Ken Ham Rejects Uniformitarianism

We just posted AIG Embraces Uniformitarianism?, in which two rogue authors contradicted years of creation science — and they did it at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG). They said:

We live in an orderly and consistent universe because there is a consistent God who upholds the universe. Universal constants and order make sense because there is a God who never changes and who has imposed order on His creation — and this all-knowing God has informed us of this. That’s why we can know that the laws of nature will operate the same way next week as they did this week.

[…]

In order for us to even be able to do physics or mathematics, we must assume that the universe is orderly and that laws of nature will operate the same tomorrow as today.

Now we have a response — intentional or not, we don’t know — from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He just posted Should You Fear an Asteroid Apocalypse?, which appears at his blog at AIG. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

What you believe about the Earth’s past doesn’t just influence how you view it — your belief also determines how you view the future! Because of their beliefs about the past, many evolutionists are concerned that somehow mankind will be catastrophically wiped out and life as we know it will end on Earth. One of the most popular versions of this apocalyptic tale is that a massive asteroid, or several asteroids, will strike Earth and obliterate life.

Why would anyone be concerned about such a catastrophe? Let’s read on:

Well, according to man’s ideas about the past, life arose naturalistically and the universe is governed completely by the merciless laws of physics. According to their worldview, evolutionists contend there isn’t anyone upholding or sustaining the universe. We are simply at the mercy of naturalistic processes. Also, according to one evolutionary idea about the supposed dinosaur extinction event, a massive asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. If such an event happened once before, what’s to stop it from happening again and wiping out humanity this time?

Is Hambo saying that the universe isn’t “governed completely by the merciless laws of physics”? But the AIG article we just posted about says “the universe is orderly” and the “laws of nature will operate the same tomorrow as today.” We’re so confused! Hambo continues:

Those who start with the Bible, however, get a completely different picture of Earth’s future because we start with a different picture of Earth’s past. According to God’s Word, the universe is not here as the result of naturalistic processes. God created the universe and has imposed order on it. The universe is not strictly governed by unfeeling natural laws.

How can AIG’s drooling fans deal with these contradictory messages? Even their minds must be reeling. Here’s one more excerpt from Hambo’s final paragraph:

What starting point you begin with makes a big difference in how you view the past, present, and future. As Christians, we have no reason to fear man’s prediction about the future because we can know the God who sees the end from the beginning, and He has already told us how it will end — and He is in total charge of it all.

Maybe so, but it appears that no one is in charge at AIG. Oh — at the end of Hambo’s essay we’re told: “This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.” Why didn’t they research what’s going on at their own website?

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31 responses to “Ken Ham Rejects Uniformitarianism

  1. Kenny mentions “…evolutionists contend there isn’t anyone upholding … the universe. But isn’t it turtles, all the way down, upholding the world?

  2. Our Curmudgeon usefully highlights AiG’s internal contradictions, as evidenced by an article by

    two rogue authors authors contradicted years of creation science

    Are these author authors related to Major Major, the character in Heller’s celebrated Catch-22?

  3. O Great Hand of Correction! I humbly implore Thee, in Thy boundless mercy, to fix mine broken html tag above (if you do so whilst correcting Thy servant Curmudgeon’s slip, Thou canst call it a twofer…)

    [*Voice from above*] Okay. Okay.

  4. If AiG-style Christianity becomes the universal world religion and I am left as the last rational person on the planet, I guess I would _hope_ for a devastating asteroid impact just so that I could spend my last moments enjoying the look on everybody else’s face.

  5. hnohf, contemplating a world exclusively populated by Creationists, confesses

    I would _hope_ for a devastating asteroid impact just so that I could spend my last moments enjoying the look on everybody else’s face.

    …The Schadenfreude is strong with this one.

  6. Yeah, if you ignore science and listen to Ken Ham instead, an asteroid WILL sooner or later hit you on your silly head.

  7. “…The Schadenfreude is strong with this one.”

    . . .As it is with many of us. 😀

  8. Also, according to one evolutionary idea about the supposed dinosaur extinction event, a massive asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. If such an event happened once before, what’s to stop it from happening again and wiping out humanity this time?

    Nothing whatever, which is why astronomers are carefully cataloguing asteroids with eccentric orbits which might result in a collision in the future and why some people are agitating for the development of space vehicles with the capability to divert such asteroids if necessary.

    And how does the possibility of a future extinction of humanity disprove evolution anyway? Ham seems to think that all of “naturalistic” science must be rejected if it threatens even the possibility that the world might end in some other way than as foretold in Revelations.

  9. Ham wrote a similar article, and SC blogged about it, back in December. It’s still not enough to supplant “the homosexual lifestyle” as the thing fundies think most about, but we might be seeing a trend.

    Anyway, I haven’t, and probably won’t, do a comparison of the two, but anyone think they’ll be terribly different?

  10. How can AIG’s drooling fans deal with these contradictory messages? Even their minds must be reeling.

    Unfortunately not. They can stand on “strong” theological grounds. Albert Mohler, president of a Southern Baptist seminary recently pulled the same stunt:

    http://dododreams.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-gobbler-for-thanksgiving.html

    He waxed poetic about how his God gave stable and regular laws that enabled the ESA to send a probe over 10 years and billions of miles to land on a comet but still maintains that the Earth is young by retreating to Philip Henry Gosse’s Omphalos … namely that God, ever the trickster, just made the Earth look old, just as he just make the probe look like it landed on a comet because of universal constants. Without the constant attention of that god the constants could have changed at any time.

    The thing to remember about fundie theology is that it is, at its heart, ad hoc. Anything that appears to support their view of the Bible can be enthusiastically embraced; anything that doesn’t can be explained away on the flimsiest of pretexts.

    When you worship a fickle god stuffed into a book, inconsistencies are not a problem, they are an expected and even confirming result.

  11. Actually, it’s only one turtle and four elephants – at least that’s what Sir Terry said.

  12. Ken Ham said it — “…a massive asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. If such an event happened once before, what’s to stop it from happening again and wiping out humanity this time?” (Yeah, I know I quote-mined you, Ken. So sue me.)

    Ken, you could have added, “…and not just the dinosaurs, but about 70% of all (non-microbial) species of life extant at the time.” Moreover, the fossil record shows us that wasn’t even the worst extinction event to occur. The Permian Extinction 250 million years ago took out at least 90% of the species. Although the cause of the Permian Extinction isn’t perfectly understood, there’s evidence that it, too, was the result of a cosmic collision.

    Ken Ham, do you carry more insurance on your car than the minimum required by law, or do you trust God to keep you protected? How about your home, and your Creation Museum? The point is this — we know asteroids, comets and large meteors have struck the earth in the past with devastating results. There are 44 confirmed large craters on this planet to prove this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth)

    Developing the spacecraft capable of diverting an incoming comet or asteroid seems to me to be pretty cheap insurance to protect humanity, given the stakes involved. Isn’t there a verse in the Bible telling us “not to test God”?

    True, we can catalog all possible earth-crossing asteroids, and from what we know now it looks like we’re not going to get walloped by a really big asteroid during this century. HOWEVER — asteroids aren’t the only danger. Comets routinely come falling into the inner solar system unannounced, and we may only get two months’ warning, if that. (Comet Hyakutake, discovered on 31 January 1996, passed very close to Earth in March of that year.) We need to have rockets at the ready if we want to be protected.

  13. My favorite of the “creation science” bloopers concerning Uniformitarianism is that they hate it until they compile their “100 Evidences for a Young Earth”. Virtually every one of them involves extrapolation of present day rates into the past, that is, depends on Uniformitarian assumptions! [So the rule is “Uniformitarian is the great flaw of modern science—but the very foundation of creation science.” Yes, you can quote me on that. At my age, being quoted now and then helps amuse me and that helps to pass the time.]

    Of course, the silliness goes overtime when one realizes that they got their definition of Uniformitarianism wrong in the first place. Uniformitarian methodologies in science do NOT assume that every rate today was the same in the past. It assumes that one call learn about the past from studying evidence in the present. And from that study we know that some rates stay the same (speed of light) and some don’t (rates of speed of things like the moon’s movements toward/away from the earth, earth magnetic field changes, changes in CO2 percentages of the atmosphere, etc.)

    “Uniformitarian” is not about speeds per se. It is about understanding the past by means of evidence collected in the present—and rejecting crazy YECist claims like “The speed of light could have been 1,000,000 faster back then” and “Coral grew 1000x times faster in the past” and “The White Cliffs of Dover could have formed in under 6,000 years if the little animals had a much better food supply in the past!”

    The Curmudgeon has pinned down the problem well: “creation science” is not deterred by contradiction. They want to demand that “an orderly deity produced an orderly universe that can be understood” and then turn around and say, “Don’t be fooled by the present because it tells us nothing about the past—because there is no rhyme or reason to how the universe operates.” Once again, they force their people to think God filled his creation with lots of deceptive evidence they are supposed to ignore because, as I heard various preachers say a half century ago, “God put dinosaur bones in the ground to test the faith of his people while confusing those evil atheist scientists!”

    YECism has a lot of similarities with the loading docks where I worked so long ago: “You don’t have to be crazy and confused to work around here—but it certainly helps.”

  14. Stephen Kennedy

    Catastrophic impacts by comets and asteroids have fortunately been rare events during most of the Earth’s history and evidence of them is quickly obliterated by our planet’s geology. However, if one uses even a small telescope and looks at the surface of the Moon, where impact craters are preserved, it is very apparent such collisions have happened many times in the past.

    Anyone who actually believes that If a comet, obeying the laws of Physics and is on a collision course with the Earth, is going to be stopped by some supernatural intervention has to be a complete lunatic.

  15. Before anyone starts running round to find him/herself a telescope: Stephen K is talking about this.

    “has to be a complete lunatic.”
    Ie from the moon – how appropriate.

  16. Dave Luckett

    The writers referred to in the post before this one and Ken differ on doctrinal grounds. They say the Universe is predictable because God. Ken says some things in the Universe like giant meteors are predictable because God, but other things like speed of light and radioactive isotopic decay are not, also because God. Further, he, Ken Ham, gets to say which is which.

    It’s kinda like the difference between Homoiousios and Homoousios. Fortunately, there is a method for determining which dogma is right, and the Church has used it with great success in the past.

  17. Re “the universe is governed completely by the merciless laws of physics” uh, as opposed to the Jealous God who drowned 99.999999% of all land dwelling animals? I am unaware of any such activity of comparable size one can lay in the lap of the merciless laws of physics, do you? And while these folks claim that their god promised not to do it again, god is not someone (something?) who can be held to promises by lesser beings, now is He?

    Do these idiots even listen to what they are saying? i’d much rather be at the effect of the merciless, but predictable, laws of physics than a quixotic and vicious all-powerful being I couldn’t possibly understand.

  18. @Steve Ruis
    We are supposed to understand that when God does something like the Flood that he is not governed by the Ten Commandments, that that is not murder. He can allow Satan to take all from Job. Would it be beyond him to lead us to believe a little white lie less-than-all-the-truth if it were for our own good to believe it?

  19. Dave Luckett: “It’s kinda like the difference between Homoiousios and Homoousios. Fortunately, there is a method for determining which dogma is right, and the Church has used it with great success in the past.”

    I am totally unfamiliar with any of this. Is this the means by which angels on pinheads can be counted? (I’m kidding about the pinhead part, but I would like to know more about Homoiousios and Homoousios. I’ll Google it, but if you could put it in terms to be understood by a non-philosopher, I’d surely appreciate it.)

  20. @Dave Luckett: OK, I googled it, and this was the top hit:
    http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/western/bldef_homoiousios.htm

    Pretty simple to understand. I take it that your comment, “Fortunately, there is a method for determining which dogma is right, and the Church has used it with great success in the past,” refers to the Inquisition. (Cue Monty Python…)

  21. Another thought about Ken Ham’s “reasoning” about why we shouldn’t worry about cosmic collisions, as stated here: “As Christians, we have no reason to fear man’s prediction about the future because we can know the God who sees the end from the beginning, and He has already told us how it will end — and He is in total charge of it all.”

    An asteroid, meteor, or comet colliding with earth isn’t necessarily a total extinction event. Indeed, such a collision has not occurred for at least 3.8 billion years or so. A civilization-ending collision could still occur with Ham’s “reasoning”. If we can prevent such a thing from happening, we must. The object that hit 65 million years ago to form the Chicxulub crater didn’t end all life, and if such an object hit today it might not be our extinction, but it certainly would be unpleasant. That object (asteroid or comet) was an estimated 10 km diameter, but even a house-sized iron meteor like the one that formed Arizona’s Canyon Diablo crater near Winslow would cause total devastation over an entire state-sized region. If it hit in the ocean, the results would be much worse – a huge tsunami would drown every city on that ocean’s coasts.

    We are the first species able to prevent such a catastrophe, and we are now at the point where we have the technology to do so. All we need is the political will to do it. Ken Ham’s blatherings about “we have nothing to worry about” is not helping toward that end.

  22. What if Ham achieved his objective, and everyone on earth became a born-again YEC. If that happened, then clearly the apocalypse described in Revelation would not. There would be no one to burn in the fires of hell, no battles to be won, etc.

    If the bible is literally true, then God must be doing something to prevent everyone from becoming faithful Christians, so that Revelations will play out as written.

    Maybe this explains Ham’s troubles with his Ark.

  23. I will post again that Ken Ham embraces uninformitarianism (I snuck an extra “n” in there to make it an accurate description of his teachings).

  24. Dave Luckett

    retiredsciguy: They are both statements about the nature of Christ. (Look, I’m just reciting this stuff, right? I don’t have a pony in this race, myself, on account of I’m not crazy.)

    Arius, who was some dweeb came from Alexandria about 320 CE, started telling people that Jesus was like God, “of similar substance”, that is in Greek “homoiousias”. He was divine, but maybe lesser, maybe created himself. This was because having a guy who was mortal and had to die also being God, who by definition was immortal, was a bit of a problem.

    Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who would have been right at home preaching spit-flecked sermons at some Bible barn in the heartland, promptly told Arius to take that shinola and shove it where the sun don’t shine, on account of Jesus is the same substance (homoousios) as God, because God can do any whacko thing he wants, including contradictions in terms, ’cause he’s God, get it?

    The Christian church promptly divided over the question, and by divided I mean they started dividing each other with whatever came to hand over it. Riots, tumult, massacre – you know, the usual stuff.

    The Emperor Constantine, who was sorta grooming the Christian bishops to be a unifying force in the Empire, didn’t like this, (me, I’d be trying to get the popcorn concession) and he told the clerics to get their act together, like RFN. So they held a big meeting about it, and Arius was shown the door, and told not to let it swat him on the ass on the way out. Everyone who still said Jesus was of like substance but not exactly the same substance as God was shown the usual compassion of the Church, ie, they were allowed to take it up with God in person.

    Honest, you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. Nobody would believe you anyway.

  25. Wow! Thanks, Dave Luckett! If Sunday Pix had told stories like that, I may have stuck around a bit longer.

  26. TheBicyclingGuitarist: “…I will post again that Ken Ham embraces uninformitarianism…”

    I’m sorry I didn’t comment earlier. I thought that adding that extra “n” is a very clever way of perfectly fitting the word to Ken Ham.

  27. Ed wrote:

    There would be no one to burn in the fires of hell, …

    No. The Bible states that the lake of fire was created for Satan and his demons. So even if every sinner repented, the Bible states that Satan and his fallen angels will not repent and therefore will be thrown into the lake of fire. So “hell” would have a purpose regardless of the fate of unrepentant sinners.

    Of course, the word “hell” gets complicated, both in the Old and New Testaments as well as in popular culture, but I’m keeping things concise.

  28. Ken ! I had an uncle who had asteroids really bad..

  29. Ken Ham’s ‘orderly’ universe does NOT prevent ‘natural disasters’ (such as massive tsunamis) EXCEPT when any such possible disaster (ALL humanity being wiped out by asteroid/comet impact) would contradict the Bible. Mere millions dying by an asteroid impact would not contradict the Bible as far as I know (I don’t claim to understand Revelation however).

    Ken Ham (or his researchers) do read this blog but I don’t think the blog about asteroids is responding to the preceding blog post here. I don’t think the new Ham blog of 14 March has anything much to do with their anti-uniformitarianism.

    A message I have just sent to AiG:
    “https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2015/03/14/should-you-fear-an-asteroid-apocalypse/
    What about an asteroid or comet that might destroy some human life on Earth Mr Ham? ‘Just’ a few million people perhaps?
    You are anti-science.”

  30. I see that the same point has occurred to someone else (Retiredsciguy).

  31. @Ashley Haworth-roberts: It would be great if we ALL spoke the same message. At any rate, you stated the idea more clearly that the elimination of 99% of humanity would not contradict the bible.