Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Turkish Sociologist Who Declared Link Between Atheism And Autism Apologizes (Sort of)

So around a week ago, I posted about Turkish sociologist Fehmi Kaya, head of the Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children who made the crackpot declaration that all autistic children are atheists and that atheism is actually a form of autism. Ironically, I was too busy today bringing my atheist son (un-indoctrinated) to an interview at a special school for autistic children to comment on the latest developments in this sad story, but here it is now.

Turkish Sociologist Fehmi Kaya Apologises For Suggesting Link Between Atheism And Autism

Right, so I think The Huffington Post left out the word NON from the front of Apologises in their headline, because if any apology exists there than it must be an absolutely perfect specimen of the genus non-apologetica. I'm sure the apology botanist readers will agree with me once forage through the article and present to you what's not merely rehash of previous reports.

Wikepedia has this to say about non-apologies:
A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations. It most commonly entails the speaker saying that he or she is sorry not for a behavior, statement or misdeed, but rather is sorry only because a person who has been aggrieved is requesting the apology, expressing a grievance, or is threatening some form of retribution or retaliation. 
An example of a non-apology apology would be saying "I'm sorry that you feel that way" to someone who has been offended by a statement. This apology does not admit that there was anything wrong with the remarks made, and additionally, it may be taken as insinuating that the person taking offense was excessively thin-skinned or irrational in taking offense at the remarks in the first place.
Now, observe exhibit #1:
The comments have caused a media storm in the country, with Turkish autism charities condemning the statement.
“This is a statement that could upset around 3.5 to 4 million people." 
Adem Kuyumcu, A Life Without Disabilities Association chairperson, told bianet: "We can't sue the association chair for his remarks, but we fear that the unscientific therapy practice could spread across the country," he said.
This demonstrates that his remarks are unfortunate in that they caused a veritable shit-storm of controversy across the country and drew some very negative international attention towards Turkey as well. This media shit-storm is key characteristic #1 in the formation of any good non-apology.

Observe exhibit #2:
Kaya, whose organisation is based in the southern Turkish city of Adana, said in a statement, intended for broadcast on Turkish television, that his remarks had been taken out of context, but apologised to families he had offended.
Notice how he isn't admitting he was wrong in any way or that he was doing anything wrong or misguided. He is only apologizes to families he had offended. This is classic non-apology makeup. I'm sorry what I said offended anyone. Now perhaps his words were taken out of context and we was misrepresented. But I see no alteration in his original course. The Huffington Post re-iterates his plans to  treat autism with a little good-ol' churchin'.
He explained plans for his organisation to hold sessions to help autistic children embrace religion, set to begin in June, according to Hürriyet.
The articles gives a couple of good follow-up comments from president of Atheist UK psychologist Mark Embleton and Carlos Diaz, president of the Atheist Alliance International. It ends to a link to a 2011 University of Boston study suggesting a higher propensity towards atheism amongst high functioning autistics. This is an intriguing study, but I have yet to hear of any other collaborating studies.


  1. Wow, screw that guy. Even a real apology I wouldn't trust, because it would clearly just be a response to the backlash he's getting, but this is just insulting.

  2. GodlessPoutine7 May 2013 at 22:13

    Yeah. He still believes what he's spouting. It's just the typical "I'm sorry if what I think offends you" crap. Turkey really does seem to be suffering from an acute case of religious mumbo jumbo interfering with their medicine. It's a shame for the children who have autism in that country. Thanks for the comment!

  3. How would this guy explain religious autistic kids?

  4. GodlessPoutine11 May 2013 at 19:56

    Excellent point. I ran into several articles and posts and even blogs by religious people with autism. Here's a 45 year old pastor that got his diagnosis late in life:

    Thanks for your comment!


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