Hambo Has Proof and You Have Nothing

This is really going to shake you up, dear reader. All your sinful life, you probably went around thinking that reason and logic were on your side, and all those creationists were drooling idiots. Well, prepare to be corrected.

This is from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. You’ll be amazed by what he just posted at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry. The headline is What’s the Most Compelling Evidence of a Creator God? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On my Twitter, atheists [The fools!] frequently accuse me of trusting in myths and being irrational for believing the Bible and creation. But who is really being irrational?

Good question! You think you know the answer, don’t you, dear reader? Well, prepare for a shock. Hambo says:

After all, if the universe is the result of random chance processes, then so are our minds. [Yeah!] So how can we trust the conclusions our brains come to? Logic only makes sense in a biblical worldview, where there’s a logical Creator who made us — and our minds!

Let that sink in, dear reader. Stunningly brilliant, isn’t it? Then he tells us:

Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle, of the Biblical Science Institute, recently sat down with Billy Hallowell at the Ark Encounter for an episode of the Pure Talk show, “Answering Atheists.” [Wowie!] He dealt in-depth with the question of the rationality of a biblical worldview, natural selection, the secret code of creation [Secret code?], and more. It’s a fascinating interview, and I encourage you to watch it.

The video is right there, in the middle of ol’ Hambo’s post. Click over there and take a look — if you dare! But we’ve seen Jason talk about this subject before — here’s an example from five years ago: Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith.

The rest of Hambo’s post is devoted to promoting other videos and hawking a special Father’s Day admission price for the Ark and the Creation Museum, so we won’t bother with that. Instead, we leave you to contemplate how irrational you’ve been all your life, and how fortunate you are today that ol’ Hambo has straightened you out — before it’s too late.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Hambo Has Proof and You Have Nothing

  1. …the secret code of creation…
    You’ll need one of those Jack-in-the-Box decoder rings to reveal Hambo’s secret.

  2. Dave Luckett

    “How can we trust the conclusions our brains come to?” asks Ham. One can almost hear the plaintive whine in his voice. It’s those Aussie vowels breaking out again.

    Of course the answer is, we can’t. In particular, he can’t. His conclusions are almost invariably completely divergent from observable reality. And the rest of us? That is, people who seek to understand reality, and are not under the false impression that we start out understanding it.

    We can only trust the conclusions of our brains where they are supported by evidence that is necessarily conclusive and rigorously logical, and not even then until we have conscientiously searched for rebuttal among the conclusions of others, and have properly evaluated their evidence and arguments. Can we trust even that?

    I think, yes, we can; but there is no need to invoke a supernatural cause for that. If our brains are the product of natural selection, then it is reasonable to conclude that they can evaluate the real Universe. As living things, we must function in a real environment, a real Universe. Brains that did not serve that function would be automatically unfit for purpose, and natural selection would cull them.

    Aha! Then how do you account for the brain of Ken Ham? I answer firstly that natural selection operates on entire populations, not on individuals; and secondly that it is slow. It’s only been a couple of thousand years since the species – or some of it – actually began to acquire understanding of the Universe using the method given above; less than four hundred since the search for observable evidence was codified and refined into the scientific method.

    But thirdly, and most importantly, that we are not dealing with brains, but with memes, the communicable ideas that they operate on. A similar rule applies to memes, for they too must be consonant with observable reality. Ham’s stand-out meme – literal Biblical creationism – isn’t consonant with observable reality, and accordingly we observe that over the last few centuries it has been in retreat. Slowly but surely, it is being culled.

    Because we can’t trust the conclusions Ham’s brain comes to.

  3. How can we trust the product of design, even Intelligent Design? Indeed, “design” can mean “deception”.
    How can we trust the supernatural? A gremlin, an imp, a trickster, a demon?
    How can we trust an agent of the Ophalos Hypothesis? A Demiurge?

  4. “being irrational for believing the Bible and creation.”
    No, Ol’Hambo. You’re accused of being irrational because you lie about evolution theory and your alternative is inconsistent, incoherent and in conflict with hard facts (about which you lie as well). Granted, I’m not entirely sure if you actually believe your own lies, but that’s not really important. Plus you behave in exactly the opposite way as your favourite Holy Book preaches with your complete lack of humility. It would be utterly annoying weren’t you also utterly ridiculous. Every single time you use the word “random” for instance you’re going completely off the rails.

  5. I may have said this before here. Ham’s argument is the same as Plantinga’s (I don’t know if Plantinga is responsible for it, or merely channelling some earlier more reputable philosopher). If our minds are merely the result of natural selection, then we would have no reason to believe that they are reliable, since evolution would give us a makeshift cobbled-together worldview with systematic defects.

    Whereas, of course, Plantinga’s worldview is rational and free of any such inherited systematic biases.

    Darwin (see his autobiography and discussion of his shift from theism to agnosticism) did actually use an argument quite similar to Plantinga’s, but in the restricted sphere of philosophical speculation on topics remote from experience. Plantinga actually acknowledges Darwin (and uses the expression “Darwin’s doubt” since co-opted and wrenched out of context by Meyer), although he entirely misses the central feature of Darwin’s argument, namely that it only applies to domains remote from our ability to learn by experience.

  6. Karl Goldsmith
  7. Karl Goldsmith

    So they did a video preaching to the choir, a tweet from Ken Ham shows he is proud to sell ignorance to the next generation at Homeschool Conference in Denver. “Always thrills me to see so many families picking up @AiG resources to equip their families with the message of Gods Word and the Gospel.”

  8. I don’t understand why a professional philosopher would take that argument seriously.
    For example, wouldn’t the same argument apply with at least as much force as a “Developmental Argument Against Naturalism”? Of, turning the tables, “Creation Argument Against Non-naturalism”? (How does the assumption that our ability to think is created relate to the reliability of our thoughts?)

  9. Paul B – The evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN) has first been formulated by Plantinga in 1993, but the idea goes back to Arthur Balfour (1906) and C S Lewis and his book “Miracles” (1947). It is a purely philosophical argument and is generally not used as an argument against biological evolution. Creationists, of course, use it to attack evolution. Wikipedia gives a good summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_argument_against_naturalism

  10. @Hans435, thanks. As I recall, Plantinga is using the argument against evolution in particular, as well as against naturalism more generally, and thinks that he is being clever when he refers to Darwin for support. But I am not going to subject myself to rereading his tortuous prose in order to check these details

  11. I checked the Wikipedia link. My recollection of the 1993 formulation was correct

  12. @KarlG: It’s all in the header. “40 000 old.” Athiest lens incorrect! Biblical lens only makes sense! Micro-evolution! Hyperaccelerated! Post Flood Ice Age! Etc. etc.

    @TomS: “I don’t understand why a professional philosopher would take that argument seriously.”
    Most professional philosophers indeed don’t think high of apologetics.

    “There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot,therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.”

    Bertrand Russell on Thomas of Aquino in History of Western Philosophy.

  13. @PaulB: “against evolution in particular”
    Like quite a few apologists (WLC!) Plantinga is ambiguous on evolution theory. I recall an old article of his that flat out rejects it, but EAAN more or less requires accepting it (if evolution is false you can’t use it against naturalism anyway).

    Here for instance Plantinga is very cozy with IDiot Jaybird Rick:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/04/seeking_an_offi/

    “For the most part, however, Jay and I are on the same page. Still, we do have something of a disagreement, or near-disagreement.”

    Jaybird Rick however still remains suspicious:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/04/whats_in_a_word_1/

    “then he defines “Darwinism” in such a way that it does not “seem to cut against providentialist religion” This is a perplexing claim, especially since Plantinga cites in a footnote on the previous page Casey Luskin’s article ….”

    Btw I only recommend reading those two full links (I just skimmed them looking for what I needed) if you’re interested in the subtil difference (according to IDiots etc.) between Darwinism and evolution theory.

    Plantinga gets about as much respect from professional philosophers today as Thomas of Aquino from Russell:

    “people like Plantinga still stride what should by now be an impossibly uncomfortable divide and ever widening gap between serious philosophy and theology. Not to put too fine a point on it, Plantinga is engaging in ….. “neo-scholasticism” (not a compliment), the sort of philosophy that was perfectly acceptable at the time of Thomas Aquinas, but that should have by now securely been consigned to the dustbin of intellectual dead ends.”

    https://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2013/07/plantingas-evolutionary-argument.html

    Creacrap (whether IDiocy, OEC or YEC) is nothing but apologetics, so it’s unsurprising that Ol’Hambo takes stuff like EAAN over and IDiots are highly interested in it too.

  14. @FrankB, thanks.

    I opened the first link and got as far as “even if they [theories such as those in in evolutionary psychology] constitute good science, they don’t provide defeaters for the Christian beliefs with which they are incompatible.”

    I translate this as “I’m the umpire, and if anyone scores against my team I’ll rule them off-side”.

    Resolution: to waste no more time on Plantinga

  15. @FrankB: you sent me back to History of Western Philosophy, where Russell says this of Aquinas:

    “Even if every one of his doctrines were mistaken, the Summa would remain an imposing intellectual edifice… The sharpness and clarity with which he distinguishes arguments derived from reason and arguments derived from Revelation are admirable.”

    I don’t think anyone would say as much about Plantinga, even though Russell’s central criticism of Aquinas would apply to Plantinga with equal force:

    “The appeal to reason is, in a sense, insincere, since the conclusion to be reached is fixed in advance.”

    In short, Plantinga has all of Aquinas’ failings and none of his virtues

  16. Karl Goldsmith

    A tweet from Ken yesterday while pretending London has more murders than New York. when in reality in the first five months London has nearly half the murders of New York. “Until people understand that weapons (guns/knives etc) are not the problem, & the real problem is man’s sinful heart, they cannot begin to deal with the issue correctly. Another reason to do all we can to proclaim the truth of God’s Word & the gospel”

  17. @KarlG: “the real problem is man’s sinful heart”
    This is 100% correct as far as Ol’Hambo is concerned. Over and over again he commits several of the seven deadly sins.

  18. @Dave Luckett —

    Thank you for such a clear, concise commentary exposing the fallacy of Ham’s “reasoning”. I was getting set to write on the subject until I read your post. You said it so much better than I could, so all I’ll say is Hear, hear!

  19. Michael Fugate

    Elliot has made the case that a god could guide mutations, but how would we know?
    http://sober.philosophy.wisc.edu/selected-papers
    It is the first paper in the intelligent design category

  20. Eric Lipps

    After all, if the universe is the result of random chance processes, then so are our minds. [Yeah!] So how can we trust the conclusions our brains come to? Logic only makes sense in a biblical worldview, where there’s a logical Creator who made us — and our minds!

    Then I guess Aristotle and Plato were incapable of logic. After all, those pagan Greeks certainly weren’t operating from a “biblical worldview.”