Who’s Afraid of an Asteroid Strike?

Imagine that you’re watching one of those low-grade disaster movies. The plot is typical — a gigantic asteroid is headed toward the Earth, and some heroic characters are about to take off in a rocket, change the asteroid’s course, and save the Earth.

You’ve seen it before? We all have. Now let’s give it an extra twist. A mob of religious fanatics, led by a raving, wild-eyed preacher, is gathering outside the launch site to prevent the ship from blasting off. Why? Because the preacher says the ship’s mission is blasphemy. He also says that God will protect us; and if he doesn’t, we should accept what comes as the inevitable penalty for our sins. He and his drooling followers are ready for Judgment Day.

Then, at the preacher’s command, the religious lunatics storm the gate and begin throwing rocks and swinging clubs at the outnumbered spaceport guards. Will the ship launch? Will the brave astronauts be able to save the Earth? Or will the howling crazies succeed in blocking humanity’s only hope of survival?

Okay — freeze that. But keep it in mind as we take a look at the latest blog article from 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 infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo’s latest is Will Asteroids Wipe Out Humanity? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, and Hambo’s scripture references omitted:

More than 100 “scientists, physicists, artists, astronauts and business leaders from 30 countries” have signed a declaration that seeks to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future,” according to one of the signers of the declaration. The reason for this declaration is because, as one of the scientists backing the plan puts it, “The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed time.”

Those who signed the declaration are concerned that a massive asteroid impact on Earth could be doomsday for mankind. So they are seeking for governments to work together because, as one of them says, “finding hazardous asteroids early through an accelerated search program is the key to preventing future destructive impacts.” The goal is for early detection of these asteroids so that there is enough advanced notice to use current technology to “deflect dangerous asteroids through kinetic impactors and gravity tractors,” according to a NASA astronaut.

This is pure nonsense to ol’ Hambo. He scoffs:

What fuels this fear that humanity is doomed to destruction by an asteroid, artificial intelligence, or some other catastrophe? Well, according to the starting point of those most concerned about humanity’s demise, life arrived here entirely naturalistically and Earth has existed for billions of years. There is nobody ordering, sustaining, or upholding the universe beyond the unfeeling laws of physics. There is even a popular dinosaur extinction proposal that claims the dinosaurs were wiped out by a massive asteroid impact. So if an asteroid destroyed much of life in the past, what is to stop it from doing it again?

But Hambo is a man without fear of such things. Let’s read on:

When you start with God’s Word instead of man’s word, you get an entirely different perspective on humanity’s future. According to the Bible, God is upholding the world by His powerful Word. We are not alone in this universe at the mercy of blind natural laws. Also, we do not need to fear a natural calamity wiping out mankind. Scripture tells us how humanity will end — when Jesus Christ returns to Earth in judgment.

So don’t worry about asteroids. Hambo continues:

Also, according to the biblical worldview, dinosaurs were not wiped out by an asteroid impact 65 million years ago. They were created on Day Six along with Adam and Eve. But many of them were buried in the global Flood of Noah’s day around 4,300 years ago. After the Flood, dinosaurs died out for the same reasons that many species go extinct each year … . They should remind us of God’s judgment on sin in the past and His coming judgment on sin in the future.

Not only are asteroids nothing to worry about, there isn’t anything to worry about. Hambo says:

[W]e do not need to fear man’s doomsday forecast about humanity’s future because we serve a God who sees the end from the beginning. This should give us peace and hope as we await His coming.

But what if Hambo’s wrong? No problem! There’s still nothing to worry about. Hambo has more good news:

And one last point to ponder. If there’s no God and life is just a result of naturalistic processes, then, as I said to Bill Nye during the debate, when people die they won’t even know they existed. So ultimately, if everyone died and all life were wiped out, why does it matter anyway? After all, from a naturalistic worldview life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless!

Okay, that’s enough. We now return you to that movie with the crazy people storming the launch pad. Hey — what made us think of that movie?

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

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33 responses to “Who’s Afraid of an Asteroid Strike?

  1. And no need to research into or worry about tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes & plagues of locusts that a benevolent deity throws at us quite often.

  2. I’ve seen this story before, in a comic book. Because of the religious mob, the spaceship launches late, and discovers that the bombs they were going to use to stop the asteroid (comet?) have been sabotaged. The asteroid hits, civilization is wiped out, except for the crew of the spaceship, who return to Earth and start rebuilding.

  3. Not sure if this was intentional, but the “movie” describes a major plot point in the movie Contact, based on Carl Sagan’s novel of the same name.

  4. So the dinosaurs died out as God’s punishment for their sins?

    Sinful dinosaurs, eh? I live and learn.

  5. Once again, we are told what the Bible says about species extinction, when, of course, nobody noticed what the Bible said about species extinction before – well, for a long time, nobody thought anything about species extinctions, until the fossils raised the question, and then the common opinion was that God’s Providence would not permit extinction, until in the 19th century it became undeniable. And then, we finally learn what the Bible says! Who knows what the future will have to tell us about what the Bible has to say.
    Oh, by the way, where exactly does the Bible say that dinosaurs (or anything else) were buried in Noah’s Flood, or that anything ever went extinct? It does seem a little odd that all of those people didn’t notice that in the Bible for all of those years.
    Not that I think that anybody is letting imagination dictate what he says that the Bible says.
    For there is something that the Bible does clearly say:
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Revelation 22:18

  6. I’m so glad to learn from Hambone that the sky fairy is “…upholding the world by his powerful word”. I was worried it was something more difficult to understand, like conservation of momemtum…

  7. But what if Jesus arrives on a great big asteroid the size of Judea? What then, huh? Oy vey!

  8. madjarov42 says:

    Not sure if this was intentional, but the “movie” describes a major plot point in the movie Contact, based on Carl Sagan’s novel of the same name.

    It’s partly that, partly Armageddon (starring Bruce Willis), and partly Asimov’s Nightfall.

  9. So if we are threatened by an asteroid strike, we can just ignore it because there is a book. Well that’s OK then.

  10. If there’s no God and life is just a result of naturalistic processes, then, as I said to Bill Nye during the debate, when people die they won’t even know they existed. So ultimately, if everyone died and all life were wiped out, why does it matter anyway? After all, from a naturalistic worldview life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless!

    Once again, the curse of Ham: he opens his mouth and nonsense emerges.

    Apparently it’s never occurred to him that from a naturalistic worldview it’s the job of humans to create meaning and purpose.

    As for what would happen if everyone died, how is that worse than a “saving remnant” ascending unto heaven while the mass of humanity burns in agony forever, denied even the release of death by the fundamentalists’ Supreme Sadist?

  11. Don’t you love it when the same nitwits that quote Hoyle’s “Junkyard Tornado” canard breeze right through the idea of a cataclysmic flood arranging the dead in layers following the exact developmental order that evilution predicts they will be found in?

  12. This again proves the lie of Ken Ham’s false distinction between “origin science” and “operational science”. Creationists say that they only hate and derogate “origin science” as not “real” science, but they’re supposedly not opposed to “operational science.”

    But the probability of an asteroid hitting the Earth is a matter of operational science by their definition, yet they assert that their Book still trumps or cancels out observation and calculation. No, they hate “operational science” too.

  13. So sad that Ham spends time reading about science, just so he can argue against it. Too bad he doesn’t read science to actually learn something.

  14. @abeastwood – “I’m so glad to learn from Hambone that the sky fairy is ‘…upholding the world by his powerful word’.”

    I wonder which way he thinks the potential down against which we are being upheld is? His geographic dislocation from down-under may have disoriented him. Shades of Richard Farina.

  15. No need to have lightning rods either. He who has not sinned need not fear. Joking aside (?), fundamentalist preachers did protest against lightning rods as they became popular in the early 1800s after Ben Franklin invented them.

  16. Where does Ham’s faith in his God begin and end? Would he jump onto I-75, set his cruise control at 70, and just let God’s word get him to his destination? Would he swim in the waters off South Africa wearing only his favorite Cape Fur Seal costume? Would he seal off his storm shelter during tornado season?

    I’m almost feeling bad for his ignorant followers. They just wanted a little comfort in their lives but instead had the great misfortune of coming across Ken Ham.

  17. @Mark Germano
    Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God matthew 4:7, citing Deuteronomy 6:16

  18. And religion is the #1 greatest inhibitor to human progress. Between religion and cultural practices related to religion we could have been centuries ahead in medicine and science and culture and ethics and in every other indicator.

  19. Ham simply CANNOT explain why ALL dinosaurs have gone extinct ‘recently’ (as my latest post here just now underlined):
    http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2967&start=1605

  20. “Who knows what the future will have to tell us about what the Bible has to say.” It seems we sometimes need real science (not the YEC version) to help us understand the Bible ‘properly’. Good job Christians have Mr Ham to call upon for appropriate enlightenment.

  21. @realthog – Sinful dinosaurs? why yes. Google “Gary Larson cartoon real reason dinosaurs went extinct.”

  22. Suppose an asteroid is discovered with our name on it. Further suppose that detailed calculations determine that the impact site will be centered in the state of Kentucky, and unless it is somehow diverted, the impact will very significant – with massive destruction in Kentucky and nearby states and global climate effects.

    The question is, will Ham relocate back to Australia, or will he stand his ground in the conviction that God will not allow the asteroid to strike? I say he will come up with some excuse to relocate as fast as he can.

  23. @Hideo Gump

    That’s not really, like, sinful. I was looking for something a bit . . . well, saucier. Like dino-on-dog sex.

  24. @Ed

    The question is, will Ham relocate back to Australia, or will he stand his ground in the conviction that God will not allow the asteroid to strike?

    He may hope it will shatter on his skull.

  25. > “The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it
    > becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed
    > time.”
    —————–
    Hamster is a lying sac of goo, but I want to point out that the risk of an impact does not increase merely because hominids are aware of it. I’m very interested in meteoritics and impact geology, but worrying about an impact is beyond-words silly. When a rock impacts, I don’t fret – I anxiously await for samples to appear on the retail market.

  26. @Ed: “Suppose an asteroid is discovered with our name on it.”
    That can be done better. “Suppose an asteroid is discovered with god’s name on it – in the five largest languages.” Etc. How strong will Ol’ Hambo’s faith be?

  27. I guess the following, and not the Bible, is the REAL cornerstone of Ham’s entire belief system: “And one last point to ponder. If there’s no God and life is just a result of naturalistic processes, then, as I said to Bill Nye during the debate, when people die they won’t even know they existed. So ultimately, if everyone died and all life were wiped out, why does it matter anyway? After all, from a naturalistic worldview life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless!”

    To the creationist mind, “meaning” is apparently something that only comes from the remotest past. Hence the abyss of existensial angst that opens up at the suggestion that life could be the result of mindless natural processes instead of being poofed into existence by a purposeful deity.

    There is also a profound selfishness built into Ham’s statement. If _I_ can’t live forever, nothing seems to matter. What if “I” actually want humanity to succeed and thrive long after my own decades in this universe are over? The very notion is apparently alien to Ham’s mind. Everything is about me. Once my puny existence is over, why should I care if all life on earth is wiped out by an asteroid, or whatever? A world without me is (apparently) a world I can afford be utterly indifferent towards, even if it is populated by still-living people of my own species, including maybe my own family members and descendants.

    So much for Christian love and selflessness, Ham-style.

  28. @hnohf: Yup, that’s in line with my long-held suspicion that ev-Ham-gelists are, at heart, frustrated narcissists who can’t bear the thought of being mostly irrelevant to humanity, and so end up trumpeting the idea that they know something special of which few others are aware. It’s little more than a protracted ego trip.

  29. hnohf says:

    To the creationist mind, “meaning” is apparently something that only comes from the remotest past.

    The way I see it, he thinks an individual’s life gets its meaning from something — anything — other than itself. Without that external validation, he is nothing.

    There is also a profound selfishness built into Ham’s statement. If _I_ can’t live forever, nothing seems to matter.

    Yes, and that’s where the egotism comes in. It seems to conflict with the worthlessness of his existence, absent divine validation.

  30. God grief! Why does Ham and his followers, even bother to get out of bed in the morning? We know why Ham does, to pass the collection plate. Nothing more.

  31. Hmm. I wonder if Ken Ham carries insurance on the Creation Museum. Remember this?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/22/lightning-creation-museum_n_3795010.html

    I wonder if Ham considers lightning to be “an act of God”?

  32. @TomS: I suppose you’re right. The difference is actively tempting the Lord as opposed to passively tempting the Lord. I guess he should just move into a house without any protection from strong storms as opposed to taking steps to remove it.

    Or, as @RSG points out, maybe it’s just a matter of scale. Safety on a small scale is okay, safety on a large scale is right out. Keeping true to form, Ken Ham believes in micro-protection, but not macro-protection.

  33. MG: “Keeping true to form, Ken Ham believes in micro-protection, but not macro-protection.”

    Love it!!