Hambo Says Humans Are Devolving

This one is a real classic 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 latest post at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry, is No, Kids, Humans Aren’t Going to Evolve Again. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The website The Conversation — which boasts supposed “academic rigor” — recently hosted an article in a series designed for children, to answer a reader-submitted question, “Are humans going to evolve again?” But this article showed anything but “academic rigor.”

The article Hambo is complaining about is Curious Kids: are humans going to evolve again? We haven’t read it, but Hambo’s response to it is really amazing. He says:

The author, Darren Curnoe, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, writes, “The short answer is that humans are evolving right now and will continue to do so even if we don’t notice it.” He then goes on to divide evolution into two groups: macroevolution and microevolution. He says that macroevolution means the big evolutionary changes — like the arrival of mammals or bipedalism in humans.

Nothing wrong with that — except that bipedalism isn’t as big a leap as the arrival of mammals — but Hambo is furious. He tells us:

This term really summarizes the belief in molecules-to-man evolution. But microevolution is the small, almost unnoticeable changes, like the ability to digest starch or lactose, that might not even result in new a species but, that, eventually, cause evolution.

That’s true — but Hambo doesn’t think so. He explains:

But there are two big problems with his argument: (1) “Macroevolution” has never been observed; (2) “Microevolution” isn’t evolution. Those are some pretty big problems!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ol’ Hambo then does a splendid performance of the micro-macro mambo, described in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Here it comes:

What he’s calling “macroevolution”— the evolution of one kind into another kind — has never been observed. It’s an interpretation imposed on fossils, DNA, etc., because of an evolutionary starting point. … Macroevolution is really their religion — a blind faith idea to try to explain life.

Hambo then explains the author’s other big error:

Now, what he calls “microevolution” isn’t evolution at all. It’s actually the opposite of evolution! The small changes we observe in populations and/or species are real — we can note and document those changes. But these changes are always caused by a loss or a shuffle of information — never by the addition of brand-new information.

[…]

To turn an ameba into a man, you have to add an incredible amount of brand-new genetic information. That’s never been observed. All we observe is the loss or rearrangement of already existing information. And that information was placed there by God from the very beginning.

Ooooooooooooh! There’s no new information! See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Then Hambo’s post takes a dark turn:

The human species isn’t evolving. We’re actually getting worse! [Gasp!] With every generation, more and more genetic mistakes (mutations) accumulate in our DNA (this is called the genetic load). [It’s definitely some kind of load.] We’re worse off now than we were before! (Of course, these mutations started after the fall, when God no longer sustained and upheld his creation perfectly because of sin and the curse). So, no kids, we’re not evolving. We’re getting worse because of sin!

But after that, he ends on an optimistic note — the promise of salvation. We’ll let you click over there to enjoy it. Meanwhile, you’ll have to suffer with the results of chronic genetic degeneration — thanks to Adam & Eve.

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26 responses to “Hambo Says Humans Are Devolving

  1. Michael Fugate

    https://www.redbubble.com/people/firstdog/works/13108128-facepalm

    Typical creationist logic – first claim macroevolution involves changing one kind into another, then claim that not only has it not been observed, but claim it can’t happen because one kind can never change into another. Then claim that evolution does not involve just any change, but only progressive change, but never define progress – but make sure not to mention fitness or adaptation.

    Is the reason that creationists never produce any new information that they lack intelligence?

  2. Unfortunately, this kind of reasoning can lead one to think that purpose-driven, intelligent intervention in the genetics is going to be of help in avoiding the degeneration of “mankind”.
    I hope that they will make it clear that they are not making such a connection.

  3. With every generation, more and more genetic mistakes (mutations) accumulate in our DNA (this is called the genetic load).

    This sounds like Hambo is proposing an actual sin gene in human DNA that accumulates these mistakes and passes this loaded gene down successive generations. Yes, indeed, it is a load.

  4. “To turn an ameba into a man, you have to add an incredible amount of brand-new genetic information.”

    The Human genome has about 3.2B base pairs. The Polychaos dubiu (a single celled amoeba) genome has 640B base pairs. That factor of 200 larger genome for the amoeba shows that HAM is innumerate as well as being profoundly scientifically illiterate.*

    *Besides being a belligerently ignorant jackass, of course.

  5. “Hambo Says Humans Are Devolving”

    That headline makes no sense since the opposite of evolving is stasis. Any change in the genome *is* evolution. For example, whales and snakes were both quadrupeds that have essentially lost their 4 limbs through evolution.

  6. No new information? Hambo obviously doesn’t acknowledge gene duplication, exon shuffling, whole genome duplication, and just plain mutation as adding new genetic material. And he claims to love science!

  7. “But these changes are always caused by a loss or a shuffle of information — never by the addition of brand-new information.”
    Oh man, Ol’Hambo is doing a great job indeed. From the article our dear SC hasn’t read but really should:

    “the gene that produces an enzyme called lactase, which allows adults to digest milk and other dairy products.”
    If that ain’t brand-new info than nothing is. Which likely is Ol’Hambo’s point.

    “All we observe is the loss or rearrangement of already existing information.”
    Let’s give it to Ol’Hambo – this principle fully applies to creacrappers like him. As soon as info is rearranged in their twisted minds there is some serious loss.

    “We’re worse off now than we were before!”
    Nothing in the article contradicts this. If Ol’Hambo wants to feel worse than the unicellulars that are his (and our) ancestors evolution theory won’t stop him.
    Creacrap in a nutshell: they want to feel better than chimps, but worse than Adam and Eve.

  8. @MichaelF: the article describes macro-evolution as “the big changes we see in the fossil record. They happen over long periods like hundreds of thousands, millions, or even tens of millions of years.”
    Of course Ol’Hambo won’t have nothing of it. It’s actually surprising that he doesn’t whine about Biblical 6000 years etc.

    @Scientist: “And he claims to love science!”
    My thumbrule is that every single one who makes this claim proceed with rejecting conclusions he/she doesn’t like. Have you ever claimed that you love science? I most certainly haven’t, because I think large chunks utterly boring.

  9. So Ken’s kids are genetically inferior to him (Oy vey!). And the grandchildren genetically inferior, still. Why, that sounds like the perfect justification for aborting the kids in the womb! Why bring more genetically impaired brats into this sin-ridden world?

    “So, no kids, we’re not evolving.” That would read better as: “So: no kids. At all.”

    But then, where would the next generation of Jesus freaks come from?

  10. @ChrisS
    It sounds to me as if he is identifying material (physical, natural) traits with values. Can expect to do some sort of Intelligent design (genetic engineering, supernatural selection) to avoid the degeneration? Just like farmers and ranchers have been doing for thousands of years with their crops and livestock.

  11. Karl Goldsmith

    Ken loves claiming genetics are getting worse, while the population of the world has continually increased. I don’t see the reasoning in that.

  12. Holding The Line In Florida

    “Now, what he calls “microevolution” isn’t evolution at all. It’s actually the opposite of evolution! The small changes we observe in populations and/or species are real — we can note and document those changes. But these changes are always caused by a loss or a shuffle of information — never by the addition of brand-new information.”

    I reckon that the post flood environment Hambone always rants and raves about must have been full of super-duper high speed shuffling and loss of genetic information to get the required number of species we have today from those limited “kinds” he says were on the Big Boat.

  13. @Holding The Line In Florida
    super-duper high speed shuffling and loss of genetic information to get the required number of species we have today from those limited “kinds”

    And that is supposed to be merely “micro-evolution” and “devolution”?

    If a “kind” is something like a taxonomic Family, just think that from the Bovidae kind on the ark.
    “The Bovidae are the biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals that includes bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, wildebeest, impala, gazelles, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle. A member of this family is called a bovid. With 143 extant species and 300 known extinct species …” (from Wikipedia article “Bovidae”).
    Some micro-evolution.
    Some devolution!
    Some literal interpretaton of Genesis!!!

  14. Jim Roberts

    @TomS, you should hear them dodge the topic of insects and arthropods. I mean, forget beetles, there are 20 000 varieties of butterfly alone, each quite distinct. I particularly like to bring them up because the “mechanical complexity” of their lifecycle is often brought up as a “proof” of intelligent design.

  15. Richard Staller

    With every generation, more and more genetic mistakes (mutations) accumulate in our DNA (this is called the genetic load). We’re worse off now than we were before! (Of course, these mutations started after the fall, when God no longer sustained and upheld his creation perfectly because of sin and the curse).

    I’m just amazed at how much ignorance can be amassed in a mere three sentences!

  16. Ken claims he believes in “micro” evolution. Let us represent that as “e”

    But doesn’t think “macro” evolution can happened. Let us represent that as “E”.

    and He can’t see how you can get from “e” to “E”. Let’s try!

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    eeee
    eeee
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    eeee
    eeee
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    There you go! It’s easy, as long are you aren’t doubled down on the silly premise that the world is only 6000 hears old……:-)

  17. @Jim Roberts
    Some of the Arkeologists have decided that none of the invertebrates were subject to saving from the Flood. One of the texts of the Ark story says that animals with breath were saved, which is taken to mean only tetrapods have to be accounted for. It seems that insects and worms could survive by floating on debris.
    If one reads the story of the Plagues of Egypt in the book of Exodus, it seems that insects could arise by spontaneous generation. The story of Samson in the book of Judges chapter 14 tells us that bees could be generated by equivocal generation from the dead body of a lion. Time was (up until the 18th century) when metamorphosis of insects was considered as equivocal generation:a butterfly was a different individual which was generated from the body of the caterpillar.

  18. Michael Fugate

    You mean the science in the Bible wasn’t correct? Revelation isn’t always correct?

  19. Jim Roberts

    @TomS
    @Michael Fugate
    Yeah, weird, almost like a Bronze Age document is a really bad science book.

  20. Eric Lipps

    There is, of course, no such thing as “devolution,” at least in biology, although archaic traits may reappear if the environment changes so as to make them advantageous again.

  21. See the Wikipedia article “Devolution (biology)”.
    The etymology of “evolution” is from the Latin prepositon “e/ex”, meaning “out from”. This would suggest that its antonym would be “involution”, frm the Latin Preposition “in”, meaning “into”. (The Latin preposition “de” means “down from”, which is not the oppositie of “e”.) Mathematics has a rather old-fashioned pair of concepts named “evolution” and “involulton”.

  22. Da*m. I was always afraid the variations in my genome were due to things like electromagnetic radiation damage or DNA base copy errors, and now Hambone informs me it’s all due to some woman who liked apples years ago.

  23. What he’s calling “macroevolution”— the evolution of one kind into another kind — has never been observed. It’s an interpretation imposed on fossils, DNA, etc., because of an evolutionary starting point. … Macroevolution is really their religion — a blind faith idea to try to explain life.

    *Snicker* Ham, of course, knows all about “blind faith.” No one has ever observed divine creation of human beings from dirt, either.

    At least evolution doesn’t require routine violations of the laws of nature. (Although Ham insists it does, which goes to show how little he really understands.)

  24. @Eric Lipps
    Herbert Spencer published an essay om 1952, The Development Hypothesis, which made that point, forcefully. Those who complain that we do not see speciation, do not see creation, they do not even say what it would look like.

  25. The existence of the Discovery Institute proves old Hambo’s conjecture, at least in part. Apparently consciousness and reason are devolving at the DI.

  26. Eric Lipps

    Well, degenerating, at least. And not from a very high level of quality.