Ken Ham Gleefully Parades Child’s Notes from His Lecture As Evidence That Kids Understand Creationism

The Creation Museum’s Ken Ham is super-excited.

Someone’s finally listening to him! Someone’s finally taking him seriously! Someone’s finally understanding Creationism as it’s meant to be understood!

And that someone is seven years old.

Recently I spoke at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, where I met a remarkable young boy named Reuben. He and his father met me after my talk, and his father proudly showed me his seven-year-old son’s notes from the session. They were incredibly detailed!

I thought it would be encouraging to show you Reuben’s notes. It’s apparent that he was listening carefully to what I had to say — which is evidence that our young people are paying attention to what we teach. It’s so important that we teach apologetics and doctrine founded firmly on the Word of God.

These are Reuben’s notes, which look like Young Earth Creationism explained in Comic Sans… which is actually pretty damn perfect:

As you can see, understanding Creationism requires the intellectual firepower of a second-grader.

And it’s totally true, too. I mean, did you see his notes?

Classes make kids go away from Christ.

Bible is historical science.

People and animals died from the flood and after that some animals could eat meat.

Evolution doesn’t do anything good.


There’s a reason Ham’s so excited to meet Reuben — he’s the perfect audience member. He just writes down whatever Ham says without questioning it — because why think critically when you can just parrot what the adult says? — and Ham counts that as victory for Christ.

Ham titled his blog post “Even a Seven-Year-Old Can Understand It.” He should have titled it “Only a Seven-Year-Old Would Understand It.”

There’s a major difference between the two, though.

One day, Reuben will grow up and I have hope that he’ll begin to question what he’s been taught in church. Meanwhile, there’s no hope for Ham ever coming to his senses. His livelihood and legacy rests on him continuing to be willfully ignorant of reality.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • IDP

    Does those notes say “Reuben Paul” as in, Pee Wee Herman?

    • m6wg4bxw

      *Paul Reubens

    • more compost

      He can call himself RuPaul.

  • L.Long

    Of course they understand creationism!! It just requires a little mental programming and no real high level intellectual activity like rational skeptical inquiry.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    It’s interesting to see that Ham seems to think that because Christianity can’t answer people’s questions those people are leaving the Church. It’s almost as if some people don’t like it when you are told to accept something just because of faith.

    • skyblue

      I’d bet that people like Ham’s insistence that being Christian means following a literal interpretation of the Bible actually drives more people out of the church. When something like creationism is held up as a cornerstone of faith and yet is so obviously false, how many people will step back and think “if they lied about this, what else did they lie about?” and end up throwing the whole thing out.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Shouldn’t this be illegal? Child Endangerment (placing a child in a potentially harmful situation, either through negligence or misconduct) maybe?

    • Keyra

      How is it harmful to teach young earth creationism? It’s stupid, but harmful how?

      • Neko

        Well, it’s false.

        • Keyra

          That’s basically what I said, but how does it do harm?

          • Neko

            Really? There’s intellectual harm in discouraging kids from learning the distinction between theology and science by teaching them preposterous claims such as “Bible is historacle science.”

          • KMR

            Gus has a good answer for this question above in response to your first comment.

          • sftravel

            Because they aren’t told that it’s a myth when they start to learn about reality. After a certain age, most parents tell their children that Santa Claus isn’t real, nor is the tooth fairy.

      • sane37

        Faith healing

      • Faustinah Santiago

        Yes, its not harmful to teach kids about Santa and the Easter Bunny, so it should not be harmful to teach young Earth creationism or any other lies for that matter.

        • Keyra

          Young earth creationism is a misconception rather than a “lie”

          • Keyra

            And Santa & the Easter Bunny are just for Holiday fun. Imagination for kids

            • Faustinah Santiago

              Oh I know. The misconception of young earth creationism could actually do some damage on young minds unless its taught as mythology. It cannot be taught as science. I agree Easter Bunny and Santa are fun. ;)

          • Gus

            No, it’s a lie. The major proponents of YEC have had the facts presented to them repeatedly and continue to expound outright falsehoods. They are actively lying. They do not have ignorance as an excuse. Ken Ham and his institute are absolutely lying. They write huge papers containing nothing but outright lies about the evidence. Those who believe Ham may be repeating a lie without malice because they’re ignorant, but YEC is a lie and Ham is a liar, by any reasonable definition.

          • Faustinah Santiago

            Yeah, that’s true.

          • 3lemenope

            It actually falls into a third, much more dangerous category than “lies”. It is “bullshit”. That is, it is not usually a calculated attempt to mislead away from established facts, but rather is a story advanced that is *utterly insensitive* to facts for reasons other than deception.

            At least a liar knows the truth. Bullshitters don’t care.

          • skyblue

            While YECs say plenty of things that aren’t true, I think it’s a little different than consciously lying or misunderstanding – I think it’s rather the result of people “backing themselves into a corner” so to speak, out of fear. YECs approach the world in a “backwards” manner compared to science, since they get their desired conclusion first, and then look at the facts and are left trying to make reality to fit the conclusion they want. Starting that way, they can’t be honest.

            Most YECs seem to think that without the literal interpretation of the Bible, we’re headed for a crime-ridden immoral society and eternal torture after death. It’s no surprise someone who’s had that drilled into them all their life wouldn’t want to take a look at the evidence for evolution.

        • Amor DeCosmos

          I am totally excited to share in the magic of Santa Claus with my children. I tell them, as long as you believe in Santa, He will bring you presents. One day they’re going to go, “waaaait a minute, flying reindeer, the whole world, no presents for our Jewish and Chinese neighbours, fat man down our chimney and we don’t even have a chimney? I can’t believe in this shit” – TA DAHHH – perfect life lesson learned for my kids about Critical Thinking and Questioning Authority! I’m going to be so proud of them that day.

          Teaching a kid about YEC though… they may never get to that stage where the whole community understands and supports them for questioning the myths they were taught as small children.

          • Faustinah Santiago

            That’s awesome. I never thought of it like that. It does teach kids to think critically and question authority. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

        • cary_w

          Personally, I do think it’s harmful to teach children that Santa and the Easter bunny are literally true. You’re lying to them, how is that OK? I guess it teaches them a lesson that people will not always be truthful, and they need to learn that eventually, but why force it on them at such a young age? I’m all for telling the stories and playing pretend, but please be honest with your kids and make sure they understand the difference between reality and pretend play. Isn’t it better that they know the truth from the start, rather than feeling betrayed when they figure out later they were lied to?

          • Nancy Shrew

            Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy added an element of fun to my childhood. When I found out they weren’t real, it didn’t occur to me to be upset with my parents because their intent was to make my holidays (and tooth-losing) special and whimsical, not manipulate and instill fear in me. Not wanting to do the Santa, etc. thing with your kids is a perfectly valid choice, of course, but I just don’t think it’s comparable to teaching your kid they are going to burn in hell or whatever if they do XYZ.

            ETA: Also, my parents didn’t insist that they were real once I figured them out.

            • Faustinah Santiago

              I thought it was fun too. I don’t remember being mad at anyone or mad at the fact that they did not actually exist. I think that process is gradual. I didn’t blame anyone. Plus I likely had one heck of a support group with all my peers realizing the exact same thing around the same time.

          • Lark62

            My view is that is it fun to share the joy of imagination with pre-schoolers. I also told them I “believed” that they really were spiderman or a ninja turtle on halloween. But my answer to “Is Santa real?” was always “What do you think?” I also gave them plenty of chances to figure it out for themselves. Santa uses the same wrapping paper and tags as mom. They even saw me buying a couple toys at Target that ended up coming from Santa. They knew the truth as soon as they wanted to. It was hardly a big secret.

            On the other hand, I know a kid whose grandmother encouraged magical belief to the point that at 12 years old he believed the stuffed creature walking around at disney world was the one true Mickey Mouse. That’s wrong.

          • Faustinah Santiago

            Yes, its okay to pretend. You can’t flat out lie and keep pressing the issue and forcing them to believe in Santa. That would just be weird and wrong.

      • Nate Frein

        Because there’s nothing harmful about destroying a child’s critical thinking skills…riiight.

        • Keyra

          Not really, most New Atheists grew up in fundamentalist households and their critical thinking skills aren’t destroyed. Thinking open-midedly is the better way to go, rather than critical.

          • 3lemenope

            It’s the difference between “despite” and “due to”. Folks who make it out of a fundamentalist mindset and towards a more effective conception of how the world and its parts fit together have done so despite the damage done by the fundamentalist upbringing, not because of it, and most people in the same circumstances succumb rather than escape.

            • more compost

              I think you have nailed it!

              +3 internets

              • 3lemenope

                I’ve never received three internets before!

          • LesterBallard

            How the fuck do you know what kind of households any atheist grew up in?

            • Nate Frein

              Keyra criticizes us for generalizing, then baldly generalizes without any evidence.

          • John

            Even if that’s true (and I have no idea how you would know that), they would be the exceptions rather than the rule. Most people in fundamentalist households grow up to be fundamentalists.

      • Drakk

        Why should we teach untrue theories at all?

  • Susana Paço

    Damn, i’m portuguese and even I, with that age, could write better in english, my second language. Christian homeschooling at it’s worst :S

    • Itarion

      You spelled “best” wrong.

    • KMR

      Actually that’s pretty damn good for a second grader. I volunteer at public schools and most kids at seven years of age are still writing based on sounding out which sometimes makes what they write illegible. I could read everything this kid was writing and could also follow his train of thought. Superb. Obviously a bright kid who’s future will be limited unless his parents somehow find it in their hearts to expose him to real science.

  • WallofSleep

    Bullet point three… I assume the child meant “Bad marriage makes christ go away”.

    I know this is only anecdotal, but it’s been my experience that the worse a relationship gets, the likelihood of hearing phrases like “Jesus H. Christ” increases.

    • Carla

      Where does the middle initial come from? I’ve always wondered….

      • Holytape

        It’s “Henry.” Jesus never liked it, but he thought that if he just used the initial it would make him sound more professional.

        • KeithCollyer

          It’s actually Hussein, but that would make him seem Muslim

          • Adrian M. Kleinbergen

            Then there’s “Shiva H. Vishnu.”

            • Amor DeCosmos

              I like to read Lao H. Tzu’s book

        • Cat’s Staff
      • flyb

        I think it’s supposed to be “T.F.” Not “H.”

      • Ron

        Jesus said, “Our Father (aka me) which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy [middle] name.”

        • Noelle

          It’s Harold be thy name. Some insist it is Howard, but that is heresy. It’s the old King James time accent that threw off the reading and gave us hallowed

      • Drakk

        It stands for Hussein. He was middle eastern, after all.

    • Holytape

      I thought it was “Bad mortgages make Christ go away.”

  • Brodestar

    “Hook em’ while they are young and impressionable” -mantra of christianity and all other religions based on a supernatual unquestionable father figure. They know they can’t tell their lies to an intelligent adult and get them to believe unless they indoctrinate them when they are Reuben’s age. It’s pathetic but true.

  • Anna

    It makes me so sad to see that. A young child’s handwriting is the picture of innocence, and then you look at the words he’s writing down, and all I can think is that his innocence is being corrupted.

    • skyblue

      Yeah. Ham is all smug about essentially having instilled a fear of learning into this boy, and that is really sad. I hope that later in life, the young man can overcome this like many others have, and experience the joy of learning about the world without fear. Science teaches us so much amazing stuff, it does seem cruel to keep a kid away from that.

  • Lucilius

    Pretty sure that’s Ham’s own handwriting. And spelling.

    • Guest

      The problem is that Ham’s knowledge of prepositions, like his knowledge of history, science and basically everything else, is pathetic at best. He used the word “by” when he meant to use the word “to.” I would like to say it is a common mistake among non-native speakers^1. But the truth is that Ken Ham and Ken Ham alone is dumb enough to make that mistake.

      1 (Remember Ham’s mother tongue is Australian, where they use weird words like Foster’s instead of using the correct word for describing a watered down pretend-beer-like fluid — Miller.)

    • Amor DeCosmos

      How can I upvote you more? I lolololololed!

  • Itarion

    I’d love to have some short, pithy remark to make, but I don’t, mostly because this subject is so serious. [Also, Lucilius had it covered]

    I’m a little bit confused by the lack of coherency in the notes: they don’t have clear breaks in subject. If the lecture was structured in such a manner that it had clear breaks and flow, then the notes would have “information” following that flow, regardless of who’s taking the notes, unless this kid actually didn’t follow the lecture very well and pulled out random bits of info. The quality of someone’s grasp of a concept can be approximated by the quality of the information in their notes. There’s no flow to these notes, so I’m doubting that this kid really understood what it was Ken was driving at, even if he wrote the stuff down.

    • allein

      Yeah, just taking notes is in no way an indication of understanding. I know I have taken plenty of notes when I was in college, and had no clue what the hell they meant when I went back to study from them.

      • Itarion

        You and me both, man. You and me both.

    • Sweetredtele

      There is no flow to Creationist preaching like you are thinking. Each one of those bullet points were probably in a paragraph surrounded by godtalk and bible quotes. If you’ve seen his cartoons he uses, he throws things together in a jumble that are unrelated, but related in his mind because eviloution.

      • Itarion

        Oh, good, that means that I can generally disregard it, because not even an expert can explain it coherently.

        I mean, when deGrasse Tyson explains science, he does it coherently. There’s a flow, and the ideas are connected. When I explain science [admittedly, much less science], it has a flow and the ideas are connected. Stuff that makes sense within itself is to be preferred over stuff that doesn’t.

  • kccoallday

    This crap is infuriating. How people can allow their children to be indoctrinated with this nonsense is beyond comprehension.

  • Paul D von Nahme


    • Gus

      No they’re not. They show nothing but the most simplistic understanding of the most simplistic tidbits of information.

      • Paul D von Nahme

        Gus, while I appreciate your intent and viewpoint, just look at the things a 7 yo is trying to interperet. It’s just not possible that a 7 yo mind can grasp the ideas this guys is representing in this way, especially the one about Parents not knowing how to defend the faith. I don’t care how bad the spelling and handwritring are, small children just don’t conceptualize things like this..nor do they speak like that. And, children write the way they speak.

        • Gus

          They’re notes. He’s copying what Ham said, and probably what was on the overhead projector. Probably almost word for word. It’s not original material.

          • Paul D von Nahme

            So again, not the child’s thoughts but an adults. AGAIN not a child’s understanding..but an adults. An adult “wrote” this..he just possibly used a child as a “pen”. But I still think an adult did this even with the purposeful mistakes and scratch-outs for effect.

            • RowanVT

              Do you have any idea how hard it is to write that poorly and that consistently with regards to the formation of letters when you are an adult and have been writing well for decades?

              • 3lemenope

                To be fair, an easy way to simulate children’s chicken scratch is to try to write smoothly with your off-hand. It might not look *exactly* like child writing, but it might fool at a glance.

                • Leiningen’s Ants

                  Unless you’re ambidextrous, in which case you’d have to use a foot, unless you’re pedidextrous, in which case, well… hope you’ve been working your glutes!

        • Gus

          Also, my seven year old can’t write this well, but his conceptualization is way above this.

    • baal


    • Ron

      • Timmah


  • Gus

    Rueben seems pretty bright. I have high expectations that he’ll come to reject Ham’s theology. Unfortunately, since he’s probably home schooled, it will be years before he’s exposed to real science, and it will likely come too late for him to succeed in science classes at a real college and come to contribute to the world. But there’s always a chance. How does Ham think that the fact that a seven year old took notes says anything about the quality of his information or his teaching?

    • KMR

      It says more about the kid’s parents than anything else. They obviously can teach and are doing so even if some of what they’re teaching is fiction.

      But geez. The more I read that the more impressed with this kid I am. First of all, he took notes. My children at a seven would have looked at me like I was smoking crack if I had suggested they take notes at seven years of age. And he spelled dinosaurs right. That’s a hard word! No sounding out there, he just had to be exposed to it and remember it. This kid is smart enough to do anything he wants. Hope he gets the chance.

  • suzeb1964

    “Even Only a Seven-Year-Old Can Understand It.”

  • Alice

    I honestly think most kids will be able to question this given all the information available today. I hope so.

    But to me, Comic Sans screams “fun”

  • flyb

    The kid got one thing right: you can’t live with blind faith.

  • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

    This is child abuse.

  • baal

    I still see stuff like these lies and think it’s child abuse. Also, could someone retell me the story of Jedidiah and the Triceratops rodeo or the time that Magog was carried by a pteradactyl to the top of mount Ismella Ararat.

  • Cyrus Palmer

    Willful ignorance is the heart of creationism.

  • Keyra

    Lol always fixating on the negativity and poor representation of Christianity. Evolution doesn’t go against God at all, the Earth is way older than 6000 years, And dinosaurs aren’t a big part of the Bible, they’re only mentioned once (only 2) in a vision. It’s bad representatives like Ham who causes misconception; it’s best to ignore people like him. Evolution doesn’t disprove creationism either, just young earth creationism.

    • KMR

      What other creationism are you referring to? Are you talking about Intelligent Design?

      • Keyra

        Partially, I would guess everything else left to take it’s course. Francis Collins is good on the subject

        • KMR

          Collins neither believes in ID or YEC. He puts God in the gap that scientific knowledge has not yet defined, the time before time as we know it began. IMO it certainly can be done without logical fallacies at least right now, but there is no compelling reason to do so besides the fact that you desperately want to believe in a God. Anyway, evolution is incompatible with any kind of creationist theory out there and Collins would be the first one to agree.

      • Itarion

        Please. “Intelligent” Design. An intelligently designed body would have minimal weak spots, perhaps by distributing important sustaining processes throughout the body. Like breathing, circulation of nutrients, and awareness. Redundant systems are better: ask any engineer.

        • Nate Frein

          Blahblahblah original sin blahblahblah

          It’s simple, really.

          • Itarion

            …. right. *sigh

        • cary_w

          Which is why the Kligons have twice the organs and bones as humans, there’s your intelligent design. How come God didn’t think of that?

          • Itarion

            Another intelligent thing about Klingons: they killed their gods for being too troublesome.

    • sane37

      Can’t go against what isn’t there.

      • Keyra

        That’s if you can prove It isn’t there

        • wabney

          Not up to us to prove sky fairy, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster isn’t there – the burden of proof is on the one claiming it is.

        • JohnnieCanuck

          I’ve only just convinced the færies at the bottom of my garden to move to your place. Will you be able to prove they aren’t there after they arrive?

    • Nate Frein

      When half of Americans believe this, it’s not a “misconception”. This is a real problem in the U.S.

      • Keyra

        Problem, how?

        • Nate Frein

          These people vote for politicians who vote for science funding.

          • Keyra

            Do you know every individual who votes for such?

            • Nate Frein

              Do you?

              I think it’s a pretty safe bet that when half the country believes utter nonsense, a good chunk of them will vote nonsense. Hence the Tea-party.

              • Keyra

                Not all atheists are science fanatics, and only the fundies are against science

            • Gus

              Do you really not get this? Because I sure don’t get this response.

    • Gus

      How do you not get that this is a problem? A significant percentage of Americans are YECs. They vote, and their representatives end up being YECs. We live in a technologically advanced era where the vast amount of future technological growth will be in biotech, and we have a huge number of people who don’t understand the fundamental principle of biology, who are electing politicians who don’t understand it, and actively fighting to teach lies in public schools. If they succeed we will have a population that is ill equipped to make fundamental decisions about the direction of the nation and we will fall behind in scientific and medical research.

    • allein

      “it’s best to ignore people like him”
      Finally, something we can agree on…

  • Faustinah Santiago

    Why would anyone want to brainwash a child in to believing such nonsense? It’s insane.

  • Glasofruix

    Damn, i’ve been writing in three different languages by his age and i’ve been making more sense and less mistakes…

  • jdm8

    If understanding an idea makes the idea any more true, then I’d have to go catch some Pokémon.

  • EuropeanCommunist

    This is just depressing to read…

  • Adrian M. Kleinbergen

    Where can I get some of that great “Evelotion?” I hear it just smooths away those pesky wrinkles.

    • guest

      And since “evelotion doesn’t grow anything new,” that means it will prevent all your future wrinkles too!

  • Matthew Baker

    Little disappointed that none of these kids’ notes have a smug “Were you there?” since that is Dr. Zaius’ mantra.

  • SecularPatriot

    Don’t make me cry before dinner.

  • Rain

    his father proudly showed me his seven-year-old son’s notes

    I think we know who the idiot is. It ain’t the seven-year-old.

  • LesterBallard

    I fucking loathe that man as well.

  • A3Kr0n

    Reuben takes notes. That’s evidence that young people are paying attention to what Ken Ham teaches. Can’t argue with that logic. I will just put my face gently into my palm, and hope they will get bored and go away.

  • Harley Quinn

    This is vomit-worthy. So a 7-year-old can parrot very well, whoop-de-doo. I took notes in school as well (and catechism, sadly), it didn’t always mean I understood what I was writing down!

  • Artor

    The kid’s name is Rueben…Paul? Really? Is this serious, or is someone hoaxing Ham?

  • Jeff

    GREAT. I live in Austin. It’s bad enough it’s friggin’ TEXAS with it’s legislature nearly full of thumpers,and it’s school book selection board wondering why Ken Ham hasn’t received his Nobel Prize yet. Can the crazy’s PLEASE take a vacation and pick another state to make stupid-ass statements in for a while? For once, can some other state step up and be crowned King of Douchebaggery for a while?

    • Captain Cassidy

      I’m in Idaho and no, I don’t want ‘em either. We’re already full.

  • Aspieguy

    Brain dead people have no sense. Would someone please place Ham in a mental hospital.

  • Librepensadora

    Is Eve lotion what she made from the forbidden fruit? Must have been fun rubbing it on Adam. And churches being changed to “something eles” is Disneyspeak: “Everyone eles is jealous.” (Tigger’s song)

  • Captain Cassidy

    I actually feel really sorry for Ken Ham. This child’s clumsy parroting is seriously what he thinks of as a victory.

  • McAtheist

    If he remembers only the bullet point that says,
    “You can’t live with blind faith”.
    He might figure it out eventually..

  • Patricia Magicia

    “Dinosaurs are a big part of the Bible” is easily my favorite, and definitely the part of this lecture I would’ve latched onto at seven. I’d have believed pretty much anything if you’d told me there were pet dinosaurs included.

  • Peter Naus

    We Aussies have plenty to cringe about right here at home – government policies made by a 100% male cabinet, shutting down parts of the CSIRO, removingthe post of the Science Minister, hiding behind the military, allowing evil religions like christianity to flout basic human rights, etc.

    We just dont have the time or energy to waste on snakeoil salesmen like little Kenny (The Ham) Ham. There’s just too much to cringe about.

    As a nation, we are sorry about Ken Ham. Really sorry.

    Tell you what, you Yanks can have him. No strings attached. He’s all yours! He sounds like an American taking the piss out of an Australian accent anyway!

    Off you go. Don’t forget to keep up with his feeding regime of chardonnay and young chritianist girls. He especially loves his chardonnay.

  • MN Atheist

    This crap is so harmful…I got into a discussion with one of these guys once. We ended up on the Noah story and he explained to me that when the boat landed the Earth was one big continent. When I questioned this and said it was impossible for the Earth’s species to be spread out like we are, I was told that tectonic plates moved faster then and have now slowed down. His evidence was that there were diamonds on the coast of Iceland that were formed from continents smashing into each other. So we moved on to Adam and Eve. I said that it would have taken many generations of inbreeding to bring us to even a small community, and that genetics wouldn’t support that happening. I was told that in the beginning our DNA was perfect and capable of this. And then over time our DNA has degraded to a point where we can no longer support ourselves by inbreeding. They have an answer for everything. They just don’t seem to get that in science we begin with a question…not an answer.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Question to all of you, and you as well Hemant. If a 7-year-old wrote notes about how obvious it is that evolution is the truth and how obvious it is Christians are dumb and indoctrinated (okay, a 7-year-old might not use the word indoctrinated, but you get my drift) would you not “gleefully” show it off to the world??

    • Hemant Mehta

      I would not. That kid would likely have no real understanding of evolution. He’d just be parroting some adult.

      • The Starship Maxima

        I see. Your reputation for rationality and logic is well-deserved. No sarcasm there, I mean that sincerely.