Kenneth Alfred “Ken” Ham (born 20 October 1951) is a young-Earth creationist who advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. He is the president of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Creation Museum.
In 1979, Ham co-founded what was to be later known as the Creation Science Foundation (CSF) in Queensland, Australia, with John Mackay.
Ham worked for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a young-Earth organisation. In 1994, with the assistance of what is now Creation Ministries International (Australia), Ham and colleagues Mark Looy and Mike Zovath set up Creation Science Ministries, later renamed Answers in Genesis. The Christian ministry specialises in young Earth creationism and promotes the belief that the initial chapters in Genesis should be taken as literally true and historically accurate. He then began raising funds to build the ministry.
On 28 May 2007 the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky, a project which cost $27 million. The necessary funds were donated throughout the 1990s. It is about 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2).
In May 2007, Creation Ministries International (CMI) filed a lawsuit against Ham and AiG in the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organization. Members of the ministry were “concern[ed] over Mr Ham’s domination of the ministries, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations.” According to the CMI website, this dispute was amicably settled in April 2009. In 2008, Ham appeared in Bill Maher’s comedy-documentary Religulous. AiG criticized the movie for what it called Maher’s “dishonesty last year in gaining access to the Creation Museum and AiG President Ken Ham.”
In March 2011, the Board of Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. voted to “disinvite” Ham and AiG from “all future conventions,” saying that Ham’s words about other Christians were “unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.” AiG responded: “It is sad that a speaker and ministry, which stand boldly and uncompromisingly on the authority of God’s Word, are eliminated from a homeschool convention.” Ham hosts Answers. . . with Ken Ham, a 60-second program broadcast daily on radio stations and the Internet featuring Ham’s commentary on issues.
In February 2014, Ham debated American science educator and engineer Bill Nye (popularly known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy”) on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in the contemporary scientific era.
Ham says that the Universe was created about 6,000 years ago, and that Noah’s flood occurred about 4,500 years ago in the year 2348 BC. He says that the animals carried on Noah’s ark produced the biological diversity observed on Earth. Ham also believes that dinosaurs co-existed with modern humans. He supports his view with biblical scripture. Ham accepts that natural selection can give rise to a number of species from an original population.
Ham questions the reliability of radiometric dating, a technique used to date objects such as moon rocks, fossils and human artifacts. Since 1989, Ham has frequently made the comment, “Were you there?” regarding the origins of life and evolution, implying that knowledge of unwitnessed events requires direct observation rather than inference. Talk.origins responded that the evidence for evolution “was there” and asserted the necessity to continue scientific inquiry with the claim being made that “If this response were a valid challenge to evolution, it would equally invalidate creationism and Christianity, since they are based on events that nobody alive today has witnessed”.
Ham says that there is a difference between facts themselves and their interpretation, writing that:
Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions; these are things that are assumed to be true without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.
Ham’s statements and tactics have been criticized by other Christians and old Earth creationists, as well as the scientific community at large. Answers in Creation, an old Earth creationist website, has called Ham willfully ignorant of evidence for an old earth, and said that he “deliberately misleads” his audiences on matters of both science and theology. Astronomer Hugh Ross, a progressive creationist, has debated Ham and other Answers In Genesis staff regarding the compatibility of an old Earth with the Bible. BioLogos has also responded to Ken Ham’s criticisms of its viewpoint.
On 30 December 1972, Ham married Marilyn (“Mally”). The Ham couple have five children and ten grandchildren.
Ken Ham earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, with an emphasis in Environmental Biology, at Queensland Institute of Technology and a diploma in Education from the University of Queensland.
He has been awarded two honorary degrees: In 1997 from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio and in 2004 from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.