Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, upon a view of the secularist manifesto, the Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life, mouthed off on his blog upon the subject, offering a "translation" of the manifesto into creationist-speak, which he entitled "Atheists Outline Their Global Religious Agenda."
In such matters Mr. Ham may be likened unto an automatic text generator, or spambot, programmed to give canned responses to certain words; for example, the word "morality" triggers the generation of the phrase "no objective basis."
This method has been used to great success in generating soundbites, but in longer monologues like this, the repetition begins to show. Furthermore, the products of Mr. Ham's programming lack some rather useful features, like coherence, expected in human-to-human communications.
In this article, we comment on his entire blog post side-by-side as a textbook example of the Ham Hightail and of the general inanity of creationist duckspeak. We found it impossible to retain the original scheme of paragraphs, as Mr. Ham has tied his prose in such knots as to require very fine dissection.
|Their declaration is reprinted below and indented, which is interspersed with my translation (not indented) on what they actually mean.||We have taken the liberty of omitting the text of the actual Copenhagen Declaration (which for comparison may be found in our article on the subject), leaving only Mr. Ham's "translation."|
|These atheists think they can indoctrinate the public by their statements, but many are awake (and hopefully this blog post will help even more people to awaken) to their agenda to indoctrinate the public in their anti-God religion:||Tut tut; you've already alienated the English teachers by using "indoctrinate the public" twice in the same sentence.
Mr. Ham seems to have missed the idea that he is biting the hand that feeds him, as society, with the exception of theocrats such as himself, is already heavily imbued with the ideas contained in the Copenhagen Declaration, which, far from being "anti-God," have allowed his sort of Christianity to flourish free from State regulation for some hundreds of years.
Note also the claim that atheism is a religion. This is a claim disputed by most atheists, on the grounds that weak atheism (the most common form) has no beliefs to it, nor any cultic practices; however, as Mr. Ham apparently accepts it, we shall be holding him to it below.
|We recognize the unlimited right (even though we have no objective basis for “rights” in our system)||In the Puritan colonies in America, the only "rights" one had were to be pressed to death with stones if one looked cross-eyed at the Calvinist minister during the Meeting in the Meeting-House. Then came the Enlightenment; the deist Thomas Jefferson held such truths to be self-evident, and this basis was good enough to enable some rights actually to be granted several years later. In short, secularists have a much stronger "objective basis" for rights than Mr. Ham's lot do.|
|to freedom of conscience, religion, and belief—except for Christians—||Mr. Ham dropped a "non-" somewhere in there, and forgot to mention that he is saying this, not the conference atheists.|
|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)—||Actually, there is quite a firm logical basis for it. Namely, that if one is talking of a universal right to religious freedom, it follows that all people must be able to have as much of it as possible. For this to happen, it is necessary that some restraints be put on, to ensure that Dominionists, Islamists, and such types are not given enough religious freedom to make a theocracy, thus eliminating everyone else's religious freedom. It's the religious equivalent of "Your right to swing your arm stops at my face."|
|except for Christians, as we reject Christianity totally and must try to eliminate it.||It is quite probable that some atheists in the West are trying to eliminate Christianity, but the ones at this conference are going about it in the very same manner (although much less aggressively) in which Mr. Ham is attempting to eliminate atheism; furthermore, they have put no plank to this effect in the Copenhagen Declaration.|
|This is our dogma: we submit that public policy should be informed by evidence—except we discount the Bible as evidence—||The cynic would suggest here that atheists do take the Bible as evidence, viz., evidence that Mr. Ham's sainted world-view is so far removed from reality as to make any functioning brain turn somersaults. Still, if he wants the Bible to be accepted as evidence, he must also accept other religions' holy books as evidence for their positions, or give a good, solid, verifiable reason why his holy book counts and others' don't.|
|and reason—as long as it is autonomous human reason, as we arbitrarily reject the biblical God totally—not by dogma (except for our dogma of course)—as we reject the claim of the absolute authority of the Christian God.||One wonders precisely what definition of "reason" Mr. Ham is using. Perhaps it is "take a bunch of LSD, shoot the breeze with God, make a transcript of the gabble, and call it a logical argument." But in any event, Mr. Ham is moving the goalposts, as reason is, by all historical definitions, an "autonomous" and self-verifying logical process.|
|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 Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, and many more (killing off millions of human animals for their cause).||Of the dictators here enumerated, Mussolini was a Catholic, becoming more Catholic as he became more fascist. Hitler was also a Catholic (with a heavy dose of German mysticism), and Nazism had a strong Germanic-mystic undercurrent to it, to the point where parents had to be assured that Hitler Youth would not be making sacrifices to Odin during nature hikes. The churches of the Third Reich were pressured to conform to this Germanic mysticism. (Note: we're not saying this mysticism was a form of Christianity, just that it wasn't atheism.)
But as to the communist dictators, here is where Mr. Ham's claim that atheism is a religion comes back to bite him in the butt. The communist states in question practiced state atheism, under which atheism was given official status and religious practices banned in many instances. If atheism is a religion, then these were not secular countries.
Not to mention the inconvenient facts that (1) the highly dogmatic and totalistic nature of communism, which is quite religious in character, makes any officially communist country a poor example of a "secular" state, and (2) there are plenty of secular states that not only did not fall into mass slaughter, but for some reason or other (though probably not one with any objective basis) actually permit Mr. Ham to practice and promote his religion, and smear its pseudoscientific form over members of the public.
|We assert (that is, we take the non-neutral position)||This is supposed to mark an inconsistency with the declaration's advocacy of State neutrality, enumerated below. But unless the conference attendees are adhering to King Louis XIV's credo, l'etat c'est moi, it is perfectly consistent that the State should be required to be neutral, but that the atheists at the conference, not being a civic body, are allowed to take a position.|
|that the only equitable system (even though we have no logical basis for what is fair)||"Equitable" is here used to refer to impartiality, which is an objective criterion; it is quite logical to posit that if one has a democratic government arranged on the principle of "one citizen, one vote," then the State should not arrange the law in such a manner that it gives different groups of citizens unequal protection.|
|of government in a democratic society is based on secularism—the religion of naturalism and atheism and thus relative morality, rejecting any absolutes (except we absolutely reject Christianity and the Bible)—||Mr. Ham would do the world a great service if he issued The Dictionary According to Ken Ham, explaining what exactly he thinks words mean when he uses them, for we are quite unable to fathom how he thought this stuff up.
- Secularism is not a religion, but a political philosophy that aims to make peace between people of several religions or denominations.
- Secularism is not the same thing as atheism or philosophical naturalism.
- Secularism is not a complete world-view and hence needs no moral codes.
- Anyone with half a brain is fully sensible that the statement "there are no absolutes" refutes itself. Secularism takes the pragmatic position that, there being disagreements about what exactly the absolutes are, it is most expedient that the State should take no position, to avoid unnecessary fighting and bickering.
|state neutrality in matters of religion (by which we mean the state must enforce our view)—that is why we are absolutely against any absolute morality based on the Christian God—favoring none—except the religion of naturalism/atheism which is the only favored religious system—||If secularists were actually aiming to enforce atheism, this might actually have some validity. Unfortunately he just can't wrap his head around the idea that people wanting government to be neutral on religion isn't the same as actively pursuing his specific religion.|
|and discriminating against none—except Christians, as it is okay to discriminate against them because by our own arbitrary definitions we have eliminated Christianity, belief in a Creator God, and the claims of the Bible as God’s revelation—thus it is okay to discriminate against Christians.||We shall not even try to disentangle this whiny specimen of logorrhea.|
|We assert that private conduct—except for Christians—which respects the rights of others—even though we have no basis for determining what “respect” means,||The basis in question is called the dictionary. Mr. Ham should try consulting one.|
|nor any logical basis for why people (who are chance conglomerations of chemicals) ought to have “rights”—||Mr. Ham is repeating himself. He seems to think that the only way people get rights is to have them handed down from the sky.|
|should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern—unless it involves Christians, as we have determined they should not be allowed freedom for their religion because they believe in absolutes and have a system of absolute morality.||It is not the principle of absolutes that is being objected to. Firstly, there is the objection that a fair number of Mr. Ham's absolutes are not even wrong; but if this were the only objection, the secularist would be inclined to leave Mr. Ham to himself, where his brain could sputter in its harmless delusions.
However, there is the further objection that Mr. Ham is attempting to destroy, on the basis of said delusions, the philosophical basis and practice of science, and thus must be restrained only so far as to prevent him from using governmental means to do so. The supporters of science are restrained in exactly the same way so they make no further encroachments upon Mr. Ham's freedom of religion.
|We affirm the right of believers and non-believers alike to participate in public life—as long as Christians do not use their position to act or even vote in accord with their Christian morality etc.,||Mr. Ham takes a rather limited view of Christian morality, if he thinks that atheists object to public figures acting in accordance with it. The objection comes when such figures are elected to public office and then attempt to impose such morality on other people, for no other reason but that such figures hold it to be Christian.|
|as in public life they must act and vote in accord with what we call neutrality, which is really our religion of atheism and naturalism—because that is what we demand be imposed on our culture—and their right to equality of treatment in the democratic process, as long as they agree with our atheistic religion—otherwise, they are not allowed equality and must be marginalized and eliminated.||Hate to break it to you, Mr. Ham, but you marginalized yourself by attacking science so groundlessly. You also tipped your hand by explicitly conflating religious neutrality with anti-religious sentiment.|
|We affirm the right to freedom of expression for all—except for Christians, who cannot express their beliefs in public and certainly not in public schools, though it is okay for Muslims and atheists to indoctrinate kids in the public school system, but Christians can’t even mention the Bible or their Christianity or they will be fired—||Secularists, including the atheists among them, do not believe that the public schools should be used for any sort of indoctrination, atheist indoctrination included, as they believe that children should be able to make up their own minds about religion.
It is true that, especially in some countries, Muslims are given freer access to speak about their religion in public schools than Christians are, even though this is often done as a matter of educating children about a foreign culture, rather than about a religion.
But Mr. Ham is mistaken to think that secularists have any particular fondness for Islam; if their criticism of da'wah in the schools is more muted than their criticism of Christian evangelism, it is likely because many people use criticism of Islam as a fig-leaf to cloak xenophobia, and they do not want to be misunderstood.
|subject to limitations only as prescribed in international law (which we will determine, as we reject the Bible)—||International law predates Christianity and is not very easy for latter-day atheists to determine. On the other hand, the Christians did have a crack at replacing it; the institution that was intended to do so, Christendom, is not so highly thought of these days.|
|laws which all governments should respect and enforce—even though we have no basis for any laws except our opinion, if we can impose that.||Theoretically, the basis for laws in the United States is that the State's powers are derived from the consent of the governed. The laws produced this way have shown themselves to be much better than the old laws with their so-called "Christian" basis, particularly in that they cause much less fighting and disorder in society.|
|We reject all blasphemy laws (except for those which protect our religious belief in atheism and evolution, which must not be criticized)||It is rather ironic to speak of blasphemy laws protecting atheism, given that atheists don't believe in anything that can be blasphemed. But Mr. Ham of course fails to give an example of any such blasphemy law, let alone one that secularists support, or even what "blasphemies" secularists would want to outlaw.|
|as we have determined that it is okay to blaspheme the Christian God (though we try to avoid speaking against the Muslim god or others)||If atheists focus on the Christian form of God rather than the Muslim form, it's mostly for practical reasons: namely, that where most of them live, they're more directly affected by Christian overreaching rather than Muslim overreaching.|
|because we have, by our arbitrary definitions, determined there is no God anyway—||Again with confusing religious neutrality with anti-religion—speaking of arbitrary definitions.|
|and restrictions on the right to criticize religion or nonreligious life stances—as long as no one criticizes atheism, because we have determined that this is fact and therefore any other position is outlawed if we can get away with that, as we are totally intolerant of others who don’t have our position.
We assert the principle of one law for all—which is our law, which is arbitrary because we have no basis for it except that we want to impose it—with no special treatment for minority communities (except ours)—even though we have no ultimate basis for such a belief—||This is getting very repetitive indeed, especially in terms of projection.|
|and no jurisdiction for religious courts for the settlement of civil matters or family disputes—which means no Christians can be involved in such courts because we reject Christianity—||Mr. Ham seems to be ignoring the fact that Christians have always left such civil matters to the civil courts, ecclesiastical courts being restricted to cases in canon law. And Mr. Ham's particular breed of evangelical Christianity does not even have ecclesiastical courts. To take a wild guess, this paragraph is directed at the Jewish courts and the Islamic Sharia courts; it has been seriously suggested that the decisions of such courts should be given legal force.|
|therefore, only courts based on our atheism and relative morality can inconsistently rule on such matters imposing their atheistic opinions on others.||It looks like Mr. Ham is still butthurting from Kitzmiller v. Dover.|
|We reject all discrimination in employment (other than for religious leaders)—as no one has a right to impose any morality on their organization except our system of morality (which is arbitrary, of course) and is against Christians—||Oh brother, more whining, projection, and persecution complex in evidence here.|
|and of course we want to have atheists as leaders in atheist organizations so we need that freedom for our leaders—though in the organization itself we allow freedom, except for Bible-believing Christians of course, as they have (by our arbitrary definition) been eliminated anyway—||And some more. Want some cheese with that whine?|
|and the provision of social services on the grounds of race, religion or belief, gender, class, caste or sexual orientation—as we are tolerant of all, except we are intolerant of those dogmatic Christians who claim they have an absolute morality based on the Bible,||What any of this has to do with the provision of welfare, etc., we cannot fathom, although we hope Mr. Ham is not seriously suggesting that Christians are discriminated against in such provision.|
|which of course we reject as we want our own absolutes, which deny Christian absolutes, imposed on the culture.||Huh? And here we thought secularism/atheism was a religion "rejecting any absolutes." Make up your mind, please, Mr. Ham.|
|We reject any special consideration for religion in politics and public life—except for the religion of atheism, as we want to control politics and public life and impose our arbitrary relative morality and intolerant system on the culture—and oppose charitable, tax-free status and state grants for the promotion of any religion—except the religion of atheism, as we want all the grants and the tax-free status—as inimical to the interests of non-believers and those of other faiths.||Lots more putting words into other people's mouths.|
|We oppose state funding for faith schools—except for the atheist faith, as that is the only faith allowed in schools to be funded, which is why it is now really the official religion of the public schools in the USA, where Christianity by and large has been thrown out and replaced with the religion of naturalism/atheism—which is what we want to happen to all schools. That way, we can control the coming generations and indoctrinate them in atheism and against Christianity—which we are doing quite successfully at the present time.||One wonders how, with all this successful indoctrination going on, the proportion of atheists in the U.S. is still 0.7%.
And given the realities of US public schools (which aren't entirely secular anyway) and private schools (most of which very strongly indoctrinate kids with their brands of Christianity, and are majority publicly funded), the projection is strong in this one.
|We support the right to secular education—which means atheist-based education, as we totally reject Christian education because we are atheists out to impose our religion of atheism on the culture—||As by "Christian education" Mr. Ham means teaching of scientifically demonstrable falsehoods and the exclusion of science, one can understand why he is being prickly here.|
|and assert the need for education in critical thinking—except for naturalism/evolution—evolution is not allowed to be critically analyzed, because we need to indoctrinate kids totally in evolution so they will more easily accept our religion of atheism—||This is also understandable, as Mr. Ham's idea of "critical analysis of evolution" is to repeat tired arguments that have been repeatedly debunked in an effort to somehow invalidate an entire scientific theory by pointing out any little flaw he can find, regardless whether said flaws are significant or even real flaws at all.|
|and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge (except for our faith in atheism which we simply redefine as “reason”)—as we reject knowledge claimed to be from God and only allow knowledge to be determined based on our arbitrary definitions of science being naturalism—and in the diversity of religious beliefs as long as Christianity is not allowed, because we are tolerant of all religions except Christianity.||We will take a wild guess and posit that some atheists show an especial disdain for Christianity because the practitioners of most of those other religions are tolerant of the atheists, or at least that most of these folks live in countries where it's Christians, not Muslims or any other religion, infringing the rights of religious minorities.|
|We support the spirit of free inquiry—except no one is free to base their beliefs on the Bible—||For Mr. Ham, "basing beliefs on the Bible" means to assert that the Bible is unquestionably true, thus necessitating the ignoring or denial of inconvenient contradictory evidence. This isn't free inquiry.|
|and the teaching of science free from religious interference—except for the religion of atheism, as by our definition, science can only explain things based on natural causes, because we have by definition eliminated the supernatural from any part of science—||Hint, Mr. Ham: the evil atheist evolutionists didn't do that. The founders of science did—and many of them, as you guys are fond of pointing out, were Christians. Many were even creationists.|
|and are opposed to indoctrination, religious or otherwise—except for the indoctrination in atheism/naturalism, which is what we are determined to do—and as long as we don’t allow people to even consider the Bible or Christianity because atheism is the religion we demand be imposed on everyone—as we totally reject the God of the Bible.||We have now lost count of the number of times this has been repeated.|
Laconic: "Atheists have no logical reason to believe in anything, and they want rights for everyone except Christians, whom they utterly despise."
- ↑ More specifically, any that creationists do not pretend to have, such as the faith that reality is real, or that the scientific method is a proper epistemological device.
- ↑ In the politically correct terminology of the Puritans, use of the word "church" to refer to church buildings was eschewed, such distinction belonging only to the invisible church.
- ↑ Mr. Ham, on the other hand, seems to accept it, as evidenced by all his yammering about "suppression of alternative viewpoints," ad nauseam, as if the facts of science were only subjective "viewpoints."
- ↑ 2008 ARIS Report, p.5.