If like me you’re firmly sold on the merits of the theory of the evolution and find it concerning how people can disagree so wildly with it, then an article in the Los Angeles Times will only add to your concerns. The article, Their Own Version of a Big Bang details how one evangelist, Ken Ham, encourages schoolchildren to challenge their teachers if they are told evolution is fact.
Evangelist Ken Ham smiled at the 2,300 elementary students packed into pews, their faces rapt. With dinosaur puppets and silly cartoons, he was training them to reject much of geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology as a sinister tangle of lies.
“Boys and girls,” Ham said. If a teacher so much as mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, “you put your hand up and you say, ‘Excuse me, were you there?’ Can you remember that?”
The children roared their assent.
“Sometimes people will answer, ‘No, but you weren’t there either,’ ” Ham told them. “Then you say, ‘No, I wasn’t, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world.’ ” He waved his Bible in the air.
“Who’s the only one who’s always been there?” Ham asked.
“God!” the boys and girls shouted.
“Who’s the only one who knows everything?”
“So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?”
The children answered with a thundering: “God!”
It seems that many of the children are sent to these events by evangelical parents who want to give their children ‘another perspective’, or to re-inforce their faith in God. Ken Ham is a former biology teacher, which probably gives him some credibility, and he manages to cobble together some weak ‘scientific’ evidence for his theory, namely cave paintings and the speed at which material can fossilize. The fact that there’s stacks of verifiable scientific evidence in favour of evolution and is the chosen theory of most scientists seems not to matter to him – it’s incompatible with his faith so he chooses to ignore it.
Had Mr Ham just been some random guy off the street this wouldn’t be anything that people like me would lose sleep over, but the fact that he preaches to thousands of people, especially children, every week concerns me greatly.