The conflict between evolutionists and creationists is increasingly making itself felt in a diversity of countries around the world, reports The Economist (April 21). While creationism and the related intelligent design movement has suffered legal setbacks in the U.S., the critique of evolution is evident everywhere from the Muslim world to the Christian “Global South” and Russia.
A recently published creationist tome entitled the “Atlas of Creation” is being distributed throughout French-speaking Europe, though its author Adnan Oktar is a charismatic Muslim preacher from Turkey who has a wide following in the Islamic world. Another Turkish Muslim writer Mustafa Aykol has forged ties with intelligent design proponents in the U.S., and sponsored a recent conference in Istanbul criticizing Darwinism.
In Russia, the Orthodox Church has waded into the controversy, publicly supporting a family who (unsuccessfully) sued the education authorities for only teaching evolution. A spokesman for the Patriarchate claimed that there was little substantial evidence for the theory of evolution. In Brazil and Kenya, evangelical churches have both agitated against public teaching and expression of evolution. In Kenya, the conflict has pitted evangelicals against local Catholics, who support an exhibit of the skeleton of a prehistoric human being known as Turkana Boy.
The Catholic Church itself has sent out ambivalent and divided messages about evolution. Staunch evolutionists, such as former Vatican observatory director George Coyne, now vie with other authoritative Catholic thinkers and Vatican officials who favor a teaching called “convergence,” which is similar in some ways to intelligent design, stressing divine design far more than random selection.