Ken Ham

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For the American astronaut, see Kenneth Ham.
Ken Ham
Ken Ham in 2012
Born Kenneth Alfred Ham
(1951-10-20) 20 October 1951 (age 65)
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Alma mater Queensland Institute of Technology (B.AS.)
University of Queensland
Occupation Young Earth creationist, Christian apologist,
Organization Answers in Genesis
Title Founder, President, CEO
Spouse(s) Marylin Ham
Children 5

Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham (born October 20, 1951) is an Australian-born Christian fundamentalist and young Earth creationist living in the United States. He is president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a Creationist apologetics organization that operates the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.

Ham advocates Biblical literalism, believing that the Book of Genesis is historical fact and the universe is approximately 6,000 years old,[n 1] even though scientific evidence shows the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the Universe about 13.8 billion years old.[2][3]

Personal life and education[edit]

Ham was born October 20, 1951 in Cairns, Australia.[4] His father, Mervyn, was a Christian educator who served as a school principal in several schools throughout Queensland.[5][6] 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.[5]

Ham earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, with an emphasis in Environmental Biology at Queensland Institute of Technology and a diploma in education from the University of Queensland.[7] While in college, he was influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris's 1961 book The Genesis Flood.[5] Upon graduation in 1975, Ham began teaching science at a high school in Dalby, Queensland.[6] Ham is married to Marilyn Ham; the couple have five children.[8]


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."[6] In 1979, he resigned his teaching position and, with his wife, founded Creation Science Supplies and Creation Science Educational Media Services, which provided resources related to creationism to the public schools of Queensland, which were legally required to teach both creationism and evolution.[6][9] In 1980, the Hams and Mackay merged the two organizations with Carl Wieland's Creation Science Association to form the Creation Science Foundation (CSF).[9]

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 organization, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).[6][10] 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.[11] 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).[11][12][13] In 1997, Ham's organization changed its name to Answers in Genesis.[11]

From the time AiG was founded, Ham planned to open a museum and training center 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."[14][15] 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."[16] 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 May 27, 2007.[17]

Disputes with CMI and GHC[edit]

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 group were "concern[ed] 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."[18] Ham was accused of trying to send the Australian ministry into bankruptcy.[19] According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009.[20] In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher's comedy-documentary Religulous.[21] 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."[22]

In March 2011, the board of Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. (GHC) voted to disinvite Ham and AiG from future conventions. Conference organizer 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."[23] The disinvitation occurred after Ham criticized 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".[24]

Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate[edit]

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 young Earth creationism is a viable model of origins in the contemporary scientific era.[25] Critics expressed concern that the debate lent the appearance of scientific legitimacy to creationism while also stimulating Ham's fundraising.[26][27] 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."[28]

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.[29] On 12 November 2015, AiG announced that the Ark Encounter would open on 7 July 2016, a date (7/7) chosen to correspond with Genesis 7:7, the bible verse describing Noah entering the ark.[30]

Creationist beliefs[edit]

As a Young Earth creationist and biblical inerrantist, Ham believes that the Book of Genesis is historical fact. Despite scientific evidence and consensus that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the Universe about 13.8 billion years old,[2] Ham believes the age of the Universe to be about 6,000 years.[n 1] He asserts that Noah's flood occurred about 4,400 years ago in approximately 2348 BC.[31] Arguing that knowledge of evolution and the Big Bang require observation rather than inference, Ham urges asking scientists and science educators, "Were you there?"[32] The archive responds that the evidence for evolution "was there," and that knowledge serves to determine what occurred in the past and when.[33]


Chris Mooney, of Slate magazine, believes Ham's advocacy of Young Earth Creation will "undermine science education and U.S. science literacy."[34] 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 marginalized constituency with little power."[35]

Ham has been awarded honorary degrees by four Christian colleges: Temple Baptist College (1997),[36] Liberty University (2004),[37] Tennessee Temple University (2010),[38] and Mid-Continent University (2012).[39]


See also[edit]


Explanatory notes

  1. ^ a b 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 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 2006-01-10. 
  3. ^ "Age of the Universe". 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Communications, Emmis (October 1998). Cincinnati Magazine. Emmis Communications. pp. 80–. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ a b c d e Trollinger, Susan L.; Trollinger, Jr., William Vance (2016). Righting America at the Creation Museum. JHU Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781421419534. 
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Ken Ham". Answers in Genesis. 
  9. ^ a b Bromley, David G.; Duke, Merin; Bhatt, Simren (February 27, 2015). "Answers in Genesis". World Religions and Spirituality Project. Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ Hopkins, Michael (9 October 2006). "Creation/Evolution Organizations: Creationist and Anti-Evolutionist Organizations". TalkOrigins Archive. 
  11. ^ a b c Trollinger, Susan L.; Trollinger, Jr., William Vance (2016). Righting America at the Creation Museum. JHU Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781421419534. 
  12. ^ Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG through mid 2009". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Simkin, Mark (9 November 2005). "The great debate". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Eigelbach, Kevin (May 25, 2007). "Creating Debate – Answers in Genesis Opens its Museum Monday as a Challenge to Darwinism". The Kentucky Post. p. A1. 
  15. ^ Kim Landers, "Museum promotes creationism", AM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 29, 2007.
  16. ^ Paul Sheehan, "Onward the new Christian soldier", The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, January 17, 2005.
  17. ^ Kreimer, Peggy (February 4, 2005). "Creation Museum's Pitch Drawing Headlines, Barbs". The Kentucky Post. p. K1. 
  18. ^ McKenna, Michael (4 June 2007). "Biblical battle of creation groups". The Australian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2007. 
  19. ^ Biblical battle of creation groups
  20. ^ "Dispute Settled". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  21. ^ Cusey, Rebecca (1 October 2008). "Maher takes on religion, but some interviewees cry foul". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  22. ^ Ethridge, Melany (2 October 2008). "A Religulous Movie: Opens on 500 Screens Friday—Creation Museum mocked". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  23. ^ Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences
  24. ^ Blackford, Linda B. (March 24, 2011). "Founder of Creation Museum banned from convention". Lexington Herald-Leader. Sacramento, CA: The McClatchy Company. Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  25. ^ Boyle, Alan (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye Wins Over the Science Crowd at Evolution Debate". NBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Cesca, Bob (25 March 2014). "'Creation Museum' Demands Equal Airtime to Refute Scientific Facts in Cosmos Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  28. ^ Freedman, David (14 April 2013). "Bill Nye Explains Why He Agreed To Debate Creationist Ken Ham". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ Pilcher, James (12 November 2015). "Answers in Genesis' Ark Encounter announces opening date". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  31. ^ Wright, David. "Feedback: Timeline for the Flood". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  32. ^ Ham, Kenneth. "Were You There?". Institute for Creation Research. 
  33. ^ "Claim CA221: Were you there?". TalkOrigins Archive. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  34. ^ Mooney, Chris (12 April 2014). "Your Inner Fish: Book and PBS documentary on Tiktaalik and Neil Shubin". Slate. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  35. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (12 April 2014). "America: Stupidly stuck between religion and science". Salon. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  36. ^ 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. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  37. ^ Stephens, Randall J.; Giberson, Karl (2011). The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. Harvard University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0674048180. 
  38. ^ "Graduation DVD". Tennessee Temple University. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  39. ^ Egan, Corianne (6 March 2012). "Creationist talks to Heartland crowd" (PDF). The Paducah Sun. Paducah, Kentucky. p. 2A. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 

External links[edit]