Evolution and climate education update: July 13, 2018

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Glenn Branch

Jul 13, 2018, 8:20:07 AM7/13/18
to ncse-news
Dear friends of NCSE,

Harun Yahya is in legal trouble in Turkey again. And news of a
fossil-fuel-foundation-funded teaching guide in Texas is raising


Adnan Oktar, the controversial Islamic creationist who publishes under
the name Harun Yahya, was arrested by Turkish police on July 11, 2018,
according to the Hurriyet Daily News (July 11, 2018).

Through the Scientific Research Foundation (Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, or
BAV), Oktar and his followers produce a steady stream of publications
and audiovisual material aimed at dismissing evolution as baseless and

The Hurriyet Daily News explained, "According to the detention
warrant, Oktar and his followers are accused of forming a criminal
organization, sexual abuse of children, sexual assault, child
kidnapping, sexual harassment, blackmailing, false imprisonment,
political and military espionage, fraud by exploiting religious
feelings, money laundering, violation of privacy, forgery of official
documents, opposition to anti-terror law, coercion, use of violence,
slander, alienating citizens from mandatory military service,
insulting, false incrimination, perjury, aggravated fraud, smuggling,
tax evasion, bribery, torture, illegal recording of personal data,
violating the law on the protection of family and women, and violating
a citizen’s rights to get education and participate in politics."

It is not Oktar's first brush with the law. In 2008, as NCSE
previously reported, he was convicted of "creating an illegal
organization for personal gain" and sentenced to three years in
prison, although his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2010.

Signs that Oktar and his organization are out of favor with the
administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were evident earlier
in 2018, when, as Newsweek (February 1, 2018) reported, the
Directorate for Religious Affairs "slammed" Oktar.

For the article in the Hurriyet Daily News, visit:

For the article in Newsweek, visit:

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events abroad, visit:


"Concerned that environmental groups were winning the hearts and minds
of Texas schoolchildren -- filling their heads with statements of the
ills of fossil fuels -- a politically connected Texas natural gas
industry advocacy group devised a plan to fight back," reported the
Austin American-Statesman (July 6, 2018).

State representative Jason Isaac (R-District 45), a founding member of
the Texas Natural Gas Foundation who spearheaded the effort, told the
newspaper that he was provoked by middle school material brought home
by his son that described fossil fuels as causing global warming:
"You're striking fear in children that oil and gas and coal are bad."

The Texas Natural Gas Foundation worked with the State Energy
Conservation Office and the University of Texas to develop a teaching
guide on energy issues. But experts asked by the American-Statesman to
evaluate the completed guide described it as providing incomplete or
even intentionally misleading information.

The head of the University of Texas's Environmental Science Institute
commented that the guide claims that "devastation of our social and
economic systems will result from switching away from the use of
nonrenewables." He added, "That's not a very forward-looking way to
work the problem of our energy future."

The project was funded by a federal grant, not by the fossil fuel
industry or the Texas Natural Gas Foundation, and a staffer at the
University of Texas who helped to oversee the project contended that
there was no "pressure to misrepresent the science or the social
aspects of the energy situation."

But two board members of the Texas Natural Gas Foundation briefed the
writers of the guide about energy resources at a January 2016 meeting,
where, according to the American-Statesman, "[n]o environmental groups
or other experts were on the agenda to speak," and later invited them
to attend a presentation on the moral case for fossil fuels.

Twenty Texan middle school science teachers were trained with the
guide in 2016. The Texas Natural Gas Foundation reportedly is
soliciting funds to train 275 additional teachers, perhaps in the
summer of 2019, and hopes for the material to be adopted and
customized for use outside Texas.

For the article in the Austin American-Statesman, visit:

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Texas, visit:

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
https://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971

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