|The divine comedy|
“”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|
Although he hails from Australia, where all the kangaroos floated to during the Flood, he now lives permanently in the Bible Belt state of Kentucky, in his office in the Creation "Museum". Ham wants children to learn, through what may be called teaching or Indoctrination, "to think biblically" (which is for certain values of think, of course). On a mission from God, he frequently speaks at homeschooling conferences and creationist events, where one of his favorite "arguments" is "Were you there?"
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's magnum opus, The Genesis Flood. After having left college, he somehow became a public school science teacher, 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. With John Mackay, he began to sell creation science materials to Queensland public schools. He moved to the US in 1987 as a "loan" to the Institute for Creation Research.. He received an honorary doctorate from Bryan College in Science.
Answers in Genesis
In 1993, Ham left ICR to form, with the help of CSF, Creation Science Ministries, which changed its name to Answers in Genesis in 1994. 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.
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"
amusement theme park, which includes a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark; it opened in 2016.
Debate with Bill Nye
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?" Unlike Nye, Ham didn't present evidence; instead, Ham attempted 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.
Second 'debate' with Bill Nye
“”I want everyone to understand when you go backwards and say everything happened from natural processes, that's Bill's religion. His religion is that there is no God, the Bible is not true and everything started by natural processes. He has a religion, I have a religion. His is based off blind faith, mine is not because when you start with God's word it makes sense of the world that we see and we can use observational science to confirm it
|—Ken Ham, in a dazzling display of the limits of human cognitive dissonance|
“”Do you see that people on the outside have, from a non-supernatural standpoint, shown that your world view could not possibly have happened?
|— Bill Nye |
Bill Nye visited the Ark Encounter in July 2016, thereby taking Ken Ham’s offer to tour the place. While Nye admired the architecture, he expressed genuine concern about the contents of the Ark Encounter — that is, its pseudoscience, pseudoarchaeology, and really its general failings in the department of logic and reality. Ham expressed concern that Nye was
simply teaching indoctrinating children about the theory of evolution. Nye reminded Ham that the theory of evolution was the fundamental principle in all of biology.
When asked how Noah could possibly have built such a structure, Ham asserted that Noah had high powered cranes, somehow similar in quality to the cranes of today, and instead demanded that Nye tell him which tools Noah had and did not have. After a bit of back-and-forth, Ham attempted to evangelize Nye, "worried" that Nye would cause himself to suffer a second death. Nye responded by saying that he would prefer if Ham didn't indoctrinate children with such anti-science. Ham then challenged Nye by stating that Nye must have 100% of knowledge to know with 100% certainty that Ken Ham was wrong about the age of the earth being 6000 years old, gleefully disregarding the fact that in order for Ham's beliefs to be falsified, all that must be done is to present an object on the earth older than 6000 years (say, a tree), which would falsify Ham's beliefs, given that he believed the earth was created before everything on 'day one'. Ken Ham then asserted his beliefs came from evidence, the Bible, which is the word of God because in the book itself it claims over 3,000 times to be the word of God.
While two and a half years had passed since their original debate, Creationist arguments don't change that much over time. As such, the contents of their second debate was quite similar to that of their original debate, with Ham still relying on circular logic as the foundation for his beliefs.
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.
Ham can't even 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.
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?[note 1]
Ken's greatest hits
“”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.
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". Ken Ham notes that poll statistics show that steadily fewer Americans take the Bible literally and that steadily more Americans see the Bible as a book of fables (which, to be honest, is far from inaccurate). This devastates Ken Ham (who will be left to buy his stuff?). 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".
“”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.
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.
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.
|—Ken Ham piling it on.[note 2]|
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). Ham also insists on the existence of "militant atheists" who want to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness".[note 3]
As expected, Ken Ham is strongly anti-abortion. Ham suspects 'God is withdrawing the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit' from the United States because The USA has allowed abortion. That must be why Europe is such a hellhole compared to Africa and the Middle East.
“”Most evolutionists believe evolution [']cause they were taught it, was in their textbooks — they don't want to know how fictional it really is.
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'. 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, specifically citing Colossians 2:3. He asserts that flood legends from all around the world are evidence for the flood legend in Genesis being true, but in an extraordinary yet expected case of special pleading, disregards the fact that the flood legend in Genesis could be yet another legend.
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.
Ken Ham appears unable to see the difference between a scientific explanation and a religion, tweeting:
Evolution,a religion of death-death bloodshed disease over millions yrs supposedly produces life & death is the end–it’s all about death
Ham disapproves of public money being used to study evolution, surprise surprise.
“”Real alien data will never exist because aliens aren’t real!
|—Answers in Genesis on Twitter|
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.
Ham also disapproves of public money being used to research possible extraterrestrial life, surprise surprise.
Gay and transgender rights
Being transgender is, in Ken Ham's opinion, sinful. Ham strongly disagrees with Ontario, Canada, which allows people to register as "X" for driving licenses (useful for transgender and intersex individuals). Ham sees transgender acceptance as a further example of supposed moral decay in western society. It's unclear how Ham views people with genuinely ambiguous genitalia and/or ambiguous sex chromosomes.
Ham claims modern society has become morally degenerate because Biblical standards are no longer accepted as absolute. 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, and 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.
“”The 'separation of church and state' nonsense is nothing but a ruse by secularists to impose atheism on the education system & culture
Because American public schools do not actively promote Christianity, Ham insists that they impose secular humanism instead. The reality is that American state funded public schools (the equivalent of 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.[note 4]
“”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|
Ham is an enthusiastic proponent of the "just a theory" escape hatch, as PZ Myers explains:
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.
Ham believes science is flawed because scientists change their opinions over time. Ham cannot see that changing in the light of new evidence is one of the strengths of science, as it allows scientists to ratify theories which may, and specifically may, be incorrect. This practice is, of course, in strong contrast to Fundamentalism, which, despite new evidence, will stubbornly refuse to change their views, but will instead shoehorn and manipulate facts in order to fit them.
Ken Ham expresses his feelings that those who maintain the earth is flat are not basing their beliefs in science. He states that those who do use the bible as the basis of their beliefs cherry pick bible verses.
As expected, Ham is sweepingly dismissive of all other religious traditions, and seeks to 'reach Muslims' by showing them all the contradictions in the Qur'an, while failing to notice that such arguments work against his own religion (or rather, don't work, in terms of changing the minds of the faithful). Ham believes that all other religious adherents are 'lost souls mired in the wrong religions'.
Holier than thou
Over the years, Ham has pushed various fundamentalist institutions towards his version of strict Biblical literalism. This has resulted in some fundamentalist colleges requiring faculty to sign a detailed statement of faith each year and in the purging of heterodox faculty. Examples include Cedarville University,:210-215 Bryan College,:216-218 and Calvin College.:218-219
“”We need more kids’ books than ever to counter the intense secular indoctrination from public education and the secular media
|— Ken Ham |
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".
- The Lie: Evolution (1987). T Green Forest: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-158-6.
- The New Answers Books (2000). Master Books: ISBN 0890512825.
- Ark Encounter
- Atheists Outline Their Global Religious Agenda
- Bill Nye
- Creation "Museum"
- Ham Hightail
- Ken’s official blog.
- Official site of the Creation "Museum" amusement park.
- Official site of the Ark Encounter amusement park.
- No Answers in Genesis official site.
- 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.
- He is probably also giving any English teachers and/or grammar Nazis who read his screeds a
aneurysm rage-induced nervous breakdownconniption.
- There are quite a few atheists who are intolerant of Christianity, yes, and statements that antitheism is just the atheist version of fundamentalism are not wholly invalid. However, the war that so-called militant atheists wage against Christianity is not without at least some justification. It could very well be argued to be either a primarily defensive reaction to Christians being intolerant of atheists and/or a strong desire to hold Christianity (and religion in general, but largely Christianity by virtue of its being the biggest target) accountable for its numerous atrocities over the years and force it to shed the dogma that encourages such atrocities. Even most antitheists don't want to see religion eradicated, just privatized and prevented from doing harm. There are even plenty of religious people (e.g. moderates) who recognize the need for religion to adapt and change with the times and are fully aware that firmly adhering to a rigid and unchanging dogma is a horrible, terrible idea with no logical basis whatsoever.
- To quote ourselves on the hostile media effect, it's impossible to perceive media as unbiased when you, yourself, have a powerful bias. Clearly, that statement is true of more than just media.
- Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences
- Already Gone in Iceland
- Were You There?
- About AiG: President Ken Ham
- Righting America at the Creation Museum by Susan L. Trollinger & William Vance Trollinger Jr. (2016) Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 1421419513.
- Interview with Ken Ham by Ron Cooper, part 1
- The History of AiG
- Ken Ham Really Doesn’t Understand Science
- Bill Nye Tours the Ark Encounter with Ken Ham. YouTube, 13 March 2017.
- Bill Nye tours the Ark Encounter by Lambson Chopson (Jan 3, 2017) YouTube.
- Here at Pharyngula, his scienceblog.
- Biblical battle of creation groups
- Ham can't tell the simple truth!
- Daniel Radosh (2008), Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture, Simon and Schuster
- Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter hits iceberg of reality on maiden voyage
- Answers in Genesis - About Ken Ham
- The Erosion of God's Word-It's Catastrophic!"
- Ken Ham is right about one thing
- Creationist Ken Ham: Bill Nye is “Indoctrinating” Kids By Teaching Them Science
- I Don’t Think Ken Ham Knows What Atheism Means… Ken Ham
- Christianity Under Attack—Praying Soldier Statue Removed
- See the Christopher Hitchens quote at the top of our page on antitheism.
- Sanctity of Trees, or Sanctity of Human Life?
- The Lie: Evolution
- Evolution Is Religion
- Concern for the Curriculum
- Ken Ham, Who Spent $100 Million on Noah’s Ark Park, Says We Shouldn’t Waste Money Studying Science
- We'll Find A New Earth Within 20 Years
- Answers In Genesis - Alien Life
- Ken Ham Criticizes Church That Feeds Homeless LGBT Youth for Not Telling Them They’re Going to Hell
- Ontario, Canada, To Issue Male, Female, or “X” Driver’s Licenses
- Christianity Is Under Attack
- The 'separation of church and state' nonsense is nothing but a ruse by secularists to impose atheism on the education system & culture Ken Ham (Twitter)
- Creationist Ken Ham: Public Schools “Impose the Religion of Secular Humanism” on Kids
- Creationist Ken Ham: Scientists Have Changed Their Minds Before, Therefore Evolution Is False
- Hemant Mehta, Creationists Are Mocking Flat Earthers for Not Understanding Science. patheos.com, 3 June 2019.
Talk about a complete lack of self-awareness: Creationist Ken Ham says people who think the Earth is flat are being ridiculous because they aren’t basing their beliefs in science. And if they think the Bible supports them, it’s only because they wrongly choose which verses to quote as if that tells the whole story.
- Reach Muslims by revealing the inconsistencies of Islam’s holy book in contrast to the truth of the Bible by Ken Ham (6:00 PM, 26 Aug 2015) Twitter.
- Join Us for Our World Religions Conference by Ken Ham (January 9, 2017) '"Answers in Genesis.
- Righting America at the Creation Museum by Susan L. Trollinger & William Vance Trollinger Jr. (2016) Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 1421419513.
- Trollinger, Susan L; Trollinger, William Vance (2016). "Judgment". Righting America at the Creation Museum. Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 218. ISBN 9781421419534. Retrieved 16 December 2021. "By the end of spring 2014, at least nine instructors (out of forty-four fulltime faculty members) were gone; the departures included Eisenback, [...] as well as two faculty members who refused to sign [...]."
- Abortion and Child Sacrifice by Ken Ham (October 26, 2015) Answers in Genesis.
- Obama Meets Lucy by Ken Ham (August 5, 2015) Answers in Genesis.
- President Obama—Inciting Young People to Adopt a Secular Worldview? by Ken Ham (November 25, 2014) Answers in Genesis.
- MSNBC TV Host—Kids Don’t Belong to Their Parents? by Ken Ham (April 9, 2013) Answers in Genesis.