I consider it immoral to blatantly lie to defend beliefs, even sincerely held beliefs. Below is today’s report from AIG on a recent scientific press release. I highlighted in bold the sentence that I consider a lie. What do you think? Is it a lie or a moral and ethical defense of one’s faith?
Surprise, Surprise—Birds Have Always Been . . . Birds!
by Ken Ham on October 20, 2015
Sometimes I see things in the news that just make me shake my head. I’m often reminded of this verse about those who ignore God’s clear witness in creation: “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Well, I was most recently reminded of this in relation to an article titled, “Fossil could settle the debate over whether early birds really did fly.” This article is reporting on a study published in Scientific Reports that showed that supposed “early” birds flew just like modern ones. Wow! Now that’s a revelation!
This study revolved around part of a supposedly 125-million-year-old bird fossil found in Spain. This “exceptionally well preserved fossil . . . has an intricate arrangement of the muscles and ligaments that controlled the main feathers of the wing of an ancient bird—the oldest occurrence of connective tissue in association with flight feathers of birds.” And what did this fossil show? Well, that “at least some of the most ancient birds performed aerodynamic feats in a fashion similar to living birds.” The lead author of the study reported that he “was so surprised how this ancient bird looked so similar to what we might find in our backyards.” So birds looked and flew like birds? Surprise!
Of course, this comes as no surprise to those who start with the Bible’s history. Genesis tells us God created birds to reproduce according to their kind. Birds didn’t have to slowly evolve the ability to fly—those that fly were created with the ability from the very beginning. Birds have the incredible ability to master the skies in all the different ways that they do—soaring, darting, hovering—because they were designed with this ability. Flight is an incredibly complex thing and couldn’t possibly have evolved. The incredible ability of flight in fossil birds and living birds points toward the creativity of the Creator.
The evidence actually confirms that birds have always been—well, birds!
I think it’s a combination of dishonesty and delusion. Never underestimate the power of humans to deceive themselves! He might sincerely believe that God wants him to twist every scientific finding in order to preserve his interpretation of Genesis. The Mormons would call this “Lying for the Lord.” He certainly doesn’t believe that scientists can be trusted.
I don’t understand how someone appeals to fossils they don’t believe exist to support their idea, when the fossil’s existence actually disproves the premise of their idea. It’s like he’s trying to convince us that the scientist being surprised by something means the scientist now agrees with him that the earth is 6,000 years old and God specially created that fossilized bird a few thousand years ago out of nothing. I don’t think that quite follows from what the guy found or said. I don’t know if it is lying so much as incoherent argumentation that only appeals to people who already agree with him.
It confirms they have been birds for 125 million years, which is not something Ken should be all giddy about.
I used to like AiG, and enjoyed reading their articles, watching their videos. But after awhile I realized how much they distorted information, and took scientists and their claims out of context.
What bothered me the most about AiG was when they started taking the Bible itself out of context — like the desperate attempt to turn Behemoth in Job 40 into a sauropod dinosaur. When AiG takes scientific statements out of context, to me, it’s more understandable. They aren’t experts in that particular field, so why should they be expected to always perfectly represent the data? But with the Bible it’s different… That is something they should know more about, since their entire organization is built upon preserving their interpretation of the Bible’s history, as depicted in Genesis 1-11.
Whether you are YEC, OEC, or EC, it is NOT the place of a Christian (or anyone really) to lie, quote-mine, take out of context, etc., to defend a particular viewpoint. I appreciate many of these organizations (like ICR and AiG) for they probably have brought many people to Christ through their ministry. While at the same time I believe they have done damage to those that were willing to consider Christ, but didn’t want to do so if it meant holding to certain doctrines, that they felt undermined their intelligence. It is also unfortunate that these particular organizations are typically the most vocal, and televised, of the Christian groups, which inevitably puts an imprint on the non-believing, that they speak for all of Christianity.
Because they are explicitly claiming to understand the data better than those in the field.
Here’s a more obvious reason to believe (pun intended) that they are engaging in deliberate deception: if they really believed they were correct, they would be doing science, not just misrepresenting the science that others do.
That they do little or nothing demonstrates their lack of faith in their rhetoric. That those who cite them don’t bother to examine the evidence for themselves also demonstrates lack of faith in their claims.
I think you may be right Joao. I don’t like to accuse others of willful deception, but in the case of the Bible (where Behemoth was concerned) they seemed perfectly okay with distorting biblical texts to support the claim of dinosaur-human cohabitation. And if they are willing to distort the Bible — which they claim to revere — then I guess I wouldn’t put it pass them to do the same with science.
The problem is that I’m not sure how far the corruption goes and who willfully knows they are being deceptive. Are some of the head hanchos aware of the scheme, while the people below them just more-or-less brainwashed to simply go along with what they are told? To go along with the “knowledge” that they’re teachers, higher-ups etc., have done the research and know what they are talking about, so there’s no need to question it, and no need to do your own research…?
I actually believe Kent Hovind to be rather intelligent and talented in what he does — not in the sense that you think I mean, as far as logical well thought out arguments go. But in the sense that he can talk faster than anyone else, about a million topics, all from memory — it’s rather impressive. What it does, however, is give everyone a shallow understanding of a multitude of topics, rather than a deep understanding of any one particular topic. You go away thinking he made really good points, when really he just skimmed over so many topics that your brain doesn’t have time to evaluate any particular argument.
And did you notice that they don’t have the faith to make their new ark (in the ark park) float?
[quote=“TimothyHicks, post:6, topic:3141”]
I think you may be right Joao. I don’t like to accuse others of willful deception, but in the case of the Bible (where Behemoth was concerned) they seemed perfectly okay with distorting biblical texts to support the claim of dinosaur-human cohabitation. And if they are willing to distort the Bible — which they claim to revere — then I guess I wouldn’t put it pass them to do the same with science.[/quote]
It’s not deception in the sense of ‘I’m just going to lie about this,’ but more along the ego-driven lines of ‘What rhetoric can I quickly find to throw at the evil atheist (even when they are Christians) scientists? Because I don’t have sufficient faith to look deeply, I’ll just pretend that someone else did.’ Both constitute an explicit rejection of fundamental Christianity, though, IMO.
It goes top to bottom. However, I think we have to distinguish between being afraid to look deeply enough to determine whether their rhetoric is true or false (which itself is a all-but-explicit admission of lack of faith), versus deliberately lying to support something they know to be false.
But this lack of faith is the key for me. Evolution denial is just as bad theologically as it is scientifically. It’s all about tribalism, which is something that Jesus Christ very clearly told us is immoral.
It’s more a gradient of gray than that. Try using the lack-of-faith hypothesis and you’ll see that it predicts every dishonest rhetorical gambit from every part of the food chain. Keep in mind that “faith” applies in both secular and religious contexts here.
[quote]To go along with the “knowledge” that they’re teachers, higher-ups etc., have done the research and know what they are talking about, so there’s no need to question it, and no need to do your own research…?
[/quote]More like abject fear of doing your own research and learning something new, because you have zero confidence that it will support the desired conclusion. That’s why the leaders will never offer a hypothesis that makes clear, entirely empirical predictions.
What’s the usual way that children get hooked on real science? If they read a book by an authority or learn from a favorite teacher, they become highly motivated to learn new things for themselves using their own hands. Nothing even close occurs in the ID or creationist communities. Therefore they are virtually all complicit, just to different extents.
Of all the problems one can discuss concerning Noah’s Ark and the Flood I don’t think the floating aspect is of major concern.
Now I don’t know much about ships, but I’m not sure why the ark wouldn’t float? It doesn’t need to be seaworthy… It just needs to stay above water. My issue with the story in Genesis is how does 8 people take care of 16,000+ animals daily, for a whole year? Or where did all the water come from and where did it go? How did the insects survive (and if we assume massive amounts of floating mats of vegetation, we still have to have the insects survive at least 40 days of solid torrential rain)… And how did the trees survive underwater for a whole year?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see the Ark floating as a problem… It’s those other things that I find to be problematic.
I do detect a certain amount of animosity in those particular organizations, towards contrary viewpoints. Comparing dissenters to the snake who said, “Did God really say?” Is not only overused but unhelpful in starting a dialogue between two groups with different views.
In a few seminars I’ve watched, some of the speakers were discussing what creature the Behemoth was in the book of Job and about biblical commentators. They noted that most commentators, put in a footnote: Behemoth, probably an elephant or hippopotamus. They chuckled, saying that the footnotes are not inspired… Then proceeded to tell the audience how it was describing a sauropod dinosaur.
Why do virtually all commentators say it was an elephant or hippopotamus? The people at AiG claim, “It’s because they have the preconceived idea that they died out millions of years ago.”
It’s this kinda narrow-mindedness that is destructive. Maybe if one actually read the full description of the creature, you would see it cannot be a dinosaur, instead of claiming that people who spend much of their lives studying the Bible have it wrong.
All kinds of things are problematic with the ark! How did Noah learn how to build a seaworthy vessel? Can you picture it out on the open ocean?
It’s like the Mormon church…the regular people might be totally deceived but at least some of the leadership know it’s bollocks.
I am an engineer (electrical not naval). But the little I know says that a 500 ft wooden boat couldn’t last one year at sea. It would be twisted and broken apart in rough sea states.
AIG claims that continents were moved rapidly by the flood. This would have caused sea states to exceed seastate 10. No 500 ft wooden boat without a propulsion system or even a rudder could survive such a condition.
And what would happen if the ark hit all the debris that would be floating around?
Besides, who would want to be sealed up with all those terrified animals pooping, peeing and vomiting? I’d sooner drown.
Imagine having to clean up all of that mess
I can see how you could find a dinosaur in there if you were looking for it. But I thought Behemoth was a mythical creature the ancient people believed inhabited the watery deep. A sea monster. But if you reject the whole ANE “cosmic geography” thing, than I guess it has to be a hippopotomus or an elephant. Heaven forbid the Bible make reference to something that isn’t “literally” real.
ETA: Oops, I just realized I was thinking of Leviathan, so disregard the whole thing.
Indeed. Most people have no idea how much manure a large herbivore can produce. Also daunting is the knowledge of animal husbandry that would be required to pull this off. Would Noah know enough to keep a hippo standing in mud to keep its feet healthy? Most of the animals would be dead by the time the ark ran aground-- and the slugs would still have to climb down the mountain. Perhaps Noah dropped off most of the marsupials in Australia.
Christy, in this particular case, I think you are arguing from ignorance. Do you have evidence to suggest they don’t believe the fossils exist? They certainly believe the fossils exist. They likely disagree about how old these fossils are, but that’s another thing entirely. He disagrees about the timeline, but points out that ancient birds were also birds, …
So this does show that it did not take millions of additional years (after 125 bp) to develop birds with modern bird characteristics. That’s the point you seem to be missing.
I have not looked at AIG stuff for quite awhile, but attacking them without integrity is not good. I’m surprised timothy that you have not referenced the desperate attempt to turn behemoth into a modern day animal, which it does not fit. This is not taking scripture out of context. It is trying to fit behemoth and leviathan to something that it fits. Do you deny the cave drawings of what looks like dinosaurs? Do you deny that dinosaurs existed? Why would such a comparison be illegitimate then?
Easy to get confused between the two. Both are impressive creatures. The main verse that gets highlighted for a dinosaur like creature is “He moves his tail like a cedar tree”.
At first it sounds compelling — what other creature beside a long neck dinosaur (brachiosaurus) would have a tail the size of a cedar tree.
But it has two main problems. 1) the verse says nothing about what the tail looks like but simply how it moves. 2) the assumption that the cedar tree is referring to the American cedar tree — which is no where to be found in the Middle East. You will however find the Lebanese cedar, (whoch Job would have been familiar with) which is incredibly different than the American cedar tree.
And this is where the argument starts to collapse on itself. What I think is deceptive is the fact that it will only fool an American audience, because we aren’t familiar with other varieties of cedar trees.
Other descriptions which have a hard time jiving is “he lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.” … Try getting a huge animal like a brachiosaurus to lay down beneath such a tree.
“He draweth up the river Jordan” this is why most people think Behemoth is an elephant… It sounds like an elephants trunk drawing up water. Also elephants do hang around shady trees and fens.
“His nose pierces through snares” — this makes sense for an elephant, but not a brachiosaurus.
I’m surprised they don’t try to make Leviathan into some sort of dinosaur instead. The descriptions are much closer. However you do have the problem of the fire-breathing description. And that Psalm 74 says that “God wrestles with Leviathan” and that the creature Leviathan is described as having several heads.
But of course the Bible would never describe anything that’s mythological or legendary…