Answers in Genesis
|The divine comedy|
“”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.
“”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|
Answers in Genesis (AiG), headed by Ken Ham, is a self-described Christian apologetics ministry which pushes "creation science". They run (into the ground it would seem) the Creation "Museum" and Ark Encounter theme-parks in Kentucky. They also publish the Answers Research Journal. Considered (by some fan-boys) the leaders of creationist "research" online, Answers in Genesis will invariably be linked to by creationists to prove points. If you detect 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]
Position on evolution
Today, the views of young-earth scientists like those at Answers in Genesis are largely the same. We embrace the formation of new species from the kinds that were on board the Ark while rejecting the transformation of one kind into another kind. Hence, for Keathley to claim that young-earth creationists have "shifted significantly from the positions argued by early young-earth creationists such as Henry Morris and Duane Gish" is factually incorrect. Leading young-earth creationists have been embracing speciation within kinds for at least 69 years.
This, by extension, means that species-to-species evolution in the human genus (kind?) is a valid Creationist position ... or not. "Hmmm ... humans and animals arose at much the same time, and there are genetic boundaries. Sounds like what you'd expect to find based on the Genesis account of origins."
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.
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, while AiG say they needed no such thing and had plenty of money thank you. 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. 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.
A representative argument from AiG
The AiG-commissioned comic pictured at right is representative of their approach to science, their method of scientific analysis going something like this:
- Look at the evidence.
- See if it jibes with the Bible.
- If it does, go nuts over it.
- If it does not, it is like Cthulhu: capable of eating people and Bibles. Ignore it.
A handful of AiG's "arguments"
- 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.
- The distinction between observational and historical science.
- An eyewitness is always better than forensic evidence and math. (Let's see how that one would hold up in court.)
- God is real because the Bible is true, because it is the word of God, because... The name of this article is "to all our atheist friends, thank God you are wrong," and AiG did an entire ad campaign on it. It uses the presupposition that the Bible is true and infallible. It also claims that human minds are fallible (so how do they use theirs to determine the Bible isn't?).
- 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), 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.
- 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.
Hatred of other religions
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.
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|
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|
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|
AiG's fixation on a young earth as the only legitimate interpretation of the Bible conflicts even with most of Christianity, to the extent that such prominent conservative figures as Tim Keller, Billy Graham, James Dobson, and Chuck Colson are denounced as "compromisers", or worse.
Remember, if your religion does not take the Bible literally and/or does not have the Christian God and Jesus, or even if it is Christian and does not take the Bible literally enough, it is incorrect and vain.
- 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:
- Darwin recanted on his deathbed.
- Moon dust thickness proves a young moon. (This one was so bad that AiG later recanted it themselves.)
- 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.
- "If we evolved from apes, why do we still have apes today?"
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.
Answers in WTF?
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. 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
In an online publication called "Evolution Exposed", AiG managed to illustrate both its contempt for mainstream science and an innate bias in its "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. Our emphasis
Members of Answers in Genesis
“” The scientists on your staff, as respectful as I may be, are incompetent. They're not good scientists.
- Ken Ham
- Andrew Snelling
- Jason Lisle
- Buddy Davis
- Paul Chaffey: In addition to being a writer and website administrator for AiG, he also runs the ministry Midwest Apologetics, teaches "science" at Tri-State Christian School in Galena, Illinois, and is the content administrator for the Ark Encounter. He's one of the co-authors of "Old-Earth Creationism on Trial" with Lisle.
No Answers in Genesis
No Answers in Genesis is an organization started by John Stear, an Australian atheist. 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. In reply, NAiG has created the "True.Hogwash" essay.
- Creation Ministries International
- Answers Research Journal
- Essay:AiG - Exploiting Credulous Fools Since 1995
- Answers in Genesis Dawkins interview controversy
- Conservapedia:Arguments creationists shouldn't use
- Genesis Park
- Answers for Darwin
- Answers in Genesis-Creation Ministries International's Statement of Faith
- Affirmations and Denials Essential to a Consistent Christian (Biblical) Worldview
- Fossil sorting by the global flood
- Online debates on the subject just reduce to Answers in Genesis vs Talk.Origins.
- PZ Myers, Smug and delusional. Pharyngula at freethoughtblogs.com, 9 July 2016.
- 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.
- AiG begs for the cash needed to keep the Creation Museum open.
- Answers Research Journal
- "Does Ken Ham Embrace Evolution?" by Nathaniel T. Jeanson on March 30, 2016.
- "Study: 90% of Species Have a Recent Origin" - Ken Ham on June 7, 2018.
- The History of AiG through mid 2009. answersingenesis.org.
- CMI's about us.
- Lord of the Ring - The Australian, June 05, 2007
- Answers Research Journal
- Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behaviour by Dr. Jerry Bergman, April 1st, 1995, Answers in Genesis
- Earth’s origin? Ask a living eyewitness! by Ken Ham, January 17th, 2007, Answers in Genesis
- How Do We Know There Is a God? by Nathan Ham, October 7th, 2016, Answers in Genesis
- 6 Geologic Column by Roger Patterson, January 20th, 2011, Answers in Genesis
- Hilariously Illogical by Bodie Hodge, September 2nd, 2011, Answers in Genesis
- "We’ll find a new earth within 20 years” by Ken Ham, July 20th, 2014, Answers in Genesis
- Tom Chesko, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, Chapter 8, Paganism and Wicca: Out of the Shadows, by Tom Chesko, April 21, 2017, Answers in Genesis.
- Thane Hutcherson Ury, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, Buddhism by Dr. Thane Hutcherson Ury, January 27th, 2017, Answers in Genesis.
- Joseph Paturi and Roger Patterson, World Religions and Cults Volume 2, What Is Hinduism and Hare Krishna? by Joseph Paturi and Roger Patterson, July 28, 2017, Answers in Genesis.
- A more complete list of names, with links to AiG source material, can be found on the Wall of Honor, at The Soggy Spaniel website.
- AIG - Arguments we think creationists should NOT use.
- Moon Dust and the Age of the Solar System, Andrew Snelling and David Rush, April 1, 1993
- AiG - 12 Arguments Evolutionists Should Avoid
- Christianist (sic) Group's Billboard Compares Atheism To Murder by Nicole Belle, June 2nd, 2009, Crooks & Liars
- Evolution Exposed. Chap 1 - What is Science? by Roger Patterson, February 22nd, 2007, Answers in Genesis
- Did Adam Have a Belly-Button? by Dr. Gary Parker, June 1st, 1996, Answers in Genesis
- Bill Nye Tours the Ark Encounter with Ken Ham on YouTube.
- AiG Bio
- Midwest Apologetics
- Tri-State Christian Academy
- Old Earth Creationism on Trial
- A Critique Of John Stear’s “No Answers In Genesis” Website True.Origin
- The True.Hogwash Archive by F.C. Kuechmann, No Answers in Genesis!