Begging the Question

“Begging the question” means assuming as true that which is being questioned. It’s a way to avoid potentially uncomfortable, or even crisis-producing, learning and reflection. Fundamentalisms– be they religious OR scientific OR political– beg questions. They assert as true, that which is being questioned.

In “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs”, Ken Ham neatly begs the question of “What counts as ‘really happening?'” by assuming that any account of what “really happens” is a literal, materialistic account. This leads him to read Genesis backwards, projecting the modern fascination with literalism and materialism onto a text that doesn’t share the same assumptions about what counts as “real:”

According to the Bible: Dinosaurs first existed around 6,000 years ago. God made the dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, on Day 6 of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:20–25, 31). Adam and Eve were also made on Day 6—so dinosaurs lived at the same time as people, not separated by eons of time.

via What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? – Answers in Genesis.

Dinosaurs: from the "Answers in Genesis" website

The mistake of this fundamentalism is, that in its haste to achieve (a false) certainty, it assumes as true that which is up for question: namely, Is what “really happens” in the world only that which can be accounted for literally?


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