Ken Ham: The Sole Source of Morality

This thought-provoking item is found at the personal blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. Hambo is famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo’s latest is Do Secularists Have a Basis for Right or Wrong? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a title! Anyone aware of ol’ Hambo’s anti-science crusade is immediately moved to respond: “Do you, Hambo?”

This is an old theme for AIG — they and they alone know the source of morality. The first time we posted about it was here: Creationism and Morality. What words of moral wisdom does Hambo have for us today? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Recently on our good friend Eric Hovind’s program Creation Today, Eric was hosting an interview. In a report on the very liberal Salon website, we read a quote from the person being interviewed:

[Hambo quotes Salon’s quote of the interview guest, Darek Isaacs:] “You have to start asking questions: Well, if evolution is true, and it’s just all about the male propagating their DNA, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape wrong?” Isaacs says to a stunned host.

This is the Salon article he’s talking about: Creationist author asks: If evolution is true, “is rape wrong?” Hambo’s profound thoughts are these:

[I]f man is just an animal and there is no God, then who decides right and wrong? It’s just subjective. And why should what one person think what is “right,” be “right” for another person? Two verses of Scripture come to mind: [we’ll skip those].

Ah, but Hambo, man isn’t just an animal. Aristotle’s famous definition was “Man is a rational animal.” Well, maybe Aristotle didn’t say it, but that’s what we are. Wikipedia has an article on Rational animal. Even the bible agrees that we can figure these things out for ourselves. Here we’ll have to quote what we’ve written a time or two before:

There was the long argument between Abraham and God about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham objected to God’s announcement that He intended to exterminate the population of those cities, and he told God that it would be unjust to kill the good along with the rest. And what of Moses’ reaction when God announced His intention to exterminate the Hebrews because of the golden calf incident? Moses argued with God and won the argument. The Good Book even tells us, in Exodus 32:14 (King James version, of course): “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Hey, Hambo: Did Abraham and Moses have the Christian worldview? [*No answer*] Let’s read more from Hambo’s essay:

The secularists go ballistic when Christians point out the fact that ultimately, they have no basis for right or wrong or good or bad. Now they can certainly decide a subjective moral code for themselves — and they can decide they believe that is “good” for them and the culture. But it’s just their opinion, so why shouldn’t someone else have a totally different moral code?

It’s a decent question. We once tried to answer it — see A Secular Source of Morality — but we weren’t very persuasive. Hambo continues:

Secularists borrow from the Christian worldview every day in so many ways — they have to because without it, anything goes!

Did Aristotle “borrow from the Christian worldview” — which didn’t exist in his lifetime? Did Buddha or Confucius? They lived even before Aristotle. This is the theological problem of the Virtuous pagan. Hambo is untroubled by such things. He probably thinks those guys are in the Lake of Fire. Without Hambo’s Christian worldview — which includes young-Earth Creationism — they couldn’t have been moral. One might also ask: Was Europe a peaceful, moral paradise when it was dominated for a millennium by the Christian worldview?

Hambo doesn’t bother with such questions. He quotes the Salon article’s response to the rape question:

There are so many issues with [Darek] Isaacs’ argument — the flawed logic, the pseudo-science, conflating rape (a form of violence) with evolution, using rape as a scare tactic against science.

That doesn’t impress ol’ Hambo! Here’s how he handles it:

Yes, it is just the typical emotionalism and false accusations because they can’t (and don’t want to) deal with their insurmountable problem.

That’s about it. So where are we? We’re left with Hambo and his religious viewpoint as the only source of morality. Now there’s a recipe for a wonderful world!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

30 responses to “Ken Ham: The Sole Source of Morality

  1. Ham asks if rape is wrong under our system of ethics, but in his absolute guide to morality, the Bible, rape merits a monetary fine, like a speeding ticket, and the rapist gets to marry his victim (which is to say, the woman is forced to live with her rapist for the rest of her life). I can assure you no woman wrote this ordinance.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion.

    – Mark Twain

  3. waldteufel

    In Noah’s flood alone, Hambo’s god killed untold millions of innocent men, women, children, and unborn babies. Hambo’s god condoned slavery, and even tells us who we can enslave, for how long, and that it’s all right to beat them if they don’t die within of couple days of their beating. Oh, and then there’s the concept of Hambo’s god sending one to the Lake O Fire for eternity for the sin of using the brain that he supposedly gave us.

    The fact that I have not killed a single person, never held a slave, and never condoned slavery makes me, a mere forest devil, far more moral than Hambo’s god. It’s a good thing for humanity that the Noahcian flood never happened, and that Hambo’s god is merely an unpleasant character in a book filled with snuff fiction and strange fantasy.

  4. There was the long argument between Abraham and God about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham objected to God’s announcement that He intended to exterminate the population of those cities, and he told God that it would be unjust to kill the good along with the rest. And what of Moses’ reaction when God announced His intention to exterminate the Hebrews because of the golden calf incident? Moses argued with God and won the argument. The Good Book even tells us, in Exodus 32:14 (King James version, of course): “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

    So one can logically argue with Ham’s omnipotent deity? Doesn’t sound very omnipotent to me, and then the deity repents? Pretty pathetic deity that’s supposed to know everything. Interesting. I suggest Ham read the book/s about the trolley problem, what would he do?

  5. Ham’s choice of quotes is interesting. Judges 21:25 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every one did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Does that mean he’d prefer that there be a king in America, with the power to decide what was right or wrong?

    Yes, yes, I know: the “king” he wants is God (or Christ). But in practice that would mean a country ruled by an elite of clergy like–well, himself, just by coincidence.

  6. Doctor Stochastic

    Those who seek a sole source of morality are doomed to flounder.

  7. If the obvious similarities between the bodies of human and those of chimps and other apes due to common design …
    If we have common design …
    Does that mean that, to comply with that common design, we should act like apes?

  8. docbill1351

    Dr. S wrote:

    Those who seek a sole source of morality are doomed to flounder.

    I thought those who sought sole would end up in Dover.

    (I may have jumped the shark on that one.)

  9. Ham: “Secularists borrow from the Christian worldview every day in so many ways—they have to because without it, anything goes!”

    Why is it only the CHRISTIAN worldview that can provide moral guidelines? Even if you buy Ham’s argument that only a deity can provide moral absolutes, can’t (say) Islam deliver the craved-for absolutes just as well as Christianity?

    Sometimes Christian writers express themselves as if evolution-based secularism and (Evangelical/Fundamentalist) Christianity are the ONLY two wordviews that even need to be considered. Other religions are presumably nothing but obvious, silly superstition that nobody can take seriously, and with NO moral lessons to speak of.

  10. hnohf: “Even if you buy Ham’s argument that only a deity can provide moral absolutes, can’t (say) Islam deliver the craved-for absolutes just as well as Christianity?”

    True that — in spades! But I don’t think Ham wants to draw that comparison if he wants the general population of the western world to go along with his idea of a theistic society. It shows too well what it leads to.

  11. Dr. S. & docbill — Pretty crappie puns, guys. You should be able to drum up something better (bass drum, of course).

    I’m surprised Con-Tester hasn’t cast his line in yet.

  12. Retired Prof

    “Those who seek a sole source of morality are doomed to flounder.”

    And if manage not to flounder, their success is only a fluke.

  13. Charles Deetz ;)

    You’ll be skating thru a crappie life if you don’t hook Hambo’s guide to morality, its a muskie.

  14. This has truly become salmon-chanted evening!

  15. Ham’s favorite book — The Porpoise-Driven Life.

  16. “If we have common design …
    Does that mean that, to comply with that common design, we should act like apes?”

    TomS shows us a great example of creationist non-sequitur “logic”.

  17. Puns aside, Doctor Stochastic nails it: “Those who seek a sole source of morality are doomed to flounder.

    Those individuals such as Kanny Humbug with a yen for punting absolute morality conveniently forget a variety of aspects concerning how it plays out in practice. First, a moral code is a communal phenomenon. It is necessary primarily for the success of societies as a whole by harmonising the behaviour of its members appropriately. A moral canon is also memetic in that individuals learn it from their parents and peers, not from an old book (whence they learn only fear of reprisals for thought crimes).

    Second, moral codes are hardly static, and therefore far from “absolute”. They change over time and are adapted to the needs and aspirations of the societies that they serve, e.g., the widespread abolition of the death penalty, or focussing on rehabilitation of transgressors, rather than retribution. This is not to deny that certain core precepts (e.g., don’t kill, steal, or lie) remain constant. They do so because without these strictures the fabric of society would quickly unravel.

    Third, there is no indication in the world at large that any absolute moral framework is anywhere in operation. Every society in existence tolerates a certain amount of disobedience and misbehaviour, so any claims of “absolute morality” are rubbished by direct experience.

    That said, all this carping seems to me a red herring. I think Kanny Humbug is being koi with all this crappie whaling and hoki madtom angling. He wants to reel in grunters, gulpers and guppies who’d rather buri their flatheads in the sandperch than catch a whiff of something betta. Gar, what a boga up. It’ll make you eel.

  18. I just love the “Christianity is important because it’s useful” argumen.

    So much inspirationality!

  19. Ceteris Paribus

    Many who troll the evolution blogs for bottom-feeders recommend Ham as bait.

  20. If God is the source of morality, why doesn’t he/she/it/they do anything by way of a system of justice in this world? Even the most devout theist no longer advocates trial by combat, trusting to a deity to ensure the correct outcome.

    Could it be that the Grand Ole Designer can design and micro-engineer bacterial flagella, or poof whole new critters into being during the Cambrian era, but can do nothing to ensure a liar is exposed, or a murderer apprehended, or the innocent never falsely accused and punished? Sounds a long way short of ominipotence to me.

    Just sayin’…

  21. P.S. Please note my forbearance above in refraining from any piscine puns. I figured, those waters were pretty well fished out, no trout about it.

  22. Yup, this piscing about quickly makes one feel ichty.

  23. Megalonyx declares: ” Please note my forbearance above in refraining from any piscine puns.”

    From my lofty perch, I decided to mullet over. Some of the puns smelt. I cod have said something, but gave a Curmudgeonly grunt and decided: By gar, I shouldn’t carp.

  24. Mr. Ham seems to be deluded (“[I]f man is just an animal and there is no God, then who decides right and wrong? It’s just subjective.”). We have these things called laws. They are subjective and subject to change. We have a number of laws telling people what will happen to them if they murder someone and the outcomes are all bad for the murderer. These apply to Christians as well as non-Christians as apparently Holy Scripture is insufficient to prevent people from murdering one another. Does the subjectivity of such laws undermine anything? Does the absolute nature of the scriptures mean anything? Apparently not.

  25. I wonder if the slaveholding founders, after a century or two luxuriating in heaven, had to pack up their things and move to hell once the fundies decided slavery was evil.

    No discussion about the unchanging nature of G.O.D.’s eternal law is complete without a decision on whether Jefferson and Washington are burning in the lake of fire. If they aren’t, those laws aren’t exactly immutable, are they?

  26. For anyone who actually has moral standards and has ever read even some of the bible, the idea that the god of the bible is needed to teach humans morality is a sick joke. Even the most evil humans the world has ever seen do not come close to the Christian god when it comes to cruelty, genocide, not only tolerating injustice but encouraging it, infanticide, hatred, homicide, rape (basically that is what happened to the virgin Mary), racism, narcissism, jealousy, anger and torture.

    The god of the old testament was a homicidal monster but at least when he killed someone on a whim, the victim was dead and their suffering presumably over. The god of the new testament is even worse. At the end of the world he kills billions of people but their suffering does not end with death, they suffer an eternity of excruciating torture for the crime of not worshiping Jesus Christ as their savior no matter how good a person they were in life.

    The episodes with Moses and Abraham are clear evidence that god does not teach man morality, god needs humans to teach him how to behave in a moral manner.

  27. If the Bible is true, is genocide right?

    “why shouldn’t someone else have a totally different moral code?”
    Guess what? That was totally the case in the Roman Empire.

    “Secularists borrow from the Christian worldview every day”
    Eh no. I have a basis for right and wrong; I actually need a lot less assumptions for it than Ol’ Hambo does. It’s totally not christian though. For one thing it’s focused on Earthly life and not on afterlife.

  28. Given the time at which it was written down, 2 Timothy 3:16* must have referred largely to the Old Testament (an eye for an eye anyone?) rather than the whole of what we NOW call the Bible (the canon of Scripture which excludes certain writings contemporaneous with the ‘New Testament’ with its teachings of both forgiveness and of hell depending on context). A literal eye for an eye being something I assume Ken Ham does not espouse.

    * “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (New International Version.)

  29. This being the context of that verse:
    “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    Some versions say “inspired by God” rather than “God-breathed”.

  30. PS So it seems that SOME of Christ’s recorded teachings at least would have been declared ‘God-breathed’ and had been taught to Timothy (as well as Old Testament verses said to point to the Messiah). But at the time Paul (or whoever) wrote his letter, probably in the 1st century AD, the Bible as such had not been fully collated as far as I know.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_Christian_biblical_canon