Ken Ham Won the Creation Debate, and So Did Bill Nye.
February 6, 2014 § 14 Comments
On February 4, Bill Nye “the Science Guy” debated Answers In Genesis president Ken Ham on this question: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Before the debate, a friend said he hoped that there wouldn’t be a lot of bias and asked me who I thought would win. I explained that I don’t know how I would assess a win or loss apart from my own bias. My friend was talking about the bias of the moderator—CNN’s Tom Foreman, who was as neutral as a moderator could be. But I think it’s true that deciding who “wins” the debate very much depends on who’s side you are on before the debate even begins. That’s because whether we are debating or watching, we take our presuppositions–basics we assume to be true without evidence–into it with us, and we are incredibly stubborn about giving them up. Only one of the debaters understood this.
The beginning remarks and individual presentations were well-prepared and complete, and the highlight in my opinion. Ken’s arguments for a young earth creation were strong and clear, firmly rooted in the Bible as man’s ultimate authority. Bill’s were also well-formed as he posed some really tough challenges to creationism, although he seemed to stray from the topic to a focus on the age of the earth and Noah’s flood, which don’t pose a direct challenge to creationism with respect to the the question being debated.
Their differing presuppositions come to light in each point of their presentations. For instance, Ken’s creationism is firmly rooted in the book of Genesis. He presupposes the truth and authority of the Bible as God’s word, and in God as the infinite Creator. Bill’s materialism is firmly rooted in man’s ideas, that life and the universe evolved, somehow, from an unknown but presumably mindless beginning. Both positions are held a priori on faith, because neither presupposition can be proven with any kind of scientific process.
Ken was appropriately adamant about defining terms, specifically “science” and “evolution”, noting that secularists have hijacked them for their exclusive use. Bill affirms this by consciously classifying his own position as science, and Ken’s position as something else. Science, as Bill says, was practiced by mainstream scientists, outside the walls of “this facility” (Bill never did correctly name the hosting venue as the Creation Museum, stammeringly calling it “this facility” no less than three times). Ken is thorough in providing numerous testimonies from creationists who have made significant contributions to various scientific fields (for example, Raymond Damadian, pioneer of the MRI machine). This exposes Bill Nye’s non-sequiter—it simply doesn’t follow that creationists cannot be scientists, which was made obvious to everyone who doesn’t simply assume this to be true. This was a presupposition Bill carried into the debate and it stuck to him like a soup stain throughout as he continually maintained that children taught creation will not have the innovation to keep America in the global game.
Ken makes a clear distinction between historical science (data derived from the past without direct observation) and observational science (study of what we can observe but not recreate through controlled experiments, i.e. the cosmos, fossils). This distinction is invisible to Bill and many naturalists since it presents a real problem for molecules-to-man evolution. The way we interpret data from the past is colored by our presuppositions, what we already believe (We were created vs. We evolved) about the past. Not wanting to be caught assuming the fundamentals of his belief, Bill doesn’t recognize the difference. Naturalists generally do not acknowledge that their most deeply held convictions are not determined by evidence, but by faith, which is also true for creationists. Ken is right in his assertion that creation is the only historical science model that confirms what we find in observational science. Unfortunately, he didn’t say enough in support of this.
Bill’s repeated diatribe about the Bible highlighted his ignorance of the Bible and the evidences supporting it, citing creationism as an “interpretation of a 3,000 year old book translated into American English” and using the classic “game of telephone” critique to assert how it has probably changed over the centuries. It would have been a fairly easy apologetic move for Ken to summarize textual criticism and the fact that early extant manuscripts agree with current Bible text. But he didn’t, and really didn’t have time to. By Bill’s own admission, he is not a theologian, but he clearly didn’t do his homework here.
In addition to the faulty arguments for creationism’s incompatibility with science, Bill repeatedly relied on an illusory attempt to reduce the size of his opponent while inflating his own position. He continually referred to creationism as “Ken Ham’s view” and “Mr. Ham’s flood”, as if these views were exclusively held by Ken and his followers at AIG. The earth’s age aside, Christians, Catholics, Jews and Muslims all believe in divine creation (46% of Americans). Knowing this, Bill made reference to “billions of people in the world who are deeply religious” who do not accept Ken’s model, meaning old earth creationists. Ken is a young earth creationist. But, while Ken maintains old earth creationists have problems reconciling an old earth with certain language and theology presented in Genesis, he certainly identifies with them in the common faith that God created. The question being debated is not about whether creation is billions of years old or thousands. Bill expressly denies theistic evolution or creationism in any form, young or old. Aside from being an appeal to authority (Ken correctly points out elsewhere in the debate that the majority is not always right), this seems like an attempt by Bill to bring the world’s old earth creationists on his side. But Bill is a naturalist, so this won’t do.
The points most devastating to naturalism were ones largely unanswered by Bill, and those are the preconditions of intelligibility that Ken laid out: We accept by faith certain natural laws, such as the laws of logic, morality, uniformity, that allow us to do things like scientific experiments and reasoned debate. The naturalist assumes these to be true but can’t account for them on his own worldview. These natural laws make sense if they come from a logical, moral, uniform God who made us in His image. They shouldn’t exist if naturalism is true. Bill’s best answer on this is “I don’t know.” Ken also pointed out that knowledge and complexity don’t come from a universe originally devoid of these things, and Bill answers were missing here too.
I didn’t think Ken fared as well in the rebuttal stage or in the Q and A session that followed. He didn’t seem as well prepared, and his introductions to the Gospel seemed forced and a little out of place, especially since Bill provided no inroad to the gospel in his script. I want to be careful with that though, because I believe that presenting the Gospel should be the ultimate goal in apologetic endeavor, and a discussion about creation is really only a step or two way from the opportunity (Creation was originally good, man fell into sin, sinful man needed a Savior). But it seemed, at the end of the debate with time dwindling, this opportunity would have been better spent addressing some of the questions Ken didn’t have time to answer earlier. The gospel was a star in Ken’s initial presentation.
In my opinion Ken also spent too much time on arguing for a young earth, even though I share this view. Attention brought to the ecclesiastical divide between old and young earth creationists wasn’t helpful in this debate. Since the question debated was whether or not creation in any form fits with today’s world, it seemed pretty irrelevant. Although Ken did do a good job of exposing the unreliability of dating methods, Ken’s focus on a young earth also brought attention to the fact that he didn’t get around to addressing many of Bill’s challenges that seem to support long ages, i.e. the number of snow ice layers, very old trees, and the settling of rock layers.
The last question asked of both men was, “What is the one thing, more than anything else, upon which you base your belief?” Ken’s basis was God and His word. Bill’s reply began with a quote from his previous mentor Carl Sagan: “When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.” Bill’s love, he goes on to explain, is “information and the process we call science”. Now what if, instead of summing up his love for science, Bill had tried to explain love itself? And would he admit that he probably would put love higher than science? This, like much of what he and every naturalist base their most important beliefs upon, would have to be presupposed, as they make no sense on a completely materialistic universe.
Earlier in the final round of Q and A one question put to both debaters asked if they could imagine any evidence that would cause them to give up their worldview convictions. Ken Ham was doubtful that anything could change his mind about a creator God. Bill thought that a significant piece of evidence would change his mind about evolution, and he gave as one example a polystrate fossil. Well, I’d have to say Bill wasn’t sincere, since he has available to him evidence of numerous polystrate fossils. I’m guessing his presuppositions move him to apply some naturalistic phenomena or creationist misinterpretation to tree trunks or trilobite tracks that have been discovered to span multiple geographic layers.
We generally stick to what we already believe in any debate, and that’s why determining “winner” or “loser” is so subjective. It depends on who you ask. Unless winning and losing is based on something other than what most debates are about, like who gave the most eloquent speech (perhaps also very subjective) and who avoided more logical fallacies (a little less subjective). Otherwise, we are likely to call the winner the one who shares the same worldview we do, because there is no such thing as neutral belief. My hope is that the Lord will use this debate to persuade some for the truth of the Christianity, because the Gospel was preached, and Naturalism’s main problem was exposed. But they are generally very few who are converted as the result of one debate. That’s the job of God’s Holy Spirit. Like the guys at the podium, we hold fast to what we presuppose, ultimate commitments we already believe on faith. There’s plenty of debate after the debate about who won it. The lasting verdict? The truth will win in the end, when “every knee will bow… every tongue will acknowledge God.” (Rom. 14:11). But those are my presuppositions talking.
Both these guys have a B.S. Neither guy is well qualified to debate the science. It was a PR event for both. And Ham adds to what the Bible says. Most Christians do not accept his YEC view. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/in-the-beginning/
Here was a recent debate by real scientists.
Thank Michael, I will take a look this weekend.
America and rational thinking lost the debate, there were no winners here only losers. To think in this day and age, with the knowledge mankind has accumulated since the Book of Genesis was written by an illiterate by today’s standards, so many people still cling to such myths and fables.
But for all the supporters of Mr. Ham, there is one question I would like to ask; If one were to take the Genesis story of Noah as either an actual event, or an allegory, please explain the Kangaroo?
The Kangaroo is not now, nor ever been, native or lived in the Middle East, so how was Noah able to collect two of them?
Let me anticipate some answers and deal with them; 1) God delivered them to Noah? – From my reading and interpretation of Genesis 6:19 (KJV), Noah and his family had to bring the animals to the ark themselves. In fact, God never lifted a finger to help Noah with this monumental task. Noah had to fell the timber, do all the carpentry and construct the Ark. So no I cannot be convinced that God brought the Kangaroo from Australia to the Middle East for Noah.
2) The continents were all joined together during Noah’s time, Pangaea, so the distribution of animals did not look as they do now. – No, that would mean that Australia had to have drifted more than 10,000 miles while Humans walked the Earth, yet somehow no one seemed to notice this rather rapid continental drift and document it. .
3) The story of Noah does not imply that the entire planet was flooded, only the area local to Noah. – I do think that it is believed that the Ark built by Noah is came to rest on Mount Ararat in Turkey, at an elevation of some 4,000 meters. This would mean, that the local area of Noah, would have had to been flooded to a depth of at least 4,000 meters. If anyone believes this to be the case, please explain how any part of our planet could be flooded to such a depth and not affect anywhere outside that local area.
4) As the water levels rose, the Ark was able to sail and rescue animals which went to higher elevations on other continents. – Though not mentioned in the Bible, this is quite plausible, but the problem with this explanation is how would the animals be redeposited. See, the tallest peak in Australia is about 2,200 meters, and as mentioned before, the Ark is believed to have come to rest at an elevation of 4,000 meters in Turkey. So when the Ark finally rested on land, Australia would have still been under about 2,000 meters of water. If the Kangaroo were deposited in the Middle East, they would have had to hop all the way back to Australia without leaving any trace (fossilized skeletons, or offspring) in any other country between the Middle East and Australia.
So I am most curious as to how supporters of Mr. Ham can reconcile their beliefs with the common Human experience on this one issue.
Thanks for reading, and I am genuinely interested in cogent answers.
Hello JamOne, thanks for your comment. Some thoughts on the Kangaroo dilemma:
1. You should have read past Gen. 6:19 to verse 20: “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (NASB) The animals came to Noah, presumably by God’s direction. Noah did not need to go a safari to wrangle them in. See also 7:8-9: “Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.” God clearly lifted a finger. 🙂
2) Australia is geologically similar to South Africa, India and Antarctica. Are you suggesting that Australia could not have been joined to Pangaea? Or that 10,000 is too far to move during a year long flood and plate tectonics?
3) I agree that a global flood fits the Genesis narrative much better than a local/regional flood does.
4) I don’t think Noah could have rescued animals along the way. God shut the ark’s door (Gen. 7:16) and didn’t open it until the flood was receding.
As far as the lack of Kangaroo fossils or clear ancestors in Africa or Asia (macropod/marsupial species exist there, but nothing like Australia’s roos) along the path from North Africa to Australia, I’m not terribly surprised. Much of that path is now under the ocean. As for the African and Asian continent, fossilization is a fickle process, particularly with vertebrates (which make up less that 1% of our known fossil inventory). There are also no chimp and gorilla fossils in Africa, or lion fossils around Israel, and we know there were many that lived and died there. Like supposed transitional fossils, maybe they’ll turn up eventually. 😉 In the meantime, kangaroos don’t seem a compelling reason to abandon Creationism. If all life on earth came from one evolutionary origin, the kangaroo is a dilemma for that worldview too.
As far as our “common human experience” though, we’re talking about the present.
Thanks for the response.
“Australia is geologically similar to South Africa, India and Antarctica. Are you suggesting that Australia could not have been joined to Pangaea? Or that 10,000 is too far to move during a year long flood and plate tectonics?” – No I did not suggest that, in fact I was saying that one of the reasons given is that Pangaea DID exist during Noah’s time, so a Kangaroo could have been brought / summoned to Noah and board the Ark. But the notion that the deluvial process brought about the techtonic plates and caused the continents to drift has no credible basis in Geology. Unless of course you have geologic knowledge which has somehow been missed. Even if that were the case, and the flooding did cause the rapid continental drift, there is still the issue of the Kangaroo getting back to Australia from Turkey without leaving any fossil evidence between Turkey and Papua New Guinea.
“As far as the lack of Kangaroo fossils or clear ancestors in Africa or Asia (macropod/marsupial species exist there, but nothing like Australia’s roos) along the path from North Africa to Australia, I’m not terribly surprised. Much of that path is now under the ocean.” – since Kangaroos are not marine or aquatic animals by any stretch of the imagination, they would have had to travel by land and therefore leave fossil evidence on land at some points along the way. Also, one would expect some Kangaroos to get isolated on small Islands while crossing the Pacific, yet no Pacific Islands have any evidence of Kangaroos ever living there.
“There are also no chimp and gorilla fossils in Africa” – are you serious? Use the Google search and impeach that statement on your own.
“If all life on earth came from one evolutionary origin, the kangaroo is a dilemma for that worldview too.” – nope the evolutionary patterns of the Macropodidae – Marsupial family is very well characterized. No dilemmas or “missing links” in the Macropodidae – Marsupial family tree whatsoever. The biological and fossil records fully support why the Marsupial family is found in South America, Antarctica and Australia only, and why the Macropodidae – Marsupials are found only in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
As far as our “common human experience” though, we’re talking about the present. – Humans have been consistently writing down their histories in a reliable fashion for 5,000 years now. So if continental drift were to be occurring at a rate of 2 miles per year in some places, someone would have noticed and recorded it.
So the Kangaroo still remains a problem for the Creationist fable as well it should, since trying to fit the observable and objective world into fairy stories is always a tricky thing. If you think the Kangaroo is a problem for that point of view, try the Homo Sapiens species. To think that all Humans are descended from Shem, Ham and Japeth is an even more massive problem, I just wanted to focus on just one animal to keep it simple.
This Noah narrative could be laughable if it were not for the enormous damage done to Humans because of this it. Due to the curse a drunk Noah put on Canaan, Ham’s son that his descendants be the servants of the descendants of Shem and Japeth. Millions of African people suffered greatly and entire African civilizations destroyed, when it was decided that African people are Hamitic, and therefore destined to be the servants and slaves of other races. So this is the harm fairy tales can have when supported by enough people. They can be used to justify horrible acts all in the name of God.
Re :”no chimp or gorilla fossils”… Granted, I should say far fewer than expected. Possibly because evolutionists tend to label many ape fossils as human ancestors, or that rain forests are less conducive to fossilization (many of Africa/Asia’s desert regions were once lush and green) and current forests are less conducive to looking for fossils. If kangaroo stuck mainly to forested areas during their migration, that might explain the lack of fossils. Or that we simply haven’t found them yet, like what evolutionists say about the lack of transition fossils, which is vastly bigger problem for their worldview.
I don’t think we know everything about plate tectonics yet. Before 1958, the idea of continental drift was generally laughed at as most geologists thought land masses had remained stationary. 100 years earlier, continental drift was proposed by Antonio Snider-Pellegrini, who based his theory on Genesis 1:9-10, a view that at creation water was “gathered together” in one place on earth, so the “dry land appeared” generally in one place also (Pangaea). So I’m not claiming “geologic knowledge that has somehow been missed” by everyone else, but I would say that geologic knowledge gathered for centuries was effectively reversed just 50 or so years ago with the advent of plate tectonics, so we may still have a lot of things wrong. Newer models of rapid, catastrophic plate tectonics predict and better explain more of what we observe now than do slow and gradualistic models that presuppose uniformitarianism and prior commitment to millions of years of earth history. Something like “the fountains of the great deep” opening up under the sea floors, as described in Gen. 7:11 and 8:2, could have been a mechanism to trigger the sinking of cold, dense ocean floor into softer, hot mantle, further weakening adjacent mantle from friction heat, so the sinking repeats, spreads and accelerates subduction. Massive discharges of steam from the mixing of cool ocean and hotter subterranean water could account for sustained rainfall, or adding to what already was falling from the atmosphere. But the rapid subduction followed by slow plate movement would better account for soft, flat sediments we find in oceanic trench floors, erratic magnetic patterns at the sea floor, distribution of fossils, and dramatic upheaval of mountain ranges like the Himalayas.
Re: “Humans have been consistently writing down their histories in a reliable fashion for 5,000 years now. So if continental drift were to be occurring at a rate of 2 miles per year in some places, someone would have noticed and recorded it.”
Not if it occurred during the Flood. But I’d like to inquire about something more fundamental: The basic presuppositions that drive our interpretation of evidence in the first place. You’ve implied that you’d give credence to rapid continental drift if someone in the last 5,000 years wrote about it. Why then do you discount a 3,000 year old account of a global deluge, in particular when it is repeated around the world in dozens of other ancient accounts from different cultures? The manuscript evidence for Old and New Testaments far surpasses what we have for other ancient writings that few have issues with. Is it really stuff like the Kangaroo thing, or a bias for naturalism?
The reasons for the African slave trade primarily had to do with economics, not the Bible. Even if your speculation were true, there is no Biblical basis for anyone to apply the curse mentioned in Gen. 9:25 on Canaan, one of Ham’s 4 sons, to an entire race of people in the past couple centuries. There’s really no basis either to say that black Africans are even descendants of Canaan. It’s fairly obvious that the “curse” was fulfilled in the defeat of Canaan (Josh. 9; 1 Kings 9) anyway. God put limits on curses, extending them to only the 3rd or 4th generation (Ex. 20:5), so this fits. If anyone thought the Bible necessitated the enslavement of black people, it was a gross misunderstanding of Scripture. People CAN and HAVE used the Bible to justify sin—what higher authority to steal than God’s?—but in this case there’s no truth to the idea that the Bible caused black slavery.
Thanks again for your reply.
“Why then do you discount a 3,000 year old account of a global deluge, in particular when it is repeated around the world in dozens of other ancient accounts from different cultures?” – I don’t discount such stories, in fact there are about 200 such ancient accounts from different cultures. Many of these cultures predate the Hebrew culture. So one has to wonder if the Hebrew version of a great flood is just the repeat of a story with the Human characters changed to members of the Hebrew tribe. In other words, the account of the flood given by Moses, Noah, his family and his menagerie never ever existed. Would not be the first story plagiarized by the Hebrew tribe from others.
“Not if it occurred during the Flood.” – rapid continental drift during the 40 day flood, while an interesting notion, it is not a hypothesis which stands up to modern Geological analysis. As an example, God created the oceans and the land, while the Bible does not explicitly state the depths of the oceans, given what we see today, and know about the current rates of continental drift and tectonic plate movements, it is fairly certain that there were parts of the oceans which had depths greater than 4,000 meters. So if 4,000 meters of water on land could cause the continents to split apart and travel the great distances to give us our current geographic topography, why did the same depths of water not split the ocean floors (the ocean floor is still land) and cause this rapid continental shifting earlier?
“but in this case there’s no truth to the idea that the Bible caused black slavery” – never said it CAUSED Black African slavery, it was used to provide the moral justification for the enslavement of Black Africans.
“The reasons for the African slave trade primarily had to do with economics, not the Bible. Even if your speculation were true, there is no Biblical basis for anyone to apply the curse mentioned in Gen. 9:25 on Canaan, one of Ham’s 4 sons, to an entire race of people in the past couple centuries. There’s really no basis either to say that black Africans are even descendants of Canaan.” – I would like you to read about the “Hamitic Hypothesis”. According to this hypothesis, Ham and Canaan were “marked” in the pigmentation of their skin (i.e., they were made black) and thereby became the fathers of the “Negro” or “black race” – and the curse [i.e., “a servant of servants he (Canaan) shall be”] accounts for why the “black race” has suffered to such an extent at the hands of whites and Arab slave traders. There is Cush, of course, another son of Ham, who is generally regarded by fundamentalist Christians and Orthodox Jews as the father of the African people.
While the use of African slaves were for primarily economic reasons, it helped to have the Catholic Pope sanction the taking of slaves as fulfilling Christian doctrine. You need to recognize that the first Europeans to transport Africans en mass were the Portuguese, a very Catholic country. To further your education on this topic you should read about the 1452, papal bull Dum Diversas issued by Pope Nicholas V, thus granting Afonse V of Portugal the right to reduce any “Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers” to hereditary slavery which legitimized the slave trade under Catholic beliefs of that time. The approval of the creation of slavery was extended in the papal bull Romanus Pontifex of 1455. Both of these papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of taking of indigenous peoples into slavery and the creation of a slave trade during European colonialism.”
I do not know why you find it so difficult to believe that Christians used the story of Noah’s curse on the children of Ham and apply it to Black African people. Surely you must have heard modern day Christians (Mormons being the most recent), claim that Black African people are the descendents of Cain, the first murderer who God put a “mark” upon for his crime. That “mark” has been interpreted as a wholesale complexion change by many modern Christians. So why do you have issues with Christians using the “Hamitic Hypothesis” to subjugate Black Africans?
“If anyone thought the Bible necessitated the enslavement of black people, it was a gross misunderstanding of Scripture.” – on this I wholeheartedly agree, however, I would like to point out, that the Christian European people who were engaged in the entire infrastructure of the slave trade, did so with the belief in the moral correctness and “divinity” of their actions. This moral correctness had its root in that specific biblical passage. Regardless of how it is now viewed as a “gross misunderstanding”, 500 years ago it was not viewed in that manner.
Much like how “abortion” is currently viewed by you and a lot of other Christians. The people who use biblical scripture as the basis for their moral correctness in their fight against abortion, probably feel as passionate about their “just” cause, in much the same way the sailors, the ship owners, the slave traders, the bankers, the shipping insurers and financiers felt about the slave trade. This should give you pause on your anti-abortion stance, how will your stance be interpreted years from now. My guess is it will also be viewed as a “gross misunderstanding of Scripture”.
Sorry for the delay… I’ve been buried this week. 🙂
“…there are about 200 [flood] accounts from different cultures. Many of these cultures predate the Hebrew culture. So one has to wonder if the Hebrew version of a great flood is just the repeat of a story with the Human characters changed to members of the Hebrew tribe.”
Out of all the flood stories, the Genesis account is the longest and has the most detail. The 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, “The Flood”, is one of the longer parallels to the Genesis account of the flood, but it’s poetic structure and subdued details strongly suggests mythology. Genesis is written like history. The Epic of Gilgamesh was almost certainly originally penned before Genesis was, but both accounts tell of an event that happened in the past. Moses’ final account of the flood was probably backed by oral/written tradition passed down from Noah, who predates Hebrew culture. If all people came from Noah after the flood, it makes sense that there would be so many widespread flood traditions. What doesn’t really make sense is that Hebrews copied just one of the 12 chapters of the Epic of Gilgamesh, changed the characters, added details and nuances that really were not typically incorporated into fiction back then, which somehow became an integral part of the Bible’s overarching message of sin and redemption, while none of the other 11 chapters of the Sumerian version were repeated to any significant degree by anyone, but instead 199 (?) other flood parallels developed.
“rapid continental drift during the 40 day flood…”
The rain fell and waters rose for a period of 40 days. The actual flood lasted much longer, as it was over a year before the ground was dry enough for its inhabitants to vacate the ark (Gen. 8:13-17).
“…if 4,000 meters of water on land could cause the continents to split apart and travel the great distances to give us our current geographic topography, why did the same depths of water not split the ocean floors (the ocean floor is still land) and cause this rapid continental shifting earlier?”
I don’t think the weight of the oceans initiated the flood or continental drift. I think it was God allowing the “fountains of the great deep” to erupt, as I mentioned earlier (Gen. 7:11, 8:2). There are several flood models that incorporate this as a catalyst.
“[Gen. 9] was used to provide the moral justification for the enslavement of Black Africans”
I’m sure it was used by some, but there is no logical justification for it. The Hamitic hypothesis has no basis in Scripture—it simply doesn’t say that God turned anyone black. If the Bible were not viewed by so many as an ultimate authority to take advantage of, I’m sure the power hungry would claim something else. Whether Christians or anyone else were involved in this is really irrelevant to the proposition that the Bible is historically accurate. Anyone can take a history book and apply a skewed interpretation to their advantage also, and they can do so passionately, but passion is not an indicator of moral correctness either.
Truth is not relative, so it doesn’t matter if the tide of “moral correctness” viewed racial slavery as good in the past or if they will 500 years in the future. The Bible either says that or it doesn’t. While there have always been many who have taken aberrant views of Biblical principals, orthodox Christians did not, and they led the abolitionist movement.
As an aside, but not really an aside, Mormonism is not Christianity. While they borrow the Bible, they add their own revelation, an unbiblical view of the trinity, and most critically, a cheap view of grace by adding the necessity of virtuous works to Christ’s atoning sacrifice for salvation. The sin that corrupted creation and consequently brought the flood does not have a cure apart from the saving work of Christ on the cross. The ark was a picture of Christ, the only way to salvation, which was actually open to anyone who wanted to board.
“The Hamitic hypothesis has no basis in Scripture” – tell that to the millions who suffered directly, and the continuing millions who still suffer indirectly from that Biblical passage. It is about the “curse of Noah”, and people in power using that Biblical passage to subjugate an entire race. It happened, and whether or not it has Biblical basis is not the point, it is irrational, and anyone can use the obtuse nature of any religious text to justify irrational acts. Much like the use of Biblical scriptures today, in order to justify the irrational act of preventing a woman to seek an abortion if she has determined her life circumstances warrants it. Many people who feel they are doing God;s divine work, use passages of the Bible to justify their stance, that under NO circumstances should a woman ever get an abortion, this is irrational.
“Whether Christians or anyone else were involved in this is really irrelevant to the proposition that the Bible is historically accurate.” – I would say the Catholic Pope, which according to most Christians then and now, as being God’s representative on Earth and is infallible is highly relevant. Many of the journals kept by the Caucasians active in the slave trade at the time, viewed their work as keeping with God’s divine word. The Pope Nicholas V, even offered a “plenary indulgence” to people who were involved in the kidnapping and enslaving of North Africans.
Today’s Christians including the Vatican have now distanced themselves from such actions, but the damage has been done and its effects still linger. In short, even today the Bible is being used to harm a great many people, and the adherents of the Bible do not see their actions as being harmful, they see it as doing God’s work. These same actions years from now, might be viewed even by other Christians as a “misrepresentation of the scriptures”, but that will do very little to comfort the victims of the present.
Time to relegate the fables of old to bedtime stories, and stop trying to trump rational thinking.
Hitler for a time was Catholic, but if he didn’t have a Bible he would have found some other authority to hijack for his cause. Pol Pot was a Buddhist, al-Quaeda are Muslim, Stalin was raised Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox before converting to Atheism. I’m NOT one to say that Atheism especially causes a person to do evil—Atheism is and has been, relative to other religions, too rare to have equal share of the limelight. The root problem is sin, not the particular convenient religious context in which we choose to conduct our sin. Sin was widespread in the pre-flood world (Genesis 6:5) and it’s everywhere now. No matter your belief (or “non-belief”) system, everyone has an innate awareness of universal moral law written on our hearts, to which our conscience bears witness (Romans 2:14-15), so we all know and have always known about right and wrong. Everyone falls short of this moral standard and are in need of redemption. The ark pointed the way to that future Savior. No other belief system can answer this need because we are then, one way or another, trying to save ourselves with nothing to work with.
“Time to relegate the fables of old to bedtime stories, and stop trying to trump rational thinking.”
“Rational thinking” based on naturalism or any faith proposition outside of the Bible can’t even rationally account for its own existence. Rational thinking coming from a rationally thinking God who created us in His image (Gen. 1:27) and invites us to think rationally (Isaiah 1:18) takes faith, just like any other ultimate conviction. But it’s usually only by way of that step of faith can a person see how Christian Theism makes sense of reality (Heb. 13:1). What we already believe tends to drive us away from other beliefs. The fact that people who have understood the message of the Bible rallied under it for good causes, and those who do not understand it have rallied under it for evil causes, is a testimony to both the reality of sin in the world and the Bible’s place as anything but a book of fables or bedtime stories. “Goodnight Moon” has never been at the center of any worldwide controversy.
““Rational thinking” based on naturalism or any faith proposition outside of the Bible can’t even rationally account for its own existence.” – really? So the Gravitational Constant, never mentioned in the Bible yet worked out from the careful observations of rational human beings cannot account for its existence?
The fact that rational humans because of this Gravitational constant can reliably predict where other stars and galaxies will be in the future and where they have been in the past with such extreme accuracy, that rational human beings can design, build and launch space probes which can use the gravity of other planets like a slingshot to boost these space probes on to other parts off our Solar system, cannot account for its own existence? Are there some passages in the Bible which deal with Celestial Mechanics and Kepler’s Laws which I have missed?
The next time you board an airplane, look at the wing, and know that rational humans like Bernoulli, Prandtl, Navier, Stokes, and others learned enough about fluid dynamics and physics, to reliably and predictably allow designers to build a heavier than air machine which allows us to travel in comfort and safety to our destinations. Did those men get their information from some chapter of the Bible? If so, please name the book and chapter, I for one would be intrigued.
Your responses are just ludicrous, as I pointed out earlier, when you try to fit what we observe in the world into fables written by illiterate people thousands of years ago, all people like you do is cause harm.
““Rational thinking” based on naturalism or any faith proposition outside of the Bible can’t even rationally account for its own existence.” – that has to be the dumbest thing I have ever read. If you are a minister, maybe your congregation accepts such sheer and utter nonsense, but in the rational world, the one devoid of fairy tales where we have to solve real world problems, that statement is just pathetic.
As I said at the beginning, there were no winners in this debate, only losers. The fact that given all we humans know and have worked out about the Universe from a relatively small section of it, and over a relatively short period of time, that irrational and poorly educated people such as yourself, because you are either too stupid or too lazy to apply yourselves and learn the math and physics, wish to discount such knowledge and trump it with fairy stories. Mind you, here you are on the internet, using a computer and interfacing through a web browser, all technology developed using math and physics, items you can touch and interact with on a daily basis, yet according to your stupid statement, “cannot rationally account for its existence”. Maybe there is a book of the Bible which covers electronics, again please post the name of the book and the relevant chapters.
Until you can do that, please don’t reply, your responses are boring, distorting and so irrational.
Jam One, you completely misunderstand, but I think you’re capable if you allow yourself to see that you assume certain basic principals on faith because you can’t prove them. Realizing that there is a gravitational constant is not the same as you being able to account for it on your own worldview. If atheism is true, then there should not be a gravitational constant, because there is nothing in atheism that EXPLAINS the forces that draw matter together or WHY it is constant enough to calculate and make predictions.
Think past the surface, beyond the law that we discovered and the formula we’ve written to use it in science to the fundamental constant itself. Should it exist if there is nothing out there to initiate and uphold a constant? Did these universal “laws” write themselves? Of course not. All you can say is it’s there and we can use it. Why or how on fundamentals is typically not a comfortable quest for atheists as it turns a bright light on the contradiction. An assumption, by faith, of your most basic principals, that can’t be grounded by your most basic principals. So divert with personal attacks and attempts to shut down the conversation. It’s okay, I’ve seen worse. 🙂
As for what you asked for: Natural laws do however make sense on Biblical Christianity. In Genesis 8:22 God reassures Noah of constants and uniformity in nature. Colossians 1:17 explains the Creator as preeminent and holding all things together, Who sustains all things, Hebrews 1:3. Newton understood this when he noted gravitational systems of the “sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” (Principia, 2nd edition pg 15). Kepler also saw the design and constants in planetary motion. He said that “we can see how God, like a human architect, approached the founding of the world according to order and rule and measured everything in such a manner.” At least 2 out of the 4 “rational humans” you lauded were devout Christians (Daniel Bernoulli and George Stokes). I don’t know for certain if they saw the support for fluid dynamics in scripture (Job 28:25), but they may have been aware of the numerous passages that seem to describe the hydrologic cycle (Psalm 135:7, Ecc. 1:6,7, Job 26:8) and basic physics (2 Peter 3:10). Other passages are consistent with such modern scientific fields as astronomy (Job 26:7; 1 Cor. 15:41), anthropology (Job 30:5,6), paleontology (Job 40-41), geology (Is. 40:22), biology (Gen. 1:25; Lev. 17:11), and mental health (Prov. 14:30;16:24).
“Rational humans” (meaning Nye’s “reasonable man”?) don’t necessary get their start from scientific principals found in the Bible, but they can reasonably account for them after the fact with a Creator who set up an ordered universe so we can discover this order and call them “laws.” Such order should not exist if atheism were true, therefore atheism isn’t true. It may be true though that unfortunately this will always seem like “utter nonsense” to you. It’s “by faith we understand.” We all have faith; what matters is where we put it.
Your response is just more evidence to support my initial assessment, that the debate has no winners, only losers.
Good luck and I hope you find answers to all your questions in that book of yours.
Thanks, I’ve enjoyed the discussion. 🙂