Ken Ham: The Last Flat-Earther

Our title is a bit fanciful. Ken Ham isn’t a flat-Earther, but he’s a young-Earth creationist, which is the next best thing. We’ll get to that, but first we’ll give you a bit of background so you can appreciate the context of this post.

The well-known Galileo affair of 1633 was a temporary triumph for the forces of darkness. Galileo was compelled to confess that the solar system was heresy, his book was banned, and he was confined to house arrest for the remainder of his life. But the Inquisition’s victory horrified educated Europeans, and it was pretty much the last gasp for respectable scriptural literalism. What followed, albeit gradually, was a major shift in the history of Western religion.

That wasn’t the first blow to the scientific accuracy of scripture. Well before Galileo, despite numerous biblical passages declaring that The Earth Is Flat, people had ceased to hold such an idea. But after Galileo, people could no longer believe scripture where it said that Earth is the unmovable center of the universe.

Thoughtful theologians — of which there are many — began to recognize that the bible couldn’t be used as a science text. Since then, the major denominations have adjusted their positions and now maintain that religion is a source of inspiration and moral teaching, but not scientific information.

The next challenges to a literal interpretation of scripture arose from the development of geology, when James Hutton amassed undeniable evidence that the Earth was far older than 6,000 years. A couple of generations later — as we all know — Darwin’s theory of evolution was published, which meant that the six-day creation tale in Genesis was only a delightful allegory. There was some initial resistance, but almost no one wanted a replay of the Galileo tragedy. Numerous religious denominations now accept science — see the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution.

Nevertheless, there are still self-declared holy men who dwell in a kind of intellectual limbo, selectively accepting some science (the Earth is a sphere which orbits the Sun) while also rejecting much of it. Somehow they can simultaneously be creationists (either young or old Earthers), while at the same time they refuse to believe scripture when it repeatedly says that the Earth is flat, unmoving, and located at the center of the universe. How they pick and choose certain portions of science is a mystery, perhaps even to them, but they do it, living half in the natural world and half out of it.

One of the most prominent of these scripturally inconsistent, half-and-half people is Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. As you know, ol’ Hambo is co-founder of the on-line ministry Answers in Genesis (AIG), which also operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

The AIG website today has a “Letter from Ken” titled Giving a “Certain Sound” Regarding Genesis, in which ol’ Hambo claims to be sounding a trumpet for his undying adherence to young Earth creationism. Nevertheless, he recognizes that the church is moving away from his peculiar view, so we think that “Certain Sound” he’s making isn’t a trumpet — he’s whistling Dixie. (For our non-US readers who may not understand that expression, it’s mentioned in Wikipedia).

Okay, enough introduction. Here are some excerpts from Hambo’s manifesto, with bold font added by us:

In 2010, one of the most-watched national TV programs in my homeland of Australia featured a panel that included atheist Richard Dawkins and a member of the Australian parliament who is a Christian. As the Christian was interviewed about creation and Genesis, this member of Parliament wouldn’t take a stand on what he believed. Frankly, he acted like the majority of Christians in our churches today: he did not speak authoritatively.

I certainly don’t question this man’s salvation. But he did not take a bold position in front of a large TV audience on what God’s Word clearly teaches in Genesis. On the other hand, atheist Richard Dawkins did speak with authority (albeit a false authority). Viewers had no doubt where Dawkins stood in regard to his worldview beliefs concerning how the universe and life came about.

Did you follow that? Evidence doesn’t seem to matter much to ol’ Hambo. What really counts is taking a bold position. Here’s more:

If you ask the Richard Dawkinses of the world what they believe about the origin of the universe and life, if you read the signs at secular natural history museums across the country, or if you read public school science text books, they all give the same basic unified message. Their totally unified message goes something like this: …

We’ll omit Hambo’s description of the scientific version of things. It’s surprisingly accurate, and Hambo correctly says that the entire scientific world has the same view of things. Of course they do — they’re all looking at the evidence. Hambo goes on:

Although evolutionists can disagree on some of the details, the big picture is the same for all of them. The secularists are proclaiming their own “certain sound” to the world. … But just ask the average Christian, Christian academic, and pastor what they believe about the universe and the origin of life, and then you will hear something broad like this:

We’ll also omit Hambo’s version of the views of various clergy who accept evolution and regard Genesis as a metaphor or allegory. That infuriates ol’ Hambo. He wails:

No wonder the church is not influencing the culture as it used to! No wonder generations are leaving the church. Whereas most of the church once gave a unified message because it stood on God’s authoritative Word in Genesis, today much of the church has compromised the Bible with the secular beliefs of millions of years and evolutionary ideas. As a result, the message is no longer unified or certain.

Yes, that’s what’s happening. Hambo continues:

Do you know what’s wrong with much of the church? Because so many Christians and their leaders have compromised God’s Word with the pagan religion of evolution, millions of years, or both, Christians no longer speak with authority. From a biblical perspective, they have an uncertain sound. Yet in another sense, they do have a certain sound — declaring that the pagan beliefs of the world can be believed!

Evolution is a pagan religion! Here’s more:

You see, if the Bible’s history can’t be trusted, how can we trust its message of the gospel that is based in that history? Once people are led to doubt God’s Word at the beginning, it places them on a slippery slide of unbelief about the rest of the Bible.

Actually, it’s Hambo who is creating the doubts. He’s the one who says that if young-Earth creationism is false, then everything else in the bible is also false. Hambo says it has to be all or nothing (but somehow he’s okay with the solar system). And then he complains when thoughtful people take him at his word and decide to walk away from the whole thing. But whose fault is that — Darwin’s or Hambo’s?

Here’s one more excerpt — a pitch for money:

We are working hard at AiG and the Creation Museum (and the coming Ark Encounter) to give a certain sound to the world: that God’s Word is true and its history is true. That’s why the gospel based in that history is true. As we continue to proclaim this message, we are very grateful the ongoing prayers and financial support of our ministry friends!

And that’s where we’ll leave ol’ Hambo for today. He’s red-faced, he’s foaming at the mouth, he’s sputtering mad; and metaphorically speaking, he’s the last of the flat-Earthers. Those pagans and their ungodly science are making things impossible for Hambo. So help the guy out and send some money to keep his operation going. That should make him feel better.

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

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20 responses to “Ken Ham: The Last Flat-Earther

  1. Here’s one more excerpt — a pitch for money

    That’s the important part. That’s what Ken Ham is really up to.

  2. “So help the guy out and send some money to keep his operation going. That should make him feel better.”
    OK, I’ll send him my two cents worth, exactly 2 cents. That’s all he’s worth.

  3. anevilmeme

    This guy really is one anvil away from being a cartoon character.

  4. I would love to listen to a conversation between old Hambo and this guy!

  5. Hambo’s favorite word seems to be ‘compromised.’ Everyone who does not interpret scripture exactly as he does is a compromised xian on the road to the fiery lake. News flash Kenny, the majority of folks are leaving your type of church is because of the foolishness that you preach while claiming to be wise.

  6. Makes me want to send him some Monopoly money.

  7. It’s sad and unkind that you guys tease the flat earthers so much. First they are alive and kicking:

    Second they are really nice people:

    So they really don’t deserve getting dumbo Hambo compared to them. So please better your lives in the future!

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    @anevilmeme ROFL. I’d hit a like button if there were one here!. Anvil. Hah, hah. Um, would he be the one splat underneath it?

  9. @anevilmeme We have a new name for old Hambo, Yosemite Ham lol

  10. Ole Hambo claims

    the church is not influencing the culture as it used to!

    And he’s right! Here in England, it’s been ages since we’ve had a good public burning of witches, or a stoning of heretics, or an expulsion of the Jews, or a banning of books on grounds of blasphmey, or &c. &c. &c.

  11. Ahh, in fact that would be on the grounds of “blasphemy”… 😦

  12. And a relevant (methinks) article for Mr. Ham, from a Christian perspective the on-line journal Patheos: Do Young-Earth Creationists Worship the Devil?

  13. Anybody ever run into someone who said “the Earth is flat and the center of the universe, but, yes, the Theory of Evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life”?

  14. Mark Germano asks: “Anybody ever run into someone who said …”

    No, but you’ve just discovered a new marketing niche — or at least a blogging niche. Go for it, and maybe call yourself “The Flat-Earth Darwinist.” Then, the same way the Discoveroids claim they’re not creationists because they don’t quote Genesis, you can say: “I’m a genuine scientist, not like one of those crazy creationists.”

  15. The rejection of geocentrism fascinates me. The Bible has clearer statements about the fixity of the Earth than about the fixity of species. I don’t think that it is all that easy to present a sound argument for the motion of the Earth which can be easily grasped by lay people. Most people, I think, just go along with heliocentrism for fear of being laughed at, and there is no emotional attachment to the fixity of the Earth, in the way that people find it yucky to be physically related to monkeys.

  16. TomS notes that many

    people find it yucky to be physically related to monkeys

    I can sort of understand that–until I think how very much yuckier it is to be evolutionarily related to Casey Luskin. Yet that fact does not compel me to reject the science underpinning ToE on the grounds I find it aesthetically uncomfortable.

    Also, when one regards the social structure of our great ape cousins, it’s far from evident that we are the more moral species. And Olivia and I pattern some of our personal behaviour on the Bonobo (Pan paniscus), who generally appear to thoroughly enjoy life.

  17. In his dementia, Megalonyx says: “Olivia and I pattern some of our personal behaviour on the Bonobo …”

    She tells me that durring her one brief (and horrific) experience with you, you did indeed jump up and down, flap your arms, and utter “Oook, oook!”

  18. Mega – thanks for the YEC link – I’ve already sent it along to several folks.

  19. …today much of the church has compromised the Bible with the secular beliefs of millions of years and evolutionary ideas.

    Much of the church has compromised the Bible with other modern secular beliefs also. It is wrong, from a secular perspective, to enslave one’s fellow human beings, to apply the death penalty to relatively minor crimes, to kill all of the women and children of conquered people (after rewarding your soldiers with the virgins), and so on. Which of these specific word-of-god teachings would Ham not compromise on?

    I will give Ham the benefit of the doubt and assume he has a secular perspective on the more extreme positions in the bible. I don’t think Ham would advocate a return to slavery, for example, or public stoning of adulterous women. If not, then he has compromised the Bible with his own secular beliefs already.

  20. @Megalonyx:

    I would rather be related to Binti Jua than to Torquemada, but I cannot deny that T. is my closer relative.
    Aside from that, it is impossible to deny that the physical structure of the human body is most similar to that of chimps and other apes, among all living things. The only question is what accounts for that similarity. Is it:
    1) Just a matter of coincidence?
    2) Because intelligent designer(s) wanted humans, chimps, and other apes to serve similar purposes?
    3) Because intelligent designer(s) were constrained by the laws of nature, the properties of the materials that they were given to work with, and what innovations they were willing or able to think of?
    4) A result of common descent?
    And consider the implications for values for each of these consequences. I do not find any superiority in denying evolution.