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Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist

Ken Ham takes the Bible literally. His world view is based on the assumption that the Bible is the word of God and is infallible. The mission of his Answers in Genesis ministry is "to bring reformation by restoring the foundations of our faith which are contained in the book of Genesis." Because, for Ham, evolution represents a threat to the biblical story of creation, he has devoted his life to fighting it. Also featured: Buddy Davis

Credits: 2001 WGBH Educational Foundation and Clear Blue Sky Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist

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5 min, 37 sec

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist:

Ken Ham might be called the very model of a modern anti-evolutionist. Although his view of the earth's origin is entirely fundamentalist, his techniques for spreading his message are cutting-edge: a huge mailing list, presentations with artfully done visuals, and a Web site he claims gets 3,000 visits a day. Ham is an Australian who came to the United States and launched Answers in Genesis, an organization devoted to debunking evolution. He takes a hard, literalist line, leaving no room for compromise on the role of evolution. He claims to have started 110 "creation clubs" in American schools. And he has a busy speaking schedule as he criss-crosses the country denying that evolutionary theory has any basis in truth.

"No apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record," he says flatly. And that, in his view, is what evolution does. But that's not all: Ham, like other creationists, declares that evolution undermines the authority of the Bible, leading to an arbitrary or "relative" morality based on man and not on God.

According to Ham this opens the door to myriad social problems. For him these include, among other ills, humanism, racism, euthanasia, pornography, homosexual behavior, and family breakup.

In his attacks on evolution, Ham uses some of the "intelligent design" arguments currently in vogue by opponents of Darwinism. The point they seek to make is that the complexity of biological life is not explainable by random variation among organisms that is shaped by natural selection.

One of his illustrations involves Mount Rushmore, the enormous monument of four presidents' faces carved into a mountain. Suppose, he said, that Mount Rushmore was created by the accidental play of storm and wind erosion on sandstone rocks over millions of years. No one would believe that explanation, says Ham, and therefore "it was also impossible for something as complex as life to have happened by 'random, undirected processes.'"

But evolution occurs by directed processes -- the director being natural selection -- which favors traits that make an organism better adapted to its environment. Regardless of whether there is a deity in charge or not, this incremental change, through the process of natural selection, over millions of years, has resulted in the wonderful complexity of life on Earth today.

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