Great Moments in Cognitive Dissonance: Ken Ham

Ken “Honeybaked” Ham, the intellectual child abuser and president of fundamentalist nonprofit Answers in Genesis (AiG) — which preaches to mentally defenseless children the empirically false idea that dinosaurs and humans lived together just a couple thousand years ago and that gay people can’t share food with straight people — released a fundraising letter Monday that is (shockingly) rife with lies, inaccuracies and other things the 9th Commandment isn’t cool with, but whatever: God needs non-consecutive twenties, and lots of them, and Ham is here to collect.

However, before we really waste some time on this, we must note that Ham managed to get something at least half right. In his description of the events now known as the “date night incident,” wherein AiG’s for-profit Creation Museum denied service to a friend of mine because they thought he was gay, he refers to LEO Weekly as a “pro-gay alternative weekly newspaper from Louisville,” which is kind of awesome.

In point of fact, however, LEO Weekly is a pro-truth alternative weekly newspaper. Unlike AiG, LEO has a long and proven public record of exposing lies, not creating them, and, also unlike AiG, when we get something wrong, we don’t run with it: We print a correction. So in this context, this “pro-gay alternative weekly newspaper” is only pro-gay in the sense that it is an “anti-bigoted-frauds-making-shit-up-to-make-money-off-of-cheap-plastic-dinosaur-figurines-and-tax-free-fear-mongering-minded alternative weekly newspaper,” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

So, having said that, let’s pull out our scalpels, class…

The fundraising letter begins with a general sense of paranoia regarding the media and how they’re biased and why can’t they get past all of Ham’s lying and start to love the Ark, which he needs your help to build.

AiG has now seen over 400 worldwide major media reports on the Ark Encounter project. And I wanted to give you one example of the lengths some people will go to attack Answers in Genesis and the Ark Encounter because of a hatred of God and His Word. In fact, we can almost sense that these people are gnashing their teeth and shaking their fists at God—doing whatever they can to try to stop this evangelistic outreach.

Searching for some legitimacy in the absence of media support, Ham is quick to ally himself with Gov. Steve Beshear, who supports AiG’s plan to save/further tank the Kentucky economy by giving Ham state dollars to build a giant boat and stuff it full of animals, both real and animatronic, plus a few hundred low-wage service-sector McJobs-having people (despite the fact that the project won’t be as glorious or economy-saving as touted) because politics makes unsavory bedfellows.

Regarding the viability of the project, a Jan. 16, 2011 story published by The Courier-Journal noted:

Projections that 1.6 million people a year will visit Ark Encounter — the proposed biblical theme park in Northern Kentucky to be financed in part with Kentucky tax incentives—are wildly optimistic, according to a half-dozen theme-park experts.


The experts, who include a former Disney executive and a consultant who helped start King’s Island near Cincinnati, said the project’s embrace of a literal interpretation of the Bible—that the world was created in six days and that humans co-existed with dinosaurs — likely will alienate a large part of the theme-park market, including some Christians.

Interestingly, Ham then focuses the bulk of his letter on a “(man who has) made his life’s mission to do whatever he can to denigrate the name of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in an attempt to undermine the Ark Encounter.” This evil man, apparently, “has misquoted, misrepresented, told untruths, and has done whatever he can (it seems the end justifies the means for him) to try to stop the building of the Ark Encounter outreach. He is also trying to influence state authorities against it.”

That man? Joe Sonka, founder of the Kentucky political blog Barefoot & Progressive. Ham’s obsession with Sonka would be troubling from a psychiatric point of view, but rhetorically it’s necessary: More than any one else, Sonka has attempted to show Ham for what he really is: A charlatan masquerading as a man of god looking for a government handout.

But, as Ham writes:

…the “handout” he refers to is the sales tax rebate the Ark Encounter project has applied for as a tourism incentive under the Tourism Development Act of Kentucky. And none of the sales tax rebate will fund the construction of the Ark Encounter; any rebate would only occur after the Ark Encounter opens and generates sales tax for the state.

By using Orwellian double-think reminiscent of another paranoid leader of men, Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili — otherwise known as Joseph StalinHam attempts to tell his readership that the $40 million in Beshear-backed Kentucky tourism tax incentives won’t pay for the project because AiG and some murky private investors will have built it already, well in advance of the breaks, even though they’ll be getting the break anyway. It’s insane logic, but then, that’s his day job.

To put it another way, the tax incentive structure is like being billed for outpatient health care when you have insurance: You (AiG) pay for the services (building a giant fraud-boat) upfront, my insurance company (the state of Kentucky) receives the statement for services rendered, and then the company reimburses me with my money (e.g. the tax rebate). I mean, it’s not like it’s as complicated as, say, evolutionary science, right?

But the funniest part (and the note we’ll have to end on; I need some fresh air here) would have to be Ham’s ongoing assertion that the “date night incident” was a liberal activist hoax:

Thankfully, some reporters recognized it all as a hoax (including one gay writer), but some reporters uncritically accepted what the plotters reported and printed their false accusations. The reporter from the alternative newspaper who attended the event also wrote error-filled articles against us.

Despite the fact that prominent, ostensibly pro-gay publications The Advocate and Towleroad could smell Ham’s bullshit, the “lone gay writer” theory must suffice for them.

Testing that theory, LEO contacted AiG’s chief communications officer, Mark Looy, on Monday to produce a link to the story written by their “one gay writer,” but we have yet to hear back from him, knock on gopher wood.

And, days later, we’re still waiting…


  1. Scott Goodman
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


    Great ripping of a new asshole for Ken Ham! I have an idea that I would like some media/blog, etc, to take and run with. This Ark project of Ham’s is all about convincing people that the Ark story is literally true so the question is, why build a theme park? Why not use all the money they are raising to actually build an Ark? Then they could show people that it could really happen, right? Already Ham is hedging on the literalness of the Bible. Since it is obvious from even a simple analysis that six people would require hundreds of years to actually build an Ark, Ham is on record as saying that they probably hired local sinners to help them, something not mentioned in the Bible of course. Not to mention all the tools and machinery and marine engineering skills that were unlikely to have been available to a stone age shepherd/farmer. One could go on and on about why it is impossible, but I digress.

    So, how about a sustained campaign to force them to build an actual working Ark as opposed to a theme park who’s only purpose is to bilk money from ignoramuses and the religiously blind? They could use models of animals to avoid cruelty to animals charges, but otherwise, they’d have to load in all of the food and water and manure shovels needed as well as demonstrate that every bird perch and cage would actually be suitable for the animal it was to hold. Oh yeah, and all the aquatic animals have to be accomodated too as these same folks would have us believe that the entirety of Earth’s sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood. Even with the added water needed to cover Mt. Everest, the result would still be a thick, brackish syrup of mud (not to mention the slowing of the Earth’s rotation to a crawl with all the extra weight so far from the center of rotation).

    So, how about it. How about a daily update report on the fact that these guys are building a money vacuum for the ignorant rather than stepping up to the plate and finding six good men to build a real Ark and fill it with all that is needed? A great project I’d say.

    Scott Goodman

  2. Frank
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    When I finished reading this poorly written article, all I see is a writer who’s gotten his feelings hurt and publicly displays it with anger. Do you need a tissue?

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