During my meanderings in the D/s, cyberpunk, sci-fi and related themes, i came across a mention of a region named [pteron], touted in some profiles as “the most beautiful place in SL”. I have, in fact, visited [pteron] quite a few times. It is, indeed, a very interesting build, based mostly on traditional prims, with sculpts being used in some areas where ordinary prims can’t help; its architecture mixes sci-fi elements and influences from various illustrations of lost, mythical cities in the skies or lost beneath the sea with Turkish architecture, especially mosque design. It has been covered before in various Second Life-related blogs, with high praises for the design and execution of the build; there are also quite a few videos about it on Youtube and Vimeo.
But is that all there is to it? Is [pteron] just a beautiful build? Or is there something beneath the surface? Actually, there is. Usually, upon visiting this place, you will encounter (standing on a platform on the west side of the region) an avatar going by the display name of “CORE ALCHEMIST“; his username is the almost unpronounceable “isimsizkimse”. If you stay around to listen to him, he will start talking about how everything is virtual etc. He will also ask – politely, I must say – that you add him as a friend and, afterwards, he will often try to initiate communication with you at any given chance. Basically, everytime he sees you online.
So, who is this “CORE ALCHEMIST” guy? What’s his business? From what I could tell, he is part of a group of [pteron] fans, at the very least – most likely, he’s part of the group that runs [pteron]. On his profile, there are two links to Youtube videos – same content, but in different languages. None of these videos is his “bio”. Both videos are promotional videos of the Islamic Creationist teachings of Harun Yahya. OK. So, who is this Harun Yahya guy? “Harun Yahya” is the pen name of a prominent Turkish anti-evolution advocate named Adnan Oktar. This Adnan Oktar has been practically spamming (with moderate intensity) the Western world with videos and texts about how “science proves that the world was created by Allah”, “there is no such thing as evolution” and other pseudo-scientific stuff to promote his own backwards religious views. To put it bluntly, Oktar and his fanboys are not unlike the various cultists that pop up here and there, annoying people with their incessant babble about the supposed superiority of their beliefs over other beliefs or, much worse, over proven scientific facts. And what makes it all the more annoying is that these guys claim “science proves” their fairy tales’ “truth”.
The second link in “CORE ALCHEMIST”‘s profile is the English version of the first one. I am going to quote part of its transcript for your convenience, so that you’ll see what bullshit is propagandized with [pteron] as its facade. Ready?
These physical facts make us come to an indisputable conclusion. Everything we see, touch, hear, and perceive as “matter”, “the world” or “the universe” is only electrical signals in our brain.
For instance, we see a bird in the external world. In real, this bird is not in the external world, but in our brain. The light particles reflecting from the bird reach our eye and there they are converted into electrical signals. These signals are transmitted by neurons to the centre of vision in the brain. The bird we see is in fact the electric signals in our brain. If the sight nerves travelling to the brain were disconnected, the image of the bird would suddenly disappear.
So, according to Adnan Oktar, if the optic nerves connecting our eyes to our brain are severed, the world outside us does not exist – this becomes even more obvious in later examples mentioned in this video. Using a wide array of logical fallacies and false claims about how “science has proven his claims as true” (without, of course, any reference to scientific sources), Oktar makes another logical leap: he claims that all of his claims prove that the world has to have been created by a superior being, and that being is Allah.
Now, in the light of all this, one would normally think Oktar is just another religious nutjob, not unlike the Christian fundamentalist Seymour from Tatsuya Ishida’s webcomic Sinfest. Yes, that would be most convenient for all of us, but we’re not that lucky. You see, Adnan Oktar, who is quite powerful and well-connected in his homeland, spreads various conspiracy theories in the manner of his counterparts Glenn Beck (in the USA) and Dimosthenis Liakopoulos (in Greece), sprinkled (of course) with a hefty dose of nationalism and, of course, paranoia. In his 1986 book “Yahudilik ve Masonluk (Judaism and Freemasonry)”, he asserts that “the materialist standpoint, evolution theory, anti-religious and immoral lifestyles were indoctrinated to the society as a whole” by Jews and Freemasons – the oh-so-convenient culprits of all that is evil in the world (Source: Life Story of Adnan Oktar, text taken from a pro-Oktar website that is now archived – please note how Oktar is presented as a victim of conspiracies and plots against him). Quite a nutjob, and an influential one, at that.
Furthermore, he is an advocate of web censorship. He has threatened and bullied university professors who dared teach evolution in Turkish universities (such respect for academic freedom!) and, in 2007, he managed to block the entire WordPress.com domain (and, of course, all the blogs hosted on this platform) in Turkey – and this was not the only stunt he pulled, making full use of his vast financial power and his connections with the overly religious Erdogan government.
To Oktar, the cost of supporting a full-prim region in Second Life and paying a few builders to make a build that will help him get his message across is rather trivial compared to the cost of his lawsuits against free speech and science. But it is sad that this extremely dark flip side of the coin named [pteron] has been lost to so many SL bloggers, and it is also extremely ironic that Adnan Oktar, a vehement and sworn enemy of Freedom of Speech and Expression and a complete religious nut, exploits the commendably laissez-faire attitude of SL towards content to preach his paranoia and his backwards theories that are also accompanied by a desire to censor and stifle anything and anyone that doesn’t agree with him.
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