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Ken Ham Lies About the Size of a Four-Week-Old Human Embryo

Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, and the builder of two monuments to ignorance, the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, recently took U.S. Representative Ted Lieu to task for misrepresenting what a nine-week fetus looks like; saying that Lieu was a liar. In doing so, Ham told his own lie about a four-week-old embryo.

Here’s the picture of a four-week-old embryo Ham used in a post titled What Does a 9-Week-Old Baby Look Like? California Representative Lies About It:

fetus at four weeks

According to the British National Health Service:

Your [four-week-old] baby, or embryo, is about 2mm long (about the size of a poppy seed) and growing rapidly in your womb. It’s protected by an amniotic sac, which is filled with cushioning fluid, and attached to a tiny yolk sac that provides all the nourishment it needs. The outer layer will later develop into the placenta and provide your baby with oxygen and nutrients.

According to the NHS, a four-week-old embryo is 2 mm long. For us Yanks, who are metric ignorant, that is .08 of an inch. As you can see, Ham lies about the size of the embryo, overstating its size by three hundred percent.

Ham also uses a classic sleight of hand used by forced birthers to distort public perception of fetal development and abortion. A four-week-old embryo is the size of a poppy seed. Yet, Ham blows up the picture to show an embryo that is five inches long — sixty-three times larger than it actually is. Ham knows that if he displayed the actual size of a four-week-old embryo, his readers would be unimpressed and might even approve of women taking Mifepristone at this stage of fetal development.

It is common for forced birth zealots (I do not use the term pro-life) to use pictures of fetuses aborted late term in their propaganda — even though very few abortions are performed in the last trimester. Why is that? People such as Ham know that abortion is an emotional issue. What better way to stir emotions than deceitfully using pictures of late-term fetuses, misrepresenting what most embryos/fetuses look like when pregnancies are terminated?

Ken Ham and the zealots at Answers in Genesis do not traffic in facts. Their agenda is to promote and advance the teachings and beliefs of Fundamentalist Christianity. Their “facts” always serve that end, and that’s why Ham was willing to lie in his post.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    “Ken Ham Lies About…” seems like a title made for him. Does the dude say anything truthful? I was at least taught in my denomination that we shouldn’t lie;.

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    I’m noticing that more and more ‘proper’ media organisations are refusing to call anti abortionists ‘pro life’, preferring the much more appropriate ‘anti choice’. Personally I’m happy to say ‘forced birther’. Whatever the term, the history of mankind is based on the assumption that life begins at birth, not conception. When forced birthers are able to provide a practical way in which nationality can be based on ‘country of conception’ then I’ll begin to think that they’ve actually thought their position through.

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Ham is despicable… But you have to understand and acknowledge that just as Bruce’s final statement asserts, this kind of lying is very common among evangelicals. When one is only willing to begin speaking on any subject after acknowledging and affirming the the Bible is literal truth (as explained by the local preacher) then all the rest is poppycock.
    Mindfuck via the Urban Dictionary: “The process of raping someone’s intelligence and/or beliefs with lies and manipulation.”
    Now sing along: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’ Once far down the rabbit hole, what does a silly centimeter or two matter? All resistance is Satan! Please stand and open your hymn book…

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    I prefer the term “forced birther” because that’s literally what they are.

    The 1st time I got pregnant was in 1999. I called my gynecologist’s office when I took a pregnancy test that showed positive. They told me at the time that they typically schedule an appointment when you’re in your 8th or 9th week. A couple of days after my appointment where everything had checked out fine, I had some spotting and called the office in a panic. They said there wouldn’t be anything they could do – just wait it out, and if I continued bleeding or passed tissue to come in. The bleeding stopped, and I had an otherwise normal pregnancy (and the resulting child just turned 23 in February).

    With my 2nd pregnancy, in my 24th week I had what I thought was leaking of amniotic fluid, called my doctor, and was told to go to the hospital. Hooked up to all sorts of monitors, the doctor gently tried to explain what a seriously premature birth would involve – that if he survived he would most likely suffer severe developmental delays. The doctor was gently trying to counsel no extreme life-saving measures without saying it outright. Fortunately, I had just leaked urine and everything was fine – that resulting child just turned 21 a few weeks ago.

    Those experiences, as well as others told to me by friends, have had a great impact on how I view reproduction, gestation, and issues that real people go through. The way medical professionals deal with real life situations in a state that protects choice was enlightening. Legislators for the most part have no training in real life medical scenarios and are coming from a purely emotional and philosophical stance (that’s being kind – many are ignorant religious zealots).

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      OC, fortunately as a man I’ve never had to face the trauma of pregnancy. It must be hard enough to carry to term without the constant nagging thought that my GP/physician/gynaecologist might effectively be unable to provide any number of health interventions, even at the expense of a dead woman. I’m disgusted by the forced birth lobby.

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    I agree with BJW, Ken Ham lies about everything else, so the size of a fetus isn’t really uncharacteristic. His essay seems to indicate he delegated the fetus display to one of his Bible thumping hired guns (those with academic credentials but with fundamentalist indoctrinations)
    In my state of Michigan (which just overturned the 1931 anti-abortion law, which is really just an amended 1800s law that added changes if drugs are used) there is informed consent law where women must look at pictures of fetal development. While they are technically correct, I’d suggest any magnification is deceptive.
    When it comes down to it the actual size or detail (which Ham also fudges), an abortion isn’t any different than an ejaculation or an ovulation, there is just no consciousness to speak of, since the brain hasn’t developed enough.

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    The supposedly omnipotent, all loving supreme being aborts a large percentage of pregnancies despite the woman’s wishes so why do evangelicals believe this diety is opposed to abortion. I guess we’re back to the argument that if god does it then it’s not bad but it’s a sin if we do it.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    I, too, prefer the term “forced birther” to “pro-life” or even “anti-choice.” It’s simply more accurate.

    The only way zealots like Ken Ham can persuade people is through lies and manipulation. Unfortunately, the campaigns of deception are not limited to him and his ilk: Even here in New York, I see billboards with manipulated images and slogans like “He has a fingerprint at nine weeks!”

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