David MacMillan: Ham's Ark Embraces Evolution

Well, there are two answers to this.

The first is that it doesn’t matter. We would not countenance a trip to visit the Museum of Vaccine Injuries that promoted David Avocado Wolfe chocolates and flat earth theory, no matter how much of a “cultural experience” it was, unless students were clearly, unambiguously, and openly instructed that the trip was intended to demonstrate the dangers of pseudoscientific thinking. An “educational” trip must have more educational value than proselytic value, even if it is absurd proselytism.

The second answer is that they have gotten a lot better. Like, a LOT better. They have a very convincing line (applicable to virtually every question) that goes something like this: “Well, some scientists have decided X, but other scientists have decided Y. The scientists that have decided X have support from powerful interests, so scientists that support Y have difficulty researching or expressing their views. Have you read all the writings of everyone that has supported Y? There are hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed creationist journals that address all the misconceptions and assumptions of X, and unless you’ve read them all, you can’t really criticize us, can you? We’re not saying it’s provable, but it’s a reasonable alternative, and that’s all we’re really claiming.”

Go to the Creation Museum (I can get you in for free) and shadow a family of believers working their way through it. It’s depressing.

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Ken Ham is not stupid. I would call him foolish. But yes, he is very sly.

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I used to write for Answers In Genesis and I mowed lawns to raise money for the Creation Museum. I was 16.

I lied about the discovery of Tiktaalik and its implications, on my blog, when I was 17.

I set out to get a hard science degree (inspired, in a large degree, by creationist PhDs like Jay Wile and Jason Lisle) so I could help defend creationism, and in doing so, argued myself out of creationism. And so here I am, a decade and change later. I’ve been to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter since (in fact, I even took my kids to the Creation Museum, as inoculation against pseudoscience).

And as far as hidden states of mind are concerned…I know Byers and Ham and Hodge very well.

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Why did you lie? What convinced you to do this? What was your lie?

Would you mind sharing that blog, if it still exists? That would be an interesting contrast.

He’s a good old fashioned con artist in the mold of P.T. Barnum.

I very much disagree. Ken Ham is, rather, an effective showman who appears to buy what he is selling.

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Ham has had his nonsense corrected a hundred times over in the last decades and still keeps pushing the same misrepresentations and outright lies about evolutionary science. Those aren’t the actions of an honest man.

But from Ham’s point or view, it’s excellent business strategy.

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A very effective lying con man is still a lying con man. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I agree that creationism grows increasingly less viable and fewer and fewer students accept it.

Doesn’t mean it should be presented as even remote possibility as part of public education.

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@David_MacMillan Great to have an Ex-YEC Law student here at PS. We talk about Church/state separation issues a lot here. Are you aware of the legal work of FFRF.org? Andrew Siedel is one of their bright young star Constitutional Attorneys. Would be a great place to go for an internship if you like the Church/State Separation area of the US Constitution.

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Another win for 1st Amendment

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I think you’re both right at some level. I think Ham genuinely believes in a YEC interpretation of the bible, but I also think he has to know that at least some of the arguments he trots out to support YECism are false. Sort of a “it’s OK as long as I’m lying for a good cause” mentality.

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I think this is not necessarily lying. It is equivalent to simplyfying. @T_aquaticus often says that life falls into nested classes. This is false. Life falls into imperfectly nested clades. @T_aquaticus knows this too. Is he lying? No. He is over simplifying.

I do think this is oversimplification and do not advised it, however, is not really fair to call it lying.

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Always worth quoting:

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Very few of the false arguments Ham endorses that I’m thinking of could be chalked up to “simplifying”.

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I have encountered a few who when confronted with an obvious falsehood will claim that lying in defense of the Bible is not a sin. That’s not a quote, but my recollection of what was said. There was one I caught making stuff up as he went along, and he admitted to it.

I don’t think this happens a lot, but it’s hard to really know.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Byers’ Notion of Kinds

Ken Ham responds to canceled trip:

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