13 November 2008

No freedom of speech in Turkey

A Turkish court has banned internet users from viewing the official Richard Dawkins website after a Muslim creationist, Adnan Oktar (pen name: Harun Yahya)

claimed its contents were defamatory and blasphemous. Story here.

Adnan Oktar is a Muslim creationist. Creationists (also known as intelligent designers) are light-headed people who deny Darwin's view of evolution, as well as many other scientific facts, such as the age of the Universe, the fact that the Earth is round (some think the Earth is flat). Typically, creationists are Christian fundamentalists. But here we see that creationists exist amongst Muslims as well. That this event happened in Turkey is not surprising because Turkey has a long track record in banning websites, and is particularly fond of blocking YouTube for allegedly offending national sensibilities. The bans have hurt its image at a time when its restrictions on free speech are under scrutiny owing to its EU membership bid.

It is very sad that the Turkish government, under the pressure of a fundamentalist, decided to ban Dawkins' site. Free speech should mean free speech, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. Banning a source of information is not what the 21st century is supposed to be about.

Note, added on 25/11/o8:
This guy is now offering some 50,000 euros for an essay on why evolution is false:

You have about a year to right some idiocy and send it to the so called (euphemistically) Research Science Foundation, Çakırağa mah, Katip Müslihittin sok, Sağlam İşhanı No.3 D.12-13 Aksaray/İstanbul.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant