Ken Ham and Cheddar Man

A few weeks ago this story appeared at PhysOrg: DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes. They said, with our bold font:

The first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, London scientists said on Wednesday, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago. Known as “Cheddar Man” after the area in southwest England where his skeleton was discovered in a cave in 1903, the ancient man has been brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains.

In a joint project between Britain’s Natural History Museum and University College London, scientists drilled a 2mm hole into the skull and extracted bone powder for analysis. Their findings transformed the way they had previously seen Cheddar Man, who had been portrayed as having brown eyes and light skin in an earlier model.

“It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes but really dark skin,” said the museum’s Chris Stringer, who for the past decade has analysed the bones of people found in the cave. The findings suggest that lighter pigmentation being a feature of populations of northern Europe is more recent than previously thought.

PhysOrg doesn’t cite any published paper. Instead, they say that the information will be reported “in a documentary to be aired on February 18.”

And that brings us to the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Ol’ Hambo just posted this at his blog: Oldest Brit, “Cheddar Man” Was Dark-Skinned . . . or Was He? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A few weeks ago, news headlines around the world proclaimed that the oldest known “Briton” (by secular dating methods) was dark-skinned, according to genetic analysis (which was done for a TV documentary). But now new headlines are calling this pronouncement into question.

These new reports are more tentative, stating that the results weren’t absolutely conclusive and that new research has shown even more genes than we thought are responsible for skin shade. It goes on to say that, even with current technology, we really can’t tell the shade of an ancient person’s skin yet, especially considering how much DNA degrades over time.

That must be a relief to ol’ Hambo. As we all know, he ain’t no kin to no monkey, and now he doesn’t need to worry about being related to a dark skinned Cheddar Man. He says:

This story [in New Scientist: Does Cheddar Man show there is such a thing as bad publicity?] shows that “whenever science is done by press release, it is science that usually comes off worst.” You will rarely hear all the details in a press release or a lay science article, and often these articles are spun — or have tantalizing, misleading headlines — because publishers want people to read their articles.

That article in New Scientist tells us:

The whole episode smacks of a publicity stunt to hype up the show. There is some truth in that, but dismissing it outright does a disservice to the scientists. According to the state of knowledge at the time, the genetic analysis did suggest that Cheddar Man’s skin was dark. But science progresses, and since the analysis was done last year, many more genes affecting skin colour have been discovered. Understandably, the new science did not make it into the documentary.

Okay, maybe Cheddar Man was dark skinned, or maybe he wasn’t. We still don’t know. But Hambo knows. His post, before the promotional links, concludes with this:

[I]t’s a reminder that we need to be careful about believing what we read, especially if it contradicts God’s Word (such as the 10,000-year age assigned to “Cheddar Man” — sadly much of the media has been brainwashing the public in many false ideas about origins, especially when it comes to the dates!). We can be confident that research, when done right and interpreted correctly, will always confirm God’s Word.

Ah yes — the research has to be done right. Then it’ll always support Hambo’s beliefs.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Ken Ham and Cheddar Man

  1. Michael Fugate

    “secular dating methods” – like asking the person one is interested in to dinner or a movie as opposed to asking the person to church or Bible study?

  2. I know that etymology is not a guide to present meaning, there is still an active meaning of “secular” as referring to time. This makes a complaint about secular measures of time oxymoronic.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    What happened TomS, did Michael Fugate beat you to the joke and you had to pretend to be all serious while seething behind your keyboard?

  4. “PhysOrg doesn’t cite any published paper.”
    For those who want to explore:

    It seems to be that our dear SC was a bit negligent when he didn’t add a picture of the handsome guy. Here is one:

  5. Ol’Hambo is in better shape than ever.

    “(by secular dating methods)”
    Which are observational and repeatable (and whatever fancy terminology Ol’Hambo and his ilk have developed) and hence according to Ol’Hambo’s own standard should yield acceptable conclusions.

    “the results weren’t absolutely conclusive”
    Ol’Hambo also excels at modesty! He just omits that the only one who can produce absolutely conclusive results is he himself. What’s not to like about him (just in case: this is sarcastic rhetorics, because the correct answer is “about everything”)?

  6. Eerily similar to that woman who spent waaaay too much time in a tanning booth who was in the news a few years ago.

  7. “by secular dating methods”

    Like some of the above commenters, that was the first thing that I noticed. The Hamster simply cannot say “by scientific dating methods” because he cannot admit that science does not agree with his ludicrous fairy tale view of reality.

  8. @Zetopan
    I agree with you, except that I think that fairy tales can have a more complete approach to reality. There is a plot. Things happen for some reason. We would reject a story with a resolution of: then a miracle happened and everyone lived happily ever after.
    It is mentioned in the Harry Potter books that there is more to magic than waving a wand and saying funny words. All there is to creationism is those funny words.

  9. And what dating methods are acceptable to Ham, anyway? “Well, you take the ages of the patriarchs in Genesis and . . . “?

  10. Oh, I would be sure that Ol’Hambo would crow victory if one dating method or another would result in the Big Bang happening 6000 years ago. Then this much despised event suddenly confirms Genesis 1 one way or another.

  11. Maybe I’ve missed it but does Hambo think that “Cheddar Man” lived before or after the flood? Which ever, it’s amazing how quickly after either creation or the flood people spread throughout the world, and in such large numbers.

  12. The question about timing brought to mind this:
    Is there an explanation for the trillions (literally) of stone tools scattered over Africa? They must have been deposited after the Flood, which means that there were billions deposited per year.

  13. Michael Fugate

    Does Ken mention the skin color of Adam and Eve? Surely God has revealed this important information to Ken and his crack team of apologists.
    One might imagine they were dark-skinned as God created them naked and intended for them to stay naked and live forever. Did sin turn them light-skinned? Did they need clothes for UV protection?

  14. RSG, great minds think alike. When I saw “cheddar man” I immediately thought of the woman who spent too much time in tanning salons.

  15. Normal secular dating methods . Call her up. Ask her out. Catch a good show and a little dinner afterwards. Where’s Olivia ?
    Hambo secular dating methods. Anything that involves age dating fossils or rocks using modern physics, biostratigraphy, paleontological correlation or modern geology.

  16. Retired Prof

    Michael Fugate wonders about Adam and Eve: “Did sin turn them light-skinned?”

    Apparently, some west Africans think it might have. One of my former colleagues once examined my hand, looked up mischievously, and asked, “What terrible things have you been doing, that made you lose your color like that?”

    She was joking, of course, but she explained that the joke was based on a folk belief that’s common in Nigeria among the Ibo and Yoruba tribes.

  17. Michael Fugate

    Then again, it could have been when they sinned they lost most of their body hair and suddenly appeared naked in comparison?

    As with most (all) creationist “explanations”, both my skin color and hair examples fall apart when looked at in any detail.

  18. I can’t be the only one who read “Cheddar man” and thought of Trump.