Ken Ham: Still Ranting About Bill Nye

There’s no end to it. Our last post about this was Ken Ham: “Why Won’t Anyone Debate Me?” That was about what was then the latest reaction from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, to the viral video about which we had earlier posted Bill Nye Blasts Creationism.

As you know, ol’ Hambo is co-founder of Answers in Genesis (AIG), an on-line ministry which is one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. AIG also created and operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum — the North American Mecca for the mindless.

Hambo’s latest outburst is at his personal blog: My Challenge to Bill Nye. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

An Associated Press article on Bill Nye “The Science Guy” of TV and his anti-creationist video has been making the rounds in secular and Christian media across the country.

[...]

The AP reporter called me to obtain quotes for this article. One of the points I made to the reporter (which did not make it into the article) is a challenge I have for Bill Nye.

This is exciting! What’s the Hambo challenge? Brace yourself, dear reader, here it comes:

So, here is my challenge (one that I gave to the reporter a few times). I want Bill Nye to name one invention — one piece of technology — that would not have been able to be invented without the inventor believing in evolution. Just name one!

A bold challenge indeed. Let’s see now, he wants some technology — a mechanical or electronic gadget of some kind — that has been invented because of our understanding of biology. Pretty sneaky, huh?

We assume Bill Nye will continue to ignore Hambo, as he should, so we’ll present our response. At the TalkOrigins Index of Creationist Claims they have this old creationist clunker — which is actually Hambo’s challenge: The theory of evolution is useless, without practical application. The long and explicit refutation is quite sufficient, so with that out of the way, for the pure entertainment value of watching a creationist melt-down, let’s read some more from Hambo’s rant:

I challenge Bill Nye — to name one thing, one invention that would not be possible without believing in molecules-to-man evolution. Tell me one way a belief in evolution has contributed to innovation and developed our technology. Did the Apple company use evolutionary beliefs in developing its software and computers?

We must admit, Apple probably didn’t use Darwin’s theory. Of course, they didn’t use the “theory” of six-day creation or the global Flood either. No one ever has found a use for them for any purpose other than preaching, but Hambo doesn’t bother to mention that. We continue:

It’s interesting to note that I’ve heard secularists bemoan the bad science scores among students in America — and they blame creationists! Yet, creation has by and large been thrown out of the public school system, while molecules-to-man evolution has been taught as fact.

Right — teaching evolution has caused our national science illiteracy. Here’s more:

So, from what Bill Nye has claimed about the importance of evolution to innovation and inventions, we should be seeing these students producing new inventions with incredible innovation and on an increasing scale. Nye shouldn’t have to worry about innovation in the future, because evolution has been and is being taught as fact to generations of students in America.

But Bill — where is all this evolution-based innovation? Show me!

To which we respond: But Hambo — before evolution was taught, where was all the Garden of Eden and the Noah’s Ark innovation?

Okay, that’s enough of Hambo’s little essay. However, we can’t resist giving him an answer of our own. It’s not about a gadget, but we think it makes the point: Hey, Hambo — if humans were specially created and we aren’t related to any other species, would you take a medicine that hadn’t been tested on mammals in the lab? Would you happily swallow pills that had only been tested on toads? If not, why not? Such medicine would be cheaper to develop, because it costs much less to acquire and work with toads than with monkeys, rabbits, and guinea pigs. If other mammals are no more related to us than toads, why don’t you insist on toad-tested medicine?

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Ken Ham: Still Ranting About Bill Nye

  1. What about pacemakers? Insulin pumps? My dad had valve replacement surgery, and they used bovine valves. Weren’t all of those medical innovations made by a science founded in an evolutionary understanding of biology and the human body?

  2. Shocking How dare apple not use a biological theory in there computer software.

  3. Mr Hambone.
    It would be impossible for geoscientists to make sense of the subsurface strata, and hence identify areas where oil has accumulated, were it not for the sciences of paleontology, (which helps us identify and correlate beds based on the fauna within them), and microplaeontology, (which relies on the appearance of new “foram” species and their extinctions), to definitively identify the ages of strata in the beds that they correlate.
    Therefore, unless I am mistaken, the entire petrochemical industry and hence, our 21st century civilization, and by inference, ALL of the technologies man has created to use this energy source, have been the result of the application of concepts surrounding evolution and its companion, modern geology. Of course there are many other technologies that rely on the laws of physics denied by creationists(like radioactive well logging for starters with gamma ray and neutron density logs). So the technology denial by Hams creationism goes WAY deeper than just evolution in just this one industry.
    I don’t know why I would bother to record this, as ol Hambo would deny all of this. And that would be because he is so knowledgeable in the geosciences and paleontology of course and physics.
    Like all the stuff Curm posts about Hambo, Ham’s query is a totally inane question, posed by a perfectly crazed nut case, catering to a perfectly ill base constituency.
    Excuse me I have to go be sick now.

  4. I wonder if the hamster can name one aspect of modern medicine that doesn’t leverage biology? Surely he wouldn’t attempt to claim faith healing has a greater success rate…

  5. Poor Ham, no one considers him worthy of debate. Why don’t you set your sights a bit closer to your intellectual equal, Ken? You can start off by debating a small patch of brown liquid. What’re you afraid of, eh? A puddle?

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Nye does leave an opening to Hambo, as innovation as directly linked to evolution is hard to identify, yet Nye cites innovation. I think his intention is that acceptance of evolution allows science as a whole to be unencumbered to allow innovation.

    No real innovation or technology benefits from heliocentrism either. Doesn’t make it wrong or un-valuable.

  7. Ken Ham and Hugh Ross still have not accepted the challenge from Herman Cummings. No response has been received.

    Herman

  8. @ Charles Deetz: I agree with you almost entirely, except on one point: That no technology benefits from heliocentric model. Just saying, chartering courses for rockets launched into space would be very different in a geocentric model. Other than that, I agree with you.

  9. I’ve used evolutionary algorithms a few time to look for relationships in electronic hardware where there may be 8-20 digital registers that affect the output quality of a signal. basically I generate 20-100 sets of random settings then run them through a few thousand cycles of random-mutation / quality. A graph of the best solutions at the end can show how seemingly unrelated settings in different chips affect each other.

  10. I got one for you Mr. Ham, that has both belief and method. An antenna designed by genetic algorithms: http://idesign.ucsc.edu/projects/evo_antenna.html

    Keep at them Herman, you may get your chance one day.

  11. AR. and I seem to be on the same wavelength.

  12. TA – Leave me out of your bad puns – that one Hertz :P

    Biological evolution does not need to be true for us to use evolutionary concepts in engineering. If we try to carry this over to Intelligent Design: Real designers and engineers build: prototypes, models, test fixtures, sub-systems, mock-ups Etc. Real designers and engineers use: design tools, test equipment, laboratories, raw materials, notebooks, Etc. Where would the DI suggest we look for these?

    I may be good but very few of my designs work perfectly the first try.

  13. It’s not even a hard challenge to answer as written.

    one word: pharmacogenomics

    Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_antenna
    http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/06/can-evolution-make-the-next-generation-of-computer-chips/

    I especially like the computer chip one, since Hambo undoubtedly is using just such a piece of technology to mock technology.

  14. How wonderfully coincidental that this was the first article I read on my new iPad, almost like it was intelligently destined.

  15. AR. laments, “I may be good but very few of my designs work perfectly the first try.”

    Ditto for nature. So much for “intelligent design”, eh?

    Speaking of nature — would it answer Ham’s challenge if we got ideas for new materials by studying evolution’s solutions to problems in nature? This thought occurred as I was watching “Nova” tonight. It was all about innovative ideas in materials science, many of which were inspired by close study of nature; for instance, gecko’s feet for “smart” adhesion, shark skin for its ability to keep microbial growth from clinging, etc.

  16. @retiredsciguy: I happen to know a lot of people who work in bio-mechanics, and especially the materials science aspects of it, and I’ve actually met a guy whose lab built a device that successfully allowed a person to climb a building like a gecko, and I think they would all probably agree that this kind of technology would answer Ham’s question.

  17. @Caleb: I think we all know what Ham’s response would be — “It had nothing to do with evolution!! It was all God’s design!!” (Sigh)

    Actually, I think Curmy’s idea of turning the challenge around on Ham makes sense — “Name one technological innovation made possible by a belief that the universe was created during a six-day period less than ten thousand years ago.”

  18. For a cancer treatment that’s currently being tested, and that derives from evolutionary models, I point to work by my former colleague, Ed Marcotte at UT Austin. He does work on “deep homology”, which means searching not just for homologies between genes and proteins, but also between networks of interacting genes and/or proteins, seeing how networks in very distantly related species are similar or different. If the species are very distantly related, then the interacting network must have first evolved a long time ago.

    These interacting networks would be called “irreducibly complex” by Michael Behe, and Behe said they appeared (literally) by “a puff of smoke” (that’s a real quote.) But Marcotte uses evolutionary models instead.With an evolutionary model, you can guess that one protein (A) interacts with another (B), then look for drugs known to interact with (B).

    Here’s an article about Marcotte finding possible cancer treatments, written by Carl Zimmer.

  19. Diogenes, I doubt if Ham has the knowledge necessary to understand Marcotte’s work well enough to know that his challenge has been met. Thank you for sharing. Your posts are all very enlightening.

  20. “Name one technological innovation made possible by a belief that the universe was created during a six-day period less than ten thousand years ago.”

    Ham is not making this claim, however Nye did make the claim for evolution.