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Answers in Genesis

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What Answers in Genesis loves to do is to grab a couple of random pieces, pound them together until they mash up, and then tell you that the Bible clearly explains that this mangled cardboard shows that the Earth is very young. [...] They desperately desire to have evidence on their side, to the point that they have to start inventing their own and misrepresenting the facts.
PZ Myers[1]
Answers in Genesis is not defending the Christian faith, it is turning it into something that can be easily ridiculed and dismissed.
—James F.McGrath, Bible scholar[2]

Answers in Genesis (AiG), headed by Ken Ham, is a Christian apologetics ministry which pushes "creation science". They run (into the ground it would seem[3]) the Creation "Museum" and Ark Encounter theme-parks in Kentucky. They also publish the Answers Research Journal.[4] Considered the leaders of creationist "research" online, Answers in Genesis will invariably be linked to by creationists to prove points. If you have a perceived fallacy in creationism, AiG will have the answer, Talk Origins will have the refutation, and AiG will have the refutation of the refutation (generally just a restatement of the original piece).[note 1]

History[edit]

In 1993, after 7 years in the US working with the Institute for Creation Research, former Australian high-school teacher Ken Ham decided to start a creation science ministry similar to the Creation Science Foundation (now Creation Ministries International) he had founded back in Australia, because he felt that the ICR were too "intellectual" and what was needed was a more layman's approach to teaching creation science. Also, he wanted to sell his magazines, but the ICR would not help him.[5]

The first snag in the road is that in the US a foundation has to give away money, so he called it the Creation Science Ministries. The second snag was he had no money. According to CMI they gave significant financial support to Ham to start his new US ministry,[6] while AiG say they needed no such thing and had plenty of money thank you.[5] In 1995, both of Ham's ministries changed their names to become Answers in Genesis-US and Answers in Genesis-Australia. For many years they were pretty much the same organisation, even generating a common Statement of Faith that was supposed to bind the two.

By 2005 a huge split occurred between the two, with the Australian organisation's view that Ham was out of control and egotistical.[7] The US branch withdrew along with the UK office, taking the naming rights and branding rights with them. AiG-Australia became Creation Ministries International, taking with it all the other non-US offices in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

In 2007 AiG opened its now infamous Creation Museum and in 2008, having lost Creation magazine and The Journal of Creation in the split, it started its own creation research journal, Answers Research Journal.[citation needed]

A representative argument from AiG[edit]

Don't look at sane science or Cthulhu will eat you and your Bible!

The AiG-commissioned comic pictured at right is representative of their approach to science, their method of scientific analysis going something like this:

  1. Look at the evidence.
  2. See if it jibes with the Bible.
  3. If it does, go nuts over it.
  4. If it does not, it is like Cthulhu: capable of eating people and Bibles. Ignore it.

A handful of AiG's "arguments"[edit]

AIG honestly believes this.
  • Homosexuals do not exist, since many have a small amount of incidental opposite-sex attraction, and also because many gays (wait for it) enjoy women as friends.[8]
  • The distinction between observational and historical science.
  • Better yet, not only does the site use circular reasoning (while at the same time claiming that the Geological Column involves circular reasoning, talk about hypocrisy coming from people who claim to be working for God),[11] it admits its own fallacy, and fails miserably at trying to defend it.
  • "Hilariously Illogical", a smart aleck-y response to a non-creationist. The author states that nothing matters in a materialistic view, and that "evolutionary papers" should be metaphorical, like the Bible is.[12]
  • NASA should stop the SETI program, because the Bible doesn't mention aliens, and even if they do exist, they're all going to hell, because they're not descendants of Adam, and therefore can't be saved.[13]

Hatred of other religions[edit]

Answers in Genesis has an collection of articles bashing and distorting other religions. Circular logic is used as "evidence" for their religion, i.e., fundamentalist Christianity.

An example-

Many people have seen John 3:16 on a placard at a sporting event, but, like the general population, have become so accustomed to the message that it is largely ignored. But it should not be ignored; it is a message about the grace of God to pardon sinners so they can become the heirs of salvation. However, since pagans do not recognize the biblical view of sin — an offense against a Holy God for which he or she is accountable — they believe there is no need for salvation. So where does that leave them? All dressed up in pagan garb and nowhere to go?

Do they depart this life for another state of consciousness? Will they face another life on earth as taught in reincarnation? Once again, pagans are free to decide for themselves what happens when, not if, they die, and some of them put the afterlife in the category of useless speculation that detracts from the joy of living. But how do they really know? Any answer they give is merely arbitrary and hence, logically fallacious. To the pagan, dying, after all, is just as natural as living; it is for the human what it is for a tree. It’s part of sacred evolution; death as a return to the nature of one’s elements.
—Paganism and Wicca: Out of the Shadows, Answers in Genesis[14]

Buddhism gets trashed for having no structure. In contrast, the Bible has structure; ergo, it is correct.

Buddhism resembles more of a mystical construct than a tightly formed philosophy with a healthy respect for logic and empirical data. Gautama Buddha himself saw theological reflection as mere speculation, unedifying, and not conducive to attaining spiritual liberation. It is nothing short of painful irony that his view itself would be hard to exceed in its metaphysically conjectural scope.

Christianity of course is also a faith. But it is a faith that is said to rest on historical events. In fact, given the centrality of the Christ’s Resurrection, it can truly be said that the Christian faith stands or falls on a single historical event that is claimed to have taken place in space and time (1 Corinthians 15:12–19). In strong contrast, traditional Buddhists place little to no emphasis on objective data. Ultimate reality is indescribable, indefinable, unknowable, deep things that can only be met with “noble silence.”
—Buddhism, Answers in Genesis[15]

The bashing continues with Hinduism.

In this we see the same goal of salvation through good deeds and realizing the divinity that lies within. While we can commend the Krishna followers for their care for creation and their desire to promote peace among all people, they are ultimately pursuing salvation through vain means—denying Jesus as the Savior and only source of salvation for fallen men.
—What Is Hinduism and Hare Krishna?, Answers in Genesis[16]

Remember, if your religion does not take the Bible literally and/or does not have the Christian God and Jesus, it is incorrect and vain.

Bad arguments even AiG recognize as bad[edit]

See also PRATT

Many creationists seem stuck with hundreds of really stupid arguments as to why the world is 6000 years old and the Bible is literally true. Most of these arguments are, of course, utter crap and for the true connoisseur of Young Earth Creationism, it is some of the material developed by Answers in Genesis that is most worthwhile. AiG isn't considered as having some of the best of creationist research for nothing. They do employ people, such as Jason Lisle, who have real qualifications and have genuinely thought this through - although in most cases, not enough actual scientists outdo them with facts. Their "Arguments we think creationists should NOT use", for example, makes interesting - indeed surprising - reading. Their examples of bad creationist arguments include:[17]

  • Darwin recanted on his deathbed.
  • Moon dust thickness proves a young moon. (This one was so bad that AiG later recanted it themselves.[18])
  • The Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru caught a dead plesiosaur near New Zealand.
  • Archaeopteryx is a fraud.
  • Darwin mentioned the absurdity of eye evolution in The Origin of Species.
  • Evolution is Just a theory.
  • Supposed "information loss" in DNA is caused by mutations: a completely made-up argument.

Many of these Young Earth proofs and arguments have been refuted so often and so easily that AiG really had no choice but to issue an article like this. But you can still find people using such silly and unconvincing arguments; the owners and contributors of most other creationist websites and blogs might do well to read some of these. With their "arguments we don't use" page being one of the more famous ones, they followed it up with 12 Arguments Evolutionists Should Avoid. This page isn't as good as the creationist one; while evolutionists certainly shouldn't use them, you rarely find scientists actually using them at all. Indeed, things like "evolution is a fact like gravity" aren't actually arguments, but rhetoric.[19]

Answers in WTF?[edit]

Believe in god or this extra from American History X will shoot you.[20]

In spring 2009, AiG managed to get itself into a small(ish) controversy by shifting its publicity focus from creationism to the denigration of atheism in general. This resulted in a billboard and TV advertising campaign featuring a young boy pointing a gun straight at the viewer, stating "If God doesn't matter to him, do you?", thus implying that atheists, agnostics, or basically any non-Christian would be prone to murder.[20] AiG claim that this was to highlight school shootings and their so-called links with Darwinism, but it's quite clear that they were just pissed off after atheists decided to get their own billboard.

This attitude of comparing atheism with school shootings is not isolated to their campaign. Their resident cartoonist Dan Lietha has produced a cartoon with very similar content. This indicates that this campaign was a sincere statement of AiG's belief, rather than an intentionally controversial, shock-value publicity stunt.

Answers in Genesis on science[edit]

Apparently plush animals made it on to the ark.

In an online publication called "Evolution Exposed", AiG managed to illustrate both their contempt for mainstream science, as well as their innate bias in their "research" in one simple paragraph:

Science has been hijacked by those with a materialistic worldview and exalted as the ultimate means of obtaining knowledge about the world. Proverbs tells us that the fear of God, not science, is the beginning of knowledge. In a biblical worldview, scientific observations are interpreted in light of the truth that is found in the Bible. If conclusions contradict the truth revealed in Scripture, the conclusions are rejected. The same thing happens in naturalistic science. Any conclusion that does not have a naturalistic explanation is rejected.[21] Our emphasis

Appealing to modern medical sciences sensibilities; AiG states Adam and Eve did not have navels, having never been in a womb, certainly not Goddess's womb.[22]

Members of Answers in Genesis[edit]

The scientists on your staff, as respectful as I may be, are incompetent. They're not good scientists.
Bill Nye[23]
  • Ken Ham
  • Andrew Snelling
  • Jason Lisle
  • Buddy Davis
  • Paul Chaffey: In addition to being a writer and website administrator for AiG[24], he also runs the ministry Midwest Apologetics[25], teaches "science" at Tri-State Christian School in Galena, Illinois[26], and is the content administrator for the Ark Encounter. He's one of the co-authors of "Old-Earth Creationism on Trial" with Jason Lisle.[27]

No Answers in Genesis[edit]

No Answers in Genesis is an organization started by John Stear, an Australian atheist.[28] The organization aims to counter the Answers in Genesis organization and to defend evolution. The "True.Origins" Archive has created a critique of NAiG, consisting mostly of ad hominem attacks.[29] In reply, NAiG has created the "True.Hogwash" essay.[30]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Online debates on the subject just reduce to Answers in Genesis vs Talk.Origins.

References[edit]

  1. PZ Myers, Smug and delusional. Pharyngula at freethoughtblogs.com, 9 July 2016.
  2. James F.McGrath, as quoted in John W. Loftus, My Response to Ken Ham About My Creation Museum Visit. debunking-christianity.com, 14 August 2013.
  3. AiG begs for the cash needed to keep the Creation Museum open.
  4. Answers Research Journal
  5. 5.0 5.1 The History of AiG through mid 2009. answersingenesis.org.
  6. CMI's about us.
  7. Lord of the Ring - The Australian, June 05, 2007
  8. [1]
  9. [2]
  10. [3]
  11. http://answersingenesis.org/geology/geologic-time-scale/geologic-column/
  12. [4]
  13. "We’ll find a new earth within 20 years”
  14. Tom Chesko, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, Chapter 8, Paganism and Wicca: Out of the Shadows, Answers in Genesis.
  15. Thane Hutcherson Ury, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, Buddhism, Answers in Genesis.
  16. Joseph Paturi and Roger Patterson, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, What Is Hinduism and Hare Krishna?, Answers in Genesis.
  17. AIG - Arguments we think creationists should NOT use.
  18. Moon Dust and the Age of the Solar System, Andrew Snelling and David Rush, April 1, 1993
  19. AiG - 12 Arguments Evolutionists Should Avoid
  20. 20.0 20.1 Christianist (sic) Group's Billboard Compares Atheism To Murder
  21. Evolution Exposed. Chap 1 - What is Science?
  22. http://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/adam-and-eve/did-adam-have-a-belly-button/
  23. Bill Nye Tours the Ark Encounter with Ken Ham on YouTube.
  24. AiG Bio
  25. Midwest Apologetics
  26. Tri-State Christian Academy
  27. Old Earth Creationism on Trial
  28. No Answers in Genesis website
  29. http://www.trueorigin.org/noaig.asp
  30. http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/kuechman_true.hogwash_archive.htm