Monday, May 22, 2017

Bryan College Gives Ken Ham Honorary Doctorate in Science

In what one of my friends calls “perhaps the most perfectly ironic thing to have ever happened,” Bryan College has bestowed upon Ken Ham an honorary doctorate in science for its graduate exercise on May 8. Aside from the fact that Ham has very little background in hard science, this is clearly a move by the president and board of directors to align the college with the hard-line young earth position that Ham espouses and is a slap in the face to those who have struggled to create an open atmosphere of learning at the college.

Joel Edmund Anderson, author of The Heresy of Ham, is not amused:
I’m sure Ken Ham views this as a minor victory in his battle against secular humanism, for just the day before, on May 7, 2017, he wrote a short blog post that discussed how the Department of Defense has just recently added “humanism” on its list of religions. The entire article can be summed up in this short paragraph:

“Humanists are very inconsistent when it comes to their religious designation. They want the privileges that come with a religious designation (such as chaplains), but they don’t want the public perceiving them as religious because many humanist groups spend millions of dollars suing public school districts or counties to get rid of religion (mostly just Christianity). And what do they want taught in place of Christianity or a Christian worldview? Humanism! They are aggressively pushing to have their secular humanist religion imposed on generations of children —and they are using our taxpayer dollars to do this.”

Yes, secular humanism is a religion, and our children are being indoctrinated into the secular humanist religion in our schools. As Ham concludes his article by quoting Ephesians 6:12-13 and stating: “This struggle over worldviews just shows that we are engaged in a spiritual battle.”

This is the kind of work that gets Ham an honorary doctorate…in science…from Bryan College.
If you have a very limited understanding of science in the first place, then, yes, this would be acceptable. As Anderson points out, Ham's position betrays a complete inability to differentiate between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism (that is not the only problem Ham has with science, but it is a big one).  He quotes the late evolutionary biologist William Provine, famous for his treatise that there is no God, no moral absolutes and no afterlife and, further, that evolutionary theory supports this.  To this, he points out:
This is the fundamental, contradictory problem with philosophical naturalism: it’s claim that the natural world is all that exists is not a scientific claim. So, when Provine and Dawkins claim that evolution teaches us that there is no God, and that there is no purpose or meaning in life, they are wrong, and they are playing a philosophical trick on you. Evolution describes natural processes; evolution does not state nature is all that exists. Science and evolution do not support that philosophical claim, period.
Unfortunately, Ken Ham, and, increasingly, other young earth creationists are taking this position, ironically, in support of atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Make no mistake, it is a philosophical position.  One of the things I am quite clear about with my children when they ask me about evolutionary theory is that it is not capable of testing hypotheses involving the origin of life.  It needs life to work.

One of the drawbacks of using the Classical Conversations curriculum is their reliance on a truly terrible book called It Couldn't Just Happen. The author, Lawrence Richards, has adopted this misunderstanding between philosophical and methdological naturalism.  Consequently, all of his excursions into evolutionary theory are predisposed against it, because it is, by definition, atheistic.  This is unfortunate. 

I do not believe that Bryan College will prosper as a result of this move.

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