Answers in Genesis: Is Science Secular?

Look what appears today at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the online creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). This is their new article: Is Science Secular?

That’s a peculiar question. We might also ask: Is chemistry secular? Or physics? Or astronomy, geology, or — gasp! — biology? Surely they’re not religious endeavors! Well, let’s see what AIG can do with their question. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and AIG’s scripture references omitted:

Many people today insist that science can only be done by people who have a secular worldview — or at least by those who are willing to leave their religious views at the door as they enter the science lab. Several popular atheists and evolutionists have contended that people who reject the big bang and the evolution of living things are so backward that they cannot even be involved in developing new technologies.

We suppose it’s possible for a chemist to believe in Noah’s Flood. That bible tale is unlikely to interfere with his chemistry work — but he’d certainly be a strange individual. More from AIG:

A friend of the ministry was recently challenged by the comment that science can only be done through a purely secular evolutionary framework. We have decided to publish a response for the sake of teaching. Such statements are blatantly absurd and are a type of arbitrary fallacy called an “ignorant conjecture.” In other words, these people simply do not know the past, nor are they familiar with what science really is.

A “purely secular evolutionary framework” is necessary for science? We doubt that physicists need to think much about evolution while doing their work. Let’s read on:

If science is a strictly secular endeavor without any need for a biblical worldview, then why were most fields of science developed by Bible-believing Christians? For example, consider Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, Johann Kepler, Galileo Galilei …

Yeah, yeah — we’ve seen the list before. Those people lived before Darwin (except Pasteur, who was a contemporary), and their work had nothing to do with biological evolution. Not only that, but their work had nothing to do with creationism either. Nothing in science — absolutely nothing! — is based on six-day creation, Noah’s Flood, or any other scriptural miracles. AIG continues:

Even in modern times, the inventor of the MRI scanning machine, Dr. Raymond Damadian, is a Christian working with Christian principles.

What, pray tell, is “Christian” about the MRI scanning machine? Is it based on six-day creation? Or on anything else that was ever taught by the creationists of AIG? Here’s more:

And those who recently founded the scientific field of baraminology are also Christians.

Baraminology? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, we’ll give them that one. What else have they got?

And let’s not forget Werner Von Braun, the young-earth Christian who was the founder of rocket science and led the U.S. to the moon.

Okay, we’ll credit creationism for The Blitz. Maybe von Braun used Noah’s Ark as a model for his V-2 rockets, but we doubt it. [Addendum: Werner von Braun wasn't a YEC, as is pointed out in the comments.] Moving along:

Furthermore, science comes out of a Christian worldview. Only the God described in the Bible can account for a logical and orderly universe. God upholds the universe in a particular way, such that we can study it by observational and repeatable experimentation. Because God upholds the universe in a consistent manner, we have a valid reason to expect that we can study the world we live in and describe the laws that God uses to sustain the universe.

Hogwash. AIG’s scriptural concept of the universe is riddled with impossible events that are impervious to rational analysis — such as the aforementioned six-day creation, the global flood, and an Ark-load of other miracles and divine interventions that make no scientific sense whatsoever. Another excerpt:

In the secular view, where all matter originated by chance from nothing, there is no ultimate cause or reason for anything that happens, and explanations are constantly changing, so there is no basis for science. … On what basis should we expect a universe that came from nothing and for no reason to act in a predictable and consistent manner? When non-Christians do real science by observable and repeatable experimentation, they are actually assuming a biblical worldview, even if they do not realize it.

That was a difficult paragraph. We’ll pause for a moment while you untwist your brain. Everybody okay now? Very well, on with the article:

It makes sense why “science” in the U.S. is losing out to other nations since our science education system now limits science in the classroom exclusively to the religion of secular humanism.

Ah, so that’s the reason the US is falling behind — not enough creation science is being taught in our schools. What other insights does AIG have for us?

So, the debate is not “science versus religion.” It is really “religion versus religion.” Sadly, science is caught up in the middle. The battle is between the religion of secular humanism (with its variant forms like agnosticism, atheism, and the like), which is usually called secularism or humanism for short, and Christianity.

[...]

Humanism has astronomical evolution (big bang), geological evolution (millions of years of slow gradual changes), chemical evolution (life came from non-life) and biological evolution (original, single-celled life evolved into all life forms we have today over billions of years) in its view of origins. In other words, evolution (as a whole) is a subset of the dogma of the religion of humanism in the same way as biblical creation (as a whole, with six-day Creation, the Fall, global Flood, and the Tower of Babel) is a subset of the dogma of Christianity. It is a battle over two different religions.

Aaaargh!! How much more can we take? Not much, and this is a long essay. We’ll give you one more nugget, and then we’ll have to abandon this one. Here it comes:

[E]volutionists have continued to popularize Darwin’s scientific observation of the changes in beaks of Galapagos finches as proof for the evolution of one animal kind into another. This is a great example of the bait and switch fallacy where scientists present real scientific evidence (the difference in finch beaks) but stretch the truth to say it gives validity to the Greek mythology of microbes to man evolution (the “switch” part of the fallacy). This trick leads many to believe that evolution is real science. …

People are baited with this good methodology of science (again developed by a Christian named Francis Bacon) and then they are told that evolution is science while subtly appealing to another added definition: that of “natural science” or “naturalism.” This is like saying another definition of science is “Nazism.” Then Nazis could say they are “scientists” and get into a classroom! This is what has happened with humanism.

That charlatan Darwin — all he had to support his theory was a few finch beaks. Okay, we have to stop our descent into AIG’s pit of madness or it may overwhelm us. Go ahead, dear reader, click over there and read it all. Who knows? You may be persuaded that we should abandon our concept of science and embrace theirs. Their viewpoint may be the one that takes us to the stars. But if you’ll forgive your Curmudgeon, we have serious doubts about that.

Addendum: We must give AIG’s article our Rosie Ruiz award. They have claimed the prize, but they haven’t run the race.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Answers in Genesis: Is Science Secular?

  1. Wernher von Braun was not a young-earth creationist. His biographer Michael J. Neufield writes, “Although he had made public statements supporting ‘design’ in the creation of the world and the human mind, he sought, like other mainstream believers, to integrate Darwin, big bang cosmology, and God. His thoughts along those lines were neither original nor profound, but he certainly was not about to forsake the science that pointed to a Universe and life-forms evolving for aeons, albeit subject to divine intervention” (Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (New York: Random House, 2007, p. 470). And in a letter written toward the end of his life, he wrote, “If fundamentalistic religion means belief that the book of Genesis gives a correct scientific account of how the world came into being; that 4004 BC is the date of the origin of the earth, and that all living things were ‘created’ in their final form rather than developed through evolutionary, ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ processes, then I am most emphatically not a believer in fundamental religion” (quoted in Vernon L. Grose, Science but not Scientism, AuthorHouse, 2006, p. 358).

  2. Thank you, Glenn. I found it difficult to think that von Braun really was a YEC, but considering his dubious past, I was willing to let the matter slide. That wasn’t very rigorous of me. Now there’s no need for that.

  3. I just couldn’t make it to the end. For Does this guy really believe anything he writes or is this just a guy who is ticked off that his scam is unraveling?

  4. Justin: “For this guy really believe anything he writes or is this just a guy who is ticked off that his scam is unraveling?”

    Yes.

  5. And let’s not forget Werner Von Braun, the young-earth Christian who was the founder of rocket science and led the U.S. to the moon.

    Not only was he not a YEC, but Von Braun was also not – by any stretch – the founder of rocket science. In fact, he studied under an earlier German rocket scientist, Hermann Oberth (who after the war, came to the U.S. to work with Von Braun and the others at the Redstone Arsenal). Oberth got his ideas on rocketry from writings by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Robert Goddard.

    Goddard was a PhD physicist who had a bent for practical engineering, and eventually had more than 200 patents on fundamental aspects of rocket engines. He made rockets that worked, kept careful records, but wasn’t particularly eager to publicize his work. Interestingly, per Wikipedia, he was raised an Episcopalian, but was not personally religious.

    An earlier pioneer in liquid fueled rocketry was the Romanian / Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in Russia who worked around the turn of the century. He wrote extensively (and imaginatively) about the concepts of rockets and laid out many of the fundamental principles, although to my knowledge he did not build any functional rockets.. He supported the Bolshevik Revolution, and was, of all things, in favor of eugenics.

    Rocket science was developed, it appears, largely by an american atheist and a russian atheist / communist / supporter of eugenics, and significantly advanced by Nazi engineers. I hope that makes Ken Ham’s head explode.

  6. So hundreds of thousands of scientists don’t know what science is, or how it works. So says Bodie Hodge, B.S. , M.s.

    If that’s true, why do they continue to do science? Why aren’t they queuing up at Bodie’s door seeking the path to doing science properly?

    Interestingly, Hodge claims to have created a process for the production of submicron titanium diboride. In other words, he created something the creator managed to overlook when he created everything. Doesn’t that make Bodie Hodge God?

  7. Yikes! Apparently “For” = “Does” on an iPhone.

  8. I agree with AIG, whereas your points are pure anger with very little facts, dismissive and rebelious.

  9. It’s kind of funny how AIG use the Nazis to prop up both sides of their argument which says a lot about their so-called critical thinking. Half of their arguments against Darwinism revolve around the evil of the Nazi regime while they conveniently forget that most Nazis were also Christian.

    I also find it interesting that the US is falling behind because of our own secular science. I mean we all know that Iran is a trailblazer in science! Oh yeah, wrong creationist religion.That said, I do find Baraminology piquing my interest, I mean It’s not easy creating a new taxonomic system to deny reality!

  10. Anonymous – rebellious against whom?. As far as I was aware nobody had officially made AIG an authority. They’ve certainly never stood in any electable capacity.

  11. The redoubtable AIG proclaims:

    Furthermore, science comes out of a Christian worldview. Only the God described in the Bible can account for a logical and orderly universe

    Makes sense. After all, the pagans of Ancient Greece had absolutely no concept of science or empiricism. There wasn’t a drop of science in the world until the triumph of Christianity in the West (aka ‘The Dark Ages’).

    And who ever heard of a Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu scientist? What have the non-Christians ever done for us?

    …What was that at the back? Albert who?

  12. Further details, from the Dysovary Institute, on Baraminology

  13. waldteufel

    Anonymous — Reading for comprehension apparently isn’t in your skill set.

  14. Garnetstar

    In my department, we begin each faculty meeting with a prayer to Paracelsus and a reverent reading of Scripture (the periodic table). There was a grad student in the department who didn’t “believe in” radiometric dating, which wasn’t relevant to his Ph.D. project, but he wasn’t a good worker, so I slowly eased him into another research group. I didn’t really want to know how that turned out.

    Some fundie sociologist recently recommended that we professors work our “spirituality” into our classes more. I’ve been trying to imagine how to do that during discussions of inorganic chemistry, but I am not succeeding.

  15. Garnetstar

    And, Raymond Damadian did not invent MRI. The invention of what we call NMR (MRI to you) started after WWII and became a usable technique in the 1960′s. Observation of the relaxation of atoms and their spatial distribution (what’s used in MRI) was achieved about a decade later.

    Increasing the sample size from chemicals to humans was more an application of existing science. I’m sure that some new scientific questions had to be solved, but they did not amount to “invention” of MRI.

  16. A Christian invention not mentioned by AiG is the entire concept of heaven and hell as a means of enforcing a moral code. And as long as it works to make others around me behave themselves, I’m not going to argue with them about it.

  17. Is science secular? Only in the sense that science only deals with the natural world. As soon as you start getting into “God” or “crystals” or “spiritual energy fields”, you’re outside of the natural world and into the supernatural and/or magical. Which means you’re not dealing with science. Science isn’t “Christian” any more than it is “Islamic” or “Buddhist” or “Hare Krishna” or “Zen” or … you get the idea.
    Oh, and Anonymous? We’re not “rebelious”, but, yes, we can be quite “rebellious”.

  18. To amplify Gary’s comment, science is the totality of mankind’s attempts to understand and explain the realities of the universe. The “explaining” part is key — it does no good for humanity if the scientist keeps all of his or her discoveries to himself or herself. A main reason for the success of the Enlightenment is our ability now to build on the discoveries of those who preceded us.

    And if a scientific discovery happens to contradict a religious idea that you had been taught? That’s your problem, not a problem of science. Science is based entirely on observable evidence. It does not rely on mystical revelation.

    There is but one reality; there are many religions. If you choose to believe in one particular religion, that’s your business. Just don’t expect the rest of us to believe as you do without evidence to support your ideas. And scriptural writings are not considered evidence.

  19. Damadian was certainly instrumental in developing the MRI scanner. But he did it by the application of science. Unless, of course, there is a specific mention of MRI in the Bible.

  20. To amplify what Pope RSG said, people want to believe scriptural writings. Fine. That’s your business. The problem is that people such as AIG call science “religion” because they think those of us of a science-bent just automatically “believe” something if it’s called “science”. Au contraire. If anyone thinks that everyone just automatically accepted what Darwin wrote (or Einstein or Faraday or Gauss or Maxwell), well, wrrrrrrooooooong! It wasn’t until many others had compared their ideas to the evidence and ideas themselves and were able to independently draw the exact, same conclusion that their ideas were accepted (not believed). Hence, “There is but one reality; there are many religions.”
    Amen, Pope RSG. Amen.

  21. Gary amplifies (with booming subwoofers, mind you), “It wasn’t until many others had compared their ideas to the evidence and ideas themselves and were able to independently draw the exact, same conclusion that their ideas were accepted (not believed).

    Perfect. Especially the “accepted(not believed)” part. However, all this amplification threatens to blow out the tiny speakers on my laptop, so I shall add no more, except to say we make a good tag team, Gary.

  22. Funny, he doesn’t mention Francis Collins, the christian MD/biologist who is not a YEC, but more of a theistic evolutionist.