Last weekend, the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain—one of Britain’s most influential papers and somewhat left-leaning—carried an article about my speaking tour in the land of Darwin. Although I was called “Richard Dawkins’s [the atheist/evolutionist] worst nightmare,” the report (by somewhat left-leaning journalistic standards) was not too over the top. And it was better than most in its coverage of biblical creation vs. Darwin (though it did have a mocking edge).
However, the reporter’s real beliefs about the AiG ministry were revealed in his blog, which we reprint below (and which can be found at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/james_randerson/2008/04/literally_unbelievable.html).
Spending time with the creationist preacher Ken Ham is a profoundly disorientating experience.
We are long-time followers of AIG and subscribers to the Answers magazine. For Spring Break (March 17–19), we traveled 8 hours to spend a couple days in the Cincinnati area to see the Creation Museum. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! We have always been fascintaed by Noah’s Ark in particluar, and your exhibit far exceeded our expectations—little did we know you were going to have a record-setting rainfall for 3 days, and we thought WE were going to have to build our own ark just to get home! We ended our trip early due to the weather, since we had planned to go to the Cincinnati zoo the next day. But we all agreed that the 16 hours in driving time to and from was well worth the 5 hours we spent in the museum. God bless your vision, thorough research, and creativity in putting this museum together. We have told all our family and friends and we will be back!
—N.V. and family, U.S.
Have Something to Add?
Let us know what you think.
He inhabits a world that was created in six days, is around 6,000 years old and that started out with a pair of humans sharing a garden with every kind of animal
He really should have written “land” animal; also, I am not really a preacher, for I lead no church.
on the planet—including fruit-eating dinosaurs and cuddly vegetarian tigers
Strangely, after two hours of his rapid-fire Australian drawl that world starts to seem vaguely plausible.
Ham heads up the US-based organisation Answers in Genesis and, as the name suggests, he promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible. For him, there is no room for human interpretation or allegory
This is all somewhat misleading. I actually stated in my talk—and the reporter was in attendance—that I define literally as “naturally”—and that there is poetry in the Bible (e.g., Psalms) and that Jesus spoke in parables. I said that I take the Bible “naturally,” according to the type of literature and language used. Where it is history, we should take it as history—as Genesis is written. Where it’s poetry, like the Psalms, while it can teach great truths, we understand the poetic nature of the literature. The only reason that people make an allegory out of Genesis is to ignore the plain teaching and to read their own ideas in.
Ham, an Australian who has become very influential in his adopted country, has just come to the end of a two-week tour of the UK, bringing the literalist
Again, with the word “literalist,” he implies something different than what I clearly defined as reading the Scriptures “naturally”—as above.
message to audiences from the Vale of Glamorgan to Bedford, Liverpool and London. He has been playing to significant, although not huge crowds—600 in Bedford, around 250 in Leicester, a similar number at a two-day conference in London. But in the US his organisation has had a much more dramatic effect. Its $27m (£13.5m) state-of-the-art “creation museum” opened in Kentucky last May and clocked up 100,000 visitors in its first eight weeks.
At Leicester's Parklands leisure centre last Thursday, Ham’s pitch was that it is the atheists—and in particular “secular scientists”—who are the dogmatic ones sticking stubbornly to their bogus theories
Actually, I explained quite carefully that Christians and atheists both have starting points/beliefs they are not willing to change. I did not say it was just the atheists who were dogmatic. My talk made it clear that both atheists and Christians insist upon their beliefs and are not willing to change their basic presuppositions.
In his first lecture, entitled Defending Creationism in an Evolutionary World, he claimed that by dismissing the idea that the Bible represents revealed truth, secularists are rigging the debate in their favour.
I did not use the word rigging. I said both groups—those who start with the Bible and those who start with atheistic beliefs—look at the same evidence and interpret it differently in regard to origins, because of the different starting points. However, it is true that a Christian giving up his starting points before a debate is foolish, as this article and image demonstrate.
“Bring [your children] up to understand that the Bible has to be the foundation for our thinking,” he told the faithful. “We might not have the details
Actually, I said the Bible gives us many specific details concerning the history of the universe—and I went through these in considerable detail regarding Genesis chapters 1–11, which give those specifics about the origin of all the basic entities of life and the universe. I spelled them out: origin of space, matter, time, earth, dry land, water, sea creatures, flying creatures, land creatures, man, woman, sin, death, clothing, language, languages, nations, cultures, seven-day week, etc.
but we have the big picture of history.”
I did explain that the Bible gives the big picture of history—but with many specific details that explain the present world.
I put it to him afterwards that radiometric dating methods applied to rocks from thousands of locations around the earth contradict the young earth idea. These methods rely on the rate at which certain radioactive forms of atoms decay, and point to a 4.5bn-year-old planet.
His response is simple. This can't be correct because it would contradict the Bible.
Here he is really twisting how I say that the Bible is our starting point in order to make out that we have a blind faith in the Bible. Certainly I said that the idea of an earth billions of years old contradicts the Bible, and I specifically spelled out problems regarding death before sin.
But it is the scientists who are blinded by dogma. “If you are committed to the ‘millions of years’ then you are going to cling to particular dating methods and particular results that you get,” said Ham.
Then comes an audacious falsehood. “Ninety per cent of those dating methods actually contradict the idea of millions of years and billions of years.”
No, not ninety percent of radiometric dating methods. Since he taped my conversation with him, I would like to hear exactly what I said to confirm. I believe I said instead that 90% of all dating methods—including those that are not radiometric—used to age-date the earth actually contradict the billions of years. It would take a great deal of space to list all of these, but a few examples are the magnetic field of the earth, Niagara Falls, helium, salt concentrations in the ocean, etc. See our Get Answers section on evidence for a young earth/universe for more information and documentation.
Sticking to the Biblical script involves some incredible mental gymnastics. Genesis says that eating flesh was not allowed in the Garden of Eden (before Eve messed things up)
Actually it was Adam who “messed things up” for the human race, as Adam gets the blame for sin.
so all the animals happily got along by eating foliage and fruit—including the carnivores.
If they were all herbivores originally, how can he say they were carnivores eating plants in the Garden? What he means is the carnivorous animals we see today.
“What do you think Adam was doing while T rex was considering lunch?” Ham asked his audience as part of a hypothetical dialogue to make his point.“"Well I would say I don’t think Adam was worried at all. Not before the fall anyway.”
Why the big teeth then? “We’ve grown up in a fallen world and see sharp teeth on an animal like a lion or a tiger. So if we see another animal like that because we are in this fallen world we think they are savage animals.”
In my presentation, I explained that just because an animal has sharp teeth doesn’t mean it is a meat eater—it just means it has sharp teeth. I then gave a number of examples of animals with what we would call sharp teeth (many would probably think of them as vicious carnivores just by looking at their teeth), yet they are primarily plant eaters. I said that there are animals today that are carnivores, but before sin they would have used their sharp teeth to eat plants.
According to Ham, all those adaptations for hunting and ripping flesh would have been put to different uses in Eden
That is not the way I would say such things. When I do talk about this, I generally say there were likely a lot of the features used for eating flesh today that would have had different uses before the Fall.
If humans were living with dinosaurs so recently, why don’t we see them around today? Dragon legends and cave paintings, according to Ham, are cultural memories of dinosaurs. Besides, they may be out there somewhere but we have just not found them yet.
This is again misleading. I used some excellent evidence of blood cells and preserved tissue found in dinosaur fossils, which is consistent with the bones not being very old. And I explained that the average size of a dinosaur (as per the secular world’s data) is only the size of a large sheep or bison—and some were smaller than that. I also said that scientists often find an animal or plant (like the Wollemi Pine Tree discovered in Australia in 1994) living today that they thought was extinct, so I said it is possible that there could still be a living dinosaur somewhere in the Congo, Amazon, etc. Who knows?
Afterwards I ask him about evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ assertion that labelling a child with a religion before they have had a chance to decide between different faiths or no faith at all amounts to child abuse. Answers in Genesis produces numerous books and DVDs for children.
“Have you ever walked into the book stores of England and had a look at how many secular materials are aimed at children—millions and millions and millions of them,” said Ham, becoming more agitated.
Well, that’s his interpretation when he writes that I became agitated. I may have become a little more forceful about this, as he was using the child-abuse angle, saying AiG is producing all these books to influence and perhaps “infect” children. I wanted to emphasize that the world was indoctrinating children in a secular philosophy. Besides, God makes it clear we are to teach children: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
“If you want to talk about child abuse I would say that Richard Dawkins is the one responsible for child abuse, because Richard Dawkins wants to train kids that there is no god, that there is no purpose and meaning in life.”
Yes, I said that. Take note that Dr. Dawkins is a signer of the Humanist Manifesto III, and he is being consistent with his professed religion by trying to impose his religious views on students.
Without this purpose, what’s to stop them from killing their neighbour, having an abortion, becoming homosexual or taking drugs, asks Ham.
Well, that’s his interpretation of what I said. And I’m not sure this was even a part of the interview—I think it may be based on something I said in my lecture. In my talks, I explain that I can understand it if someone believes they are just an animal, and thus see nothing wrong with abortion. (It is not generally considered “wrong” to get rid of spare cats, so why not get rid of spare humans—why should there be any difference?) I could see why such people would accept marriage (if it’s just a human convention) to be whatever they want—two men together, two women, five men, etc.
And this is the nub of it. For Ham and his followers, if you start cherry-picking from the Bible (including dismissing Genesis as a metaphor) then you are on a slippery slope to moral ruin.
Well, I didn’t say “slippery slope to moral ruin.” But it would be a slippery slope to unbelief in the rest of Scripture—thus undermining biblical authority as a whole (and the Bible is used as a moral standard).
It's the familiar insulting and false idea that humanists and atheists are inherently amoral because we don’t have a big God-shaped stick poised over our heads to beat us if we misbehave.
I never said humanists and atheists were amoral. I said that they have no basis for absolutes—no ultimate basis for right and wrong. It is just subjective—just their opinion, and I even gave an example to explain this. And this totally mischaracterizes God as He’s revealed Himself in the Bible (e.g., John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9)—and a Christian’s motivations for morality (Romans 6). It is interesting that Richard Dawkins makes it clear that from an evolutionary perspective, there is no right and wrong in a debate with Jaron Lanier:
Jaron Lanier: “There’s a large group of people who simply are uncomfortable with accepting evolution because it leads to what they perceive as a moral vacuum, in which their best impulses have no basis in nature.”
Richard Dawkins: “All I can say is, That’s just tough. We have to face up to the truth.”1
Ken Ham’s vision of a frugivorous T rex sharing Eden with Adam and Eve requires some breathtaking intellectual dishonesty to sustain it. If this is the foundation for his moral edifice, I want no part of it.
The foundation of my moral edifice is not a “frugivorous T rex sharing Eden with Adam and Eve,” but building my thinking on the absolute authority of God’s Word, which means, for example, that marriage is one man for one woman as taught in Genesis. Really, the point he misses is that, with a biblical worldview, morality is not the shifting, gray area that evolutionary thinking and moral relativism ultimately leads to—God’s standard is the same no matter the location or the time period.
I have found that reporters who interview me about the creation/evolution issue and our stand on Scripture come in two basic types (with many variations of course).
- There are those who are just reporting—they want accurate quotes from me and then they will usually interview others who disagree with us and try to accurately quote them. Even though they don’t always get it totally correct, they do try their best to actually report what we believe and what our opposition says about us. I am thankful for such reporters.
- Then there are those (like this Guardian reporter) who have an agenda they want to publicly express. They are not concerned with trying to understand and/or present what we say and believe accurately (it may be that they cannot or don’t want to understand, but, then again, why would it be important to report accurately if one doesn’t believe in an absolute authority and has no basis for truth other than their own beliefs or agenda?), but want to attack our position and put forward their own views. Thus they distort and misrepresent. One has to wonder: if evolution were true, then nothing matters when we die, so why are such reporters wasting their time attacking creation if it doesn’t really matter?
From a Christian perspective, we, of course, should not be surprised at the agenda-driven reporters—after all, this is a spiritual battle. And as the Scripture states in 2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”