Ken Ham: The Biology of Noah’s Ark

We have often discussed the supreme silliness of believing that one boatfull of animals a mere 4,000 years ago could have populated every continent of our world with millions of species. But creationists insist that it’s true.

Perhaps you’ll change your mind after you read what we found at the blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building an exact replica of Noah’s Ark.

Hambo’s post is Millions of Species in Thousands of Years?

Don’t laugh and don’t click away, dear reader. What’s at stake is an eternity in the Lake of Fire, so the least you can do is take a look at what ol’ Hambo says. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis and scripture references omitted:

With the Ark Encounter opening on July 7 in Northern Kentucky, many of the visitors will encounter the concept of animal kinds, perhaps for the first time. Kind is the biblical term used to refer to groups of living things.

Pay attention, dear reader. Hambo is going to explain everything to us. He says:

All organisms reproduce “according to their kind.” In most instances, research has placed kind around the same level as family in our modern classification system.

That’s not so difficult, is it? Let’s read on:

Now Ark Encounter visitors unfamiliar with this concept might be surprised to learn that Noah took only around 2,000 animal kinds with him on the Ark — not millions of species.

Somehow, Hambo knows that the Ark contained only 2,000 animal kinds. However, because Noah was commanded to bring mating pairs, we assume that means 4,000 animals. That’s a lot of animals on one boat — truly an arkload. But was it a sufficient number of biological families? The classification of “family” isn’t precise, and what is or is not a family changes from time to time, so it’s difficult to find a list of them all. Anyway, there are at least 20,000 biological families out there. You don’t need to worry about that, because Hambo confronts the issue:

Not surprisingly, one of the many questions we’ve received about the Ark is how so few kinds could turn into so many species in just a few thousand years after the Flood.

Yes — that’s what we’re all wondering. So what’s the answer? Here it comes:

Well, there’s an answer to this intriguing question! Our research biologist Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson and the Institute for Creation Research’s Dr. Jason Lisle have just published an extensive technical answer in our peer-reviewed journal, Answers Research Journal. The model laid out in their paper “significantly advances the young-creation explanation for the origin of species, and it makes testable predictions by which it can be further confirmed or rejected in the future.”

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — it’s peer reviewed! [*End Drool Mode*] Here’s a link to that article: On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity.

Before you read it, take a look at the Instructions to Authors Manual for that prestigious journal. In the section on “Paper Review Process” it says:

The following criteria will be used in judging papers:

1. Is the paper’s topic important to the development of the Creation and Flood model?

2. Does the paper’s topic provide an original contribution to the Creation and Flood model?

3. Is this paper formulated within a young-earth, young-universe framework?

4. If the paper discusses claimed evidence for an old earth and/or universe, does this paper offer a very constructively positive criticism and provide a possible young-earth, young-universe alternative?

5. If the paper is polemical in nature, does it deal with a topic rarely discussed within the origins debate?

6. Does this paper provide evidence of faithfulness to the grammatical-historical/normative interpretation of Scripture?

So there you are. If you decide to read the “peer reviewed” article, let us know what it says.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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ICR Explains “Waters Above the Firmament”

Everyone knows that according to Genesis 1:6-8 (King James version, of course):

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

That’s rather straightforward. What’s the problem? Well, they seem to be struggling with it at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Their latest post is What Were the ‘Waters Above the Firmament’? It was written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

Early ICR scientists hypothesized that the “waters which were above the firmament” implied a canopy of water vapor that covered the earth before the Flood. However, later tests led researchers away from this model. What changed their minds?

Gasp! We’re shocked — shocked! — that the “early ICR scientists” have changed their minds. Those were the giants of creation science. What happened? We’re told:

The vapor canopy theory helped explain why God separated the Genesis 1:1 formless mass of water into two bodies, one above and another below, with a firmament between them. An atmospheric vapor wrap gave a place for the waters “above the firmament.” This canopy’s greenhouse effect might have made the whole pre-Flood world tropical and helped people live for hundreds of years.

Sounds perfectly logical. Let’s read on:

But holes appeared in the theory. Atmospheric physicist Larry Vardiman used climate modeling software to construct a virtual vapor canopy. When he input enough water vapor for the first 40 days of rain during the Flood year, he found that Earth’s temperatures would have soared due to an intense greenhouse effect. His results required the sun to emit only 25 percent of its current intensity to keep Earth’s inhabitants from basically boiling.

So what? A few miracles could have handled it. Thomas continues:

While Dr. Vardiman tested the vapor canopy, physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys formulated a new model that placed the firmament waters beyond the farthest galaxies! Humphreys suggested that God miraculously stretched out the heavens on Day Two of the creation week. In other words, God pulled the upper waters some 20 million light-years away from Earth-bound waters below, leaving a firmament of heaven between.

Oh — the water canopy above the firmament was placed 20 million light-years away. According to ICR, that’s “beyond the farthest galaxies.” Okay, that also makes sense — to creationists. Here’s more:

But if there never was a vapor canopy [above the Earth], then what about that idyllic pre-Flood climate helping people live hundreds of years?

Jeepers — another problem. This is terrible! But ICR can handle it. Thomas tells us:

[G]enetics better explains the dramatic decrease in life spans after the Flood. A population bottleneck, like when the world’s population shrunk to only eight on the Ark, would reduce later life spans.

Well, yes — assuming Noah’s family included people with uncharacteristically short lifespans. Here’s the end of the article:

Responsible creation researchers test various historical models, but basic Bible facts never change. For example, “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,” and “the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water,” regardless of where one places the creation week’s upper waters.

Okay. No problem. It’s all true, regardless of where you put that troublesome water canopy. We are grateful for the tireless work they do at the Institute for Creation Research.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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What Is Klinghoffer Saying?

Things are really degenerating at the Discovery Institute. It’s difficult to believe, but it now appears that it was Casey who was keeping things on track, and it’s all falling apart without him. This just popped up at their creationist blog: The Curious Incident of the Non-Rafting Foxes.

It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Blink and you might miss this unexpected bit of common sense, embedded in a NY Times article on adorable dwarf foxes native to California’s Channel Islands (Foxes That Endure Despite a Lack of Genetic Diversity). How did they get there? They were evidently ferried thousands of years ago by Native Americans, who seemed to regard them as totem animals.

Not much of a mystery. Primitive people migrate with their animals. The Polynesians traveled to islands across the Pacific and took their chickens with them. Even Klinghoffer seems to agree. He says:

Fine. Because otherwise how else could a fox make the passage? Just imagine: foxes rafting across 12 miles of ocean on their own, never mind 70 miles — perhaps hitching a ride on a tree trunk or other matted vegetation torn from the ground in a violent storm. It’s like something out of a kids’ cartoon. That indeed sounds pretty “unlikely.” Actually, “absurd” is more like it.

Why is Klinghoffer so captivated by this story? Let’s read on:

Now would you believe unaided animals journeying across ocean waters not for 12 or 70 but hundred of miles [sic]? Because the journal Nature tells us monkeys did it.

He’s talking about some new reports of something we saw a week ago at PhysOrg: Paleontologists find first fossil monkey in North America — but how did it get here? PhysOrg says:

Seven tiny teeth tell the story of an ancient monkey that made a 100-mile ocean crossing between North and South America into modern-day Panama – the first fossil evidence for the existence of monkeys in North America.

The find provides the oldest fossil evidence for the interchange of mammals between South and North America and challenges long-held views of South America as an island continent that evolved in isolation before the Isthmus of Panama was formed and animals began crossing between the continents about 3.5 million years ago, said Jonathan Bloch, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus. Study findings are detailed online today in the journal Nature.

This is the article in Nature: First North American fossil monkey and early Miocene tropical biotic interchange.

Anyway, there’s some speculation about how the monkeys traveled by water from South America to North America, a distance of 100 miles or more, before the isthmus of Panama was formed. For some reason, Klinghoffer regards this as a virtually unsolvable mystery. He quotes someone who said: “the idea of monkeys rafting around unintentionally on beds of vegetation isn’t as crazy as it sounds.” Then Klinghoffer declares:

No? It’s not allowed to be “crazy” because after all, how did the monkeys get to South America to begin with? Against our will, because it’s against common sense, we’re once again forced to say by rafting … . Ah yes, the theory of animal rafting by uprooted tree and violent storm. The distribution of animals across the globe is often brandished by Darwinists as evidence for common descent.

Where is Klinghoffer going with this? What’s his alternative explanation? Is he arguing for special creation on the separate continents? He quotes from an old article by Casey — that venerable source — claiming that biogeography “in fact poses one of the toughest challenges for evolutionary theory.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Darwin regarded Biogeography as some of the strongest evidence for his theory. Two entire chapters in Origin of Species are devoted to the subject. Klinghoffer continues:

To borrow a famous image from Sherlock Holmes, the instance with the Channel Island foxes is a case of the dog that didn’t bark in the night.

Your Curmudgeon often refers to that Holmes story — Silver Blaze — but we do so when some important evidence is obviously missing. The last time we used it was Why No News about Ark Ticket Sales?. But what obvious evidence are those infernal “Darwinists” holding back in the case of the rafting monkeys? This is how Klinghoffer justifies his invocation of the Sherlock Holmes analysis technique:

The foxes didn’t raft [from 12 to 70 miles], because, under evolutionary theory, they didn’t need to. Monkeys did raft, even across a whole wide ocean [about 100 miles], because evolution required it. On other hand, if the theory needed foxes to do so, you can be sure they would obediently hop aboard. It should be the facts that drive startling conclusions, not the theory that’s supposed to explain the facts. But with evolution the roles of fact and theory are often reversed.

Huh? What’s so wildly inconsistent about the two different situations? Why is Klinghoffer so enraged by the offered explanations? And what’s the missing evidence that the Holmes reference suggests? Here’s the rest of Klinghoffer’s baffling essay, which — at least to him — ties it all together:

Animals do the most striking things, like sailing across oceans on their own, on demand. These are theory-driven “facts,” not a fact-driven theory. The non-rafting foxes are the thing that gives the game away. They are, as Holmes says, the curious incident. Dogs, by the way, like horses and foxes, are not thought to raft. Not yet!

Your Curmudgeon is mystified. We keep looking for the missing piece of the puzzle — the dog that didn’t bark — showing that the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design supplies the answer to this alleged mystery of biogeography. But we don’t see it. Maybe you can help us out, dear reader.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Ken Ham’s Ark Will Get State Tax Funds

You know all about the suit filed against Kentucky to obtain state funds for the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

As we reported in Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court, Hambo prevailed over the state’s motion to dismiss his suit, and then — to our surprise — Governor Matt Bevin decided that the state wouldn’t proceed any further. So the case was over and Hambo had his victory.

But there was a bureaucratic matter that needed to be dealt with. Because Hambo’s organization is a religious ministry, he had been fighting the state’s decision not to provide him with tax funds. That administrative decision had to be overturned. And it just happened.

This is the headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state. State awards $18 million tax break to Noah’s Ark theme park. They have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

A state agency remade by Gov. Matt Bevin last week has approved $18 million in tax breaks to a Grant County amusement park that will feature a “life-size” Noah’s Ark. The $92 million Ark Encounter project, owned by the same company as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, is scheduled to open July 7.

Bevin “remade” the agency? So it seems, and by an odd coincidence, the bureaucrats are now favorably disposed toward ol’ Hambo. We’re told:

The tax break allows approved tourism sites to recover as much as 25 percent of their investment through a rebate of state sales taxes paid by visitors. The theme park also will receive tax breaks from Grant County and the city of Williamstown. The state also designated $11 million in road funds for an expanded interchange off Interstate 75.

Verily, the blessings of heaven are descending upon ol’ Hambo — at state expense. Let’s read on:

Last week, Bevin reappointed one previous member of the authority board and added four new members.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, gov! But hey — we know about the court case, but still, is Noah’s Ark the sort of thing government should be supporting? Silly question. In Kentucky, that’s no problem. The Lexington Herald-Leader informs us:

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has said previously the project will hire only Christians but won’t discriminate among denominations.

Oh — they will discriminate in hiring, but they won’t be discriminating among denominations. In Kentucky that makes it okay. Here’s one last excerpt:

“It is extremely unfortunate that the state is giving tax incentives to an organization that will discriminate against Kentucky citizens,” said Daniel Phelps, head of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and a longtime critic of the project.

Phelps is obviously one of those evolutionist secularists Hambo’s been telling us about. Well, Hambo showed him who’s running things in Kentucky.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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