Meet Dr. Irfan Yilmaz, professor of Biology at Dokuz Eylul University, who attempts to combine his scientific studies with religious scholarship. Part 1/2.
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The Diversity of the Universe Part 1/2 Laura Wells: Hello and welcome to Matter & Beyond. I’m your host Laura Wells. On today’s show, we will follow the journey of one man as he strives to combine his scientific studies with his religious scholarship. To share with you his rich appreciation of the natural world and its all inspiring beauty. Dr. Irfan Yilmaz was born in 1953 in Izmir Turkey. Growing up in the lush suburb of Kasiaka, he was never far away from the splendors of nature. Finding great joy in his surroundings, he began to seek out a greater understanding of the natural worldwide just a young child. He wanted to know how and why all the many creatures around him had come about. Now, a professor of biology at Izmir’s Dokuz Eylul University, Dr. Yilmaz continues to look for answers to the questions he first again to ponder in his youth. Male: Children seemed born with an insatiable hunger to know and to understand. Young minds are often fueled by a need to explore, experiment, and discover that sometimes fades later in life. A natural sense of curiosity about the world first nurtured in childhood is what drives many in their scientific quests. Dr. Yilmaz: When I was little, I was curious about nature. I remember that when I was in elementary school, I used to catch animals and study them. I used to catch tadpoles and study them to see what their eyes and tails were like. I also had a metaphysical concern. When I was five, I would watch the rain and ask my grandmother, “How does it rain?” But I could never get an answer that satisfied me. Male: The first years of college were hard times for Irfan Yilmaz. Initially, an applicant to a Gian Universities, Department of Zoology, he changes his mind and decide instead to study botany. But there is more troubling young Irfan Yilmaz than typical undergraduate acts. Dr. Yilmaz During my first few years of college, I fell into a deep depression. My childhood beliefs were shaken since my studies looked at nature only from a positivistic materialistic prospective. We were taught that everything created itself either by chance or by some natural process, as if nature was the ruler of everything. Male: Biology is a science tied directly to the poles of life. One of its discoveries has been the role life plays in giving an organism shape. In the absence of life, an organism appears featureless. But when life is present, remarkable order and form bursts into view with all the proportion, function, and measurement of a finely working system. Biology then is perhaps more open to metaphysical interpretation than physics and chemistry on their role. Dr. Yilmaz: In Bornova, I had a chance to meet—and listen to one of his sermons. My world changed in a flush. His prospective on nature was very different. He opened a new window in my mind. Later on, I also read about an intention, prospective, and the distinction between contextual meaning and literal meaning, which gave me a whole new way of looking at things. It was as if a curtain was lifted from my eyes. If I had not seen or met him during that suffocating period, my life would have ended up on a very different track. Male: Nearly two million kinds of animals have been named so far. The least grows day-by-day. Some researchers suggest that our world may hold as many as 10 million different kinds of animals. Dr. Yilmaz: Nature is truly a work of art. But behind such work of art must be an artist, just as a needle must have a manufacture. The universe is like a wonderful book, on each page, creatures cry out from their creator. But this is a matter of time. It doesn’t happen in an instant. For most people to reach out for this reality requires time and guidance. Just to get to that point of view requires a spiritual process of transformation. Male: Many animals are equipped with senses so powerful, they continue to amaze scientists. Eagles for instance have the sharpest eyesight in the animal kingdom as much as six times sharper than the h