Hambo Attacks Intelligent Design

We’ve been waiting a long time for this, and at last we found it at the blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. It’s titled Is the Intelligent Design Movement a Help to the Church?, and it was written by Hambo himself. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Over the years, I’ve had a number of church leaders and Christian college and seminary profs say how wonderful the Intelligent Design (ID) movement is and what a great help to the church it is. But is it really? First, we need to understand the difference between intelligent design arguments and the Intelligent Design movement.

Then he says:

At Answers in Genesis, we use various intelligent design arguments in a number of our presentations and articles. [Scripture quote omitted.] The book of Romans is clear: the evidence around us makes it obvious that life and the universe were created by an intelligent Designer. [Yes, obvious!] Whether one is studying DNA, the development of a baby in a mother’s womb, the obvious design of feathers, and so on, the evidence itself only makes sense when interpreted within the framework of an intelligent Designer. So intelligent design arguments are wonderful evidence for and confirmation of the truth of God’s Word, beginning in Genesis 1:1.

Then what’s Hambo complaining about? He explains:

But here’s the problem: the ID movement does not tell us who the intelligent Designer is.

There’s no point converting people to believe in an intelligent Designer unless we are pointing them to who that Designer is: our Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t just want people to stop being evolutionists or even to become creationists — we are burdened to see them receive the free gift of salvation and become Bible-believing Christians.

Isn’t Hambo wonderful? Then he makes another brilliant point:

Here’s another problem with using ID arguments without coupling them with the Bible as the foundation for how to understand the world. If you just look at the world around us, you could easily conclude that this intelligent Designer, whoever he or it is, must be an ogre. After all, look at all the death, suffering, disease, and so many horrible things that happen in our world.

It’s only when we start with God’s Word in Genesis that we understand we are living in a fallen world because of sin. This world was once perfect (“very good”—Genesis 1:31), but now it’s a broken world because of God’s judgment of death as a consequence of our rebellion in Adam (Genesis 3). It’s only by using God’s Word that we can begin to understand that it’s not the fault of the intelligent Designer (God) that there’s death, disease, and suffering in this world — it’s humanity’s fault because of our sin in Adam (Genesis 3).

He continues:

Also, because the ID movement does not use God’s Word as the foundation for its worldview, many within that movement believe in billions of years (most ID leaders don’t stand with AiG on a literal Genesis). Thus, those people believe death and disease existed before man sinned — and that’s a big problem because it places the blame for death and suffering on God the Creator, not on us, the created beings who rebelled and sinned against our Creator.

Egad — that’s a ghastly mistake! Hambo goes on quite a bit longer, but this is our last excerpt:

Let’s not divorce intelligent design arguments from the intelligent Designer: the God of the Bible, who is our Creator and Savior.

So there you have it. If you’ve been wondering who does it better — Hambo or the Discoveroids — now you know. Hooray for Hambo!

Copyright © 2023. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

46 responses to “Hambo Attacks Intelligent Design

  1. “The book of Romans is clear: the evidence around us makes it obvious”

    It’s obvious your religion is baloney Ken. Since when is something obvious if Romans has to threaten you anyway.

  2. AiG’s heresy hunt continues.

    “It’s only by using God’s Word that we can begin to understand that it’s not the fault of the intelligent Designer (God) that there’s death, disease, and suffering in this world — it’s humanity’s fault because of our sin in Adam (Genesis 3).”

    The ultimate Blame The Victim. And worse than that. Death is not a defect but an unavoidable feature; for all but the most infantile of perspectives, it is a necessary precondition for generation after generation of new birth.

    At this point, AiG would intervene to point out that I’ve been guilty of using Malthusianism, which they regard as a Satanic creed.

  3. Has Hambone ever explained why his favorite religion’s origin story is preferable to any of the other religion’s origin stories. Most of them have one and some are even more entertaining.

  4. @Paul Braterman
    Some thoughts on Blame the Victim and Intelligent Design.
    What about Informed Consent?
    Or about Consent of the Governed?
    And I came across this item in WikiBooks.org, Usability for Nerds:
    “Design should reflect the user’s logic, not the constructor’s logic.”

  5. The whole point of ID was that it was *supposed* to hide the identity of the Creator to pretend that it was science-y. Good for the Hamster to push back against that to call a spade a spade … but then he’s lost any pretense of science.

    Kinda shot himself in the foot.

  6. “who is our Creator and Savior.”

    There is an old joke: Accept Jesus as your savior. Savior from what? Savior from my idiotic plan and what I will do to you if you don’t tell me it’s the greatest ever plan even though it’s so stupid that a two-year-old could have a better plan.

  7. A matter of logic, the fallacies of composition and division, the difference between individual and group: in particular Creator, Provident Sustainer and Savior of …?
    …each individual human?
    …human population as a group?
    Explore the conflict between natural science and the supernatural, keeping in mind the difference between individual and group.

  8. @Bob Seidensticker – The hiddenness of the designer has been abandoned long time ago.

    Ham gets himself more and more into a corner. Every day we get headlines about new discoveries, new fossils, distant galaxies, … How long is he going to keep up that 6,000 year universe? Young people are not stupid.

  9. > Young people are not stupid.

    Even as a child attending a fundamentalist private school that taught creationism, I never bought the 6,000-year-old claim because of the vastness of the universe and the starlight problem.

  10. Eddie Janssen

    Eve committed the original sin, not Adam.

  11. Dave Luckett

    richard, Professor Braterman, TomS : You are perfectly correct to point out Ham’s theological and scriptural errors. I’ll join you, if I may.

    The most obvious of them, of course, is Ham’s identification of “very good” with “perfect”. His whole argument depends on that idea. Obviously, plainly, indisputably, “very good” does NOT mean “perfect”, and Ham is blatantly distorting the words of scripture when he asserts it.

    But he is also asserting that death cannot be part of a “very good” creation, which is another, quite separate, distortion of the text. Death, according to the plain words of Genesis, was always part of creation. Genesis 3:22 clearly states that humans as created were always mortal, always going to die. Creation was “very good”, even though it included death. Ham distorts the scripture he cites; he also leaves out any words he finds inconvenient.

    And the level of his knowledge of and respect for scripture is well indicated by his casual reference to “the book of Romans”. What he means is “the epistle TO the Romans”, a letter by Paul to the nascent church in Rome. While it is common to refer to the canonical texts collectively as “books of the Bible”, it is careless at best to call any one of them a book when it plainly isn’t one. And I’m not at all sure that Ham knows or cares about the distinction between “of Romans” and “to the Romans”.

    He is also skirting heresy very closely when he writes “the God of the Bible, who is our Creator and Savior”. In that expression Ham implies that they are one and the same, identical in personhood and nature. That is the monophysite heresy, a denial of the Trinity.

    Back when authoritarian churchmen like Ham actually had secular power, Ham would have found himself summoned to answer sharp questions about that, amid the scent of burning coals and the sound of distant screams. That he is in no danger of that is testimony to the fact that while our world may be far from perfect, it has improved in some ways at least, even with secularist unbelievers in charge of it.

    But for Ham, the removal of an institution that enforces conformity is a loss, not a gain. So long as it is conformity to what Ham believes, of course.

    But what Ham actually believes is difficult to reconstruct from his writings. The best guide is given by Jesus of Nazareth, an obscure first-century Jewish nabi. He remarked that “you will know them by their fruits”, which in Ham’s case consist entirely of things that can turn a profit for Ken Ham.

    But that is another issue again.

  12. Dave Luckett

    Eddie Janssen: With respect, not so. Genesis 3:6 says she took the fruit and ate it, and gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it. He was there. He knew where it came from. So he, too, knew it was forbidden. He, too, disobeyed. That’s why his plea at vs 12, “the woman you put here with me gave me some fruit from the tree”, is not only idle, it only makes matters worse by refusal of responsibility.

    No, that part of the story makes perfect sense. Other parts don’t, so much, and of course it’s a story, but it’s quite a good one, for all that.

  13. Ironically Ken “without excuse” Ham is more without excuse to not believe evolution than everyone else is “without excuse” to not be a Christian because evolution is way more obvious. We all know what happens to people “without excuse”. That’s right, they don’t get any cookies before bedtime.

  14. Eddie Janssen

    @Dave: I don’t understand, Eve was the first to disobey God. She committed the first sin.

  15. First =/= original, in this case. The Original Sin was defying God’s command to not eat the fruit and both of them committed it. As has been pointed out by other scholars, Eve had to be persuaded by the literal Lord Of Lies, while for Adam is was just another human.

  16. @dweller42, ” the literal Lord Of Lies”, equating the serpent with Satan, is completely unbiblical. Even AiG, IIRC, gets this and says that the serpent was *inspired* by Satan

  17. AIG does not, or at least that’s not what I’ve read, and its what I was drawing from. Happy to be wrong on that count, honestly, as it’d be nice to see them pushing their theology into the … well, 4th century, by the Jewish count, somewhere around the 18th by the Christian one, at least consistently.

    I might well be conflating them with the ICR, though. I understand that their official position is that the serpent is separate from Satan, but I know more than a few of their “researchers” who disagree and will tell you that at ICR events.

  18. Ah, I am WELL behind the times. AIG actually talks about Luther specifically in their article about “the serpent.” Some bits are a bit wonky, theologically, but that’s sort of expected at this point.

  19. When did Satan ever lie about anything. God’s lie count and body count are far greater. Not to mention a boon to the fig leaf industry. We’ve been worshiping the wrong deity this whole time.

  20. Dave Luckett

    richard, It seems there were two lies. The serpent’s lie was direct. He said to Eve, “You will certainly not die”. Other possible translations are “You will not be certain to die” and “Of course you will not die”. Whatever, that was a lie. They had not eaten of the tree of life, and they were therefore doomed to die.

    (This “tree of life” maguffin is an odd one. It’s in the story, for sure, holy writ and all that, but it seems like an afterthought, and it disobeys Chekhov’s rule. That is, it’s a numinous object for certain, and it should trigger a crucial event, but the event never happens. Why didn’t they eat of the tree of life and become immortal? It wasn’t forbidden. Did God hide it from them? Why have it there at all, then? Is this something like damnation and redemption, that is, a rule God must follow unless He can find a way around it? Beats me.)

    But like all the really good lies, the serpent’s lie is only a lie because it leaves something out. In this case, that they wouldn’t die today, but they were going to die.

    And that is crucial, because God had told them that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, “in that day you will surely die.” (Emphasis mine, of course. Some translations leave “in that day” out, but it’s there in the original Hebrew.)

    That’s another kind of lie, even more subtle. It’s an equivoque. It seems to mean “You’ll die right away”, but it turns out that God didn’t mean that. He meant “In that day you’ll be doomed to die sometime”. But they were already doomed to die sometime. By putting it like that, the Lord God had made it sound as though they could be immortal. That’s the lie.

    Or, on a kinder interpretation, He regretted His condemnation, and of His divine mercy, commuted sentence of death for the time being. Sure, sure. God is prone to changing His mind like that. Pity about the flood – He was really sorry, afterwards, but by then it was too late, and He was up to His knees in drowned babies.

    And see, that’s the entire point. The god of these stories is limited and comes complete with a full suite of human flaws, foibles and inconsistencies. He’s terrifyingly powerful, but he has rage issues, communication problems, makes odd decisions and choices, and has human sources of enjoyment like a taste for roast meat or for taking a walk in the cool of the evening.

    And that’s why I know that these stories are works of fiction. I’d know that, even if I had never heard of dinosaurs or the Big Bang. These are stories. I know what stories are. They’re ways of getting a point across, maybe, but they’re stories. To watch Ham turning his mind into a pretzel to convince himself that they are fact is something I find profoundly disturbing.

    I suppose that’s why I’m here.

  21. @Dave Luckett
    Maybe the tree of life’s entire purpose was to serve as a punishment by removing them from the garden so that they could never eat from it. No other purpose beyond that was intended by the story tellers. Maybe they simply weren’t worried about what sense it made for there to be a tree of life that nobody ever ate from.

  22. Christianity: Various elaborate theories put forward about trees of life and bruised heels and whatnot.

    Original story tellers: Bwaha get a life people I wrote those on my lunch break lol.

  23. @richard
    There are several topics in the Bible without full treatment. People who
    are mentioned, as if they have a story to be told, but we will never hear it. It sort of reminds me of references left dangling in the Sherlock Holmes canon.

  24. @TomS
    You mean like the Star Trek episode with Terri Garr and the cat lady in it that was obviously meant to spawn a spin-off but nobody ever heard from it again.

  25. @richard
    I’m thinking of the jezail bullet and gopher wood.

  26. I suspect Ham is worried about his market share. Back in the day the DI played down the religious side of its claims. Nowadays, they are clearly targeting church-goes, and Ham sees that as his turf.

  27. This extremely interesting piece has a section precisely about the problems and inconsistencies of the Garden of Eden story: https://3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2023/03/when-your-backstory-is-wrong.html

  28. @Paul Braterman

    Money quote: “These gods are so appalling that they even carefully word their oracles to allow themselves plausible deniability for the suffering they cause.”

    Indeed. “Well, technically I wasn’t lying.” –Every pathological liar ever. Also every plot twist ever, and–not so coincidentally since they are fiction–every deity ever.

  29. @richard
    Proverbs 26:18-19
    As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
    So is the man that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, Am not I in sport?

  30. @TomS, great quote. And the excuse that “I’m only being satirical” is much, much older tham I’d imagined.

  31. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life_(biblical)

    “The Eastern Orthodox Church has traditionally understood the tree of life in Genesis as a prefiguration of the Cross, which humanity could not partake of until after the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.”

    There you go folks. A little imagination and you too can have your own exegetical thingamabob for the low low price of nothing. Never give up on your wackydoodle theories folks. Who knows, maybe eventually someone will bite.

    “You show that to a hundred people and probably not more than one of ’em will recognize it as a genuine Monstrositi. That is the work of Fedeccini Monstrositi, the last of the great Italian bathtub makers.” –Mr. Haney

  32. @richard
    In Christianity, The standard reading of the Bible has been fourfold

  33. @TomS
    Very convenient for them. I wish I could do my taxes that way. Conveniently, they would always owe me a huge refund. In the millions or billions.

  34. Dave Luckett

    I hadn’t heard that take on the tree of life before. It does sorta tie the story together, doesn’t it? The tree is the Cross, get it? In the beginning is – well, not exactly the end, but the means to the end, the harbinger that lends the sense of inevitability essential to epic. And it’s also a kind of equivoque. It would normally be taken as the means of catastrophic defeat, but it turns out to be the enabler of ultimate triumph. That, I have to say, is superb storytelling.

    I must admit that it adds to my appreciation of the story, as a story. I was reaching for that when I wrote “Is this (the tree of life) something like damnation and redemption, that is, a rule God must follow unless He can find a way around it?” The answer implied in the tree/cross metaphor is just exactly that: damnation is certain unless God can find a way out. Which He does, hurrah.

    So I gain one more insight into why Christianity has such influence – it’s a rattling good yarn. No, seriously, it has real narrative power. But it also has the same characteristic that many rattling good yarns have. Namely, when you examine the foundation of the story, you find a mystery.

    Now, this need not be a deal-breaker. We don’t enquire too closely into why Eliza Bennet is so taken with the cut of Mr Darcy’s jib, or possibly of his breeches. She just is. Or how Mr Toad can be subject to an ordinary police court for reckless driving (and cheeking a policeman!) but not when he and others commit armed assault in company to drive squatters from his house. The power of narrative is so great that we don’t enquire.

    Same here, but the problem for me is that the mystery behind the Christian narrativeis a deal-breaker.

    God is supreme and omnipotent, right? His will be done, right? He makes the rules, right? So what’s this rule He has to obey, that forced Him to become flesh and sacrifice Himself so He doesn’t have to damn all humans to hell forever for their sins? Who made that rule? Who made it impossible to repeal? Who said it was necessary?

    I would be most interested to know the answer to those questions. I don’t know it, and I’ve done a lot of looking.

  35. The reason you can’t find the rule that says God had to kill his son to prevent eternal punishment in Hell is that the rule doesn’t exist. I mean, Hell, as envisaged by modern Christians as a consistently and knowable place rather than a sort of placeholder for, “dying badly,” with both words up for negotiation, can’t really be found in the book they claim supports its existence, so it shouldn’t be shocking that substitutionary atonement isn’t particularly there.

  36. @dweller42
    Don’t worry, because utilizing the standard methods that @TomS outlined above (Literal Allegorical Tropological Anagogical) you may be surprised to discover that you can find any rule you want–which is precisely the reason those methods exist, I’m sure. It’s like the old Burger King commercial, “Have it your way.” They can tell all the whoppers they want and “have it their way”.

  37. Lettera gesta docet,
    quid credas allegoria,
    Moralia quid agas,
    quo tendas, anagogia

    That’s the typical of that framework, which is Latin because its medieval. It’s basically discarded at this point, mostly for the reasons you mention – the intention was to interpret every piece of Scripture through all four frames – what does this teach us about the past, what does this teach us about our beliefs, what does this tell us we should do, what does this tells us about Heaven?

    Applied insincerely, one at a time, it’s absolutely open to deception. Most creationists and conservative evangelicals still use these methods while claiming that they’re just reading the “plain text.”

  38. If everyone went by the plain text then everyone would be a creationist going around talking to donkeys and moving mountains all day and then resign from Christianity because Jesus didn’t return yet. There are upsides to creative interpretation.

  39. Absolutely! And, of course, there’s a reason why I put that in quotes – the bits in Job where God describes what a lot of creationists call dinosaurs, it’s VERY clear that the God of Job has a body, wields weapons and isn’t even close to omnipotent. In context, he’s literally bragging about his combat prowess. THAT part is “obviously” poetic, but the descriptions are “obviously” dinosaurs.

  40. @dweller42
    No one remarked about the Bible texts, like the Sun standing still, that are seeming to be incompatible with the Earth being a planet of a Solar system; no one, for about 1500 years, suggested that the Bible might be telling us about the heliocentric model of the Solar system.
    This means that those Bible texts are not *obviously* meant figuratively. Something which has not been noticed for well over a thousand years is not obvious.

  41. I always figured that Eve and Adam had been eating the fruit of the tree of life all along, and only when they were deprived of it by being kicked out of the garden, would they start aging and eventually die.

  42. @Peter N
    It doesn’t have to make sense, because it’s not a thing that happened. “It only makes sense if this and this” doesn’t apply in this case because it doesn’t have to make sense in the first place since it isn’t real. As in the Burger King commercials where you can “have it your way”, the laws of logic and physics are optional, and extra cheese.

  43. As has already been pointed out, as long as Adam and Eve have ever more living descendants, they will eventually overcome space and resources.
    I don’t know when this consequence was addressed by readers of the Bible. Is this something which is “obvious”, thereby allowing figurative language

  44. An obvious question which I never see discussed. If they hadn’t yet eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, how could they have known that it was wrong to disobey God and do so?

  45. @Paul Braterman
    Perhaps if we take “good and evil” as a merism, meaning “everything”. Rather like “heaven and earth”, or “living and dead”, etc. This is not quite enough, but maybe it is a starter.

  46. I like to compare the intelligent design movement to a bowel movement. It makes unpleasant sounds, smells bad, is the result of a lot of mashing together and squirting with unpleasant fluids and finally turns out to just be a POS.