AIG: How To Teach Evolution to Kids

The creation scientists at Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — have some parental advice for you. Their article is When To Introduce Your Kids To Evolution.

It’s by Scot Chadwick, whom we haven’t encountered before. He’s written only a few articles for AIG in the past, mostly about family matters. He begins by briefly describing a couple of articles from other websites about teaching evolution to kids. He doesn’t like those. He says, with bold font added by us:

But both of these views misrepresent evolutionary ideas as science and even make these ideas a prerequisite to performing any scientific enterprise. Evolutionary ideas seek to explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of all it contains according to natural processes occurring over a long time. The term evolution can refer simply to change over time, which we can observe in nature today. But when the term evolution is used to describe the origins of all living things from a common ancestor, we are now speaking of something that we can neither observe, test, nor repeat in the present world. We regard the evolutionary viewpoint as an erroneous, humanistic worldview that contradicts the testimony of Scripture and that misconstrues observable science.

Aside from that, Scot has even more reasons why evolution is all wrong:

[T]he record of Genesis presents an order of events quite at odds with the process asserted by evolutionary ideas. Also the millions of years of death necessary for the evolution of life directly denies God’s warning that death came as a punishment for Adam’s sin [scripture references]. Evolutionary ideas do not harmonize with biblical creation and undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, that settles it! So why should you ever expose your children to such nonsensical and Satanic ideas? Scot explains:

This is not to suggest that parents should not teach their children about evolution. Evolutionary ideas pervade our culture, and we may not ignore it. We should teach our children to think critically, evaluating assumptions and arguments for and against evolution.

[…]

Our approach toward teaching our children ought to be filled with truth of God’s Word first, then incrementally identifying and refuting false ideas.

That’s great advice! Let’s read on:

Our children should acquire an understanding of evolutionary ideas, particularly as it contrasts with a biblical creation viewpoint. Here are a few essential ways in which evolutionary ideas and biblical creation present a different narrative of life:

Do we need Scot’s list of conflicts between science and the bible? Not really, but here are a few:

• Starting point: Man’s fallible ideas vs. God’s infallible Word
• Age of universe: Billions of years vs.Thousands of years
• Fossils: A chronological record of once-living organisms vs. A record of death and rapid burial mostly as a result of the Flood

You get the idea. Scot continues, with an example of how your child may become confused by science:

[T]he NPR article [one of those he mentioned at the beginning] suggests the following activity for you and your children: “On a starry night, we may take our child outdoors, point out the Big Dipper, and talk a little bit about the long, long time it takes for the light of distant stars to reach our eyes.”

Scot is no fool. He tells us what’s wrong with that:

This narrative presupposes that distant starlight takes millions and even billions of years before we can see it on Earth. The child would likely conclude that the universe is unquestionably older than the Bible suggests. But these vast astronomical distances are a problem in an evolutionary viewpoint as well.

To illustrate the “problem,” Scot links to this ICR article, which we haven’t bothered to read: Light-Travel Time: A Problem for the Big Bang. Instead of referring your kids to that, he suggests telling them this:

Wow! Look at these beautiful stars that God made for us to enjoy. The Bible says that God made the stars at the same time as our sun and moon, on Day Four of the Creation Week. Some of these stars are millions of light-years away. But remember that a light-year is a measure of distance, not time. We are not sure how light can travel such great distances even over billions of years, but scientists who start with God’s Word have developed several ideas to explain how starlight could have traveled here in a short amount of time.

Isn’t that wonderful? This is from Scot’s final paragraph:

In short, parents should not be intimidated by “the science of evolution” or its proponents. … Adherence to God’s Word does not require blind faith as belief in evolution does.

That was great advice. Thanks, Scot!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “AIG: How To Teach Evolution to Kids

  1. Mike Elzinga

    We are not sure how light can travel such great distances even over billions of years, but scientists who start with God’s Word have developed several ideas to explain how starlight could have traveled here in a short amount of time.

    Yup; and that “scientist” is none other than a former AiG apologist, Jason Lisle, who thinks light travels at infinite speed toward every point in space and at c/2 away from every point in space. More specifically, Lisle says that the speed of light for every observer is c/(1 – cos θ).

    The way that Ham’s organization sabotages the education of kids is despicable. A kid coming from that culture has an almost zero chance of getting a decent education, and will bear the scars of fear and loathing for a lifetime.

  2. michaelfugate

    Is Scot saying evolution is or isn’t science or that creationism is or isn’t? Scot’s definition of science is “made up explanations of what is missing from the biblical narrative”. Or in other words, Scot’s “science” starts with the answer he wants to be true and tries to make it sciencey by wearing a lab coat while repeating the answer.

  3. Let’s see. You can teach your kids real things about the world or a bunch of bronze age myths so they’ll be as ignorant as you. Choose wisely.

  4. @abeastwood
    It’s worse than that.
    For example.
    • Fossils: A chronological record of once-living organisms vs. A record of death and rapid burial mostly as a result of the Flood
    That is not anything with the slightest hint from the Bible. It is something that people have just made up on their own and imposing that on the Bible.
    What are the kids going to think when they find that out?

  5. Well, with any luck, they’ll figure out that Mom and Dad were lying to them and work out the truth themselves. Though I doubt many will, I’m sure at least some will.

  6. When are the brilliant scientists at AIG and ICR finally going to reveal the true cause of microwave background radiation, which is understood to be the visible afterglow of the Big Bang and was predicted as such before its discovery?

  7. The article is recognition of an important fact about propaganda, thus: denying an opposing narrative is not enough; the opposing narrative must be replaced with an acceptable one.

    Now, this is perilous in itself. Once maturity is reached, there is a pesky tendency in the human mind to compare narratives against the known facts, and even to prefer the narrative that better comports with them. There is no way to absolutely prevent this from happening, especially if the habit of looking for facts were established. The only way to reduce this tendency is not to allow that habit. Again, it is insufficient simply to prohibit it. Again, it must be replaced, not simply prevented.

    Thus, a two-pronged assault is required. The preferred narrative must replace the opposed one; and the habit of checking that narrative must be replaced with the habit of never questioning it.

    That’s what this article is about. “Starting point: Man’s fallible ideas vs. God’s infallible Word”, says the writer, and so it is. That is, it’s about installing authority and suppressing any other method of assessment.

    It’s truly hideous to watch these people at work, stunting and blasting minds, creating authoritarians like themselves. But their work is not merely hideous; it is a direct threat. Its product is a whole class of people who are armoured against facts, impervious to reason, and who actually reject the core values of a free society.

    And here’s the kicker: those who do this work have to be allowed to do it. Ain’t that a bitch?

  8. abeastwood:
    “Well, with any luck, they’ll figure out that Mom and Dad were lying to them…”

    …and not just Mom & Dad, but their preacher, Sunday School teachers, and the likes of Ken Ham, David Rives, ICR, the Discotute, etc., etc. It’s really a shame, too — when a child matures and realizes that all the creacrap he or she had been “taught” in Sunday School, by the Creation Museum, and by Mom & Dad is not true, he or she will likely reject the lessons of decency of the religion as well. Too bad the likes of Ken Ham can’t realize this basic truth.

  9. retiredsciguy says: “Thank you, Great Hand.”

    Go in peace, my son.

  10. abeastwood says: “Well, with any luck, they’ll figure out that Mom and Dad were lying to them and work out the truth themselves.”

    That seems to be happening quite a bit. Hambo is mystified that so many young people are leaving the church, but people like him are probably the reason.

  11. Remember the observation of Augustine:
    Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. …

  12. I’m sure that Hambo doesn’t care what St. Augustine has to say on the matter since he was Catholic and wasn’t a real “Christian” in Hambo’s view.

  13. Wow! Look at these beautiful stars that God made for us to enjoy.

    I recall laying out on a cot under the stars on camping trips when I was young, looking up at the stars, and wondering if there was anyone up there looking back at me. I imagined humans eventually going to those stars, and wondered what they would find. I tried to wrap my brain around how far away they were, and how bright they were for us to see them from so far away. In other words, there was, and still is, wonder and magic in a dark sky full of stars to a young kid.

    Not to creationists, apparently. The stars are just lights in the sky – there are no aliens anywhere in that vastness, no ancient great stars with planets much older than the earth, no places to visit someday. Just lights. According to the bible, God will return and destroy the earth before we humans ever have a chance to leave it. The universe will always be out of reach.

    Yeah, something for every young creationist to enjoy. Talk to your kids about the bible, and suck the sense of wonder out of them. All the answers are known, and they are small answers. There was never a world dominated by great dinosaurs, there were never jungles with giant dragonflies and great scorpions, the shark tooth you find and hold in your hand is not millions of years old, once part of an animal that roamed a sea right that existed right where you stand. They were all just animals that god made, to exist for a brief moment in time before being killed by god for no good reason. God could have left them for us to marvel at today, but no, he just killed them all. Be a good creationist parent, and suck the imagination and wonder out your children.

    That’s the parenting model the AIG promotes.

  14. Thanks, TomS, for reminding us about St. Augustine. I have an old post with the relevant text, and a link to a lot more: St. Augustine on Creationism.

  15. Ceteris Paribus

    Well, all’s I knows is that in my Bible, is says right there in the first page of Genesis that the Sun and the Moon were created as “great lights”. One bright light to “govern the day”, and the ‘tother, dimmer one, to govern the night.

    And from just those two biblical facts alone, any dang fool can tell you that plain as day, the Moon is much more important than the Sun. Just go out possum huntin’ some dark nite, and you will plainly see that the light from the Moon can come in reel handy. But that “greater light”? The Sun? It just only shines during the daytime when there is already plenty of light anyway. And the extra light from the Sun just goes to waste.

    It’s all written right there in the front page of the scriptures for any of you pencil necked scientists to learn from.

  16. Holding The Line In Florida

    @ Paul D Heck, any fool knows that the so called Cosmic Background is actually just the results of God’s fart! See, he had a disappointing encounter in the Garden of Eden with the Fruit of Knowledge!

  17. pencil necked?
    I never heard that expression before.
    Is that something like pointy head?

  18. I think pencil necked implies weekness, but not necessarily nerdiness. So one can be pencil necked, but not pointy headed; or pointy headed but not pencil necked.

  19. “But both of these views misrepresent evolutionary ideas as science …… Evolutionary ideas seek to explain the origin of the universe.”
    Exit not only biology, but also physics, geology and probably some more branches.

    Ah, MikeE, you underestimate how creative creationists are.

    “that “scientist” is none other than a former AiG apologist, Jason Lisle,”
    Barry Setterfield is another “expert” on the speed of light.

  20. Let us not forget that AIG’s primary pedagogical tool is lying to children.

    There is a lovely video still on YouTube of Jason Lisle explaining elementary astronomy to a bunch of soon-to-be mindless tots and he just lies to them, smug smile on his stupid Bible-thumping face.

    Let us not forget that all these people are sociopaths and as much as we laugh at them, they are very dangerous.

  21. abeastwood wrote: “Well, with any luck, they’ll figure out that Mom and Dad were lying to them and work out the truth themselves. Though I doubt many will, I’m sure at least some will.”

    I was one of the some that figured it out. My youth pastor was particularly fond of none other than Carl Baugh
    and we learned all about creation with his materials. I was also home-schooled for a year in middle school and taught using A Beka Book materials.

    In my public high school, my biology teachers just never mentioned evolution. When I went to college, my biology and ecology classes taught evolution of course, but it wasn’t the course focus. I studied the material but didn’t really think about it in light of my other beliefs–sort of compartmentalizing I guess.

    Sometime during the end of undergrad entering grad school I starting thinking about it all. When that started, it all unraveled very fast. I even ended up doing my master’s thesis on the rhetoric and cognitive science of pseudoscience and religion.

    So, I’m just generalizing from my own anecdote, but I’m not quite as pessimistic about it. The creationist indoctrination sticks in many but mix in curiosity and critical thinking and it falls apart easily.

  22. Reflectory says: “Sometime during the end of undergrad entering grad school I starting thinking about it all. When that started, it all unraveled very fast.”

    A friend told me about his experience. It was in a college dorm during his first year. He mentioned his beliefs in the presence of some of his buddies and they all responded: “Are you crazy?” It took only about 20 minutes for him to realize he had been believing a bunch of nonsense.

  23. quote name=”retiredsciguy”

    “Well, with any luck, they’ll figure out that Mom and Dad were lying to them…”

    …and not just Mom & Dad, but their preacher, Sunday School teachers, and the likes of Ken Ham, David Rives, ICR, the Discotute, etc., etc. It’s really a shame, too — when a child matures and realizes that all the creacrap he or she had been “taught” in Sunday School, by the Creation Museum, and by Mom & Dad is not true, he or she will likely reject the lessons of decency of the religion as well. Too bad the likes of Ken Ham can’t realize this basic truth.

    The terrifying thing is that most of them probably aren’t lying; they actually believe this stuff.

  24. TomS

    You never heard the expression “Pencil Neck Geek”?
    I beg of you, check out this youtube video:

  25. Reflectory tells us:

    “I starting thinking”
    A grave mistake for creationists.

  26. Charles Deetz ;)

    But remember that a light-year is a measure of distance, not time. We are not sure how light can travel such great distances even over billions of years, but scientists who start with God’s Word have developed several ideas to explain how starlight could have traveled here in a short amount of time.

    This has to trip just about anyone’s BS meter to max. And if it doesn’t, once you explain the definition of light year, and then explain why a fundamental constant of the universe is ‘actually’ measured incorrectly by scientists, you’ve got to feel like an liar to your kid. A horrible feeling, I hope.

  27. docbill1351 said:
    There is a lovely video still on YouTube of Jason Lisle explaining elementary astronomy to a bunch of soon-to-be mindless tots and he just lies to them, smug smile on his stupid Bible-thumping face.

    Let us not forget that all these people are sociopaths and as much as we laugh at them, they are very dangerous.
    You have no idea how sociopathic people like Lisle are.

  28. To see how badly creationists like Lisle do when it comes to explaining things that are seen in nature, all while pretending that nature 100% confirms the bible, see this little interaction that a christian evolutionist had with him.

  29. Heck…just do a search for Jason Lisle on the fstdt.com site.

    As for the creationist stupidity about light years

  30. Everybody recognizes that there are metaphors and poetic language in the Bible. One standard literalist approach is “when the reader can see that this is not meant literally”. If we use that on the geocentrist language in the Bible, we see that for something like 2000 years (500 BCE to 1500 CE), no one suggested that the Bible was not describing a geocentrist universe. That tells us that it is not clear that that was not meant literally. (On the other hand, there have been several commentators over the millennia who had different interpretations of the 6 days of Genesis 1. One example is Augustine.)

    How does one justify heliocentrism against the geocentrism of the Bible?

    I would suggest that before the space age, our knowledge beyond the surface of the Earth was as remote, beyond “operational science”, as our knowledge of the past. (How do we know, even today, that gravity and F=ma, atomic spectra and nuclear physics work in the realm of the stars – even in the Sun?) Before the space age, what overwhelming evidence did we have for heliocentrism to justify our reinterpreting Biblical support for geocentrism? (Indeed, what, even today, is that evidence for heliocentrism that justifies our rejecting the plain reading of the Bible?)

    Does this mean that there might be evidence which would justify our reinterpreting the Bible when it rejects evolution?

  31. I would suggest that before the space age, our knowledge beyond the surface of the Earth was as remote, beyond “operational science”, as our knowledge of the past. (How do we know, even today, that gravity and F=ma, atomic spectra and nuclear physics work in the realm of the stars – even in the Sun?)

    You will never get this information from an ID/creationist; but among the major confirmations of the laws of physics working in the stars and distant parts of the universe comes from observing Kepler’s laws in distant orbiting systems and the discovery that the spectra of stars contained the correct mathematical sequences of lines found in well-known elements here on Earth.

    As everyone knows, helium was discovered in our Sun before it was discovered here on Earth.

    Furthermore, predicting and finding the 21 cm line of hydrogen in outer space allowed for all sorts of measurements of the gravitationally induced movements of gases in outer space so that gravitational fields could be mapped accurately throughout space.

    Even more interesting, the distribution of the velocity curves of the stars as a function of their distance from galactice centers in other galaxies showed that there is a lot of Dark Matter out there that has gravitational effects but does not appear to interact with matter in any other way.

    So, indeed, we can verify that the phyics works throughout the universe by observing the effects of gravity, light, neutrinos, and other “messages” coming from distant parts of the universe. In other words, to hell with Ken Ham’s “Were you there?” sneer.