Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Worldnutdaily and YEC Nonsense

I clicked on this link from the front page of the Worldnutdaily expecting some profoundly ridiculous claims; I was not disappointed. I also figured maybe they were going to just reprint some press release from the Discovery Institute, but instead they went for Answers in Genesis instead. And the arguments are precisely what one would expect from Ken Ham and his merry band of halfwits. I love the very first paragraph:

A new report by “Geology” magazine that a newspaper cited as linking humans to the die-off of Australia’s “prehistoric” animals really doesn’t advance knowledge, either in advocacy of or opposition to evolution, according to an expert in the field and president of a Christian apologetics ministry.


The “expert in the field” is Ken Ham himself; I don’t know what they think he is an expert in, but it certainly isn’t geology. The paper they’re referring to was a paleoclimatology study of the time when the Australian megafauna went extinct. The researchers were trying to determine whether that extinction was due to climate changes or to human activity such as hunting. They found that the climate during that extinction period was similar to earlier periods that those species had survived in, so they conclude that human activity had a role to play in that extinction.

This is a reasonable paper, testing two competing hypotheses based on the logical prediction that if the extinction was climate related then they should find evidence of massive climactic changes in the geological record from that time frame. The article doesn’t have much to do with evolution, though, so I’m not sure why Ham is so keen to knock it down except that he doesn’t think that any geological strata reflects any climate other than heavy rain and flooding, since they were all laid down by Noah’s famous flood, in his view.

“If they find animals and plants in the fossil record together, they assume they were living together,” he told WND. “That’s not necessarily so. They could have been transported and dumped together.”

Just because they were buried together, doesn’t mean they lived together, he noted. “You didn’t see them moving together,” he said.

Well yes, that’s certainly possible. Sometimes animals die in a flood and are transported and deposited some distance away as the flood waters recede. But is Ham so clueless about geology that he doesn’t think we can tell the difference between sediments deposited by such a flood and sediments deposited in other environments? Of course he is. And of course we can tell the difference. After all, we see floods happening today and we can see the kinds of sediments they leave behind and how they are distinct from non-flood sediments.

The very fact that flood sediments not of any distinct type of sediment because all sorts of terrestrial detritus is mixed together is one obvious indication that they were deposited during a flood. But that is precisely how we can distinguish between them and pick them out of a series of strata, because they are not consistent with the other distinct types of sediments (limestone, shale, sandstone, etc). When we see limestone, for example, we know that it cannot have been deposited in a flood or post-flood environment. Ham is simply peddling geological ignorance.

Comments

  1. #1 SteveF
    December 29, 2006

    This is a quite extraordinarily stupid story. Truly, pathetically, moronic. Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions have very little to do with evolution. They are an archaeological/palaeontological question, unrelated to mutation and natural selection etc.

    WND is simply attempting a bit of guilt by association; hey lets try and link this to evolution and show everyone that it is wrong. What is particularly amusing is that, strictly speaking, this sort of question could be asked in a YEC framework – what did cause megafaunal extinction in the post flood ecosystem? The specific question need not have much to say about either evolution or the age of the earth.

    This brings me on to the next point; Ed you may actually giving Ham too much credit here. His commentsappear to be particularly bizarre as the vast majority of YECs believe the Pliestocene to be post flood. There was even an ice age before the sediments in question were laid down. I guess he could be referring rather abstractly to catastrophism post flood, but this is not the immediate impression given.

  2. #2 Boo
    December 29, 2006

    What’s really fascinating about this article is Ham’s view of knowledge:

    “It’s a good example of the fact that evolutionary ideas change all the time. They are reinterpreting their ideas as they look at the evidence,” he told WND. “The result is that there’s no real knowledge there.”

    According to Ham, if you base your ideas on evidence, then you have no knowledge. I wonder exactly how he would define “real knowledge?”

  3. #3 SteveF
    December 29, 2006

    “”It’s a good example of the fact that evolutionary ideas change all the time.”

    Ham you fucking idiot, it isn’t an evolutionary idea. You are simply lying to the ignorant masses who read WND.

    Moreover, it is worth pointing out that Paul Martin’s blitzkreig hypothesis implicated humans in megafaunal extinction. In the 1960s. Thats 40 years ago Kenny. It isn’t an idea that is changing all the time, it is a long standing hypothesis. You tool.

  4. #4 J-Dog
    December 29, 2006

    So, according to Ham and YEC’s, did the humans in Australia exterminate the megafauna pre or post flood? In other words, are they Noah’s or Adam’s incestual offspring? And BTW, it is a LONG walk from the Middle East to Australia…or did they fly Pterodactyl Air to Sydney?
    Inquiring Minds Want To Know! Maybe my answers will be found at the new Ken Ham Museum For Cretans and Losers coming soon to KY.

  5. #5 mark
    December 29, 2006

    It looks like there is consensus that Ham is an absolute moron (or else a bald-faced liar). It is clear that neither Ham nor the World Nut Daily writer actually read the Geology article in question; it’s even less likely they looked at the pile of supplemental material (data, methods, etc.) available online. They likely did not read the articles cited by Prideaux &al. which provide support for the validity of the methods used. For that matter, I’m not sure Ham even looked at the newspaper article–he seems to have dismissed the Geology article as just another one of the evilutionists’ lies, the way Behe cavalierly waved away the pile of books and articles that did not support his point of view at K v. D. I liked his line, “They are reinterpreting their ideas as they look at the evidence.” Not like those Christian apoplectics, er, apologists, who only need to be told something once and that’s the way it is, now and forever, regardless of what new evidence may turn up.

    The point of Prideaux &al. was simply to document whether or not the the faunal makeup of the area was stable during a period of climatic variability that preceded the coming of humans to Australia. Ham completely missed this point.

  6. #6 John
    December 29, 2006

    “..or else a bald-faced liar.”

    I can prove that Ken Ham is not a bald-faced liar; he has a beard.

  7. #7 waldteufel
    December 29, 2006

    “Ham is simply peddling geological ignorance.”

    Exactly. Ham is not stupid, in fact he’s quite clever.
    Aig is a pack of predators. What is their prey?
    The morons who derive their “World View” by waving their bibles on Sunday mornings and lapping up the sop offered by their rapacious pastors.

  8. #8 Ginger Yellow
    December 30, 2006

    “According to Ham, if you base your ideas on evidence, then you have no knowledge. I wonder exactly how he would define “real knowledge?”

    Ham’s really proud of that. I listened to an interview with him about the creationism museum (it might have been on that rather scary Radio Ulster debate with Dawkins and Andy Macintosh among others). He went off on one about how scientists keep changing their minds when new data comes in, but Biblical knowledge is fixed (never mind that our understanding of the Bible is not monolithic and has changed dramatically over the years). I think this is one of the main reasons that the fundamentalist worldview is enjoying such a resurgence – with such profound social changes occurring in the last 50 years especially, it offers a bedrock of certainty and conservatism. Some people would rather have something to cling onto than to approach the world with open minds. This also partially accounts for fundamentalists’ aversion to exposure to other beliefs and ways of life – it reduces the certainty that theirs is the one true way, and certainty is all that worldview has to offer.

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