Ham on Horses

| 129 Comments

Now that Shinola is no longer manufactured, I have to wonder what Ken Ham shines his shoes with. Today, Mr. Ham, the alleged proprietor of a putative Ark Park in Kentucky, ran a piece that criticizes the Kentucky Horse Park for promoting “(outdated) evolutionary ideas.”

Of all the fatuous nonsense in that article, this claim may be the, um, best:

One popular belief in regard to the horse evolution series is that as horses supposedly evolved, they got bigger. Eohippus is listed as 14 inches tall, while Mesohippus is listed as 24 inches tall. The next two horses in the display, 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).

I will not bother to explain that the domesticated horses we see today are products of artificial selection. Rather, I will note that Mr. Ham’s “deduction” is equivalent to saying, “If we are getting generally taller, then why is my granddaughter shorter than her mother?” Or, if you prefer, “If IQ’s are generally increasing, then why do we still have creationists?”

Acknowledgment. Thanks to Dan Phelps for the link. I am truly impressed that Mr. Phelps has the patience to track this kind of bunk.

129 Comments

It seems that creationists like Ham and Dembski only pipe up in order to demonstrate that they’ve never bothered to learn about the theory that they dislike.

That’s always the main goal of creationism, to keep people ignorant of real biologic science, and they embody that goal.

Glen Davidson

This guy must have to study really hard to come up with stuff that is so monumentally stupid. I mean really, exactly who does he think he is arguing against? Who exactly told him that if horses generally get bigger that all horses must get bigger at all times in every environment? Where did he get this idea? Did he just make it up without giving it a second of serious thought? Does he know that is just an ignorant piece of nonsense that isn’t going to fool anyone with half a neuron in their cranium? Does he care? How stupid do you have to be before people stop being fooled by your nonsense? Has he hit rock bottom yet, or can he go lower, as if he were in a limbo contest?

Look at Thumbelina, the world’s smallest horse. Oh my, horses are getting smaller!

“Outdated” evolutionary ideas, lol, as opposed to the cutting edge high tech stuff in Genesis.

“If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are pygmies + dwarfs??”

The problem is that Ham is a conman, and he knows and uses the basic rule that all conmen operate by: the mark has to want to believe it.

ksplawn said:

“If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are pygmies + dwarfs??”

Maybe they stayed in the bathwater too long?

The current meme is “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and shit better arguments than that.”

Perhaps the point Ken Ham was trying to make is that digging up the bones of a smaller horse from an older sediment layer doesn’t automatically mean that all horses used to be smaller, just like all horses are not small now, yet some are. Similarly, digging up a four-foot Inuit skeleton in Greenland wound not mean that all humans were shorter in the 14th century, or even all Greenlanders. The Norsemen inhabited Greenland, too, and they were much taller than the Inuit.

In the early 19th century, the fossils of dinosaurs were problematic for early notions of evolution, as they were large animals which went extinct. In order for evolution to be accepted, it had to be understood as not being a directed process, such as in the direction of increasing size. Think of birds as the descendants of non-avian dinosaurs as a more dramatic example than horses.

By the way, isn’t that lack of direction another example of a self-defeating argument of creationism?

rc19 said:

Perhaps the point Ken Ham was trying to make is that digging up the bones of a smaller horse from an older sediment layer doesn’t automatically mean that all horses used to be smaller, just like all horses are not small now

If that is his point, its a pretty stupid one, because no one ever said it would “automatically mean that all horses used to be smaller.” Many small animals evolved from larger ones, and vice versa. There is no claim otherwise. That’s just a straw man constructed by Ham. The evolutionary model of the descent of horses is not based on size, but on changes in anatomical features. Not to mention the evidence based on modern DNA patterns.

Robert Byers said:

I think Mr ham makes a good point and just at the right moment.

They always stress the horses as examples to demonstrate evolution as true. tHey pick the progression of horse fossils as a highlighted example. They originally and always showed small clawed horses becoming bigger hoofed horses and so on. their example was always about very small horses that evolved from something else becoming bigger over great lengths of time. mr Ham is replying to the small evolved into big concept.

It was a wrong and poor case to say tiny horse became big ones and so evolution proved. there is no reason to see this. in fact the glory of a horses body inside and out trumps the minor matters of hoof types or claws or size. Trivial details were used to say the horses was a product of great time and selection.

Like marine mammals the horse was used as stars in educating people about evolution.

This point is further made by the case of the litoptern(sp) horse. This is a fossil creature found in South America that is grouped into very different types of looking creatures but using teeth or other minor details conclusions are made about classification. Just wiki it. This litoptern has a horse head, body, and legs and yet is said by evolutionists to not be a horse. Just ANOTHER example of convergent evolution. This litoptern is in fact just a horse that along with other creatures migrating to S America developed teeth or this or that adaptations to deal with a new unique world.

This creature they say developed like body with REAL horses but unrelated. So they have horses being evolved descendants cause of hoof types but don’t have litopterns being evolved horses because of teeth types. Mr Ham is not the one needing correction about horsey’s.

Robert,

SInce you never took any biology in college, you have no way of knowing what is in the textbooks. I would advise you not to take the word of any creationist for this. Go to a bookstore and purchase a copy of a college biology textbook, then read it and learn something. What you will find is that horse evolution is NOT portrayed as a monolithic pedestal with modern horses sitting on top. It is portrayed as a branching tree with the only extant lineage containing large animals. Not all of the lineages are reduced to only one toe either. This is the way evolution actually works. We know the climate, we know the selection pressures and we are beginning to understand the genetic mechanisms that produced modern horses. Deal with it.

As for convergent evolution, what’s your point? Are you saying it can’t happen? Are you saying it cannot be explained? Do you know anything about evolution or horseys?

Look dude, like it or not, horse evolution is well documented in the fossil record. You have no explanation for the pattern observed. All you can do is impotently rage about misrepresentation, all the while trying to defend the king of misrepresentation. Grow up, get a clue and quite your whining.

rc19 said:

Perhaps the point Ken Ham was trying to make is that digging up the bones of a smaller horse from an older sediment layer doesn’t automatically mean that all horses used to be smaller, just like all horses are not small now, yet some are. Similarly, digging up a four-foot Inuit skeleton in Greenland wound not mean that all humans were shorter in the 14th century, or even all Greenlanders. The Norsemen inhabited Greenland, too, and they were much taller than the Inuit.

Perhaps the point he was trying to make is that if you don;t want to believe in evolution you will accept absolutely any argument against it, no matter how insane.

TomS said:

In the early 19th century, the fossils of dinosaurs were problematic for early notions of evolution, as they were large animals which went extinct. In order for evolution to be accepted, it had to be understood as not being a directed process, such as in the direction of increasing size. Think of birds as the descendants of non-avian dinosaurs as a more dramatic example than horses.

By the way, isn’t that lack of direction another example of a self-defeating argument of creationism?

Of course. If god had wanted to produce large animals with big teeth that ran on one toe, she would have just poofed them into existence. She would needed to bother with slow processes and branching trees and lots and lots of failures. And if that was the original intent, will god now smite the tiny pagan horse for defying her divine decree?

If evolution is true, then why is a chihuahua smaller than a wolf?

If evolution is true, then why are modern corn ears larger than the seed spikes of Teosinte?

These are all non sequiturs. The reason is because human directed evolution made them for our own purposes. Evolution is the basis for our agricultural systems which only matters to people that eat.

rc19 said:

Perhaps the point Ken Ham was trying to make is that digging up the bones of a smaller horse from an older sediment layer doesn’t automatically mean that all horses used to be smaller, just like all horses are not small now, yet some are. Similarly, digging up a four-foot Inuit skeleton in Greenland wound not mean that all humans were shorter in the 14th century, or even all Greenlanders. The Norsemen inhabited Greenland, too, and they were much taller than the Inuit.

No, that (perfectly reasonable point) is clearly not the point Ken Ham was making.

His point may be absurd, but he made it pretty clearly.

He denies evolution, he denies that modern horses evolved from ancestor populations, and in support of his denial, he uses the deceptive technique of constructing a straw man.

He claims that the theory of evolution requires that all modern horses be larger than all ancestor horses. That is the straw man part.

He then points out that small horses exist today (that part is true; they were mainly bred from larger horses by humans, though, and there is also some tendency for mustangs to be slightly smaller than domestic breeds overall, although mustangs fit into the category of full-sized horses).

He then claims to have disproved horse evolution, but what he has “disproved” is his own straw man claims about horse evolution.

The fact the modern horses are variable in size SUPPORTS the evolution of horses from different sized ancestors, of course.

Robert Byers said: This point is further made by the case of the litoptern(sp) horse.

Couldn’t even take a few seconds to look it up so you could spell it right? Litopterna had nothing to do with horses - they’re closer to camels and llamas than horses.

Karen S. said:

Look at Thumbelina, the world’s smallest horse. Oh my, horses are getting smaller!

Alternately, without the song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumbelina_(horse)

It so happens that I have had a newspaper clipping lying on my desk for a while waiting for an opportunity. From Norwegian, I translate:

The first manual for training of warhorses was written around 1350 BCE. At that time it was all about horses that could pull small, two-wheeled combat carriages. According to war historian Gat it was not until about 900 BCE that war horses with riders on their back made their definite entry on the battlefield. … Why did it take so long before mounted soldiers was invented? Gat answers that question by pointing out that horses had to become bigger first. It was only after hundreds of years of selective breeding that war-horses got so big that they could gallop longer distances with a rider on his back - instead of pulling a war-carriage.

Rolf said:

It so happens that I have had a newspaper clipping lying on my desk for a while waiting for an opportunity. From Norwegian, I translate:

The first manual for training of warhorses was written around 1350 BCE. At that time it was all about horses that could pull small, two-wheeled combat carriages. According to war historian Gat it was not until about 900 BCE that war horses with riders on their back made their definite entry on the battlefield. … Why did it take so long before mounted soldiers was invented? Gat answers that question by pointing out that horses had to become bigger first. It was only after hundreds of years of selective breeding that war-horses got so big that they could gallop longer distances with a rider on his back - instead of pulling a war-carriage.

Those small horses must have been pretty strong, since they could pull “chariots of iron”, which were apparently too much of a challenge for the Lord Himself.

Judges 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

Paul Burnett said:

Robert Byers said: This point is further made by the case of the litoptern(sp) horse.

Couldn’t even take a few seconds to look it up so you could spell it right? Litopterna had nothing to do with horses - they’re closer to camels and llamas than horses.

Wrong: Litopterna have nothing to do with camels and llamas, either. Some, like Macrauchenia looked sorta/kinda/almosta/vaguely/super, almost eyes welded shut squintingly like a camel when alive, while others, like Thoatherium (the litoptern “horse” Robert Byers was babbling about), achieved a very horse-like appearance, complete with single toe.

Either way, Litopterna and the other “South American Ungulates” were not horses, nor camels/llamas. One hypothesis concerning their origin suggests that they are descended from primitive condylarths that either island hopped or rafted from North America during the early Paleocene, thus making them equally distantly related to both horses and camels/llamas. The other hypothesis suggests that the South American Ungulates are actually related to the Xenarthrans (sloths, anteaters and armadillos), and Afrotheria (elephants, hyraxes and friends), having diverged from these two groups during the Cretaceous.

while others, like Thoatherium (the litoptern “horse” Robert Byers was babbling about), achieved a very horse-like appearance, complete with single toe.

Oh, you mean, convergent evolution?

Like marsupial “lions”, marsupial “tigers”, or marsupial “moles”, none of which are all that closely related to the placental mammals they resemble.

If you’re learning about evolution from an 19th century textbook, ham may be right–what you’re learning is a bit outdated. Unfortunately, he would replace it with a text considerably older. Perhaps the most significant aspect of horse evolution as understood since early in the last century is the “bushiness” of the evolutionary tree, quite unlike the linear sequence many people picture. Another poorly-supported idea is that at some time “the ancestral horse” switched from browsing to grazing; in fact, some of the diverse species were browsers and other were grazers. Instead of being a classic example of Cope’s Rule (the trend toward larger size), horses (in approximately their last 20 million years of evolution) exhibited greater diversity in size, some groups getting larger, some getting smaller, and some staying about the same. Ham refuses to understand any of this.

I seriously don’t want to sound like a paranoid twit, but, I was looking at Kenny’s blog post yesterday. So I wanted to know more about the Kentucky Horse Park, and I was able to click on a link called the “Education Barn.” It had some photos on the evolution of the horse and some other stuff. Today, while writing my response to Ken Ham (he has attacked little old me in the past on his Facebook page for comparing Ham to Meryl Dorey…you’d have to be into vaccines to get my humor), the link to the Education Barn no longer works. Maybe I was just confused, or maybe I clicked on the wrong link. But the education Barn link is now dead.

raven said:

while others, like Thoatherium (the litoptern “horse” Robert Byers was babbling about), achieved a very horse-like appearance, complete with single toe.

Oh, you mean, convergent evolution?

Like marsupial “lions”, marsupial “tigers”, or marsupial “moles”, none of which are all that closely related to the placental mammals they resemble.

Exactly. I think it was Donald Prothero in his book, “After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals,” who commented that Thoatherium looked more like (modern) horses than the Miocene horses (Thoatherium being a Miocene genus).

If you’re learning about evolution from an 19th century textbook, ham may be right–what you’re learning is a bit outdated. Unfortunately, he would replace it with a text considerably older. Perhaps the most significant aspect of horse evolution as understood since early in the last century is the “bushiness” of the evolutionary tree, quite unlike the linear sequence many people picture. Another poorly-supported idea is that at some time “the ancestral horse” switched from browsing to grazing; in fact, some of the diverse species were browsers and other were grazers. Instead of being a classic example of Cope’s Rule (the trend toward larger size), horses (in approximately their last 20 million years of evolution) exhibited greater diversity in size, some groups getting larger, some getting smaller, and some staying about the same. Ham refuses to understand any of this.

Not only that, but multiple species of horses (of different sizes, etc.) lived at the same time.

Robert,

Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen or read something from a YEC that you knew was flat out wrong?? If so, what was it and why do you know it was wrong?

Thanks in advance for your time.

alicejohn said:

Robert,

Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen or read something from a YEC that you knew was flat out wrong?? If so, what was it and why do you know it was wrong?

Thanks in advance for your time.

I’m betting no answer, or else something that has nothing at all to do with YECism.

Just Bob said:

alicejohn said:

Robert,

Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen or read something from a YEC that you knew was flat out wrong?? If so, what was it and why do you know it was wrong?

Thanks in advance for your time.

I’m betting no answer, or else something that has nothing at all to do with YECism.

Or he’ll claim that the alleged answer is “off topic,” and then continue on ignoring everyone.

Please do not feed (or bait) the Byers troll. I will send its comments to the Bathroom Wall as soon as I see them. It is not welcome to comment on any threads for which I am responsible until it learns about, well, anything and also displays an ability to write a coherent sentence.

Ham on horses? I don’t see why not. I’ve little doubt it would be delicious with the proper cure and smoking. After all, if there is turkey pastrami and chicken hot dogs.….….

(Perhaps I should hold off on posting until after lunch).

dpr

Just Bob said:

Maybe rc is going through an existential crisis, having discovered that the ABSOLUTELY TRUE scientific fact–that mules are ALWAYS STERILE, and therefore EVOLUTION IS A LIE–which his pastor taught him is just wrong. Now he’s questioning some of those other “facts” and doing some independent research. And discovering that they’re wrong, too, or at least gross distortions. In a week or two, after much soul searching, maybe he’ll be joining the ranks of the excellent ex-YEC posters here.

It’s Spring, and the time for hope.

First, I don’t think we know that rc ever was a YEC, only some “kind” of evolution denier (if not just playing one). Second, as in evolution itself, major changes such as the “conversion” of an evolution-denier to an evolution-accepter, may be relatively rare, but common enough to be significant. It helps if they’re teens or younger. But if they’re invested enough to start posting or writing letters to the editor, there’s a ~99% chance that they’re beyond hope, either due to Morton’s Demon, or by being in on the scam.

Pay closest attention to when they do stick around, but quietly backpedal from stating some detail about their “theory,” such as young-earth arguments, admission of common descent, etc., and go the “don’t ask, don’t tell” route. That, which is invariably accompanied by relentless changing of the subject to “weaknesses” of “Darwinism,” is a good litmus test that they are at least partly in on the scam.

D P Robin said:

After all, if there is turkey pastrami and chicken hot dogs.….….

dpr

But chickens do NOT have fajitas!

Sorry, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Just Bob said: But chickens do NOT have fajitas!

But some fajitas have chicken.

rc19 said:

If I suggested that a wolf suddenly birthed a fertile goat, for example, that would be amazing evidence for evolution.

How about if a rib suddenly birthed a fertile woman?

rc19 said:

Apokryltaros said: Artificial selection is a form of evolution where organisms have trait selected to suit human aesthetics. Furthermore, you are using the debunked Creationist canard of “evolution doesn’t exist because X organism is still the same as its ancestor.” So, are we to assume that you are stupid enough to think that wolves and chihuahuas and great danes are exactly the same? Or that you are blind enough to think wild corn and domesticated corn are identical?

Of course, I know you aren’t going to answer these rhetorical questions: you’re just here to shame us and scold us for not giving Creationists the scientific recognition, respect and accolades they have made no effort to earn.

Artificial selection is a form of evolution; I agree. I am not trying to argue that wolves and chihuahuas are the same. I am arguing that they are both still canine, and that we have no living or conclusive fossil evidence that they have ever been anything but canines. If I suggested that a wolf suddenly birthed a fertile goat, for example, that would be amazing evidence for evolution.

No that would be evidence against evolution as science understands it.

You have absolutely no clue as to what you are talking about.

Hey, what about them fertile hybrid mules, which can’t happen ‘cause God created them separately?

Mmmmmm I love the smell of burning crockaduck in the morning . … . .

waldteufel said:

Mmmmmm I love the smell of burning crockaduck in the morning . … . .

Quack?

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 28, 2012 1:45 PM.

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