Scholars Resign From Turkish Academy of Sciences

A recent ruling allows the government to appoint members of the prestigious Academy of Sciences  (TÜBA) in Turkey in place of the usual method of election by existing members. The reason given for the change was that the academy membership was a closed club, with members voting in only those in their own circles. Members say […]

Identifying Turkey’s Better Angels

The New York Times today published a review (click here) of Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. The book presents evidence that our era is less violent, less cruel, and more peaceful than any previous period of human existence and tries to figure out why. What variables had to […]

The Secret Life of Cancer

My startling interview with a well-known molecular biologist about what cancer is, really. Click here for the full interview. An excerpt: I’m a faithful reader of the New York Times Science Section, cover to cover, because I want to know about things, not be caught flatfooted. Somehow it seems necessary for survival to know about quarks […]

State of the Nation: Happiness, Intolerance, Fear

This post was extensively updated. The results of a new study, The Turkey Values Survey, has caused a stir in Turkey. It shows a rise in conservative attitudes (though not a rise in religiosity), especially towards women (and by women), and high intolerance toward people with other beliefs and lifestyles (although ideological differences play little […]

Turkey Becoming Hydrogen Energy Leader

I had no idea. It seems that Turkey is also taking a role in global hydrogen energy production. One plan is for a generator on a platform in the Bosphorus to produce hydrogen energy (20 kilowatts of electricity)  from a turbine eight meters below the surface that will take advantage of the sea flow. This […]

Academics and Scientists Arrested In Ergenekon Probe

The science journal Nature recently published an editorial drawing attention to the scientists being arrested in Turkey as part of the Ergenekon probe into anti-government activities and asked why other academics are not speaking out: Earlier this month, a Turkish court acquitted the sociologist Pinar Selek on terrorism charges — the third time she has […]

Darwin Not Allowed in Turkish School

So much for Turkey’s future as an educated, science-literate  society. (Dorothy, or rather Ayse, you ARE in Kansas!) Click here. Excerpt: …Süleyman Biçer, who has been teaching for more than 14 years, received a warning for talking about Darwinian evolutionary theory in response to a question posed by one of his students. Biçer, a teacher at […]

Science, Fundamentalism, and the AKP

I came across this thoughtful post by Salma Hameed on Irtiqa, the thought-provoking blog on science and Islam. It starts like this: I was calmly reading an article yesterday about Turkish palaeoanthropology in last week’s Nature. The article was titled, Disputed Grounds (you may need subscription to access it), and it is primarily focused on how bitter personal […]

Turkey Has Most Extreme Anti-Evolution Bias

…[F]ewer than 25 percent of Turks accepted evolution as an explanation of how modern life came to be — by far the lowest percentage of any developed nation… The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course […]

Muslim Creationism Admits More Science Than Western Creationism

Reporting on a recent conference on creationism in the Muslim world at Hampshire College and research carried out at McGill University, the New York Times made the following interesting observations: Muslims are rarely young-Earth creationists, who believe God created the universe, Earth and life six thousand years ago, because although the Koran says the universe […]