YEC movement, unlike the earth, is very, very young

YECism as a fundamentalist position isn't much older than these guys. (photo source: baptistbulletin.org)

YECism as a fundamentalist position isn't much older than these guys. (photo source: baptistbulletin.org)

Editor’s note: This is the third part of an essay submitted by the author to godofevolution.com titled “Darwin’s doves, bulldogs and deniers.” Also see part 1, part 2 and part 4.

I closed part 2 of my essay with a statement that may have seemed odd: “Whatever the arguments, we can see very clearly, that the bulldogs can bark and growl and froth, but their bite is found wanting. I wish the same could be said for Darwin’s deniers.” Meaning that Darwin’s deniers have a surprisingly bad bite to go along with their equally horrible bark. But, of course, I must explain why I believe that.

Whereas atheist polemics like Richard Dawkins and numerous others like to use evolution as a banner for their cause, their scope of influence is rather limited to their devotees and those who happen to stumble onto their stuff via YouTube, bookstores, etc. Not so with deniers.

Those who not only doubt evolution, but insist that one cannot be a Christian without doing so, have caused believers in Christ to be thrown out of their churches and cut off from their family and friends, who are told that it is their Christian duty not to talk to X, or associate with X, until they renounce their belief. They are to told to cut a person off for the sake of “saving their soul” and “bringing them to repentance.” Naturally, this intimidates many believers (including myself) from coming out and being the Galileos the American church desperately needs.

Outside of the church, deniers also have a strong voice in public policy. What is decided regarding the content of textbooks in the state of Texas, including science textbooks, often applies to the rest of the United States. And Texas has no short supply of intelligent design and young-earth creationism activists.

“2008 and 2009 was when they were at the height of their influence,” said Dan Quinn, media representative for the Texas Freedom Network, a civil liberties watchdog group. “They wish to pass laws that essentially will force their views and opinions into textbooks, regardless of whether or not scholars and scientists think those opinions are based on real facts and evidence.”

But who exactly are the most prominent of these deniers? Who are the individuals that are contributing to the idea that evolution isn’t for Christians, and leading the assault against mainstream science? Unlike part 1 and 2, we will stray from the “rule of threes” and spotlight only two of the most influential figures: one from the YEC world and the other from intelligent design.

We begin with Ben Stein. Now, make no mistake, Ben Stein is smart. Smart enough that I respect his mind and intellectual cunning like a village boy would a tiger he stumbles on in the jungle. And I must admit, Stein has written books that I have found beneficial to my life. But he’s also hosted a documentary called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

The film had two primary points: No. 1, that academia is dishonest, and wishes to stifle the free exchange of ideas when it comes to ID and origins, and No. 2, that Darwinism helped bring about eugenics and Nazism. Seeing as how more than half of prominent American scientists believe in a higher power, (51 percent, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center poll), it’s hardly a safe conclusion to say that academia is “against God” and wishes to stifle any idea that might have something to do with him. Does academia try to stifle ID and YEC? Maybe. But perhaps their resistance comes about because they know the evidence simply doesn’t point in those directions. We would not protest academia for stifling the flat-earth movement from infiltrating our schools, nor would we argue for the “free exchange of ideas regarding our planet’s shape.”

In regard to charges of dishonesty, perhaps the makers of “Expelled” should have followed their own advice. This leads us to the film’s second point. In order to make the case that Darwin and evolution created a pathway that led to eugenics and Nazism, Stein took Darwin’s words in “Origin Of Species” and cut, blended together and mismatched them in a way that was nothing short of slander, reading them as if it were all a single paragraph. Any journalist would have been immediately fired for pulling such a stunt, and rightfully so.

There were so many lies in “Expelled” it’s simply stunning. What did this film ultimately achieve? It further encouraged YEC attack dogs in churches around America to continue their offensive, and further affirmed to them that evidence against evolution was becoming obvious “outside” the church. Perhaps such was not the film’s intention, but to overlook that result would be jaw-droppingly naive, and it certainly did its part to give Christians the idea that evolution wasn’t for them.

Representing YECs are, of course, Ken Ham and his organization Answers in Genesis. AiG (or as I like to refer to them, “Christian Ingsoc“), promotes among Christians not only vitriol against evolution itself, but a paranoia for brethren who believe in it. Ham writes, “As time goes on, I notice that it’s not just secularists who are trying to win the hearts and minds of our children to their unbiblical beliefs. Sadly, even professing Christians who have compromised with evolution and millions of years are also trying to instill a mistrust of God’s Word in our kids…”

Notice the operative words and phrases: “professing Christians,” “compromised,” “trying to instill a mistrust of God’s word.” This indicates to me that Ham believes theistic evolutionists are not really Christians but are faking it (merely “professing”), in order to infiltrate Christianity and weaken the walls of the castle (“compromised”), and we are trying (a word which would be indicative of desire) to make “our kids” (the magic words) mistrust the Bible.

So, not only is evolution not for Christians, according to Ham, but those who are Christians and accept evolution are, in reality, closet atheists infiltrating the church to take hold of your children’s minds. We’re spies. No doubt this invokes a warfare state of mind, though, by far, this is not the craziest thing Ham and his colleagues at AiG have said or done.

Why all the resistance? Has a 6,000-year-old universe always been the viewpoint of Christians, and only now is it under faces assault from new, heretical forces? It may surprise some, but the YEC perspective is — unlike the earth — very, very young. Although small traces of it can be found in the 16th century, most notably in William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” YEC in its current form, as a so-called “scientific discipline,” didn’t begin until 1923. A Seventh-day Adventist named George McCready Price, wrote a book titled “The New Geology,” which was based off “Patriarchs and Prophets,” written by Adventist “prophet” and co-founder Ellen White.

“The New Geology,” like White’s book, discusses the impact of Noah’s Flood on the planet. The title of Price’s book notwithstanding, he wasn’t actually a geologist. In fact, he wasn’t a scientist at all. In 1961, two Baptists, Henry Morris and John Whitcomb Jr., also not scientists, adapted and updated Price’s “New Geology” and dubbed it “The Genesis Flood,” which to this day is a second Bible for YECs. Even our pal Ken Ham heralded “Genesis Flood” as “the book the Lord used to really launch the modern creationist movement around the world” (and, as we know, if K-Ham says something, you can bet it’s true).

So there you have it. A “geology” book written by an ardent Adventist who wasn’t a geologist or any other kind of scientist, which was later updated and adapted by two other men who also weren’t scientists. Arriving at the present, we find one “museum” run by Ken Ham and AiG, widespread fear among brethren that if they come out and call YECism the garbage that it is they’ll be excommunicated from everything and everyone they love, and not a single peer-reviewed article or shred of evidence to back YEC claims.

You know what? Stop. History lesson is over. Enough about the “doves” and the “bulldogs” and the “deniers,” too. I’m finished talking about history, because in truth, it isn’t really a matter of history we’re dealing with anymore, is it? It’s time to speak frankly.

Race Hochdorf

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  • Sam Haylor

    I don’t know about Ken Ham but I have described some as “professing Christians” for one of two reasons: 1) I see little to no fruits of salvation over a period of time (Matt. 7:16, 20) or 2) they consistently speak contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture (Gal. 1:6-9 among many others). By referring to some in this way I am not declaring them to be unsaved. Only the Lord truly knows their soul’s state. But neither can I have any confidence that they are Christians even if they declare themselves to be so.

    Since Ken Ham doesn’t personally know the theistic evolutionists to which he refers he can only go by what he hears and reads from them. If one consistently declares that Genesis 1 does not mean what it says, or that Adam was not a literal person as the Bible says, or that the flood did not occur as the Bible describes, etc., then they one is speaking against Scripture and therefore is not demonstrating one’s faith as the Christian one professes to be.

    One should not take offense at being called a “professing Christian” but should take it as an opportunity to examine oneself as to how one is lining up with the Bible’s definition of a Christian.

    “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable… so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” – 2 Tim. 3:16. Trust His words and not those of men. Peace to you brother.

  • http://opensauce.no-ip.biz/ Rick Allen

    It often seems YEC get their theology from one book, and I don’t mean the bible…now I know where! My suspicions were apparently true. Also, the whole shunning thing for brothers and sisters like us verges on what cults like Jehovah’s Wittnesses and Mormons practice. Is it just me, or do some YEC groups have a cultic feel about them? It makes sense considering seventh day adventists are a also a potential cult. Why are there so many Christians who would describe all these groups as cults, and yet are ready to lap up their ideas about the bible? Can’t people see how Gnostic and potentially heretical their ideas are? Ray Comfort and Ken Ham imply that conformity to their ideas is a requirement to be saved, why else would they spend huge amounts of their money in this “mission” field? Their special Gnosis won’t save the atheists and scientists who think we’re all cultists, all that money being piped into anti science propaganda which could be going to building up the body and doing Christ’s work…

  • http://opensauce.no-ip.biz/ Rick Allen

    I’ve been doing some more research into Henry Morris. He is venerated among so many Christian circles it is frightening. His writings are peddled all over the shop, and for the most part it’s based on his own faulty hermeneutic and prideful arrogance that he was qualified to be a voice in both theology and science. Is it a symptom of the post modern era that people feel the need to be an authority on absolutely anything they can think of from the comfort of their armchairs? I recently tried to out him via my facebook, after which my family began to shame me and undermine my witness using John MacArthur of all people to correct me. I have decided after prayerful thought to set up a blog about science and faith. I will share the details if interested once this is done. In Christ Rick