This summer at the Creation “Museum,” Answers in Genesis CEO Ken Ham gave a big pitch to an audience of potential investors for his Ark Encounter project. Besides detailing the wonderful sights and sounds of the Williamstown, Ky., park that will tell the story of how a 600-year-old man wrangled dinosaurs onto a giant boat a few thousand years ago — not to mention the heathen tourist souls it will save — Ham also told the audience they could make big-time money by investing in Ark Encounter.
While telling the audience that 2 million visitors will come to the park once it’s open, Ham cited one new development that will make his project famous around the country and attract the rest of the investors they need to complete financing and construction: PBS had agreed to air a three-part documentary about Ark Encounter, with the first installment explaining the park’s concept set to air this fall.
Here’s what Ham said:
“Here is something else that’s fascinating. We were approached a few months ago by a man who actually has produced a number of documentaries that have been shown on PBS. And his documentaries are very high quality. He’s well thought of in the secular world and he asked if he could come and do a documentary on rebuilding Noah’s Ark, and he approached PBS and they agreed for him to do three documentaries. One to be shown this year, to show the vision behind the Ark. They have already been here and have done a lot of filming for this. They have already done that. And one on the building of the Ark itself. And one on the response to the Ark. And they put together just a little short as you can see here [playing horribly 80s-esque Ark animation with music in background] to sort of advertise this. It’s coming on PBS, and I love the way he presents it…. I don’t know of any other Christian organization that has the opportunity of having documentaries like this shown on PBS. The tremendous impact that this would have.”
That seemed awfully fishy to me at the time. And yes, skepticism is warranted when you’re dealing with an organization that says fire-breathing dragons were real. But now this PBS documentary appears to be as fantastical as their interpretation of world history and science.
The blog Panda’s Thumb had a post up Monday questioning the credentials of their supposedly “high-quality” producer and director Johan Bos and his “secular” street cred. But the only film of his that I can find is a safari video from five years ago, though he does offer film classes for a strange Christian online university. Classes which give this disclaimer to students: “This class is a Christian safe environment. This class does not teach secular or worldly views.”
But however qualified the director is, PBS at least made the agreement to air this documentary series, right?
Actually, no. We asked Carrie Johnson, the senior director of primetime publicity for PBS, if there was any truth to Ken Ham’s claims about PBS’s affiliation with the documentary, and she said there is none. We asked further if there have ever been any discussions with the filmmaker about this project.
“We have not been approached by the producers, nor have we had any contact/discussions,” wrote Johnson in an email.
You mean Ken Ham exaggerated or completely made up facts in order to squeeze money out of people for one of his projects? You don’t say!?
Our buddy Mike Zovath at Answers in Genesis hasn’t returned our call or email asking when the big PBS airing of their documentary will be.
It might be possible that Ham was exaggerating the “PBS” affiliation with the film, yet has some small local access channel lined up somewhere in the country. But giving Ken Ham the benefit of the doubt — especially when it comes to giving him your money — never seems like a bright idea.