Ken Ham, 2012
20 October 1951 |
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
|Occupation||Young Earth creationist, Evangelist|
|Organization||Answers in Genesis|
|Spouse(s)||Marylin "Mally" Ham|
Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham (born 20 October 1951) is a young Earth creationist from Queensland, Australia, who presently lives in Petersburg, Kentucky. He is the president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a Christian apologetics ministry which operates the Creation Museum.
Ham is a former high school science teacher who advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis.[n 1] His claim that the universe is 6,000 years old, based on his interpretation of the Bible, is contradicted by evidence from astronomy and from the Earth's fossil and geological records.[n 2] According to an article in the Courier-Journal, Ham's rejection of established science during the debate with Bill Nye was a "harm [to] the education of children and hamper[ing] the nation's ability to innovate."
Personal life and education
Ham worked for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a young Earth creationist organisation. In 1994, with the assistance of what is now Creation Ministries International (Australia), Ham and colleagues Mark Looy and Mike Zovath set up Creation Science Ministries, later renamed Answers in Genesis. The Christian ministry specialises in young Earth creationism and promotes the belief that the initial chapters in Genesis should be taken as literally true and historically accurate. He then began raising funds to build the ministry.
On 28 May 2007 the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky, a project which cost $27 million. The necessary funds were donated throughout the 1990s. It is about 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2).
In May 2007, Creation Ministries International (CMI) filed a lawsuit against Ham and AiG in the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organization. Members of the ministry were "concern[ed] 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." According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009. In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher's comedy-documentary Religulous. AiG criticized the movie for what it called Maher's "dishonesty last year in gaining access to the Creation Museum and AiG President Ken Ham."
In March 2011, the Board of Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. voted to "disinvite" Ham and AiG from "all future conventions," saying that Ham's words about other Christians were "unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst." AiG responded: "It is sad that a speaker and ministry, which stand boldly and uncompromisingly on the authority of God’s Word, are eliminated from a homeschool convention." Ham hosts Answers. . . with Ken Ham, a 60-second program broadcast daily on radio stations and the Internet featuring Ham's commentary on issues.
In February 2014, Ham debated American science educator and engineer Bill Nye (popularly known as "Bill Nye the Science Guy") on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in the contemporary scientific era. Having the debate was widely criticised for lending an appearance of legitimacy to creationism which it does not deserve. Nye said the debate was "an opportunity to expose the well-intending Ken Ham and the support he receives from his followers as being bad for Kentucky, bad for science education, bad for the U.S., and thereby bad for humankind." Ham has stated that financial support he received because of the visibility of the debate will allow him to continue the project of building a park promoting Noah's Ark that had long been stalled due to lack of funds. The Australian Broadcasting Company said that the debate "drew world attention, once again, on the United States as the home of whacky Christianity."
Position on age of the earth
Ham dates the age of the universe to about 6,000 years, and states that Noah's flood occurred about 4,500 years ago in the year 2348 BC. He says that the animals carried on Noah's ark produced the biological diversity observed on Earth. Ham also believes that dinosaurs co-existed with genetically modern humans. He supports his view with biblical scripture. Ham accepts that natural selection can give rise to a number of species from an original population.
Ham questions the reliability of radiometric dating, a technique used to date objects such as moon rocks, fossils and human artifacts. Since 1989 Ham has frequently asked "Were you there?" when discussing the origins of life and of biological evolution, implying that knowledge of unwitnessed events requires direct observation rather than inference. Talk.origins responded that the evidence for evolution "was there" and asserted the necessity to continue scientific inquiry. Talk.origins stated that "If this response were a valid challenge to evolution, it would equally invalidate creationism and Christianity, since they are based on events that nobody alive today has witnessed".
Ham says that there is a difference between facts themselves and their interpretation, writing that:
Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions; these are things that are assumed to be true without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.
Other Christians, old Earth creationists, and the scientific community at large have criticized Ham's statements and tactics. Answers in Creation, an old Earth creationist website, has called Ham willfully ignorant of evidence for an old Earth, and said that he "deliberately misleads" his audiences on matters of both science and theology. Astronomer Hugh Ross, a progressive creationist, has debated Ham and other Answers In Genesis staff regarding the compatibility of an old Earth with the Bible. BioLogos has also responded to Ken Ham's criticisms of its viewpoint. Chris Mooney, of Slate Magazine, sees Ham's advocacy of Young Earth Creation as an effort that will "undermine science education and U.S. science literacy." According to Andrew O'Hehir of Salon, the "liberal intelligentsia" have grossly overstated the influence of Ken Ham and those espousing similar views.
- The Lie: Evolution. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 1987. ISBN 0890511586.
- —; Beemer, Britt; Hillard, Todd (2009). Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do To Stop It. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf / Master. ISBN 0890515298.
- —; Ware, Charles (2010). One Race One Blood. Green Forest, AR: Master. ISBN 0890516014.
- —; Hall, Greg; Hillard, Todd (2011). Already Compromised. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf / Master. ISBN 0890516073.
- Ham wrote in 2007, "There’s an inconsistency here in taking Genesis literally to accept sin to explain moral evil, such as the shootings at Virginia Tech, but not taking Genesis literally in their acceptance of millions of years of “natural evil” before man (e.g., death, violence, catastrophe, and extinction of animals)."
- Ham and Hodge wrote in their book How Do We Know the Bible is True?, "The biblical age of the earth is determined by adding up the genealogies from Adam ...to Christ. This is about 4000 years...Christ lived about 2000 years ago, so this gives us about 6000 years as the biblical age of the earth." (p. 110). "I hold to that belief because I trust the Bible over the reasoning of man." (p. 109). "Some mainstream scientists have calculated the age of the earth at approximately 4.5 billion years... Rejecting literal days of creation naturally leads to the acceptance of the supposed big bang as the evolutionary method God used to create the universe. Although we can simply add up the ages of the patriarch mentioned in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies to arrive a a date after creation for Abraham who lived about 4000 years ago, many reject this as a reasonable way of determining the timing of creation." (p. 110).
- "Ken Ham". answersingensis.org. Answers in Genesis.
- Ham, Ken (16 April 2007). "How could a loving God ... ? More school violence in America". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis.
- Wilensky-Lanford, Brook (2011). Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden. Grove. pp. 215–. ISBN 9780802119803.
- Grainger, Brett (2009). In the World but Not of It: One Family's Militant Faith and the History of Fundamentalism in America. Bloomsbury. pp. 147–. ISBN 9780802718648.
- Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2012). How Do We Know the Bible is True?. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf. pp. 108–10. ISBN 9780890516614.
- Kenning, Chris (13 March 2014). "Bill Nye the Science Guy trades barbs with Creation Museum founder". The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY). Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Ham, Ken; Ham, Steve; Todd, A. Hillard (2008). Genesis of a Legacy: Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World. Green Forest, AR: Master. p. 78. ISBN 9780890515426..
- Stephens, Randall J.; Giberson, Karl (2011). The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. Harvard University Press. p. 11.
- McKenna, Michael (4 June 2007). "Biblical battle of creation groups". The Australian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2007.
- Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG to the End of 2007". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008.
- Hopkins, Michael (9 October 2006). "Creation/Evolution Organizations: Creationist and Anti-Evolutionist Organizations". talkorigins.org. TalkOrigins Archive.
- Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG through mid 2009". answersingenesis.org. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009.
- Ham, Ken. "Genesis: Key to Reaching Today's World" (TV Broadcast). WVCY-TV. http://vimeo.com/3337524. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Simkin, Mark (9 November 2005). "The great debate". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2005/s1501593.htm. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Lovan, Dylan (10 October 2008). "A year later, Creation Museum claiming big crowds". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008.
- "About the museum". creationmuseum.org. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Dispute Settled". creation.com. Creation Ministries International. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
- Cusey, Rebecca (1 October 2008). "Maher takes on religion, but some interviewees cry foul". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 31 September 2008.
- Ethridge, Melany (2 October 2008). "A Religulous Movie: Opens on 500 Screens Friday—Creation Museum mocked". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 31 September 2008.
- Blackford, Linda B. (24 March 2011). "Founder of Creation Museum banned from convention". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Kicked Out of Two Homeschool Conferences". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- Riley, Jennifer (22 March 2011). "Ken Ham Disinvited from Homeschooling Events over 'Ungodly' Remarks". Christian Post. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Answers in Genesis to receive NRB best use of short form video award" (Press release). National Religious Broadcasters. 2 February 2011.
- Radio Station Information, Answers in Genesis, 2009
- Boyle, Alan (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye Wins Over the Science Crowd at Evolution Debate". NBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Etchells, Pete (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye v Ken Ham: Should scientists bother to debate creationism?". Science. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Cesca, Bob (25 March 2014). "'Creation Museum' Demands Equal Airtime to Refute Scientific Facts in Cosmos Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Freedman, David (14 April 2013). "Bill Nye Explains Why He Agreed To Debate Creationist Ken Ham". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- "Creation Museum's $73m Noah's Ark park to begin construction in Kentucky". World news. The Guardian. Associated Press. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Maddox, Marion (March 2014). "Too Much Faith in Schools: The Rise of Christian Schooling in Australia". Opinion: ABC Religion & Ethics. ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Network). Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Wright, David. "Feedback: Timeline for the Flood". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Ham, Ken. "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis.
- "Do the Animals 'Evolve'?". Answers with Ken Ham.
- Riddle, Mike (4 October 2007). "Ch. 9: Does radiometric dating prove the earth is old?". In Ham, K.A. The New Answers Book (online ed.). Answers in Genesis.
- Ham, Kenneth. "Were You There?". icr.org. Institute for Creation Research.
- "Claim CA221: Were you there?". talkorigins.org. TalkOrigins Archive. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Ham, Ken. "Ch. 2: What’s the best 'proof' of creation?". The New Answers Book 2 (online ed.). Answers in Genesis.
- Neyman, Greg (12 September 2005). "Ham Can't Tell the Simple Truth!". answersincreation.org. Answers in Creation.
- Sarfati, Jonathan. "Jason Lisle vs. Hugh Ross debate". answersingenesis.org (annotated transcript). Answers in Genesis Australia.
- McConaughy, Steven. "Fair and balanced?". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis.
- Falk, Darrel. "A Response to Mr. Ham’s Video: The Anti-biblical Teachings of BioLogos". biologos.org (blog). BioLogos Foundation.
- Mooney, Chris (12 April 2014). "Your Inner Fish: Book and PBS documentary on Tiktaalik and Neil Shubin". Slate. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- O'Hehir, Andrew (12 April 2014). "America: Stupidly stuck between religion and science". Salon (website). Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis
- Nye, Bill; Ham, Ken (4 February 2014). "Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham (video - 165:32)". YouTube.