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Also, the sharks are smarter than Eric Hovind

The news a few weeks ago was that hybrid sharks had been found off the coast of Australia. They looked like tropical Australian black-tip sharks, but genetic testing revealed that they’d hybridized with the common black-tip, which has a wider range; these hybrid black-tips were similarly extending their range and living in colder waters.

This is an excellent example of evolution: it’s a population shifting its range, correlated with an observation of novel genetic attributes. This is exactly the kind of gradual transition that we’d expect to be compatible with evolutionary theory.

Unless you’re a creationist, of course. Or an idiot. But I repeat myself.

I wonder if they ever considered that when you stand back and look at them, they are all sharks. That means they are the same kind of animal. That is not evolution taking place; there is no changing from one kind of animal into another kind of animal happening here. We started with a shark and now we have a shark. That is not evolution!

That’s Eric Hovind’s take on the story. First of all, “kind” is not a valid taxonomic unit; it makes no sense at all to demand that a “kind” turn into a different “kind” when “kind” is undefined, undefinable, and unmeasurable. What was seen was a population with a measurable change in their genetic characteristics, and a natural mechanism, hybridization, to explain the shift, and a possible selective force, climate change, to drive the process. That’s the science.

Secondly, what does he expect? That a shark would turn into a mouse?

Thirdly, Eric Hovind does not get to define what evolution means. Biologists get to do that. Eric Hovind does not qualify. Eric Hovind has qualifications equivalent to those of his father: he is a “graduate” of Jackson Hole Bible College, an unaccredited and glorified tourist lodge in the Rocky Mountains which offers a one year course leading to a Diploma of Biblical Foundations, whatever the hell that is. That diploma and an application might qualify him for a job at McDonald’s.

Especially since I looked at their class schedule: not one lick of biology, but lots of evangelism, acts of the apostles, church history, prophecy, mangled geology, apologetics, and most importantly of all, “Intro to Finance”.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. Chuck says

    Yep, Eric’s pa Kent has said on many occasions that he won’t believe evolution until a dog gives birth to a parakeet. That, PZ, is real evolution, not this “changing frequency of alleles within a population” garbage.

    The fact that evolutionary theory would be disconfirmed by the dog -> parakeet event does not seem to bother Dr. Hovind at all.

  2. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    what does he expect? That a shark would turn into a mouse?

    In the Strawmanian Theory of NonEvolution, yes.

  3. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    The vast majority of creationists disparage evolution without having a clue about what evolution is and how it works. erichovind is following in this proud tradition.

  4. shouldbeworking says

    I checked out the health form that must be completed along with the application for admission. Why would a college of any type kind need to know if a student had any fractured bones as a child? Unless it was to weed out those children who had heathen casts and x-rays as opposed to scripture-approved faith-healing.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    Doesn’t Hovind understand that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Make a several steps concerning a few different features of a critter’s anatomy and physiology and you have a whole new animal.

    And don’t give me bananaman Ray’s “the first male and first female would have to evolve at the same time, what are the odds?” argument. Evolution does not happen to individuals, it happens to populations. I think that’s the most important thing creationists don’t understand about evolution.

  6. geocatherder says

    The sharks are smarter than Eric Hovind? Hell, my very stupid cats are smarter than Eric Hovind. They at least have figured out (though Rocky needs periodic reminders) that Making Shit Up doesn’t get you anywhere in my household. Declaring you haven’t been fed when there’s a full bowl of food, or insisting at home that you should get Vacation Food, does not cause more/better food to be produced.

    Why does Hovind have such a hard time of it?

  7. says

    I’m sure you’re aware, PZ, that “kind” is a buzzword of sorts for the creationist folks. They even invented their own little “study group” to try to sort out how to differentiate between one “kind” and another: http://www.creationbiology.org/ The term the creationists use, of course, is “baramin” because that’s the term written in the language that their favorite science textbook, Genesis.

    So when Eric says sharks are all the same “kind”, he’s making a fascinating addition to the creationist taxonomic reinvention-of-the-wheel scheme! Thanks, Eric!

  8. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

    what does he expect? That a shark would turn into a mouse?

    In the Strawmanian Theory of NonEvolution, yes.

    Come on now. We all know he was hoping that the shark would turn into a pig.

  9. says

    I wonder if they ever considered that when you stand back and look at them, they are all sharks.

    I wonder if creationists/IDiots ever considered that when you stand back and look at a shark and a human that they are all just eukaryotes. Pretty much the same genetics, just a few variations to make amoebae, sharks, and apes.

    Gee, Eric, ever wonder why we have mostly the same protein families as yeast? What moronic “designer” would make metazoa out of pretty much the same info as a yeast cell?

    Only gods would be so lame, because they don’t even exist.

    Glen Davidson

  10. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    what does he expect? That a shark would turn into a mouse?

    In the Strawmanian Theory of NonEvolution, yes.

    Come on now. We all know he was hoping that the shark would turn into a pig.

    For a shark to turn into a Hamm would be devolution, not evolution.

    WE ARE DEVO!

  11. says

    Ok, Eric Hovind’s comment on this observation is a mind-dumbing misinterpretation and it doesn’t help him to treat evolution the way, West-Germany treated the GDR, i.e. using quotation marks as word condoms to prevent any contact with reality.
    But why exactly are sharks now smarter than Hovind?

  12. thomasfoss says

    I assume “Intro to Finance” would include such important topics as “Income Taxes: Strangely not Optional,” and “No, You Can’t Write Off All Your Pay and Possessions as Loans from God.”

  13. Irene Delse says

    @ feralboy:

    No, no, no, it’s octopusses (octopi? octopodes?) that go into and out of jars!

  14. That One Skeptic says

    Typical creationist: doesn’t know what evolution is, tries to refute something he can’t even define correctly, and looks like an idiot in the process. You can’t be surprised though. Truth never mattered to these people, all that matters to a creationist is how many people they brainwashed into believing the same thing they do.

  15. Irene Delse says

    @ chigau (同じ):

    Well… Since they are here with us, maybe they were kicked out of Eden too!

  16. RFW says

    I wonder what would happen if I wore a sandwich board saying “I am an oppressed creationist. Donate early, donate often. Don’t make Baby Jesus cry”?

    Might be an experiment worth carrying out. (And the tax man will never know…)

    PS: I wouldn’t be surprised if that course “Intro to Finance” includes big sections on how to hide cash income, how to cook the books, how to maintain two sets of books, and how and where to hide the Real Books. Maybe not in those bald and unmistakable terms, but those topics nonetheless.

  17. Gregory Greenwood says

    Irene Delse @ 14;

    “Miracle! Immaculate Conception!” ;-)

    All hail shark-jesus!

    Now for the acid test – if we throw Eric Hovind into the ocean with shark-jesus and a whole lot of its fellow oceanic predators, will shark-jesus be able to stretch that single creationist moron far enough to perform its own version of the miracle of feeding the five thousand?

    How else are we to know if this is the true zebra shark messiah?

  18. catnip67 says

    Perhaps he is waiting for a hagunenon like super evolutionary life form that (based on the quadruple sterated octohelix), evolves several times over lunch & when reaching for sugar for their coffee, will evolve into something with much longer arms, but probably perfectly incapable of drinking coffee.

  19. says

    Gee, Eric, ever wonder why we have mostly the same protein families as yeast? What moronic “designer” would make metazoa out of pretty much the same info as a yeast cell?

    That was a bit hyperbolic, it’s more like sharks and humans share most gene families, although core metabolic processes tend to be more heavily conserved across eukaryotes.

    But anyway, quite a few genes found in yeast are also found in mammals, even though metazoa also share a good many genes not found in yeast.

    Glen Davidson

  20. Irene Delse says

    he is a “graduate” of Jackson Hole Bible College, an unaccredited and glorified tourist lodge in the Rocky Mountains

    I see. Not very different from a diploma sold on Jackson’s Whole, then.

  21. marcus says

    @8 Francisco “Doesn’t Hovind understand that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” No.
    “Make a several steps concerning a few different features of a critter’s anatomy and physiology and you have a whole new animal.” God doesn’t allow that sort of thing.

  22. Azkyroth says

    But anyway, quite a few genes found in yeast are also found in mammals, even though metazoa also share a good many genes not found in yeast.

    However, the perceived similarity between “American-style lagers” and highly diluted mammalian urine is due to convergent evolution, not relatedness.

  23. says

    I wonder how the creationist crowd fit things like the whale shark into their kinds idea. Unlike most other sharks the whale shark sucks in its food, it doesn’t attack it and rip it to bits.

  24. hypatiasdaughter says

    #25 RFW
    As churches don’t even have to file a tax return, none of that shenanigans is necessary.
    The course probably covers “How to write off all the money I take for my personal use as church expenses and thereby avoid income tax while piously bragging that I draw no salary.”

  25. Circe says

    We all know he was hoping that the shark would turn into a pig.

    I thought that that particular form of evolution was to be left to a character from another mythology.

  26. peterh says

    @ #35:

    They get away with blending all sharks into one “kind” in the same way that they carry on and on about “the eye,” claiming it as proof of irreducible complexity, design, and therefore . . .

    They must not have even gotten as far as 5th Grade Science or they would realize there is great diversity in eyes out there and in many visual tasks many eyes are far superior to our own.

  27. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    The term the creationists use, of course, is “baramin” because that’s the term written in the language that their favorite science textbook, Genesis.

    Actually, as far as I can tell the word “baramin” never occurs as such in Genesis. It looks to me like a portmanteau created out of two words that do occur, bara = “he created” and min = “kind”.

  28. sabazinus says

    Wait, what about the amazing Sharktopus?!? THAT was an example of rampant hybridization and a change of “kind.” Right? Right?!?

    My hopes will have been dashed by the SyFy channel should this be true.

  29. pacomius says

    Unless you’re a creationist, of course. Or an idiot. But I repeat myself.

    Ah, without wanting to be a pedant, nobody seems to have noted that you are being a bit harsh here. After all, while every creationist is, ipso facto, an idiot, not every idiot is necessarily a creationist.

  30. palefury says

    Why don’t the likes of Eric Hovind recognize that a human is a “kind” of ape/monkey then?

  31. james54 says

    What I am wondering is what will happen between Eric and Kent when Kent gets out of prison in a few years. Eric has been running the show at CSE on his own for awhile and I don’t think he is going to want to step aside and let dad take over again. Should be interesting.

  32. StevoR says

    @ Randide, ou l’Optimisme : 8 January 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “what does he expect? That a shark would turn into a mouse? In the Strawmanian Theory of NonEvolution, yes.”

    Come on now. We all know he was hoping that the shark would turn into a pig.

    Well now that just wouldn’t be kosher!

    (or Halal come to think of it.)

  33. StevoR says

    @ 23 & 24 chigau (同じ) :

    Sharks have Original Sin?

    & Irene Delse :

    Well… Since they are here with us, maybe they were kicked out of Eden too!

    Yeah, Adam musta chucked the half eaten apple pomegranite Fruit of Knowledge into the river, it floated out to sea and was eaten by a shark – because sharks were vegetarians back then! Naturally.

    Yeeeee-ep.

  34. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Hah, I knew this was gonna get picked up and spit upon by creationists at some point. “B-but it’s not a shark giving birth to a dolphin! And it’s not happening while the shark is chewing on cornbread! It’s not evolution!”

    Nylon-eating bacteria. A new breed of sharks. Both of which have occurred while many of us were alive to learn about it if not bear witness. Yes, we have seen evolution, and my bet is that we will all see at least three more examples before most of us here at Pharyngula die.

  35. chigau (同じ) says

    On the other hand polar bear / grizzly hybrids prove™ that god made a mistake and is using global warming climate change to fix it.

  36. Circe says

    Yes, we have seen evolution, and my bet is that we will all see at least three more examples before most of us here at Pharyngula die.

    Just three? What about all the drug resistant strains of TB/Malaria/Cholera that keep surfacing up every now and then?

  37. Circe says

    @Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan

    We are not just seeing evolution. IN drug resistant bacteria, we are literally fighting it tooth and nail for our survival. Maybe the martial analogy of “denying the enemy is there” will help these creationists see the foolishness of their beliefs.

  38. says

    Jeez I just clicked on the link, remind me never to do that again!!!

    Had to giggle though, the next entry in his blog is a diatribe against atheists berating them. I can’t summarise the stupid adequately so I must quote.

    “The concept of atheism eliminates the very need for debate. If the atheist’s worldview is correct, then we are nothing but the result of accidental chemical processes and our thoughts are merely chemical reactions that take place in our brain. Therefore, nothing you ever do, or say, or even believe, matters. In the end, we all go back to “star dust.” So, why argue? Why waste your time talking to someone about the truth or falsehood of something when it doesn’t matter in the end?”

    Now apparently this is an example of the newly discovered “Too Quote” or “You Too” fallacy which means that we are evil hellbound monsters and the IRS is Satan’s servant or something like that.

    How can a person this stupid breathe and eat at the same time?

  39. Chris Booth says

    As the sharks (who, like the Hovinds, are a list of lawless resolutes) say of the Hovinds:

    “A little more than kin, and less than kind.”*

    But kinship aside, the Hovinds had best keep their distance, whether in Pensacola or in Darwin–like Catholics, sharks will eat crackers.

    _____
    * Hamlet, by Sharkspeare.

  40. Chris Booth says

    andrewbrown in #51:

    How can a person this stupid breathe and eat at the same time?

    Gills…and gall.

  41. Chris Booth says

    chigau in #23:

    Sharks have Original Sin?

    Original fin. In calligraphy or old typography, it looks like “sin”.

  42. Stacy says

    Darn. For once I’m quick enough to correct someone on Pharyngula and…

    Never mind.

    *slinks away

  43. Chris Booth says

    Stacy at # 58:

    Not to worry!

    If its any consolation, I don’t recall having seen the very amusing illustration from Punch in the Wiki Tu quoque entry, and enjoyed it very much.

  44. says

    Thanks for the grinz Stacy and Chris,

    Anyway apologies for the derail into advanced philosophy, back to seriously engaging with Hovind’s meticulous scholarship regarding sharks, and all the rest of biology!

  45. says

    I remember once trying to discuss with Eric the arguments that he espoused. I wrote an argument against his position, which his only response to showed he didn’t understand what was said, then after more explanation he didn’t respond.

    I take that as a victory.

  46. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Kel

    Demanding someone buy them a camera?

    A very particular camera. It is all about a perfect fit.

  47. llewelly says

    joshuaschroeder | 8 January 2012 at 5:07 pm :

    So when Eric says sharks are all the same “kind”, he’s making a fascinating addition to the creationist taxonomic reinvention-of-the-wheel scheme!

    Oh, but it’s not any wheel he’s reinvented. It is a triangular wheel he has reinvented. Much more impressive.

  48. says

    @theophontes

    I think, too, we must not also forget the coup de grâce of a To Kwok and write a bumbling character representing said person into a novel.

  49. kieran says

    I assume this has been asked before, is he in it for the money or is he a “true believer”?

  50. DLC says

    I did not think it was possible to be that ignorant of a subject and still be able to write about it. Hovind has outdone himself.

  51. Gregory Greenwood says

    It appears that at least some creationists are of the same ‘kind’ as convicted fraudsters.

    Isn’t that right, Kent?

  52. csmiller says

    @Circe 8 January 2012 at 11:06 pm

    @Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan

    We are not just seeing evolution. IN drug resistant bacteria, we are literally fighting it tooth and nail for our survival. Maybe the martial analogy of “denying the enemy is there” will help these creationists see the foolishness of their beliefs.

    There are new strains of TB that are immune to all antibiotics. Only experimental antibiotics, which have nasty side effects can control it.

  53. says

    kieran

    Are you suggesting he worships Mammon? I am shocked! Deeply. Well, shallowly. Well, okay, not at all.

  54. Mr. Fire says

    I’ll believe in evolution when those frickin’ sharks grow frickin’ laser beams on their foreheads!

  55. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I lived in Jackson Hole for about 9 years and I never once remember hearing about the Bible College. I thought it was a place out in Moose WY, which is outside of Jackson, but when I looked it up it’s right near where I used to live. In fact I used to ride my road bike by it all the time. It started in 1997 and I left in 2000 so maybe it didn’t have time to build up a big reputation. Though it appears it is doing that now, just not the reputation it wants.

    Former Student: Don’t waste your time or money. Pick an accredited Christian school. They do not tell you about the fact that you do not see Ken Ham, the daily chores that go along with the price of tuition, the terrible quality of out of date donated food from the grocery stores, the staffs complete lack of organization, none of your credits transfer to most colleges, cleaning the staff’s cars every Friday, the assigned seats for college aged students and their beliefs border on legalism by most Christian’s viewpoints. It is marketed as the ultimate adventure college. Don’t believe the hype. The adventures may have been fun if the staff has some concept of organization. This is college in name only. This is not a true college. Colleges allow their students to transfer credits, have jobs outside of school, allow for personal freedom of their students, not require the students to participate in daily chores, and not grade their students upon attitude. Research and ask lots and lots of questions. Ask former students. This place is not everything it is made out to be.

  56. says

    The fact that Ken Ham doesn’t show up is a plus.

    I have the impression that what this “college” actually is is a cheap vacation spot for creationists. These ignorant nobodies get to show up, spend a few days in a cabin in the mountains, and they have a group of ‘students’ paying them for the privilege.

    And then the students clean the creationist’s cars? Bonus!

  57. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    Cool. A ‘college’ in which the faculty does the hazing. I like it.

  58. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Mr. Fire

    I’ll believe in evolution when those frickin’ sharks grow frickin’ laser beams on their foreheads!

    Believe heretic!

    *pew pew pew*

    Who is your god now?

  59. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    They take field trips too.

    I’ll admit, I’m a bit jealous they got to go to Monument Valley. I’ve been wanting to go there to shoot for years.

    However, I can do without the jibber jabber about big floods, men riding dinosaurs and those mean evil scientists. Would kind of ruin the whole experience really.

  60. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Mr. Fire

    Can’t explain that!

    Easy. The lasers are recharged by tidal power.

  61. shouldbeworking says

    When Rev. said “They take field trips too” I had visions of sharks in SCAWBA* suits on a tour bus. Almost as scary as a chimp with an AK 47.

    *self contained above water breathing apparatus

  62. Chuck says

    @Chuck #4 Dr. Hovind??????? I hardly think he or his dad deserve to be called that.

    But his doctoral dissertation is a masterpiece. To prove it, I’ll just quote from the poem he wrote (I’d cite the page number, but there aren’t any):

    Two atheists argued (on university sod)
    about the great question “Is there a God?”
    Said one to the other (and quite fervently)
    “There can’t be a God or else we could see.
    So take that old Bible and God off the list.
    If I cannot see Him, He must no exist.
    Be quite and listen, and then you will know
    that God is not real, how dare they say so??
    A crazy man told me God lives up in Heaven.
    I used to believe that when I was just seven.
    But now I’m older and wiser you see,
    I will not believe it. You can’t prove it to me.
    I cannot sense God with sight taste or smell.
    I do not believe in Heaven or Hell!
    I’ve never heard God or felt Him at all.
    If He’s really up there, I wish He would call.”

    And it goes on like that. Anyone with courage enough to include poetry like that in a doctoral dissertation deserves some kind of recognition.

  63. Heliantus says

    Jackson Hole Bible College

    Being a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan’s saga, I misread the first part as Jackson’s Whole.
    Um. Maybe she wrote a pun but kept it polite.

    On second thoughts, given the morale of this fictional place (or rather the lack thereof), it’s quite appropriate.

    (residents of Jackson Hole, I mean no offense toward you)

    But why exactly are sharks now smarter than Hovind?

    According to the studies of the late Jacques-Yves Cousteau, sharks (or at least a few of them) display the same level of intelligence as rats. Although in both animals their intelligence is overshadowed by their tendancy to eat indiscriminantly.
    Nonetheless, place a rat and a Hovind in a maze, I will bet on the rat getting out first. Rats usually don’t dismiss reality out of convenience.
    Heck, even if it is a shark instead of a rat, I may still want to bet on the shark.

  64. says

    They do not tell you about the fact that you do not see Ken Ham,

    Oh please, it’s virtually certain that they have people every bit as ignorant and intellectually dishonest as Ham.

    So shut up and enjoy wallowing in stupidity at a “college.”

    Glen Davidson

  65. fastlane says

    First of all, “kind” is not a valid taxonomic unit; it makes no sense at all to demand that a “kind” turn into a different “kind” when “kind” is undefined, undefinable, and unmeasurable.

    I beg to differe.

    For example: Creationist : Idiot

    See? Same kind.

    The prosecution rests.

  66. says

    It would certainly be interesting to send a journalist or an anthropologist to JHBC as a student for a year–just find out specifically what sorts of brainwashing and fact-distorting they engage in.

    I’d definitely consider reading the book they’d write after the years of intensive therapy spent recovering from PTSD.

    Maybe even the post-bible school therapy would make a good book in its own right…

  67. says

    Ack! I mixed up my pronouns.

    It would be interesting to learn what kind of fact-distorting the school engages in.

    If I needed to take a long flight, the journalist/anthropologist’s book would probably make for an interesting read.

  68. That One Skeptic says

    @ #88: As funny as that is to say creationists are in the same “kind” as idiots, even that demonstrates that the term “kind” is arbitrary. Those buffoons wouldn’t put themselves in the same “kind” we would put them in. (They’d be wrong though.)

    @ #90: It would be an interesting to send a sane person into a bible “college” to see what kind of indoctrination actually happens there, but the possibility of permanently destroying someone’s sanity in that environment would probably make such an experiment unethical.

  69. says

    I’ve got a friend on my University’s IRB–not to mention that penniless journalists are a dime a dozen–I’m sure we could work something out…

  70. KG says

    Nonetheless, place a rat and a Hovind in a maze, I will bet on the rat getting out first. Rats usually don’t dismiss reality out of convenience.
    Heck, even if it is a shark instead of a rat, I may still want to bet on the shark. Heliantus

    Make it an underwater maze. After all, Hovind will have God whispering which path to take in his ear, so it’s only fair to give him a handicap.

  71. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Circe: let me amend my earlier post:

    We’ll see about . . . *does some calculations, calculator explodes* . . . well, a fuckton more examples before we die. Some of us will die due to such, though possibly not slowly and painfully (hey, I can hope, can’t I?).

  72. jentokulano says

    “glorified tourist lodge”

    They have a building near a tourist lodge property but are not a tourist lodge themselves. They’re on the road to the JH ski area and are located on Cheney Lane. One guess who that street is named after.

  73. matthewpocock says

    @Chuck #4

    “The fact that evolutionary theory would be disconfirmed by the dog -> parakeet event does not seem to bother Dr. Hovind at all.”

    Hovind Jr knows this, or at least has had ample opportunity to understand this had he chosen to. I’ve personally discussed this “dog giving birth to a cat” strawman with him on facebook. He seems the living embodiment of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.