Cevat Babuna at Imperial College

As one of my friends is currently in the process of creating an ‘atheist and agnostic society’ at Imperial College (IC), and the most recent copy of the college magazine, Felix, contains several pieces regarding religion I have decided to make a few comments here to open the ideas to a wider audience.

The IC Islamic Ahul-Bayt Society invited Dr Cevat Babuna of the organisation Harun Yahya to talk on the subject of Evolution vs. Creationism (including Intelligent Design). As a bit of background, Dr Babuna is a Muslim neurosurgeon of Turkish nationality.

“The speaker was introduced with the claim that the society wanted to promote an exchange of ideas; he can’t have been listening, because he then proceeded with what can only be described as single-minded, bigoted propaganda.” Pietro Aronica, Felix.

Dr Babuna talked for over an hour, starting with the evils of ‘Social Darwinism’, trying to link anarchism, atheism, racism, fascism, Nazism, and communism to the theory of natural selection. In fact the words he used were more like, “the law of the jungle has killed more than 180million people’. This is clearly nonsense, as one attendee noted by pointing out that atheism and anti-Semitism were around long before Darwin proposed his magnum opus.

More ‘traditional’ attacks on Darwinism included the classic argument of ‘irreducible complexity’, clearly showing that Dr Babuna either does not understand the theory, or is wilfully ignorant of how powerful it can be.

As pointed out by Matty Hoban in Felix: “What made the lecture more interesting is that it was a Muslim speaking as opposed to an Evangelical Christian.” Perhaps Aronica pointed out the only real difference: “Everything was served with a large dose of Qur’an, added here and there to give a credible opinion… The plan backfired when even girls in hijab confronted him on the ridiculousness of his theories.”

Thankfully, many people found his arguments ridiculous (IC is one of the world’s leading science universities after all). Aronica reported, “Sometimes a chorus of dissent from the crowd would cover the speaker’s voice…”.

Pietro Aronica also gives a great example of what I like to call ‘Argument by Incredulous Substitution’. “The argument for Darwinism being the root of all evil was just bad, with no other word required. Maybe you are familiar with the reduction ad Hitlerum, an impressive sounding Latin phrase…basically, if Hitler liked X, X must be evil; other common variants are Nazis or Stalin instead of Hitler. Anybody can spot the fallacy in it, by putting as X something that is not considered unethical and still was supported by Hitler, like dogs, or paintings.

It’s a simple thing to forget, I guess, that anti0Semitism existed for millennia before Darwin was even born, that Hitler liked playing the blame game in a depression-ravaged hunger-stricken Germany, that Socrates had already questioned the existence of the Gods, and that racism is old as humanity itself The sensible, logical people outnumbered and outweighed their opponents, and showed how such idiocy is not appreciated here. Despite claims to the contrary, creationism is declining, and today’s audience was the living proof. Let’s keep it up”


Quote of The Day

"All religions were forged as defences against this virus, chance. Once you have dreamt up a god or a goddess, you can abase yourself, offer up burnt offerings, put your knees to the ground or your bottom to the air, all in the hope that by fawnings and repeated praise you may ward off ill fortune, or gain an imaginary better world."

- Brian Aldiss, Science Fiction Novelist,
"Fiction or Prediction?", 2007

Thanks to Gord for finding this one.

Teddy Bear Games

Why is calling a teddy bear Mohammed so different from calling a child Mohammed. I was speaking to a Muslim friend of mine the other day about this, and he said that it did make him feel "slightly uneasy" and that he wouldn't personally want a child's toy named after the prophet.

What I found strange is that my Muslim friend is actually named after the prophet twice, yes he is Mohammed Mohammed.