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May 30 2013

I’m going to grill Ham

It has been reported to me that the following message was emailed to AnswersInGenesis earlier today.

 

Ken Ham

This message is to inform you that Houston Atheists, the world’s largest atheist community with over 2,100 members, has a challenge for you. We understand that you are scheduled to address the Texas Home School Coalition Convention near Houston on August 1-3, and that you intend to continue your campaign to teach young earth creationism to these children as scientific fact.

Please let it be known that while we respect your freedom to express your religious views, we also vehemently oppose the indoctrination of children with radical fundamentalist theology under the false guise of “science”, and your claimed beliefs–that the universe is less than 7,000 years old and that non-avian dinosaurs co-existed with humanity–certainly qualify as such.

We are concerned that you are deliberately deceiving homeschoolers by misrepresenting the facts in what you admit is an act of confirmation bias. To “teach” students with your message is to lie to them. That may serve your religion, but it does not serve children who will grow up trying to live and work in contemporary, science-based societies. Neither does it serve anyone who simply wants their children to understand natural scientific processes and phenomena which are verifiable facts of nature.

It is for these reasons we hereby challenge you to a formal debate on the topic of Evolution vs. Creationism, and which should be taught to students as science. We will happily arrange an appropriate venue at a neutral location agreeable to both parties, such as a hotel conference center of adequate size near your convention during your visit to the Houston area. Your own recent comments in the blogosphere indicate our clear choice for your opponent: secular activist and science advocate AronRa, who has already accepted the challenge.

This is your opportunity to show the world whether your beliefs truly stand up to the light of scrutiny. All we ask of you now is to accept our challenge.

-Houston Atheists

[email protected]

28 comments

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  1. 1
    Monocle Smile

    If I were a gambling man, I’d lay down a bunch of money on Ham rejecting the offer.

    1. 1.1
      Lord Narf

      Either that or he would propose some sort of bullshit debate topic, like the one that Simmons sprung on PZ Myers at the last possible second, “Darwinism, fact or faith?” Strangely, I don’t think Ken Ham is any more honest than the douche-bags at the Discovery Institute, and he’s not stupid enough to agree to a debate that revolves around presenting the scientific evidence for both sides. I’m sure he knows how badly he’s lying, when he talks about creationism being scientific.

  2. 2
    spike13

    Too bad that couldn’t appear in local newspapers.

    1. 2.1
      Marcus Ranum

      If you contact the city desk, they might be interested in covering it. That’s how you get it in the papers: make sure they know about it and hope there isn’t a fertlizer mill explosion or something more newsworthy happening.

  3. 3
    Aneres

    Mmmm grilled Ham….

  4. 4
    dthunt

    I for one am hopeful, here, mostly because Aron is (as best I can tell) a rationalist, and is capable of sussing out and demonstrating the difference between reasoned (if probably wrong and/or ignorant of fact) and insane positions.

    The goal here should be to convince Ham of the fact that evolution is a viable and supported explanation of what we see in nature and that it provides a variety of falsifiable claims.

    If he doesn’t buy genetics, a demonstration involving couples in the audience with kids, all of whom are willing to submit to a paternity test if it will prove Ham right, may be in order. (Given three participants, it is possible to find anonymity-protecting solutions for the problematic cases involving adultery or adoption)

    If he wants to teach the dogma that evolution is incorrect, the most direct way to attack it (if he believes it is actually incorrect, rather than magicked into being by an oogah-boogah Satan who is both omniscient and omnipotent) – is to make sure students understand how science works and what the theory proposes.

    Because if it’s wrong, students will be an a position to better DISPROVE it in a decade or so, by sequencing animals that haven’t been sequenced yet.

    And people would thank them for doing so, as it would offer substantial correction to more than a century of science.

    That’s the difference between science and religion. Science likes being corrected.

    1. 4.1
      Lord Narf

      You’re forgetting that Ken Ham is a dishonest demagog who makes his living spreading misinformation.

  5. 5
    Hojo.Jack

    I would wish you luck in the “debate”, but I know you will not need it. However, I will wish you luck in obtain a “debate” with Ham. That is the real trick.

    I for one would love to see a live “debate” between you and Ham, but I will not get my hopes up. If he does refuse a live “debate” offer him a written one at the League of Reason.

    1. 5.1
      Lord Narf

      Yeah, because Ken Ham will totally go for a forum in which he can’t effectively pull a Gish Gallup or something similarly dishonest. :D

  6. 6
    jesseneedham

    go ham on him.

  7. 7
    No One

    Ho boy…

  8. 8
    Psychopomp Gecko

    Ah yes, us Southern atheists like our dear AronRa ought to be able to make Ham squeal. We’ll make him squeal like a pig. Eeeeeeeeee!

    1. 8.1
      Lord Narf

      Uhhhhhh, you’ve just given me a mental image of Aron and Ken Ham, which I’m not sure that either one of them would be okay with. I’m not sure that I’m okay with it, for that matter …

  9. 9
    Seamus Ruah

    You just know he’ll tuck tail and run, he has proven time and time again that he is a coward.

  10. 10
    theignored

    No. They will not run. Remember, they are the people who are constantly challenging others to verbal debates, like Zack Kopplin who pissed them off.

    Would Kopplin, obviously an intelligent young man, consider a debate with one of our scientists to look at the question of whether God’s Word, starting in Genesis, is true? However, we suspect he will use the same rhetoric used by most evolutionists when responding to such an invitation, and claim creationists should not be debated because they are not “real scientists.” We could probably even draft his refusal letter for him based on what other secularists have written when they have refused to debate a creation scientist.

    Yeah, right. In a verbal debate there is no time to research the other guy’s claims and to cross-examine them on it. To see what happens when one does have time to cross-examine them, check out the Dover trial transcripts. I know that Aron has since he refers to Behe’s testimony in one of his youtube videos!

    The only way would be to keep the topic nice and narrow so Ham has less wiggle room.

    Maybe you could work transitional forms into the debate?

  11. 11
    armondikov

    Ken Ham has already responded, it appears. Apparently this is “rude and unprofessional” and is an “attack” on him. But, he notably didn’t bother to post any of the content of the email – and because he blocks anyone questioning him, all of his followers are lapping it up as if Houston Atheists sent him a folder of child porn or something:

    The word “dishonest” doesn’t really cover it.

    1. 11.1
      Lord Narf

      Someone challenging him to a debate is rude, unprofessional, and an attack? What the hell?

    2. 11.2
      Lord Narf

      Your link doesn’t seem to be working, by the way. I see the text in blue, but it’s not a click-able link. Can you just slap the URL for that in a message?

      1. armondikov

        Oh balls. It was a link to Ham’s Facebook page, so perhaps there was an issue linking to https or whatever.

        Well, anyway, at the time he had just said something about receiving an email, that it was rude and unprofessional. He’s since made the promised blog post here, where he has quoted it, but very selectively: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/05/31/houston-atheists-unprofessional-debate-challenge

        1. Monocle Smile

          That blog post sounds like an angry cat that was poked.

          Ham’s apparently offended that the Houston Atheists were honest about their position. There was absolutely nothing unprofessional about even just the quoted portions. It’s appalling that a man who makes his living as a PROFESSIONAL LIAR and claims virtually the entire scientific community is wrong about pretty much everything calls this letter “nasty.”

          And of course, AiG wants to find the “impartial moderator” and automatically precludes AronRa from representing the Houston Atheists due to their PhD requirement. Typical.

          1. Lord Narf

            The letter was 5 paragraphs, one of which was two short sentences, but that was too much for him to print the thing in its entirety, instead pulling out bits to quote out of context? What a douche.

        2. theignored

          Ham the hypocrite:

          Wow! They begin by accusing me of indoctrination, lying, and depriving children of learning science—and then ask me to participate in a debate? Why would anyone accept such an unprofessional, nasty invitation?

          Ham, you slapnuts! What the hell do you think your articles and debate challenges are like? You are always accusing “evolutionists” of lying, of indoctrination….one of your own books is called “The Lie: Evolution”.

          Why the double standard? When “evolutionists” refuse to debate you you pretend it’s because they’re scared.

          At least we now know why you don’t allow comments on your blog!

          Too bad I’m not able to post on your facebook, because you’d better believe I’d point this out there. (then I’d take a screenshot of it to make sure it would be preserved for posterity) before you took it down.

          Though hopefully before you did that, some of your flock reading your facebook page would see that reply and start to wonder.

          One can dream….or get someone else who’s not been banned yet to post!

  12. 12
    theignored

    armondikov

    But, he notably didn’t bother to post any of the content of the email – and because he blocks anyone questioning him, all of his followers are lapping it up as if Houston Atheists sent him a folder of child porn or something:

    Ham did the same thing to me When they do that kind of shit, then they can lie all they want to about what you said and get away with it. Their followers damn near never bother to dig deeper.

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  1. 18
    Honesty is the best policy | Spherical Bullshit

    [...] in Ham’s best interest to cite it in full, would it… because you can actually find it here. Unless there’s some other Houston Atheists. Or some other homeschooling conference held in [...]

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