Ken Ham Reacts to the Gallup Creationism Poll

We have a treat for you today, dear reader. It’s a blog post from none other than Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG).

Not only was this item written by ol’ Hambo himself, even the title will thrill you: The Creation/Evolution Debate Continues, Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links and scripture references omitted:

After my debate with Bill Nye “the Science Guy” in February, it was evident that the debate over origins is alive and well in our Western culture. Well, that has been confirmed with a new poll from Gallup.

Yes, the “debate” is alive and well — in the minds of creationists, not scientists. And as you guessed, he’s referring to the 2014 Gallup Poll on Evolution, about which we recently posted. Hambo says:

Gallup found that “42% of Americans hold the creationist belief that God created humanity as it currently exists a mere 10,000 years ago.” That’s not an insignificant number. Now, we at Answers in Genesis would teach that God created the universe and everything in it around 6,000 years ago, based on the genealogies in Scripture.

No, it’s not an insignificant number. Forty-two percent of a population of 300 million (legal residents) is 126 million. That’s a lot of drooling creationists, and they’re all in the market for what Hambo offers. Let’s read on:

But even so, close to half of Americans believe that humans were specially created by God within the last 10,000 years. That’s far less than the long ages that evolutionists claim . . . and far different from the evolutionary view that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors. Evolutionists try to claim that this is settled “‘science,” that it’s all proven.

Yes, we “try to claim” that it’s settled science. What fools we are! Hambo continues:

But despite the intense evolutionary indoctrination through the public education system, secular museums, and much of the media (e.g., the Cosmos TV series running for the past twelve weeks — see one of our episode reviews [link omitted], a large percentage of the population obviously still reject that humans evolved.

In Hambo’s universe, all those millions of droolers can’t be wrong. Here’s more:

There is a sad trend, however, with the current generation. Another interesting result of Gallup’s poll revealed that a belief in some form of creationism severely drops off with college graduates. Now, I would submit that this has to do with the indoctrination into evolution that goes on in most secular colleges.

We doubt Hambo’s college “indoctrination” excuse. We don’t have any statistics, but our guess is that a very small fraction of college students study evolutionary biology. But Hambo has other targets he can blame:

What’s more, I believe that it’s also indicative of the compromise in many Christian colleges/universities on Genesis chapters 1–11.

It’s an outrage that they all don’t agree with Hambo! Moving along:

The Gallup poll also showed an increase (even though the numbers are relatively small) in the percentage of those who reject God altogether.

The number isn’t that small. According to Gallup, the percentage who agreed with “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process” was 19%. Using Hambo’s rough math (he said that the 42% who are young-Earth Creationists was “close to half” of the respondents), we can say that those who chose the straight science answer are “close to half” of those who are young-Earth Creationists.

Also, those who agreed with the straight science answer don’t necessarily “reject God altogether,” but they do reject Hambo’s view of things. We sincerely hope that what we’re about to say doesn’t insult Hambo, but here it comes anyway: Hey, Hambo: rejecting your peculiar theology isn’t the same as rejecting God. Another excerpt:

In 2009, AiG contracted with America’s Research Group to identify why the church was losing two-thirds of its young people by the time they reached college age (and few really return).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What could be driving them away? It couldn’t be that they’re repelled by people like Hambo, could it? No, that’s impossible. Continuing with his little essay:

And we found that students begin having doubts about the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, especially in Genesis 1–11, before college — in middle and high school.

We suspect that Hambo’s actual concern is that the new generation isn’t interested in visiting his creation museum. Here’s our last excerpt. Everything after this is a commercial for Hambo’s museum and literature:

But, according to the Gallup poll, many people seem to realize there are problems with evolutionary ideas. Our goal at Answers in Genesis, in addition to wanting to see people converted to be born-again believers, is to equip people to think critically about the assumptions underlying evolution and millions of years. We want them to be able to identify those problems and give biblical and scientific answers to them. That’s what I did during my debate with Bill Nye, and this Gallup poll reveals that our work is far from finished.

Yes, Hambo, you’ve only got 42% who agree with you, and they’re getting older, so your work is far from finished. It’s not easy to persuade everyone to reject reality. But keep trying. Your efforts are endlessly amusing.

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

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31 responses to “Ken Ham Reacts to the Gallup Creationism Poll

  1. “…and give biblical and scientific answers to them.” There’s something odd about that statement. Let’s see … mythological answers and scientific answers — in what way do they go together?

  2. Hambo can not be happy that the people who are most likely to reject his delusional view of reality are the youngest and the best educated. The poll results show that YECs are most likely to be high school drop outs over 65 years of age. Even Hambo has to realize that this does not bode well for the long term survival of his roadside creationist attractions.

  3. It doesn’t matter if 99.999 of the non-scientist population believes in creationism, the tooth fair, Bigfoot, and austerity economics.

    It doesn’t mean that those ideas are right.

  4. Realist1948

    If young folks going to college tends to make them reject the AIG view of things, then obviously these kids should stay away from college. Better (in the eyes of the fundamentalists) they should go to Hambo’s museum, or to this place:
    http://www.holylandexperience.com/

    Check out the promo video… it’s a hoot.

  5. Cathy Anne

    Ham probably thought that after his “I have a book” debate with Bill Nye he would be seeing a wave of YEC acceptance sweeping the nation by now. Creationist Super-stardom! His delusion runs very deep.

  6. Realist1948

    Notice that many of the folks in The Holy Land Experience promo video are wearing wireless microphones. I don’t recall wireless mics being mentioned in the old testament.

    Forget WWJD. … what brand of wireless mic would Jesus wear? Does he do product endorsements? “I wear the Supreme Audio SA 994. And I don’t leave my cross without it!”

  7. waldteufel

    As cockroaches fear the light and scuttle away into the shadows when you flip on the light switch in the middle of the night, Hambo and his coterie of creationist “scientists” fear an educated youth. Education and free access to information can only spell doom for Hambo’s roadside creation shack.

    A bunch of old white guys in suits banging on wooden pegs while drooling won’t bring in the bucks from bright and curious young people who are on to con men thumping old books and trying to frighten them with the potential rage of an imaginary sky fairy.

  8. Eddie Janssen

    Ussher and the Bible give a 6,000 year old earth. Where does 10,000 year come from?

  9. Eddie Janssen wonders—

    “Ussher and the Bible give a 6,000 year old earth. Where does 10,000 year come from?”

    Assuming that creationists’ arithmetical abilities match their scientific ones, that’s probably the creationists’ attempt at conciliation where they cite the average between 6,000 years and 4.5 billion… 😉

    When Kanny Humbug writes, “Our goal at Answers in Genesis … is to equip people to think critically about the assumptions underlying evolution and millions of years,” one is left to wonder what possible “critical thinking” Humbug could mean, choosing between, on the one hand, a purportedly inerrant old book composited by a vote with lots of gaps in its narrative, and, on the other, multiple rivers of physical evidence all flowing towards the same estuary.

  10. Wikipedia as an article on the chronology of the Bible which explains how there are different calculations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Bible

  11. @Eddie Janssen asks, “Ussher and the Bible give a 6,000 year old earth. Where does 10,000 year come from?”

    There are varations on this theme. Remember, the date is derived by adding up the ages stated in the Biblical genealogical tables. If you go by the traditional Hebrew text (the “Massoretic” text), you will indeed end up with a date around 4000 BCE for the creation of Adam. But the ancient Septuagint translation, widely used by the early Christians, in many cases cite higher figures than the ones mentioned in the Massoretic text. For instance, did Adam sire Seth when he was 130 years old (Massoretic text) or when he was _230_ years old (Septuagint)?

    Adding up the figures, the Septuagint has 2242 years passing between the creation of Adam and the Flood, instead of 1656 as in the Massoretic text (English bibles are translated from the latter).

    If you go by the figures in the Septuagint, it therefore pushes creation somewhat further back in time than 6000 years before the present, but still well within 10,000 years.

    So I guess some use “within 10,000 years” as a generalized wording to cover all possible variations on this theme. It could be six thousand years, or maybe a little more, but still ORDERS of magnitude less than the millions and billions of years cited by modern science.

  12. Eddie Janssen

    Thank you.

  13. Ken Ham “… Gallup found that ‘42% of Americans hold the creationist belief that God created humanity as it currently exists a mere 10,000 years ago.’ That’s not an insignificant number. “

    But it’s a meaningless number. As other, more relevant, polls show, only 10-20% (depending on how the question is worded) believe that the universe, earth, and all life is as young as Ham wants everyone to believe. And as I like to say, many of the 42% are probably “thinking souls, not cells” when they choose the answer. That is, if they gave it some thought, would agree that those humans had biological ancestors, but not necessarily that they “evolved” from them.

    Before anyone celebrates, other polls also give more discouraging results. A growing number, ~20-30% choose “unsure” when given the option. Which tells me that the “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” policy of ID has been trickling down. Most people, including most who claim to have no problem with evolution, are clueless about the chronology of natural history, let alone the difference between the fact of “common descent with modification” and the theory that explains it (& thus fall for the “only a theory” nonsense). Worse, as much as 70% think it’s OK to teach “creationism” in public school science class. I too did briefly in the 90s, 30 years after accepting evolution. Only when I learned how devious the tactics were, and how they promote unreasonable doubt of evolution at all costs, did I realize that it’s a scam, and one that needs to be exposed. Not by whining how the perpetrators are “sneaking in God,” but by calmly showing how they routinely bear false witness.

  14. @SC: Sorry about the formatting. Please correct.

    But to put my last comment in perspective, I’m mind-boggled that the comments are about Messoratic and Septuagint, whatever they are. And I’m sure that most of that 42% is as clueless of them as I am. Really the discussion needs to be about Ham’s astonishing admission (emphasis mine):

    “…we at Answers in Genesis would teach that God created the universe and everything in it around 6,000 years ago, based on the genealogies in Scripture…”

    Does anyone notice that that violates the entire purpose of “scientific” creationism?! So all that meticulous cherry picking and fabricating of “evidences” (“dust on the moon,” supposed flaws in “radiocarbon” (radioisotope) dating, etc.) was for naught?

    If we stop getting so sidetracked on the Bible, the picture becomes very clear: After a few years of attempting to peddle “scientific” YEC, the perpetrators realized that it just won’t convince even most nonscientists. And worse, it would expose it’s own horrendous lack of evidence to critical analysis, such that, even people who found evolution unconvincing would find YEC truly absurd. So in the 70s and 80s, a “speciation” took place. One “lineage” (Ham’s) began “slouching towards Omphalos,” and the other, rather than admit old life and common descent, began the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy that we now know as ID

  15. Just had a thought — perhaps the reason so few in the US have any idea of the ages of the universe, solar system, Earth, and life on Earth is because the only exposure to geology and astronomy most have in this country is in middle school — 6th through 8th grades, when they are 11 to 14 years old. Typically, the only science taught with any rigor in high school is biology, physics, and chemistry. And even there, the only students taking those courses are those in a college prep track.

    Many of the teachers in middle school who are teaching science are elementary-certified, with no particular science background. Worse, many are like the teacher in Shreveport, La., who chose to teach biblical creationism rather than the board-approved curriculum. (Forgot her name, but she was the subject of a previous SC post.)

    Another problem with teaching earth sciences and astronomy only in the middle school is that for the most part, kids’ brains haven’t developed yet by that age to be able to think in abstract reasoning.

    Because this thread is getting buried by newer posts, I’m going to also put it up on the Cosmos Free-Fire Zone.

  16. Ham’s problem with declining numbers of young people in the church is not connected with a lack of indoctrination in creationism. Reasons for young people leaving have much more to do with the increasing politicization of the evangelical church, especially on issues such as marriage equality, women’s roles in society, reproductive rights, and even gun ownership. (The draft Texas GOP platform this year refers to gun ownership as a “God given right”, but, unfortunately, doesn’t cite a bible verse to support it.) I doubt creationism factors in at all for most young people.

    Also, for many evangelical kids, attendance at a secular college is the first experience they have of living outside the christian cultural bubble and their parent’s direct control. There are so many cultural disconnects between life in the bubble and life outside that it becomes obvious to many evangelical kids that they were heavily indoctrinated, and they eventually break free of it. This happened to my niece, for example. This explains the steep drop-off in belief among college educated kids. It’s not that they were taught evolution in college, it is that they were exposed to life outside the christian bubble and they embraced it. Disbelief in the literal Genesis story is simply a byproduct of that change.

    For non-evangelicals, an understanding of science might shift one’s perspective on when and how humans came to be, but non-evangelicals generally are not biblical literalists in the first place, and do not inhabit the peculiar bubble of evangelical christianity that Ham is part of.

  17. @retiredsciguy:

    Good point. And in fact, the only class where I learned geologic ages was in Catholic school 7th grade. And I was in public school after that!

    But why should school be the only place where people learn these things? Most people continue to think about, and often keep learning, history, literature, and even religion, long after high school. But what little science they learn gets quickly replaced by common false, misleading caricatures. I’m in a very tiny minority, as are most regulars on these boards, in that most of what I learned about evolution and natural history was on my own time and mostly after college.

    The anti-evolution movement may be a huge problem, but it does not bother me nearly as much as the fact that science is simply not as big a part of our extracurricular (and post-curricular) daily lives as it ought to be. And that goes especially for the “historical” sciences. Not just memorizing the names and dates of the geologic eras/periods/epochs (which maybe 1 in 1000 know) but how the evidence was obtained and tested. 90+% of the people are fully capable of understanding that the pretense that “historical” vs “operational” science are fundamentally different is a scam. But as it stands, most of them are vulnerable to the deception, and would not even think of asking “So at what age does it become “historical” – a million years? 1000 years? 5 minutes?

  18. “exposed to life outside the bubble, that is.

    [*Voice from above*] Behold his Curmudgeonly hand! It is fixed!

  19. Realist1948

    @Retiredsciguy – WRT ” perhaps the reason so few in the US have any idea of the ages of the universe, solar system, Earth, and life on Earth is because the only exposure to geology and astronomy most have in this country is in middle school — 6th through 8th grades…”
    That may be part of the problem. IMHO a bigger problem is that lots of kiddies get dragged to church starting at very young ages. These kids get exposed to genesis fairy tales and absorb the “facts” therein long before they hear geologists’ explanations of how the earth attained its current form, or biologists; explanations of the origin of species. A kid who is taught to believe the AIG version of “truth” tends to try to fit his later learning into the twisted framework of genesis. To use a computer analogy: their software becomes infected with a virus early on, and it screws up the behavior of any software that is loaded from then on.

  20. docbill1351

    Imma gonna go all Wiki on you guys ’cause I’m all coffeed up!

    The full title of Ussher’s work is “Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world, the chronicle of Asiatic and Egyptian matters together produced from the beginning of historical time up to the beginnings of Maccabes”

    Ken Ham is lying (nothing new) when he claims that the dates come from the Bible. I simply don’t believe old Hambo hasn’t read about Ussher and what he really did. Of course, being scholarly and precise would completely undo Hambo’s scambo and his circus would be over.

    This is the money quote from our Wiki Friends:

    Their task was complicated by the fact that the Bible was compiled from different sources over several centuries with differing versions and lengthy chronological gaps, making it impossible to do a simple totaling of Biblical ages and dates.

    Old Shambo relies on the Bible being the complete and inerrant Word of God ™ and anything short of that casts doubt on his entire enterprise.

  21. Realist1948: “IMHO a bigger problem is that lots of kiddies get dragged to church starting at very young ages. These kids get exposed to genesis fairy tales and absorb the “facts” therein long before they hear geologists’ explanations of how the earth attained its current form, or biologists; explanations of the origin of species.”

    And I was one of those kiddies, but here I am, as radial a “Darwinist” as anyone. I should add that when I learned the geologic ages in Catholic 7th grade, evolution was not mentioned, and the teacher even made it a point to state that those long ages was consistent with the Bible. That was 47 years ago, and I was already starting to read between the lines. 2 years later I fully embraced evolution and left organized religion for good.

    Now you probably have in mind fundamentalist children. If so, I agree that the probability of them breaking free from the indoctrination is much less than in Catholicism. But more importantly, it makes no sense to try to educate a hopelessly indoctrinated person, when for every one of them (20-30% if adult Americans) there’s at least 1 or 2 others with serious misconceptions of evolution and the nature of science, who either mindlessly fall for some anti-evolution propaganda or at least think that it’s fair to “teach the controversy” in science class. But are nevertheless “salvageable” if we can only get them to think about the science, and the slick games that activists play to mislead.

  22. Realist1948: “IMHO a bigger problem is that lots of kiddies get dragged to church starting at very young ages.”

    Over which we, the proponents of rational thought, have no control. We can, however, suggest changes in our schools’ curricula to do a better job of teaching the earth sciences — not just astronomy and geology, but atmospheric and oceanographic sciences as well.

  23. retiredsciguy suggests: “teaching the earth sciences — not just astronomy and geology, but atmospheric and oceanographic sciences as well.”

    But if you load up the curriculum with that stuff, there won’t be any time left for teaching abstinence!

  24. SC: “But if you load up the curriculum with that stuff, there won’t be any time left for teaching abstinence!”

    Ha! True that. Perhaps we should take the opposite tack and provide instruction that will give them life-long enjoyment, using The Joy of Sex as a textbook. Then, once we’ve got their attention, slip in (so to speak) the science.

    Seriously, though, there are many high school courses that have less importance and less relevance to creating an informed citizenship than biology and atmospheric/oceanographic/geologic sciences.

  25. Holding the Line in Florida

    Of course if we were able to teach more earth sciences, we wouldn’t have time to teach to the State mandated and prepared tests that are so the rage among the educational reformers! After all my paycheck and job security depends upon the test scores!
    Oh wait, but that is only for the public schools, not the private and charters!

  26. @Holding in Florida: Yep — that’s what I’m sayin’. It’s time to revise the curricula and the tests. Let’s start teaching what really matters!

  27. Ceteris Paribus

    Holding the Line mentions: “[State] mandated and prepared tests that are so the rage among the educational reformers!

    Reformers? Actually in the dozen plus years since President G W Bush signed the school testing legislation into place, I have never heard an actual public school teacher speak a good word about the standardized tests. Uniformly their comments reflect the negative results on the students educational achievement and classroom performance.

    On the other hand, the vendors of testing materials and associated educational software all seem to be quite pleased at the several billion dollar per year industry that they now profit from.

    In 1999 George W Bush’s younger brother [and failed banker aka Silverado Slim], Neil, had the fortunate flash of clairvoyance to form one of those educational supplier business that would get to suck on the public testing teat two years later when the legislation was signed.

  28. @Ceteris Paribus: Had not heard of that Neil Bush/testing industry connection before. But if it’s all Bush’s fault, why is the testing mania still going so strong 51/2 years into Obamarama?

    But back to what Holding the Line in Florida said — tying teacher pay to test scores will have the unfortunate consequence of making it nearly impossible for urban school districts to hire competent teachers. Student achievement depends on so many more factors than just the teacher’s skills — things the teacher has no way of controlling, such as the student’s home life.

  29. Ceteris Paribus

    [SC – this post is getting off topic, but the original thread is almost at an end anyway. No hard feelings if you delete it]
    @ retiredsciguy says: “Student achievement depends on so many more factors than just the teacher’s skills — things the teacher has no way of controlling, such as the student’s home life.

    Very true. And the reality is there are very motivated groups who dearly want to replace public schools with private, sectarian schools, at public expense. The easiest way way to funnel public money to them is to demonstrate that public school teachers are incompetent.

    And the testing program is set up to do exactly this. Here’s how the game works:

    Scenario one. An exceptionally good teacher may start out a new academic year with a class containing an abundance students who only marginally squeaked thru their previous year. And when testing time comes for this teacher’s class, some individual students may have made major improvements. But the aggregate result for the entire class may still be mediocre at best. If you were that teacher, how long would you want to make a career of this kind incentive system?

    Scenario two is really sick: As you mentioned, in urban districts, the home life of many students is sufficiently chaotic that they will not attend the same school for an entire year. During that year many will change their physical residences as a result of family problems, or migration to other cities or districts as a result of their parents’ job opportunities. Or a myriad of other contingencies not making the news in the suburbs.

    So when test time comes, an urban teacher whose pay is tied to the performance of a nominal 30 students, may have actually worked with many more than 30 actual students that year. Students that take the end of year test may have had much less than a school year’s contact with their teacher. So what is the “performance test” actually measuring that can be used to assess the teacher’s pay?

    If the NFL worked that way, with randomly assigned players who stayed for only part of a season, the coaches wouldn’t all be getting multi-million dollar contracts.

  30. Realist1948

    @Ceteris Paribus. Although I agree with some of what you are saying, I am still hopeful that our education systems can develop meaningful and fair metrics for evaluating teachers. To quote Lord Kelvin, “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”

    Both of my kids suffered through boring middle-school science classes taught by a man who had neither the knowledge nor the enthusiasm for teaching what should have been an interesting year of science. (I had a similar experience in seventh grade — I remember trying to explain power, resistance and Ohm’s Law to my teacher after she had failed to light a 100 watt, 110 volt light bulb with a 1.5 volt dry cell). D’oh!

    Regular (but not too frequent) testing of both the teachers and their students could, I would argue, provide data for rewarding good teachers and dealing with the weaker ones. “Dealing with” might involve either remedial work, or dismissal for the hopeless cases. Wherever practical, student scores should be adjusted or ignored if the student was not present for a statistically significant part of the school year.

    Annual performance reviews are common practice in many types of employment. Why shouldn’t teachers be subject to performance-based reviews, too?

  31. Realist 1948 asks, “Why shouldn’t teachers be subject to performance-based reviews, too?”

    Based on their own performance, yes. Based on their students’ performance, no. All teachers would clamor to teach the best and brightest; few teachers would choose to teach special needs or less-than-gifted.