FFRF versus the Ark Park

In this video, which the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) says was filmed covertly, FFRF lawyer Andrew Seidel talks about how Answers In Genesis, Ken Ham’s organization, sworn to purvey lies about biology to children, has benefited from taxpayer subsidies. (As you may remember, the Ark Encounter has a supposedly life-sized version of Noah’s Ark which contains, among other things, miniature dinosaurs.)

The land for Ham’s “Ark Encounter”, Seidel says, was given to the park, the organization is still benefiting from tax breaks (meaning the citizens of Kentucky subsidize it), and now public school children can get in for only $1. (The normal admission price for children 5-12 is $28.)

The FFRF, rightfully, is trying to ensure that no public school sends its kids on school-sponsored trip to the park, as that is indoctrination in a specific religion expressly prohibited by the First Amendment. I wasn’t aware that that such trips were happening, or were being planned by some schools, but it’s not only unconstitutional but detrimental to education.

The FFRF is my favorite secular/atheist organization, and I’d urge you to join. Of all the organizations of that genre, it’s the one that, I think, really gets the most stuff done, thanks to Dan Barker, Annie Laurie Gaylor, and their crack staff of lawyers and assistants. It’s only $40/year, and you get a swell monthly newspaper loaded with cool stuff.

32 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    And, if I may add, should you be able to attend an FFRF annual conference, you’ll get to hear from some stellar speakers. Last year’s speaker list, for example, included Laurence Krauss, Daniel Dennett, and our very own local hero, PCC[E]. Well worth it!

    • Bob
      Posted March 30, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      I agree. The Professor (E) signed his book for me.

      My wife enjoyed the convention so much we are going to the far north, for us, again this year.

      • GBJames
        Posted March 30, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Happily for me it is only a short drive, 70 miles to the west. Perhaps I’ll bump into y’all!

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    FFRF does so much work in the battle for constitutional rights and against the religious right you cannot go wrong joining. They also have lifetime membership as well.

  3. johnw
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Joining tonite….embarrassed I hadn’t before.

    • sshort
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      You could ask for forgiveness, but I think they’ll be just fine with the $40.

  4. Pliny the in Between
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    On a related note – If religion is going to create mythology, I think this would be a far better approach to the Ark and would allay some of the criticisms.

    http://farcornercafe.blogspot.com/2017/03/mythological-mash-up-ark-encounter.html

  5. longsmith
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I belong. Best part is the crank mail.

    • Blue
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      As do I, longsmith; and I offer it — say, for an annual, renewing birthday one, as a gift to Any including my adult kiddos whom I believe may want such.

      Another favored feature — although sick, sick, sick — besides its newspaper’s Crank Mail is its Black Collar Crime – roster ! Unfrickin’believable the numbers of such heinous, violating, that is … … violent acts by such “clerical” / “theological” criminals upon innocents.

      This Ham Ark – deal and (any) kiddos’ education is especially egregious: per Mr Hitchens’ “Religious education .IS. child ABUSE.” I find the FFRF’s attorneys the most vigilant and the hardest – working on the behalf of our nation’s littlest brains and their overall well – being — as well as All of That for the rest of us ! In particular and if you are a Twitter user, do, indeed please, follow there Mr Seidel !

      Blue

  6. Posted March 29, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I believe that ALL Religions be banned from any “Public” Schools. Not only is it evident that Christianity is being cultivated into the young minds, which omits any possibilities for Science, but it also allows the argument that the “teaching of Islam” be introduced into our classroom. The very Idea that these are “Public Schools” are teaching this, should be debated & allow a vote by each and every Parent of these children as to its acceptance into the classroom !

    • boggy
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      In France since 1905 the teaching of religion in schools has been banned. Religion is also banned in public buildings and hospitals.

      • Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:51 am | Permalink

        So doesnt it make you wonder why Muslims insist the teaching of Islam be introduced into our public schools and somehow their wishes are granted!? What happened to our backbone when this group demands things that we have long ago abolished?? …. whos in control of our Country?

        • GBJames
          Posted April 2, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Where is “our Country”? And why is “Country” capitalized?

          • Posted April 4, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            Where ever you want it to be, and because its a Noun 🤔

            • GBJames
              Posted April 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

              Cool. I just got back from Lunch. It was a good Tuna Fish Sandwich. Made with Celery and Mayonnaise. Now I’m back at my Computer wondering why I ever paid Attention to my English Teachers.

              FWIW, in my Country I’m not aware of any Public Schools that teach Islam. So “wherever you want It to be” isn’t really accurate.

              • Posted April 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

                GBJames: Perhaps Wanda was paying Attention to German Teachers.

              • Posted April 9, 2017 at 1:26 am | Permalink

                Lolololing!! I suppose 😄 Some English teachers are better qualified than others. But, you’ll never know unless you’ve had several. 🙃
                The reason you haven’t been made aware of the “teaching of Islam” in some public schools is because it’s
                not widespread. These schools are in isolated areas, where there are a larger population of Muslims. Parents are becoming aware of these practices through notifications from teacher & students!! Imagine your surprise if that was your child telling you what they studied in school that day 😞
                I know a lot of people don’t believe this, but they will one day soon. Til then 👋😌

              • GBJames
                Posted April 9, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

                Evidence is a wonderful thing. It is a shame you haven’t offered any to support your assertions.

  7. rickflick
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’d give my students a good background in science and comparative religion and then take them to the Ark Encounter for them to laugh at. Probably worth a dollar.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I’d quite like to visit it for a laugh, but I don’t want to give Ken Ham any money.

      However, since I’m unlikely to be able to afford a trip overseas without a lottery win, it’s a dilemma I need not worry about too much!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 30, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        I’m trying to work out a scheme for a scam, to take a busload of kids in at a dollar a skull, then have them all “so outraged” by the stupidity of the presentations that they demand their $28 entry fee back.
        totally unethical, I know ; but on the other hand, it would deliver a thorough kicking to Ken Ham’s delicate financial underpinnings, which ought to alleviate a lot of ethical discomfort.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Knowing how much he’s struggling to make this venture pay, you can see how desperate he is to indoctrinate kids with the $1 offer.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            So delivering a kick to his financial underpinnings appeals all the more?

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted March 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              Yep!

  8. Posted March 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I’d love a chance to ask Ham why a vessel with no means of propulsion would have a pointed bow and streamlined hull.

    • nicky
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      +1!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 30, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      There was a programme on the telly a few weeks ago (whose recording I deleted a few days ago – you probably heard the ‘delete’ button being pushed as you typed, the universe being like that) in which they were attempting to build an “ark” according to descriptions in a recently discovered (in a collection, not the ground!) cuneiform tablet relating one of the Babylonian flood legends which the Jews copied when enslaved (with the obvious support of their god) in Babylon. In that programme, British Museum cuneiform specialist Irving Finkel gives his interpretation that the story was about an over-grown version of a “traditional” “Marsh Arab” boat style known as a “guffah”, which is circular in plan.
      Ah, Finkel has a book about it. (Not surprising. Nor is it surprising that the TV shows like Finkel – a genuine expert, Gandalf beard, total “mad professor” package of enthusiasm about minutiae. The guy is pure TV gold. His “thousand tablet stare” will go down along with Richard Fortey’s “thousand trilobite stare” and Dawkin’s “thousand meme stare”.)
      But yeah, your basic question is on solid ground. The whole western tradition of Noah and his pointy ark is … “not even wrong” (to steal a phrase from a physicist).
      There’s a slightly interesting but genuine question over where the “not even wrong” imagery came from. Finkel’s book probably addresses it in excruciating detail.

  9. veroxitatis
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I also watched “Bill Nye tours the Ark encounters”. I found this to be distressingly disturbing throughout. The point where Hamm slitheringly turned to a child of some 9 years or so and said – “He says you’re an animal. Do you believe that you’re an animal?”, was utterly sickening. As I have said in respect of like videos, this is child abuse.

  10. Posted March 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I guess that was Satan roaring at the video’s conclusion. /sarc

  11. Posted March 29, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    FFRF led by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor
    accomplishes wonders, but can use all the help they can get. I don’t know about the rest of their attorneys, but FFRF lawyer Andrew Seidel
    is a treasure. If you have a chance to attend a meeting or annual conference with any of them, it is well worth your time.

  12. Sarah
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    His name is Ham and he built an ark?? Too good to be true!

  13. Posted April 1, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    The FFRF is one of my favorite charities, the other is MSF. I always try to make an extra donation to each of them at the end of the year if I have any spare cash. And I make a small additional donation to MSF whenever we bomb one of their hospitals!


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