I went to a NASA display of a moon rock and a lady said, "This Moon-rock is 3.75 billion years old!" Guess what I asked for the first time ever?Ham's response is priceless. He writes on his blog:
"Um, may I ask a question?"
And she said, "Of course."
I said, in my most polite voice, "Were you there?"
Love, Emma B
His rejoinder to the obvious answer to the question of “no” is that we weren't but God was and he gave us his word to go by. This response is, at once facile, scripturally ignorant and logically unsound. P.Z. Myers, in a very restrained and civil fashion, takes what Ham says and and runs with it in an unsent letter to Emma B., in which he writes:
Each time I give examples in my blog posts of children who have been influenced by AiG, the atheists go ballistic on their blogs. They hate to read of instances like this. They want to teach these children there is no God and they are just animals in this hopeless and meaningless struggle of this purposeless existence.
Praise the Lord, Emma has such a strong foundation in God’s Word and won’t fall for the atheist lies in their attempts to shake their fist at their Creator God.
One serious problem with the "Were you there?" question is that it is not very sincere. You knew the answer already! You knew that woman had not been to the moon, and you definitely knew that she had not been around to see the rock forming 3.75 billion years ago. You knew the only answer she could give was "no," which is not very informative.This strikes at the heart of the idiocy of Ham's answer. The response is facile and logically unsound because the obvious answer is “no” and Ham knows it. The problem is that neither was he. And if we can't rely on historical and prehistoric sources for our knowledge, why is the Bible any different? After all, the reason we have the Bible in the first place is because We weren't there. It is the record of God's interaction with humans through history, written down by many different people in many different literary styles. Without this record, we would have no knowledge of God. The only thing that makes it different from other historical sources is that we believe it to reflect the nature of God and how we should relate to Him. If we weren't there to see the 3.75 million year old rock created, then we weren't around to see the Bible written down either.
Another problem is that if we can only trust what we have seen with our own two eyes in our short lives, then there's very little we can know at all. You probably know that there are penguins in Antarctica, and that the Civil War was fought in the 1860s, and that there are fish swimming deep in the ocean, and you also believe that Jesus was crucified two thousand years ago, but if I asked you "Were you there?" about each of those facts, you'd also have to answer "no" to each one. Does that mean they are all false? Of course not. You know those things because you have other kinds of evidence.
It is scripturally unsound because it places an odd dualism between the word of God and the observable universe. As far as Ham is concerned, any evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is a Godless, atheist lie, no matter how convincing. Yet, if God is the creator of the universe, then He is reflected in his creation. And right now, it looks for all the world like his universe is around 13 billion years old. Every line of observable evidence points to this. It also looks for all the world like the life around us (including us) has evolved over for over three billion years. Every line of evidence points to this, as well. If we ignore this evidence, or distort it to fit a preconceived interpretation of the Bible, what does that say about our attitude toward God's creation? Are we not rejecting the evidence that He, Himself has put forth? To accept God's word and reject His creation is theologically unsound at best.
It also places Ham in a position of authority over all of the scientists who have ever lived that have studied the age of the earth and all of the geological, astronomical, palaeontological and radiological factors that go into determining its age and he is in a position of authority over all of the theologians who argue that a literal interpretation of the creation stories is theologically simplistic. In effect, he is not just saying that they are wrong, he is saying that by disagreeing with him, they are not walking with God. Pompous, a bit?
I hope that Emma is found by a Godly teacher who can also inform her that the science surrounding the age of the earth is sound and that most of the people who did the science that revealed this age were devout Christians. Asking “Were you there?” is just ignorant.