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).
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):
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
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!!!