Talk:Ken Ham

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Four groups

Nazism 'equated with' Darwinism[edit]

The article cited claims Nazism is rooted in Darwinism, as well as in other 'anti-god' ideas. He cites Arthur Keith, 'We see Hitler devoutly convinced that evolution produces the only real basis for a national policy'. To describe this as equating Darwinism with Nazism is a crass and inaccurate simplification, as though the two ideas were co-terminous and co-extensive, which is not the article's position. Cpsoper (talk) 12:55, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Character assassination[edit]

This isn't really going anywhere, and is also tainted by random sockpuppetry. Our policies and guidelines on WP:FRINGE as well as the sanctions on pseudoscience are pretty unequivocal, and the fact that this is a biography does not make any difference. There is absolutely no issue with Wikipedia stating that Ham espouses opinions which are not backed up by any scientific evidence - this is not a BLP violation and such arguments have been refuted many times before. Of course, if anyone wants to change how we approach such topics, WT:FRINGE or WP:BLP/N are the places to start, not here. Now, back to actually improving the article, please? Black Kite (talk) 09:37, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Someone has set out to malign his character: "Ham advocates Biblical literalism.. contradicted by evidence from astronomy and from the Earth's fossil and geological records which show the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old."

I suggest if no useful facts can be placed in the article, controversial religious beliefs are no substitute. A small example of the collusion of suspect data interpretation can be found in the article's/author's own links:

"These unresolved matters have resulted in cited values for the Hubble constant ranging between 60 km/s/Mpc and 80 km/s/Mpc.[3][4][6][7][8] Resolving this discrepancy is one of the foremost problems in astronomy since the cosmological parameters of the Universe may be constrained by supplying a precise value of the Hubble constant.[6][8]"

Also there is no such a thing as a fossil record per se. Not that I am arguing about such beliefs. But I want to understand how the statement belongs in here.

People all over the world have religious beliefs that contradict those of their neighbours. The Wikipedia is not the place to get even with "alternative believers" -nor a forum to practice astronomical fundamentalism, is it?

Weatherlawyer (talk) 17:02, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

What the heck is "astronomical fundamentalism"? Is that believing in science, rationality, verifiability, etc.? --NeilN talk to me 17:07, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
Ah yes, seems to be. --NeilN talk to me 17:09, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
Hi there,
I've been doing some research on several topics for an article I'm writing.
I've come across the Ken Ham page and the first paragraph is loaded with bias.
I don't have a lot of time to sit on Wikipedia editing articles, sorry if this comment doesn't follow protocol, but this stuck out so prominently I had to join and comment.
I was hoping for an objective look at Ham and his beliefs. I'm really quite disappointed that somebody, who evidently has a personal problem with Ken, has written a paragraph that immediately tries to belittle his point of view.
This statement:
"His claim that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, based on his interpretation of the Bible, is contradicted by evidence from astronomy and from the Earth's fossil and geological records which show the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old.[4][n 2]"
The belief in a universe created in six days approx. 6000 years ago predates Ken by millennia.
It's NOT Ken's claim, nor is it HIS interpretation. This paragraph comes across as though it's a belief that he made up. An historically inaccurate claim
There were church fathers like Ambrose of Milan (330–397), Basil of Caesarea (329–379) and many others that believed this interpretation too.
Please can we take an objective view of what he believes and reference those beliefs for people doing research, like myself.
That paragraph was written by somebody with a personal agenda.
I've just been reading several articles on -- what I love about their professional approach is that they can talk about a person/belief system without inserting their angry bias. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonowll (talkcontribs) 07:13, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Don't expect the courtesy of a reply from the Wikipedia Establishment. Any corrections made to these articles will land you either a suspension or an immediate ban. I only come on here to mess around with their bureaucracy from time to time. Wikipedia's a joke, everybody knows it. Just edit away and undo all reversions they try to do to your corrections. And when they ban you, just make a new account and start over again. There aren't any scientists here, only PC clowns. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rolusty33 (talkcontribs) 02:00, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Rolusty, YOU got punished for sock puppetry and 3RR rule violations. See, here's the thing - if you actually follow the rules around here, you'll do fine. Rolusty is just frustrated because people are actually enforcing the rules and he doesn't want to follow them.

Jowell, thank you for coming first to the talk page instead of just going straight to editing the article. That is proper etiquette. Now, there are some policies that you might want to review to help you understand why the article is the way it is. WP:NPOV is the big one - I'd read that from top to bottom twice if I were you. The big takeaway that is most relevant here is that we are required to simply report what mainstream sources say. If the mainstream sources say that the sky is brown, we MUST report that it is brown, even if we can look outside with our own eyes, take and post pictures, and KNOW that it is blue. Second is that we need a source for your claims. Even if you're right and even if we all agree, we can't add it without a 3rd party reliable source.

I have never heard the claim that a belief in a 6000 year old earth was more than a couple centuries old, let alone that there were early Church Fathers that believed it. We definitely need a source for that idea. And please understand - their own writings cannot be that source. We need a respected scholar that writes ABOUT them stating this. Personally, though, I don't see what you see in that I don't see the statement implying that the 6000yr old earth idea was invented by him.

Lastly, thank you for the politeness of your very first post here. Keep that up and work within the rules, and you don't have to worry about anything Rolusty said happening.Farsight001 (talk) 05:05, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Jowell, I imagine your disagreement with the context is mostly around the wording "contradicted." If you disagree with it, maybe you could suggest an alternative that does not show bias? MavsFan28 (talk) 05:18, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
How about "opposed"?--John Foxe (talk) 12:47, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
No. We dont sugarcoat. They are flat out contradicted - and by several timescales. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:51, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
In my childhood scientific consensus suggested the earth was about 3 billion years old; so it's gotten 1.5 billion years older in 60 years. So, the age of the earth is now settled fact, can't ever be changed?--John Foxe (talk) 17:09, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
So Ham is getting wronger by more orders of magnitude, but that is not making him any less wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:17, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
My point is that scientific consensus has not stood still in my lifetime and that you'll likely see even more remarkable changes in yours.--John Foxe (talk) 17:23, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
And that has to do with the article .....? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 20:35, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Certainly. Scientific consensus about the age of the earth is not on the same plane as say, the fact that it's not possible to transmute base metal into gold through alchemy. If I claim I can, we can arrange a laboratory test. To the contrary, scientific consensus about the age of the earth has witnessed exceptional change during the last two hundred years. Buffon thought it was 75,000 years old, Lord Kelvin, 20 million. As I said above, in my lifetime it's aged another 1.5 billion. The public is remarkably docile about accepting radical revisions in these huge spans of time. If it were announced tomorrow that scientific consensus put the age of the earth at 9 billion years, you'd shrug and, when it was convenient, change the number in this article. There's no proof of the normal sort going on here. We laymen just accept without question what a consensus of scientists tell us. Except when we don't.--John Foxe (talk) 21:27, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Certainly, when the evidence and our ability to measure and understand it leads to a different consensus, we will change it. That is basic science: What does the current preponderance evidence and our understanding of that evidence tell us?-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:05, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
The overwhelming majority of scientists say you're right and I'm wrong. The evidence itself is a matter of interpretation.--John Foxe (talk) 20:04, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
And we go with the interpretations of the evidence as determined by the mainstream experts. Again, what does this have to do with improving the article? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:15, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Nothing. Just someone trying to make scientists out to be unreliable and fallible for adjusting their conclusions to fit new evidence. clpo13(talk) 22:19, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

I'd be happy if you just said that Ham rejected the interpretations of evidence accepted by mainstream scientists instead of claiming your position was Truth Infallible forever amen.--John Foxe (talk) 00:34, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd agree with some variation of that...that wording gives sort of an anti-science bias. MavsFan28 (talk) 01:25, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I really don't see the current wording as anti-science. The scientific consensus regarding the evidence contradicts Ham's very specific and narrow claims of the Earth's age. Hedging this seems far less neutral than just spelling it out in plain language. Terms like "mainstream scientists" are loaded, and would artificially inflate the significance of Ham's fringe perspective. This would be a form of editorializing. Listing adjustments in the given age of the universe/Earth is a distraction, because there is a consensus now, and the article should use it. This is not some esoteric theory on the cutting edge with many dissenting opinions, this is the current basis of scientific understanding of geology, biology, astronomy, and others. Grayfell (talk) 01:57, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I want to cut, not add. The lead now says that Ham's view "is contradicted by scientific consensus that evidence from astronomy and from the Earth's fossil and geological records prove the Earth to be over 4.5 billion years old." The word "prove" is the problem for me. Why can't the lead simply say that Ham's view is "contradicted by scientific consensus that the Earth is more than 4.5 billion years old"?--John Foxe (talk) 21:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Except that those things do, indeed, prove that the Earth is >4.5bn years old, and Ham is therefore wrong. Whether it's 4.55, 4.6 or even 5bn years old makes no difference to that sentence. Claiming that there's only "a scientific consensus" suggests that there's a chance that fact could be incorrect. Black Kite (talk) 17:35, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Nothing about Origins is provable in the normal sense of that word. We take the word of experts about it (or not). The evidence itself is a matter of interpretation. That's one reason why Bill Nye felt an obligation to debate Ken Ham but would have felt no such compunction to debate say, a flat-earther.
I have no desire to have this article discuss the age of the earth, even though it's gotten 1.5 billion years older in my lifetime. What I dislike is the use of the word "prove." The statement that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is a faith claim—a very generally accepted faith claim for sure—but a faith claim nonetheless.--John Foxe (talk) 19:05, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
there are "interpretations" that say "4.5 billion years give or take, knowing what we know" and there are "interpretations" that say "my bible says 6,000". we assert as "facts " those items that are viewed as "facts" by the mainstream academic bodies and the age of the earth is one of them.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:20, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree. This article accepts (and should accept) the interpretations of mainstream academics. But there's no proof in any normal sense of that word. We're simply accepting a faith claim.--John Foxe (talk) 19:26, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Are you claiming that radiometric dating is based on faith? Black Kite (talk) 19:30, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes—at least in how it is interpreted.--John Foxe (talk) 22:13, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
No matter how many times you personally assert it "faith" has absolutely nothing to do with the scientific method. Theroadislong (talk) 19:32, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
All scientific facts are "faith claims" in the sense of John Foxe, in the words of Stephen Gould a scientific fact is an interpretation that is so well supported by evidence that witholding provisional assent would be perverse. That the age of the universe is several billions greater than suggested by Ham and other biblical literalists would be one such fact. Gravity would be another. In an encyclopedia, this kind of scientific fact, though based on "interpretation" and "arguable", should be represented as fact, not as belief. if God one day manifests herself physically and explains to scientists how she created the Universe and made it look as if it was much older than it really is, AND if this explanation is convincing to the scientific community, then we can ammend the article to show that Ham was right. Untill then however, the article must clearly state that his claims and interpretations are rejected by the current state of science.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:25, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
As I've said several times above, I have no problem with the article accepting the interpretations of mainstream academics. It should. I only object to the use of the word "proof." Nothing about Origins is provable in the sense that gravity is provable. To dispute gravity, just take an elevator to the top of any tall building. By contrast, evidence about Origins is a matter of interpretation.--John Foxe (talk) 22:13, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Sure, outside of mathematics there is no such thing as proof, only interpretations and varying degrees of certainty.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:56, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Is there an unwritten rule of Wikipedia that all editors to Creationist articles must be atheists? I'm seeing a lot of discrimination here. There is no scientific consensus requiring anyone to leave their faith at the door. AstraVolantis (talk)

Absolutely not; editors at any article can believe in anything they like. That does not, of course, mean that they can attempt to impose those beliefs on an article over consensus and/or Wikipedia policy. Black Kite (talk) 21:15, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Note there's lots of socks floating about here and at Talk:Kent Hovind. [1] --NeilN talk to me 21:22, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Aye, I blocked that one myself. Black Kite (talk) 21:35, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Without taking a side in the ideologies here, I actually do agree that a theory can't be taken as a universal fact with substantiated, concrete proof. MavsFan28 (talk) 01:16, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I thought Wikipedia was supposed to be unbiased but I guess not. I think the earth has to be more than a billion years old because of dinosaurs and fossils but unless someone lived four billion years and can tell us then you cant act like its something definite. Scientists like doctors Duane Gish, Henry Morris, Hugh Ross, Jonathan Sarfati and Carl Wieland all believe in the young earth theory. Yeah of course trust me I do a lot of dating of earth for school and I honestly don't see anything that makes me know the earth is old and I bet that's what scientists think too. So you should represent both sides as theories and neither as fact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:34, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Consensus against changing the existing wording. StAnselm (talk) 20:14, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Why can't the lead simply say that Ham's view is "contradicted by scientific consensus that the Earth is more than 4.5 billion years old"? Why does it have to say that "that evidence from astronomy and from the Earth's fossil and geological records prove the Earth to be over 4.5 billion years old"? The first statement is both true and unremarkable, the second is not only philosophically untenable but will result in constant guerrilla attacks you folks will have to put down. (Unless perhaps that's the point: you enjoy the sport of putting down the rubes.)--John Foxe (talk) 13:43, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I have no problem with the article asserting the mainstream consensus, but it's possible to do so without using the word "prove." Why not do so?--John Foxe (talk) 20:53, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Ea verba haec sunt Invidiae. Tu es Morianum (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:42, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

indicente pro lenimentus ? Theroadislong (talk) 20:51, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd be glad to have the assistance even of a Roman who uses capital letters.--John Foxe (talk) 21:54, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
As I said above, I have no problem with the article asserting the scientific consensus, but why can't it be done without using the word "prove"? Theories about origins are unprovable because they're beyond our ability to test.--John Foxe (talk) 22:12, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
They're not "theories" about the age of the earth there is hard scientific evidence and the evidence DOES prove that the earth is more than 4.5 billion years old, see [2] for example. Theroadislong (talk) 22:38, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
"Ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat". Socrates scit optimum. Tu es Morianum (talk)
The USGS article is an excellent summary of scientific consensus based on the assumption that if "we know the number of radioactive parent atoms present when a rock formed [how can we?] and the number present now, we can calculate the age of the rock using the decay constant [why should decay necessarily be constant?]." Nowhere in the article is the word "proof" or "prove" used. That's the word I'm interested in eliminating.--John Foxe (talk) 11:55, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
If you're trying to assert that the number of atoms in certain radioactive isotopes is somehow random, or that radioactive decay rates (for a large number of atoms) is random as well, I suspect that this conversation is probably pointless. No-one, let alone young earth creationists, has produced any evidence at all that radiometric dating is inaccurate. (There have been some hilarious attempts by people like Cook, Barnes and Hovind, which usually go something like this, but all have been comprehensively rebutted.) Black Kite (talk) 15:10, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not trying to assert anything beyond the fact that Origins are unprovable because they're incapable of being reproduced. If a USGS summary of the scientific consensus doesn't go near the word "prove," why does this Wikipedia article? Why can't the article simply say that Ham's view is "contradicted by scientific consensus that the Earth is more than 4.5 billion years old"?--John Foxe (talk) 19:45, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
Because that leaves out the fact that scientific consensus is evidence based, making it appear as if it is a belief in the same way that Hams belief is. It is possible to make a wording without the word "prove" but it would have to make clear the fact that all available empirical evidence supports the mainstream conclusion about the earths age.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:05, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
" Origins are unprovable because they're incapable of being reproduced". Oh, I see, Ham's "were you there?" argument. I think we're done here. Black Kite (talk) 20:18, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
That is not in fact the same argument, it seems to me John Foxe is simply argueing that assertions of "proof" should be reserved for positively conclusive evidence, which of course cannot be produced in cases like these. I have treied to insert a compromise wording that does not use the word "prove", but simply asserts that the full weight of all empirical evidence supports the current scientific consensus against Hams claims.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:21, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
That's actially not what he's doing. But, regardless, read Age of the Earth; the first sentence is "The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years "; not "scientific consensus is that the age of the Earth is ...". Indeed, that article doesn't even mention any other view apart from in the hatnote. That's because it isn't necessary. Black Kite (talk) 21:26, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually in the context of this article it is necessary. Because Ham is contradicting the scientific consensus about the age of the earth. It would be meaningless and absurd to write something that does not acknowledge that there are two different possible views, only one of which is backed by science. We couldnt for example just write "Ham says the earth is 6000 years old even though it is in fact 4.5 billion years old". The age of the Earth is not the same kind of fact as for example the shape of the planet which can be directly observed. The age of the earth can only be inferred and estimated from observations of different aspects of its geology, under the theoretical assumption of uniformitarianism - and it will inevitably have a margin of error. For these reasons we do have to explicitly say that the science estimates it as at least 4.5 billion years old, not that it is a "proven fact" - since that is not how the science actually works.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:39, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
the current wording is a compromise from flat out stating Ham's claims are wrong as WP:ASSERT would have us do. we are not going to waterdown that even more. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:50, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
I think that per the argumentation I have laid out above that is clearly wrong. Flatly asserting that Ham is wrong is not a serious option. And there is no meaning in using the word "prove" as it is currently done since that is in fact scientifically inaccurate. The phrasing I introduced is both more accurate and better writing. And it does not water down anything, since it is entirely clear to any reader who is not a creationist that Ham has no scientific basis for his claim. Incidentally you also reverted a bunch of other changes wole sale such as the silly wording that says that Ham is contradicted by science, when in fact it is Ham who contradicts science (since Science is not actually responding to Ham but merely reporting the evidence), and the removal of unnecessary blank infobox parameters.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:10, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
of course it is a serious option. we would not pussyfoot around "His claim, based on an interpretation of the Bible that the population of New York is 100 is contradicted by scientific consensus " His claim is wrong, all mainstream academics would unhesitatingly state that it is wrong and we were following the sources most certainly could make that statement, too. But in deference to sensitive people we white washed the direct statement that his claim is wrong. We dont need to go any further.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:20, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes his claim is wrong, noone here is disputing that. What is disputed is the epistemic status of the scientific consensus which is not supported by proof but by the weight of the evidence to the contrary. But no, it doesnt make sense to simply describe an individuals view as being "wrong", in the context an encyclopedic article because that is not informative. It makes less sense to misrepresent scientific processes and ways of arriving at conclusions.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 00:26, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
So you agree that we should go back to the simple "His claim that the earth is 6000 years old is wrong." I can support that. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:05, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
I think you know that intentionally misrepresenting other peoples viewpoints and arguments is against the civilty policy.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 01:24, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
If you are not interested in utilizing the plain english representation of the situation, then I am not interested in discussing splitting epistemological hairs about "proof". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:16, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Unwillingness to discuss does not mean that you get to assert your preference as if it were somehow the default.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 02:35, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Btw. it seems to me that you are misapplying WP:ASSERT here. It says not to give the appearance of disagreement where there isnt any disagreement. But here the entire point that we need to convey is that Ham disagrees with science. Writing "Ham contradicts the fact that the earth is 4.5 billion years old" Both because that would be an extremely odd statement that begs the question, and because it actually misrepresents the science which does not actually consider that dating to be "a fact" in the way that for example the orbit of the earth or it shape are incontrovertible empirical facts. 4.5 billion is simply the currently most accurate estimate based on inferences with a rather large margin of error.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:16, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I appreciate ·maunus recognizing my intent. Why can't the article simply say that Ham's view is "contradicted by scientific consensus that the Earth is more than 4.5 billion years old"?--John Foxe (talk) 01:08, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

because that language was settled on as a compromise for the flat out WP:ASSERTion that Ham's claims are wrong. We are not going to do any more namby pamby whitewashing. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:18, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not going to intervene on what the text should say explicitly, but it seems to me that saying Ham's view is "contradicted by scientific consensus" provides for Ham and similar folks to treat the science in this case as something other than fact (call it long-tested scientifically estimated fact if you will). They disagree with fact. That means they are wrong, not simply disagreeing with this group of others they outright disparage. A compendium of facts should not give Ham and similar folks any out. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 03:09, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Leaving out "prove" sounds simple, but it would mislead the reader as the result would then be similar to "Ham thinks 6,000 years old and other people think 4.5 billion". Actually, the latter figure is much more than an opinion, and "prove" is a brief and recognizable statement of what is known, namely that 4.5 billion years is correct. Johnuniq (talk) 03:22, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Prove is not accurate no, what is accurate is that Ham's belief runs counter to all available evidence.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:31, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree that it shouldnt say that he diusagrees with consensus (as I have also stated above), it is not just an opinion he disagrees with but the actual evidence. But evidence and proof is not the same thing.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:32, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
If you wish to quibble about that, then we can just settle the whole thing by going back to the previous version which simply identifies Ham's claims as being wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:55, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
That would not make for a meaningful article, and it would set an extremely problematic precedence for the way we would write about religious people and other forms of non-scientific thought in general. Should we write for example that Nietszche was wrong in claiming that "God is dead" because science evidence suggests that "God" was never alive in the first place? Should we write about Jefferson that his belief that all humans are created equal contradicts the scientific fact that every human has a unique DNA sequence. etc. No, we should not. We should describe their beliefs, and we should do so in a way that it is clear whenever someone makes a claim that passes itself of as science but is not scientifically supported. Flatly saying that "Ham is wrong" is not encyclopedic, it is not accurate and it is not scientific. Saying that his claims are belief based and squarely contradict the evidence based conclusions of science is encyclopedic, accurate and scientific.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 04:04, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Ham is not making a religious claim - about which science doesnt care. He is making a scientific claim about which he is wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 04:32, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
No, he is in fact making a religious claim, based on a religious text which he religiously takes to be inspired by god and therefore infallible. His claim that science is wrong is based directly on his religious belief, not on any aspirations to having come to a scientifically more sound conclusion. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 06:13, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
No traditional religious text says the universe is 6000 years old—if such a claim appeared in the Bible or other work, it could simply be an attributed statement balanced by the reality. Regardless, if "prove" has a non-fatuous meaning, 4.5 billion years has been proven, and an article should not present an age of 6000 years as merely one opinion in a world full of contrary opinions. Johnuniq (talk) 08:35, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
You know very well that the claim of 6000 years goes back to Bishop Ushers calculation of the biblical genealogy, which predates the development of science by several centuries. It is of course a religious argument. And no one is suggesting to present this religious view as an opinion that is at the same level of the scientifically supported conclusion. You are raising a strawman.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:38, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
To assert that the age of the earth is a religious and not scientific claim is absurd. That he is attempting to make a religious based claims about a scientific subject is fine, but it is still a scientific subject which is adjudicated by scientific means and and those scientific means demonstrate that his claims are wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 15:09, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
No, what is absurd is to be unable to understand that religious people making claims about how the earth was created and when based on religious evidence is a religious and not a scientific argument. Clearly you have your own competence issues, particularly regarding comprehending the civilty policy. I am done here.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:21, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
that religious people make scientific claims under the guise of religion does not exempt the claims from the realm of scientific refute. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:40, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
I disagree with your point of view, but I prefer your calling Ham wrong rather than saying that science provides proof of something that by its nature can't be proved. Calling something "wrong" is the language of political or theological debate.--John Foxe (talk) 13:35, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This is ultimately an argument about semantics. What does "prove" mean? Obviously, the editors here can't even agree on that. To prove something simply means that the available evidence suggests, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a certain conclusion. That's a basic dictionary definition of the word. It's not a claim of omniscience, that no further evidence could be ever presented to challenge the conclusion. As others have said, any weaker wording opens up the interpretation that the idea that the earth is so many years old is merely an opinion a few scientists have, while brave dissenters like Ham have a different opinion. His view is based on an interpretation of the genealogies of the Bible that assumes those genealogies are complete and accurate without any other evidence to back it up. Meanwhile, the oldest rock fragment is 4.4 billion years old,[1] and there are plenty younger than that but still much, much older than 6000 years. So, Ham isn't simply opposing the scientific consensus. He may as well be insisting the sky is green for all the evidence in his favor. So yes, "prove" is perfectly acceptable given the superabundance of evidence of the earth's advanced age. Any reader seeking more complete information on the evidence supporting that figure can visit Age of the Earth, conveniently linked in the lead of this article. clpo13(talk) 09:08, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Clearly there is a consensus here already for the existing wording. I dont feel a need to subject myself to more strawmen and insults to challenge that. You are not making the encyclopedia better or more scientific, and you are not doing science a favor either.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:21, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Consider the wording if Ham was not a Young Earth Creationist, but a Flat Earther. Would you find it necessary to point out the scientific consensus on the actual shape of the Earth, or would we simply say that he is wrong? The amount of scientific proof available is similar for both situations, apart from Ham's "were you there?" claim. Indeed, if we went into details on Ham's claims in this article (which we're probably going to have to do if we can't use "prove") then Ham would look even more ridiculous when it's detailed that he rejects radiometric dating, Carbon-14 dating, the radioactive decay constant, and multiple basic physical laws. Black Kite (talk) 17:47, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Maybe I'm misreading the sentence in question, but I don't see the "prove" statement being presented as a fact and therefore not needing a discussion of whether or not we can say "prove". The statement is a dependent clause describing the scientific consensus, which is that the scientific evidence proves the 4.5 billion year age of the earth. This isn't saying whether the mainstream scientific community is right or wrong, but is describing the consensus/belief of that community. The "prove" statement is qualified and attributed to the mainstream scientific community, hence satisfying NPOV. A reverse of the statement, something like "...the scientific consensus on the age of the earth is contradicted by the YEC consensus that the Bible proves the age of the earth is 6000 years...", would be equally acceptable, IMO. Such a statement doesn't say that it is a fact that the Bible proves anything, merely that it is the YEC consensus/belief that such is the case. Again, maybe I'm misreading the sentence and other arguments, but IMO the current wording is acceptable for these reasons. --FyzixFighter (talk) 03:38, 20 October 2015 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


This page is for discussing how to improve the article based on what reliable sources state about the topic. It is not a chat forum. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:46, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Please consider WP:ASSERT and then understand why we should simply state that it is a fact that the Earth and the universe have ages that are on the order of billions of years. Scientific consensus is an awkward appeal akin to saying "it's the scientific consensus that the electron has a mass that is 1/1836 that of the proton". No, it's just a fact. jps (talk) 21:10, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Of course, in the example you gave, you wouldn't use the word "fact": you would say "the electron has a mass that is..." rather than "it is a fact that the electron as a mass that is..." StAnselm (talk) 21:24, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
and we would say that someone who said "an electron weighs a gram" was wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:25, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
How would you write the sentence, "Joe Doe's belief that an electron mass the mass of a proton is contradicted by the fact that it has a mass that is 1/1836 that of the proton" without using the word, "fact"? jps (talk) 22:08, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
"Although the mass of an electron is 1/1836 that of the proton, Joe Doe believes that it is the mass of a proton." StAnselm (talk) 22:25, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
So you think we should have "Although the earth is over 4.5 billion years old, Ham believes that it is only 6,000"? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:41, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
That wording would be fine with me. I'm not sure why it's preferred. jps (talk) 23:07, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, this article is a bit trickier. You see, the really significant thing about Ken Ham is not that he believes the earth is 6000 years old (millions of people believe that); nor even that he believes the Bible teaches that the earth is 6000 years old (ditto). It's that he believes the fossil record and/or "real" science demonstrate that (or at least is consistent with) the earth is 6000 years old. That is, he is not just an adherent of creationism, but of creation science. It is this that should be in the lead. StAnselm (talk) 00:18, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think Ham also believes that science works differently than most scientists who practice it. He accepts evidence that he thinks aligns with the conclusion in which he has faith and rejects the evidence (which is the preponderance at least) for conclusions that contradict his faith. This is more than just believing in "real" science. This is a kind of deductive reasoning that aligns well with creationism generally. jps (talk) 01:35, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

agreed, but none of these things are really facts because none of us will know exactly how old anything is unless we were there. I did a project on a sycamore tree in my backyard and concluded it was 8000 years old, but I cant really "prove" it I guess. So you cant really advocate one theory over another. (talk) 01:43, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
I can't tell if you're trolling or not. Of course Ken Ham likes to say that you can only know how old something is if "you were there", but that's rather irrelevant to actual facts of the matter (which is that one can measure ages accurately without "being there"). So either you're gunning for LULZ or you're lacking WP:COMPETENCE. jps (talk) 02:38, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
well no actually, not trolling. I'm just saying there's a ton of people that believe in the big bang old earth theory and a ton that believe in the bible. Can't really know which one it is unless I was there. I don't need Ken Ham to tell me that. (talk) 02:46, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
It is undeniable that there are a ton of people that are wrong. That's not really relevant to our discussion here. And if you think you can't know which is which unless you "were there", you need to learn a bit more before contributing at Wikipedia. As it is, this kind of pontificating has no place on the talk page. If you want to have a discussion about why you're wrong, go ahead and engage me on my user talk page. Anyway, your contributions to this discussion so far are fairly useless, I'm afraid. jps (talk) 02:51, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, both Ham and his critics would agree that he has a different idea of what science is than they. I think this is a large part of what makes him notable: his philosophy of science, if you will. So I think that should be in the lead as well; the difference between Ham and real/mainstream scientists is not just a difference of numbers, even if they are different orders of magnitude: it's a difference in what Ham would call a worldview, including how to understand the world and how to practice science. StAnselm (talk) 03:46, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
No, I'd disagree there; Ham doesn't have a different idea or philosophy of science, he merely rejects scientific facts and findings if they don't agree with his religious beliefs. That's not a scientific viewpoint at all. Black Kite (talk) 04:49, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Ken Ham is certainly not a scientist, and he never identifies as such. He instead thinks that he is better than basically all scientists because he has a direct access to what he thinks is a source of divine knowledge which, to him, trumps every other possible claim. This isn't a "worldview" as most would describe it. It is a claim about privileged knowledge. jps (talk) 10:02, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
While Ham believes the Bible to be authoritative, he has some clever answers to the scientific consensus that are a lot more sophisticated than "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it." Lots of the folks in the scientific community oppose debates between scientists and creationists—some were aghast when Nye agreed to debate Ham—not just because it puts the mainstream on par with the fringe, but because creationists can summon awkward evidence that mainstream scientists simply ignore when agreeing to agree that the earth is >4.5 billion years old.--John Foxe (talk) 13:30, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
[citation needed] Black Kite (talk) 14:11, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
You've misinterpreted "awkward evidence" for a Gish Gallop through misinterpreted ideas. There is no "awkward evidence" when it gets right down to it. That's why doesn't need updating. It's pretty funny to insinuate that mainstream scientists ignore evidence or agree to agree on an age as though they can't measure it. jps (talk) 14:12, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm no scientist, but I've been impressed with debate performances of YECs I've heard in the past. Hope you have the pleasure of meeting one in a public forum sometime, especially if you assume from the get-go that your opponent is a moronic obscurantist.--John Foxe (talk) 14:34, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Correct you are no scientist and this is NOT a forum. Theroadislong (talk) 14:39, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Right. I apologize.--John Foxe (talk) 14:50, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
If you are interested in referring YECs to show me up, I am available on my talkpage. jps (talk) 16:15, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it's a "claim about privileged knowledge" - that's definitely a worldview. Or, to put my statement another way, Ham has a radically different epistemology. StAnselm (talk) 18:52, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

The bible has served as a source of information for literalists for years, whereas the "consensus" age has been changed many times. We can't discredit one or the other without the sufficient evidence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

The evidence against the literalist position has been extant for more than a century. jps (talk) 17:38, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Again, if we're talking about something whether its 6,000 or billions of years ago, there's no way of definitive proof on the subject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
While there is no "definitive proof" that it is "4 billion three hundred and thirty seven years old" there is "definitive scientific proof" that it is WAY older than 6K years. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 13:40, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
While there may be some debate as to exactly how old the universe is, throwing the 6,000 year figure in there is like considering the following when I ask the question "How much money is in my wallet right now?"
I remember withdrawing 1000 RMB earlier today, and I had less than 150 at the time, but I've spent somewhere between 80 to 120 since then. So it's probably somewhere around 1070 or 1030. But it could only 12 or 13 RMB (maybe what the bank gave me as 100 bills, what I thought were 100 bills, and what the shopkeeps accepted as 100 bills were really 1 yuan notes disguised as 100 RMB notes by the devil). Who knows? Unless I look in my wallet, there's "no" definitive proof. Ian.thomson (talk) 13:47, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
But that's the thing. You know for a fact that you yourself withdrew however much, and also know how much you yourself had. So you could say for a definitive fact without checking that that is how much money you had. No idea how you see the amount of money you hold in your wallet as an apropos analogy to how old the earth is. Again, I can't discredit one or the other without knowing, but then again, no one really can. For centuries, people have held the bible as fact. Likewise, people hold anything scientist deduce as fact without knowing for themselves the accuracy. Just consider Saurya Das and Ahmed Farag Ali's 'new' Big Bang Theory. Perhaps everyone will jump on that bandwagon and completely abandon the previous thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
Philosophical commentary about "where you there?" needs to take place elsewhere. This page is for discussing how to appropriately represent what the mainstream sources have to say about Ham. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:02, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
Its not philosophical to say that we can't prove something that we actually do not know for a fact. That useless analogy was the only philosophical thing brought into this discussion.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.