How Creationists Should Deal with Skeptics

This is good advice from one of the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). The article is Dealing with Skeptics. It’s an oldie from 2008, but the wisdom is timeless, so they’ve posted it again.

The author is Dr. Andrew A. Snelling, described as “Geologist, Speaker, Author, Researcher, Editor-in-chief of Answers Research Journal.” They say he’s AIG’s director of research. Very impressive! AIG’s biography page on him on him says his PhD is in Geology from the University of Sydney, in Australia. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

I vividly remember arriving at a church in Melbourne, Australia, one Sunday night several years ago to preach on the relevance of creation. As the congregation and I entered the church, we were greeted by vocal anti-creationist skeptics who were handing out flyers denouncing me as not being a real scientist.

Gasp! How disrespectful and disgusting! Snelling says:

Why? You see, I wasn’t a true scientist because I believe the Bible and therefore teach that the earth is young and that its geology was shaped by the global Flood cataclysm.

But Snelling wasn’t troubled. Let’s read on:

When I stood to preach on “Creation and the Scoffers” (from 2 Peter 3), the skeptics were sitting in the pews right in front of me! Undeterred, I went straight into the sermon, pointing out how we can identify who the scoffers are that the apostle Peter prophesied would come in the last days.

That’s how to handle them! The creationist geologist continues:

These scoffers would be those who would deliberately reject the geologic evidence that the world was destroyed and rebuilt by the global, mountain-covering Genesis Flood. They would instead believe that only present-day slow and gradual geologic processes could have shaped the earth and deposited the fossil-bearing rock layers over millions of years.

Those scoffers are fools! Here’s more:

We had a question time after the church service. Not surprisingly, these skeptics took this further opportunity to denounce me as a fraud. They pointed to supposed scientific evidence that “proved” it had taken millions of years for slow geologic processes to deposit the fossil-bearing rock layers.

What a challenge! How did Snelling deal with their “supposed scientific evidence”? He explains:

I already knew, however, that no amount of counter evidence would convince them. Just as I had preached from 2 Peter 3, these scoffers were willingly ignorant of the overwhelming geologic evidence for the Flood. Their root problem was instead spiritual. They did not want to “retain God in their knowledge,” so their “foolish” hearts were “darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they (had become) fools” (Romans 1:18–32).

Ah, he knew it was useless to give them his evidence. Snelling is a smart man! Moving along:

Thus, the answer to their problem was not to try to somehow convince them with more scientific evidence. Instead, they needed the Holy Spirit to convict and convince them of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator and Redeemer. Only then would they accept the authority of God’s Word in every area it teaches on, including the earth’s origin and history.

Brilliant! He didn’t bother giving any evidence to them. Another excerpt:

… God has always existed and is infinite and all-knowing. God’s Word, the Bible, is His eyewitness account of the earth’s history. The geologists weren’t there when God judged the whole earth with the Flood. Thus, ultimately I know without a doubt that the global Flood cataclysm really did occur — because God’s Word says it did!

Well said! This is how the article ends:

Even if I couldn’t see any evidence, I would have to accept God’s Word for it! Of course, God has left us with so much stunning evidence for the Flood all around us, but it can only be seen through the “biblical glasses” we acquire when we totally accept the authority of God’s Word.

That was very inspirational. When you, dear reader, are confronted with scoffers and you’re wondering how to handle them, now you know how it’s done.

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

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28 responses to “How Creationists Should Deal with Skeptics

  1. “Of course, God has left us with so much stunning evidence for the Flood all around us, but it can only be seen through the “biblical glasses” we acquire when we totally accept the authority of God’s Word.”

    http://www.lolpix.com/pictures/2/Funny_Pictures_473.htm

  2. Does AiG sell biblical glasses in their gift shop?

  3. Thus, ultimately I know without a doubt that the global Flood cataclysm really did occur — because God’s Word says it did!

    Silly creationist taking the word of a document that has been laboriously altered by every religious group that touches it. You would sooner find the truth by talking to some random madman.

  4. I love The Onion! Oh wait, he’s serious behahahaha!!!

  5. “Even if I couldn’t see any evidence, I would have to accept God’s Word for it!” – Snelling

    I wonder if it ever occurred to the creation activists that their own theology indicates that a deity would not leave any evidence of its existence in the geological record. Any such evidence would undermine Belief and consequently Faith. So it may be that any evidence Snelling perceives could be cancelled out by to his (fundamentally) flawed methodology.

    Once again AiG qualifies as being Not Even Wrong.

    The advantage this tactic offers the rational world is that eventually their “proofs” will erode their entire belief framework and people will drift away, as the numbers clearly indicate. Darwin wins without even showing up.🙂

  6. michaelfugate

    I just noticed this in the flood story. It says Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

    The highest mountain in Egypt is 2600m in Israel about 1000m. If 15 cubits covers the mountains and the Ark is 300 cubits, then isn’t the Ark at least 20km (12.5 miles) and maybe as much as 52km (32.5 miles) long? Ken’s boat seems to small.

    The Bible may be evidence, but it is not scientific evidence. It is at best hearsay.

  7. Biblical glasses have the same effect as beer goggles: they make fossils look a whole lot younger.

  8. That old saw about how the world makes more sense when viewed with the creationists viewpoint? Bull.

    Look at how often they have to assume their god existed, then twisted the laws of physics in order to make observable reality fit their views here.

    Or, you can look at the bristlecone pine problem:

    The 8,000-year-long BCP chronology appears to be correctly crossmatched, and there is no evidence that bristlecone pines can put on more than one ring per year. The best approach for collapsing this chronology, one that takes into the account the evidence from C-14 dates, is one that factors the existence of migrating ring-disturbing events. Much more must be learned about this phenomenon before this hypothesis can be developed further.

  9. michaelfugate

    And his boat seems too small also!

  10. What allows these people to ignore the clear statements of geocentrism in the Bible?

    What evidence do they have, what reliance on mere human thought, outweighs the statements that the Sun makes a daily path around a fixed Earth?

  11. … God has always existed and is infinite and all-knowing. God’s Word, the Bible, is His eyewitness account of the earth’s history. The geologists weren’t there when God judged the whole earth with the Flood.

    Neither, of course, were any creationists, since it didn’t happen.

    Thus, ultimately I know without a doubt that the global Flood cataclysm really did occur — because God’s Word says it did!

    Ah, yes. The Flood really happened because it’s in the Bible, and we know the Bible is God’s Word because . . . well, it doesn’t actually say so in the Bible; even the creation story is told in the third person. But moving right along, folks, moving right along . . .

    Even if I couldn’t see any evidence, I would have to accept God’s Word for it! Of course, God has left us with so much stunning evidence for the Flood all around us, but it can only be seen through the “biblical glasses” we acquire when we totally accept the authority of God’s Word.

    Evidence which can only be seen by those who believe isn’t evidence of anything but the power of self-delusion.

  12. michaelfugate

    On the other hand, if a cubit were 0.4m, then the tallest pre-Flood mountain would have been 6m?

  13. O great creationist, kindly explain to my why none of the people in the other civilizations that had written records that span the time of the alleged flood noticed they had been drowned.

    “It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.” –Bertrand Russell

  14. ab – creationists have an answer for Everything, so I am confident that they can explain your question! Just found these guys at Revolution Against Evolution http://www.rae.org/Default.vbhtml – they seem to be as good as Ham at making **** up.

  15. TomS wrote: “What evidence do they have, what reliance on mere human thought, outweighs the statements that the Sun makes a daily path around a fixed Earth?”

    God, in his infinite wisdom, inspired the scriptures to be written to be taken literally when that comported to the knowledge of the day but metaphorically when it didn’t!

    On a serious note, it is because the creationist foundational heuristic isn’t “the Bible” as they say. First and foremost is that they believe the world (present, past, and future) is guided by God’s intentional supernatural agency. Evolution directly conflicts with that. Heliocentrism doesn’t really conflict with that and so it can be accommodated.

    I’d also be willing to argue that the YEC position of “the earth is 6,000 years old” is more about foreclosing on any possibility of evolution than about strict consistency between episteme and text.

  16. Derek Freyberg

    “The cognitive dissonance, it is strong in this one.”

  17. The creationists could deal a destroying blow to atheists. All they must do is to present one single, solitary bit of testable, verifiable, empirical evidence for the reality of their gods.

  18. Derek Freyberg:
    “The cognitive dissonance, it is strong in this one.”

    Yes — and so is the aroma of bat guano.

  19. As Douglas E points out, creationists have an answer for everything.

    I wonder, then, how they explain the record of the Earth’s magnetic field reversals found in the Atlantic sea floor basalt in parallel bands on either side of the Mid-Ocean Ridge, and that the age of the seafloor increases with distance from the Mid-Ocean Ridge, and that the bands’ magnetic direction and age match on either side the the Mid-Ocean Ridge, and that the age and distance from the Ridge is in perfect agreement with the measured rate of seafloor spreading?

    Surely Dr. Andrew A. Snelling, PhD in Geology from the University of Sydney, Australia, would be aware of this extremely strong evidence of an OLD Earth — unless he has steadfastly refused to read any of the literature published since, oh, the mid-’60s. I’m sure the University of Sydney is quite proud.

  20. @Reflectory
    Yes. I wonder whether the “young Earth” position is insisted upon because it is the only Biblical position which is in conflict with evolutionary biology.
    There is no interest in the Bible in species, biogeology, changes in the world of life, taxonomy, genetics, etc. etc.

    That would explain the odd phenomenon of the recurrence of the young Earth after it was mostly abandoned, and in the face of the advances of the science: As the science advanced, the Old Earth Creationist position became weaker.

  21. Dave Luckett

    Here, one learns an important tactical principle: to counter skeptics, do not, whatever you do, attempt to cite evidence. As Snelling tells us, evidence is irrelevant. As he says, “the answer to their problem was not to try to somehow convince them with more scientific evidence.” He is not so foolish as to start comparing sets of evidence.

    Rather, his counter to his critics is an accusation of godlessness: “They did not want to “retain God in their knowledge'”, says Snelling.

    How does Snelling get away with refusing to cite the evidence he says he has? The answer is disgusting. The disgusting part about it is that it works, in that context.

    This event took place in a church. What Snelling is saying to the bulk of the audience is simple, and very effective, but only in that setting. “These people are not of our faith, they are not members of our group.” That is, they are from an out-group. They are “scoffers”. And this is sufficient and effective for discounting anything they might say.

    So this is not merely an appeal to faith. That would be too fragile a ground. Many people, even among the faithful, will often find the evidence compelling. Rather, the appeal should be to more secure traits: territoriality and tribalism. Snelling is telling them These people are not of our tribe. The faithful actually accept this as reason to discredit them. It works. He knows it works. That’s why he’s telling his fellow-creationists to do it.

    So the scientist cannot rely only on presenting the evidence (and in that case, had better be super-well prepared). Evidence, schmevidence, says Snelling. This person is not one of us. You can’t believe him/her.

    So what can work? Before we even ask that question, we must ask: In the face of rampant irrationality like this, is it worth trying? If this group can be impressed by something as mindless as this, why bother with them at all? Let them rot in their ignorance and superstition. It’s what they deserve.

    So, first up. Should we bother?

    I put the proposition: if – I say if – we bother, we must decline Snelling’s gambit. He wants to alienate us. To counter him, we must refuse to be alienated. That is, we must display at least some of the marks by which these people identify members of their tribe.

    Perhaps that is too much to ask. I am in two minds, myself. I could certainly go into such a place and front such an audience, and present myself as an earnest enquirer who seeks God, who has read and studied the scriptures and who takes them seriously: one who is no ‘scoffer’. I would not feel too pusillanimous about doing so. After all, it is the truth, or close enough for government work.

    But the problem remains: it must not actually come down to what tribe one is in. If it comes down to that, Snelling wins, at least in that place.

    So in my other mind, I want to let him win, in that place with that crowd, because winning there means losing everywhere else. I’ll settle for that.

    I guess.

  22. Dave Luckett

    Snelling is saying that the University of Sydney taught falsehoods. That would have been enough to make my father bristle.

  23. @Rsg: “I wonder, then, how they explain …”
    Goddiddid. Checkmate, atheist!

    DaveL is right when quoting Snelling:

    “Thus, the answer to their problem was not to try to somehow convince them with more scientific evidence. Instead, they needed the Holy Spirit to convict and convince them of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator and Redeemer.”
    Here. That’s your problem. You need the Holy Spirit. Which is ironically also WLC’s and Plantinga’s argument, apologists who for some reason another do get respect.

    “What is true is that evidence, as it is defined in these discussions, plays a secondary role compared to the role God Himself plays in warranting Christian belief.”

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-witness-of-the-holy-spirit

  24. God is saying “are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?”

    Snelling has, I think, stated it clearly, that no biblical literalist will ever win an argument based on evidence. In the same way, it is impossible for a rational person to convince a true believer using evidence – e.g. Jason Lisle, who knows the evidence, is too far gone.

    Perhaps it is possible to chip away at the edges, convincing a believer that this one thing – the earth is not flat, for example – or another thing is not accurate in the bible, and over time make headway, but it’s not going to happen in a single debate.

  25. @Ed
    One thing is to point out that they have diverged from what the Bible does say – that the Sun goes around a fixed Earth – and insist on things that the Bible does not say – baraminology.
    They have allowed that mere human reasoning can override the plain sense of the Bible.

  26. michaelfugate

    There’s the rub. For people brought up in this biblical-literalist YEC tradition, acceptance of scientific evidence results in a loss of faith and alienation from the tribe. It will divide families, break up marriages, even lead to job loss. It is a bigger burden than most can bear.

    As Dave asks “Is it worth it?”

  27. RSG – I guess they answered your question 30 years ago🙂

    http://www.icr.org/article/reversals-magnetic-field-flood/

  28. I still cannot comprehend why they would even want to worship a god that would wipe out every living thing because…what was the reason again? And then is so omniscient that the one family he saves, after every thing is destroyed for being “immoral” gets so drunk that the father and sons end up in an, shall we say, immoral embrace. Some god you got there guys!