Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ken Ham, what's that you say?

Ken Ham is losing it.

On his website he gives his take on the Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life. Said declaration is the product of atheists meeting in Copenhagen. I thought about commenting on it earlier but then decided against it. Why?—because it is noteworthy only for being utterly noncontroversial. That is, it is not radical. Not radical means not sexy. It was not worth a convention in Copenhagen to derive that document—but then again conventions are never really cost effective.

That is probably a mistake—not to write about it, that is. I should have posted it and stated: Here is what a bunch of atheists with too many travel funds have to say—I generally agree with most of it. I could nitpick it, but more or less it is all vanilla.

Not so, says Ken Ham. Old Kenners lapsed into paroxysms of self-righteous indignation. And the way he did it was bizarre. He went through declaration quoting paragraphs verbatim. And then he rewrote the paragraphs, inserting his own words. And then, apparently, he gave himself the vapors over his private version of the text. He deserves a straw-man argument “red card.”

For example, the declaration stated:
We recognize the unlimited right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.
(You see why I didn’t comment on it—who could argue with such apple-pie views?)

Ham rewrites this into the official hammerized version:
We recognize the unlimited right (even though we have no objective basis for “rights” in our system) to freedom of conscience, religion, and belief—except for Christians—and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others (this is the golden rule: “do unto others . . . ” for which we have no logical basis in our way of thinking)—except for Christians, as we reject Christianity totally and must try to eliminate it.
Juuusssst a bit of an extrapolation. Does he get up in the morning and ask: how can I make Christians look stupid today?

Another example:
We assert the need for a society based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. History has shown that the most successful societies are the most secular.
We assert the need for a society based on democracy (even though this has no logical basis in our evolutionary worldview)—as long as the absolutes of Christianity are not allowed—human rights (for which we have no basis), and the rule of law (which protects the weak from the strong—despite the fact that we believe in evolution, which is about the strong dominating the weak). History has shown that the most successful (“successful” by our arbitrary dogma) societies are the most secular—just like the countries led by Mao, Pol Pott, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, and many more (killing off millions of human animals for their cause).
Dude—check your meds.

What Ken Ham (or anyone else ) could try to do is to present a case, with references, showing that the marquee new atheists don’t measure up to the Copenhagen Declaration. Does PZ’s crackergate live up to these lofty standards? Maybe yes, maybe no—but in any event you could at least try to put together a story. What Ham did was---not even wrong.


  1. Larder3:17 PM

    What a strange thing to get upset about. This reads more like something a Christian would write rather than a New Atheist mission statement.

    I'd maybe change secular societies to secular governments, but I agree with pretty much all of it.

    I don't believe any of the New Atheists would meet the standards here.

    Also, I wonder if the new French law banning face coverings would pass this standard?

  2. Anonymous9:49 AM

    from Roy:

    Perhaps you mean your post, Dave, as a spoof, as bait, as a leg puller?

    Your post, as written, rejects the counsel of Pr 26:5.

    Ken Ham did not overstate the case. He provides, albeit with bluntness, perhaps, an example of what some have called a Transcendental Apologetic. By way of an approach contrasting to your (I hope) spoof, see, for eg,


  3. Roy, No the post is quite serious. I think Ken Ham is an often an embarrassment to the faith, and I think he has carved out a niche industry that fleeces the flock. I think that his message, that mainstream science is at odds with biblical Christianity denies the concept of General Revelation and depicts God as a god of confusion.

    Your post, as written, rejects the counsel of Pr 26:5.

    You are free to make that assertion

    ese, for eg,


    Not a big fan.

  4. Anonymous1:49 PM

    from Roy:
    I don't disagree with your contention that K Ham sometimes (at least) shoots himself in the foot. His particular brand of YEC denies natural revelation so baldly that pagans see it. Worse yet, his view has no support from scripture. (Could Adam see fruit bearing trees in soil in Eden? How old was Eve when Adam met her minutes after her creation? How about the recently created billions of years old star that heated Eden?)

    But Ham's critique of the Copenhagen Declaration tells it like it is.

    BTW, since you love the Lord and submit to his Word, Dave, you are not free to scorn Pr 26:5. (You should, of course, learn from it, perhaps by comparing and contrasting it with Pr 26:4)

    RE Team Pyro: I don't endorse them without caveat. Eg, as baptists, albeit sovereign grace in flavor, they have a decidely truncated hermeneutic which keeps them from understanding some of the very wise things you've posted re eschatology.

    But Team Pyro's recent posts, specifially those of 12, 13Jul take scripture seriously as the final arbiter of our thinking. I hope your 'not a big fan' demural will not keep you from looking honestly at those posts.

  5. Roy,

    are not free to scorn Pr 26:5.

    I am not scorning any scripture. I wrote that it is your privilege to assert that my post rejects its counsel.

    As for team pyro, I am sure they have some fine posts. However I have been dissapointed enough that I won't spend the time looking for the pearls. However, I will read the posts you suggest.

    But Ham's critique of the Copenhagen Declaration tells it like it is.

    No it doesn't. He simply inserted snarky words into the text. It would be like critiquing the DoI this way:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [except people of color or people who own no land] are created equal [and superior to women, of course],

  6. David: don't worry, I don't take Ken Ham as the norm for Christians. But then again, maybe I shouldn't claim to represent atheists, since I couldn't really care less what people believe, as long as they behave nicely. You'll do.

    cheers from ridiculously hot Vienna, zilch