Ken Ham vs Stephen Hawking, #3

Yes, as our title suggests, this is the third time we’ve chronicled an intellectual battle between Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist, who — by the way, is “Steve” number 300 in Project Steve — and Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

The first time this happened was Ken Ham Contradicts Stephen Hawking. After that there was Ken Ham Attacks Stephen Hawking. Hambo has decisively crushed Hawking before because he’s not only the holiest man in the world, the one who understands scripture better than anyone else, but he also knows more about biology, geology, and astronomy than all the world’s scientists put together, and he unquestionably knows more about physics than Hawking.

To prove it, we present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Hambo’s latest essay, Will Artificial Intelligence Destroy Humanity?, which appears on his personal blog at the AIG website. The bold font was added by us, and we’ve omitted Hambo’s scripture references and quotes.

The reason ol’ Hambo is once again challenging Hawking is because of some remarks Hawking made during a BBC interview, reported here: Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind. Hawking said:

[Artificial intelligence (AI)] would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.

Hambo is outraged! He brings his awesome intellect and his mastery of science to bear as he criticizes Hawking. He says:

Hawking’s comments show the difference between starting your thinking with man’s word and starting your thinking with God’s Word. If we begin with man’s word that humans are the product of millions of years of slow evolution, then it makes sense that humans may someday be unable to evolve to keep up with AI. But if you start with God’s Word, you get a very different picture.

Hawking is such a fool! Let’s read on:

Man did not evolve, but was specially created in the image of God. We don’t need to fear AI wiping out humanity, because God upholds the universe and has already told us how humanity will end — in God’s time when His final judgment comes. We don’t need to fear man-made machines, but we do need to fear the God who judges.

How could Hawking be ignorant of such things? Hambo continues:

Although man is creating smarter machines (with intelligence still paling in comparison to human intelligence, and which had to be created by our intelligence), for all the AI we’ve made, no one has been able to create artificial life. That’s because life is a gift from God [scripture reference].

Here’s Hambo’s explanation of Hawking’s problem:

Stephen Hawking is so intelligent and yet for all that he rejects God. Romans chapter 1 tells us that atheists like Hawking know that God exists and yet they willfully chose to suppress the truth that they know because of their unrighteousness.

Ah, that explains so much! Moving along:

Sadly, Hawking’s body has problems because of the effects of sin, but he can have a perfect, new body and be with the Lord for eternity if he will receive the free gift of salvation. But he refuses to acknowledge Jesus as his Creator, Lord, and Savior.

As with Hambo’s previous put-downs of Hawking, this one is so total, so devastating, we predict that Hawking will be too humiliated to respond. In the past, he’s been so ungracious that he doesn’t even retract his previous remarks. If he’s true to form, he’ll behave that way yet again. Way to go, Hambo!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Ken Ham vs Stephen Hawking, #3

  1. But isn’t it ol Hambo dream to be in control of a sea of mindless drones who’s only purpose would be to supply him with funds and affirmation?
    The drool might be a little tough on the drones to begin with but they may be able to Intelligently ReDesign themselves to to mitigate the fundie corrosive effects.
    He obviously didn’t think the issue through completely.

  2. Hambo opines, “Hawking’s body has problems because of the effects of sin…”

    I would choose the problems Stephen Hawking has with his body over the problems Ken Ham has with his brain any day.

  3. Funny thing is, my reaction was that Hawking is conceding too much to “Intelligent Design”. He seems to think that design can do more than evolution. I was half-expecting that Ham would jump on that.

    If someone were to ask me, I would say that the best that Artificial Intelligence (or plain human intelligence, either) would do would be to let loose replicants with random variation and selection, and sit back and see what surprising results would turn up.

  4. Dave Godfrey

    I’ve just heard a good quote from John Cleese: “The problem with true stupidity is that there’s nothing you can do about it.” But does this refer to Mr Lie or Professor Hawking?

  5. Alas, reminds me of the death of Archimedes.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    I’ve just watched a fascinating video ‘autobiography’ of Hawking on Youtube, A Brief History of Mine. I learned that Hawking’s step away from a ‘created’ universe allowed him to perceive the Big Bang Theory.

    In gentleness, I’d counter to Hambo that people like Hawking and Einstein’s discoveries should be considered gifts from god, scientific supplements to the ancient and out-dated bible.

  7. Ashley Haworth-Roberts
    Anyone else notice Ham using different arguments about human intelligence according to the context in which he has decided to intervene?

  8. Hey, let’s give Hambo the recognition he deserves. In The Rocks Don’t Lie – a geologist investigates Noah’s flood, author David R. Montgomery gave Hambo’s enterprise its very own chapter. The title of the chapter, “Dinosaurs in Paradise.”

    When I picked up this book at the local library, I wasn’t sure which side of the creation debate Montgomery was on. I thought perhaps he might be another Jason Lisle type. But as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover. The first paragraph of “Dinosaurs in Paradise” contains the sentence, “Nothing could have prepared me for a dinosaur-petting zoo version of natural history.” Further on Montgomery wrote, “… why does this museum have so many displays showing giant reptiles hanging out with Adam and Eve when the Bible doesn’t even mention dinosaurs?”

    When I hastily picked up this book, I thought Montgomery might be a stealth creationist. But he’s just another pesky scientist (a MacArthur fellow no less) giving Hambo a hard time about not accepting reality. This might be a good book to recommend to our creationist friends.

  9. Ashley Haworth-Roberts asks: “Anyone else notice Ham using different arguments about human intelligence according to the context in which he has decided to intervene?”

    Hambo always speaks the TRVTH.

  10. I think Hawking might be a little too pessimistic about AI. It would probably be possible to design controls to prevent AI from running amok. At any rate, an AI would not have human motivations, e.g. to achieve “world domination”, in the first place.

    Ham’s arguments are his usual pathetic “I believe in God therefore everyone else must believe in god, even though they won’t admit it.” And he throws up a letter written by Paul as though it were a statement from god. The mormon founder Joseph Smith wrote letters too, claiming revelation from god through an angel. The only difference is that know stuff about Joseph Smith, so we dismiss his claims. We would do the same with Paul if we lived in his time.

  11. As for the dangers posed by AI, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss Hawking’s concerns. We may think we have designed “fail safe” controls to limit AI’s powers, but if AI is truly intelligent, it will figure out work-arounds in a few milliseconds if it chooses.

    Ed, we can’t be so sure that AI would not have human motivations. It will have whatever motivations its creators write into it. Some people are good; some people are evil.

  12. AI-empowered robots could do some really nasty things even if the human creators are “good.” All it would take would be a little slip. For example, the robots might be programmed to always put the best interests of people first. But what are the implications of that rule if the robots learn that “corporations are people” too? Things could get out of hand real fast.

  13. Sadly, Hawking’s body has problems because of the effects of sin . . .

    Oh, that’s cheap. Someone who claims to be a Christian should be ashamed to say that a man who has made himself a hero of the scientific world and a living legend for accomplishing what he has despite a horrific illness that his physical impairment is the result of “sin.”

  14. @SC: In the very last paragraph, you state (my emphasis added), “In the past, he’s been so ungracious that he doesn’t even retract his retract his previous remarks.” Did you mean to say, “In the past, he’s been so ungracious that he doesn’t even retract his previous remarks.”?

  15. Gary asks: “Did you mean to say …”

    Yes. I must have been caught in a time warp. It’s fixed now.

  16. I’ve got some vinyl records that do that. “Sounds like a broken record.” Now there’s a phrase that will not be understood by a growing number of younger folks.

  17. “We don’t need to fear AI wiping out humanity”
    Ain’t this logic great? We don’t need to fear nuclear bombs wiping out humanity either for exactly the same reason.

  18. How would one Hambo know that these are god’s will, and that god may have chosen to end the human race through AI

  19. ‘Cuz he’s Ol’ Hambo of curz.

    “he’s ….. the holiest man in the world, the one who understands scripture better than anyone else”

  20. Whenever I hear conservative Christians insisting that man cannot possibly go extinct, I consider the following thought experiment.

    Suppose we had a poison which could kill all plankton. And we manufactured 10 million tons of this poison. And we dumped it in the ocean. (Ann Coulter would probably push the button herself, saying “Take that, Al Gore! Freedom! Freeedoooom!!”)

    Are you telling me that man would NOT go extinct? Why not!? Creationists say that they have no problem with what they call “observational science”, they only denigrate “origins science.” What they call “observational science” shows that species do go extinct; why do you claim it is impossible for it to happen to Homo sapiens? Aren’t you denying what you call “observational science” which shows that species do go extinct?

    Why do you think man would NOT go extinct? Do you think God would supernaturally intervene to prevent the ocean’s ecosystem from collapsing? Do you think God would supernaturally intervene to replace the oxygen that used to be made by the ocean’s ecosystem? Do you think observational science is bogus too? What goes on in your mind?

  21. @Diogenes

    I suggest that in a Christian framework, it would be considered to be “tempting God” (a bad thing) to engage in behavior which in effect forces God to perform a miracle.

    Even if one believes that no matter what we do, God will step in so that things stop short, it would be the sin of tempting God to save us from our folly.

    The proof text for this Matthew 4:7
    “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

  22. I tweeted the link and wrote this as comment on intelligence. “Ken is like a man living in a wooden house, saying who cares about the woodworm they have so little intelligence.”

    Seeing how it’s Ken, it really should be a cartoon of Ken about to get ripped apart by a dinosaur and him saying but it doesn’t have the intelligence of man.

  23. It is possible to read the full paper in Science (from 2011) mentioned by Ham if you register (free of charge). I did so and skimmed the paper. The final paragraph reads: “To put our findings in perspective, the 6.4 × 1018 instructions per second that humankind can carry out on its general-purpose computers in 2007 are in the same ballpark area as the maximum number of nerve impulses executed by one human brain per second (1017) (36). The 2.4 × 1021 bits stored by humanity in all of its technological devices in 2007 is approaching an order of magnitude of the roughly 1023 bits stored in the DNA of a human adult (37), but it is still minuscule as compared with the 1090 bits stored in the observable universe (38). However, in contrast to natural information processing, the world’s technological information processing capacities are quickly growing at clearly exponential rates.”
    Ken Ham claimed “If you added up all the processing power in the world in 2007, including everything from calculators to smart phones and laptops, it would only add up to the processing power of one single human brain.” So he appears to be sort of correct. Although things appear to have moved on more recently:
    And last I heard computers do not need to sleep (though I think they do not run at full capacity 24 hours a day 365 days a year).