Ken Ham: A Tale of Two Numbers

This was posted yesterday at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else: Thankful for God’s Blessings Through 2018. It was mostly blather so we ignored it. However, it contained one interesting paragraph:

Every day we’re seeing thousands of guests at the Ark and the museum. These individuals and families from across the world have now heard the message of the gospel and biblical authority! Even last month (October is not a typical vacation month), we welcomed over 100,000 guests at the Ark! What an incredible spiritual impact!

We noticed that, but we shrugged it off. However, our clandestine operative operative in Kentucky, code named “Blue Grass,” sees it differently. He thinks there should be an audit of the safety tax numbers Hambo reports to the city of Williamstown.

As you recall from our recent post: Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark — October 2018, Hambo reported that there were 89,343 ticket sales at the ark in October 2018. So we have the “Two Numbers” to which our title refers — the 89,343 ticket sales Hambo reported to the city of Williamstown, and the claim of “over 100,000 guests at the Ark” he reported in his blog post. What’s going on here? Is Blue Grass right to call for an audit?

For there to have been more than 100,000 visitors at the ark in October, we need to make some assumptions. Did all of them enter the ark, or did some just use the skating rink outside? It wouldn’t be right for Hambo to claim that people who were mere skaters were ark visitors — and we all know that Hambo is an honorable man — so it means that in October, “more than 100,000” people actually entered the ark. That’s nearly 11,000 more than the ticket sales that were reported. What accounts for the two vastly different numbers?

The lower figure reported for the safety tax doesn’t include hard-core droolers with lifetime passes who — we’re led to assume — are visiting the ark over and over again. How many of those showed up in October? Who knows? Was it a thousand? Okay, so they wouldn’t be reported to the city of Williamstown. If Hambo is telling us the truth — and of course he is! — it means that in addition to those with lifetime passes, there were at least 9,000 other ark visitors who didn’t buy tickets and therefore weren’t reported for safety tax purposes.

Some of those 9,000 — we don’t know how many — were allowed in free because of various multi-pass deals, but we assume the vast bulk of them were children under the age of 5 who get in free with their ticket-buying parents. How many of those were there in October? Let’s play with the numbers.

A lot of those reported 89,343 ticket sales were to groups from churches and retirement homes, and to bus-loads of others who didn’t bring any children. We’re not told how many so we have to guess. Let us pull a number out of the air and suppose that 50,000 of the reported 89,343 tickets were sold to adult couples with children. That’s 25,000 families. Now we’ll make another assumption. If almost half of those couples brought a child under 5 who got in free, that would be at least 12,000 toddlers and babes in diapers.

Referring to those tiny children brought by their parents as “visitors” is a bit of a stretch, as they certainly didn’t make the decision to visit the ark, and it’s unlikely that they were able to comprehend anything that they saw, but let’s ignore that. If all of our assumptions are correct — or nearly so — it means that Hambo’s claim of “more than 100,000” ark visitors in October is also correct.

It would certainly be useful if we had more details, but unless the city of Williamstown demands more information, we’re not likely to learn anything other than what we already know. And as we’ve previously reported, we know that actual ticket sales at the ark were down from the previous year by almost 17% for September, and almost 5% for October.

So make of it what you will, dear reader.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Ken Ham: A Tale of Two Numbers

  1. Referring to those tiny children brought by their parents as “visitors” is a bit of a stretch, as they certainly didn’t make the decision to visit the ark, and it’s unlikely that they were able to comprehend anything that they saw, but let’s ignore that.”
    I doubt that anyone really comprehended any of the nonsense they were experiencing in this ark museum.

  2. It’s not as if Ham doesn’t have the mother of all authoritative precedents when it comes to absurdly inflating the numbers. The OT books about the supposed Canaanite invasion and Israelite victories on the battlefield went pretty crazy with hyperbole, too.

    Those OT scribes were probably the biblical equivalent of the mouse jockeys who go overboard creating digital armies for today’s fantasy films.

  3. Frankly, I can see how Ham’s numbers could add up to over 100,000 if he had 89,343 paid. The church groups would most likely have a bunch of kids under 5 — remember, these are the “quiver full” people — 7 to 10 kids are not out of the norm. Not only the church groups, but also most of the people attracted to the fundamentalist Ark Park who are coming on their own are likely to have young children.

    Put the kids together with the lifetime passes coming for the second or third time and I can see how Ham could get to 100,000. There are probably more people coming multiple times on their life passes than we would think. Even though they’ve already seen the Ark, they might be bringing out-of-town friends and family who are visiting.

    Many of the lifetime passes were likely sold in the first year or two, so that would account for higher ticket sales at first, even though attendance might stay the same.

    That said, it’s not exactly a fun amusement park that keeps people coming back year after year. For most people, it’s going to be “Been there; done that; got the T-shirt”, and that will be it. And even if he could get the financing to add a full-blown amusement park, there are already two bigger and better amusement parks nearby — one in Louisville, and Kings Island just up the road in Cincinnati.

  4. RSG, I can see it too. There is no need for an audit, the ordinance is quite clear that only people who buy a ticket pay the fee.
    I’m surprised Hambo doesn’t do something slick like offering “family tickets”. One ticket for an adult and you get 1 adult and 2 kids free…of course the ticket is only discounted the taxes saved.

  5. I don’t care now many people visit the Ark distraction. The real question is how many do it because they believe the drivel it promotes vs. how many just see it as entertainment. After all, visitors to Disneyland, or to Disney World, don’t necessarily believe Mickey Mouse is real. (Well, the very young might, but they’re not the ones buying the tickets.)

  6. Eric, I think the question is, how long will it remain a viable business? If there was no religious mandate to go see it, it likely would be dead already. The fundamentalist subculture does put pressure on parishioners to go see the Ark. You can be certain that they’ll hear it every other Sunday around vacation time as well as organized trips. Separating Christians from their money is becoming a viable industry. It started with the sadistic fantasy “The Passion of the Christ”, and now comes back with regular “God’s not Dead” movies and Kirk Cameron theater rentals.
    This is why Hambo loves to act oppressed, it is great advertisement.