Ken Ham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the American astronaut, see Kenneth Ham.
Ken Ham
Ken Ham in 2012
Born Kenneth Alfred Ham
(1951-10-20) 20 October 1951 (age 64)
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Residence Petersburg, Kentucky, USA
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
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Marylin "Mally" Ham
Children 5

Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham (born 20 October 1951) is an Australian-born[1] young Earth creationist and Christian fundamentalist living in the United States. He is the president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a Creationist apologetics ministry that operates the Creation Museum.[2] Ham is a former high school science teacher.[1]

Ham advocates Biblical literalism, taking the Book of Genesis as historical fact.[n 1] His belief, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, is contradicted by the scientific consensus that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are on the order of billions of years.[4][n 2]

Personal life and education[edit]

Ham was born on October 20, 1951 in Cairns, Australia. His father was a Christian educator who settled his family in Brisbane as a school principal. According to Ham:

[My father] was always very adamant about one thing - if you can't trust the Book of Genesis as literal history, then you can't trust the rest of the Bible. After all, every single doctrine of biblical theology is founded in the history of Genesis 1-11. My father had not developed his thinking in this area as much as we have today at Answers in Genesis, but he clearly understood that if Adam wasn't created from dust, and that if he didn't fall into sin as Genesis states, then the gospel message of the New Testament can't be true either.

— Ken Ham (2008)[6]

Ham first rejected what he termed "molecules-to-man evolution" during high school, and became influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris's The Genesis Flood in 1974 during college.[6] 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]

Ham married his wife Marilyn ("Mally") on December 30, 1972.[8] They have five children.[2]


Ham taught high school biology in Queensland, Australia for five years using his diploma in Education.[7][9] He left his position in 1979 and co-founded what was to be later known as the Creation Science Foundation (CSF) with John Mackay.[10]

Ham worked for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a young Earth creationist organization.[11] 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.[12] The Christian ministry specializes in young Earth creationism and promotes the belief that the initial chapters in Genesis should be taken as literally true and historically accurate.[13] He then began raising funds to build the ministry.[14] Ham rejects evolution and claims that proponents of Nazism, racism, drug abuse, abortion and male chauvinism have all used evolution to justify their beliefs and actions.[15]

Ham speaking at the Creation Museum in 2014

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.[16] It is about 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2).[17]

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."[9] According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009.[18] In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher's comedy-documentary Religulous.[19] 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."[20]

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."[21][22][23] 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."[22]

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.[24] Critics expressed concern that the debate lent the appearance of scientific legitimacy to creationism while also stimulating Ham's fundraising.[25][26] 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."[27] Ham said that financial support he received because of the visibility of the debate would allow him to begin construction of the Ark Encounter theme park, which had been stalled for lack of funds.[28]

Creationist beliefs[edit]

As a Young Earth creationist who believes in Biblical inerrancy, Ham believes the age of the universe to be about 6,000 years,[29] and states that Noah's flood occurred about 4,400 years ago in the year 2348 BC.[30] He says that the animals carried on Noah's ark produced the biological diversity documented by observational science on earth today. Ham also believes that non-avian dinosaurs co-existed with genetically modern humans.[31][32][33][34] Ham accepts that natural selection can give rise to a number of species from an original population.[35] Ham believes that despite opposing the teaching of creation in public schools, the government is imposing religion on students in science classes in American public schools, like for example, by encouraging them to "worship the sun".[36][n 3]

As radiometric dating measures the ages of many terrestrial artifacts to be far in excess of thousands of years, Ham does not believe the technique is reliable.[37] Since 1989 Ham has supported the asking of the rhetorical question "Were you there?" to scientists and science educators when discussing the origins of life and of biological evolution, stating that knowledge of events such as evolution and the Big Bang requires direct observation rather than inference.[38] The archive lists the most common debunking rejoinder of this rhetorical question, that the evidence for evolution "was there" and serves as a reliable means to conclude what events occurred in the past and when. "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".[39]

Ham says that there is a difference between facts themselves and their interpretation, writing that the difference exist only in the way known facts are interpreted.[40]


Old Earth creationists and the scientific community have emphatically and repeatedly criticized Ham and young-earth creationism. 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.[41] Astronomer Hugh Ross, an old earth creationist, has debated Ham and other Answers In Genesis staff[42] regarding the compatibility of an old Earth with the Bible.[43] BioLogos has also responded to Ken Ham's criticisms of its viewpoint.[44]

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."[45] According to Andrew O'Hehir of Salon, 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."[46]

Honors and awards[edit]

Ham has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from four private Christian universities; Temple Baptist College (1997),[47] Liberty University (2004),[48] Tennessee Temple University (2010),[49] and Mid-Continent University (2012).[50]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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)."[3]
  2. ^ 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).[5]
  3. ^ According to Ham, "We've heard so many times from secular groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) or the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) that students in science classrooms in public schools can't be taught about creation, as that would be teaching religion in government-funded schools. And yet, such secular groups do support students being taught religion in the public schools. In fact, the government is actually allowing a religion to be imposed on public school students, and using our tax dollars to do it. Imagine if public school students in their science classes were encouraged to worship the sun. And yet this is happening! But how do they get away with it? Well, they just call worshipping the sun "science," and then claim they can teach this "science" in the public schools!"[36]


  1. ^ a b Communications, Emmis (October 1998). Cincinnati Magazine. Emmis Communications. pp. 80–. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Ken Ham". Answers in Genesis. 
  3. ^ Ham, Ken (16 April 2007). "How could a loving God ... ? More school violence in America". Answers in Genesis. 
  4. ^ "Age of the Universe". 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2012). How Do We Know the Bible is True?. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf. pp. 108–10. ISBN 9780890516614. 
  6. ^ a b Ham, K. & Ham, S. (2008), Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, New Leaf Publishing Group
  7. ^ a b 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. ^ 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. .
  9. ^ a b McKenna, Michael (4 June 2007). "Biblical battle of creation groups". The Australian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2007. 
  10. ^ Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG to the End of 2007". Answers in Genesis. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. 
  11. ^ Hopkins, Michael (9 October 2006). "Creation/Evolution Organizations: Creationist and Anti-Evolutionist Organizations". TalkOrigins Archive. 
  12. ^ Ham, Ken. "The History of AiG through mid 2009". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Ham, Ken. "Genesis: Key to Reaching Today's World". (TV Broadcast). WVCY-TV. Retrieved 15 April 2011.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  14. ^ Simkin, Mark (9 November 2005). "The great debate". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Ham, Ken (January 1, 1987). "Chapter 8: The Evils of Evolution." Answers in Genesis
  16. ^ Lovan, Dylan (10 October 2008). "A year later, Creation Museum claiming big crowds". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008. 
  17. ^ "About the museum". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Dispute Settled". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Ethridge, Melany (2 October 2008). "A Religulous Movie: Opens on 500 Screens Friday—Creation Museum mocked". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  21. ^ Blackford, Linda B. (24 March 2011). "Founder of Creation Museum banned from convention". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Kicked Out of Two Homeschool Conferences". Answers in Genesis. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  23. ^ Riley, Jennifer (22 March 2011). "Ken Ham Disinvited from Homeschooling Events over 'Ungodly' Remarks". Christian Post. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  24. ^ Boyle, Alan (5 February 2014). "Bill Nye Wins Over the Science Crowd at Evolution Debate". NBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ Cesca, Bob (25 March 2014). "'Creation Museum' Demands Equal Airtime to Refute Scientific Facts in Cosmos Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  27. ^ Freedman, David (14 April 2013). "Bill Nye Explains Why He Agreed To Debate Creationist Ken Ham". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "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. 
  29. ^ "Evidence for a young age". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  30. ^ Wright, David. "Feedback: Timeline for the Flood". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  31. ^ Ham, Ken. "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs". Answers in Genesis. 
  32. ^ "Iron Key to Preserving Dinosaur Soft Tissue, alluded to by Ken Ham on facebook post 2013-12-06". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  33. ^ Armitage, Mark Hollis; Anderson, Kevin Lee (July 2013). "Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus.". Acta Histochem 115 (6): 603–608. doi:10.1016/j.acthis.2013.01.001. PMID 23414624. 
  34. ^ "Canyon Rapids and Rapid Formations". Answers in Genesis. 2010-09-09. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  35. ^ "Do the Animals 'Evolve'?". Answers with Ken Ham. 
  36. ^ a b Ham, Ken. "Students Told to Worship the Sun?". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ Ham, Kenneth. "Were You There?". Institute for Creation Research. 
  39. ^ "Claim CA221: Were you there?". TalkOrigins Archive. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  40. ^ Ham, Ken. "Ch. 2: What's the best 'proof' of creation?". The New Answers Book 2 (online ed.). Answers in Genesis. 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. 
  41. ^ Neyman, Greg (12 September 2005). "Ham Can't Tell the Simple Truth!". Answers in Creation. 
  42. ^ Sarfati, Jonathan. "Jason Lisle vs. Hugh Ross debate". (annotated transcript). Answers in Genesis Australia. 
  43. ^ McConaughy, Steven. "Fair and balanced?". Answers in Genesis. 
  44. ^ Falk, Darrel. "A Response to Mr. Ham's Video: The Anti-biblical Teachings of BioLogos". (blog). BioLogos Foundation. 
  45. ^ Mooney, Chris (12 April 2014). "Your Inner Fish: Book and PBS documentary on Tiktaalik and Neil Shubin". Slate. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  46. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (12 April 2014). "America: Stupidly stuck between religion and science". Salon. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  47. ^ 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 June 24, 2015. 
  48. ^ Stephens, Randall J.; Giberson, Karl (2011). The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. Harvard University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0674048180. 
  49. ^ "Graduation DVD". Tennessee Temple University. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  50. ^ Egan, Corianne (March 6, 2012). "Creationist talks to Heartland crowd" (PDF). The Paducah Sun (Paducah, Kentucky). p. 2A. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]