Ken Ham Is Excited by New Research

This is a good example of quote-mining — or at least very selective reading — by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Hambo just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Study: 90% of Species Have a Recent Origin. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Nine out of ten species alive today have arisen in the last 200,000 years, according to a new genetic study.

He’s talking about this article from ten days ago in PhysOrg: Sweeping gene survey reveals new facets of evolution. We ignored it because we thought the methodology was unusual, and we haven’t seen any commentary about it anywhere else. But Hambo is all excited. He says:

This research looked at select portions of DNA from 100,000 different species, and “researchers found a telltale sign showing that almost all the animals emerged about the same time as humans.” Not only that, the study also found (rather unexpectedly for evolutionists) “species have very clear genetic boundaries, and nothing much in between.”

The PhysOrg article does say that, but it also says a few other things that Hambo ignored. For example:

[O]ne has to understand DNA barcoding. Animals have two kinds of DNA. The one we are most familiar with, nuclear DNA, is passed down in most animals by male and female parents and contains the genetic blueprint for each individual. The genome — made up of DNA — is constructed with four types of molecules arranged in pairs. In humans, there are three billion of these pairs, grouped into about 20,000 genes. But all animals also have DNA in their mitochondria, which are the tiny structures inside each cell that convert energy from food into a form that cells can use.

Mitochondria contain 37 genes, and one of them, known as COI, is used to do DNA barcoding. Unlike the genes in nuclear DNA, which can differ greatly from species to species, all animals have the same set of mitochondrial DNA, providing a common basis for comparison.

Somehow, Hambo overlooked that last sentence. Also the PhysOrg article says:

“The simplest interpretation is that life is always evolving,” said Stoeckle [one of the researchers]. “It is more likely that — at all times in evolution — the animals alive at that point arose relatively recently.” In this view, a species only lasts a certain amount of time before it either evolves into something new or goes extinct.

Hambo seems to have ignored that too. Reading this, ah, unique study very selectively, he says:

Hmmm . . . humans and animals arose at much the same time, and there are genetic boundaries. Sounds like what you’d expect to find based on the Genesis account of origins.

[…]

But this is what we’d expect in a biblical worldview — indeed it’s what creationists have been saying all along, although their timeframe of 100,000–200,000 years is inflated [Hee hee!], due to evolutionary assumptions.

That’s enough from Hambo. We don’t know what to make of the study PhysOrg reported, but Hambo is happy — at least with parts of it. We suspect that you, dear reader, have your own opinion, and we’d like to hear from you.

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16 responses to “Ken Ham Is Excited by New Research

  1. Eric Lipps

    Ham seems to have the idea that if modern species arose within the last 200,000 years, that means they all arose at the exact same time, give or take a day or two.

    As for species having clear genetic boundaries with “nothing much in between,” well, duh. That’s kind of what makes them species. And that says nothing about there being “kinds” of which the same is true, and can’t say so, because “kind” is a category which means whatever creationists want it to mean in any given case.

  2. I think we can draw some conclusions about Hambo’s success in high school biology from his uh, “review”. Thanks Hammy. Carrrraazzzy stuff.

  3. “genetic boundaries”
    Where is there anything about genetic boundaries in the Bible?

  4. Steven Thompson

    According to the article, about 90% of animal species originated at the same time. Since, according to AiG, the oldest animal species are less than 48 hours older than the youngest, shouldn’t this be at least a minor problem for the “creation model?”

    Are genetic boundaries between species entirely consistent with the idea that, e.g. lions, cheetahs, and house cats are descended from a single pair of ur-felids aboard Noah’s Ark 4500 years ago?

    Note that strictly speaking, the paper does not present an argument that all these species originated ca. 200,000 years ago; it presents an argument that all extant members of these species are descended from a particular population of the species that was around that recently — the species might be much older, but most populations of it might have gone extinct with the species replenished from a small founder population (okay, Ham may now claim that the paper proves the reality of Noah’s Ark — except, again, that the paper is talking about species, not genera, families, or “kinds”).

  5. “Study: 90% of Species Have a Recent Origin.:”
    For Ol’Hambo something like this is scoring for an open goal.

    “we haven’t seen any commentary about it anywhere else.”
    PZ Myers wrote about it yesterday and predicted Ol’Hambo’s reaction. He was only just in time.

  6. @TomS: Sola Scriptura is only for Ol’Hambo when it suits him. You should know this by now. How dare you to challenge the intellectual superiority of , the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else!

  7. “How dare you to challenge the intellectual superiority of , the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else!”

    Ham can’t be on top even within the supremely superstitious community. There is no end to other equally arrogantly ignorant creationists who also claim to know more than anyone else in the world.

  8. What I don’t understand is how so many people choose to believe a particular preacher. Why does no one point out when a preacher goes beyond what the Bible says? Like the burst of microevolution after the Flood?

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    So what about the 10% that isn’t recent? What about 200,000 years versus 4,500 years (minus the time to hyper-evolve)? What about the evidence of evolution this report includes? FAKE NEWS. The part about most species being ‘newish’, that’s definitely true, tho!

  10. Michael Fugate

    I think the problem is in the use of the mitochondrial genome and extrapolating wildly.

  11. TomS asks: “Why does no one point out ….”
    Their god has absolute authority on all people. When you’ve learned that as a child and the price is high to let the idea go the easy thing to do is to accept the absolute authority of a preacher as well – because he’s supposed to be the earthly representant of their god.

  12. With such a state of mind you can assume that your admirers swallow everything and anything. On Cracked today:

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-uniquely-insane-books-that-were-written-more-than-once/

    “We can believe God when He tells us that in the beginning all animals, including Tyrannosaurus Rex, ate plants – maybe even ripe, juicy melons!”

    And pretty intelligent people fall for it. Jonathan Sarfati is a twofold chess champion from New Zealand until he gave up chess to hunt on happier grounds. The result:

    http://thecreationclub.com/how-did-all-the-animals-fit-on-noahs-ark-jonathan-sarfati/

  13. There are reports from Mars about the discovery of organic material. Not necessary the product of life. Any predictions about what the creationists will have to say about tis?
    Does the Bible have anything to say about organic molecules on Mars?
    Are organic molecules designed?
    Is Mars a Privileged Planet?

    If someting like microbes were to be discovered on Mars, is that consistent with the Bible? After all, the Bble does not say that microbes are confined to Earth. The Bible does not say that microbes were created during Creation Week. The Bible does not say anything about microbes.

  14. TomS, I just posted about it.

  15. Theodore Lawry

    Pharyngula has a nice summary of what the science actually said and how creationists have got it wrong:

    It’s a bit like reading a statement that almost all people are less than 100 years old, and then wondering, publicly and in print, about what happened in 1918 to cause every human being on Earth to have been suddenly born in that year. That must have been some orgy to celebrate the end of the Great War.

    BTW the list of confused creationists now includes Ted Cruz! This story has “legs!”

    But of course the followers of Ham and other creationists will never hear how Ham etc. have got the science wrong, so all that will happen is that said supporters will vaguely remember that “science” has supported the Bible once again! Ham can’t lose, and he knows it.

  16. I expressed my detailed opinions on Ham and co’s reactions – in another place:
    http://www.forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2967&p=52114#p52114