Evangelicals Prefer Scientific Information From Ken Ham Over Others

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A case of the pot calling the kettle black.

The new book The Anointed by Drs. Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens caught our attention this week. Answers in Genesis and its president Ken Ham feature prominently (though negatively) in the book. Stephens is an Eastern Nazarene College history professor; Giberson, a well-known anti-creationist, once taught science at the college.

The first chapter deals with AiG and AiG’s president, Ken Ham, in particular. The entire book is a critique of several Christian leaders who are non-academics in the areas about which they make public pronouncements. Therefore, the authors argue, they shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on issues of the day and that Christians should not be listening to them. Disparaging words like “amateurs” are often used in the book to ridicule high-profile Christian spokespersons. When it comes to evolution and creation, the authors plead that you must trust someone like evolutionist and Christian Dr. Francis Collins over Ken Ham because Ken does not possess an earned doctorate. That’s the pretentious premise of chapter one’s critique of AiG.

Instead, AiG and ICR declare that a lack of belief in the Bible’s authority and accuracy has led many people to doubt or disbelieve the Bible.

The chapter is pock-marked with mistakes. In a more detailed book review that will be posted to this website on Tuesday, AiG will list many of them. For the moment, we will note that in the introduction and first chapter alone the book has errors in dates, mischaracterizations of Christian leaders like Dr. James Dobson, and gross misrepresentations of Christian leaders and their ministries. For example, the authors falsely claim (p. 36) that creation groups like the Institute for Creation Research and AiG believe that evolution is “responsible for much of what's wrong with the world.” AiG has never said or implied that. Instead, AiG and ICR declare that a lack of belief in the Bible’s authority and accuracy (largely due to attacks from secular academia) has led many people to doubt or disbelieve the Bible. Thus, society increasingly sees the moral truths found in the Bible as arbitrary and unreliable, and citizens can therefore justify all sorts of moral behavior that the Bible teaches against. So, if people want to be racists, for example, evolutionary beliefs can justify their racist beliefs (e.g., that some people groups are more advanced than others). But AiG and ICR are clear: evolution in and of itself is not responsible for racism. (Read more about this issue in today’s “And Don’t Miss.”)

The authors often resort to exaggeration to make their alarmist claims about the influence of Christian groups on society. For example, they describe AiG as a “media juggernaut” (p. 59). The Anointed also charges that organizations like AiG are “at war with science” (p. 11) and don’t have scholarship on their side. However, the authors conveniently ignore the fact that AiG has several full-time staff who hold earned doctorates (in astrophysics, genetics, geology, biology, the history of science, and medicine).

As much as anything, the book reveals the academic hubris of Drs. Giberson and Stephens. They express disdain for Christian leaders who speak authoritatively on issues but who in the eyes of Giberson and Stephens are wrong in their beliefs largely because they don’t have earned PhDs to back up their statements.

Ironically, while criticizing Christian leaders by suggesting they are unqualified to address certain topics, the authors themselves frequently address subjects that are outside their own specialties of science and history. They delve into theology, political science, and sociology. Furthermore, Giberson is a physicist, yet he feels qualified to critique AiG in areas far outside his specialty, such as biology and geology.

Even AiG’s highly trained scientists declare that as Christians, our ultimate authority must rest with the clear teachings of the Bible rather than the fallible views of scientists, especially when it comes to the unobservable past and the question of origins. Good scientists are always ready to change their ideas to conform to repeatable experimental observations, but evolutionary scientists resist criticism of those aspects of their beliefs which are unobservable. The authors are clear, however, that evolutionary interpretations of science must trump Scripture: “Many educated evangelicals, informed by biblical scholarship, have thus concluded that the Genesis story of Creation is simply not literal history” (p. 49).

A more thorough review of this mistake-filled and smugly titled book The Anointed will be posted on the AiG website on Tuesday.

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