Leading creationist Ken Ham claims that teaching children the science of evolution is “intellectual child abuse.”
Ham, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, used his Facebook page earlier this week to rail against teaching children the science of evolution, arguing that teaching students that humans are “animals in an evolutionary process” is “intellectual child abuse.”
Commenting on a speaking engagement in front of 1,000 children in Alabama, Ham writes:
Intellectual child abuse: when kids are taught they’re just animals in an evolutionary process. This morning I taught kids the creation/gospel message!
The young people today in Alabama learned they’re not made in the image of an ape — they’re created in the image of God.
Obviously Ham is wrong. Teaching children the science of evolution is not intellectual child abuse, it is education.
However, teaching children Biblical creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is a form of child abuse. In fact, top scientists like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss have been strong advocates for children, and against the teaching of creationism, even going so far as to argue that teaching children creationism is a form of child abuse.
Indeed, many reasonable people argue that children should be allowed to develop as critical thinkers and be protected from the kind of pernicious religious indoctrination advocated by Ham and his fellow creationists.
It is ironic that Ham would claim that teaching children the science of evolution is intellectual child abuse, given the fact that many accuse Ham and his followers of the same thing. Those familiar with psychology may suspect that Ham is guilty of projection, accusing legitimate science educators of intellectual child abuse while denying the fact that in reality he is guilty of intellectual child abuse by teaching children a demonstrably false account of reality based on Biblical creationism.
Perhaps more important, Ham is so blinded by religious superstition that he honestly believes that it is better for children to think that they are born flawed and broken, and subject to eternal torture; rather than think that they are simply part of the natural world, like all the other animals.
Bottom line: Teaching children the science of evolution is not child abuse, but teaching children Biblical creationism as science does constitute “intellectual child abuse.”