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The Cult of Islamic Creationism Uncovered in Skeptical Inquirer

December 16, 2013

Skeptical Inquirer magazine cover

In the Muslim world, a particular brand of creationism has become a cultural phenomenon. The latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer explores the explosive popularity of both the man and the antievolution enterprise known as “Harun Yahya.”

Begun by Turkish writer Adnan Oktar, the Islamic creationism espoused under the pseudonym Harun Yahya has expanded to literally hundreds of titles and publications in dozens of languages, churned out by an unknown number of adherents, yet all publishing under the same name. Stefano Bigliardi, a professor of philosophy and expert on Islam and Middle Eastern studies, examines how his version of creationism apes the jargon of science, making use of quotes and citations from true scientists, but grossly out of context.

Much like popular Christian apologetics in the United States, Yahya’s creationism aims to appear to be built on rational argument, while demonizing Darwin and evolution as responsible for humanity’s greatest evils and tragedies. It has also made impresario Adnan Oktar wealthy and politically influential, holding particular sway over the Turkish government on the banning of books and websites that he deems hostile to the beliefs he promotes.

Also in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer, Stanley Stepanic defends the true academic study of “demonology” from the field’s corruption by religion and superstition; Elie A. Shneour argues that the question of when life begins in the womb is not a scientific question, but one that science is best equipped to help us arrive at consensus; and Ryan Schaffer and Bhaskar Sripada honor the legacy of Indian skeptic activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was assassinated in August of this year.

All this and much more is now available in the January-February 2014 edition of Skeptical Inquirer on newsstands now, in the Apple App Store, or on Pocketmags for Android, Kindle, and other platforms. For more information, visit

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Skeptical Inquirer is the official journal of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. CSI encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view. Learn more about CSI and SI at