Ken Ham’s Thoughts on Science Education

This is about a splendid essay by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. As you know, ol’ Hambo is co-founder of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.

Hambo’s essay is School Standards and Science. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links and scripture references omitted:

Well, the battle for our children continues in this country (and around the world). A few months ago, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were made available to the American public for comment and recommendations.

We’ve written about that subject before. They’re proposed by the National Research Council. The standards are intended as voluntary guidelines to be adopted by all states for use in their public schools. You can see them here: A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Back to Hambo:

A recent article in WORLD magazine explained two of the key issues with these standards. “They explicitly emphasize Darwinism and climate change.”

We at Answers in Genesis do not deny that climate change happens. However, we do debate how much of a role man has in it. …

If you care what Hambo thinks about climate change, you can read that for yourself. We’re going to skip that and focus on what he says about evolution:

The new science standards would have much of the education on these topics begin in kindergarten!

Why not? Hambo often advocates teaching kids about Noah’s Ark and such when they’re young, and he insists that’s not child abuse. So what’s wrong with teaching them genuine science when they’re young? He continues:

Students in schools that have adopted the NGSS are “supposed to learn … about ‘evidence’ supporting the Big Bang.” The article goes on to say that high school students will be taught that common ancestry and the evolution of organisms from one kind to another are well supported by evidence.

Sounds good to us. We’re certain you noticed Hambo’s scare-quotes around the word “evidence.” Very cute. Here’s more:

You know, what these standards are doing is removing any opportunity for your children to think critically about evolutionary ideas and other controversial topics in science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Moving along:

We are seeing increasing efforts evolution and millions of years as fact to teach generations of children. [That was a garbled sentence, but we'll leave it as we found it.]. As the biblical creation ministry has increased in influence, we see an increasing effort by the secularists to impose their anti-God religion on the culture. We are truly in a spiritual war. The evil one (the Devil) is very active on planet earth. Don’t let him deceive you and your children.

Oooooooh! Spiritual war! It’s the Devil’s work! Don’t let that mean ol’ Devil near your children! You’ll be glad to know that we’re getting near the end of his essay:

As I’ve said many times before, the culture is at war regarding the hearts and minds of this generation. I encourage you to read [plug for Hambo's book].

The last paragraph has some scripture, and then this:

It is the responsibility of parents to show their children how to think critically — we can’t depend on the school system. Parents, I urge you to teach your children how to think about the claims of evolution, so that they will be prepared for the challenges they will undoubtedly face in their educations.

That’s it, dear reader. Now you know all you need to know about Hambo’s approach to science education.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Ken Ham’s Thoughts on Science Education

  1. I looked at the K-12 recommendations for evolution, and they only are expected to know explicitly about evolution by the end of grade 8 (even if they learn about fossils earlier on). Not exactly starting in Kindergarten as Ken Ham put it.

  2. Perhaps what should be taught in parochial schools and Ham’s museum is critical thinking about the lack of any factual basis to the Bible and the multitude of contradictions therein, starting with the incestuous relations of Adam and Eve’s children.

  3. doodlebugger

    Hambo’s climate change = plagues of locusts, sandstorms, worldwide floods, biblical droughts on a miracgulous scale, manna from heaven, deluges,day into night events and bushes that burst into flames….yippee
    Ice budgets, glaciation deposits in the earths crust, sea level rises and falls, ancient sabhkas, the impact of continental drift on climate through geologic history, oceanic temperatures caused by precession and obliquity in the earth’s orbit, prevailing winds and their effects on monsoon and arid belt migration with time,,,,no worries,,,, they don’t happen. Let alone periods of massive vulcanism effecting global climate on a geologic time scale. No way, the evidence be damned………….
    Hambo doesn’t watch TV weather either.. its too,,,,, uh,,,,,,,,,,, reasonable….
    He just disembowels a chicken and divines next week’s weather from the entrails. Grashhoppers equals dry, beetles and cracked corn equals rain.
    Life is simple,,,,,,,,,,,, when you’re simple. Or when your brain is made out of cement. .
    But the humor Hambo provides people who aren’t brain dead, whoo hoo..
    Keep it coming Hambo ! Call Pat Robertson he wants to have lunch sometime.

  4. Hey, speaking of Hambo — guess where we spotted a Creation Museum billboard this morning? Just north of Jacksonville, Florida! It even gives the distance right there on the sign — 777 miles. By far the farthest one I’ve spotted yet. Looks like Ken Ham is really reaching out for suckers.

    It was one of the dinosaur series. This one had T. Rex. It may have been chasing Eve; couldn’t tell for sure.

  5. How long until Hambo targets Taxonomy? After all it was Adam’s job to name everything. I can see the far right screaming “No Increases In Taxonomy Ever!” come next election.

  6. Christine Janis

    Yup — taxonomy, the world’s oldest profession

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    Hambo warns: “The evil one (the Devil) is very active on planet earth.” And ol’ Scratch Hambo should know plenty about that.

    So when creationism is introduced to a science class, the students should proclaim, in unison, (after sufficient time for critical thinking, of course): “Satan, I rebuke thee!”

  8. Christine Janis says: “taxonomy, the world’s oldest profession”

    A very inside joke.

  9. All other professions must move up one notch.

  10. Some cheering news for the likes of Ole Hambo and Senator Kruse: Downward mobility haunts US education

    Today’s young Americans have a below-average chance of becoming a graduate, compared with other industrialised economies.

    The US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a speech a few weeks ago, asked how the US had in “the space of a generation” tumbled from first place to 14th in graduation rates.

    Cannot comment on details of article, though suspect much of it is nonsense. But I little doubt that a decline in levels of education, if real, would bring great comfort and cheer to the Creationists…

  11. Ceteris Paribus

    Megalonyx says: “But I little doubt that a decline in levels of education, if real, would bring great comfort and cheer to the Creationists”

    Thanks for the link to the BBC article. But the decline in US education is very much in keeping with the objectives of Creationists who believe that the only legitimate career place of women is in the home, changing nappies on their latest offspring, and home-schooling the older “blessings”.

    What the BBC article omitted was any mention of the gender shift in US college enrollment that took place in the last couple of decades. Currently US college enrollment is split approximately 60% female vs 40% male, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. There is also a racial divergence, with with about twice as many black female college students as male.

    It is merely an observation, but among college faculty acquaintances, it is a commonality that many more of their female students have realistic expectations of using their college years for career improvement than do the male students.

    Unfortunately many males now enroll in college with a view to using it as their entry to professional athletics, a career path which is all but nonexistent for females. After a year or two of sitting on the bench or feeling ignored by the pro scouts, many of the males athletes drop out of the college system.

    Athletics and academics are not a good mix. It has been pointed out that Spain has produced many of the greatest soccer players and teams ever seen, but the fewest Nobel Prize winners of any European nation.

  12. Megalonyx says:

    The US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a speech a few weeks ago, asked how the US had in “the space of a generation” tumbled from first place to 14th in graduation rates.

    Alas, that decline coincides with rise of several social and political trends which I won’t name, because coincidence isn’t necessarily causality. The decline also coincides with the rise of the “modern” creationist movement.

  13. @Ceteris Paribus:

    I don’t think it’s really the majority of male college students who go to college expecting to become professional athletes. While certainly many may have such aspirations, I doubt it’s the majority. I do agree with you that there is a bit of an over emphasis on athletics in college and in many cases the money invested in the athletic departments would be better spent on academics. I don’t recall the numbers or where I read it, but I recall an article in the news a few years ago that showed that very few colleges make money from their athletic programs.

    My observation as a pediatrician is that many families these days are composed of parents more interested in their careers than in the success of their children. There is an attitude that if the child is having a problem at school, whether behavioral or academic, that it must be the school’s fault. When I was in school if I got in trouble at school, you can bet I would be in trouble at home, and the same was true for my friends. Today I see a lot of families across the socio-economic spectrum, who act like their little angel could never have done anything wrong. Combine that with drug, and gang soaked schools in the cities, I’m not surprised our rankings are dropping.

    Then enter the modern creationist movement and the funneling of public funds away from the public schools into private, religious schools.

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    @TJW:

    You are correct that athletes may not be a majority of the student body. At least to the extent that at Division I and Division II schools, athletes are basically unpaid professionals with little direct impact on other students or the curriculum. It isn’t difficult to open class sections that cater to the need to keep athletes academically eligible.

    Still, in the larger student body of non-athletes you would probably find that student clubs even honors students will need to sell candy bars and wash cars to raise the funds to rent a bus to visit a museum or art gallery. And the bus they rent will not be the $400 thousand custom cruiser that even high school athletes now travel in. So at minimum there is a cultural impact, not lost on the students, of observing what personal attributes their institution really values.

    It is in the smaller Division 3 schools that the problem of mixing athletes with academics really shows up. Take a small liberal arts college, say 1000 students. Somewhere on the order of 450 students will be male, and 100 will be on the football team alone. Add in soccer, basketball, volley ball, golf, tennis, cross country, and whatever, and pretty quickly you can get to a majority of the student body.

    So pretty much on any given day in any given classroom, there is a high probability that several students will either be missing because of sports travel, or will show up in class having spent the previous evening with the coach rather than studying or doing homework.

    As a result, it is impossible for the instructors and professors to maintain an academically rigorous pace that can cover the necessary material before the end of the semester, and the academic mission of the college suffers.

  15. Ahh.. found it… The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in June 2011 that only 22 of 120 colleges participating in NCAA football made a profit. Median losses at the other schools were $11.6 million. it could be argued that the income the schools get from alumni donations is harder to quantify, but 11 million in losses is hard to make up.

  16. @Ceteris Paribus:

    Didn’t want to give the impression I was ignoring your response. I actually posted my second comment from a computer I hadn’t updated the view on, so I still thought I was just making an addendum to what I said.

    I agree with you the impression colleges/universities give is all wrong. I still feel we have many many other areas of concern and it starts very young with parental attitudes toward education. I was just talking to my wife about athletics in our local school district (which is thankfully pretty well off), which has olympic sized swimming pools at the middle and high school level. The district is asking for a tax increase and if it fails one of my wife’s friends will likely get laid off of her job as a school counsellor.

    I generally feel that tax increases for education are a good thing (or at least better than many of the things we increase taxes to pay for). This time around, though I have to ask, why are the tax payers paying for swimming pools in the school? We’re already paying for the athletic fields, the football equipment, the buses (as you mention) to bring the football team to away games. Her response was that not everyone is interested in spending lots of money on science classes. So, I asked, which activity is likely to provide a long term stable tax base, STEM education or the local football and swim teams?

    I agree with you, we seriously need to de-emphasize the athletics as a part of school. Not get rid of them; not encourage sedentary lifestyles; but keep school for academics.