Washington Babylon — December 6, 2007, 10:35 am

New Theory Uncovered in Commerce Secretary Gutierrez’s waiting room: Darwin, not Saddam, behind 9/11

I’m not sure if Secretary of the Commerce Carlos Gutierrez is cheap or cuckoo, but it comes as something of a shock to learn that the controversial book The Atlas of Creation is prominently displayed in the waiting room to his office. Written by the Turkish writer Adnan Oktar (under the pen name of Harun Yahya), the Atlas offers an Islamic version of creationism and blames Charles Darwin for modern terrorism–including the 9/11 attacks. A recent visitor to the office tells me that the Atlas is impossible to miss, both because of its huge size–it weighs in at 12 pounds and has nearly 800 pages–and because it is prominently displayed on a stand at the entrance to the room.

The Atlas of Creation can be bought for $99 (plus shipping and handing) through a link from Harun Yahya’s website. A summary says:

This book provides the reader with not only such information as what fossils are and where and how they are found, but also a closer examination of a variety of fossil specimens, millions of years old, that are still able to declare, “We never underwent evolution; we were created.” The fossils discussed and illustrated in this book are just a few examples of the hundreds of millions of specimens that prove the fact of Creation. And even these few are enough to prove that the theory of evolution is a major hoax and deception in the history of science.

Earlier this year, the Atlas created a controversy in France, where creationist belief is relatively rare, when hundreds of unsolicited copies turned up at high schools and universities. This summer, hundreds (and possibly thousands) of copies were mailed to university biology departments, science museums and government offices in the United States. No one ever determined who paid for the mailings, but the cost was clearly extensive. A July 26, 2007 story on University Wire said recipients marveled at the color illustrations, but said the contents “set scientists sputtering with indignation.”

A caption from the book, below a photograph of one of the planes striking the World Trade Center, reports: “No matter what ideology they may espouse, those who perpetrate terror over the world are, in reality, Darwinists. Darwinism is the only philosophy that places a value on–and thus encourages–conflict.”

Darwinism is also to blame for fascism and communism. As the Atlas explains, it “is the root of various ideologies of violence that have spelled disaster to mankind in the 20th century.

The New York Times reported over the summer that scientists in France had banded together to denounce the book:

So far, no similar response is emerging in the United States. ”In our country we are used to nonsense like this,” said Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who, like colleagues there, found a copy in his mailbox. He said people who had received copies were ”just astounded at its size and production values and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is.

I called Secretary Gutierrez’s press office to ask if the copy on display in his waiting room had been bought, or mailed unsolicited to his office. (If I hear back, I’ll update this story). But either way, it seems like a bizarre choice of literature to offer to people waiting to meet the secretary.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
What the Camera Saw·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“They shot him behind the left ear, and he fell.”
Post
The Glitch in the Video-Game Graveyard·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Rolls of toilet paper Chicago’s city government has produced this year from recycled City Hall wastepaper:

19,000

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today