Ken Ham’s Dinosaur Billboards

It’s all quite amusing. In case you haven’t yet heard the news, we’re talking about the latest bit of foolishness being promoted at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. AIG is the online creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia; and he’s the brains behind the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum — which has become the North American Mecca for the mindless.

This silly business first came to our attention through an announcement on 02 June at ol’ Hambo’s personal blog: The National Campaign Begins, in which he told of a new billboard campaign featuring dinosaurs to publicize the Creation Museum. Hambo said:

[B]eginning yesterday, billboards (with 20 different styles to choose from) are being put up all across the nation on major Interstates. We will even have some billboards in California

I have included here just six of the 20 different billboards that JDA designed for us. We have never seen billboards like this before. They were designed using a comic book style that we believe will really cause people to want to look at them. [Pics of dino billboards embedded in Hambo’s post.]

[…]

And please pray that these billboards will be used to bring many people to the God-honoring and Bible-upholding Creation Museum.

We ignored the “news” for what we thought was a very good reason — we don’t care about Hambo’s billboard campaign because the “museum” it promotes is silly and unimportant. But apparently some others do care, and the resulting mini-controversy has Hambo all excited. A couple of weeks later he posted this: Compare the Billboards: Creationists vs. Atheists, in which he said:

The new Creation Museum billboard campaign has hit the news — and the secularists are worried!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There was once a time when the increasingly obvious evidence of a past age of dinosaurs was a worrisome thing for young-earth creationists, because it literally screams that the world is far older than 6,000 years. But the creationists learned to cope — they just added dinosaurs to the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark and carried on as always. The result is this billboard campaign — a reminder that the creationists’ mythology is unconstrained by reality. Hambo continues:

As of writing this blog post, an Associated Press article about our new dinosaur billboards has appeared on many news sites, including ABC News and the Washington Post. The AP article and many blogs indicate that secularists are concerned about them. Isn’t it amazing that they are so worried about one Creation Museum.

It seems that somehow this “controversy” is ongoing. PZ posted about it today (see Creationism is a marketing game), and now ol’ Hambo has posted yet again: Do Atheists Own the Dinosaurs? Here are some excerpts from Hambo’s latest, with bold font added by us:

It really has been amazing to see the atheist blogs and twitter posts going crazy about AiG’s billboard campaign. Just to refresh your memory, here are a few of the twenty different billboards that have been placed across the country: [tiny pics embedded in Hambo’s post]. I note that the secularists are really upset that the Creation Museum uses dinosaurs. They act as if creationists have no right to use dinosaurs — they only belong to the secularists.

Are you upset, dear reader? We’re not upset — well, it’s annoying that Hambo labels everyone who understands science as an “atheist” or a “secularist,” but that’s just his way of looking at the world. Aside from that, what’s the controversy about the billboards? Let’s read some more:

Why do they get so upset? Why do they get so emotional about this? Well it’s because they know kids love dinosaurs and the accuse us of using dinosaurs so kids will want to come to the Creation Museum — well of course we do that! Kids and adults love dinosaurs, and we use them deliberately in our advertising!

This is not terribly complicated. But why does anyone care? If Hambo used pictures of happy puppies or smiling people on his billboards it wouldn’t be any different. Everyone uses appealing illustrations in advertising. Hambo can do it too. Selling creationism is no different from selling a hemorrhoid remedy. Well, the sales technique may be the same, but the products may differ in their efficacy. Oh wait — Hambo sees a big difference:

However, the secularists use dinosaurs to try to convince children there is no God and that evolution and millions of years are fact! We use dinosaurs to tell adults and kids the true history of the world from the Bible.

Aha! Hambo uses dinosaurs to tell The Truth. He continues:

The bottom line is these secularists are intolerant of Christians, and they don’t want freedom of religion. They want kids indoctrinated with their religion of atheism, evolution, and millions of years. They want to stop Christians having the freedom to teach God’s Word! They are intolerant!

Calm down, Hambo! It’s just a billboard campaign. Don’t have a stroke over it.

Throughout Hambo’s article he quotes comments from various concerned observers, all of which are silly in our humble opinion, and then he concludes with this:

Praise the Lord the billboard campaign has generated so much publicity! The fact that the secularists are so upset tells me this is a very successful campaign.

We think Hambo could generate a lot more publicity if his billboards featured scantily clad young ladies — but that sort of thing could only lead to the Lake of Fire, so he’ll probably stay with dinosaurs. That’s fine with us.

Ignorant people and their ignorant kids need a place to go on vacation, and Hambo’s billboards will lead them right to his museum of ignorance. We see no controversy in that. They’ll be happy, they’ll spend their money, and Hambo will be happy too. Besides, if they didn’t have creationism, they’d probably turn to something equally nonsensical, perhaps voodoo. Anything but science — it’s much too rational.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Ken Ham’s Dinosaur Billboards

  1. Christine Janis,

    Maybe the “secularists” don’t own the dinosaurs, but it was them who did all the discovery, data analysis, and interpretation that Ham is now parasitising for his own gain.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Ham is a standard bait-and-switch con artist. Check out his site for a look at the six sample billboards, and you will be disappointed to find only four dinosaurs on display. The other two spaces were taken up by a dragon, and a mastodon, neither of which was even dressed up in dinosaur drag.

    In his latest rant about atheists owning the dinosaur franchise, there are now five dinosaur billboards shown. But both the dragon and the mastodon seem to have been banished from the Garden, or maybe just served for lunch at an AIG fundraiser.

  3. NeonNoodle

    My only concern is whether of not taxpayers are in any way footing the bill for this. Beyond that, is it really any more dishonest than other corporate advertising? Or any more ludicrous or offensive than billboards announcing violent video games like Grand Theft Auto IV, or exploitation/splatter films like the Hostel and Saw series? I used to drive by a Showtime billboard promoting Dexter holding a blood-spattered baby everyday. Of course, we’ve become so desensitized as a society that no one notices or cares anymore.

  4. NeonNoodle said:

    Beyond that, is it really any more dishonest than other corporate advertising?

    I’ll make the case that it is false advertising. He claims that the dinosaurs (and every other living thing) were all made 6000 years ago. That’s false. Now, people obviously want to believe that, which would make it a difficult case to win. I doubt we’d get an unbiased jury anywhere near the place. But when people buy violent games such as GTA or watch shows such as “Dexter” or “Saw”, they (typically) don’t then go on to believe that they’re either those people, or believe that they actually exist. Perhaps a subtle point, but an important one.

  5. @NeonNoodle: We’ll need the Curmudgeon’s benevolent hand to fix this problem.

  6. Gary says: “We’ll need the Curmudgeon’s benevolent hand to fix this problem.”

    It’s fixed. Sorry for the delay, but I was feeding the dogs.

  7. Gary says: “I’ll make the case that it is false advertising.”

    Not really. He’s telling you what you’ll find at his “museum.”

  8. Individuals have the right to believe whatever they choose, and have the obligation to provide evidence in support of their beliefs. If sensible, intelligent, rational church individuals and organizations do not express disgust at this man’s claim, I will know there is no reason to be moderate in my objections.

  9. Ceteris Paribus

    joandenoo says: “If sensible, intelligent, rational church individuals and organizations do not …..”

    Using the adjectives sensible, intelligent, and rational in any sentence that also contains the noun “church” pretty much excludes any possible outcome along the lines you may wish to see.

    Let’s face it, religion-for-profit scams have been part of human culture since some neolithic shaman figured out that totems and potions could be marketed to the gullible of his local tribe.

    Now mega-church scale enterprises run by media savy hucksters sell their DVDs, fake books on science or US political history, guided tours of their Holy Land, or tickets to animatronic creation museums.

  10. You have me on this one. The good news is, we have a lot of ammunition to make an assault, if we wanted to. Frankly, they aren’t worth the effort. I take that back. They still want to get into our education science departments and then all gloves come off.

  11. aturingtest

    Ham: “The fact that the secularists are so upset tells me this is a very successful campaign.”

    Typical christian overreaction to and overstatement of a simple thing. If we criticize them in the slightest, or even just express mild disagreement, it’s “persecution! OMG!” Tell them they can no longer use their religion as an excuse for intolerance, and it’s “they don’t want freedom of religion” and “[t]hey are intolerant!” (which is true enough, but it’s of the intolerance, not the religion). And make fun of the billboards, or just say “that’s ridiculous,” and it’s “they’re so upset!” and we’re “going crazy ” or “get[ting] so emotional” over it. Everything is about them and their religion- no other context is possible- and so everything is blown out of proportion.

  12. It’s Monday morning and I wish my life was so simple I could be pissed off about a nutcases billboards. Religions are reality concepts. Freedom of religion means freedom to have the reality concept of your choosing. It also means to have freedom from reality concepts. Therefore, freedom of religion must conversely mean freedom from religion, or freedom from the reality concepts you don’t believe.
    Creationists are a rather disingenuous lot. They aren’t trying to prove that God created the world; they are trying to prove that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Aside from the hundreds of places where the book runs afoul of science, it also routinely refutes and contradicts itself. Creationists should be ashamed of blaming the book on God. It’s the ultimate blasphemy.
    There seems to be an undercurrent of love in the world. It’s so common place that it’s not newsworthy; it doesn’t sell the way fear does. Even if we point out ten million at war in various places, that leaves several billion getting along against the odds of human frailty and competition. This may indicate a loving God at the core of things, or may not. Choosing between creationism and atheism misses the point of having a life.
    It’s Monday morning; have a loving day.

  13. aturingtest

    Don Fultz- well said.

  14. Hey Don. Thanks for your comments. I wish I could agree , life would be simpler. Creationists are pushing concepts that are simply scientifically unacceptable into public schools, which, sadly, makes them a problem.
    I have often given them the benefit of the doubt as do you. Reality and logic
    requires thinking people to respond. They’re not going away and they’re damaging education and society with a crude message that misses the whole point of a loving God by trying to jam fraud down peoples throats.
    Its a no brainer. Oppose it verbally and with reason, or risk not being able to find any human beings capable of rational thought someday. Ultimately, this threatens humanity. I won’t go there. Sorry. Will

  15. Hey Don, Have a great Monday. What you’re describing sounds like deism or maybe pantheism. It is in the best interest of people to get along and work together and there are several theories about that cooperation that are important to people who study religion. The rational choice theory of religion points toward the social and economic benefits of being religious in a society of people that are mostly religious. The problem with creationism is that it perpetuates strict religious belief at the expense of understanding and knowledge. To intentionally keep people ignorant in order to continue funnelling cash from them should be considered a criminal act. Not only does it keep the people being swindled from better understanding their world but they pass those memes on to future generations and harm society as a whole. We have to start thinking as a whole soceity, “no man is an island,” and all that, you know?

    I don’t think people choose between creationism and atheism. Things that happen in their life or perhaps some genetically granted attributes make them critical thinkers or skeptics and the difference between accepting the “rational choice” of going with the flow (and receiving the social benefits that provides) or questioning ideas that provide emotional comfort becomes a choice between living a lie and deciding to accept reality. Choosing to accept reality meant a cold shoulder from much of my family and friends at one point but led me to meet an older unlce that made that choice years before I was born.

    Anyway, my point is that perpetuating nonsense with the intention to cloud people’s judgement and stifle the progress of humanity in the name of an ancient Hebrew mountain/sky/war god should be punishable. We live in an ever globalizing society and what people think matters to everyone else in some way or another.

    The Heartland institute’s anti climate change ads were shut down after one day because of how offensive and ridiculous they were. After that funding was pulled too.

    <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/05/heartland-institute-facing-uncertain-future-staff-depart-and-cash-dries&quot;

    Maybe something like that could happen with Ham’s ads too. How did the Heartland “Institute’s” ads get shut down so fast?

  16. Actually, dinosaurs are, in a sense, “owned” by the secular community.

    Dinosaurs are not a part of any religion, nor are they mentioned in any known religious record – despite Ham’s fanciful re-imagining of the Genesis account. They were not generally known until modern times.

    Although dinosaurs have nothing whatsoever to do with biblical literalism, Ham has disingenuously incorporated them into his “museum” in order to pull in kids and gullible adults, proselytize to them and fleece them of their money. The draw is obvious – even the cartoon like billboard images.

    He could tell lies about the fossil record in a much simpler way, without the cost of the dinosaur models and elaborate displays, and especially without creating elaborate myths about dinosaurs on the ark and in the garden of eden. The only reason to have dinosaurs in his “museum” is to pull in the public. He’s the ultimate Carny, hawking his freak show…

    While he may claim that because people object to his signs, they must be worried – his real concern is that attention is being drawn to his little scam.

    I wonder how that ark park is coming along?

  17. retiredsciguy

    Reading Ham’s rant reminds one of Capt. Queeg in the court martial trial in The Caine Mutiny. The man is unhinged.