Taner Edis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Taner Edis
Taner Edis at TAM13 7-17-15.JPG
At The Amaz!ng Meeting - July 2015
Born (1967-08-20) August 20, 1967 (age 51)
Alma mater
Known forAuthor
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics, Condensed matter physics

Taner Edis (born August 20, 1967) is a Turkish American physicist and skeptic. He is a professor of physics at Truman State University. He received his B.S. from Bogaziçi University in Turkey and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.[1] Edis is the author of several books on creationism, religion and science. He is a Scientific and Technical Consultant for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey to Turkish and American parents, he traveled to America many times in his childhood.[2]


Fascinated by the plethora of supernatural and fringe science beliefs around him, and concerned about the rise of Islamist politics back in Turkey, Edis first got involved with skeptical inquiry into religious and paranormal claims during his graduate studies. "Science is difficult," states Edis to Point of Inquiry interviewer D.J. Grothe in answer to a question about why science has not replaced religion. Edis explains to his students that they will have difficulty understanding this "because the human brain is not wired to understand something like quantum mechanics correctly, its a struggle."[3] In an interview with Susan Gerbic at CSICon, Edis characterized his more recent writings on the subjects of science and skepticism by saying that "it might [even] be rational to believe in certain falsehoods. The argument turns on the costs of acquiring and possessing beliefs; sometimes truth is just too costly."[4]

Edis has given several lectures about Islamic creationism, one of his premises is that creationism in the United States is quite mild compared to Islamic countries. In Turkey for example, despite being known as a secular country, it has high levels of belief in a young Earth. This is because the textbooks and curriculum in the schools do not offer both evolution and creationism, but only creationism. Teaching evolution is not part of the syllabus as all.[5][6][4] Grothe asked Taner in 2007 if he thought that Islam could be compatible with western science, his answer was that it just depends on the type of Islamism, like Christianity there are liberal and conservative Muslims, the more liberal the views the more compatible they are to science.[2]

Concerning crop circles Edis wrote that we know how these are created, we know the techniques. "So we do not need to find the perpetrator of every crop circle to figure out that probably they all are human made. Many true believers remain who continue to think there is something paranormal — perhaps alien — about crop circles. But the circles we know all fall within the range of the sort of thing done in hoaxes. Nothing stands out as extraordinary."[7]


Edis was an editor of the book Why Intelligent Design Fails, which has received positive reviews.[8][9][10] His book The Ghost in the Universe received the Morris D. Forkosch Book Award for "Best Humanist Book of 2002"[11]


  • Edis, T. (2016). Islam Evolving: Radicalism, Reformation, and the Uneasy Relationship with the Secular West. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-63388-189-1. OCLC 940455332.
  • Edis, T. (2007). An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781591024491. OCLC 71948044.
  • Edis, T. (2006). Science and Nonbelief. Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313330780. OCLC 61131830.
  • Young, Matt; Edis, Taner, eds. (2004). Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-3433-X. LCCN 2003020100. OCLC 59717533.
  • Edis, T. (2002). The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781573929776. OCLC 694847577.

Personal life[edit]

According to his university website, Edis states he "regularly wander(s) off into strange territories where science and weirdness intersect, and, along with my wife, serve as a slave to three cats."[12]


  1. ^ "Curriculum Vitae: Taner Edis". Truman State University. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Grothe, D.J. "Taner Edis - Science and Religion in Islam". Point of Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b Grothe, D.J. "Taner Edis - Science and Nonbelief". Point of Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b Gerbic, Susan. "The Age of Misinformation is More Global Than We Might Think". Skeptical Inquiry. Committee For Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Ehab Abouheif & Taner Edis on Evolution and Islam". TV Islam Science. Hampshire College. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. ^ Edis, Taner. "Taner Edis Reasonfest 2013". Reason Fest 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  7. ^ Edis, Taner (2008). Science and Nonbelief. Prometheus Books. p. 138. ISBN 1-59102-561-3.
  8. ^ Menuge, Angus J. L. (2008). Reviewed Work: Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism by Matt Young, Taner Edis. Politics and the Life Sciences. Vol. 27, No. 2 pp. 52-54.
  9. ^ Sepkoski, David. (2006). Worldviews in Collision: Recent Literature on the Creation-Evolution Divide. Journal of the History of Biology. Vol. 39, No. 3. pp. 607-635.
  10. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo. (2005). More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Intelligent Design. Evolution . Vol. 59, No. 12. pp. 2717-2720.
  11. ^ "Forkosch Awards". Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "Taner Edis". Truman State University. Retrieved 23 April 2016.

External links[edit]