Since I’ve already devoted two posts to my experience at the AiG conference, for your sake and mine, I will keep the rest of Ham’s comments short, with a brief comment after each one. There were a host of other rather disjointed things Ken Ham said during his presentation, but they all fell under the general categories of:
- DNA/Scientific Evidence for “the Bible”—although it was clear he was talking about specifically Genesis 1-11;
- His argument that Noah’s Ark could have fit all land animals on board, and the subsequent argument regarding “kinds”; and
- His argument that Noah’s flood was 4,000 years ago, and that the creation of the universe was 6,000 years ago
Interspersed throughout that, there was an endless stream of mischaracterizations of what evolution actually addressed, false equivalencies of atheism with evolution, and Ham’s concerns about the moral decay in our society. When it comes right down to it, that pretty much sums up everything Answers in Genesis is about. That being said, here are just a few more items from his presentation that I’d like to mention:
Ham claims that the coverings for Adam and Eve tell us the origin of clothing, and that there are some feminist groups out there who are rebelling against God because they want to walk around nude.
I just don’t know how to comment on that, other than to say that the point of that scene in Genesis 3 isn’t to give a history lesson on the origin of clothing. It boggles my mind to realize that Ken Ham believes that as Moses was communicating God’s revealed message in Genesis 1-11 to the Hebrews as they were fleeing Egypt, God apparently felt it was important to tell the Hebrews the historical origin of clothing.
That’s Ham’s problem: he must reduce (and I mean reduce) everything in Genesis 1-11 to supposed “historical facts” in order to make it fit his claims. But when he does that, much of what is in Genesis 1-11, despite his fervent attempts, becomes meaningless. Genesis 3:21 tells us where clothing came from—So what? Who cares? By insisting that Genesis 1-11 is a historical account, Ham actually turns the inspired, revealed message of God in Genesis 1-11 to a collection of random “trivial pursuit” type facts that have no real relevance to anyone.
I also find it odd that he is so concerned (both in the presentation and in many of his books) about women walking around with no tops on. Yes, we do live in a highly promiscuous and over-sexualized culture, but let me just ask you: How often do you see women just walking around nude in public? I certainly don’t, so I don’t know where he’s getting that.
Ham told the students not to trust the dating methods scientists use because the Bible is the only reliable dating method. He then gave an example of a supposedly two million-year-old diamond that, when tested, turned out to be 58,000 years old. He then said, “Now, we don’t believe it was 58,000 years old, but…”
Wait a second! Did I read that right? Ham used a dating method as evidence that an original assumption regarding a diamond was wrong, and he used that dating method as evidence that dating methods were not reliable (i.e. the diamond was 58,000 years old, not two million). But then he turned around and dismissed out of hand that very dating method he used that supposed proved his point that dating methods are unreliable. To be clear, the dating method he used proved the diamond was not two million years old, but only 58,000 years old. Ham though rejected the very proof that he used to prove the diamond wasn’t two million years old. Why? Because he already determined the entire universe is only 6,000 years old! And somehow, no one seemed to notice how nonsensical this is.
Modern Science Confirms the Bible?
Ham then claimed near the end of his talk that Biology, Geology, Anthropology, and Astronomy all confirm the Bible.
He just threw it out there as a fact, despite the fact that nothing in his talk in any way shape or form backed up that claim. In fact, far from confirming the claims of young earth creationism, Biology, Geology, Anthropology, and Astronomy all disprove it conclusively. That being said, let me be clear: one shouldn’t say these things “disprove the Bible,” because the Bible doesn’t attempt to give modern scientific information in the first place…and young earth creationism certainly is not biblical. Science disproves young earth creationism; it doesn’t disprove the Bible—it can’t, because the Bible isn’t attempting to do science. It is revealing God’s activity in the history of Israel and the early Church. That’s quite a big difference.
Rantings on the Culture War
Ham ended his presentation with words on the culture war. He had a message for President Obama: God created marriage, not him. Evolution was the worship of creation; homosexuality was a sign of God’s judgment of America; and human life begins…not at conception, but at fertilization. There are two religions: Man’s Word (which includes lawlessness, gay marriage, euthanasia, and abortion) vs. God’s Word (which includes law, traditional marriage, the meaning of life, and the sanctity of life)—and the reason why these values are collapsing in our culture is because of the theory of evolution.
That was quite a flourish to the end of his presentation. There’s a lot there I could comment on, but I’ll just make two points. First, I’m not sure I know what the difference is between conception and fertilization—I always thought they were the same thing, but apparently Ham sees things differently, yet he doesn’t explain that. Secondly, regardless of one’s view on things like gay marriage and abortion, to point to the scientific theory of evolution as the cause of the collapse of morality in our culture is just bizarre. This is what happens when one confuses evolution with philosophical naturalism and atheism.
Many people accuse Ham of lying about everything. Although I have pointed a few specific points on which I believe he has lied, I don’t think he and his organization as a whole are “lying,” for in order to lie, you have to know the truth, and then purposely distort it. I think Ken Ham is so wrapped up in his young earth creationist ideology, he is unable to even see what the truth is regarding (a) the basic definition of evolution, (b) the basic genre of Genesis 1-11, (c) the difference between atheism and evolution…the list can go on.
He’s not lying. He’s an idolater. He has constructed this man-made idol of young earth creationist theology, and he, like every idolater before him, has become deaf, dumb, and blind—just like the lifeless idol he devotes himself to and for all practical purposes, worships.
I feel sorry for him, because he gets everything wrong. On a personal level, I’m sure he is a well-intentioned, nice and moral guy. But so were the Pharisees. Therefore, although I feel sorry for him (I don’t ever think I’ve seen him smile), at the same time I am infuriated with him, because he turns around and spreads falsehoods, and condemns other Christians who don’t agree with him as “compromisers.” In the process, he is destroying the ability of thousands of Christian youth to think clearly, critically, and biblically.
At the beginning of my first post, I mentioned that the first thing Ken Ham said in his presentation was that Answers in Genesis was a ministry “to equip young people to give a defense of the Christian faith.” I also challenged you to ask yourself if anything in his presentation really could be seen as a defense of the Christian faith. Well, what is your verdict?
- Did his differentiation between observational and historical science defend the Gospel?
- Did his talk about information in DNA defend the Gospel?
- Did his accusation that evolution is the religion of atheism defend the Gospel?
- Did his attempted explanation of “kinds” on Noah’s ark defend the Gospel?
- Did his explanation of how all the animals can get on the ark defend the Gospel?
- Did his denial that human beings are biologically related to other things in nature defend the Gospel?
- Did Andrew Snelling’s arguments that there was a global flood defend the Gospel?
- Is the supposed origin of clothing a defense of the Gospel?
- Is Ham’s warning against trusting dating methods a defense of the Gospel?
- Was there anything in his presentation at all that even presented what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is?
The answer to all those questions is the same: No. Although he might claim he is all about equipping people to defend the Gospel, in reality he doesn’t even present what the Gospel is. His “Seven C’s of History” completely cut out the history of Israel, which is the bulk of the Old Testament, and which provides the historical soil in which the Gospel of Christ is rooted. Ham jettisons all of that, because he is convinced the clear history of Israel is irrelevant to the Gospel of Christ. Instead, he thinks the Gospel of Christ is dependent on arguments regarding DNA, and sedimentary layers.
I find that incredibly sad, and I find it incredibly disturbing that such a “gospel” is being mistaken by so many within the Evangelical world for the biblical Gospel of Christ.
There Was One Good Thing Though…
By the time Ken Ham finished his presentation, I was tired and hungry, and rather bored. Like I said, it was a predictable re-hashing of his usual talking points. All was not lost, though. Although I’ll never get those 90 minutes back, it was worth it, for one reason, and one reason only. Once it was over, and people were leaving, I noticed Mr. Ham was up near the stage talking to a few people who came up to meet him. Well, I was going to walk right past him, and this might be my only chance ever…so I took a breath and went up to say hi. And yes, I got my picture taken with Ken Ham! One of the proudest moments of my life…
Maybe I’ll put it on the back cover of my book.