Ken Ham, AiG, and the Creation Museum


 

It seems that Ken Ham has been making quite a stir in the evangelical world in recent years, so he and his view of creation will be the topic of discussion for the next several posts. I had never heard of Ken Ham until three years ago, and I didn't bother taking the time to investigate him until now…I suspect that at least some of our readers don’t know much about Ham, so please indulge me as I share my finding with you.

WHO IS KEN HAM?

Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, is perhaps the most outspoken proponent of Young Earth Creationism. He is an Australian who moved to the United States in 1987 to work for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). ICR is one of the oldest Creationist organizations, and it supports a Young Earth approach to creationism.

Regarding Ham’s educational background, the AiG website lists his credentials as follows: 

“Ken’s bachelor’s degree in applied science (with an emphasis on environmental biology) was awarded by the Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia. He also holds a diploma of education from the University of Queensland (a graduate qualification necessary for Ken to begin his initial career as a science teacher in the public schools in Australia).


In recognition of the contribution Ken has made to the church in the USA and internationally, Ken has been awarded three honorary doctorates: a Doctor of Divinity (1997) from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio, a Doctor of Literature (2004) from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a Doctor of Letters (2010) from Tennessee Temple University”.

 

 

Perhaps this glorified science teacher will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary soon… Why? Given the description of his wife in his Wikipedia article, Ken Ham must be highly esteemed by the Southern Seminary crowd.
 

“On December 30, 1972, he married Marilyn (“Mally”), whom he describes as a “very, very submissive, supportive wife” who has “always supported me five million percent”. 

It’s extremely important to understand that an “Honorary Doctorate” is NOT AN EARNED DEGREE. Unearned degrees have become highly controversial and have been the fodder of several discussions on Christian blogs in recent months.


WHAT DOES KEN HAM BELIEVE?

 

 

 

According to the Wiki article (cited above):
 

“Ham believes that the entire universe was created about 6,000 years ago and that Noah’s flood occurred about 4,500 years ago. He believes that this explains how a small number of animals carried on Noah’s ark could produce the biological diversity observed on Earth. Ham also believes that dinosaurs co-existed with modern humans. He supports this claim with both scripture and with the same evidence that secular scientists use. He once said to a Christian audience regarding his opposition to racism, “If you disagree with what I’m going to say, please do not give me your opinion, because I’m not interested…I want to know what the Bible says.”

 

 

 

It’s important to point out that Ham’s position has been criticized by fellow Christians and Old earth creationists. The organization that counters Ham’s “Answers in Genesis” group has labeled him as “willfully ignorant of evidence for an old earth, and claim that he ‘deliberately misleads’ his audiences on matters of both science and technology." (from Ken Ham Wiki article)
 

ANSWERS IN GENESIS
 

“Answers in Genesis rejects modern scientific consensus on cosmology, geology, linguistics, paleontology and evolutionary biology in favor of a worldview which sees the universe, the Earth and life originating about 6,000 years ago. AiG claims their views of origins, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, define what should be considered "good science", states the AiG Wiki article
 

The “About Us” section of the AiG website states:
 

“The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, we are able to use it to help us make sense of this present world. When properly understood, the “evidence” confirms the biblical account.

Because AiG’s methodology rejects naturalistic scientific explanations of the origin of the universe in favor of the supernatural, the scientific community labels their pronouncements on science as PSEUDOSCIENCE.
 

THE CREATION MUSEUM
 

The $27 million Creation Museum, which was privately funded through contributions made to Answers in Genesis, opened its doors to the public on May 28, 2007. The 70,000 square foot facility is located on 49 acres in Petersburg, Kentucky (near Cincinnati, Ohio). AiG’s headquarters is attached to the museum.
 

The Wiki article for the Creation Museum states: 
 

“The Creation Museum is a museum that presents an account of the origins of the universe, life, mankind, and man's early history according to a literal reading of the Book of Genesis. This museum has been heavily criticized by the scientific and academic communities as promoting "fallacy over fact" and attempting to advance the tenets of a particular religion while rejecting scientific knowledge. Its exhibits reject universal common descent, along with most other central tenets of evolution, and assert that the Earth and all of its life forms were created 6000 years ago over a six-day period. In contrast to the overwhelming scientific consensus exhibits promote young Earth creationist claims, including the idea that humans and dinosaurs once coexisted, and that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark. The museum exhibits are at odds with the determination of the scientific community that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and that the dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years before human beings arose. The museum has generated criticism by the scientific community, several groups of educators, Christian groups opposed to young Earth creationism, and in the general press.”
 

As reported in this Wikipedia article, Ken Ham called the museum’s grand opening "not just a historic event in America, but a historic event in Christendom!"
 

The museum first broke ground in 2001. Kurt Wise, who taught at Southern Seminary from August 2006 until May 2009, "was hired as scientific consultant for the project and played a major role in designing the exhibits, which are intended to be state-of-the-art, and include 52 professionally-made videos", according to the above article.
 

To understand the museum's appeal, the Wiki article states: "In addition to large movie screens showing a young-Earth history of the world, the museum also features a 78-seat planetarium depicting creationist cosmologies and a 200-seat special-effects theater with seats that vibrate and jets that can spray the audience with mist. Many of the displays were designed by Patrick Marsh, who had formerly worked for Universal Studios designing attractions such as Jaws and King Kong before becoming a born-again Christian and young Earth creationist."
 

It’s important to point out that the museum has been highly criticized by Christians who are not young Earth creationists. Greg Neyman of Answers in Creation, and old earth creationism ministry, released a press kit dealing with the museum's grand opening in which he said:
 

"Those who will benefit least from the museum are the non-Christians, who are firmly grounded in their belief through modern science that the Earth is billions of years old. They will see the museum, and recognize its faulty science, and will be turned away from the church. This will increase the already widening gap between the unchurched and the churched. This gap is the direct result of young Earth creationism.”
 

The creation museum employs about 160 people with another 140 working at the attached Answers in Genesis headquarters. Each permanent employee must sign a statement of faith indicating that he or she believes in young Earth creationism and the other teachings of Answers in Genesis.
 

Finally, here’s how the creation museum has been presented by the media.

BBC Reports on the Creation Museum

 

 

 

 

Creation Museum on Channel 4

 

CBN Reports on the Creation Museum

 

Ken Ham claims humans and dinosaurs lived together and that dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark two by two. “Kids love dinosaurs, and so they’ll love the Creation Museum,” says Ham.

 

Entrance into the Creation Museum is relatively expensive, unless you're the Duggar family who likely got in free and had a personal tour by Ken Ham. If you missed this episode, here it is:

 

 

 

 

 

Yabba Dabba Do!!!

Lydia's Corner:  Genesis 23:1-24:51 Matthew 8:1-17 Psalm 9:13-20 Proverbs 3:1-6

Comments

Ken Ham, AiG, and the Creation Museum — 23 Comments

  1. Deb

    Great article. An historic event in Christendom? The Creation Museum? This should cause everyone to slow down a bit. It sounds as if Ham has an exaggerated view of his own importance.

  2. We are no longer afraid of our environment like our cave dwelling brethren of old. We are an intelligent society capable of standing on our own two feet. We no longer need to believe in the myths and practices of the past. We owe it to our children to give them every advantage from what we have learned. Religion is going away, it will fade into the past just as so many others have, cling to it if you like, put your fingers in your ears and shout “na-na-na” instead of taking an opportunity to learn and grow but remember its at the expense of your children and society’s future.

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  4. I’m guessing that you’ve never visited the Creation Museum. I’m also guessing that you don’t really care for Southern Seminary. It would behoove you to investigate both a bit more before you go to making yourself out the fool based on wiki articles.

    First, has Southern or Boyce ever offered anyone an honorary doctorate? Does Boyce College even offer a doctoral program?

    Second, the Creation Museum — no matter one’s ultimate position on the age of the universe — is a very well done entity, and worth a visit.

    Many others who have had the same reaction as you based on stereotyping have changed their minds about the quality of the presentation and the detail of the museum. Perhaps you should visit both SBTS and the museum before you write the next piece on either. You just may be surprised!

  5. GLFredrick,

    Actually, I know quite a bit about Southern Seminary. You’re right, Boyce is strictly an undergraduate school, so the post has been amended accordingly.

    I don’t need to make a long trek to the Creation Museum because the videos I have linked to are sufficient. I had no idea until I watched them that the dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark two by two… Do you really believe there were dinosaurs on the ark?

  6. That is one of the things we simply can’t or don’t know for sure. We’re not told specifically in the Bible, and we have no physical evidence, so we speculate based on the fact that the Word does say that Noah brought two of each animal, male and female, into the Ark.

    On that note, there are a LOT of things concerning the creation of this cosmos, this earth, and all that populates it, on both sides of the aisle, that are mere speculations. For instance, the idea that there must be multiple universes in order to explain how this particular “fine-tuned” universe came to be. But how can we know that? We cannot transcend the bounds of this universe to test that theory, so it becomes a matter of speculation. We will never be able to transcend the bounds of this universe, so that speculation will forever need someone to take it on faith, and even so, a multi-verse scenario does not eliminate the need for a First Cause (Creator), just pushes it back to a place where it can never be verified.

    I still advise everyone to take a trip to the Creation Museum. I’ve visited a number of the great museums in the United States, and the Creation Museum is high quality and educational. It compares well to other museums that I’ve toured, even though a good many of them also make “speculations” about their own content… ;>)

  7. GLFrederick,

    Thanks for your comment, but I’ll pass on the Creation Museum. Based on the videos included in this post, Ken Ham and the museum staff are leading people to believe that man co-habitated with dinosaurs. I loved watching the Flinstones, but that’s a fairy tale I just can’t buy.

    Let me be clear. I believe that Almighty God created the heavens and the earth. I used to believe in a young earth, but as I have matured as a Christian I am leaning more toward the old earth viewpoint. God lives outside of time, so what was His hurry?

    When young earth creationists become dogmatic about their beliefs and try to force them upon everyone else, that’s when I get really irritated! Christians, especially the younger ones, need to have the liberty to believe in an Old Earth or even theistic evolution (Note that I did not say “atheistic evolution”). I fear many in the younger generation are losing their faith because they are being taught that the earth was created in six literal twenty-four hour days PERIOD! To believe otherwise may mean one is a heretic, according to the YE crowd. Shame, shame, shame… I’m not putting up with it anymore, and that’s why I am posting this information.

    Next week Dee and I will theorize about why this literal interpretation is being forced upon the Christian community.

  8. Forced? Me thinks thou dost protest too much…

    Even on the campus of Southern Seminary, a place you have already chosen to pick on, no one is “forced” to believe anything. One of the hallmarks of Baptist tradition and theology is the doctrine of priesthood of all believers. In large measure the concept of a 6000-year-old earth (cosmos) is based on the calculations of Archbishop Usher, but the last time I checked, there were no actual dates in the Bible.

    We are told very specifically that God spoke creation into existence, and the text (in Hebrew) uses language that points to creation by fiat from nothing (elohim bara — in the qal perfect only and always used with God as the subject), and in six days (yom). That is why many Christians choose to hold to a young earth perspective.

    Science and human reason have other answers, but many of the other answers actually point to the same testimony held in the creation narratives: a universe with a distinct beginning, space/time with a distinct beginning, creation of light first, a cosmos “fine-tuned” to a highly improbable level of order, etc., etc., etc.

    About young people loosing their faith based in either young or old earth creation, all I can say is “really?” I’ve not noticed that the age of the earth is that big a factor. I though salvation was concerned with Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected, and sitting at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Creation, though a very interesting and thought provoking apologetic point, is not a first order theological issue that might cause one to loose their salvation. As I said above, there are no dates in the Scriptures so in all cases, we interpret and speculate.

  9. It’s worthy of note that rabid, militant atheists like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and P.Z. Myers characterize people like Francis Collins, Ken Miller and even atheists like Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Science Foundation, as accommodationists, which to them is a very bad word. It’s bad because to they — that is, the accommodationists — refuse to take the extreme position that Karlton (see above) takes, which is to say, they understand that one can, like Collins and Miller, meld faith and science or, as Eugenie Scott acknowledges, allow them to coexist within their own spheres. So, if we acknowledge natural science and its conclusions, we’re damned by the Hamm faction of the YECers, but if we also have faith, we’re damned by the militant atheists who, like Dawkins and apparently Karlton, believe we’re either abusing our children by teaching them about God (Dawkins) or at the very least somehow stunting their intellectual development (Karlton).

  10. Here’s the link to the YouTube video in which the Duggars visit the Creation Museum.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXHcqKuT5qo

    Sorry for the technical difficulties with the two embedded videos. They were working just fine this morning, and then I inadvertently messed them up when I did a minor edit. Hope to have them fixed soon. Remember, we’re technopeasants…

  11. GLFrederick,

    First of all, I did not point my finger specifically at SBTS when I made the following statement:

    “When young earth creationists become dogmatic about their beliefs and try to force them upon everyone else, that’s when I get really irritated!”

    However, I do know of several churches that teach Young Earth Creationism, and no one is allowed to challenge the pastors/Sunday school teachers with any other creation theories. High school students as well as adults have been kicked out of Sunday school classes for challenging the status quo with Old Earth Creationism. Yes, it definitely is being forced in some churches.

    Interestingly, the pastor of one of these churches in which this occurs is a trustee at Southern Seminary. Hmmmm…….

    Then we have Russell Moore making the following statements when he filled in for Al Mohler on “Ask Anything Wednesday”:

    http://ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=12866

    “A Southern Baptist theologian and seminary administrator says dinosaurs and humans must have coexisted before Noah’s flood.

    Guest hosting last week’s “Ask Anything Wednesday” installment of “The Albert Mohler Radio Program,” Russell Moore fielded a question about how dinosaurs fit into the history of the world as presented in the Bible.

    Moore, who holds positions of associate professor of Christian theology and ethics, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said that depends on whether the word “day” in Genesis 1 refers to 24 hours or an indefinite period of perhaps millions of years.

    “I tend to hold to a relatively young-earth position,” said Moore, who has a Ph.D. from Southern Seminary, “which means I would believe that dinosaurs were created on the sixth day of creation, which I believe was a 24-hour day in the relatively recent past, and so that means you would have had dinosaurs and human beings existing at least at the same time.” ”

    Guess you missed that broadcast.

  12. Correction: Eugenie Scott is the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education.

  13. Karlton

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on our blog. I understand that religion is a negative for you so I am glad you were willing to express yourself. Welcome!

    I believe that all men have a choice when it comes to faith. And there are great minds who have found that the claims of faith make sense. Do you seriously believe that a man like Francis Collins is not capable of weighing the evidence?

    I have read books by Dawkins, Harris and Ehrman. They did not convince me.I read exChristians.net religiously (sorry- I couldn’t resist). The bottom line for me is that God is very real, He is evident to me in creation, and I have experienced His presence for many years. I am willing to be challenged but each challenge has resulted in a deepening awareness of the Great Other.

  14. GL Frederick

    I just had foot surgery today so my mind is not fully engaged but I have a few things to say about your comments. First, welcome . Southern and Ken Ham are fortunate to have such a supporter.

    The Baptists are hardly into the priesthood of all believers. I will give one example. They threw out a church that has a woman as pastor and kept on a church whose leadership hid a pastor who molested his own son. We get the message.

    I have toured the Creation Museum on line just I have toured other museums on line. The Creation Museum is based on embarrassingly poor science and its founder routinely alludes to the fact that all those who do not agree with him are most likely guilty of denying the doctrine of the atonement which is a heresy.I will not give one dime to such a ministry. I have read Ken Ham’s AIG exhaustively, probably more that many YE adherents. I find the science embarrassingly poor and understand why atheists get a chortle out of the presentation. I can see animitronics at Disney and at least Disney presents it as a fantasy.

    I am startled that you are unaware of the number of people who leave the faith over an insistence of believing the YE perspective. In fact, is it because you do not wish to see how this nonsense is causing people to leave the faith? Why in the world do you thing Hugh Ross founded Reasons to Believe? Perhaps you need to read how many scientists have refused to look at the faith because of the YE stuff.

    In my own life, I know one young man who was taught only YE. He went to college, learned the truth of science and walked away from the faith because he said that if YE is a lie, so is the rest of it. Visit over at exChristians.net and see how many people have left the faith over this issue. So you believe that just a clear presentation of Jesus will overcome these objections? Well, it doesn’t. Young people are leaving the faith in droves and Southern’s insistence on YE will only serve to lose more young people. But I guess secondary doctrinal purity trumps salvation.

    I used to think that the conservative resurgence was for the important issues of the faith-virgin birth, etc. I have learned that it is far, far beyond that and is now involved in making secondary issues primary. Yet the SBC has steadfastly refused to deal with such issues as pedophilia and refuses to set up a data base. That to me shows what really matters and it is concerning.That is why I have left the SBC.

    Finally, do you think that all of the people who believe in an OE don’t know the simplistic explanation on the word yom? There are brilliant theologians who successfully defend the OE doctrine’s compatibility with Scriptures . Add this to the incontrovertible evidence of an OE scientifically and Southern is in danger of going the way of the dinosaur in this area. (I couldn’t resist).

    I have a suggestion. I have read almost all of Ken Ham’s AIG site and a couple of his books. Have you don’t the same with Hugh Ross or Francis Collins? A couple of your explanations sound like talking points of the YE camp. Did you know there are thoughtful and plausible rebuttals to everything you have said?Perhaps you are different than the typical YE person I have met. Most of them refuse to read extensively out of their own camp.

    Please forgive me rambling-surgery will do that to you.

    Thank you for defending your beliefs.

  15. Hi Warrior of Thor!

    I am recuperating from surgery today so I am a bit fuzzy tonight. Did you read the article on Collins? Hitchens really likes him. Just like there are the YE extremists, there are those who are philosophical naturalists who pretend they are scientists. They, too, are extremists on the other side. But, there are many respected Christians within the sciences. John Lennox is another. Besides, I would rather be called an accomodationist by an atheist than a heretic by a Hamite.

  16. Hi Dee, I hope the convalescence goes well and that the surgery went well. Yes, I did read the article. I very much like Collins, especially as I have an amateur interest in genetics.

  17. I have a suggestion. I have read almost all of Ken Ham’s AIG site and a couple of his books. Have you don’t the same with Hugh Ross or Francis Collins? A couple of your explanations sound like talking points of the YE camp. Did you know there are thoughtful and plausible rebuttals to everything you have said?Perhaps you are different than the typical YE person I have met. Most of them refuse to read extensively out of their own camp.

    Yes, in fact, I have read both, plus Dennett, Gould, Dawkins, Crick, Tippler, and about 50 others on both sides of this issue. Over all, I’ve probably read 100+ book-length works on the issue of creation and evolution, plus all the sites, debates, journal articles, etc., pertinent to the subject. I’ve done my homework, which is exactly why I am making the points that I make.

    Please do not assume that I am ignorant of the debate points simply because I am steadfastly YEC. Also please note that I REFUSE to set dates in either direction. Any date setting, either for YEC or Old Earth creation (or no creation at all) is speculation based on faith. We cannot “test” anything to prove that the dates are accurate, we merely extrapolate based on one set of numbers that we can test — those we can measure today.

    Of course, any astute student of this issue (creation/naturalism) will realize that there are a good number of assumptions made in order to work either position.

    A question for the Christians taking an old earth position… Which parts of the Bible are you willing to set aside because science indicates that they may be incorrect? Are you willing to dis-trust God at His word when He causes to be written in the Bible that the cosmos was created in 6 days? What about if He said that everything reproduces according to its kind? Where do you draw the line, then, between the actual words of God and the “other stuff” that is not God’s accurate word? Just wondering (for real) because even after spending years in the study of Greek and Hebrew just to know the Word better, I still cannot begin to know where to draw that line.

  18. GL Frederick

    I have not set aside one jot of the Scripture by taking an OE position.As you know, there are many, Walt Kaiser, for one who are scholars and faithful Christians who believe that the Word allows for some various interpretations. As you know, the word, yom has about 58 meanings. Kaiser does not believe that it needs to be a 24 hour day and, as you know, Kaiser is a major Biblical scholar.

    I did not ask if you read the others because I assumed you hadn’t. In fact, I would assume that you have read on this subject extensively as have I. The reason I asked if you have read the others is because they have offered plausible Biblical interpretations that allow for other than an exact 24 hour day. They have also explained in depth the issues such as death before the fall, the reproduces after its own kind thing, etc. I wanted to be sure that you read them before asking me to rehash the entire argument. In fact, since you have read them, why don’t I say I follow the views of Kaiser and Ross on this issue.

    There are scholars on all sides of this issue and that should be enough to say that you and I will not resolve this issue between the two of us. The science, however, is incontrovertible. The universe and this earth are old. You are free to reject the scientific evidence. However, i am free to believe both the Bible and the science and I am so grateful that there is a way for me to be a committed Christian and freely explore and accept the scientific evidence.

    Here is what I believe (and I know that you do as well) in a nutshell. Nothing will ever be discovered that will ever disprove one jot of the Bible.

    Please forgive my disjointed reply. I am in a lot of pain from yesterday’s surgery so my brain is quite fuzzy.

    Thank you for taking time out of your life to visit and comment on this blog. I am appreciative.

  19. “we merely extrapolate based on one set of numbers that we can test — those we can measure today.”

    Actually many sets of data. Many. I’m assuming by set of numbers you mean a set of data.

    But there’s way more than one.

  20. I think that Faith Murder is a better choice of descriptive words than Faith Suicide. Once as I was driving from Texarkana to Little Rock, I noticed the layers of rock that the Interstate cut through. You could see these wrinkled layers that were clearly laid down (originally flat) as the bed of a body of water. They repeated themselves on cut after cut. They were “rotten” and cracked. They were clearly OLD.

    If you have trained anyone to make observations and to draw conclusions from their observations, I cannot see that they would make this journey without coming to those same conclusions. Then, if you have “required” them to believe in YEC, they are going to be lost to you. Old earth is easily observed.

    Regarding the comment about no one at SBTS being required to believe anything–remember that there was almost a complete turn over in faculty when the current administration came into authority (over 95%, as I recall the numbers). This seems like some “requirement” of faculty to believe rather specifically.

  21. Bennett
    I am sorry for this late response but I am recuperating from surgery. What you have said is so important and I intend to incorporate it into a post i hope to write on Thursday. Did you know that Ken Ham said kids are leaving the faith because we haven’t emphasized YE? This is a dangerous delusion on his part.What is even worse is the number of theologians who actually believe this man and his scientific nonsense.

    What happened at SBTS was a travesty. We were told it was for outright denial of the fundamentals of the faith but I have decided that such a statement is an obfuscation of what really happened. There is now a requirement to march lockstep with many secondary and tertiary issues. I believe the result will be more kids leaving the faith. And not just kids-there are many adults beginning to question this New Legalism.

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