New Ad for Ark Encounter Contradicts Ken Ham’s Understanding of Biblical “Kinds”

Answers in Genesis is about to roll out a multi-million dollar advertising campaign for the Ark Encounter.  You may have already seen many billboards, Facebook promotions and heard radio advertising for the ark but apparently these were just a preview of the real media blitz that will continue right up to the July 7th opening.

Image from:
Image from:

As part of the new advertising campaign, AiG has released the poster copied here and which you will see hundreds of times in the coming month.  I can’t help but point out the irony in this poster and the Ark Encounter advertising campaign in general:  The “literal” depiction of the true Ark is being promoted with false imagery.

Ken Ham gushes over his Ark daily on Twitter as bringing the literal truth of the Noah’s Ark to the world. It will show the true dimensions of the ark and be built of wood.  It will proclaim the truth like no other Christian icon ever has before.

But look at the animals in what is supposed to represent the open door of the ark, with either the animals entering or exiting the ark.  These animals are very modern species.  If you visit the Ark Encounter this summer you will discover that Answers in Genesis does not believe that any of the animals that literally entered and exited this ark looked like they are depicted in this poster.   Paying customers will instead find sculptures of the common ancestors of the animals shown here.  For example, the Ark Adventure will not have a modern giraffe species but rather a short neck animal with a different face.

Ok, its hard to put animals that don’t look like any species alive today in advertising materials but shocking the public has never been a concern before. Why not be accurate in advertising?

What is the message here? Look closely and you will see two different cat species (a male and female lion and a leopard), two bear species (a panda and a brown bear?), and two canines species (red fox and a wolf).  Ken Ham has been expounding religiously the last two months that all the modern species of the world we know were not on the ark. Rather only two of each unclean “kind”* were on the ark which represent a small fraction of today’s species.  But in this poster we see Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham contradicting their own message.  There are two species of canines when Ham says there was only a single ancestral pair of canines which was neither a fox nor a wolf.  I’ve been writing about Ham’s view of the origin of species (ie. evolution) recently (for example: Is Ken Ham’s Rapid Post-Flood Diversification Really Evolution?)  and this poster does not reflect Ham’s view of what the animals on the ark looked like.

This campaign is sending confusing mixed signals to those that will eventually plunk down their money to see the ark. What they will encounter is a menagerie of strange amalgamation of many species of animals that presumably represent the original kinds which were the actual animals that were on the Ark.  I expect their will be qualifiers on the cages that these depictions will be their “best guess” at what the animals looked like but they are certain of one thing: the animals depicted on this poster were certainly not what the animals on the ark looked like.  And yet, this is how they are advertising the truth.

Yes, I’m overplaying my point a bit. After all, the ark is just a partial depiction of Noah’s ark.  Other than the size, wood composition and a single door, there is little else that is literally the same as described in the text. For example, it doesn’t seem to be covered in pitch so why did it have to be made from wood – and not gopher wood – but it didn’t have to be covered in pitch to make its message?  I am not sure.  I suppose it really isn’t that critical that they show more realistic animals on the Ark. The intent of the advertising is to grab attention and get kids and their parents to the ark where they can then be gradually introduced to a more accurate view of the ark animals.   If they put a bunch of weird animals on the poster that would distract from what they think is the main message.

I just find it ironic that Ken Ham can write almost daily about how accuracy and truth even in small details are so important but then he isn’t willing to pay attention to details when he feels that it isn’t going to serve his needs.   To me it appears that AiG feels the ends will justify the means.  Get folks to the door and then they can feed them their version of the truth.

* Bears, canines and cats were all considered to be unclean animals and thus only a single pair including the “the male and its mate” were to be brought on the ark. This poster show at least three cats on the Ark and it thus wrong according to the YEC understanding of “kinds.”

UPDATE:  Ken Ham has responded to my post with one of his own on the AiG website.  I found his reply quite surprising since his interpretation of the meaning of the ad is quite different than the message that it seems to convey.   Apparently the animals in the picture are looking into the replica ark ready for a New Voyage today which is why they are modern animals. I was supposed to get that impression form the tagline “The voyage begins again” and realize these are supposed to be modern animals.  I’ve seen all of their advertisements and I’ve watched them with other and discussed the ads and this is not the impression we had from the current advertisements.   In retrospect you can see that the animals coming to the ark are coming to see the new voyage and so it sort of makes sense once he tells us what we are supposed to see in the ad.

But, does the general public get this impression from the ad? I expect that if I were to show 1000 adults and children this poster 99 or 100% will think they are depicting animals coming to Noah’s ark not animals today heading to this replica ark to take a new voyage despite the tagline.  You can say that my post wasn’t well researched and so that is why I didn’t understand but do you expect people driving along the freeway to see this sign and do research before deciding what the image intends to say?  Of course not.  You know that most people will equate the image with Noah’s ark and thus the animals with the animals that were on the ark.

Furthermore, It is worth noting that the TV ad shows all the animals coming two-by-two to the ark.  Why would  modern animals do this?   Is it good advertising if we didn’t get the message?

Let me know if I’m missing something here. In my post I was aping Ken Ham’s ultra-literalism but apparently I needed to exercise more creative interpretations to understand his advertisements.

47 thoughts on “New Ad for Ark Encounter Contradicts Ken Ham’s Understanding of Biblical “Kinds”

  1. I think you are right about the reason that known animals are in the ad. If they werent it would seem shocking to many. But I will predict that the same sense of shock will happen when the faithful find out that there no pussy cats or tigers depicted in the exhibit, but instead they see some ancestral “cat baramin”. Ham and his crew might think this is being scientific, but will the creationist public agree? I am betting that a lot of folks will not be happy. Imagine trying to explain to the kids why there are no bunnies or puppies or even familiar elephants or lions to be seen, but only weird looking, animal archtypes (totally invented of course). In other words, I predict a huge flop, and a backlash.

    After all, if you are going to destroy a cherished image in the name of “science”, you might as well go all the way and embrace real science.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are exactly right about the response of the average Christian. I have had many opportunities to explain the YEC view of species origins to YEC friends who don’t know the YEC literature and they area always very surprised. Now, I do think there is some idea that “kinds” have changed but when you start talking specifics and you show pictures of all the species that they say came from a common ancestor then the reality starts to hit that lots of change has occurred. Now AiG is going to try to make this change more real by showing the common ancestors. I think they can expect quite a bit of skepticism. However, I think that most of their followers will fall in line anyway.


  2. This is so sad, and infuriating! What sort of confusing god does Ham think our Creator is? He (Ham)sounds and feels to me like a pantheistic pagan just having a party by making up fables as he goes.
    I fear this will only confuse the faithfull, and provide ammunition for the scoffers. Wait,,, that IS the job of the YEC crowd!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Christopher,

      I am a young earth creationist. I think one of the most “infuriating” things is not when someone disagrees with me, but rather when someone treats an entire group of people as a monolith, and paints with broad strokes as you have done by talking about the “job of the YEC crowd.”. There are certainly many uninformed people who think the earth is young. There are also many highly educated, highly informed people who hold that same view. And I have actually never met a single one of them, uneducated or otherwise, that I thought was actively trying to confuse people or arm the scoffers.

      Also, I find Ken Ham to be fairly obtuse at times in the way that he engages those he disagrees with, and he doesn’t always understand topics well enough before he talks about them. But a pantheistic pagan making up fables? There is no evidence that I can think of that would support that label, and as such it seems like you’ve just resorted to name calling.

      Although I don’t pull any punches, I try very hard to give respect to those with whom I disagree. I would take it as a personal favor if you would be more gracious and precise in how you talk about creationists. Thanks.


      1. While I don’t subscribe to the young-earth timescale myself, I agree with you that we shouldn’t refer to “the YEC crowd” as a huge monolith. YECs encompass a fairly wide spectrum, from Todd Wood, who honestly and humbly admits that there are things that he doesn’t understand, right through to people who are determined to prove that they have all the answers to everything, even if it does mean resorting to “creative physics” or “creative biology” to achieve that end, and Answers in Genesis seems to fall at the far end of that part of the spectrum. In between, you have the vast majority of rank-and-file YECs who are only familiar with the claims that AIG et al post on their Facebook pages — namely, the more plausible sounding ones — and perhaps aren’t aware of some of the more far fetched ones that tend to get sidelined in their non-technical literature especially.

        As for the “pantheistic pagan making up fables” bit — on the face of it, that does sound a bit ad-hominem, but sadly, given the nature of some of the YEC claims I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem entirely unjustified. Some of the things that the main YEC organisations are coming out with are, genuinely, so bad that even YECs that I’ve spoken to about them thought at first that I was describing an atheist parody by someone out to “discredit creationism.” One particularly spectacular example is the RATE project’s claims of accelerated nuclear decay. The idea that nuclear decay rates could have been increased by a factor of a billion at the time of the Flood is complete science fiction — it flies in the face of everything we know about nuclear physics, and even if it were possible, it would have increased the earth’s temperature to more than 20,000 degrees centigrade — enough to boil the oceans and evaporate the whole earth. Not only would there would be no Flood left, there would be nothing left to be flooded either.


    2. Hey James,

      I’m glad you see the problems with the broad stroke method, but let me push back a little on your comment regarding pantheism and the RATE project. Pantheism, as I understand it, is a set of religious beliefs in which the universe is simply an extension of God, and God is not distinct from it. God is in everything and everyone. The RATE project, whether you agree with its methodology or its conclusions (a topic for another time, perhaps), gathered data to test a hypothesis about the scientific process of nuclear decay ultimately leading to their conclusion that the young earth paradigm may be supported scientifically. At no time did any of the RATE team make a claim, present data or draw a conclusion addressing whether or not God and the universe are separate entities. So the idea that somehow the RATE project is indicative of a pantheistic worldview is a very strange non-sequitur. Unless you can make your argument more clear, I would suggest that we stick to analyzing the science rather than trying to peg people with labels (which really is the definition of ad hominem).


      1. Hi Trevor,

        I think you’re missing the point here. I’m not claiming that the RATE team made any explicit pantheist claims.

        What I am saying is that concepts such as accelerated nuclear decay, or the rapid post-Flood hyper-evolution proposed by baraminologists, look like a parody. They are so fantastical, so absurd, so completely out of touch with reality, so extremely contradicted by a wealth of scientific data, and so demanding of ever more convoluted and absurd workarounds, that it is almost impossible to imagine them as being anything else. They are the kind of thing that I’d expect to see coming from an atheist or pantheist or someone like that out to discredit or mock creationism, not from a serious Christian trying to tackle the issues honestly and responsibly.

        Was this their intention? Only they can answer that. However, regardless of whether or not it was, that is the impression that they are giving.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. James, maybe we’re talking past each other a little bit here, but what I’m hearing you say is that there is nothing particularly pantheistic per se about the RATE project or guys like Ken Ham (i.e. they don’t make any such claims), but their ideas are so far removed from your view of reality that you associate them with pantheism anyway (I gather because pantheists are really off base as well?). Isn’t that sort of like when politicians call someone a nazi or liken them to Hitler even though that person espouses none of the tenets of Hitler or the nazi party? The individual just thinks so dramatically different that they make the association with Hitler out of fear and a misplaced effort to repudiate their ideas. That’s a fallacy called Reductio ad Hitlerum (I didn’t make that up, its a real thing). That appears to be what’s happening here, except its the Reductio ad Pantheum fallacy (that I did just make up). Its a rhetorical method that wins elections in politics but only clouds the issues in science. Your thoughts?

        ***Important: I am in no way associating anyone on this blog or in this world with Hitler or the Nazi party. The reference was solely for the purpose of illustration.***

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I see Godwin’s Law has prevailed here. Sigh.

        Again, you’ve missed my point. I’m not associating anyone or anything with pantheism specifically. All I am trying to do is express just how overwhelmingly absurd some of the YEC claims are — claims such as hyper-accelerated nuclear decay or hyper-accelerated evolution, for example.


      4. Yeah, I was somewhat hesitant to bring up Hitler for fear that someone would invoke Goodwin. But strictly speaking, Goodwin’s law, rather than predicting references to other people who invoke Hitler, (which I did only as an illustration), it relates to direct comparisons with Hitler of people you disagree with or fear (which I clearly noted, with asterisks nonetheless, that I was not doing).

        But back to your point. You say you are not associating anyone with pantheism, you’re just trying to show how absurd accelerated decay is. But the method you are using to show that it is absurd is to tacitly associate it with pantheism, isn’t it? Can’t we just agree that if Ken Ham doesn’t in anyway espouse pantheism, then likening him to that belief in any way (even non-specifically as you suggest) is simply a rhetorical method of misdirection? If you want to show that accelerated decay is nonsense, then spend your time discussing the wealth of evidence that you believe disproves it; or spend your time showing how the methodology of the RATE project was flawed. But don’t liken the idea or its proponents to pantheism, because that simply results in what is happening right now; i.e. a long, drawn out, semantic argument about whether you’re actually making an association to pantheism. Note how our conversation has in no way furthered the scientific discussion about the RATE project or any other relevant topic. Thus, I think it would be best that we just avoid these unnecessary associations whether you are doing them “specifically” or not.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Thank you, Trevor, for seeking to hold us accountable to a high level of discourse! I appreciate your civility and care . . . especially when, as is obvious, you are coming at things from a minority perspective! . . . You push the dialog–as noted in your final post in this little “conversation”–toward solid, useful CONTENT rather than (potentially emotionally satisfying–for some–but truly unuseful and destructive) ad hominem.

        Good job! . . . And, again, thank you!


  3. It seems that AiG has responded directly to this post on their site. I think their response is largely successful in explaining why they are showing modern animals instead of the hypothetical common ancestors that they are now loading onto their ark, although I think the ad definitely gives off confusing signals all the same. And no, the image and the caption on their own do not actually make everything clear, as they claim in their response.

    Either way, the more useful conversation is about how their actual view of what the ark animals would look like will be received by their public when they realize that they don’t get to see their favorite modern animals on the ark. No lion and no giraffe?! That goes against the grain of decades of bathtub ark conditioning…


  4. Spending millions of of dollars with tens of thousands of workers and countless of heavy equipment to prove that the ark can be built by 5 people. What an irony!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Germ Check, I haven’t seen any suggestion by AiG or Ken Ham that they think building the ark in modern times proves they could have done it in ancient times by 5 people. I think they are doing it to show that it is possible to put the number of species on the ark that they theorize would have needed to fit, and to demonstrate how life on the ark would have looked, etc; they see it as an educational experience. I don’t think this is a proof of principle experiment. I could be wrong of course. Do you have a link or something you could share where Ken Ham makes that claim?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Germ Check: I think Trevor’s comments are appropriate. Beyond that,

      * “[T]ens of thousands of workers”? . . . I can’t imagine ANY construction project in the US–even counting lawyers and others required to deal with government regulations–would require more than “thousands” at the VERY most. But my guess: this project has involved more like “hundreds.” Do you have a source for your “tens of thousands” number?

      But even if and as we downgrade our number of humans to the hundreds level, we have to recognize that the modern workers are using non-human- and non-animal-powered equipment that can do the work of dozens if not hundreds or thousands of humans or animals. . . .

      Ham and company suggest that Noah and his crew “used both metal and wooden tools, which the Bible records they had available (Genesis 4:22). Such tools may have been as advanced as ours today.” ( Reason for such speculation: “Man was still a recent creation direct from the mind of God, and his intelligence not as dimmed by thousands of years of the Curse as our minds are today (and archaeology confirms that even ancient post-Flood man was capable of great feats and technological advancement).”

      I appreciate their attempt to build a case. However, I am unaware of any evidence their “tools [that] may have been as advanced as ours today” were powered by non-biological (human, animal) energy sources . . . which makes some of the comparisons (most of the comparisons?) rather suspect. . . .


      * You are looking at a relatively small team of builders (Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, plus any servants/slaves they may have owned or hired) had 60 to 70 years or so to build . . . while the modern work force has had somewhere between a year and a half to two years (see to build their stationary, land-anchored model, built in a region that has non-flat topography, and built to meet modern governmental building codes. So maybe if they were building a true SHIP, in an area that was already flat, and with no concern for OSHA and building code restrictions . . . MAYBE they would be able to have put the ark together in less than a year. . . .

      But . . . yipes!

      The following thought struck me as I considered what the Ark Encounter promoters wrote (in their “The Building Begins” post mentioned above) that, “The past few months have seen over a million cubic yards of dirt being moved as some hills are flattened and valleys filled in preparation for the building phase of this immense project. And there is still more that must be moved.”

      That got me thinking: Okay. In an area where the land is already flat and they didn’t need to pour concrete footings (so, we can assume, they didn’t need to move even hundreds of cubic yards of dirt) . . . How would a (relatively small) crew of private family-funded workers gather the kinds of resources necessary for such project? Forget even the logistical problem of BUYING materials; suppose Noah already OWNED a forest of adequate size to provide the lumber necessary to build such a structure, he had an adequate source of pitch nearby (to cover it with pitch, inside and out–Gen. 6:14), and already owned the quantity and variety of tools he and his crew would need to build such a structure . . . : the mere FELLING of the trees and MOVEMENT of the necessary mass of wood and pitch to the building site would take significant amounts of time and energy. . . .

      While I think Trevor is correct about the Ark Encounter not being intended to prove the feasibility of how the ark was built, I’m afraid it just had that unintended consequence for me. I am suddenly pushed to begin thinking about this matter.

      This isn’t something that interests me enough that I will put aside my other projects to do the research. But I’m afraid SOMEONE should do it.

      (While I affirmed, above, what Trevor said concerning what the Ark Encounter is NOT about, let us remember what the promoters say it IS intended to do: FIRST to serve as “a testimony to Christ” and SECOND to show how “so many animals” could have been cared for on such a boat. . . . Do they achieve their goals? . . . I’m afraid the jury is still out on that question. Joel, here, I believe, is arguing that they will–or OUGHT TO–fail to convince most non-believers. What I wonder: How will the non-concordist evangelicals suggest we SHOULD read the Noah story?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It could be interesting to see some experimental archeologists try to recreate some aspects of the ark using only the tools we think they would have had back then (although I doubt any government funded researchers could get an entire ark reconstruction approved). However, I’m always a little skeptical of the scenarios that are built around the assumption that Noah would have only had his family and perhaps a few slaves to help with construction. Maybe Noah was incredibly resourceful and influential and was able to enlist a large group of people to lend their assistance over a number of years. Heck, if a certain outsider republican presidential candidate (who I will not give the satisfaction of naming) could get the media to give his campaign billions of dollars of free coverage and then convince the republican party to nominate him for president regardless of the fact that 2/3 of Americans don’t like him, and all the experts said it couldn’t be done, then maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the possibility that Noah knew how to influence people to get things done, too. I may have digressed a little here, but I think it illustrates my point.


      2. Hey, Trevor: INFLUENCE, fine. But we’re not talking about a one-day “won’t you help your needy neighbor?” kind of appeal. We’re talking about a 60- to 70-year-long building project. I don’t know anyone who can get quality labor for weeks on end as a result of influence only! And the idea that a large community of people would support him in his apparently hare-brained scheme . . . only so they could be left behind? –Sounds rather preposterous to me.

        OTOH, I can imagine slaves or servants of Noah, being considered members of his household (but “not worthy of mention” in the Bible) both HELPING him build and actually accompanying him on the ark. (Such a thought was new to me this morning, but it accords with what I understand of many cultures: they talk about the head of the household, and maybe his wife and direct family members, but they feel no obligation to mention servants and slaves. –If seeking to prove the WEALTH of the great man, of course, they may mention such persons. But there was no call to discuss Noah’s wealth. . . . )

        Trying to be as fair as possible to the various hypotheses.


      3. Hey John,

        Mostly valid critiques. I don’t know anyone that could get that sort of support either, but yours and my personal acquaintances are not really indicative of whether Noah could have made that tactic work. And I’m sure Noah wouldn’t have started off his sales pitch with, “hey, come help me build a boat that I’m going to float on while you drown.” ;)

        Perhaps there’s more context we could glean about Noah from other ancient texts (historical or perhaps Pseudepigrapha maybe?), and although I respect your opinion that it sounds preposterous, its at least a logically consistent hypothesis. Who knows, maybe Noah had some sort of political, social or economic carrot that he was able to dangle, or maybe he was able to pull a Tom Sawyer and get people to BEG him to let be part of constructing an epic and groundbreaking monument.

        This brings up an interesting topic I’d like to hear your perspective on. I’m not sure what your particular bias is so I’ll just talk about OEC vs. YEC. As a YEC, it seems that when I encounter something in scripture which is somewhat implausible, I’m much quicker than the OECs to accept it literally and assume that some extraordinary events or circumstances must have transpired to explain it (e.g. the Bible said Noah built the ark, so he must have figured out a way to do it). OECs seem more likely to require an event or phenomenon in the bible to pass a certain bar of plausibility before entertaining the possibility that it might be a literal or perhaps factual reference to a historical reality (e.g. the Bible says Noah build the ark, but there’s no way he could have so the Bible must only be making a theological point rather than giving literal history).

        Certainly I see potential pitfalls for both perspectives; the YECs may be too literal and miss the deeper theology, and the OECs may alter the authority structure between special and natural revelation and miss important realities. But even I as a YEC have my limits to how preposterous something can sound before I simply can’t take it seriously. So what role should plausibility play in our assessment of how the bible describes reality? How do you decide when something highly implausible can still be taken factually/literally, e.g. the resurrection?


      4. I think what bugs me most about Ken Ham is his view that unless you believe in the flood story the way that he does, that the edifice of Christianity falls down. But this is obviously not true for many Christians. I don’t believe in a 6-day creation or world-wide flood the way Ham does. I’m an old-earth, evolutionary creationist. But I believe nothing more strongly than that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, rose on the 3rd day, and ascended into heaven. I proclaim this to people regularly.

        BUT: without the resurrection the edifice DOES fall down. Paul says as much in 1 Cor 15: 13-14. The ark and flood doesn’t matter nearly as much as the resurrection, and Ham’s insistence on the literal necessity of the flood is, IMO, wrong.


      5. As a day-age creationist who takes a local but universal flood view and is a concordist, I will point out that Noah had 120 years to build the ark and 8 people available (assuming Noah didn’t have slaves). 120 is a LONG time. Of course, my “eight people” figure assumes the women are working, but I think that such a thing is plausible considering we are given no indication that the culture was patriarchal at Noah’s time.


      6. That would be my interpretation of Genesis 6:3. I realize many prefer to interpret it as a limiting of lifespan, but I take issue with that interpretation for a number of reasons. My interpretation is that God is saying that man has 120 years left before he destroys them with a flood. And since the narrative at that point is God contacting Noah. That gives 120 years between God telling Noah to build the ark and the flood.


        1. Hi, wowfunny251. Interesting how you use Gen. 6:3. Personally, I agree with your interpretation of the meaning of that verse having reference to the timing of the Flood rather than the limits of human lifespans. Interesting: AiG agrees with you. However, they seem to agree with me concerning how long Noah had to build the ark. (See

          Unlike AiG, I look at 5:32 as indicating the earliest possible time for when Shem, Ham and Japheth were ALL born. For some reason, AiG interprets it as suggesting the date at which the FIRST son was born!

          More importantly, however, for our discussion, 6:10 seems to provide a date clue as to the earliest possible moment God would have spoken to Noah (i.e., since Noah was ALREADY the father of all three sons when God spoke, that means Noah must have been at least 500 years old at the time). . . . But 6:18 provides one more time clue. It has God telling Noah to take his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives . . . which at least SEEMS to imply that the sons must have already been married when God gave His instructions . . . which seems further to imply (in my mind, anyway) that the sons were likely men and not boys when God gave Noah the instructions we read in 6:13-21. . . .

          Finally, 7:6 and 7:11 indicate Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. So we have a maximum period of 100 years from the time all three sons were born to the time of the Flood. But beyond that, assuming the 500-years-old time marker indicates the birth of the youngest son, it seems we should add another 20 or 30 years before the sons are married . . . which leaves 70 or 80 years from time of command to time of fulfillment and Flood.

          Interesting (since my comments came about in response to Mr. Ham and company), the AiG commentators themselves, in the article referenced above, calculate a 70-year period for building the ark. . . . And the question of feasibility arises again. You seem to be offering them a 50-year/70% escape valve, and they aren’t taking it!


      7. Trevor,

        Coming back to your comment “How do you decide when something highly implausible can still be taken factually/literally, e.g. the resurrection?”

        The crucial difference here is between “implausible” and “contradicted by evidence.”

        The Resurrection is only “implausible” in the sense that it requires God to have intervened and supernaturally overruled the laws of science. There is no evidence that contradicts it, and the fact that the eyewitnesses in the early Church maintained their testimony despite brutal persecution, torture and death, speaks strongly in favour of it.

        The young earth timescale, on the other hand, is overwhelmingly contradicted by scientific evidence — mountains and mountains and mountains and mountains of high precision, highly concordant, extensively cross-checked data. Sure, God could have created the earth 6,000 years ago with the evidence of a detailed 4.5 billion year history that never took place, but why would He do that?

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I wasn’t referencing the age of the earth in that comment, James. I was asking John about his views on approaching claims in the bible that seem fantastic when we can’t really assess the issue first hand, like the question of whether Noah could have built the ark.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Apologies if I’m being a bit thick here, Trevor, but I’m a bit puzzled as to how your comment “wasn’t referencing the age of the earth” when it discussed YEC versus OEC fairly extensively.


      10. My question was intended to address a YEC or an OEC would approach a biblical phenomenon that seemed implausible. It seems like YECs are less incredulous than OECs about biblical claims perhaps because the former consider the bible to be truth that can be validated by science but not reinterpreted by it, while the later see a role for science in guiding our interpretation of scripture. I wasn’t trying to open a debate about the age of the earth so much as I was trying to dialogue about how YECs and OECs approach issues in general.

        Besides, you already wrapped up the centuries old debate with the unimpeachable, one-sentence-argument that the age of the earth is proven by “mountains and mountains and mountains and mountains” of data. Who would argue with that? ;)


      11. John, this is interesting, I hadn’t considered Genesis 5:32. However, it do find it noteworthy that 5:32 mentions “five hundred years” and 7:6 says “six hundred years” for when the flood arrived. I HIGHLY doubt that the ages in these scenarios were exactly 500 and 600 years respectively. The author is probably rounding here, so it could still easily be consistent with 120 years.

        As to the sons being “grown-up”, it is possible that they weren’t at the time God contacted Noah. And God’s instruction was simply due to him foreknowing that they would be grown long before the ark was finished. I do agree however that 5:32 is refering to when ALL three sons are born, not just the first.

        The bigger issue here I think is the 120 years. Because if that weren’t from the time God contacted Noah (which I think it was), where was it from? If it was just an arbitrary point in time 120 years prior to the flood, why include it in the text? I can’t think of any other point in the Genesis narrative where the start of the 120 years could be.

        You could imagine this scenario to explain the numbers:

        *Noah’s last son, Ham is born when Noah is 496
        *God contacts Noah when he is 511
        *The flood occurs when Noah is 631

        If you assume rounding, this is consistent with the flood narrative. And even though it isn’t strictly necessary, I have the Ham at 15 years old when God contacts Noah, certainly old enough to help build the ark. (In any case where the number is followed by two zeros, I suspect rounding, which puts a significant error bar on the date)


  5. Ken Ham is claiming that this article is ‘poorly researched’. But he fails to back up his claim:
    He accuses Joel of wishing to ‘mock’ and states: “the TV commercial shows people living today and animals that exist in the present that are heading for our re-created 2016 Ark”. Which is not very accurate since the ‘ark encounter’ will definitely not contain today’s species since Ham believes that the ark of Genesis did not contain species seen today but ‘ark kinds’ (see link in the next post) – as indeed the blog goes on to admit is the case. Basically Ham is trying to convince people this blog is ‘poorly researched’ but he is flailing. Because I thought he believed that his ‘re-creation’ was being biologically true to the original – even if the adverts might imply something different ie imply that Ham thinks, like a rationalist or a scientist would, that the land animals that were around 4,500 years ago were almost completely identical to today’s extant species.

    If there is no ‘supposed contradiction’ between the adverts and the reality, exactly how would Mr Ham care to describe the discrepancy I wonder. A ‘difference of emphasis’? Or ‘using today’s biological reality to advertise ark biological reality’?

    This blog did in effect accuse Ham of misleading advertising – but the charge is not without some substance; many people eg in New York City will only see the adverts and not visit Kentucky to see the real facility.

    It is also possible that a more accurate depiction in the adverts might attract less visitors since the ‘ark kinds’ look unscientific and not particularly biblical either.

    PS I’ve just spotted that Joel has added a postscript responding to Ham’s blog. I’ll read that in a moment ie these are all my thoughts not any attempt to regurgitate others or simply agree with someone else.


  6. In response to Joel’s update:

    I have to admit that I didn’t get the picture that AiG was trying to paint either. But I also have to admit that I never had a problem with their representation in the first place, because it was clear to me that this was an artistic work. I think the problem with Joel’s argument is not that he didn’t research it. Its that he assessed an artistic marketing campaign as though it were a scientific statement. Artists and scientists are concerned with very different aspects of the subject matter they are depicting. In terms of biblical exegesis, the first question you have to ask when interpreting a passage is what sort of genre it is. If you try to interpret Psalms as though it were Romans, you would have similar issues as when you try to interpret art as science. An artist isn’t held accountable for scientific accuracy if that is not what his work intends to portray. So while it might be fair to say that AiG failed to deliver their message coherently as evidenced by so much confusion from so many people, its no more fair to say they have misrepresented a scientific reality than it would be to say that Picasso misrepresented the human form by putting two eyes on the same side of Dora Maar’s head.

    Again, to ask why modern animals would come two by two is to miss the point. Modern animals wouldn’t come two by two, but Ham’s marketing team wasn’t trying to represent the scientific realities of animal migration; they were trying to display a familiar aspect of the flood narrative with which their target audience would instantly connect.

    If you showed the poster to 1000 people, I have no idea how many would properly interpret it. But I expect that the scientists in the group would probably have the hardest time. :)


    1. The point that Joel is making is that there’s a difference between what Answers in Genesis is promising in their marketing and what he expects they’re going to deliver.

      Their marketing promises giraffes, lions, tigers, pandas, elephants, rhinos, deer, wolves, foxes, cats and dogs.

      On the other hand, the finished product will most likely deliver the kind of critters illustrated here instead:


      1. There’s no difference between what AiG is promising and what Joel was expecting. AiG has been open about the fact their exhibit would be showing ark-time animals, and Joel has been posting about that fact for months. The difference was in Joel’s interpretation of AiG’s confusing advertisement. He thought they were advertising modern animals in the ancient ark, when in reality they were showing modern animals visiting a modern recreation of the ancient ark. AiG’s marketing may have been poor, but they have always planned to deliver ancient animals, and Joel has always expected that that’s what he would see. To say that “Their marketing promises giraffes, lions […]” is to misinterpret their advertisement all over again.


    2. Quoting you: “If you try to interpret Psalms as though it were Romans, you would have similar issues as when you try to interpret art as science. An artist isn’t held accountable for scientific accuracy if that is not what his work intends to portray.”

      Irony: Ken Ham is the last guy in the world to approach the genres in Scripture with this kind of nuance.

      Irony: Ken Ham’s response to Joel’s post is to show how the marketing poster agrees with his point in ways so utterly literal as to be painfully un-obvious. Nobody thinks about the world as literally as Ken Ham. Ken Ham takes marketing posters seemingly aimed at children in the most literal way possible. And then he has to go on and on about how good his team is at marketing.

      Irony: Ken Ham boasts of spending millions on marketing but (seemingly) spends fractions of those dollars on actual scientific research.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Who would have guessed that Ken Ham takes even his marketing posters more literally than anyone? And than he condescends to anybody who doesn’t see it the same way that he does…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ken Ham’s response was really poorly written, fraught with typos and poor diction, and definitely “flailing”.

    His whole response begs the question (and yes, I’m using it correctly in this case): why would modern animals be coming to visit his ark?

    It’s woefully unclear, and his pretense that Joel simply must not have paid attention is vacuous.


    “The observational evidence confirms God’s Word. Mammoths are part of the elephant kind, created by God to reproduce according to its kind (Genesis 1:24–25). As the elephant kind reproduced and spread out around the world after the Flood, the God-given genetic variability in their DNA allowed them to adapt to many different environments across the world.”
    Except that all mammoths (members of this ‘elephant kind’ and packed full of immense genetic variability we are told by AiG) have somehow gone unbiblically extinct.


  10. Let me add two points to all the above. Can someone comment on the “fact” that the Genesis patriarchs from Adam down almost to Abraham were all “Homo erectus”? You find this from Ken Ham’s main men (April 1, 2012) at Search: snelling matthews cavemen. (This is their serious “science,” not meant as the joke that it is.) The genetic jump here would have to be shorter than just a few generations – right? And by their dates, Neandertal came and went in a lifetime or two?

    To refute “creationist” ice age nonsense, nothing beats Search: “Geology of Lucas County – University of Iowa” by A. L. Lugh, 1927. Lucas sits 30 miles south of Des Moines, which was as far as the Wisconsin ice got in Deep Time – and Ham & Co. have no time for a prior ice event pushing farther south into Missouri. I’m personally set on Creation ca. 7700 B.C., and a worldwide Flood leaving NO “evidence.” Lucas coal is not from plants SEEN pre-Flood. Hebrews 11:3.

    WHY would God create total “Apparent History?” you ask. So that he could remain “hidden” as Isaiah says (45:15), for us to walk only “by faith.” If God only is unchanging and eternal, then all of his creation would “reflect” that, giving us a created Deep Time marked by every kind of change. And everything would appear to have been the result of the working out of created “natural laws.”

    Secondly – Yes, you DO want to speculate on the appearance of Noah’s Ark (flubbed 100% by Ham’s “Encounter”). Start a new discussion, and I’ll say more. They missed their chance with the petting zoo – which could have been built Noah’s way. Imagine 150-foot cedar & pine in the ridges just south of the Black Sea, near the mouth of the Sakarya. Twenty years to establish a great “ranch” and cut their site into a creek-side limestone slope, 70 to stockpile 76′ hewed-flat “sticks” for the lower hull (bitumen tow between the stacked logs, held together by cabinetry, not pegs). 29 inside section walls to brace the hull, 15 feet apart on center, and NO cages. So Ham’s zoo needed to be only the top-level, “sticks” 4-6″ thick, under an attic floor sloping down to the middle the same as it slopes up to the peak, roofed with outsized cedar shakes. Help was handy if the deal was that Noah would give up all rights half a year after the Flood never happened. His sons need not have married until 5-10 years before the Flood, the 4 wives contributing an exact 7/8ths of ethnic diversity – as we can imagine from Acts 17:26, and Search: 7th millennium bc.


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