Monday, March 28, 2016

A Tour of The Ark Construction

Brandon Ambrosino writes about a tour of the construction site of the Ark Encounter.  He remarks that he was “one of a handful of journalists being led through the empty structure by Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis, or AiG.”

The Ark Encounter (Ark-n-Park) is scheduled to open on July 7, 2016, a date that has been chosen because it corresponds to Genesis 7:7, the verse where Noah, his wife, their sons and wives entered the ark.  Ambrosino writes:
Throughout the tour, an armed guard sticks close to Ham, which, we’re told, is standard for media visits. Ham shows us where Noah’s bedroom will be as well as photos on his phone of what some of the other exhibits are expected to look like. AiG boasts that the ark is the world’s largest timber-frame building. Based on the dimensions given in the Bible, the structure is 510 feet long*, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. If you laid all this timber end to end, it would stretch from its home in Williamstown to Philadelphia. After the ark opens its doors in July, AiG plans to eventually work on a replica of the Tower of Babel, described in Genesis 11. The entire project will cost more than $150 million, with the first phase costing $91 million. According to estimates from America’s Research Group, the Ark Encounter will host between 1.4 million and 2.2 million visitors in its first year.
Ambrosino is then treated to the general philosophy behind the Ark Encounter and a defense of young earth creationism:
In the world of creationism, any counterfactual is taken to be evidence in the creationists’ favor. When the science complements AiG’s interpretation of the Bible, the science is right. When it challenges it, the science is wrong. What is never wrong, though, is the Bible. According to one article on AiG’s website, “When a scientist’s interpretation of data does not match the clear meaning of the text in the Bible, we should never reinterpret the Bible. God knows just what He meant to say, and His understanding of science is infallible, whereas ours is fallible.”

I asked
[Nathan] Jeanson why he thought virtually all scientists accept evolution and an old age of the earth. He gave me two reasons. The first, he said, is answered by Scripture, which says that wicked people suppress the truth in their ungodliness. The context of that passage from Romans, he says, speaks directly to the origins issue, since it comes from a larger Pauline discussion of nature. “Why do they believe in evolution?” asks Jeanson. “Because Romans 1 tells us they’re going to.”

The other reason he gives for the small number of creationists is that, simply, the majority of scientists haven’t read AiG’s research. Answers in Genesis has created an entire organization dedicated to studying the science and history contained in the opening chapters of Genesis. The group has spent money opening a museum, and now an Ark, and has launched peer-reviewed publications, and has hired dozens of thinkers — none of whom, it should be noted, are idiots; Jeanson is a very sharp, poised man — to demonstrate how modern-day science proves the truth of the Bible.

Jeanson says he’s pleaded with evolutionists to read AiG’s literature, but none of them want to. They’re so biased, he says, that they don’t even want to consider the arguments of creation science.
There are a few things about this passage that really bother me. First, the notion that if science comes up with a finding that doesn't agree with the narrow six-day reading of Genesis, that they are "ungodly" and committing sin by suppressing the “truth.” This cuts to the heart of AiG's core philosophy, that if you don't agree with their interpretation of scripture, you are guilty of sin. This is abhorrent. No other Christian organization that I am familiar with is this arrogant and haughty about their beliefs.  The second statement about scientists not reading their literature, is simply wrong.  There are plenty of scientists who don't want to bother with it but there are quite a few that do.  The only reason that I know that Elizabeth Mitchell's articles on human fossils are full of garbage is because I read them.  Other people do, as well, and you can find reviews of AiG's literature all over the net.  They have, indeed, considered the arguments of creation science and found that they don't have any support.  Nice try, Jeanson.

The article covers all bases, though, to its credit.  Interviewed are Pete Enns and Brad Kramer, of BioLogos, both of whom argue that creationism is harmful because it sets people up for a crisis of faith later when they encounter real science.  They are correct, and I wonder how many people have been led astray and lost their faith by the teachings of AiG.  

*Actually, this is not the correct length given in the Bible. This length is based on the Sumerian cubit.


  1. It's a thorough article, and AiG won't much like it!

    “The word ‘dinosaur’ is an arbitrary term invented in the 19th century for a family of land animals.” Another attempt by Ken Ham to bamboozle. The term was coined in the 19th century - long after the Bible was written - because dinosaurs have been extinct for a very very long time and are only known from fossils, ie there is nothing 'arbitrary' it's simple history and it explains exactly why nothing like a huge dinosaur is ever mentioned or alluded to in Genesis (and YECs have to seize upon Job 40 and make that describe a 'dinosaur').

    Meanwhile, this looks like good clean fun and I'm about to check it out:

  2. I really wish Ambrosino had asked Jeanson why it is that an ever-increasing number of Evangelical Christians accept Evolution as a biological process which is part of God's creation. But I imagine the answer will contain something about creeping apostasy or some such.

  3. I see that AiG's Jeanson is whinging that people like Ambrosino don't read enough of their literature. He then cites some technical stuff written by him - NONE OF WHICH was published in a peer reviewed SCIENTIFIC journal:

  4. David6:28 PM

    I agree that the Bible is irrelevant in the pursuit of an accurate model of reality. Scientific doubt is superior to dogma of any kind including Christian dogma.

  5. I trust my further comment - flagging an AiG response to Ambrosino - was received.