Sep 27, 2011
In Mark Noll’s 1995 classic exposition of anti-intellectualism in American evangelicalism, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, he wrote: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”
Nowhere is this more true than in the strange preference that evangelicals have for the discredited young-earth creationism of Ken Ham over the legitimate and well-founded science of Francis Collins. The ideas promoted by Ham are so obsolete that some of them were actually abandoned by the scientific community in the 18th century! Ham’s confident assertions that the earth is a few thousand years old and that there was a time in the history of our planet when humans co-existed with all other species had been abandoned by science when Darwin was a toddler.
In our new book, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Scientific Age, historian Randall Stephens and I show how charismatic, media-savvy evangelical leaders like Ken Ham (natural science), James Dobson (social science), David Barton (history), and Tim LaHaye (biblical studies) lead their fellow Christians astray by convincing them to accept discredited ideas.
Anti-evolutionists like Ken Ham—and his colleagues at places like the Discovery Institute—constantly bash science as ideology claiming that its conclusions derive from “assumptions” rather than observations. After years of seeing science bashed, many evangelicals simply don’t trust it. And so they embrace a “science” that seems to agree with the Bible, oblivious to the fact that it has no support of any kind. And the irony is that their fellow evangelical, Francis Collins, and others have shown that you can hold traditional evangelical beliefs without rejecting science.