Home > All, Essential, Lying For Jesus, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Skepticism > Lying For Jesus ["The Lie: Evolution" By Ken Ham]

Lying For Jesus ["The Lie: Evolution" By Ken Ham]

Introduction

Science and religion. Mutually exclusive fields? Some people say science and religion can exist simultaneously, and harmoniously. I, on the other hand, quite disagree.

If one wishes to preserve intellectual integrity, science and religion cannot take equal priority in one’s mind. They can only exist together if there is compromise, meaning that you either tolerate a little bit of bad logic, bad science, or you dilute your religious views to the point where there is really no substance to them.

Nowhere can this be seen more than in Ken Ham’s book, “The Lie: Evolution.” Ken Ham is the founder of Answers In Genesis, a “Creation Science” organization, dedicated to converting the entire world to Christianity, whether they want it or not.

There is one important thing to point out here. It’s one thing to let a logical fallacy slide here and there, for your own sake; to preserve your own belief system. If you choose to accept bad logic as proof of God, so be it. But to lie to people who may be ignorant of the facts, to imply that your views are “scientific,” to exploit this ignorance, that is an entirely different issue. It is, for lack of a better term, evil. If I were a Christian, I’d say it was “of Satan.” But, being an Atheist, I’ll just say that it’s immoral, deceptive and, to say the least, dishonest. Not, what I think, Jesus would want. Would Jesus want us to distort information (lie) in order to persuade others to accept Him? If Jesus were real, would we really have to distort information (lie) in order to persuade people of his reality?

I think the main problem is that there is either (a) a complete lack of understanding as to what evolution is, or (b) there is a deliberate attempt to mischaracterize and misrepresent (lie about) what evolution is and how it works. I think choice (b) is more likely in Mr. Ham’s case. I mean, people would not believe on the sweet name of Jesus if evolution were true. Therefore, Ham’s only option is to lie his head off to try to keep people from accepting 150+ years of solid science.

Main Theme Of The Book

This book has a pretty pernicious underlying theme: lying. The pot is definitely calling the kettle black in this book. Bad logic is so blatantly rampant, lying and misconceptions abounding so bountifully that I can hardly contain myself.

To start with, the major premise of this book is that evolutionary theory is the root of all evil in society. From this premise follows the false dichotomy: you are either for God or against Him. And not just God in general, but specifically the God of the Christian Bible – and in Ham’s case, the King James version of the Bible. Accepting evolutionary theory is equated with being “against” the God of the Bible. What about every other religion in the world? In one fell swoop Ham totally eliminates the possibility of anyone else’s opinion, other than his own.

Now, it would seem that if one was so confident in one’s position, one might offer some scientific evidence of this position. Right? You would think so. But, not in this case. Not any real evidence, anyway. Not any evidence that would be consistent with the supposed standards he holds evolutionists to.

In cases where a reasonable person would offer proof, Mr. Ham simply presents Bible verses, or appeals to authority. For example, on the topic of geology, Mr. Ham says in reply to a student he is talking with that…

Even if your geology professor were here and said things I don’t understand because I’m not a geologist, if what he says disagrees with the Bible, then he is wrong.

No evidence presented, whatsoever. It is clear that Ham has no interest in evidence. He’s already made up his mind – facts or no facts to support his conclusion. If no evidence exists to support creationism, he will simply manufacture it. Or, if that fails, he will simply resort to trying to poke holes in evolutionary theory. This is the total opposite of how the scientific method works. And on that note, a segue…

Mischaracterizing The Scientist

How do scientists arrive at their conclusions? They observe phenomena (as is the case with observational science), or they examine evidence. Wherever the evidence points, that’s what scientists will tend to accept as truth.

This is not what Ham wants you to believe. He wants you to believe that scientists accept evolutionary theory in the same way he accepts Christianity… with faith. There’s one big problem with this. Where did the idea of evolution come from? Did Darwin just “make up” evolution? Was he just sitting around one day and decided that he wanted to, as Ham claims, destroy the foundations of Christianity? No. Of course not.

Evolutionary theory came about because of overwhelming evidence (see Evolution Is A Religion?). Darwin wasn’t just going on a whim and making things up willy-nilly. He observed speciation in finches (among other animals as well), and determined that there must be a process by which their different characteristics originated – and that mechanism is called natural selection. And as we have discovered more fossils (including many, many transitional fossils, which Ham refuses to accept on an ideological basis), the evidence piles up that evolution has undeniably occurred. It is undeniable, except in Ham’s case. It’s easy to deny anything with the right amount of bad logic and lies.

In the first chapter of the book, there are two illustrations outlining what Ham says are myths and “truths” about scientists.

Four Commonly Believed Facts About The Scientist In The White Coat:

He is unbiased.

He is objective.

He is infallible.

He wears a white coat.

Well, isn’t that neat. Sweeping generalization. One of my favorite logical fallacies.

Then he goes on to show…

Four Truths About Scientists:

He is biased. (Look at his books!) *Books in the picture: Origin Of Species, Modern Zoology, Gould, Modern Science, etc.

He is NOT OBJECTIVE!

He is HUMAN!

He seldom wears a WHITE COAT!

Wow, Ken Ham. How objective you are!! Such broad generalization accompanied by a complete lack of evidence! You wouldn’t happen to be human, would you?

No evidence whatsoever of these points. No specific persons given, or in what way they were biased, not objective, or even if they were human! And do you have pictures of these scientists without their white coats on?

I suppose I can’t say he offers no proof, whatsoever. He does offer this little trinket of information regarding evidence for accepting the Bible…

…modern science, which enabled the development of the car, arose when people began to base their science on the Bible. Therefore, this machine runs according to the laws which God made.

Wow. False premises, a non sequitur and an appeal to authority. There are more logical fallacies than there are sentences here. Great job, Ken! You’ve managed to fit all of these fallacies inside a blatant lie.

Religion has fought science tooth and nail since the beginning. How many people have died in the pursuit of science? Killed by the religious zealots for calling into question their precious Bible? Galileo was nearly killed for claiming the Earth was round. What a heretic!!

All of this, and Ham has the audacity to claim that these things arose when people “began to base their science on the Bible?” Give me a break!

Evolution Is A Religion?

I particularly enjoy this type of attack against evolution. Evolution is, in Mr. Ham’s eyes, a “religion.” Interesting. Let’s take a look at that proposition.

Wikipedia has this to say about the definition of religion

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

Evolutionary theory actually came about through the use of the scientific method

Scientific method refers to the body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[1] A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Now let’s look at the evidence. That’s what an intellectually honest person would do… not someone who lies for Jesus.

To start off with, Darwin was not the only person to “come up with” evolutionary theory. Pierre Maupertuis, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and even Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, among countless others, had been observing the evidence. Most Creationists, like Mr. Ham, would like you to think that Darwin simply came up with the idea of evolution out of nowhere. That it was just a convenient way to remove God from the process of life.

Lines of evidence for evolutionary theory come from everywhere, not just Darwin. I mean, look at the work of Gregor Mendel. His work was going on at the same time that Darwin was developing his theory, completely unbeknownst to either one of them.

I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll refer you to this page. An excellent resource for all of the evidence for evolution. Scientific, testable evidence. Not a faith, or religious belief.

The bottom line is that science is based on evidence. Religion is based entirely on faith. The evidence for evolution has withstood 150+ years of scientific scrutiny. Nothing we have discovered has been able to disprove or discredit it.

Ham’s Christianity Is Dangerous

Chapter 2 is entitled “Christianity Is Under Attack.” In this chapter, Ham makes another great logical fallacy. His appeal to pity. He talks about how the evil evolutionists are repressing Christians, and that evils are taking over the world because people accept the theory of evolution.

Then there’s the false dichotomy that runs rampant throughout the book: You’re either Christian, or you’re against God.

God’s absolutes dictate that there are rules by which we must abide. Christianity cannot co-exist in a world community with relative morality as its basis. One or the other will yield.

What about Buddhism? What about Islam? Did Ham forget about these other religions?

He makes the point that there is no room in his version of reality for any other opinion than his own. Strict adherence to the Bible.

If the Church wants to be successful in changing society’s attitudes toward abortion, pornography, and homosexuality, it is going to have to fight the issue at a foundational level. The foundational basis of evolution needs to be destroyed and the foundational basis of creation restored to its rightful place of importance.

So Ham equates evolution with all sorts of evils, which is a complete non sequitur. He says that…

…the clash we see in our society at present is the clash between the religion of Christianity with its creation basis (and therefore absolutes) and the religion of humanism with its evolutionary basis and its relative morality that says “anything goes.”

I’d be interested in his sources for this supposed “anything goes” morality he’s speaking of. To say the least, this is a false premise.

(As a side note, just to put some perspective on things, let’s take a look at what some statistics say about morality and where evil comes from. Just to make things fair, since Ham insists that evolution is the cause of so much evil in the world. A study was done fairly recently concerning religion as it relates to prison populations. The numbers I’d like to point out real quick: Christians make up approximately 76.6% of prison inmates. Atheists (those darn evolutionists) make up… get this… 0.4% of our prison population. Yeah, those evolutionists are pretty evil, aren’t they?

Update [5/16/2008]

I will admit that there are definitely problems with this study, as Michael had pointed out in his comment on this post. Even so, the amount of error required to make these differences negligible would have to be massive. There is still a disproportionate difference between Christians and Atheists in prison.)

Anyway, because of his arbitrary, non sequitur link between things which he perceives as “evil,” and their supposed cause (evolution), he deems it necessary to destroy the foundational basis for evolution, regardless of whether or not it is true.

And what would be the result of one person, group or organization being in control of what “truth” was? Have you ever read 1984 by George Orwell? That is the kind of world we should expect, if Ham had his way.

Imagine the Ministry Of Truth, going around and destroying any information it deemed “untruthful,” erasing it from history – not because it was unscientific, but because it didn’t aid the cause of the establishment. Eliminating anyone who questioned the truth set forth by the establishment. Do the Crusades sound familiar? Imagine the Crusades today, with the technology and weapons we have available.

It may sound extreme, but far from unrealistic. Think of the power exerted by Hitler during his reign. And he was far from being an Atheist, which Ham and his cronies like to portray. Hitler wrote this in Mein Kampf:

What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and the reproduction of our race…so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe…Peoples that bastardize themselves, or let themselves be bastardized, sin against the will of eternal Providence.

You could draw similar parallels between this statement and what Ham wants to accomplish. To convert everyone to Christianity, with the elimination of everyone else. In fact, I challenge you to tell me what’s different about Hitler’s quote and Ham’s philosophy of worldwide Christianity. They are one and the same. For Hitler, it was the Jews, or those who weren’t of “Aryan descent.” For Ham, it’s anyone who isn’t Christian.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I don’t suppose Ham to be such a militant Christian. But this book, this entire point of view is shared by a great many. And many of those feel it is their duty to spread Christianity by any means necessary. A good documentary on this topic is called Jesus Camp. A frightening look at what militant Christianity can do to people (especially children).

In Conclusion

Science does not claim to have all of the answers. We are, as Ham says, all human. Our knowledge is imperfect. But science does the best that it can, with the evidence available to reach a real understanding of the world around us. Our ideas are always changing. Not drastically from one extreme to the other, as Ham would like you to think. Evolution is still undeniable, even though some very small details as far as the mechanism of evolution may be refined over time.

Religion, on the other hand, and in particular, Ham’s version of Christianity, claims to have all of the answers – right now. It is arrogance at the highest level. No matter what evidence we come across, no matter what conclusions it leads us to believe, Ham says that if it disagrees with the Bible, it’s wrong, regardless.

And what reason would one have to think that way? What has religion ever delivered to mankind that would better the human condition? As Carl Sagan once said, “Science delivers the goods.” Every bit of technology, everything that makes our lives easier, our understanding of the Universe and how it works… these all from science and its efforts.

Religion has no place in the scientific realm. They cannot mix. As Ham says, one side will have to yield. And I prefer truth over faith.

So this has been an unusually long entry, but I felt it needed to be written. Thanks for sticking with me through the whole thing and let me know what you think. If you’re going to criticize me, make sure your rants are free of logical fallacies and false premises. I don’t respond to illogical criticism.

Read a book.

I’ll also point out that, if you really are interested in understanding what evolution is all about, check out the Evolution 101 Podcast. Dr. Zach does an excellent job of explaining everything you need to know about how evolution works.

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  1. rodenbg
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 1:31 AM

    As a Christian, I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of unthinking and uneducated Christians. BUT, to say that religion and science are completely incompatible is a little short-sighted. Why not look at more reputable Christians that are writing on the subject such as Alistair McGrath of Oxford or Francis Collins (geneticist that heads up the National Human Genome Research Institute). It’s interesting to note that many of the top scientists throughout history were also deeply religious. It’s only become quite fashionable in the last couple of hundred years or so to look at science and religion as mutually exclusive. Many top scientists today are either religious or leave the door open to it. If they are willing to give religion a fair shot, shouldn’t you?

    Ben Roden
    rodenbg@hotmail.com

  2. lowerleavell
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 3:09 AM

    Wow, so much bitterness, anger, and bias in one article against one book it’s almost scary! Seriously, as a Christian, all’s I can say is we still love you because God loves you.

    Just out of curiousity, is it the possibility of God’s existence or the God of the Bible’s character that bothers you most? Most atheists I run into don’t really care about God’s existence, they just don’t trust His character.

    BTW, if you desire me to write a review of your article, I would be more than happy to because it seriously mischaracterizes Ham and his book. But if your perspective was all I’d ever known, I probably would have felt the same way about his book, so I wouldn’t dare hold your perspective against you.

  3. Friday May 16, 2008 at 4:50 AM

    Please don’t hold it against me that I didn’t read the whole thing. The problem is simple; I am reading several books. I’m only writing to thank you for going to such great lengths to write this necessary, and unfortunately to-be-ignored-by-those-who-most-need-and would-benefit-from it. I found the first 500 or so words sufficiently well written that this crucial task seemed in very capable hands. Thank you. Now if you’re interested in US politics, I’ve tried to do the same workmanlike job on a recent proposition made in that sphere of activity, on my blog, The Familographer. I hope you get more readers than I have. Your topic is ultimately a lot more important, but in a way it can be said that we’re on about the same thing, at bottom.

  4. Friday May 16, 2008 at 5:59 AM

    I am only going to make one comment on this, as if I were to respond to everything, this could go on forever.

    I feel it is necessary to at least make a general rebuttal to what I know will be said about this review.

    I think what I say here will cover pretty much any criticism I get from my religious readers. There are only so many ways in which they can counter logic and evidence.

    Most of the criticism I’ve received thus far has involved bad logic.

    …to say that religion and science are completely incompatible is a little short-sighted. Why not look at more reputable Christians that are writing on the subject such as Alistair McGrath of Oxford or Francis Collins (geneticist that heads up the National Human Genome Research Institute). It’s interesting to note that many of the top scientists throughout history were also deeply religious. It’s only become quite fashionable in the last couple of hundred years or so to look at science and religion as mutually exclusive. Many top scientists today are either religious or leave the door open to it. If they are willing to give religion a fair shot, shouldn’t you?

    This response has two logical fallacies. First is the argument ad populi, or the appeal to popularity. Just because something is popular, doesn’t give it any truth value. People used to use lead pipes for drinking water. Was it good because it was popular?

    It also contains the argument from authority. This implies that because someone is in an authoritative position (has a Ph.D, for example), and maintains that a certain premise is true, they must be correct because of their position of authority… not because of any actual evidence they offer.

    Then there’s this…

    Wow, so much bitterness, anger, and bias in one article against one book it’s almost scary! Seriously, as a Christian, all’s I can say is we still love you because God loves you.

    Just out of curiosity, is it the possibility of God’s existence or the God of the Bible’s character that bothers you most? Most atheists I run into don’t really care about God’s existence, they just don’t trust His character.

    There are two things wrong with this criticism.

    First is the appeal to pity. It is a method of arguing which hopes to gain support for its conclusion by inciting strong emotion, in this example by stating that I have “…so much bitterness, anger and bias…” Once again, no evidence is offered. Just another logical fallacy.

    The second problem is that when Christians encounter logical or rational arguments, they resort to the “you are short-sighted” or, “you are narrow-minded” ad hominem (personal) attacks. I am certainly biased toward good logic and solid science. The method is what’s important.

    All I can say is proof, proof, proof!! You must show proof! Don’t come at me with an argument from authority, not with weak analogies or straw man arguments. Cite your sources. Cite your sources sources. Has their evidence been peer reviewed? Are you just making crap up to fit your views?

    Most criticism I receive sounds no different than the weak stuff Ham uses in his book. No evidence. Just logical fallacies and false premises.

    And with that, I conclude. That’s all I have to say.

    If you find yourself getting emotionally aggravated by what I’ve said, maybe you should really take a look at your logic and what you believe. Does it hold up to even the most simple of logical standards? And if logic doesn’t matter, should we all just believe in pink unicorns that ride teacups around the sun?

    You shouldn’t be emotionally invested in the outcome of science. You should be emotionally invested in good scientific method. Good words from Steve Novella from the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.

    *I suppose I should also add that I am an ex-Christian. My younger years in the Catholic church, then Fundamental Baptist for about 8 years or so (KJV all the way! lol). Read the Bible cover to cover many times. So, for those who may think I’m speaking out of ignorance, I did “give it a shot.”

  5. Friday May 16, 2008 at 8:03 AM

    I appreciate the logic of your argument, and I hope you don’t mind if I ask a couple of questions.

    Are all people of faith, no matter their belief structure, under this umbrella of unthinking denial of fact, in your opinion?

    ‘All I can say is proof, proof, proof!! You must show proof! Don’t come at me with an argument from authority, not with weak analogies or straw man arguments. Cite your sources. Cite your sources sources. Has their evidence been peer reviewed? Are you just making crap up to fit your views?’

    This certainly applies to Mr Ham’s work, but I wonder if you mean it to apply to religious faith in toto. Is it weak to have a belief? Obviously, as a man who has experienced the depth of faith you must know how it feels to have a belief in something unprovable. Do you feel you have moved on and away from that starting point into an arena of pure reason?

    What thoughts can you give me about the supposed impossibility of believing in evolutionary theory and believing in God (or any god? I’m a Goddess person myself).

    From a purely personal point of view, I’ve studied evolution, prehistoric environmental change and glaciation to Masters level (so far and yet not far wnough), and I don’t see the dichotomy.Perhaps I’m being naive.

  6. Badger3k
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    Can I give an Ad Hominem? Having listened to Alistar McGrath, I am convinced the man is an idiot. He has some really, really stupid arguments, and he loves his logical fallacies. Listening to him debate Dawkins, I was amazed how often he neither addresssed the arguments of his opponent nor understood the science (such as biology, archaeology & history) behind the arguments.

    Appealing to him as an authority is about as good as saying Plantiga is a genius.

  7. typicalamerican
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    On one level or another we have to administer faith. Whether it be in science or in a higher power. Ultimately if we are to believe in a “theory” be it the big bang or the garden of eden. It still requires an element of faith. I do agree with your argument though of populus thought is not the equivilent of factual evidence. By now you can probably guess I am more agnostic than anything. Why?…because the chicken and the egg argument always gets me.

    I find your arguments interesting if you can could you message me back I would like to further probe your mind.

  8. rodenbg
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 11:36 AM

    GodKilzYou,

    Thanks for replying. I appreciate it. However, I think you ASSUMED way too much about what I wrote earlier. I wasn’t appealing to McGrath or Collins because they have PhDs or because they’re popular. If you were to ask most Christians who they are, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. I was appealing to them because they’re arguments are better. You mentioned that science and religion are basically mutually exclusive in your opening sentences. I was pointing out that there are people that are respected in both fields that are religious. I can’t really help the fact they are scholars, but my recommendation wasn’t because of that. I’m in agreement with you that Ken Ham’s stuff sucks. I merely asked a question (hardly any type of argument) as to whether or not you had read other Christian authors that are more reputable. Since you like to use logic definitions, let’s refer to your analysis as an “argument from silence.” If you go back and read what I wrote, there is not actually an argument presented (much less an argument ad populi or argument or an argument from authority).
    I appreciate the fact that you point out when Christians are wrong. I try to do the same as they are quite often wrong. But I’ve also had the pleasure of talking with quite a few atheists that are just as ignorant, fundamentalist, and reactionary as the people you’re arguing against (please note that I wasn’t refering to you with that statement).
    When I refered to your opinion as “short-sighted,” it was no attack against you. It was only a statement about the validity of your argument. Nothing personal. You ask for “Proof, proof, proof!” but didn’t make any statements other than offering an opinion which is much different than a logical argument. What claims did I make (or the other person) that require sources? I didn’t say anything about the validity of the authors I suggested. I only asked if you had read them. Maybe there’s someone else out there that does have the good logical arguments that you’re looking for.
    Personally, I believe that there are areas of life that science isn’t properly equipped to handle. Here’s one for example: Is your love for your family nothing more than a biological impulse that you are not really responsible for (ie you are just mechanistically acting out due to the hormones/chemicals that are in your body)? Or another: What is consciousness and where does it come from? Many scientists point out the limits of what science can teach it us since it only involves the natural, observable world.
    I’ve spoken with many thoughtful atheists before that have legitimate questions about religion. What you have written so far sounds just as reactionary as many of the religious believers that you argue against. I hope you’ll engage in honest, thoughtful debate rather than jumping to conclusions about what someone says in a dialogue. You assumed things that simply were not in what I wrote. I’m completely for using reason and logic in arguments. I don’t respect Christians who do not but I also hold atheists to the same high standards.

    Looking forward to your reply,

    Ben Roden
    rodenbg@hotmail.com

    • Narcissistic Nihilist
      Monday September 12, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      Is love nothing more than a biological impulse that we are not really responsible for? Is it nothing more than chemicals/hormones in our body? Yes it is. Love is the end result of millions of years of instinct to protect and care for our families to ensure the survival of our species/family. But that does not make it any less wonderful. Nor does it stop us from appreciating it just as much. Doesn’t it give you a shiver of awe to think that the love we feel is due to untold millions of years of struggle and survival, of caring and co-operation, all of it meaning that we can live and love as we do today?
      Just because we can understand it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it for the sometimes irrational thing it is. Having science explain it makes it more amazing, not less.

  9. irreligious left
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 12:03 PM

    I can tell you that what ruins Christianity for most atheists, aside from the religion itself being just another superstitious belief system, is its members who constantly appeal to nonbelievers for their support, practically begging for more people to join their church. The more you force something onto people, the more resistance you’ll get, which is a simple fact of life. It’s so stupidly simple, you’d think it’d be common sense, but some people just get too wrapped up in their emotions and eschew rationality, both in judgment and behavior.

    This leads to what Ben Franklin noted, that Christianity “has received various corrupt changes” and continues to be twisted and corrupted to fit an individual’s view of the world. I wonder why a religious person can’t be a little more objective and preach accordingly, so that people can make up their own minds. But, here we run into the differences between faith and logic, one operating on emotion, the other on reason. Inseparable, and unfortunately so. On a last note, I’d like to quote Goethe:

    “If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.”

  10. Friday May 16, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    I recommend “‘Science.’ The Myth and Its Role in Society”, 1975 Inquiry.

    It’s a bit shorter of a read but presents a perspective criticizing public subordination of other schools of thought to science and scientific method. As a member of the scientific community, I was taken aback by such an argument by another scientist (Paul Feyerabend), but his thoughts are quite valid. It is only though some real research and admission that while what he states may be true, it is overzealous.

    Believing in something which has no tangible support (even with its religious ‘research’), versus something with measurable data and “proofs”, might be a good reason that we don’t question science as much as religion. But we must remember to be careful not to dismiss the idea that what is ‘true’ in science also a consensus. The difference is that while both reach for a conclusion of Truth, religion contains inherent presuppositions.

  11. Friday May 16, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    lowerleavell said:

    . . . it seriously mischaracterizes Ham and his book.

    I think your review seriously mischaracterizes Ham and his book, too. You don’t treat him as a child molester, and you don’t call for a general ban to keep his book out of the hands of innocent children whose lives could be ruined by it.

    Our Constitution protects Ken Ham’s right to believe any fool thing he wishes. However, nowhere is there a grant to allow him to promulgate foolish and dangerous things to others, especially to children.

    Don’t some localities have laws that require Ham’s book to be more than 1,500 feet from schools, parks, churches and residences? They should have such laws, if there are none.

    Don’t go so easy on Ham next time.

  12. jdc
    Friday May 16, 2008 at 3:40 PM

    Wow. Ben Roden specifically referred to Francis Collins as a geneticist and then referred twice to ‘top scientists’, but claims not to have appealed to popularity and authority and states that he ‘was appealing to them because they’re [sic] arguments are better’. I’ve read McGrath’s book “The Dawkins Delusion” and I have to say, if you find McGrath’s arguments persuasive then you must have particularly low standards. I’ve seen a commenter on another blog sum up McGrath’s views as ‘obviously lightweight’, which I think was very well put.

    Re Ben’s remark “What is consciousness and where does it come from?”: That is actually a very interesting question – but not one that has anything to do with religion.

  13. Friday May 16, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    I would agree that Christians in general don’t do a great job of providing proof. Wait, they usually do a poor job or don’t even try. But it is somewhat ironic that you quote a survey about prison population that the surveyor himself claims has serious problems. Read through the post. It is certainly not something I would appeal to as any proof of the goodness or badness of atheists or Christians.

  14. Friday May 16, 2008 at 4:46 PM

    Michael, thank you for pointing that out. I was a bit hasty in posting that information. I made a slight modification in regards to that study.

    And isn’t that the hallmark of good science? To know when you’re wrong and admit it? I didn’t resort to an ad hominem, or claim that you’re “narrow-minded” because you thought my information was incorrect.

    I’d also like to let everyone know that I will get back to them soon. Today’s just been busy. Expect an email soon! And thanks everyone for sharing your opinions, positive or negative.

  15. Friday May 16, 2008 at 6:39 PM

    Not only the hallmark of good science, but the hallmark of good, civil conversation.

    Thanks.

  16. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 12:11 AM

    From the view point of faith, science is relative. You cannot expect a person who truly has faith in the God of the Christian Bible to question the fundamentals of that belief. It would be nice, from the atheistic point of view, to catch these people before they accept any faith and show them any evidence you like… but once they’ve really committed to faith in God, they are necessarily invulnerable to any evidence that runs contrary to that ideology. No, it doesn’t fit well into our idea that everyone should rely solely on science and proof. Faith… The very word supposes that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that in which it is placed. Science is relative to a person of faith because any evidence presented by science is easily explainable in that God designed it in that manner. It may seem too convenient… A non-believer is bound to find it ignorant and evasive, but that is an argument against faith itself… not the believer. I haven’t read Ham’s book but I have seen a couple of his videos… and I did just read your critique in its entirety. I cannot blame you for your view… As I said, it is only the logical analysis from a person who hasn’t experienced true faith. I am aware that you cited a personal history in the religion of Christianity but religion does not always equate to faith. I won’t presume to question the sincerity of your past beliefs but, in my experience, genuine faith is impervious to context. Therefore, as I said, any reasonable person who truly has faith will be able to take anything that science produces in the light that God ordained those facts. There is no dichotomy except for unreasonable individuals who ascribe solely to science or solely to religion. Faith designs the machine in which fact will be processed. And yes, true Christian faith is exclusive of other religions and versions of God. If you’d like, you can read my post entitled “Jesus, Exclusivity, and Oprah” for a related argument.

    In a sense, I’m not arguing against what you’ve posted. I do welcome so-called “Christian” scientists to try to prove whatever they like about the nuts and bolts of creationism. Maybe they have to twist the scientific method a bit to get there but as long as it holds up to peer review, more power to them. I, however, won’t try to put God in a box as to the process by which he created everything. In summation, blind religion is the most dangerous form of religion… Blind faith is the only form of real faith.

  17. rodenbg
    Saturday May 17, 2008 at 12:57 AM

    Re jdc,

    Calling someone a “top scientist” has nothing do with popularity. It means that the science they produce is well-respected by other scientists and contributes to the working body of knowledge. Collins is a “top scientist” because he helped crack the human genome. You’re missing the point that I was making: that there are more reputable people than Ham who are writing. Also, I really don’t see where you guys are trying to go with the “argument from authority.” In no way am I trying to say these guys are right because they have PhDs or come from Oxford (McGrath) or because Collins heads up the Human Genome Project. It’s exactly like me criticizing you for only offering your opinion–along with another blogger–about McGrath.

    You’re right about my question about consciousness. It has nothing to do with religion. The funny thing is that I never said it did. I said that science is not equipped to answer a lot of life’s questions.

    I do apologize about the MANY Christians out there that are trying to ram-rod their beliefs down people’s throats. I’m not here to defend them. There’s a lot of societal pressure on anyone who has beliefs that don’t line up with the mainstream. I for one am not trying to be one.

  18. rodenbg
    Saturday May 17, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    Since most of the people reading this are thoughtful about their beliefs, I would like to put some questions out on the table:

    -What are the limits of logic and science with regard to human knowledge?

    -Important aspects of human life do not revolve around empirical evidence (such as friendship or love). What are your thoughts about the usefulness of science and logic for these realms of life?

    -Is beauty nothing more than a biological impulse? (I’m not talking about sexual attraction at all here. I mean “beauty” in the sense that ‘a Van Gogh is beautiful’ or a sunset over the desert sky.)

    -Is goodness something that’s arbitrarily defined by humans? (ie, if tomorrow everyone decided that it’s ok to put babies in blenders, there’s nothing morally wrong with it?)

    Looking forward to some good, thoughtful, atheist feedback :)

    BTW, jdc, thanks for catching my typo earlier. I was in a hurry since I had to go and meet someone.

  19. larseneirik
    Saturday May 17, 2008 at 3:03 AM

    Life is too complex and wonderful to be a coincidence.

    Pride is deadly. Humility brings life.

  20. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 10:07 AM

    Given your worldview, why would lying bother you? What’s wrong with it? More to the point – on what logical and empirical basis can you even categorize anything as right and wrong (in any kind of objective moral sense)?

  21. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 10:21 AM

    larseneirik…

    Life is too complex and wonderful to be a coincidence.

    Pride is deadly. Humility brings life.

    First is the argument from ignorance… I can’t imagine life being the result of natural processes, therefore it isn’t. That isn’t proof.

    Then comes the non sequitur. Truth value has no bearing on whether or not I am proud, or the degree to which I am humble. I could be the biggest jackass in the world and I could still claim that 1+1=2.

    Although, I hope I don’t appear that way. I’m simply presenting an argument against Ham’s book.

  22. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Steve

    Given your worldview, why would lying bother you? What’s wrong with it? More to the point – on what logical and empirical basis can you even categorize anything as right and wrong (in any kind of objective moral sense)?

    I’m assuming you’re a Christian. I’m also assuming that the only reason you believe killing, stealing, lying and the like are wrong is because “God said so.” Not because they detract from our quality of life, because they cause harm and are not conducive to the survival of the human species. Correct me anywhere I may have gone astray. If we take that into account, I have more faith in the human race than you do. Maybe that’s where my “faith” lies. Not in God, but in the good nature of mankind.

    How evil is it to imply that the only reason anything is evil is because some God says so? If we were to go on the Bible’s morality, we’d be executing people for being homosexual. Is that the morality you’re talking about? Is that the “logical and empirical basis” you’re speaking of?

    I particularly enjoy Proverbs 23:13. “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

    Yeah, just beat the crap out of your kid with a rod (preferably made of ironwood), he won’t die. Tell me more of your “morality,” I’d love to hear more savagery.

  23. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    Given your worldview, why would lying bother you? What’s wrong with it? More to the point – on what logical and empirical basis can you even categorize anything as right and wrong (in any kind of objective moral sense)?

    You’re asking the creationists, right? Because lying is deadly in science. If someone lies about the blood chemistry before the anesthetist gets ‘em, they could die. If someone lies about the tissue match on the transplant, two people die instead of one.

    If the scientists lie about how deadly radiation is, or how deadly DDT is, and why, then people will die. Honesty is the stock in trade of the scientist.

    Not so much for creationists, in my experience.

    So, you were asking the creationist, right?

  24. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    I was asking Steve Woodruff, as he was apparently making the claim that my morality wasn’t up to par with, I’m assuming, the Bible. I’m assuming he thinks there’s nothing wrong with anything unless God says it’s not ok.

    I guess the only reason killing, stealing and lying are bad is because God said so. And that was the point I was trying to make.

    So, the moral of the story is to start pounding the shit out of our kids with rods because the Bible says, “…for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

  25. Saturday May 17, 2008 at 6:54 PM

    I’m sorry, my email address is arron@encountercommunitychurch.org. I first commented about nine or ten comments up. I’m glad that I (and so many others) ran across this post… argument is good for burning off the garbage between the opposing views and finding the bit of truth that is hidden at the core.

  26. Monday May 19, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    As a Christian I fully endorse this article. Ken Ham does not speak for me and I am embarrassed that he has the gall to profess to speak for Christians on any topic, especially on matters of Science.

  27. Saturday May 24, 2008 at 9:47 AM

    I think there’s some truth to Gould’s idea of nonoverlapping magesteria. That is, science and religion do address different spheres… that is, religion cannot tell us about the physical universe; science can not tell us what is right and wrong or how to find meaning in our lives. (However, we don’t need religion for morality or purposeful living.)

    Both tend to overstep their boundaries at times, making Gould’s assumption that they always address different spheres is obviously not true.

    Perhaps philosophy is a good meeting area. Then again, there are plenty of philosophers who also disregard science.

  28. ewar
    Wednesday January 7, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    Way back in my christian days (early 80s) i learned that the holy trinity is like ice, water and steam – the same thing in different states. i also learned that some guy had proved that light was slowing down which meant the earth really was only 6000 years old and therefore Jesus would return in the year 2004. sounded sciencey enough and convincing for me at the time.

    (i also had my first gay sex and learnt to smoke pot in the church youth group but that’s another story…)

    Then i met someone who, via lengthy discussions over many bottles of fine wine and italian dinners, challenged me on the dogma aspect until i gave in. Somehow he made me realise that just saying “Because the Bible says so” simply isn’t good enough. I”m forever grateful for those evenings – Satan works in mysterious and wonderful ways *chortle*

    Since then, knowing that the answer to life is that there is no answer, it “Just Is” – I’ve been a much better adjusted & rational mammal. And so far i haven’t murdered anyone or coveted my neighbours donkey or anything – amazing!

    The shame of religion is that it captures children’s minds in a way that’s hard for them to let go of without serious de-programming. I’m very glad I was one of the lucky ones.

    In fact now I’m getting to be a curmudgeonly middle-age sort of chap i’m starting to think it’s time to stop this ‘religious tolerance’ nonsense and call it for the woo it really is. (Mind you, the communists tried to ban religion and look where it got them..)

    Oh I don’t know. As the kids say these days – “teh stupid, it burns!”

  29. Randee
    Thursday October 29, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    confusing to say the least. the fact and ideas are so mixed up that i’m going nuts trying to figure out which end of the cow is which.

  30. Monday July 19, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    I am a high school biology teacher. I take real & great delight in
    showing my students Mr. Ham’s ass-head speeches and then tearing them to
    shreds. I ENJOY destroying faith in the world’s great toilet-paper rolls
    such as the bible (and ALL other religious texts). I am an extremely magnetic
    speaker and consider it my mission to educate my students that organized
    religion is toxic and a refuge soaked in blood for the weak, stupid and cowardly.
    I’ve had a thirty + year career and more to come. Mr. Ham is a complete moron and a dangerous, truly mentally ill fool. He can’t drop dead soon enough. Religion = suffering, cruelty & death. Lets (a.) get these dangerous clowns to pay TAXES like the rest of us and (b.) use that money to bulldoze EVERY house of debasement. ANY
    religious fundamentalist (i.e. frightened childish mental-case)shouldn’t be
    allowed to vote, drive, serve in the military or to hold a job above the level of grocery store bagger. It’s time for the Adults to run things. Organized religion is the world’s most revolting evil. It is the excrement of conciousness in the minds of the emotionally retarded, from Jesus (who NEVER existed) to Jonathan Edwards to James (‘Child & Dog Beater’) Dobson et al. Any politician or president who’s pandered to these blithering douche-bags is part of the problem as well. Regardless of which ‘holy’ book I can find, I make it a point to burn it, WITH REAL JOY. (Don’t worry! If anyone sees the flames and is offended, I just piss on
    it). Let all religion fade, let all ‘fundies’ of All faiths dissapear. What a
    world to awaken in the next day, a world where we had the humanity and courage to
    throw the killer, crab-wise, moronic & evil Santa/God out on his contradictory and
    hateful ass. ~”And STAY out!”

  31. Narcissistic Nihilist
    Sunday December 12, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Excuse me, Matt. Did you mean Satan on your last comment when you said Santa? Just asking.
    Mr Roden. Love and friendship are just chemical/hormonal reactions in our brains and bodies, just like bueaty. But that does not mean that we cannot enjoy them for what they are.
    And Matt, I agree with everything you have just said, but I think that you should maybe phrase it slightly more subtly next time. It is better for everyone involved if people can have polite, rational discussions about things. Thank you.

  32. Narcissistic Nihilist
    Sunday December 12, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    I would like to thank Michael and Mr Roden for posting comments on this site. It is people like you, who post interesting, polite and above all RATIONAL arguments, that make online debates like these enjoyable and educational.
    GodKillzYou, I appreciate the effort you have put into this site, for it is a site that truly needed to be put online. I would hesitantly, partially agree with Lowerleavell that you do seem to be aggressive towards Ken Ham, but I would say you have good reason to be so, and sometimes the only way to beat the insistant christians that ram religion down your throat is to be as dogmatic as they are. (I apologise to Christian Rationalist and others like you, who are open to argument and debate)
    If you have the time to reply to this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you could give some hard scientific evidence for evolution (not for me, I am a firm evolutionist, but for the other posters, mostly christian, who say that you are like Ken Ham in that you do not provide evidence).
    There is a quote that is rapidly becoming my motto, and I thought you might appreciate and understand it: For those who believe, no proof is needed. For those who can’t believe, no proof is enough.
    Both parts of this saying apply to both sides of this debate, but possibly atheists and evolutionists are more likely to listen to scientific proof. No disrespect intended to religious people who are like that (e.g. Christian Rationalist).
    I have posted some comments on your second site (Argument From Douche-Baggery), and I would be thrilled if you or others could reply to my post.
    Thank you for reading this.

  33. Narcissistic Nihilist
    Sunday December 12, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    By the way GodKillzYou, I really liked your reference to the Church of the Invisible Pink Unicorns and Russels Teapot.
    I just had a brainwave! You are not an atheist after all! You are in fact a Pastafarian ( I would recommend looking it up if you are not sure what it is). I am a Pastafarian.
    Thank you for reading this.
    R’amen.

  34. Death Jester
    Sunday December 19, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    It was on one of these sites, I can’t remember which one, that someone said that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. They said that it was only recently that atheism in scientists became popular. My only reply to that is that a hundred and fifty years ago atheism was ‘unfashionable’. And several hundred years ago, if you did not believe in god then you were killed, generally in a horrible and painful way.
    A lot of the scientists were forced to pretend to be religious, in order to survive. If you disagree with this then please post a comment debating it rationally. I look forward to reading it :)

  35. Death Jester
    Tuesday December 28, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Does anyone remember Gallileo? He said that the earth revolved around the sun, and the church prosecuted him for ‘heresy’. Now, anyone who does not believe that the earth revolves around the sun is considered either insane or clinically stupid.
    Then evolution came along, and the church got all snotty and aggressive. Now, the Pope has declared that evolution and christianity are officially compatible. Little, by little, science is winning.
    Ken Ham said that if you cannot take the bible as the literal truth, then where do you draw the line? If you cannot trust one part of the bible, then why should you trust another? Ken Ham says that science is slowly eroding religion, until eventually religion will be gone entirely.
    Exactly, Mr Ham.
    Exactly.

  36. Narcissistic Nihilist
    Thursday January 6, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    For those who say that God created everything and that evolution is false, let me reply by saying that the Pope is an evolutionist, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and numerous other bishops.
    What does that tell you Mr Ham? The leader of your religion, and a lot of his important acolytes(?) believe what you say is a lie spread by satan. Maybe it is not their faith you should be questioning, but your own.
    Hopefully one day you will realise the truth of pastafarianism. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Hallowed be thy noodles) touch you with his noodly appendage, so that you may enjoy the pastafarian heaven, with it’s beer volcano and stripper factory.
    R’amen :)

  37. Awesome Person
    Monday January 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    If you are puzzled by how life arose in the first place, you should look up the RNA World Theory. It explains it all, although when I say explains, I mean that it is the most logical and viable theory available. I am including religion in that statement.
    If there is a god that made everything, or even just kick-started evolution, then whatever you say, that god is a total asshole.
    Check out the Ichnuemoin Wasp (or however it is spelt) if you don’t believe me.

  38. Narcissistic Nihilist
    Tuesday April 12, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Lenskii’s bacteria.
    Belyaev’s silver foxes.
    Somebody elses guppies. (I can’t remember their name)
    These are the proofs of evolution. Anyone who says that there is no scientific evidence for evolution should research these things before they can make any arguments. Once you have done that, then you can debate things properly.
    email me at ragingwarp@gmail.com if you want to debate these points.

  39. Christian Believer (God Saves All)
    Sunday October 9, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Just o you know the prison population thing is not as it seems. Almost all people who go to prison are not christian, but once they get into prison they go to church inside the prison and become saved because they are even smarter than you and realize that the facts about creation are undeniable.

    • Sunday October 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      Could you cite some sources on this information you’ve provided. It sounds like you just made it up, and I’m not going to just take your word for it.

    • Death Jester
      Sunday October 9, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      Given the amount of people that go to prison every day, that would mean that in a very short time there would be no atheists at all and that almost every one would be christian.
      Nope, sorry.
      You are like those people in the Discovery Institute that assembled a list of over 700 scientists who do not believe in evolution. It sounds very impressive until you realise that the number of scientists in the world numbers in the millions.
      You say something that sounds like you are winning the creation/evolution ‘war’, until people actually think about what you are saying and realise how stupid it is.

  1. Friday May 16, 2008 at 1:35 AM
  2. Friday May 16, 2008 at 9:23 PM
  3. Saturday December 20, 2008 at 10:14 AM
  4. Thursday September 10, 2009 at 9:43 AM

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