Ken Ham Explains the Extinction of Dinosaurs


Someone put this amusing video up with a bunch of clips of Ken Ham explaining what really happened to dinosaurs. Brief answer: They were on the ark. No idea what happened to them after that. The most ridiculous part of this performance in front of a bunch of kids was his repeated suggestion — he literally has them chanting it as a mantra — that whenever a teacher tells you about evolution or the earth being billions of years old, they should ask them, “Were you there?”

In fact, he says:

The only way we can know what happened in the past is if someone was there to tell us.

Really? If that were true — and it obviously isn’t — then we’d have to let a whole lot of people out of prison for crimes they committed without eyewitnesses. If someone breaks into your house when you’re not there and steals your stuff, we don’t necessarily need a witness to prove who did it. If they left fingerprints or DNA evidence behind, or if we catch them later trying to fence the things that were stolen, we can still show that they committed the crime. We do this literally every day. And in fact, eyewitness testimony is one of the forms of evidence that is most commonly wrong.

If Ken Ham really believed what he’s saying, he would be demanding that no one could ever be convicted without a witness. But he’s not. Because he doesn’t really believe that, it’s just a convenient argument, one that seems convincing to children.

Comments

  1. jayarrrr says

    Why won’t the same thing work for us?

    “Th’ BUY-Bull SEZ…”

    “Vas yoo dere, Chollie?” (homage to Baron Munchhausen)

  2. percysowner says

    Wow, the Unicorn Song in 1968 by the Irish Reavers had a better explanation about what happened to the unicorns than this. When a silly little ditty written by Shel Silverstein makes more sense than you, you are in trouble.

  3. Michael Heath says

    No one was there, therefore the Bible is the prevailing authority“, (paraphrased) continues to be the single most popular argument I encounter in meat-world for creationism.

  4. says

    As an attorney since the 70s, I’ve known that our profession has been painfully aware that “eyewitness” testimony is among (if not the) weakest forms of evidence in any sort of trial, for more decades than I like to think of. Ed’s litany of exonerations based on scientific evidence is more than enough to demonstrate that. Unfortunately, we, as a profession, have not been able to convince the public of this (and/or have exploited it to advance our careers) and the injustice will continue. Ham is, in this regard, small fish … a buffoon … but this attitude has tragic real world effects.

  5. matty1 says

    Unfortunately the argument won’t be convincing in reverse. Creationists regard the Bible as an eyewitness account by God.
    Of course it also won’t be convincing because nothing will convince them so this is a minor point.

  6. Doug Little says

    Creationists regard the Bible as an eyewitness account by God.

    Which god? were they there when he testified? Don’t they know that eyewitness accounts are unreliable.

  7. says

    If Ken Ham really believed what he’s saying, he would be demanding that no one could ever be convicted without a witness.

    Two witnesses. The Biblical standard for evidence is the testimony of two men. So apparently the ancients at least realized the limitations of eye witness testimony enough to demand some confirmation. But then, how observant do you have to be to notice that different people who were at the same event tell different stories?

  8. dingojack says

    Hey Kenny – clearly not all the dinosaurs died, some got away in a spaceship they made all by themselves.
    What you don’t believe me? IT IS WRITTEN!!!
    Besides, where you there? (Or in the Delta Quadrant??)
    Dingo

  9. raven says

    “Were you there?”

    This works just as well for xianity.

    Were you there when jesus was crucified?

    “The bible says he was.”

    How do you know the bible writers just didn’t make it all up? Were you there?

    In fact, with all the mutally contradictory accounts, the bible is a known work of mostly fiction.

  10. Sastra says

    To the unscientific mind, everything comes down to picking “who” you believe. You’re still at the level of a child, or perhaps a low-status member of a primitive tribe. You can either choose to believe the scientists or you can choose to believe the accounts of people who were there. Which person do you want to trust? Which person do you want to put your faith in and say “I believe you?”

    I think this problem cuts across the board of pseudoscience. I’ve tried to explain to my woo-believing friends why the scientific process means that no, I’m not actually trusting the individual scientists (who all have their prejudices and limitations.) I’m placing my confidence in a system of checks and balances. Constant internal and external criticism helps keep bias minimal and allows us to extend our limits. It wouldn’t matter if every scientist is particularly unreliable: the process itself forces honesty out at the end.

    But no, they keep wanting to bring it back to all being about people. It’s all anecdotal, it’s all individuals telling about their personal experience. WHO do you WANT to believe? And then it’s framed as a NICE person on one side and a NOT-nice person on the other. And what then is our rule of thumb in such situations? You believe the person with the better ‘character.’ That’s how we deal with dealing with our tribe.

    Ham is doing this because they are all doing this. And, for obvious reasons, it’s going to be a very easy point to make to children.

  11. dingojack says

    Won’t anyone think of the children!!!
    [Clutches pearls, looks around for fainting couch –
    darn – one of them little bastard’s nicked it!]
    :) Dingo

  12. tbp1 says

    Every time I think of the question of the reliability of eyewitnesses I think of this:

    Some friends of ours tell a cute anecdote of something their kid said once upon a time (by now, over twenty years ago). My wife thinks we were there when the kid said the cute thing. I think we only heard about it later from her parents. We are both absolutey convinced we are correct, but only one of us can be.

    I thought about this a lot when I was on jury duty.

  13. zmidponk says

    The most ridiculous part of this performance in front of a bunch of kids was his repeated suggestion — he literally has them chanting it as a mantra — that whenever a teacher tells you about evolution or the earth being billions of years old, they should ask them, “Were you there?”

    On a bus I get quite often, there’s this guy who typically announces some variation of ‘Jesus died for your sins’ to the passengers as he gets on. Having heard this, ‘were you there?’ thing before from the likes of Ken Ham, I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing when, one time he did this, one woman turned around and said, ‘How do you know? Were you there?’

  14. Chiroptera says

    I’ve always liked the “We all have the same facts, but we have different theories to explain the facts.”

    Ignoring the misuse of the word “theory,” what I like about this is the implication that conservative evangelicals are a-okay with “post-modern” “I can believe whatever I want” type of thinking. Without realizing that it actually undermines their own claims to the “Truth.”

  15. caseloweraz says

    By the shaking, jumping ghost of Jehosaphat!

    Ken Ham also deserves a Bryan Fischer Award because, of course, if the only way it can be known whether and how something happened is if it has been personally witnessed by someone living, Ham’s own testimony is worthless. He wasn’t there either.

    And as far as the “inerrant” testimony of the Bible goes, AFAIK the Bible says nothing about dinosaurs (for the best of reasons.)

  16. pacal says

    percysowner says:

    Wow, the Unicorn Song in 1968 by the Irish Reavers had a better explanation about what happened to the unicorns than this. When a silly little ditty written by Shel Silverstein makes more sense than you, you are in trouble.

    So that’s who wrote the song; I didn’t know. I rather like Shel Silverstein, except for The Giving Tree (Shudder).

  17. lofgren says

    if the only way it can be known whether and how something happened is if it has been personally witnessed by someone living, Ham’s own testimony is worthless.

    There are people who honestly proclaim, without a hint of cognitive dissonance, that because nobody was there and we therefore cannot know how the world began, we should regard the bible as the most authoritative source until proven otherwise. And since the bible is the most authoritative source, any evidence that contradicts it can be safely discounted as faulty. And since the evidence must be faulty, we should regard the bible as the most authoritative source until proven otherwise.

    Stop me when you see the critical flaw.

  18. Michael Heath says

    lofgren writes:

    There are people who honestly proclaim, without a hint of cognitive dissonance, that because nobody was there and we therefore cannot know how the world began, we should regard the bible as the most authoritative source until proven otherwise. And since the bible is the most authoritative source, any evidence that contradicts it can be safely discounted as faulty. And since the evidence must be faulty, we should regard the bible as the most authoritative source until proven otherwise.

    Stop me when you see the critical flaw.

    You forgot to pass the collection plate.

  19. says

    I am unaware of it’s having happened before, previously, but I think Mr. Michael Heath should make room on his mantel shelf for a shiny new “Nettie” for that comment@23.

    Gary Larson had it right, the dinos went extinct from their smoking habit. Then, again, maybe they ATE the unicorns. How the fuck would I know? I wasn’t there.

  20. iangould says

    So not only did God punish Adam and Eve’s unborn chilren for their parents’ sin, he also took it out on all the animals that became prey for the Tyrannosaurs and the other species he turned into carnivores.

    What a malicious cunt.

  21. Childermass says

    Was he there to see that He was there?

    [Notice capitalization.]

    Heck, I bet Ham has personally condemned people in spite of them being there and he was not. I am pretty sure that everyone with kids has. I am sure if Ham knows he did not eat the candy and the child is the only other person who was there he would not hesitate to make the obvious conclusion no matter how many times the child says he did not do it. Was Ham there? No. Is the child guilty? Yes. Why? Because candy does not eat itself. Using that bit of physical reality makes it damning circumstantial evidence.

    The geological past is deduced in much the same way. We know something about physical processes. We know that a top layer* must have come after the bottom layer. We know sediment are laid horizontally and not vertically. Etc. Now we run into an angular unconformity…

    *Okay the whole thing could have flipped, but then the sequence will be exactly reversed. Also some processes indicate the original up/down. And one can usually see folding in the immediate area.

  22. Michael Heath says

    Ken Ham is obviously a despicable person. But let’s also condemn all the parents who abuse their kids by exposing them to such obvious lies and a belief system which harms children. From my perspective they’re far more immoral than Mr. Ham.

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