Is Creationism a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era? No. For anyone interested in origins- biologist, physicist, astronomer, or lay person with an interest in the world- particularly Young Earth Creationism requires denial of evidence. Raymond Damadian, born 1936, is a YEC, but the education required to produce comparable achievements in his field, now, would include evidence clearly refuting YEC.
All that said-
How persuasive is Ken Ham as a speaker? Can I set aside my knowledge, and my commitment to the opposing point of view, to assess this? Here he is in debate on 4 February. His main half hour presentation begins at 27.30.
It is breathtaking. He takes so much. For example, at the end he argues that children should be taught creationism and not Darwinism in schools, because if they have the wrong theory they may make the wrong deductions about their world, and lose out. I want to say, wait a minute, that’s my argument: but rather it is that children should be taught truth as best we know it, not by ideology; and that would indeed cut both ways, if YEC had any credibility.
That, though, is nothing. He steals the word “Evolution” itself. He notes how Darwin’s Finches have different beaks, and how this shows Evolution. Darwin said all organic beings which have ever lived on this Earth may be descended from one primordial form. Genesis 1:25 says God made the beasts of the Earth according to their kinds. He identifies the “kinds” as Families, one rank above species, so Noah did not need to take so many animals on the Ark, and the Families have evolved into the different species we now observe. Rather than a tree of life, he says there is an Orchard.
No proper scientist could believe such crap, I say, which creates an opening for him: he dredges up two or three who have published proper peer-reviewed papers, yet believe YEC. Had I simply said the overwhelming majority of proper scientists are Darwinist, he could not refute that so easily.
He distinguishes observational from historical science. Observational science tells us what is happening now, and can be shown by experiment. Historical science cannot experiment, because we cannot see what happened 13.8bn years ago, or six thousand years ago- we have to infer it from evidence. I deny the distinction, but he repeats it several times: his supporters could take away that argument for their rhetorical arsenal.
All across the world, at the Cretaceous/Palaeogene boundary, there is a thin layer of clay with iridium concentrations fifteen times Earth normal; but iridium is far more common in asteroids. It is postulated that this iridium comes from the Chicxulub impact. Go on, explain that, Ham. Oh, I am so angry with him, despite his great charm- he called himself a “bloke”, explaining this was an Australian word. English too, of course.
I loathe his argument that the only sure foundation of science or morality is the Bible: if we reject that, we cannot resist gay marriage or abortion; and have no ground for postulating universal natural laws, if the Universe came into being randomly. Wrong, Wrong, I say. Ignorant YECs will go away reassured by his arguments.