The All-Powerful Personal Anecdote

One of the hallmarks of the fundamentalist mindset is a reliance on anecdotes rather than evidence. They love their stories, especially fake conversations, and they cling to them like they were made of gold. Here’s a classic from young earth creationist Ken Ham:

One supporter of Answers in Genesis was stunned to encounter opposition to the literal six days view. The supporter, identified as J.C. from Boise, Idaho, described that incident to AiG.

“I was at the gym, in the locker room, telling a pastor how great the [Creation] museum was. Pastor Jack asked me, ‘You believe in a literal 6 days?’

“‘Absolutely!’ I replied.

“Then out of nowhere, a man came around the corner who overheard our conversation said, ‘Ken Ham is a piece of c-,'” J.C. recounted. “This man went on to tell me that he has four degrees, studies fossils, bends light, is a Christian, and is a follower of Reasons to Believe and its president Hugh Ross. But out of his same mouth he called a fellow Christian a piece of c-. There was no sign of the humble heart of a Christian.

“I can’t believe that I have fellow brothers and sisters wanting to side with ‘scientists.’

“This has been a real eye-opener for me.”

Except the story is irrelevant entirely. The age of the earth is not determined by whether someone says something mildly insulting, it’s determined by the evidence. But this is a very common form of argument among the fundie faithful.

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