Response to Ken Ham

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October 22, 2013 Tags: Christian Unity, Lives of Faith, Young Earth Creationism

Today's entry was written by the BioLogos Editorial Team. You can read more about what we believe here.

Response to Ken Ham

Last week Ken Ham addressed BioLogos specifically in a blog post, in response to Daniel Hamlin’s testimony told in our blog on October 14th. Reading the two posts side by side highlights some interesting commonalities–both BioLogos and Answers in Genesis are deeply concerned with biblical interpretation and both are concerned about building the faith of young people. But of course we disagree strongly about which interpretation is best, and we each think that the other’s position will actually drive young people away from the church! Yet as much as we disagree, we are still believers together. You can decide for yourself which position is the more faithful response to Scripture and to the created order, and which will best build up the next generation of the church and our witness to the world.

Daniel Hamlin himself offered this gracious reflection:

My intent in writing “Evolution and Faith: My Journey Thus Far” was to serve as a beacon of hope for those struggling at the intersection of faith and science. Too often the creation debate becomes a stumbling block, resulting in casualties among our brothers and sisters in Christ. This stumbling block stands in direct opposition to the simplicity of the Gospel, which at its core is love, God’s love for humankind. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered “love God, and love your neighbor.” I live within a 4-hour drive of the Creation Museum. Consequently, many in my congregation have visited the museum, and although a few may agree with my position, the majority probably disagree. However, those that disagree still love and accept me, to them I’m not a faceless name on the Internet. It is our love for God, and our love for each other, even those with whom we disagree, that should differentiate us from the world, because without love we are only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.

Our prayer is that the dialogue among Christians about creation and evolution would always be marked by that kind of love.

 


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John Silvius - #83117

October 22nd 2013

Thank you for sharing the exchange between Daniel Hamlin and Ken Ham.  While it is admirable and only right that Christians should disagree in a spirit of Christ-like love lest their claims be as a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13), we are also challenged by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 to “STAND FIRM therefore, having girded your loins with TRUTH…”  God is a God of love, but His love would be empty without His “mercy AND TRUTH.” Of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the Apostle John said, “we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace AND truth” (John 1: 14).   Jesus Himself said to “the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free” (John 8: 31-32). Love is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is the TRUTH that sets us free.

God is concerned that Christians LOVE one another in UNITY, but our LOVE and UNITY must be grounded in TRUTH as represented correctly in His Word, the Bible.  That includes our understanding of the origin of “the first man, Adam” (Was he a literal person, created as the first living human soul?) and our understanding of “the second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), Jesus Christ (Was Jesus really God in the flesh who fully understood who Adam was, or was He limited in His understanding of His Father’s creative acts?).

In matters as important as human origins, we must be gracious, but we must also be careful to correctly digest and interpret the “meat” of Scripture.  The gracious spirit of BioLogos is commendable, but the ministry of BioLogos does no one a favor by promoting harmony of science and Scripture at the expense of careful rendering of Biblical truth claims.  Hopefully, with a spirit of “grace and truth”, I have expanded upon these thoughts at http://oikonomiajes.blogspot.com/2011/02/debate-at-gate-of-perilous-path.html


glsi - #83130

October 22nd 2013

Daniel,

I’m sorry, but I  don’t see your writing as a “beacon of hope” anymore than I do the writings of Ken Ham.  In my view you are both misguided.  In your case, you seem to have received  funding to promote the BioLogos’ agenda to your religious constituency.  There are  many mathematical and scientific objections to neo-Darwinism which have already been effectively obfuscated in the public schools and in the mainstream publishing industry.  In the interest of honest Christian dialogue and truthful searching why should the same one-sidedness be found here or in our religious organizations?  


Daniel Hamlin - #83140

October 23rd 2013

I haven’t received any compensation, nor did BioLogos ask me to write my article.  It was originally written for another project called Nazarenes Exploring Evolution.  If you look at that project you will find a variety of viewpoints from pastors, theologians, and laypeople, some of them will agree with me and some will disagree.

I’ve been involved with this topic for many years, and during my interactions I’ve read numerous accounts of individuals who have given up the faith.  My goal is to offer another viewpoint and show that one does not have to jettison the faith.


glsi - #83150

October 23rd 2013

Daniel,

Your recent blog post here was introduced by the editors as follows:

Note: Today’s post comes to us from Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, a project from BioLogos’ Evolution and Christian Faith grants program. The website, exploringevolution.com, and the post below, is one of the first products from the ECF program.

The group that you appear to represent is also listed among the grant recipients on another page of this website.  I stand corrected and apologize if you are not a grant recipient after all.

I’ve also been involved with this topic for many years and I’ve seen my own children and many others force fed a curriculum neo-Darwinism in the schools without a fair presentation of opposing scientific viewpoints. It’s a curriculum which I consider largely false.   It is truly discouraging to see well-funded groups trying to bring the same type of curriculum into  churches and Christian organizations when most of the public is already unfairly bombarded with it at school.


sy - #83153

October 23rd 2013

glsi

 

Im not sure I understand your point. If being well funded is an issue, then I think a lot of people might be restricted from trying to put their view across, including the various creationist foundations such as Answers in Genesis, etc. As for the public schools, they are simply and correctly teaching what is the current accepted (by professional biologists) paradigm of biological knowledge, which includes Neo Darwinism. That will only change if the weight of scientific (not theological) thought shifts the current paradigm.

The challenge, I think, is not to struggle against the scientific consensus, but to show how a true understanding of biological reality is not at all in conflict with, or exclusive of the realities of our world as revealed by a true understanding of the Word of God. In my view, (and I would say in the view of many who participate in Biologos discussions, biological truth, including evolution is a wonderful manifestation of God’s creation and should be embraced, rather than shunned by evangelicals.


glsi - #83157

October 23rd 2013

Sy,

I think the majority of  biologists only hold to the modern synthesis for the simple reason that there are no reasonable scientific alternatives to replace it with.  The fact that they’re professional means little as I’m sure you know that cadres of professional scientists have been proven wrong by history countless times over.  Imagine how impossibly embarrassing, painful and humbling it would be for the NCSE to come out and say they were wrong, and in fact they have no idea how species came to appear on this earth.  In fact, I cannot imagine it.

It is quite clear to me that nothing that’s been published so far has  come close to explaining the creation of the species in the Cambrian and pre-Cambrian epochs.  And that’s why it’s all truly “just a theory” and one that should taught in that light in schools and in honest discussions elsewhere, especially churches.  And  funding questions are important because, like in politics, the guy with the biggest war chest usually prevails over integrity and intelligence.  Follow the money and you will find out many interesting things about the world and especially in the world of textbook publishing.


hanan-d - #83158

October 23rd 2013

>it would be for the NCSE to come out and say they were wrong, and in fact they have no idea how species came to appear on this earth.

I don’t understand. So you are saying there is NO evolution or that the mechanism to it is unkown? If you are talking about the Cambrian era, than you agreeing that the earth is in fact millions of years old. Well, what have organisms doing for those millions of years exactly. Especially since the species that are found back then, do not exist today and vice versa.


glsi - #83177

October 24th 2013

Around 20 new phyla appeared in the Cambrian.  Where they came from, no one knows.  Certainly nothing I’ve read at this website has any convincing explanatory power.  Sheer theory, no facts.  


Sarah MacDonald - #83237

October 25th 2013

You do understand that the phylum Chordata, for example, includes everything from sea squirts to humans? Are you saying you accept evolutionary change from a basic chordate to a human? I doubt you even accept change from an ape to a human, which has plenty of evidence to support it. If you could only look with an open mind . . .


glsi - #83245

October 26th 2013

My goodness, Sarah, I’m not sure what puts you into a position to judge my mind.  I went from believing in evolution all my life to actually reading a great deal about it on my own as an adult and coming to the realization that there’s not nearly enough evidence to support it.  To me that is an open mind.


Hanan D - #83250

October 27th 2013

Hi,

glsi, that does not really answer my questions. You seem to agree there was a cambrian era, correct? Well, that era ended millions and millions of years ago. So between then and now, have organisms evolved? 

Were all species that exist today present back then? (Zebras, Elephants, sheep, etc etc etc.) 


GJDS - #83294

October 29th 2013

The question is spot on, but also misses the point - over the millions of years, variation of species, and the ‘filling’ of every area of this planet with life forms, is extraodinary. If this is what you think is evolution (variation with time), than there is little to discuss, and no science to consider or argue. Questions however continue on what Darwin has taught as evolution - this and only this matter, has been disputed, discussed, and entered into so many areas as if it were a fact, without the rigour and scientific proof required for such a claim from all other disciplines of science.

The question is more to do with any specific aspect of this planet that is conducive to life with its seemingless endless variations. If science has a law dealing with this, we would have something substantial to discuss. I have yet to see anything like a law in this area.


Hanan D - #83307

October 30th 2013

Variations? What about new species over time? Or is that what you mean’t?

Regardless, it sounded like glsi says there is no evolution at all. 


GJDS - #83321

October 30th 2013

I mean that any scientific law cannot be confined to a specific time period. The response is that evolution is random from its very beginning - but we do not know what that is, or at least no-one will be pinned down to that. The alternative is a random process that can be made to start (and perhaps stop) anywhere one chooses.

If we have a system that produces a large number of products (whatever area of nature we discuss) we will inevitably need to classify these as produced species of one sort or another. We cannot say the cambrian era ended, and that is the end of something scientific. I mean we need to know what was before, after, and now - all proposed as some sort of scientifically proven, tested, etc., I cannot see anything like this - people use genetic sequencing by trying to trace such things to some past arrangment - this however fits in with another comment of a detective who believes he has discovered a crime and now seeks evidence to find the criminal and prove the matter to a court of law. I am asking for the law the court may use in its deliberations.


GJDS - #83159

October 23rd 2013

Sy

“.... show how a true understanding of biological reality .....”

I agree with this broad statement, but question the ability of school, college and University courses to meet this criteria. Like so many controversial theories, especially ones that seek to encompass so much of Nature, evolution can be taught as a given and must be accepted in toto with so called proof/evidence(e.g. there a many species, many have changed over lengthy periods, and so on), or it may (and should) be taught not as a grand over-arching explanation that has been proven to deal with everything on this planet (and by some, the Universe), but instead one stop on the long, long, road to a better understanding of various aspects of the bio-world we occupy.

It is this modest and limited outlook that I have not seen taught anywhere - and let us not forget that papers are still published by recognised scientists that discus issues such as the beginning of life, as if a final understanding is just around the corner.

Such an approach is as bad as one that ignores science and provides a fanciful description of Nature. Even college courses can teach the basics of thermodynamics and chemical kinetics to show the implausability of the speculation that many atheists are putting forward - e.g. amino acids are mande in a primordial soup, volcanic vents cause the creation of micro-life that ultimately created oxygen, meteorites brought optically pure amino acids and proteins, and so on. Few people have the specialist knowledge to work through such non-sense, and often teachers simply say, evolution has explained everything and it is a fact of science. It is from this position that anti-religious people commence their assault on people’s faith, not from a well gounded scientific outlook that recognises all of the if and buts that are found in this (and other) areas.  


Chris Moore - #83248

October 26th 2013

Ths is really not an issue of ‘fairness’. There is only one right answer here. Think of yourself as a detective investigating a crime scene. You find evidence (facts) at the scene and use your expertise to discover other facts. You form a hypothesis of what you believe happened. If enough facts are found to support your hypothesis it becomes a well proven theory. It grows into a powerful structure built with solid building blocks that will stand up to intense scrutiny in a court of law. That is what evolution is. It is a huge powerful pyramid of a structure that is made up of thousands of observable facts. A few of the blocks are missing but not near enough to topple the pyramid.


glsi - #83249

October 27th 2013

My apologies, Chris, but if you think there is a powerful pyramid of information to support the mainstream explanations of the Cambrian Explosion then I am afraid you are sorely miseducated.


bren - #83267

October 28th 2013

Glsi,
I feel like there is a logical step missing somewhere, I’m having trouble seeing how the Cambrian explosion is a challenge to evolution.  Don’t get me wrong, I see how it is a challenging problem in and of itself and I can see how it may be difficult or impossible to determine whether any or all of the (admitted interesting) suggested explanations will do the explanatory work for the sudden spat of diversification, but the question seems to be one of explaining a relative increase in the pace of adaptive radiation.  For it to be a test of evolution itself, we would need to be assured that the fossil record before this period was quite complete (it’s not and couldn’t possibly be), and we would need to be shown that evolution must occur at such and such a maximum speed (there is no a priory pace in evolution to my knowledge and the length of this period is a hard sell when it comes to claiming it is beyond the non-existent theoretical max).  These points in place, we could use the 5 to 10 million year period to test the truth of evolutionary claims.  Without these points in place, all we have is an interesting question within the already established framework of evolutionary theory (especially interesting in light of the claims of highly variable pacing in evolutionary history).  The theory would need to be challenged on other grounds in this case.  So again, please let me know in what sense we can regard this as a test case for evolution, I’d like to know where my reasoning went off the tracks.


Curtis Henderson - #83281

October 29th 2013

Glsi,

You have clearly demonstrated a lot of thought and analysis of this topic and I look forward to reading your response to bren’s post.


Scott Frederick - #83167

October 24th 2013

I agree with Ken Ham and AIG.


Peter M Abraham - #83172

October 24th 2013

Good day:

I’m currently attending college for pre-nursing holding a 4.0 GPA; if age matters, I just turned 50 this year (making a career change from 30 years in I.T.).  Absolutely none of my science classes (Human Biology, Basic Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology) have any evidence which contradicts God creating the world as described in Genesis.  There is scientific evidence for micro evolution; there is no adequate evidence for macro evolution.  What is proposed for macro evolution cannot be observed or proven; and given the choice between God’s statements about what did happen (He should know) vs. some of mandkind having falicies about what might have happened, I hope I would pick God every single time.

Thank you.


beaglelady - #83261

October 28th 2013

You mean you didn’t have to take general biology??  What school are  you attending?


Curtis Henderson - #83282

October 29th 2013

In all fairness, relatively few pre-nursing programs require a full General Biology course.

However, Peter, the whole point Daniel Hamlin is making is not “I choose to disbelieve what God has said”, but rather his understanding (and full acceptance) of God’s Word goes beyond the view of a literal, six-day creation.


Scott Kostencki - #83204

October 25th 2013

I appreciate the tone of this response to Ken Ham. However, there is a specific quote from his blog that I think it would be awesome to see (since this is all public anyway) challenged. He states:

“Those kinds of statements really demonstrate the way evolutionary ideas can undermine the authority of the Word of God and the gospel.”

In fact, it is not the truth found in God’s creation that undermines the faith of those who fall away when they hear the evidence for evolution; rather, it is the dogmatically held misinterpretaions of the Creation account that undermines their faith. Maybe it’s a little strong a statement, but when churches lie, souls die. Just my opinion anyway.


Leo O'Bannon - #83251

October 27th 2013

First up, the theory of evolution (a theory in science is as good as fact and in fact, unites facts and organizes them in an explanatory framework) is only “controversial” to the 6 literal day Creationist and to those who are merely trying to challenge the “establishment.”  

Second, the reason “opposing so-called theories” such as Intelligent Design and Creationism (the Ken Ham type Creationism for instance) are not taught in schools is because they have not stood up to scrutiny and the test of time.  You cannot simply say “I disagree with evolution” and expect that will be enough to get your views published in a biology textbook.  Scientific ideas are posited, tested, re-tested, argued and debated and then finally a scientific consensus is won.  Evolution was not willy-nilly accepted by the scientific community, but was won by the above mentioned process and for over 150 years has had no serious challengers.  ID and Creationism have not done this and have no right to do an end-run of the process, complain and expect to have their views published in scientific journals and textbooks as the prevailing views.   

Thirdly, and finally, evolution simply means “change over time” and not “There is no God.”  God and evolution are not mutually exclusive despite the misrepresentations by Ken Ham and his followers.  Following John Lennox- God is a creative agent and evolution is a biological mechanism.  Simple.


glsi - #83257

October 27th 2013

So 20th century.  Neo-Darwinism is over.


GJDS - #83295

October 29th 2013

If Darwinian evolution simply means “change over tinme” then we will have little to discuss, and less to argue about - the term often employed for this change with time is phenominon, or phenomina, dealing with observations and changes over time, and understood through our senses and perception.

You are right in saying few have challenged the Darwinian paradigm, but I ask, why is this? Over a lengthy period, many shortcomings have been shown in Darwinian thinking (that is why we have neo-Darwinism); yet its proponents have often stated it as a “brute fact of science”, or “almost everything is known, predicted, and settled, just a few details left”. This is obviously incorrect; few other areas of science have been undertaken in this way. My point has been: this is because Darwin has been used for the theist-atheist antagonism, (especially by militant atheists) and any science in this outlook has suffered as a result.

I cannot comment on those who have decided the Bible had become their science/geology text book, except to say I cannot see this as anything but an extension of the antagonism I refer to.


bren - #83301

October 30th 2013

For anyone who would like to give it a swing, I’m hoping for a response from anyone to my general question above about the Cambrian explosion (83267).  Actually, I’ll qualify that; I’m interested in hearing from anyone who doesn’t somehow imagine that this is a golden opportunity to quote Darwin on the subject..


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