Hambo’s Ark Project in the British Press

The Daily Mail, a tabloid which is the UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper, seems to delight in reporting bizarre news. The last time we visited there we wrote What Is the Mysterious Pyramid on Mars?

Today that esteemed news organ is reporting about something that’s been appearing in various US news sources because of a publicity promotion (Media at the Ark Encounter) by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

The headline in the Daily Mail is Four stories tall, 510 feet long and made of wood: Christian ministry unveils ‘life-sized’ Noah’s Ark which is being built in Kentucky. The tabloid’s story has already attracted over 60 comments.

There’s nothing new being reported — except that the Brits may not have known about Hambo’s Ark project before. The article has a video and a zillion photographs, so you may find it interesting to take a look. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us:

It will be a modern-day, ‘life-sized’ replica of Noah’s Ark. But unlike the Biblical vessel, it will be filled with millions of tourists – not animals. These photos show the first few wooden ribs being lifted into place at Ark Encounter – a planned visitor attraction featuring an enormous ark that ‘will be the largest timber-frame structure in the world’. The 510-foot-long replica, situated in a field in Williamstown, Kentucky, is being constructed according to the dimensions used by Noah to save his family and animals in the Old Testament flooding story.

Thrilling, huh? We’ll try to skip the stuff you already know about. Ah, they say:

When completed next summer, it is expected to attract about two million tourists a year, the Christian ministry Answers In Genesis, which is behind the work on the religious attraction, told NBC News. ‘I believe it will be one of the biggest attractions outside of Disney, Universal, people like that — it’s going to be one of the biggest attractions in this country,’ said ministry president, Ken Ham.

The folks at Disney World must be trembling. All they offer is fun and fantasy, spread out over 43 square miles, including — according to Wikipedia — “27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, four theme parks [one of which is the Magic Kingdom], two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers (no electric carts allowed), two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort and other entertainment venues.” That’s nothing. Hambo is offering the Ark! Let’s read on:

The ministry anticipates employing up to 900 full and part-time staff at the attraction. It will pour nearly $90 million of private donations and bond funding into the attraction, the AP reported. So far, Ham said, about $70 million has been raised.

And every penny of it will be wisely spent! We continue:

However, the planning and creation of the ark so far has not all been plain sailing. Last year, the state withdrew its previous $18million offer of tax breaks for Ark Encounter, saying that ‘state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination’ or ‘advance religion’.

Gasp — how ungodly! Here’s more:

In February, Answers In Genesis sued Kentucky tourism officials over the withdrawal, saying that it violated the ministry’s First Amendment rights. A hearing on the suit will take place next week.

There’s been a lot of preliminary maneuvering in that case, but nothing important enough to report about. Maybe next week will be different. We shall see. Moving along:

Ham said the ark attraction is meant to reach more people ‘with God’s word.’ He added: ‘But we’re not forcing people to come here, they come of their own free will. And when they come here and go through, we’re not going to be forcing them to believe our message. ‘They’re going to have a great experience regardless of whether they agree with us or not.’ The ark will be around a 45-mile drive south of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

Then the Daily Mail reminds us of this:

A Noah’s Ark replica already exists in Holland – at a fewer 443 feet long. The ark, constructed from the metal hulls of old barges by Dutch contractor Johan Huibers, cost around $1.6 million to create.

Yes, and that one can float. We wrote about it here: Hey, Ken Ham: A Dutchman Builds Noah’s Ark. There’s another one in Texas — see Yet Another Noah’s Ark Replica.

So that’s the news. Now the Brits are aware of ol’ Hambo’s brilliant and awe-inspiring project. They must really envy us.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “Hambo’s Ark Project in the British Press

  1. By the way, the Chinese ark was built by corrupt Christian businessmen who got in legal trouble for bribing a politician. Their ark project was really an excuse to kick out local villagers so they could build luxury apartment buildings. Wow – greedy and mean – typical creationists.

  2. Johan’s Ark only floats because it’s carried on LASH barges. Also, as far as I know, it’s reinforced with steel. Johan’s a cheater.

  3. Ham’s a cheater, as well. Huge cranes? Steel gusset plates holding the wooden beams together? Reinforced concrete underpinnings? Hundreds of construction workers using all kinds of power tools and equipment?

    And it STILL won’t float! Bigger problem for Ham — he probably won’t qualify for zoo certification to house all the animals he’s planning to have inside the ark. No open air “free roam” space. Zoos can’t do caged animals as they could in the past. Someone’s bound to sic PETA on him.

  4. News organ…? I snurfled when i saw that.

    AiG or Hambo, can’t have one without the other, is delusional. They keep huffing and puffing trying to blow enough smoke up peoples…rear ends (I did not cuss) hoping if they blow enough smoke their delusions will set sail. Sail they will, into the sunset and soon forgotton, except for the giggles the rest of us will enjoy at Hambone’s expense.

    The whole thing is smoke, mirrors, and a con man. I don’t doubt he may get it built eventually, but success will be measured in cents rather than dollars.

  5. @retiredsciguy
    Ask any kid what Noah’s Ark was, and you’re sure to be told that (1) it was a boat and (2) that it was full of animals. Whatever is being built, it doesn’t meet these criteria for being a Noah’s Ark. Yes, they have good reasons for that. Very good reasons. Add on the modern construction materials, because there are good reasons for it not being made out of wood. Not to mention it not saving anything from any flood, etc., etc.
    It reminds me of the old riddle:
    “What is green, hangs on the wall, and whistles?”
    “A herring.”
    “OK, a herring is not green, and it doesn’t hang on the wall. I painted it green, and I nailed it to the wall. And I said ‘whistles’? No analogy is prefect.” (Sometimes, the ending is “I wanted to make the riddle difficult.”)

  6. TomS says:

    It reminds me of the old riddle: “What is green, hangs on the wall, and whistles?”

    That reminds me of an old Joke: A creationist, a zombie, and the headless horseman walk into a bar. (I forgot the rest.)

  7. docbill1351

    That reminds me of an old Joke: A creationist, a zombie, and the headless horseman walk into a bar. (I forgot the rest.)

    The punchline is: “They shot my pa!”

  8. docbill1351 says: “The punchline is …”

    No, no, no. The bartender looks them over, then says to the zombie: “What’ll you gents have?” The zombie points to the headless horseman and says: “Ask him. He’s the brains of this outfit.”

  9. I love the shot of a big steel beam being hoisted by a crane. Maybe we now know what “gopher wood” is.

  10. Someone posted this on this blog a few years ago:

    A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, “What is this? Some kind of joke?”

    Anyone hear recognize your joke? It’s become a favorite, although few people I tell it to get it without explanation. (And of course by then it’s not funny, but I still like it.)

    There was a morning DJ on WKRC radio in Cincinnati who, at the end of each hour, would say “If you just tuned in, punchlines you missed were…” and then he’d rattle off a few punchlines of jokes everyone knew but couldn’t be repeated (back then) on radio. My favorite was “I’ll keep an eye out for you!”

    Anyway, back to the topic of Ham’s Ark-ish construction —
    @John Pieret: So right about that steel beam. I was thinking it might be ironwood.

  11. “Whatever is being built, it doesn’t meet these criteria for being a Noah’s Ark.”

    Exactly. I predict that once the tourist attraction opens, even a great many creationists will start mumbling, “So what? What did the $165 million give us?” [I’ve seen a wide range of final price-tags.]

    Obviously, the most committed Hamites will remain effusive but the only concept it will successfully convey is the size of the ark–and nothing else. Both safety codes and animal regulations will intrude everywhere one looks. When I looked at the “deck-layouts” and floor plans at the Ark Park’s website, it looks like the only animals will be a room on the ark labelled “petting zoo” (so I assume the usual farm animals represented) and an aviary. I might have seen a reptile exhibit. One certainly won’t find many two-by-two pairs of animals on the ship manifest, let alone the “seven-by-sevens” described for clean animals in the Genesis text.

    I think a lot of people will start thinking, “Wow. The ark at first appears quite large from the outside. But as you walk around and start think in terms of practical logistics (e.g., food stores, fresh water storage, straw for animal bedding which must be regularly replaced) including ventilation of all three decks, reality will have a way of intruding.

    I expect many visitors will ask the kinds of questions which are regular censored at the AIG websites:

    1) “How many baramins (“kinds”) were on the ark?”

    2) “How did they store enough fresh water to meet the needs of 8 people and so many animals for the year after the rains stopped?”

    3) “How did Ken Ham determine that there was 200 years of hyper-evolution after the flood which diversified all of the baramins to produce today’s huge numbers of species? Where does the Bible state what he shows in his various diagrams?

    4) “Where does the Bible speak of high-speed plate-techtonic movement of the continents and where did the enormous heat go?

    I think that the docents will quickly adapt and resort to the “hibernation theory” and “suspended animation hypothesis” of Morris & Whitcomb. As a result, they will claim that no food, no water, and not even much space was needed for each animal. All solved by miracles.

    If the Ark project was truly about educating the public, Ham should have invested a fraction of the total amount into an IMAX-theater type of business model, leasing commercial space at various tourist sites in major cities across the country. Visitors to major museums and aquariums would see billboards and media advertisements for The Noah’s Ark Experience.

    Cutting-edge virtual reality

  12. Whenever I see a picture of an Ark, there are giraffes. Are kids going to be disappointed by not seeing the giraffes?

  13. The top 20 amusement parks in North America all draw at least 2.7 million/year. Ham won’t get close.

    Every Major League Baseball team draws over 1.4 million to their stadiums each year, and all but six have attendance over 2 million/year. And they’re only open 81times/year.

    Ham won’t outdraw the Cleveland Indians.

  14. Hate to “rain” on Ham’s parade, but all the successful theme parks have things for visitors to do, not just stand around and look. Besides, who wants to pay good money just to be harangued with a religious message? Maybe Ham should offer a religious massage as well. Might not be so family-friendly, but all truckers on I-75 would be sure to stop by.

  15. Interesting that Ham should mention Disney. Yesterday I wrote the following comment on Ark Encounter’s Facebook page (so far zero likes and zero comments, but at least they haven’t deleted it, either):

    “What is this supposed to prove, really? You can go to Disneyworld and see what they call Cinderella’s castle, but that doesn’t prove that Cinderella is a real historical character and that her story really happened. Likewise, building an oversized, weird-looking barn will in no way prove that a certain Bronze Age legend is fact. At least if you go to Disneyworld, you will not have to suffer a lot of obnoxious propaganda about how Cinderella really lived (why, look, they have REPLICATED her castle!) Incidentally, I believe there was a report concluding that Ark Encounter would likely be more successful if the propaganda (ahem, “sharing the gospel”) was somewhat toned down?”

  16. @H. K. Fauskanger: Apt analogy — well said. I’m surprised your comment hasn’t been deleted. Maybe Ken Ham hasn’t gotten back from church yet this morning and hasn’t seen it.

    (BTW, clicking on your name took me to your Facebook page. Your photos of Norway are fantastic!)

  17. @Pope RSG: I have used versions of that joke, but I might have first seen it here too. I can’t take any credit for it.

  18. @retiredsciguy: Ah yes, my vacation photos from the lovely valley of Modalen:

    Incidentally, according to the evil atheist perspective of … well, normal geology, this valley and our famous fjords were carved by the ice over vast ages. Luckily, Ken Ham’s in-house geologist Andrew Snelling is able to reveal that this is all nonsense (since “it lies outside the Bible’s total timeline of 6,000 years” — what more evidence do you need, really?) In fact, it turns out that the one-and-only Ice Age occurred some 4,000 years ago, following the Flood, and it only lasted for a few centuries:


    Looking at the pictures from my holiday paradise again, I can’t help think that the ice must have been really busy: It apparently removed such masses of solid rock that deep valleys and fjords were carved into the landscape, and it did so in _just a few human lifetimes_!

    For we do not doubt the penetrating geological insight of AiG’s very own Dr. Snelling, do we?

    Incidentally, his brilliant article was last updated on April 1 a couple of years ago. It has been observed that the religious mind is often unable to grasp irony.

  19. I love the shot of a big steel beam being hoisted by a crane. Maybe we now know what “gopher wood” is.

    It was simply a case of an error in translation of the ancient idiom. So even though we don’t know what the building material was, a gopher would.

  20. (Believe it or not, I sometimes get Young Earth Creationist “corrections” of my Hebrew exegesis based on exactly those kinds of ambiguities and foibles of the English language which obviously would not be reflected in the underlying Hebrew text of Genesis. So my previous post was a tribute to such “YEC insights” which often entertain me from my incoming email.)