A few facts about Adnan Oktar (alias Harun Yahya)
The comments on this article seem to have concentrated on Richard Dawkins (often slagging him off), largely to the exclusion of Adnan Oktar, who publishes under the pseudonym "Harun Yahya". (This nom-de-plume is an arabisation of "Aaron John".)
There are many items on the web by and about Oktar (or "Yahya"), including videos and transcripts of interviews, reviews, opinion pieces, etc., etc. The following facts are drawn from these and can be easily checked by anyone.
Oktar is an "old Earth" creationist. He accepts that the age of the Earth is several billion years, but completely rejects evolution. He asserts that Allah created all species in the forms in which we now observe them, and that there has been no divergence of species. (In one video interview, he claims that a fossil in his possession is of the skull of a lion, dating back to the age of the dinosaurs. This specimen has not been examined independently by a competent palaeontologist (unsurprisingly), and although it is not shown at all clearly in the video, from the glimpse that I caught of it, it looked reptilian.)
It is claimed that Oktar has written more than 250 books. A copy of his "Atlas of Creation" has been distributed free of charge and unsolicited to every school in France (and possibly to schools in other European countries and in America). This created an outcry among teachers in France, where the education system is rigorously secular. This was a free distribution of hundreds of thousands of copies (not the few hundred that an earlier post referred to). The production is lavish: hardback, large format, glossy, with colour illustrations. The cost of this operation alone must have been very considerable.
In person, he appears to be quite young (mid-40s, perhaps). He has a well-trimmed beard and moustache and black hair. His sartorial appearance indicates opulence, and he seems to spend a lot of time on yachts.
(He has fallen under a cloud regarding alleged sexual and financial improprieties, but I do not have time to check the facts right now, so will not try to expand on this.)
What follows is speculation on my part. (I wish to make this clear as an arse-covering ploy, to avoid a libel suit.)
From the sheer volume of his output, at a relatively early stage in his career, it is (to say the least) questionable that this is all Oktar's own work. A reasonable guess would be that "Harun Yahya" is a front for an Islamic creationist propaganda organisation, which outsources the writing to sympathetic universities (i.e., Islamic universities, in the main). The man Adnan Oktar is probably basically a Mr. Fixit who channels funds, rather than the eminent scientist that he claims to be.
As for the source of the funds, it is well known that Saudi Arabia (or certain organisations based there) are funding a massive Islamic (and specifically Sunni and Wahabist) propaganda exercise, including the building of mosques, running madrassas, training imams, etc., etc. A reasonable guess would be that Oktar's organisation is part of the "education" wing of this offensive.
The size of this exercise is measured in billions, rather than millions, of dollars. In this context, Oktar's free textbook scheme looks modest.
The nature of this propaganda offensive may be judged from the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary "Undercover Mosque". (When I last looked, this was still available on:
Oktar's rise from nowhere to mysterious eminence should be seen in this context. His litigious approach to justified criticism from a real scientist of genuine eminence should be seen in the context of the tactics actually employed by the Saudis: they have abused the notoriously lax libel laws in the UK to suppress publication of books critical of Islam. (See article by Nick Cohen in The Guardian a few months ago.)
I can hardly believe that so many of the commentators on this article in El Reg could have been so stupid as to attack Dawkins, who is arguably the best-qualified and highest-profile opponent of the wave of superstitious ignorance which the enemies of the open society wish to inflict on us.
[Black helicopters, since the Islamofascists are coming!]