Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dinosaurs: Ken Ham Responds

Ken Ham has responded to the news reports that he and David Menton plan to demonstrate the humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time.  And he is pretty hot under the collar.  In a recent post on his blog, Ham writes:
Another anti-AiG article full of misinformation and untruths told by a secular media source (this time in my native Australia) has made me once again think about who holds the media accountable. It seems they are often a law unto themselves. And it also appears that for much of the media, freedom of speech includes making up whatever reporters want, and they can spread untruths to the public without much or any accountability. Using lies to disparage the integrity of those ministries the reporter and editors disagree with is an acceptable practice in some newsrooms.
Why is Ham so upset?  Here is the relevant quote from a recent media story (one that I quoted in one of my recent posts):
These bones were brought to us by a rancher and his wife from the area of Lemmon, South Dakota. All of the fossils were excavated on their ranch, in the Hell Creek formation. What’s really interesting about these bones is the fact that in a cross-section of the tibia, the bone has what looks like bone marrow present. Needless to say, our very own Dr. David Menton is excited about taking pictures and looking at samples under his microscope. Dr. Menton’s great sense of humor came through in his comment about how these bones are thought to be “63 million years old, give or take a week or two in one direction or the other.” If Dr. David Menton finds what he is looking for, you can count on a big write-up for Answers in Genesis in the near future!”
That paragraph comes from a post which also has quite a few nice pictures of the Edmontosaurus specimen with the aforementioned Dr. Menton, who is a bone histologist and, therefore, probably has the training to examine the internal structure of the bones (despite having completely fargled up the examination of the human fossil remains). 

Here is how the secular media reported it:
Together with creation scientist Dr. David Menton, Mr Ham says he will soon publish findings that he suggests will be world-changing — and dispel current evidence that dinosaurs roamed the earth over 65 million years ago.

It is understood Mr Ham will claim that a bunch of donated Edmontosaurus bones are only a few thousand years old, based on the fact that they still contain remnants of bone marrow.

Soft tissue surviving in dinosaur bones isn’t an entirely new idea — a
Tyrannosaurus Rex [sic] bone with soft tissue still present was discovered a decade ago.

Even then, young Earth creationists quickly claimed the discovery as evidence that dinosaur fossils were not millions of years old after all, while established scientists familiar with the study of these bones say that it showed, instead, a misunderstanding about how decay works.
Ham's main complaint seems to be that, despite the text of the article, his name is not mentioned in the Creation Museum post.  He is correct about that and the writers of the Australian News article should have noticed that and pointed it out and those of us that quoted it should have picked up on that as well.

Having said that, he does not seem to take issue with any of the content of the article.   Or if he does, he doesn't write about this in the post. Consequently, his reaction comes across as being a tad over the top.  He writes:
So again: who does hold the secular media accountable for such dishonesty? What gives them the right to make up whatever they want, and disseminate misinformation and downright untruths because of a blatant anti-Christian agenda? Except for very few reporters I have worked with, I can never fully trust the secular media when they are reporting on anything we teach. Where is journalistic integrity today?
So, what this boils down to is the media assuming that “we” in the opening paragraph of the Creation Museum refers to Ken Ham and others in the overall AiG organization. That certainly is what I thought when I wrote my post. Guilty as charged.

But why would we think this?

Well, for starters:
  • He is the founder and president of the museum.
  • On the home page is a cartoon caricature of him holding tickets to the museum
  • It is operated by Answers in Genesis, which was also founded by Ham
So, if Ham is not included in the “we” then who is? The Edmontosaurus post only shows pictures of David Menton. Trying to track down who the “we” is proving to be a bit difficult. The museum's home page is maddeningly absent of any ownership information. There is no board of directors and all of the blog posts are written by “The Creation Museum.”  This is highly unusual for a museum.  For the American Museum of Natural History, for example, the board of directors is easy to find.  A Google search for “Creation Museum” and “Board of Directors” yields nothing. The “About the Museum” simply has information about what can be found in the exhibits but there is nothing about who runs the show. After a bit more investigation, we discover that the Creation Museum is run entirely by Answers in Genesis which is attached.  Guess who the CEO of that organization is?

So, once again, who is the “we” in the post if he is not involved?  Rather than write about how dishonest the press is about attaching his name to a post on dinosaurs, all he has to do is clarify who the “we” is.

Oddly, as I mentioned, Ham writes that the secular post is full of misinformation and half-truths and yet does not seem to quibble with the content of the secular text, largely because they are correct that he does, indeed, take this position. Even here, though, he is a bit dodgy about it.  A bit back, Fatlip at Leo Weekly pointed out that, on one hand Ham doesn't know how dinosaurs and humans interacted and on the other, shows Noah's descendents riding, well, dinosaurs.  

So, again, Mr. Ham.  Why are you so upset about being linked to a post on the Creation Museum website on dinosaurs, especially when it is perfectly natural to assume your involvement with such a project?

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