They’re relying on faith to build their ark? Hah.

Ken Ham has tried to make excuses for all the delays and uncertainties in building their Ark Park boondoggle. It’s because it is a faith-based project, and he compares his struggles to those of Noah.

To us, the Ark Encounter, to be built on some beautiful property in northern Kentucky (south of Cincinnati), has been a giant step of faith. And yet, as I think about Noah, our endeavors really pale by comparison.

What a privilege it is that we can remind the world of a great man, Noah, and the faith-step he took, so that we can also share with the world about sin, God’s judgment on it, and of God’s love and provision for our salvation.

We’re not told how long Noah took to build the Ark—and we really don’t know when our Ark (called “Ark Encounter”) will be completed. It’s a complex project, involving complicated permits, the design of high-tech exhibits, and many legal matters.

For instance, we’ve had to spend the last few months re-doing the legal structure for the Ark project, largely because of the “ObamaCare” health care legislation. Our restructuring was done in an effort to try and avoid the same problem which the retail chain Hobby Lobby and religious-based organizations are now battling in the courts (i.e., the mandate to include abortion-causing contraceptives and drugs as part of their health insurance plan.)

He also includes this cartoon.


I’d say that looks like an admission that they’re building on clouds in the sky. Need I point out that Noah is a legend, there was no world-wide flood, and no ark of the type described in his book of fantasy was ever built?

I also like how one of his excuses is that they’re carrying out legal maneuvers to permit them to discriminate and cheat their workers out of ethical support. WWJD? Screw over his employees.


  1. says

    I strongly suspect that the whole ‘flood’ story-thing started when, during a particularly bad flood, somewhere in Mesopotamia, Grandpa (sitting on the roof along with the family and the goats) said:
    “Pah!* Call this a flood? I mu day we had floods that’d make this look like a drought!!”
    The rest is HistoryLies.

    * I suppose the same thing could have happened in Egypt, only Grandpa would have said “Ptah!”

  2. raven says

    They’re relying on faith to build their ark? Hah.

    Last I heard, they were relying on municipal bonds issued through Williamstown, KY.

    I wouldn’t put much faith in those bonds though. Municipal bonds can and do default fairly often.

  3. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Don’t you see? If there had been obamacare in the olden days Noah’s ark would never have got built and the human race would have been doomed, DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  4. Artor says

    @richardelguru #2
    Grandpa’s name in this case was Utnapishtim. I’m sure if he heard of Noah’s story, he would have spat “Ptah!” even if he’d never been to Egypt.

  5. says

    Blockquote fail, PZ!

    As to Noah and the much beloved Ark story that features in the Christian Bible and the Koran, can Ham tell us where he thinks that story actually originated?

    300.000 species of beetles. Nuff’ said.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Faith won’t build that ark.

    The Faith I know has changed her name to Fay to avoid any association with what the preachers wail about, and prefers to discuss her garden.

  7. otranreg says

    Question about the cartoon: what is being hit with a hammer and where?

    Also, don’t the saw and the hammer look a little too advanced for the Bronze Age?

    (finally, trick question: how is the hammer attached to its handle? Not with the usual wedges, that’s for sure. I bet it’s faith.)

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    In this one case, I’d like to offer a little help to Ken Ham: those requirements don’t apply if a church builds it. All you have to do is 1) charge little/no admission such that you aren’t gaining the majority of your revenue through “unrelated business” though the “purpose” of conducting that business is sufficiently narrow, and 2) any revenue does not go “in whole or in part” to private person/s (natural or legal).
    –26 CFR 1.501(c)(3)-1(b)(1)(iii) and 1(c)(2)

    Just forgo the money for the good of the religion, and you have no problems, KH! I’m sure you have it in you.

  9. unclefrogy says

    I like how he says the delay is caused because he is trying to structure his project in such a way so as not to go to prison.

    uncle frogy

  10. Seize says

    Even the mighty PZ can fail at block quotes. Makes the rest of us look a bit better!

    “Ark Encounter…” I really think they missed out by not going with “Ark Attack.”

  11. busterggi says

    If you’re building a boat shouldn’t there be some way of getting it into sufficient water for it? There is no point in this project because even if they could build the damn thing (impossible if using only bronze-age tech) there is no way to test its seaworthyness.

    Its almost as it its about the money rather than the boat.

  12. left0ver1under says

    Ken Ham has tried to make excuses for all the delays and uncertainties in building their Ark Park boondoggle.

    Ken Ham doesn’t want to return money given to build something he has no intention of building.

    This really should be treated as a case of fraud. Two “psychics” in Florida and New York were convicted of the same sort of fraud, promising something and failing to deliver:

  13. Trebuchet says


    300.000 species of beetles. Nuff’ said.

    But those are just one “kind”. Noah only had to take one pair, the rest is just “micro-evolution”. And yes, they seriously say that.

  14. Holms says

    Question about the cartoon: what is being hit with a hammer and where?

    I suspect he is trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole.

  15. Rich Woods says

    @Crip Dyke #9:

    Just forgo the money for the good of the religion, and you have no problems, KH! I’m sure you have it in you.

    I’m sure he doesn’t!

    @busterggi #12:

    If you’re building a boat shouldn’t there be some way of getting it into sufficient water for it?

    Nah, trying to float it would ruin the magic of the experience. Or short out the electronics in the media centre or something. Would you trust a boat that Ham built?

  16. says

    Hopefully, when it is done, it can hold a few delusional faithful and all the gazillion little critters that god did not know existed on this earth including Mr. Ham, the extinct ham brained (no offense to pigs) dinosaur.

  17. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    Artor @5:

    even if he’d never been to Egypt.

    Well I never been to Egypt,
    But I really like the music.
    Everbody walks real strange there,
    And I don’t know how do do it.
    Not Tutankhamen,
    But Utnapishtim,
    Never gonna lose it.

    Seize @11:

    Even the mighty PZ can fail at block quotes. Makes the rest of us look a bit better!

    Borkquotia is the Child of Lord Tpyos whom we all hali.

    Holms @ 15:

    I suspect he is trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole.

    Backwards, and most appropriate.

  18. Doug Little says

    Is that a penis of the front of Noah’s ark? Is that going to be included in the final design?

  19. jeevesmkii says

    I think they’re lying. As far as I can tell, nothing about their structure has changed in as far as how the park will operate, and as far as I can tell they’ll still be liable for providing Obamacare-compliant insurance.

    What has changed is that, while previously the AiG-owned subsidiary Crosswater Canyon was to hold somewhere around 20% of the total shares of the park, paid for by the good sheep of AiG, now it’s going to hold 100% and a metric ton of debt.

    Reading between the lines, I think what has happened is that when AiG couldn’t raise the full 26 million bucks they agreed to, all their contracts with their commercial investors who were going to go in for the other 80% lapsed and their partners scuttled away from this white elephant as fast as possible. Hence they’re now doing this deal where they’re selling bonds to finance the scaled down project.

    The shady part of this is that they’re now trying to flog off these bonds using the visitor estimates for the original large theme park, while what they’re actually going to build is more like the creation museum in size and scope. I don’t know if they’ve already got investors lined up to buy the bonds or not, but the way they’re advertising them to the general public seems dodgy – even verging on fraudulent. I’ll be interested to see if they’ve actually shifted the 60 million bucks in bonds come December.

  20. brett says

    Has anyone ever tried to build an actual replica of the biblical ark along the dimensions described, and then launch it to see if it would float? I think that would hilarious – a wooden boat of that size would break up in anything other than the tamest sea, and leak like crazy.

  21. teejaykay says

    …what the hell does Obamacare have to do with Ham’s Ark problems? Please enlighten me. I’m a Nordic welfare citizen.

  22. says


    …what the hell does Obamacare have to do with Ham’s Ark problems?

    It means organizations are required to cover women’s health care, including that horrible, against god birth control. Hobby Lobby, which is mentioned, is a christian run chain of stores that is currently fighting having to provide their staff such coverage.

  23. brett says

    @Doug Little

    Oh, I know. I just think it would be funny if someone actually built it and tried to launch it into the sea.

  24. says


    Message received and thought of as:


    Yep. Given their attitudes, I’m surprised they hire women at all. There’s a Hobby Lobby in Bismarck, and I’ve never seen a single staff person there who isn’t a woman, which may answer as to why Hobby Lobby is fighting this so hard, beyond the whole ‘good christian’ crap.

  25. Matt G says

    Noah didn’t need high-tech, Ken, so why do you? Bust out the hammers and hand saws and get to work, you lazy SOB!

  26. robro says

    brett @ 21 — The Bible describes the ark as 300 cubits long, 50 wide, and 30 high. A Biblical cubit is estimated to have been 1.5 feet, so the ark would have been 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet high. The largest wooden ships in recorded history to actually go to sea were all significantly shorter than that (about 350 feet) and all had structural problems, even those using iron bolts and trusses, and never sailed very much.

    For example, the French Rochambeau was an iron clad about 370 feet long, though 50 feet or so was ram. It made only one voyage. The American Great Republic was 335 feet and was abandoned because of leaking.

    The longest ancient ship discovered so far is the so called “Giant Ship of Caligula” which is estimated to be about 340 feet long.

  27. Doug Little says

    So god made Noah build a massive boat that probably took up a good majority of his life when he could have just poofed one into existence. He didn’t even supply blueprints except for the basic dimensions.

    One would think that this god character is an asshole who got a good laugh out of watching Noah toil away for his own enjoyment. Tell me again why people believe in this shit.

  28. robro says

    There are older versions of the Sumerian flood story than Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Atra-Hasis version dates to the 18th-17th century BCE and is considered the source of the Gilgamesh story, which is believed to have been added to the main epic. There’s also a similar Sumerian flood story with the character Zi-ud-sura.

    The elements are similar to the Bible story, of course: Atra-Hasis is warned by the god Enki that Enlil is going to destroy mankind with a flood and told to build a boat. However, the flood is only seven days, aggrandizing stories being a popular practice in the ancient world.

  29. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    Oh, come on, robro. I’m sure that the ark, built to that size, would have been just as seaworthy as the Vasa.

  30. Nick Gotts says


    Yes: I have it on my shelves. From the blurb:

    two distinguished geophysicists have discovered a catastrophic event that changed history, a gigantic flood 7,600 years ago in what is today the Black Sea.

    IIRC, more recent research does not support their scenario of a “catastrophic” flood (even in their version, it would have been relatively slow, people would have had to leave their homes but would not have been overtaken by rising waters); and in any case, it’s much too long ago to be a plausible source for an oral tradition of a great flood.

  31. says

    Robro @32, Zheng He‘s “tribute” ships were over 400 ft long, and endured fairly lengthy trips around the South China Sea, South-West Pacific and the Indian Ocean, even as Columbus struggled to cross the Atlantic in his cockle-shell boats. Even if they had to be rebuilt after each of the extended trade voyages, space-shuttle-fashion, they work as a proof of concept, engineering-wise, for the ark far better than our Western efforts.

    Not that I think that a divinely-inspired *cough* sheep farmer in a fairly small nation would have the expertise or the resources of the Chinese Empire’s boat builders.

  32. anchor says

    Surely the ark is already built and stands imposingly on the construction site intended for it. Best of all, it cost nothing and no time at all to build, and all money procured for its construction is redundant icing on the deck.

    Can’t you see it there, Kenny boy? Its there in all its grandiose glory. Don’t worry that it seems invisible to everyone else. All you need is FAITH. After all, its been used to establish the existence of far grander and original flights of fancy for centuries and centuries.

  33. george gonzalez says

    Interesting, that they show some sawing and hammering going on. So Noah and sons found, chopped down, stripped the bark from, hauled, and sawed up all that wood? Then never having built even a canoe, they somehow managed to piece together the largest wooden ship ever built? That’s a whole lot of faith and inspiration, not to mention sweat and good luck.

  34. aziraphale says


    Is that a penis of the front of Noah’s ark?

    Many large ships have such a bulge at their prow. In their case it’s to reduce water resistance at speed. Of course, since the Ark had neither engines nor sails, speed was never going to be one of its attributes.

    It’s almost as if Ham looked at a picture of a modern ship and copied it without thinking.

  35. qwerty says

    An excerpt from from Doug Little’s link @ 22

    “So Noah grabbed his tools and went to work. LaHaye and Morris tell us that Noah and his three sons could have built the entire thing by themselves in a mere eighty-one years (p. 248). ”

    I guess we can give Ken Ham another 75 years or so to complete this task.

  36. mnb0 says

  37. anuran says

    Noah had a contract, a deadline, resources and a plan. That sounds like better project management than Ken is using.

  38. anuran says

    Oh, love the way he blames Obama. “And we’d have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling antichrist.”

  39. robro says

    NelC @32 — Impressive if true. You don’t suppose that could be an exaggeration? The scribes of the Yongle Emperor might have stretched reality a hair. According to the Ppppfff, modern scholars are skeptical of the claim. I’m no ship builder but I’ve read in several places that wooden ships greater than about 300 feet get into trouble because they span the crests of the waves. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

  40. robster says

    Surely it would be at cheaper for the ark thingy to be built as it actually was, that is fresh air, nothing, not there. That way they’d still have their beautiful spot of land and a more honest and realistic representation of ol’ Noah’s floating zoo. I know honesty is not a Creationist’s strongest point but hey, why not start now Ken? Perhaps after they’ve sunk the arc proposal they could turn their nice land into a cool car park or something equally useful.

  41. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I wish they finished their ark, launched it and went to sea in it, all of them.

    They can name it


  42. chigau (違う) says

    I really, really, really hope that there are no living things on that ‘boat’.
    Except the staff and the loopies.

  43. says

    @ chigau

    Other than termites, cockroaches and rats, I doubt it. Interestingly, the literature they had was very much secular in nature. I presume this was a condition for their being allowed to build such an obviously sectarian monstrosity. Though, more likely, it has to do with taxes. The Ark, you see, is “educational”.

  44. PDX_Greg says

    Of course, if Obamacare had existed back in the Garden of Eden, then Adam and Eve could have prevented Cain’s birth, thus allowing Abel to continue appeasing God’s blood lust with his freshly murdered animal carcass offerings. How dare Cain waste God’s time with mere vegetable matter? What was he trying to do, give God gas?

  45. woggler says

    If numbnuts ever does finish his boat, so what?

    It’s never going to float. It’s never going to be home to thousands of animals and eight people. Even Ken ‘The Lie’ Ham admits he doesn’t know if it’s going to be authentic.

    It’s just Ham showing what a complete waste of space he is.

  46. gardengnome says

    I wonder who paid for Noah’s original? If an organization like Hambone’s can’t scrape up the readies how the hell did noah ever do it? You hear about his god commanding construction but never offering to foot the bill.

  47. says

    qwerty #44

    An excerpt from from Doug Little’s link @ 22

    “So Noah grabbed his tools and went to work. LaHaye and Morris tell us that Noah and his three sons could have built the entire thing by themselves in a mere eighty-one years (p. 248). ”

    I wonder if they factored in the time spent on maintenance of the parts already built. Presumably, after, say, twenty years, that’s gonna start taking more and more of each working day, as the older parts begin to crumble. Painting the Forth bridge springs to mind…

  48. says

    Robro @49, you can find a scholar to doubt anything. As I recall, drydocks have been unearthed in Fujian that would have accommodated such large craft, and been wasted effort for anything smaller; and a rudder has been discovered that would have fit, which again would have been monstrously oversized for anything else.

    And there’s no particular reason to believe that Chinese scribes of the 15th century would have exaggerated the dimensions, any more than the bureaucrats of modern nations would lie about the sizes of aircraft carriers or supertankers. People have to build the things, forests have to be depleted, crews trained and supplied; getting those kinds of sums wrong can ruin bureaucratic careers, for head-chopping values of ‘ruin’.

    Incidentally, I have no idea what Ppppfff is, and Google’s not helping. Are they a scholarly site?

  49. MatthewB says

    As Mr. Emerson remarks in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View: “Built by faith indeed! That simply means the workmen weren’t paid properly.”

  50. eveningchaos says

    I asked a coworker the other day if his kids enjoyed Halloween. He’s a fundie xtrian type, but I try to find common ground. He said, “No we don’t do Halloween. It’s origins go against our xtrian values.” I asked, “Don’t the kids feel left out? It’s just a fun observance. No candy?” He said, “Their school does a Noah’s Ark day where the kids dress as animals and get candy.” I almost spit our my tea and lost my shit.

    I didn’t think Canada had these kinds of schools. I hope they aren’t funded by my tax dollars. He has told me they teach ID in science class. That was a whole other conversation and I wasn’t as nice as with the Halloween thing.

  51. Owlmirror says

    NelC @ 63:

    Incidentally, I have no idea what Ppppfff is, and Google’s not helping.

    A corrupted shortening of the Pfft! Of All Knowledge, a (very) colloquial (?) phrase for Wikipedia.

    This section of the page on Zheng He says:

    Some modern scholars consider these descriptions to be exaggerated.[citation needed] […]

    Although further down it states with more detail:

    Some scholars argue that it is highly unlikely that Zheng He’s ship was 450 feet (137.2 m) in length, some estimating that they were 390–408 feet (118.9–124.4 m) long and 160–166 feet (48.8–50.6 m) wide instead[81] while others put them as small as 200–250 feet (61.0–76.2 m) in length, which would make them smaller than the equine, supply, and troop ships in the fleet.[82]
    One explanation for the seemingly inefficient size of these colossal ships was that the largest 44 Zhang treasure ships were merely used by the Emperor and imperial bureaucrats to travel along the Yangtze for court business, including reviewing Zheng He’s expedition fleet. The Yangtze river, with its calmer waters, may have been navigable by these treasure ships. Zheng He, a court eunuch, would not have had the privilege in rank to command the largest of these ships, seaworthy or not. The main ships of Zheng He’s fleet were instead 6 masted 2000-liao ships.[83][84]

    Citations [81]–[84] are:

    [81] When China Ruled the Seas, Louise Levathes, p.80
    [82] Church, Sally K. (2005). “Zheng He : An investigation into the plausibility of 450-ft treasure ships”. Monumenta Serica LIII: 1–43
    [83] Xin Yuanou: Guanyu Zheng He baochuan chidu de jishu fenxi (A Technical Analysis of the Size of Zheng He’s Ships). Shanghai 2002, p.8
    [84] The Archeological Researches into Zheng He’s Treasure Ships, SilkRoad webpage.

    For whatever that is worth.

    (The link for reference 84 is wrong, and should be:

  52. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I’m not sure, since i don’t recognize you as being around a lot/for a long time, whether this:

    Incidentally, I have no idea what Ppppfff is, and Google’s not helping. Are they a scholarly site?

    was intended as sarcasm or not.

    But the Ppppfff is almost certainly Wikipedia (more frequently called the Pffft). Pffft or Ppppfff refers to the phrase”the Pffft! [Ppppfff] of all knowledge”, where Pffft! is a sudden exhalation meant to communicate surprise and derision.

    “are they a scholarly site?”
    is what made me think you were having some fun, but just on the off-chance you were serious (or that silent readers didn’t know you were joking, either way), I thought I’d place this out here.

  53. esmith4102 says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Noah the dude who:

    built a boat;
    saved the dinosaurs and other animals;
    rode out a flood;
    docked on dry land;
    got drunk;
    was laughed at by one of his sons, Ham who was cursed by god;
    became the progenitor of all the “darkest” races through Ham;
    And became the primary story for the Christian justification of early American slavery!

    Please inform me if I left anything out!

  54. says

    …what the hell does Obamacare have to do with Ham’s Ark problems?

    Because of the death panels, no one will live to be 950 anymore. Without Obamacare, Ham would have plenty of time to finish his project.

  55. Menyambal --- inesteemable says

    The ark design isn’t stupid the way some folks have been thinking, it’s stupid a whole different way.

    First, the ark is un-powered and un-steered, which any sailor will tell you is very bad in storm conditions. Ham, when he’s not molesting piglets, claims the Flood was all volcanoes and erosion and shit (one of his books shows the ark going down a rapids). Any sailor can tell you that waves get bigger the further they have to build up, and a completely flooded world is going to have enormous waves going in all directions.

    Ham seems to think he needs to make the ark self-steering, so the wind will keep it lined up bow-on to the waves. Even now, wind and waves do not agree, and in a world-wide ocean with storms and earthquakes, it would be raging chaos. And his design sucks.

    He calls one end the bow, because that’s end that will be going first as the wind pushes the ark through the water. If he can keep it pointed straight, and if the wind can shift the thing at all, which is not likely.

    He has built a large fin atop the bow end, to act as a wind vane and keep that end downwind. That isn’t altogether foolish, except his fin is the wrong shape, is built wrong, is top-heavy, and should be replaced by a sail.

    At the other end, under the water, he’s added the corresponding part of his windvane idea. This is the part that sticks out like a bulbous bow on a modern ship, but it’s really a fixed rudder. It acts to keep the back of the ship lined up as the wind drives it through the water. It, too, is okay in principle, sort of, but poorly done (for instance, it should drop below the keel).

    So the picture, seen in profile, looks a lot like a modern freighter, with bulbous bow and raised bridge at the stern. But it is backwards from that. It has a wind-catcher at the bow, and a trailing rudder—it is a sailing ship of sorts.

    What it is trying to be is a sailboat in storm conditions, with a sea-anchor out front and one little sail at the back, kept head-on into the waves while the crew cowers below, gibbering and shrieking their prayers. Ham’s Flood isn’t a sunny sea, smiling with giraffes out the windows, but is big on volcanoes and continental destruction. Which sends his whole vind-vane idea out the window.

    See, his design is intended to keep the stern pointed into the waves that the wind is driving along. That would be good, if it could be done and if the stern could shed the waves. But in Ham’s flood, there are storms all over the world, sending waves in all directions, and no continents left to stop them. It is going to be freak waves from Hell, with tsunamis.

    Even in present seas, waves don’t behave simply, and sea anchors don’t do well. Ham’s ark is so far off from what is done, that it looks backward. It could sorta work, but it could be done a lot better with a sail and a drogue, except that it is all pointless in Ham’s flood.

    Besides, it is all as un-Biblical as hell. But it does look swoopy.