Evangelist Kem Ham Embraces Bad Science Journalism

Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 3:02 PM Bookmark and Share
In my previous post I mentioned a recent example of bad science journalism. Despite the fact that those news articles are a clear misinterpretation of the (freely available) original journal article at PLoS Pathogens, and that various bloggers have pointed out their mistakes, there are those who apparently really liked that incorrect interpretation and embraced it readily.  So who might have such an interest in the chicken coming before the egg?  None other than Creation "Museum" director and Answers in Genesis CEO, Ken Ham.

Remember, Answers in Genesis and it's Creation "Museum" exist to spread a particular, literalist version of Christianity - and they do so by denying basic science and working to cripple public science literacy. 

So what did Ham say about the (erroneous) news that chickens came before eggs? It can be summed up in a single phrase: non sequitur.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

I smiled yesterday as I read this news story from MSNBC:
It is an age-old riddle that has perplexed generations: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Now British scientists claim to have finally come up with the definitive answer: The chicken. The scientific and philosophical mystery was purportedly unraveled by researchers at Sheffield and Warwick universities, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.  The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg, according to the paper Wednesday. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken.  The protein speeds up the development of the hard shell, which is essential in protecting the delicate yolk and fluids while the chick grows inside the egg, the report said.
“It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, according to the Mail.
Well, the secular world is catching up to what the Bible has taught all along.  At our student assemblies over the years, I have often taught children the answer to this chicken and egg problem this way:

“What came first: the chicken or the egg?  Well the Bible teaches us that God made the flying creatures on day five of creation, and God told the animals to be fruitful and multiply.  So obviously the chicken (a bird) came first, and then they laid eggs.”  So the kids would learn it this way, “The chicken came first because God made the birds on day five of the creation week!”
Poor Ken Ham, if that blog post were a video, it would no doubt star in one of the "Why Do People Laugh At Creationists?" series on YouTube.

Ken goes on to ignore everything we know about eggs from fossils to the various kinds of living reptiles (the closest living relatives of birds), monotremes (egg laying mammals) and other egg-laying organisms.  He rattles off this bit of unfounded nonsense...
Of course there is also the design issue, which is also alluded to in the article.  All the parts/chemicals etc. have to be there for the egg-laying system to work in the first place—it certainly couldn’t evolve.

You can read the entire article at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38238685/ns/technology_and_science-science/?Gt1=43001
Oh, gee, right - the egg couldn't have evolved without a hard shell, because... wait, why?  Hasn't Ken ever seen soft, leathery reptile eggs before, or gooey fish eggs?  Is he intentionally ignoring all that evidence - which suggests how chicken eggs could have evolved - or is he just ignorant of those facts?

Listen, Ken, you shouldn't bullshit the people you're trying to convert - it makes you look dumb, and come off as an untrustworthy source of information.  Also, you should direct your readers to the actual, primary sources of information (e.g. in this case, a link to the article at PLoS Pathogens).  If it's available, quote the primary source - not a secondary source of information like a news article... well, unless you're more concerned with being persuasive than correct. 

Anyway, this part of Ken's blog post made me smile...
By the way, even the evening TV news programs on Wednesday covered this story, including The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  The CBS Evening News program ended its segment on the chicken/egg study with the follow-up question, “And the chicken came from... ?” Well, the anchor did not offer an answer but maybe that’s good—he might have given an evolutionary answer.
Fortunately, everyone in central Ohio watching the news last night did hear the science-based answer: that birds almost certainly evolved from dinosaurs.

Ken then tries to poison the well to ward off any criticism:
I wouldn’t be surprised if atheist scientists will loudly complain that this study actually supports the creation account in Genesis and then try to attack the research.
Well I would be surprised, actually, and here's why: the study in no way supports the creation account in Genesis, so there's no need for even the most unscrupulous scientist to "attack the research" based on his or her religious beliefs.  They need only point out the non sequitur, and they're done.  Ken apparently didn't even read the abstract of original article, otherwise he'd know this.


Posted by: Anonymous | 3/15/2012 5:08 PM

Yeah, everything came from a non existent rock that came from nowhere all by itself. That's good science? Can't you God haters come up with something more believable than that?

Posted by: Anonymous | 2/04/2014 1:54 PM

What do scientists do? They develop a hypothesis and then come up with an experimental method to test that hypothesis. After they perform their expeirment, they evaluate their results and discuss them. That is a basic principle of science. The reason evolutionists can back date a finding is because through experiments they develop methods to date perhistoric specimens. Then through experiments they test whether their discovery is in anyway related to us. After they finish their experiments and submit their results for peer review they can publish them if the experiemental design is determined to be sound. In essence in order for anything to be called science you need to work on a hypothesis and test it through experiments. If you don't have that, you don't have science. What do creationists do? They preach a belief without scientific methods to prove it. As such, you can only believe what they preach if you have faith. That is what religion is all about. In religion you accept facts if you have faith. In science you accept facts if you perform experiments and after analyzing your results you conclude whether your hypothesis was right or wrong.. No one would object to call creationism a science if creationists performed experiments and submitted their results and observations for peer review before they could be published in a creationism journal. If they did that no one could argue that creationism is a science. In fact psychics could be called scientist alos if they performed experiments to figure out the probabilities that their predictions will come through! If they did that no one could deny that they could be called scientists. However, to call science a religion of naturalism is ridiculous at best. Religion is done through faith. Science is done through experiments. These are two very different disciplines that creationists are trying to sugarcoat as one. However, the reason they have failed to succeed at this is because the issue is a black and white issue. You can not call science a religion and you can not call religion a science because they follow two different principles. Those who attempt to do that are simply lying and they know it, which I believe is also a sin? That's my faith talking now.

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