As a ministry that receives up to 13,000 visitors a day to this Web site, we are not surprised to learn that many who come to our site are foes of Biblical authority. From time to time, a skeptic will see something on our site and attempt to challenge its accuracy, which often leads to an interesting exchange of e-mails—a virtual ‘mini-debate’ over creation vs evolution.
Thomas F. went to our Web site recently and claimed that we had made mistakes of history on our site. As the following exchange will reveal, it was the e-mailer himself–although highly intelligent–who had made the errors. Here is the slightly abridged exchange we had with the AiG critic last month (the initial e-mail from him became a Web article itself on March 13, 2001). Please note that the AiG critic–after 2 challenges–would not offer any specific evidence for his belief system of ‘molecules-to-man’ evolution.
(AiG opponent, Mr F.)
Re: Your tedious prevaricating
Dear Agent of Ken Ham:
Please "unsubscribe" me from your ludicrous newsletter. I've only received two installments and already I'm embarrassed by its paucity of rudimentary logic and overabundance of disingenuous revisionism. Incidentally, The Communist Manifesto appeared more than a decade before The Origin Of Species, and Sören Kierkegaard was a devout Christian. So much for the tract you’re currently flogging. However, please rest assured I will continue to enjoy the radiophonic festival of unintentional humor that is ‘Answers with Ken Ham’ [AiG’s daily radio program].
Actually, we have never stated these things! We are not sure how our accuser came up with these charges—perhaps it was because he misunderstood a recent ad on our Web site that promoted the book Seven Men who Rule the World from the Grave. In that ad (and in other places on the Web), we state that Darwin indeed had an impact on Marx, and also that Kierkegaard had a negative influence on Western society.
First, we have never said that the Manifesto; was explicitly influenced by Darwin! Rather, we have referred to the influence Darwin had on Das Kapital published in 1867 by Marx.
Kierkegaard was a famous 19th-century philosopher and Christian thinker. Although AiG would not want to question the man’s Christian commitment (he appeared to be devout), he (perhaps unwittingly) was the founder of the existentialist movement. Kierkegaard certainly considered himself a Christian, and even wrote of having had a transforming religious experience while a young person.
Many 20th-century atheists like Camus and Sartre, however, embraced Kierkegaard’s fledgling existentialism (which has been described this way: ‘the only right is what is right for you, and the only wrong is that which produces pain or inconvenience for you….whatever is your thing, do it.*). Kierkegaard’s teachings were foundational to their ‘do your own thing’ humanistic/atheistic beliefs, which in turn influenced the Western world to increasingly reject the Bible, its absolutes, and even God Himself.
It is ironic that Thomas F. who accuses AiG of prevarication did not get his facts right. At the same time, it appears that he may just be misinformed or has jumped to a conclusion—we all have built-in biases. Because of a built-in bias against us, his false charges may have not been intentional.
Subject: Re: AiG accused of prevarication - again.
Thank you for your kind reply, replete as it was with estimable strawmen. You wrote: In your recent e-mail to Answers in Genesis, you accused this ministry of 'tedious prevaricating.'
Mr. F.: I did. Although it's not always tedious - sometimes it's frightfully amusing.
You wrote: In a condescending tone, you claimed that AiG falsely teaches that Darwin influenced the content of 'The Communist Manifesto';
Mr F.: No I didn't. I simply stated that "The Communist Manifesto" appeared a decade before "On The Origin Of Species." This is a fact. If Mr. Breese wants to dangle his tenuous premise on the hoary saw that Marx should be held accountable for the authoritarian regimes of Stalin and Mao, he had better dangle it on "The Communist Manifesto," with its famous exhortation to the "workers of the world," rather than "Capital," a technical synthesis of Hegelian historical principles and economic analysis. Otherwise, his "argument" is analogous to defining Christianity in terms of the atrocities often committed in the name of Christ - and I know you people do not appreciate that very much..
You wrote: You also implied that we had attacked the Christian character of Kierkegaard.
Mr F.: Again, I assume this is either wishful thinking or paranoia on your part. I simply stated that Søren Kierkegaard was a devout Christian. I do however beg to differ with the allegation that he is among the seven men ruling the world from the grave.
May I suggest that reading Kierkegaard might serve to dispel this reticence on your part.) I am certainly not denying the influence Darwin had on Marx. As I’m quite sure you’re aware, Darwin has had a considerable influence on several others aside from Karl Marx. In fact, it was Darwin who originally proposed was has turned out to be the single most unifying scientific theory ever put forth, which incidentally transcends the strict domain of biology, and has in fact proven to be a cohesive force throughout all fields of endeavor. You’re no doubt familiar with it, since your website is devoted to ridiculing it.
I am however grateful that you have referred to your organization as a "ministry." I appreciate that fact, since any attempt to cloak your activities in the mantle of ‘science’ is transparently disingenuous and represents an utter failure on the part of AiG to comprehend the basic tenets of the scientific method.
As for your assertion that, ‘As a result, [of Kierkegaard’s fledgling existentialism] the Western world has increasingly rejected the Bible, its absolutes, and even God Himself,’ I respectfully submit this is ‘absolute’ nonsense.
An individual of your obvious erudition is no doubt unaware of the scientific and philosophical achievements of Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Descartes, and Spinoza, none of whom could conceivably be characterized as "atheists/agnostics."
Once again, thank your for taking the time to validate my original assertions. As noted previously, you may remove me from your newsletter mailing list, but I would appreciate your alerting me on the occasion of Mr. Ken Ham’s Nobel Prize nomination.
Backpedaling as fast as you can!
Your clear implication was that we did not know our history of the 19th century—that we mistakenly believed that Darwin had an impact on the Manifesto. Now you write that, yes, Darwin did influence Marx, but that Das Kapital was not nearly as influential as the Manifesto. On the contrary: because the Marxist movement in the latter half of the 19th century was led by intellectuals, I submit that Kapital was more influential to the movement’s leadership and its ultimate sucess than the Manifesto.
Furthermore, Marxist leaders believed they now had a ‘scientific’ justification—based on a Darwinian foundation—to act out their ideas. And still others used Kapital as a blueprint to help establish the communistic economic and political regimes of the 20th century, including their Darwinian-inspired ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ atrocities.
Your other clear implication was that we did not know our history regarding Kierkegaard’s Christian faith. Is it possible that before you sent your e-mail, you were not aware of our true view and jumped to a conclusion (based again on your built-in bias against our worldview)?
We have always referred to ourselves as a ‘ministry’. Why would you make such a ‘gotcha’ claim? The word is even on our Web site’s home page—moreover, it’s a part of our organization's full name. Again, your built-in bias against us is overriding your obvious intellect.
Furthermore, why can’t religious persons be involved in scientific inquiry and bring their beliefs to it? You are no doubt aware that most of the founding fathers of science (some you mentioned above) in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries were Bible-believing Christians and acknowledged that in many of their findings—our Web site has examples in our biography section.
(And, by the way, we have 6 full-time staff who hold doctorates and who are practicing scientists.) Are you re-defining their view of scientific inquiry to exclude anything that might point to the supernatural? Your naturalistic-only definition of science is restrictive and is therefore not open to anything outside the fence you have artificially placed around yourself.
You appear to at least acknowledge the converse: that science (at least your definition of it) informs philosophy (e.g. Darwin influencing Marx; also, your comments that evolution ‘transcends’ biology and is a ‘cohesive force’—apparently a large part of your worldview). If so, that philosophy must come full circle for a scientist: it establishes a presupposition/bias for the scientist when he/she examines additional evidence (e.g. new fossils in the fossil record). Such a scientist can’t help but interpret the new evidence within his/her own bias, and is therefore not open to interpreting the evidence differently. And, yes, I have already admitted my bias in this area—I look at the same evidence, but through different glasses than you do.
Even though we are ultimately debating over our different presuppositions, biases, and worldviews, please give me your best evidence for ‘molecules-to man’ evolution. I would be happy to respond to one of your specific ‘iron-clad’ evidences for macro-evolution. As a former evolutionist, I look forward to taking a shot at it.
Dear Mr. Looy:
I was somewhat puzzled that despite your support for the notion that Charles Darwin ‘rules from beyond the grave’, or whatever it was, you appeared to seriously misrepresent the relationship between Darwin and Karl Marx. What makes your misrepresentation all the more egregious is your attempt to establish ideological causal links between Darwin and Soviet totalitarianism, the leaders’ of which, “believed they now had a ‘scientific’ justification—based on a Darwinian foundation—to act out their ideas.”
First of all, it is true that Marx sent Darwin a copy of the first volume of Kapital, the receipt of which Darwin acknowledged in a rather self-effacing manner, to the effect that Marx’s cerebral treatment of economic history was beyond his (Darwin’s) capacity for understanding….
Funny - when I witness the efforts of Answers In Genesis and all the other crackpot organizations of your anti-intellectual ilk to infect the science classrooms of this country with your bogus theology I am reminded of the fraudulent activities of Lysenko [a Stalinist thinker and self-proclaimed scientist who held to bogus ideas of genetics]
As for your request for ‘evidences for macro-evolution’, surely you don't expect me to participate in that shopworn creationist jamboree. For creationists to continue to insist on this false semantic distinction is the incarnation of tedium. The false distinction was introduced, oddly enough, by a Soviet biologist in the 1920s in an attempt to reconcile what was then believed to be incongruities between Mendelian genetics and Darwinian theory.
What you need to do, and perhaps this would make a useful investment of resources at your new museum, is prove that the processes of ‘microevolution’ cannot be extrapolated to induce ‘macroevolution’, although I suppose "proving" that the universe is less than 10,000 years old takes care of that whole pesky matter anyway.
Keep flogging those tracts!
Because you will not accept the challenge to provide evidence for macro-evolution, and because we are simply going round and round, let’s just conclude our dialogue. I am puzzled: you won’t even try to give me one item from the fossil record to support evolution (which Darwin hoped—in Origin of Species—would give him with the hard evidence for his theory)?
NOTE: no further reply was received from Mr F. Incidentally, much of our writing demonstrates that ‘micro-evolution’ cannot be extrapolated to give ‘macro-evolution’—because all known examples of ‘micro’ involve information-losing processes. Extrapolating such a process leads to more and more information loss, whereas microbe-to-man evolution needs a massive net gain of information. The book by Israeli biophysicist Dr Lee Spetner (above, right), is extremely helpful and informative in this issue.