David MacMillan: Ham's Ark Embraces Evolution

Who let Byers on here?!

Robby: yes, I have been. I helped build the Creation Museum, remember?

And I consider myself a Christian, and I thought it was despicable, so…no. It is not true that “any Christians will enjoy and be uniquely educated.”


These folks have:


FFRF and other groups need to be more specific and targeted in elucidating exactly why trips to the Ark Encounter and similar venues ought to be opposed.

There is no constitutional bar to students being educated about world religions. We should encourage student exposure to a wide range of religious and cultural experiences; visits to mosques, synagogues, temples, and monasteries could form a meaningful facet of such a pedagogy. Enunciating this policy is important and, I argue, necessary.

The balance that must be struck rests between venues which serve a primarily proselytic purpose and those which serve a primarily educational purpose. There is a Franciscan monastery a few blocks from my house that would provide a fantastic educational opportunity to students with virtually no proselytic content other than a few of the passages engraved in stone in multiple languages. In contrast, a monstrosity like the Ark Encounter serves an openly and avowedly evangelistic purpose. Compounding this impropriety is the fact that the Ark Encounter presents its obvious proselytism in the guise of supposedly scientific criticism which runs contrary to the established and understood consensus of modern scientific synthesis.

The argument is not, “The Ark Encounter is religious, therefore it is not a suitable educational venue.” Rather, we should be arguing, “Any educational value provided by the Ark Encounter is outweighed many times over by its openly proselytic and pseudoscientific content; public support of the Ark Encounter would constitute gross endorsement of religion and egregious educational malpractice.”


A badge of honor.

1 Like

I tend to think that exposing any captive audience to lies without telling them “these are lies” rises to the level of brainwashery. Etymologists may respectfully disagree.


Are they really lies? I think they believe what they are selling.

Objectively speaking? Probably. Although, ignorance is a better word.

Subjectively? No, I’m pretty sure AIG buys what it’s selling.

The responsibility is with the educators who are organizing the trip. Public educators should know that the nonsense promulgated by creationists is fallacious. Exposing students to that level of falsehood without giving them the tools needed to recognize its utter vacuity is very nearly brainwashing.


Has anyone done studies on this? I remember going to an ICR museum as a kid, and the way they handled Genesis and science created far more questions than answers for me. That was for me, as a YEC kid. Is their any evidence anywhere that this is convincing to non-YEC kids?

1 Like

Ken Ham certainly believes. He is not smart enough to know he is wrong. Excusable? No…but he does believe it.

Not all the folks at AiG are so blamelessly ignorant. Snelling, for example, has lied pretty obviously. I lied too, as a creationist. I overstated or even misrepresented evidence and studies because I firmly believed that I was right in my conclusions and so eventually we’d have enough proof.


I wouldn’t exactly call Ken Ham stupid. (Am I putting words into your mouth? Maybe this isn’t what you meant?)

He isn’t a scientist, that’s for sure. But he does have some kind of cunning.


That means he is not a liar. It is not really sensible to call him a con man either. He is just honestly wrong. Self-deception might be a better explanation, or perhaps he is placing his trust in the wrong places.

So @David_MacMillan, rather than inferring hidden states of mind for other people, can you tell us more about your process. What did you lie about? Why? Why did you help build the Creation Museum when you found it despicable? I’m not sure I can piece this together. You also are, admirably, willing admit errors in your past work. I want to know more. What precisely do you mean? What changed you?

1 Like

Well, there are two answers to this.

The first is that it doesn’t matter. We would not countenance a trip to visit the Museum of Vaccine Injuries that promoted David Avocado Wolfe chocolates and flat earth theory, no matter how much of a “cultural experience” it was, unless students were clearly, unambiguously, and openly instructed that the trip was intended to demonstrate the dangers of pseudoscientific thinking. An “educational” trip must have more educational value than proselytic value, even if it is absurd proselytism.

The second answer is that they have gotten a lot better. Like, a LOT better. They have a very convincing line (applicable to virtually every question) that goes something like this: “Well, some scientists have decided X, but other scientists have decided Y. The scientists that have decided X have support from powerful interests, so scientists that support Y have difficulty researching or expressing their views. Have you read all the writings of everyone that has supported Y? There are hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed creationist journals that address all the misconceptions and assumptions of X, and unless you’ve read them all, you can’t really criticize us, can you? We’re not saying it’s provable, but it’s a reasonable alternative, and that’s all we’re really claiming.”

Go to the Creation Museum (I can get you in for free) and shadow a family of believers working their way through it. It’s depressing.


Ken Ham is not stupid. I would call him foolish. But yes, he is very sly.


I used to write for Answers In Genesis and I mowed lawns to raise money for the Creation Museum. I was 16.

I lied about the discovery of Tiktaalik and its implications, on my blog, when I was 17.

I set out to get a hard science degree (inspired, in a large degree, by creationist PhDs like Jay Wile and Jason Lisle) so I could help defend creationism, and in doing so, argued myself out of creationism. And so here I am, a decade and change later. I’ve been to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter since (in fact, I even took my kids to the Creation Museum, as inoculation against pseudoscience).

And as far as hidden states of mind are concerned…I know Byers and Ham and Hodge very well.


Why did you lie? What convinced you to do this? What was your lie?

Would you mind sharing that blog, if it still exists? That would be an interesting contrast.

He’s a good old fashioned con artist in the mold of P.T. Barnum.

I very much disagree. Ken Ham is, rather, an effective showman who appears to buy what he is selling.