Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ken Ham, Evolutionary Creationism and Reality, Part II

As I mentioned a few days ago in a post on Ken Ham's attack on evolutionary creationists, the thrust of his argument is that Christians who accept the science of evolution “are mixing the religion of death with the religion of life — death came after sin, Jesus conquered it. Evolution requires death over millions of years, death is a 'friend' that produces life and death ends it all,"  Implicit in this approach is that physical death accompanied the fall of Adam, a real person, and that, in contrast to the world prior to Adam's sin, death now pervades the natural world.  Acceptance of evolution, therefore, requires acceptance of death before Adam's sin.  Yesterday, I suggested some theological alternatives to this perspective.  But there is also another response to Ham's attack.

It is irrelevant.

Ham argues that, as Christians, we cannot accept evolutionary creationism because we reject the purpose of Christ's death and resurrection as having atoned for the sins of one man: Adam. Even if this were true, what bearing does it have on the reality of evolution or the age of the earth?

One of the pervasive features of the arguments that are posited in favor of a creation that is 6,000 years old is that they simply do not stand up to scrutiny.  Entire books and web sites are devoted to pointing out the holes in young earth creationist arguments.  For example take just about any paper in TalkOrigins, NCSE, or BioLogos and you will find concrete evidence for evolution and an old earth creation and articles debunking of young earth arguments.  This is a very fruitful area of research.  Excellent books exist, written by geologists, palaeontologists and historians.  These include
  • Don Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters
  • David Montgomery's The Rocks Don't Lie
  • Kenneth Miller's Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul and Finding Darwin's God
  • Carol Hill, Gregg Davidson and Wayne Ranney: Grand Canyon: Monument to An Ancient Earth
  • Davis Young and Ralph Stearley: The Bible, Rocks and Time
  • Davis Young: The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabibilical Evidence
  • Andrew J. Petto and Laurie Godfrey: Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond
Many of these books are written by Christians who have analyzed the evidence and have concluded that there is undeniable evidence of an ancient earth and that evolutionary theory does, in fact, accurately describe present and past biological diversity.   This is, by no means, an exhaustive list and a search of Amazon will bring up literally hundreds of such books.

In other words, Ken Ham can rail against the acceptance of evolution by Christians but it takes on the air of someone railing against something like atomic energy.  There is no shortage of people out there who protest against the use of atomic energy and decry the evils that it brings upon the world.  This has no bearing on the existence of atomic energy.  It simply is.  The massive amounts of evidence that support evolution reflect the fact that it simply is.  It has as much evidence to support it as there is to support an ancient earth.  And as with an ancient earth, there is no escaping the concept of death.

 Consequently, Ham's attempts to attach moral and spiritual significance to both evolution and “millions of years” are misguided.  The vast majority of theologians understand this and the relevant science has, at least incipiently, been in place for over seventy years.  They also understand the pitfalls of interpreting the scriptures literally, as I pointed out in the post a few days ago.  It is only the supporters of the  relatively recent young earth creation perspective who fail to understand this. 

1 comment:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPurdom/
    "He has no formal training in either philosophy or science (beyond a college degree) and yet somehow he is both a philosopher and scientist."
    And some people think of Ken Ham as a 'scientist' too. According to Wikipedia "Ham earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, with an emphasis in Environmental Biology at Queensland Institute of Technology and a diploma in education from the University of Queensland".