Aww. We Made Ken Ham Mad.

Uh oh, you guys. We evil atheists have made Ken Ham angry. You see, we “lashed out” at a Christian school in South Carolina after an image of a truly ridiculous “science” test given at the school was made public online and went viral. And now he’s clutching his pearls over it all. He even reveals the name of the school, which was previously unknown:

Today’s lead article on the Answers in Genesis website covers this issue in more detail—I have provided a link to it below. But before reading the article, take a look at the following quotes to give you an idea of some of the things that have been said by secularists who are undertaking this attack on Blue Ridge Christian Academy. The school received some vicious emails from atheists.

Many atheists are outraged over the fact that a Christian school is teaching biblical creation. Many of them didn’t believe that the question sheet was real, while others called the school irresponsible and ignorant for teaching that God’s Word is trustworthy. Some of the comments have been incredibly nasty. I’ve included a few below to give you an idea (though I’ve left off the web links because these atheist sites often have very objectionable content), with vulgar words removed as indicated by brackets:

And here are his best examples of “vicious” and “incredibly nasty” comments about the test:

Science is not trivial. If the school fails at science THIS dramatically (giving wrong information is worse than giving no information), how good they are with other subjects hardly makes up for it . . . I won’t get into a religious debate here but religion is not science and does not help us know about the natural world. The Bible is a [word removed] textbook on nature. Belief is not scientific and does not belong in a science class.

This science test was originally posted on r/atheism. picked it up thinking it was a hoax. Surely, no one with their wits about them would teach a child these things. Sadly, this is an actual test. This is what passes for “science” in at least one Christian school.


I truly fear for humanity.

See… I knew it…. and it’s from old hammy boy with his dino’s of eden [word removed]… It is a private christian school so you can’t really do anything but what the dad is doing…. and that’s take his daughter out… BUT how can you say that a child’s education is compatible with the standards of other educational institutions when they are being taught this [word removed].

Wow, how…mundane. It’s vicious and nasty to call bullshit “bullshit”? Incidentally, here’s the test, in case you hadn’t seen it:



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  • baal

    Yes, I was. Next question?

  • raven

    18. When people claim jesus died for your sins, what can you say?

    Were you there?

    No, but the Gospel writers were.

    Actually they weren’t. The Gospels were written anonymously decades after the alleged event. And they are clearly mostly and maybe all…fiction.

  • raven

    What is really making Ken Ham mad is well known.

    AIG’s intake of loot is down, visitors to the Fake museum are down, and the Ark Park scam is going nowhere.

    Creationists know that money in the bank is better than saving souls any day.

  • Curt Cameron

    How could we lash out at a school if we don’t even know which school it is?

  • It’s telling that he cares more about how scathing the criticism is, than the fact that the student’s educations have been eviscerated, and their basic capacity to understand the world around them is severely damaged.

  • Wow, at question 18, the test goes from merely abysmal to creepy indoctrination.

  • erichoug

    One of my favorite replies on the old feedback section was when someone sent in the “Were you there?” question and the responder basically said “Yes I was, I am billions of years old and I personally witnessed the whole thing. And since I was there, I know that you weren’t so you are in absolutely no position to contradict me.”

    Ever since I read that, I have been waiting for some dumb kid to ask me that question about Evolution so I cam BURN THEM!

  • Loqi


    I’ve used that before, with a helping of “you can’t prove that I wasn’t there.” Interestingly, she recognized this was bullshit logic. It was at that moment that I realized she’d had an ironyectomy.

  • Synfandel

    Mano Singham had some useful advice earlier this week on how to deal with the “Were you there?” question.

  • kermit.

    Answer with a version of PZ’s response: “Were you there when Rome was built, when World War II was fought, when Jesus was crucified? No, but you believe these things are true because there are sources of information which you trust which convinced you these are true. Here are some of my sources of information, and why I trust them: [list stuff, including verifiable observations and testable models]

    If you can actually get somebody to listen to why you trust scientific and historical information, you might get them to wonder about why they believe their sources…

  • Loqi

    That’s a pretty big ‘if’. The best I’ve ever gotten was the whole “you have your truth and I have mine” crap.

  • raven

    While this is reprehensible and verging on child abuse, it’s not all bad.

    Some of the kids will realize soon enough that their parents, witch doctors, and teachers have been lying to them about science. They will then wonder what else they have been lying about.

    Not all of them. Just the best and brightest.

    If natural selection worked on short time scales, the fundie subspecies would be in danger of becoming the marching morons.

  • Scientismist

    I like the “Yes, I was” answer to “Were you there?” And Mano Singham’s suggestion (see link at Synfandel ‘s post #9 above) that we were there in the sense of our all being truly stardust that has been around from the beginning of time is good.. but I (and you, and all of us) were also there evolutionarily. That is, after all, the point: that we can trace the patterns in our bones, our bodies, our DNA back to OUR existence as a part of the biosphere from the beginnings of life. Depends on how you define “yourself”. I consider it a part of Dan Dennett’s thought (in “Freedom Evolves) that, if you really want to, you can make yourself so small that you completely disappear. You can instead choose to make yourself larger.

  • fmitchell

    My question is, “Were you there when God wrote the Bible?” (Yes, yes, I know.) “How do you know He did? How do you know it wasn’t, say, a bunch of Romans in the Fourth Century who cobbled together a bunch of religious tracts that supported their version of Christianity?” Not that I’d get that far before the person I was talking to started screaming and pointing, and the others come for me.

    BTW, with respect to the “marching moron” thesis … boo. They’re not “morons”. Some are willfully ignorant; others grew up among adults who told them lies and who conditioned them to fear and hate anything that might challenge those lies. Some spontaneously awaken, as did the two WBC women recently … and some who should know better prefer comforting lies to confusing and provisional truths.

  • raven

    was the whole “you have your truth and I have mine” crap

    Holy Madrak, this is…Postmodernism.

    Postmodernism says that reality is a social construct, that it is consensual. It was a spectacular failure especially when it ran into science.

    I suppose you could point out that it is Postmodernism except that they chances they ever heard of PoMo is nonexistent.

  • raven

    BTW, with respect to the “marching moron” thesis … boo.

    I didn’t say that.


    If natural selection worked on short time scales, the fundie subspecies would be in danger of becoming the marching morons.

    There was an “if” in there, followed by a qualifier. We know that religions come and go before natural selection has time to act on them. So far anyway.

    You need to take a remedial reading for comprehension course before someone mistakes you for a fundie xian.

  • doublereed

    Isn’t the whole goal of debating with the religious to try to get them to go off-script? Any time you do this you force them to actually consider their logic. That’s why the “Yes I was,” works. You’re just not following the script.

    This works with pretty much any religious argument because they all have faulty bullshit logic. The only reason why people use them is because they are repeated and follow a script.

  • I’m fine calling Ken Hamm and marching moron. He’s certainly been shown the scientific evidence multiple times and he willfully clings to his fantasies.

  • tbp1

    Honestly when I first saw this test, I thought it was a hoax. I still really, really, really, quite entirely seriously want to believe it’s a hoax.

  • shouldbeworking

    We made Hambone mad? This is the best news I’ve heard all week!

  • John 14:6 ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life…now go forth and burden your children with ridiculous bullshit.”

  • jagwired

    d.c.wilson @ 18

    We should probably be calling Ken Hamm what he really is: a predator. Every time I see a picture of that dude I think Fenrir Greyback from Harry Potter.

  • Ichthyic

    It was at that moment that I realized she’d had an ironyectomy.

    It actually IS interesting that a common feature of authoritarian personalities is a basic lack of the ability to grasp irony.

  • Ichthyic

    We know that religions come and go before natural selection has time to act on them. So far anyway.

    not so sure about that.

    there is a heritable component to extreme religiosity (several papers on this in support)

    there is a heritable component to RWA personality (again, sever papers in support)

    there is an increasing trend towards segregation of personality types in the States.

    Seems that selection HAS been acting on this.

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    Ken Ham’s faith is based on his knowing that, without Xian idiots to support him, he’d have to work for a living.

  • Ichthyic

    BTW, with respect to the “marching moron” thesis … boo. They’re not “morons”.

    not always, but they pretty much are all authoritarians. The group dynamic also allows for a feeling of empowerment for those who would indeed be labeled as lacking wit in the broader community.

    this then has the effect of concentrating lackwits in pockets of authoritarian religious communities.

    not exactly hard to figure out.

  • Ichthyic

    Not all of them. Just the best and brightest.

    again, just to stess the reality, these would be the ones who score low on the authoritarian personality index, moreso than any intelligence scale.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Back in the days when I used to argue with fundies, I heard these words several times each week: “Well I don’t care what you say, I still believe in god anyway.

  • bastionofsass

    Besides the entire wrongness of the test, the other issue with it that would really, really upset me as a parent is this was a 4th grade test.

    This test has the basic vocabulary and design–“circle the (kiddie) picture”–of the tests my kids may have taken in the 1st grade in their public school.

    Your child is in the 4th grade, and this is the level of their reading and writing abilities?! Or at least what the teacher assumes is the reading and writing level appropriate for a 4th grader?

    Then beyond that, not even considering the misinformation being taught, this is the level of the 4th grade science being taught in the school?

    Here’s Maryland’s State Curriculum for 4th grade science.

    Makes me wonder how far behind grade level are the children in this school in all of their subjects?

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    We made Kreationist clown Ken Ham mad? Good! Great to hear.

    I really love PZ Myer’s “Dear Emma B” answer to the whole “were you there?” nonsense :

    from way back in the old Science Blog days – posted June the 23rd, 2011 – and still think its the best piece PZ’s ever written.

    But I also really like some of the answers others have given since including the one on Mano Singham’s thread (see #9 Synfandel ‘s comment above) by Kimpatsu where Matt Dillahunty was asked the same question, and Matt answered superbly that he wasn’t there when Jeffrey Darmer killed all those people, but he know the truth because that’s what the evidence shows.

  • left0ver1under

    What I said elsewhere before still stands. That “test” looks like it was ripped off from a North Korean “reeducation” camp, extremist ideology being drilled into captives, being falsely labelled as “freedom”.

  • dingojack

    I am in the position to reveal the name of the student:

    KEN HAM (AGED 61 and a ½).

    Good work Kenny!!* Gold star!




    * can’t wait to see the final draft of your dissertation.

  • tsig

    The Hamster is mad, look out he’ll sic a little Jesus on you.

  • @tsig:

    It ain’t goin’be no LITTLE JESUS; it’s goin’be the frackin’ 900′ lazerz shootin’ from outta his eyeballz JESUS!

  • eidolon

    I tend to favor something along the lines of:

    Did you ever watch CSI or NCIS? Ever read a mystery novel or watch a mystery movie? In all of these, what happened is discovered by following the evidence. There are never eye witnesses, just clues that must be understood to solve the crime. Science does basically the same thing.

    I also agree with PZ’s response that “Were you there?” is a poor question; one better replaced with “How do you know that?”

  • #16 is AWESOME!

    I get the impression, from reading it, that they think the atheist answer is d (evolution,) as opposed to staring incredulously at the answers on offer and shaking ones head in a strange mixture of disgust and confusion.

    On the other hand, the Noah’s Arc question is solid – anyone can see that the keel depth is insufficient, and the arc would quickly tip over. Nautical engineering seems a pretty advanced subject to be teaching kids this age, so I have to give them props on that.

  • jpf

    If you’re wondering why the answer to #17 is especially loquacious compared to the other answers, it’s probably because they forced the kids to listen to or sing this catchy hymn over and over and over (I’m surprised she didn’t have points taken off for leaving out the “laid down”):

    “Billions of Dead Things” SING-ALONG with Buddy Davis

  • dfarmer1584

    (Perhaps this is pedantic, but it seems the teacher’s math is as good as his/her science: 100 = A+? That was not true when I was in school.)

    Christian school or not, it is a disservice to young persons, perhaps to the level of “abuse,” to poison their minds solely with such obviously wrong, outlandish sectarian fantasies. And, in the bigger picture, it is harmful to society as well.

    Christian school or not, it is an outrage to blatantly lie to children, for the sole purpose of maintaining the population of your fantastic death cult. Bizarre indoctrination of this type matters to us all because these young people will grow up to be vested, voting members of our democratic republic—we are, in some sense, all in this together; and, because of this “education” these children will be unequipped to perform the minimum duties required of good citizens—namely to cast intelligent votes.

    I would argue that schools like these should not be accepted as meeting minimum standards for education. I would assume that if a child attends this school, then that child need not attend any other? That is wrong. I would argue that this school (as bad as it is) is acceptable only as supplementary “education,” but not as sole education. If parents want to send children to schools like this, I think they are mistaken, but they have that right; however, not as a sole education. They should also have to attend public school, or a secular private school. A young person at least has a chance if, in addition to parental sectarian fantasies, they are also exposed to real, objective secular facts. It should be required. For all of our sakes.

    Final thought: Most of the parents who send children to schools like these are the type who live in the wingnuttia, “Sharia law,” fear subculture. They would be aghast at the thought of Islamic “madrasa schools” becoming widely popular in the US, especially if madrasas were accepted as a legitimate substitute for secular education. I agree with them insofar as I don’t want madrasas to become popular here either; but what always blows my mind is that these far rightwing Christian parents are oblivious to the similarities between what they hate, and how they actually live themselves. Sending a child to a school that teaches this type of Christian indoctrination is simply not much better than sending a child to a madrasa to chant the Koran all day. In either case, the real world is absent from consideration.

  • For some reason that test made me think of this …

    “Leviathon is a spirit I have battled as well. It was a hard battle but was won. It was about four months or more ago. My wife and I were in McDonalds and were having a conversation with an angel and Leviathon had come up. I told the angel that i wanted to fight this demon and he said I could. On the way back to the hotel I asked the angel if he could bring the demon to a predestinated place and he said yes. I figured that since Leviathon was from the depths of the sea he would be used to the cold water so I filled the tub up with scalding hot water and blessed the water. The angels (there were two now) brought Leviathon bound to the tub and fought with me. We all pulled our swords from our hips and began running this demon through with all my strength and everything I had. I would say it took atleast half an hour or more. We were all spent but the battle was won.” —

  • Wow, how…mundane. It’s vicious and nasty to call bullshit “bullshit”?

    To them it is, because they desperately need a cognitive handle to deflect emotion to another source for their followers. We don’t have forbidden words because they actually hurt anyone, because we are primates we have forbidden words so we use them for lots of social primate-chess bullshit. Forbidden words let us,

    *Deflect the subject from the content of the lesson to the language or intensity. This allows the followers to emotionally synchronize toward a more combative mindset and be more simple for Mr. Ham to direct.

    *Reserve an emotional signature for things we have particular contempt for. Ideas that we think are on-balance damaging to society.

    …and probably dozens of other little things too. I wish I could see how our ancestors used “forbidden words” two-hundred thousand years ago. I best the comparisons with how we use them now would be very interesting.

  • @ Ichthyic 24

    Can you link some of those papers? This is actually a very fascinating area for me that I am exploring on a personal basis. I have Tourette Syndrome and My family history is two things more than anything else, Religion and Military. As I have been sinking into the neurobiology and history of TS I have to admit that the material on transgenerational epigenetic memory is a little terrifying on a personal level.

    I actually have a general respect for religion as a part of our evolutionary history (ability to socially externalize concepts independently of the individual organisms). Whatever religion is now, it was a hundred other things to us between now and when we separated from chimps and bonobos. I’m most convinced that we need to be weaned off of bad, but natural cognitive habits that we suffer from as a species and what we call religion is mixed up in that for good and bad.