Answers In Genesis is Coming to Canada

Are you excited by this news? Are you appalled by this news? Are you angered by this news? Are you totally confused by this news because what’s “Answers in Genesis”?

Whatever your reason for clicking through to my blog, welcome. I hope you find my posts on this organization and the linked resources helpful and informative as you prepare for the arrival of Ken Ham and his Fantastic Ark in the Great White North.

Whether you are a churchgoing Christian like me, an atheist, agnostic, or come from an other faith tradition, you should become familiar with Answers in Genesis and the possible implications for its official arrival in Canada.

What is Answers in Genesis and Why Should You Care?

Continue reading “Answers In Genesis is Coming to Canada”

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Oh the Places We will Not Go: Passing on the Ark Encounter to Encounter God’s Real Creation

IP — Follow the link below to Joel Duff’s blog post at the end of this post. His recent post resonates with my recent post about Ken Ham’s Fantastic Voyage — Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Fantastic! In that post, I recommend going to the zoo instead.

Dr. Duff inspired me to actually compare prices of places that we might go instead of the Ark Encounter or the Creation Museum.

Let’s compare prices, shall we? For my family of five to visit the Ark Encounter where we would see an artist’s conception of fictional pre-speciation animals, it would cost $174.00 including parking but not including food, souvenirs and propaganda. . . er I mean books. Continue reading “Oh the Places We will Not Go: Passing on the Ark Encounter to Encounter God’s Real Creation”

How Ken Ham & Answers in Genesis Led Me to Accept Evolutionary Theory

Ken Ham and the folks at Answers in Genesis (AIG) often suggest that what leads people, including biblical scholars, to propose interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis that differ from a “literal” interpretation of Genesis akin to AIG‘s own is a desire to conform their understanding of Scripture (and doctrine) to modern scientific theories, i.e. “deep time”, the Big Bang, and, of course, the theory of evolution. In other words, the suggestion is that beliefs about evolution and the age of the universe not only precede but drive Christians to seek alternate interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis that better accommodate modern scientific theories.

The polemical and apologetic narrative usually sounds something like the following from a 2011 post condemning the work of Wheaton College professor John Walton:

Why are we seeing more and more bizarre and elitist ideas (e.g., William Dembski—see previous blog post for details) coming out of Christian academia? I believe it is a form of academic pride, largely from academic peer pressure, because these people ultimately “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

Continue reading “How Ken Ham & Answers in Genesis Led Me to Accept Evolutionary Theory”

Beyond the Compatibility of Science and Christianity

Recently, a biologist friend of mine asked me to recommend books that go beyond the minimalist though important argument that Christian doctrine and Scientific discovery are not incompatible. As a biologist and a Christian, my friend is well beyond needing to read another book that debunks the Enlightenment myth that presents a perpetual and irresolvable conflict between science and religion. In the scholarly discourse, both historians and philosophers of science have demonstrated that this conflict model is neither historically nor intellectually tenable. Nevertheless, this Enlightenment myth of conflict remains firmly rooted in the popular psyche.

Having been engaged in so many discussions recently that are only at the level of realizing that this myth is false, I had to pause and think back to authors I have read and theologians I have encountered who are going beyond arguing for mere compatibility. Continue reading “Beyond the Compatibility of Science and Christianity”

Consider the Ant!? Answers in Genesis suggests Invertebrates May Not Be Alive in the “Biblical Sense” or Whaaaat the Sheol?!?!

I can’t make this stuff up. Okay, I could. But I don’t have to because Answers in Genesis has a whole staff of writers who make this stuff up.

In order to defend AiG’s assertion that death only entered the world when ha’adam ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and following a typical AiG strategy, Avery Foley suggests that ants and other insects are not living things[1],

Aside from the possibility that ants, and other insects, are not even alive in the biblical sense . . .

What does “not even alive in the biblical sense” even mean, is it like “knowing someone in the biblical sense”? “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.”[2] Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.[3] Well, under the veneer of real research, AiG often includes footnotes [of course, footnote 1 is the only footnote but surely this indicates that this “scientifically” or “biblically” grounded article must have data to back up such a bold and paradigm shifting claim], let’s scroll down, shall we? Continue reading “Consider the Ant!? Answers in Genesis suggests Invertebrates May Not Be Alive in the “Biblical Sense” or Whaaaat the Sheol?!?!”

Ham-Handed Hermeneutics VI: More Hippo, Less Ham

Or the Harmonization Temptation

This post continues and concludes (for now) my engagement with Augustine’s On the Literal Meaning of Genesis.
I simply want to note some of the intriguing and insightful elements in this work. I will give particular attention to Augustine’s suggestion that Genesis 1 presents God’s causal creation of all things, including human beings, while Genesis 2 describes the formal or material creation of human beings which for Augustine is God’s ongoing creative activity. Finally, I suggest that one of the errors that is common to Ham, Augustine and many errors is the desire to harmonize Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

[For related Ham-Handed posts follow these links: Augustine IAugustine II, Augustine III)

Continue reading “Ham-Handed Hermeneutics VI: More Hippo, Less Ham”

Mind the Gap II: Healing the Split-Brain Syndrome in Young Adults (and the rest of us)

In my previous post “Diagnosing the Split-Brain Syndrome“, I focussed on my own experience growing up switching between absolute credulity and scientific rigour (at least a little more rigour than the average teenager). The most bizarre thing to me is that it did not seem to phase me or those around me. I could be talking about the latest discoveries in shark behaviour in one instant and recounting the latest alien abduction story in the next. No one ever questioned me about the incongruity. Indeed, if anything, people were more interested in the latter than the former.

It will surprise many non-Christians that for me the healing began shortly after my conversion to Christianity in my first year of university. While it began with a desire to understand the Scriptures better, the real healing began when I attended Regent College for Graduate School. Continue reading “Mind the Gap II: Healing the Split-Brain Syndrome in Young Adults (and the rest of us)”

Mind the Gap I: Diagnosing Split-Brain Syndrome in Young Adults (and the rest of us)

Many Christians seem to suffer from what I am calling “Split-Brain Syndrome”. That is, many Christians seem to switch unwittingly between a Science Brain and a Church Brain. This psychological problem is nurtured by a culture that divides the public and private spheres and is reinforced by a popular polemics that are framed by the conflict models of religion vs. science, faith vs. reason, religion vs. secular, Ham vs. Dawkins, etc. As my own story will demonstrate, this “double-mindedness” is not peculiar to Christians.

Though not a Christian at the time, in my youth, I experienced this split-brain syndrome. Continue reading “Mind the Gap I: Diagnosing Split-Brain Syndrome in Young Adults (and the rest of us)”

What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr

Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. (Basic Books, 2002) $9.99 Kindle/$12.91 Paper

Truly wanting to understand the theory of evolution as it is currently held and the evidence for it, I asked a fellow church member who is also a biologist to recommend a book that would describe the theory to me in a non-polemical tone. That is, I wanted to read a contemporary account of the theory of evolution by someone who was not also trying to convince me either that I ought to be an atheist or that I ought to reject the evidence if I wanted to remain a Christian. Nor was I looking for books about theistic evolution or Intelligent Design. I wanted a book about the scientific theory of evolution as I might want a book about string theory or the nature of blackholes. Continue reading “What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr”

Dialogue in Hamean Skepticism (Excerpt from Ham/Hume Post)

Last week, I was asked to share my thoughts on Ken Ham’s Humean Skepticism at a weekly interdisciplinary discussion group which explores the topic of God and Nature. They particularly enjoyed my imagined conversation between Ken Ham and his (fictional) son both for its humo(u)r and its illustrative power. Nothing in this post is new. So, I am keeping my promise. 😉

An Imagined Intergenerational Dialogue in mode of Hamean Skepticism

In light of Ken Ham’s beliefs about our access to knowledge of the past, I would love to be Ken Ham’s child. He needs a biblical name. Let’s call him Kenaan Ham. I can hear it, now.

Ham: Son, who broke the vase?

Kenaan: I don’t know.

Ham: It wasn’t broken when your mother and I left and you were home alone. Isn’t that your baseball?

Kenaan: Dad, there are many other possible explanations for why a vase might be broken and why my baseball might be lying in the shards. You are extrapolating based on your fallible human reason and your beliefs about the nature of boys and a belief that baseballs break vases. Have you ever seen a baseball break a vase?

Ham: Well, know I haven’t, Son. However, when I was a boy, I broke a window playing cricket.

Kenaan: Dad, a window is not a vase. All you have is shards of vase and a baseball that looks very similar to my baseball, and I may not even be the same boy that you left here this morning.

Ham: Son, did you . . .

Kenaan: Dad, let me finish. If there is one thing that you have taught me, its that the past is the past and when there is more than one possible explanation for the evidence, no matter how implausible, then we must turn from observational science to historical science. Dad, did you see me break the vase?

Ham: No, son, I didn’t.

Kenaan: Does it say anywhere in the Bible that I broke the vase?

Ham: No, son, it doesn’t.

Kenaan: Then Dad, I think we’ve learned all we can here. Let’s leave this mess for Mom to clean up. We have an Ark to build.
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The God and Nature group is open to faculty, staff, and students. We regularly have all three groups represented. The group “evolved” out a desire of a biologist at Baylor to explore the relationship of science and theology and conversations which began when I requested a good non-polemical book on evolution. He made a suggestion. What pleasantly surprised him was that I read it. In addition, to biologists, a historian of science and religion, and a physicist, we were fortunate to have a philosopher as well who teaches a course on Immanuel Kant, David Hume, & Thomas Reid which I took a few years ago. I read my blog to the the group and it generated a great deal of discussion and confirmed some possible response from different quarters. Thank you to the group for the feedback and stimulating conversation.

If you are at Baylor University and you are interested in joining us at one of our weekly conversations, by all means contact me through this blog or through my baylor e-mail. The atmosphere is informal and jovial as well as intellectually stimulating.