Creepy creationist Adnan Oktar and his Stepford “kittens”

Adnan Oktar is the real name of the pseudonymous creationist Harun Yahya, who published the widely distributed and lavishly embellished Atlas of Creation (if you’re a biologist, you’ve gotten one). Here’s my copy, which, though gathering dust atop my cabinet, has defied being discarded:

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Okatar’s schtick about evolution, which is the subject of the two volumes of this lavish book (and makes a brief appearance at 6:50 and then again at 8:25 in the video below), is that because we can find old fossil species similar to living ones, evolution couldn’t have occurred. (One of his “living species” in the book, which he didn’t realize, is actually an insect fly tied by a fisherman!). I won’t go after that canard now, for we have kittens to watch.

Oktar has been accused of Holocaust denialism, of being funded by powerful and unsavory anonymous individuals in Turkey (it must have cost at least $100 to produce the Atlas, and thousands of copies were sent out gratis), and is a troublemaker in other ways. As Wikipedia notes:

In more recent years, Adnan Oktar has been known for his televangelism on his TV channel, A9 TV, noted especially for featuring ‘kittens’, his female devotees. His organization is commonly referred to as a cult, and he has been described as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey.” Oktar filed more than 5 thousand lawsuit against individuals for defamation in the last decade, and led to blocking of a number of prominent websites in Turkey [JAC: those websites included, for a while, The Richard Dawkins Foundation site].

What about those “kittens”? Reader Ken called my attention to this video on the Broadly channel, a section of Vice devoted to women’s interests. But this is of interest to both genders, for it not only shows how creepy Oktar is, but how he’s assembled a bizarre cult around him. The reporting is by Meher Ahmad of Broadly, who wasn’t allowed to do her own filming during her encounter with Adnan and the Kittens (that’s a great name for a rock group).

Get a load of the oliaginous Oktar and his coterie of bleached-blond, lip-plumped acolytes, who, he says, need to be relieved of the strictures of Islam. I’m not sure, though, that this is palpably superior to women in burkas:

Note that the parting gift to Ahmad is the Atlas of Creation. In the end, I don’t think there’s any great lesson about evolution or religion here except that Oktar is not only deluded but perverted.

34 Comments

  1. Randy Schenck
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    That is creepy. I have only limited experience in Turkey and it was many years ago. Those girls are similar to the girls you might see in certain bars – all made up and blonde, which was very odd. They were not prostitutes but were working in these places to attract U.S. or foreign military in to buy drinks. Again, very creepy places.

  2. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    This was really interesting.

    The vocal fry of the Broadly journalist irritated me intensely, which meant I didn’t take her as seriously as she probably deserves.

    From the point of view of a NZ women, this is all very weird and bizarre. But as far as these kittens go, I can sort of understand the attraction from their perspective. If they came from a life where they were treated as second-class citizens, where their very womanhood was treated as a threat, this probably all seems very liberating.

    And they seem to believe the lies they have been told about Darwin etc. They’ve swapped one set of beliefs for another that suits them better. To them, it’s maybe just changing sect within Islam. I’d like to know more about the background of the women before I condemn them.

    As for Harun Yahya or whatever his name is, he’s an egomaniacal, psychotic, control-freak imo.

    • Frank
      Posted November 30, 2015 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, the combination of vocal fry and upspeak really grated with me. I couldn’t watch the whole piece.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I am nominally a biologist, but I never received my free copy nor will I ever buy one. There are too many good books out there and my shelf space is limited.

  4. rickflick
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    He reminds me of a polite Donald Trump.

  5. Brujo Feo
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been following Oktar for many years; it’s like watching a train wreck–you just can’t take your eyes off the macabre, ghastly mess.

    What first fascinated me was that he used to have on his website at http://harunyahya.com an endless series of statements like “Harun Yahya has utterly destroyed the arguments of all of the evolutionists. None dare stand against him!” Page after page of outlandish claims, with not a scintilla of evidence.

    Unfortunately, those seem to be gone now. (Note that the link at “It is Mr. Oktar who ideologically [what…not scientifically?] defeated Darwinism” is now dead.) It appears that he has been trying to improve his marketing by a more polished presentation, with less of the histrionics. Too bad–he’s taken all of the fun out of it.

  6. Posted November 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Kittens?
    I thought they are called “Harun’s Houris”.

  7. W.Benson
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Crap, crappier, Adnan Oktar!

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Just peering at the other books in the picture (having nothing else to do right now), I believe I see: The introductory biology text by Russell (I don’t know the title, but I recognize the binding), what is possibly the Speciation book by yourself and Orr; & what could be Endless Forms Most Beautiful by S. Carroll (not the astronomer).

  9. Jeffery
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    It was pretty obvious that Ahmad was, “flanked” by two of Otkar’s, “prized students”- I wish she had asked him if he preferred blondes and giant lips, or whether this was supposedly an, “individual” choice by the women; looks like a Turkish version of the Playboy mansion.
    It’s definitely a cult, of course; perhaps one day we’ll learn more about its inner goings-on that, as they always do in cults, include sexual and physical abuse, shunning or other punishments of the, “apostates”, etc.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 30, 2015 at 1:26 am | Permalink

      “…looks like a Turkish version of the Playboy mansion.”

      Exactly what I was thinking. Wonder what happens to these kittens when they age out?

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted November 30, 2015 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        Hefner is pretty creepy but this guy out-creeps him by a wide margin!

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow, creepy. Do they feature a theme song by Robert Palmer?

  11. Posted November 29, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else reminded of the Surgeon General’s army of buxom blonde clones in Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons’s Give Me Liberty?

  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not sure, though, that this is palpably superior to women in burkas:”

    I am!

    (They’re not quite to my taste – too tarted up – but as between them and a bunch of women imprisoned in black sacks, there is no contest).

    cr

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted November 30, 2015 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      You mean from the point of view of how much you like to look at them or rather from the point of view of the women themselves and their quality of life? Pretty difficult to judge the latter, I think, on the basis of what we were shown, but I can’t help feeling that if these ‘kittens’ step out of line things might get uglier and the smiles may disappear.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        And now you’re speculating wildly about ‘what if’s’.

        At least they’re not afraid to show their faces. Whereas women in burqas…

        For the record I don’t like the over-made-up baby-doll look at all. Still better than black sacks.

        cr

  13. Posted November 30, 2015 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Coming from me who refuses to wear makeup (even nail polish) and never wears a bra nor high heels, these women look especially sick. In 2000, I was in a small village in Paris and talking to a local. This was during a time when I still tried to manufacture my appearance. I’d removed a set of acrylic nails before the trip, revealing my scarred and fragile real nails. One of the villagers looked at my hands and said they were more beautiful then anything plastic, even frayed. This has stayed with me. I wish these women could be themselves, sans bleach, freakish clothes, and lip injections. I wish they could be given an experience outside any culture they’ve known — one where they are loved for who they are and given the chance to stop having their appearances be what matters.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 30, 2015 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      “…sans bleach, freakish clothes, and lip injections.”

      Not to mention boob jobs.

      • Posted November 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Ya, about the boob jobs…

        Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be massive. What I’m not clear on is whether there is an in-built preference for larger breasts and whether having them would improve the quality of my life or my success in finding a partner. Facial symmetry seems to be a real preference. We can’t cosmetically make ourselves much more symmetric nearly as easily as adding material to breasts. What stops the spiraling about all this for me is being healthy and enjoying my body. But then, I’m single and don’t bother with any of the conventional dating venues like Tinder. I’ve heard that if I tried to put myself on Tinder, my chances of someone responding would greatly improve if I wore heels and a bikini and laid on a surf board, kitten-ized.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 30, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          Well above all, don’t get asymmetrical boobs! 😀

          Back when I was around the largest concentration of eligible males (in academia mostly), I had no trouble finding some who at least didn’t overtly seem to require a pin-up girl (not that I’m not one, of course!); I’m glad I predated not only the internet scene but also the huge decrease in the ratio of men to women lately. (Though not so much in STEM fields, sadly.)

          • Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            :–)

            “I had no trouble finding some who at least didn’t overtly seem to require a pin-up girl…”

            Two of the eligible males at my work recently revealed they’d rated my looks relative to the other women in our building. Apparently, I have the best facial features. Not sure if I should be flattered or peeved. While I’m glad they feel comfortable with me, if they had been trying to flirt, it was a miserable failure. Strike out. So I won’t be running out to inject my chest with chemicals anytime soon, not even to make their best body list.

            • rickflick
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

              It might be fun for you to rate them right back. I understand men sometimes become surgically enhanced as well. You’ll definitely want to know everything visible is real.

              • Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

                Hee hee :–)

                But if I were to try to rank the men around me by some measure of my idiosyncratic preferences, my perception of their verbal and social intelligence would weigh much more heavily than physical traits. In fact, smart kindness is about the sexiest thing there is, and it animates a person’s physical features with allure. This really can’t be ranked or faked or enhanced, except maybe by learning, consistency, and others also noticing.

                I’m guessing that I’ve just stumbled myself into an evolutionary difference between men and women and how we choose mates. Or I may just be an outlier. If push came to shove, I could tell one of the men at work that he has the best arm hair in the building.

              • Diane G.
                Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

                Good answer, Charleen.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

                @charleen at 6.21p.m. (G*d knows where in the thread the increasingly erratic WP will put this)

                Agree with your first paragraph there.

                Which means your second para is incorrect, or at least partly so.

                Choosing mates depends on a large variety of factors, only some of which are appearances.

                cr

              • rickflick
                Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

                “an evolutionary difference between men and women”
                Coincidentally, I saw a study in the news just yesterday using MRIs about male and female brains being so overlapping the researchers decided there were no major differences to divide the population. Who knew?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

              Well, if you’re potentially interested in male company, it would be a worry if they didn’t bother. 😉

              I do miss the days when one could compliment a woman without it being taken the wrong way.

              That said, attractiveness is not just about looks. Personality comes into it too.

              I have heard it said that the most gorgeous-looking girls (that doesn’t include Adnan’s blondes btw) are often lonely because genuine guys feel too inhibited to relax in their company so the only ones they attract are macho egomaniacs out to score. There may be some truth in this.

              cr

              p.s. Be flattered. It feels better than being peeved.

            • Diane G.
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

              Charleen, that’s so depressing.

              infinite, you’re not helping.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 30, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Not to mention the very idea of serving as props for some man’s ego.

  14. Mike
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    He’s Turkeys answer to Joseph Smith, its all about the Sex.

  15. ivarhusa
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    One does not see “oleaginous” in print very often. I am reminded of this verse by my favorite poet, Ogden Nash:

    There once was a man from Calcutta
    Who coated his tonsils with butta.
    Thus converting his snore
    From a thunderous roar.
    To a soft, oleaginous mutta.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Ha!

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Love it!


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