To Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum, and CEO of Answers in Genesis:
Your debate several weeks ago with Bill Nye the Science Guy was rather frustrating. You both consistently talked past each other, which was not too surprising, given that you have fundamentally different epistemologies, and different concerns.
In terms of defending your ideas, the debate was a disaster: Even Christianity Today readers were almost unanimous in voting Nye the winner. In terms of publicity, it seems to have been a successful fundraising event for your Creation Museum.
I actually grew up watching both you and Bill Nye; I watched his show (never Beakman, are you kidding me!?) on PBS in the afternoons, and occasionally my parents would have me and my siblings watch one of your videos from Answers in Genesis. I thought you were both pretty clever back then.
For a number of reasons, many of which Bill Nye addressed in the debate, I no longer believe in an earth that is only 6,000 years old and that was populated by hyper-evolving organisms even more recently than that. But it’s okay because, like Christians throughout history, I can appreciate Genesis without taking it literally.
But hey, just because I think you have some pretty crazy ideas, doesn’t mean I won’t help you out. If you’re not past the point of taking advice from outsiders, here’s mine:
Engage with cultural critiques of science
If you’re going to have a scientific debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy, he’s going to win every time because his science is better than yours, and his explanations make more scientific sense than yours.
Nevertheless, I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks that your explanation of the earth’s origins is absurd but at the same time is put off by the arrogance and condescension of materialists like Nye.
Claims about the objectivity of science are suspect, and there is a huge body of literature which debunks the idea of science as the ‘view from nowhere.’ Your rejection of scientific methods and narratives often amounts to little more than ‘Well, that’s not in the Bible.’ I would imagine that all but the most anti-intellectual of Fundamentalists are unimpressed with that level of argument.
But if you were less hostile toward what you label ‘man’s ideas,’ you could be part of an interesting dialogue analysing and critiquing science as a set of cultural practices rather than the timeless objectivity it purports to be. Rather than just complain about how you feel persecuted for your ideas, you could talk about how the positivistic processes of Western science elevate the activities of a privileged few in rich countries, and regularly discount the time-tested knowledge of indigenous peoples as ‘primitive.’ See if Bill Nye has a ready response to that!
Encourage a green creationism
There are already a lot of Christian organisations that invoke the language of “creation care” to inspire people of faith to be better stewards of our fragile environment. Based on your previous statements and your organisation’s website, I’m guessing you don’t share that ethos.
Your organisation’s website is replete with unfortunate articles making such laughable claims as “Only God can cause climate change, not humans” or “when God was judging the earth with a global flood, He was creating inexpensive fuel sources for future generations.”
Here is a metaphor for you: Imagine someone comes to the Antiques Roadshow, bumping into tables, knocking items out of people’s hands, and showing no apparent remorse for this carelessness. If that person were then to approach one of the artefacts and offer their opinion on its provenance and origin, I very seriously doubt that many people there would be too interested in what this self-proclaimed expert had to say; their credibility would already be gone.
So it is with you when you give your blessing to environmentally-destructive activities and lifestyles, and refuse to acknowledge even the possibility of environmental consequences of human actions.
You try to make much of the fact that secular materialists consider the earth and the universe to be essentially an accident, whilst you believe it was fearfully and wonderfully made. Talk is cheap: throw your support behind efforts to protect and conserve that creation toward which you theoretically should feel much greater responsibility, and you might look less hypocritical.