Food Fight: Ken Ham vs. Intelligent Design

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about differences between Answers in Genesis (AIG), the online creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), and the “theory” of intelligent design, promoted by the Discovery Institute. Almost two years ago we wrote Answers in Genesis vs. Intelligent Design. At that time, AIG said:

Since IDM [the Intelligent Design Movement] has limited its scope to the single question of whether something is designed, it does not endorse any particular religious view. Any person who believes in any god who created the universe or life in any way could be a member of IDM. This wedge strategy essentially divides belief about origins into two classes: naturalism and super-naturalism. By placing all super-naturalistic philosophies under the same “umbrella,” IDM hopes to present a more unified front than could be done by any single religiously motivated movement.

[…]

Those Christians within the movement may see this as a clever strategy: perhaps they think that one must first remove the stumbling block of evolution before a person will even consider the merits of biblical Christianity.

There’s more to intelligent design than that. By avoiding specifically religious claims, the Discoveroids imagine they can pretend to be doing science, and thus merrily skip around the barrier of the First Amendment. Anyway, we like it when the various sects of creationism squabble among themselves about the silly details of their anti-science ideology.

Now they’re at it again — this time the attack is written by ol’ Hambo himself — “So They Are Without Excuse” — The Design(er) Conference.

Who is without excuse? The Discoveroids? Yes, so it seems. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

There has been a lot of national media attention about my debate with Bill Nye on February 4 here at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. Like many secular scientists, Nye wants to deny that there is a Creator and that the design we see in the natural world shows evidence of a Creator.

That’s all Hambo says about the debate with Nye, but as expected, he’s got the science message all garbled. It’s not about a creator, it’s about science. But then Hambo gets to his attack on the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. Let’s read on:

The “Design(er) Conference,” to be held at the Creation Museum April 10–12 will open your eyes to the wondrous ways in which the Creator God has revealed Himself in His creation.

Big whoop! He continues:

God’s Word is clear that all humanity has been given visible proof of His invisible attribute in creation. The incredible similarities between organisms declare we have a Designer. And that designer is God; more specifically, our designer is the second person of the Trinity, God’s Son Jesus Christ.

So now it’s similarities that are evidence of a designer. But when creationists are in the mood, it’s the alleged lack of transitional fossils — i.e., dissimilarities — that demonstrate the magical work of the creator. Nice to have it both ways. Here’s more:

The knowledge of God is written on our hearts. We understand how vital it is not just to convince people there is an intelligence behind the universe but ensure people are directed to who that intelligence is: the God of the Bible.

That knowledge “written on our hearts” seems to be strangely ambiguous. Moving along:

At Answers in Genesis, we will never divorce who the Designer is from the design arguments. We recognize that man’s sinful heart is against God (Jeremiah 17:9), and that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). If we were just to convince people there was an intelligence behind the universe, then that could cause people to go after a false god.

Nothing worse than going after a false god. Another excerpt:

Just from looking at death and suffering in creation, it’s possible that you could conclude that the intelligence behind it was flawed or cruel.

We could also get that impression from the Flood, which was cruel beyond imagining. That doesn’t trouble Hambo. He says:

However, understanding the history revealed to us in Genesis enables us to understand that the creation is now cursed because of our sin — it was once a perfect creation. But even in a sin-cursed (fallen) creation, we can see the marvelous design of our infinite Creator.

The rest of the article is a promotion for the AIG conference, and instructions for how to sign up for the thing. If you care, click over to Hambo’s article and all will be revealed.

So where does this leave us? Nowhere, really, but it’s good to see that Hambo and the Discoveroids aren’t likely to join forces. The Discoveroids probably think ol’ Hambo is too primitive, and Hambo thinks the Discoveroids aren’t religious enough. You know what we think of both of them.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Food Fight: Ken Ham vs. Intelligent Design

  1. Stephen Kennedy

    They have hurled this accusation against the discoveroids before. It seems like Hambo is using this convention for another round of fundraising from the ignorant.

  2. “And that designer is God; more specifically, our designer is the second person of the Trinity, God’s Son Jesus Christ.”

    So this JC has an engineering BS from some Baptist U? Didn’t find those credentials in the bible.

  3. Dave Godfrey

    “And that designer is God; more specifically, our designer is the second person of the Trinity, God’s Son Jesus Christ.”

    Didn’t Jesus come some after all those things that were designed?

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    I really have a hard time with the Jesus Creator thing. But there it is in John: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Not that a zero-century prophet really counts as a witness to creation. It makes a joke of his supposed humanity. Picking camps here, I think this makes me pick the ID as less insane.

  5. “However, understanding the history revealed to us in Genesis enables us to understand that the creation is now cursed because of our sin—it was once a perfect creation.”
    Do you hear that, evilutionists? We all, including you, are to blame that Adam and Eve ate the apple. God who only planted the tree is innocent.

    “Nice to have it both ways.”
    Exactly! That’s why creacrap is so good. Go left, go right – you always arrive at god. Ol’ Hambo’s highly personal god.
    Now we confused evilutionists only humbly can wait what Klingy and co have to say.

  6. I’m sorry to repeat this same theme over and over again, but when it says “all things” doesn’t it mean things, not human concepts, the ways we group things together, or collectives – such as kinds, populations, clades? What did the Biblical authors care for biological species?

  7. And that designer is God; more specifically, our designer is the second person of the Trinity, God’s Son Jesus Christ.

    Nope. Per the bible, in Genesis, the creator is God. Jesus doesn’t show up until much later. Furthermore, even when he shows up, he is not God to the Jews, (who are the real experts on Genesis), and certainly not to the Muslims. Only Christians think Jesus is in any way divine… and many of them have a problem with the idea of the Trinity. The Trinity is an invention of early Christians to compromise on a theological conundrum, and quite a few have trouble with it today – it has no foundation in scripture.

    You would think Ham would know this, being a self-professed expert on Genesis. He needs to go to a seminary somewhere and get an actual education.

  8. I do think Ham has the DI pegged, however.

  9. @Ed, You are operating under the assumption that literal, inerrant Bible means something like, well, what the authors were intending, non-figurative, plain text. Rather, as can be seen by what those claiming literal inerrancy do with the text, is something pretty much unpredictable in its results.
    To take a robust case: It is perfectly clear that the authors of the Bible incorporated the common ANE cosmology in which the Sun goes around a fixed Earth. Up until AD1500 or so, everybody agreed that that was what the Bible said. Today, very few people accept that ANE cosmology, and that isn’t because of any deeper understanding of the text, but because 21st century culture has rejected it, and even Biblical literalists bend to their culture at times.

  10. Quite true, TomS.

  11. Reading Ol’ Hambeaux castigating the Discoveroids is like reading about St. Thomas Aquinas musing in the year 1270 about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Not that Hambeaux has anything like the intellect of Aquinas . . . . just sayin’.

  12. Credit where credit is due here, our friends the Discoveroids have accomplished one well-nigh impossible task: they actually make a flock-fleecing charlatan like Ken Ham seem relatively honest.

    Ole Hambo at least doesn’t lie about his agenda nor attempt to conceal that all he’s got at the end of the day is a belief in Oogity-Boogity with no other foundation than one (from a selection of many) sets of scripture.

    The Discoveroids, no less beholden to a similarly arbitrary belief in Oogity-Boogity, nonetheless persist in their mendacious whining that ID is somehow qualitatively different from Creationism–but, as Ham points out, it’s merely a political expedient, and a dishonest one at that. And particularly galling to him on the grounds that is so vacuous as to ‘support’ a belief in any old deity, whereas Ham knows that Jesus can beat up any other god.

    And frankly, think just how dishonest the DI are in using the concept of “design” in the first place. It is not the case, in Paley’s original example, that on finding a lost watch on the heath our thought is, “Some intelligence must have designed this intricate device”; surely, it’s “Some poor bugger lost an expensive artifact which was manufactured by a human being.” Similarly with Mt Rushmore: it’s not merely ‘design’ we detect, but human manufacture, and some knowledge and evidence of that process of that manufacture is integral to our observation about the artifact.

    Unless the Discoveroids can demonstrate how immaterial ‘intelligent’ agent(s) who exist in some undetectable immaterial realm are actually able to act upon material nature, they got nuthin’.

    One might as well argue that there is an invisible odourless intangible unicorn in my garden that is somehow directing our thoughts. IOW, they are barking mad, but futilely attempting to conceal that fact–unlike Ham, who is quite open about how arbitrary and absurd his beliefs are.

  13. Megalonyx It is not the case, in Paley’s original example, that on finding a lost watch on the heath our thought is, “Some intelligence must have designed this intricate device”; surely, it’s “Some poor bugger lost an expensive artifact which was manufactured by a human being.” Similarly with Mt Rushmore: it’s not merely ‘design’ we detect, but human manufacture, and some knowledge and evidence of that process of that manufacture is integral to our observation about the artifact.
    I’m going to try, in my own poor way, to agree with Megalonyx, and I only hope that it does not distract from his point.
    To take an example like someone wondering about the origins of the faces on Mt. Rushmore, “Did they come about by natural causes or were they designed?” To respond with the “Intelligent Design” answer that they were designed by (in Behe’s words) the God of Christianity; an angel–fallen or not; Plato’s demi-urge; some mystical new age force; space aliens from Alpha Centauri; time travelers; or some utterly unknown intelligent being (or, perhaps 20th century humans) is nothing short of an insult to the serious questioner about their origins. We do not detect merely the activity of (such a ridiculously vague) “designer”, but human design (and manufacture), and it is a slap in the face of someone who seriously questions to respond in such a way.

  14. @Ed: “Only Christians think Jesus is in any way divine”
    Ol’ Hambo is a christian and Ol’ Hambo is always right, so there you go. When his god created the entire shenanigan that god was already three in one – he always has been – so it’s his Jesus the Son aspect that did the creation thingy. This is irrefutable so it’s true.

    “Trinity is an invention of early Christians”
    Blasphemy! Go repent or you’ll end up in Hell! Those early christians were divinely inspired, just like Ol’ Hambo!

    @TomS: “even Biblical literalists bend to their culture at times.”
    More blasphemy! The early christians thought exactly what Ol’ Hambo says they were thinking! Because Ol’ Hambo!

    @Mega: “Ken Ham seem relatively honest”
    Viva Ol’ Hambo!

    “Unless the Discoveroids can demonstrate how immaterial ‘intelligent’ agent(s) who exist in some undetectable immaterial realm are actually able to act upon material nature, they got nuthin’. ”
    This is actually a problem for every single believer, even for deists, as Herman Philipse has pointed out in his God in the Age of Science. Therefor I hold that only god a la Kierkegaard remains.

  15. Part II of my response, to Unless the Discoveroids can demonstrate how immaterial ‘intelligent’ agent(s) who exist in some undetectable immaterial realm are actually able to act upon material nature, they got nuthin’.
    I would not demand a “demonstration”, but merely an “account” of what they are suggesting as a possible mode of action, what might happen, when or where. (And, after all, they might (snicker, snicker) not be immaterial, but space aliens, etc.) Once they get around to telling us what might have happened, then we can ask about why they think that the space aliens used space-warping rather than neutrino beams to make the faces on Mt. Rushmore, or whatever.

  16. Megalonyx says: “it’s not merely ‘design’ we detect, but human manufacture, and some knowledge and evidence of that process of that manufacture is integral to our observation about the artifact.”

    I’m willing to be open-minded about that, and admit the possibility of non-human manufacture, as in finding a Martian device that keeps time according to the movement of Mars. But whoever is doing the designing, the device must serve some purpose of the designer; and if that’s not apparent, then a design inference is absurd.

  17. I beg to differ. We know that paleolithic art is a product of human design, knowing who did it, when, where and how. It is not apparent why they did it. (Heck, I’m not even sure some times why I do something.)
    And, of course, there is non-human design and manufacture: beaver dams, tool manufacture by chimps, etc.

  18. Consider the Antikythera mechanism. But for some surviving inscriptions on the device itself, we’d probably be less certain about its intended function (which isn’t fully clear to us as it is). But no one seriously proposes it is anything other than an artifact of human design and manufacture; there is no independently-detectable attribute of “designiness” to aid our understanding, but the materials of which it is composed and how they have been altered and deployed in constructing the mechanism tell us who made it, and when, even if the ‘why’ is still somewhat speculative.

  19. Picking camps here, I think this makes me pick the ID as less insane.
    Why choose? Do what I do and ignore them both as faith based drivel!

  20. Addendum: I am sorely tempted to buy a Roll ‘n Pour (a bargain at $22.95 + $6.95 shipping), scratch some mysterious runes into it, and bury it deep in my garden in order to flummox archaeologists of the future.

  21. TomS: “And, of course, there is non-human design and manufacture: beaver dams, tool manufacture by chimps, etc.”

    And don’t forget the honeycomb! Even more “designy”, and by a much smaller brain, to boot.

  22. Megs: I am sorely tempted to buy a Roll ‘n Pour …”

    You will need a stateside accomplice for your subterfuge — this is from their website: Please note: We ship only in the USA

    Totally off-topic, but that Roll ‘n Pour looks like a handy device for anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

  23. With a slight modification, it can also stabilise feed bottles on storm-rocked sea vessels and prevent excessive spillage. After I have a patent, I’ll offer Ken Hambug such modified models under the banner of Roll ‘n Suckle. He can use them on the ark to feed all the baby animals. (Some accounts insist there were only baby animals on the ark for reasons of space.) Hambug can also sell these handy devices in his curio shop as mementoes…