If you have been following the abundantly one-sided debate between science and the Creation Museum’s Ken Ham, you might enjoy his latest claim, that evolution is not science at all, but a religion that has “brainwashed” those who “believe it” into thinking it is science.
Right Wing Watch has kindly provided a snippet:
And he’s not happy that some Christians are willing to go along with the idea that a biblical day is not literally a day, that ‘day’ might be a euphemism for many, many, many years:
A lot of these Christian leaders, when they say the word ‘day’ can’t mean an ordinary day because of science, it’s not observational science they’re referring to, it’s man’s historical science. In other words, man’s beliefs about evolution and millions of years.
They’re taking man’s religion of millions of years and saying, ‘That’s why you can’t believe what the Bible says.’ If the word ‘day’ in Genesis 1 means an ordinary day and you say it can’t because of what man is saying, then you’ve just said God’s word is fallible and its man’s word that is infallible. No, it’s the other way around.
What Ham has done here, besides inadvertently describing Creationism (a religion that fools people into thinking it is science by cleverly tacking the word “science” onto it), is make himself sound very…oh, I don’t know any other word for it…stupid.
Yes, I know that it is difficult, but Ham has attained that rare pinnacle of an adult perfecting the childish art of “Oh yeah? Well, your….!” He can’t prove that creationism magically turned into science when he added the word ‘science’ to it, so the best he can do is turn the tables and say his religion is science and that science is…well, religion.
He can’t explain that alchemical process, and it must be alchemy because like creationism, alchemy is a myth. It just is, because it needs to be true for him to even pretend to be in the same playing field as actual scientists. People like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who could put Ham’s brain in his pocket and forget about it was there.
I say “science” above, because even though it is Bill Nye who debated Ham, it is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos reboot that has the smug creationist pulling his hair out in true biblical fashion. This is not the first time we have heard about “blind faith in science.” And on his site, Answers in Genesis, Ham takes issue with life beginning with chemicals, saying the origin of life “will remain unresolved for them until they [scientists] acknowledge God’s eyewitness account of the origin of life in the Bible.”
Cogent arguments and reasoned rebuttals you will not find coming from Ham. Instead, he steadfastly sticks to his claim that the Bible is somehow an eyewitness account of creation, which it can’t be. Unless he wants us to believe God himself put stylus to papyrus and jotted it down from notes he made as he created the cosmos and then gave it into Adam’s safekeeping, it cannot be: You see, man was not created until the sixth day. How did Adam know what happened on days 1-5? If the Bible is inerrant, as Ham insists, then it cannot be an eyewitness account of creation.
And if he is claiming God himself wrote it down, how does he explain the…infelicities in the manuscript? Namely, in Genesis alone, two mutually incompatible creation stories. From 1-2.4 we have the standard 7-day model with which we are all familiar. But from 2.4 on we are given an entirely new scenario, one which sees the creation of Adam and Eve (remember, they were already presumably created along with all the other men and women in 1.26, where he enjoined them to “be fruitful and multiply.”
Of course, this turns out to be very bad advice indeed, since this is the sort of nonsense that gets them in trouble in the second story. As Robin Lane Fox observes, the second story “flatly contradicts the first.” In the second story, man precedes vegetation but in the first, vegetation appears at 1.12 while man only arrives at 1.26 – a neat trick.
Remember too that the Garden of Eden exists only in the second story; it is not present in the first, an interesting omission. Obviously, the two stories date from different times, but both before 400 BCE, after which date a third writer combined them into a single account. “Probably,” as Lane Fox concludes, “the two stories had become too well known for either to be excluded.”
And that doesn’t include the story of Noah – of which there are two, also mutually incompatible.
And this is just in Genesis, where Ham expects us to find answers.
We can easily step forward a little and look at the Ten Commandments and ask, WHICH Ten Commandments? Because even the famous 10 Commandments so popular with the Religious Right are not so cut and dried as people seem to think: The 10 Commandments are given twice, once at Exodus 20 and again at Deuteronomy 5. If that isn’t confusing enough, we are also presented with three mutually incompatible sets of laws (Exodus 20-23; Leviticus 11-27; Deuteronomy 12-26).
In any case, as Lane Fox rightly observes, “There are not ten, and they are patently not original commands which were given to Moses by the mountain god of Sinai.” Though they may originally date from around the 10th century BCE, “the versions which we now read have been enlarged and varied and their final form may be as late as c. 550 BC.”
That makes the Earth even younger than Ham claims.
Sadly, the sort of argument we can in response to actual facts can be found here:
Of course, fossil evidence does not support creationism. While we have a velociraptor locked in battle with protoceratops…
…the fossil record is shockingly and lamentably bare on the subject of velociraptor versus homo sapiens.
The problem with Ham is that he thinks saying something makes it true. He doesn’t understand the first thing about science and if he did, he would not admit it, because he is a fraud, and frauds don’t make money by being honest.
Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible (NY: Vintage Books, 1991)
Ken Ham photo from The Huffington Post
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.