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Ken Ham is such a pig

There’s this thing called Darwin Sunday where churches are encouraged to have sermons endorsing good science and evolution. I am not a fan, because what I see are priests babbling badly about science and using it as a hook to promote Jesus. Ken Ham has rather different reasons for disliking Darwin Sunday, though: he detests those liberal churches that compromise on “millions of years”, and also something a little surprising. Or not so surprising, given his fundamentalism.

I did tell the reporter that the list of churches that have signed up for Evolution Weekend are mainly theologically liberal churches, and I added, with an inordinate number of women clergy. The particular Sacramento-area church the writer reported on has a woman pastor—who obviously doesn’t understand the difference between operational (observational) science and historical science.

These churches allow women to speak? Oh, horrors.

Ken Ham is not one who should be lecturing those ignorant wimmenfolk on not understanding the nature of science, either, since he has made up a set of criteria for science that make no sense at all. That “Were you there?” bullshit, for example.

Comments

  1. raven says

    different reasons for disliking Darwin Sunday, though: he detests those liberal churches that compromise on “millions of years”,…

    Ken Ham should talk.

    All xians are cafeteria xians. Ken Ham is a cafeteria xian.

    Ken Ham has rejected the biblically correct:

    1. Flat Earth

    2. Geocentrism

    3. The Dome theory of the sky

    4. The lights stuck on the ceiling model of the stars

    5. The gates in the dome so god can pour water on us when he gets annoyed

    6. The self illuminated glow in the dark disk known as the moon

    Oh won’t someone speak up for those poor persecuted Flat Earthers?

    On women being ordained as ministers. Big deal. Most Protestant denominations do so. The holdouts are the boys club known as the Catholic and Mormon churches, the Southern Wingnut Baptists and a few others. Even a lot of the fundie churches do so, IIRC, most Pentecostal sects.

    And guess what? When those sects started ordaining women, nothing happened. The stars didn’t fall from the sky, god didn’t open his gates and pour water on us, no one got hit by lightning bolts, jesus didn’t show up or even send an email.

  2. raven says

    That “Were you there?” bullshit, for example.

    Was Ken Ham there when jesus was supposedly crucified? Where is the video?

  3. eigenperson says

    #3 raven:

    “I wasn’t there, but I know some people who were there. They wrote a book about what they saw. Would you like to read it?”

    They aren’t completely stupid, you know.

  4. says

    as church leaders compromise Darwin’s pagan ideas with God’s Word

    I love how this goes: science is due to Xianity, without, of course, thanking the Greeks for the pre-scientific ideas that the Abrahamic religions incorporated into their belief systems (not thanking Muslims and Jews for their considerable roles, either).

    The moment they hate the science that arose within Xian civilization, though, it becomes “pagan.” True, that’s easier without ever bothering to realize how many “pagan ideas” (ideas that originated with pagans, anyhow) infest Xianity, but it’s another assault on history.

    Can’t have true history with these idiots, any more than they can abide real science.

    Glen Davidson

  5. nemothederv says

    Ken Ham “liberal” churchs. M’kay

    Let me tell you a secret Ken. Jesus, if he ever existed at all, was a long haired radical hippy socialist jew.

    Still loves your Jesus Ken?

  6. raven says

    “I wasn’t there, but I know some people who were there.

    They wrote a book about what they saw. Would you like to read it?”

    They aren’t completely stupid, you know.

    Oh really? How does Ham know the anonymous writers of the gospels just didn’t make it all up?

    People write fiction all the time. In fact, considering the crucifixion is supposedly the most important event in history, the accounts all differ markedly.

    And BTW, where is jesus’s account. He was (supposedly) there and came back from the dead 1 1/2 days later. One would think that as the all powerful god, he could have left us with a first person account.

  7. w00dview says

    Jesus, if he ever existed at all, was a long haired radical hippy socialist jew.

    I am convinced that if Jesus Christ himself appeared before the Republican Party and preached stuff like turn the other cheek, cries of “hurr, bleeding heart liberal” and “get a job, hippy!” would be sure to follow.

  8. says

    These churches allow women to speak? Oh, horrors.

    Well, the Bible is pretty clear about that shit. Women are to remain silent in church.
    And if composers persist in writing those pesky soprano parts into their music, there’s a simple solution, right?

  9. petejohn says

    Ken Ham not only has his fingers stuffed deeply into his ears, but he’s also a huge, massive, raging, misogynistic assbasket. Just sayin’.

  10. F says

    I’ll bet some of those liberal churches have lesbian women pastors. A sword and a fainting couch, stat!

  11. says

    Interesting how Hamm tries to claim that there’s a a distinction between what he describes as historical science and operational science. As if there’s some point where one ends and the other begins.

  12. says

    I have often heard this “operational science” vs “historical science” distinction made by creationists as if there is a difference in status between them. Kind of like the distinction made between “theoretical” and “experimental”, where, as far as I can tell there is no difference in status.
    Seems to me we shouldn’t let them define the words any old way they want to.

  13. slc1 says

    Re eigenperson @ #4

    Actually, the books of the Christian scriptures were written several decades after the alleged crucifixion of the alleged itinerant Jewish preacher, Yeshua of Nazareth. The writers were not even alive when the alleged event occurred and were repeating stories told to them by individuals who, themselves, were not there. In legal parlance, that’s called double hearsay and is inadmissible in court.

  14. epikt says

    F says:

    I’ll bet some of those liberal churches have lesbian women pastors. A sword and a fainting couch, stat!

    One of the local episcopal congregations recently left the national church over issues like gay clergy and same-sex marriage. They were more than surprised to find subsequently that ownership of their church buildings and land rested with the national church, not with the local congregation. They sued and lost, and presumably now hold services in a parking structure somewhere.

  15. nemothederv says

    Not a scientist so I’m asking what may be a stupid question.

    Do real scientists mark a difference between operational and historical practice? Are there such distinctions?

    Just want to know if he’s taking something out of context or just pulling it out of his ass.

  16. F says

    epikt

    In my extended family, I’m related by marriage to an Episcopalian minister who defecated defected to the Catholic Church over teh gheys in teh ministry.

  17. says

    Epikt:

    One of the local episcopal congregations recently left the national church over issues like gay clergy and same-sex marriage. They were more than surprised to find subsequently that ownership of their church buildings and land rested with the national church, not with the local congregation. They sued and lost, and presumably now hold services in a parking structure somewhere.

    This sums up my sentiments about that.

  18. says

    Well, that does it for me. Now that Ham has pointed out that women pastors are being allowed to talk about evolution, I’m all for kneecapping those uppity women. And for bowing to the greater wisdom of one Ken Ham.

    Not.

    Ken Ham is dripping with disdain for women. One of his staff members must be assigned to follow him around cleaning up the bile.

    Every time we think Ken Ham has been thoroughly exposed for the uneducated lout he is, we unearth yet another layer of the vilest type of self-righteousness.

  19. eigenperson says

    #7, #15: The point I was trying to make is that they’re not so stupid as to have no retort when you point their own argument back at them. They always have a response to their own arguments — if not a valid one, at least one that allows them to avoid experiencing cognitive dissonance.

  20. cag says

    PZ, I take great umbrage at your comparison of Ken Ham to a pig. This is an odious comparison and will not go unchallenged. One does not have to be religious to be appalled at such an analogy. Your apology is hereby demanded. How dare you compare the noble pig to one of the most detestable humans of our time. For shame!

  21. RFW says

    #16 epikt says:

    One of the local episcopal congregations recently left the national church over issues like gay clergy and same-sex marriage. They were more than surprised to find subsequently that ownership of their church buildings and land rested with the national church, not with the local congregation. They sued and lost, and presumably now hold services in a parking structure somewhere.

    That’s why lawyers have so much fun! The law (sensu latu) has all sorts of surprising nooks and crannies, witness theatrical law, a flourishing specialty indicative of our high state of civilization.

    In the situation described, title to the church’s realty probably rests with the relevant archbishop in his capacity as a corporation sole. This is characteristic of churches with an episcopal structure, including the RCC. Congregational churches are different; and some have everything vested in a single central entity, notably the LDS where all church property is held by the LDS central authorities in Salt Lake City. (I forget the formal way it’s written on titles.)

    The law on these points is well established and generally not subject to dispute.

  22. michaeld says

    @cag

    Indeed, lets not forget that the pig is also the source of delicious bacon! Where as even the words that come out of Ken Ham makes me feel sick.

  23. says

    RFW,

    so that’s why in the child abuse scandals, they could only sue the diocese? What about suing the Catholic Church of the USA in general, or even the entire RCC (ignoring for the time being that the Holy See probably enjoys diplomatic immunity).

    So if something similar were to happen in the LDS Church, one could sue the entire Church, even from overseas?

  24. peterh says

    @ #9: The “pretty clear” text you most likely have in mind is a forged epistle.

    “… [a woman cleric] obviously doesn’t understand the difference between operational (observational) science and historical science.”

    As if Ham were able to discuss them sanely, and as if one’s gender determined the forms of rational inquiry one might comprehend. (On that basis, Ham is neuter.)

  25. raven says

    This observational versus historical science is just fundie xian kook bafflegab. It doesn’t exist in reality.

    Astronomy is generally considered just an observational science because they can’t do a lot of experiments. Yet. No one has been able to collide two stars or galaxies together or set off a Big Bang to see what happens.

    Yet even so, some experiments do feed into astronomy. Want to see what makes the sun shine? Mix some tritium up and cook it next to a fission reaction and you can make your own mini-sun, even though it doesn’t shine for very long.

    The xian kooks claim evolution is just a historical science because some of it relies on fossils and various dating methods.

    Even here they are completely wrong. There is a vast literature on experimental evolution on scales from the planetary down to the molecular level. Lenski is well known but there are hundreds of others. Mesoscale experimental evolution uses the outdoors as petri dishes at the scale of kilometers. We see evolution in action in the lab, the garden, the hospital, the patients, the farms, and the world biosphere every day. The novel diseases that frequently appear, SARS, AIDS, new Swine flu etc. are just natural planetary experiments.

    Creationism is a lie and all creationists are liars.

  26. raven says

    I’m not sure what would qualify in the creationists tiny minds as a historical science.

    Evolution is one they claim but that is just false. It’s as operational as any science, particularly when we breed new agricultural plants and animals or fight anti-pathogen resistance. Or when someone dies of cancer, caused by somatic cells evolving into drug resistant metastatic killers.

    Archaeology maybe. And even here, archaeology is informed by experiments. Want to know how those stone tools were made? No problem, plenty of people have learned how to make them as good as anyone who ever lived.

    History.

    Paleontology. They hate paleontology of course. Every time scientists dig up a new dinosaur, it falsifies their mythology and dinosaurs are also wildly popular and cool.

  27. ikesolem says

    Wouldn’t Mendel Sunday be a better theme for the churches?

    Goal: replicate Mendel’s experiments with pea plants, which revealed far more about the mechanisms of genetic inheritance than anything Darwin ever did (for the record, Darwin was a Lamarkian inheritance enthusiast, right?).

    Why not take this approach? Nowadays, you could even do DNA analysis on the cheap with those pea plants (or whatever other plants), which would conclusively demonstrate the role of meiotic genome shuffling, etc.

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please?

  28. says

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please?

    Idiots who hate efforts to combat anti-science bigotry are tedious in the extreme.

    I’d say “Get over it,” but I know you won’t, dumbass.

    Glen Davidson

  29. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please?

    People who think that this is what that is are tedious in the extreme.

  30. janine says

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please?

    So, what is the next card? Fundamentalist atheists are as annoying as fundamentalist christians?

    Stupid question time. How is Charles Darwin being worshiped. Back up your claim.

  31. Aquaria says

    “I wasn’t there, but I know some people who were there.

    They wrote a book about what they saw. Would you like to read it?”

    And scientists have written literally billions of pages about evolution that are available to anyone with a brain that works.

    Check and fucking mate.

  32. says

    That “Were you there?” bullshit, for example.

    I wonder how many hundreds or thousands of young victims have been brainwashed with Ken Ham’s stupidity? Ken Ham’s abuse of children is legal but if it was up to me he would be in prison for it.

  33. says

    raven @ 28 and 30;

    Thanks for the explanation. That whole “operational/historical” thing drives me nuts. Especially when a non-scientist uses it to dismiss any science they don’t like.

  34. jamessweet says

    I dunno, I find it rather comforting that there is such good correspondence between idiots and misogynists.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please?

    Ah, poor Ikey is upset. Too fucking bad. Get over yourself. Then, and only then, might you have something interesting to say. Until then, killfile.

  36. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ OP

    These churches allow women to speak? Oh, horrors.

    At the intersection of sexism and biblical literacy, god has made a cozy place (hamlet?) for him:

    1 Timothy 2:12 … But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    The babble is just as unequivocal as the Pigster.

    (Obviously he does not flesh out all the bible too literally. As a certified “Son of Ham” this would cut a little close to the bone.)

  37. josh117 says

    As for this “interesting” distinction made, I want to make an even stronger claim that it’s full of shit.

    Elsewhere in the comments of this “thread”, raven said: “Astronomy is generally considered just an observational science because they can’t do a lot of experiments. Yet. No one has been able to collide two stars or galaxies together or set off a Big Bang to see what happens.”

    I disagree. Every observation is an experiment. Every time you look up you’re doing an experiment. Spectroscopy, correlating red shifting with type Ia supernova, confirming some of that with parallax, confirming all of this with observations of the background microwave radiation, etc. Sure, you can’t do an experiment in a lab with a control, but that was never a requisite of science.

    The (often incorrectly attributed AFAIK) quote: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    In short, you are insane if you go against strong inductive reasoning. Science is merely the use of inductive reasoning; science is merely not being insane.

    A little longer take is: science is the art and practice of learning by making models which offer falsifiable predictions, via inductive reasoning on evidence, where those models are supported by evidence and not contradicted by any known evidence (but not the naive Popper falsification), and the models have withstood genuine attempts at falsification (again not in the naive Popper falsification).

    Astronomy has models which make falsifiable predictions, including falsifiable predictions of what you see when you look up. It has lots of supporting evidence. It has little to no known falsifying evidence. It is science. To those who demand experiments in a lab with control subjects, I ask them “So, are you going to expect something different [in astronomy], despite it happening the same way every single time we’ve looked for the last thousand times?”.

    At that point, the only reasonable out the creationists have is to deny inductive reasoning on evidence, or at least use special pleading to fiat some exemption, exemptions entirely without merit, such as “God did it!”.

    I think most are merely ignorant of the evidence. (Maybe it’s a hope. Still, I think there’s some factual basis for this hope.) Unfortunately, ever time I try to explain, they never listen.

  38. josh117 says

    “At that point, the only reasonable out the creationists have is to deny inductive reasoning on evidence, or at least use special pleading to fiat some exemption, exemptions entirely without merit, such as “God did it!”.”

    Sorry, I want to include one link. It should be self explanatory why.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt

    I think of that parody Lucy lawless aka Xena Warrior Princess every time I hear such special pleading arguments. I suggest this argument to you PZ, free of charge. ~smile~ I always thought it was good ridicule, essentially because it’s the exact same explanation, except “wizard” for “god”. Quoting the page:

    “The standard all-encompassing explanation for any continuity errors noticed by hardcore fans of any given fantasy show. If it doesn’t make sense, A Wizard Did It. Move on, nothing to see here.”

  39. Azkyroth says

    I wonder how many hundreds or thousands of young victims have been brainwashed with Ken Ham’s stupidity? Ken Ham’s abuse of children is legal but if it was up to me he would be in prison for it.

    There’s probably no way to achieve that that fuckers like him won’t highjack and abuse against us.

  40. jmk2 says

    Raven wrote:

    I’m not sure what would qualify in the creationists tiny minds as a historical science.

    Evolution is one they claim but that is just false. It’s as operational as any science, particularly when we breed new agricultural plants and animals or fight anti-pathogen resistance. Or when someone dies of cancer, caused by somatic cells evolving into drug resistant metastatic killers.

    Archaeology maybe. And even here, archaeology is informed by experiments. Want to know how those stone tools were made? No problem, plenty of people have learned how to make them as good as anyone who ever lived.

    And criminal forensics, of course. Would a theocratic regime run by these people let criminals go because no one saw the last commit the crime?

    On the subject of archaeology, does the US see the UK Channel 4 TV series “Time Team” – three days exploration (of a different site each time) by a charming professional/academic team of archaeologists in a one hour show? Almost wherever you dig in the UK, there’s layers of remains. (They’ve even done a few US and continental European sites.)

    (And there’s more under a heading I might call ‘experimental evolution’ – I’m not a biologist – I read some pop science recently about the experimental determination of molecular evolutionary paths.)

  41. Louis says

    I’m always tempted to answer the question “Were you there” with “yes”, and then go on to claim I have an invisible time machine that can take me safely to any time and place, to see it you just have to believe it exists in the right way. Can’t see or use it? Oh sorry you’re not TRULY believing in it. Whilst you wait, I have all these books you can read about some of the things I have seen. Other people worked them out/claim to have seen them, but I went back to double check in my time machine.

    Louis

  42. KG says

    Darwin worship is tedious in the extreme. Get over it, please? – ikesolem

    It is you and your stupid lie about “Darwin worship” that are “tedious in the extreme”. As I’ve already pointed out on another thread, Darwin’s contributions to science were far greater than Mendel’s. Indeed, they were clearly greater than any other biologist in history: he established the reality of evolution with copious and undeniable evidence, realised the immense power of natural selection and its relevance to every area of biology, and also game up with the theory of sexual selection. Quite apart from that, he had already made a name for himself as a taxonomist, paleontologist and geologist before the Origin was published. Mendel did one series of experiments which he then failed to bring to the attention of the scientific community – and there is no evidence that he realised their significance himself. But Darwin made mistakes, as everyone acknowledges – which alone shows that your claim of “Darwin worship” is a lie.

  43. jeffengel says

    “I wasn’t there, but I know some people who were there. They wrote a book about what they saw. Would you like to read it?”

    They aren’t completely stupid, you know.

    But they are answerable:
    “I wasn’t there, but I know some natural processes that were. They left traces, and kept leaving them. We’ve got books about it. Tens of thousands. Would you like to read any of them?”

  44. slc1 says

    Re KG @ #50

    Mendel did one series of experiments which he then failed to bring to the attention of the scientific community – and there is no evidence that he realised their significance himself.

    Excuse me, Mendel published his work in a respectable scientific journal. The problem was that it was written in German which few scientists in France and England were able to read at the time. German science, which was to flourish in the early 20th century (Einstein anyone), had not yet taken off.

    As a matter of fact, Darwin had in his possession a copy of the journal in which Mendal’s paper was published but, not being very capable in written German, had either not read or had failed to comprehend the implications. If the article had been written in Latin or French, languages with which educated Englishmen at the time were quite well versed in, things might have been very different.

  45. slc1 says

    Re ikesolem @ #32

    Goal: replicate Mendel’s experiments with pea plants, which revealed far more about the mechanisms of genetic inheritance than anything Darwin ever did (for the record, Darwin was a Lamarkian inheritance enthusiast, right?).

    Not true. In the first edition of, “On the Origin of Species,” Darwin gave short shrift to the notion of inheritance of acquired traits. In later editions, based on criticism of his mechanism of natural selection, he allowed as how inheritance of acquired traits might play a role in evolution. In no way, shape, form, or regard was he a “Lamarckian inheritance enthusiast”.

    This, by the way, is the reason why the first edition is recommended as the treatise to be read by those interested in appreciating Darwin’s contributions.

  46. kantalope says

    If I put some bacteria in a dish and then put that in the incubator and then come back later to see if that bacteria grew — is that historical science or the observational kind? I am inductively concluding that because there is bacteria now that there must have been some there earlier. But you know, it could have been magic.

    k

  47. carbonbasedlifeform says

    The particular Sacramento-area church the writer reported on has a woman pastor—who obviously doesn’t understand the difference between operational (observational) science and historical science.

    I would interpret that as “Not only do they have a woman pastor, but she disagrees with me!” I’m reminded of the old saying, “Ken, who died and made you God?”

  48. DLC says

    Ken Ham, Andrew Breitbart and Rick Santorum walk into a bar. . .

    of helium ice, and are instantly vaporized.

  49. PFC Ogvorbis (Yes, they are) says

    Ken Ham, Andrew Breitbart and Rick Santorum walk into a bar. . .

    Hey! I just ate, here! What are you trying to do, jump start a vomit?

    And of course they walked into the bar. None of them are smart enough to duck!

  50. josh117 says

    “of helium ice, and are instantly vaporized.”

    You mean frozen solid instead of vaporized? And offhand I’m willing to bet that the heat transfer constant of helium ice and normal human flesh is quite low. Moreover, the helium ice would melt, creating a little buffer zone of gas helium, greatly lowering the heat transfer rate.

    Finally, IIRC, you can’t even make solid helium. At least not with the equipment we have. When we try, interesting things happen. Let’s see what wiki says.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium#Solid_and_liquid_phases

    There is no solid phase.

  51. davidcortesi says

    There are increasing numbers of female pastors esp. in the liberal sects like the Episcopalians. The phenomenon produced a very funny british series, The Vicar of Dibley.

    My dispeptic opinion on why? Nothing to do with equality of the sexes. It’s just that … women pastors are cheaper. They’ll do that very demanding and thankless job for less money. If they’re single they can live on practically nothing, and if married, their husbands will have a job so they can be paid even less.

  52. Fleegman says

    Yes, the “historical science” thing is very annoying. 

    Rather than the utter stupidity of it, though, I would say it’s the smugness with which they say it that annoys me the most.

    Listen up fundies: All science is historical science, just to varying degrees. Even when you ”directly observe” something happening with your eyes, it’s already in the past. After each experiment, scientists then look at the evidence the thing they’re studying left behind, and infer what happened. You know, what happened in the past. 

    And a question for the fundies: Do you think a defence lawyer would win the case against his client if he cross examined an expert forensic witness for the prosecution with the words “were you there?”

  53. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Course if you did get a bar of solid He (presumably pressurised) that vapourised when they walked in, there’s always the chance that they would then be asphyxiated (depending on the amount of He there).

    But yes, it is possible to condense He and other noble gases under non-standard conditions. Get them cold enough and while there won’t be the normal bonding between atoms, just van der waals at best, they won’t have enough energy to move from place. You also have to do it under vacuum to prevent other particles with energy contaminating them and/or giving them energy.

  54. josh117 says

    “Course if you did get a bar of solid He (presumably pressurised) that vapourised when they walked in, there’s always the chance that they would then be asphyxiated (depending on the amount of He there).”

    The cool thing about that, if I recall correctly, is that you feel “out of breath” from high CO2 levels, not from low oxygen levels, meaning that you could be asphyxiated without even feeling it, maybe a little light headed just before you pass out.

    <3 Physics.

  55. KG says

    The cool thing about that, if I recall correctly, is that you feel “out of breath” from high CO2 levels, not from low oxygen levels – josh117

    That’s right. I remember seeing Jonathan Miller give a demonstration of this on TV. He wore a breathing mask, with his outbreaths being passed through a container of calcium oxide crystals, which extracted the carbon dioxide, then passed back to him. He remained untroubled by breathlessness, and continued the experiment until on the point of passing out as the oxygen content of what he was breathing fell.

    (Don’t try this at home kids!)