By now, everyone knows that Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, has opened his latest monument to human ignorance — Ark Encounter. Countless articles have already been written about Ham’s Ark Park, so there is no need for me to write another one. I do, however, want to post a video by the Liberal Redneck that hilariously explains Ark Encounter. I hope you will widely share this post/video, especially with your Fundamentalist friends. Enjoy!
Tag Archive: Creationism
A letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, submitted July 11, 2016
Four or so hours away from Defiance, a man by the name of Ken Ham has built a $100 million monument to human ignorance — The Ark Encounter. This monument is a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. As one who was raised in the Evangelical church and pastored churches for 25 years, I heard and preached countless sermons about Noah and the Ark. Regrettably, I was in my forties before I learned that this story and many others were myths, having no basis in historical or scientific fact.
According to Ham and his fellow Evangelicals, the universe is 6,021 years old. Everything we see, both on earth and in the skies, was created by God in six literal 24-hour days. According to creationists, the book of Genesis is a science textbook, one that emphatically teaches young earth creationism. Indeed, the entire Bible is infallible and without error, and should be, with rare exception, interpreted literally.
I am sure, just as Muslims who make a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mecca, Evangelicals will flock to Kentucky to Ham’s monument to scientific ignorance. Adults will pay $40 for the privilege of touring Ham’s Ark, children $26. While there, Evangelicals will be taught “truths” about the historicity and reliability of the Bible and young earth creationism. I am sure most visitors will be awed by Ham’s Ark, ignoring that much of what Ham has constructed is built upon speculation. If Ham built a boat according to Biblical specifications, I highly doubt Kentucky officials would grant it an occupancy permit, and it is doubtful such a boat would safely float.
Ken Ham also operates the Creation Museum, another monument to ignorance. When it first opened, Evangelicals flocked to Kentucky to witness the wonders of the young earth creationism lie. Once witnessed, Evangelicals moved on to other entertainments, resulting in decreasing revenues for Answers in Genesis. Following the script of Field of Dreams, Ham built his Ark believing Evangelicals would visit if he did. And they will, for a time. The problem for Ham lies in the fact that Evangelicals easily bore. Once Evangelicals have seen the Ark, will they return? Probably not, especially if Ham continues to charge King’s Island-like admission prices. Perhaps Ham knows this, and this is why he is already planning a new entertainment venture — a replica of the Tower of Babel. Those who love reason and science can only shake their heads.
Guest post by Dane Fletcher (pseudonym)
Christians play the theory of intelligent design like a philosophical checkmate. It’s chronic actually. Like chest-thumping silverbacks theistic ideologues in my corner of the cosmos swear that “design science” steals the origins debate.
I’ve been a committed, evangelical believer for over forty years. (I’m no outsider just hurling rhetorical stones.) The last ten years I’ve been a full-time pastor. And in that time I’ve found that us fundamentalist types worship our theological certainties nearly as much as we do our God.
And when we’re not worshiping them we’re wielding them like some kind of sacred bludgeon — but I digress.
I’ve seen it! (And done it.)
Christian Pep Rallies
On any given Sunday evangelical leaders will trot out their design science experts to cacophonous “Amen!” choruses. I’ve witnessed the committed masses nearly swoon over Ben Stein’s Expelled. Bring in apologist hero de jour, Michael Behe, and you’ll pack the place.
It’s preaching to the choir at best.
Believers already buy into the arguments; they’re sold. Further, in my experience these events have little to do with education or with understanding the relevant arguments.
They’re about confirmation. They’re about reinforcing what the conservative, evangelical faithful already believe.
They’re Christian pep rallies more than they are honest, scientific inquiries. I’m not mocking. I sympathize with the creationist mindset that undergirds the fundamentalist’s faith.
In fact, I know it very well.
Everywhere I Looked
As an evangelical believer I saw God — everywhere. (My version of God, of course.) Every time I felt small under a starry sky I just “knew” God was there. Every time I trembled at the majesty of a lightning flash; every time I stood silenced by a roaring ocean; every time I cradled an infant or marveled at a sunset—everywhere I looked — I saw convincing evidence for God…for my God.
I suspect I’m not alone.
Even the garden-variety Christian snobbishly contends that her 21st century, fundamentalist, evangelical, contemporary-pop, western, Judeo-Christian version of the creator is the only game in town.
Even more, she’s certain that just about everything she sees proves it. It’s a lesson in confirmation bias for sure. (But that’s a post for another day.)
Here’s the problem: every religion that boasts a creation story believes the same thing! Every sycophant that stumps for a creator — any creator — is certain the existence of the universe proves her highly specialized version of God.
Everyone observes the same universe, but…
Christians think, “Jesus did it!”
Jews believe, “Jehovah did it!”
Muslims insist, “It was Allah!”
And on, and on, and on…
Same universe, same evidence — opposing creators. Every believer interprets the evidence through the tinged-with-bias lens of their peculiar religion. As such, we see what we want to see. We see what we expect to see.
We see our rendition of a creator.
And why not? I mean, what gives Christian fundies the keys to the kingdom? If Christians can claim the cosmos as proof — why can’t the competition? In the end, however, every religion has as much proof that their specific god(s) created everything as do aliens from another galaxy.
The universe bears no particular authorial stamp. But that doesn’t stop the faithful. They’ll argue their pet theory as if the Almighty himself signed the cosmos like some celestial da Vinci signing the Mona Lisa.
For many of the faithful, this is a new thought. (And it’s a risky thought.) If the seeming design of the cosmos isn’t proof of any specific deity the entire Intelligent Design argument is moot…at least as it relates to validating any specific god(s).
The Missing Link
So, what’s the naughty little secret? What’s intelligent design’s missing link? It’s simply this: Whatever intelligent design may prove — it does not prove enough.
Believers image that it does — but it doesn’t.
It’s smoke and mirrors for sure. Maybe those in the know we’re hoping nobody would notice that their precious intelligent design argument is a few bricks shy of a full load.
Some Christians are so certain that the intricacy of the universe validates their version of God that even suggesting otherwise is like denying gravity.
But here’s the thing…even if it’s true, even if we concede that the existence of the universe sufficiently validates the notion of intelligent design, what does it prove? (It could be used to prove a lot, I suppose.) What it does not prove, however, is that the God of Christianity is the designer.
To get from proving intelligent design to proving the specific identity of the designer(s) the believer must supply several missing links. Proving intelligent design just does not prove evangelicalism’s (or any other isms for that matter) version of God.
When I first admitted this it was a game-changer.
I had to confess that many of the proofs I used to validate my faith were no proof at all. And as far as specific religions go… the design argument equally validates every one of them that claims a creator.
It devastated me when I realized that I could no longer count on the universe to validate my faith. With all of its intricacy, beauty and wonder, I had to admit that I could not consistently and honestly claim the cosmos as proof of my God.
I realized that I had one set of rules with which I judged my faith and a different, stricter set with which I judged all others. How could I consistently claim the cosmos as my God’s handiwork when I had no more evidence of the fact than anyone else?
These days, I’m learning to write my “beliefs” in pencil rather than etching them in stone. Have your own experience or opinion? — please, share it. Give someone else the opportunity to think a new thought!
Thanks for reading!
While there are certainly Evangelicals who are theistic evolutionists — a strange mix of theology and science — most Evangelicals are creationists. Despite a century and a half of scientific progress, most Evangelicals still believe that Genesis 1-3 accurately, literally, and absolutely describes how the universe came to be. While some Evangelicals are old earth creationists, subscribing to either the gap theory or the belief that God created an aged universe, most Evangelicals believe that God created the universe in six 24 hour days, 6,021 years ago. Here in rural Northwest Ohio, I suspect the majority of people believe in creationism.
On Sunday May 1st, Scott Gillis and Creation Ministries International (CMI) traveling carnival roadshow will be peddling ignorance at Solid Rock Community Church in West Unity, Ohio. According to a Bryan Times advertisement, Gillis will answer questions such as this:
- Does God exist?
- How can anyone believe in religion when science has neither a need nor a place for God?
- Is evolution happening today?
- If God is a God of love, why do we suffer and die?
According to the advertisement, Gillis will “expose the bankruptcy of the evolutionary myth.” He also plans to explain how “the scientific evidence, when properly understood, confirms the details of the biblical account.”
In the end, as Ken Ham made clear in his debate with Bill Nye, for Evangelicals, the final answer to every question is THE BIBLE SAYS!
And Scott Gillis? Is he a scientist? Of course not. Gillis has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Oregon State University. According to CMI’s website:
His (Gillis) education still left him with doubts regarding the inconsistencies between evolution, science, world history, and a straight-forward reading of the Bible.
Years later, a friend who was a paleontologist demonstrated to him how scientific evidence actually makes more sense when interpreted within the clear context of the Bible’s account of history. This, along with Creation magazine, ignited a blaze in Scott to seek answers to the nagging doubts that plagued him. Once he realized that science and the Bible were not at odds with each other, he experienced a sustained joy, a renewed commitment to the Word of God, as well as a bold desire to share this life-changing message with others.
Scott now uses this conviction to impact our culture with easy-to-understand presentations that uphold the authority of God’s Word and is one of CMI–US’s most effective and popular speakers. Scott also desires to challenge others to equip themselves to be ready with answers (1 Peter 3:15) to impact their world.
Creationism has never been about science. It is a theological system of belief rooted in Biblical inerrancy and a literalistic interpretation of the Bible. According to creationists, every question can be reduced to the printed words found in the Protestant Bible. God has spoken….end of discussion.
I thought this was a hoot.
Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis and stand-in for Captain Noah on the Kentucky Ark of Ignorance, is well-known for pointing to the Bible — God’s science textbook — as THE (only/final) authority when it comes to understanding how the universe came to be. Ham is noted for telling Bill Nye that the Bible was all-sufficient, that it alone explains how everything came to be. But here’s the thing, Ham doesn’t really believe this. Here’s proof of my contention:
Ken, I ask you, why do we need to read your materials? I thought all we needed to do is read Genesis 1-3. Now you are saying that the Bible is NOT sufficient for our understanding of how the universe and biological life came to be. What’s up with that?
Of course, Evangelicals don’t really believe that the Bible is one-stop and shop knowledge store. If this was really the case, there would be no need for the thousands of Christian books that are published every year. There would also be no need for “ministries” such as Answers in Genesis. Ham and his cadre of professional dispensers of ignorance have published over ten thousand articles that are meant to help Evangelicals understand what God said in Genesis 1-3. If God has spoken, why would Christians have any reason to read any of Ham’s articles? The answer, of course, is that Ham needs 10,000 loads of bullshit to cover up his irrational, anti-scientific, literalistic interpretation of the Bible.
Christian bloviator Matt Barber — a former boxer who evidently took one too many hits to the head — took to his blog today to regale readers with his ignorance concerning atheism. Barber, a creationist, wrote the post to detail his Bible-based beliefs about the creation of the universe. He vomits up arguments that have been repeatedly refuted, and like a peacock strutting his stuff, Barber arrogantly states that his argumentative brilliance deals atheism (and science) a mortal blow. Of course, only in Barber’s Fundamentalist universe do such arguments find adoring and cheering crowds. In the real world, suggesting that the Big Bang proves the existence of God — God being, of course, Barber’s Evangelical deity — is rightly ridiculed and dismissed.
Be they theist, atheist or anti-theist, on this nearly all scientists agree: In the beginning there was nothing. There was no time, space or matter. There wasn’t even emptiness, only nothingness. Well, nothing natural anyway.
Then: bang! Everything. Nonexistence became existence. Nothing became, in less than an instant, our inconceivably vast and finely tuned universe governed by what mankind would later call – after we, too, popped into existence from nowhere, fully armed with conscious awareness and the ability to think, communicate and observe – “natural law” or “physics.”
Time, space, earth, life and, finally, human life were not.
And then they were.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Christian author Eric Metaxas notes, “The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces – gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ nuclear forces – were determined less than one-millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction – by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000 – then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp. … It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?”
Secular materialists claim it can’t be – that such explanation is a “God of the gaps” explanation and, therefore, must be banished from the realm of scientific inquiry. They demand that anything beyond the known natural is off-limits. Atheists attribute all of existence to, well, nothing. It just kind of happened. Genesis 1:1 of the materialist bible might read: “In the beginning nothing created the heavens and the earth.” Even in the material world that’s just plain silly. Nothing plus nothing equals something? Zero times zero equals everything?
And so, they have “reasoned” themselves into a corner. These same materialists acknowledge that, prior to the moment of singularity – the Big Bang – there was no “natural.” They admit that there was an unnatural time and place before natural time and space – that something, sometime, somewhere preceded the material universe. That which preceded the natural was, necessarily, “beyond the natural” and, therefore, was, is and forever shall be “supernatural.”
Reader, meet God.
In short: the Big Bang blows atheism sky high.
Scientists readily admit that they do not yet have answers for what preceded the Big Bang. Like Ken Ham, Barber ultimately appeals not to science, but to the Bible. God said ______, end of discussion. Barber thinks that by invoking God as the cause of the Big Bang that he has provided an argument that cannot be refuted. Of course, even a child can refute this argument. If everything in the universe has a cause, then where did God come from? The God who caused the Big Bang and created the universe acted within time and space, so he/she/it must also have a beginning. Neither scientists or religionists have answers for what happened before the Big Bang. The difference is that scientists are still trying to find answers. Creationists, on the other hand, appeal to the Bible, trusting that unknown ancient sheepherders or tribal lords had a better understanding of the universe than modern scientists.
I am curious however of one thing. Is Matt Barber saying he actually believes that God used the Big Bang to bring the universe into existence? If the answers is yes, then what happened to believing the Bible, particularly Genesis 1-3? You know, the verses, if taken as written, that say God created the universe in six literal 24 hour days, 6,021 years ago. Surely creationists have no need of making an argument for fine-tuning. Isn’t it enough to say God did it?
Barber also had these things to say about atheism/atheists in general:
“They say there are no atheists in the foxhole. Even fewer when death is certain. None once the final curtain falls. God’s Word declares, “The fool hath said in his heart ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14).”
“In my experience it is something common among atheists: an inexplicable, incongruent and visceral hatred for the very God they imagine does not exist. Indeed, Romans 1:20 notes, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Yet excuses they make.”
“As I see it, atheism provides a case study in willful suspension of disbelief – all to escape, as the God-denier imagines it, accountability for massaging the libertine impulse.”
I know, nothing atheists haven’t heard countless times before.
If you have some spare time during your daily constitution, you can read Barber’s post here. Warning, doing so could cause diarrhea.
This is the twenty-seventh installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.
Today’s bit is Evolution, Creationism, Christians, and Jews by Lewis Black.
Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.
Ken Ham, also known as the ayatollah of Kentucky and a purveyor of Fundamentalist ignorance, frequently writes articles about atheism. Several days ago, Ham asked and then answered the question, Why Do Atheists Care? Here is some of what this noted intellectual genius of young-earth creationism had to say:
Atheists get very passionate when it comes to fighting biblical Christianity. If God doesn’t exist—and life has no ultimate meaning—why do they even care?
Why do atheists get so emotional and aggressive in opposing biblical Christianity? Why does it bother them? Why does it matter at all to them?
When Answers in Genesis announced plans to build the Creation Museum, a local atheist group began attacking the ministry of Answers in Genesis and campaigning against the museum. When the museum was opened, the atheists gathered outside the museum to protest the opening of this facility. But why did they do this?
At the time of this issue’s publication, atheists are aggressively opposing a new project involving the building of a life-size Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter. But what is it to atheists if Christians build such a facility to proclaim the Christian message? After all, thousands of secular museums across the USA and other countries around the world are already proclaiming an atheistic evolutionary message to the public. Government schools throughout the world by and large indoctrinate hundreds of millions of the coming generations in naturalism—really atheism.
So why do atheists get so upset with a minority that stands for biblical Christianity?
During my debate with Bill Nye “the Science Guy” on February 4, 2014, Bill was asked where matter came from. In his answer he said it was a great mystery, but he loved the “joy of discovery” as he pursued such questions. In my responses to Bill’s answers, I asked him why the joy of discovery mattered to him. I explained that from Bill’s perspective, life is the result of natural processes and there is no biblical God, so when he dies, he won’t even know he ever existed or knew anything. Then, when others who knew him die, they won’t know they ever knew him, either. Eventually, from his perspective of naturalism, the whole universe will die and no one will ever know they ever existed. So what is the purpose of this “joy of discovery”? Really, the naturalistic view of life is ultimately purposeless and meaningless!
Think about the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins. Why does he spend so much time writing and speaking against Someone (God) he doesn’t believe exists? Why is he so aggressive against biblical Christianity? In an ultimately purposeless and meaningless existence, why does it matter to him if people believe in the God of the Bible and the account of creation as outlined in Genesis? Why bother fighting against such people when, from his perspective, eventually no one will even know they ever existed?
No matter how many times atheists point out to Ham that they don’t live purposeless and meaningless lives, he continues to recite these lies as a six-year old would when reciting his memory verse in Sunday school. Ham seems to think that if he repeats the same lie over and over that it will magically become true. Later in the same article, Ham continues his lying ways by telling readers that atheists “aren’t fighting for the truth, but suppressing it” — truth being Ham’s literalistic interpretation of the Christian Bible. According to Ham:
Really then, when Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins, and others so aggressively oppose biblical Christianity, what they are doing is this. They are covering their ears and closing their eyes and saying, “I refuse to submit to the God who created me. I refuse to acknowledge that God is the creator. I refuse to accept that I’m a sinner in need of salvation. I want to write my own rules! Therefore I must oppose anything that pricks my conscience and aggressively suppress the truth to justify my rebellion.”
So why do these who so aggressively oppose Christianity care? They care because they are desperately trying to justify their rebellion against the truth. They don’t want to admit that they are sinners in need of salvation and thus need to submit to the God who created them and owns them.
Again, Ham continues to lie, refusing to accept the reasons atheists give for not believing in his God. Our objection to Christianity, its God, and the Bible is not one of deliberate denial of truth. Far from it. Many atheists such as myself spent most of our lives reading and studying the Bible. We know the Bible from cover to cover. It is not that we have some sort of intellectual deficiency or have some secret desire to eat babies or star in porn movies. Our rejection of Christianity is based on our careful examination of its claims. Are the claims Christians make for God, Jesus, and the Bible true? The atheist says no. Rather than accept this, Ham lies and tells his followers that the real reason atheists aren’t Christians is because they suppress the truth and are in rebellion to God.
At one time I was willing to give Ham the benefit of the doubt. I thought, Ham is sincere. He genuinely wants atheists to be saved. I no longer believe this. Since Ham refuses to accurately report the atheistic/agnostic/humanistic/secularist worldview, I can only conclude that he has some sort of ulterior motive that requires him to lie about his adversaries. Would could that motive be? you ask. I think Ken Ham needs atheists. He needs an enemy to fight, a war to wage. Ham believes that True Christians® are called on to wage war against Satan and his earthly emissaries. Atheists are an easy target because most Evangelicals equate atheism with satanism (and Ham does nothing to dispel this notion). Ham knows that Evangelicals — his primary target audience — live lives that are indistinguishable from non-Christians. In order to stir up the passions of these passive Christians, Ham uses hyperbolic language when speaking of his three great enemies: secularism, atheism, and liberalism. Ham knows that stirred passions mean more donations, so this is THE reason Ham continues to misrepresent what atheists and secularists really believe. Ham lies because lying is good for business. Evangelicals, thanks to rapturist eschatology, are conditioned to believe the “world” is an awful place and should be avoid at all costs. And what better way to avoid the world than to visit Ham’s monuments to ignorance — the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
Ham knows that his Museum and Ark theme park won’t bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I don’t know of one atheist who has become a Christian as a result of visiting Ham’s entertainment facilities. Ham’s goal has never been to save souls. The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter are meant to reinforce Evangelical young-earth creationist beliefs. Why does Ham encourage Christian parents to bring their children to the Museum and Ark Encounter? Why are most of the things in these facilities geared towards teenagers and young children (i.e. zip line, petting zoo)? Ham’s objective is to indoctrinate another generation in the creationist way of thinking. By focusing on children, Ham ensures that when these children grow up and marry that they too will bring their children for a visit, thus providing continued income for his empire.
As with much that goes on in the name of the Christian God, it is all about money. Ham knows that the key to his future prosperity rests on his ability to generate income. This is the real reason for building the Ark Encounter. Creation Museum visit numbers and income are in decline, and Ham needs something that will stir the passions of his fellow Evangelicals, resulting in them paying his ministries a visit. By building a wood replica of a fictional boat and throwing in a few amenities homeschoolers and children will be sure to love, Ham ensures that the next couple of years will have increasing revenues. The new estimate for the completion of the Ark Encounter stands at $34 million. Opening July 7, 2016, adult tickets will cost $40 ($60 for a Museum combo ticket) and child tickets will cost $28 ($34 combo ticket). Parking will cost an extra $10. If attendance increases as Ham expects, his creationist empire will have over $20 million in new revenue.
Ham knows that fighting the atheist horde increases the bottom line, and it is for this reason he really doesn’t want to see any of us saved. If all the secularists and atheists got saved, Ham wouldn’t have anyone to rail against. And with no enemy, revenues would decline and Ham’s monuments to first and second century thinking would fall into disrepair. Ham will continue to lie about atheism because, in his mind, the end justifies the means. He cares more about money than he does honesty. For those creationists who object to my portrayal of Ham as a money-grubbing liar, the easy way to repudiate my claims is for Ken Ham and his ministries to publicly release their financial reports. Of course, it will be a cold day in Kentucky before Ham ever releases his financials.
Twenty years from now, Ham’s ministries will be in decline, facing increasing financial pressures. Ham surely knows that Evangelicals won’t treat the Creationist Museum and the Ark Encounter as they do nearby King’s Island. Once Evangelicals have visited the Museum and Ark Encounter, they are unlikely to return. Been there, done that, Evangelicals says to themselves. Imagine children being forced to repeatedly visit a museum. Doing so is not their idea of summer fun. When asked what they would rather do: visit Bro Ham’s ministry or go to King’s Island/Cedar Point, I suspect most children will quickly opt to ride roller coasters. And since the Museum/Ark Encounter combo ticket is more expensive than that of the amusement parks, many Evangelical parents will decide to take their families to one of the theme parks. Facing financial decline, Ham will be forced to scale back his empire. As science continues to draw future creationists away from his pernicious teachings, Ham will be forced to rely on fund-raising appeals or large estate donations from dead supporters. These too will dry up as older supporters die off. By then Ham will likely be dead, leaving others with the responsibility to manage the Creationist Titanic. Eventually, Ham’s monuments to ignorance will close their doors and become decaying testimonies to the dying breaths of a thoroughly discredited system of belief. I will likely be dead when this happens, so I will leave it to my grandchildren to say good riddance.