Ken Ham Has No Misconceptions

The Sunday Times recently published 10 misconceptions about the theory of evolution. It’s a good collection of some of the common clunkers we see all the time.

That article was deeply disturbing to Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Ol’ Hambo has just posted an angry response at his blog: Do We Have Misconceptions About Evolution?. Except for one or two of the items on the Times list, he claims they’re not misconceptions at all. Hambo ain’t got no misconceptions!

It would be too tedious to go through all of them, but we’ll give you a few excerpts from Hambo’s response, with some bold font added by us for emphasis. He starts out with a bit of an introduction:

A recent article in the Sunday Times claims that “of all the scientific fields, evolution probably carries the most common misconceptions.” It then goes on to describe 10 alleged misconceptions of evolutionary ideas. Many of these misconceptions are topics we’ve already pointed out and covered on our website. As Christians we need to be careful not to misrepresent what evolutionists believe, so we encourage Christians to avoid certain arguments. But some of the alleged misconceptions about evolution that made the Sunday Times list are actually not misconceptions at all!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s the first one:

The article begins with a common argument that misinformed creationists often use, “It’s only a theory.” Now, as we’ve pointed out before, saying that evolution is a “theory” actually raises it to a level it doesn’t deserve. You see, scientists use “theory” differently than laypeople do. … They mean a hypothesis (educated guess) that has stood up to testing and observation and forms “an explanatory framework that allows them to understand natural processes.” Now, despite what the article states about evolution, it certainly doesn’t meet these criteria. Molecules-to-man evolution has never been observed, nor can it be tested (since the alleged past cannot be repeated), and, although evolution is used by many scientists to explain the past, it constantly has to be changed to match new evidence — not the mark of a good theory! Evolution is a belief, and a blind faith belief at that. In fact, it’s a belief that lacks credulity.

Good, huh? Oh, all right, here’s our usual refutation of the “can’t be tested” clunker: The Lessons of Tiktaalik. Let’s read on:

Next they claim that another misconception is that “It’s for atheists.” True, not every evolutionist is an atheist. But, at its heart, it cannot be denied that evolution is inherently atheistic. It ignores the true history revealed in God’s Word and explains life without any need to appeal to a Creator, often going to great lengths, in fact, to avoid it. Really, the secularists cling to molecules-to-man evolutionary ideas because it’s their way of attempting to explain the origin of universe and life by natural processes — it is inherently an atheistic religion.

We assume Hambo thinks chemistry is also an atheistic religion, for the same reasons. So is astronomy, geology, and every other branch of science, because all of them ignore “the true history revealed in God’s Word.” Hambo continues:

The next misconception they mention is the idea that, according to evolution, “Life evolves randomly.” Mutations themselves are in fact random, and both evolutionists and creationists agree on this point. However, to my knowledge creationists never say that natural selection is random because it does select organisms that are best suited for a particular environment which makes it non-random. The writer of the article has set up a straw man. Regardless of the randomness or non-randomness of mutations and natural selection, they still cannot fuel evolution. Both result in a loss or simply a reshuffling of information, not the addition of brand-new information that evolution requires.

That’s not really a refutation of the “randomness” clunker, but it gives Hambo’s drooling fans the impression that he’s right and the Times is wrong. As for his nonsense about “information,” see Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Here’s more:

Another misconception according to them is that evolution is “a search for the origin of life.” Now, this is true — biological evolution doesn’t deal with the origin of life. Chemical evolution does. But without the origin of life evolution can’t go anywhere! So the two are intricately tied together. But the origin of life is impossible. You can’t get life from non-life because the law of biogenesis, which matches with everything we’ve ever observed in nature, states that life only comes from other life. Life doesn’t arise from non-life.

Ah yes, the imaginary “law of biogenesis.” We dealt with that in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Now we’ll skip to the end:

Lastly [in the Times list of misconceptions], they say, “The study of evolution is useless.”

The Times refuted that one by saying:

[P]ractical applications exist: We are currently seeing the emergence of “Darwinian” medicine, in which treatments that take into account the evolution of humans and germs, which have gone through their own adjustments, are being developed. All this, doctors hope, should make it possible to study illnesses under a new light.

In truth, although it’s a good thing to understand the history of life on Earth, the practical applications of evolution are few, at least so far. But then, that’s true of some other sciences — like cosmology. Also, it was difficult in 1905 to see any practical applications of relativity, but a century later it’s proved useful, as in the Global Positioning System. Basic science is a worthy endeavor, even if there are currently no practical applications one can buy and use. It’s certainly better than ignorance and misinformation, which will never have any utility. Anyway, here’s Hambo’s response:

This is not a misconception — I couldn’t agree more. Evolution, a wrong idea about the history of Earth based on man’s fallible opinions, has contributed nothing to our knowledge of Earth’s history or our technology. Instead, we need to start with God’s Word and interpret the world through the true history given to us by the infallible, perfect Creator. At the Bill Nye debate and a number of times since, I have asked Bill Nye or any secularist to give just one example where belief in molecules-to-man evolution is needed to develop a piece of technology! They can’t give one idea — not one — because molecules-to-man evolution is a belief, a religion!

Oh — if it’s a religion, then of course it’s utterly useless. Good point, Hambo!

Okay, that’s enough. Now go ahead and read the whole Times article, then read all of Hambo’s responses. Decide for yourself who’s right.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Ken Ham Has No Misconceptions

  1. Ah, Hambone, if you believe that myths told by Bronze Age sheepherders give you some insight into reality, that’s your right. I just wonder why you are so desperate to show the world how ignorant you are.

  2. abeastwood:
    “I just wonder why you [Ken Ham] are so desperate to show the world how ignorant you are.”

    Perhaps it’s so that his ignorant, drooling followers feel right at home with him. He fits right in.

  3. Some nitpicking.

    “there is no doubt about the fact of evolution,”
    Evolution is neither a fact nor a theory. It’s an abstract concept used to describes lots of varying facts (ie empirical data), just like gravity and electricity.

    “Evolution is not observable”
    Correct. Observable are speciation, fossils and mutations ao.
    Gravity and electricity aren’t observable either. When someting falls down we observe – even measure – distance and time.

    Our dear SC missed a blooper from Ol’ Hambo:

    “But without the origin of life evolution can’t go anywhere!”
    Oh yes, it goes. As creacrap a la Ol’ Hambo allows us everything and anything I easily can maintain that his god created life and guided the process called evolution to result in Homo Sapiens. Though I have strong doubts if a perfect god had the stupidity of Ol’ Hambo in mind when he did. But of course that again can be explained in terms of the Fall – YECers are duped by disobedient Adam and Eve.

  4. Once again creationists are claiming that evolution is a religion. Hah!

    I have absolute, definitive proof that this is not the case:

    During six years in graduate school, with half of my classes devoted to evolution, fossil man, osteology and related subjects–not once did anyone pass a collection plate around the classroom!

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    I’ll tell you what is useless: building a semi-replica of the ark in the middle of Kentucky. Proves nothing, wastes money, doesn’t even glorify god. Just a chance for 10 year old kids to ask where the T-rex goes, and who scooped all the poop.

  6. But without the origin of life evolution can’t go anywhere!
    On the one hand, that is false, for even if life were eternal, with no beginning, evolution could still be ongoing. If life were seeded on Earth from somewhere else, some billions of years ago, we would still have evolution, essentially unchanged. If it were a survivor somehow, from before the Big Bang (this would be rather difficult to imagine, I know , :)) – or if there were no Big Bang.
    On the other hand, even if that were true, it would be at least as true about reproduction, genetics, development, … And by analogy, it would be as least as true that without the origin of the Solar System, the planets can’t go anywhere. Or without the origins of the chemical elements, etc.

  7. I’m sure the folks at the Dishonesty Institute got a good dose of heartburn from that article as well. And I’m sure Klinghoffer’s rebuttal will be soon forthcoming.

  8. Ham ain’t got no misconceptions! And he ain’t no kin to no monkey neither!

  9. “The New York Times…”???
    Mr. Curmudgeon, sir, perhaps you should recheck your attribution. The URL in the link is in the South Africa (“.za”) high level domain.

  10. James Chapman beat me to it: Ole Hambo is Quixotically fighting an article from the Sunday Times of South Africa

  11. Ham demonstrates his usual hypocrisy: he accepts that evolution is not a study of the origins of life (not yet, anyway), but still uses his loaded “molecules-to-man” description of evolution, and burbles that it is impossible because a natural origin of life is “impossible”. (How does he know: was he there? His Bible says nothing about the origin of bacteria or archaea.) Most science starts at a human scale and moves outwards. At some far distant scale a given discipline will either absorb the advances (the study of fossils by electron microscopy is still palaeontology), or will find phenomena so alien that a new branch of theory is needed (Newtonian dynamics giving way to quantum mechanics). Evolution has yet to reach a point where such a choice will be necessary.

  12. Quite right, James Chapman. My mistake. It’s fixed now.

  13. Reflectory says: “Ham ain’t got no misconceptions! And he ain’t no kin to no monkey neither!”

    It’s amazing when you sit back for a moment and think about it. Hambo is in the middle of rural Kentucky, surround by his creation museum, with a “life size replica” of Noah’s Ark being built nearby, and he announces to the world that he has no misconceptions.

  14. Since Ham is incapable of understanding science I have a question about theology for him:

    Ken, how is Evolutionary Biology inherently atheistic?

    I ask this as a deist who accepts the theory based on the evidence.

  15. Evolutionary Biology is not inherently atheistic:

    From desert cliff and mountaintop we trace the wide design,
    Strike-slip fault and overthrust and syn and anticline. . .
    We gaze upon creation where erosion makes it known,
    And count the countless aeons in the banding of the stone.
    Odd, long-vanished creatures and their tracks and shells are found;
    Where truth has left its sketches on the slate below the ground.
    The patient stone can speak, if we but listen when it talks.
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.

    There are those who name the stars, who watch the sky by night,
    Seeking out the darkest place, to better see the light.
    Long ago, when torture broke the remnant of his will,
    Galileo recanted, but the Earth is moving still.
    High above the mountaintops, where only distance bars,
    The truth has left its footprints in the dust between the stars.
    We may watch and study or may shudder and deny,
    But humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the sky.

    By stem and root and branch we trace, by feather, fang and fur,
    How the living things that are, descend from things that were.
    The moss, the kelp, the zebrafish, the very mice and flies,
    These tiny, humble, wordless things—how shall they tell us lies?
    We are kin to beasts; no other answer can we bring.
    The truth has left its fingerprints on every living thing.
    Remember, should you have to choose between them in the strife,
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote life.

    And we who listen to the stars, or walk the dusty grade,
    Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made,
    Or study cells, or living things, seek truth with open hand.
    The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.
    Deep in flower and in flesh, in star and soil and seed,
    The truth has left its living word for anyone to read.
    So turn and look where best you think the story is unfurled.
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.

    The Word of God Lyrics and melody © 1994 by Catherine Faber

  16. @Dave Luckett: Let me be the first (perhaps) to thank you for sharing that gem!

  17. I should point out, before someone else does, that Galileo wasn’t tortured. He was, however, shown the instruments, which would certainly be enough to break my will. I’d be gabbling recantations left and right.

  18. retiredsciguy says to Dave Luckett: “Let me be the first (perhaps) to thank you for sharing that gem!”

    Then I shall be the second.

  19. The Hamhock rambles on about this and that, and I could write a book refuting him, if only I could spare the time from, you know, earning a living, paying my bills and stuff. So for now, let’s consider this gem:

    Evolution, a wrong idea about the history of Earth based on man’s fallible opinions, has contributed nothing to our knowledge of Earth’s history or our technology. Instead, we need to start with God’s Word and interpret the world through the true history given to us by the infallible, perfect Creator. At the Bill Nye debate and a number of times since, I have asked Bill Nye or any secularist to give just one example where belief in molecules-to-man evolution is needed to develop a piece of technology! They can’t give one idea — not one — because molecules-to-man evolution is a belief, a religion!

    Coming someone who explicitly bases his own ideas on the Bible, that last claim takes some gall. But never mnd.

    Consider that research into DNA has allowed us o develop technologies for self-replicating machines, creating modified microorganisms which produce useful chemicals, and a number of other technological advancements–and that the growth of individual human beings from strands of DNA inside sperm and egg is a classic example of “molecules to man” development–Ham clearly doesn’t have a clue.

    Then too, as far as direct observation of evolution from molecules to man, no scientist would expect that, and Ham knows it; the process must be inferred from other evidence which is where “observation” comes in. Ham himself has not “observed” Creation; he merely assumes that the account of it in what he assumes is the Word of God is true, even though even fundamentalists admit God didn’t write a word of the latter; we only have the authors’ word that they are speaking for Him.

  20. Dave Luckett:
    “He was, however, shown the instruments, which would certainly be enough to break my will.”

    I think any rational person would consider that torture, especially since Galileo knew full well that those very instruments had already been used on others.

  21. @Eric Lipps:
    Thank you for your observation about the development of individuals.
    Much of the anti-evolution rhetoric would apply against the sciences of reproduction and development, at least as well as against evolution. That is one of the tests I apply whenever I see an argument against evolution. (Another is whether there is an alternative which resolves the purported problem with evolution.) It is inteeresting how little the anti-evolutionists have thought through their arguments that they don’t realize this consequence if they were right.

  22. Dave Luckett correctly points out that

    Galileo wasn’t tortured. He was, however, shown the instruments

    Remarkably, as Olivia once tearfully told me, that was pretty much the same way her sole and ill-advised ‘date’ with our Curmudgeon ended…

  23. Megalonyx, Olivia suspects that you had help writing that comment, because she knows your pre-sapiens brain lacks the capacity to be that imaginative.

  24. ashley haworth-roberts

    Fanatical anti-evolutionist who feels he must blog on SOMETHING every day.

  25. ashley haworth-roberts says: “Fanatical anti-evolutionist who feels he must blog on SOMETHING every day.”

    Hey — I depend on people like him or I couldn’t blog every day.

  26. I’ve found that no matter how many practical benefits and technologies I have cited as derivatives from The Theory of Evolution, YEC evolution-deniers simply attribute everything to “knowledge of biology, not evolution.”

    If they realize that even that excuse fails with practical examples like “each year’s new flu shot” and “agronomists develop new food crops and even consumer products from evolutionary processes” and “evolutionary algorithms drive genetic printers so as to exploit and accelerate evolutionary processes to produce brighter and brighter bioluminescent plants which will provide path lighting which requires no electricity”, they simply deny that such new products exist or are being developed. I think many of them realize that they are completely backed into the wall and can’t keep pretending forever. (They know that they are lying but figure that their YEC readers won’t notice.) So they are left to hope that “eventually creation science will publish and pound the last nails into the The Theory of Evolution’s coffin—but it is a matter of coming up with the research funding which is unfairly denied the “creation scientists”. That’s what one YEC blogger told me. (But perhaps he got that opinion from the usually honest but all-too-sad “creation scientist” Dr. Todd Wood.)

    Of course, the blogger also censored all of my examples of practical benefits from The Theory of Evolution and insisted that he had “won the debate”—yet didn’t want his readers to be able to read the debate. That tells me that they are embarrassed at their lack of answers and fear allowing their readers to learn anything about evolution. I’m seeing levels of desperation and perhaps even a kind of stoic resignation that one rarely saw in the 1970’s when the “creation science” movement was still growing and feeling confident.