Ken Ham is writing about spiders and evolution, and my first thought was ha ha, that’s funny, he’s talking about two obsessions of mine, this should be good for a laugh. Creationist ignorance is always a great joke, right? But then I’m reading it, and…
Jesus fucking christ, this man is a lying fraud.
I don’t feel like treating this as a light bit of goofy news. Ken Ham is running a commercial empire in which he rakes in money for explaining that evolution is false, in addition to defrauding the state and his community, and his arguments can be rebutted with obvious logic and trivial examples. You’ll see; no one who reads this blog will have any trouble seeing the flaws in his complaint, and explaining where he’s wrong is like trying to explain basic evolution to a four-year-old child.
I can be patient and gentle and fun with a child, but dear god, this is a grown adult man several years older than I am who claims to have spent a lifetime studying the ideas of biology. He’s able to tie his own shoes, so he ought to have the maturity to comprehend the scientific position, even if he is ideologically opposed to it; I expect him to be honest enough to appreciate what he is criticizing as sincerely held and based on evidence, and present valid counter-evidence. He never does. And what he does say is obviously false.
Here’s what prompted him to dump his idiocy on the net: an observation that populations of spiders in storm-prone areas survive better and produce more offspring if they are aggressive. Sure, fine, I haven’t looked at the original papers so I don’t know how good the study is, but I don’t need to, because, as usual, Ken Ham’s analysis is so superficial and contradictory that there aren’t any nuances to consider. I mean, he doesn’t even understand the terms.
But it’s not evolution. The spiders remain spiders—there’s been no change of spider kind. Some behaviors are simply more beneficial than others under certain circumstances, which may drive a change in the population. This is natural selection, not evolution. Even though news items and scientific journals frequently equivocate the two, they aren’t the same thing.
Right there, from the first sentence, my rage grows. Yes, this is evolution. If the paper has demonstrated differential reproduction is related to a behavior, that is most definitely an example of evolution. This is an internally consistent application of the scientific meaning of evolution to an observation. Deal with it, Mr Ham. You can argue about the importance of this example, or you could, if you were able, try to address any problems in the study, but claiming “it’s not evolution” is just wrong.
Of course the spiders remain spiders. This is an example of an incremental change in a population. No one expects spiders to turn into beetles in one storm season, or even in a million years.
Ham says beneficial behaviors may drive a change in a population…yes. That is natural selection. He’s just admitted that it occurs, and even takes it for granted.
Natural selection is a subset of the mechanisms that drive evolution, so he’s technically correct that they should not be equivocated, but still — natural selection is an evolutionary process. When selection is observed, you are seeing evolution.
Now look. Everyone reading this knows all this. It’s basic. I’m repeating stuff I’ve explained multiple times on this blog and in the classroom for decades. You’re all sitting there, out there in the blogosphere, smug and reassured because Myers is simply re-affirming the stuff you already know. It feels good, doesn’t it? We’re all happy to share our understanding, and there’s a bit of the ol’ mean-spirited “let’s pile on the ignoramus” sentiment uniting us.
But you shouldn’t feel good at all. You should feel sick at heart and angry. Ken Ham is a man who lies to children about the simplest concepts in science, and he was handed hundreds of millions of dollars to build a stupid fake boat in the middle of Kentucky. He’s a liar and a con artist, and he is economically rewarded to a degree most of you are not (definitely more than I am). He gets to mumble inanities that we’d be embarrassed to see in a miseducated child, and then he gets to go count the gate receipts.
I am tired of just laughing at these clowns. Get angry. Get angrier.
You know, he’s not done.
Natural selection works on already existing genetic information, whereas evolution requires the addition of brand-new genetic information to form new features that never previously existed. (Something that has never been observed!) Information always comes from other information and ultimately a mind, and in this case, the Creator’s mind.
Yes, we have observed the addition of new genetic information and the generation of new phenotypes. It’s called mutation. It’s another of those processes, like natural selection, that work together to produce evolutionary change. It’s been seen and measured and recorded over and over again, and Ham can just lie and dismiss it all.
After stumbling through some transparently stupid evolution denial, he moves on to equally stupid arguments against climate change.
Are these storms (such as Hurricane Dorian, the storm that devastated the Bahamas and parts of the United States in recent weeks) really the result of man-made climate change? Well, climates do change—that is observational science. But the cause of climate change isn’t straightforward. Some scientists have suggested that it may be dependent on the sun and cycles of the sun (such as sunspots), with humans only playing a very minor role.
Some scientists and
sunspots. Goddamn you to hell, Ken Ham. You’re a liar for Christ, you contemptible, shallow little man.
Of course, then he goes on to plug his upcoming Easter conference with Ray Comfort on climate change that you too can attend for the low price of $149, plus travel and hotel costs. Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with four days of shit from a bevy of smirking dishonest assholes. Christians ought to be outraged, but then one lesson I’ve learned is that Christians are really good at excusing the worst behavior from their fellow Christ-fuckers.
Are you angry yet?
Join me and the spiders.