Ken Ham and Owl Pellets

Here’s something interesting for you to munch on from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: What Do Owl Pellets Have to Do with the Creation Museum?

That’s a thought-provoking question, and we’ll give you our own answer at the end. Until then, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

At 59 plus 7 years old (that helps me feel younger), I just did something for the very first time — I dissected my first, yes, owl pellet. Now, if you’re not familiar with owl pellets, they’re mostly composed, as you would imagine, of the remains of animals the owl ate. They can’t digest fur, bones, or teeth, so they regurgitate a mass of all these indigestible parts. Sound gross? It is! But it’s also really interesting to pick the pellets apart and figure out which animals the owl ate.

Would you believe it — Wikipedia has an article on Pellet (ornithology), which informs us:

A pellet, in ornithology, is the mass of undigested parts of a bird’s food that some bird species occasionally regurgitate. The contents of a bird’s pellet depend on its diet, but can include the exoskeletons of insects, indigestible plant matter, bones, fur, feathers, bills, claws, and teeth. In falconry, the pellet is called a casting.

The passing of pellets allows a bird to remove indigestible material from its proventriculus, or glandular stomach. In birds of prey, the regurgitation of pellets serves the bird’s health in another way, by “scouring” parts of the digestive tract, including the gullet. Pellets are formed within six to ten hours of a meal in the bird’s gizzard (muscular stomach).

Don’t try to deny it — we know you’re interested. Hambo says:

So why was I dissecting owl pellets? Well, this summer we’re hosting our first Explore Camp. This five-day camp for young people here at the Creation Museum features 20 different hands-on science workshops as well as other fun activities. Each day of camp features a different science theme such as forensics, astronomy, genetics, geology, or zoology. And one day of camp featured an owl pellet dissection workshop, so I decided to join in on the fun.

We’ve written about Hambo’s Explore Camp before — see 5 Days of Hambo’s Creation Science. He continues:

I encourage you to watch this live video [link omitted] I did to learn more about owl pellets and our fantastic Explore Camp.

Go ahead, watch the video and see ol’ Hambo chopping up those tasty pellets. If you do, please let us know what we missed. Here’s one last excerpt:

We have one more week of day camp this summer, July 23–27, 2018. If you have a child (or children) who love science — this is the place for them! [Oh yeah!] They’ll love the hands-on workshops and the biblical worldview teaching from various experts. They’ll even get to spend one night at the Creation Museum studying astronomy in our top-notch observatory and sleeping among the exhibits.

That’s the end of it — except for a link to where you can go to sign up for the next thrilling camp. But wait — we promised that we’d give you our Curmudgeonly answer to Hambo’s title question: “What Do Owl Pellets Have to Do with the Creation Museum?” Okay, here it is: They’re both an indigestible mass of regurgitated material, useful only for fertilizer.

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

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22 responses to “Ken Ham and Owl Pellets

  1. Eddie Janssen

    I thought Ken Ham was a biologist. He must have investigated animal excrements as a student. Maybe not owls, but no reason to put such an emphasis on doing it for the first time of his live.

  2. Michael Fugate

    I don’t think the Bible mentions owl pellets. Given that is the only book he has ever read, how could he know they existed?

  3. louis revilla

    Let me ask you a fair question. (I think it is anyway)… Although I agree with virtually all you say, regarding such relgious, right-wing NONSENSE… I DO NOTE that you claim to “lean Libertarian?” Now, you are obvious educated and aware of your surroundings… WHY… would you support the Koch Brothers Network…and the plutocrats.. the oligarchs…and all the minions…WHO ARE ALLIED..with this obvious “army”…of evangelical SHEEPLE?
    It appears… that Mike Pence..a lackey for the Kochs…IS a perfect example of the concatenation of BOTH factions…appearing to work together to GUT the social safety net, emasculate much of the New Deal… worsen conditions for the working-classes…and, spread an ideology (courtesy of the South)…the “Southern Strategy,”… based in fallacy, lies, distortion, ommision…and the usual..racism, sexism, fear, nativism, …and IGNORANCE… which is facilitated by by this “contrived word of a contrived entity?”
    WHY… do you NOT acknowledge the libertarian/evangelical…alliance?


  4. Steven Thompson

    I have a slightly different take on owl pellets and creationism. Ken Ham didn’t see the owl eat anything. If you want to be nit-picky, he didn’t even see an owl regurgitate that pellet (but let that pass; Ham has never argued, e.g. that we don’t know that dinosaur skeletons were never clothed in flesh). But in telling us that he can determine what an unobserved, unique owl ate in the past (when he wasn’t there), Ham is ignoring his own distinction between “operational science” and “historical science”. He should be pressed on how far back we can go before that distinction kicks in.

  5. Yes Ken Ham, owl pellets come from an owl’s stomach. Were you there?

  6. Hambo’s Explore Camp offers an opportunity for

    sleeping among the exhibits

    So, not a complete waste of time after all!

  7. “Don’t try to deny it — we know you’re interested.”
    Sorry to disappoint you, dear SC, but I’m no excrement fetishist. Apparently Ol’Hambo is.

    “They’re both an indigestible mass of regurgitated material, useful only for fertilizer.”
    And again I have to contradict you. I don’t think the Creacrap Museum and the Gay Wooden Box will make good fertilizers – unless you’re thinking of “fertilzing” the brains of innocent kids with creacrap.

  8. StevenT notices: “Ham is ignoring his own distinction between “operational science” and “historical science”.”
    That’s not exactly the first time. For instance Ol’Hambo is totally fine with rejecting the operation science called radiometry. If you need someone to demonstrate how meaningless the distinction is don’t look further than him.

  9. Pete Moulton

    I see some misconceptions in the comments. Owl, and other raptor, pellets aren’t excrement. That is they don’t proceed through the owl’s entire intestinal tract before being removed through the anus, as one might expect. Instead, the hair, bones, teeth, insect exoskeletons, etc are compacted into a pellet in the bird’s stomach, and then removed by regurgitation.

    I’ve dissected many a pellet through the years, and they can tell interesting stories. If you already know what species occurs in a specific location, you can gain insight into its diet. If you don’t know the identity of the owl, sometimes you can figure that out based on the dietary remains.

  10. Michael Fugate

    what does science have to do with the Creation Museum? nothing. misreading the Bible, misunderstanding theology, general stupidity, nuttery, everything.

  11. Me: So, Ken, what did the owls feed on in the Garden of Eden?
    Ken: Well, you see, before the Fall, God made everything “very good”, so the owls were vegetarian. They fed on plant matter.
    Me: And now they eat small animals. So they’ve evolved?
    Ken: Oh no! No, you see, there’s been a loss of information. So the owls have really “de-volved”, not evolved!
    Me: But they still regurgitate…?
    Ken: Oh yes, you see, all life groans under the weight of the Curse. But the owls are still perfectly created! We know this because we can trust the Word of God.
    Me: Hang on, so why…?
    Ken: Are you God?
    Me: Er…no
    Ken (long, baleful stare):


  12. @PeteM: thanks – I knew I got something wrong, but had forgotten what.

    @ChrisS misrepresents Ol’Hambo.

    Me: And now they eat small animals. So they’ve evolved?
    Ol’Hambo: Yes. This is micro evolution, because these owls still are owls. It’s variation within their kind.

    This version of course also is a misrepresentation. Let me try again.

    Me: And now they eat small animals. So they’ve evolved?
    Ol’Hambo: No. Goddiddid, but don’t blame him, blame yourself for your ancestors eating the forbidden fruit.
    Evolution only started after the Fall. As owls are created after their kind only variation within the owl-kind is possible. To quote a famous German scientific book written in 1924 : “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” To which I add that the owl always remains an owl.

  13. I dissected an owl pellet in my HS biology class sixty some years ago. It was really fascinating, but I don’t see the point of Ham’s having a class dissect owl pellets, especially since there’s no connection to his bible. Thus I agree with SC’s comment that sums up the Ham/AIG view very well:
    “What Do Owl Pellets Have to Do with the Creation Museum?” Okay, here it is: They’re both an indigestible mass of regurgitated material, useful only for fertilizer.

  14. Steven Thompson want to know when the distinction between “operational science” and “historical science” kicks in.
    Very simple: Anything beyond 6,000 years ago is historical science and therefore wrong. Creationists even accept an ice age as long as it is in that time window.

  15. Owlpellets are very different from the Creation Museum. You can learn something from them

  16. Forget owl pellets, I want to know what they get up to in the “forensics” sessions. Though these are probably the shortest of all the sessions.

    Ken: Class, this is the most important session that we run at Explore Camp.
    Class: murmur, murmur.
    Ken: Now, were you there?
    Class members: No
    Ken: Class dismissed.

  17. Ken Ham regurgitates old and discredited arguments? Which scientists then dissect (again).

  18. If the Creation Museum were nothing more than an exhibition of a certain culture’s beliefs; nothing more, nothing less; there would be no problem.

    What makes the Creation Museum a threat to rational thought is their proselytizing. Ken Ham is actively working to discredit science. A certain class of people listen to him, thinking that his path is the path to their own salvation. That is very difficult to counter.

  19. Hambo carefully examines throw up? He’s right on track with everything else he does.

  20. @reitredsciguy – “Ken Ham is actively working to discredit science.”

    This. What he does should be illegal. And he should be deported.

    I still think it should be considered a con-job. He gets people to give them money by lying about reality. Is that not the very definition of a con-man?

  21. H.K. Fauskanger

    This discussion about owlsh*t reminds me of how John Scalzi once compared the Creation Museum to the greatest-ever load of horsesh*t, and did so in a MOST eloquent manner. We have mentioned Scalzi’s Report on the Creation Museum before, but any new readers must not deny themselves the pure joy of this:

  22. The Devil created the owl pellets to deceive you into believing it was regurgitated by an owl.