Ken Ham v The Aliens

Ken Ham v The Aliens

I WAS reminded today of one of the finest atheist science fiction stories ever written – The Streets of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison – after I was sent a link to a report about the latest ravings of creationist Ken Ham.

Ham asserted that US space programme was a waste of money because any alien life that scientists found would be damned to hell.

You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. Jesus did not become the ‘GodKlingon’ or the ‘GodMartian’! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the ‘Godman’ as our Savior.

For those of you not familiar with Harrison’s 1962 story – which has also been published under the title An Alien Agony – here, briefly, is the plot:

An atheist merchant/trader, John Garth, is the only human on an alien planet where the native Weskers, intelligent but painstakingly literal-minded amphibians, live in what seem to be utopian conditions. These Weskers have no concepts whatsoever of gods, nor religion, nor sin. Garth gradually teaches them how to apply scientific methods in their approach to life.

One day Garth is surprised by the arrival of a missionary – father Mark – who is intent on proselytizing to the natives. Despite Garth’s best efforts to dissuade him, even at the point of a gun, the missionary is on a one-way journey to “save souls” and eventually convinces them of the “truth” of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

But, having been taught to apply scientific tests to hypotheses, the Weskers seize the priest and crucify him in accordance with what he taught them about the Gospels. Their hope is that he will miraculously rise from the dead three days later and thereby redeem them.

Three days later, after Father Mark has been buried and the hypothesis disproved, Itin, leader of the Westers, asks Garth what went wrong:

Then we will not be saved? We will not become pure?

“You were pure,” Garth said, in a voice somewhere between a sob and a laugh. “That’s the horrible ugly dirty part of it. You were pure. Now you are – ”

“Murderers,” Itin said, and the water ran down from his lowered head and streamed away into the darkness.

Harrison pictured at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005, seven years before his death in 2012.

Harrison pictured at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005, seven years before his death in 2012.

Harrison wrote the story – read it in full here – for a Judith Merrill-edited anthology which was to contain original stories that all violated societal taboos in some way: When Merrill’s project fell through, Harrison approached other markets; however, no American publisher would accept a story that portrayed a heroic atheist and a naive, foolish missionary, and so Harrison approached British markets instead. Streets was not published by an American company until six years later.

The story has since been reprinted over 30 times in 14 languages, in anthologies and also academic textbooks. Science fiction critic Paul Tomlinson, who helps run Harrison’s official website, has estimated that it is Harrison’s most widely published story … and the saddest.

Anyway, back to the bonehead Ham, who argued that:

Secularists are desperate to find life in outer space as part of their rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution.

Life did not evolve but was specially created by God, as Genesis clearly teaches. Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe. Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not.

But regardless of whether there was life in outer space, Ham asserted that it could not be truly “intelligent”.

Would a list of intelligent life forms on earth include Ken Ham? I seriously doubt it!

UPDATE: It has just been reported that a sinister evangelical group, which has launched a campaign to convert children to Christianity at public spaces and schools in Oregon, has close ties with Ham.

The Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club claims most people become Christians between ages 4 and 14 years old, so they target children with the message that all people are sinful and that only Christian faith will save them from hell.

The fundamentalist group is associated with Ham and his Answers in Genesis ministry, which claims their mission is part of a spiritual battle dating back to the temptation in the biblical Garden of Eden.

Said Ham:

If all life arose by natural processes, and there was no God, why would people even care what others were taught? After all, for the secularists, when they die they will cease to exist – and in their belief system, they won’t know they even existed – so why should they care what is taught to children?

My favourite alien, Paul, would have a thing or two to whisper in Ham’s ear.

Hat tip: Angela K.

34 responses to “Ken Ham v The Aliens”

  1. remigius says:


  2. Broga says:

    Ken Ham. Bloody hell! This man really is something special. What is he doing wandering around outside an asylum and not spending time in a padded cell and strait jacket? He is totally out of what passes for his mind.

    Ham has these fantasies of wishful thinking which he invents to make him feel a very special person and saved. But they are not “normal” religious bonkers such as we find on TfTD (choice example today) as these at least seem to be in touch with reality to various degrees. Ham is in a Fairy Land of his own invention and far beyond recall.

    He actually thinks Adam existed and God placed him on earth. This planet being a speck in a Milky Way of getting on for 2 billion stars with even more planets and billions of other galaxies. We may even be (New Scientist this week) in a multi verse. All this may be unlikely and hard to grasp but it has its fascination. Ham is boring and this is only relieved by witnessing the weirdest of what passes for his brain working.

  3. Adam Tjaavk says:

    I rarely read fiction,
    but now three musts!

    The Evolution Man
    Or, How I Ate My Father
    by Roy Lewis

    The Dechronization of Sam Magruder
    by George Gaylord Simpson

    The Streets of Ashkelon
    by Harry Harrison


  4. Broga says:

    Barry. No I missed that but I have now read it with delight. Punchy and on target and a pleasure to read. I have also commented on the article. Thanks for alerting me. I would have been sorry to have missed it.

    I’ve been a tad distracted recently – needn’t bore you with the details but they include a broken knuckle and young grand children.

  5. […] Nota Original (y comentario): The Freethinker: Ken Ham v The Aliens […]

  6. Lord Admiral Wing Commander Sir Nathan Gloss-Smythe of Gobian with Epaulettes Braid OBE, MBE, Garter, Braces, Swagger Stick and Pipe Esq. says:

    I wonder if the aliens realise they are condemned to hell? Maybe the aliens will pick up this story in a few years time using their equivalent of SETI and then home in on Ham with phaser ray and blast the cretin off the face of the earth. Or more likely they will react like the Cadbury Smash aliens……’and then they smash them all to bits…hehehehehahahaha….’

    Sorry, but Ham is a first class, top drawer loon endowed with aural filters that only let bullshit through to his brain, a hide so thick that he does not realise what rational people think of him, relentless manic energy to endlessly vomit his contemptible ideas .

  7. Barry Duke says:

    Are you the same Remigius that made tea come out of my nose when I dipped into Potty Hutton’s bog a few minutes ago?:

    remigius: Hi Bob. None of the passengers [on Flight MH17] were saved – they all died. It was on the news, pay attention.

    Potty Hutton: No, you wally, I meant saved from their sins!

  8. Paul Cook says:

    I can’t wait for ham to build that Ark. Perhaps he could cram it full of his friends and see how seaworthy it is to test his flood hypothesis.

  9. remigius says:

    Barry, yep that’s me!

  10. barriejohn says:

    Now the Bible doesn’t say…

    And there you have the nub of the problem; if the Bible doesn’t say so then either it isn’t so or you’re not supposed to know about it! Those lovely people at Creation Ministries have gone into the subject, if you have a few hours to while way, and this is the sort of thing to which I was exposed as a young Christian:

    However, the Bible says we are made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). Man was immediately created a fully intelligent being about 6,000 years ago and was involved in craftsmanship shortly thereafter (Genesis 4:22). Since that time, even we have not been able to develop technologies advanced enough to travel to other star systems. If aliens were capable of developing incredible faster-than-light spaceships needed to get here, one would presume they must have been created with vastly superior intellect to ours—which would make them even more in God’s likeness in that sense than we are. Or, their creation is much older than the 6,000 years of the biblical six-day timeframe; the aliens were created before man and had sufficient time to develop their technologies. However, God created Earth on Day 1 and later the heavenly bodies on Day 4.

    Looks as if you can’t fit aliens in, however hard you try!

  11. remigius says:

    I think Bob also deserves the Klingon epithet ‘toDSaH’. The word itself means idiot, as can be seen in the chapter on cursing here…

    What is interesting is that the word ‘toDSaH’ comes from the root ‘toD’ meaning ‘save, rescue’ and ‘SaH’ meaning ‘to be concerned with’. Hence in Klingon an idiot (toDSaH) is one who is more concerned with salvation than reality. See El Payaso Malo’s explaination here…;wap2

    I need to get out more.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Just a cotton-picking minute; Ken Ham is claiming that he has been misquoted by Huffington Post!

    And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

    Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

    An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

    See – completely different (not) to what was reported, or am I missing something here?

  13. barriejohn says:

    I’ve found some amusing cartoons on the subject:

  14. AgentCormac says:

    @ Adam Tjaavk

    Add ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ by Robert A. Heinlein to your list. He was a devout dis-believer and loved having a pop at religion.

    ‘The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.’

  15. charlie says:

    Well, old Ham had best get his TV tuned to the US cable channel H2. They run a series; “Ancient Aliens” and the AAT’s (ancient alien “theorists”) have come damn close to calling his beloved Jesus an alien more than a few times during the many seasons of that show.
    I can almost imagine Jesus as an alien being, same goes for his “big daddy”, the doG that the “big three” Mideastern religions all worship, with different names of course. Funny, all three claim that a old guy named Abe started their particular brand of woo, and yet they are always set to kill each other at the drop of a hat. Well, seeing as how the doG the Hebrews still worship was originally their tribal war god, it all seems to begin to make sense, their hatred of each other that is. Which of these “big three” are really the “chosen” of this doG?
    Mr. Ham makes me so very happy to have tossed that superstitious clap trap in the trash bin back when I was 14. That means I now have had 52 years as a total non-believer in ANY doG or religion. And, it feels so very, very GOOD and correct. But, I do not boast about it as I know I have so much more to learn and my time in this life is becoming ever less with each passing day. Oh well, and so it goes. So much I want to read and learn, and yet, there is not enough time left in the entire age of the universe for me to get through even 1/2 of what I wish to read/learn. But, unlike many religiots, I do NOT feel my life has been unfulfilled by any means.
    Poor Mr. Ham, I could almost feel some small bit of compassion for him, IF he would just sit and listen for a few minutes to rational comments.
    Fat chance that, eh?

  16. Dave Godfrey says:

    Ken Ham is a fraud, a liar, an idiot and a lunatic. Yet he is also a very successful businessman. Go figure.

  17. Norman Paterson says:

    Surely, if Adam’s sin affected the whole universe, and these hypothetical aliens are not Adam’s descendants so they are doomed to hell, the same is true of all non-human animals on this planet? Does that not imply that these aliens have souls?

    This is critically important and must be resolved by the Theological Method. That is, by people like Ham warbling on and on.

  18. Norman Paterson says:

    And, did the effect of Adam’s sin travel at the speed of light, or what? I must ask my next evangelist this question.

    (And what about Eve’s sin? That came first, so its wave front should be bigger.)

  19. AgentCormac says:

    I’ll never get tired of posting a link to this:

    The laughable thing being that the beliefs of the RCC are absolutely no more plausible than the claptrap expressed in this film.

    Watch, laugh, weep, despair!

  20. Barry Duke says:

    Charlie, I feel no compassion whatsoever for this cretin. In an update I just posted on this story Ham defends abusing children by filling their heads with fear of damnation, and lambasts secularists for being concerned about this form of abuse:

    Said Ham:

    If all life arose by natural processes, and there was no God, why would people even care what others were taught? After all, for the secularists, when they die they will cease to exist – and in their belief system, they won’t know they even existed – so why should they care what is taught to children?

    We care because we don’t want the world populated with fucking idiots. This pastor had the good sense to shoot himself when he was about to be arrested for child abuse. I wish Ham would do the same!

  21. AgentCormac says:

    ‘We care because we don’t want the world populated with fucking idiots.

    Which is of course, the complete antithesis of what any religion wants. The more gullible, uneducated, superstitious and fearful the better as far as people like Ham are concerned.

  22. Nigel Walsh says:

    Maybe not in the same league as the above, but here’s a creationist museum run by the creation science movement in…Portsmouth! And what infuriates me is the place has charity status! I’m currently involved in trying to challenge this with the charity commissioners

  23. charlie says:

    I understand you and agree. Notice I said I almost feel for him. That is only because I am a human being and Ham supposedly is also.
    I had not gone into his background nor his quotes as much as you and others here have. I try and not make myself too sick too often so I avoid going too deep into some of these religiots sayings etc. August 28 will be the 25th anniversary (if one wants to put such a name to the date) of my disability. Yep, for 25 years I have dealt with this shit of chronic back pain. Do NOT ever damage your spine if you can manage it. Mine just gave out on me at work. Since then I have dealt with more than enough religiots, at home, in the various hospitals, and just around town to last me ten life times.
    I’d rather he woke up to how damn stupid he is and tried to apologize to all he has hurt and worked at becoming a true human being rather than see him commit suicide though. Sorry, but after my time in that damn Vietnam war, I have a very hard time wishing that sort of thing on people.
    No offense Barry or anybody else, it is just my opinion. I did not mean to offend anybody with my views. If I did, I apologize for it.
    I can just continue to read the site every day and stop my commenting if that will help.

  24. charlie says:

    One final comment.
    As to that pastor killing himself before he could be arrested, that means there will be no way for the coward to suffer his punishment. See, in my view, these suicides are cowardly, they avoid punishment and humiliation.
    I wish he’d been put on trial, in public and humiliated to no end. I have no idea of what the proper punishment should be for child molesters, but it needs to be harsh and long. Death is too easy for them.
    Same with Ham. I’d like to see him wake from his self imposed stupid, but failing that, he needs to be called out for the asshat he is. If he killed himself, that would not be right and we all would be at a loss. We, on this site would no longer have him as a very easy target and those he has harmed would no longer be able to get back at him in any way. No, he needs to live a long life, to awake to truth OR to suffer his stupidity. Just my opinion and I do not care if any agree with me or not.
    Off to go read……..silently.

  25. Robster says:

    It’s been often said that “religion is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, that’s been very well proven by that Ham fellow and his fraudulent ilk. He’s far from being alone, sadly. How the clergy have managed to gain the reputation of being honest and morally pure is a complete mystery given the total lack of evidence they offer for their dogmatic nonsense, the repugnant morality of their belief systems, the clergy themselves and their behaviour. The light is staring to shine through though, where I reside, most clergy are automatically assumed to be kiddie fiddlers until proved otherwise and are treated as slightly stupid people that we just have to put up with.

  26. Norman Paterson says:

    Robster: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel — Samuel Johnson.

  27. barriejohn says:

    Edith Cavell also famously stated that “patriotism is not enough”:

  28. AgentCormac says:

    ‘After all, for the secularists, when they die they will cease to exist – and in their belief system, they won’t know they even existed – so why should they care what is taught to children?’

    The man’s ignorance knows no depths.

  29. Robster says:

    Hello Norman, I remember the quote above (“religion is the last refuge of the scoundrel”) being credited to Isaac Asimov. Patriotism would have to be second on the list, there’s more money in religion.

  30. […] tourism chiefs are confident that creationist Ken (“Aliens Doomed to Hell“) Ham’s Ark Encounter theme park will benefit the state’s economy and tomorrow […]