Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ken Ham: Horse Expert

This occurred during the first couple of days after my surgery so I couldn't comment on it then but I thought it mighty amusing at the time. It seems that, during the running of the recent Kentucky Derby, there was a display on the evolution of the horse at the International Museum of the Horse.

Not to be outdone by the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby, Ken Ham, head of the Kentucky Creation Museum, just to the south, complained about the evolutionary aspects of the exhibit. As Kentucky.com reports:
Ham contends the idea of horse evolution is false, and he particularly disputes the line of prehistoric horses that scientists link to the modern horse.

Ham writes that in the display, two early horses, Miohippus and Merychippus, grow steadily bigger.

“What's the problem, though, with the belief that horses somehow evolved into larger and larger animals? If that were true, shouldn't we see only very large horses today? But we don't — horses vary in size from the Clydesdale to the much smaller Fallabella (just 17 inches tall).”

Ham concludes: “This example of a poor, unscientific display at the Horse Park is just another good reason why you need to visit a place that will tell your children the truth — the Creation Museum!”
His persistently poor grasp of evolutionary theory is really quite astounding. Given the amount of time that he has spent opposing it, you would think that he would have learned at least something about it. Apparently not.

And I bet the display has quite a bit to say about recent artificial selection which is responsible for the differences in the size of the horses just as it is for the size differentials in the different breeds of dogs and cats. Did this never occur to him??

But beyond the artificial selections issues, just because you had small horses in the past and larger horses today doesn't mean that ALL horses are going to be large, just as it doesn't mean that all cats are going to be large. Selection operates on the animals living in certain environments. In India and Siberia, it is optimal for the tiger to be large and, likely due to Bergmann's Rule, the Siberian tigers are slightly larger than the Bengal tigers. It is optimal for a lynx or a bobcat to be small in the dry, southwestern U.S.

Horses diversified and the modern Equus genus dates to around 3 to 4 million years ago. Between about 5 million years ago (end of the Miocene) and 12,ooo years ago (beginning of the Holocene), there was a gradual cooling and horses generally got larger. That came to a crashing halt with the end of the Late W├╝rm glaciation when the climate began to warm substantially and most of the large horses disappeared. The domestication of horses appears to have begun as early as 6,ooo years ago and the modern horses that race are the result of that.

With his completely ignorant understanding of horse evolution and his blatant plug for his own for-profit creation museum, Ken Ham demonstrates that there are, in fact, more horses asses in the world than there are horses.

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8 comments:

  1. This reminds me that last year I was reading through Todd Wood's blog and wanted to read a story he published in AiG. Todd had a link to "Horse Fossils and the Nature of Science" in the Oct-Dec 2008 issue of Answers. But the article had been removed from AiG. I also noticed this article had been removed from the online table of contents for that article.

    Using the Wayback Machine, you can still find the original horse article at http://web.archive.org/web/20090124233847/http://answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n4/horse-fossils

    It seems Mr. Ham has something against horses (or maybe Todd Wood -- it looks like quite a few of his articles have been purged)

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  2. Yes, there are more than a few creationists who do not care for the writings of Todd Wood, who treats scientific data in an honest fashion. He asks too many hard questions of his fellow creationists and they don't want to face them.

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  3. Wow, thanks for that link. Not surprised the Wood would find all these fossil horses to be of the same Baramin and explain them as post-flood diversification. The removal of that article is fascinating but it might not be that AIG doesn't like it, possibly Wood himself asked to have it removed but I am inclined to think this is an AIG purging. I looked at other issues and there are definitely other gaps in the page numbers indicating they have removed other articles. I couldn't bring myself to subscribe so i don't have the paper copies to compare.
    Back to the horses. Ham is so incredibly inconsistent. He has no problem with dog "evolution" to form 20+ species of canines but then tries to use a different explanation for horses. I'm always struck with the pace of this "speciation" after the flood. Look at the horses preserved in AshFalls Nebraska as a result of a mega-eruption of the Yellowstone hotspot (in Idaho at the time). Supposedly these mega volcanoes blew their tops just hundreds of years after the flood but there were already 5 different species of horses roaming Nebraska in herds that got trapped in the ash? Incredible powers of dispersal and adaptive radiation these horses had!

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  4. Yeah, it certainly looks like someone has been thought-cleansing Answers magazine online. It would be interesting to see what other articles were removed and when.

    From what I can see, the horse article was removed (first replaced with a blank screen but still in the contents, then subsequently removed from the contents as well) somewhere between Jan 2009 and July 2011.

    As of May 2010, Todd was still linking to it: http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2010/05/homo-sediba.html.

    In the end, I don't agree with Todd, but he has my complete respect for attempting to put the science in creation science and doing it in a civil way. It's too bad AiG doesn't have room in their tent for him.

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  5. I think we can learn from the Bruce Waltke experience that AiG doesn't have either compassion or grace for anyone that doesn't hew exactly to the YEC model. Both Ken and Nathan Ham have shown a complete lack of respect or consideration of people that do not think exactly like they do.

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  6. mrpopulur@yahoo.com7:03 PM

    You said:

    "And I bet the display has quite a bit to say about recent artificial selection which is responsible for the differences in the size of the horses just as it is for the size differentials in the different breeds of dogs and cats. Did this never occur to him??"

    -I noticed that when describing the different types of dogs, you use the term 'breeds' rather than species. So obviously you recognize that in both the horse, and wolf/dog species (despite the great degree of superficial differences) there still remains one species (each) nonetheless.

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  7. YEC here.
    Yes ken ham has a great point and fast at the gate.
    Horse diversity , al;ive or in fossil, are all post flood. In fact the creature off the ark probably looked little like a horse but was the one they came from.
    Mechanisms in biology for change have not been proven or discovered.
    Evolutionary textbooks always show horses evolving from smaller ones or ones with funny feet.
    yet still horse like.
    theres no reason to see evolution but mere variety like in the amazon example today.
    There is no biological evidence for horses evolving from each other but only speculation based on geological presumptions of sequence layering.
    ken Ham should of got the derby prize i say.!

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  8. Christine Janis6:23 PM

    Re the Ashfall horses referred to above.

    This contains a magnificent collection of a couple of dozen complete specimens of Pliohippus (as determined by skull/teeth). Pliohippus is a classical "monodactyl" horse: but in this deposit we can see forelimbs that range from fully tridactyl, to small side toes, to fully monodactyl.

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