Ken Ham: Abortion, Homosexuality, & Evolution

Once again, we harken to the wisdom of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Ol’ Hambo’s newest article is titled More Than Half of Americans Believe the Bible Is Inaccurate. That sounds like good news to us, but ol’ Hambo is aghast. Here’s what he says, with some bold font added by us for emphasis, and Hambo’s links omitted:

When Christians see alarming numbers of Americans openly — even enthusiastically — embracing completely anti-biblical teachings such as abortion, homosexual behavior, and evolution, they wonder how our culture (and the church) has gotten so far from its biblical foundation.

Isn’t that sweet? Hambo is horrified that people embrace abortion, homosexual behavior, and evolution. Well, your Curmudgeon sees how the game is played, so now it’s our turn. We’re alarmed to see people embracing anti-Enlightenment teachings like science-denial and creationism — along with their inevitable consequences such as theocracy, despotism, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia, sadism, and cannibalism. That’s what happens when our culture strays from its Enlightenment foundation.

Wasn’t that fun? Let’s see what else Hambo has for us. He talks about a recent survey “to take the temperature of America’s theological health,” and he says:

According to the survey, the majority of Americans (53%) don’t believe that heaven and hell are real places and almost half think that there are many different ways to heaven. Also, less than half of the participants believe that God authored the Bible and over half (57%) don’t think the Bible is always accurate. Consequently, only half of Americans (49%) think the Bible has authority in our lives.

Hambo is horrified and he declares:

Sadly, our once-Christian nation has drifted far from its roots. Few people actually understand solid, biblical theology and biblical illiteracy is rampant throughout our country.

That’s not good for ticket sales at the Creation Museum. Let’s read on:

How people view the Bible has a direct effect on how they behave, what they believe, and what kind of theology they hold to. If the Bible is full of errors and isn’t 100% true, then why do we have to obey its doctrine? Why should we start our thinking in all areas with God’s Word?

Yeah. And why would anyone buy a lifetime pass to Hambo’s planned replica of Noah’s Ark? He continues:

That’s why it’s so important that we teach this next generation to stand on the authority of the Word of God in its entirety — from beginning to end! We have found that a major reason for our young people leaving is because many in the church have neglected God’s Word in Genesis. … After all, if you cannot trust God’s Word in Genesis, then why trust what it says throughout the rest of Scripture?

Good question! Here’s more:

Genesis is foundational to the rest of Scripture. Every major doctrine of Scripture finds its basis in the history of Genesis. Why is marriage for one man and one woman? Why do we wear clothes? Why is salvation only able to come through Jesus? All of these, and many more, are based out of Genesis 1–11. The history of Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Bible. If you compromise in Genesis, then it opens the door for more compromise throughout Scripture.

[*Curmudgeon rips off his clothes*] One more excerpt:

Observational science has confirmed the Bible’s history over and over again. We can trust the Bible, from the very first verse, and that’s why we can trust the morality, theology, and ultimately, the gospel message found in the Bible.

We have only one question: If Hambo’s view of things is so true, and if science confirms it, why don’t the public opinion polls show a growing trend in his favor, rather than the other way around?

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

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41 responses to “Ken Ham: Abortion, Homosexuality, & Evolution

  1. SC, have you seen the mention of you in the recent Forbes article on Kent Hovind’s tax problem’s?

  2. Mark Germano asks: “SC, have you seen the mention of you in the recent Forbes”

    Yeah. I thought it might generate some traffic, but that link produced only four hits. It’s scary to think that I’ve got more internet power than Forbes.

  3. WHy? Because if I went nude in summer I would not only get arrest in this godbot ridden den of bigots but I would get sunburn and skin cancer. And in winter the little bitty dangly thingy would FREEZE! SOLID!!!! But worse still that psychotic idiot creationist incompetent gawd of yours DID NOT MAKE US WITH POCKETS!!!!!! And carrying a purse bare naked chaffs!
    I do not go naked because your imaginary friend has anything to say about it.

  4. That’s why it’s so important that we teach this next generation to stand on the authority of the Word of God in its entirety — from beginning to end!

    Tough luck on ol’ Hambo: most of the “next generation” I speak to fall around giggling at the notion of a literal reading of the Bible.

  5. Ken asks “Why do we wear clothes?”

    I don’t know why, I just know that Ken’s not supposed to wear clothes woven of two different materials.

  6. It appears as though Forbes has grown new limbs that yield nuts.

    Just Can’t wait for their “Forbes: World Net Daily or Answers in Forbes” editions to be unveiled on the web.

  7. I would have two concerns about this article. 1) I don’t think anyone “embraces” homosexuality, abortion or any of the other “crimes against nature” ol’ pig sh*t for brains mentions. I think it far more likely that people have just accepted these things as part of life, harmless in the vast majority of circumstances and needing to be dealt with or ignored as the case may be.
    2) Where does ol’ pig sh*t for brains get off continuously referring to this as “our” nation? If he has gained citizenship then my albeit grudging apology, because he is SOOOO ignorant of the history and principles this country was founded on, as are unfortunately, the majority of our elected officials and younger citizens coming of age. The real crime here it seems to me is the continued encouragement of ignorance that demagogues like Ham represent as fact. And yes that is the word I meant to use because that’s what they really are. Power hungry and greedy demagogues.

  8. So, ol’ Hambo wants the Christian version of the Taliban in charge does he? I had no idea he was a Dominionist.

  9. News flash Hambone: I read the bible from end to end (full disclosure: I kind of skipped over some of the long boring lists of who begat whom). That convinced me that most of it is a bundle of myths strung together, and that, in turn, made me give up the religion I was raised with and become an athiest. That’s one reason I encourage people to read it for themselves and not rely on what folks like Hambonie tell them.

  10. “And he [Hiram] made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and…a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about….And it was an hand breadth thick….” — First Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26

    Now, this would pose no problem to reasonable people, who would accept that 3 is a crude approximation of pi, the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle. But fundamentalists like Ken Ham are hard-core literalists, who believe every word of the Bible is exactly true as written. They tiptoe past Bible passages which hint that the Good Book considers the earth to be flat and stationary at the center of everything, but this one, which can be shown to be wrong by simple measurement, is really awkward. Therefore, they never mention it.

    There are other such embarrassments, such as the reference in Genesis, chapter 6, to the “sons of God.” (Wasn’t there supposed to be only One?)

  11. @The Curmudgeon I read the Forbes. It might more properly have been titled ” How Not to Run a Religious Tax Scam.” Some people really believe say it or do it in the name of god and you’ll get away with it.

  12. Would that be the Dominion according to Elim Garak? LOL

  13. abeastwood,
    I think reading the bible through, with an open mind and courage to think critically almost inevitably leads to disbelief. It’s a mess of a text. What Ham really wants is for followers to read selections as guided by pastors like him; and unfortunately millions do.

  14. Ahhhhh, those good ol’ biblical values that Hambo craves . . . Including slavery? Infanticide? Genocide? Rape? . . .just tryin’ to figure which are Hambo’s faves.

    I wonder how much of Hambo’s bible readin’ is what my sailor brother calls “one handed reading” . . .?..

  15. “[*Curmudgeon rips off his clothes*]”
    Does a picture belong to the realm of realistic options?

    “Observational science has confirmed the Bible’s history over and over again.”
    Like this?

    EricL tries to be charitable: ” this would pose no problem to reasonable people, who would accept that 3 is a crude approximation of pi, the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle. ”
    The Babylonians got this more accurate before 1 Kings and 2 Chr. were written.

  16. The Curmudgeon wrote: “We’re alarmed to see people embracing anti-Enlightenment teachings like science-denial and creationism — along with their inevitable consequences such as theocracy, despotism, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia, sadism, and cannibalism.”

    Yet again, the Curmudgeon has managed to remind me of my “glory days” as a YECist and “creation science” speaker/debater in what was basically the Late Jurassic Era of young earth creationism in 1970’s America. [Some day I’ll explain the creation science analog to the Geologic Time Scale, complete with eras and epochs, along with the appropriate creationist terminology.] You see, as a young professor I had proven myself well in my YECist farm team try-outs after Duane Gish saw me put in a Sunday morning performance at a small IFCA church in rural Texas. [For those unfamiliar with fundy culture, IFCA stands for Independent Fundamental Churches of America. However, even most IFCA pastors today will tell you that it means “I Fight Christians Anywhere”. They always laugh loudly after telling you that, and in fundy culture it is considered quite rude if you do not laugh just as loudly as the pastor, and you must pretend that it’s not the 27th time you’ve heard that same joke, five of them from that same pastor!]

    It was just a few years after Morris & Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood (1962) and had kicked off the modern-day “creation science” movement. Millions of young earth creationists already existed in Bible Belt America but that book drew them together and the book excited us. Morris & Whitcomb appeared to have done their homework [They hadn’t] and to have poured over the scientific evidence and the scripture evidence [They hadn’t done that either] and put it all into one coherent whole. [They had failed at that too but we were young and gullible–and trained in other fields–so we simply assumed that they knew what they were talking about.] We also assumed that they were honest and had been very careful in gathering and carefully double-checking their data, quotations, and citations. [No, they weren’t and hadn’t been.] Yes, it was pretty much zip-to-37 but, as I said, we were very trusting. After all, these were supposed to be sincere and diligent Christians who would never put anything in their book that wasn’t true. Yeah, make that zip-to-40. [This is really depressing to talk about.]

    Anyway, growing numbers of readers and followers meant growing crowds and more and more churches needed “creation scientists” to address these topics. So, after just a short stint in the farm league, Gish called me up to the Dallas, TX minor-league franchise (DTS=Dallas Theological Seminary, being the bull pen for the most part, though not in my case.) When small churches needed a speaker and Dr. Gish was already fully booked (and any open slots on his calendar were held open for any really important event that might come along), that’s where the minor-league players got their experience sharing the creation science “game” with small congregations and perhaps a minor Bible conference here and there. But by the 1970’s, I was sufficiently popular and authoritative (helped by my rising career in my own academic fields) that Dr. Duane Gish, who had himself originally scouted me, felt that I was ready for the big leagues, both under my own billing at good sized “Creation Conference Week” events and also joining “the All-Stars” on the platform at some major meetings.

    Unfortunately, I was already starting to become a bit of a “smart A$$”—or, at least, that is how Dr. Gish and Dr. Morris, saw it, although it clearly bothered Dr. Morris more. Backstage and at private moments I would ask them questions that a “creation scientist” ought not to ask. Worse yet, I started pointing out citation errors, “questionable” quote-mines, and some of the wildest uses of ellipsis since Kepler. (Oops. Yep. Not the same thing but I couldn’t resist coining a phrase.) And that brings us up to the memory that The Curmudgeon brought to mind. You see, I knew Dr. Gish and Dr. Whitcomb well enough, in a general way, but as I was being considered for call up from the minor leagues, Dr. Morris also needed to get familiar with my “game”. Now keep in mind that now we can look back on YECist history and realize that Dr. Morris was grooming his son and grandson as heirs apparent to the “creation science” guru throne. But I wasn’t really aware of that at the time. And whether Dr. Gish did or not is hard to say but as he was singing my praises, it was clear that Dr. Morris was not necessarily as impressed. My sense of humor definitely didn’t jive with his and I did not always take things as seriously as he clearly thought I should, especially during what I started to realize was my “interview” for playing in the major leagues. That together with my tendency to play “devil’s advocate” with YECist arguments was definitely complicating matters—-yet I was sufficiently popular as a “creation science” speaker in the minor leagues that my joining them on the major league circuits was virtually a done deal. (After all, conference organizers were asking for me by name!) Nevertheless, my “fundy credentials” as well as my YECism needed to pass muster in my interview with the holy trinity (i.e., Gish, Morris, & Whitcomb.)

    So, this was where The Curmudgeon’s “list” triggered my memories. Dr. Morris, and somewhat the others, wanted to know how experienced I was at handling questions on various other fundamentalist topics, whether it be preaching on those topics or perhaps being called upon impromptu during an audience Q&A session to address one of these issues cold. For some reason, Dr. Morris asked me a question which seemed more in line with a Roman Catholicism Catechism question: “How about the Seven Deadly Sins? How are you at dealing with those?” Now that was way too perfectly across the plate for this cocky young professor and I said, “Well….I’d say I’m pretty good at Gluttony and Greed, but I’ll be the first to admit that I really need to work a lot harder at Envy and Lust, especially in combination.”

    To my surprise, Dr. Gish looked like he was going to lose it, but, predictably, Dr. Morris was not amused. Perhaps the fact that I kept a straight face made it worse. And then Dr. Morris did the equivalent of waving a white flag in front of a Brahma bull–or lighting a match around a subway natural gas leak: “How about theocracy or despotism….incest, bestiality, pedophilia…..or even necrophilia, coprophilia, sadism, and cannibalism.”

    Now whether Bill Murray stole it from me or not, I will never know. But keeping my straight-face, I said, “I will admit, those are hard ones. But when it comes to bestiality, necrophilia, coprophilia, and even sadism, I promise you: I’m willing to learn. I’ll do whatever it takes to do the job!”

    That interview was both the beginning of my “creation science” major league experience but also the beginning of the end, because I became increasingly questioning, unruly, and even rebellious and skeptical. And it all led up to what many YECs today, especially the younger ones, think only an urban legend, a scary story that YECists sometimes tell around the campfire late at night. But if you ever meet one of the few young earth creationist witnesses surviving to this day who dares speak of it, and can do so without collapsing into tears….if you can win their trust, they will tell you what really happened…and why it’s called The April’s Fools Day Massacre, the bloodiest debacle in the history of “creation science.”

    In fact, decades later, have you ever wondered why no “Creation Science Weekend!” or “Creation Science Expo 2014!” conference ever schedules all of the YECist pantheon of celebrities to appear on the same platform together or even for the same event on the same day?**

    ** FOOTNOTE: If it ever looks like all of the big names in YECdom are present on the same stage at the same time, it is an illusion. The Massacre is why, on those rare occasions when they all appear to be present at the same time, they always use body-doubles. Yes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. And in this case, the fiction is “creation science.”

    (c) Copyright 2014. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum.
    All rights undeserved.

  17. P.S. Now you know why I must always use my pseudonym, Professor Tertius. Much like an elephant, a “creation science” YECist never forgets–unless something involves science or any kind of evidence.

  18. Mark Germano wrote: “I just know that Ken’s not supposed to wear clothes woven of two different materials.”

    Just to demonstrate that I actually can behave like a real professor and write something didactically edifying [Translation for YECers: “I can learn ya all kinds a’ stuff!”]….here goes:

    Ken Sham is only prohibited from mixing two kinds of fabrics in his clothing iff (i.e., “if and only if” in mathematical proofs) he is a citizen of ancient Israel where these symbolic “pledges of allegiance” (in terms of various rules which had great significance and meaning for the Children of Israel but which are lost on us today) are an outward demonstration of his loyalty to YHWH and the nation as a whole. All of these Torah rules are part of the national constitution of the Children of Israel and they are part of the Sinaitic Covenant (i.e., a contract) between YHWH and the descendants of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. (Jacob later on took the name “Israel.” See Genesis.)

    The reason one sees B’nai B’rith on synagogues today is because of this very significant covenant between the Jewish people and God. They are the “Sons of the Covenant” even today because they pledge themselves as they enter adulthood (some do it later on in their lives) to be loyal to that same national covenant of Ancient Israel. The ceremonies are call bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah

    Is Ken Ham Jewish? I don’t think so. Therefore, he has no reason to pledge himself to obey the “Old Covenant”, aka the “Old Testament”. “Testament” was a common English word in 1611, so the KJV Bible helped preserve that archaic word in our language and culture. But I tell students to think of it in more modern jargon: The Old Contract, the name of the first part of the Bible. The Old Contract applied just between those two parties: YHWH (God) and the Children of Israel. Do all contracts apply to everybody? No. Contracts apply only to the associated parties to the contract.

    As a Gentile, Ken Ham has chosen to pledge himself to the “New Covenant”, aka the “New Testament”. In more common language today, he is a “signer” to The New Contract, a contract between God and both Gentiles and Jews. That is, the message of the New Testament is “whosoever will may come.” In other words, Jesus said that he came with the Good News (in Old English, “Godspell”, which today we pronounce as “Gospel”), a contract which both Jews and Gentiles can choose to “sign”. That is, they can pledge themselves to meet the provisions of the New Contract.

    Unfortunately, many people, both Christian and non-Christians, don’t understand these basics which are “RS101: Intro to the Bible” in any university Department of Religious Studies. In other words, these are facts.

    So when you hear somebody chiding some Christian for “being hypocritical by forbidding adultery but eating shellfish and wearing a cotton-and-rayon blend shirt”, the Christian is certainly not being hypocritical but the person making the accusation just proved their ignorance of one of the most basic aspects of the Bible: its division into “Old Contract” and “New Contract”. (I’m not using the word “ignorance” as an insult. It is simply a statement of fact. We are all ignorant of lots of things but informed about others.)

    Once that simple fact of the Bible’s natural division is understood, you can also see that–just as my home mortgage contract might have some provisions which are virtually identical to your home mortgage contract–it shouldn’t be a surprise that some rules apply to both of us. But not all do. Likewise, the Old Contract in the Bible prohibited a citizen of ancient Israel from wearing blended clothing but the New Contract has no such rule. Why the difference? In ancient Israel, the “pagan neighbors” wore blended fabrics as part of their allegiance to their gods and goddesses. It had ritualistic meanings. The Children of Israel were forbidden to worship or recognize foreign gods in any way. So for a citizen of ancient Israel to wear blended fabric, they were breaking God’s covenant (i.e., contract) with Israel, by declaring their defiance of the Torah Law and YHWH. To wear blended cloth, eat shellfish, or cook a calf in its mother’s milk (another pagan ritual of worship among the neighboring nations), that person was guilty of treason!

    As with any other field, whether it be biology or geology or religious studies, when people who are ignorant of the field start making accusations and bombastic statements, they generally sound foolish to anyone who is well acquainted with the subject matter. That’s why Bill Nye (and Richard Dawkins and Neil Degrasse Tyson for that matter) makes huge tactical errors when he starts pontificating on the Bible instead of focusing only on science when he addresses Christian audiences, whether in debates or in TV interviews. Frankly, when I listen to Nye, Dawkins, and Tyson, they sound nearly as foolish as Ken Ham when they speak outside of their fields of expertise. Each tends to blubber the most absurd, and often myth-plagued nonsense, when speaking on the Bible, history, and philosophy. At times they even quote-mine and fall into Arguments from Personal Incredulity fallacies. Christian audiences know this, and that is why many quickly assumed Bill Nye a fool when he made claims about Biblical studies topics. Once you’ve convinced a young earth creationist that you are ignorant of the Bible and telling howlers, your credibility is gone to teach them anything about science. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. Can you blame them? At times, Bill Nye sounded just as foolish to the YECs in the debate audience as Ken Ham sounded to Bill Nye.

    As an educator (retired), I’m an equal-opportunity critic of nonsense. Opinions on subjective matters is one things. Data/facts are another.

    {I hadn’t intended to write another essay tonight but this is an important item of factual information that I needed to address. I hope that readers will find it helpful for understanding Bible topics. If the natural division of the Bible into two parts is not correctly understood, a great deal of unnecessary confusion results.}

    (c) 2014. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum
    All rights reserved.

  19. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    *wonders what it would take to get “Naked For Darwin Day” off the ground*

  20. Jim Orchardist

    Well I am just confused! So can I eat shellfish, rape virgins so long as I compensate their fathers and enslave my neighbours or not?

  21. I don’t have time to post from my archives the articles I’ve written on the alleged problem of Pi=3 which Eric Lipps mentioned in his post about the molten sea. Sadly, this is yet another lamentable myth that would bring Ken Ham to laughter–quite justifiably.

    In the classroom, I approach this one in various ways. But probably the simplest is a trivially easy mathematics question. Look at the vases, cups, bowls, cooking pots, bath tubs, and other receptacles for liquids in your home. How many of them are shaped like a perfect cylinder? How many have fluted rims or flared rims? How many have thicker walls which make the inner and outer diameters different? How many are wider in the middle compared to the top rim or the bottom base?

    The Hebrew texts of the Bible which describe the “molten sea” describe it as having a shape like a tulip. Whether this means that it had fluted ornamentation or simply that it flared outwards significantly at the top rim, it is obvious that it is not describing a perfect and simple cylinder with a wall thickness that is razor thin and therefore making Pi x Diameter =Circumference applicable!

    It has always surprised me that so many people have trouble seeing how it has very little to do with Pi…..and that–horrors!–I have to defend Ken Ham on this one. [Yes, I will be holding a press conference and pausing for photos after this essay. This event needs to be recorded for posterity: Professor Tertius is defending Ken Ham on this one.] Why does the myth live on? For the same reason that all sorts of nonsense is applied by YECists to evolution, the the laws of thermodynamics, and mutations: those who want to deny everything in the Bible as nonsense uncritically repeat the rubbish of their favorite unqualified, uninformed experts. (Hint: Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye are not Biblical Studies scholars. Accordingly, I tend to avoid claiming that Richard Dawkins gets his biology wrong–but I expect him to return the favor and think twice before he declares my OT hermeneutics in error. For either of us to be in a position to declare the other in error, we had each better have at least one thing: lots of evidence.)

    The list of appallingly silly “Bible factoids” just like this one are also reminders of a major bias we modern day, sophisticated, educated people have against ancient people’s in general: We tend to think them stupid, clueless, and always mistaken. Yes, we can find plenty of instances where there were all those things. (We also can find all of those human foibles in our culture today.) But when people start laughing at ancient writers of the Tanakh (the Old Testament) because–we think–they miscounted the number of legs on a grasshopper, they thought rabbits chew cud, they thought bats were birds, and thought whales were fish, they give those ancient people plenty of reasons to think we moderns are quite stupid. (And, frankly, explaining and resolving each of those four classics involves detailed linguistic, sociological, and anthropological tutorials—just as correcting YECist myths about evolution and the LOTs takes more than a few sentences.)

    In truth, in all of those examples, neither we nor them are in error. Welcome to the confusing world of anachronism, culture shock, translation realities, and why we educate ourselves on a topic before calling someone else stupid. Yes, there are plenty of reasons why some people deserve to be called stupid or foolish. But the wise man and the wise woman acquaint themselves with the facts, first. Otherwise, accusations of ignorance all too often have a tendency to bounce back and hit us in the face.

    The Book of Proverbs proves some helpful wisdom in these situations: “An accusation sounds true until another comes forward.” In each of the above accusations against an ancient author, far too many people make conclusions before hearing the other side. It happens with many topics. Evolutionary biology and Biblical studies are two examples.

    (c) Copyright 2014. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum

    One of the reasons that I’ve started my own blog here on WordPress is to post many of my old articles on these various subjects (everything from “bats as birds” and cud-chewing rabbits) so that the general public can at least begin to understand the many things they do not understand when it comes to biblical studies scholarship. It will be a gradual process because I have to rework many of them to be less technical and more suited for a general audience.

  22. P.S. From teaching university students in the USA who were largely monolingual and then teaching bilingual and tri-lingual students in other countries, I was amazed at what a difference it made in what students consider an “error” in the text. Not only do the multi-lingual students easily grasp the translation dynamics of semantic domain mappings, for example, they grasp the cultural issues because they usually grapple with them daily in their own lives. Moreover, they don’t have to be told that translation is more art than science (and certainly isn’t a mathematical equivalency of X=Y that American students so often assume.)

    By the way, one of the many academic weaknesses of YECists (i.e., the “creation science” promoters/entrepreneurs like Ken Ham) is also common among so many of their narrowly-educated seminary professors. The top evangelical graduate schools employee professors with Ph.D’s from the top university programs of the world, from Cambridge to Muenster to Stellenbosch. The vast majority of the OT/NT/ST faculty of the best evangelical institutions would be just as qualified (and often do) candidate for and join the faculties of elite schools like Princeton and Oxford. Fundamentalist seminaries, however, often have ThDs and PhDs from unaccredited or “under-accredited” schools. I worked with some professors who got all three of their degrees from the same school, the very place were they now teach! (Yes, Bachelor’s, Masters,ThD, and then faculty without ever leaving the campus!) As a result, many fundamentalist scholars–the kind most likely to be YECist–have little or no background in Biblical linguistics. Considering that YECists like Ken Ham often get their “academic backup” from these weaker and very inbred/myopic institutions, the results are quite predictable.

    [If that sounded like a gross over-generalization, it was and it is. The patterns have indeed been changing, even since my retirement. But the legacy of myopic scholarship in fundamentalist America is one that will take generations to repair. The fact that Ken Ham still claims Noah’s Flood was global is an excellent example. The fact that both Christians and non-Christians tend to think that there are “two creation-of-the-world” stories in Genesis is another.]

  23. Look on the bright side. This little homily is a cry of despair, an admission of abject failure. Despite Ham’s best efforts, and those of Americans for Returning to the Dark Ages (inc), America has mostly left their nonsense behind. Increasingly, fewer and fewer Americans are listening to them, and Ham and the others are left to wring their hands and wail about it.

    Mind, that was the trend throughout the history of the United States. Nearly always, if a Biblical injunction – or a self-appointed prophet’s assertion of one – clashes with reason, evidence or respect for the rights of others, the American people have clearly chosen the values of the Enlightenment. Sometimes it takes a while for them to come to the decision. Not surprising, because there’s an awful lot of mass there to get moving. But as Galileo remarked, it does move – and once it gets moving, it would take more than the fleaweight Ham to stop it.

    Could it be stopped? Are the rights of women, of minorities, of gays, be rolled back? Could superstition replace science in the schools? It’ll take more than Ham. I don’t think so, now. Sometimes I don’t know – when I read of the Environmental Secretary who says that we don’t need to concern ourselves with the environment, because Jesus is about to return, or a Chairman of a Congressional Science Committee calling the Theory of Evolution “lies from the pit of Hell”. That kind of stuff bothers me, I will admit.

    But I’ll still bet on the American people. On form, it’s the best bet.

  24. But I’ll still bet on the American people. On form, it’s the best bet.

    I agree. Even Ken Ham laments that his type of constituency churches lose 2/3rds of their young people by age 25. He also admits that much of that is because of getting university educations and “being told the theory of evolution is true”. Like a stopped watch that still manages to be correct twice per day, so in this case does Ham get it right. Students see the evidence for themselves and they realize that people like Ham lied to them.

    I would also agree with those who say that Ken Ham will recruit more people to atheism than Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris ever will.

    So, yes, we can still point to a lot of government officials and politicians spouting the usual nonsense—but their children and grandchildren are not championing the same legacy.

    Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be tremendous damage for years yet, especially to science education and a science-literate electorate.

  25. “There are other such embarrassments, such as the reference in Genesis, chapter 6, to the “sons of God.” (Wasn’t there supposed to be only One?)”

    Not an embarrassment at all—in any language. Look at any language lexicon. Most words have multiple meanings which depend on context. (Is the fact that the word “record” has many definitions in English, some of which apply to the noun uses and some to verb uses, an embarrassment to anyone?)

    Likewise phrases—a sequence of words—have multiple definitions also. Some of those phrases are actual idioms, adding more complications to the mix. All languages and texts have these characteristics.

    Furthermore, you contrasted “sons of God” in the Hebrew language of the OT from many centuries before Christ with “sons of God” and “Son of God” in the NT Greek language of the NT from the first century C.E. (And just to make it even more complicated, Jesus’ words are recorded in Greek in the ancient texts but he would have spoken them in Aramaic, the language of the first-century residents of Palestine.)

    If these realities are “embarrassments”, I’m surprised I’ve never heard that term applied to Shakespeare, Keats, or any of us.

    Of course, the original comment may have been made as a joke. But I regularly hear all over the Internet comments about the Biblical texts which are no less absurd and silly than at least 1/2 of what Ken Ham says about science.

    We all take tremendous risks when we pontificate outside of our areas of expertise. Sadly for Ken Ham, he appears to have no area of expertise. (Well, I suppose he has one. But it’s not a talent anybody should be proud of. It’s a field in which Kent Hovind is a veritable prodigy.)

  26. I sure wish WordPress allowed editing of one’s own comments. My em-italics tag obviously got unmatched and stuck.

    [*Voice from above*] I stretched forth my mighty hand and … behold!

  27. One of the reasons why I am interested in geocentrism is that as far back as we can get commentaries on the Bible, up until beginnings of modern science, one cannot find anyone (as far as I know!) who suggested that those geocentric passages were only meant figuratively.

    And I dare to say that no one even today has come to the conclusion that those passages must be just a concession to popular language – without having accepted the authority of modern on the heliocentric model of the Solar System and then allowed that mere human opinion to direct one’s interpretation of the Bible. (And, by the way, that acceptance of modern science is largely with no idea of how modern science supports that model. Let them try to argue with modern geocentrists!) That is, it cannot be argued that the Bible’s statement about the Sun moving around the Earth daily is obviously figurative language.

    This is in contrast with the Flat Earth, which has a long history of reconciliation of the Bible with the globe of the Earth. I think that it is generally recognized that at the times of the earliest texts of the Bible, the authors wrote with the understanding that the Earth is flat, and the Bible reflects that belief. But the Church has come to terms with that, and it would be counter-productive for one to try to argue that point. But one cannot find Luther, for example, or Aquinas, or Augustine saying that one need not take the Bible’s geocentrism as anything other than a concession to popular speech. In fact, one can find more about the days of creation week not being six 24-hour days than about heliocentrism.

    (BTW, what do the major figures of today’s theology have to say about geocentrism? Are there any who do anything more than just concede the authority of modern science? It is uncharitable to say that there are few who would be able to hold their own against modern geocentrists? I’d bet that there is more understanding about evolution.)

  28. “of a major bias we modern day, sophisticated, educated people have against ancient people’s in general: We tend to think them stupid, clueless, and always mistaken.”
    Please speak for yourself, Third Prof. Most physicists have the highest respect for Archimedes. And Archimedes totally makes clear how you can be a genius and still very wrong.
    What does make me laugh is

    “the simplest is a trivially easy mathematics question.”
    None of the questions that follow is mathematical.
    As for 1 Kings 7:23 it is obvious that the author is describing a cilinder. But anyhow, even if the thing is not a perfect cilinder the ratio between circumference and radius is still not 3.

    “as having a shape like a tulip”
    In that case the size as described in 1 Kings 7:23 doesn’t make sense.

    “is not describing a perfect and simple cylinder with a wall thickness that is razor thin and therefore making Pi x Diameter =Circumference applicable!”
    Better avoid maths, you. The wall thicker than razor thing does not make “pi” unapplicable. Plus again – if it is not describing a cylinder (it doesn’t need to be a perfect one) the size as described doesn’t make any sense.
    Finally you’re doing here exactly what Ol’ Hambo claims to detest so much: you’re not taking the quote literally. You’re interpreting things away.

    “acquaint themselves with the facts”
    Fact is that Ol’ Hambo advocates a literal reading of the Bible. Another fact is that a literal reading of 1 Kings 7:23 says that the Bible gets the ratio of circumference and radius wrong, even if we’re not talking about a perfect circle. That this does nothing to discredit christianity is something I agree with. However it is a good example of Ol’ Hambo’s double standard and that is the only point.

  29. Grave error:

    “And Archimedes totally makes clear how you can be a genius and still very wrong.”
    Must be Aristoteles.

  30. In short: 1 Kings 7:23 totally makes sense if we accept that
    1. the Bible is not written as a scientific treatise;
    2. the author did not care about scientific accuracy and hence simply was sloppy;
    3. the Bible is not a reliable source for scientific findings.

    The big fun of course is that this is not only very reasonable, but also can be used to argue that Genesis does not contradict Evolution Theory. Good luck telling Ol’ Hambo so.

  31. The Bible says absolutely nothing about evolution, positive or negative. Because the concepts which make it possible to talk about evolution were not present in the Ancient Near East. For the Bible to say something about evolution would be like it to say something about the Periodic Table of Elements, or about Calculus.

  32. Professor Tertius mentions: “the articles I’ve written on the alleged problem of Pi=3”

    I took a stab at that a while ago: Creationists And The Scriptural Value Of Pi.

  33. SC:”If Hambo’s view of things is so true, and if science confirms it, why don’t the public opinion polls show a growing trend in his favor, rather than the other way around?”

    I have been unusually busy lately, so I only have time to briefly scan the many great (or boring if they’re about that Rives dude) articles here. But that allows me to see the “30,000 foot view” of the anti-evolution movement even more clearly. In one respect, there is a slight “growing trend in [Ham’s] favor,” though probably (& ironically) due more to the liberal media than to Ham’s own efforts. As “scientific” YEC keeps “slouching towards Omphalos,” the media increasingly keeps portraying it as if it were the only “kind” of creationism out there, and thus giving the DI’s sneakier efforts a free pass.

    Even though evolution-deniers-on-the-street are mostly OECs, especially if they give the “when” questions more than a few seconds’ thought, they are increasingly militant in their objection to evolution, often admitting, as their more educated “gurus” do, that it has everything to do with their fear that accepting evolution is the root of all evil, and nothing to do with “evidences” against evolution, let alone for anything else. That’s good news for AiG and the DI.

    Bottom line: ignore the misleading, yet endlessly-cited Gallup poll, and watch out for those that ask clearer questions, and give “unsure” as an option. They unfortunately show that the “big tent” scam is working. That there are more atheists than ever is no comfort whatever. Most of them accept evolution and reject creationism for all the wrong reasons anyway.

  34. @Frank J

    Most of them accept evolution and reject creationism for all the wrong reasons anyway.

    What a curious statement. Do please expand.

  35. @Professor Tertius (If you are still following this thread): My problem is not that fundamentalists like Ken Ham do not follow the Old Testament. My problem is that fundamentalists like Ken Ham follow the Old Testament selectively. For that matter, they follow the New Testament selectively, too.

    I understand (maybe too strong a word) that there is a difference between the OT and NT. But, to my knowledge, Paul did not provide an Excel spreadsheet with columns labeled “Keep Following These Laws” and “Fuggitaboutit.”

    So my question (rhetorical and snarky, perhaps) is: why the Ten Commandments need to be put up on every wall in every government building but not the rules laid out in Leviticus?

  36. realthog: “What a curious statement. Do please expand.”

    I am referring to the people on the street, ~90% of whom can’t describe a molecule. Not those who understand evolution and know more about the anti-evolution movement than the media caricature, and just happen to be atheists.

  37. A better question might be why put anything up at all on govt. buildings as they don’t really care about rules about right and wrong anyway. The govt. that is. They are screwing everyone pretty equally regardless of …well you know .

  38. @TomS:

    The Bible says absolutely nothing about evolution, positive or negative.

    That is, at best, more than a little oversimplified. Yes, it would be technically accurate (and completely meaningless) to state that the bible does not interact with the concept of natural selection, or the neo-Darwinist synthesis of the 1930s and after. But, so what? It is hardly debatable that what the bible does say about creation(ism)–for example, the idea that animals were created in “kinds”, or the idea that there was a first pair of humans–addresses some of the same questions that evolutionary theory addresses, and furthermore, that the bible gets these things dead wrong.

  39. @Mark Joseph
    The concept that animals are arranged in species is something that didn’t occur to anyone for well after a thousand years after the completion of the Bible.
    It is certainly at least debatable that the vague phrase “after his/their kind” can bear the weight of saying all of that: animals were created in “kinds”. The form kinds does not appear in Biblical Hebrew.
    The interpretation that Genesis 1 describes “spontaneous generation” of animals at least has the virtue of being about a process which we know was accepted in the Ancient Near East.

  40. Techreseller

    A statement by Ham made SC tear off his clothes. Did SC go out in public wearing no clothes? The horror. Now I really hate ol’Hambo. My eyes my eyes.