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?