Venomous Snakes, Slippery Eels and Harun Yahya

Richard Dawkins at his website:

Screenhunter_01_jul_16_1506In 2006, I was one of tens of thousands of academic scientists all around the world who received, unsolicited and completely free, a huge and lavishly illustrated book called Atlas of Creation by the Turkish Muslim apologist Harun Yahya. The thesis of the book, which was published in eleven languages, is that evolution is false. The main ‘evidence’ consists of page after page of beautiful photographs of fossil animals, each one accompanied by a modern counterpart that is said to have changed not at all since the time of the fossil. It is a large-format book, a thick coffee-table book with more than 700 high-gloss colour pages. The cost of production of such a book must have been extremely high, and one is bound to wonder where the money came from to produce it and then distribute it gratis in so many copies and so many languages.

Given that the entire message of the book depends upon the alleged resemblance between modern animals and their fossil counterparts, I was amused, when I began flicking through at random, to find page 468 devoted to “eels”, one fossil and one modern. The caption says:

There are more than 400 species of eels in the order Anguilliformes. That they have not undergone any change in millions of years once again reveals the invalidity of the theory of evolution.

The fossil eel shown may well be an eel, I cannot tell. But the modern “eel” that Yahya pictures (see photo) is undoubtedly not an eel but a sea snake, probably of the highly venomous genus Laticauda (an eel is, of course, not a snake at all but a teleost fish). I have not scanned the book for other inaccuracies of this kind. But given that this was almost the first page I looked at . . . what price the main thesis of the book that modern animals are unchanged since the time of their fossil counterparts?

Incidentally, in May 2008 Harun Yahya, whose real name is Adnan Oktar, was sentenced in a Turkish court to a three-year prison sentence “for creating an illegal organization for personal gain.”

More here.  [The last example Dawkins gives is too good!]