An update on Answers In Genesis’ Ken Ham who has been in the news quite a bit in the past few months. From being trolled by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to Ken Ham lashing out and blaming atheists and the “fake media” for The Ark Encounter’s economic challenges. Then due to an alleged shady land transaction the Commonwealth of Kentucky stripped Ken Ham’s $18 million dollar tax rebate. Against all this a new poll comes out that reports that a literal version of creationism is at its lowest level yet.
“The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact. “
Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science – in all of biology.”
“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species”
“Nowadays, it seems very few reporters in the secular media actually want to report facts regarding what they cover as news,” he wrote. “When it comes to reporting on theologically conservative Christians like those of us at AiG, whose ideology they strongly oppose, many writers have an agenda to undermine Christianity as they file their stories.”
Ken Ham is blaming the “fake news” media.
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26 NLT
Freedom from Religion Foundation on The Ark Encounter
There is a lot of news with Ken Ham. Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis built a Noah’s Ark model that cost $92 million dollars in Williamstown, Kentucky. Its called The Ark Encounter. One of my goals if possible here at The Wondering Eagle is that I would love to do a fundraiser and buy Ken Ham a one way plane ticket back to Australia. That would do wonders for the United States, however one downfall is that the Freedom From Religious Foundation would lose someone who they now use for fundraising purposes. Let’s look at that aspect of news first.
Freedom From Religion Foundation Trolls Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter
Recently Andrew Seidel from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filmed a commercial at Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter in Kentucky. For those of you who do not know the FFRF is a secular organization based in Madison, Wisconsin that is committed to preserving the separation of church and state. Dan Barker who is a former minister who became an atheist is the co-leader of FFRF along with Annie Laurie Gaylor. Andrew Seidel works in the legal department. Before I continue let me give you some brief background into Andrew. He graduated cum laude from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana where he obtained a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science. Andrew then graduated from law school at Tulane in 2009 before he went onto the University of Amsterdam and studied human rights and international law. In May of 2011 Andrew completed his Masters of Laws at Denver University Strum College of Law with a 4.0. His essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of the United States came second in FFRF’s 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew who cares about art and the environment joined the staff of FFRF in November of 2011.
In February of 2017 Andrew Seidel went to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky and filmed a commercial that the FFRF is using for fundraising. Over at the FFRF the campaign against Ken Ham’s project is called “Sink the Ark.” Andrew walked around in the Ark Encounter and documented the issues going on. From issues with the cafeteria food to the lack of people visiting The Ark Encounter has deep problems. Ken Ham originally stated that 2 million people would visit each year. That would break down to 5,800 people per day. But Andrew when asked the staff how many people would visit the Ark Encounter learned that 450 people a day come to visit. That is a significant drop in attendance. I would encourage you to read Andrew’s blog post called “An atheist shoots a commercial at creationist Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter” as he picks apart and shows the problems with the Ark Encounter.
The Wondering Eagle supports Andrew Seidel and the FFRF in their campaign. This Christian would like to see the Ark Encounter sunk as well. Andrew hits on some good points, but he also misses out on others. For example would a prospective employee who believes in creation but not the literal seven day creationist view be welcome? Or would they also be discriminated just like the LGBTQ which Andrew points out in the video? The truth is I would want nothing to do with Ken Ham’s project. Yet I think many other Christians would face discrimination as well. Ken Ham does so much damage that its really time for him to go. This blog is hoping that FFRF can dismantle the Ark project and let it join the likes of other successful commercial ventures such as the Titanic.
Meanwhile Literal Creationist Support is Declining…
Before I get into the failing Ark Encounter there is news on the creationist front that is deeply encouraging. Literal creationist support is declining and many Christians including evangelicals are slowly embracing evolution. There are many who are reconciling evolution and faith. According to a Gallup poll that was done in May of 2017 the number of people who accept the literal version of creationism is now at 38%. Meanwhile 57% of people accept the fact that people evolved from from less advanced forms of life over a process of millions of years. You can read the details about it in “Creationism support is at a new low. The reason should give us hope.”
Its long past time for evangelicals to embrace science and to learn to recognize and reconcile evolution. I have long been a firm believer in evolution and never understood why some people made this a make or break issue. This is an issue that in my opinion really shouldn’t be an issue as it creates needless problems and drives people away from the Christian faith. Science is key to life and our culture. Why do some people have to look at science and scientific theory as the enemy? I am deeply encouraged by that Religious News Service perspective as its time that many evangelicals stop fighting the wars that the Catholics fought in the 1500’s. So in that spirit my hope is that the process of a literal creationist belief continues to decline.
Ken Ham Blames Atheists and the Media for a Failing Ark Encounter
Then as news come out that the Ark Encounter is sinking Ken Ham lashed out at atheists and the “fake news” media for the reports recently. When the park was opening Ark co-founder Mike Zovath stated that the project would attract 1.4 and 2.2 million visitors annually. Williamstown, Kentucky believed that there would be a business benefit to having the Ark Encounter. I’ll get into the business dealings below in the next section when I look at how Kentucky is not pleased with Ken Ham. In lashing out Ken Ham has stated the following in response to the claims that the Ark is not doing well.
“Sadly, they are influencing business investors and others in such a negative way that they may prevent Grant County, Kentucky, from achieving the economic recovery that its officials and residents have been seeking.”
Ken Ham continued…
“Why so many lies and misinformation? Simply because we are in a spiritual battle, and the intolerant secularists are so upset with such world-class attraction like the Ark (and Creation Museum) that publicly proclaim a Christian message,” Ham claimed. “They will resort to whatever tactics they deem necessary to try to malign the attractions.”
Then Ken Ham lashed out at the media after complaining about atheists.
“Nowadays, it seems very few reporters in the secular media actually want to report facts regarding what they cover as news,” Ham said. “I’ve found that not only do these kinds of reporters generally do very poor or lazy research, they will actually make things up for their agenda purposes.”
So as we all know its not the fact that many people don’t believe in a literal 6 day creation, or the fact that its due to being badly planned and ill conceived. In the end the problem is those pesky atheists and those invasive reporters. If you want to read more about this aspect to the Ark Encounter you can read this Religious News Service article and this Raw Story piece as well.
Commonwealth of Kentucky Government is not Pleased with Ken Ham
Grants County, which is in Kentucky as well as the greater Commonwealth have done quite a bit of tax cuts and some breaks to Ken Ham and Answers In Genesis. This is what took place for The Ark Encounter: It has received $18 million in state tax incentives and a 75% property tax break over 30 years from the City of Williamstown. Plus in a rural area Grant County did an $11 million road upgrade to facilitate traffic to and from the park and the county gave a $200,000 gift from the Grant County Industrial Development Authority to make for certain that this project will stay in the county. Last the county gave 100 acres of reduced land and a $62 million municipal bond from Williamtown. In late June of 2017 it was reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader that Williamstown city attorney sent a letter to the Ark Encounter rejecting its request to be exempted from a new safety tax because it is a religious organization. Shipp had declared that The Ark Encounter is a for-profit entity. The day before on June 28 The Ark Encounter LLC sold its main parcel of land for $10.00 to its nonprofit affiliate Crosswater Canyon. The Grant County Property Valuation Administrator stated that the land is worth $48 million. After which Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Center stripped The Ark Encounter of its $18 million tax rebate on July 10, 2017. This really seems to show the shady behavior of Ken Ham. (cough, cough)
Ken Ham States that Hurricanes are the Result of People’s Sin
As if Ken Ham doesn’t have enough controversy he said something over the top within the past week. Here is what Ken said on Twitter:
So this of course begs the question what sin was committed in the states of Florida and Texas? What did people do that gave birth to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey? Of course for me what is most fascinating is that a hurricane hasn’t hit Nevada which has legalized gambling and prostitution in brothels. When that happens let me know please, until then I think Ken Ham’s comments show him to be out of touch in so many areas. Its my personal belief that Ken Ham has mental health issues in that he loves the spotlight and being front and center. Is this Narcissistic Personalty Disorder perhaps? After all Ken Ham reminds me of Mark Driscoll in many ways as he craves the public spotlight and controversy.
Why Does the United States Attract People Like Ken Ham?
Here is something that I do not understand. Ken Ham is originally from Australia before coming to the United States. Why is that? Why does the United States attract people like Ken Ham? Are people here in this country more susceptible to individuals like Ken Ham? Are they more gullible? Is there more of a business component and opportunity to make money which does not exist in Australia? Why do some of these off the wall individuals come to represent “faith” to so many people in this country. I am absolutely baffled by this element and if someone could please explain this to me I would be deeply grateful. That’s it for the day guys, take care of yourself!