Ken Ham: Evolutionists Are Aliens!

We continue to be impressed — perhaps dazzled would be a better word — by the knowledge and wisdom of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo not only knows all things, both spiritual and scientific, here on Earth, but also in the heavens above. Verily, it’s an honor to be alive at the same time as such an intellectual giant. Look what he just wrote for the AIG website: Who Are the Real “Aliens”? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

You don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, as NASA and others are doing, to try to meet a (non-existent) alien.

[*Curmudgeon sheds tears of joy*] There you have it, dear reader, right in Hambo’s first sentence. There aren’t any aliens out there. Hambo knows! But what else does he have to tell us? We shall find out together:

You can meet one at the Creation Museum! Yes, the alien at the Creation Museum is a fictional one — and we make that very clear — yet we use this made-up alien to explain the gospel to the real “aliens”! Let me explain.

Breathlessly, we read on:

Answers in Genesis’ talented animators and other staff, especially AiG astronomer Dr. Danny R. Faulkner, have produced a new planetarium program for our museum called Aliens: Fact or Fiction? As museum guests sit in our state-of-the art planetarium, they will travel the universe and discover scientific and biblical answers to questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligent life. They’ll meet some new friends (including our friendly fictional alien) who have lots of questions, such as:

• Are we alone in the universe?
• Does life exist on other planets?
• Did your neighbor really see a UFO?
• Are there answers in the Bible to the question of aliens in our universe?

We can’t wait to see it! Hambo continues:

Visitors to the Creation Museum will learn why there may be water on other planets, but there can’t be intelligent beings because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any supposed aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin. But because the supposed beings are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation.

Adam’s sin also cursed the aliens — if there are any — and they’re all going to the Lake of Fire! Here’s more:

Jesus did not become the “God-Klingon” or the “God-Martian,” as only descendants of Adam can be saved. …. To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is wrong. The gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race — human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

We’re so special! Isn’t this exciting? Moving along:

Now, I’m not contradicting myself when I write the following, but I actually do believe in aliens! In fact, Christians were once “aliens.” God’s Word states [bible quote]. Once people become Christians, they are no longer “aliens” or foreigners in this world — they are citizens of heaven!

Gasp! It looks like Hambo thinks those godless evolutionists are “aliens.” He could be talking about you, dear reader. Another excerpt:

In 2014, when I wrote an article explaining why I didn’t believe in extraterrestrial aliens (using the message of the gospel as I did above), secularists wrote many articles mocking me. They included bizarre headlines like, “Creationist Ken Ham Says Aliens Will Go to Hell, So Let’s Stop Looking for Them.”

Egad — your Curmudgeon was one of those “secularists,” because back then we wrote Ken Ham: Aliens Are Going to Hell! Did we do wrong? This is our last excerpt from Hambo’s article:

In fact, “aliens,” those people who are not of the family of God, will go to hell if they don’t repent of their sin and receive the free gift of salvation. That’s why we at Answers in Genesis seek out as many “aliens” as we can so we can present them with God’s Word and the gospel. There are billions of “aliens” on planet Earth who need to hear the message of the gospel and be saved from hell. Yes, we will be showing museum visitors that even non-existent aliens can be used to bring the truth of salvation to real “aliens!”

So there you are. NASA is wasting their time and our money searching the havens for aliens. You, dear reader, may be one of the real aliens. And you’re doomed! But it’s not too late! Go to the Creation Museum. Do it soon. Do it now, while there is still time!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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45 responses to “Ken Ham: Evolutionists Are Aliens!

  1. secularists wrote many articles mocking me

    And Hambo is surprised about this?

  2. If I understand Hambone correctly (which is difficult, because his writing is a bit disjointed), Hindus are aliens. I’m sure they’d be surprised to learn that. I think Hammy is definite proof that believing in bronze age myths rots the mind (or is it the other way around — deranged minds believe in bronze age myths). Now there’s a real mystery for the alleged scientists at he discoveroid institute to study… Oh, and Hambone, if you want people to stop mocking you, quit writing insane articles.

  3. Ham writes: “there can’t be intelligent beings because of the meaning of the gospel.”

    There also can’t be (alien) intelligent beings because they weren’t included in The Lord of the Rings.

    Ham also needs to make his famous test present tense. Ham, are you there?

    Metaphorically, I think Ham can answer in the affirmative. He’s been way out there for a long time now.

  4. Hambo preaches:

    To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is wrong. The gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race — human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

    Such a sermon almost makes one long for the arrival of armed extraterrestrials in Kentucky so Hambo can say that to their faces (if they have such). By way of reply, they may point out that salvation is only for the descendants of Qzxqqmqjngptrrkfunbjrt, Lord High Messiah of Rigel VII, before vapourising Ham with their rayguns.

    And against such a possibility, I strongly advise everyone else to commit to memory the foolproof phrase for averting a horrible death at the hands of aliens, viz.:

    Klaatu barada nikto!

  5. Apologies for my truly alien [behavior]. I was overexcited imagining [that Olivia could possibly be mine].

    [*Voice from above*] Your petition is being considered.

  6. …discover scientific and biblical answers to questions…

    Aren’t they the same in Ken’s tiny brain? Isn’t he always telling us that “true” science confirms the Bible?

  7. * In fact, “aliens,” those people who are not of the family of God, will go to hell if they don’t repent of their sin and receive the free gift of salvation.*

    This free gift is obtainable by donations to AiG, paying $30 for admission to the Creation Museum, buying bonds for the Ark encounter…

    Camel and eye of a needle, anyone?

  8. Whoa, hang on a cotton-pickin’ minute here!

    I thought that–according to Ham’s sophisticated ‘exegesis’ of the Old Testament–there was no death or suffering in the world prior to The Fall. And thus it was that sheep could safely mingle with vegetarian lions and strictly-vegan velociraptors, &c. &c. But once Adam disobeyed Yaweh’s strict (albeit weird) injunction to not mess with the apple, the world was plunged into the brutal shape we know today, red in tooth and claw.

    Now, that sounded like a pretty bum rap for all the innocent critters that had nothing whatsoever to do with Adam’s infraction but were punished nonetheless. But now Hambo says that only humans–who caused the whole mess in the first place–are the only ones that have a shot at salvation! Man, if that isn’t grotesque injustice, I don’t know what is.

    Does Hambo point out to little Tommy, a young visitor to his fabled Creation Museum, that their parents were lying when they said, on that sad morning that little Nibbles was found lifeless at the bottom of his cage, that his beloved pet was now happily esconced in Guinea Pig Heaven? Does he tell Tommy’s sister Suzy that their late dog Fido isn’t gleefully pursuing rabbits in Canine Elysium but is instead burning eternally in the Lake of Fire?

  9. Megalonyx says: “Now, that sounded like a pretty bum rap for all the innocent critters that had nothing whatsoever to do with Adam’s infraction but were punished nonetheless.”

    It’s perfectly understandable. Every time I create a universe, I expect it to be perfect. If it isn’t, I just send them all to hell. It’s their fault, not mine.

  10. God screws up and it’s my fault?

  11. Yep, I think the Curmudgeon accurately summarized the main thesis of the bronze age holey babble.

  12. abeastwood:
    “…Hambone, if you want people to stop mocking you, quit writing insane articles.”

    SSHH! Let him keep writing! The more he writes, the more people will realize how deranged he is.

    A bit like Capt. Queeg on the stand, rolling his ball bearings in his hand, going on and on about the strawberries…

  13. One thing that really sticks in my craw in Hambo calling his facility a “museum”. A museum is named after the Greek Muses and suggests a place to find inspiration to further the pursuit of art and science. Hambo’s facility does the opposite of that. There are Greek spirits that fit the bill the Pseudologoi, the gods of lies. So I suggest from now on it be called the Creationist Pseudologoium instead. It is a bit of a mouthful, but lies usually are.
    As for Hambo’s alien theory, it wouldn’t be so bad. Since the “sin wave” (not sine wave!) can only emenate from the Earth at the speed of light a relatively small 6,000 light year radius sphere would only be affected.

  14. Holding the Line in Florida

    I am totally speechless….. Words cannot convey the depth of my loathing for such a person. If he didn’t have influence I could simply write him off and laugh at such foolishness! However I simply can’t, I still find his guano in my classroom!

  15. “A bit like Capt. Queeg on the stand, rolling his ball bearings in his hand, going on and on about the strawberries…”

    But at least Queeg’s strawberries, though eaten, were nonetheless real.

  16. The man is going openly insane in full view of the public.

  17. Doesn’t anyone among the creationist following stop to consider that this stuff is purely private speculation?

    I have observed some people with power like to demonstrate their power over others by lying, intentionally lying, knowing that the audience knows that it’s lying and can’t do anything about it. And there are people who grew up as kids and found out that they could get away with lying, and now, as adults, have so much become accustomed to lying that they don’t know how to stop. I’ve known adults who make stuff up without any reason.

    Of course, I don’t know anything about Ham and his motivation.

  18. TomS:
    “Of course, I don’t know anything about Ham and his motivation.”

    My guess? To exert power and influence over others.

  19. Our Curmudgeon proclaims

    I just send them all to hell. It’s their fault, not mine.

    Spoken like a TRVE Republican!

    [Megalonyx rapidly ducks and runs for the door…]

  20. “The man is going openly insane in full view of the public.”

    The problem is, his target audience is as deranged as he is. Maybe they are more deranged. After all, Hambo is pumping cash out of them.

  21. Ken earned earned extra points for the sly method he used to slide from crazy talk about extraterrestrial life to dehumanizing anyone who doesn’t buy into his tangential views. It fits right in with his condoning of violence against those who dare to mock his narrow views last year. Is he now ready to start his own hatred based group? Will it be called the Klu Klux Ham?

  22. Dean says: “Ken earned earned extra points for the sly method he used to slide from crazy talk about extraterrestrial life to dehumanizing anyone who doesn’t buy into his tangential views.”

    Good observation! Yes, he dehumanized everyone who doesn’t agree with him.

  23. Perhaps I need to check my bible (I’m sure I put it somewhere) but as I recall, it was Adam’s descendants that bore the burden of original sin, in perpetuity. They were the cursed, that had to pull weeds etc.

    Aliens, clearly not descended from Adam, would not be included. Unless they screwed up in their own garden of eden, and ate the fruit of the tree (clearly a trap), they would have no original sin, and require no salvation.

    Although they would have had a major surprise 6,000 years ago when previously docile fellow creatures suddenly became carnivores.

  24. “he dehumanized everyone who doesn’t agree with him.”
    And what’s left (not that much) should be called Homo Not So Sapiens.

  25. Stephen Kennedy

    I have never understood the rationale of insisting that you can escape the lake of fire by believing in Jesus Christ and his word. It should be obvious that it is not possible to make a conscious choice about what we believe. Something we read or hear either has credibility for us and we believe it or it does not have credibility for us making it impossible to believe.

  26. @Stephen Kennedy: I agree; one cannot choose what to believe — the evidence either supports acceptance of an idea or it does not. You are right — it is obvious.

    Perhaps meanings have changed somewhat since the KJV was written. What I’m thinking is that when the writers of the KJV wrote “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” what was meant at the time was that anyone who believed and followed the teachings of Jesus would have eternal life. That’s still oogity-boogity, but at least it is something that can rationally be done.

    In other words, it’s your actions that count, not what’s going on inside your head. Call it “Pragmatic Christianity,” if you will. A practical guide to a peaceful, kind and gentle society. Mellow.

  27. The idea that belief is alone efficacious, in the Gospels at least, hangs upon a few iterations of that single word. John 3:16 is the only substantive one, and even that text doesn’t say what you have to believe about Jesus, only that you have to believe in him.

    On the other hand, the far, far more substantial account at Matthew 25:31-46 says nothing whatsoever about belief. Jesus says plainly that salvation will depend on what you do, not on what you think or believe. He will judge you by your acts. Only by them. What gets you into heaven is charity, benevolence, kindness in giving, relieving suffering, alleviating poverty and misery, hospitality, practical help in trouble, especially of the poorest, the most vulnerable, the “least”. Damnation follows from not behaving thus.

    The Christian church resiled from that plain account of what Jesus required, called it “salvation by works”, and insisted on “salvation by faith”, following some scattered texts from Paul (principally Romans 10:9). They’ve gone with that idea ever since Nicaea. Ken Ham is the recipient, at an immense distance, of that disgusting perversion of the words of the man they call God. He is also the result of it.

  28. I wonder if any of Ken Ham’s theologian friends will explain to him that his pronouncements are reminiscent to those of some Christians during the Middle Ages. You see, explorers were venturing further down the African coast, even sailing closer and closer to the equator. And from ancient times some philosophers had reasoned that no human could survive the equator. After all, the further south one goes, the more unbearable the heat—and the Egyptian Sahara was bad enough!

    Why did ancient philosophers have so much influence? After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was as if an atom bomb had destroyed civilization itself, and lots of learning had gone with it. In fact, hardly anyone could even read except the clergy. The Roman aqueducts still stood, and Roman roads continued to hold up remarkably well while connecting major population centers—and yet the technology to build such things were considered to have died with them. So the Greek and Roman classics were valued almost as much as the Bible itself, and monks in monasteries made copies and preserved those precious written treasures of ancient knowledge.

    Thus, some of the monks got to thinking: If the sailors are getting closer and closer to reaching the equator, perhaps life is possible there after all. Yet, they got to thinking about the Great Commission: Jesus had told his disciples to “go ye to all the earth” and make disciples of all nations. Yet, everybody knew—they assumed—that nobody had ever reported evangelism trips to the antipodes in the southern hemisphere. [An antipode was an idea which fascinated scholars in those days. An antipode is a place in the Southern Hemisphere which is directly opposite of some point in the Northern Hemisphere, just like you drove an enormous pole through the earth so that it came out the other side of the spheroidal planet. The most famous antipodes-pair, and just about the only antipodal pole we talk about today, is the North Pole/South Pole.]

    So here is the implication: Jesus told his disciples (not just the original 12 but all who followed him at the the time of his ascension) to go to “all the earth” and evangelize the people in all nations. Therefore, to do that, they would have to actually reach all nations, including those in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet, even by the time of the Middle Ages, nobody had ever done that. Why? They figured that it was because there were no people living in the Southern Hemisphere! Therefore, problem solved!

    Not necessarily. Reports from sailors finally confirmed new milestones in exploration. Men in ships had reached the equator! So apparently travel to the Southern Hemisphere and the antipodes was indeed possible after all! In fact, those European sailors were, therefore, apparently, the first humans to reach the part of Africa south of the equator.

    But, oh no! The next thing ya know, they get reports that European sailors have explored the African coast south of the equator and they report the unthinkable: There are native peoples living there! Yes, people live in the Southern Hemisphere!

    Yet, now they had a new quandary. Is the Bible in conflict with “science”? After all, if the Bible says that Jesus’ disciples were supposed to take the Gospel to all of the nations of the earth, they must have failed. The explorers didn’t find any Christians in southern Africa, so Jesus’ disciples must not have reach them. How disappointing! (Their esteem for Jesus’ disciples dropped a few notches.)

    But wait! Another “hypothesis” was posed by some theologians, a way to preserve the “honor” (i.e., the obedience and devotion) of the disciples of Jesus and yet explain the findings of people in sub-equatorial Africa. Those theologians decided that the black-skinned people who lived south of the equator weren’t people at all! Sure, they seemed to look like people—except for noticeable differences like skin-color, hair texture, and some types of facial features. Therefore, some theologians decided: “Those black-skinned ones are not actual people! They are simply other kinds of creatures. And like all other animals, they have no souls. And if they have no souls, it’s because they aren’t human, and, therefore, they don’t need to be evangelized. And that would explain why the disciples didn’t go teach them the Gospel and “make disciples” of them, because they weren’t “nations” at all!

    Now, if the Africans are not humans with souls, they aren’t eligible for heaven, and so they don’t need evangelized. Yet they do qualify as very handy beasts of burden. So why not purchase herds of them from African traders and war lords, and sell them as slaves? Yes, what a convenient idea!

    Thankfully, the majority of theologians disliked such an interpretation of the Bible and absolutely deplored the idea of making them slaves in any case. They realized that Jesus’ declaring the Great Commission to his disciples did not necessarily mean that that challenge was fulfilled quickly in the lifetimes of the disciples. And many of those same theologians helped organize missionaries to take the Gospel to the Africans. But slave ships went ahead anyway with their profitable voyages and eventually establishing “the Golden Triangle”, an enterprise of three profitable trade routes and types of commerce between Europe, Africa, and the New World.

    Thus, when I read where Ken Ham had pontificated on who is and isn’t of the Adamic lineage, and thereby is or isn’t in need of the Gospel—and thereby determining if aliens exist at all—I couldn’t help but think of the interesting parallels in Christian history. Frankly, Christian theologians don’t always have a great track record when it comes to theologians telling scientists what is and isn’t valid. So perhaps someone will tell Ken Ham what I’ve just told you.

    Yet, somehow, I kinda’ doubt that the historical insights will come from anybody on Ham’s payroll. After all, when it comes to not knowing things, gambling on AIG staff is close to a sure thing.

    (c) 2015. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum at
    All rights reserved.

  29. The whole truth

    “Frankly, Christian theologians don’t always have a great track record when it comes to theologians telling scientists what is and isn’t valid.”

    That’s putting it mildly. Frankly, “theologians” is just a fancy name for people who can’t or won’t get a real job that would or at least could produce something worthwhile.

  30. Ken Ham should keep his trap shut about “aliens” when he doesn’t have a clue about humans.

    Even theologically, his claims make no sense. How does he know “Adam’s sin cursed the whole universe”? Where does it say that in the Bible?

  31. Are there fundamentalists who find Ham an embarrassment to fundamentalism? Are there faculty in Bible colleges and seminaries who distance themselves from this sort of thing? Or does he actually represent fundamentalism? Or are people afraid to differ in public?

  32. “After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was as if an atom bomb had destroyed civilization itself, and lots of learning had gone with it.”
    That’s quite a misleading statement, Third Prof, as JP Bury already made clear in 1889. You’re lagging behind a bit.

    In the first place the Roman Empire did not fall. The western half passed to Germanic kingdoms, while the Eastern half remained intact.
    In the second place the western half did not fall either. It gradually desintegrated, a process that lasted about 80 years.
    In the third place whenever an area passed to a Germanic Kingdom (the exceptions were Britain and the Low Lands, which entered Dark Ages indeed – Dark Ages that lasted until about 550 CE, ie about 150 years) the new ruling Germanic class did all but destroy Roman bureaucracy and civilization. The new rulers needed it way too badly to keep control of the acquired areas.
    In the fourth place the western half (bar Italy) never had been the centre of civilization and learning anyway. The centres Constantinople, Athens and Alexandria firmly remained Roman – the first for another 1000 years.

    “In fact, hardly anyone could even read except the clergy.”
    Which in the western half also was the case long before the Germanic kingdoms were established.
    So unsurprisingly the chain of events you like to compare with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945 has about zero to do with the rest of your expose.

    “even by the time of the Middle Ages, nobody had ever done that.”
    Oh yes, some people had. You are definitely looking at history through a biased and outdated western lens.

    The Portuguese explorers only came that far in 1445 CE.
    Yup – if you want to compare something with a nuclear bomb destroying a civilization I suggest the Third Punic War. The Romans did a better job destroying civilizations than the Germanic tribes ever did, bar the Vikings in Ireland from 800 CE on.

  33. At risk of temporary I.Q. loss I’ll put on my “theologian” cap.
    One thing John 3:16 doesn’t specifically say is if you don’t believe you won’t have eternal life.

  34. @ Professor Tertius: Our speedy Dutchman, mnbo has beat me to it: even allowing for the light-hearted tone to your survey, it is just too grotesque a simplification to suppose the ‘Fall’ (itself a misnomer) of the Roman Empire was “was as if an atom bomb had destroyed civilization itself.” The decline of Rome in the West was an extended, multi-generational process, with a range of driving forces (internal and external); a complicated and fascinting topic, the subject of extensive research and scholarship too far ranging to briefly summarise here. What it most certainly was not was a single cataclysmic event. Not even the sack of Rome in 410, when it was no longer the capital of the Western Empire, can be counted as a ‘thermonuclear’ end to Roman ‘civilization’, which–as mnbo also pointed out, carried on for another millennium in the East. You’ve presented a very outdated Whiggish view of history that really doesn’t hold water.

    But I think there is something else that needs to be called out, and that’s your claim that, after the ‘Fall’ of Rome

    the Greek and Roman classics were valued almost as much as the Bible itself, and monks in monasteries made copies and preserved those precious written treasures of ancient knowledge.

    Only partially true, and significant qualification is needed here, methinks. In Western monastaries, there was no deliberate programme generally to preserve “those precious written treasures of ancient knowledge”, but chiefly only a selection of authors (such as Plato, and then via Latin translations) which could broadly be brought into some kind of accord with Church dogma, or else whose works (chiefly poetic) were not in conflict with such dogma. A vast amount of classical learning was deliberately suppressed (think of the nearly 50 books of Epicurus, of which none have survived) or simply neglected and not copied in the Western monastaries; the survival of such fragments as we do have is down to (1) non-monastic repositories in the East, which were largely transmitted to the West after the fall of Byzantium, and (2) Arabic scholars (whom we have to thank for much of our body of Aristotle’s works. If the only works of Greece and Rome we had were those transmitted by the monasteries, our legacy from antiquity–which is woefully patchy as it is–would be truly threadbare.

  35. Continuing from previous interupted post:

    Allow the medieaval monks as much credit as you wish for preserving “precious written treasures of ancient knowledge”, it doesn’t change the real issue, which is this: the monks had no concept of expanding human knowledge. In their view, the basis of knowledge was authority, and there were strictly authorised limits to what mankind is permitted to know. Moreover, what was needed and allowed to be known was already available via revelation. To seek further knowledge was both futile and dangerous, as it might conflict with dogma.

    This did not only apply to ‘revealed wisdom’ of scripture, but was aridly applied even to such selected secular works chosen for preservation. Along with the useful medical knowledge compiled by Galen, the monastic copyists perpetuated his many errors–and for centuries.

    So please, let us not be too impressed by the supposed monastic contribution to learning! Such benefits as we have from them are largely incidental, and the deleterious effects of their deadening model of knowledge are still very much with us (just listen to Ken Ham). “Christian epistemology” is an oxymoron, and, were I in a more pugnacious mood, I would argue that if one wanted to identify events in pre-Modern Europe that wrought ‘atomic bomb’-level devastation on our civilisation, I would suggest the reign of Constantine I and his inclusion of the Church in the machinery of state.

  36. I have no idea how I double posted!

    It’s a miracle!

    [*Voice from above*] One got caught in the spam filter. It’s now been deleted.

  37. It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… Let’s play two!
    Ernie Banks

  38. “even by the time of the Middle Ages, nobody had ever done that.”

    “Oh yes, some people had.”

    Of course they had!

    But I’m telling you how the presumptuous theologians I’m describing viewed the world. My comparing Ken Ham’s pronouncements to those of some theologians of the Middle Ages was not meant to be complimentary to either! You appear to have missed that.

    Scholars of those eras had a lot working against them. I try not to be too hard on them—but perhaps you think I’m not hard enough. Among countless other facts, news often travelled very slowly. And it was much the same with knowledge. I mean really slowly. And different civilizations had very different ideas as what constituted “discovery”. You might as well complain that Columbus did not discover America—because you would be 100% correct. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that he also did discover America—and therefore he staked claims for it as the property of Spain! Er….uhhhhh….actually..not really but sort of. Columbus actually claimed parts of it for the Crown of Castile. And because he stubbornly insisted that he had reached the Indies…….well, it’s a long story and the presuppositions of Columbus complicate it even more. I’m not going to get lost in more tangents of the details. We are already far from the Ken Ham pronouncements on aliens.)

    You are definitely looking at history through a biased and outdated western lens.

    Again: Of course I am!

    I’m explaining to readers how Ken Ham pontificates as cluelessly as the Christian theologians of the Middle Ages often did!

    One more time: I’m describing how Ken Ham’s writings on the topic of aliens finds many parallels in the mistaken views of those theologians who wrote these same types of analyses on why there couldn’t be any people south of the equator who needed to be evangelized!

    I enjoy playing “Let’s prove the professor wrong!” game as much as anybody but let’s not lose sight of the central purpose of what I wrote and notice that the main theme was the comparisons being made between Ken Ham and those we’ve-got-it-all-figured-out theologians of the Middle Ages. (Sometime people get so worried that western Christianity and Christian scholars might possibly be described positively that they don’t notice that I was criticizing them! Even so, I certainly commend your diligence.)

    As to the post-apocalyptic, “world after the bomb” analogy, I made brief mention of it because that is the analogy probably most familiar to the average reader. It’s been in countless textbooks and History Channel Documentaries. (I know: There are many flaws in TV documentaries, but that is often the only experience many have had with the post-Roman world.)

    Like all analogies, it does a good job of explaining some things and not others. But here’s a newsflash: (1) I didn’t originate that the post-nuclear analogy and (2) scholars are still using it in the classroom. (3) It resonates with students, especially in the years since my retirement when the post-apocalyptic Zombie world has taken over pop-culture. If I were still teaching, I’d have students brainstorm the ways that post-bomb world does and doesn’t provide a good analogy.

    We could make a long list of phenomena and events which make it a useful analogy, such as the city of Rome having two million people living there at the height of the empire but dropping incredibly in the centuries that followed. Some scholars claim Rome had no more 20,000 inhabitants by the 12th century. That’s 100 to 1 drop and one of many memorable reasons for the post-nuclear world analogy.

    In fact, you inspired a list I’m making for publication elsewhere. There are so many ways the analogy applies. Once the plagues start wiping out populations, the post-apocalyptic images are classic! The poorest people in society, if lucky enough to survive, take their pick of empty mansions in town. Beggars take their pick of gold jewelry. Their wages skyrocket because the upper class has nobody to make the land productive. Travellers find ghost-towns and lots of flies—because nobody was around to bury the last to die.

    Anyway, if you wish to protest the post-bomb world analogy by listing the ways it fails, you’ve certainly got my support. I’m all for anything which helps people have a better understanding of history. Go for it. (And if thinking that you’ve somehow trumped the professor helps motivate your didactic proclivities, that makes it all the more fun.)

    As to your criticism of the use of the word fall as in the fall of the Roman Empire, I assure you that historians are quite aware that it was far from sudden. Honest. We’ve known that for a very long time. But I’m glad to see that everybody is on top of such things and in agreement. And yes, it is almost painful to so casually lump together all of those centuries between the fall [sorry!] of the Roman Empire and the Age of Exploration, but classifying and summarizing is a part of every academic discipline—especially when explaining history to the general public. Therefore, when we talk about the myopia and interesting mix of inferiority and condescending, paternalistic superiority of Europeans towards other lands of people, ….. well… yes. Sometimes we have to talk about those backwards ideas. So I agree with you. Sometimes the realities of history, and the people from history who made the history happen, they really do reek sometimes.

    Meanwhile, I thought it was interesting to notice how much of Ken Ham’s “logic” would have fit into the Middle Ages. (For some strange reason, I keep imagining him arguing with Tostatus.)

    P.S. Initially I assumed the 1889 citation was a great joke. But now I’m not so sure. I recommend that you re-read my entire post. And meanwhile, there have been a lot of interesting comments under this blog.

  39. TomS wrote:
    Doesn’t anyone among the creationist following stop to consider that this stuff is purely private speculation?

    Good question. I’ve often tried to question “creation science” fans on various forums to see if they support various claims by Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, and Kent Hovind—since they seem to be the most outrageous pontificators. The YECs who appear to be better educated (which I can only poorly judge from their writing skills and use of terminology) seem to be reluctant to be pinned down on some of the more bombastic claims, so I assume from that that they are indeed embarrassed by some of the speculation.

    Yet, the rule of “Never judge another fundamentalist seems to dictate in those situations.” And some will simply say, “I oppose evolution and believe the earth is young. But I never said I was a follower of any man but Jesus Christ.”

    What amazes me most is easily Ken Ham’s followers will accept claims that are so obviously without either type of evidence: neither scientific evidence nor scriptural evidence. Yet, Ham tells them that there was a single Ice Age and it was associated with Noah’s Flood. Many (most?) accept it as a fact. Same with his claim that “less than 200 years” of super-fast evolution [though Ham doesn’t use that word] diversified each “baramin” (kind) pair into all of the species we know today of that “kind”. (Thus, at the Creation Museum there’s a poster of that. I forget but I think it is a single cat pair producing lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, panthers, and house cats, etc. etc.) How incredible that they deny evolution but are fine with hyper-evolution!

    Perhaps you’ve visited the Creationist Hall of Fame website. There’s an interesting “debate” there where an Old Earth Creationist asks a web administrator why OECs are not being honored. They get into a long debate over various types of evidence. And the YEC keeps demanding that the OEC read the website about Dr. Walt Brown’s Hydroplate Theory. He tells the guy that he’s seen a summary and he’s read the physicists’ criticism which show how Brown’s claims are groundless—-but the YEC tells him he is “unqualified” to say that without reading an entire book about it. The OEC tries to get the YEC to explain why he is so sure Brown has the answer. The answer seems to be “Because it agrees with the Bible and the science makes 100% sense”, even as the guy explains the blunders Brown makes in basic physics.

    What I would like to know is if that is another example of “God wouldn’t let a true Christian who prays for wisdom be wrong.” It is hard to get YECs to admit how and why they believe as they do other than the usual generalities.

  40. Frankly, “theologians” is just a fancy name for people who can’t or won’t get a real job that would or at least could produce something worthwhile.

    As with any other sweeping generalization, I would like to see the evidence which supports such a claim. (It’s also a reminder that YEC “creation scientists” don’t have a monopoly on strange and bombastic claims which aren’t supported by evidence.) I wonder how many people who would agree with the quotation could correctly define the word “theologian”. And to complicate matters, one could probably say that there has been a subtle shift in its academic meaning of the years but I’ve not tried to research that. (For that matter, I wonder if people realize that some theologians are atheists and agnostics.)

    I wonder if many would confuse “theologian” with “apologist”.

    If I really wanted to stir up a hornet’s nest, I could make the personal observation that—based upon my experiences as a science professor at two secular universities before changing fields to focus in the humanities where I eventually joined the faculties of theological seminaries/graduate schools— I found the theologians to be far more diverse in terms of academic background and more likely to have found success in prior careers.

    My science professor colleagues had always been scientists. Some had been in academia since starting college and they joined a faculty immediately after earning their PhD. A few had worked in industry. None had come from other fields.

    Yet, contrary to the quotation above, many of the theologians had previously been successful in a wide range of careers: an air force colonel, a physician, an engineer, several had been lawyers, a professional translator, a high school shop teacher, a chemist who had worked for the EPA, and a man I would describe as an “industrialist.”

    What I found most striking was the number of impressively multi-talented, “Renaissance Man” polymath types who probably could been successful in virtually any field. Several had backgrounds as math, science, and music prodigies. Some of the theologians who had been doctors and lawyers said they initially went those routes because of family tradition (and “My father wouldn’t have paid for my university degrees had I not been following his career path”) but later pursued their own goals.

    Nevertheless, one of the differences which I enjoyed most about the change in my own career path was the very different atmospheres of the faculty lounge! My scientist faculty colleagues at two tax-supported, public universities were all great people but the faculty lounge was much like the workplace lunch room of every other job I had ever had. But the faculty lounge shared by the Biblical studies departments and Church History department in the Graduate School of the Christian university where I worked a few years later was an absolutely amazing, hysterically funny, always entertaining place. The professors were on the road virtually every weekend as they spoke at universities, colleges, conferences, churches, etc. all over the world. (Some of those engagements were at secular universities where they were guest lecturers and sometimes Visiting Professors for an entire term.) They had so many interesting anecdotes and stories. Some had fascinating inside stories of the government leaders they knew or advised. Some had stories of watching history happen as they told of growing up in various countries and/or had been Rhodes Scholars in interesting places.

    Yet, probably the best part was learning from them. One had worked on cracking Linear B, another on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, several did important work on the Dead Sea Scrolls (and got me involved in some of the other Qumran mss, through which I got to know virtually all of the Who’s Who associated with the DSS.) The OT Department’s oldest professor had been an Egyptologist in his younger years and still knew a lot of key people on the Antiquities Commission in Egypt, so he could pull strings and get us access to virtually anything in those days. (No doubt, that era is gone forever.) He was a great “docent” for anything ancient because he would read aloud virtually any inscription no matter what the language. Of course, you might get a lot more detail than you banked on, such as when he pointed out things like “Oh, this phrase over here was extremely important in a roundabout way toward deciphering the Rosetta Stone because….” And because virtually every Museum curator knew him, we could go look at all the great stuff tucked away in storage rooms and museum basements that will probably never been seen by the public. (The British Museum deserves its own sequel to “A Night at the Museum”.)

    And one of my archaeologist colleagues had me join him in examining the “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” Ossuary. A Visiting Professor had amazing stories about working with Martin Luther King. Another had been undersecretary of some sort, working in the State Department and was assigned to an embassy during world-changing events. There was just no limit to the number of fascinating things I learned at lunchtime in the faculty lounge from a large group of theologians.

    I’m not saying that every graduate school of theology has such diverse and interesting people—but I would certainly say that that was the most interesting, entertaining, fun, educational, and memorable faculty I ever had the privilege of knowing. Perhaps the commenter on this thread who wrote that theologian “is just a fancy name for people who can’t or won’t get a real job” had some bad experiences at one of the many unaccredited institutions which abuses the meaning of the term and exists only to train pastors for the denomination which sponsors it. I would never deny that there are some abominable places of that sort—and that they probably think Ken Ham a saint and Ray Comfort a scholar. So I only speak from my own experience. At the same time, I would never say that my experiences were entirely rare.

    But… each his own.

  41. It is very late but I’ve even received some email messages asking about this topic so I’ll share a few general answers. This is stream-of-consciousness and at this hour I’m not even going to try and make a good outline and I would need to update my scholarship to do so in any case if I were going to give it justice.

    Frankly, the roles of Christian and Islamic scholars in preserving the knowledge from the ancient world (including the Greek New Testament) is extremely complex and often debated. Nevertheless, if I had to summarize, there has been a tendency to overemphasize the Christians’ roles and under-emphasize the Islamic role. Yet, there’s also been a tendency to go too far in the extreme with both. One of the best development of more recent scholarship has been the realization that the scholars of the Christian and Islamic worlds often cooperated out of a shared love of knowledge and the mutual appreciation of the skills of scholars of all persuasions. (Of course, there’s also been romanticization and exaggeration of same.) There has also been a tendency to ignore the sharp contrasts and viewpoints in various areas of Europe and at various times/eras. Yes, in some places/times the Greek-Latin classics were adored and not so far away there was deep suspicion and even prohibition! Generalizations are difficult and measured—which is why I so regularly write “Some theologians” or “Many Christian monks believed____”.

    I had assumed that the previously link to a 1889 publication was meant humorously in the light of centuries of debate about relative contributions (and as in a tongue-in-cheek send-up of creationists abetting their position with over-a-century-old citations) because it is quite true that the pendulum of the often heated debate has gone back and forth multiple times. I’m referring to the question of who did the most to preserve the writings of the ancient Greco-Roman world. In “pop-level education” among amateurs, I would identify several popular movements:

    (1) There are evangelical Christians, many heavily influenced by Francis A. Schaeffer and his How Should We Then Live book and movie-series—even after all these many years since his strong influence in the 1980’s, who will speak as if either (a) Christian monks in Western Europe preserved single-handedly the secular ancient texts as well as the Greek New Testament, or (b) Christian monks of both the western and eastern empires as well as the monks in Egypt did the job. They are often virtually unaware of the key roles played by Muslims—and prone to regard the Islamic Golden Age as something brief and semi-inconsequential, and proof that Islam is a dangerous and destructive religion.

    (2) The Arab Spring brought out a lot of Muslim pride, even going as far as to say “Europe was primitive and living in crude huts while Arabs built cities with grand palaces.” [Generally true!] and “All knowledge of the ancient worlds, all science, math, and technology came from us!” [Not so true.] This mindset is easy to find on Youtube and many other forums. (If Christians are prodded by them into actually investigating the realities of history, it can be a very good development for everyone.)

    There has always been an awareness of the Arabic scholars of the Islamic Golden Age playing an essential role in preserving the ancient text (including the Greek New Testament) but the actual history has always been far more complicated than the typical “everybody knows that ______” of the relatively brief treatment of the subject by undergrad history classes. Disagreement among scholars has certainly played a major role, but in all fairness, the surviving evidence is not entirely easy to sort out, and one can trace contemporary scholarship emphasizing the Islamic role in text preservation for a while and then emphasizing the Christian role for a while. (By the way, the swing of the pendulum among historians doesn’t always stay in sync with the pendulums of the religious studies and classical studies academics, not to mention the Church History departments of many Christian seminaries and universities. So, amateur scholars beware.)

    There’s further complications when it is realized that even the Arab/Islamic scholarly projects in BOTH the Arab world of the Middle East and of Moorish Spain had important Christian participation. In the former, there were the Christian Nestorians, even to the point of being major contributors in the very formation of Arab culture. Also, the cooperation of Christian scholars with Islamic scholars in Moorish Spain has been receiving renewed interest of late and research in recent decades has helped lead up to the interesting coincidence of the Arab Spring and the recent national revolutions have led to many more proud Muslims declaring “We gave Europeans the ancient world and our technology” at the same time there have been published discoveries claiming that Western Christian monks preserved more ancient Greek texts than previously thought. (Keep in mind that the Middle Ages used to be called the Dark Ages, precisely because of the paucity of evidence to work from.) In fact, one can probably find TV documentaries of relatively recent vintage on Youtube championing both schools of scholarship.

    Of course, the East vs. West and even the Egyptian roles in the preservation debate is further complicated by various realities, including the geopolitics of the Middle Age and before. Some of the examples of the complications:

    1) When the Eastern Empire fell, lots of Greek scholars and their manuscripts fled to the west.

    2) Many (such as Neil Degrasse Tyson) have told the general public that it was the rise of “militant religion in the form of Islam” that “destroyed the Arab-Islamic Golden Age, largely putting the blame on a particular anti-science leader as the bad guy. But scholars of history have long known that the culprit was not religion. It was largely the vulnerable position of a culture which occupied the crossroads of three continents, where the super-powers of the ancient world (e.g., Egypt, Assyria, Babylon) were sure to cross in battling for the biggest empire. It was also due to the very simple economic realities: For science and the humanities to thrive, a culture must have sufficient food production or trading advantage (or vassal kingdoms) to support a ruling class and sponsored academic class.Without that, full-time scholars of science, technology, the classics, and the arts can’t be supported.

    Indeed, historian colleagues have told me that they would assign religion third or even fourth place in a ranking of the factors ending the Islamic Golden Age. Yet, Tyson is like many other in approaching these topics with an ideological agenda: usually trying to “prove” that religion is bad.

    3) Western Europe’s climate tended to eventually destroy precious papyri while the dry climate of Egypt was nearly ideal for preserving all kinds of written materials.

    That’s enough to get people started. To those who want me to assist in or to “stage a dual” in their various impassioned ideological campaigns, such as:

    (1) “The Europeans stole everything from the Muslims” and “You know that’s true!”

    (2) “The Church/Christianity destroyed knowledge and libraries” and “Christianity has always been the enemy of science”

    (3) “Wars between religions have been the biggest contributor to human suffering” (See Kruger-Dunning Effect.)

    ….. those lame topics grew tiresome long ago. But I encourage you to submit them for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and I’ll be able to say I knew you before you became famous.

  42. Don’t forget that the Muslim world of the Middle Ages also included non-Arabs such as Persia and Central Asia and the the Subcontinent (India). I don’t know anything about Muslims of Sub-Saharan Africa. And that Non-Muslim (and Pre-Muslim) India had much to contribute. And as far as other Pre-Muslim non-Arabs, across the Old World, who knows?

  43. A postscript worth mentioning:

    Another complication of attributing various things to Muslim and Christians during the Middle Ages is that:

    1) Christian scholars travelled east to study first-hand the languages, texts, and inventions to be found among the state-sponsored Muslim scholars of the Islamic Golden Age.

    2) Muslims travelled west not only to learn what they could but to serve as advisors and scholars to Christian royals.

    It’s hard to say what is the biggest “hole” in Western history as to what the average undergrad never learns about, but if I had to guess it would be an awareness of Moorish rule of the Spanish Peninsula and the many centuries of influence. And when people think of Christianity faces Islam, they think of war and the many Crusades—and have no awareness of the many times and places (entire periods of history) when there was extremely close collaboration between scholars of every persuasion. Much of the time, virtually every available text in every language got translated to the other important languages: Arabic, Latin, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, Aramaic.

    It is difficult to overstate the importance of the preservation, translation, and distribution of texts in so many languages.

  44. TomS wrote:
    And as far as other Pre-Muslim non-Arabs, across the Old World, who knows?

    Yes, I think it is quite likely that we will never find out the many brilliant scholars who produced and discovered/rediscovered so many things that Europeans later “rediscovered” without knowing that it was old stuff in other parts of the world.

    By the way, the Hindus and Arabs had all sorts of numeral symbols besides the ones we learned in school.

    I’ve always been amazed at what mathematicians were able to do even before they had convenient numeral symbols. (Imagine trying to do division or even multiplication in Roman Numerals.)

    You’ve probably read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. That book should be required by every high school student. And it should be reviewed again before virtually any Western Civilization course or world history course.

    Of course, it’s basics would force people to see that Western Europe was no smarter or brutal or more virtuous. Instead, western civilization had so many advantages and benefitted from ideas produced elsewhere. Domestic animals were HUGELY important. I just think the message of that book could do so much to reduce western arrogance and unwarranted “exceptionalism”—-and foster more compassion for those societies which had few advantages.