An Open Challenge To Ken Ham

ark encounter2(Credit: Ark Encounter, Facebook)

I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything about Ken Ham.

I remember live tweeting his “debate” with Bill Nye, but other than that I can’t think of the last time I gave much thought to Ken Ham and his fundamentalist wonderland in Kentucky.

That said, I do remember the last time Ken Ham wrote something about me.

A few years ago, I wrote an anti-inerrancy post entitled “The Bible Isn’t Perfect And It Says So Itself.” It created enough of a stir that it managed to gain the attention of Ken and his cohorts at Answers In Genesis who felt it their Christian duty to warn their readers not to be duped by my heretical rantings.

But I don’t hold a grudge. I really don’t. Mostly because I don’t take Ken Ham’s theological (or scientific) opinions seriously enough to care if thinks I’m a heretic leading people straight to hell.

Sadly, there are far too many people who do care what Ken Ham thinks and believe him to be an authority on both faith and science even though he as exactly zero credentials to back up his “expertise.”

Like most charlatans, Ham’s lack of actual expertise hasn’t stopped him from successfully peddling his wares to the masses, most notably in the form of The Creation Museum. Unfortunately, one affront to science and good taste wasn’t enough for Ken. For the past few years, he has been working at The Ark Encounter, a biblically accurate, life-size replica of Noah’s Ark that will serve as giant wooden middle finger to all of Ken’s critics who thought it couldn’t be built.

Despite the numerous challenges that go along with any endeavor of this size (like whether or not to issue junk bonds), Ken Ham has soldiered on and is preparing to welcome the public onto his ark this summer.

But before that happens, I have a challenge for Ken.

Ham’s entire theology is founded on a literal interpretation of Genesis. Without a literal interpretation of the creation account, the Flood, etc., he argues, all other theology crumbles. This, of course, is absurdly untrue, but that’s what Ken believes and that’s, in part, why Ken has built this life-size replica of Noah’s Ark. He believes it’s history come to life. Physical proof, so to speak, that the biblical story literally happened as described in Genesis.

So, I say prove it, Ken.

Obviously, Ken can’t recreate a worldwide flood…thankfully because honestly, I kinda think he would try if he could just to prove his point. But Ken does have the ability to prove whether or not Noah could have actually fit 2 (or 7 depending on which chapter you’re reading) of every kind of animal on earth on the ark.

Now, Ken claims to have already done a bunch of fancy math proving there was more than enough space for all of the animals, their food supply, and Noah’s family. It should be noted, however, that this math is based on a rather self-serving interpretation of the text that reads “kind” of animals as the taxonomic category of “family” instead of “species,” while conspicuously ignoring the fact that the first command in the text is an unqualified “all living creatures,” not just “kind.” By hiding behind “kind” instead of “species,” Ham & Co. can claim there was a radically smaller amount of animals on the ark than one would typically assume.

What that exact number is, however, isn’t clear as Ham’s Answers in Genesis site put it at somewhere around 16,000 animals, while the Ark Encounter site conveniently claims the number was more like 7,000. Ham doesn’t include aquatic creatures, isn’t particularly clear about insects, and dismisses the dinosaur problem (because they were still alive according to Ham) by making all the ark dinosaurs, baby dinosaurs. Which is, admittedly, a rather creative solution.

Ham claims to have done the fancy math and maybe he has, but math is for scientists and as Ken Ham has proven time and time again, science is an evil tool of Satan meant to deceive the world and lead all of its inhabitants straight to hell.

So, before the Ark Encounter is fully completed and filled up with all the various pseudo-historical exhibits Ken plans to fill it with, I think he should take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and prove once and for all that the Noah’s ark really could have fit 2 of every “kind” of animal on earth (and, of course, 7 pairs of every clean animal).

I realize this would be a costly affair and there are only so many junk bonds you can issue, so I’ll cut Ken a break and let him fill up the ark with cardboard cut-outs instead of the real thing, so long as he leaves enough room to account for the space their real life, three dimensional counterparts would take up.

Lest you think this is one giant sarcastic post, let me be clear: I’m being completely serious.

For years now, Ken Ham has denounced as heretics anyone and everyone that doesn’t subscribe to his brand of fundamentalism. He now has the chance to definitively prove that he’s right and the rest of us are wrong.

I, for one, want to see him do it.

Come up with a non-Answers In Genesis supplied, i.e. actually authoritative, total number of taxonomic animal families in the world, mock up their stand-ins (don’t forget the insects!), and fill the Ark Encounter with them, making sure to leave the space their real world counterparts would need to move around as well as the space needed for their food supply and living compartments for Noah and his family.

If all of that fits in the ark, then I will publicly apologize to Ken Ham for doubting him and his literal interpretation of the Flood story.

If it doesn’t, then Ken should apologize to everyone he’s branded a heretic and immediately cease his crusade to deceive the Church into believing our options are fundamentalism or hell.

Obviously, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that apology, but if Ken really does believe what he preaches, he’ll take this unique opportunity to silence the doubters once and for all.

The fact that he hasn’t already planned a stunt like this is enough to make one wonder if somewhere deep down even Ken Ham knows Ken Ham is nothing more than the P.T. Barnum of Christian fundamentalism.