Ken Ham Says Science Can’t Know the Past

You’re about to learn something important from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. The title of his post is Did Hominids or Crocodiles Make Marks on Old Bones? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

I saw a story in the news recently [he links to this in Newsweek: Ancient Bones ‘Butchered’ By Our Ancestors 2.5 Million Years Ago May Just Have Been Gnawed By Crocodiles] that reminded me of the tentative nature of historical science (the kind of science that is not directly testable, observable, and repeatable because it deals with the past and how frequently the evolutionary story changes. Many fossil bones have been discovered covered in cuts and scrapes. Researchers thought this demonstrated that our supposed human ancestors (really just ape species) used tools to get the meat off. But a new study says the marks on the bones may have been made by crocodiles instead!

[*Groan*] He’s talking again about his bizarre distinction between “Operational” (or “Observational”) science and “Historical” science. We’ve written about it several times, originally in Creationism and Science. Hambo always claims that the past is unknowable — but see The Lessons of Tiktaalik. Anyway, he says:

In their study, the authors argue that just because a bone has scrapes and cuts on it doesn’t mean they were made by tools in the hands of ape-like creatures on the path to humanness. After analyzing present bones that have been trampled on or fed to crocodiles, they found that the marks on these bones are similar to the marks on the supposedly millions-of-years-old bones. The article concludes by saying,

[Hambo quotes the Newsweek article, and adds some bold font of his own:] Bones can be damaged from erosion, the sun, plant activity, scavenging, gnawing by predators, chewing by rodents, animals stepping on them, and tool use. Without having been there, it can be difficult to unravel the mystery of what actually happened to them.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The Newsweek writer is supporting Hambo’s constant criticism of history older than the creation story in Genesis. He always asks: Were you there? The actual scientific paper appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles in the African Plio–Pleistocene. You can’t read it without a subscription, but we suspect it doesn’t say what that Newsweek writer said.

Nevertheless Hambo leaps upon the journalist’s words, because they validate one of his constant criticisms of science:

Therein lies the problem with historical science — we weren’t there!

[*Gasp!*] Then how can we ever know anything about the past? Hambo tells us:

Historical science isn’t directly testable, observable, or repeatable because it deals with the past (history) and we weren’t there to observe what happened. But there was someone who was there, our Creator God, and in his Word, he revealed to us what happened in the past.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] We have a reliable source of information! He continues:

We can use the history in God’s Word — in particular a 6,000-year-old universe, a global Flood, and the events at the Tower of Babel — as a framework for understanding the world around us.

Yes, yes! It’s all true! And now we come to the thrilling end:

Using God’s Word as the starting point, we know we aren’t descended from some kind of ape-like creature. We were created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27), Adam from the dust, Eve from his side. Whatever made the marks on those old (post-Flood) bones, we know it wasn’t some creature on its way to becoming human.

Your Curmudgeon is overwhelmed! No more of that old-Earth nonsense for us! How about you, dear reader?

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Ken Ham Says Science Can’t Know the Past

  1. I doubt he’s smart enough to realize that he just dismissed the field of forensics.

  2. Hans Weichselbaum

    Mary L ….. and the whole enterprise of geology.

  3. We can use the history in God’s Word — in particular a 6,000-year-old universe, a global Flood, and the events at the Tower of Babel — as a framework for understanding the world around us.

    Ummm. A small problem there. All three of those beliefs have been disproved. So, if we use them as “a framework for understanding the world around us” they serve best as a reason not to accept religious beliefs.

  4. “we weren’t there to observe what happened”
    Like we weren’t there when the great-great-……great-grandparents of Ol’Hambo were born in the 10th Century CE. That’s why I can maintain they were aliens, found by storks in cauliflowers and brought by them to their parents. Ol’Hambo is not human.

  5. Christine Janis

    So how does Ken know that T rex used those big teeth to eat melons before the fall?

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    Ham advertises:

    We can use the history in God’s Word — in particular a 6,000-year-old universe, a global Flood, and the events at the Tower of Babel — as a framework for understanding the world around us.

    So, the only thing separating you from full knowledge of the Truth and Wonders of Creation is a mere $40 ticket to Ham’s wonderful Ark Park. Hurry on down before the End of Times extravaganza Ham so dearly wants to personally experience.

  7. Use Ham’s “framework” and you have to toss out most of modern science and replace it with an “ideologically correct” version. The Nazis tried that; so did the Soviets, at least in genetics, with Lysenkoism. It never ends well.

  8. Oh Ken of Ham, why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Oh, Hambo … could you provide some references to how the bible clarifies between ape-like creatures and humans?

  10. “We weren’t there!”

    The obvious question is: How do you know that? (Those of us who accept that we can know about the past have no problem in accepting that we know that we weren’t there.)

    The next most obvious question is about where as well as when. How do we know that there is a center to the Earth? Nobody has been there. (I don’t want to get into details, such as the composition of the core, or whether the Earth is hollow. How do we know that someting like Euclean geometry prevails so that there is something that we can call a center to the Earth, below a depth beyond the deepest wells and deepest oceans.) Before the 20th century, how did we know that there was a backside to the Moon – was it just a lucky guess? (For that matter, maybe there wasn’t a backside to the Moon before the 20th century. Nobody was there, then.)

  11. Hambo declares

    But there was someone who was there, our Creator God, and in his Word, he revealed to us what happened in the past.

    He’s talking about Zeus, right?

    Or does he mean his daddy, Cronos–who was the son of Ouranos and Gaia?

    Whatever. At least we know that by “his word”, Ham must be referring to Hesiod…

  12. Skeptical Servant

    Ken Ham is an idiot and will always be an idiot.

    I don’t even take his nonsense seriously anymore.

    We also have overwhelmed evidence the world is old so he is just being ignorant on purpose.

  13. Skeptical Servant

    Oh one more thing to believe his nonsense we would have to ignore we’ll all know science.

  14. Ross Cameron

    Moses wasn`t there when he told the story of Creation and its following history. Sure, god may have told him during one of their fireside chats, but that`s not mentioned in the bible. So Moses made it up?

  15. Michael Fugate

    Maybe Ham was thinking of Coyote. Seems more appropriate given the comic nature of his beliefs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_(mythology)

  16. @RossCameron
    By fireside, do you mean the burning bush, where presumably god and Moses told tall tales and drank too much wine?

  17. You know darn but Ken is right ! I was just wondering how all those biostratigraphic marker formainfierids that geologist use to correlate in complex growth faulted structural terranes in the Gulf of Mexico petroleum provinces occur when I suddenly realized, “its all a giant hoax”! Those billions of barrels of petroleum that have been produced from Gulf of Mexico strata really came from a magical world created by Ken Ham, america’s answer to Rasputin.