# The Banana Man Cometh

[important]This marks my “first” post back to the blog after a week off to heal my hand. I would have posted something yesterday but the blog decided to crash and “eat” my entire post. And I really cannot be asked reading through Bill O’Reilley’s war on Christmas rant about Atheists Pinheads again. You cannot make me.[/important]

It is shocking to a Brit who’s country carries Darwin on the currency to hear the “rise of Creationism” in the USA.

When I was younger, I participated in the great creationist battles of the Internet. Back when a lot of the creationists genuinely figured that their research matched science.

But the legacy of those still remains. Many creationists “won their fights”. Hovind was one of them, with his mocking of science and utilisation of the common fallacies that people have with regards to evolution, Hovind managed to enthral millions with his bumbling biblical maceration of what evolution is.

But the poster child for all this was Ray Comfort. Him and Kirk Cameron’s unwittingly homo-erotic banana argument became the butt of nearly every joke. Far more than that stupid crocoduck that Hovind kept flogging.

And that argument rides again.

“Obviously, you and I come from opposing views then. Why should we let Christians teach their kids what they believe about Creation and do that in science? We find creation scientists all over the United States. It hasn’t kneecapped or handicapped them whatsoever.”

Ah Hovind! The problem is “calling yourself a scientist” is easy. It doesn’t make what you do “scientific”. What you do is what I like to call “applied theology”. Where you twist your entire world view to hammer the round pegs of evidence into the square holes of reality by stuffing the edges with Bible pages.

“I’ll tell you what’s even worse, In all fifty states, tax dollars are going to tell the kids that they’re cousins of bananas, and that they all evolved from rocks. That’s being forced, down the kids’ throats, in all 50 states.”

Yes but we are such distant cousins that we may as well declare ourselves to be “technically” in line for the Throne of England and it would be a more related relationship than our kinship with the contents of our salad bowl.

If this is the best modern Creationists are coming up with, we must ask ourselves “why the hell are there so many places in the USA where they teach magic as science and not laughing at such bad arguments.

“I’m saying that we did not evolve from a random process over billions of years, coming from the Earth, which was originally made out of rock, according to the evolution worldview, “Because we actually have revelation from God that tells us how it really did happen.”

Yes. By Magic. Which is why we don’t teach it. Sure we are polite but if we were trying to push a Native American or a Hindu or a African creation myth the Christians would not be “polite” and call it “divine”. It is what it is and what it is, is magic.

“Well,I have a big problem with your tax dollars, and my tax dollars, going to tell kids we all evolved from a rock, that the Big Bang created everything from nothing — that’s what they’re teaching.”

Because as every good Christian knows we are made out of clay! You got the geology all wrong!

“The universe is only 6,000 years old, and there’s a lot of evidence to support that. I was just talking to Bill Nye ["The Science Guy"] … and he brought up evidence that the human population is 7.1 billion today, but in 1964 when he was at the World’s Fair, it had just crossed the 3 billion mark. It’s an exponential growth curve. It’s very easy to do the math. If you average out those millions per day, it only goes back 4,400 years.”

Because for the majority of human existence populations didn’t grow quickly because most human beings didn’t survive to adulthood. Both natural famines, disease and war kept our population growing at a miniscule pace. We can observe this in places where hunter gatherer lifestyles still exist. However with the advent of “technology” not only did more children survive but more women too. This meant that despite having fewer children than the good olde days of keeping whatever lives you have more people survive for longer and a higher growth rate.

This is evident throughout most of history.

So let’s do some mathematics.

Hovind claims that humanity descended from “ginormous amounts of incest” at around the 4400 year mark. From 2 individuals (we can do a Noachian calculation too if you like!) it created a society of 7 billion.

In the past 50 odd years the population has effectively doubled. In Hovind’s mind this is probably the rate at which human population “grows”. This is 88 doublings of population over the alleged 4400 period of human existence.

So we can work it out either way. 2 x (2)^88 or 7,000,000,000/(2)^88

So the first way (assuming every 50 years the population straight doubled) you get 6.2 x 10^26 human beings which is a number MUCH larger than 7X10^9. So in order for this to work you have to “Methusalah” shit.

So let us work the other way.you end up with “less than 2 people”. Less than one person even. You end up with 2×10^-16 of a person.

Now what does this mean? To us it means Hovind is full of bullshit. But Hovind would pull the “AH! BUT METHUSALAH” argument.

See this effectively means the initial human beings lived long enough to skew the data towards our current rate. That there are fewer than the 88, 50 year doublings that we are working out from his time line.

So let us assume a straight run from Adam and Eve. If the human population doubles every 50 years and you replace losses to deaths to get to this doubling, how long does it take.

2(2)^x = 7,000,000,000

So we need to solve for x. I can’t be asked to calculus this so brute force and Excel come to my rescue.

It works out to be around 30 generations. Which is 1500 years.

Funny how the Bible is older than 2000 years. Oh the creationists will say “but this is not taking into account all the people who lived hundreds of years prior but who still bred. Frankly I am more amazed that all of world history circa 500 AD boils down to just 3 people.

Okay it’s very rough but it is a stupid premise. To mathematically calculate populations based on a story written by people who probably never even heard of the Chinese or the Indians (maybe, the Indica was already written by this point of time). Or the Native Americans.

And considering the usage of Mosaic law to shore up his arguments, the people of Jewish Israel probably would not have heard about the Britons or the Celts or indeed the Romans.

It’s such a mathematically faulty explanation that you have to invoke magic to make it work. Numbers literally have to stop meaning things for Hovind’s explanation to work.

I know enough of the Bible to know that Noah is the LAST long lived person in it. See the first “10” live nearly a thousand years a piece. After Noah everyone dies like aged 100. I know the Methusalah argument does not work  here because Methusalah is “Pre-Flood” I know Adam and Eve date back to around 4000 BC by the reckoning of the Usher Creation mythos. My calculations make it 29 generations for 7 people so 1450 years (which is worse for the likes of Hovind).

“I’m not the one advocating that the public system should teach this. It’s just science. Just do the math.”

I did it. The math is wrong. Either by your own argument the Bible is wrong by a factor of nearly 3000 years (Yeah I am arguing for Even Younger Earth Creationism!) or you have to invoke serious magic to make the graph fit into your idea of what the world was like.

Now I am no “scientist” (Okay, I am. Medicine is a science) but even I know that you should not invoke magical entitites to make your hypothesis function despite the evidence.

AND this is without the ludicrous notion that our entire genetics is down to a major bottle neck of the species where down to just Noah and His wife and the wives of their sons. Remember the genetics of Noah and his wife are the same as their sons and so their sons do not count to the diversity.

That all the human diversity that exists is down to just 4000 years of incredibly rates of mutation which is impossible especially considering the original breeding stock is so inbred as it is. When you invoke magic to explain the empirical genetic diversity of humanity you stop being science.

“It’s very scientific,” Hovind replied. “How is it that there are 20, or 26, doctorate degree, professor-level teachers just at Liberty University alone?”

Because Universities such as Liberty give out doctorates for “funsies”. You may as well dial a degree. Just because you have a degree in homeopathy doesn’t make your arguments “valid” when it comes down to medicine. A degree in Applied Theology doesn’t make you a biologist.

If you want to watch the exchange? Here it is in full.

But what I cannot believe the most is Eric Hovind raising the Lazarus of the Banana Argument in a new form.

1. chigau (違う) says

2. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

In the past 50 odd years the population has effectively doubled. In Hovind’s mind this is probably the rate at which human population “grows”. This is 88 doublings of population over the alleged 4400 period of human existence.

You’re putting up a straw Hovind here. It’s tempting to do so, but we must be honest even if Hovind and friends aren’t.
There are obvious variations- the Black Death, for example, which wiped out between a third and a half of the population of Europe.. Even if it had less effect elsewhere, it still distorts the data. The introduction of European diseases to the Americas is another instance. No doubt there are yet more Hovind can use- demographic studies of the last few centuries would show some, perhaps.
We can only say what is “in Hovind’s mind” when Hovind says what is in his mind, if he has a mind. Until then, don’t make conjectures about the unimaginable unimaginative!

3. Artor says

@ sc_770dolyflg;lkjh/k;fy.h;i’po

Also don’t forget the “Green Revolution.” The modern invention of artificial fertilizers has allowed for population growth unheard of in any point in history. This isn’t strawmanning Hovind, it’s pointing out that he has shit for brains and hasn’t thought out his argument.

4. Holms says

In the past 50 odd years the population has effectively doubled. In Hovind’s mind this is probably the rate at which human population “grows”. This is 88 doublings of population over the alleged 4400 period of human existence.

Ussher’s chronology puts the start of creation at 4004BC, giving us 6000 years of doublings. This makes the mathematics even more ludicrous: with 50 years per doubling, we are now looking at 2^120, yielding a population of 1.33×10^36.

I’m not sure where you get the figure of 4,400 years from. Is that from the supposed date of the deluge perhaps?

You’re putting up a straw Hovind here. It’s tempting to do so, but we must be honest even if Hovind and friends aren’t.
There are obvious variations- the Black Death, for example, which wiped out between a third and a half of the population of Europe.

Hovind is the one treating the population of Earth as a smooth curve, so Avicenna worked the numbers on that basis.

5. says

It’s the number he provided. I assume it’s the Noah choke point since the Usher age of humanity is 6000 years or so (4000 BC)

A

6. 2(2)^x = 7,000,000,000
So we need to solve for x. I can’t be asked to calculus this so brute force and Excel come to my rescue.

Excel is not a rescue (was it ever?;-) ). Calculus, on the other side, is.

To solve for x you have to take the logarithm of both sides.
$\log(2\cdot 2^x) = \log(7\,000\,000\,000)$
Which gives
$\log(2)*(x+1) = \log(7\,000\,000\,000)$
Now it should be easy to solve for x
$x = \frac{\log(7\,000\,000\,000)-\log(2)}{\log(2)}$
We can use the logarithm to any base we wish* so if we chose base 2 we get
$x = \log_2(7\,000\,000\,000)-1$
That is easier to calculate and is about 31.705 or, given the 50 years value for doubling, 1585.25 years.

PS: I heard that the very large numbers or the ages of Moses et.al. come from the fact that they measured not in years but moons and if you divide by thirteen all of the unbelievable large numbers make more sense.

PPS: Preview broken?

*not any base (try e.g. zero as a base), but almost all

7. Richard Simons says

I was once teaching math to a group of adult ed students that I’d been warned included a number of creationists. As a group exercise, we estimated how many adult males were available to build the pyramids assuming there had been a steady growth in the population from 4004 BC to the present day. IIRC the answer turned out to be something like 72. Most students were entertained but one was troubled so I pointed out that presumably at least one of our assumptions was wrong and she went away to think about it.

8. mobius says

The example I like to use if the Tower of Babel. According to Biblical chronology, this took place only about 100 years after The Flood.

Now, using the assumption of population doubling every 50 years, and a starting population of 8 people you get…one doubling to 16 people and a second doubling to 32 people…and that’s it. 32 people to build the Tower of Babel and be scattered into all the myriad language groups that exist now.

Ah…yeah…that makes sense. [/sarcasm]

9. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

I’ve met a person who was close to completing a Liberty degree. She admitted that her science education stopped at 2nd grade and believed that Hysteria (the condition where a woman’s womb drives her mad) was real. She said was studying to be a Christian counselor for survivors of sexual abuse. Her degree would have been in Theology. I was appalled. The degrees they hand out are not worth the paper they are printed on.

10. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

I really must apologise. I must have read Hovind’s remark “If you average out those millions per day, it only goes back 4,400 years.”, but forgotten all about it when I posted. I’d guess I assumed even a creationist couldn’t be that stupid. Obviously, I was wrong.

11. NitricAcid says

If one assumes the correct rate of doubling, then one could assume that humans have been around for just a few thousand years. However (as has been pointed out)…
a) very few people were around to build the pyramids after the flood (at least one of which must have been built during the flood)
b) one ought to make the same assumptions about population growth for other species, such as insects, bacteria, and rabbits (which would lead to there being more bunnies on the planet, by mass, than…well, planet).
c) if you don’t believe a) because “the pyramids must have been dated incorrectly” (an excuse that I’ve heard), then you ought to believe teh bible itself, which declares that Noah’s grandson(?) wandered into Egypt and argued with the pharoah. How fast did Noah’s kids breed when they got to Egypt, and why didn’t the pharoah recognize his cousin? Noah would have still been alive at that point….why didn’t the patriarch tell the pharoah off?

12. says

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