Worldnetdaily Reviews the Ham-Nye Debate

The Worldnetdaily had some guy named Tom Flannery write a review of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham and the results are pretty much exactly what you’d expect. He repeats a bunch of falsehoods from Ham and adds a few new ones, all of them debunked long ago.

Another ruse Ham exposed was how evolutionary scientists use the very word “science” whether they’re talking about observational science (what can be observed, tested, falsified) or historical science (what occurred in the ancient or distant past and cannot be seen or tested).

The only thing Ham exposed was his own ignorance and dishonesty with that ridiculous argument.

Ham delineated numerous other ways the world in which we live corroborates the biblical model used by creationists rather than the evolutionary one used by naturalists. He noted that only about a century ago, it was being postulated that based upon Darwin’s ideas there were as many as five separate races of human beings, with Caucasians being the superior one (whereas the Bible clearly teaches only one race since we are all descended from Adam and Eve).

So. Much. Irony. Like the fact that Ham is also the name of the son of Noah who was, according to the Bible, cursed (actually it was his son Canaan, but due to something Ham supposedly did). For centuries, many, perhaps most, Christians subscribed to the idea that the descendants of Ham and Canaan were cursed by God to be slaves. This was used to justify racism and slavery throughout the Christian world, including in this country (and in the Jewish world before that, to justify the murder and conquering of the Canaanites in the Bible). Indeed, this notion that all black people are descended from Ham is taught in Ken Ham’s creation museum. It’s been widely taught by young earth creationists for decades.

Nye tried to distance such thinking about multiple superior and inferior races from Darwin by scoffing that this absurd belief was held only by a select group of white European males who wanted to see themselves as better than “lower races.” Unfortunately for Nye, though, all we have to do is look at the subtitle of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” to see just how wrong he is on this point. The subtitle is: “The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Sorry, Bill.

Ah, that old bit of ignorance. Darwin used the term “races” to mean “species.” Does Flannery think that Darwin believed that finches and tortoises had “races” in the modern sense? There are only two kinds of people who make this claim, those who are ignorant and those who are lying.

Darwin acknowledged early on that, in order for his theory to be proven true, archaeologists and scientists would have to find an abundance of intermediate or transitionary forms throughout the world showing one species evolving into another all the way up the evolutionary chain. The lack of these forms is the so-called “missing link,” although it might be better described as a “worldwide absence of missing links.” They simply don’t exist, and the relatively few “big discoveries” have eventually been reclassified or exposed as hoaxes.

Again, this is a claim that can be made only by those who are ignorant and repeating creationist talking points or by liars. I neither know nor care which applies to Flannery.

What we find instead, Ham related, are variations within given species – once again confirming the biblical account (in this case, that God created every animal form “after its own kind,” and they cannot cross over).This is why we don’t see evolution taking place today.

Flannery can’t even repeat his talking points correctly. Today’s more “sophisticated” young earth creationists accept that speciation takes place, they try to place the limit of “kinds” above that taxonomic level…well, somewhere. They’ve never figured out where the limits of evolution are.

It’s no wonder that later in his life Darwin dismissed his theories about molecules-to-man evolution as “the unformed ideas of my youth.”

No he didn’t, for crying out loud. This is just a ridiculous lie, like that infamous deathbed conversion that never took place.

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  • raven

    The subtitle is: “The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Sorry, Bill.

    Ah, that old bit of ignorance. Darwin used the term “races” to mean “species.” Does Flannery think that Darwin believed that finches and tortoises had “races” in the modern sense? There are only two kinds of people who make this claim, those who are ignorant and those who are lying.

    The races Darwin was referring to were varieties of cabbages and pigeons.

    You can tell that these people haven’t done anything more than look at the cover. And then lie.

  • eric

    Baghdad Bobism at its best. Go ahead, proclaim you won that debate. It’s just like skewing polls and deciding you’re not going to change your platform to align with the interests of the american people – such behavior doesn’t hurt us, it just sets you up for a nasty surprise when the world doesn’t respond the way you think it will.

  • raven

    This is why we don’t see evolution taking place today.

    Another lie.

    We see evolution going on today. In fact it is all around us. You can’t escape it, quite literally.

    1. AIDS, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, and other emerging diseases. These diseases evolved while we were watching. There is another emerging disease coming along about every 18 months.

    2. Cancer. A Darwinian somatic cell disease. Cells lose growth control, become immortal, evade immune surveillance, evolve to spread i.e. metastasize, become resistant to chemo, radiation, biologicals.

    We’ve all seen it. One third of us will die from it, 2.3 billion of the people alive today.

    3. This could go on for pages. Resistance to GMO crops and Roundup, citrate eaters in Lenksi’s lab, antibiotic resistance, new flu strains every year.

    Evolution only matters if you eat food and want to live a long, healthy life.

  • caseloweraz

    Worldnetdaily Reviews the Ham-Nye Debate

    We could cut right to the chase and start calling it The Nye vs. Lie Debate.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Darwin was neither prophet divine being. He was wrong about many things. His words and thoughts do not dictate evolutionary theory, and therefore cannot falsify it.

    Darwin was neither prophet nor divine being. He was wrong about many things. His words and thoughts do not dictate evolutionary theory, and therefore cannot falsify it.

    Darwin was neither prophet nor divine being. He was wrong about many things. His words and thoughts do not dictate evolutionary theory, and therefore cannot falsify it.

    Sorry. I want to make Flannery write those words over and over, not do it myself….

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/ Avicenna

    Gretchen – I disagree, scientific educated guesses were made by Darwin. That did come true. The best example was the orchid that required a moth with an extraordinarily long proboscis. His prediction came true on that.

    Scientific prediction does occur. The finest example is the periodic table, where Mendeleev predicted elements that were later discovered.

    It’s a sort of incredibly powerful system that he could predict (AKA Prophecy) things based on this theory. That he understood ecological niches and could postulate the existence of creatures to fill those.

  • flex

    Does Flannery think that Darwin believed that finches and tortoises had “races” in the modern sense?

    I think Flannery only remembers that the tortoise won.

  • machintelligence

    What isn’t surprising is that Darwin was wrong about some things — what is amazing is how much he got right.

    With respect to Worldnetdaily: If you go into a bullshit mine, it should not surprise anyone when all you come out with is bullshit.

  • Sastra

    Avicenna #6 wrote:

    Gretchen – I disagree, scientific educated guesses were made by Darwin. That did come true.

    I think Gretchen would argue that the difference between a “scientific educated guess” and a “prophesy” is as wide as the gap between “reason” and “revelation” — or “science” and religion.”

  • tbp1

    Not a lot of comments there, but most appear to be on the side of rationality.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Freaking Answers in Genesis debunks the deathbed conversion story that’s the source of the “unformed ideas” quote.

  • colnago80

    Re Avicenna @ #6

    Darwin was wrong about inheritance being an analogue process when it is, in fact a digital process. Darwin had in his possession a copy of the journal in which Mendel” paper was published but was unable to read it because his German was rudimentary.

  • gshelley

    I’m a little disappointed that Ed didn’t point out this was an exclusive

  • Owlmirror

    I was just reading the “The Extraordinary Dishonesty of Creationists” thread, which referenced Martin Gardner’s “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”. I went and read the Google books scan of the relevant chapter, and it has some fascinatingly racist beliefs propagated by Seventh Day Adventists, and possibly believed by other religionists.

    (from Chapter 11, Geology versus Genesis):

      Concerning fossil remains of early man, Price’s views follow a statement by Mrs. E. G. White, the inspired prophetess of the Seventh Day Adventist cult. In her book Spiritual Gifts, 1864, Mrs. White had written:

      If there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast, which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. . .

      Every species of animals which God had created was preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood, there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.

      “I am sure,” Price once wrote, “that Sister White’s statements were given very providentially for our guidance. . . I am confident that, if they had not been given us, we ourselves would now be in confusion and perplexity over this ‘species’ question . . .'”

      Sister White’s statement about amalgamation was dropped from later editions of her book, just as Hitler’s assertion that non-Aryan races were due to early Aryan-ape mating was omitted from the second edition of Mein Kampf.

    There’s more about “degenerate” races and apes being man-animal “hybrid” species following that, from George McCready Price himself.

  • John Pieret

    This is just a ridiculous lie, like that infamous deathbed conversion that never took place.

    Actually, Flannery is paraphrasing a part of Lady Hope’s alleged deathbed conversation with Darwin (some 7 months before he died), where he supposedly said:

    I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything, and to my astonishment, the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.

    The really funny thing is Ken Ham’s AiG lists the Lady Hope story as one of the Arguments Christians Shouldn’t Use:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/03/31/darwins-deathbed-conversion-legend

  • scienceavenger

    …historical science (what occurred in the ancient or distant past and cannot be seen or tested).

    Why would it have to be in the distant past? What happened five minutes ago can’t be seen or tested either. Sorry Mom, that spilled milk on the floor? Your claim that I did it is confusing observational science with historical science. I’ll bet that would go over big.

    And I wonder, would a film of the event count? After all, its just a record, like a footprint, or other physical bits. For that matter so is a written page. Why do some get respect from Ham and others don’t?

  • felidae

    At it’s core, the argument is not about science, it’s a theological argument– is the Bible true? You cannot win a theological argument with facts because facts are irrelevant to the discussion, only belief and interpretation are at issue here. The evolution debate is only a stalking horse for fundies assertion of Biblical truth and inerrancy and they will use any means necessary, including misstating and ignoring evidence. A telling fact is that a good proportion of evolution deniers are also geocentrists, for which ample observational evidence refutes. If you don’t believe me, just go to youtube and search geocentrism

  • colnago80

    Re felidea @ #17

    The more sophisticated geocentrists try to make an argument based on General Relativity, claiming that there is coordinate system in which everything does go around the earth. Total rubbish.

  • pocketnerd

    Thus Spake Zarascienceavenger:

    Why would it have to be in the distant past? What happened five minutes ago can’t be seen or tested either. Sorry Mom, that spilled milk on the floor? Your claim that I did it is confusing observational science with historical science. I’ll bet that would go over big.

    Hey, the Bible was written in the past, so I guess claims regarding its author and authenticity aren’t “observational science” either. No fair trying to claim it was divinely inspired by predicting real-world events, either — after all, those are also in the past, so we can’t really know whether any of them happened as the Bible describes, or even happened at all…

    While this is good for illustrating the silliness of Ham’s claims about “historical science,” it would be a losing gambit in a discussion with him — after all, this kind of epistemological nihilism is what Ham wants. He’s quite happy to admit he believes what he believes based on faith; his real beef is the heretical idea that evidence trumps his preferred beliefs.

  • jameshanley

    a “worldwide absence of missing links.”

    Hold the phone, folks, he actually got that one right!

  • peterh

    # 12,

    Citation needed. It’s problematic that Darwin had even heard of Mendel.

  • Michael Heath

    Tom Flannery writes:

    The lack of these forms is the so-called “missing link,” although it might be better described as a “worldwide absence of missing links.”

    jameshanley responds:

    Hold the phone, folks, he actually got that one right!

    Pedantically yes, and I get your joke, but put yourself within the context of being raised fundie to be a YEC where your public school doesn’t teach evolution. Imagine repeatedly hearing there are no missing links and no fossil evidence. Now imagine going to college and taking courses that report on the fossil observations used to build the theory of evolution.

    Your first gasp is to actually see transitional forms and the evolution of these forms. The next gasp is for the sheer volume, the many tons, of actual fossils discovered in so many parts of the globe. That’s my story, and while I never bought the Bible’s fantastical claims or the creationist bullshit jammed down my throat, many years later I remain astounded at the degree of effort involved in building the theory of evolution, the number of people, the money spent, and the energy expended.

    Here’s one of the best books that attempts to get its readers to appreciate the volume of findings, it also makes for a great set of adventurous stories, Sean B. Carroll’s Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species [my review].

  • colnago80

    Re peterh @ #21

    I don’t have a reference to hand but I distinctly recall reading somewhere that a copy of the journal that Mendel’s paper was published in was found amongst his papers. It is no clear whether Darwin tried to read any of the articles in it as most of them were in German and, as I stated, he was not proficient in the language. One can only wonder what would have been the result if the paper had been published in French or Latin, both of which Darwin was quite comfortable with, as were most of the educated Englishmen of his day.

  • dingojack

    “Does Flannery think that Darwin believed that finches and tortoises had “races” in the modern sense?”

    Well yes, obviously because it says so in an old, old book –

    Aesop’s Fables*

    Dingo

    ——–

    * The tortoise won, sorry to spoil it for you :(

  • Reptile Dysfunction

    from the comments after Flannery’s review:

    “When we Christians get to heaven, we will have

    all eternity to learn how God created the heavens

    and the earth. I would not be surprised if it turned

    out that there was much more to it than speaking

    it into existence in six of our days.”

    –Larry Bohannon

    Raincheck, atheists! While you are being tormented

    forever in the Lake o’ FAHHHHR, we will be sitting

    at the right hand of Jesus being instructed as to the

    correct integration of quantum mechanics with

    general relativity. & there will be an infinite amount

    of time before the final exam!

  • eric

    At it’s core, the argument is not about science, it’s a theological argument– is the Bible true? You cannot win a theological argument with facts because facts are irrelevant to the discussion, only belief and interpretation are at issue here.

    I somewhat disagree. There are certainly fundies who feel that way, but not all of them are going to be that 100% hard core. And not all of their children are going to be that hard core. Don’t make perfect the enemy of good – a positive, instructive, and interesting case for science like what Nye gave may not reach100% of the creationist audience, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing. It had something like 3 million viewers (which I find amazing to begin with). If even 1% of them came out of it with a better view/acceptance of science, that’s still a lot of changed minds.

  • jameshanley

    Michael Heath @22,

    Gee, thanks for making me deeply regret a throwaway one liner.

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  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The Worldnetdaily had some guy named Tom Flannery

    Just don’t confuse that Flannery with Tim,Flannery :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Flannery

    who is an actual intelligent scientist and good person please folks! This near namesake is or was our Climate Commissioner, author of a number of great books, palaontologist and more including Humanist of the year in 2005.

    (Apparently there’s a baseball player Tim Flannery too.)

    Shades of the Ken Ham astronaut vs Ken Ham creationist issue really.