A Hambo Critic and a Hambo Defender

In our experience, this is a unique article from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: A Battle of Letters to the Editor.

Whoopie! We love letters-to-the-editor around here, although Hambo’s taste in such things probably differs from ours. Anyway, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In late January, a frequent Answers in Genesis’ critic had her letter appear in one of our local newspapers, the Kenton Recorder (Kenton County, Kentucky, not far from the Creation Museum). It was in response to my guest column two weeks prior in the same paper. Over the years, Nancy R. has written letters to the editor in various newspapers to attack the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter. [Gasp!] Her latest letter is below. It is followed by a rebuttal letter from Dr. Stephen Kees, a dentist in our area and an avid AiG supporter.

This is very bold of ol’ Hambo. He’s copying a critical letter and putting it on his website. He must have a lot of confidence in the rebuttal from that creationist dentist. Okay, first he copies the critical letter from Nancy. She says:

It is not to celebrate as Ken Ham, the purveyor of Answers in Genesis, would have the 25th anniversary so much as a time to mourn that the Creation Museum and the more recent Ark are taken seriously and not what they are — money-making amusement parks. He can site all the attendance numbers he likes. The tragic number is the many young people who are exposed to junk science.

Pretty good letter. Here’s a little more:

One asks faith leaders for the meaning of life — one asks geologists, biologists, chemists and physicists among other sciences for answers to science. The two need not be mutually exclusive but there is a limit. It is science and religion, not religion vs. science.

[…]

This [sic] PhD holders Mr. Ham mentions have been discredited by the science community for not allowing open review of their work for openers. It does not count if the handful of them praise each other or where they attained their degrees. Those same institutions have not endorsed their work.

That’s enough. You can click over there to read it all. Now Hambo presents the wondrous rebuttal from the creationist dentist, who tells us:

I am responding to a letter-writer who recently attacked the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. She labeled them as “money-making amusement parks” and challenged the credibility of their impressive scientists. First, the attractions are owned and operated by a nonprofit organization, Answers in Genesis. [Ooooooooooooh!] Any money they might make at the end of the year is returned to AIG to use toward developing their attractions.

Wowie! It all goes back into the ministry. How noble. But is that the whole story? The only time we posted about AIG’s tax returns was in December of 2015 — see Answers in Genesis — A Dynasty of Drool?, where it was revealed that AIG employs seven family members — in addition to Hambo himself. In fiscal 2012-13, Ham and his family members received a total of $456,437 in compensation from Answers in Genesis. And this was before the ark was built!

We are not in the mood to go through the tax returns for AIG, but if that’s your pleasure, here’s their 990 for 2016. Schedule J, Compensation Information, starts on page 40 and goes on for several pages. Hambo’s total compensation that year was $251K. His son, Jeremy, got $44K, his daughter, Rene Hodge, got $38K, and Kristel Ham, another daughter, got $26K. Tricia Ham, a sister-in-law, got $15K, and Susan Ham, a daughter-in-law, got $10K. That’s what we saw after a quick scan. You might discover more goodies. Anyway, the letter from the creationist dentist continues:

Second, they are not “amusement” parks, which suggest frivolous places with thrill rides like roller coasters. The Ark Encounter is a historical themed attraction.

Got that? Hambo’s creation museum and ark replica are serious stuff, not frivolous amusement parks. What else does the dentist say? Ah, now he defends Hambo’s creation scientists:

AIG has full-time scientists with doctorate degrees from schools like Harvard, Brown, Ohio State, and many others, yet the letter-writer denigrated their academic achievements by claiming that the scientists will “not allow open review of their work.” That’s preposterous. These scientists have had several papers published in peer-reviewed secular journals.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There are no creationist papers published in serious science journals. Hambo’s “scientists” publish their creationist stuff in Hambo’s magazine. This is the rest of the creationist dentist’s letter:

As someone trained in science [Hee hee!], I find it laughable when closed-minded naysayers make false claims to support their one-sided worldview.

Hambo was so impressed by the dentist’s letter that he posted both of them, so his drooling fans could see how everything Nancy said was utterly crushed. Smart move, Hambo!

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16 responses to “A Hambo Critic and a Hambo Defender

  1. This ought not to be a matter of personalities. Not a matter of comparing credentials. What matters is what they have to say.
    And no one has even attempted to state an alternative explanation – what happens, when and where, how or why – so that there is the variety of life as it is – without making reference to evolution.
    Saying that a supernatural being could have done it – without saying why this particular result out of the countless possibilies, imagined and unimaginable – whatever was done to produce this result – is no explanation.

  2. Theodore Lawry

    The creationist says:

    As someone trained in science, I find it laughable when closed-minded naysayers make false claims to support their one-sided worldview.

    And not a trace of irony in sight. One of your best Curmudgy, one of your best. And to think that Ham picked this answer instead of writing one himself!

  3. Well, Ark Encounter features petting zoos, camel rides and zip lines — among other wonders — but that’s not for amusement’s sake, that’s to provide an authentic biblical flavor. And to distract the kids from the boringness of the Ark exhibits.

    (Zip lines authentically biblical? Yes. When the Israelites weren’t using the Ark of the Covenant’s cool Industrial Light and Magic special effects to lay waste to the Canaanite armies — watch those Nazi, sorry, Ammorite and Philistine faces melt! — they used zip lines to sail easily over the walls of the enemies’ cities, and shoot all the men and boys and chickens and goats with nothing but Bronze Age Uzis. Like an Arnie or Die Hard movie, only more Jewed up! Complete victory assured!)

  4. Michael Fugate

    It’s is not historical, but “historical themed”. It’s not science, but “creation science”. There’s the rub.

  5. ChrisS
    I think you forgot “…the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals…”

    Or am I thinking of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch again?

  6. Michael Fugate

    It is the 40th anniversary of The Life of Brian.

  7. In the spirit of respectful dialogue — and since it’s Easter — I propose that major cinema chains everywhere all put on a double bill of ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ and whatever AiG documentary is currently doing the rounds, on the condition that church groups screen ‘The Life of Brian’, just for the faithful.

    It’s also Pesach, so how about something uplifting for the Jews, where they come out on top for once? ‘Victory at Entebbe’, followed by “The Producers’, maybe?

    Everybody happy?

  8. Nancy wants to be charitable: “One asks faith leaders for the meaning of life — one asks geologists, biologists, chemists and physicists among other sciences for answers to science.”
    AfaIc only 50% correct.

    “First, the attractions are owned and operated by a nonprofit organization, Answers in Genesis.”
    First and a half, the big shots in that organization receive a very generous salary, money that’s not returned. At the other hand, the less money that goes back the better.

    Second and a half, the AIG outfits don’t provide amusement indeed – not anymore than they provide history.

    Three and a half, while highly understandable, our dear SC’s comprehensive reading skills have failed him for once. This is what the creadentist writes:

    “These scientists have had several papers published in peer-reviewed secular journals.”
    Our dear SC objects:

    “There are no creationist papers published in serious science journals.”
    The two are not mutually exclusive. YECer Jonathan Sarfati (who rather should have stuck to chess and chemistry) definitely has has papers published in peer-reviewed secular journals; they just didn’t contain any creacrap.

  9. @TomS: when creacrappers are involved there is a side rift between what ought and what is. Just begin with their own 9th Commandment.

    @MichaelF: good catch.

  10. christine janis

    It may well be the case that AIG’s scientists have had papers published in ‘secular journals’, but those would have been papers on regular science, not creation ‘science’. It’s like that list of 50 papers that the DI was touting a couple of years ago, the handful of those that were in real journals were nothing to do with creationism, even if written by creationists

  11. @FrankB
    I am trying to draw attention to the undisputed (does anyone, even a creationist, dispute this) fact that there is no alternative.
    The creationists have been successful in drawing attention away from this fact. As long as they can keep the “controversy” away from that, they have a chance. I don’t care about the personalities, except to note: If there are supergeniuses on their side, it would be all the more remarkable that they have not been able to produce an alternative.

  12. @ChristineJ: “those would have been papers …..”
    Eh yes, that’s what I wrote about Jonathan Sarfati.

    @TomS: “I am trying to draw attention to …..”
    Well, it’s rather kicking in an open door. That’s an activity that usually draws very little attention. Of course, given the almost total lack of content that’s so typical for creacrap most of our comments (and even our dear SC’s blogposts, no matter how entertaining they are), it’s nearly impossible to find any closed creacrap door to kick in.
    But it’s nice that I can disagree you for once! Of course creacrappers dispute that there is no alternative for evolution, almost by definition. . “Evilution is wrong and goddiddid” is their main shtick! The entertainment springs from their claim that the second part is an alternative indeed.

    “they have not been able to produce an alternative”
    They never will. To produce something even vaguely similar to an alternative they must
    1. admit that “goddiddid” isn’t an alternative;
    2. start caring about consistency, coherence;
    3. give up their beloved logical fallacies;
    4. strive for intellectual honesty;
    5. admit that “goddiddid” not necessarily implies rejection of evolution;
    6. adapt their favoured theology;
    7. accept methodological naturalism.

    In short: they must cease to be creacrappers! They must leave, as our dear SC has pointed out pretty often, their comfortable resting places in Oogity Boogity Land and start facing our bewildering natural reality.

    PS: my list may very well be incomplete.

  13. I should avoid long sentences. Please read “most of our comments kick in open doors. It’s nearly ……”

  14. @FrankB
    I mostly agree on your points. Number 7 brought to minds these observations.
    Creationists do resort to methodological naturalism.
    The YECs try to defend the Ark story by naturalistic accounts. They recognize that “God did it” is not sufficient. BTW, I don’t say that their Ark story is not an explanation, it just doesn’t cover the variety of life.
    As far as the ID creationists. design is a naturalistic concept. It just doesn’t serve as an explanation on its own.
    Of course, as you point out, lack of consistency is not troublesome to the creationists.

  15. Having a “prestigious” science degree at AIG doesn’t mean that one is doing science. It means that one is doing apologetics. The distinction between science and apologetics in obscure to most AIG followers.

  16. I just want to point out that kindred creationist Ray Comfort also runs his ministry as a way to enrich his family members.

    I agree that the Ark and Creation “museum” aren’t amusement parks…there’s nothing amusing about them.