What Ken Ham doesn’t want you to know about his “gospel”

The author of "The End of Faith" has got nothing on Ken Ham (photo via Wikimedia Commons).

As you know, Ken Ham loves to respond to people.

Of course, when I say “respond,” I mean “pull a few quotes out of context as an opportunity to trot out the same two or three tired arguments he has been using for years.” Which is sort of like calling the pre-recorded catchphrases of a Chatty Cathy doll a “response” simply because they occur as the result of human activity (in the case of Chatty Cathy, the pulling of a string; in Ham’s case, the public expression of any opinion with which he disagrees).

And when I say “people,” I mean “anyone to whom Ham is philosophically opposed, but particularly scientists, atheists, agnostics, Catholics, writers and Christians who have the audacity to follow the lead of most all legitimate theologians and Bible scholars in reading Genesis as theology and metaphor rather than literal history.”

Yeah. Ken Ham has a lot of enemies.

But even though Ham’s diatribes are about as unusual and infrequent as a horse’s bowel movements (which is not to say that their predictable timing and regularity is all that those two subjects have in common), this most recent one — aimed at Butler University religion professor James McGrath — is even more strident and off-putting than his usual posts.

I suspect the reason is that McGrath’s words struck a little too close to home. McGrath’s post had suggested that the view of Christianity prescribed by Ham and his fellow createvangelists — one in which the precious good news of Jesus is yoked to a childish reading of the Genesis creation accounts and a simplistic and easily disproved cosmological model that became obsolete several centuries ago — does more harm than good, and is ultimately responsible for turning people away from the faith.

I agree with James McGrath. Ham, not surprisingly, disagrees. Too bad the evidence, as usual, is against him. Both statistically and anecdotally, the results are clear: Lying to young people about science is not the way to instill in them a healthy, growing faith. In fact, it tends to do just the opposite.

That’s why an outspoken advocate for atheism recently thanked Ham for all his wonderful work. And that’s something Ken Ham really doesn’t want his vast legions of fans to know or think about. That’s why he has to come out swinging against a blogger like James McGrath. The longer such a claim goes unchallenged, the longer he risks people realizing that, “Hey, maybe basing the gospel message on terrible science rather than, well, the gospel isn’t such a great idea after all.”

In my opinion, a commenter on this site a couple weeks ago got it exactly right:

Ken Ham tells the truth   God of Evolution

Hang your heads in shame, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. You only wish you could do the damage to Christianity that Ken Ham and his like-minded allies have done.

Tyler Francke is the founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached here.

  • Seth

    This sentence is interesting: “Those views developed only after geologists abandoned Scripture and began assigning old dates to the rock layers!”
    I just finished a very interesting book on the history of paleontology. Of course old earth/non-global flood geology was overwhelmingly started and developed by people who considered themselves creationist Christians, but Ken Ham has, in his infinite wisdom, denied their own personal convictions.

    • It’s amazing. He states fantasy as truth, and I get people emailing me and critizing me for calling him a liar.

      • Guest

        Martin Luther

    • rmwilliamsjr

      right, the first generation of (mostly english) geologists were trying to prove the flood happened by looking at the rocks and poof they found modern geology not ancient stories.

  • Dylan Gorman

    I agree. Ken has done far more damage to faith than Dawkins or Harris ever could. I know I’m not the only one who became an atheist for a time because of him and his ilk.

  • Bragging time: the petition to the Scottish Parliament that I helped draft, to keep evolution denial and Young earth doctrines from being taught as valid in Scottish schools, has been attacked by Ham not once,but twice. (If you want to help us with that, details and a letter writing guide are here: http://wp.me/p21T1L-kN

  • Chris Mason

    “But even though Ham’s diatribes are about as unusual and infrequent as a horse’s bowel movements (and the two subjects have far more in common than their predictable timing and regularity)…”

    XD! I love that.

    • Thanks! I tweaked it a little bit, but I’m glad you liked the idea. I thought it was pretty inspired myself. 🙂

  • Daniel Carroll

    How I miss the Door … I don’t know if they ever did an expose on Ham.

  • Someone once said on my blog, “…biblical creationists are the first to say that some of their views need to be held lightly.” Unfortunately, the world and everything in it being created in six 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago is not one of them. If it were, Ken Ham would be out of business.

    It seems to me that Ken Ham has been digging his heels in further on the YEC position and his followers are doing the same. As someone IRL said to me, “If we can’t trust Genesis, then we might as well throw the Bible out and stay home on Sundays.”

    It is no surprise to me at all that when YECs find out how untenable their position is they leave the faith, because they’ve been told that the gospel depends on it.

    • This is so true, and it’s often forgotten. Ham may claim that he doesn’t teach Christianity as requiring YECism, but if that’s true, then why do so many of his followers believe Christianity requires YECism?? They must have picked up those ideas somewhere. Not to mention the fact that Ham’s aggressively policed Facebook page, in which contradictory opinions are regularly scrubbed away and banished, NEVER deletes comments that explicitly equate the gospel as being depended on, or even synonymous with, the “truth” of young-earth creationism.

      • I was not aware that comments on his FB page are heavily policed. I don’t visit his page unless prompted. The deleting of differing opinions that you mention concerns me greatly! 🙁

        If Ken Ham truly believes that one can accept evolution and still be a Christian, then he should show it! Instead, he makes great effort to show just the opposite.

        • ashleyhr

          I think comments are deleted by someone at AiG called Roger (whose comments are sometimes shown as being from Ken Ham himself).

      • Alan S

        It is sad to see that Ham or AiG will ban you for any anti-YEC comments, no matter how cordial, respectful, etc., they are made…BUT will retain the most sarcastic, rude, judgmental comments that support Ham and AiG. And yes, over and over I have seen people on those FB pages question the salvation of non-YECs, but NEVER seen Ham come in and rebuke those people for such statements. If I’m wrong, I’d love for someone to show me where he has done so.

        • I’ve seen the same, Alan, and I think it is in this that you see clearly what their views really are in regard to evolution being a salvation issue.

          • Alan S

            Actions speak louder than words!

        • ashleyhr

          Not AiG but I wonder if my comments here (on the Thomas piece on exocomets which is really bad) will be allowed to remain (I’ve already upset one or two and somebody has just told the YEC rabble that I am misrepresenting “creation science” – it might be more plausible if it was misrepresented):

      • Paul Bruggink

        There’s always the option of reviewing his books (e.g., “Six Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church”). Ken Ham & company can’t delete Amazon reviews.

        • Sure, but it would have to take quite a few reviews to dillute the ones fawning over Ham’s book by his friends.

    • Alan S

      Btw, I have been enjoying reading your blog! Great work! 🙂

  • Larry Bunce

    If Ken posts a pre-recorded position statement, would it be called canned Ham?

  • Daniel Kolsi

    It is important to understand what is behind natural science’s naturalistic view and its stance against God. To say it straight, it ignores God. It ignores God in a same way it ignores Batman, Donald Duck and The Mighty Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t exactly say God doesn’t exist, but it simply ignores God. That is to say, naturalistic view and natural sciences give the best known explanation “how we became human beings” with God ignored. Of course, you can rename God to Intelligent Designer here.

    And having given these presumptions, evolution (especially macro evolution) is the best known explanation how we become (or evolved as) human beings. It is the best known, even though it is utterly problematic and even wrong. And because it is the best known explanation, it is widely accepted as THE SCIENTIFIC TRUTH. Even though it doesn’t correctly explain the factual events that have happened.

    Naturalistic view cannot deal with God because God cannot be explained with natural science. But there are sciences which can explain a bit of God and give strong evidence for Him. E.g. theology, law, archeology and even engineering and computer sciences. Of course, every evidence can be explained in different ways. Ultimately, Christianity isn’t about proving something but taking the leap of faith.

    Gravity can be tested empirically; just jump. Macro evolution cannot be tested, proved, repeated, experienced or seen. There are evidences which can either be explained as signs of design patterns or if God is ignored, then as signs of macro evolution.

    But Christianity (Bible) surely contradicts with macro evolution. That is as sure as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ or the fall of man. If you don’t understand this, it might be because you’re not following the logical conclusion to the end – this is especially true with the principle of “two Adams”. It is sad that some theologians have started to “shoot their own” Christian scientists who are very intelligent and work hard in scientific communities which are so critical against faith and especially against design signs found in the nature. Christians should stand together and support those fellow Christians who do extremely good work in the middle of even hostile scientific community. I know this. I’ve been there for almost five years.

    • Jason

      Christianity and Bible are NOT synonymous. That is your problem; you think it is. Are you sure the virgin birth was a “sure” thing? You can only make your arguments if you assume that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, or at least reliably historically accurate. Once it is shown that it is not, and cannot be, then you’re arguments have no weight.

      YEC’s love to say that evolution cannot be proven empiracally. But neither can the infallibility or historical accuracy of the Bible. They use Ham’s favorite question “Were you there?”, but the irony is that neither was the person (or most likely persons) who wrote Genesis, so the argument fails.

    • Alan S

      Mr. Kolsi, I have two questions for you:

      1. From your perspective, please explain why we share so many ERV’s and pseudogenes EXCLUSIVELY with chimps and other primates. Since common ancestry seems unreasonable to you, what alternative explanation do you provide?

      2. I hope you’ll admit that common ancestry is a view held by 99+% of working scientists in the relevant fields of science, regardless of their religious faith commitments (or lack thereof), their nationality, etc.; this has been the case for over 100 years, to my understanding. How do you explain this near unanimity among scientists?

      • Daniel Kolsi

        If I write a large computer software, it consists of libraries (with dependencies), functions, classes, methods and the architecture should be well designed. It maybe, that some parts of the software (or classes) look very similar even though they do quite different tasks. That may share even 99% of the code, but they still the different things and are designed for a different purpose. So what does the similarities tell? For me they could tell about the same programmer / designer or using same design patterns and same libraries. I could well imagine God the Creator as the ultimate programmer who uses intelligent design and utmost skills. His signature can be found in the nature. Chimps and primates really share many features with human beings. So it is quite trivial, that their genomes could contain same data. I see design patterns far better explanation for the similarities than common ancestry. Of course you could think God used partly same “code” and design patterns in primates and humans. But they are still distinct species.

        2. This is not true. Look at this survey:


        “* 51 percent of U.S. adults overall (including 77 percent of people who say they are born-again or evangelical) have little or no confidence that “the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang.”

        * 42 percent overall (76 percent of evangelicals) doubt that “life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection.”
        * 37 percent overall (58 percent of evangelicals) doubt that the Earth’s temperature is rising “mostly because of man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gases.”
        * 36 percent overall (56 percent of evangelicals) doubt “the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.”

        On the flip side, most people are pretty sure the “universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation” — 54 percent of all Americans, and 87 percent of evangelicals.

        The survey of 1,012 adults, conducted March 20-24, has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.”

        I addressed in my earlier article the question why more natural scientists are biased towards macro evolution than people with other background. The reason is quite simple: Scientific environment is hostile towards faith and especially towards proofs of design patterns and intelligent design. It really requires guts to work in this kind of environment when you’re possibly constantly verbally abused and bullied and you’re put down due to your conviction. Not many Christians have this kind of calling to work in this kind of mentally challenging environment. But there really are super skilled Christian professors in the field of natural sciences who besides their career also write apologetic articles that support Biblical inerrancy and creation – as told in the Bible.

        • Alan S

          Thank you for responding to my questions. I have a few comments:

          1) The software analogy is really just another example of the “Common Design – Common Designer” argument. But this is a terrible analogy, because software does not reproduce, is not living, etc. Living things are not separately and individually created by engineers, are they? Any human being that exists, exists because other humans reproduced, and in so doing, passed on their DNA.

          Let me illustrate why your analogy to “common designer” doesn’t work. Let’s say you’re the judge in a murder trial of a brother who is accused of murdering his sister. Blood samples found at the scene are analyzed by forensic scientists, who determine that it was the blood of two different people, and the close similarity of certain DNA markers indicate that those two different people are brother and sister, indicating that the brother was definitely at the scene of the crime. Now let’s say that evidence is presented, and the defense attorney says “Objection! Those similarities between the two different blood samples? Uh, yeah….All that shows is that the two blood samples had a COMMON DESIGNER, it doesn’t show that there is any relationship between the two people!” As a judge, would you find that to be a reasonable objection? If NOT, why do you consider your argument about common designer to be reasonable, when the same exact science is utilized to conclude a relationship between humans and chimps?

          Aside from that, ERVs and pseudogenes are not really addressed by your argument. If an ERV is found in the same location of the two different genomes of a human and a chimp, this is well explained if the two different organisms had a common ancestor from which they inherited that ERV. How does “common designer” help with this? Am I supposed to think that God hand-made Adam and Eve with the ERV already in their genome, from which all subsequent humans inherit the ERV, and then God also hand-made chimps with the SAME EXACT ERV IN THE SAME EXACT LOCATION of the chimp genome, from which all subsequent chimps inherited the ERV?? So I ask again, if neither common ancestry nor the above “separate handmade creations with ERVs” seems reasonable to you…what alternative can you provide?


          • Thanks for your comment, Alan. Very astute and well-reasoned responses. I can add only that the “common designer” argument also fails on its face because those who assert that the similarities between apes and humans, e.g., are due to a “common designer” also assert that the same “designer” made rocks and trees and black holes and supernovas — which all have virtually nothing in common with humans or apes other than that they exist.

            It would be like arguing that the similarities between the “Mona Lisa” and the “Madonna of the Rocks” prove that they were painted by the same artist, and then also arguing that the same artist produced every single piece of art that’s every been done.

            It’s an incoherent, meaningless non-argument. Now, it may, in fact, be true that the same “designer” who made humans and apes also made rocks and trees and black holes and supernovas. But, if it is true, it’s pretty obvious that “similarity” is not one of the hallmarks of his design, and therefore cannot be used as evidence for or against his involvement.

          • Alan S

            That’s a great point, I hadn’t thought of of it from that angle. Obviously, on one level I think we DO agree that there is one Designer of ALL things in the universe, but only in a theological sense.

          • Of course. I certainly believe there is one Designer, and he is God, but that doesn’t mean he leaves little copyright symbols on things that he makes. It is “by faith” that we understand the universe was made by God’s command (Hebrews 11:3), not “by the similarities in the DNA of certain closely related biological life forms.”

    • It is important to understand what is behind natural science’s naturalistic view and its stance against God. To say it straight, it ignores God. It ignores God in a same way it ignores Batman, Donald Duck and The Mighty Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t exactly say God doesn’t exist, but it simply ignores God. That is to say, naturalistic view and natural sciences give the best known explanation “how we became human beings” with God ignored.

      Science “ignores” the supernatural because it is incapable of testing or analyzing or otherwise interacting with the supernatural in any way. If you disagree, please propose an empirical scientific experiment to test God’s existence. (waits) You’ve got nothing, right? Because science cannot do that.

      Scientists don’t “ignore” God (in their professional lives, anyway; personally, many scientists do hold religious faith) because they’re bad people or atheists. They “ignore” God (in their professional lives) because they’re good scientists.

      There are evidences which can either be explained as signs of design patterns or if God is ignored, then as signs of macro evolution.

      Please answer Alan S’s question below, and explain how ERVs and pseudogenes can be explained as “design patterns.”

      But Christianity (Bible) surely contradicts with macro evolution.

      Only if you read the Bible incorrectly, just as it contradicts the heliocentric model of the solar system if you read 1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalms 96:10 wrong.

      It is sad that some theologians have started to “shoot their own” Christian scientists who are very intelligent and work hard in scientific communities which are so critical against faith and especially against design signs found in the nature.

      It’s true, Christian scientists do need support, but not the ones you mean.

      • Daniel Kolsi
        • Hey Daniel, you must have misunderstood us, so let me try again. You seemed very convinced of your position, so we asked you to defend it, specifically in the context of matching ERVs and pseudogenes in the genomes of humans and other great apes, which is just one of the many weaknesses in the YEC model. We did not ask you to post a link to an article by a pseudoscience organization dedicated to a modern and unworkable view of scripture.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Isn’t it so that everything that doesn’t share naturalistic view is pejoratively labeled pseudoscience? I don’t care about labels. I care about facts and reality. If that what is called “natural science” doesn’t comply with reality and factual events, I’ll rather reject natural science than the truth.

            I don’t on the other hand care about YEC model. That’s just another label. The question of time is quite obscure even in the Bible.

            I’m not particularly interested in taking part if scientific discussion here. That can be continued ad infinitum… I finished my Master’s thesis called “An Intelligent Method for Visualising and Navigating Biochemical Pathways” in 2003 and also started preparing phd studies in bioinformatics. I’ve read enough about those. Retroviruses, evolutionary pathways, genes, abiotic stimulis, Kegg, Gene ontology (used to work on that), mass spectrometry etc. I’ve worked 5 years on rational drug r&d.

            Every evidence that supports macro evolution can also be interpreted as supporting intelligent design and design patterns. But if God is rejected, then what is left? Just evolution. That is my point.

          • “Pseudoscience” is a word that describes beliefs that claim to follow and be in line with the scientific method, but in fact, do not. The views of ICR are, as even they admit, based on their view of the Bible, and not on science. Ergo, they are a pseudoscientific organization — one that claims to be scientific but is not, by their own admissions.

            Every evidence that supports macro evolution can also be interpreted as supporting intelligent design and design patterns. But if God is rejected, then what is left? Just evolution. That is my point.

            If you are “not particularly interested” in a scientific discussion, you should cease making objective scientific claims. If you wish to continue making objective scientific claims, then you should be willing to defend your position. You have been asked several times how matching ERVs and pseudogenes in the genomes of humans and other great apes “can also be interpreted as supporting intelligent design and design patterns.”

            You, apparently, know the subject quite well. But if you cannot explain how this claim of yours makes sense, or you do not wish to explain it, then you should stop making the claim.

        • Alan S

          Is this your response to my questions? Because I’d rather not read an article; I’d like to hear YOUR response to my specific questions. If you’re not sure what the answer is, or even if you don’t understand one of the questions, there’s no shame in that. Just let me know as much.

    • Alan S

      Do you believe that when meteorologists “ignore God” when they give the forecast, or describe the natural forces behind the rainstorm coming over the weekend, that they are somehow acting suspectly? If a meteorologist is a Christian, does his religious perspective somehow help him to better explain or predict the weather than a meteorologist who is an atheist?

      • Good points all. Thanks, Alan!

      • Daniel Kolsi

        Science can be used to explain at certain level what God or human has done or created.

        • Alan S

          Science HAS to ignore God, not in a negative sense, but because ACKNOWLEDGING God is on one very important level…trivial. Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that GOD is TRIVIAL, not at all; I’m as passionate a Christian as I’m sure that you are. But acknowledging that God is behind this or that natural process doesn’t actually tell us anything useful regarding how the natural processes actually work, so in that sense any acknowledgement of God is “trivial”. And again, science is interested in those natural processes; it simply can NOT speak to supernatural forces at work, either for OR against. If you have 10 minutes, I highly recommend this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b52Hbx73aPM&index=2&list=PLKXHrrTkAsPhmbm1ONYY5x2XPzakVeNbm

          To be honest, I don’t understand your analogy to justice/miscarriage of justice.

          • Thanks for sharing that video, Alan!

          • Alan S

            If you haven’ seen the whole 16 part series that Glover does, it is well worth your time!

          • I saw that it was a part of a series and am working my way through them now. My 12yo ds is also watching them.

            I’m surprised the videos were uploaded in 2009 but do have not very many views.

          • Alan S

            Awesome! I think the series is really helpful, and also found his book to be outstanding. It’s called “Beyond the Firmament”.

    • Alan S

      Also, I have to wonder whether you understand the difference between METHODOLOGICAL naturalism and PHILOSOPHICAL naturalism. Do you?

  • Alan S

    I like the irony of this quote from Ham’s blog post: “Now, that being said, studies…show that the vast majority of young people are walking away from the faith because they doubt God’s Word.” Ham refuses to accept responsibility for the lost faith of kids, so he chalks it up to “they doubt God’s Word”. I don’t disagree that that is why they are walking away from the faith, but let’s dig deeper Mr. Ham, and ask WHY “they doubt God’s Word”!! For many, at least one of the reasons WHY they “doubt God’s Word” is BECAUSE YOU have backed them into a corner by insisting that God’s Word unequivocally teaches YEC. So when a kid begins to doubt the truth of YEC, he AUTOMATICALLY is forced to “doubt God’s Word”, because YOU, Mr. Ham, have given him no other option.

    • If anything scares Ken Ham, that is if there is even a tiny part of him that isn’t so self-delusionally convinced of his correctness that it can still experience doubt, it is these questions you pose right here.

    • Dan

      Alan, they doubt the word of God because they do not have a sustained faith. If the faith was nurtured and taken care of by the individual the faith may have prospered. It is never as simple as if this one teaching in the church was different, that everything would be good. It is simply one thing that they can point to at the time.

      • Alan S

        Dan, I don’t disagree with what you say above. Walking away from faith is a complex issue, with lots of roots. However, that fact doesn’t justify Ham’s creation of UNNECESSARY stumbling blocks to faith either. The gospel is enough of a stumbling block on its own without us adding extra “man-made” hurdles to boot.

        • Dan

          Correct, unnecessary stumbling blocks need to be condemned.

  • Dan

    I was under the impression that we are to read the Scriptures as a little child, meaning that we are the sheep and as such we are fed just as an infant is by the Scriptures. So I do not think that is the appropriate response regarding taking the Scriptures in the simplest way.

    • Actually, we are instructed repeatedly to study the scriptures day and night, and to “meditate” on them, which seems to clearly imply a depth and maturity of thought. Obviously, you would not need to meditate on something for hours if all that is required to understand it is to simply read it plainly. That would be like me asking you to meditate on the deeper meaning of your car owners manual.

      We are told we must accept the free gift of eternal life as a little child, not read the scriptures as a little child. As innocent as doves, yes, but wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) and mature in thinking (1 Corinthians 14:20). We are to “examine the scriptures,” just as the Jews in Berea did and were called “noble” for it (Acts 17:11).

      • Dan

        Tyler, yes indeed we are to study and meditate on Scripture, however that does not mean that it takes an advanced intelligence to comprehend the faith. If that was the case children would be helpless in regards to the faith. The child can have the faith created and sustained in youth. That does not mean that as one grows older they cannot have more questions, but rather that they faith can be maintained with just the understanding of a child.

        • You are equivocating. The gospel message, which is the core of Christianity, is pure and simple enough for a child to understand. What the faith asks of us is simple. But the faith is also deep and complex, which is why it has nourished and sustained millions of smart people for generations. The Bible itself, and thousands of years of church tradition, scholarship and theology stand against you if you are really attempting to argue that scripture is simple and meant to be fully understood by children.

          • Dan

            Tyler, I never said fully understood. Nobody ever fully understands after years of endless study. But that does not mean that a person cannot have the faith sustained by having a simple understanding. And oftentimes it is the simple understanding that lasts while those that seek the complex understanding that looses the faith.

          • Well, that’s entirely subjective. If you really think having a surface-level, shallow understanding of the Bible is the key to a strong faith, then that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. My opinion is that rigorous, honest study and digging down deep below the surface of a text is far more beneficial.

            In the end, though, what might or might not be helpful to a random individual’s faith is less important than the author’s intent. It might have been helpful to the faith of those in the Dark Ages to read plainly such passages as 1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalms 96:10, and thus infer that the earth is a fixed point at the center of an orbiting solar system (the geocentric model). However, just because this view was simpler than the alternatives doesn’t mean it was correct; in fact, it was completely wrong.

          • Dan

            Tyler, that is where I would put the importance of a well educated clergy. It is they who speak about such issues in ways that will help the laity.

          • I fail to see the need for clergy, well educated or otherwise, since, according to you, a child is capable of reading and understanding all they need to know about what the Bible says.

        • Kele

          It is important to remember that although faith may begin in childhood, and a simplistic faith is satisfying then, I don’t think there is a single case of childish faith continuing on into adulthood. As you mature and your mind becomes more capable and more expansive, new questions arise and the old formulas are less satisfying. Faith must grow and mature with the person, in fact, a faith that doesn’t grow and mature stagnates and then decays, and then you really will lose their faith. To have “childlike” faith, which is what Christ advocates, and “childish” faith, are not the same. Childish faith will only satisfy children, as it should. Childlike faith grows beyond childhood but maintains the innocence and honesty of childhood.

          • Thom Foolery

            Kele, I’m not sure what country you live in, but I am inundated almost daily by cases of childish faith that continued on into adulthood. Two of them are my parents. I taught comparative religions for over a decade, and I encountered far too many adults who reverted to infants (or sheep, as Dan so obligingly called them above) when their faith was under discussion.

          • Kele

            I understand what you’re saying, and I retract the first half of my statement. I do stand by the belief, however, that childish faith is inappropriate for adults, and that stagnant faith is a decaying faith.

    • May I ask where, exactly, you got the idea that we are meant to read the Bible like a little child?

      • Dan

        Martin Luther instructs such an understanding in his Small Catechism.

        • Yeah? Could you share some quotes to that effect? I’ve never read that text, and I’d be interested in what it says, especially since it seems to be at odds with what Luther said in introducing his lectures on Genesis in 1535.

          Of course, I thought you were going to be providing something more authoritative. Luther is just a man, and even if it really were his opinion that the Bible can be and should be read in a childish way, it doesn’t trump scripture’s exhortations for the followers of Christ to be as wise as serpents and be mature in our thinking.

        • This confessional Lutheran entertains the thought that Luther might have been (wait for it) wrong.

    • Thom Foolery

      “we are the sheep”

      You took the words out of my mouth.

  • ashleyhr

    “And that’s something Ken Ham really doesn’t want his vast legions of fans to know or think about.” To be fair to Mr Ham (though I am not sure he deserves it) his blog of 3 November he commented “I find it ironic that McGrath is an associate professor of religion at Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana) and claims young-earth creation is a stumbling block to Christians, and yet the example he cites to justify this is actually a blog from an atheist known for his disdain of biblical Christianity—someone who clearly has no regard for God’s Word and its authority. This atheist thanks me in a blog post for teaching biblical creation because (apparently) once people realize it’s false they will reject all of Christianity and turn to atheism. It’s people like this atheist who teach false information to generations of kids to undermine the authority of God’s Word”. Admittedly Ham did not provide a direct link to the P Z Myers blog post in question (dated 16 October), but those who read the original McGrath blog dated 18 October – to which Ham linked his followers – will readily find the link to it. (Ham does not like mentioning P Z Myers by name because as well as sometimes making some very astute observations about young earth creationism he also sometimes resorts to profanity and strong language.)

    • ashleyhr

      “God’s Word can’t be taken as written in Genesis why should it be taken as written in the Gospels?”
      Ken Ham is at it again.

  • I argued the same thing (roughly) a while ago in Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-james-clark/science-religion-christian-colleges_b_5565641.html

    • Hey, I saw that! Thanks for reading and for the comment!

  • Larry Bunce

    Great discussions today!
    The idea of reading the Bible like a child is probably a generalization of Luke 18:17 (KJV) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Modern translations say ‘like’ a child, the intent of the statement. Otherwise adult conversions would be too late.
    I read that as meaning not to over-intellectualize your faith. It would also seem to mean that Natural Theology, attempting to prove God’s existence from evidence in the natural world, (the goal of ID) is a bad idea.

    • Thom Foolery

      In my opinion, natural theology died with David Hume. And the irony about natural theology, which Hume pointed out 200+ years ago, is that it *never* proved, in any of its guises, that the Creator was identical to the Christian God. Establishing the existence of a Creator is a far cry from establishing that Creator’s identity.

  • Daniel Kolsi
    • Speaking of straw man arguments…

      • Daniel Kolsi


        I don’t have time or interest in detailed to detailed discussion so I’ll just concisely correct some errors you represented:
        A) Software DOES reproduce, IF it is designed and programmed to be reproduced. E.g. computer viruses and even some utilities can and will reproduce, on purpose. Software can even alter its own code and reproduce a “mutated” version of itself. That is, software does, what its “intelligent designer” has programmed it to do.
        B) About the legal case you represent. I first read and I couldn’t even grasp how it is related to this “design signature” or macro evolution stuff. I think it is out of context and your’re somehow mixing things up. Fist, having signature of design or design patterns doesn’t rule out the fact that the DNA tests could provide enough evidence to either acquit or condemn the accused. In a same way, like a piece of code can be unique even though it consists of design patterns.
        I’m not interested in discussing about retroviruses, pseudogenes etc. and the reason is actually because I used to work on the field slightly (well, actually quite much 😉 related to gene studies. What I learned there is we don’t actually know how these things work out. We can find “something”, but we don’t really know, how it works. And that is ultimately, I think, the reason why so many biotechnology companies do fail and are not able to provide medicine for cancer and allergy (our company’s aim was to help big drug companies to provide medicine for cancer & allergy though systems biology & rational drug development). If we now the mechanism, why do we need to collect enormous amount of data? Terabytes of datas of genes, biochemical networks etc. I’ll say it straight: We con’t even understand deeply enough what gene is. It’s not a big issue to Google around and post arguments, but my point is, that there are to many “moving parts”. We simply don’t know how these processes exactly function. There is no need to argument against something, that is now known well enough. Of course, articles are written weekly and there are always scientific “best guess”, that keeps altering…
        But theologically, Adam was different before his fall. After he sinned in Eden, he changed so that he will die. I don’t know if God “modified” his genome (or telomers..) at that very moment, but anyway, that’s one important things to consider as a Christian.

        Matched face 2 face group meetings: http://www.gpsmeet.fi

        • Alan S

          You responded to Tyler, but I gather that you intended to respond to me. Sorry that I wrongly assumed that you would have time or interest in these discussions; I guess I based that assumption on the long post that you took the time and interest to post to begin with! My bad! : )

          I’ll try to make this short then: what you said about software being able to reproduce is interesting, and not being a software engineer, I will defer to your expertise. Nevertheless, I highly doubt that even the parallel between software reproduction and biological reproduction is exact; the devil tends to be in the details.

          I’m sorry I wasn’t clear enough in my courtroom analogy. The point was this: forensic scientists can look at two different samples of human DNA and accurately determine how closely related the two different humans are. When they look at the DNA, they could say “O Wow! Look at how similar this DNA is to each other! It must have had a common designer!” That MAY in fact be true, but even if so, this fact doesn’t preclude the fact that the forensic scientists can still determine that these two different humans are related to each other. Scientists also can determine that the chimp and YOU are related to each other, using the same exact principles.

          As far as your claim about how little we know about genes, ERVs, pseudogenes, etc.: to some degree, I am sure that’s true. Yet again, the relevant scientists seem to know enough about these things to make some extremely confident conclusions about the relatedness of life.

          Since you don’t want to get into the detailed discussion about ERVs, etc., can you please explain to me how a scientist should do his job, without exercising methodological naturalism?

          • Daniel Kolsi

            No. Humans are of course related to each other because we are all descendants of Adam but chimps and humans are not related. But still, they all have the common designer. I don’t see the problem with the design patterns, it explains this perfectly.

          • Hey Daniel. In my role as moderator of these discussions, I can’t help but notice and point out that you are not really answering or addressing Alan’s questions. I understand that you do not believe matching pseudogenes and ERVs in human and chimp genomes conflicts with the idea of separate, special creation, but Alan has — in his previous posts — explained very clearly why this does not make sense and where the conflict lies. It is possible, of course, that you are correct and we are wrong, but the incongruities highlighted by Alan beg to be explained. You cannot simply assert that they are not a problem and act as though you have proven your point.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Natural scientists should stay on science, not step on science fiction. As there are other very good explanations besides naturalism related the origin of species, natural scientists shouldn’t claim anything that e.g. collides with theology. Actually, natural science cannot say anything sure about the origin of species. The better alternative would just to try to research, develop and implement methods and devices that concretely help human beings. Arguing against faith, Bible and Christianity isn’t any merit for the science. Science could actually benefit from the knowledge that arises from the Bible.

          • Daniel, besides common ancestry, what other “very good explanations” explain why humans and chimps share the exact same ERVs in the exact same places? And to reiterate another of Alan’s questions, why is genetic comparison good science when it demonstrates relatedness between human beings, but bad science when it uses identical methods, principles and assumptions to demonstrate relatedness between human beings and other species?

          • Daniel Kolsi

            What is that exact same place? 😉 I don’t think it is that clear at all. It’s impossible to answer such a rhetoric question if you don’t even agree the presumption inlined in the question.

            But anyway, having something similar in genome can be explained perfectly as a sign if design pattern. I’ve explained this quite thoughtfully.

            It is “bad science” because it takes the initial stance to demonstrate something, that is not (necessarily) true at all AND which can be interpreted perfectly as containing design patterns. Human are related – yes. But chimps and humans are not related. They don’t even reproduce.

            We know that humans are related and we have known that far before any genetic comparisons. That has been known since Adam. The similarities in genome doesn’t necessarily mean being related. It can just be a sign of design – a design pattern. And it is quite trivial to think that if there is relatedness, the design is quite similar. But the similarity doesn’t itself cause relatedness, but relatedness is a reason for similarity due to design patterns. But there can be many other reasons as well. As a professional software engineer I can well imagine Creator as the ultimate software architect who uses the best possible design patterns in different cases. And it is easy to imagine Him using same patterns for related human being – and also some of the same patterns for human and chimps. That’s why there are similarities. But it doesn’t mean relatedness, of course.

          • Alan S

            “But chimps and humans are not related. They don’t even reproduce”

            Speciation among cychlid fish has been observed by scientists. From what I recall, they KNOW that these different species cannot now reproduce with each other, and yet they also know that the different species have a common ancestor species.

            Your argument above has some merit when it comes to finding certain functional DNA in various species, and saying “A Creator used this same DNA code over and over in multiple species because it works in each of them”. OK. But your answer still doesn’t make sense as it relates to pseudogenes and ERVs, since it doesn’t make sense as to why the Creator would put an ERV – which does nothing – in ONE species, and then put that same ERV in another species. What would be the point? Is God testing our faith by making His living creation LOOK as though it was all related?

            Why is it so terrible and wicked to admit that we ARE related to chimps?

          • Alan S

            Daniel, I keep getting the distinct impression that you are trying to muddy the waters a bit. Even though 99%+ of working scientists don’t seem to think it’s all so “unclear” as all that, you would like us to think it is all very murky, mysterious, etc. Sorry, but I’ll side with the 99%.

            And in all honesty, you haven’t really tried to grapple with the question I posed about ERVs, pseudogenes, etc. It really just seems like you just keep hand-waving, repeating the “common designer – umm, duh!?” mantra, as though that in any way deals with the meat of my question.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Please read this: https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/the-natural-history-of-retroviruses/

            I rigorously keep my stance that those things are very unclear and contain too many open questions. I’ll be more interested, whenever there are concrete applicative results for rational drug development that help e.g. in vaccination. And I also disagree with that “99%”, of course 😉

            Yes, I have repeated the truth because you seem to keep trying the same ERV mantra all the time. I don’t consider that an interesting topic at all, because it can be interpreted perfectly with the common designer / design patterns. It’s like a mystery murder case where prosecutor claims that the wife was the only person possible committing the murder because no other adults were inside BUT the one of the children of the murdered man claims he saw a figure of a man escaping from the window… Both parties seem to be very sure. Nothing can be proved 100%, not even 70%. It all depends on your conviction and point of view. Theoretically, both outcomes are possible. But as my first post indicated, the stance depends on whether you ignore God as the Creator or not. If God is ignored, then, of course, there might be only one good explanation.

            Actually, my most important point is to show out that The Bible and Christianity contradicts with theistic evolution BECAUSE the principle of two Adams, as also told in the Romans REQUIRES that Adam was the first human being and the sin came to whole humankind through the fall of Adam. Romans claims Jesus is the second Adam. Now if Adam didn’t fall OR he wasn’t the first human (whose descendants we all are), THEN Jesus isn’t the second Adam. Adam and Jesus are bond together in the Bible. If Adam fails to meet his role, then Jesus fails to save us. It’s that simple. If I had to believe in theistic evolution, to be logical, I would have to abandon Jesus Christ as the redeemer of our sin. He would be a liar then. Theistic evolution is thus a grave heresy: https://answersingenesis.org/theistic-evolution/10-dangers-of-theistic-evolution/

            Of course you could argue about the interpretation of the Bible. But this comes against the nature of God as the loving Father who expresses his will very clearly. Isn’t God able to express His will and commands clearly? Does it require phd in both theology and biology to understand, what God really means? God says in the Bible, that his will and commands are CLEAR. That is, I believe so. The more we interpret against the Bible, the more we go astray. The message is clear. The context in important, of course.

            God is not a sadistic obfuscating God who inspired the Bible to obfuscate people. If I would believe in the theistic evolution, I would also have to believe God as an obfuscating – not loving – God. But God is love – agape. And this is the major reason why I as a Christian reject theistic evolution (or macro evolution). Keeping on theistic evolution I would have to take the role of “god” to interpret Bible against what seems to be very clear. That wouldn’t be sound doctrine. It would require the nature of God to be changed to a travesty of God.

          • Alan S

            I understand your view very well, and obviously disagree, but if you are convinced of it, more power to you. I just have a couple of very simple question: Do you acknowledge that someone such as myself, who differs with your young earth creationist perspective, but who confesses the inspiration and authority of Scripture, confesses that Christ has saved him by grace through faith in his shed blood and confesses the resurrection of Jesus, who will one day return to judge the quick and the dead….do you acknowledge that this person is a Christian, and therefore your brother in Christ? If not, do you believe that BB Warfield, Charles Spurgeon, CS Lewis, JI Packer and Billy Graham (to name just a few) were all damned heretics, since all of them have views that differ from YEC?

          • Daniel Kolsi

            I’m not a YEC.. just to let you know.

          • Alan S

            Thanks for that correction. I wrongly assumed that because you were posting ICR links. So, I will edit my question accordingly. Btw, I edited it a few times, so if you don’t mind, please re-read the question in about five minutes! : )

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Everybody who wholeheartedly confesses Jesus Christ as God and the redeemer of his personal sins will be saved. I know people who believe in theistic evolution but are Christians. But that is because they don’t think very logically. They don’t have a background of logical analysis, programming or something similar which avoids you from making logical fallacies when reasoning. There are a lot of people believing in macro evolution who don’t even know what it is actually. They simply “choose” to believe in it, because as they say – most scientists do support it. It’s like a death spiral or self fulfilling prophecy: When more than 50% support it, then even more people will support it JUST because most people support it. That happens quite often in politics also. People don’t always tend to think on their own about the logical consequences of their stance.

          • Alan S

            Well, I’m glad that you acknowledge theistic evolutionists as Christian brothers as long they confess Jesus as God, etc. I had to chuckle a little at being damned with faint praise, though. Apparently I (and others – including CS Lewis, BB Warfield and JI Packer, as well as a great deal of Christians in the scientific community) just don’t think very logically. Apparently, I don’t need a Phd to understand the Bible (based on what you said in one of your other posts), but I DO need a “background of logical analysis, programming or somethign similar” to reason logically. No offense, but that rings just a bit hollow coming from you, after reading post after post in which you yourself make logical fallacies and just (frankly) bewildering analogies (the murder mystery case involving the husband and wife above…wha?!?).

            That being said, I do agree with you that a lot of people do believe in macroevolution without really knowing what it is. Of course. That’s NOT how I and many other Christians came to accept (not “believe”) macroevolution, however. It took me many years of reading, from YEC lit, OEC creationist lit, ID lit and TE lit before I came to the position I hold. It certainly had nothing to do with just going along with whatever the majority of scientists accept, ALTHOUGH it really ought to make a person pause when they consider that virtually all scientists accept macroevolution as a strongly supported theory, before they start denying it dogmatically.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            If you claim I made logical fallacies there might be a couple of reasons: A) You didn’t understand what I meant B) My analogies are not always meant to be 100% fit in every level C) It seems I have a nasty autocorrecter (or this forum has?) that has quite a many times switched some of my words to something else I meant D) English isn’t my first language.

            But the murder case is actually very relevant. My point is, that there really are usually more than one possible explanations. Usually we’re inclined to support the other one and reject the other even though the reason why we select the other is our conviction. In this case, conviction the reject the Creator or reject the literal inerratic interpretation of the Bible.

          • Alan S

            Or E)…it could be because you MADE a logical fallacy. (I think the fact that you didn’t INCLUDE that as an option above is ITSELF a form of logical fallacy – or just blind arrogance.) Anyway, I think the conversation has come to an end at this point, as I have become frustrated with you.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Right, I’m not inerratic 🙂 But you didn’t show me any logical fallacies. But to help to cope with your frustration, you should read this: http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-With-Frustration

          • Alan S

            I “appreciate” your link, but this is quickly devolving into snarkiness, sarcasm and “digs” (on both our parts), so in the interest of honoring the Savior we both love and worship, let me apologize for my part in any unkindness. We shall just agree to disagree about this subject. You can have the last word.

          • Daniel Kolsi

            That’s a good attitude, I’m also willing to apologise everything else except my faith. Maybe theistic devolution is the reality. I think this issue could be resolved or even agreed but that would take more time. Let me finish with the Holy Bible:

            “12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

            13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

            15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. (Romans 5:12-18)

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Let me say: Really dealing with this ERV/pseudogene stuff would require 1000+ hours of hard work 😉 That’s why it isn’t interesting. But there are people who have done the work already and I’ve referring their conclusions, as in the link I posted. As far as I understand, I don’t see there anything that wouldn’t rule out design patterns/common designer as a perfect alternate explanation.

          • Alan S

            How is a “natural scientist” seeking to understand the history of the natural world, and the natural forces at work in the natural world “stepping on” (whatever that means) “science fiction”? That just sounds like a cheap shot.

            Btw, I’m not sure from you said above….when you say “origin of species”, do you mean “origin of life”? And if so, do you think that evolution has anything to say about the origin of life?

            As far as your claim that “natural scientists” shouldn’t claim anything that collides with theology: WOW! So you really think that scientists need to filter all their observations, hypotheses, etc., through the Bible or something? Is that HONESTLY what the Bible was given to us for? How would that have worked out for Galileo, when the “theology” of the day, and the interpretation of the Bible in that day in many quarters, insisted that the sun revolved around the earth and the earth stood still? Are you saying that he should have just stopped “claiming” something that “collided with theology”?

            I agree that science shouldn’t argue “against faith, Bible and Christianity”. And for most scientists, that’s not a problem. It’s only the more outspoken atheist scientists that try to use science to argue against Christianity. However, Christians need to be wise here. If the scientific community has formed, for a very long time, a strong consensus around a theory, which has passed the test over and over again…and if this theory DOES conflict with a certain interpretation of Scripture, we as Christians need to consider humbly whether our INTERPRETATION is in error. Instead, for a very long time, creationists have just dug in their heels and ASSUMED (a little arrogantly, in my opinion, and in some cases VERY arrogantly) that it’s the evil-secular-atheist-naturalistic-materialistic (and any other pejorative description you want to add) scientists who are wrong, and that the creationist interpretation of the Bible is indisputably True. Maybe, just maybe (I know, this is crazy talk!) it’s the creationist interpretation that’s wrong!

          • Daniel Kolsi

            Btw. Do you believe in the literal and
            biological virgin birth of Jesua Christ?
            Do you believe in miracles God did with
            His word?

          • Alan S


          • Daniel Kolsi

            Good. Do you then believe, that the sin came to all mankind through the fall of Adam? Besides that, do you believe according to the Holy Bible that Adam was the first human being?

            Matched face 2 face group meetings: http://www.gpsmeet.fi

          • Alan S


      • Daniel Kolsi
  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Of course, when I say “respond,” I mean “pull a few quotes out of
    context as an opportunity to trot out the same two or three tired
    arguments he has been using for years.” Which is sort of like calling
    the pre-recorded catchphrases of a Chatty Cathy doll a “response” simply because they occur as the result of human activity…

    This is called “duckspeak”, i.e. reciting The Party Line without engaging any neuron above the brainstem.
    — Source: “The Principles of Newspeak”, by G. Orwell, appendix to 1984.

  • Andrew

    Personally I think that it would take atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris billions of years to do the kind of damage to Christianity that Ken ham can do in six days.

  • Bible Believer

    I find it funny that all y’all can do is make fun of Ken Ham instead of actually stating facts to support your opinon. Evolution is not a proven fact, nor can it be simple as that. Those who don’t believe in a literal Genesis fall prey to denial of several doctrines within the Bible which include but are not limited to: need for salvation, reliability of authors of various books (for believing Genesis was literal), inspiration of scripture, the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh (which means that if He was wrong about Genesis being literal then He couldn’t be God or He lied about it with same end result), human race being connected (which is scientifically proven), death being a result of sin, etc. And non of this has anything to do with science, but on faith that God’s Word is true and perfect and that He would not lie to us about what He has done. I will take His Word over man’s word (which includes yours also) any day of the week. If you want to follow a false god created by Satan to decieve you and cause you to be a part of the apostasy that leads to the rapture and tribulation, as well as the return to paganism due to New Age versions instead of the KJV, be my guest. But don’t try to drag us Bbile believers down with you.

    • Some of the issues you present are valid, others are not, but none of them are insurmountable. It’s not like young-earth theology has no serious flaws of its own.

  • Mahatma Randy

    I went to Accelerated Christian Education schools from 4th to 8th grade. They are OBSESSIVELY creationist, and also remarkably ignorant in any sciences, even ones that don’t relate to evolution, like, say, physics. They drove home the idea that the Bible was 100% literally true, or it was a lie and there was no God. There was no middle ground, no option B, no fallback position. This contributed materially to me losing my faith for about a decade.

    So, yeah, I agree.