Kenneth Alfred Ham (born 20 October 1951) is an Australian Christian fundamentalist, young Earth creationist and apologist, living in the United States. He is the president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a creationist apologetics organization that operates the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
Ken Ham in 2012
Kenneth Alfred Ham
20 October 1951
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|
Ham advocates biblical literalism, believing that the Book of Genesis is historical fact and the universe is approximately 6,000 years old,[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.
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. While at university, he was influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris's 1961 book The Genesis Flood. Upon graduation in 1975, Ham began teaching science at a high school in Dalby, Queensland.
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." 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. In 1980, the Hams and Mackay merged the two organizations with Carl Wieland's Creation Science Association to form the Creation Science Foundation (CSF).
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). 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. 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). In 1997, Ham's organization changed its name to Answers in Genesis.
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." 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." 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.
In February 2018, Ham was disinvited from the University of Central Oklahoma, where he was scheduled to speak, after an LGBTQ student group objected. Later that month, UCO reinvited Ham to speak, and Ham spoke on March 5 as planned.
Disputes with CMI and GHC
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 whilst 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.
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 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." Ham was accused of trying to send the Australian ministry into bankruptcy. According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009. In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher's comedy-documentary Religulous. 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."
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." 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".
Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate
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. Critics expressed concern that the debate lent the appearance of scientific legitimacy to creationism while also stimulating Ham's fundraising. 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."
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. 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. The following day, Nye visited Ark Encounter, and he and Ham had an informal debate.
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.
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. 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. Arguing that knowledge of evolution and the Big Bang require observation rather than inference, Ham urges asking scientists and science educators, "Were you there?" The Talk.origins 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—an argument with which Ham himself agrees.
Ham believes that abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and being transgender are sinful. He believes that Christians should "take back the rainbow", a popular symbol for the LGBT movement. 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.
Chris Mooney, of Slate magazine, believes Ham's advocacy of young Earth creation will "undermine science education and U.S. science literacy". 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".
Ham has been awarded honorary degrees by six Christian colleges: Temple Baptist College (1997), Liberty University (2004), Tennessee Temple University (2010), Mid-Continent University (2012), Bryan College (2017), and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (2018).
Ham is married to Marylin Ham; the couple have five children and sixteen grandchildren.
- Ham, Ken (1987). The Lie: Evolution. New Leaf Publishing Group. ISBN 0890511586.
- Ham, Ken (1999). Creation Evangelism for the New Millennium. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890512477.
- Ham, Ken; Batten, Don & Wieland, Carl (2000). One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890512760.
- Ham, Ken (2007). How Could a Loving God...?. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890515042.
- Ham, Ken & Ware, Charles (2007). Darwin's Plantation: Evolution's Racist Roots. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890514976.
- Ham, Ken (2008). Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890515425.
- 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 0890515298.
- Ham, Ken & Ware, Charles (2010). One Race One Blood. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890516014.
- Ham, Ken; Hall, Greg & Hillard, Todd (2011). Already Compromised. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890516073.
- Ham, Ken (2013). Six Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890517894.
- Ham, Ken & Kinley, Jeff (2015). Ready to Return: Bringing Back the Church's Lost Generation. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 089051836X.
- Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2016). A Flood of Evidence: 40 Reasons Noah and the Ark Still Matter. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0890519781.
- Ham, Ken (2018). Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 9781683441144.
- 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).
- Ham, Ken; Hodge, Bodie (2012). How Do We Know the Bible is True?. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf. pp. 108–10. ISBN 9780890516614.
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- "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.
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- https://twitter.com/aigkenham/status/841612606574075904?lang=en, https://twitter.com/aigkenham/status/841612606574075904?lang=en
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- "Graduation DVD". Tennessee Temple University. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
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