Angry Ken Ham labels Ark Encounter documentary ‘propaganda’

Angry Ken Ham labels Ark Encounter documentary ‘propaganda’ February 26, 2020
Image via Indiegogo

WHEN a documentary called We Believe in Dinosaurs premiered in the US last year, Stephen Farber, writing for the Hollywood Reporter, said that it captures ‘a disturbing current in contemporary America.’

There are disturbing scenes that show children and adults indoctrinated into spouting catchphrases to defy the scientists. For example, when scientists talk about the history of Earth, children are taught to call out, ‘Were you there?’

He added:

The film’s title refers to the ingenious and somewhat insidious attempt to link the museum’s religious manifesto with some indisputable facts of science. Since dinosaurs remain immensely popular with kids who are the target audience for these museums, the founders had to come up with a way to bring a Jurassic Park appeal to their message-mongering.

So they posit that dinosaurs did exist, but they were created at the same time as all other animals (on the sixth day of creation), but the raptors and friends were destroyed in Noah’s Flood. And the geological evidence of the dinosaurs’ existence is explained away as sediment found in the rocks left after the Flood submerged Earth. This allows for audience-friendly dinosaur exhibits in these Biblical museums, along with vehement indoctrination.

It’s all right here in the Bible. Image via YouTube

After the film aired in PBS this month, a furious Ham, above, described it as ‘another hatchet job’:

It turned out to be an agenda-driven propaganda piece focusing on dinosaurs and the Ark Encounter, where dinosaurs represent only a tiny fraction of the exhibits at the Ark. This is not surprising, as many in the media continue to run stories that question the effectiveness of Answers in Genesis’ two popular attractions in Northern Kentucky.

In regard to this ‘documentary’ on PBS, much of it is based on old information, as filming started in 2013. Originally, we were told by the producers that they were doing a documentary emphasizing the creative side of making museum exhibits and wanted to shadow our artists, exploring how science is presented at these types of museums. Despite assurances to the contrary, these deceitful producers created a biased film designed to sway viewers to a specific conclusion, which does not rise to the level of a real documentary, presenting many misrepresentations and errors. 

In December 2016, controversial filmmaker Morgan Spurlock took over the project and helped fund it, taking it in a new and mocking direction. Subsequently, we revoked their media access and declined any future interviews, once we knew the film project was now going in this very different and misleading direction.

Image via YouTube

Former creationist David MacMillan, above, a freelance writer, paralegal, and law student in Washington, DC, features in the documentary. On Monday he wrote:

As a science advocate, I take strong issue with the nonscience Ken Ham peddles to families and students. His parody of the scientific method does real harm, bleeding inexorably into education and public policy. The whole-hearted embrace of ‘alternative facts’ and the rejection of plain evidence are making our society more and more polarized.

Some reviewers lament the fact that not enough scientists feature in the documentary. Its makers explained:

The biggest challenge was a surprise to us:  the creationists we spoke with were enthusiastically open and candid with us, but the mainstream scientists were often guarded and unwilling or to speak on record about anything to do with creationism. 

In some instances, scientists were even prohibited by their institutions from speaking on camera about the topic because they feared they would face public criticism and even lose significant donors. The topic of religion and science is a tricky one to negotiate for scientists, and it often resulted in their being unwilling to publicly defend evolution – and their lives’ work – against the aggressive attacks from creationists.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • barriejohn

    The documentary makers said that they were motivated in part by watching Jesus Camp. Ham is no better than the organisers of that appalling event. It’s good to see evidence of Americans demonstrating visibly against the misuse of their tax dollars to fund this blatant, unscientific indoctrination of the young.

  • Tawreos

    I am not surprised that scientists were not willing to speak about creationism. After Ben Stein’s Expelled movie I doubt many of them trust a documentary crew to be honest.

  • Tawreos

    In regard to this ‘documentary’ on PBS, much of it is based on old information, as filming started in 2013.

    Remember folks, according to Ken Ham himself, information from 7 years ago is out of date and should be ignored, but the bible, which is thousands of years old, is absolutely relevant and still good to go.

  • Geoff Benson

    “… but the bible, which is thousands of years old, is absolutely relevant and still good to go”

    But…was he there?

  • serfdood

    So they posit that dinosaurs did exist, but they were created at the same time as all other animals (on the sixth day of creation), but the raptors and friends were destroyed in Noah’s Flood.

    That is not what Ken Ham says. In fact his explanation is even more ridiculous. He says that the dinosaurs were on the ark and survived the flood. I can’t recall his explanation why they disappeared.

  • Tawreos

    Usually it is that humans hunted them to extinction and that the atmosphere changed so that they were always breathing so heavy that the friction would ignite the air, or something along those lines. I wish I was kidding.

  • johnsoncatman

    Fire-Breathing Dragons!!!

  • barriejohn

    The answers are all here, but one has to ask once again, “Was he there?” &#128514

    https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/

    Dinosaurs were created by God on Day 6 of creation, approximately 6,000 years ago, and were originally vegetarian. During the global Flood, many were buried and fossilized but two of each kind survived on Noah’s Ark. They eventually died out, due to human activity, climate changes, or other factors.

  • Tawreos

    No, but apparently, Jack Chick was.

    https://www.chick.com/products/tract?stk=1038

    =)

  • 24CaratHooligan

    Climate change? CLIMATE CHANGE???!! But… but… climate change isn’t a thing, many many astrologers have said so!!

  • Raging Bee

    Well, yeah, hatchet-jobs are what dead or unhealthy trees need.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    I can’t recall his explanation why they disappeared.

  • Mark J

    It’s funny. They say the dinosaurs perished in the flood and at the same time, they say Noah had two (or 14 of the edibles) of every species on the ark. No mention of the dinos left behind.

  • barriejohn

    You can have “climate changes”, in the same way that you can accept “microevolution” even though the process is identical to “macroevolution”!

  • barriejohn

    I know this is going to come as a big disappointment to you, but he may well have been making use of his imagination there!

  • Tawreos

    I have read many Chick tracts and I have yet to see any evidence of imagination. I have seen a lot of hatefilled garbage, but no real imagination.

  • barriejohn

    A bit ironic that he’s accusing a factual documentary of being “propaganda”, but then they never do get irony.

  • Raging Bee

    Ironic, innit?

  • raven

    We know why the dinosaurs died out.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DdP6isRVAAA4yzN.jpg

  • Tawreos

    With tiny or no arms, ho do they ash properly?

  • WallofSleep

    “It turned out to be an agenda-driven propaganda piece focusing on
    dinosaurs and the Ark Encounter, where dinosaurs represent only a tiny
    fraction of the exhibits at the Ark.”

    Why are you focusing on this one tiny crime of mine when I’ve broken so many other laws?!?

  • Brian Shanahan

    “The topic of religion and science is a tricky one to negotiate for scientists, and it often resulted in their being unwilling to publicly defend evolution – and their lives’ work – against the aggressive attacks from creationists.”

    I wouldn’t expect anything else from the cretinists. Their leaders, like the anti-abortionists, know that they have no proper argument, so therefore they just simply stifle opposing viewpoints through threats and violent behaviour.

  • Brian Shanahan
  • Polytropos

    I was once lucky enough to attend a presentation by someone from AiG. The guy claimed dinosaurs were still around, just very rare.

  • Raging Bee

    It can’t have been sin — none of their arms/forelegs were configured for that sort of thing.

  • Polytropos

    Al Capone probably felt the same way when they got him for tax evasion.

  • Raging Bee

    Ed Brayton, back in his Scienceblogs days, once had a commenter named Gibbons who was promising to go to the Holy Land and find a “live sauropod” there. And no, he didn’t explain how a creature that big and that stupid could evade ALL of the heavily-armed military, paramilitary and terrorist groups active in that region (ETA: including US recon drones).

  • Polytropos

    Also, what would it eat in the Holy Land? As far as I know sauropods mostly vacuumed up ground cover-type foliage, which isn’t exactly abundant in that part of the world.

  • Raging Bee

    Maybe it would drink crude oil — it contains concentrated energy, AND it’s made from dinosaur flesh, right?

  • Polytropos

    Sure, why not? It’s no crazier than what this guy was proposing.

  • persephone

    I like your thinking. I’m going to be using that in the future.

  • persephone

    I think most astrologers accept climate change, a much better average than fundagelicals.

  • Broga

    Or why humans may be on the way out now despite being so precious to his God. Insect numbers have dropped catastrophically, in vast areas we can’t breath the air and the current virus is spreading and doing some serious culling of the creatures in God’s image.

    Why is he doing that? The convenient answer is “God moves in mysterious ways ………….” except, of course, what we do in bed, no mystery there as he seems to know, and communicate, in forensic detail what we are doing there.

    I suppose God must want the virus so perhaps he isn’t too happy with us. Unless, he is punishing humanity because of gays. That is the usual explanation of choice.

  • barriejohn

    And as with all the various imaginary swamp, jungle and lake creatures, like Nessie, how on earth could there be just ONE of them, and how could it live so long? There would have to be a breeding population of them, and, indeed, as others are saying, what would they all be eating? As you drove along Loch Ness the f…ing things would be waving at you!

  • Broga

    I asked a fundamentalist Christian to explain that and she had no problem: “All things are possible for an omnipotent God. It is not for us to expect to understand these mysteries and the working of the Divine Mind.”

  • “…these deceitful producers created a biased film designed to sway
    viewers to a specific conclusion, which does not rise to the level of a
    real documentary, presenting many misrepresentations and errors. ”

    Whenever a preacher talks about “deceit”, “bias”, “not real”, “misrepresentation” and “error”, well…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac7f7d3a77a0ebc4e44012886b41632f83732279156fc2917567804cd8870cb1.gif

  • b s

    It’s what plants crave

  • David Heath

    That’s the exact response the scientists should use in response to that toady question from indoctrinated kids. They shout “were you there,” in response, they respond, “no, but were you there to see the dinosaurs and people co-existing? Why is your theory better than mine?”

  • Duncan R. Bryson

    So they’re hiding, like his alleged deity.

  • Judy Thompson

    well, that just about puts us out of business. I’m shocked, I tell ya, shocked.

    Sort of the long way around of saying “I can do anything I want, and you can’t stop meeee.”

  • guerillasurgeon
  • Duncan R. Bryson

    Don’t know if he said this but I wouldn’t be surprised

  • Duncan R. Bryson

    AIG recently released a video of Noah’s children playing with the family pet. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f2394bfbb4551d6f5b3f6c9fcd8e75aca3fc7e946897bfb680fade34df43f86c.gif

  • Ann Kah

    In other words, the answer was “magic”, and deserves the kind of disbelief generally reserved for children who use the same answer for the question “Why are all the cookies gone?”.

  • Wayne Crockett

    That is my favourite.

  • Jamie_Johnson

    but were you there to see the dinosaurs and people co-existing?

    And then the children’s parents would scream about indoctrination.

  • Jamie_Johnson

    Hamm said “climate changes” not “climate change.” That pluralization makes all the difference, dontchasee?

  • John Thunderer

    Actually, there may be some truth about the change in composition of the air, particularly with regard to oxygen content.
    I believe it was much higher then than it is now, which is why large animals and insects flourished at that time.
    Amongst a number of contributing factors – such as increased volcanic activity and a large meteorite striking planet Earth – the reduction in the level of oxygen in the air meant that the larger animals and insects could not be sustained.
    The impact of the meteorite strike was to cast a period of several years of what we now know as “nuclear winter” all round planet Earth.
    This phenomen may also have affected plant growth and the reduction in plant leaves would have reduced the numbers of plant-eating dinosaurs with the attendant consequence that their numbers declined, as did the numbers of flesh-eating dinosaurs.

  • John Thunderer

    The reported response of scientists – if true – is most concerning.
    It seems to demonstrate that we – mainly the US – really are living in a post-truth global society.
    Poor Mr Ham still seems to be living in a pre-truth little world of his own.

  • David Heath

    yeah… that’s kinda the plan!!

    Remind them that every child is born atheist and has to be indoctrinated into the faith.

  • Andrea Fitzgerald

    My thoughts exactly!

  • Silverwolf13

    According to Genesis, god told Noah to take 2 of every kind of animal, and Noah did this. That would have included dinosaurs. Ham is the one who is contradicting the Bible.

    /I have long felt that everyone should read sacred scriptures, if only to be able to explain them to believers.

  • tatortotcassie

    They don’t. That’s why they died out.

  • tatortotcassie

    Well, the guy is half right. Avian dinosaurs are still around but they are definitely not very rare.

  • Polytropos

    Lol, true. It’s the only thing he did get right.

  • Broga

    Makes a discussion based on facts or evidence a touch difficult.

  • Broga

    I still prefer a dog. No chance of it accidentally stepping on me.

  • Dan Atatakai

    Geoff – Is that nice using the same argument against the flawed one?

  • Dan Atatakai

    Ken Ham, Kent Hovind & son Eric, as well as others are either really gullible in believing absolute nonsense, or they are very smart conmen. This argument about there even being a global flood some 4500 years ago is so phenomenally stupid that it makes one wonder how anybody could believe it. For this to be true, the population of the earth of humans would have had to grow so fast that, in a mere 125 years, the Egyptians alone would have had to repopulate into the millions in order to just build the pyramids, the sphinx, etc.

  • Geoff Benson

    Indeed, I feel positively embarrassed!

  • serfdood

    Well he was half right, just not in the way he would think. Birds are not rare.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Birds and crocs / alligators…

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Like ‘Brawndo’? “It’s got what plants crave…”

    😉

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Which is, after all, the point.

  • Dan Atatakai

    Geoff – Why? YOU are the one making sense here. Ken Ham & Co. have no practicality about them at all!

  • Dan Atatakai

    It seems he thinks they did not survive because they could not get to the land where they came from originally, ALTHOUGH, koalas & kangaroos all were able to float for many months without any food, on logs which let them go back to Australia. Like the encyclopedia salesman said, “Sir, 100% satisfaction guaranteed or no money back!”

  • C_Alan_Nault

    According to Genesis,Noah is also told to take 7 pairs of some kinds of animals. As usual,in the Bible, they can’t keep the story straight…or god is confused.

  • Richard Forrest

    I am firmly of the view that they know perfectly well that they are promoting a bunch of half-truths and lies, but are quite happy to carry on doing so provided their gullible followers continues to donate their cause.
    Creationists are prepared to lie under oath sworn on the same Bible they hold to be infallible, as happened during the Dover v. Kitxmiller trial. Why should anyone believe anything they say?

  • Dan Atatakai

    Richard – You could be right. Then again, in the US, I have found quite a large number of people who believe this stuff directly, including those who have gotten a whole BA in Christian Theology from an unaccredited school.

  • David Cromie

    Ark Encounter is “… designed to sway viewers to a specific conclusion, [by] presenting many misrepresentations and errors”. Creationists, such as Ken Ham, hate real science because it shows them up for the charlatans they really are.

    What does surprise me is that academic scientists are loath to criticise the fake ‘science’ of such enterprises as Arc Encounter because they will be penalised, or otherwise pilloried by creationists for telling the truth. How the hell could that come about in a so-called ‘free society’, while, at the same time, christers wail that they are being persecuted on all sides?

  • David Cromie

    I have never understood how an ‘all powerful, and loving god’ was unable to save its dinosaurs, or dd it just not like them.

  • Tawreos

    I love the the T Rex looks like it is having the time of its life. =)

  • Polytropos

    Well, he meant the Loch Ness monster, but yes.

  • Broga

    Brilliant!

  • Broga

    See above. I think it was the smoking too many cigarettes.

  • Raging Bee

    A Sheep State conspiracy to wipe out the strongest of us?!

  • Sassafras

    “Well I watched a cartoon with people and dinosaurs living together. One of the dinosaurs even barked!”

  • TheBookOfDavid

    I initially decided this documentary offered no new information and wasn’t worth my time to watch. But as long as it has Ken Ham’s personal endorsement…

  • Raging Bee

    Ah yes, can’t let Ark B stay afloat, that wasn’t really part of the plan…

  • “In some instances, scientists were even prohibited by their institutions from speaking on camera about the topic because they feared they would face public criticism and even lose significant donors. The topic of religion and science is a tricky one to negotiate for scientists, and it often resulted in their being unwilling to publicly defend evolution – and their lives’ work – against the aggressive attacks from creationists.”

    Fundamentalist Christians think they’re (and want to be) persecuted in the U.S. This quote is all that’s needed to prove their wish/belief to be untrue. Even though fundamentalists are a minority in this country, everyone else still has to keep their mouths shut to avoid offending them. Everyone has to tip-toe around them. It affects atheists on both a personal and professional level. Many of these scientists who are keeping quiet are probably mainstream Christians — it isn’t just nonbelievers having to deal with it.

  • The descendants of theropod dinosaurs are still around — some of the most numerous animals on the planet!

    I seriously cannot watch the birds in my backyard without thinking about where they came from.

  • The flood story as recorded in Genesis is two different versions stitched together. The compiler apparently couldn’t or didn’t think he should pick one version over the other, so as you read along everything gets repeated. It even has the ark afloat for two totally different time frames.

    But when it comes to the number of animals, it first says two of each, but then (IIRC) is says two of most but seven of the “clean” animals. That makes it obvious that this telling of the myth came along sometime after Judaism became a thing, because before that there was no concept of clean and unclean animals.

  • Dillard Jenkins

    Kentucky is famous for, horses, making whisky, growing tobacco and Colonel Sander’s fried chicken. But their knowledge of science and advancements in education aren’t good.

  • vmelkon

    If I was a scientists who takes my profession seriously, I would not bother talking about creationism. That’s just a topic for us average joes. Funding my research would be more important to me than giving my opinion about some “controversial” topic.