RationalWiki's Q4 2016 Fundraiser
We are 100% user-supported!
Without you, there is no RationalWiki!
Goal: $5000 Donations so far: $4910
98.2%

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
Help and donate today!

Ken Ham

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
He'll give you one clam per Ham, from Sam & Dan's clam & Ham co. Don't you dare think about getting one more clam per Ham.
The divine comedy

Creationism

Icon creationism.svg
Running gags
Jokes aside
Blooper reel
Not to be confused with the other curse of ham.
Our Board believes Ken's comments to be unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.
—Brennan Dean, Great Homeschool Conventions[1]

Ken Ham, also known as Ken Sham, is the problematic president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics ministry, and a Bible-ical literalist.

Although he hails from Australia, where all the kangaroos floated during the Flood, he now lives permanently in Kentucky, in his office in the Creation "Museum". Ham wants children to be Indoctrinated taught "to think biblically".[2] On a mission from God, he is a frequent speaker at homeschooling conferences and creationist events, where one of his favorite "arguments" is "Were you there?"[3]

Ham is also the originator of the eponymous debating technique known as the "Ham Hightail".

Contents

[edit] Life well spent

Ham was created and raised in an obscure former prison colony where he surprisingly received a degree in applied science from Queensland Institute of Technology, followed by a diploma of education from the University of Queensland. It was in these pivotal years that Ken Ham's interest in young earth creationism morphed into an absolute obsession, mostly due to having been raised indoctrinated by his father's similarly untenable ideas and an uncritical reading of Henry Morris' magnum opus, 'The Genesis Flood.' [4] After having left college, he somehow became a public school science teacher,[5] which makes one understandably worried about a few years of public-school students from Australia. He was a member of the Creation Science Foundation starting in 1979. He moved to the US in 1987 as a "loan" to the Institute for Creation Research.[6]

[edit] Answers in Genesis

See the main article on this topic: Answers in Genesis

In 1993, Ham left ICR to form, with the help of CSF, Creation Science Ministries,[7] which changed its name to Answers in Genesis in 1994.[7] In 2006, the US/UK branches of AiG decided to withdraw from the general collection of AiG international groups because of the other groups' frustration with Ham's personality, taking with them the rights to the name AiG and CSF. The Australian AiG (originally CSF, which helped start CSM), rebranded itself Creation Ministries International. In 2007, CMI sued Ham and AiG.

[edit] Creation "Museum"

See the main article on this topic: Creation "Museum"

Ken Ham is also the man behind the Creation "Museum" in Kentucky, built in 2007. In 2010, Ham announced the construction of the "Ark Encounter" theme park, which includes a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark; it opened in 2016.

[edit] Debate with Bill Nye

See the main article on this topic: Bill Nye debates Ken Ham
The event went pretty much as expected; Nye presented levelheaded evidence that science works, that evolution is real, and the Universe is very old, while Ham used bad logic, cherry-picking, and blatant twisting of scientific claims.[8]

In a career high point for Ham, on February 4th, 2014, the Creation "Museum" hosted a debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, on the question "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?" Ham attempted throughout to distinguish "observational" science from "historical" science. As any observation of any event necessarily occurs after that event, this distinction is regrettably nonexistent. Ham also attempted to prove the world is 6,000 years old by saying the carbon dating method is flawed (but it's perfectly usable when dating biblical manuscripts). After spewing out more nonsense, Ham then stated that nothing would change his worldview, which makes one wonder what the point of the debate was in the first place. Further RationalWiki commentary on the event may be found here.

[edit] Character description

According to esteemed biologist and blogger PZ Myers, writing "to" Ham:

Millions of people, including some of the most knowledgeable biologists in the world, think just about every day that you are an airhead, an ass, a birdbrain, a blockhead, a bonehead, a boob, a bozo, a charlatan, a cheat, a chowderhead, a chump, a clod, a con artist, a crackpot, a crank, a crazy, a cretin, a dimwit, a dingbat, a dingleberry, a dipstick, a ditz, a dolt, a doofus, a dork, a dum-dum, a dumb-ass, a dumbo, a dummy, a dunce, a dunderhead, a fake, a fathead, a fraud, a fruitcake, a gonif, a halfwit, an idiot, an ignoramus, an imbecile, a jackass, a jerk, a jughead, a knucklehead, a kook, a lamebrain, a loon, a loony, a lummox, a meatball, a meathead, a moron, a mountebank, a nincompoop, a ninny, a nitwit, a numbnuts, a numbskull, a nut, a nutcase, a peabrain, a pinhead, a racketeer, a sap, a scam artist, a screwball, a sham, a simpleton, a snake oil salesman, a thickhead, a turkey, a twerp, a twit, a wacko, a close-minded douche, a woodenhead, and much, much worse.[9]

Ham can't consistently maintain peaceful relations with fellow Christians:

The Brisbane-based Creation Ministries International has filed a lawsuit in Queensland's Supreme Court against Mr Ham and his Kentucky-based Answers in Genesis ministry seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organisation. (...) A 40-page report, (...) reveals a bitter power struggle across the Pacific that began with a challenge to the power Mr Ham allegedly wielded over the ministries. (...) The joint Australian-US push for reforms came amid concerns over Mr Ham's domination of the ministries, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations. In his report, Mr Briese said Mr Ham and the US organisation responded with sackings, bullying and, in some instances, "unbiblical/unethical/unlawful behaviour" towards the Australian ministry that he suspected was intended to send it into bankruptcy. (...) CMI has no option left except to bring AiG-USA before the secular courts, the 'powers that be ordained by God' under Romans 13.[10]

He has been called "willfully ignorant" by Old Earth Creationist Greg Neyman.[11] Journalist Daniel Radosh is even more scathing in his description:

I realized with some surprise that Ken Ham scared me. I wasn't physically afraid. I didn't think he'd haul off and punch me if I told him that I was a humanist. But his grim affect and coldly irrational imitation of rationality struck me as borderline sociopathic… Later I read an essay Ham wrote for Creation magazine on the second anniversary of September 11: "After the 9/11 attack, I had someone say to me: 'I'm glad I wasn't in the World Trade Center — I would have died.' I replied, 'Well, don't worry, your turn is coming.'" Who thinks that way? Who thinks Jesus wants them to think that way?[12][13]

Even those who agree with him criticize him for ad hominem attacks which might be defamatory.[1]

[edit] Ken's greatest hits

[edit] Views on the Bible

See the main article on this topic: Bible
All [the money spent on Ark Encounter] to defend the delusions of a sad man (lots of them, really), terrified that science is telling him he has no heaven to go to when he dies. Imagine living in so much fear of knowledge that you dedicate your life to moronity on this massive a scale. After all these years I still shake my head at it all.
—David Silverman[14]

Every year Ham expounds on such thrilling topics as: reliability of the Bible, how compromise over biblical authority has undermined society and even the church, witnessing more effectively, dinosaurs, and "races".[15] Ken Ham notes that poll statistics show that steadily fewer Americans take the Bible literally and that steadily more Americans see the Bible as what it is, a book of fables. This devastates Ken Ham. He is unnaturally obsessed with the Book of Genesis, from the Old Testament of the Bible, to such a degree that he has devoted his life to the mental contortions necessary when taking the book to be literal truth. He considers Genesis, more than the rest of the Bible, "to be the most attacked, scoffed at, and ridiculed".[16]

[edit] Views on faith

See the main article on this topic: Faith
Followers of Ken Ham/Kent Hovind style creationism are setting themselves up to fail. They’ve created a starkly black and white universe in which either you are completely in agreement with their dogma, or you are completely wrong in all things, which means small cracks in their façade quickly tear wide open into vast chasms. It might mean they’re impenetrable in the short term, but over time, they crumble, and they crumble hard, since losing faith in certain pseudoscientific claims means you are inevitably going to have to question the whole of your faith. So Ken Ham is doing good work for us atheists by building a very brittle Christian wall. It can resist a few punches, but when it goes, it goes in its entirety.
PZ Myers[17]

How about indoctrinating kids with faith?

Telling kids that they have to believe the nonsense written in an ancient book — and that they’ll be tortured in hell for eternity if they don’t accept its core doctrines — is the definition of brainwashing.
Hemant Mehta[18]

Whether he holds very strong personal beliefs about the Bible or simply realized how much money he could get by exploiting popular gullibility is unknown.

[edit] Views on atheism

See the main article on this topic: Atheism
—Ken Ham, piling it on like a fat guy at a Vegas buffet[19]

Atheism is not a religion, atheists do not worship anything nor "shake their fists at God". Contrary to Ham's belief, atheists primarily do not believe that God exists (and beyond that, there's really no particular doctrine whatsoever).[19] Ham also insists on the existence of "militant atheists" who want to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness".[20]

[edit] Views on abortion

See the main article on this topic: Abortion

As expected Ken Ham is strongly pro-life. Ham suspects 'God is withdrawing the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit' from the United States because The USA has allowed abortion.[21] That must be why Europe is such a hellhole compared to Africa and the Middle East.

[edit] Views on evolution

See the main article on this topic: Evolution
Most evolutionists believe evolution cause they were taught it, was in their textbooks -- they don't want to know how fictional it really is.
—Ken Ham[22]

According to Ham evolution is a lie and one of many that 'false teachers' will bring out in the 'last days' to discredit 'God's truth'.[23] Ham points out rightly that evidence from fossils is inevitably incomplete but goes on to assume that the Bible must be irrefutable. Why? Ham uses circular reasoning and claims the Bible is true because the Bible says so. Ham cites Colossians 2:3.[24]

Ham is deeply concerned that public schools and colleges — and sometimes even Christian colleges — teach evolution as the valid scientific theory that it is, rather than focusing on conveying the much more snarky fact that it goes against the Bible.[25]

Ken Ham appears unable to see the difference between a scientific explanation and a religion, tweeting:[26]

Evolution,a religion of death-death bloodshed disease over millions yrs supposedly produces life & death is the end–it’s all about death

Ham disaproves of public money being used to study evolution, surprise surprise.[27]

[edit] Views on extraterrestrials

See the main article on this topic: Exotheology
Real alien data will never exist because aliens aren’t real!
[28]

Apparently, Ken Ham believes that aliens, if they exist, cannot have salvation (isn't God nice?) because they are not descendants of Adam, although he then uses this as a stepstone in his argument that there are no alien lifeforms.[29][30]

Ham also disaproves of public money being used to research possible extraterrestrial life, surprise surprise.[27]

[edit] Views on gay and transgender rights

See the main article on this topic: LGBT

Churches should warn LGBT youngsters they are at risk of Hell but they should be warned lovingly.[31]

Choosing to be transgendered is in Ken Ham's opinion sinful. Ham strongly disagrees with Ontario, Canada which allows people to register as transgender for driving licenses. Ham sees transgender acceptance as a further example of supposed moral decay in western society.[32] It's unclear how Ham views people with genuinely ambiguous genitalia and/or ambiguous sex chromosomes.

[edit] Views on moral degeneracy

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki

Ham claims modern society has become morally degenerate because Biblical standards are no longer accepted as absolute.[33] This amounts to an appeal to the illusory good old days. The nineteenth century United States tolerated slavery in some states, tolerated American Indian Genocide, tolerated child labor among other problems. Traditional society in North America and Europe was more Biblical in some respects but Ham provides no evidence to convince skeptics that traditional society was more moral.

[edit] Views on public schools

Public schools are really religious institutions using our tax money to impose the religion of secular humanism on generations of kids
Ken Ham[34]

Because American public schools do not actively promote Christianity Ham insists they impose secular humanism instead. The reality is American state funded public schools (the equivalent ot UK state schools) are required by the United States Constitution to promote no religion. Ham's view reflects a view common among American Conservative Christians that unless Christianity is being actively promoted there is an anti-Christian bias.[35]

[edit] Views on science

See the main article on this topic: Just a theory
So, in a big loud voice, who should you always trust first: God or the scientists? God, and I want you to remember that!
—Ken Ham, 'teaching' young children[36]

Ham is an enthusiastic proponent of the "just a theory" escape hatch:

The central argument Ken Ham always makes is a demolition of the whole concept of theory — he claims that any alternative explanation, no matter how much it ignores the evidence, is a theory, and all theories are equal, and therefore, his bizarre, highly subjective and ideologically driven interpretation of the words of his holy book are just as much deserving of the title of “theory” as the hard-earned, constantly tested, well-supported by evidence theory of evolution.
PZ Myers[37]

[edit] Publications

Ham has published a number of pseudoscientific works, the vast majority of them reflecting various mental contortions and his generally weak grasp on reality — caused by a literal reading of Genesis, combined with a fierce rejection of any data not pre-conforming to his flawed ideals.

These compositions include The New Answers Books and The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved!, which seek to indoctrinate unsuspecting children with creationist drivel — wrapped up in science-sounding jargon — published by a host of affiliated creation "scientists".

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences
  2. Already Gone in Iceland
  3. Were You There?
  4. [1]
  5. About AiG: President Ken Ham
  6. Interview with Ken Ham by Ron Cooper, part 1
  7. 7.0 7.1 The History of AiG
  8. Ken Ham Really Doesn’t Understand Science
  9. Here at Pharyngula, his scienceblog.
  10. Biblical battle of creation groups
  11. Ham can't tell the simple truth!
  12. Daniel Radosh (2008), Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture, Simon and Schuster
  13. There is a strain of Christian wingnuttery that does think that death is good, when not suicide, insofar as immanentizing the eschaton or getting to heaven faster is concerned.
  14. Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter hits iceberg of reality on maiden voyage
  15. Answers in Genesis - About Ken Ham
  16. The Erosion of God's Word-It's Catastrophic!"
  17. Ken Ham is right about one thing
  18. Creationist Ken Ham: Bill Nye is “Indoctrinating” Kids By Teaching Them Science
  19. 19.0 19.1 I Don’t Think Ken Ham Knows What Atheism Means… Ken Ham
  20. Christianity Under Attack—Praying Soldier Statue Removed
  21. Sanctity of Trees, or Sanctity of Human Life?
  22. https://twitter.com/aigkenham/status/778196342187458560
  23. The Lie: Evolution
  24. Evolution Is Religion
  25. Concern for the Curriculum
  26. [2]
  27. 27.0 27.1 Ken Ham, Who Spent $100 Million on Noah’s Ark Park, Says We Shouldn’t Waste Money Studying Science
  28. [3]
  29. http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2014/07/20/well-find-a-new-earth-within-20-years/
  30. https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/alien-life/
  31. Ken Ham Criticizes Church That Feeds Homeless LGBT Youth for Not Telling Them They’re Going to Hell
  32. Ontario, Canada, To Issue Male, Female, or “X” Driver’s Licenses
  33. Christianity Is Under Attack
  34. [4]
  35. Creationist Ken Ham: Public Schools “Impose the Religion of Secular Humanism” on Kids
  36. [5]
  37. Theory


Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
support
Community
Tools