Ken Ham Banned

Ken Ham has been disinvited for comments about Pete Enns.

Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, was disinvited from several homeschooling conferences after he criticized a fellow speaker at two Great Homeschool Conventions conferences and on his blog.

“The Board believes that Ken’s public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at our convention require him to surrender the spiritual privilege of addressing our homeschool audience,” wrote Great Homeschool Conventions conference organizer Brennan Dean in the email dismissing Ham.

“Our expression of sacrifice and extraordinary kindness towards Ken and AIG has been returned to us and our attendees with Ken publicly attacking our conventions and other speakers,” Dean wrote. “Our Board believes Ken’s comments to be unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.”…

During the first two conferences, in Memphis and Greenville, SC, Ham showed audiences two video clips of Enns to illustrate how modern Christian speakers were compromising God’s word, according to the Answers in Genesis website. He also told audiences that Enns had connections to Susan Wise Bauer, another speaker.

Bauer’s publishing company, Peace Hill Press, publishes Enns’s Bible curriculum for homeschoolers.

“Here is just one of many examples of Peter Enns rejecting the plain teaching of the Bible and undermining God’s Word—he totally rejects a worldwide Flood,” Ham wrote on his Facebook page the day after the South Carolina conference….

Ham was not removed for his message about young-earth creation, which the conference organizers agree with, Dean wrote in a public explanation. “Dr. Ham was removed for his spirit not for his message,” Dean wrote. “We believe Christian scholars should be heard without the fear of ostracism or ad hominem attacks.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Richard

    I have a lot of respect for this decision and I further appreciate that they’ve made it clear that it is because of the tone of Ham’s message, not his disagreement with Enns.

  • Joshua Wooden

    I feel slightly encouraged by this. He was not dismissed for disagreeing, but for the manner in which he disagreed. I think there is a lesson there for all of us to learn. I also am quite pleased by that last line: “We believe Christian scholars should be heard without the fear of ostracism or ad hominem attacks.” Quite collegiate of them.

  • Jeremy

    I was wondering when people would start getting tired of Hamm’s methods. Even before I shifted away from a litearl reading of Genesis, I was repulsed by his rhetoric. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll take it as a teachable moment, but just take it as persecution for his faith.

  • http://haitiorphanproject.org/ Les

    I happen to think that Mr. Dean and the board are the ones who acted improperly in this case. All would do well to read what Mr. Ham has written on the issue here, including the email to Mr. Ham as well as some other background to the situation. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/03/22/kicked-out-homeschool-conferences

    It appears that if one publicly disagrees with another, he is being “mean-spirited.” BTW, Mr. Ham’s public disagreement with Mr. Enns was not a surprise to Mr. Dean, as you will see if you follow the link.

  • Linda

    I do not see how Ham using video clips of Enns as an example to show how his teaching do not line up with the Word of God is actually considered attacking Enns personally. I do not see any ad hominen attacks at all.

    I do not understand why Great Homeschool Conventions would invite Enns to the conference since the board members state they are 100% young earth believers, and clearly Enns is not.

  • Sally Duncan

    @4 Because something from AIG is going to be an unbiased source of information on this. I’m a homeschooler and have been following this closely, and I agree with the decision to disinvite him. You can’t just come out and say that if you are not a YEC that you aren’t a true christian. I think it’s also unfair to lump Susan Wise Bauer in with it, just because she happens to be head of a company that published a book. Because she’s willing to publish a book, she’s no longer a christian? Very unhelpful and offensive rhetoric from Ham. The comments on his FB page are awful to read. They really do see this as a persecution issue, and not a bad-manners issue. Another interesting thing I’ve noticed, since Ken Ham is calling out Biologos in all of this, as being basically heretical, is that Tim Keller is listed on their website as being a member. Interesting that Ham won’t call him out for being a ‘heretic’, yet he’ll single out Enns. I for one, plan on ordering the ‘unchristian’ Bible curriculum for my kids because it looks excellent, and I am no longer buying anything from AIG, even though I happen to be a YEC.

  • Linda

    Les, thank you for providing that link that explains the background and what happened in more details, it does look like Mr. Dean is the one that acted wrongly.

  • EricW

    Follow the money?

  • Sally Duncan

    @5, really you don’t think calling something a person says ‘an attack on Christ’ is an attack? And now he’s even calling out Wheaton College as infiltrating the church. This whole mess just makes me angry. And I think it’s great GHSC invited Enns, even if they don’t agree. That’s the whole point of education. Reading about and being open to different ideas, even if you don’t agree. I don’t want a convention filtering out ideas for me, or not inviting people because they aren’t christian enough. If a convention would just focus on education and not what narrow brand of protestantism you are, this wouldn’t even be an issue!

  • Jeremy

    Les and Linda – When inviting speakers for opposing views, one expects them to argue their point rather than produce ‘evidence’ that your opponent is a false teacher. I, like many, expect the speaker to make their case, not engage in genetic fallacy to diminish their opponent. Hamm wasn’t trying to refute Enns’ position as much as shut down the audience’s willingness to even hear him out. That is, at least in my mind, conduct unbecoming of a Christian.

    Their concern, no matter what Ken might say, is reinforced by the apparent fact that the organization in question is YEC to the core. Nevermind that my own exposure to Hamm was his trumpeting his poor qualifications as authoritative and his derisive and dismissive communication style.

    Linda – Sometimes, it’s good to get out of the echo chamber, and if GHC value education, they’ll value the importance of giving opposing voices room to talk. At some point, your kids are going to have to own what they believe, and they can’t do that if you’ve been hiding everything you disagree with from them. I’ve had way too many friends have their faith utterly destroyed because their parents thought that sheltering was the right course of action.

  • LT

    Sally,

    You say I don’t want a convention filtering out ideas for me, or not inviting people because they aren’t christian enough.

    So can we assume that you are against disinviting Ham for his behavior not being Christian enough? After all you don’t want a convention filtering out ideas for you, which probably includes the idea that Enns has compromised the Scriptures, right? Based on your statement here it seems like you must disagree with Dean for his silencing of Ham.

  • http://haitiorphanproject.org/ Les

    Sally,

    “You can’t just come out and say that if you are not a YEC that you aren’t a true christian.”

    I surely could have missed it, but did Mr. Ham say or insinuate that Mr. Enns (and/or Ms. Bauer) is not a Christian?

  • http://gadietrich.com G. A. Dietrich

    One of the greater frustrations to me is that it sounds like Mr. Dean never went to Ken Ham prior to giving him the boot. There was never any discussion—an email simply showed up in Ken’s mail box with the dis-invite. Is that the best way for correction to happen? I mean, I trust that those involved are brothers and sisters in Christ and to handle the situation the way Mr. Dean does not show compassion nor love towards Ken Ham. At this point I’m not saying the dis-invite was right or wrong, I’m primarily saying that the method was not Christian.

  • http://homekettle.wordpress.com David N.

    While I am a theistic evolutionist, I think the fact that this group affirms Young Earth Creationism actually makes this rebuke stronger. Spirit and attitude are everything, and Ham has appeared to fail in this regard.

  • Sally Duncan

    If Ham had stated his opinion differently, then I wouldn’t care. But to call out Enns, SWB, and Stonestreet as attacking the Bible and Christ, is offensive, rude, and untrue. I don’t understand the need for attacking anyway. Why can’t Ham just come and do his presentation on what his curriculum teaches and why? You can easily do several different seminars on different topics, and even point out disagreements between evolution and creationism, without calling out specific people and companies, and without implying they aren’t christians. It appears Ham and company don’t believe you can be a christian if you are not a YEC and that’s not true, and that’s offensive for him to say. Especially when the forum is for education, and not supposed to be a witchtrial. People at the SC convention were coming up to the Peace Hill Press booth and telling customers that they were not a christian company and that you shouldn’t buy from them. That should not be appropriate, and the person instigating it should be disinvited because of rudeness, not necessarily for his beliefs.

  • Linda

    As EricW said “Follow the money”.

  • Sally Duncan

    @12 I don’t think he’s ever specifically said ‘they are not a christian’, but by saying they are attacking Christ, the Word, infiltrating the church, using Mark 9:42 as a warning not to use Biologos material, and feeling the need to warn everyone of this unbiblical material, implies that he thinks they aren’t true christians…or at least good christians, that we all need to avoid. And the hundreds of comments on his facebook page are certainly saying that these people aren’t christian, and how terrible they are, and I’m not seeing KH correcting any of these people.

  • Jeremy

    EricW & Linda – That sounds a whole lot like slander. Care to expound?

  • http://www.amberpeace.com Amber-Lee

    I find all this fascinating, as my husband and I find YEC to be a reason to LEAVE a church. He’s said that he will get up and walk out on a sermon that perpetuates Creationism.

  • Linda

    Sally, since Ken Ham never actually stated “they are not a christian” then it was surely wrong of you to state that he did indeed say that (when you use quotation remarks it means you are quoting what a person actually said). You need to repent for putting words in Ken Ham’s mouth that he did not say.

  • Linda

    Jeremy, doesn’t the Bible say the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil?

  • http://www.amberpeace.com Amber-Lee

    Linda, I’m curious – what’s your educational and denominational background? Your comments are giving me a good picture, but I’m still curious.

  • LT

    Sally,

    You say, It appears Ham and company don’t believe you can be a christian if you are not a YEC and that’s not true, and that’s offensive for him to say.

    A simple google search or a simple search at Answers in Genesis website could have very easily cleared this up for you. To borrow your words, “That’s not true” and “that’s offensive for [you] to say.”

    He plainly says, “I stated that although I believed it was both bad science and bad theology for a Christian to be an evolutionist, it was possible to be both” (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v11/i4/christian.asp). He explains it in that article.

    Your approach is unfortunately all too common. You talk about stuff that you not informed about and base your opinions on your lack of information, and then trumpet them about as if you have the moral high ground. And the answers are easy to find. In this day of internet, there is no excuse for someone to be as uninformed as you are.

    Same thing is true with Enns. People defend Enns but don’t know what he says. It is widely known that Enns has been challenged by a number of leading evangelicals because of the very same kinds of things that Ham said. So Ham is not alone. In fact, he is probably in the majority. Enns work has a number of problems, and at the heart of it is the authority of Scripture. I have listened to Enns and read the book that started big controversy (I&I). It was a very poor effort for someone of his stature.

    Whether or not this convention should have invited Enns or Ham is a matter of debate, though it is hard to know what Enns has to offer to a group of homeschoolers. His level of work is typically post graduate level work, not elementary school type stuff.

    Whether what Ham said was inappropriate is a matter of debate.

    But you can’t claim to be against censorship and against ad hominem attacks and disinvite Ham. You can’t claim that you don’t want your convention filtered and then support disinviting Ham. Even in this modern age with its propensity to ignore logical consistency, that doesn’t work.

  • Jeremy

    Linda – I have perfected saying what I mean without actually saying it into an art form. There’s a reason “read between the lines” is a common and rather wise, if cliche, saying.

    Your next comment illustrates my point exactly. The Bible does in fact say that, and you’re dropping it out there while not actually saying what you mean. What you’re actually saying is that if we investigated the decision, we’d find that Enns was the most profitable option and that the money was the real deciding factor in the decision. This further implies that the board has committed an act of evil for love of profit. Sure, you didn’t SAY that, but there really isn’t any other way to take it.

    I could reverse it and say that Hamm’s position sure does pay well, implying he’s in it for the cash, but I won’t because as much as I don’t like the guy, I don’t think he’s in it for the money.

  • http://www.amberpeace.com Amber-Lee

    “Your approach is unfortunately all too common. You talk about stuff that you not informed about and base your opinions on your lack of information, and then trumpet them about as if you have the moral high ground. And the answers are easy to find. In this day of internet, there is no excuse for someone to be as uninformed as you are.”

    LT- If you are using the internet as your basis for being “informed” and if that’s what most people are doing, God HELP US ALL.

    Education doesn’t come from a Google search. It doesn’t come from AIG (may my imprecation towards them succeed).
    It comes from YEARS of study. It comes from knowing your Hebrew, your Greek, your Aramaic, your Ugaritic, and your Latin. It comes from knowing your genres of lit in the Bible It comes from studying the geography, the history, and the politics of these Ancient worlds.

    And with that, I doubt that many people weighing in on this subject have a leg to stand on. It’s one of the many things I hate about American Evangelicalism. Evs believe that anyone can study and interpret scripture without being properly trained. Which is why they have such horrific theology. Once saved always saved my foot!
    Can you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord without knowing all this? Yes
    Can you TEACH or impart wisdom like you know what the hell the Bible is talking about without this serious study? No.

    /end rant.

  • EricW

    @18. Jeremy wrote:

    EricW & Linda – That sounds a whole lot like slander. Care to expound?

    Comment by Jeremy — March 29, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    I wrote in 8. above “Follow the money?” in response to earlier posts raising questions about the reasons this was done and/or the way it was done.

    My question mark – which Linda didn’t copy in her 16. response repeating my post – was of prime importance. I wasn’t saying that money was in fact behind all this. I was asking, via shorthand, if money might be a factor – maybe even the bottom line factor – in what was done and how it was done. I think money should always be considered as a possible factor in such controversies, even if on the surface they appear to be simply “spiritual” or “theological” issues or disagreements.

  • Daniel

    Amber-Lee, why so angry?

    If you think all Evangelicals believe the same way God HELP US ALL. You sound just as closed-minded and provincial as those you disagree with.

    And regarding your comment @19, it is just sad that your commitment to a church is so weak that a sermon on creationism is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Way to persevere and help others.

  • EricW

    LT @23. wrote:

    Your approach is unfortunately all too common. You talk about stuff that you not informed about and base your opinions on your lack of information, and then trumpet them about as if you have the moral high ground. And the answers are easy to find. In this day of internet, there is no excuse for someone to be as uninformed as you are.

    Hey, y’all, I just learned the word for this. It’s “sciolism” (pronounced SIGH-uh-lizm – sorry, can’t easily type a schwa character).

    It’s a word I think I’ll be using a lot in Internet and Facebook conversations, ’cause there are a lot of sciolists blogging and posting. Not saying that anyone here is that, just that it’s nice to have a word for it.

    :D

  • EricW

    @Amber-Lee: I don’t mind your rant. :)

  • http://www.amberpeace.com Amber-Lee

    Daniel,
    I’m cranky because one of my questions for my mid-term is “Explain the Trinity” and I am tired. Any help on this?

    My experience with Evangelicalism has been very bad

    I wouldn’t walk out, but my husband would.

    I prefer the term “elitist.” I am pretty close-minded about who I think can teach, but that’s most likely because I’m going through the process myself and I strongly dislike seeing others bypass it.

  • Sally Duncan

    Oh for crying out loud. I should just stop and go back to science project planning, but I won’t. First off, that article you linked to isn’t even by Ken Ham, so your point isn’t even being made. (although the end implies my point, so thanks. “For the Christian who believes the Bible, this one verse rules out theistic or any other evolution, or a ‘gap’ theory.” That implies if you are not a creationist, you don’t believe the Bible. And they say it’s a biblically untenable position. I’d love to know how they think someone can be a christian and not believe the Bible, because that sounds like that’s the only option they are allowing an evolutionist Christian.)

    Second, thanks for telling me what I’m informed on, I appreciate it. Third, Enns has a specific Bible curriculum for elementary-schoolers, and that is what he has to offer the homeschool community, and I am grateful for his contribution. Fourth, I can be against attacks and be for dis-inviting someone. It’s not ‘censorship’ to say ‘Don’t be an ass’, especially when it’s in the contract that they give to speakers. If Enns had said ‘Ken Ham isn’t a good christian because he adheres to a narrow brand of christianity, so don’t buy his stuff’ then I would support dis-inviting him, too. People don’t pay good money to go to these conferences and then hear attacks against other people. Again, how hard is it for a speaker just to talk about their product and why it’s good, and give some helpful tools on how to teach it?

  • Derek

    Just because some fossils have been categorized “transitional” forms, does not in fact make them transitional.

  • Jeremy

    EricW – I apologize for being uncharitable in your regard. The question mark is important and I based my response on Linda’s quote. I agree with you on some level, though I still think we have to be careful with throwing that out there unless we have a real reason to not take their stated reasons at face value. Those sorts of implications gain legs, as I think we may have just seen, without any real evidence to back them.

    Amber-Lee: Ouch. Just write “Shame on you for attempting to force me to explain the ineffable!” and move on. That’s gotta be worth something.

  • Matt

    EricW – That’s good, I’m going to start using that too.

    Les @4 – Thanks for providing that link, it definitely sheds light on the subject.

    I think people are WAY too sensitive and quick to play the “divisive” card when someone challenges them on something they teach or believe. There’s no way that the homeschooling committee could have believed this would go any other way than the way it has. Ken Ham is a guy that is pretty outspoken when he disagrees with someone. He has always spoken out against Enns teaching and what he said wasn’t any worse than he’s said before. Maybe he should re-think his rhetoric and approach, but it shouldn’t lead to disinviting him as if it’s a new thing.

    It reminds me of the way people feel about Mark Driscoll. I understand he is a prophetic voice for matters of faith and if he speaks against something that challenges my beliefs I may get my feathers ruffled at first, but I’m sure not going to be shocked by it. And if I invited him to speak at the same convention as Rob Bell, I sure would’ve known what I got myself into.

  • http://bit.ly/theoblog Daniel

    Ken Ham’s problem is that he doesn’t think he has a problem. He cannot separate his view of creation/flood from the rest of his theology and is equally dogmatic about things for which there is a lot less support and a lot more disagreement over church history. He also can’t seem to differentiate between attacking a position and attacking the person holding it. Whether his flood geology viewpoint is right or wrong, his attitude and approach are wrong. This was not the setting for his actions. If he was in a church pulpit applying a bit of church discipline, that would be one thing. But he was in a totally different setting and it was disrespectful of the setting, the organizers, and the other speakers to personally go after them.

  • Robin

    For RJS or other theistic evolutionists that support the decision to censor Ken Hamm…

    Can any of you point me to any direct, specific statements made by Ken Hamm that are ad hominem attacks against Enns, or that attack Enns personally.

    I have been looking online for a while today, and I looked for a while last week, and all I can find is that during his presentation Hamm accurately portrayed the beliefs of Enns and criticized those beliefs. I fail to understand how that behavior is unchrist-like.

    If that is the standard for unchrist-like behavior, then Dr. McKnight’s accurate depictions of neo-reformed thought, and subsequent critique should be enough to get him church discipline and rebukes on these pages.

    I attended the Cincinnati convention last year and I have no affinity for Dr. Hamm and I have a great deal of admiration for Dr. Wise-Bauer, but I just don’t get the dis-invitation.

    The only thing that I can think of, and this is obvious if you attend the conventions, is that they are about 1/3 lecture and instruction, and about 2/3 marketplace for people like Hamm, Wise-Bauer, and Enns to peddle their wares.

    Maybe the convention promoters believe that Hamm’s criticisms will cause division in the marketplace and drive down sales…the main reason the speakers show up in the first place.

    Anyway, if someone has a clear, recent example of a specific ad hominem or personal attack I would love to see it. Right now it just looks like the convention planners are against direct confrontation regarding theological arguments. I guess they just want everyone to hold hands and sing kumbaya while wolves (perceived or real) prowl in the marketplace.

  • Robin

    Also, I thought it was interesting that the convention claims to be 100% YEC. Susan Wise-Bauer, who is not YEC, was the keynote speaker last year, and while there was an obvious Christian overtone to the whole conference, there was also a concerted effort to make it appear semi-secular, like a homeschooling for everyone conference.

    I was surprised to see multiple muslim families with women wearing some form of head coverings in attendance.

  • EricW

    Robin @36. wrote:

    I attended the Cincinnati convention last year and I have no affinity for Dr. Hamm and I have a great deal of admiration for Dr. Wise-Bauer, but I just don’t get the dis-invitation.

    The only thing that I can think of, and this is obvious if you attend the conventions, is that they are about 1/3 lecture and instruction, and about 2/3 marketplace for people like Hamm, Wise-Bauer, and Enns to peddle their wares.

    Maybe the convention promoters believe that Hamm’s criticisms will cause division in the marketplace and drive down sales…the main reason the speakers show up in the first place.

    Maybe my “Follow the money?” question wasn’t just a shot in the dark. :?

  • Robin

    A thought experiment…

    If Rob Bell and I were invited to speak at a conference, and I thought Bell’s message, while not classic pluralistic universalism, was functionally equivalent to universalism…

    And during my presentation on hell I mentioned that that Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” which was being sold in the marketplace contained ideas that were functionally equivalent to universalism, and that such beliefs, in my opinion, were heretical…would that be unchrist-like and merit my dis-invitation.

    Is that really what we are talking about with Hamm and Enns? The very act of calling anything heresy is unchrist-like. Would the same rules apply if I was critiquing John Shelby Spong or Benny Hinn?

    Please tell me there is more to this than “if someone claims his teachings are orthodox you cannot say that their teachings are unorthodox.

  • rjs

    Robin,

    I have no first hand knowledge of this at all, so I won’t even venture a guess as to what was said and why it resulted in this action.

    I have no idea what agreements may or may not have been included in the original invitation to the convention.

    Without such information I have no defensible opinion as to whether the disinvitation was appropriate or not.

    I do think that we need to emphasize patience and argue ideas not people.

  • Robin

    One clarification, I am not claiming that this was about money, but when you consider the prominence of the marketplace at this event you at least have to wonder. The marketplace takes up the entire first floor of the convetion, and I would guess you could fit at least 5 or 6 basketball courts in the space that it occupies.

    We haven’t started homeschooling yet, but I think for those who do, this is where a homeschooling family will purhcase their entire curriculum for the upcoming year. Heck our daughter wasn’t even 2 yet and we purcahsed an entire year of a latin curriculum so we could get a head start.

    Like I said Susan Wise-Bauer was the keynote speaker last year and her booth was directly in front of the main entrance (and it was a large booth) and there were also prominent booths for AiG, Doug Phillips (Vision Forum), and Doug Wilson (along with hundreds of others).

    I cannot recall Enns being there last year; I suspect this new homeschool curriculum is what he has been working on since the Westminster dismissal.

  • Robin

    I will agree that if there was something in the contract along the lines of “thou shalt not speak negatively of the ideas or teachings of the other presenters at this conference” then yeah, there are grounds to boot him…I just don’t see any ad hominem or personal attacks that would characterize un-christlike behavior.

    Overall I think this is really going to hurt the Great Homeschool Convention group (I get weekly emails from them). Unless there is some smoking gun “Peter Enns is a crack fiend” or “Peter Enns is a DUKE fan” type of comment (or an attack that is much tamer, though still ad hominem or personal), this is going to look a whole lot like either (1) unjust persecution or (2) kicking out a speaker to maintain sales.

    Seems like a perfect opportunity for an alternative midwest conference that doesn’t ban the most popular science curriculum for evangelicals.

  • Sally Duncan

    As far as the money aspect goes, I don’t know concrete details, but I know for most vendors, they barely make any money going to a conference. It’s time, travel, their own food and lodging, and not a lot of immediate sales. People come and look at the curriculum, and then go home and buy it on Rainbow Resource or Amazon, because it’s cheaper. Not everyone of course, but a lot of people. Being a vendor at a conference is about getting your name out there, and letting people see your stuff, so hopefully later in the year, they will like what they saw and buy your curriculum.

    How much money the conference people make, I have no idea. But these particular conferences have sprung up because the traditional state conventions are so narrowly conservative, that people wanted an alternative, so a company has sprung up to provide one, and I am thankful they have. I wish that GHSC wasn’t as christian as it is, but I’ll take what I can get.

  • Daniel

    Amber-Lee @30, I hear where you’re coming from. It is difficult to have any good or even moderate things to say about a branch of the Church if your only exposure was negative. Sometimes our frustrations and weariness comes through our typing in pretty intense ways.

    As to the Trinity, I have found Grudem’s treatment of it helpful in his big Systematic Theology (though many at this blog don’t like him because he has the “wrong” view about a certain secondary issue). On the Trinity, there is only one essence or “what” (God) but three persons or “whos” (Father, Son, Spirit), equal in essence but different in function. A complex mystery of God as hard to understand as the eternality and omnipresence of God.

    Sorry to all that this last paragraph was off topic.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I can’t speak for this conference, but in business conferences (which it seems this was closest to) it is extremely impolite to say anything deleterious about others at the conference. In the business world in general, it is frowned upon to comment on a competitor’s organization, style, philosophy, etc. So to say that someone else’s product is invalid (and it seems to me that is the nature of what was said) is exceedingly bad manners.

  • Sally Duncan

    Ok, I really need to get off here and get some work done. :P

    @42 It seems like the general consensus is that yes, there is something in the GHSC contracts not to talk disparagingly about other speakers. That just seems to be common courtesy anyway. And you don’t see calling a fellow christian an attacker of Christ as an attack? I do, and the board of GHSC apparently does.

    @39 I think christians should tread very very carefully in calling someone or their beliefs, heretical, and that applies to Ken Ham or Rob Bell. Unless someone is out explicitly denying Christ and the need for the cross and salvation, then no, other christians should not be out there calling them by name and saying they are not christians, undermining the Bible, or attacking Christ.

    In the end it’s no one else’s business anyway, and if Ken Ham feels I need to be warned and protected from a bad Bible curriculum, then I really don’t have any business homeschooling my children. If I am incapable of being discerning and understanding and thinking through what I am teaching, then I shouldn’t be doing it. I don’t need Ken Ham or anyone else to tell me how christian a curriculum is, or whether or not I should use it, and I definitely don’t need him or his supporters accusing me of not teaching the truth of the Bible to my kids if I do choose to use said curriculum.

  • Phil N

    This is like a train wreck of a thread, I can’t take my eye’s off it. Help…

  • LT

    @Amber-Lee, that’s so very open-minded and tolerant of your husband to refuse to listen to anything that might give a different perspective on your religious beliefs about origins. The fact is that YEC is well-grounded both exegetically/theologically and scientifically. They, at the very least, deserve a place at the table.

    But your attack against me is pretty strange. I didn’t say anything about being educated by the web. In fact, I am totally opposed to distance education so I am not in favor of unguided internet education.

    However, there was a very specific statement made that was easily refutable by doing a simple search. The fact is that Sally made uninformed comments about something very simple. (And responding by claiming that article isn’t by Ham and therefore doesn’t express the position of AiG was sillier than the first one). The fact is that a lot of stuff can be learned on the web about what people believe.

    One of the problems with Enns’ position is that it simply made stuff up. It did not account for all the things you speak of, especially genre issues. I have actually read and listened to Enns, talked to people who have read and listened to him. It is a widely held opinion that Enns has left historic orthodoxy with his positions. His understanding of second temple issues, and his understanding of ANE mythology and its relevance to Scripture was a serious problem.

    So don’t be a jerk about it. Allow people to disagree with you without being the thought police and the politeness police. Realize that thoughtful people disagree with you and your position and with very good reasons.

  • Adam

    Off topic but seems to tie in with some of the later comments:

    Do people here believe in heresy anymore?

    I know I, and many of my friends, jokingly refer to ourselves as heretics.

    The biblical mandate for handling heretics is to kill them, but certainly, that just isn’t done anymore. It seems like the tactic used today to fight heresy is to discredit the heretic in the popular mind.

    Which to me, seems like a joke to even attempt. And as many people are claiming, it’s rude to even try.

    So is heresy even a thing anymore and can we do anything about it?

  • LT

    Sally,

    Saying that the article wasn’t by Ham wasn’t a good response. It is on his website expressing the position of his organization. But if that wasn’t good enough, here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/interview-creation-museum-founder-on-evolution-clash-27550/

    First of all, there are many Christians that believe in evolution. There are many Christians that believe in billions of years. We are not saying that if you believe in evolution that you can’t be a Christian, not at all. Because the Bible says that by grace you are saved. You don’t save yourself. It is by confessing the Lord Jesus and that he was rose from the dead that you are saved. [The Bible] doesn’t say you have to believe in six days or in thousands of years.

    As for telling you what you are informed about, I didn’t tell you. You told us all what you were informed about. And you showed that this was not one of them. (Just like I did about Enns and homeschooling. I didn’t know he had an elementary curriculum. Fortunately, for my sake, I didn’t make a big deal about it.)

    They are welcome to disinvite Ham. I think they would be better off disinviting Enns for a number of reasons, most of which have to do with orthodoxy.

    But I think Dean, as quoted in this article, is hypocritical. You can be against ostracizing someone and making ad hominem attacks while you disinvite someone and call them ungodly, mean-spirited, defamatory, etc.

  • http://haitiorphanproject.org/ Les

    @50 LT,

    Well said. Coffin nailed shut.

  • http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A10ULJVWJGVUYD/ref=cm_cr_dp_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort%5Fby=MostRecentReview Paul Bruggink

    Amber-Lee said (@19): “I find all this fascinating, as my husband and I find YEC to be a reason to LEAVE a church. He’s said that he will get up and walk out on a sermon that perpetuates Creationism.”

    When I hear a sermon that perpetuates Creationism, I make it a point to initiate a dialog with the pastor for the purpose of suggesting that YEC is not the only Christian option. I still maintain an occasional dialog with the YEC pastor of an AoG church that we used to go to. The Lead Pastor of our current (Baptist) church has gone from “That DVD series by Ken Ham was great stuff. We ought to show it again” [in a Wednesday night class] six years ago to actually acknowledging in a Sunday morning sermon last year that belief in an old earth is an option for Christians, not his option [yet], but an option. It takes a long time for people to change their minds on this issue.

  • Phil N

    @ LT #48,

    I don’t know what circles you would be from but to say that YEC is well grounded scientifically and theologically is an overstatement at best (on both counts).

    Also, to say that Peter Enns is outside of orthodoxy is also a stretch. Our corner of Christianity is just that, a small, tiny corner.

  • Sally Duncan

    @50 You’re right, I didn’t google to see if KH specifically had said he believes a person can be a christian and believe in evolution. I should have checked. But the point still remains, that both him and AIG seem to say that if you believe in Evolution, you can’t believe in the Bible at the same time. How do they expect a person to be a Christian if they don’t believe the Bible? Logically, that doesn’t make sense. When you add that to KH saying that people who don’t believe in a traditional Genesis are attacking the Bible and attacking Christ, it certainly seems to imply that they don’t believe you can be a christian unless you are a YEC. I think they use their words carefully so that they never come out and say that, but that seems to be what they think deep down. I could be wrong, but if they truly do think you can have an alternative view of Genesis and be a christian, then everything he said, and everything that is all over his FB page is pointless. If they really believed Enns, and by association SWB (and apparently all of Wheaton College) were fine Christians, why the need to warn us of them? It just really, really bothers me, (obviously) that one christian can come out and say that other christians are dangerous to the church, and that they should be avoided. You can disagree with someone and yet still interact with them and learn from them, and let people make up their own mind. I just really resent being told that I am harming my children by purchasing a certain book, and therefore I’m not holding true to God’s Word. And when it comes from a person who holds the same Genesis view I do, it’s even more frustrating.

  • LT

    To Phil,

    People who have studied the issue fairly know that YEC is well grounded both exegetically/theologically and scientifically. In fact, exegetically/theologically, YEC is the only thing that can make complete sense of the data of Scripture. OECs of whatever variety have to go through some pretty tortured explanations of the text to get away from it.

    Scientifically, the case for evolution has been tremendously overstated. YEC is able to show a lot of argumentative problems and foundational assumptions, which have also been shown by evolutionists. The problem is that popular evolutionary theory (for the masses) is not always presented . In other words, if you start with evolutionary dogma, it is fairly easy to get there. But if you don’t start there, it is much more difficult to get there particularly if you look at things with clarity.

    Part of the problem is that it has been so politicized, even among Christians. There is such a great amount of pressure to conform that people do it without giving careful consideration to the issue. It causes great problems when people start really wrestling with evolution and begin to see the holes in it. But things like that can’t be said for fear of being ostracized and mocked.

    As far as Enns, it is well known that his book stretches historic orthodoxy. There is a pretty solid consensus on what historic orthodoxy is. That’s why it was so poorly received by historic protestants.

    Christianity, worldwide, is pretty small. Religion, on the other hand, is rather large. Enns falls pretty clearly outside of what historic Christianity has believed on the issue in I&I. Let’s face it: He didn’t lose his job to a bunch of raving fundamentalists, because there are none at Westminster. Westminster is a pretty solid evangelical seminary. It is well in the mainstream of historic Christianity.

  • LT

    Sally,

    I think Ham’s position about believing the Bible has to do with believing Genesis 1-11 and then about being able to be consistent with the rest of it. Remember, his big thing is about foundations, that all the doctrines of Scripture have their foundation in Gen 1-11. If you do not believe that as it is written, then you have no consistent basis to believe anything else. Scot actually had a blog post about this a while back, didn’t he? About someone saying If I can’t believe Genesis 1-11 why should I believe the rest of it?

    For instance, if Gen 2 is not correct that death is the result of sin and that there were millions of years of death prior to sin, then what basis is there to believe that the wages of sin is death? Why would we believe that Jesus’ death frees us from the penalty sin if death was not the penalty of sin and death and sin were never connected to begin with? But Genesis says they are connected, and Paul said they were connected. So we have to do some pretty creative exegesis to get around that.

    I think we all agree that the belief for salvation is not the whole Bible.

    Whether or not Ham should have said what he said I have no idea. I haven’t seen what he said about Enns. I don’t read his facebook page, so I really can’t comment on that.

  • EricW

    People who have studied the issue fairly know that YEC is well grounded both exegetically/theologically and scientifically.

    Sounds like the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    In fact, exegetically/theologically, YEC is the only thing that can make complete sense of the data of Scripture. OECs of whatever variety have to go through some pretty tortured explanations of the text to get away from it.

    *sigh*

  • Sally Duncan

    LT, I actually agree with all of that, being a YEC, and I don’t really know how people can be OEC or evolutionary, but I believe they can b/c I know several strong christians that are one. So I don’t really care what you believe about creation. For me, it’s not a hill to die on…science isn’t my thing. Give me history or literature any day, LOL. It’s just frustrating to see people turning Genesis into a hill to die on, especially in the homeschooling world, because YEC is about the only thing I am traditionally conservative on. So to have other good homeschooling people/materials condemned over something that I don’t think is a huge issue, and to be told by all of the loud voices in homeschooling that you have to be a traditional, conservative person to be a good christian…..it just gets really old, and frustrating. Which is why I’m so excited about Enns’ book, and why this whole thing is doubly frustrating.

  • LT

    Eric,

    It doesn’t sound like the “No true Scotsman” fallacy at all. It’s a simple matter of fact.

    And you can sigh all you want. It won’t change the text. There is a reason why there are long explanations of the Genesis text. And that reason is because people have to explain why it doesn’t mean what it appears to mean. Even Bruce Waltke said that Moses intended to communicate six twenty four hour days because that is what the Hebrew means. He just thinks he was wrong. Gerhard Hasel has done excellent exegetical work as have many others.

    My point is that you can come to another conclusion and many have, but no one who knows what they are talking about would say that there is no exegetical or theological base for what is known as YEC. And no one would say that informed YEC does not raise some difficult questions for evolution.

    You can’t just wave it away by asserting some “No true Scotsman” idea, as you tried to do.

  • EricW

    @LT: It was your use of the word “fairly” that, IMO, puts your statement in the realm of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. But I’m not a logician, so I won’t state for sure that yours is an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. But it seems to be.

    When you say “YEC is the only thing that can make complete sense of the data of Scripture” (my emphases), your terms “complete” and “data of Scripture” are problematically undefined, and perhaps undefinable, and I think your “only” is more opinion than proof.

    I didn’t say that “there is no exegetical or theological basis for what is known as YEC.”

  • MatthewS

    There is what you say and there is how you say it. Every presentation I’ve heard by Ham has had a mocking edge to it against his opponents. In my opinion, mockery does not become him.

  • Adam

    Robin,

    I learned about Mohler’s existence about 3 weeks ago. I’ve only know about Piper for a year or two. I’ve known about Scot McKnight for about 6 months. I have no idea who Boyd is. All of that is to say, that these people aren’t really influencing in how I view the others.

    So, I strongly disagree with the ideas that Piper and Mohler present. I find contradictions in what they say they believe and what they appear to actually believe. I also find contradictions in what they say they believe and what is true about the reality I live in.

    This is not animosity. What I have heard from Piper and Mohler does not line up with my life, nor even what I find in the bible.

    I assume that Scot’s approach and many people who comment here are similar.

  • EricW

    “…but every shred of emergent writing, and all of their supporters on this site, constantly drip with condescension, mockery, sarcasm, etc.,…”

    “every”?

    “all”?

    “constantly”?

    Really?

  • MatthewS

    Robin,

    I’m not particularly an Enns supporter. I agree that while the JesusCreed community is better than most at civil discussion, it is at its weakest when opposing certain viewpoints and certain people. And you state that this is really what’s behind your angst more than the Ham/Enns thing. I have felt this same thing before myself.

    But I thought I’d point your attention to some of Ham’s remarks. Ham himself linked to these comments for reference:
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/03/15/another-compromiser-speaking-at-homeschool-conventions/

    The title is “Another Compromiser”. It has this paragraph:
    Sadly, one of the speakers also listed to give presentations does not believe in a historical Adam or historical Fall (he will also be promoting his “Bible” curriculum for homeschoolers). In fact, what he teaches about Genesis is not just compromising Genesis with evolution, it is outright liberal theology that totally undermines the authority of the Word of God. It is an attack on the Word—on Christ. (emphasis mine)

    Enns is “another compromiser” (ad hominem). It isn’t a Bible curriculum, it’s a “Bible” curriculum. That’s the gap between apples and arsenic.

    Compromise, liberal theology, undermine, and attacking Christ: these are all loaded terms and are intended to provoke. Think illocution and think perlocution. These terms are mean-spirited. They freeze over the chance to have a thoughtful discussion. I have not heard Ham a lot but every time I’ve heard him, I have cringed due to this exact sort of thing.

  • scotmcknight

    Odd, Robin, you’re guessing wrong. I’ve never met Boyd; we’re not friends and I don’t know what reviews you’re talking about. I had a very pleasant conversation with Mohler this weekend, and with another Calvinist scholar/author.

    But my, please don’t destroy your keyboard, because I’m waiting for you someday to say something kind about one of those emerging guys and I want that keyboard to be handle the tension when you write it. Haha.

  • EricW

    Hey, two new words for me for today: illocution and perlocution.

    Great!

  • Sally

    Robin I gave a few examples of specific things Ham said about Enns and others…attacks on Christ, infiltrating the church, undermining the Bible, dangerous to children.

  • Adam

    How is Dr. Enns teaching “dangerous”?

    Answers in Genesis explicitly states that it is possible to be a christian and be an evolutionist. The site lays out clearly that all you need to be “safe” is to believe in Jesus and the evolution/creation debate is outside that belief.

    Ken Ham using the word dangerous, undermines his own organizations beliefs. How is evolution dangerous if you can still be a christian and believe in evolution?

    At the very least, Ken Ham is not being true to his own statements.

  • MatthewS

    Robin, following up my #69 and your #66, I do believe there is a double standard. The difference between begin provocative and being mean-spirited is sometimes just the difference between leaning right or left.

    If Justin Taylor or Kevin DeYoung were to say “toxic” they would be taken to task. Bell says “toxic” and it’s being provocative.

    I think we need to allow that there may be an issue of perspective at least partly involved here. I notice that I’m more defensive when those who lean right are attacked and I’m rarely defensive when those who lean left are attacked on this blog. I notice that Scot takes shots from both sides. I try to allow that it may not be as tilted as it sometimes seems.

    But we should be able to agree that this does not mean Ham gets a free pass.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Will no Yec’er give quarter to Enns, who is innocent in this? And give any decent to Ham? I’ve resisted jumping in, but this seems quite one sided.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    er,…descent perhaps…”And give any descent to Ham?”

  • Robin

    I think you are looking for “dissent”. Descent would imply downward motion as in “descending in to hell” whereas “dissent” would imply disagreement.

  • http://Www.kvile.net Kevin Vile

    #70 Jay Wiles, who holds a YEC view, gives quarter to Enns, and from some of the comments he’s taking a lot of flak for doing it. http://blog.drwile.com/?p=4647

  • http://Www.kvile.net Kevin Vile

    And even more in this post. http://blog.drwile.com/?p=4602

  • Holly

    Yes, MatthewS. You have it correctly.

    Ham is trying to position himself as faultless in this. He is only showing a 2 min. clip in which he sounds harmless as a dove. However, he has been on a witch hunt on his blog for the last month plus. He has called out Dr. Enns as a COMPROMISER, and criticized the convention for having a compromiser come, and Susan Wise Bauer for publishing a “Bible” curriculum by a compromisor. He has (on his blog) hunted down other COMPROMISORS and churches and denominations who are COMPROMISORS and promised to do MORE exposing of COMPROMISORS in days to come. He calls these people “unBiblical,” and “dangerous.”

    I’d say you have to be in the homeschooling world to understand this fully. Those aren’t just “fightin’” words, they are code words, meant to rally the TRULY BIBLICAL. Truly “Biblical” means that you are devoted to patriarchy, that the foundation of your salvation depends upon a young earth.

    This is horribly isolating and potentially devastating to homeschoolers who are not YEC. Because of the furor and the call to righteous arms – those of us who are not YEC stand to lose most of our friends and associations. It’s awful, and I’m terribly upset by all of it.

    Peter Enns, Jay Wile, and Susan Wise Bauer have suffered much from all of this.

    Follow the money is correct. AIG gets most of the curriculum money from the millions of homeschooling families worldwide. AIG is closely also endorsed by Vision Forum – another huge money maker. Now that the “faithful and Biblical” ones are infuriated by the COMPROMISERS, they will support ever more with their $$$ those (Ken Ham, AIG) who are being “persecuted for standing for Truth.”

    I really wish that I were making this all up. I’m not.

  • Holly

    And I’m horribly embarrassed for spelling “COMPROMISER” incorrectly. :) Sorry ’bout that. Typing too fast….

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    er…ya…like dissent…thanks :)

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I hate mental blocks….You would think I am old enough to just not post when I know the old noggin isn’t werkin quit wright.

  • EricW

    @75. Holly: “Follow the money is correct.”

    I can’t say “I told you so,” because I was just throwing out there for consideration.

    But in my experience it always is a necessary consideration.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Holly, instead of compromiser you were looking for HERETIC :)

  • EricW

    I meant to write:

    “…throwing it out there for consideration.”

  • Sally

    It’s isolating and upsetting to any homeschooler who isn’t as conservative as all of those people say you should be. Susan Wise Bauer and Peace Hill Press put out a very gracious statement about it all today.

  • Robin

    Do you have a link for the statement Sally. I looked in the most obvious places but I cannot find it.

  • Sally Duncan
  • Holly

    I do think it is worth pointing out that Ken Ham’s credentials include only a bachelor’s degree in applied science and a diploma of education from the University of Queensland. He holds honorary degrees from Temple Baptist College and from Liberty University. The “Dr.” before his name is not earned.

    I dunno….but if the man is supposed to be an expert, then the earned education level matters to me!

  • Holly

    As for Dr. Enn’s curriculum – “Telling God’s Story,” you can read it for yourself on Scribd. It looks excellent to me.

  • Holly

    Sally, thanks for that link. Very well said!

    DRT – “Heretic.” I can spell that. I think. :)

  • Sally

    Yes, I love that they’ve put so much of the curriculum online for people to read for themselves.

  • Ana Mullan

    Hallelujah! finally somebody does something about the way some speakers behave. Mr. Ham came to Ireland many years ago, and the same problem arose, as he criticized other chrstian leaders abouth their beliefs in relation to young earth. Again in this case, it was the spirit of arrogance that caused discomfort, but also arrogance that comes from deep insecurity. If one is confident on his belief, there is no need to throw mud to others. It is very easy to be very powerful when you are standing in a platform and nobody can do anything about it. Frankly, here in Europe we are trying to help people believe in God and Jesus, and if we just managed that, we really get excited.

  • EricW

    I do think it is worth pointing out that Ken Ham’s credentials include only a bachelor’s degree in applied science and a diploma of education from the University of Queensland. He holds honorary degrees from Temple Baptist College and from Liberty University. The “Dr.” before his name is not earned.

    Does “Dr.” Ham have expertise in, or at least working fluency with, Biblical Hebrew?

    I just finished reading Shira Halevi’s provocative book, Adam And Havah: A Targum Of Genesis 1:26-5:5 (I actually read the 1997 version, which has a slightly different title; this 2009 revision should be in my mailbox today). If people think there is only one way to interpret the opening chapters of Genesis or that the author intended there to be only one reading of or meaning to the text, or that their interpretation contains the complete sense of the data of Scripture, they might be fooling themselves.

  • Jeremy

    To my understanding, Ham has no qualifications whatsoever to speak with the authority that he does. I’ve seen no claims to education beyond his initial degrees (not that one needs them. I have immense respect for A.W. Tozer who was completely self-taught).

    I think my issue with him is as Ana pointed out. I’ve had some really great dialogue with YECs where I felt that, if it got heated, the crossing of the line was either my fault or indiscernably mutual. However, Ham expresses little to no respect for those who differ from him and derision seems to be a major problem. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that he’s found himself in hot water with people who actually agree with him regarding Biblical interpretation. He seems to encourage the type of engagement that no one outside of the echo chamber wants anything to do with, and in my mind, that’s very, very bad fruit.

  • Holly

    It’s true, Jeremy, that we don’t have to hold high academic degrees to write many wonderful things. Education isn’t everything, not in all subjects anyway.

    And yet, Ham writes a science curriculum for millions of kids. He picks very PUBLIC fights ABOUT the science of the Bible with people who DO have earned doctorates in the scientific fields. He has caused very real financial harm to Dr. Enns, Dr. Wile, and Dr. Bauer through the bully tactic of fear and mis-information. He has really damaged their reputations in the eyes of the average faithful homeschooler. It actually takes a lot of chutzpah, I think, to do the whole lecture circuit, rake in millions of dollars, set yourself up as an expert condemning everyone else to heresy and the status of COMPROMISER….and not even really know what you are talking about. People do it all the time, though….

    You know, it doesn’t matter to me if the person publishing my kid’s coloring book has a doctorate…but their science book? Yeah, that matters!

    I understand that my comments sound harsh – and I know that is not the tone that is preferred here. There are actually very few places, however, where this view can even be expressed. AIG/Ham are definitely the majority view in the HS world. Consider me the voice from the homeschooling ghetto.

  • http://studyinbrown.com tonia

    I actually think there are a whole lot of homeschoolers in the “ghetto”, Holly. We just don’t go to the conferences or the homeschool co-ops because those particular groups are dominated by the type of thinking you describe. We’re here, we’re just not as vocal or insistent that you believe exactly the same way before you come play with us. *smile*

  • Jeremy

    heh I agree, Holly. I was more remarking on religious matters than scientific. While I appreciate the need for education (I hope so since that’s my path), I try to avoid claiming that you have to have it to be right on matters of faith.

    As for ghettos – I was reading an article a while back from an Atheist homeschooling couple. I was saddened about their experiences in homeschool groups when people figured out that not only were they not hyper-conservative Christians, but they weren’t Christians at all. Couple that with my own experiences, and I sometimes really, really question the value of homeschooling when a quality public education is available.

  • Holly

    Hey Tonia…:)

    Thanks. :)

  • http://studyinbrown.com tonia

    I’ve heard the same kinds of things from people, Jeremy: total rejection from homeschool groups unless you conform to a very narrow standard of beliefs. Many christian groups make you agree to a statement of belief before you can even join. So for people like me it’s a sad wasteland between the pagan groups and the hyper-conservative. :) But that still wouldn’t make me put my kids into public school if that wasn’t the right thing for them. Homeschooling has been a fabulous gift to our family.

    Holly – we meet in the strangest places, don’t we? :)

  • John I.

    The fact that AIG’s material would be the most used surprises me and also provides fodder for those that argue that homeschooling provides poor schooling. If parents who want to teach their children can’t distinguish between science and pseudo-science, what can we expect from their homeschooled children? It is good to hear that there are homeschoolers who are careful to expose their children to various points of view and to help them evaluate those views. Recent state changes to educational standards require teaching a theory and its weakness, which means (for homeschoolers) not just teaching weak points.

    John

  • Jeff

    Interesting comments. Personally, I don’t understand why Hamm was ever allowed in a convention to begin with, but I also don’t see how Christians take Genesis literally and then take Revelation nonliterally (which many YEC’s do, in my experience) and don’t see a problem with it.

    Suffice it to say that YEC is not only a lie, it is not science and it is built on a foundation of deception. A lot of the YEC kids will grow up to find that everything they learned about creationism is wrong, and they will question their Faith in part due to the lack of integrity by “experts” in YEC and in part because they were taught that a literal Genesis is foundational to the Gospel, but a literal Genesis never happened (I’ve lived some of this). The rest will keep a very narrow YEC Faith that is afraid of answers to big questions, a Faith that becomes less relevant to the rest of the world with the passing of time. Sadly, the idea that it is all about Jesus is lost in the fray.

    YEC should have died a thousand deaths long ago, hard to believe people are still arguing about it.

  • EricW

    but I also don’t see how Christians take Genesis literally and then take Revelation nonliterally (which many YEC’s do, in my experience) and don’t see a problem with it.

    Maybe because The Revelation begins by saying in 1:1 that it was esêmanen, from sêmainô, which can have the meaning of being given via signification:

    From BDAG:

    σημαίνω (σῆμα ‘sign’, s. three next entries; Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX, TestJob; JosAs 23:8; Just., Tat. 17, 2; Mel., P. 95, 728) impf. ἐσήμαινον; fut. σημανῶ LXX; 1 aor. ἐσήμανα (X., Hell. 1, 1, 2; BGU 1097, 17; Judg 7:21; s. B-D-F §72; Mlt-H. 214f); pf. 1 pl. σεσημάγκαμεν (Aristobul. in Eus., PE 13, 12, 7 [=Holladay p. 172, Fgm. 4, lines 85f]). Pass.: aor. 3 sg. ἐσημάνθη LXX; pf. 3 sg. σεσήμανται 2 Macc 2:1.

    ① to make known, report, communicate (Trag., Hdt.+; ins, pap., LXX, En; TestJob 6:3; EpArist; Philo, Post. Cai. 155 al.; Jos., Vi. 206; Just., D. 114, 2 al.) τὶ someth. indicate charges Ac 25:27. τινί to someone (En 106:13; 107, 2; TestJob 6:5) Rv 1:1.

    ② to intimate someth. respecting the future, indicate, suggest, intimate (Ezk. Trag. 83, in Eus., PE 9, 29, 6; Just., D. 78, 9 al.; cp. Appian, Liby. 104 §491 προσημαίνειν τὰ μέλλοντα of divine prediction of the future) w. acc. and inf. foll. (Jos., Ant. 6, 50; cp. 8, 409) Ac 11:28.—Also of speech that simply offers a vague suggestion of what is to happen (Heraclitus 93 in Plut., Mor. 404e w. ref. to the Delphic oracle οὔτε λέγει, οὔτε κρύπτει, ἀλλὰ σημαίνει; Epict. 1, 17, 18f; Jos., Ant. 7, 214; 10, 241) w. an indirect question foll. J 12:33; 18:32; 21:19.

    ③ to provide an explanation for someth. that is enigmatic, mean, signify (Pla., Cratylus 393A; Aristot., Physics 213b, 30, Rhet. 32f; Dionys. Hal., Thucyd. 31) B 15:4, in ref. to a passage of Scripture (Just., A I, 65, 4 τὸ δὲ Ἀμὴν τῇ Ἑβραΐδι φωνῇ τὸ Γένοιτο σημαίνει) ἡ γὰρ ἡμέρα παρʼ αὐτῷ σημαίνει χίλια ἔτη for a day with the Lord means a thousand years (s. Ps. 89:4).—DELG s.v. σῆμα. M-M. TW.

    Also, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that, just like some of the things seen in the vision/appearing of Jesus are in 1:20 given explanations as being symbolic, the things the seer sees after this are also to be considered symbolic and not to be treated literally.

  • Jeff

    Eric,
    Interesting post, but I’m a bit dense sometimes. I’m not sure I totally understood the point your trying to make. Let me elaborate a bit. It seems to me (and please correct me if you disagree) that much or all of the imagery in Revelation has relates directly to the interaction and struggles of the Church (in that day) with the Roman Empire. My contention is with Christians today who take that same imagery and try to use it to describe future events that will come to pass, and in so doing make a mockery of the original intent of Revelation (in the past few decades I’ve been watching, they’ve been generally incorrect). Thus, they are taking symbolic language and ascribing meaning to it that, at least in the vast majority of cases I’m aware of, shouldn’t be ascribed. However, when these same individuals read Genesis there is no wiggle room, every word is rigidly accurate (and I’m not sure nuances of the original Hebrew are taken into account or not). It’s an inconsistency that I haven’t found a good explanation for (if you have one please let me know–I’m not assuming there can’t be one, I just haven’t heard it).

  • EricW

    I thought you were objecting to their taking it symbolically instead of literally. I thought you were puzzled why they don’t say the dragon is a dragon, the beast is a literal animal, the bowls the angels pour out are literal bowls, etc. Now I understand you to be saying that you don’t understand why they don’t treat Revelation in accordance with its historical meaning and setting as you understand it, but instead misinterpret and misapply the literal words by giving them a wrong and inappropriate meaning. Right?

  • Jeff

    Correct. I thought we might be on the same page, but I wasn’t sure.

  • LT

    @Jeff,

    To say that YEC is a lie and psuedo-science is, quite frankly, the kind of narrow-minded bigotry that characterized past generations that we should be over by now. It has no place in civil conversation today. The fact is that some YEC’ers do not know what they are talking about, but many do. There is solid science behind what is being taught by YEC. You may simply be speaking out of a lack of knowledge. But hopefully you will become more enlightened.

    As for Gen vs. Rev, your question reveals a lack of knowledge. Genesis 1 is historical narrative, in terms of its literary genre. Rev is apocalyptic, which has significantly different literary cues. Furthermore, most of Revelation has not yet taken place, so it is incorrect to describe it as referring to things in the church age.

    The whole issue comes down to understanding literary genre and the use of language in communication. All literature in the Bible is not to be read alike.

  • Jeff

    LT,

    Please give references to Genesis 1 as being historical narrative (not being facetious, I’ve looked at a lot of places and never seen any of them say that except for another YEC follower).

    Additionally, please give me some examples of YEC research around a testable hypothesis that demonstrates that give evidence that a 6 day creation occurred. As a biologist trained at an Evangelical University (at most Evangelical Universities they teach evolution), I have not encountered this research yet (I’m not saying there isn’t any, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, I just haven’t come across it yet).

    Regarding Rev., you say most of it hasn’t taken place, and I’m saying your contextual reading is mistaken, that generally speaking all (or at least most) is referring to events in the first century–this, as far as I’m aware, is the academic consensus on Revelation. Let me know if you think I’m wrong.

  • EricW

    @ LT: What are your academic credentials or expertise in applicable sciences and Biblical Hebrew that allow you to state what you state about the solid science behind YEC and the genre of the early chapters of Genesis?

  • Holly

    Tonia, indeed we do. I guess that heretics truly do “hang together.” (Insert an ironic Ha Ha here.) Of course, by simply reviewing books that are not YEC (see post prior to this one…) Scot and Jesus Creed would also be considered COMPROMISERS by Ham. Maybe they were next on the list to be EXPOSED as liberal and UnBiblical.

  • LT

    Jeff,

    Forgive me for not having all my notes in front of me since I am at home and unable to get to my office.

    Regarding Gen 1 being historical narrative, just read it with a knowledge of Hebrew. Historical narrative is marked by preterite forms and that’s all Gen 1 is. Poetry has different forms, rarely which involve preterites. In other words, with no need to find poetry in Gen 1, you would not find it. Even Bruce Waltke (who knows a little about Hebrew) said Moses was trying to communicate 24 hour days. And notice that most of the arguments are about why it is not historical narrative. Why would they have to argue that? Because everything in the text says it is, and they have to show that it isn’t. You can read some more on this here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/framework-interpretation-critique-part-one. You can also see in the footnotes some references to the current discussion. This was printed in Coming to Grips with Genesis, a book that needs careful interaction. Regardless of what one thinks about the issue, it is undeniable that this book deserves a place at the table.

    You say you have only seen YECs say this. But why is that a problem? You just discount an viewpoint because it contradicts yours? That is not good methodology. YECs actually can deal with the text differently because they have no preconceptions about what it must say. Not having a need to do away with the historical narrative greatly changes what you see in the text.

    With respect to “testable hypotheses,” it is a misguided question. It is impossible to give scientific evidence for the origin of the world. We can view evidence and then make suggestions about what it tells us. Evolution itself cannot stand the test that you are putting up. There is no testable hypothesis for evolutionary development. It is unfortunate that you are a biologist and uninformed about alternative theories and the massive problems in evolutionary hypotheses. This would be a major failure in your education, if in fact, it is true. The reality is that there is no solid incontrovertible evidence to be against YEC. There is only pressure from secular academia, who themselves can’t answer the questions and in fact keep changing their hypotheses to keep up with new advances.

    Regarding Rev, “academic consensus” is misleading because most of academia does not share solid biblical views. The academy at large is infused with theological liberalism and higher criticism. While that may not be troubling to some, it should be. In evangelical theology, it has been widely held that John was prophetic, written around 95 A.D., and therefore the events were future. It is fairly easy to look around the world for the last two thousand years and see that, even with the most generous symbolism, the events described have not taken place. There is some debate about how and when it will happen. The things that are clear are that it is apocalyptic and that it is highly symbolic. What is less clear is the timing of it. But that doesn’t really apply here since Rev and Gen 1 are obviously two totally different genre.

  • LT

    Eric,

    I don’t think my academic credentials are at issue (even though they include PhD work in OT and Hebrew). I am not asking you to take my word for it. I am simply saying that those with credentials have shown this stuff and too many people are unaware of it. There are legitimate questions about old earth/universe theories. There are things that they cannot and things that contradict their answers. The “head in the sand” mentality won’t work on this type of stuff, IMO.

    Anyone with a reading knowledge of biblical Hebrew (which I read almost every day) can see that Genesis 1 is historical narrative and there are not textual reasons (meaning grammatical or syntactical) to take it any other way. Any other reading of it is driven by something outside the text.

  • EricW

    Thanks, LT. I just wanted to know if you were approaching Genesis 1 via translation and by what others say, or by being able to read the original for yourself. Your Hebrew knowledge greatly exceeds mine. I took a year of BH, but it’s fallen by the wayside, as I’ve spent more time in Koinê Greek.

  • Jeff

    Hi LT,

    Thanks for your response.

    First, I believe you have do have a preconception, which is that the 6 day creation account is historically accurate and that the scientific data must fit this viewpoint or it is wrong or doesn’t exist. That is a big preconception, where if anything doesn’t fit in this paradigm it is false. I used to have the same preconception. I discount the views of other YEC theologians on the historical narrative point because they are confined by the same limitation. In general, I agree with Walton’s view of Genesis (and though I agree that Genesis 1 is not straight up poetry, it certainly seems to have some lyrical qualities to it). I also find Rikk Watt’s view that Genesis 1 attempts to distinguish the God of the Israelites with the Egyptian pantheon to be quite interesting.
    You are right in that asking to put up a testable hypothesis to support creation is misguided, because I expect it to be impossible since it has no basis in science (nonetheless, I don’t know everything so I’m willing to see). However, when you say:
    “It is impossible to give scientific evidence for the origin of the world. We can view evidence and then make suggestions about what it tells us. Evolution itself cannot stand the test that you are putting up.”
    This is shows a lack of understanding of the scientific data. AiG might promote this thinking, but that’s what I’m trying to say is a blatant lie. It’s actually quite disturbing to see how scientifically illiterate many Americans are (especially Christians), and Hamm is partly to blame for this current state of affairs (at least within the Christian community). I remember some years ago I complained to the someone on the Henry Morris website regarding a blatant misreprentation of scientific data, I never heard back. A total lack of integrity. In college (decades ago, now), somebody handed me a Ken Hamm audio tape. I almost vomited after hearing it. I wrote a 17 page document pointing out blatant scientific misrepresentations. I got an “I’ll pray for you in return.” Great, I can use it, but certainly not with regards to my understanding of evolution. I’m well aware of the alternative theories and problems within evolutionary hypotheses (that’s why I took an “Evolutionary Theory” course during my failed education), and so far nothing better exists. It’s alarming that 99.9% (I’m rounding…probably down) of biologists out there have a failed education. Next time you fill an Rx, keep that thought in mind before you pop that pill. Shoot, next time you use the microwave or write an email I would use caution, because the same scientific theories that are the basis for all our modern technologies (love ‘em or hate ‘em) give data convergence to evolution. The scientific method as a process works well to discover realities of the physical world around us. YEC says there is no incontrovertible evidence to be against it, but the scientific mainstream reality is that there is no scientific data to support it, where as every physical and natural science has converging data supporting evolution. I agree that mechanistically speaking there is still much debate with evolution, and if there were a good scientifically validated theory that denied evolution scientists would jump on it because nothing would ensure a scientific career better then starting a major paradigm shift, but so far this has not happened with regards to Evolutionary theory (where “theory” is defined as “A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity” which is the appropriate definition as applied to evolution). We’re in the homeschool crowd. We see kids learning “flood geology” by parents who have no idea that it is scientifically untenable (although there is not much doubt concerning major catastrophic flood event(s) around the Black sea several thousand years ago). It is a catastrophic disservice to their science education, pure and simple, and a cause for loss of Faith once they hit college (I’ve encountered many).
    It’s a little bothersome to me that you think the Bible is immune to higher criticism. Don’t we want to know how best to understand the Bible? I disagree with you that much of Revelation is to occur in the future, and strongly disagree with attempts by Christians to try to figure out those details in advance (God forbid that it become a self fulfilling prophecy). My own understanding is that much of the symbolism in Rev. would have been meaningful t to the persecuted Church at the time it was written, and it was written as an encouragement to keep the Faith (oversimplification, of course).
    In short, I would love to see some proof for a 6 day creation, or even one piece of evidence giving a reason to overturn evolutionary theory (afterall, science by its nature is falsifiable, if a better explanation comes along then what was thought to be the case must be left behind; however, that has not happened in the case of evolution and so it remains scientific “law” when explaining observable patterns of life on earth). Faith was much easier when I saw the world as black and white, in that sense I’m a bit envious of you. Hence, if I ever find some valid data to support a literal 6 day creation, I’ll be the first to jump back on board. However, I expect that this probably won’t happen (20 years and still waiting), that Faith is actually supposed to be really challenging, and that AiG will continue to deceive people with “data” that isn’t honest and misrepresents an overwhelming scientific consensus; but here’s to hope….

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    LT, I know absolutely no Hebrew at all, but the translations of Gen 1 I have seen all have stanzas with similar structure, repetition and wonderfully visual language. If all of that is not present in the original Hebrew then someone is pulling the wool over our eyes in a very big way. That is poetic. Now certainly being poetic does not prove it is not literally true, but to the uneducated me, your claim that it is not poetry grossly lessens your credibility for the reasons I stated above. What am I not seeing? The trees may not be poetic, but the forest certainly is.

  • EricG

    LT,

    Your line to Jeff — “This would be a major failure in your education . . . .” — is the sort of thing that got Ken Ham disinvited in the first place. Let’s avoid the personal attacks, please.

    What is doubly disconcerting here is that you are making this sort of personal attack on someone who appears to be much better versed in the science than the folks who purport to make a “scientific” defense of YEC.

  • LT

    Let me finish with this hopefully:

    Thanks Jeff. Here’s a couple of points though I won’t address all that you say. I think we are at odds here because we have some fundamentally different presuppositions about how to view the Bible and the world.

    1. I do believe in six day creationism because that is what the Bible says and I see no reason to reject that. It is true that the Bible uses symbolism and the like, but there is no evidence that that is the case in Genesis 1. How is it possible that the scientific data contradicts what God says? The options are either we are misunderstanding what God says or misunderstanding the evidence of science. The fact is that if God had intended to communicate an old earth, he could have done that very easily. There are words and constructions for that. But that is not what he said in Genesis 1. We have seen enough misinterpretation of scientific evidence leading to change (as you admit) to know that we can’t trust it. This issue goes to the nature of Scripture, and we apparently do not share a view on that. I don’t know of anything in creation, any actual fact, that contradicts a six day creation. There are a lot of unproven and unprovable hypotheses about it, and there are some severe problems with it which lead to what is essentially fideism—a complete leap of faith. I don’t find that to be a convincing reason to leave the Bible’s language particularly when everything in the material creation is consistent with six day creationism.

    2. The testable hypothesis is inadequate for evolution. I think there are blatant misrepresentations of science on both sides, and always have been. Just remember how much of “old evolutionary science” from previous generations that we now know is false. We should be asking, what is now being taught as fact that will later be revealed to be false? But that question is not being asked enough particularly at low levels of education.

    3. The equation of medicine, microwaves, or technology to origin science is a grossly misleading connection. They are not the same kind of thing in any way.

    4. To call “flood geology” of a world wide flood “scientifically untenable” is an unbelievable statement, both exegetically and in terms of material science. There are things in the world that make no sense without a worldwide catastrophe like a flood, and yet virtually everything we see can be explained by the worldwide catastrophe. So to affirm that there was no worldwide flood is not only biblically unacceptable, it is scientifically unworkable. I would say that is the type of stuff that has no place in scientific education.

    5. There are some major paradigm shifts that some scientists are jumping on like ID and creationism. They are not yet gaining strongholds because of the dogma of the science community. There is tremendous peer pressure which includes public mockery of anyone who questions the dogma. Just look at how you are responding to me—as if I am totally uninformed because I don’t share you view. Now take that into a world of science academia where your living and your public persona is affected. Look at how scientists who have been persuaded by ID are treated (losing their jobs or losing promotions), and you can see why there is reticence to change. I think in time, as science advances, we will see that dogma being challenged and exposed in many ways as we already have seen. There are no “observable patterns of life” that support evolution. It is an untestable hypothesis. There simply are none of these kinds of changes taking place or proven to take place that evolution needs.

    6. I am troubled by higher criticism took a view of the Bible that the Bible did not take of itself. That is a long discussion and this is not a good place to carry that on, but there are numerous people who share my view on that. Higher criticism has been pretty soundly refuted in mainstream evangelicalism. You paint it as either knowing how best to understand the Bible and therefore accepting higher criticism or rejecting higher criticism and not wanting to best understand the Bible. That is a serious logical error. What if best understanding the Bible is rejecting higher criticism? That case has been made (convincingly IMO) by people far smarter than you or I.

    6. I think Revelation was very meaningful to the church when it was written. It gave them hope of a day to come when the Christ in his kingdom destroys all his enemies. The idea that that meant that it was going on then is not supported by the text however. The hope was that they would not suffer and die in vain.

    7. I don’t see the world entirely as black and white, but there are some things that are black and white. You certainly seem to see creation and material science as black and white. All I can say is that you have more faith than I have to believe as you believe.

    Thanks for the exchange. I enjoyed it.

  • LT

    the translations of Gen 1 I have seen all have stanzas with similar structure, repetition and wonderfully visual language. If all of that is not present in the original Hebrew then someone is pulling the wool over our eyes in a very big way. That is poetic.

    Of course there is similar structure. That’s the point. Six days in which the world was created by similar means. It would be expected to be similar in structure.

    But that is not the key to Hebrew poetry. Hebrew poetry is characterized by certain grammatical/syntactical relationships alongside of figures of speech/metaphor/etc. Those are not found in Genesis 1. Poetry in Hebrew is usually very difficult to translate. Any first year Hebrew student can translate Genesis 1 if they have the vocabulary for it.

  • LT

    EricG,

    Are you equally troubled by Jeff’s reference to people who teach flood geology? How is what I said worse than that, apart from being outside of “mainstream science”?

    I made no personal attack. My comments were about the education, not people. I don’t know what Ken Ham actually said. I haven’t seen it. But expression of disagreement should not be considered problematic. We should be able to have a decent exchange of ideas, and I appreciated Jeff’s approach and thought our exchange was respectful.

    My point is that it is a failure of education, particularly at a college/post college level, if alternative views are not well expressed in terms favorable to them, and interacted with fairly.

  • Barry

    “Just look at how you are responding to me—as if I am totally uninformed because I don’t share you view.”

    LT, the reason for this is that you don’t come across as somebody who has spent their time reading peer-reviewed research (even creationist research), you come across as someone who has spent their time listening to Kent Hovind, Carl Baugh, and browsing the apologetics articles on AIG and ICR.

    It is not possible to read even the creationist literature written by those that are trained in the relevant fields (I repeat not the apologetics articles) and come to the conclusions that you do.

    Look at the presentation of Andrew Snelling (flood geologist) at the Sixth International Conference on Creationism in 2008:
    http://www.math.jmu.edu/~rosenhjd/creationism/DSC00413.JPG
    http://www.math.jmu.edu/~rosenhjd/creationism/DSC00412.JPG

    Or read what Todd Wood (YEC biologist) has to say about evolution – http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html

    Neither of those two make the claims that you are making about success of flood geology, or the failure of evolution. Why is that?

  • Barry

    In response to your claim that “The reality is that there is no solid incontrovertible evidence to be against YEC. There is only pressure from secular academia, who themselves can’t answer the questions and in fact keep changing their hypotheses to keep up with new advances.”
    I would like to you to look at this – http://www.reasons.org/special-edition-tnrtb-astronomers-assess-age-universe . It is a discussion between evangelical Christian astronomers and so certainly not members of “secular academia” and their collective assessment of the evidence for the age of the universe. Of particular note are the following remarks;
    “Faulkner does not present evidence for a universe thousands of years old but rather makes claims for isolated inconsistencies in the case for great age.”
    “It is our professional judgment that the weight of the evidence overwhelmingly supports a universe that is billions of years old.”

  • rjs

    LT,

    My point is that it is a failure of education, particularly at a college/post college level, if alternative views are not well expressed in terms favorable to them, and interacted with fairly.

    Exactly. But this is why the science in YEC doesn’t hold up on any level. Not because it isn’t treated fairly but because when it is treated fairly the errors in reasoning are completely obvious.

    Jeff – in his professional training, Dr. Collins in his, and many, many more of us with the training are trying to point this out as patiently and clearly as possible.

  • Phil N

    Dear LT,

    I will grant that your understanding of original languages is greater than mine, but your understanding of the scientific arguments are not. You obviously have specific commitments to Scripture that not all within this dialogue would agree with.

    I would like to know your understanding of Scriptures inspiration and the role of the human writer and world view accommodation if any.

    Which is the greater point of Genesis, a) to explain the wold’s origins or b) to explain God’s working in the newly freed Israelite nation.

    As to the science of flood geology it is just not there. It has a huge mountain to climb. I’m sure you’ve read other works, but the arguments in books such as the “Bible, rocks and time” IMO have not be adequately dealt with at all. T

    I like you and many others here have struggled, read and been educated in some ways on this subject. I’ve wrestled with both scripture and theories of interpretation for 20 years.

    I’ve come to this conclusion, either Genesis is teaching 7 day creation and the physical world looks much older (God is messing with us, but perfectly capable of having created a universe with the appearance of age), or the world is vastly old, beyond my comprehension, and I must realize that YEC is one interpretation of this passage, one that is incorrect and takes scripture literally, but not take science or scripture necessarily seriously.

    What I can’t reconcile at all is any of the scientific data as represented by YEC, it’s just untenable.

  • LT

    Well, I said I was done, but here I am.

    Barry, I don’t think you have understood the point I am making and I will accept responsibility for being unclear or misstating my point unintentionally. I don’t know what claims you think I am making that Snelling or Wood haven’t made. I think creationism, like evolutionism and ID, has a variety of competing views that create intramural debate. I have never heard or read Hovind (all I know about him is that he is not respected at all and is now in prison for tax evasion). I have no idea who Baugh is. I have spent very little time at AIG or ICR websites. I am not a fan of Ham, though in principle I agree with much of what he says in terms of presuppositionalism. In fact, I spent more time at AIG’s website looking for Ham’s position on evolution and salvation then I ever have, I think. It’s just not something I read. In quickly looking at your links, I don’t see anything that I disagree with in the main. Remember my position is about “incontrovertible” evidence. There is debate, and there is a reason for it. When Jeff, a trained biologist, is asking me for the evidence for a YEC position, I am stunned. Now perhaps Jeff only means that he is not convinced by what he has heard, and that’s fine. (Though I wonder if it is equally fine for me to be unconvinced by what I have heard.)

    RJS, In some cases of YEC reasoning, you are correct. But not in all, IMO. My point is not that there are no challenges for YEC and that it has all the answers, but rather that there are also challenges for any old earth view. There is no incontrovertible evidence. It’s not as easy as saying “Evolution is incontrovertibly true.” In a world of quickly developing science, we should maintain a bit of humility about our dogmatism. I think you have a particular bias against YEC that renders you unwilling to affirm anything other than your views. And no doubt you have come by those views honestly. It’s the same reason I reject any attempt to make Genesis 1 anything other than narrative. Having the studied the issue fairly in depth, I have found no substance to any attempts to recharacterize it. I think we all have biases, some are well-studied and others are not.

    PhilN, The Pentateuch was written to Israel. It is not a science textbook and should not be treated as one. At the same time, it should be believed for what it says. I don’t think we should pit the origins of the world against God’s working in Israel as the purpose of the Pentateuch. I think the point is that Israel is God’s people and this world is God’s world because he created it. It is not an accidental universe.

    Your comment on “human writer/worldview” looks like an attempt to invoke Enns’ and others argument. I don’t buy it. I didn’t buy it when Enns’ tried to defend in I&I. I am surprised at the accolades that book received. I didn’t think it was a good effort.

    I don’t have a problem with an earth created with an appearance of age. In fact, I think we should expect that based on Genesis 1.

    I think God inspired human authors, that they did write from the worldview they lived in, but what they said was true. The Scripture is ultimately the product of God and therefore bears the nature of his truth in the whole and in the part. I think the accommodation argument works only in some cases where there is clarity. But the idea that the Pentateuch is somehow written primarily as an apologetic against false gods from the perspective of a polytheistic world is not adequate, IMO.

    I am not even a crusader about this. I am a young earth creationist because I think it makes the best sense of all the evidence as I understand it. I think OEC (or the variations of it) leave too many questions unanswered. But the reality is that I haven’t talked about this topic this much in years. In fact, in the last conversation I had about it with someone, they expressed dismay that I wasn’t more firm on it than I am.

    I think we do have to affirm God’s creative work—-that everything comes from God. We may disagree on the methods or timing of that.

    I will close with this:

    1. I think the major theological problem for an old earth view is the problem of death. If death comes before sin, then there are major theological issues that I have seen no answer for.

    2. I think we have to affirm a historical Adam and Eve as progenitors of the human race, and somehow, in the process, they have to be supernaturally invested with the image of God.

    Thanks to all for the exchange.

  • Jeff

    Hi LT,
    I know you said you are done, but I still feel compelled to respond (if its any consolation, I end with a smiley face).
    1. Classically, these exchanges end the same way every single time, “this is what the Bible says.” As you well know, the Bible says a lot of things, many of them I’m quite sure you don’t do or follow. The Bible says contradictory things about the birth narratives which require significant harmonization to make them compatible (which I’m not sure is really appropriate). Even Gen. 1 and 2 requires harmonization, and keep in mind that as “the fall” is described, it would require an extraordinary act of evolution to make that work (lions wouldn’t do well on a veg. diet). In any case, though you are well educated in ancient Hebrew, etc., I would contend that your view is not the mainstream view (including among believers). I could be wrong, and I’m not going to go searching for facts because, well, I don’t care that much. Suffice it to say I find it dangerous that you seem to insist on Evangelical scholars that “agree” with your world view. It makes the distinction that if it doesn’t come from an Evangelical, it is isn’t correct, which I personally find to be a narrow bias (but it will leave your Faith in tact, I grant you that). Additionally, we know the Hebrews had some fundamentally flawed understandings regarding the natural world (and why wouldn’t they, and why would God care?). If Genesis 1 is historical narrative then they got it wrong as far as scientific history; however, I would not expect God to reveal an accurate scientific understanding of the Universe to them because it would be irrelevant, quite frankly (would it really be necessary for God to reveal evidence for multiple mass extinctions over the course of geologic time?). Nor would I expect God to give a 6 day creation account which must be believed as literal history (to be a “legitimate” follower) and yet set up the entire Universe and world to appear that it is an old earth and life evolved, because it would be a deceptive act on the part of God.
    2. Regarding Blatant misrepresentations of science, nobody would deny that this has occurred (shamefully). However, science is self correcting because the methods involved must be reproducible, one can’t scam it for long without being called on it. I’m not sure what “old evolutionary science” you’re referring to? In any case, science shouldn’t be taught as a bunch of facts, it should be taught as a process, a way of thinking, observing, asking relevant questions and determining ways to find relevant answers using the appropriate controls. At a certain point theories (hypotheses) become accepted as “Theory” (2 definitions of theory here)–explanatory because they have withstood repeated experimentation. As stated previously, I’m waiting for even one piece of data suggesting otherwise as far as the 6 day creation goes.
    3. The equation of medicine, microwaves, and technology (etc.) to evolution is not as misleading as you might think. All of the physical, biological, and chemical sciences involved in the various technologies we take for granted today are at play or have been employed in multiple fields of scientific inquiry which consistently yield data supporting evolution. People generally fail to realize the amount of data available that is out there. For crying out loud, the biogeography of beetle fossils can give good pictures of climate tens of thousands of years back; take this one small data stream and add to it all the converging lines of evidence across all the sciences and the picture is overwhelming. And yet the creationist feels that it is somehow acceptable to discount the work of thousands upon thousands of scientists because we must have “failed educations” since the scientific conclusions don’t fit the Fundamentalist world view? If the doctor says you have a mole that might be cancerous, do you ignore him/her? Though I don’t agree with some of your conclusions or interpretations, I’ll grant you the courtesy that you know ancient Hebrew a heck of a lot better than I do. I’m all for questioning scientists and the science they produce (and nobody will do it more than another scientist), but to teach kids that scientists are all just wrong when it comes to evolution because it doesn’t support the 6 day creation, that we must have no idea what we’re talking about? Really?
    4. Flood geology (as in Noah’s flood) is untenable. Occasional catastrophic floods occur (e.g. Black sea, Columbia River Basin, etc.); however, the 1 world flood is not supported by any viable evidence that I’m aware of (I’ll change my mind when they find the Ark, but seriously, I’m more than open to good data, but I believe the sorts of things you’ll find on AiG are DOA).
    5. Regardless of the source, I am not aware of any biologists or other “long earth” proponents that are jumping on creationism. It has a very small list of supporters who generally do not have expertise in the most relevant fields to evolutionary discovery. There are a couple of “headscratchers” that conform their “science” to fit their worldview; but to say this is a minority of scientists is an understatement. ID is a slap in the face to creationists, and scientists are not jumping on that bandwagon. Examples of irreducible complexity have been and will be refuted (keep in mind, I believe there was intelligence behind our design, and maybe God even “played God” with how He manipulated evolutionary events (this is not available to scientific investigation). Scientific dogma is not the problem, the issue is whether or not these questions are open to scientific inquiry, and science can only deal with the natural world. Problems creep in when people try to get science to do things that it cannot. To say there are no “observable patterns of life” represents, and no offense here as you’re not the only one, a total lack of understanding of genetics and molecular biology (and their interactions with the various fields that I will include under “ecology”). The patterns are awe inspiringly overwhelming. However, I can’t do the argument justice here so I will have to leave you on your own. You make reference to the documentary “expelled…”. There is an understory there worth review: http://www.expelledexposed.com/ In anycase, the courts dealt appropriately with ID (a conservative Christian judge, I believe).
    6. From Dictionary.com :Higher criticism: the study of the Bible having as its object the establishment of such facts as authorship and date of composition, as well as determination of a basis for exegesis.” Why would Evangelicals try to refute that? Don’t we want the Bible to have credibility to the nonbeliever? Maybe we have different definitions here. I took a course from one of the translators of Mark for the NIV who was also very Evangelical, he would not have shared your views on this matter, I believe.
    7. Sigh, if only science were more black and white, then maybe my experiments would work more often. :-) BTW, I’m fine with “failed education.” I’ve been called a heretic and infidel by another YEC, so by those standards you’re being gracious. :-)

  • LT

    Only one note (I promise). I did not refer to Expelled. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know anything about it.

  • DRT

    LT, what would you consider to be incontrovertible evidence (that is what you said would convince you)? There is no such thing.

  • Virologist

    Ken Ham says that those who believe in evolution are compromisers. He claims they are either lying to fit in, or truly believe it because they are in rebellion against God. Anyone who believes in evolution, according to Ham, is a heretic. Those who teach evolution would then be teaching heresy.

    It is not unreasonable that many assume that Ham is saying people who believe in evolution are not Christian, since many believe those in rebellion against God and teaching heresy cannot be Christians. Ken Ham has repeatedly said that evolutionists can be Christian. Following this logic, he is saying, you can be purposefully attacking God and spreading heresy and still be Christian.

  • Virologist

    Though I think his rhetoric is bad, it isn’t the biggest problem with Ham. His tendency of using deceit, half-truths, and sometimes lies to support his case is a problem and should merit dismissal.

    For example, in one of his videos, he uses an edited clip of Expelled to try to show that Richard Dawkin’s (who of course represents the entire scientific community) believes we were created by aliens. He has been told this is not accurate. Dawkin’s has publicly refuted this claim, but Ham continues to show it anyway.

    Another example. He and his partner Jason Lisle claim that a single base-pair difference in DNA is incapable of creating new information (this depends on how you define information). Then they say scientists have never been able to show that a “single point mutation” creates new information (by Ham’s definition). They ignore the fact that point mutations (changes in single base pairs) are not the only kind of mutation. The comment is also qualified as “single” so he ignores the fact that point mutations can accumulate. They then go on as if “single point mutations” were the only kind of mutation and therefore mutations cannot lead to new information. His choice of words makes it clear that he is trying to deceive without actually lying, but I believe to intentionally deceive is to lie.

    Do we really want these men writing science curriculum for our kids, when they are known to intentionally misrepresent science. Note that I’m not bashing creationism, only saying that it is wrong to distort science to fit one’s worldview.

  • John I.

    Jeff, good post (#121 on my screen) generally, except that examples of irreducible complexity have not been refuted, but rather have become more problematic, as well as grown in number. I don’t see why I, or anyone else, should be biased one way or the other about irreducible complexity, unless one has a prior commitment to materialism (and not necessarily even then). It’s a concept, it could be true, it’s worth investigating. Why preempt investigation of that concept?

    John I.

  • John I.

    Re LT’s post #113 (on my screen), “4. To call “flood geology” of a world wide flood “scientifically untenable” is an unbelievable statement, both exegetically and in terms of material science. There are things in the world that make no sense without a worldwide catastrophe like a flood, and yet virtually everything we see can be explained by the worldwide catastrophe.”

    Each proposition in that statement is incorrect, some demonstrably and incontrovertibly so–for reasons that make YEC statements inexplicable to me. YECs attempt to use the findings of the physical sciences to overturn science, but in so doing they have to make the the same basic assumptions as “secular” scientists in order to use that science. Water and particulates demonstrably do not settle in the manner hypothesized by so-called flood geologists–unless one makes additional hypothetical assumptions that particulates behave differently during super-massive floods. However, they do demonstrably settle in the manner, and over the time periods, that we see in sedimentary rock.

    There is nothing, that I’m aware of, that can only be explained by a super-massive global flood. In addition, there is nothing that exists that can be explained by such superj-massive flood. There is nothing in the physical world that even remotely suggests a super-massive global flood, and no accredited geologist would ever contemplate it or see a need to investigate it apart from a precommitment to certain propositions.

    One cannot start from the data and relationships amoung materials that one observes in the hard sciences and then end up moving in any way toward a super-massive global flood. If one accepts how science is done in the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.), then the use of such science will simply never lead to such a flood.

    One can only get to a flood by using unwarranted speculations, by filling in gaps in our knowledge with unreasonable assumptions that over egg the pudding in favour of the desired conclusion, by ignoring or improperly minimizing contrary data, and by over-emphasizing data that could be construed (but only under certain and speculative) as favourable.

    Furthermore, it is not science to start with a predefined conclusion and then go looking for data and hypotheses that may support it; and rejecting data and hypotheses that don’t fit, on the basis and faith (i.e., not belief but faith) that further work will disconfirm the contrary data and confirm the favourable data.

    Sure, one can conduct investigations in that manner, and even make scientific findings that can be confirmed properly, but such investigations are not science by any stretch of current or historical definitions of science. It will not do to call one’s predefined conclusion as a “hypothesis” because there is no data that can discomfirm a conclusion that is accepted as an uncontrovertibel fact on non-scientific grounds (e.g., religious or faith-based grounds).

    John I.

  • Jeff

    Hi John,

    Thanks. The reason I claimed that “examples” of irreducible complexity have been refuted largely comes from work done on the flagellum (for a description see the following link, and it has references to the actual studies) where they showed that it wasn’t irreducibly complex. I expect other examples will be forthcomig (I think one already has, but it escapes me). Regardless, irred. comp. is an argument not from negative data, but from the absence of data, which is a bit risky to stake much of a claim on in my opinion. That said, one can still make the claim. However, the only thing science can do is investigate it from a point of naturalism (that is a limitation of science). Until there is data to suggest otherwise, the scientist would presume a naturalistic explanation has not yet been found (and since we can’t necessarily imagine every structure that might have existed it may not ever be found). That said, the scientist who is also a theologian is welcome to suggest that “God did it” until the data suggests otherwise. Ultimately, since evolutionary mechanisms (which I’m happy to say God created, but that is not a useful scientific statement) are in place for molecular evolution, I’m not very satisfied by irreducible complexity, just seems generally inconsistent to me (and almost a bit of a copout).

    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

    Regarding “Virologist’s” post in 125, he/she highlights some of the lies and dishonesty used by Ham. In fact, a single base pair change can indeed add a lot of information. If a codon (made of 3 DNA base pairs–a base pair being the smallest unit of information of DNA, a codon “codes” for an amino acid which is one unit in a string of amino acids to make a protein (there are 20 canonical amino acids)) is mutated in the 3rd position it won’t always cause a mutation, but if the 1st or 2nd position is mutated it will cause an amino acid substitution. This in and of itself may do nothing, or it could have a postive or deleterious change (and I’m speaking of that organism just in the present and not accumulated changes over time).

    A child who inherits two sickle cell genes (a single amino acid change caused by a single DNA point mutation in beta-hemoglobin) has sickle cell anemia. A child who gets one copy of the sickle gene and a normal copy does generally not have disease but does have a survival benefit if the individual contracts Malaria Falciparum. This is a classic example of a site specific mutation and its consequences.

    http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/scd_background.html

  • John I.

    Re #128 and “the only thing science can do is investigate it from a point of naturalism”. I respectfully disagree and suggest that research on the mind and brain that takes only a view of naturalism is both deficient and inaccurate and has in fact led to hypotheses, conclusions, and speculations that are widely off the mark.

    It is not scientifically incorrect to investigate whether intelligence has had an impact on the development of life on earth over time, and if so when and how. Consequently irreducible complexity would be an indicator of the impact of intelligence and not a cop out.

    Since this is a thread about YEC style creationism and the disinviting of its currently most influential proponent, it is not a place for a more in depth discussion of the evolution (or not) of the flagellum. Hence I will only register my disagreement with Jeff by stating that no adequate evolutionary mechanism for the flagellum has been provided and it remains an example of irreducible complexity.

    My complaint, which applies (though differently) to both Ham and the type of science advocated by so-called naturalists, is that science does not operate adequately where streams or areas of research are eliminated or pooh-poohed for ideological reasons.

    Ham’s approach and outbursts indicate an ideological bent that is decidedly and consciously non-scientific. It therefore seems entirely appropriate to disinvite such a person to speak at an educational conference of any type. That his / AIG’s materials are actually used to educate substantial (?) numbers of christian children is horrifying.

    John I.

  • John I.

    Re posts 107 & 113 by LT.

    I used to have a reading knowledge of Hebrew (though it was Israeli and only a little of the ancient), but I don’t see that as necessarily essential to identifying the nature of the literature in early Genesis. One need not classify it as formally structured poetry to note that it is not typical narrative either. Users of genres do not restrict themselves to rigidly demarcated formal structures when writing or speaking, in any language.

    Nevertheless, apart from the possibility of sensus plenior wherein God’s intention is not to indicate 144 consecutive hours of creation, I do readily agree that Moses and Noah et al. most likely did believe that God did it thusly (in 144 hours). However, they also believed that the world was flat, the sky had a hard dome holding back water, that the earth had four corners, that the earth was the centre of the universe, and that the sun circled the earth–and that such meanings are what they intended when such passages were written in the Bible.

    That is, without special pleading one cannot have a 144 hour creation without also having the sun circle the earth.

    Special pleading is inappropriate in science and science education. Moreover, it is inappropriate to make scripture fit into a particular straitjacket or grid, and then use that grid to define the acceptable conclusions of science. Science is not acceptable because of the conclusions it reaches, but is acceptable because of how it reaches those conclusions.

    I don’t believe in 144 hour creation because that is clearly not what the Bible says. It has always seemed pretty obvious to me that one cannot have days and nights before the sun was created. Now one can provide all sorts of data and reasoning in regard to that issue, but if I just read the English simpliciter, that’s what I get. Of course my views are now much deeper and more nuanced than that, but my point is that the 144 hour view cannot be claimed as the only, or even most, commonsensical.

    John I.

  • Jeff

    John,

    I respect your point of view, and I recognize the ongoing debate with regards to the flagellum, though in my personal opinion (leaving the realm of science) the mechanisms for flagellar evolution are being realized, but time will ultimately tell.

    Regardless, I would still contend that science can draw no conclusions on intelligence and design (of life), and that to do so is instead an inference (or better word of your choice). We are free to infer anything we want, but that asking whether or not God designed a particular structure is not a testable hypothesis. Anything that may have only happened once and can’t be repeated cannot be tested and controlled for and thus remains outside of the scope of science. It is a limitation of science, not necessarily the original concept. However, as with everything, I am not completely aware of all there is to know on the matter (although I think there is scripture somewhere that says we shouldn’t test God :-)).

    I don’t disagree with your comments on mind/brain research, but would still suggest that science has limitations (and perhaps that should be strongly mentioned before people draw conclusions regarding this research).

  • John I.

    I believe that we’re essentially on the same page. In geology, for example, it is impossible to construct a multi-million year experiment using billions of tons of sediment to see if sedimentary rock indeed forms according to scientific theories. Consequently, much of the theory and conclusions in geography are inferred using logic and appropriate reasoning based on observation and smaller scale experiments. And yes, that is somewhat like evolutionary theory, but geology is inherently more mechanical, and there is next to none of the sort of theoretical and other disputes that plague evolutionary biology.

    Given that science is not only hypothesis testing, but includes other forms and means for ascertaining capital “T” truth, it is not wrong to draw inferences about the impact of intelligence (as is done, for example, in archeology). It is emphatically not about asking whether or not God designed a structure.

    Therefore, if one finds a structure (flagella, DNA, etc.) that bears the hallmarks of design, then it is a worthwhile endeavour to investigate whether the structure was intentionally designed or whether the structure can be accounted for on other grounds.

    What is unscientific and merely ideological is to rule out apriori the worth of even asking the question, let alone the worth of investigating it. The YECs have such an approach, it would be terrible if the wider world of science regularly followed them in this regard. Fortunately, the world of science is infested with the rebellious, the obstinate, the visionary and the eccentric and does not have a magesterium that rules on what is acceptable before its even investigated (unlike, of course, the “liar” and “compromiser” finding wannabe magesterium of AIG).

    John I.

  • Jeff

    Hi John,

    Yeah, we’re on the same page. Maybe not in the same paragraph, but close enough. :-)

  • John I.

    Question:

    If, given the scientific methodologies that they (YECs) accept, YECs do not take comfort in data that provides evidence for a billions of years old earth but rather challenge it

    Then why should they take any comfort when science appears to support their pet theory?

    If the bottom line is their interpretation of the Bible, why does science even matter to them? Logically, it can’t matter because regardless of what science finds it can’t contradict their interpretation. Given that their interpretation has that sort of ultimate primacy, science can neither confirm nor disconfirm the interpretation.

    Consequently, isn’t the entire AIG site just a giant exercise in simultaneous sucking and blowing?

    It seems to me that the practitioners of this variety of suck/blow art form are really only living in a cultural hangover of from historic over-imbibing in modernist and postivist theories of truth and the natural world. And every time someone tells them to “get with the program”, they pull out the one from their 1954 highschool sock-hop.

    John I.

  • Jeff

    My opinion, but the cost of the energy used to maintain the entirety of the AiG website that is out there on some server would be better spent on toasting bread. Part of a balanced breakfast with less damage to the integrity of the Gospel.

  • Holly

    John I, Jeff,

    Re. Above….

    I know. It is depressing.

    It’s not just Ken Ham, though…there are several promininent organizations that teach 6 day Creationism as foundational to the Christian faith who publish textbooks. Not a one of them deals with actual, current science. They spend a lot of time dissing Darwin, and refuting old arguments (that the rest of the world has moved on from)but never touch the new discoveries in the scientific world that have taken place since the decoding of the human genome. Ken Ham is simply the most vocal and the most insulting, and, the best selling.

    I struggle, really…I do not like to be unkind and this just feels like it goes against my personal grain to even say anything about another Christian. But I am 14 years into this grand (and rewarding) experiment of home education – and it is a real struggle to find good scientific material. I’m willing to put up with that, to do the extra work that it takes so that my children don’t grow up feeling like I’ve deceived them or cheated them…but the group think and the toxic climate that have taken over the homeschooling “science” world are discouraging. Worth speaking about, I think. It’s like screaming when someone has you pinned to the ground with their foot on your neck.

  • Jeff

    Hi Holly,

    I totally get your situation. We had a “science” speaker come to our kid’s Christian homeschool co-op awhile back. He had a doctorate in Christian apologetics from a nonaccredited institution. He presented “data” for a 6 day creation that astronomy had solidly refuted 30+ years ago, and for some reason he was considered an authority on this subject?

    I don’t like to disparage other Christians (anybody, for that matter), but at a certain level this trash (creationism) that we’re teaching our kids harms the Gospel, and harms not only the education of our kids, but ultimately it could destroy their Faith and/or their ability to communicate it effectively to the world. A “Christian Worldview” built on lies is oxymoronic, but that’s what’s happening. To be honest, I’ve seen this topic reach almost a cult like status, and it is very disturbing. At some point, we have to say something and call the deceivers out for what they are doing (whether they know they are being deceptive or not).

    Additionally, if this segment of Christianity can so easily be manipulated by outright lies (because they want to believe them), it makes one wonder who else is trying to push an agenda on these people using similar tactics?


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