The Lie: Evolution - Prologue to the Snark

Front cover of The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham
While at school one day, going to put my books in my locker, my friend thrust a book he'd found in the school library into my hands.

I was quite perplexed. This friend of mine studies biology and is an avowed atheist, so why had he shoved creationist propaganda at me?

Unbeknownst to me, it was a sign...No, it wasn't really a sign. It was my friend messing around with my mind as normal and teasing me. But when someone gives me as much snark fuel as this, I'm not going to pass up the opportunity!

Let's start with the cover first, shall we? I know exactly what it's supposed to represent, because it isn't exactly subtle: the snake is offering us the forbidden fruit of evolution, which as the title boldly proclaims, is a LIE. It can't just be a simple little lowercase lie, oh no: it's got to be in ALL CAPS to express just how much of a lie it is.

As much as I know all that, all I can think of is how damn nommy that apple looks.

Tabby cat looking straight at camera saying "WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN"
This cat perfectly sums up my mood
and I haven't even got to the beginning of
this book yet.
A quick look at the "About the Author" section tells us that Kenneth A. Ham is very much your standard young-earth creationist; a quick Googling also tells us that he now runs Answers in Genesis. This is a man that you want to punch, run away from, wrap in duct tape, or - if you're me - mock and utterly discredit. A not-so-brief look at the chapter summaries sets up the oppression of Christianity by the eeeevil secular humanists with their religion of evolution, here to bring Communism, Nazism, homosexuality, abortion and pornography to a world that presumably had none of them, and the foreword written by a certain Luther D. Sutherland, one of Ham's fellow creationists, seems to equate increasing secularism with the teaching of evolution and describes the book as "a must read for all Christians".

If by "a must read for all Christians", he means "a guide to how to become an intolerant fundamentalist" or "the funniest thing you'll read in years", he might just be right. Sadly, I don't think he's that smart.

Now onto the introduction - the first thing written by Ham's own hand. Normally, introductions are intentionally boring pieces of wank, and this one's no exception! Thankfully, it's only a page or so long or I could have used it as a sleeping aid.

Ham begins by telling us that he "was reared in a Christian home where the Bible was totally accepted as the infallible, inerrant Word of God that provided the basis for the principles to be applied in every area of life". No surprise there, then! He's a good little fundamentalist and it's a miracle how he ever learnt to read and write, considering he was brought up not to be able to think.

Fortunately for him, he "recognized the conflict when...taught the theory of evolution". I suppose it's too blindingly obvious to ignore, but frankly I don't plan on giving him any credit, even if he did then go on to ask "If Genesis was not literally true, then what part of the Bible could I trust?".

Now, to an atheist like me, the answer would be "none" - but I'm not Ken Ham or his parents. You see, they "knew that evolution was wrong, because it was obvious from Genesis that God had given us the details of the creation of the world".

Excuse me while I take some time off to bash my head on my desk. The stupid burns brightly in this one.

Not only that, but according to Ham Genesis contains "important foundational truths for the rest of Christianity"! Yes, apparently a book about an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity creating the earth and then getting pissed off when his creations eat the forbidden fruit has something to do with that deity's son, who is also somehow the deity himself, going back to forgive all humanity and tell them to love one another.

Because that obviously makes complete sense.

Especially in an ancient book full of textual corruptions whose editing was probably surrounded by religious and political fighting.

Moving swiftly on, we learn that at one time Ham trained as a biology teacher.

Ham. Biology teacher.

Ham. Biology teacher.

Ham. Biology. Teacher.

At some point in Australia, a man who believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago was teaching biology.

This isn't even funny. This is just scary. What's more, in the introduction Ham openly admits to cherry-picking books and pamphlets that suit his view.

And so thankfully, the introduction finishes before we can get any more of an idea of just how unsavoury Ham is...