Evolutionists Roast Ham


Thanks to the brilliant Matt Stopera, we also have a series of 22 questions evolution-believers would like to ask Ken Ham.

[If you’re just joining us, you can catch up on the details of the Ham-on-Nye debate here; some analysis here; and some of Stopera’s creationist questions here.]

As a preamble, let me remind readers that I am a “self-identified evolutionist” myself, so my comments here will be more along the lines of family disagreements than were my comments about the creationists’ questions.

I cringe the most when I see the snark inherent in some of these questions.  Worst of all, one questioner asked about the Flintstones.  This kind of question just poisons the well.  If I were a young-earth creationist reading this, it would reassure me that everything I believed about mainstream intellectual/scientific culture is correct. First, this kind of question demonstrates a determinedly hostile attitude toward creationist belief.  Second, it implies that creationists believe things they don’t really believe.  Third, it doesn’t demonstrate any knowledge about evolution or science, only a knowledge of kitschy old TV cartoons.  Finally, it proves that only creationists are willing to talk politely and civilly to those with whom they disagree.  As Ken Ham tried to prove in the debate itself, many creationists believe that evolution believers are “indoctrinated” into believing evolution by fake science that has “hijacked” the name science for its own anti-God purposes.  Closed-minded burns like this Flintstones question demonstrate first and foremost–to any intelligent creationist–that Ham was right.  Evolution, this question implies, is something we’re not even willing to talk about.  All we can do is make fun of those with whom we disagree.  A shameful repudiation of liberal civil values.

Also sad, some questioners chose to make only assertions.  One woman wrote happily, “Science rules!”  Not exactly a proud demonstration of the clear intellectual superiority of the modern evolutionary synthesis.

Happily, other evolutionists asked better questions.  The best point Nye made during the debate, IMHO, was the irrefutability of the fossil record.  Find a single exception, Nye repeated, and you’ll convince me.  The evidence is clear.  Several questioners challenged Ham to address that issue more clearly and directly.

Other evolutionists, surprisingly, focused on religious themes.  As one guy put it, “What’s with all the raping and pillaging, God?”  Now, this doesn’t have anything to do with evolution directly, but I think religious questions are the proper field of discussion here, not scientific ones.  It makes the most sense to me for evolutionists to challenge creationists–especially Ham’s brand of young-earth creationist–on the theological and logical problems with the religious attitudes at the heart of YEC.  Why should we believe in a six-day creation, in other words, and not the rest of the Old Testament?  Of course, intelligent YECs have answers to those questions, but by asking religious questions, IMHO, we keep this discussion where it properly belongs.

Stoperas HamOther questions seem less well thought out.  One person asked, for example, how one could doubt evolution, since there were entire disciplines devoted to it?  That seems like an ignorant question to me.  Why would anyone assume that something that gets studied a great deal must be true?  The history of science can give us plenty of examples of radically untrue notions that attracted lots of academic attention: quantity of angels on pins, phlogiston, phrenology…the list could go on and on.

Some smart questions demonstrated a more understandable ignorance.  One person, for instance, asked, “How can you deny microevolution?”  A good question, but one that shows a lack of knowledge about today’s young-earth creationism.  Creationist scientists these days are actually some of the most ardent advocates of the distinction between “micro-” and “macro-” evolution.  Creationists eagerly agree that microevolution occurred.  In the debate, Ham referred to this as the changing of God’s original “kinds.”

Finally, several of the questions asked about educational issues, the questions near and dear to our hearts here at ILYBYGTH.  Some were silly, such as one who said he required his textbooks to be newer than 4,000 years old.  This is not only silly in the obvious sense that creationists use lots of new textbooks, but in the deeper sense that YECs would call the Bible a “textbook” only in a unique sense.  The Bible to many YECs is indeed a storehouse of knowledge, but it is much more than that.  As Ham argued in the debate proper, the Bible has a unique status, something much more than a textbook.

Another made the great argument, “Keep religion out of my science classes!”  Even better would be if this person added, “Keep YOUR religion out of my science classes.”  This is indeed a strong point.  Whatever one may say about it, even Ken Ham agrees that YEC is a belief based in religion.  Indeed, he goes through verbal (and mental) gymnastics in his efforts to prove that evolution is also a religion.  Both sides agree, though, that science classes in public schools ought not teach religion.  And intelligent YECs admit that their evolutionary beliefs are frankly religious.

OK, nuf sed.  Three cheers for Matt Stopera.  This 22-vs-22 has been at least as illuminating as the debate itself.


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1 Comment

  1. Well done Dr. Laats and indeed good work by Stopera.


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