Re: YEC Invasion

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Fri Sep 05 2003 - 13:25:26 EDT

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        Let me second Ted's comment about Ham's skillfulness in making his
    presentations. He's a practiced speaker and has all the come-backs to
    questions from the floor down pat. What I did when his associate Gary
    Parker gave a presentation at Berea College is not challenge him directly--I
    saw how he ran people around in circles--but take notes, and then critique
    his presentations in the days following, with students directly and through
    College publications and its in-house listserv.

    Bob Schneider

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Davis" <>
    To: <>; <>
    Sent: Friday, September 05, 2003 12:30 PM
    Subject: Re: YEC Invasion

    > Josh,
    > So Ken Ham is coming. A good time will not be had by all, I'm afraid.
    > You write: The only familiarity I have with Ken Ham is when I glanced
    > through one of his books and saw a cartoon illustration. It depicted two
    > fortresses in warfare against one another, the first labelled Christianity
    > and the second Evolution. On the side of Christianity was truth, honour,
    > God, etc. On the side of Evolution was racism, genocide, euthanasia, etc.
    > I found it to be the perfectly wrong frame for a productive dialogue about
    > science and faith issues. This is my only impression of his arguments and
    > approach, so I need to know more.
    > Ted: The cartoon you mention is very well know, widely used in creationist
    > presentations, even available as a wall-mounted picture that at least one
    > two of my students' families have in their homes. It (and several others)
    > can be found in Ham's book, The lie : evolution : Genesis - the key to
    > defending your faith. (Incidentally, some of the cartoons in that book
    > a striking similarity to cartoons widely used in the 1920s on both sides
    > the Atlantic. The cartoonist for the Sunday School Times, E.J. Pace, was
    > highly effective at ridiculing evolution. His visual motives reappear
    > in antievolutionist literature. The particular one about a castle I have
    > not seen in Pace, but half a dozen other cartoons in that book are very
    > close to Pace cartoons.)
    > As for responding to Ham, your goals sound appropriate. Many will find
    > more convicing than you, I am guessing, b/c Ham is slick and has had lots
    > practice. Also, he keeps it as simple as he can, whereas modern science
    > rarely that simple. Ridicule is part of his toolbox too--Rimmer used it
    > very well in the 1930s to win the audience, if not necessarily the
    > argument.
    > If I were in your position, I would push the Galileo issue. What I mean
    > is, raise the question whether we should *always* in *all circumstances*
    > insist on the "literal" meaning of a given text, esp when it seems to
    > contradict other information that we think we know. Use the example of
    > earth's motion and the roughly one dozen scriptures that seem to
    > that. It's a safe example--I doubt your pastor has ever preached against
    > Copernicus, though a few geocentrists are found among the creationists.
    > Then, examine the two Genesis creation stories carefully--and do emphasize
    > that there appear to be two such stories, whose details are not fully
    > consistent. (such as the order of events--animals then humans or vice
    > versa) Also look at the fourth day of creation, where the sun and moon
    > created expressly to mark out time and to give day and night, yet we've
    > time and evening/morning since day one. (This passage has been a source
    > speculation since the earliest years of the church, long before "modern
    > science". It has long been questioned, for example, whether the first
    > "days" are "days" at all, since the sun and moon aren't there.)
    > In other words, raise some fair questions about *what* a *literal*
    > interpretation of the text actually gives us.
    > That leaves you latitude to question whether Ham's "biblical" science is
    > really the only "biblical" view.
    > ted

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