Monday fun: Another meme about Ken Ham in a hat

Hey gang, this week, the wife and I are going on vacation to The Last Frontier (Alaska, not space), which we hope will be an enjoyable time of fishing, camping and not being eaten by bears.

Even though I know Alaska isn’t like some foreign country where they don’t have magazine and whatnot, I still do not expect to have much Internet access up there. But I do have a meme for this week, and I wanted to get it out to you today, while I’m still on this side of Canada.

As you know, Ken Ham does not like scientists. Nor does he like science journals. He doesn’t like any museums (except one!), and he really hates public schools and the
textbooks they use.

Now, you might be asking, “Hey, what’s the story, Hambone? Why do you hate all of these things?” Well, the answer is quite simple: They present only one view. That is, the scientists, and science journals, science museums and science teachers, offer only, well, science, which is wrong … somehow.

Instead, what they should do, Ham insists, is teach objective, evidence-based science alongside his magic-based, garbled version of world history, which isn’t even in line with the biblical record it’s supposedly taken from.

Now that's more like it.

Now that’s more like it.

Of course, what’s really ironic about Ham’s perspective is that he demands that non-religious institutions and organizations recognize the imaginary controversy he believes concerns scientific evidence related to evolution and the age of the earth, but he refuses to acknowledge or give any validity to the real, actual disagreement which exists among many smart, faithful followers of Jesus in regard to the proper interpretation of the book of Genesis.

This was a point Bill Nye made in his “debate” with Ham:

People get tremendous community and comfort and nurture and support from their religious fellows, and their communities, in their faiths, and churches, and yet they don’t accept your point of view. There are Christians who don’t accept that the Earth could somehow be this extraordinarily young age. Because of all the evidence around them.

Perhaps the most accurate thing said about the Christian faith that entire night, and it came from the non-Christian guy.

But the most hilarious examples of Ham’s self-proclaimed monopoly on biblical truth come from his own words. His favorite, and most common, tactic is to label anyone who disagrees with him on anything a “compromiser”or take them to task for “rejecting the authority of God’s word.”

However, in my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than this post from 2012, in which he accuses an Assemblies of God (which isn’t exactly known for being a super-liberal denomination) journal of “taking a dogmatic position against” literalists because — get this — they allowed multiple views of Genesis to be presented.

He explains his position here:

However, we at Answers in Genesis believe there is only one correct view regarding how one takes Genesis—it must be taken as literal history (it is written as a historical narrative). And we must as God’s people stand against the compromise of reinterpreting Genesis to fit in evolution and millions of years, which undermines biblical authority. We are often called intolerant for our stand. There are church leaders who claim they are tolerant in allowing different views regarding Genesis, but in doing so they are intolerant of the view AiG takes, which we adamantly insist is the correct biblical view.

So, in reality, in the journal of this denomination, by allowing different authors to present different views, by not coming out and clearly stating which is the correct view, and by not giving reasons why compromise views are in error, I submit that the journal is taking a dogmatic, intolerant stand against those who take the position we do at AiG.

Isn’t that crazy? I mean, isn’t that just off-your-rocker, jam-a-pen-in-your-eye-hole insane? In Ken Ham’s brain, saying literally nothing negative about his views is the equivalent of taking a “dogmatic, intolerant stand” against him?

That’s right, folks: In his nuanced, sophisticated view of the world, you have to not only agree with him, but also refuse to acknowledge that other opinions even exist, and that they might be sort of valid, too.

Seriously — how the heck does he get away with this stuff?

This is where, I believe, the truly destructive, corrosive nature of the Answers in Genesis worldview lies. It’s not what they teach that is so toxic for the church, but how they teach it. We cannot be a unified body of Christ if we let deluded little would-be dictators come in and say what is and isn’t universal truth.

Anyway, that concludes this week’s rant. Have a great week, y’all.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • Boy, that second paragraph in the quote says it all, doesn’t it?

    There wasn’t an endorsement of all views, but by failing to actively denounce all the other views as heretical, the AG is taking a “dogmatic, intolerant stand.”

    How could any sane person make a statement like that? I mean, I might have understood something like “They failed to take advantage of a great opportunity to stand for the truth,” (although I still would have disagreed, that would at least be cogent) but they’re taking a dogmatic, intolerant stand by… not saying anything about other views? Unreal. I mean, literally, unreal.

  • ashleyhr

    Ken Ham presenting only ONE view (which appears to be that if you want to do science today you should still start with a biblical creationist worldview just like Sir Issac Newton allegedly did – though Newton didn’t have the inconvenience of having to deny evolution, deep time or the big bang due to ‘worldview’ unlike Ham, who seems to positively relish doing so and attacking the bloke who defeated him in last year’s debate in the process): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFzBgQIPTm4&feature=youtu.be

  • brengun

    I don’t know if I entirely agree here. After all, Ken Ham;
    (a) Twists logic in original, funky ways that we would call “cute” and “clever” if our 5 year old did the same thing.
    (b) Has a spectacularly grizzled face that just makes you want to listen to him and blindly and enthusiastically assent to every syllable. Even syllables that come together to make the word “intolerant” mean just about anything.
    (c) Has a spectacularly grizzled face looks good in a hat, pretty much any hat from what I can tell, and he looks like he should definitely be holding a mic with this particular hat. He very often does hold a mic, further supporting the logic of this last point.
    Basically, and to sum up, I think it is intolerant to not flock to the creation museum in droves based on the above, so-far-un-refuted points.

    • Wow, I never thought of it like that! Thanks! 😉

  • ashleyhr

    It seems that Steve Risner can’t decide whether he is attacking Tyler Francke or Michael Gungor today: http://worldviewwarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/all-flap-about-ken-ham-is.html And what’s all this about Ken Ham holding “5 degrees”? Risner also promotes the falsehood that if YECs have ‘answered’ a question that is the end of the matter. No – NOT if the answers are complete tosh and anti-scientific (as they frequently are). And Risner also claims “Further into the blog post, Tyler quotes Ham in an effort to support his claim that Ham is angry, aggressive, and hateful. I didn’t find anything like that in Ham’s blog, which you’re welcome to look at here” (link supplied). Yet Ham’s blog post in question stated: “I would say that Gungor’s blog post comes across as an emotional, angry, and arrogant outburst, without any hint of wanting a respectful dialogue. Frankly, he should be held to account for his harsh tone in his blog. One church recently canceled an event with Gungor, and I think more churches will cancel his events once they realize the way in which they could lead young people astray by undermining the authority of God’s Word. And the church as a whole needs to demand that he apologize for his tone (as well as for his clearly anti-biblical teachings). At the very least, he should write respectfully about these issues.” That sounds pretty malicious to me.

    • Correct, Ken Ham does not have five degrees per se. He has six. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Ham

      • I’m not sure honorary degrees count. Or rather, I’m sure honorary degrees don’t count.

        • ashleyhr

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary_degree
          So Risner was technically correct, but Ham did NOT study to gain these degrees – all from private Christian universities. Indeed Ham is very skilled not at adding to the sum of human knowledge – but at undermining it.

          • Getting honorary degrees from private Christian institutions is the primary way fundamentalists build their academic credentials. This is why there are so many Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastors with “Dr.” in front of their name. It’s by honorary degree – sometimes from their own institution.

          • Or from the University of the Holy Spirit, like our friend Dr. David Tee.

          • Pneuma U – Graduating is a breeze!

          • Let’s hear you complain about your hero Bill Nye’s “degrees”. Ken Ham has more formal education and earned degrees than Nye the Fallacy Guy.

          • You should look up the phrase “tu quoque” sometime.

            Bill Nye’s degree is in mechanical engineering, and his other degrees are also honorary (although from institutions like John Hopkins as opposed to Brother Bob’s Basement Bible Kollege). He also taught astronomy and human ecology at Cornell. His astronomy classes were under Carl Sagan.

            If you’re trying to make the point that Bill Nye should not be held up as the vanguard of biological research, I totally agree. You don’t need a PhD to know the basic principles, but at the end of the day, he was probably selected more for his role as a popular spokesperson for science than his actual academic credentials. Which is probably a good thing, because an actual biology scholar would have disassembled everything Ken Ham said and probably lost a lot of the audience.

          • You should get a basic understanding of “tu quoque” before trying to accuse others of it. Also, learn about double standards.

          • I don’t know what you mean. I agreed with you that Nye wasn’t a good spokesman for evolution. If there were an actual, thoroughgoingly credentialed biologist who defended YEC, Nye would probably have a hard time with him. What’s the double standard? That I think Nye is still basically smarter and more coherent than Ken Ham? I think Miley Cyrus is basically smarter and more coherent than Ken Ham.

          • Hey Phil. If you’ve never talked with our friend QEP before, you should know that he is basically unable to communicate in any way other random one-liner non sequiturs that he almost never follows up on. He’s basically the equivalent of your weird Uncle Ned who shows up every third Thanksgiving to talk to you about Pluto (the former planet, or the Disney character) and what a great invention the zipper was.

          • I should have known from the SN. It’s “Question Evolution,” not “Discuss Evolution.” But the zipper is actually pretty rad.

          • No doubt, man.

          • I think you should learn about double standards before accusing others of doing the very thing that you do. Two standards, no waiting. Your opinions about Ham are irrelevant.

  • ashleyhr
  • JBSchmidt

    What is the corrosive nature of telling him and his followers that he/they are absolutely wrong? Do you then concede that your stance on creation may not be the only view (ie YC’ers opinion be right)? Seems you both might be forgetting that the Bible points to God’s work of salvation, rather than pointing to strata in Grand Canyon.

    • Of course I think there are multiple valid views of Genesis. I concede that the young-earth view could be correct, but it’s very, very unlikely, since it would require that God was incredibly deceptive in his act of creation, and made most everything in the universe look contrary to how it should look if the universe were really less than 10,000 years old.

      • JBSchmidt

        You concede to multiple valid views, but………only if the believer of the opposing opinion accepts a deceptive God. So other views are valid if they deny the attributes of God that make him God. Got it.

        Now I see how you and Ken differ.

        • Nope, try again. I said I believe there are multiple valid views of Genesis. I did not say I think young-earth creationism, at least as preached by Ken Ham, is among them. I said young-earth creationism could be correct only if God is a deceiver.

          I’m glad you understand scripture well enough to recognize deception and lies are inconsistent with the revealed character of God. Now you know why I oppose young-earth creationism as strongly as I do.

          • JBSchmidt

            So, then aside from your own, what other views do you accept?

          • Obviously, the only view I accept is the one I personally hold. If you meant what other views do I think are valid, I’m not really that picky. As long as it’s faithful to the text itself and in line with the revealed character of God and the rest of the testimony of scripture, I think it’s valid.

          • JBSchmidt

            Couldn’t that be Ken Ham’s response? You both are going to hide behind the same qualifiers, “faithful to the text itself and in line with the revealed character of God and the rest of the testimony of scripture”. Essentially, you both are going to argue that each one has interpreted the text faithfully.

            For example, which passage makes the claim that the earth was made to look one age or another? If God deceived, then which passage proves that.

          • No, what I just said would not ever be Ken Ham’s response. That’s exactly what this post demonstrates. He would never admit to any interpretation other than his own being valid or viable. Heck, he even accused a college of taking a dogmatic position against his view simply because they presented other views in addition to his own! That’s the problem.

          • JBSchmidt

            “He would never admit to any interpretation other than his own being valid” As are you! Which is my point. He is claiming that he is giving a faithful interpretation and abiding by science which holds his biblical view, as are you. Which again brings me to my original point; “What is the corrosive nature of telling him and his followers that he/they are absolutely wrong?” Isn’t as corrosive as Ken claiming ‘compromisers’ are absolutely wrong?

          • “He would never admit to any interpretation other than his own being valid” As are you!

            I’m sorry. It appears you have missed a rather large and important portion of one of my previous responses to you. Allow me to copy it for you:

            “If you meant what other views do I think are valid, I’m not really that picky. As long as it’s faithful to the text itself and in line with the revealed character of God and the rest of the testimony of scripture, I think it’s valid.”

          • JBSchmidt

            You add the following, “As long as”. In doing so, your tolerant, “If you meant what other views do I think are valid, I’m not really that picky.” statement, means very little. Since you are allowed to set the standard for ‘faithful’ and ‘in line’ and ‘the rest of the testimony’. Not unlike what Ken does. He is just honest about it.

            If you are, “not really picky”. Which other views do you think are valid?

          • I did not specify a list of views, because there are many. Offering a basic standard, as I did, is much more useful. And it is in no way a subjective standard — as you allege. It is entirely objective, since it is based on scripture, not my opinion.

            The views preached by Ken Ham do not, objectively, line up with scripture or the character of God. That has been well-documented on this site and many others. But there are plenty of interpretations of Genesis that — though I don’t personally subscribe to them — are valid and viable ways to look at the text without detriment to the rest of scripture or the Christian faith as a whole.

          • JBSchmidt

            Those who have accepted evolution, believe Ken’s views fail to line up with scripture. Which is what he is claiming about you. The concept of ‘days’ in Genesis is not a settled debate. As such, you are not being objective.

            Can you specifically point to another view of Genesis, different from your own, that is valid?

          • Those who have accepted evolution, believe Ken’s views fail to line up with scripture. Which is what he is claiming about you.

            Yeah, you’re still not getting it. The difference is that I allow that many other views of Genesis are valid and viable, provided they line up with the objective standard of scripture. Ken Ham, on the other hand, says no other views are valid or viable, period. In fact, he says even allowing other views to be presented is an “attack” on his view.

            Honestly, I don’t understand how you can’t see the difference between those two positions.

            Can you specifically point to another view of Genesis, different from your own, that is valid?

            Yes.

          • JBSchmidt

            Please provide a few of those alternative views of Genesis that you accept as valid.

    • Per your last comment, I somewhat agree, meaning I don’t think Genesis 1 speaks to evolution whatsoever, in much the same way that Matthew 5:45 doesn’t speak to the rain cycle. I believe evolution as theorized is currently the best and most consistent way to explain the data we have. It could be wrong, and if it is, I would assume that more data would eventually overturn the theory. I assume that, as time goes on, it will certainly be modified here and there as we know more. If there are alternate theories that explain the data, I would consider those valid even if I didn’t think them equally plausible.

      So, back to the Bible, would I say a literal reading qua the YECers is “valid?” I think it is a possible but extremely unlikely view kind of on par with a reading of John 15:5 that would make Jesus an actual plant or a reading of Revelation that has horsemen literally springing out of scroll seals and a woman literally wearing he sun being chased by a dragon.

      I would consider any view valid that is honestly trying to get at what Genesis 1 intends to teach by engaging with it at a historical and linguistic level, and I think YECers largely fail to do that. Some are worse than others. But someone does not have to agree 100% with me on “what Genesis 1 intends to teach” in order for me to consider their view well thought out and viable.

      • JBSchmidt

        I am not sure what you mean by rain cycle, but the Matthew 5:45 is literally speaking of sun and rain and two of the many blessing from God which he bestows on the earth. That being the case, I thin it is poor example to contrast Gen 1.

        John 15:5, Revelation and Gen 1 are all separate literary forms. Comparing them would be like comparing the Constitution to the Wall Street Journal. The whole of Genesis, as inspired by God, is the story of his people. If you accept Gen 3-50 as a chronological story, one that can be dated; yet believe God changed that for the first two chapters, you need to prove this is a typical pattern of God. If not, you are taking liberties with the book.

        God wrote Genesis 1, as with the rest of the Bible, with regards to Christ and his work of salvation. Any historical narrative comes second. That seems to get lost as you attack YECers. As does it gets lost with Ken.

        • But Matthew 5:45 says that God -causes- the sun to shine and the rain to fall. However, we know rain falls because of the water cycle. If someone said that the “rain cycle theory” undermined the authority of Scripture, we would rightly consider them a moron. Yet, if God used natural processes to create the world, this is somehow a threat to the Gospel.

          I think the whole of Genesis is meant to be read as a roughly chronological story. The question is whether or not that story is a newspaper article or ancient Near Eastern historico-myth literature. I tend to believe Genesis is a product of its world, culture, writer, and audience as opposed to being a product of a modern historiography, but ymmv.

          Turns out that a person wrote Genesis 1, and he didn’t write it about Jesus because he didn’t know about Jesus. I do agree it was written to frame God’s work of salvation – specifically, the salvation of Israel from the penalties of breaking their covenant, which is why the story in Genesis 1-3 is another version of Israel’s own story of disobedience and expulsion.

          • JBSchmidt

            We know in Genesis 2:5 that at some point after creation God began the rain cycle. Nowhere in the Bible do we see the same wording for an evolutionary process. So by that standard adding something that is not there could be viewed as a threat to the gospel.

            If, “Genesis is a product of its world, culture, writer, and audience as opposed to being a product of a modern historiography”, then what do we believe as actual historical account vs. myth? Who gets to choose?

            The author, under direction of the Holy Spirit, must have been inspired to include in Gen 1 the 3 persons of the Trinity. He was inspired to include the first messianic promise in Gen 3:15. The author may not have know Christ by name, but he surely understood the need for a savoir and the 3 persons of the diety. Lastly, the singular purpose of the Bible is show humanity the work of salvation. To isolate certain chapter because they don’t fit neatly into a human world view is sacrilege.

          • Does God make it rain, J.B.? If He does, doesn’t he make it rain by using natural processes? Doesn’t Jesus ascribe the working of natural processes to God’s intent? If not, please explain to me how one literally understands Jesus’ words that God causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine.

            Trying to understand biblical documents is inherently difficult because we are separated from their world by at least two millennia. The way we figure out likely readings is by study and research. Original languages, manuscript comparison, extra-biblical literature, rabbincal testimony, translation traditions, genre identification – all of these things and more can go into contributing to our body of knowledge to help us understand the Scriptures in the world of their recipients, and understanding that world affects our interpretations as well as affecting what we think the text is and isn’t trying to say.

            So, I don’t know if it’s a question of who gets to choose. It is what it is, and we don’t get to make it anything else. If John wrote Revelation according to the genre of Jewish apocalypse, that’s what he did and it really doesn’t matter if you or I think it ought to be literal.

            But we can understand it better when the believing, Spirit-filled community works together to research, discuss, debate, and understand it.

            Genesis 1 does not include the three persons of the Trinity, nor is 3:15 a messianic promise.

            Since the Bible does not say its singular purpose is to show humanity the work of salvation, I’m curious as to how you know that’s the case.

          • JBSchmidt

            The purpose of the Bible as spoken by Christ in John 5:36-39, “…These are the Scriptures that testify about me…” Since John had yet to be written, Jesus can only be discussing the OT. He includes no qualifiers as to certain sections.

            Trinity in Gen 1:1-3 – God Created (God the Father), the Spirit of God was hovering over the water (Holy Spirit), and God Said (Jesus is the Word John 1:1).

            Genesis is divided into 10 historical accounts. If you wish to claim one is mythical and the other not, you need Biblical reference as to why you can make that claim. To choose non inspired Biblical sources/accounts is not proper Biblical interpretation.

          • So, are you saying anytime someone says “the Scriptures” in reference to something they say, that is equivalent to saying the entire OT is about that thing?

            In Matt. 22:29, Jesus says they asked the, “Whose wife will she be in heaven?” question because “you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” So, is the entire OT about marriage in heaven? He doesn’t limit it.

            In 1 Cor. 15:4, Paul says that Christ rose on the third day “according to the Scriptures.” He doesn’t quote one or limit it. Does that mean the entire OT is about Christ rising on the third day? Because there is only one passage in the OT that says that, and maybe the Jonah thing typologically.

            As for your second point, obviously when the author of Genesis wrote about God speaking, he wasn’t thinking about Jesus Christ, nor about God’s literal words being a divine being coexistent with himself. That’d be a real issue for the NT when God occasionally speaks while Jesus is present. Is God’s word the second person of a trinity in those situations?

            I think the whole of Genesis is more or less to be understood the same way, which is a prologue to Israel’s covenant and an explanation for how they find themselves in exile, but still have hope because of God’s promises to the patriarchs and demonstrated faithfulness. I do not treat the first chapter or two differently than the rest and am not sure why you keep bringing that up. All of Genesis exhibits the characteristics of ANE protohistory, although Genesis 1 has certain structural elements other segments lack.

            For the record, “non-inspired” writings written at the same time as a particular biblical writing and/or by the community that received the biblical writing is extremely helpful to interpretation. If we don’t see the text through their eyes, whose eyes should we see it from? 21st century westerners? Do you really think a 21st century western default reading of an ancient Semitic text is the sure-fire correct one?

          • We know in Genesis 2:5 that at some point after creation God began the rain cycle. Nowhere in the Bible do we see the same wording for an evolutionary process. So by that standard adding something that is not there could be viewed as a threat to the gospel.

            You have done absolutely nothing to distinguish evolution from the water cycle. Genesis 2:5 says exactly what Matthew 5:45 says: God sends the rain. Not only does it not establish a process for how he sends the rain, by even acknowledging that there is a natural process you are — by the standards you’ve established here — “adding something that is not there,” and thereby threatening the gospel.

            Now consider Genesis 1:24: “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so.” Again, there is no process specified for how the living things are produced, it simply says that they are at the command of God. God is ultimately responsible, clearly, but the text in no way rules out a natural process being involved.

            So, the point still stands. To say the water cycle is OK, but evolution is not requires a demonstrably inconsistent and self-contradictory use of scripture.

          • JBSchmidt

            Gen 1:24 must be read in tandem with 2:19, where the author details how God will focus his creation around man. There we see that God “formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field.” Interestingly enough, it fully explains what the author said in 1:24, “let the land produce”. Lastly, if “the land produced living creatures according to their kinds”, then evolution would have been completed at that point. It does not say the land produced living creatures[.].

            In Gen 2:5 and Matt 5:45 the obvious process is being established. We know God made it rain (2:5) and we know he controls the process (5:45). In the creature story we see God created the ‘kinds’ (1:24) by forming them out of the ground (2:19). Yet nowhere in the Bible is there explained a process. In fact, having created ‘kinds’, removes the process of speciation completely.

          • JB, do you really not see that you are not distinguishing the two examples at all?

            In Gen 2:5 and Matt 5:45 the obvious process is being established.

            No, it really is not. Seriously, I defy you to explain how any person could read Genesis 2:5 and Matthew 5:45 and come away with this: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle.html

            In re: Genesis 1:24, bringing in 2:19 adds nothing to the overall understanding of the process. It simply reiterates that God is the responsible party: “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field…” It is no different than Genesis 2:5 and Matthew 5:45 that say “God sends/sent the rain.”

            In neither case is a process explained or ruled out. An enlightened believer could say “God sends the rain” using the water cycle just as easily as he could say “God formed the beasts of the field” through evolution.