#POPChrist Goes to the Ark Encounter — Part 2: The Lower Deck

This post continues the series about my trip to Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter. If you want to read from the beginning, then follow this link.#POPChrist Goes to the Ark Encounter — Part I: Ken Ham’s Parking Lot

Ken Ham’s Ark has three decks which are divided thematically pre-flood, during the flood, and post-flood.

Photo Op to Photo Shop

Immediately before entering the Ark, a photographer directs the visitor to stand in front of a blue screen for a photo. In the gift shop, you can purchase a photo of yourself with Ark Encounter themed images in the background. Of course, Joel and I purchased our photos for posterity’s sake. Now, even in this first week, the Ark was not terribly busy. Had it been busier, I wondered at the logistics of stopping people for photos. This process seemed to have the potential for being a log jam in the future. A “gopher wood” log jam, of course.

Boarding the Ark

As I boarded the Ark, a virtual jungle of animal sounds filled the atmosphere. I found myself surrounded by small wooden cages stacked floor to ceiling. The calls and whistles of various birds, the chattering of small rodents, the yowling of cats, and even the hiss of snakes could be heard coming from the small cages. Cool!, I thought.

Ham has stated that he wanted the Ark Encounter to be something akin to an exhibit that you might find at Disney or Universal. In this initial moment, I was reminded of the awesome transformation of sunny California afternoon to cool New Orleans evening on the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. So far, Ken, not bad.

Each cage had a clay feeder and water trough which would have been easily accessible to Noah and his family. The cages are spaced apart in such a way that feces can be gathered easily. However, the cages were designed so that the visitor cannot see into them. The sounds suggest the presence of many small “animal kinds” that Ham posits were on Noah’s Ark.

Okay, I thought, that’s not a bad way to save some money and still get a number of animals on the Ark. It was a cool effect and I was ready for more. Keep in mind, as much as I am critical of Answers in Genesis, I was truly hoping that the exhibit itself would be like a ride at Disneyland maybe more Pirates than Star Wars but I wanted it to be genuinely entertaining. After all, Joel and I spent real money to see this thing. Yet, I came away disappointed because there were far fewer animals on Ham’s Ark than I anticipated and none of them were animatronic but that’s another deck.

Wooden cages with wooden feeders and clay watering devices. The cages are designed so that you can’t see into them. It gives the illusion of many animals.


Walls of clay jars that one can imagine carrying the various foods for the animals aboard the Ark.
Like the small cages, the visitor will see pots lined floor to ceiling along the walls. These represent the food for the animals. Remember, they need a year’s supply of food for everything from rabbit-kind to velociraptor-kind. Wait, I guess they can feed the rabbit kittens to the velociraptor pups.

The Pre-Flood Story

On the lower deck, through a series of visuals mostly consisting of posters (often tedious to read), the visitor is told Ken Ham’s version of the biblical narrative from Creation to the Flood. It is a truncated version of Ham’s Creation Museum.

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I say Ken Ham’s version for as much as he claims to be offering a plain reading of the text his version includes many details that are not found in the text and, in my view, distort and distract from the meaning of the text. For instance, Ham’s version includes dinosaurs.

I did not expect dinosaurs to play as large a role in Ham’s narrative as they do but there are dinosaurs around every corner. For instance, one will find dinosaurs in every portrayal of the paradisal Garden. But turn the corner and in illustrating the violence of humankind before the flood, Ham depicts human beings slaughtering triceratops for their horns much like modern humans slaughter rhinoceroses. In Ham’s theory, it is human activity of this type and post-diluvial environmental factors (like the one ice age) that wiped out the dinosaurs.

I am truly baffled that Ham’s view of the dinosaurs is not enough to cause even some of the more credulous Christians to question Answers in Genesis’s ability to interpret historical data let alone be trusted to interpret scripture for them.

Disgruntled Workers and Religious Fanatics

There were very few animatronic displays far fewer than I would have imagined. In one of the displays, Noah’s hired workers (another eisegetical moment) are complaining about the work and describe Noah as a religious fanatic.

Like the whole AIG narrative, this scene is more modern than ancient. If Noah was a historical figure and truly a monotheist and who in accordance with the later Mosaic law had no image of his deity among polytheists who worshipped images, then it is more likely that his contemporaries would have accused him of atheism and not being devoted enough to the gods. If there was a great flood coming, then maybe it was because Noah and his family had ticked off the gods by not worshipping them properly (see Job’s friends). As the other extant flood narratives suggest, it did not take much to annoy a god to the point of mass extermination. In one narrative, human beings are just to noisy and the gods can’t sleep. Anyway, his contemporaries would not scoff at the idea of a god causing a natural disaster. Rather, they would ask which god and likely try to appease them all just in case.

Yet, despite Ham’s claims to the contrary, he and the folks at AIG are not interested in historical accuracy but in the us vs. them narrative of the culture war. So, Noah begins to look a lot like Ken Ham and Noah’s critics begin to sound a great deal like the New Atheists (and frankly like anyone who is critical of AIG teaching). The fate of these scoffers is as follows.


Now, I will say that I enjoyed the detailed miniatures more than anything else in the exhibit. There is something about looking at a scale model world and a scale model Ark that is fascinating like a good detailed model train set. So, to end on a positive note, here are some of the images from the lower deck.

Notice Ken Ham’s inconsistency. Here he clearly has the modern giraffe and not his hypothetical notagirafficorn.

Princess Leia has a cameo.

#POPChrist Goes to Ark Encounter Part II: The View From Below

In Part I, I paid tribute to Ken Ham’s 4,000 space parking lot which has yet to fill to capacity.

As you can see from the photo below, when Joel and I went to the Ark Encounter, there was no line. In a recent post, Joel Duff addresses the question of the long-term financial viability of the Ark Encounter. Yet, Ham is obviously prepared for Disneyland length lines. For those who must wait or simply choose to stand around, Answers in Genesis has prepared a video presentation that ostensibly portrays the kinds of conversations Noah may have had with the pre-flood anti-Yahwist polytheists who fail to heed his warnings.  Continue reading “#POPChrist Goes to Ark Encounter Part II: The View From Below”

Close Encounter of the Biblical Kind: #POPChrist Goes to the Ark Encounter

Today, Joel Anderson and I visited Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. This post is simply a brief post to commemorate this momentous occasion. After writing about Answers in Genesis for the past year, Joel and I thought it would be kind of sort of fun to see the Ark for ourselves.

Of course, there were no real surprises at the Ark Encounter. Ken Ham and the folks at AIG have a limited number of points to make but I thought this spectacle would present this information in more detail and best light.

In the next few posts, I’ll walk you through what you’ll find as you go through Ken Ham’s exhibits.

The Ark itself is an impressive sight. Both Joel and I walked away feeling that if these were simply imaginative representations of biblical narratives, then much of what is portrayed in these exhibits would be of some value. However, every moment of these exhibits is geared toward the bizarre and frankly unbiblical claims of Ken Ham and his organization.

At least, Ken Ham points to the true origins of his teaching. In the portion of the Creation Museum dedicated to the history of the organization, Ken Ham tells how “God” in 1974 led him to Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood. In my view, The Genesis Flood is Ken Ham’s Book of Mormon or Course in Miracles or Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

One day, I might take the opportunity to visit the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and I suspect I will feel the same as I did at Ken Ham’s exhibits, a curious outsider, interested in the history and influence of the organization but in fundamental disagreement with the unorthodox doctrines that arose in the nineteenth century. Ken Ham’s Young Earth Creationism is more akin to other nineteenth century new religious movements like The Church of the Latter Day Saints, Creation Science, and Jehovah’s Witnesses than it is to historical orthodox Christianity.

IWP 07/11/2016

#popchrist #kenham #arkencounter #creationmuseum

Oh the Places We will Not Go: Passing on the Ark Encounter to Encounter God’s Real Creation

IP — Follow the link below to Joel Duff’s blog post at the end of this post. His recent post resonates with my recent post about Ken Ham’s Fantastic Voyage — Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Fantastic! In that post, I recommend going to the zoo instead.

Dr. Duff inspired me to actually compare prices of places that we might go instead of the Ark Encounter or the Creation Museum.

Let’s compare prices, shall we? For my family of five to visit the Ark Encounter where we would see an artist’s conception of fictional pre-speciation animals, it would cost $174.00 including parking but not including food, souvenirs and propaganda. . . er I mean books. Continue reading “Oh the Places We will Not Go: Passing on the Ark Encounter to Encounter God’s Real Creation”

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Fantastic!

Or Truth in Children’s Books but not in Advertising.

As opening day (July 7th) approaches, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis ratchet up the advertising for their life-sized construction of Ken Ham’s construal of Noah’s Ark. Yet, as blogger and biologist Joel Duff noted on his blog Naturalis Historia, the billboards are somewhat misleading as to what you will see in Ken Ham’s Ark.

See: Joel Duff’s New Ad for Ark Encounter Contradicts Ken Ham’s Understanding of Biblical “Kinds”

The billboards depict familiar animals. The animals that you and your family can go to see at your local zoo. However, on Ken Ham’s Ark, you will only find fantastic creatures that are the imaginary constructions of Ken Ham’s creature shop.

That’s right. Apart from a petting zoo, the creatures in Ken Ham’s Ark will be totally fantastic. That is the creatures are entirely made up. Continue reading “Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Fantastic!”

If Your Election Lasts Longer than Four Years. . .

Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

In the current climate, with perhaps the most bizarre run up to a Federal Election in U.S. history, now seems a good time to re-read Jacques Ellul’s study of modern scientific propaganda which is helpfully titled Propaganda. In this important work, Ellul examines the techniques of the Russian, Chinese, and Nazi propagandists. Many of these techniques are regularly employed throughout the world. Propagandists (whether they call themselves that or not or whether they are aware that they are or not) continue to employ and perfect these techniques.

Available on Amazon

We are constantly bombarded with propaganda. In the (post)modern world, many of us in technological societies are so immersed in propaganda that we are like flying-fish who momentarily discover that they are wet before they are pulled back into the water. Perhaps, it is more like moving through a warm spot in the pool, noticing the temperature change and hoping that it’s not what you think it is. That is, we may not realize that we are immersed we may only notice that we have encountered someone else’s propaganda.

Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water being slowly heated, many people don’t even notice it is happening. Continue reading “If Your Election Lasts Longer than Four Years. . .”