is no intermediate-form fossils. Archaeopteryx and many other intermediate-fossils have evidence of tampering and/or being a hoax. Archaeopteryx isn’t considered an intermediate-fossil anymore, it is considered a bird.

    I actually sighed when I read this. It was a sad sound.

    Could you please link to a reputable scientific paper, article or book which claims that Archaeopteryx is a hoax? (Or even that a strong case can be made for it being a hoax.) By that I don’t mean some Creationist source, but an actual biologist/paleontologist saying ‘Yes, this fossil is probably a hoax’ in a scientific publication.

    Archaeopteryx is indeed considered a bird – but that doesn’t preclude it from being a transitional form. This is one of the fundamental mistakes that Creationists make about the fossil record. The study of transitional forms does not propose this:

    Some dinosaur —> Archaeopteryx —> Modern birds

    Instead, it would be correct to say that Archaeopteryx is a transitional form because it shares features of a common ancestor with modern birds as well as derived features common to modern birds. In other words, it does not have to be a direct ‘link’ between one species (or family) and another to be considered ‘transitional’.

  6. Viggy says:

    “By that I don’t mean some Creationist source, but an actual biologist/paleontologist saying ‘Yes, this fossil is probably a hoax’ in a scientific publication.”

    I will send you one if you want, but you won’t like it because….. you are prejudice. If I sent you a paleontologist/biologist stating that the fossil is a hoax for being an intermediate fossil, and he was a creationist, then you would say “nope doesn’t count, he is a creationist!” That’s is like me blasting every science article because the author is a evolutionist! And in my field, that wouldn’t work because most of the leading scientists, biologists, and psychologists studying the biopsychosocial aspects of society are not creationist.

    Actually macroevolution would state exactly what you said

    “Some dinosaur —> Archaeopteryx —> Modern birds”

    Which, as you show would be incorrect.

    “Instead, it would be correct to say that Archaeopteryx is a transitional form because it shares features of a common ancestor with modern birds as well as derived features common to modern birds. In other words, it does not have to be a direct ‘link’ between one species (or family) and another to be considered ‘transitional’.”

    Ok wait a second….. We have derived features from many many other mammals……even ones that are extinct! Heck, we found that we share much of the same DNA with cows and bananas! Also, please give the definition of a transitional fossil, most of them give a broader stance on the relationship of two things. Also modern evolutionists believe that we are all transitional living beings, which means there is no end to use evolving……although there is no evidence of a beginning of where we started….only theories. Lets just hope that you don’t argue that we have over 100 Vestigial organs still!

  7. Viggy says:

    sorry for the second post, but I am in a hurry, so if some of it doesn’t make sense then I will write it out better later! If you look at it overall, it should still be coherent.

  8. forknowledge says:

    I will send you one if you want, but you won’t like it because….. you are prejudice. If I sent you a paleontologist/biologist stating that the fossil is a hoax for being an intermediate fossil, and he was a creationist, then you would say “nope doesn’t count, he is a creationist!” That’s is like me blasting every science article because the author is a evolutionist! And in my field, that wouldn’t work because most of the leading scientists, biologists, and psychologists studying the biopsychosocial aspects of society are not creationist.

    If Archaeopteryx really is a hoax, the mainstream scientific community should have accepted that. Since they apparently haven’t, are you implying that there’s some sort of conspiracy going on? (Keep in mind that Archaeopteryx certainly isn’t the only transitional fossil out there – ‘losing’ it wouldn’t be any sort of great blow to evolution as a whole).

    Actually macroevolution would state exactly what you said

    “Some dinosaur —> Archaeopteryx —> Modern birds”

    Which, as you show would be incorrect.

    No, that’s not what I meant. I was pointing out that evolution isn’t a linear process with one species leading on directly to another, and that a transitional form doesn’t have to be a literal and definite ‘bridge’ between two different types of organism.

    I’m not really sure what to make of the last paragraph. Of course we share a lot of features with mammals (both extinct and extant), and we share DNA with cows and bananas. Maybe not ‘a lot’ with bananas, depending on what scale you’re using, but it’s till there. A transitional form is a (fairly arbitrary) example of an organism that has features of both its ancestors and decendents, as recognized in hindsight. As that description should make clear, they’re not really used to ‘prove’ evolution – the evidence in other areas is more than strong enough.

    If evolutionary theory is correct (which it is), then everything is indeed ‘in transition’.

  9. penguinfactory says:

    “Archaeopteryx and many other intermediate-fossils have evidence of tampering and/or being a hoax.”

    Richard Owen was (I believe) the first person to suggest this. His suggestion wasn’t backed up by the slightest shred of evidence, and it’s never ben verified since.

    Or maybe you’re talking about the “they glued feathers to a dinosaur” thing, in which case you need to actually look at what Archaeopteryx fossils are like.

    “Ok wait a second….. We have derived features from many many other mammals……even ones that are extinct! Heck, we found that we share much of the same DNA with cows and bananas!”

    Which is exactly what we should expect to find if we share a common ancestor with all of these life forms.

  10. freemind says:

    Well…10trillion is a huge number, I agree!

    I don’t know if he said 10trillion Turkish Lira,buf if he said that, he means 10trillion TL, which approximately equals to 7,247,073.89 USD with today’s(10/14/2008) exchange rate. He would probably have this much money…No scam…

    Turkey has removed 6zeros from its currency several years ago and used a temporary name for its currency YTL.

    Trillions and billions were used to be used a lot in daily life,especially in the past. People would spend millions everyday! Since inflation rate has been decreased dramatically in the past few years, government removed the zeros to ease daily life and save TL’s world-wide image. They came up with the YTL idea to distinguish the old and new currencies. After several years, now they think it is time to switch back to TL. New bills will be printed with TL starting from next year.

    Turkish people don’t get confused with trillions,they clarify it when needed,but I am sure an outsider would get!🙂 If one puts 10trillion to an updated online currency converter and click convert, the converter will convert 10trillion YTL,which is here actually 10,000,000 YTL, to USD!😀

    Freeeedom!

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