The #HamOnNye Debate In A Nutshell

  • Raymond Watchman

    This post says it all and is all that needs to be said.

  • Mark Patterson

    Maybe Ham is the more honest of the two. It is hard to change deeply held beliefs. Many scientists are confronted with evidence that contradicts their theories and resist it. Even Einstein resisted quantum indeterminism with his famous phrase Gott würfelt nicht (God does not play dice).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It is true, and I think understandable, that scientists do not simply toss out established views until a significant amount of evidence mounts. But they typically do change their minds when the evidence becomes clear. A good example is the resistance from atheist scientists who thought that the Big Bang idea sounded too reminiscent of Genesis, but which they nevertheless embraced when the evidence mounted.

    • Bob Ladwig

      Absolutely true. Ham was simply more honest of the two when he said, “Nothing will change my mind.” What is wrong with that? Oh that’s right, in our postmodern world the worst thing to have is certainty, you can hear the howls and shrieks from the spineless. Again, note the multiple dislikes another sensible comment gets.

      Say something like, “Ham needs to get with the times and look a the mountain of evidence instead of going by blind faith and having the gall to think he understands the Bible…” That kind of wussy pomo comment will get about 10 thumbs up.

      • xyzzy

        I’ll tell you what’s wrong with certainty: It requires you to ignore the real world around you. If you say “nothing will change my mind”, what do you do when something is inconsistent with your “certainty”?

        I am an atheist. I am about as confident as it is possible to be that there is no god of any kind. There are atheists in foxholes; I have cancer that comes with a 65% probability of death in the next 4 years, and still I don’t believe in god. (I hear that impending death is supposed to make people religious…)

        But I have to be realistic. An entity as powerful as the Christian God would have no trouble hiding his existence from me. Maybe he does exist. Or maybe it it Allah that is hiding from me. I’m quite confident that neither exist, so I’m not worried about it.

        But if I had evidence that God was real, I would have to believe. That does not mean I would play his game, pray in his church, and follow his rules, but it DOES mean I would believe he exists. It would be stupid to do otherwise.

        Think of where you would be if everybody was absolutely certain about the world just a hundred years ago. Both General Relativity and Quantum Electrodynamics were discovered since then, by looking at the evidence. These are two of the weirdest things a scientist ever has to deal with.

        But if you have a GPS reciever, you have a machine that only works if BOTH of those theories are right. And we only have these theories because of people who renounced absolute certainty.

        • bill

          I had a discussion with a young man about his belief’s recently, and something became clear… People have experiences. I had an experience with God, that no one can take from me. Mr Ham has looked at the evidence, and I was disappointed that he didn’t share this in the debate, although he kept saying check out his web-site all the answers are there. He has also taken experts from all over the world, and created a museam to show findings all over the world that could prove a young earth. I felt that Bill Nye had handled himself professionally (for the most part), although he does not want to see the evidence when faced with it. So until Bill has an unexplained experience, he will always “deny” the evidence, his lively hood relies on it.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            But Ham hasn’t offered findings that support a young earth. He has attempted to spin the evidence and he is working hard to distract from where it actually points.

            On the subject of experience, Ham does not seem to have ever had the experience of being born again. For many of us who have, our faith is connected with personal experience and thus doesn’t depend on a convoluted chain of arguments that supposedly start with an inerrant Bible and creation in six days.

            • bill

              James are you Ham’s judge…. how can you be so sure that he has not had a personal experience? As far as young earth findings….the evidence is so overwhelming I don’t know where to start. It is actually evolutionist science that made the claim that things are are millions of years old. You can see fossilized forests that go through the sediment layers all over the world (oh I know, nothing to see here). Wake up, the earth is not millions of years old, again do your research, stop buying the lie… I know many people who are young earth and sorry they are not going to hell! If you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord I’m sure this is the message, not how old the earth is.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                I am not Ham’s judge. I only know that, in a discussion with him, he asked about my Christian faith and so I offered my testimony. He did not reciprocate.

                If you believe that people go to hell if they do not accept the Gospel, then you ought to be concerned when people like Ham or yourself provide scientific misinformation and make people think that they would have to be fools to believe what gullible people like yourselves do.

                I know you believe that all the scientists, including devout Evangelical Christians like Francis Collins who headed up the Human Genome Project, are involved in a conspiracy, and only the young-earth creationists are being honest about the evidence. But WHY do you believe this, rather than the reverse? Every single claim made by young-earth creationists about the evidence turns out, on closer inspection, to be false, or to not mean what they claim it does. How is it that there is supposedly overwhelming evidence against an old earth, and against evolution, and mainstream scientists are foolish enough to publish it and yet also are supposedly trying to hide that same evidence? Why does such conspiracy theory thinking seem plausible to you? You seem not to know the actual history, well before the time of Darwin, of how the evidence for an old earth accumulated and changed the minds of devout Christian geologists in that era. But instead you prefer to believe the lies that you have been told by charlatans. You are no only harming yourself when you do this. You are harming the reputation of the Christian faith by publicly proudly proclaiming your own gullibility.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  A useful source on polystrate tree fossils: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/polystrate/trees.html

                  • bill

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OIrubRBg3Q
                    Oh right nothing to see here. I am not sure but the fossilized tree debate is in the video, but I can’t remember how far in.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Sorry, but who gave you the impression that mainstream geology does not take account of volcanic eruptions, floods, and other catastrophic events? We see plenty of evidence of those in the geological record. We also see other things. Why are you allowing crooks and swindlers to point to a few parts of the picture and dupe you into offering them your allegiance, in this manner that brings not just you but the Christian faith into disrepute?

                    • bill

                      I don’t get you James, are you saying that I am duped because I don’t believe in “evolution”… I mean you have called out my character on several levels this morning, and I clearly see a pattern. When people are wrong and/or angry they pick on peoples character. You assume that I am not educated because I don’t believe what you believe, this my friend is not very “Christian”.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You are getting the facts wrong. Should I have assumed you were being willfully dishonest? Assuming you were poorly-informed and not wise enough to fact check seemed more charitable. And since you demean those Christians who actually work in these scientific disciplines, standing up to you is absolutely the appropriate Christian thing to do. I hope that you will see the error of your ways and repent.

                • bill

                  I’ll ask you the same question “Why do you believe that the scientist are right and the young-earth” creationists are wrong”. I am no expert in the Human Genome Project, although it is an effort to prove that we “evolved”, that a fish could change to a human over millions of years. Yet when we look at the evidence in front of our eyes we dismiss it. A mule cannot re-create, it stops there, although if we go to a lab and “manipulate” some mule genome to re-create another mule somehow this is evidence. There is a conspiracy, and it is for your soul. I suppose we can take that to the lab to…..”Proclaiming themselves Wise they became fools”

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    That verse is indeed relevant. You do not know what the Human Genome Project provides evidence of. You think that your mule example is somehow relevant. And you arrogantly declare that the world’s scientists are fools when you clearly do not have even a high school level grasp of the subjects that they continue to investigate at a much higher level of competency. Do you not see the problem with your combination of arrogance and ignorance, from a Biblical perspective?

                    • bill

                      No I arrogantly believe that the bible is correct, and that my high school education is sufficient enough to decipher fact from fiction. I know that you have to be educated to believe that the earth is billions I mean trillions of years old…. If your smart, you can go to university and become indoctrinated I mean educated… Oh and when you meet a guy like me, you can “school” me…. The bible talks about the days we live in, and it does not look good for the evolutionist.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You see, this is what makes young-earth creationism such a diabolical perversion of the Gospel. It has gotten you to reject the Biblical stance of acknowledging oneself as a fool in need of God’s grace, and leads you instead to proclaim yourself wiser about the natural world than the people who study it for a living. You have believed charlatans who claim that scientists ignore important evidence, feeding their own and sinful pride. And unfortunately you do not care enough about the truth to fact-check those claims, and you have not understood the Gospel sufficiently to detect that this prideful arrogance without knowledge is fundamentally sinful and antithetical to the Gospel.

                    • bill

                      Your funny and think to much. Leave it to God to figure out.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I reject this shameful attack on the Gospel you are making, suggesting that one has to refrain from thinking in order to be a Christian. Why do you hate the Creator of the rocks and of our brains so much?

              • stuart32

                What makes you think that a particular example of the rapid deposition of sediment is evidence for a young earth? Sediment may be deposited rapidly in some cases and very slowly in others. The fact that the second hand of a watch goes round quickly doesn’t disprove the claim that the hour hand goes round very slowly.

                • bill

                  The point is that when “observable evidence” is provided, it gets dismissed from the scientific community….that somehow something else might of happened. We were told that oil took millions of years to create, and yet now scientist admit that they can make oil in less than 30 minutes. Scientist are always changing their “theories”, and this is why “I stand on the word of God”.

                  • stuart32

                    I don’t think evidence is being dismissed. It is a fact that some geological processes can happen very quickly – for example, the way that the channelled scablands formed. But if you want to know how old the earth is you don’t look at the structures that formed quickly; you look at the ones that formed slowly. Think of a marathon. If you want to how long it lasted you don’t look at how long the winner took to run it.

                  • Pixie5

                    The oil in the lab is not the exactly the same, furthermore it will take many years before we can do anything with it as it has problems. But the main difference in making it in the lab is that it takes intense heat and pressure. There is no evidence that the natural process involved that.

                    There are plenty of naturally formed stuff that can be made in a lab that differs from how it is naturally made. In fact the whole reason why scientists are pursuing this is that it is an attempt to speed up the process. They take what they know about studying how oil deposits are formed and then add a lot more heat and pressure than there was originally. Notice that they could not do that UNLESS they already knew the process by which oil deposits are made. Thus as Nye said, science can make predictions.

                    Since we can make diamonds in the lab does that prove that volcanos don’t make them through natural processes?

                    One of the problems with making this new oil is that it requires A LOT of algae to make it. This is a stumbling block and they are trying to find ways of making the algae more lipid-rich. If you think about how much oil we have gotten from the ground it is obvious that thin layers of algae did not form them. It took a LONG TIME for those deposits not only to form there, but also to convert to oil. A flood hypothesis would not alleviate this problem. A violent flood most likely would have scattered algae all over the place, when what is required is layers builiding up over time.

                    One of the things that creationists have trouble coming up with an answer is the fact that the geological evidence shows for the most part LAYERS of different kinds of rocks formed through different processes, not everything mass-produced by a flood. How do geologists determine that? From OBSERVATION. They actually study how sediments are put down today and also how erosion plays into it. For instance you find in the geological record that sediments are laid down, then eroded before ANOTHER layer is put down. Not consistent with a world-wide flood.

                    You certainly have the right to your beliefs but you can’t call it science until creationists actually GO OUT INTO THE FIELD and STUDY these things and come up with alternate hypothesis that can be tested. Then it needs to be peer-reviewed. But oh well, it is just so much EASIER to lay back and say, “Nah, I don’t believe it.” In fact the first geologists back over a hundred years ago actually went out to try to PROVE the Flood. When they saw the evidence was contrary to what they believed, they changed their minds, like any good scientist worth his salt.

                    • stuart32

                      Very good points.

                    • Pixie5

                      Thank you!

          • Pixie5

            I have had many experiences with God that no one can take away from me either. But having a spiritual experience has nothing to do with an inerrant bible, or even the bible at all.

            My spiritual experiences happened after I left Christianity My experience with Christianity was having to believe in a correct doctrine, rather than believing in God himself. A relationship with a book.

            The deviation from believing in God to believing in a “correct” dogma is the source of all the splits in Christianity and religions all over the world. God does not have a religion. Religion is a man-made contruct trying to make sense of the world and God. But it is flawed because man is flawed and does not understand God fully.

            Since there are people of all religions who have surprisingly similiar spiritual experiences then we know that it is not limited to Christianity.

            • bill

              I agree, and I am in no way suggesting that someone is going to hell because they believe in “evolution”…. I am no judge… but the point Hamm is making that if we break down the teachings of the Bible, the foundation of Christianity and the American Constitution, then we are falling into the trap of Satan. Anton Lavey who penned the Satanic bible from the teachings of Aleistor Crowley basically says this “Do what thou wilt”. What does the bible say and is it relevant for today? ….

              2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
              New King James Version (NKJV)

              2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ[a] had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin[b] is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[c] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

              5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He[d] who now restrains will do so until He[e] is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

              Also….

              John 14:6
              New King James Version (NKJV)
              6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

              • Pixie5

                I understand that you put all authority in the Bible and that is where we differ. And bringing up Satanism as an example of other religions is very extreme. You can study main-line religions all over the world, Buddhism, Hinduism and many others and what they have in common is one thing: LOVE. Even Pagan religions such as Wicca espouse this. Their motto is: “Do what thou wilt, harm none.”
                If you believe that other religious experiences are just delusions, what makes you so sure that yours is not as well? This is an honest question. I am not saying that your spiritual experience is not real. What I am pointing out is that someone can use the same argument against Christianity. I would like to know what you think the difference is between your experiences and others.

                • bill

                  Many people agree that there is a spiritual world, even scientist. Satanism also teaches that a “lie is a truth, and a truth is a lie”. You see, I don’t believe that all “experiences” are from God. The scriptures that were shared before prove this point. I did not grow up in the “dogmatic” way of thinking, I grew up an agnostic, and my dad was more atheistic. I also have been hypnotized many times in the past, and understand mind manipulation (I was having experiences, whether they were real or not). I also used to get high and have “experiences” I pretty much did as I wilt…. but I did harm people in the meantime, because God says the opposite…. “give till it hurts”(not give until it doesn’t feel good anymore). I know about Love, but letting someone believe that “there is no hell” or “the bible is just a bunch of fables”, is not sharing true love. Most Christians don’t read the bible, and therefore go on feelings, and this works for a time (I believe that God meets people where they are at)…. God has not left us in the wilderness, he literally gave us his word “the bible”…. I have studied this stuff a lot over the last 20 years, and will state it again, I am in no way “judging” you, Bill Nye, or Ken Hamm, but anytime “I” have put my trust and authority in any man including the Bill Nye’s or Ken Hamm’s of the world, I am deeply disappointed.

                  • Pixie5

                    The bible was written by fallible men. The bible was disproved as a science text hundreds of years ago when we realized the world was not flat and that we are not the center of the Universe. I will share with you this. It is not cut and paste from another website (as it might appear because of the formatting) I have found it saves me a lot of time if I store certain responses on my computer when I am making the same points often.

                    The Bible describes:

                    1. A flat circular earth surround by ocean on all sides (some creationists
                    claim that a verse referring to “the circle of the earth” means that the writer
                    knew that the earth was round. But it says “circle” not sphere)

                    2. A solid dome over the earth called the “firmament” which separated “the
                    waters above” from “the waters below” meaning sky and ocean. The sun, moon and
                    the stars are suspended in this solid dome and above it is a “storehouse of
                    rain” that God let loose periodically. Above that is a literal physical
                    heaven.

                    Obviously the idea of outer space and the vast distances of it would not have
                    even occured to the writers of the bible. But when modern Christians read the
                    bible they read into it modern science instead of what is written. Ironically
                    they believe that they are taking the bible literally.

                    One big proof we have that this is EXACTLY how they envisioned the Universe
                    is that we have actual maps from the Ancient Near East depicting this
                    cosmology.

                    Ironically the Flat Earth Society (which still exists based in my
                    hometown..WINCE) are actually right in terms of how to interpret the cosmology
                    of the bible. But even most creationists don’t go that far although they expect
                    everyone to take the rest of the Genesis literally

                    I won’t even into the moral problems with the bible but anyone who is honest about the bible will find many flaws in it, not just scientifically. Christians try to pretend these don’t exist. It is best not to take an inerrant approach to the bible because much evil has come from people ignoring their innate morality and instead commiting evil in the name of God.

                    • bill

                      Give me more information on the “moral flaws” in the bible? And your absolutely wrong (sorry but you are)… everybody felt that the earth was round like the moon, stars, and the sun. examples: Apollo holding up a round “earth” (greek mythology)… Egyptian hieroglyphs… Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over the empty place, and hangs the earth upon nothing.(only one example)…. It changed with one Spanish king in the 1400′s, and this is the “story” we have be fed for the past 500 years in “American” texts. For some reason we think that we are somehow smarter than the writers of these ancient texts (not just from the bible I might add). Pixie5, you need to learn the bible before debating against it. Many people don’t want to be accountable for their lives, and therefore follow what ever tickles the ears. Being a Christian is not easy in today’s world. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
                      God loves you, and wants a relationship with you. Forum’s are to hard to give you all the scriptures that back up a 6 day creation (also how it is understood in Science). The problem is that we spend $1000′s going to school to learn the “world’s system”… The world is getting angrier, and more ego than ever before in history (It”s all in the bible), and I want to see you on the winning team and so does GOD.

                    • stuart32

                      Bill, may I ask you about flood geology? I assume that you think all sedimentary rock was laid down during the flood. This seems to me to present a number of difficulties. The flood must have broken up an unimaginably vast quantity of rock and then deposited it. Most sedimentary rock is fine grained. Therefore, the flood must have been so violent that it not only broke up all this rock into boulders but actually reduced it to fine particles. But while this was going on the flood somehow managed to preserve all of the world’s fossils without smashing them into tiny pieces. Can you explain this?

                    • Pixie5

                      Good question! I doubt he will answer it though.

                    • bill

                      There is a geologist named “Walter Brown”, he coined the Hydroplate theory. He was a secular scientist (geologist), I like his theory on this. It explains a lot (like why there are creators on the face of the moon). Living in the rocky mountains we see evidence of the sediment layers being pushed up. I agree with Pixie5 (Good question)…. also I agree that there many things that are hard to answer on both sides of the debate… there are many you tube videos on the “hydroplate theory” so pick one, although I recommend the 50+min (its worth the watch)
                      BTW -this is the man that no one will debate.

                    • Pixie5

                      Here is a thorough overview of sedimentary geology written by a Christian geologist Daniel E. Wonderly who disagrees with the YEC view:
                      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wonderly2006.pdf

                    • stuart32

                      Excellent resource. Thanks.

                    • stuart32

                      Thanks for the reply, Bill. So when I said that the flood was violent I obviously had no idea how violent. The moon’s craters were caused by rocks thrown up from earth during the flood. There is an awful lot of impact damage on the moon, requiring an awful lot of rock. I estimate that to cause that much damage the earth’s entire lithosphere must have been sent into space, taking the oceans and Noah’s ark with it.
                      I am afraid that my doubts about the flood theory have not been allayed.

                    • Pixie5

                      You are correct that that does not make much sense, but one thing I love about the YEC point of view is that to defend the idea of an inerrant bible they have to ADD things to the bible. The bible does not mention a violent flood and not only that it does not mention rapid speciation of all the animals that were saved on the ark like the YECs like to claim.

                      One ot the puzzling things about the Flood story is that it does not mention how the animals were able to cross the sea to other continents. However if you think about the fact that they thought that the earth was only one flat circular continent floating on the sea then the story is sort of plausible to the people of that time. Also they would not have known the number of species that actually existed in the world.

                      But the bottom line as Bill Nye said is evidence and that is just something creationists don’t have. All they have are smoke and mirrors..

                    • stuart32

                      Indeed. Another thing I notice about cranks in general is that when they are challenged on one of their claims they defend it by making an even more preposterous claim.

                      Yes, explaining how the animals spread out after the ark landed is rather tricky. I wonder how the sloth made its way to South America. Normally sloths like to find the nearest tree and then stay put. On this occasion they managed to outrace numerous more mobile animals that didn’t make it to South America.

                    • Pixie5

                      They rely on “super-evolution” and “super-continental drift” both of which are not recorded in history, in the bible or anywhere else. And of course there is the obvious fact that the civilizations around at the time were unaffected by the “Flood” and have no record of it.
                      Yes these are preposterous claims they make that are much more impropable than the original theories, an old earth and evolution.
                      In the scenerio Bill mentioned, even if it were somewhat less violent than the hypothesis argues for any large amount of dirt and rock thrown into the air would cause a “nuclear winter.” Instead of rain coming down it would have been snow and it would have lasted for years, Instead of a flood we would have had an ice age.
                      I rather wish that they would stick to believing God did everything rather than try to come up with so-called “scientific theories” (which are not even theories since they are stuck in the untested hypothesis stage) But that does not fit in with their political goals.

                    • Pixie5

                      I must remind you that we are talking about Jewish beliefs, not the Greek. And you are wrong about the Egyptians. And the Greeks came after the Old Testament was written but we also have references in the New Testament too. We must not assume that everyone agreed on these things. After all we have quite a bit of disagreement about religion vs.science today.

                      The Greeks mathmatically figured out that the earth was round as they were very advanced in the sciences. The Hebrews were not scientists. Beyond that the Hebrews were very intent on preserving their religion from the influence of foreign cultures, although they did come up with the idea of hell (hades) from the Greeks.

                      I have looked up a very good scholarly paper on Hebrew cosmology and I will share points here. One point to make is that we have to go to the original Hebrew to get a picture of what they believed. The title is The Flat Earth Bible: This paper can be found in its entirity http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/febible.htm

                      If this link does not work google The Flat Earth Bible

                      First of all to address the verse you gave me and then I will present my case more fully.

                      Perhaps the scripture most frequently offered as evidence of the earth’s
                      sphericity is the King James version of Job 26:7, “He stretcheth out the north
                      [tsaphon] over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon
                      nothing [beliymah].” (The New English Bible translates it, “God spreads
                      the canopy of the sky over chaos and suspends earth in the void.”) It is not
                      clear what this means. The Hebrew tsaphon literally meant hidden or
                      dark, and it was used in reference to the northern regions. Beliymah
                      literally means “nothing.” That would contradict all of the scriptures which say
                      the earth rests on foundations, but that interpretation is not necessary.”

                      Okay now I will go back to the beginning of the paper and will give you excerpts:

                      “Scriptural quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New English
                      Bible. Hebrew and Greek translations are from Strong’s Exhaustive
                      Concordance of the Bible. The Biblical cosmology is never explicitly
                      stated, so it must be pieced together from scattered passages. The Bible is a
                      composite work, so there is no a priori reason why the cosmology
                      assumed by its various writers should be relatively consistent, but it is. The
                      Bible is, from Genesis to Revelation, a flat-earth book.

                      This is hardly surprising. As neighbors, the ancient Hebrews had the
                      Egyptians to the southwest and the Babylonians to the northeast. Both
                      civilizations had flat-earth cosmologies. The Biblical cosmology closely
                      parallels the Sumero-Babylonian cosmology, and it may also draw upon Egyptian
                      cosmology.

                      The Babylonian universe was shaped like a modern domed stadium. The Babylonians considered the earth essentially flat, with a continental mass surrounded by ocean. The vault of the sky was a physical object resting upon the ocean’s waters (and perhaps also upon pillars). Sweet (salt-free) waters below the Earth sometimes manifest themselves as springs. The Egyptian universe was also enclosed, but it was rectangular instead of round. Indeed, it was shaped much like an old-fashioned steamer trunk. (The Egyptians pictured the goddess Nut stretched across the sky as the enclosing dome.) What was the Hebrew view of the universe?

                      Except among Biblical inerrantists, it is generally agreed that the Bible
                      describes an immovable earth. At the 1984 National Bible-Science Conference in
                      Cleveland, geocentrist James N. Hanson told me there are hundreds of scriptures
                      that suggest the earth is immovable. I suspect some must be a bit vague, but
                      here are a few obvious texts:

                      1 Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm,
                      immovable.”

                      Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm
                      …”

                      Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable
                      …”

                      Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it
                      never can be shaken.”

                      Isaiah 45:18: “…who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself
                      fixed it fast…”

                      The Genesis creation story provides the first key to the Hebrew cosmology.
                      The order of creation makes no sense from a conventional perspective
                      but is perfectly logical from a flat-earth viewpoint. The earth was created on
                      the first day, and it was “without form and void (Genesis 1:2).” On the second
                      day, a vault the “firmament” of the King James version was created to divide the
                      waters, some being above and some below the vault. Only on the fourth day were
                      the sun, moon, and stars created, and they were placed “in” (not “above”) the
                      vault.

                      The vault of heaven is a crucial concept. The word “firmament” appears in the
                      King James version of the Old Testament 17 times, and in each case it is
                      translated from the Hebrew word raqiya, which meant the visible vault
                      of the sky. The word raqiya comes from riqqua, meaning “beaten
                      out.” In ancient times, brass objects were either cast in the form required or
                      beaten into shape on an anvil. A good craftsman could beat a lump of cast brass
                      into a thin bowl. Thus, Elihu asks Job, “Can you beat out [raqa] the
                      vault of the skies, as he does, hard as a mirror of cast metal (Job 37:18)?”

                      Elihu’s question shows that the Hebrews considered the vault of heaven a
                      solid, physical object. Such a large dome would be a tremendous feat of
                      engineering. The Hebrews (and supposedly Yahweh Himself) considered it exactly
                      that, and this point is hammered home by five scriptures:

                      Job 9:8, “…who by himself spread out the heavens
                      [shamayim]…”

                      Psalm 19:1, “The heavens [shamayim] tell out the glory of
                      God, the vault of heaven [raqiya] reveals his handiwork.”

                      Psalm 102:25, “…the heavens [shamayim] were thy
                      handiwork.”

                      Isaiah 45:12, “I, with my own hands, stretched out the heavens
                      [shamayim] and caused all their host to shine…”

                      Isaiah 48:13, “…with my right hand I formed the expanse of the sky
                      [shamayim]…”

                      Other passages complete the picture of the sky as a lofty, physical dome. God
                      “sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth [chuwg], whose inhabitants
                      are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the skies [shamayim] like a
                      curtain, he spreads them out like a tent to live in…[Isaiah 40:22].”
                      Chuwg literally means “circle” or “encompassed.” By extension, it can
                      mean roundness, as in a rounded dome or vault. Job 22:14 says God “walks to and
                      fro on the vault of heaven [chuwg].” In both verses, the use of
                      chuwg implies a physical object, on which one can sit and walk

                      Disregarding the dome, the essential flatness of the earth’s surface is
                      required by verses like Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king “saw a tree of great
                      height at the centre of the earth…reaching with its top to the sky and visible
                      to the earth’s farthest bounds.” If the earth were flat, a sufficiently tall
                      tree would be visible to “the earth’s farthest bounds,” but this is
                      impossible on a spherical earth. Likewise, in describing the temptation of Jesus
                      by Satan, Matthew 4:8 says, “Once again, the devil took him to a very high
                      mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world [cosmos] in
                      their glory.” Obviously, this would be possible only if the earth were flat. The
                      same is true of Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye
                      shall see him…”

                      The Celestial Bodies

                      The Hebrews considered the celestial bodies relatively small. The Genesis
                      creation story indicates the size and importance of the earth relative to the
                      celestial bodies in two ways, first by their order of creation, and second by
                      their positional relationships. They had to be small to fit inside the vault of
                      heaven. Small size is also implied by Joshua 10:12, which says that the sun
                      stood still “in Gibeon” and the moon “in the Vale of Aijalon.”

                      Stars can fall from the skies according to Daniel 8:10 and Matthew 24:29. The
                      same idea is found in the following extracts from Revelation 6:13-16:

                      …the stars in the sky fell to the earth, like figs shaken down by
                      a gale; the sky vanished, as a scroll is rolled up…they called out to the
                      mountains and the crags, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One who
                      sits on the throne…”

                      This is consistent with the Hebrew cosmology previously described, but it is
                      ludicrous in the light of modern astronomy. If one star let alone all
                      the stars in the sky “fell” on the earth, no one would be hollering from any
                      mountain or crag. The writer considered the stars small objects, all of which
                      could fall to the earth without eradicating human life. He also viewed the sky
                      as a physical object. The stars are inside the sky, and they fall
                      before the sky opens. When it is whisked away, it reveals the One
                      throned above (see Isaiah 40:22).

                      Those who claim Biblical support for a spherical earth typically ignore this
                      forest of consistency and focus on one or two aberrant trees. Henry Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research, cites one of the
                      more explicitly flat-earth verses in the Old Testament Isaiah 40:22, the
                      “grasshopper” verse quoted earlier as evidence for the sphericity of the earth.
                      Quoting the King James version “he sitteth upon the circle of the earth” Morris
                      ignores the context and the grasshoppers and claims “circle” should read
                      “sphericity” or “roundness”

                      Enoch discusses the solar and lunar motions at length, explaining why the
                      apparent azimuths of their rising and setting varies with the season. The
                      explanation, found in the section called “The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries,”
                      begins thus:

                      This is the first commandment of the luminaries: The sun is a
                      luminary whose egress is an opening of heaven, which is (located) in the
                      direction of the east, and whose ingress is (another) opening of heaven,
                      (located) in the west. I saw six openings through which the sun rises and six
                      openings through which it sets. The moon also rises and sets through the same
                      openings, and they are guided by the stars; together with those whom they lead,
                      they are six in the east and six in the west heaven. All of them (are arranged)
                      one after another in a constant order. There are many windows (both) to the
                      right and the left of these openings. First there goes out the great light whose
                      name is the sun; its roundness is like the roundness of the sky; and it is
                      totally filled with light and heat. The chariot in which it ascends is (driven
                      by) the blowing wind. The sun sets in the sky (in the west) and returns by the
                      northeast in order to go to the east; it is guided so that it shall reach the
                      eastern gate and shine in the face of the sky (1 Enoch 72:2-5).

                      1 Enoch deserves study for its cosmology, but there is much more of interest.
                      It profoundly influenced Christian eschatology, and it is necessary reading for
                      anyone trying to understand Hebrew religious thought at the dawn of the
                      Christian era.

                      Conclusion

                      From their geographical and historical context, one would expect the ancient
                      Hebrews to have a flat-earth cosmology. Indeed, from the very beginning,
                      ultra-orthodox Christians have been flat-earthers, arguing that to believe
                      otherwise is to deny the literal truth of the Bible. The flat-earth implications
                      of the Bible were rediscovered and popularized by English-speaking Christians in
                      the mid-19th century. Liberal scriptural scholars later derived the same view.
                      Thus, students with remarkably disparate points of view independently concluded
                      that the ancient Hebrews had a flat-earth cosmology, often deriving this view
                      from scripture alone. Their conclusions were dramatically confirmed by the
                      rediscovery of 1 Enoch.”

                      Bill there is much, much more in this paper so I suggest you read it. Also there are many other papers by bible scholars that you might want to look up. The main thing is to not put our modern interpretations on ancient texts. We have to go back to the beginning, the original Hebrew texts and the context of what they were writing about.

                    • bill

                      So what is the purpose of this debate? I have read some of the lost ancient texts, like Thomas, Enoch, and a few others (not coming to my mind at this time). We are trying to convince one another that somehow I am smarter than you or you are smarter than me. Many of these debates fall on dead ears because we have in our mind decided what group we want to belong to. I don’t go to church, but do study, and I can tell you do the same. I don’t believe that everyone goes to heaven because they say they believe in God. I do believe that there is a real bad place of fire and brimstone, that people go when they don’t obey the laws in the bible. Love God, and Love others, although lying to people that somehow they can believe what they want and still get to heaven is actually not Love at all. But this is just another opinion, based on nothing, the truth is just a bunch of opinions rolled up into one Global hug, as long as a person like Ham and myself and countless others go along with the ultimate purpose of life to deceive and be deceived, because after all, we die, rot, and that’s it…. you win… OK I’m going to hang myself now (BTW I’m just joking about hanging myself).

                    • Pixie5
      • Pam

        What is wrong with refusing to change your mind in the face of other evidence is that it is utterly stupid. This has nothing at all to do with postmodernism, and is not Ham being ‘strong’ in his opinions. In fact, it takes a hell of a lot more guts to be able to admit error and change your opinion.
        Ken Ham is more than welcome to his beliefs. What he needs to stop doing, though, is pretending he gives a damn at all about science in any way – he doesn’t. He explicitly dismisses anything that does not conform with his personal interpretation of the Bible. As such, his approach to science and knowledge is intellectually bankrupt.

        • bill

          Pam I agree with what you are saying… I was disappointed in how Ham handled the debate, then it dawned on me!!! They were having the debate in the Creation museum. He has taught Creation science for years, and Bill Nye would have walked through his museum, and seen all the “evidence”. Ham spent time “evangelizing” instead of presenting evidence possibly because Christ would not have been heard??? Ham is a very respected Creation Scientist, and has spent his life showing people biblical evidence of dinosaurs, Global Floods, and probability of creating something from nothing… It really sucks that people did not get to know him before Feb 4/2014

          • Pixie5

            Ham does not have a scientific degree,

      • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

        “Only the madman is absolutely sure.” – Robert Anton Wilson

    • WingedBeast

      The difference is that scientists view that resistance to evidence as a bad thing.
      -
      Nobody claims to be perfect, but it’s about what you hold up as a value. One holds up the ability to recognize one’s own error when presented with evidence as a good thing. The other holds up the refusal to acknowledge that one is fallible as a good thing.

      • Mark Patterson

        I don’t think that is the difference. Ken Ham will claim that he is humble before the inspired word of God. perhaps without thinking that the interpretation he puts on Genesis is too rigidly held.

        If the question were “Would your interpretation of Genesis change if the Bible allowed it and evidence suggested it” we might have got a more positive result. For him, the Bible counts as evidence. The question might be equivalent to asking Nye under what circumstances would he reject clear evidence. It creates the sort of mental dissonance that we saw in Ken Ham.

        By the same token, Nye puts the dating of events and the theory of evolution on the same level as observed facts, even though they are inferences that could well be challenged by later evidence.

        • WingedBeast

          I’m doubtful that Ham would have allowed for the bible to allow or the evidence to suggest it. He’s the same one who claimed that his interpretation of Genesis is God’s word. Hubris is inherent in that.
          -
          Nye specified what would prove him to be wrong, fossils in the wrong strata, etc.
          -
          Whatever Ken Ham might claim about his humility, it’s hubris dressed up as humility. Nye has the humble position.

  • Bob Ladwig

    Another dangerously edgy post on Patheos cutting against the cultural grain, way to stick your neck out there and take a bold stand rather than couching yourself in a hedge of safety. The problem is that “evidence” doesn’t jump up and hit you in the face telling you how to see things, evidence is found through looking through our presuppositional lenses at things.

    Really under both chaps it should say, “evidence”, they are looking at the same things and interpreting them differently given their presuppositions.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Well, Ham was pretty clear that he thinks that he understands the Bible correctly and that is all the evidence he needs, and so no new evidence would lead him to alter his thinking.

      • Bob Ladwig

        And what pray tell is wrong with that? Nye is also looking at the Bible and thinking he is interpreting it correctly. His interpretation is that it’s hogwash and evolution did it all.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          While Nye made some Bible blunders, he was up front that he is not a theologian. And he said what all scientists will honestly admit, that there are questions to which we do not have all the answers. The Bible only ends up looking like hogwash because of people like Ken Ham who pretend that it provides an up-to-date and indeed better source of scientific information than the actual study of the natural world. It is Ham who is driving that view of the Bible, not Nye.

          • Bob Ladwig

            Not to detract from my original point here, your presuppositions cause you to treat Nye with the utmost charity while Ham is just a knuckle dragging imbecile unwilling to get with it and come out of the Dark Ages.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              I used to be a young-earth creationist. Ken Ham isn’t a knuckle-dragging imbecile. He is a sharp-witted charlatan.

              • Bob Ladwig

                Perhaps.

              • Mark Patterson

                He didn’t come across as sharp-witted in this debate. He seemed a bit bumbling and out of his depth. He is used to speaking to sympathetic audience, I assume, and felt under-prepared.

                • Pixie5

                  I agree and yet at the same time I think he was clever enough to probably introduce doubt in the minds of some people…and that is really all he really needs to keep his flock in line. They are not interested in the proponderance of evidence like you would have in a jury trial. Rather they want to hear something that casts doubt and SOUNDS somewhat plausible. That whole story about the wood trapped in the lava flow and the difference in dates…Nye was unaware of it. Probably because it isn’t true. But the sheeples will go “Aha! I knew it!”
                  That is one problem with debates with creationists. They throw in just enough untruth to derail the legitimate scientist. I am trying to recall but I do not remember Ham actually stating where this supposed wood trapped in a lava flow actually is. But if it does exist, I am sure that there is more to the story than Ham was admitting.
                  Nye also did not catch everything that Ham used to discredit scientists. Ham said that we can’t date earth rocks to 4.5 billion years and that the dates come from meteorites. Only partly true. We cannot date earth rocks that far back because they were molten rock at the beginning. But WE CAN date MOON ROCKS which agree with the meteorite samples. Plus we can date the earth fairly close to the beginning ot the earth, back to 4 billion years. So that is really just being nitpicky on Ham’s part as he is implying that we cannot date the age of the earth AT ALL, which is NOT TRUE. Multiple lines of evidence DO COUNT in science. In fact the more the better!

                  • Mark Patterson

                    Yeah, that sort of debate with those 2 was not the appropriate format for a technical discussion.

            • Glenn Olson

              Ham has endorsed a biblical interpretation formulated in the Dark Ages (if not earlier) and flat out stated that nothing could alter his endorsement. Whether he is right or wrong in his conviction, the accusation that he is unwilling to “come out of the Dark Ages” (at least on this topic) is one that he has confirmed himself.

    • Newticle

      Hamm is not. He basically said over and over again “Well Bill, you can’t conclusively prove a negative. You weren’t there, so you can’t say with 100% certainty what happened.” …and then proceeded to make suppositions with NO support whatsoever outside of his personal interpretation of the bible. Nye’s point was “Ken, my theories may not be complete yet, and every once in the while we find mistakes, but they’re a heck of a lot more solid and well-supported than yours.” …and they are.

      • PAULA K. SCHMIDT

        THAT’s what bothered me so much and I couldnt quite put my finger on. You stated it perfectly. Hame insisted Nye had to have been there, but with the shoe on the other foot he professed all he had to do was “believe” what the Bible said–even though he wasnt there.

      • Bob Ladwig

        “and they are” Newticle and the scientists said it, I believe it, that settles it!

    • Matthew Funke

      Mmm… no. Ham has to *ignore* vast amounts of evidence that, when interpreted in straightforward fashion, reveal that he cannot *possibly* be right. He also has absolutely zero *positive* evidence for his stance, and no predictive power in his interpretation. These are not true for Nye’s position.

      • Bob Ladwig

        Not at all, Ham pulled out his counter evidences regarding dating etc, he wasn’t ignoring the “evidence” he just had a different interpretation, one you obviously disagree with and can’t fathom why he doesn’t see the “evidence” like you and Nye do.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Ham made claims which those who follow him as their cult leader will not fact-check even with reputable scientists who share their faith.

          • Bob Ladwig

            That’s just a tad slanted don’t you think? So 6 day creationists are know nothing lemmings who just believe what they are told, in contrast to the cool intellectual Darwinists who always do their homework and never take things in credulity. Right.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              No. Young-earth creationists who, when it comes to their specific outlandish beliefs, do not conduct research and will not accept any evidence could disprove their assumptions, and so, not undertaking scientific investigation of creationism, they unsurprisingly cannot make a scientific case for those convictions.

              • Bob Ladwig

                But you just said above that you used to be a six day creationist, and changed your mind. Now you are saying that none of them think and do research or change their minds.
                I’m sooo confuuused!

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  I said that young earth creationism does not involve a scientific research program. It is well known that when those who come from this sort of background study actual science, they often depart from young earth creationism (and sometimes also from Christianity, if they have been told the two are inseparable). That is why they have tried to set up their own biased programs in sectarian schools and train people without exposing them to mainstream research.

        • Matthew Funke

          That sort of “evidence” that Ham trotted out is *precisely* why I accuse creationists of ignoring evidence. In order to claim that the wood found in basalt(*) was a genuine fossil, for example, he has to ignore the difference between fossils and concretions and the ancillary evidence that tells you when you’re looking at which.

          A lot of effort is made by the creationist camp to pretend that the only reason creationists and “evolutionists” come to different conclusions is that they start with different assumptions. I assure you that this is not the case. I have a very thorough creationist library, and the only “evidence” I’ve ever seen them attempt to use to support their position comes at the expense of *ignoring* vast swaths of supplementary evidence surrounding what they’re looking at. Cherry-picking is not following the evidence.

          Do not presume to tell me what I can and cannot fathom. I was a rather ardent young-Earth creationist myself, and found my way out *by following the evidence*.

          (*) A phenomenon which *only* seems to show up on his website, BTW; a search of the scientific literature doesn’t even reveal such a find. But there are enough finds similar to this purported by other creationists (and which turn out to be misrepresentations of this sort) that he first needs to demonstrate that he is *not* looking at a concretion, which no geologist denies usually forms rather quickly.

        • Pam

          Ok, let’s look at one example then. Ham and friends claim radiometric dating is unreliable because the results can differ. They used a study in Wyoming as an example. Problem is, the study they used still found the examined location to be over 2 billion years old! And the difference between the findings was less than one standard deviation, meaning that there really wasn’t much disagreement in the results anyway. So basically, the evidence they used was consistent with mainstream science and completely at odds with their own YEC views. That’s a bit of a whoopsie, don’t you think?

    • WingedBeast

      Bill Nye’s presuppositions “Reality exists, I can learn about it, the laws of physics have not changed without leaving any evidence.”
      -
      Ken Ham’s presupposition. “My interpretation of Genesis is right.” Note: Ham’s presupposition here isn’t “Genesis is right” but “My interpretation is right”.
      -
      Of course, I wouldn’t expect presuppositionalism to understand the importance of humility.

  • jonswerens

    So, what you’re saying is, Nye is lying.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      No, not at all. I think both were being honest at this point, even though I suspect that there might in fact be evidence that could change Ham’s mind, and even though I am sure that it would take very strong evidence in both quantity and quality to change Nye’s mind.

  • charlesmaynes

    wow- Nye wasnt in very good form…. the God in the gaps argument is impossible to disprove- I am surprised that this “debate” even happened.

    • Newticle

      He did fine. He started out slow when he tried to actually address Hamm’s crazy-pants theories. Once he started bringing out his own…carbon dating, geological strata, lab-observed evolution, EXISTING CIVILIZATIONS OLDER THAN THE SUPPOSED FLOOD… Hamm tanked. He’s got no logic of his own and can only try to frantically find minor flaws in the prevailing science. “Look at me, I found 10 PhDs in Mechanical Engineering (that apparently suck at biology) that believe in creation theory!” …It’s whatever, Hamm.

      • charlesmaynes

        “truth” vs “fact” usually doesnt end well.

  • theworthingtonpost

    #teamnye

  • Charles

    I’m not generally impressed with Top Down reasoning (We know the Big Picture, and now only need to fill in, or bend or ignore, the Facts to make them fit the Big Picture (A literal reading of the Bible is truth). Scientists are humans and can adopt a Big Picture view and make the same error (Lyell’s uniform and gradual geology). But science, and rational thinking, allow and even encourage changes due to evidence and analysis. Ken Ham’s conclusions preceded his data gathering, by his own admission. At least he was honest, in acknowledging his source of truth. I wonder if anyone was “saved”?

  • Charles

    And one last comment about the debate. Many Christians and many Christian denominations do Not believe there is any conflict between evolution and their faith. Mr. Ham represents the most ignorant and frightened segment of Christianity.

  • Raymond Watchman

    The belief that the Bible is the inerrant literal word of God is the fatal flaw of Christian fundamentalism. This is why Ham cannot admit his creationist views are in error, no matter how compelling the evidence. To make such an admission would bring his entire belief system – and that of Christian fundamentalism per se – crashing down around his head like the temple of cards that it is. Pull one card out and the rest of the structure collapses. Ham’s position is based in fear and ego and this is why he and others like him, will go to such lengths to defend their ridiculous assertions, rather than see their false temple of Biblical literalism toppled by reason and fact.
    Temple? Perhaps I should more properly say Idol.

    • Sean Garrigan

      Creating Christianity in one’s own image is a fatal flaw of liberals and progressives, IMO, which is why I refer to James as a “Zeitgeistian”, because his faith is built on the ever-changing sands of current consensus. The only thing certain about zeitgeists is that they eventually change.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        And even though we were having a conversation about this, and it was pointed out that this alleged fatal flaw is in fact also true about conservatives, the key difference being on which admits that they are adapting and changing things and thus try to do so reflectively. And yet you decide not only to refrain from discussing the point on that other thread, but then you repeat the same insults here as though your claim had not already been shown to be false. That’s very disappointing behavior on your part. :-(

      • Raymond Watchman

        Being open to, and continually led by, the Spirit into truth is not “creating Christianity in one’s own image.” As a living organism, Christianity is continually evolving – and this is how it should be. Ham and his acolytes in my view actually blaspheme the Holy Spirit by their holding to the false idol of Biblical “infallibility”. Don’t take my word for it – read your Bible!

      • Bob Ladwig

        The most sensible comments on Patheos are the ones with numerous thumbs down.

        • beau_quilter

          Said the man who gets numerous thumbs down. The other word for this phenomenon is the Martyr Complex.

        • Sean Garrigan

          Don’t worry, if I were to start getting a lot of thumbs up here, I’d quickly re-read my comments to see where I went wrong! ;-)

      • beau_quilter

        Riiiight. What we need instead is that old-time religion. You remember? The sort of religion that promotes the hunting of witches, the torture of heretics, the persecution of Jews, the subjugation of slaves, and the silencing of women …

        Who needs change?

    • MissRebecca

      I also believe that the Bible is the Word of God but I understand that Genesis 1 and 2 are neither history nor science. They are cosmology. They are myth. Myths can be true without being precisely accurate. Even in 400 AD, Augustine understood that, whatever was meant by the word day, it was not a 24 hour day and he advised Christians not to look stupid by insisting that it did.

      • Raymond Watchman

        Yes, you are correct – and there is great beauty and power in myth – provided it is understood and accept as such and not misrepresented as fact. Ham and his like do the Bible a grave disservice and do little more than bring the Bible, Christians – and worst of all, the Gospel – into contempt.

  • DrMel

    I
    would like to think that Hamm mis-spoke or regrets his response. I
    would think that there were thousands of New Testament Jews that knew
    exactly what the Messiah would be like until Jesus showed up. In my
    opinion the correct answer for Hamm should have been “God”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      “God” might be a theologically appropriate answer. But I do not think that it would have been honest. There is enough evidence within the Bible that it is not what Ham says it is, and enough evidence from God’s creation that it is not as Ham claims it is. And so how else is God supposed to get through to him? If an atheist said “If God appears to me now, I will change my mind,” Ham would probably say the challenge is inappropriate. And yet Ham has much the same stance, in a best case scenario.

      • Glenn Olson

        Ham’s words actually imply (to me at least) that even if God Himself came down and said “you read My book wrong,” he would reply with “This book is right and you are not God.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          That sounds about right to me. And it is a point that needs to be highlighted more than it has been up until now.

        • Naomi D’Andrea

          Hahaha! is my brilliant contribution to the conversation.

    • Robert Bevins

      Ham has repeatedly made the statement that nothing will change his mind. No amount of evidence will change his mind that he is correct.

      His intolerance for views different from his own have become so serious in the past that he has been kicked out of home-schooling conferences. From his own website:

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/03/22/kicked-out-homeschool-conferences

      • Pixie5

        I read that. On the one hand he claims that he does not question the salvation of those who believe differently (such as Peter Enns, a very thoughtful progressive Christian) but at the same time he says that it is “dangerous” to ‘compromise” He is speaking out both sides of his mouth. If “compromising” is dangerous then that implies that anyone who does not believe as Ken Ham does is in league with the devil. In fact that is what he has said about Nye. Nye is compared to the snake offering the “forbidden fruit” When he loses a debate then he has to resort to fear tactics to keep his flock in line.

        Of course the link you gave made it sound like he was a victim in all that I really don’t buy it because I have seen the way he attacks people who disagree with him. The conference organizers simply asked that he respect other points of view, but he felt compelled to attack Mr. Enns in a very public way. Having read Peter Enns’ blog I suspect that he would have no issue with discussing differences in opinion if it were done in a respectful manner.

  • PAULA K. SCHMIDT

    I am one of those lost soul Christians that believe in both God and science. Many of these comments were spot-on and I saved them for future debate among the open-minded. When people question me about the Bible, all I can say is “God is/was under no obligation to tell us everything” and this is supported by Deuteronomy 29:29(a) for those who might be interested in a scriptural reason.

  • Bob Ladwig

    So James, do you really think Ham presented absolutely no evidence for his view? You may not agree that it was good, or compelling but to say “nothing”, isn’t that just a bit of a stretch? Just a bit of bias? A tiny weeny, little, itty bitty bit of seeing only what you want to see?

    The funny thing is that all my 6 day friends think Ham owned Nye, all of my Darwinist Atheist friends think Nye owned Ham. It is never in between.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      He said clearly that evidence has nothing to say with respect to his views. The only legitimate points he made are ones that mainstream Christians who believe in creation but not young-earth creationism also accept, and so he presented no evidence to support his own specific views that are unique to his brand of crackpot pseudoscience.

      • Bob Ladwig

        Well, it’s all good, I’ll depart, my primary point which I don’t want to get lost is that our presuppositions are how we interpret evidence, there are no brute facts. I thought Ham’s challenge to the assumptions behind dating methods was excellent, Nye’s only reply was, “Well without those assumptions we couldn’t do our dating methods!” Which was kind of the point.

        How do we know the future will be like the past? How do we know the same laws of physics that we presently observe governed the past in the same manner they do now? These are just assumed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          It is a legitimate assumption to make when we see no evidence that they have changed, and see evidence that is readily explicable in terms if what we observe. It is simply drawing the logical inferences from the available data in many cases, rather than trying to force the data to fit one’s preconceptions by asserting without any supporting evidence that the laws of physics could have once have been so different that we could have more than a hundred summers and winters per year.

        • stuart32

          Are you familiar with the fine-tuning argument? According to this argument, the fundamental constants of physics have been precisely set so as to allow for the possibility of life, and changing them slightly would make life impossible. The conclusion is that God must have done the fine tuning.

          Do you think this argument is valid? If you do, how do you reconcile the argument with the claim that the fundamental constants of physics may have been wildly different in the recent past and that scientists are wrong to assume the constants haven’t changed?

        • Matthew Funke

          There may not be “brute facts”, but there *are* facts that contraindicate particular models of origins. There are also objections to standard interpretations which raise more questions than they answer — particularly when we ought to see secondary evidences that different phenomena are at work than we think if these objections are accurate.

          Let’s take dating methods, for example. Every single test we’ve ever subjected them to, short of nuclear bombardment, fails to alter the rate at which they “tick”. (If you have a suggestion for something that could alter that rate, it would behoove you to set up an experiment, publish the results, and undermine our understanding of the matter — even if you can only set up an experiment that *hints at* a potential change if you increase its scale or duration, that would be *something*.) We’re also pretty sure that the physical laws aren’t altering (a point which Ham conceded), since phenomena we see occurring in faraway stars (e.g., the rate at which fusion occurs and at which they “burn”) are the same as the model we have of nuclear physics predicts, which depend on the model of nuclear physics we have remaining substantially identical to what we experience now. (Our model of nucelar physics doesn’t get increasingly inaccurate as we recede from Earth, for example.)

          For Ham’s objections to hold water, then, he needs to be able to explain why every observation and bit of evidence we have points to the laws of nature we understand as being substantially correct and holding sway. He needs to demonstrate why, if timing methods are so unreliable, they manage to be so *consistent*. And on and on and on. Even if you assume that a coherent logical framework could emerge, it would require, when you get right down to it, *fundamentally re-writing natural laws*, because things are interrelated; and no completely different set of natural laws for creationism exists.

          Again, creationism spends a lot of time trying to convince its adherents that their “scientists” merely look at reality with different starting assumptions. But it’s just not true. They can only pretend that they have “evidence” to support their view because they ignore the interrelated nature of nature whenever it suits them.

          • Pixie5

            Very good points! Thank you.

          • arcseconds

            That’s not entirely true, radioactive decay rates can be affected in some instances by e.g. ionization.

            see:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay#Changing_decay_rates

            Now, of course, young-earth creationists are going to pick up on this and say “see! they can change!”, but there’s no suggestion that the usually quite small effects really help them out at all.

            • Matthew Funke

              Point taken. Even so, as you point out, these effects are *tiny*; a creationist appealing to this would have to point out how this could account for *orders of magnitude* differences (4.5 billion versus 6 thousand?!?), and how the different “tick rates” in all kinds of different radiometric “clocks” happen to yield times that agree with each other.
              In other words, they like to appeal to the “any watch can be broken” idea, which is true — but fails to explain why so many watches are consistent with one another.

  • bill

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKO-vTwYCo8

    Mr. Walter Brown – the Hydroplate Theory…. a “scientist”, turned “Creationist”…the man no one will debate.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Some people are too busy doing actual scientific research to debate every crank with a crackpot notion.

    • stuart32

      You can read about the many flaws in the theory here:

      http://paleo.cc/ce/wbrown.htm

      But there is a more fundamental objection. The aim of the theory is to provide a supposedly scientific explanation of the Flood. The question is why you would want to explain the Flood scientifically. Why not just say that it was a miracle? Why not say that the waters just appeared miraculously and then disappeared?

      If the Hydroplate Theory is to be taken seriously as science then everything about it must make sense in scientific terms. So how was it that the earth was created with a layer of water between the crust and the mantle? No natural process could have done this. The answer, presumably, is that God created it that way. So you started by trying to avoid invoking a miracle and ended up invoking one anyway.


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