Ham/Nye debate said to bring financial windfall to Ham and his Ark Park

I’m not saying “I told you so” (in fact I am, of course), but the main upshot of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate appears to have tipped the final balance in favor of Ham.

The debate, as you’ll recall, was held in Kentucky’s Creation Museum, was on the validity of creationism as a model of biological origins and diversity, and the proceeds from the DVDs went to Ham and other creationists.

Now, according to the Guardian and other venues, Ham has announced that proceeds from the debate have apparently revived the dormant “Ark Park” project, which will contain a “life-sized” replica of Noah’s Ark.

This is precisely what I predicted in a pre-debate post on January 5, “Ark Park near collapse; will Bill Nye help finance it?” At the time I wrote this:

What outweighs everything, though, is the possibility that Nye will lose by simply showing up, and thereby raising big bucks for the Creation Museum or the troubled Ark Park. And no matter what he says, or how good he is, if he is raising money that helps promulgate lies to the children he loves, Nye is making a very serious mistake.

The Ark Park had been in financial trouble because people weren’t buying its bonds, but if Ham isn’t lying—and one has to worry about that given his creationist mission—the debate got the needed interest to revive the park. As the Guardian reports:

Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73m. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.

Ham said a high-profile evolution debate he had with “Science Guy” Bill Nye on 4 February helped boost support for the project.

And Nye’s reponse:

Nye said he was “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” after learning that the project would move forward. He said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry, which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as a result, “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest.”

Well, he’s heartbroken and sickened because of his own actions. By agreeing to show up and debate Ham—something I suspect Nye did (at least in part) to keep himself in the media spotlight—he’s allowed Ham to further his project. The result, even if you think Nye gained a transitory victory in the debate, is that Ham will build yet another popular tourist attraction, one designed to promulgate lies to kids. Nye, of course, devoted his career as The Science Guy to precisely the opposite: teaching and exciting kids about science. In other words, Nye scuppered himself.

This is why evolutionists should not debate creationists. It looks good on Ham’s c.v.; not so good on Nye’s.  And now it looks great on Ham’s balance sheet as well. 

Nye lost—big time.


  1. gbjames
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Call me skeptical regarding Ken Ham’s claim.

    (Not that Nye should have agreed to a protocol that provided even a penny to the Creation “Museum”.)

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      We will find out. If they break ground on the Ark Park, then Ham is right. It’s not beyond belief, you know.

      • Achrachno
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        I don’t know about that. If Ham said it, I don’t believe it — and that settles it.

        When has he ever said one true thing?

      • Greg Esres
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        The best-case scenario would be that they break ground and then run out of money halfway through. That would maximize the number of people who squandered their money and we’d have a long-term testament to folly in our midst.

        • gbjames
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          “a long-term testament to folly”

          Is yet another one needed?

          • lisa parker
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            Apparently so. And probably will be again and again. But I think (and really hope) that Greg has gotten it right.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Ham said that people who had not filled in the necessary paperwork went ahead and did so and this was because of the publicity of the big debate. We may never know for sure if the debate publicity is what spurred people on but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.

    • Scote
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, the lack of actual numbers from Ham is suspicious. It is entirely possible that Ham is lying, claiming the debate pushed funding over the edge in order, wait for it, to push funding over the edge.

      However, I does also seem likely that the debate was a financial and publicity boon for Ham. While Christian fence sitters may seem him as having lost the debate, his fellow creationists are incapable of seeing any flaws in his arguments since the believe in the exact same thing. So what looked like a giant belly flop to use may have looked like an immense success in spreading the word of Jesus to followers.

      Since this is Ken Ham and his money loosing Creation Museum, I wouldn’t be surprised if the truth lies somewhere in between what he’s saying, and what he isn’t.

      • Karl Boyd
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        Ham would not lie. He is a Man of God… right?

        Jerry was right, all Nye did was give this guy unwarranted publicity, and now fresh funds and support.

        I sincerely worry about the future of the United States, especially if they will remain united.

  2. John W. Loftus
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink


    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      And damn. And fuck, hell…shit, might as well just queue up The Seven.

      Not sure that “tits” is applicable here, but we wouldn’t want it to feel neglected.


    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Or, as my 4yo daughter has taken to saying: “shitsky”.

      (I don’t know where she got it; perhaps a corruption of “shootsky”.)

  3. scottoest
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I suppose you have to weigh whatever intangible worth there was in Nye embarrassing Ham on what become a worldwide stage (what with all of the news coverage of the debate), versus Ham raising the money to build his big, silly boat.

    My own suspicion is that any kids being taken to the creationist “museum”, or this giant ark, are probably already being heavily indoctrinated from several sources, anyway.

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure building the big silly boat should be counted as a plus in the creationist column. I know they think it will be, but I think they are scoring an own goal here. To paraphrase an old saying: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to build a big giant monument to your stupidity and remove all doubt.

      • Greg Peterson
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        I agree, g-spring. I think Nye absolutely did the right thing here, and if he handed them a little more rope they can hang themselves with, so much the better. When even Pat Robertson basically calls you an idiot, you good and lost. If Ham wants to publsh an “I’m Stupid” pamphlet, I’m glad Nye helped finance it. Look, the hardcore creationists are a lost cause. Our one and only concern should be in convincing the conviceable, and Nye helped do that, and we must continue that effort. Other issues are more distractions than anything else.

  4. Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Ham is full of BS.

    Just sayin’.

    -R frankenSteil…

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      3/3/2014 at 05:42, post 5.

      Go figure…


  5. Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I am skeptical that the Nye/Ham debate made the difference. According to the Louisville Courier Journal (cited by Matt Young at Panda’s Thumb, and available
    here (see page 2):
    “Mike Zovath, the Ark project coordinator, said the minimum amount was sold, which constituted most of the bonds, and AiG purchased some. They did not provide exact figures.”

    It is quite possible that much of the supposed boost from the debate is actually money from Answers In Genesis itself, or else donations that they purposely delayed announcing. Can we necessarily trust what Ken Ham announces?

    • eric
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, IIRC they were short by a huge amount at last estimate – tens of millions short of the goal.

      I find it improbable that this debate would have brought in that amount of money. I think its far more likely that what happened was exactly what you say – parent company AIG bailed out daughter company Ark Park.

  6. Lurker111
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    “Ham has announced that proceeds from the debate have apparently revived the dormant “Ark Park” project …”

    I seriously doubt the words of a lying liar who lies.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    It’s a 75k project that is delivered in several phases. Hopefully his ark….sinks. 😉

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid you’re off a factor 1000.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Yeah I noticed afterwards. Anything over 1000’s & my mind just thinks “a lot”. 😀

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Just make sure you never confuse thousands of years for billions! 😉

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          As far as I’m concerned, there’s only zero, one, and many.



        • scottoest
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          If $1 bills descended from $5 bills, then why are there still $5 bills around, huh? Riddle me that!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            There are no $1 bills in Canada. 😛

            • Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

              You’ve identified the missing ink! And, since it’s missing, that’s all we need to know to know that Loonies are worthless….


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


  8. Doug
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    What did Nye think was going to happen? He didn’t know that this was a fundraiser? IF an evolutionist debates a creationist, it should only be if the money goes to a third party–a charity both parties can agree on.

  9. docbill1351
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    When Scambo made his announcement on live webstream it looked like an old time revival meeting complete with prayers and supplications. What was a little different, though, was the lineup of government officials on the stage with Ken. “Church” and state, hand in hand.

    I write “church” because even though Scambo benefits from tax-exempt status by calling his scam a church, what he actually runs is an entertainment business.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      You watched all that without vomiting? Thanks for taking one for the team! It’s hard enough to read about it.

  10. Draken
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I can’t find any clear numbers right now, but last I heard was that AiG was far from reaching their financial goal, so I’m a bit surprised a simple bit of publicity could tip the balance the other way.

    Anyway, there are still many interesting ways in which Ham and his investors can fall hard and deep, even before the project’s finished. The Museum for example started off well, but visitor numbers are waning. See that happen to a $73M project…

  11. Adrian
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    When are we going to stop calling this a boat/Ark? It is a wooden barn. It will not float, it will not be on the water, it is not a boat.

    It is a $73million dollar barn.

    • Draken
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      So they should be called the “Ark” Park and the Creation “Museum”, with finger quotes like Dr Evil uses for his “laser”.

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Everyone who visits should ask, a la Letterman, “Will it float?”

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        I’d actually be more interested in knowing if it’ll blend….


    • SA Gould
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Whatever it is, I think it’s great: people don’t have much idea about fossils, but they are familiar with zoos. Whatever structure they make, it’s going to be really hard to convince anyone all the animals in the world could fit into it. (Unless they only carried DNA samples of everything…)

    • Matt G
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Barn Park has a certain ring to it.

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Skeptical that it will get built, but if it does, look to Waterbury, CT for the future.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Something about that creepy looking Sphinx just cracked me right up!

    • Walt Jones
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if the diocese had a more pressing use for the ten million dollars needed to fix it up. Can’t think I what it might be…

  13. Scientifik
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t take any words coming out of Ken Ham’s mouth at face value. It’s likely a PR move meant to present him as a victor of the confrontation. How many dvds of the debate which ended up in complete debacle for him did he manage to sell? 100 copies?

  14. Karl Heinz
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I’d like to think that Nye’s debate merely stirred the embers of a dying fire. Interest in the Ark project has flickered again a bit, but will die out soon.

  15. Mattapult
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I’m praying for a really big storm upstream from the Ark Park. (just in case prayers actually work)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Well, you know if that storm produces floods, that ark ain’t gonna float!

      • Mattapult
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink


        Maybe Nye could use that picture explaining how difficult it is to make a wooden boat that size.

  16. darrelle
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I am not convinced yet that this debate was a bad thing. I think it is very difficult to weigh tangible effects. Of course, if the metric is simply “did Ham’s organization make some money off of this event” then of course that is true. And I do agree, that is not so good a thing.

    But I am not completely convinced that therefore the debate was a bad thing and that Nye should have refused to participate. Even if it turns out that the debate did in fact enable the Ark Park, I’m not certain that would tip the balance for me. I am not so sure that the Creation Museum itself is a bad thing. It is so silly that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns off some of the visitors that aren’t already fully committed lost causes. One more silly ass amusement park that drains resources that could be used for more serious efforts, like political lobbying and campaigning, doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

    Meanwhile, judging by reactions aired by various means around the net, even a significant number of religious believers think Ham got hammered flat. What fruit might that bear?

    I am not sure enough to commit to yea or nay with any conviction on this yet.

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon.

      I agree. The creation museum is sad and ridiculous and makes for sad and ridiculous photo ops. It is something children grow up to be embarrassed of. Perhaps the home schooled children who don’t get out much are impressed now, though even they have televisions and sometimes the internet, but as soon as they visit a real museum they will feel the palpable difference. Long before they are able to entertain the merits of evolution versus creationism as an idea they will sense, in their gut, that they are wedded to shabby also-ran world view. The ark will be even more ridiculous. Like many religious stories, the ark thrives in the shadows of the mind, as something only half visualized. Making it too concrete brings the ridiculousness into focus (think saddles on dinosaurs). And who can doubt that it will be plagued by problems and end up having to do with far fewer variety of animals than they imagine? It may turn into ‘goat land’, as many small private zoos do. If we can get creationists to invest their money into something that will likely turn into a money pit and photo-op for anti-creationism, into something that will ultimately up the cognitive dissonance of believers, that might not be a bad thing.

      It could, of course, be a net win for creationism as many people think, but it is far from obvious to me that that is the case. I’m inclined to think they are scoring an own goal and we should maybe not get in their way as they do it.

  17. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    So, Ham got crucified in the debate only to be resurrected. Why couldn’t Nye see that there is no winning against twisted morons who think martyrdom is the ultimate virtue?

  18. Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    As ever it’s the kids that count. As long as we keep up the pressure to keep this crap out of schools around the world, it will die out eventually.

  19. Bruce S. Springsteen
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Let him build it. We need such monuments to epic stupidity, as a reminder to future generations. The debate was fruitful in ways no one suspects. The seeds of inquiry were planted in the minds of many who never gave the Ham scam serious scrutiny. It was, in fact, a no-lose situation for evolution and a no-win for creation. I almost never disagree with Jerry on anything, but on this one we see completely different things and advocate utterly different approaches.

    We need more such “debates,” not fewer, with serious preparation. We need to annihilate the bad arguments repeatedly, dramatically, and publicly with skilled rhetorical fighters who know how to do it. This was just a warm-up. It’s not about the science. It’s about the dominant cultural voice. Reason-pushers have been AWOL in the popular mosh pit, and need to get dirty and down.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      I defintely lean more towards your take on this issue than with Jerry’s.

      And I really like “Reason-pushers have been AWOL in the popular mosh pit, and need to get dirty and down.”

      Made me laugh, and brings back some memories.

    • David
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Yeah I actually think that Ken Ham getting to build his silly ‘Ark Park’. Creationists are going to continue brainwashing their children whether or not this park gets built…. I think that the creation ‘museum’ does a great job exposing how insane and dangerous young earth creationism is. I think Ken Ham’s ‘Ark Park’, if it is built, will do the same.

  20. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    What Bill Nye wanted to do was to convey why scientists !*as scientists*! (rather than as atheist activists) !*feel frightened*! (and generally passionate) about creationism as well as to raise awareness among the liberal population (such as us Left Coast California types) about how really powerful creationism !*already is*! is some parts of the country.

    So I think in this measure he succeeded.

    But I remain concerned that he debated Ham on his home turf, rather than in a third-party venue. Wasn’t a regular natural history museum or secular school available? Perhaps Nye thought that in Ham’s turf, he could strike at the heart of the dragon wounding it more seriously.

    I think it unlikely that Nye (as Jerry said) did this for ulterior motives “to keep himself in the media spotlight”. Nye still appears regularly on the Weather Channel, been interviewed on multiple talk shows, has engaged in other debates on global warning, has created 2 other science series for adults since “Science Guy”, even guest-starring as a professor on the crime drama “Numb3rs” which he helped to create.

    • Dave
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      “But I remain concerned that he debated Ham on his home turf, rather than in a third-party venue. Wasn’t a regular natural history museum or secular school available? ”

      I disagree to some extent. Yes,a neutral venue of some kind would have been acceptable, but NOT under any circumstances a genuine museum or other academic institution. That would be tantamount to granting Ham’s garbage the status of a legitimate scientific viewpoint that is worthy of serious discussion, something that it most certainly is not. Debating them in churches or other religious institutions is the right way to go. The scientific message is them presented to the deluded masses who might otherwise never encounter it. Yes, in most cases it will fall on deaf ears, but at least a few seeds of doubt will be sown in the minds of the less-committed, who may then be inspired to look and read a little further…

      I’m also sympathetic to the opinion that it’s no bad thing if Ham & co. do build their Ark folly. If the wretched thing does come into being, it will look so ridiculous that no-one who isn’t already a hardcore creobot will be able to take it seriously. And if the whole enterprise goes bust, the creos will have squandered millions and will probably end up fighting like rats in a sack over the legal claims, liabilities and demands for compensation from the people they’ve fleeced.

      • Draken
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        I was thinking, most cities have a central waste dump somewhere, don’t they? That would be the proper venue to discuss creationism, plus it’s cheap. Also, the smell reminds of what the Ark would have been like.

        • gluonspring
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          The ark exhibit is likely to also have that great smell unless they are investing heavily in a high tech ventilation system. What are the odds that they will get that right? I predict fun headlines about how the Ham’s Ark is unvisitable because of the stench and equally fun headlines about how they had to retrofit it with high tech ventilation systems (you know, the kind Noah would have used) to make it tolerable for visitors.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        In retrospect, I feel the problem is that Ham is not just stupid, but an aggressive self-promotor, a showman. If there’s a time and place for debating creationists, it shouldn’t be someone like him, IMO.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Would that, as a condition for his debating Ham at Ham’s museum, Nye had secured a legally enforceable contract with Ham to debate Nye at, e.g., The Amazing Meeting.

  21. Greg Esres
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “I suspect Nye did (at least in part) to keep himself in the media spotlight”

    Why impugn the motives of an ally? I would assume he did the debate for the reasons he said, unless there were clear evidence to the contrary.

  22. Mark
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    OTOH, it drew attention to what these hicks are all about.


    • Draken
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Those are some chilling facts:
      In 2012, the poverty rate in Kentucky jumped to 19.4 percent, or 823,000 people, making it the fifth poorest state in the U.S., according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Child poverty in particular increased from 23.5 percent in 2008 to 26.5 percent in 2012. And 35,891 public school students in Kentucky were homeless during the 2011-12 school year, Northern Kentucky News reported in March 2013.

  23. Jerry Newingham
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I’m in complete agreement with you Mr. Coyne, and your argument against the debate is the same argument I was making prior to it.

    I was flustered during the time leading up to the debate, not understanding why in the Hell would Nye agree to this fiasco, KNOWING that Ham would profit from it win or lose.

    Most atheists were against the debate, judging from the various blogs and Youtube channels for the very same reasons.

    Now could Nye NOT see this coming???

    I’m used to seeing theists shoot themselves in the foot, but you don’t expect it from someone like Nye.

    • Jerry Newingham
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Meant “How”…typo

  24. Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    After watching all debates from Christopher Hitchens on religion, he has spoiled me on others. Bill Nye is at best mediocre.

    BTW the worst of religion you wont read about in the USA is Boko Haram in Nigeria. Over 100 dead this weekend in one small town which is no longer.
    Adds perspective

    • Mark
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, Hitchens was in a league of his own. IMHO, not even Dawkins and Harris are in his league. Hitchens is greatly missed.

  25. Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    We liez, we can haz lottery money too!?

  26. Steve Gerrard
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    From the article on NPR:

    “The date of my debate with Bill Nye had been on our calendar several months before we knew the final delivery date of the Ark bonds. But in God’s timing, not ours—and although the bond registration had already closed before February 4 and no more bonds could be purchased— the high-profile debate prompted some people who had registered for the bonds to make sure they followed through with submitting the necessary and sometimes complicated paperwork.”

    In short, bond registration closed before the debate. The debate encouraged registrants to finish the paperwork.

    Well okay.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I wonder how he knows that?

      • gluonspring
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Same way he knows the Bible is true.

  27. Michael
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    If it goes through I want to see how long it takes for a construction company to build a building that looks like an ark, but doesn’t actually need to float.

    My guess is it will be a lot longer then what it supposedly took Noah to build.

    Then someone will be able to count the animals and the see if there would be enough food and point out all the problems with a life size example.

    Yes, I know. They’ll come up with excuses, miracles from God and other such nonsense.

    Still, it will put a lie to Ham’s words in the debate about the time it takes to build a huge boat.

    I think it’s more likely Ham will walk away with a lot of the money as fees or salary or some such when attraction capsizes.

  28. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Municipal bond offerings (in the millions) for this shit, yet the U.S. government can’t extend unemployment benefits.

    Let that boat sink in.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m no lawyer or tax accountant, but why can Ham use Muni Bonds (ie, tax-free bonds) to fund a religious project?

  29. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    73 million dollar project! That is so wrong. If They should take the money and give it to starving children. Seriously, I can think of a lot better things to do with the money than that. The people who are giving to this are just ignorant.

  30. mordacious1
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Ham lies.
    Nye beat Ham like he owed him rent.
    The “debate” more likely cost more than it raised.
    Most likely, the darn thing will never be built and if it is, we can make fun of it.
    Money contributed to this cause is money that can’t be used in a more productive way by these bozos.
    Millions heard about the debate and its outcome. Hundreds will visit the ark if it gets built.
    This is a win for Nye, a win for atheism and a loss for Ham and his “boat”.
    Nye did the right thing by debating Ham. It would be wrong for Dawkins, Coyne, Harris, etc., but Nye was the perfect person to do it.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if Ham would agree to debate a woman. I assume that he subscribes to and endorses Paul’s admonition to women to be silent in church.

      I assume Ham’s museum is a so-called 501c(3) non-profit. Does he view it as a “church”?

      I knew of a reverend who owned a wedding chapel. He was all for the costlier weddings.(“Get the money up front,” he said.) He was operating in a 501c(3) status, but had to be sure to consistently preach in the chapel in order to be able to document, justify and maintain that status.

    • Steve
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      I second that emotion!

  31. Andrikzen
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The only fruitful debate between science and religion (including all manifestation of woo) has to held at the polls. Secularists everywhere have to continue the clarion call against the encroachment of religion into politics and push back on each incursion however trivial. Public education and educating the public, teaching critical thinking skills, especially to children, is the antidote to this affliction.

    Note to philosophers and theologians stop peddling the Argument from Obfuscation. If God was real, we would ALL know it; no ambiguity – it doesn’t get any simpler.

  32. Quantumbee
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Ham has really got the media all fired up with his claims that the debate won him the funding. The truth is that right at the end of the year, Williamstown floated $62 in bonds to help. Williamstown is a hotbed of X-tian lunacy and they also plan to benefit from the tourism. So I am very skeptical about the idea that the debate is what brought in the funds.

    I too was worried about Nye doing the debate, but was very pleased with the result, so now I’m glad Nye did it.

    This museum, if ever built completely, will be a one hit wonder just like the Creation Museum, which is seeing its numbers decline so much, they added a zip line to try to bring people back.

    What irks me the most is that Ham has applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for a wetlands mitigation, so he is ruining the environment with this nonsense.

    Plus, I wonder what will happen to the mixing of state funds with religion when Ham starts making employees sign religious loyalty pledges and violates civil rights laws.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      One kind of thing that will likely happen is lawsuits.

    • Quantumbee
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Oops! Meant $62 MILLION in bonds….

  33. Rob
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Building an “ark” is a good thing. This is very scientific experiment which we can all observe.

    I’m looking forward to Ham showing us how he will manage this ark with only 8 people.

    Build it. Build it!

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. We should egg him on and encourage him to build one to sail around the world on the ocean! I’d pay to see that.

      • Rob
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. I’d love for a creationist to demonstrate that the ark could be seaworthy.

        I’m all for observational science.

        • Diane G.
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Hoist by his own petard!


  34. cremnomaniac
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I imagine, like most ships, it will eventually become infested with rats.It also reminds me of a “ship of fools.”

    Wikipedia –
    “The allegory depicts a vessel populated by human inhabitants who are deranged, frivolous, or oblivious passengers aboard a ship without a pilot, and seemingly ignorant of their own direction.”

    The description is a rather accurate depiction of Ham and his ark.

  35. Steve
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The Guardian article is a taunt to jump to conclusions. It’s too soon to render a judgement. At best, Ham is seriously exaggerating. In this economy, what are the odds of the ark park being built and operating in the black?

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Depends on whether or not he can convince the Koch Brothers to take up the slack. Indirectly and discreetly, of course, but it’s right up their alley.


      • Steve
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Good point, but then the Bros will require Ham to mount an oil derrick on the ark.

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          Only if it’d be likely to harm an endangered species….


        • Filippo
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

          What are the Kochs’ religious opinions? Do they think petroleum is less than 10,000 years old?

          • gbjames
            Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            The K Bros are hyper-conservative Libertarian types. I didn’t see anything about their religious views on Wikipedia. They might even be atheists (or, more likely “fathiests”). I see them as cynical exploiters of conservative religious types.

      • gbjames
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        I don’t think the K Bros. will do that unless they install a special climate change denial wing.

        • Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          I somehow doubt that would be a problem….


  36. Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Why does Ham need millions of dollars to build an ark? Did Noah have millions of dollars?

    Ken, just get off your ass, grab your axe and go build it, like Noah did!

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Yeah — and we’ll even let him use that sophisticated invention, bronze, for his axe rather than the old-n-busted stone.

      No iron, though. Nobody was using iron in 2000 BCE — and, besides, YHWH is allergic to it.


    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Good one.

      Anyway, since bond market is strongly affected by herd-mentality and other behaviourals, I think what Ham tries to do is just trying to warm the market.

      Even if there are only a few thousands die-hards, if so of them are inclined to spend (usually for other benefits like fame or such) some money in the name of Ham .. it might work.

      Do not agree with prof CC that Nye has failed. Ham definitely took a spank publicly, while this supposedly monetary gain may or may not be affected by the debate (the diehards will do it anyway, do not know for how much).

      So, the important think to do is to keep the ridicule on – and that’s exactly the good of prof CC’s New Republic article (what is this publication actually? republican? )

    • Filippo
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Seems that ark construction materials ought to no less gently float down from the heavens than allegedly did manna, eh?

  37. Filippo
    Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The Lord told Noah he had a plan
    To punish people o’er the land,
    Flood the Earth and clean the land

    It’s raining Ah believe!

    Noah brought his family near
    He said, “The skies don’t look so clear,
    Get the animals, bring ’em here!”

    It’s raining Ah believe!


    Whoa-Oh! Children little children,
    The Ark is gonna leave,
    So step inside and take a ride
    It’s rainin’ Ah believe!

    Noah built himself an ark,
    Built it from the hickory bark,
    All the world was gettin’ dark,

    It’s rainin’ Ah believe!

    (Additional verses, from a record collection I received as a six-year old. Obviously, I put in some time listening to it.)

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Lyrics complete with the complicit lie that passage on the ark was available to any children of the time…

      • lisa parker
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Would YOU want to be trapped on a boat for that long with a passel of whiny kids. “Are we there yet?” “I’m bored!” “Timmy won’t let me pet the llama!”

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] just look at an example. In the wake of the infamous debate between Nie and Ham, Anna Lloyd explains “Why science is irrelevant to my belief in God“. This is a very […]

%d bloggers like this: