Saturday, November 11, 2006

The creationists' secret weapon

Darwin is so dead (again)

My friends, evolution is dead coming out of the starting gate. They rang the bell, lifted the post, and the horse dropped dead.

—D. James Kennedy, Evolution and You

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has a secret. Soon evolution will be defeated! (Send money.) AiG is about to unveil a new weapon that will win the war for God and creationism! (Send money.) The ramparts of the secular universities will be overthrown. (Send money.)

Oh, and please send some money.

In his October 2006 fundraising letter, Ham announces that a secret project is about to come to fruition. I'll let the man tell it in his own words, as he warms up the audience for his sales pitch:
Dear web visitor to AiG,

It's been an in-house AiG secret now for a few months. But I can finally tell you about a very special project we've been working on.

This effort, we truly believe, will greatly help to overcome the widespread censorship found in public schools concerning the creation/evolution issue.

Frankly, we expect quite a reaction from the secular humanists. After all, it's an aggressive endeavor to reach public school students across the nation with the arguments against evolution … and the evidence consistent with Genesis creation.

This is actually somewhat encouraging, isn't it? The creationists are going to offer evidence. Sorry, I've heard this one before. My expectations are not high.
As you probably already know from reading our web articles, it's almost impossible for a creationist speaker to lecture in public schools on origins.

Even if a speaker agrees not to mention the Bible and to deal solely with observational science (such as in genetics, chemistry, etc.), if he is known to be a Christian/creationist, lawsuits will be threatened to cancel the event.

In fact, such a situation occurred recently with AiG speaker Mike Riddle. It was only because the superintendent of the public school system refused to be intimidated and stood his ground, that Mike’s invitation to speak was not revoked.

When a creationist speaker offers to give a Bible-free presentation that is based on scientific evidence alone, you know what to expect. It will be merely one more lap around the track of argumentum ad ignorantiam: I don't know, so I guess God did it.
So what’s our big secret? Some background is needed.

We got copies of the three major biology textbooks used in most public school systems across America. AiG's Roger Patterson carefully went through each of them and noted every place where there's a reference to millions of years and evolution.

Roger researched the evolutionary claims, and then read hundreds of articles and contacted experts in their fields to ensure he'd write the best rebuttals possible.

Roger then compiled this research into a series of chapters and created AiG’s newest book: Evolution Exposed—Your evolution answer-book for the classroom.

This is the secret weapon? How does it differ from other creationist tracts like Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells, Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe, or Evolution? the Fossils Say No! by Duane Gish. Surely AiG's “special project” and “big secret” must represent some startling new breakthrough in creation apologetics. Or not:
Friend, here’s how practical this groundbreaking work is.

Just about any public high school student will now be able to use Evolution Exposed whenever there's a reference to millions of years/evolution in their texts. Praise God, it will give them scientific answers against evolutionary beliefs.

It's really what I would call a “survival guide” for science classes)!

Virtually every chapter in the secular books we examined contains implied or explicit references to evolutionary beliefs (and are presented as irrefutable facts).

With Evolution Exposed, these misrepresentations are cross-referenced with online creationist articles and publications … and the false ideas are refuted.

Christian students will be equipped and inspired to (respectfully) challenge evolutionary indoctrination in class (and in interactions with fellow students).

AiG will also be producing a special website that ties into the book. This site will have additional information, and if the textbook publisher brings out a new edition, page numbers and other things can be changed immediately on our site.

Because textbook publishers revise books only every few years, it will be relatively easy to keep our book/site up-to-date for you—and revise and expand!

Once again I am grateful for being a math teacher. My colleagues in anthropology and biology will be the main beneficiaries of AiG's “new” initiative. Fortunately, they're already used to the occasional Bible-thumping student who objects to “evolutionary indoctrination.” As one of my college's anthropology professors makes very clear to her students on Day One of each semester: “You are entitled to believe anything you want, but this is an anthropology class. If you want college credit for anthropology, you will learn the material and be prepared to demonstrate that you understand anthropological arguments and the evidence on which they are based. ‘Noah's Flood’ is not an argument or evidence. Now let's spend the rest of the semester talking about science.”

So nothing has changed. AiG is merely adding one more creationist polemic to the stacks of books attacking evolution. The companion website lends a modern touch to the project, but it is otherwise more of the same. Could it be, however, that this time AiG has found a particularly noteworthy scholar to lead the new assault on Darwin? The answer is no:
Before coming to work at AiG, Roger taught for eight years in Wyoming's public school system, and assisted its department of education in developing assessment standards for children in public schools.

There appears to be nothing particularly remarkable about the new book or its author. Nevertheless, Ken Ham is using it as the spearpoint of what he considers a massive new propaganda campaign. The country's children must be bombarded with copies of the book:
Now … how do we get this book into the hands of students across the US?

Well, because we want to disseminate this life-changing information to students who are censored from hearing it, we're providing the books in case lots at cost!

Look for our next newsletter in your mailbox for more details. (This letter is not intended to be a “sales pitch” for the book—I just wanted to let you know how we are again engaging the culture with a unique and, we trust, life-changing outreach.)

We are praying that thousands of Christians across America will purchase case lots and give books away to as many public school students in their area as possible.

What an impact this could have on the public school classrooms in this land!

Sorry, Ken. My public school colleagues are ready for you. Been there, done that. As it says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “there is nothing new under the sun.” But don't take the Bible's word for it. The Apologetics Press offers a handy cribsheet of supposed creation evidence for the freelance apologist. As it says on their website, “The Creation/Science card does not list Bible verses. It deals with scientific evidences that militate against evolution and point toward creation. This bookmark contains information on the lack of transitional fossils, a discussion of mutations, and the flaws of carbon dating, among other things.” Then: “This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 15 May, 2004.” Left at the post again, Ken.

Fortunately, Ham has still more to share with the reader:
I also want to tell you about another exciting outreach AiG is involved in,

As well as providing answers to public school students to counter the godless evolutionary worldview, we also need to challenge and provide information to the church—especially for Christian scholars and theologians.

You see, most seminaries and Bible colleges have compromised with the idea of millions of years of history … if not also with Darwinian evolution.

One of the ways AiG is trying to deal—head on—with this problem in the church is by hosting a booth at the annual conference of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Many leading Christian scholars/theologians will be meeting next month. There is such a vital need to reach them with our apologetics resources.

It's clear that most ETS participants are woefully uninformed on the historicity of Genesis (both biblically and scientifically). There are also those scholars who may believe in the literal history of Genesis 1-11, hut they need more information to teach their students with confidence—and to help them defend Genesis.

In the past five years that AiG has had a booth at ETS, we have sold some materials at greatly subsidized prices {and have given away many more).

We must reach these scholars who are training the next generation of pastors, missionaries, Bible college and seminary professors, and other Christian leaders.

AiG wants to see more leaders in the church equipped to fully believe God’s Word. So this year, we'd like to give away 1,000 DVDs and other resources.

It's time to get back to the money thing. Ham mentioned earlier that he was not writing his letter as a sales pitch for the new book AiG is publishing. As it turns out, though, AiG's Creation Museum has been soaking up contributions and leaving Ham's creation ministry otherwise high and dry. It's a problem.
As we reach out to both young people in public schools and also to the church and its leaders, these ventures do cost a lot of money. But we believe God has called us to do this {and other major outreaches, like the museum to open next year).

We wish to see many, many more young lives impacted—and also leaders in the church. It would be wonderful to receive more emails from people like this man from Pennsylvania, who was exposed to AiG's faith-building materials:
I have been born-again for 20 years. Attending a conservative Bible college in the late '80s, I thought a firm foundation in Scripture was achieved. Looking back, my faith diminished watching the church change, and just preaching the “trust Jesus” message … [and not defending the faith] by answering tough questions about Cain's wife, dinosaurs, etc.

I recently discovered your ministry. I feel like a new-born babe in Christ. To say that my faith has been increased would be an understatement. Using your materials along with the Bible, I can witness effectively. Thank you for persevering.
Last month, I wrote to you and said that each summer, just about every ministry sees a drop in giving. Here, though, things were quite different. Praise God—His people were very generous. But how they gave presented a challenge …

You see, for the fiscal year that ended in June, giving to the Creation Museum was 60% higher than budgeted/expected! Fantastic! But our general fund to support core ministries (website, radio, free seminars, translations, etc.) lagged in the summer.

Why? Among other things, it appears that many generous gifts that came from our supporters were being earmarked for the museum, not to the general fund.

I’m asking you to send a special gift to support core ministries, so that creation/gospel outreaches will continue to have an impact—without interruption.

Send money.
I trust our website has been a blessing to you. Perhaps you're now considering a way to express your appreciation for the 6,000 web articles that are there for you to freely use. A gift of any size would be greatly appreciated at this time. Thank you.

Send money.
As you send your gift, please pray over your contribution. Ask God to mightily use your gift for creation-gospel teaching that will see lives changed for Him.

Send money.
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Ken Ham

P.S. I hope you have seen that our new, creative initiatives to reach public schools students—plus a constantly updated website for students to use—have tremendous potential to influence the culture with biblical truth!

Send money, dammit!


Interrobang said...

I don't think soliciting donations was quite what the writers of AiG's vaunted holy book had in mind when they set down "Ask and it shall be given unto you."

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does Ken Ham look rather simian, like an extra from Planet of the Apes? Just sayin'....

Anonymous said...

Why can “Creationists” &/or “Intelligent Design” advocates ‘solve’ Sudoku Number Puzzles so quickly? THEY JUST PUT A “G” IN ALL THE EMPTY SQUARES; it’s just a matter of faith you know! It’s the same method creationists resort to in trying to prove their unsustainable “intelligent design theory”. They just assume all gaps in current understanding and/or knowledge regarding evolution must be filled with a (G=god) solution. Saves them having to think and question I suppose; blind faith, a refuge for the feeble-minded!


Anonymous said...

Wow, you few are so quick to criticize yet I would love to hear your versions on how we were created. Hopefully, it doesn't start with a pool of "soup", because that is ridiculous. Caliibre, you call believers "feeble-minded" and say we have "blind faith". WOW! I feel sorry that you have been living just as blindly yourself. Many Christians are very educated on the differences between various beliefs and have made a conscious decision to believe a particular way based on facts, evidence, common sense, trust, and yes even faith. If any of you really think you can disprove creationism, I invite you to contact Dr. Kent Hovind and give it a shot. May God bless you all with a desire to seek the truth!

Zeno said...

Anyone who cites "Dr." Kent Hovind is automatically disqualified on the grounds of extreme ignorance from trying to debate creation versus evolution.