PINCH ME, PLEASE PINCH KEN HAM

The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God.

It does not strike me as anti-science or anti-reason to question the philosophical presuppositions behind theories offered by scientists who, in excluding the possibility of design or purpose, venture far beyond their realm of empirical science.

The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.

Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

Unfortunately, Brownback obviously doesn’t recognize, perhaps is unable to recognize, the simple logical flaws in his string of suppositions. On the face of his editorial, there is a measured reasonableness. Yet, even the slightest scratch of the surface reveals a collision not of fact so much as of propositions.

Biologists would tomorrow gather to study the phenomena of divine or intelligent design if there were phenomena to actually study. The mechanisms of design are only excluded because they haven’t materialized. Such phenomena aren’t prevented from materializing at a future point should they exist and should they be found.

Brownback, on the other hand, doesn’t see that his faith and belief in a fundamental truth reaches to obtain no standard of verification, so his truth claim surely is required to be safeguarded. Whereas a truth claim in biology is never to be safeguarded.

I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos.

Faith in this dignity goes part of the way to establishing dignity. Far short of the question of design, given that a believer certain of man’s uniqueness is forced to go off the reservation of even what the Bible suggests, this certitude about uniqueness obviously presumes God to have no interest in doing sentient experiments elsewhere.

It is remarkable, always, that believers of Brownback’s kind, understand God’s intention at the same time they elsewhere assert God’s magisterial nature is ineffable. (If it weren’t ineffable, faith would be unnecessary.)

And, as is always the case, science is tarred with the appeal to an ontological predicate that is irrelevant. Science’s methods are effective, its truths are tentative, and even science’s public intellectuals know that the implicit propositional philosophical realism is unprovable, besides the point, and provides no burden upon science’s effectiveness. Nevertheless, it is a misnomer to call this effectiveness unreasonable. This effectiveness is entirely reasonable.

Which is more than one can say about the clash between Brownback’s faith and his faith in undemonstrated certainty. In his intellectual naivete the problem of the reconciliation of faith and reason in wholly exemplified in his setting up an argument where both collide with great vigor. Brownback is smart but his essay is stupid, and, on this matter, Brownback is, evidently, stupid too.

Meanwhile, in a small town in Kentucky, Hebron, ignorance becomes the subject of an entire museum.

About the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum

The Creation Museum will proclaim to the world that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice and in every area it touches on. This ‘walk through history’ museum will be a wonderful alternative to the evolutionary natural history museums that are turning countless minds against the gospel of Christ and the authority of the Scripture.

Museum Founder Ken Ham:

Creation: ‘where’s the proof?’
When the person you talk to on creation insists that you ‘leave the Bible out of it’, they are really saying the deck should be stacked one way.
by Ken Ham
Over the years, many people have challenged me with a question like:

‘I’ve been trying to witness to my friends. They say they don’t believe the Bible and aren’t interested in the stuff in it. They want real proof that there’s a God who created, and then they’ll listen to my claims about Christianity. What proof can I give them without mentioning the Bible so they’ll start to listen to me?’
Briefly, my response is as follows.

Evidence
Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same.

The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions. These are things that are assumed to be true, without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.

Past and present
We all exist in the present—and the facts all exist in the present. When one is trying to understand how the evidence came about (Where did the animals come from? How did the fossil layers form? etc.), what we are actually trying to do is to connect the past to the present.

However, if we weren’t there in the past to observe events, how can we know what happened so we can explain the present? It would be great to have a time machine so we could know for sure about past events.

Christians of course claim they do, in a sense, have a ‘time machine’. They have a book called the Bible which claims to be the Word of God who has always been there, and has revealed to us the major events of the past about which we need to know.
On the basis of these events (Creation, Fall, Flood, Babel, etc.), we have a set of presuppositions to build a way of thinking which enables us to interpret the evidence of the present.

Evolutionists have certain beliefs about the past/present that they presuppose, e.g. no God (or at least none who performed acts of special creation), so they build a different way of thinking to interpret the evidence of the present.

Thus, when Christians and non-Christians argue about the evidence, in reality they are arguing about their interpretations based on their presuppositions.

That’s why the argument often turns into something like:
‘Can’t you see what I’m talking about?’
‘No, I can’t. Don’t you see how wrong you are?’
‘No, I’m not wrong. It’s obvious that I’m right.’
‘No, it’s not obvious.’ And so on.

These two people are arguing about the same evidence, but they are looking at the evidence through different glasses.
It’s not until these two people recognize the argument is really about the presuppositions they have to start with, that they will begin to deal with the foundational reasons for their different beliefs. A person will not interpret the evidence differently until they put on a different set of glasses—which means to change one’s presuppositions.

Oh my.

Change the presuppositions and change the reasoning. This opens it all up, wouldn’t you say?

Let me beg a question or two that “Dr.” Ham hasn’t considered. One, what constitutes the present and its facts?

Two, how do we ascertain the truth claim in any claim carried forward merely as a matter of its a priori existance, and, in the case of the ‘time machine’ Bible, as a matter of its prior documentation of past events?

(Ham doesn’t realize that he has eliminated the possibility of any epistomology being available in any real sense at all. Literally, in the terms of his sophmoric argument, any interpretation is possible given the right foundational presuppositions. In which case all truth claims are negated. Even his foundational presupposition, that there are only foundational presuppositions and their attendant interpretations is falsified. Ham’s pure antimonialism makes both extensible truth claims in religion and science, (and anywhere else,) impossible.

We all exist in the present—and the facts all exist in the present. When one is trying to understand how the evidence came about (Where did the animals come from? How did the fossil layers form? etc.), what we are actually trying to do is to connect the past to the present.

However, if we weren’t there in the past to observe events, how can we know what happened so we can explain the present?

Heck, Ken how can we explain what happened a minute ago, yesterday, two weeks ago? Or: how can there exist even a single causal fact if its only referents also can only exist in the present? (I’m tempted to mail Ham a package full of Hume.) A better philosopher than Ham might thrill to develop his hyper-presentist argument to its fullsome ramifications. In all, Ham at least provides a terrific argument for IQ not measuring intelligence! His reasoning is unintentionally hilarious but since he isn’t also intentionally wanting to be an ironist, and that he takes himself and his argument seriously, and that it’s supposed to engender other person’s taking it seriously, is darkly not funny at all.

Brownback is a genius in comparison to Ham. If you closely read Ham’s philosophical scree you’ll be struck by its severe post-modernism and its tacit nihilism.

Anything goes.

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One Response to PINCH ME, PLEASE PINCH KEN HAM

  1. Ian says:

    Hi Hoon,
    I remember linking to a news story when this guy set up the museum, but I’ve not followed up recent on-line content. I’ll take a look.

    BTW is it my browser, or your pages, but your links are “local” they are prefixed by yoir own address – so they fail to link ?

    Good blog by the way – great collection of classified links to others that will keep me amused for hours, if I ever get the time.

    Ian / Psybertron

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