Turkish Government Censors Darwin, Evolution


Concerns about censorship have risen in Turkey since November when the Council of Information Technology and Communications (BTK) placed blocks on websites that contain the words “Darwin” and “evolution.” This filtering system blocks websites about the theory of evolution, along with pornographic sites, to any Turkish computer user who has the children’s security profile activated on his or her computer.

Websites that remain unprotected include those referencing the theory of creationism, Intelligent Design and anti-evolution sentiments. While Turkey is often considered one of the most secular Islamic countries, it also houses a significant population of Islamic creationism believers. The Telegraph reports that it may be the sentiments of this group that provided the impetus for the evolution website filtering. Journalist Tom Chivers writes: “A 2006 survey of 34 countries put Turkey 34th, just behind the US, in the rate of popular acceptance of evolution.”

Chivers questions the increasing number of Turkish medical and biology students who are rejecting evolution, the very foundation of their studies. He argues that denying evolution is equivalent to denying gravity, and that students sell themselves short if they believe otherwise.

To me, the censorship of any scientific theory unrelated to obscene or inappropriate content is a cause for concern. Internet users can check which sites are forbidden on guvenlinet.org and vote against having sites banned. It is unclear, however, how many votes are necessary to remove a website from the filtering program.


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Photo from ellenm1 via flickr


David Lemmo
David Lemmo4 years ago

Joe R, The ruling party in turkey is the Justice and Development Party. They are representative of what could be a moderate branch of Islamism (Political Islam). They are similar to the american GOP on religious access to society and the government. They have making a mockery of the secular body politic that was implemented in Turkey at the dawn of the republic. The Current First Lady wears a Head scarf whenever in public defying the prohibition on all public displays of religion for all government workers and officials, the Prime Minister has sought to ban Abortion but has no judicial support for it, they have even lightened restrictions on general restrictions on public religion. They are the moral equivalent of the GOP, only they draw their ideology from their interpretation of Islam rather than Christianity.

Jacquie S.
Jacquie S.4 years ago

The end of my previous comment............

I'm just thinking about how wonderful humanity is,, and how, over millennia, we have been persuaded by a small group leaders chosen to represent it, but, in the end, represent themselves. We need more ways to allow a peaceful exchange of ideas, all ideas, so we can proceed to discover the way to make life on earth better for everyone.

I'm just sayin....................

Jacquie S.
Jacquie S.4 years ago

That God didn't pay attention to this planet before 6,000 or so years ago, yet there is so much proven carbon data about related life forms that flourished on this planet before then, sets out a paradox. The mere fact there are so many differing religious belief systems, and variations of ceremonies within each chosen one, casts a shadow over one being more or less true than another. However, whenever a group of human beings develop unique, and specific, characteristics that exclude everyone else, it is yet another human challenge to overcome. And so we struggle with laws to manage matters, although the simple act of celebrating, or honoring, difference remains rare indeed. With each new group of us, the whole of humanity is divided yet again. Diversity makes us stronger on the one hand, and more apt to suffer fear based ideas against different others. Our differences contribute to increasing conflicts everywhere on earth, directed not by humanity, but by a few dominating individual leaders who want all the toys in the sandbox to be their own. Humanity cannot speak for itself, except perhaps on the internet, and voices are being heard. Perhaps there is hope for a new direction of more peace on earth, and more respect for the different ways to be human.

I'm just thinking about how wonderful humanity is,, and how, over millennia, we have been persuaded by a small group leaders chosen to represent it, but, in the end, represent themselves. We need more ways to allow a peacefu

Raquel P.
Raquel P.4 years ago

In Europe (at least in Portugal) we learn creationism, Darwin and Lamarck.

Raquel P.
Raquel P.4 years ago

George: exactly.

George Marshall
George Marshall4 years ago

No view should be banned. Since both the creationist theory and the theory of evolution are both theories - then neither should be given special consideration over another. Teach both and let people decide for themselves.

Helle H.
Helle H.4 years ago

I wonder why there's so many who believe in religion as none of it can be proven. Darwin had at least something.

gary k.
gary k.4 years ago

creationism should be taught right along and equal to evolution,showing the good and bad of both to be discussed! who is afraid of hearing the both sides? [now i will find some who are]
i look forward to replys

Diane Stollger
Diane Stollger4 years ago

I kept having to go back to the beginning of this article, because I kept feeling I must be reading about a different time in history. But then I remembered that it should not be a shock to me that this is going on in Turkey, nor should it be a shock if it were going on in America. It is very dangerous to teach creation as the way life started in the Universe. Science has certainly not found all the answers, but in a science class or website that is what should be taught. If a persons religious beliefs has a different philosophy, they that should be taught at home or through the church teachings at church or on the church website. Censorship on the web is very disturbing and scary. Especially this kind where it seems like absolute lunacy. And it is just another reminder of what can happen if a religion is allowed to make the laws in any country. Every election cycle it seems that we move more and more to the Christian right. I wonder if even the Christians would really like the kind of world that we would eventually end up with. The forefathers had the right idea about keeping church and state separate, We need to be vigilant and make sure we don't let any religion ever dictate what we should read on the internet or anywhere else.

Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

So the Republicans have taken over in Turkey?