Saturday, July 19, 2008

Creationism evolves again

AiG responds to selective pressure

When anyone accuses Ken Ham of being pugnacious, the creationist guru of Answers in Genesis knows what to do. He gets in their face and escalates!
Some time ago, a secular reporter accused me of promoting violence. It was because he saw AiG’s classic “castles illustration” we often use, which really sums up the spiritual battle AiG is fighting.

The two castles illustrations are labeled “Problem” and “Solution.” Notice the use of cannons on the castle. Now, I wonder what the same reporter might say if he saw some of the newer diagrams I use in my talks—today I’m using missiles!
That's right. Ken Ham's slide show has been brought up to date. It's evolved.

Until recently, the canonical version of Ham's castle illustration featured cannons. That's what you see in the accompanying color slide that Ham used in his presentations until recently. It's been around a long time. For example, here's how it looked as a more primitive black-and-white figure from the 1987 edition of The Lie: Evolution, Ham's “classic” broadside against modern science:

As you can see, Creation Castle has been losing ground, going from bad to worse. The 1987 illustration depicts a single piratical figure (a secular humanist, no doubt) aiming Evolution Castle's only cannon at the foundations of Creation Castle (the bedrock afforded by Christ). An ineffectual sidekick hovers in the background, apparently puffing on more sinful balloons to add to euthanasia, homosexuality, divorce, pornography, abortion, and racism. Fortunately for the swashbucklers of humanism, the clerics of Castle Creation are a feckless lot. One of them is firing in the wrong direction while another is drawing a bead on the only creationist aiming at the citadel of evolution.

In the later (color) cannon version, divorce has given way to “family break-up” and homosexuality has become the more specific “homosexual behavior.” There are now two buccaneers on balloon duty and three are blasting away at creation's foundations. The tide is clearly flowing against the forces of godly superstition. What's more, although the number of occupants of Creation Castle have also increased, there is still only one who is fighting the good fight for creationism. Does Ham identify with that lone hero? The Christian ranks are rife with treachery and sloth. (I note that the Christians are now in more secular garb.)

Ken Ham mentioned missiles. Indeed. Check out the new metaphors for the battle between creation and evolution, shown in the accompanying figure. The little creationists and evolutionists are no longer to be seen, presumably having returned whence they came (which I suspect was Akbar-and-Jeff land). Creation Castle has been replaced by a conventional looking church and a weird bunker identified with Answers in Genesis. The bunker is even bigger than the church, and both are dwarfed by the huge cross (with roots!). The Scud missiles of secular humanism and evolution are roaring toward the Genesis foundations of Christianity, but the bunker's parabolic dish tracking device improbably has the power to emulate Ronald Reagan's most unlikely “Star Wars” fantasy, zapping the enemy missiles in mid-flight. (Ah, yes. Fantasy.)

In the words of Ken Ham:
[W]e do see ourselves as supplying the “troops” with ammunition. As I've often said, the books, DVDs, etc., are really “Christian Patriot missiles” to battle those who fight against God's Word.
I don't know if Ham likes to end his presentations with a rousing chorus of Praise God, and Pass the Ammunition, but I suspect he doesn't. That hymn is a bit too overt. Ham is already on record as objecting to being portrayed as militaristic. Ham suspects this secularist agenda was at work in Alexandra Pelosi's Friends of God:
Pelosi may have had an agenda to portray Christians as militaristic, for that aspect is weaved in and out of the documentary. That type of claim is increasingly becoming more public as opponents of conservative evangelical Christianity are turning more vocal. For example, this thesis is found in a just-released, anti-evangelical book entitled American Fascists. The author, Chris Hedges, a respected newspaper journalist formerly with The New York Times, believes that evangelicals (the “religious right”) are poised to take over America, fascist-style, during the next 9/11-like crisis. He particularly notes the use of military metaphors used by many evangelicals, who often apply Ephesians 6 terminology in their messages (e.g., phrases from Ephesians such as the following: “put on the whole armor of God,” “the shield of faith,” “the sword of the Spirit,” etc.). In the HBO program, Ken is seen describing AiG’s books and DVDs as “Christian patriot missiles” that can counter evolutionary teaching. It feeds the false belief held by Hedges and others that evangelicals are militaristic in a very real sense, not just spiritual.
That certainly is a dirty trick, using Ken Ham's own words. Militaristic metaphors do not necessarily indicate that religious people will engage in violence. I mean, whoever heard of “holy war,” right? No such thing!

By the way, I find it peculiarly apt that Ham describes his defenses against the enemy as “Patriot missiles.” People who remember anything about Raytheon's Patriot missiles in the first Gulf war probably recall the flush of triumph when they were initially credited with bringing down Iraq's Scud missiles. They're much less likely to remember the aftermath, when it was discovered that the Patriots had actually failed. Ham might want to keep this in mind when he intelligently designs his next metaphor for the conflict between science and superstition.


The Ridger, FCD said...

It's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition", actually, and it's neither a hymn nor a metaphor. Frank Loesser wrote it and it was a popular WWII song featuring a chaplain (sky pilot) who tossed aside his Bible to man a gun during a battle...

But other than that (which is thoroughly incidental) I agree 100% with your post. Poor Ken Ham, convicted out of his own mouth.

And what's up with that one Christian shooting at the Christianity banner? Is he an Episcopalian or something?

William said...

"Euthanasia" is still there in the color picture.

Apart from the change of "divorce" to "family break-up", there's also "homosexuality" changed to "homosexual behavior". I can't quite tell what the significance of that is -- "Hate the sin, not the sinner"? A denial that homosexual orientation exists? Or something else?

But I think the biggest one is "Evolution (Satan)" to "Evolution - Man Decides 'Truth'". This is progress, because I can argue with the new version; but there's really no way to respond rationally to something being labeled satanic.

Zeno said...

Thanks, William. Fixed it. Not sure how I missed it.

Thanks, Ridger, for the tip on Praise the Lord, etc.

Jing-reed said...

Ken Ham and his ID crowd are indeed pathetic and their blinders are so well placed that they are ignorant of their foolishness.

Am reminded of swatting at mosquitoes here in Thailand, necessary but in long run not terribly productive - they just seem to keep breeding.

Anonymous said...

Ken Ham is not the lone guy shooting at the castle of Humanism in this picture. The whole point of the pic is to show how Christians are either asleep, or firing in the wrong direction, or firing at their own foundation of Creation (theistic evolutionists) or - as the one guy who you thought represented Ken Ham is doing - fighting a symptom of evolutionary thinking, instead of the foundation. The Humanists, on the other hand, are all joining the theistic evolutionist in firing at the foundation of Christianity, which is "Creation".