The Turkish Education Ministry has decided to remove evolution from biology textbooks and the curriculum of 9th graders. This backwards move has been received very poorly by many, and it is an example of a world that seems increasingly hostile to science and facts.
If You Disagree With a Fact, Discredit It as Opinion
The Head of the Ministry’s curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmuş, announced last Wednesday that Evolution will be removed from the biology books of 14 and 15 year old student in Turkey. He claimed that these students were too young to understand “controversial topics.”
Labeling the foundation for the development of more complex life on Earth over time as a “controversial topic” is an example of science deniers’ latest strategy to ignore facts and spread ignorance. Claiming that it is controversial makes facts vulnerable to opinion. We see this same move with climate skeptics, who can overlook overwhelming factual evidence disproving their opinion. They then have the gall to say that facts are subjective and are even given podiums to speak from to infect otherwise sane minds.
I want to be perfectly clear, facts are not subjective or relative to anyone’s opinions. This is why I, and many others, are outraged by the Turkish government’s decision to pull one of the most enlightening theories -Evolution- from biology books. To call it “controversial” is just salt in the wound, but also fuel to the fire.
This comes as Turkey is working on embedding more religious rhetoric and policy in their government. Most classes will see an overhaul to reflect more religious undertones. The President of Turkey is also consolidating much of his power. Both of these things are out of the norm for Turkey, which has been a historically secular and modern state.
Denial of facts and science are the quickest way send a nation back in time, for the worst. However, many are not taking this without a fight. They are just as upset with this as I am, and have even more reason to be since it is their nation. Many of the points I have already made are echoed in the comments sections of news reports and on the forums of popular websites.
While the deed appears to already have been done, it is important that critics of this move remain vocal and outspoken. Democracy, science, and knowledge only die when we allow them to do so. It is the duty of every human to resist when governments, businesses, and anyone else tells you that facts are opinions or that science is controversial.
I am pleased to see so many standing up against this and making their voices heard. Science and facts will always be more important to humanity as a whole than the opinions of misinformed and powerful people. Never let anyone make you question scientific Truth. There are many things that are relative and culturally constructed, but the only place where Truth -with a capital “T”- lives is in sciences and math. Known Truth should never be considered an opinion and learning it should never be seen as “controversial.”