Ignunt Fool of the Week

“At this time, a famous British scientist (and creationist), Dr Richard Owen, coined the name ‘Dinosauria,’ meaning ‘terrible lizard,’ for this is what the huge bones made him think of.”

Ken Ham

It may be true that Richard Owen was one of the ignunt fools trying to disprove evolution, a really sexy scientist named Thomas Henry Huxley soon exposed his IDiocy in supporting creationism.

This week’s ignunt fool of the week…

Ken Ham

Ken Ham is, and I hope I don’t get too sentimental here… Ken Ham is the man who got me to be as interested in evolution as I am today.

I first learned who he was when we were researching the conditions of early Earth which eventually gave rise to life in my 8th grade science class. I stumbled upon Answers in Genesis, specifically an article titled “Dinosaurs and the Bible”. Imagine me, in the 8th grade, one year more naive than now, having only completed my 7th grade education, and, admittedly, with a poor understanding of how evolution worked.

But, not poor enough to be laughing my arse off.

Ken Ham, it’s now time for me to give you a science lesson which I should have given you a few years ago.

“According to evolutionists, the dinosaurs ‘ruled the Earth’ for 140 million years, dying out about 65 million years ago. However, scientists do not dig up anything labeled with those ages. They only uncover dead dinosaurs (i.e., their bones), and their bones do not have labels attached telling how old they are. The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old.”

‘You ignunt fool, Ken Ham,’ I thought to myself, ‘A middle-schooler can see through you!’

Obviously, dinosaur fossils don’t have little labels on them saying “70 million years old” or even “Cretaceous”. But, then again, I don’t have a little label on me saying “15 years old” but you can look at my birth certificate. A horse doesn’t have little labels on them saying how old they are either, but we can look at their teeth to find out.

We have other means of dating fossils besides looking for little labels. We use radiometric dating. Radiometric dating is easy enough for an 8th grader or up to understand. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The electrons orbit on the outside, and the neutrons and the protons form the nucleus at the centre of the atom.

Some atoms are very big (relatively speaking) and heavy because they have many protons and neutrons at their centre.

That’s a uranium nucleus. Because it’s so heavy, chunks of it come off in the form of radiation and the atom decays into a lighter form. Some atoms decay into other atoms. The half-life is a term that refers to the amount of time it takes for half of a substance to decay into its other form. This is determined through scientific, empirical tests. From there, if you have a knowledge of logarithms and exponential equations, you can calculate how old something is based on how much of the original substance is left.

“Other scientists, called creation scientists,”

Sorry, too much of an oxymoron to take that seriously.

“They imagine that one kind of animal slowly changed over long periods of time to become a different kind of animal…

[M]any fossil experts admit that not one unquestionable transitional form between any group of creatures and another has been found anywhere.

For somebody who has so many citations, you’d expect that he would cite something other on the Bible on at least one outlandish statement.

Yes, Ken Ham. We just “imagined” that some animals changed into other animals. We don’t have any transitional fossils at all! This isn’t a picture of a dinosaur with feathers! No sir! Nuh uh!

Oh, and… evolution doesn’t limit itself to the animal kingdom. All life forms on this planet are subject to evolutionary change. Palaeobotany can be pretty sexy too.

“Evidence of these ‘transitional forms,’ as they are called, should be abundant[!]”

Mr. Ham (can I call you Ken? Mr. Ham sounds derogatory), if it were that easy to fossilize something, don’t you think more little children would be fossilizing their dead pet fish/dogs/cats? If I’m interpreting what Richard Dawkins said to me about me “leaving [my] mark in the world” correctly and I will be come fossilized, I shall consider it an honour greater than personally knocking some sense into you.

When reading evolutionist literature, you will be astonished at the range of ideas concerning their supposed extinction. The following is just a small list of theories:

Dinosaurs starved to death; they died from overeating; they were poisoned; they became blind from cataracts and could not reproduce; mammals ate their eggs. Other causes include-volcanic dust, poisonous gases, comets, sunspots, meteorites, mass suicide, constipation, parasites, shrinking brain (and greater stupidity), slipped discs, changes in the composition of air, etc.

It is obvious that evolutionists don’t know what happened and are grasping at straws.”

Again, Ken… about citing stuff other than the Bible when making outlandish statements…

Now, the great thing about science is nobody is arrogant enough to assume that they have all the answers about everything and that “truth” is unchanging throughout the millennia. Science is always changing and getting closer to the truth, while the Bible remains stagnant and begins to reek of scientific illiteracy as humanity moves forward.

No, I’m going to do something a tad hypocritical. I’m going to remove some of the theories which Ken Ham claims are common scientific theories of how the dinosaurs died based on the ones which I have heard of, assuming that the others are too far out on the fringe.

Dinosaurs starved to death; they died from overeating; they were poisoned; they became blind from cataracts and could not reproduce; mammals ate their eggs. Other causes include-volcanic dust, poisonous gases, comets, sunspots, meteorites, mass suicide, constipation, parasites, shrinking brain (and greater stupidity), slipped discs (sounds like the chiropractors would’ve been raking in more dough if that were the case), changes in the composition of air.

The comet and meteorite theories are really the same thing. Imagine something big accelerating towards the surface of Earth. When it hits the planet, it’s going at a speed of about 72 kilometres per second. This translates to…

BIG BOOM

The impact throws dust up into the atmosphere, blocking the sun, killing the plants (the source of food for herbivorous dinosaurs) and they starve to death. That means “dinosaurs starving to death” will also fall under “comets/meteorites”. We’ll just call that category “Death from the Skies!” which is in no way product placement for a certain book.

Sunspots would relate to climate change, I suppose. When the sun is more/less active the climate changes which is a scientific possibility for how the dinosaurs died.

Volcanic activity has also been blamed for potentially causing a similar effect to “Death from the Skie s!” with smoke blocking out sunlight and all that jazz again.

And… egg-eating has also been blamed. Egg-eating would cause obvious problems for the survival of the dinosaurs.

So we’ve narrowed this down to four scientific possibilities. Sunspots has its evidence because we can see a correlation between the “mini-Ice Age” in Europe and a lack of activity on the sun. We can assume that the dinosaurs may have gone through similar sunspot cycles. But, I doubt that egg-eating could have been rampant enough to lead to the downfall of all dinosaur species so we’ll knock that off (though it may have been a contributing factor).

But, I am now going to provide evidence to support the “Death from the Skies!” theory. At the K-T boundary (it’s a layer between the Cretaceous and the “Tertiary”. The “K” is used so that people don’t confuse Cretaceous with the Carboniferous, and the “K-T extinction” was coined before they changed the geologic periods so that Tertiary wasn’t a geological period of time any more,) there is an iridium anomaly. Iridium is very rare on Earth but common in asteroids in the Solar System. But, at the K-T Boundary, the amount of iridium suddenly spikes.

Also, there is a big crater off the Yucatan peninsula which may be the remnants of an asteroid big enough to cause the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

There are proponents of lots of theories, as with everything, but there is usually a general consensus and in this case, it’s mostly with the asteroid/comet/death from the skies hypothesis.

But see, we have just walked through the steps scientists used to decide which theory to support over the other. We looked at evidence. We didn’t say “oh, there’s a lot of disagreement, therefore we have no idea!” Meanwhile, Ken went and got his Bible.

It was after I’d read this article that I became interested in the creation/evolution controversy. It was then that I started reading books about evolution to understand it better. Now, here I am today using my primary school science education to expose an ignunt fool. Thank you, Ken Ham!

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Mass suicide??? I’m picturing an entire generation of dinosaurs going through an emo phase and cutting themselves. Or maybe they all became atheists and realized there was no point to living.

    I’m not sure when I first became aware of creationism–it may have been when I first read Michael Shermer’s book Why People Believe Weird Things in 10th grade, but I feel like it must have been earlier than that. Anyway, although I was already interested in biology, that did get me more interested in evolution. So I guess creationism is good for something after all!

  2. I became a young earth creationist when I was eight and ceased being a young earth creationist 11 months ago.

    Although Ken Ham isn’t as stupid as you make him out to be, the point he was trying to make about the age-tag was that scientists couldn’t know the exact year the animal died. He doesn’t actually think scientists are saying they came with a tag saying, “this dinosaur died in the great meteor strike on February 4, 65,001,53 BC”

  3. Ken Ham may not be stupid, but he does say a lot of stupid things.

    I actually remember accepting evolution as a young child, then I heard my pastor say that it was wrong. I was a YEC from maybe 8 years old until about three or four years ago. I argued with my tenth grade biology teacher. 😦

  4. Posted by King Neptune on June 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    The report on my imminent death is premature. I have been sloshing around in the basins on the crust for more than four billion years. I now cover nearly 71 per cent of the planet. Since the last ice age I have lifted myself out of the basin by 120 metres and scared the tribes of Noah to the higher ground. During deep time I became the universal solvent for the volcanoes and the clouds. I have taken up as much salt as required by local circumstances and sometimes give it back in hot shallows and desert areas of my world. I have given man the salt in his blood. Your CO2 output is infinitesimally small. I have absorbed as much gas as I need to maintain balance with the organic world within me and on land. The exchange is so peaceful that science calls it equilibrium. I can absorb more CO2, if the plants do not need it, and it does not give me acid imbalance. My pH will remain basic no matter what you say. These variations you measure have come and gone many uncountable times on the planet and your baseline is too small to know the truth. What you do not get is that warming of the oceans releases CO2 and other gasses from my water, while cooling my water allows me to take up CO2 in vast amounts to nestle with the other molecules in my coldest most remote realms. I can absorb all that man can produce because your impact is feeble compared to my capacity.
    Please watch me with humility for you cannot change me. I am the ongoing sink for the planet, and I am huge and my heat content is beyond your estimation. Measure me here and there with your microscopes but know that I will never be that way in that place again. Open your mind to the infinite cycles of chemistry and physics and kneel on my beach. You can only hurt me by not respecting my infinite ability to change chemistry and temperature in all the corners of the seas. My CO2 feeds your plants and your plants provide all the oxygen you breathe. Your base line is infinitesimally small yet your mouth is wide open.

    Neptune..

  5. Oh cool! The Almighty and Powerful Neptune has commented on my blog!

    Hi Neptune! I admired your work in The Odyssey! I’m a fan. 🙂

  6. Oh man, we were just at his Creation Museum last week! We had to see it with our own eyes! It was absolutely amazing, a true crime against intelligence.

    Of course Dinosaurs and humans lived together, it’s just that dino fossils and human fossils next to each other haven’t been found yet… And the term dinosaur isn’t in the Bible simply because the word was coined in the 1800’s. Oh the BS goes on and on…

    I don’t believe Ken Ham is stupid, but he can be very manipulative. There’s very little actual science in the Creation Museum. The entire experience traffics in human emotion and is geared towards promoting Christianity. It shouldn’t be referred to as a science museum at all.

    We’re going to write plenty about our visit in the coming weeks on Skeptical Monkey. We also took a ton of photos.

  7. Waitress? I’ll take the evolutionary platter, but hold the Ham, please.

  8. Mmm something made me think of “big-badda-bum Leelo multipass” and I have, as it happens, a very cool Neptune wallpaper on my screens.

    The real question is: can you consider a creationist an intelligent person?

  9. That Uranium nucleus looks like a big mass of balls of yarn on my crappy monitor. Actually, a Uranium nucleus made of yarn would be the COOLEST ART PROJECT EVER! I think someone should make one, and then open up a Science Art Gallary to display the beauty of nature in a new way.

  10. […] spoonfed to children who don’t know any better by the likes of Ken Ham and his ilk. Thanks to “Elles” blog for directing me to Ken Ham’s “Dinosaurs and the Bible” page, but I also am mad […]

  11. Posted by ianwayne on June 7, 2008 at 12:26 am

    i met the man when i was nine or ten.

  12. This is a wonderful post. I have such a hard time understanding how otherwise intelligent adults can find it so hard to grasp the basic tenets of evolution.

    You might be interested in a similar post I wrote on my blog, about a section in my sister’s textbook titled “Men Who Saw Dinosaurs.”

    http://jasonfebery.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/not-just-a-theory/

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