As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog questioning the sanity of Ken Ham (found here), I have compiled a list of the essential arguments put forth by Ken during his debate with Bill Nye. While it seems at first viewing that he commands a dizzying array of arguments, they are mostly rephrased or derivative versions of the same few silly assertions. Distilled below is pretty much the entire Creationist repertoire that he repeats over and over in different ways with great airs of authority. I added my own
sometimes mostly snarky rebuttals. Feel free to use these when you feel compelled to respond quickly to friends or coworkers who repeat these delusional arguments.
Man is not the ultimate authority. God is.
Science agrees that man is not the ultimate authority. It simply acknowledges that verifiable and reproducible facts are.
Science has been hijacked by secularists.
Ballsy try, but it’s clearly the other way around, with creationists like Ken desperately trying to gain legitimacy by donning the mantle of science.
Some scientists are creationists.
Ken repeatedly attempts to argue by authority by trotting out testimonials from scientists who share his delusions. Yes a very few scientists are creationists – and some priests are child-molesters. What does that prove except that some priests can be immoral and some scientists can be crazy? By the way, I sincerely doubt that he would accept the literal belief of a few demented Hindi scientists as proof that the universe was created by Brahma.
Interpretations depend upon your presuppositions.
Absolutely, and the scientific method is the only method we have to prove or disprove those presuppositions. But science doesn’t start by proudly proclaiming its presupposition that the bible is the inerrant and irrefutable source of all truth.
The bible predicts things and we see them actually confirmed.
No surprise when you proclaim anything you choose in the bible to be “symbolic” and then take license to interpret those symbols however necessary to confirm your desired predictions. Nostradamus made many more correct predictions than the bible.
How could we have logic without god if we are just random?
This is a centuries-old argument that is unworthy of a first-year philosophy class. The cosmos is not random and logic has no need for god when it can depend upon physical laws and causality.
Observational science is legitimate but Historical science is not.
There is no such distinction except within Ken Ham’s addled brain. He simply fabricated this artificial distinction to dismiss any science he does not like. Science is science. But when you try to understand what qualifies as ‘Observational’ science and what qualifies as “Historical” science, you quickly see that the only criterion is whatever Ken Ham wants to believe. Anything he agrees with is by his definition the good “Observational” science. Anything he wants to deny is by his definition illegitimate “Historical” science.
You must understand that parts of the bible are Literal and other parts are Poetic.
Just as he dismisses any science he finds inconvenient as “Historical,” he conveniently dismisses anything in the bible he disagrees with as “Poetic” while anything he chooses to believe is “Literal.” It must be very convenient when you can define reality based on whatever you want to believe. But that is also the unmistakable hallmark of delusion and even insanity.
The evolutionary tree should really be organized into Kinds.
Another way Mr. Ham attempts to redefine reality to fit his insanity is in his concept of biological “Kinds.” This is a cornerstone fabrication by Mr. Ham. By imposing his completely artificial notion of “Kinds” of species as a starting point, he is then able to make ridiculous claims and suggest completely contrived flaws in evolutionary theory. By starting with his “Kinds” construct, he is then able to argue that Noah could reasonably have carried every “Kind” of animal in the Arc, that the species diversity we see today could have plausibly arisen out of his “Kinds,” and that there is no evidence of his “Kinds” evolving into another “Kind,” thus denying the evolution of species. This is of course all utter nonsense, but if he can get people to accept his premise of “Kinds” as a starting point, then he can get them to follow him down this rabbit hole into Alice in Wonderland-land. The Mad Hatter was quite inventive and clever.
You can’t know that what is true today was true in the past.
Only if you are delusional. We actually do know that the laws of chemistry and physics apply always and everywhere in our universe without exception.
You didn’t observe the past directly so you can’t know anything about it.
So then Ken can’t know anything about his family history by leafing through a photo album – he didn’t observe the events directly after all. The simple truth is that we can and do know a tremendous amount about the past. We can observe the past directly just by looking into space after all. Or we can simply study all the evidence just lying all around us like little fossilized photographs.
Dating methods don’t agree.
Technically true, but still an obvious lie. Any differences between various scientific dating methods are minuscule compared to their vast disagreement with biblical claim of 6,000 years.
Can you name one piece of technology that could only have been developed starting with a belief in molecules-to-man evolution?
This is a red-herring, an invalid diversionary question. But sure we’ll play this game. How about clones, genetically modified foods, transgenic plants and animals, hybrid species, designer bacteria, and an exploding number of patents for new life forms? The list goes on and on.
You can’t prove any instance of a new trait appearing that wasn’t already there.
If Ken merely did a simple Google search of popular articles, he might find “10 Astounding Cases of Modern Evolution” reported by Popular Science (found here). There are thousands of such examples including the sudden development of new survival traits amongst bedbugs here in New York City. But this is yet another red-herring since most changes are incredibly tiny and only accumulate into observable traits after exceedingly long periods of time.
I hope this summary helps you to recognize and respond to these laughably fallacious sorts of arguments that some Creationists put forth. Unfortunately, guys like Ken are practiced at making themselves appear to be scientifically literate and they do appear to cite a plethora of legitimate arguments raising doubt in the science of evolution, but in reality they offer only smoke floating on air.