Ken Ham

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Ken Ham
Ham in 2012
Born (1951-10-20) 20 October 1951 (age 72)
EducationQueensland Institute of Technology (B.AS.)
University of Queensland (DipEd)
Occupation(s)Christian apologist,
OrganisationAnswers in Genesis
TitleFounder, CEO
SpouseMarylin Ham

Kenneth Alfred Ham (born 20 October 1951) is an Australian Christian fundamentalist, young Earth creationist, apologist and former science teacher, living in the United States. He is the founder, CEO, and former president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a Christian apologetics organisation that operates the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.

Ham advocates biblical literalism, believing that the creation narrative in the Book of Genesis is historical fact and that the universe and the Earth were created together approximately 6,000 years ago,[n 1] contrary to the scientific consensus that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the universe is about 13.8 billion years old.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Ham was born 20 October 1951 in Cairns, Queensland.[5] His father, Mervyn, was a Christian educator who served as a school principal in several schools throughout Queensland.[6][7]

Ham earned a bachelor's degree in applied science (with an emphasis on environmental biology) from the Queensland Institute of Technology and holds a Diploma in Education from the University of Queensland.[8][9] While at university, he was influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris's 1961 book The Genesis Flood.[6] Upon graduation in 1975, Ham began teaching science Dalby State High School in Dalby, Queensland.[7][10]


In 1977, Ham began teaching at a high school in Brisbane, where he met John Mackay, another teacher who believed in young Earth creationism. According to Susan and William Trollinger, Ham was "appalled by the fact that some of his students assumed their textbooks that taught evolutionary science successfully proved the Bible to be untrue," and he said the experience "put a 'fire in my bones' to do something about the influence that evolutionary thinking was having on students and the public as a whole."[7] In 1979, he resigned his teaching position and, with his wife, founded Creation Science Supplies and Creation Science Educational Media Services, which provided resources for the teaching of creationism in the public schools of Queensland, a practice allowed at the time.[11] In 1980, the Hams and Mackay merged the two organisations with Carl Wieland's Creation Science Association to form the Creation Science Foundation (CSF).[12]

Ham speaking at the Creation Museum in 2014

As CSF's work expanded, Ham moved to the United States in January 1987 to engage in speaking tours with another young Earth creationist organisation, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).[7][13] His "Back to Genesis" lecture series focused on three major themes – that evolutionary theory had led to cultural decay, that a literal reading of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis contained the true origin of the universe and a pattern for society, and that Christians should engage in a culture war against atheism and humanism.[14] With his popularity growing in the United States, Ham left ICR in 1994 and, with colleagues Mark Looy and Mike Zovath, founded Creation Science Ministries with the assistance of what is now Creation Ministries International (Australia).[14][15][16] In 1997, Ham's organisation changed its name to Answers in Genesis.[14]

From the time AiG was founded, Ham planned to open a museum and training centre near its headquarters in Florence, Kentucky, telling an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interviewer in 2007, "Australia's not really the place to build such a facility if you're going to reach the world. Really, America is."[17][18] In a separate interview with The Sydney Morning Herald's Paul Sheehan, Ham explained, "One of the main reasons [AiG] moved [to Florence] was because we are within one hour's flight of 69 percent of America's population."[19] The 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) museum, located in Petersburg, Kentucky, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, opened 27 May 2007.[20]

In February 2018, Ham was disinvited from the University of Central Oklahoma, where he was scheduled to speak, after an LGBTQ student group objected.[21][22][23] Later that month, UCO reinvited Ham to speak,[24][25][26] and Ham spoke on March 5 as planned.[27][28]

Disputes with CMI and GHC[edit]

At the end of 2005, the AiG Confederation crumbled due to a disagreement between Ham and Carl Wieland over the "differences in philosophy and operation". This disagreement led to Ham effectively retaining the leadership of the UK and American branches while Wieland served as managing director of the Australian branch and the smaller offices in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. This splitting into two groups led to the Australian branch renaming themselves Creation Ministries International (CMI). The AiG stayed with Ham and continued to expand its staff and work closely with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). Young Earth creationist Kurt Wise was recruited by Ham as a consultant to help with the concluding phases of the museum project.[29]

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 organisation. Members of the group expressed "concern over Mr. Ham's domination of the groups, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations."[30] Ham was accused of trying to send the Australian ministry into bankruptcy.[31] According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009.[32] In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher's comedy-documentary Religulous.[33] AiG criticised the movie for what it called Maher's "dishonesty last year in gaining access to the Creation Museum and AiG President Ken Ham."[34]

In March 2011, the board of Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. (GHC) voted to disinvite Ham and AiG from future conventions. Conference organiser Brennan Dean stated Ham had made "unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst". Dean stated further, "We believe Christian scholars should be heard without the fear of ostracism or ad hominem attacks."[35] The disinvitation occurred after Ham criticised Peter Enns of The BioLogos Foundation, who advocated a symbolic, rather than literal, interpretation of the fall of Adam and Eve. Ham accused Enns of espousing "outright liberal theology that totally undermines the authority of the Word of God".[36]

Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate[edit]

In February 2014, Ham debated with American science educator and engineer Bill Nye (popularly known as "Bill Nye the Science Guy") on the topic of whether young Earth creationism is a viable model of origins in the contemporary scientific era.[37] Critics expressed concern that the debate lent the appearance of scientific legitimacy to creationism while also stimulating Ham's fundraising.[38][39] 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."[40]

Ham said that publicity generated by the debate helped stimulate construction of the Ark Encounter theme park, which had been stalled for lack of funds.[41] The Ark Encounter opened on 7 July 2016, a date (7/7) chosen to correspond with Genesis 7:7, the Bible verse that describes Noah entering the ark.[42] The following day, Nye visited Ark Encounter, and he and Ham had an informal debate.[43]

Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky



According to Ham, he was inspired by his father, also a young Earth creationist, to interpret the Book of Genesis as "literal history" and first rejected what he termed "molecules-to-man evolution" during high school.[6]

As a young Earth creationist and biblical inerrantist, Ham believes that the Book of Genesis is historical fact. Ham believes the age of the Universe to be about 6,000 years,[n 1] and asserts that Noah's flood occurred about 4,400 years ago in approximately 2348 BC.[44] Astrophysical measurements and radiometric dating show that the age of the universe is about 13.8 billion years and the age of the Earth is about 4.5 billion years.[2] Arguing that knowledge of evolution and the Big Bang require observation rather than inference, Ham urges asking scientists and science educators, "Were you there?"[45][46] The archive responds that the evidence for evolution "was there", and that knowledge serves to determine what occurred in the past and when. "Were you there?" questions also invalidate creationism as science.[47][48] Creationists argue that if the Bible is truly the word of God, creationism is not invalidated by this question, since God was there.[49]

Views on sexuality[edit]

Ham believes that abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexual behaviour, and being transgender "are all attacks on the true family God ordained in Scripture".[50] He believes that Christians should "take back the rainbow", a popular symbol for the LGBT movement.[51] As a condition for employment at the Ark Encounter, AiG, as directed by Ham, requires workers to sign a statement that they view homosexuality as a sin.[52][53]

Other beliefs[edit]

Ham rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.[54]


Chris Mooney, of Slate magazine, believes Ham's advocacy of young Earth creation will "undermine science education and U.S. science literacy".[55] But Andrew O'Hehir of Salon argues that the "liberal intelligentsia" have grossly overstated the influence of Ken Ham and those espousing similar views because, while "religious ecstasy, however nonsensical, is powerful in a way reason and logic are not", advocates like Ham "represent a marginalised constituency with little power".[56]

Ham has been awarded honorary degrees by six Christian colleges: Temple Baptist College (1997),[57] Liberty University (2004),[58] Tennessee Temple University (2010),[59] Mid-Continent University (2012),[60] Bryan College (2017),[61] and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (2018).[62]

On February 17, 2020, PBS aired a documentary about the Ark Encounter entitled We Believe in Dinosaurs. Filmmakers Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown followed the story line of a "religious organisation creating their own alternative science in a legitimate looking museum."[63]

Personal life[edit]

Ham is married to Marylin Ham; the couple have five children and eighteen grandchildren.[64]


  • Ham, Ken (1987). The Lie: Evolution. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890511589.
  • Ham, Ken (1999). Creation Evangelism for the New Millennium. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890512470.
  • Ham, Ken; Batten, Don & Wieland, Carl (2000). One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890512760.
  • Ham, Ken (2002). Why Won't They Listen?. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890513781.
  • Ham, Ken (2007). How Could a Loving God...?. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890515044.
  • Ham, Ken & Ware, Charles (2007). Darwin's Plantation: Evolution's Racist Roots. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890514979.
  • Ham, Ken (2008). Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890515426.
  • Ham, Ken; Beemer, Britt & Hillard, Todd (2009). Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do To Stop It. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890515297.
  • Ham, Ken & Ware, Charles (2010). One Race One Blood. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890516010.
  • Ham, Ken; Hall, Greg & Hillard, Todd (2011). Already Compromised. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890516072.
  • Ham, Ken (2013). Six Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890517895.
  • Ham, Ken & Kinley, Jeff (2015). Ready to Return: Bringing Back the Church's Lost Generation. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890518366.
  • Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2016). A Flood of Evidence: 40 Reasons Noah and the Ark Still Matter. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9780890519783.
  • Ham, Ken; Ross, Hugh; Haarsma, Deborah & Mdyer, Stephen (2017). Four Views on Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design. Zondervan Academic. ISBN 9780310080978.
  • Ham, Ken (2018). Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683441144.
  • Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2019). Glass House: Shattering the Myth of Evolution. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683441564.
  • Ham, Ken (2020). Will They Stand: Parenting Kids to Face the Giants. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683442561.
  • Ham, Ken (2021). Divided Nation: Cultures in Chaos & A Conflicted Church. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683442837.
  • Ham, Ken (2021). Creation to Babel. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683442905.
  • Ham, Ken (2023). Divine Dilema: Wrestling With the Question of a Loving God in a Fallen World. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683443551.


  1. ^ a b In How Do We Know the Bible is True? Ham and Hodge wrote: "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 at 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). "Surely God is free to accomplish miracles within the world He created, so this should not be a problem for those who believe what God has revealed through the Scriptures. But neither should creating the universe in six days or causing the entire globe to be flooded ..." (p. 113).[1]


  1. ^ Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2012). How Do We Know the Bible is True?. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf. pp. 108–10. ISBN 9780890516614.
  2. ^ a b "Age of the Earth". U.S. Geological Survey. 1997. Archived from the original on 23 December 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2006.
  3. ^ "Age of the Universe". 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  4. ^ Ross, Bobby Jr. (20 March 2018). "'If Christians don't believe in a literal Genesis, they have no foundation for their doctrine'". The Christian Chronicle. Oklahoma City, OK. Q: "So, how old is the Earth — 6,000 years old or 4.5 billion years old?" Ham: ... "And regardless of whether they skip a generation or two, it has dates for their ages, and you can add up all those dates, and it comes to about 6,000 years. ... So, if those days are ordinary days, then you've only got about 6,000 years. All the age dating methods that you can use to age date the earth from the Bible are fallible. I mean, there are hundreds of dating methods. Some get thousands of years and millions of years and everywhere in between, but they're all based on assumptions about the past."
  5. ^ "Culture clash". Cincinnati Magazine. October 1998. p. 82. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Ham, K. & Ham, S. (2008), Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, New Leaf Publishing Group ISBN 9781614580720
  7. ^ a b c d Trollinger, Susan L.; Trollinger Jr., William Vance (2016). Righting America at the Creation Museum. JHU Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781421419534.
  8. ^ Answers in Genesis website.
  9. ^ Stephens, Randall J.; Giberson, Karl (2011). The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. Harvard University Press. p. 11. See also listing at Google Books.
  10. ^ Ham, Ken (12 December 2023). "Australians "Invading" Creation Museum". Answers in Genesis.
  11. ^ Rogers, Ben (8 August 2016). "Ken Ham: A Queenslander with all the Answers". Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ Bromley, David G.; Duke, Merin; Bhatt, Simren (27 February 2015). "Answers in Genesis". World Religions and Spirituality Project. Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  13. ^ Hopkins, Michael (9 October 2006). "Creation/Evolution Organizations: Creationist and Anti-Evolutionist Organizations". TalkOrigins Archive.
  14. ^ a b c Trollinger, Susan L.; Trollinger Jr., William Vance (2016). Righting America at the Creation Museum. JHU Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781421419534.
  15. ^ Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG through mid 2009". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009.
  16. ^ Simkin, Mark (9 November 2005). "The great debate". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  17. ^ Eigelbach, Kevin (25 May 2007). "Creating Debate – Answers in Genesis Opens its Museum Monday as a Challenge to Darwinism". The Kentucky Post. p. A1.
  18. ^ Kim Landers, "Museum promotes creationism", AM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2007.
  19. ^ Paul Sheehan, "Onward the new Christian soldier", The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 17 January 2005.
  20. ^ Kreimer, Peggy (4 February 2005). "Creation Museum's Pitch Drawing Headlines, Barbs". The Kentucky Post. p. K1.
  21. ^ Hinton, Carla (8 February 2018). "UCO Student Group Rescinds Invitation to Christian Speaker Ken Ham". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  22. ^ Causey, Adam Kealoha (8 February 2018). "Creationist's Speech Canceled at University in Oklahoma". Houston Chronicle (from the Associated Press). Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  23. ^ Kocher, Greg (9 February 2018). "He Got Creation Museum, Ark Built in Kentucky, but He Can't Speak on Oklahoma Campus". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  24. ^ Hinton, Carla (15 February 2018). "Ken Ham Will Speak on UCO Campus After All". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Creationist's Speech Back On at University in Oklahoma". The Washington Post (from the Associated Press). 15 February 2018. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  26. ^ Stunson, Mike (15 February 2018). "Here's How Kentucky's Creation Museum Chief Got a New Invite to Off-Limits Campus". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  27. ^ Willert, Tom (6 March 2018). "UCO Speaker Draws Largely Friendly Crowd". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  28. ^ Ross, Bobby (6 March 2018). "After a Rescinded Invitation, Ken Ham Talks About God at an Oklahoma University". Deseret News (from Religion News Service). Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  29. ^ Numbers, Ron (2006) The Creationists
  30. ^ McKenna, Michael (4 June 2007). "Biblical battle of creation groups". The Australian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2007.
  31. ^ "Biblical battle of creation groups".
  32. ^ "Dispute Settled". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  33. ^ Cusey, Rebecca (1 October 2008). "Maher takes on religion, but some interviewees cry foul". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  34. ^ Ethridge, Melany (2 October 2008). "A Religulous Movie: Opens on 500 Screens Friday—Creation Museum mocked". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  35. ^ "Conference Disinvites Ken Ham".
  36. ^ Blackford, Linda B. (24 March 2011). "Founder of Creation Museum banned from convention". Lexington Herald-Leader. Sacramento, CA. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  37. ^ Boyle, Alan (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye Wins Over the Science Crowd at Evolution Debate". NBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  38. ^ Etchells, Pete (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye v Ken Ham: Should scientists bother to debate creationism? The public debate between Bill Nye and the president of a US creationist museum gives creationism a scientific legitimacy that it isn't entitled to". Science. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  39. ^ Cesca, Bob (25 March 2014). "'Creation Museum' Demands Equal Airtime to Refute Scientific Facts in Cosmos Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  40. ^ Freedman, David (14 April 2013). "Bill Nye Explains Why He Agreed To Debate Creationist Ken Ham". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2014. Nye wrote his thoughts about the debate in Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. Nye, Bill (2014). Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. St Martin's Press. pp. 9. ISBN 978-1250007131.
  41. ^ "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.
  42. ^ Pilcher, James (12 November 2015). "Answers in Genesis' Ark Encounter announces opening date". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  43. ^ Nye, Bill & Ham, Ken (13 March 2017). "Nye/Ham: The Second Debate Premiere (video - 117:04)". YouTube.
  44. ^ Wright, David. "Feedback: Timeline for the Flood". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  45. ^ Wamsley, Vanessa (26 May 2015). "Were You There?". Slate.
  46. ^ Ham, Kenneth. "Were You There?". Institute for Creation Research.
  47. ^ "Claim CA221: Were you there?". TalkOrigins Archive. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  48. ^ Isaak, Mark (2007). The Counter-Creationism Handbook. University of California Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780520249264. were you there evolution responses.
  49. ^ "Were You There?". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  50. ^ Ham, Ken (14 March 2017). "Abortion, Gay Marriage, homosexual behavior, transgender, are all attacks on the true family God ordained in Scripture".
  51. ^ "Creation Museum founder Ken Ham's speech canceled at Oklahoma university". 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  52. ^ Heller, Karen (24 May 2017). "A giant ark is just the start. These creationists have a bigger plan for recruiting new believers". The Washington Post.
  53. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (26 June 2016). "A Noah's Ark in Kentucky, Dinosaurs Included". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2019 – via
  54. ^ Ham, Ken (22 November 2014). "Climate Change and Aliens?". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 22 May 2020. What we do deny are the worldview-based assumptions behind the interpretations of what causes climate change. Climate change is observational science (we can observe it by recording measurements), but it needs to be interpreted as to why it's happening—and your starting point determines your interpretation. Starting from the Bible, we know that there was a global Flood a few thousand years ago that completely changed Earth's surface and climate, and that the earth is still settling down from this catastrophe. So we should expect there to be some variations in climate change, but this is not alarming and is not the direct result of modern human activity. That's why when I was interviewed live on the Piers Morgan show on CNN after the debate (with Bill Nye sitting beside me) and was asked, "Why do you deny climate change?"—I answered that I did not deny climate change and went on to say that climates have been changing ever since the Flood.
  55. ^ Mooney, Chris (12 April 2014). "Your Inner Fish: Book and PBS documentary on Tiktaalik and Neil Shubin". Slate. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  56. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (12 April 2014). "America: Stupidly stuck between religion and science". Salon. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  57. ^ Stear, Mary Anne. "The Future of Natural History The Creation Museum and the Young Earth Creationism Bid for Scientific Proof". Illinois State University. p. 16. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  58. ^ Stephens, Randall J.; Giberson, Karl (2011). The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. Harvard University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0674048188.
  59. ^ "Graduation DVD". Tennessee Temple University. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  60. ^ Egan, Corianne (6 March 2012). "Creationist talks to Heartland crowd" (PDF). The Paducah Sun. Paducah, Kentucky. p. 2A. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  61. ^ Jolley, Curtis (11 May 2017). "Ken Ham Receives Honorary Doctorate At Bryan College Spring Graduation Ceremony". The Chattanoogan. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  62. ^ "Founders' Days | Day 2 | Convocation". Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (through Vimeo). 22 August 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  63. ^ Kobin, Billy (12 February 2020). "'We Believe in Dinosaurs': PBS documentary focuses on Kentucky's Ark Encounter". The Enquirer. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  64. ^ "Ken Ham". Answers in Genesis.

External links[edit]