In this episode, we're digging up a story 6,000 years in the making as we explore Young Earth Creationism, Answers in Genesis, and everyone's favorite dino daddy - Ken Ham. Rawr!
Evolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie Scott
The New Answers Book #1 by Ken Ham (Editor)
The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham
Bill Nye Tours the Ark Encounter with Ken Ham: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPLRhVdNp5M
We Believe in Dinosaurs: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B081S9Y898/ref=atv_wl_hom_c_unkc_1_2
Jey: Can we just talk about strap-ons for a second?
Clint: I would love nothing more.
Jey: Well, you said you went to a pegging seminar. And anyway.
Clint: I did. Peggin’ Thee Stallion.
Clint: Peggin’ Thee Stallion. That was the name of the instructor...
Jey: I hate that that was her name. Okay, so I tried on my lovely tops strap last night and…
Clint: Question - was this just an around the waist situation or did it have the suspenders?
Jey: No, it's just an around the waist situation. It definitely feels like I'm putting on a rock climbing harness. But instead of where I would clip in to belay someone, I'm putting a purple dick.
Clint: Belay the dick.
Jey: You know like in Full Metal Alchemist, how they can detach limbs and stuff because everyone's like half like automated?
Clint: I do not. But I take your point.
Jey: Anyway, when we lose our limbs or decide to replace them with cool tech things, I think that people should really think about having detachable dicks because it is so amazing to be able to be like, “Yo, I don't have the leg power for this.” Like my thick thighs were meant to shake my ass, not thrust. I am a bottom. So when I want to like, do shit with the strap, I can just take the dick off and just use my hand. Amazing! But y’all with the organic strap-ons, like, y'all are just stuck.
Clint: I would love to have a removable dick. I think that would be extremely convenient.
Jey: Exactly. That's what I'm saying. Strap-on - you can change them out. So you like bigger, you like smaller, you like vibrating…
Clint: Ribbed, studded.
Jey: I can't figure out how to windmill the dick, though. And I was so sad. I like, tried it, but it was just so erect that I just couldn't get a good windmill going. And I think I'm too powerful with a dick and that's why I wasn't born with one.
Clint: Strap-ons aren’t flaccid enough, you see. They’re too erect. It's never gonna windmill properly. There's a very small window where the dick is not too flaccid, but it's not too erect. That's when the windmill really works.
Jey: I need it to be made out of more like gelatin type material. I need it to be made out of the thing they make those, like, stretchy, silly hands out of.
Clint: Gelatinous dildos. Yeah, I think they make those.
Jey: I need a dick like that that I can put into my strap on so I can windmill my dick. Because if I had an actual dick like that is all I would do all day long. Okay, we need to start this show.
Jey: I've been watching so many science videos lately that just teach about, like, human origins and the last human and like, what we have to do about climate change and all of this stuff, and it's just so wild, like educating myself now outside of a Christian nationalist education. There's so many things out there. There's so much purpose, there's so much life. It's so beautiful. Like, the more I learn, the more I feel like I don't know. I was told that the dinosaurs in the Jurassic, that was like 4000 years ago or something.
Clint: Well Jey, you’re in luck because today, for our very first episode, we’re taking it all the way back to the beginning. We’re gonna be discussing Young Earth Creationism and its most famous proponent - Ken Ham.
Jey: Oh, my God, I cannot wait.
Clint: And we’ll also be talking about the way the religious right approaches science in general. But first, our sources. Evolution vs Creationism by Eugenie Scott. It's a science textbook that primarily teaches evolution but debunks creationism along the way. I found it very accessible and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic. On the other end of the spectrum, I read Ken Ham’s most famous book - The Lie: Evolution - as well as one of his kids books titled The New Answers Book. I actually read that one as a kid.
Jey: So you just went straight up and read all of his texts?
Clint: No, I didn't even come close to reading them all. His bibliography - and even moreso the bibliography of his company Answers in Genesis - is immense. It was an entertaining read though, I gotta say.
Jey: In preparation for this episode, I watched the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debates. I did fall asleep halfway through both of them.
Clint: Well, they're pretty lengthy.
Jey: Three hours long! A nd poor Bill Nye just feels harrassed and frazzled the whole time. I'm just, man…
Clint: Well before we talk too much about Ken and Answers in Genesis, and all of the crazy shit that comes along with it, tell me what role creationism played in your life.
Jey: So I went to a Christian school. We were taught the Earth is 6000 years old, so we were taught Young Earth Creationism. They kind of take science and like a little bit of science and then just lay it over that. So they're like, “Yeah, there are layers in the earth. God created Earth with an apparent age to fool scientists, which is a little weird. All those fossils are just there as like a “Ha-ha” moment to be like, “Isn't this cool that God hid these things there?
Clint: Ha! What would be the purpose of that?
Jey: To challenge your faith and to make sure that your faith remains strong. We watched like, some documentary disproving everything in evolution because they don't have enough fossils to prove the links between monkeys and humans, which that's not what evolution says anyway. I know that now. And so we just wrote reports disproving evolution, and that was the only time we ever talked about evolution. And then when I toured a school because I was going to go to a different high school, like a public school, like a charter school. They used B.C.E. and C.E. and I remember asking what that was. And they had evolution in their textbooks. And then for their summer reading list they had Edgar Allan Poe. And my mom said, “Absolutely not. You can't go to that school.” And so I got stuck in the Christian school for four more years.
Clint: Which Edgar Allan Poe story was it? Do you remember?
Jey: It was probably like the Raven or the one where the people are buried under the floor.
Clint: The Tell-Tale Heart.
Jey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it was that one. Like, just normal poetry that you should like…
Clint: Evolution was one thing but this gothic horror is the last straw, Jey!
Jey: But yeah. And so even in college, like, evolution was a sin for me. I took a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and digital design and whatnot, so I only had to take three classes in science and I took astronomy and then like geology and like, life science courses. And I was fine at them because it was easy classes to pass.
Clint: My experience is very similar. I was homeschooled for the most part. I went to a Christian school a little bit of the time, but I was taught young earth creationism in both places. 6,000 year old earth, humans and dinosaurs coexisting, a worldwide flood, the whole deal. And this wasn’t some extracurricular thing. It was in the science textbooks in lieu of evolution. I was aware of people who bought into the god-using-dinosaurs-to-confuse-people thing, but we were more in the vein of, “This is real science. We have the answers. Evolution is a fantasy. Every scientist in the world is wrong somehow.”
Jey: Yeah. Make sense. In college, once I got out of the more evangelical churches for a while, I did a detox by going to an Episcopal church and I really liked it. There were a lot more saying my priest would do this thing where he would invite professors from the university that were professors in science, and we would go to like a bar on like Tuesday night because he had gone to Harvard for religion. So he is just like getting them to talk about evolution and how you can believe in evolution and it's not a sin and that it's totally fine to believe that God has created all of this and you can still have your faith and believe in science. And so that was really nice, like having that same thing when before, like even in all of my science courses, I would say like, “Yes, the earth is millions of years old” for like, the college ones, knowing that I just have to answer this for a test, but it's not real. And I know better than the professors.
Clint: This Episcopalian was really doing the Lord's work, like taking these poor, sheltered evangelicals and exposing them to real science.
Jey: And it was like a lot of adults. Like, that bar was packed. There was like a hundred people in there. And we are all just learning about science for the first time. It was wild.
Clint: Honestly, that’s not even surprising. 38% of adults in America right now think that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. That's a lot of people.
Jey: We've got some work to do.
Clint: It does need to be said that Young Earth Creationism is on the extreme end of the creationism spectrum. There are plenty of Christians who believe in evolution. These ideas are not, like, mutually exclusive. Despite what extremists like Ken Ham say, it is completely possible to believe in science and god. But generally speaking, when creationism is discussed in America and certainly when we talk about it on this show today, it’s specifically in reference to Young Earth Creationism.
Jey: So there is like that theory about intelligent design. That one is a little bit less Young Earth Creationism, but it just believes that like God said it and bang, it happened. That's the big bang.
Clint: And that’s the only version of creationism that makes sense, really, because it doesn’t contradict what we know to be true. If you want to believe god is the origin of the big bang, more power to you. That doesn’t change the science and it isn’t provable either way. It still doesn’t belong in science class though. It isn’t science. So let’s talk about YEC’s biggest fanboy - Ken Ham. What do you know about him, Jey?
Jey: I know of Ken Ham. He's a guy who built an ark out in Kentucky and he debates with Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I know that he has been in some like, Christian nationalist documentaries lately. But also Answers in Genesis I think he's related to. And they did like, a road show when I was a kid and came to my town.
Clint: Lucky you.
Jey: Yeah, there was a skull thing that was, like, supposed to be a dinosaur's skull, but we could make it into a dragon if we wanted. They were showing how easily a dinosaur skull could just become a dragon. Like dragons are real because dinosaurs are real. And that's like the thing that they talk about, like in Job or something they mentioned a giant lizard. And so yeah, anyway. And so that's what I know about Ken.
Clint: All of that is absolutely correct. Ken Ham is an Australian Christian fundamentalist, young Earth creationist and apologist, and former public high school science teacher who currently lives in the US. He is also the founder, CEO, and former president of Answers in Genesis (AiG). He’s been doing this a long time and is very well known in Evangelical circles. His company - Answers in Genesis - describes itself as an American fundamentalist, Christian apologetics, para-church organization. That’s a mouthful.
Jey: So when we say para-church, we just mean like a church related organization, some stuff is nonprofit, some stuff is for profit.
Clint: Exactly. They're not a church, but they are evangelizing. And they’re the #1 proponent of Young Earth Creationism in the world. Their reach is unbelievable.
Jey: Got it.
Clint Answers in Genesis owns and operates the extremely popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, and they recently opened a new attraction there called The Ark Encounter, which is a “lifesize” reproduction of Noah’s Ark. In addition to their physical attractions, they distribute a huge library of books, music, movies - they even have their own streaming service now which I subscribed to.
Jey: Oh, is there a streaming service? Is it like Pure Flix or a Netflix kind of thing?
Clint: No, no, no. It's all original content.
Jey: So like Discovery Channel kind of?
Clint: Sort of. There are a lot of just like, straight up seminars/sermons from Ham and various people in AiG. There are a lot of “documentaries” that have little to no scientific or factual basis. But it seems like their bread and butter is primarily kids content. And that can be said about the company in general.
Jey: So it's mainly towards children?
Clint: That's what they put most of their time and effort into for sure. They're making costumes, they've got production design, they're writing scripts. The bar isn’t very high but there’s a lot of it.
Jey: So it's not a high production value, the streaming service?
Clint: The quality on it is fine, it's passable as a kids show from the 90’s. The information contained therein could be a little misleading.
Clint: So let’s talk a bit about the specific and more peculiar beliefs that come along with Young Earth Creationism. The first one, upon which the rest of them are based really, is biblical literalism. Answers in Genesis, and Young Earth Creationists in general, contend that the book of Genesis is to be literally believed in all matters both historic and scientific even though there is no science in it.
Jey: Which is wild because it's so poetic. It's literally like, it's a story, but it's also poetry and all this different stuff that's been passed down. It's another creation myth. And when you start studying other worlds creation myths like the one from the Vikings - Lord Odin - and he like, created man out of an ash tree and an elm tree and called them Askr and Embla. Like, that sounds so much like Adam and Eve. Like, you can just see like, where these stories have blended over time. And so taking a 2000 year old document that we don't even have the originals of -
Clint: I mean, we’re talking about the old testament here so it’s even older than that really.
Jey: And all of the crazy translations that have happened in it and then saying this is real and we're going to use this as a basis for science rather than science, which starts with observation and then hypothesis, and then you do experiments and tests.
Clint: What's interesting though, is that Ham doesn't take everything in the Bible literally. And he mocks people who do. Anything else in the Bible that is objectively untrue, right? He'll chalk that up to being poetic. Like, the Bible references the “four corners of the Earth.” That verse was used as a basis for the belief that the Earth is flat for a very long time. Now that we’ve been to space and observed that we’re living on an orb, that verse is clearly incorrect. Ham says all the time that verses like that are obviously allegorical, but that Genesis is not for some reason.
The next big tenet of YEC is, of course, the age of the earth. Well, the universe really. They insist that it is about 6,000 years old. Some of the more “liberal” proponents will go as high as 12,000 years, but that’s really the limit. I want to be clear that nowhere in the Bible is there an age of the Earth given. They get this number solely by adding up the lineage of people listed in the Old Testament, like the “this person begat so-and-so” bit. But even if we don’t consider the major logical flaws in that method, there are many scientific ways to refute Young Earth Creationism too. Like, literally nothing we can observe in the known universe supports the idea of a young earth. And we could talk all day about the reasons this is bullshit but there is one way to refute their claims that I’m particularly fond of.
When I, like, became an adult, and I went to college and took a real science class for the first time and began questioning all of this stuff that I'd been taught growing up. And this is the thing that really got me because it’s something that Young Earth Creationists really don’t have an explanation for, although they do make a couple of very bizarre attempts. But anyway, what I’m referring to is the “starlight problem.”
Jey: Oh, oh, I love this.
Clint: So we have stars that are millions of light years away, right? And of course, a light year is the distance that it takes light to travel in a year. So if we can see the light from stars that are millions of lightyears away, it means that light has been traveling for millions of years to reach us. That one blew my fucking mind when I was like, 19.
Jey: It's wild and it's so interesting and so cool to learn about because it’s stuff I never learned. I just learned about the Starlight problem from Hank Green on a TikTok this year, and it blew my mind.
Clint: It's just such an obvious and apparent thing I had never, ever considered before that moment. Of course, Ken Ham’s number one explanation is, well, magic. He says that god created the universe in such a way that the light was just already here.
Jey: Huh. I've heard that it's like, “Oh, God created the stars and stuff. And, like, those days that it says in the Bible, there's another place where it says “Each day is like a thousand years to God.”
Clint: This is what they call the Day-Age Theory, and it is something a lot of people subscribe to. The basic idea is that the word “day” in Genesis is a metaphor.
Jey: Metaphorical, but it has to be exactly a thousand years.
Clint: Not necessarily. Some people use the Day-Age Theory to account for billions of years. Ken Ham, of course, does not subscribe to this idea. In his kids book that I read - The New Answers Book - he hypothesizes, without evidence of any kind, that the Earth had some sort of enhanced gravitational pull during the early days of creation. And it like, created some sort of time slip that pulled the starlight to us at a rapid pace. Total nonsense.
Jey: One of the most freeing things for me about learning more about evolution, mainly because of this podcast episode has been - wow, we are significant, but we are also insignificant in this vast scheme of things.
Clint: Honestly, I prefer it that way.
Jey: Yeah, we don't have to be the center of everything. But for these religions to exist, you do have to be the center. Because otherwise why would a God care about you and that placing humans above all other things - because that's another thing that you'll see with the creation story - like, man had the power to name everything. Man is over these things, which is why we're allowed to hunt, which is why we're allowed to raise cattle and do all the agricultural stuff. It's like all those justifications.
Clint: I think you’re absolutely right. Part of the core of what makes this idea so appealing to people and why so many people continue to believe in Young Earth Creationism is because they have some sort of deep rooted need to feel special in some way. I actually got an email from a religious right org the other day that was all about how aliens can’t possibly exist because god made the universe for humans and humans alone. Like, where do these people get off? Anyway, moving on. Another YEC belief that goes along with the age of the Earth is the age of people in biblical times. They claim that Adam lived to be 930 years old which is pretty wild considering how young they think the Earth is.
Jey: Okay. Does it say that in the Bible?
Clint: Well, yeah. It does say that in the Bible. And plenty of other biblical characters supposedly lived just as long if not longer. But like, if he did live 930 years and the world itself is only 6,000 years old, that means Adam would have been alive for 15.5% of the entire history of the universe.
Jey: Could you imagine?
Clint: I'm only 30 and I'm worn out already. Jesus Christ. I can't live 900 more years.
Jey: Your body would just be- You’d have to be built different.
Clint: Ham argues that they were actually. This stems from a doctrine Christians hold more generally - The Fall. Most people know this story but basically, everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden. Then Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and everything goes to shit. Sin and death enter the world. Yada yada yada. So from a YEC perspective, the beginning of time was the pinnacle of human health and we’ve been on the decline ever since. That’s why people don’t live hundreds and hundreds of years anymore.
Jey: That's what's so wild to me. I was talking to someone about that literally yesterday. I was like, didn't humans, like, live like 900 years back in the day? And they would be like, what? No. Before modern medicine? Like it's like you have demons in your blood. Go do cocaine about it. Like it's not-
Clint: I mean, when you put it that way, it makes me feel like ancient medicine was better.
Jey: That's the answer. That's just, like, a few years ago. But, like, we still kind of do that, you know, with ADHD. Like, we just give you, like, legal meth and are just like, here you go.
Clint: But yeah, the biggest flaw in this theory is obviously the fact that human lifespans have steadily been getting longer for hundreds of years now. I think this whole train of thought stems from the Evangelical idea that the world is getting culturally worse all the time. And look, we have our fair share of problems today but more people have food than ever before. More people are housed than ever before. To say things are generally worse now than they were a thousand years ago is completely insane.
A footnote belief Ken Ham promotes related to this is an insanely high pre-flood human population. We’ll get into the flood itself here in just a second but…god this is so dumb. So the flood allegedly happened about 4,500 years ago. So following their timeline, the Earth would have been around about 1,500 years at that point. In his book, Ham says the human population may have been as high as 4 billion.
Jey: Do we have actual evidence to support that?
Clint: No, no, no, no, absolutely not. There's zero evidence to support this idea. I mean, hell, there are only 7.7 billion people on the planet today! The math is built entirely on the idea that everyone is living a really long time and no one is dying early, which goes against everything we know about the ancient world.
Jey: Yeah, like the infant death rate...
Clint: Exactly. Completely ridiculous. And again, that is not in the Bible. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. So the flood. God’s judgment for the wickedness of early man. This is really the core of Young Earth Creationism in a lot of ways. What do you remember learning about the flood and Noah’s Ark as a kid?
Jey: We learned Noah took all of the animals, two by two, probably took dinosaurs on the ark, maybe. And also that there were certain special like pure animals that he took seven of so like certain doves, certain ravens. And the raven was actually bad because it didn't come back. So it was like not a good bird, but like the dove is like holy and sanctified.
Clint: There's that Edgar Allan Poe creeping in again…
Jey: Exactly. That's what I'm saying, that Raven said “Nevermore! Bye bitch!”
Clint: What I think is interesting is that there are strikingly similar flood myths that can be found all around the world. So like, some kind of major water-related disaster almost certainly happened to early humans. Just not the way Ken Ham says it happened.
Jey: There are still people who go around and like, look for the ark somewhere in the Himalayas because they believe that it's just on top of a mountain somewhere. But the thing is, there are a lot of flood myths within the world's mythology, and one of them is the flood myth of Gilgamesh, and it is so similar to the story of Noah, and it was just like, mind boggling for me.
Clint: What’s crazy is that this is clearly a mythology that’s shared around the world, but we were told that the existence of other flood myths were just proof of the Noah narrative, that all the other cultures just ripped off the Bible. Which is ridiculous because like you said, we have the Gilgamesh story which predates the Bible.
But beyond the myth aspect, the flood is just a sort of catchall for anything Young Earth Creationists can’t explain. They would have you believe that the planet and the life on it was completely different before the flood so any scientific method used to date something beyond 4,500 years ago is invalid because the rules were different pre-flood.
Jey: Well and that's where they believe a lot of these fossils came from, too. That's what I remember.
Clint: Absolutely. They say the fossil record and like, geological layers are all a result of the flood. They say the Grand Canyon is a perfect example of this. Of course, the most obvious fallacy here is that nowhere on the planet do fossil layers from different time periods overlap each other. It is remarkably consistent. If all these animals - dinosaurs and humans and wooly mammoths - were all alive at the same time, the bones would be all jumbled up. Not perfectly fucking layered.
Jey: Maybe the velociraptors just got buried in a mass grave that that wooly mammoth dug.
Clint: Maybe, maybe. But I just- You really have to turn your brain off for any of this to make sense.
Jey: The flood and Noah's Ark is actually really important. One of the biggest tourist destinations for Christian homeschoolers is Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter. Aren't they like the biggest creationist organization?
Clint: Oh, yeah, by far. By far.
Jey: Absolutely. So this is like the heart of creationism right here. And science misinformation.
Clint: Absolutely. People come from around the world. When they first opened the Ark Encounter in 2016, they got 800,000 visitors.
Jey: This is recent. Yeah, but they did it with, like, cement and stuff. They did a life size replica, quote unquote. But when he's going through with like Bill Nye, Bill Nye points out-.
Clint: It will not float.
Jey: Yeah. He's like, “you didn't try this ark out. Like, if you wanted to try it out for real, why is it built with cement? Why didn't you, like, do a historical building of it?” And then he's like, “Well, we can't use all these old tools,” but then they have all these old tools on display. Yeah. And he was like, “This is probably what they used.” And he's like, “But isn't it beautiful?”
Clint: It’s a really surreal place. It answers the question, “what if you opened a science museum but just fabricated absolutely everything on display?”
Jey: In the documentary, there's a microbiologist who gets her degree from Ohio State University.
Clint: And you’re talking about one of the staff scientists at Answers in Genesis.
Jey: I looked up her like, stuff, and she was never really on a research project. She was only like the second or third person like, undersigned. In all these studies. It was just wild, like looking at all of this stuff and there was actually a scientist who was looking into it trying to talk about like, I don't understand, like, where is the research? Why are they doing this? None of this is accurate.
Clint: I mean, serious scientists won't even bother giving these people a rebuttal. Back when the Ham/Nye debate first happened, I remember a lot of discussion around whether or not Bill Nye should even participate. I’m pretty sure Richard Dawkins was one of the more outspoken people against it. The argument being, of course, that Bill even acknowledging someone as crazy as Ken Ham gives him a level of clout he wouldn’t otherwise have. It sort of legitimized Ham as someone worth debating.
Jey: I think that Bill Nye actually- I think it was a good thing that he did it, personally. And this is why - I know it's shedding a light on Ken Ham and stuff like that. But there are you know, you said 38% of Americans believe in young earth creationism.
Clint: 38% believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old but yeah. Tomato, tomato.
Jey: So I think that is super important for Bill Nye to do this, because like when Bill Nye came to my town, when he was touring.
Clint: Hold up, you got to see Ken Ham and Bill Nye as a kid?
Clint: What the fuck?
Jey: Anyway, the whole time I was watching Bill Nye, I was, like, praying to myself that I wouldn't get, like, encouraged by evolution. So I wasn't really, like, focusing on Bill Nye. But yeah…
Clint: Oh so you didn't learn anything there either?
Jey: No, I don't remember it. Like, I barely remember it. I just remember that it was a sin that I was even going. But I went with my school and I knew that everyone at my church was protesting that he was there. So I was just like-
Clint: Well, you were protesting in your heart.
Jey: Yeah. But anyway, and so Bill Nye, I think because he was very active and a science educator for kids at the time, when can Ham was active. When I was a kid, it was important to see someone else. You just don't you don't see outside of creationism.
Clint: Ya know, maybe you’re right. Because somebody who got a normal education - who believes in evolution and real science or whatever - if they watch the Nye/Ham debate, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll jump ship to Ken Ham’s side because what he says doesn’t make any fucking sense. But if someone who grew up like us watches it, that might be their only exposure to the other side. It was the first time I had really learned a lot of that to be honest. I was a freshman in college when the first one happened I think.
Jey: Absolutely. So that's why I think it's super important that Bill Nye did it, because there were so many people standing around trying to question them because they were so mad that he was even there.
Clint: That’s something we should make clear - there are 2 Ham/Nye debates. The first one was a widely broadcast, traditional debate. That’s the one most people remember. Then shortly after that, there was a follow-up where Bill Nye toured the Ark Encounter with Ken Ham and like, debated as they walked around.
Jey: Like as he's walking through the ark and he was very flustered the entire time, like I was stressed out just watching him. I think it was important for what he had to say because the talking points that he brings up weren't the talking points that we were taught to combat evolution with. He was just bringing up actual, observable, quick facts and fallacies within our flawed thinking that I had just not thought of.
Clint: Yeah, it made me incredibly sad actually. There were all these kids coming up to Bill Nye and like, confronting him with their internalized indoctrination pseudo-science. It wasn’t like, mean-spirited or anything. They just truly believed they were right and Bill Nye was wrong. I would have been flustered too. But 20 years ago, I would’ve been one of the kids grilling him. Well, you know what? I always leaned toward thinking Nye agreeing to debate Ken Ham was a bad idea but you’ve changed my mind.
Jey: Aw, thanks.
Clint: This is actually a good segue into what I think is probably the most dangerous YEC ideology - climate change denial. Nye said that he only agreed to debate Ham to raise awareness about climate change in people who dismiss or ignore it, meaning most any evangelical you can find.
Young Earth Creationists, and frankly, most conservative Christians, outright deny climate change is happening on this planet despite it being an objective, observable fact. But like most of this shit, their reasoning is not scientific as much as it is theological. To understand their thinking, you have to flip from the Bible’s first book to the last - Revelations. Just as they believe Genesis is literal history, they believe Revelations is literal prophecy and will play out exactly as written despite the fact that the book barely makes any fucking sense to begin with. It’s steeped in symbolism and allegory more than any other book in the Bible, Genesis included.
Anyway, the short of it is that they believe the end of the world will happen in a Left Behind-type scenario so their argument is that they know how the world will end and it has nothing to do with climate change. So we don’t need to worry about it. I always come back to an argument I hear Christians make all the time - the old “if I follow Jesus but he isn’t real, what have I lost? If I forsake him and he is real, I have everything to lose.” The same logic applies here, ya know? If we care for our planet - as god ordered us to do by the way - what do we have to lose? The biblical tribulation happens someday but in the meantime, we have a healthier, cleaner planet. But if Revelations turns out to be the psychedelic ravings of an ancient mad man, and Jesus never returns, we’re all going to literally burn alive. The irony is that they’re creating what they fear most - a literal hell - right here on Earth.
Jey: We're going through an extinction right now caused by us. Like, you know how the dinosaurs went extinct from an asteroid? No, we're going extinct because we fucking like to drive cars instead of wanting to work together to make trains. Like, it's really that simple.
Jey: There are a lot of niche things within Christianity. One of the things I was raised with was Christian parodies of songs. So on the way to school, when I was going to public school, the people that I rode with were Christian homeschoolers and they would drop me off.
Clint: Wait, but where were they going?
Jey: I don't know.
Clint: Why would you ride to public school with a bunch of homeschoolers? Didn’t you have buses?
Jey: The girl that lived across the street from me was their cousin and she went to school with me. So it would be me and her that they would drop off and the homeschoolers would just, I guess, go get like donuts and go back home and start school.
Clint: It just seems like such an out of the way favor to run for your neighbor every day.
Jey: Well, yeah, but they were also doing it for their cousin that lived next door to them. So I was just another-
Clint: Still, I never drove my cousin to school.
Jey: Well, at the time it was like the early 2000, Y2K and bone-
Jey: And bone and Gold Digger was popular. I can't say that with goodness. And we would listen to an anti-evolution version of Gold Digger instead called Bone Digger.
Clint: Love that.
Jey: And I have the lyrics here in front of me.
Clint: Oh my god, yes. Sing it.
Jey: Okay, so it starts off because, you know, it's like, “They make monkey, right out of me. Yes, they've been trying endlessly. Overeager bone diggers. They never found that jigsaw piece.” And then the beat picks up. It's like, “Now I hate on the bone diggers, but I never see no holes bigger, It sounds like no evidence found. It sounds like the heads in the ground. It sounds like they're just too proud. It sounds quite boneheaded.” And then it's talking about, like it goes into like Darwin and stuff and it talks about-
Clint: This is the perfect mashup. They could not have picked a better 2000’s pop song for an anti-evolution parody. 10/10.
Jey: Like straight up, it's like, you know, it's like “I found trilobites in stone in some petrified trees, you know, evolution ain’t paleontology.” It goes on...
Clint: I’ll tell you one thing - Kanye never worked trilobites into a rap so I’m pretty fucking impressed, I must say.
Jey: Yeah, but it's like dads that should be in a ska band singing this like, you know that they wear like a news cap as they're rapping about anti-evolution.
Clint: You could not have picked a better Christian musical parody to bring us to our next topic of discussion. This is everyone’s favorite part of Young Earth Creationism and what Ken Ham really built his empire on - the goddamned dinosaurs.
Jey: Oh, yeah, dinosaurs.
Clint: I’m so excited. Do you know what Ken Ham calls dinosaurs?
Jey: I do, but I can't wait for you to say it so go...
Clint: You do the honors.
Jey: Missionary lizards. I can’t! He straight up says you can use dinosaurs to witness to other people because they're just like, they're missionary lizards. You can use dinos. And he goes and he makes kids chant this back at him. “And what do we call dinosaurs?” And all the kids are like-
Both: Missionary lizards!
Jey: You know, I'm thinking like missionary positions and lizard people sex but-
Clint: Wait till he hears about doggystyle amphibians.
Jey: Can we make-
Clint: That's a band name right there.
Jey: I was going to say a porn but OK.
Clint: Can you craft us some amphibian suits?
Jey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll just, I'll sew them. We'll just get some, yeah. Yeah. Anyway, so missionary lizards.
Clint: The thing about the missionary lizards - AKA dinosaurs - is that they're the crux of Answers in Genesis because Answers in Genesis is largely geared towards children. And what kid doesn't fuckin like dinosaurs? I love dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are fucking sick. Jurassic Park is my favorite movie.
Jey: Yeah, Dinotopia.
Clint: Velocipastor. You see that one? It's like a werewolf story. But he's the pastor who turns into a velociraptor.
Jey: Oh, and Kung Fury. He goes back and there's, like, dinosaurs that shoot lasers out of their eyes.
Clint: Oh yeah, I remember that. Anyway. Dinosaurs. Ken Ham would have you believe that dinosaurs and humans existed on this planet at the same time, only a few thousand years ago. He even says Noah brought baby dinosaurs onto the ark. They survived the flood but then all of them inexplicably died shortly thereafter, possibly, according to Ham, due to an ice age. The post-flood ice age is the only one to have ever occurred, by the way.
Jey: How many ice ages has the Earth actually had according to science?
Clint: Five I think? And the first one was like 2 billion years ago, not 4,500.
Jey: I don't know. I've only seen like four Ice Age movies, so that's how many my guess is.
Clint: Right, so there's at least four.
Jey: Yeah. In the fifth one the squirrel gets its nut or whatever.
Clint: The squirrel gets his nut. You mentioned this earlier but AiG frequently references dragons as if they’re real animals and not mythological creatures. I know it isn’t a distant leap from the other shit they believe but still, it’s just so fucking crazy. They basically contend that since humans and dinosaurs coexisted on Earth, then our dragon myths must stem from ancient people interacting with dinosaurs. They aren’t a product of fantasy. They were 100% real. Just like Game of Thrones.
Jey: I feel like they could have just killed off the dinosaurs in the flood and they would have been like, way better off. But they have to keep them in because of that verse in Job.
Clint: And sure, legitimizing dragons is pretty far out there but it isn’t even close to being Ken Ham’s most outlandish claim concerning missionary lizards. And as a kid, I wanted to prove this theory correct so fucking bad. Ham claims that there may well be dinosaurs still alive on Earth right now. And I don’t mean like, birds or whatever dinosaurs eventually evolved into. He believes it is possible, if not likely, that living, Jurassic Park-style dinosaurs can be found somewhere on this planet.
Jey: Yeah, we just haven't found them yet.
Clint: He literally said the only way we could ever know one way or the other is if we could somehow see everywhere on earth at the same time. And only god can do that, obviously.
Jey: We can. We have GPS.
Clint: And this insanity goes well beyond Ham. There were people that mounted an expedition just in 2019 to go look for living dinosaurs in remote parts of Africa.
Jey: Is that like a mission trip you, like, sign up to go look for dinosaurs?
Clint: Kinda. I mean, it's religiously affiliated. No serious scientists are taking up this mantle. But these people claim to be, you know, real explorers. A modern day Indiana Jones for Jesus kinda thing. They're going to go look for dinosaurs and knowing Christian history, probably kill it or something and bring it back.
Jey: Colonized dinosaurs. Jesus.
Clint: I full-on believed in this when I was a kid, that there are still dinosaurs to be found out there. I was very, very into this concept. I'm sure you could understand how broken my heart was when I realized that there are not any dinosaurs to be found in Africa.
Jey: There aren't?
Clint: No, no, they're not there.
Jey: No, but, but Daddy Ham said so...
Clint: Another thing that’s kind of funny is how Ham rides the pop culture waves, like most Evangelical media. In his kids book that I read, there is a missionary lizard glossary in the back teaching about different dinosaurs. There are like, 300 or so known dinosaur species that have been found, but every single dinosaur Ken Ham features can be seen in the fucking Jurassic Park movie. Evangelicals are always doing that shit. They talk about how much they hate secular culture and media but then just go make the exact same thing with a Jesus sticker slapped on it.
Clint: So there’s no good way to segue into this but let’s take just a second to talk about something significantly less fun that missionary lizards - racism. And we’re going to touch on some other discriminatory issues within AiG too, like homophobia. But Ken Ham makes a point to regularly insist that he is not a racist, which is kind of a red flag in itself. He’s one of these “colorblind”, “race doesn’t exist” people.
Jey: Like there's only one race that's the human race.
Clint: Exactly. Of course, this is a well-known tactic used by racists to dismiss any concerns about systemic racism or inequality. Institutional racism isn’t a problem if race doesn’t exist, right?
Jey: He is an all lives matter guy.
Clint: That's the most succinct way to put it. He's that all lives matter guy.
Jey: Where he, like, thinks that he would be good by saying all lives matter.
Clint: I mean, it makes sense that he is constantly having to say he isn’t a racist because the website of his company - Answers in Genesis - is regularly publishing blatantly racist content. It’s just article after article criticizing Black Lives Matter and critical race theory. And a lot of it is written in a tone that suggests the intended audience is already kida racist.
Jey: Is it only white people that work there?
Clint: I doubt it’s exclusively white people. It’s a pretty big company. But the media they put out is overwhelmingly white. It’s kinda like the republican party. It isn’t made up entirely of white people, but whiteness is the vibe.
Jey: Well, they are in Kentucky.
Clint: Well, there's a lot of non-white people in Kentucky, but I doubt many of them are going to work at the fucking Noah's Ark.
Jey: Well, yeah, well they're also are a lot of requirements for working there that they make you sign about your personal life.
Clint: Yeah and this can carry us into the homophobia and transphobia a bit. The employment docs are super fucked up actually. You have to sign a document that says you view homosexuality on par with bestiality, incest, prostitution, and abuse. And more recently, a similar statement “any attempt to change one's gender or disagreement with one's biological gender.”
Jey: Interesting that they added those anti-trans language.
Clint: Answers in Genesis has really, really, really been harping on trans issues for the past year or so. There are dozens and dozens of anti-trans propaganda pieces on their website. Articles, seminars, videos, you name it.
Jey: So that's probably where the church is going to pivot for the next decade or two. It's going to be trans rights. So it's just going to get worse before it gets better. It's like-
Clint: Yeah I think it will continue to be a major talking point for the religious right for the foreseeable future.
Jey: Yeah. So that's why it can be like, funny, like, ha ha. Like missionary lizards. But at the end of the day, like Answers in Genesis is contributing to a huge bit of misinformation and it's a little bit too recent, like the ark being built in just 2016. Like all of this stuff is very real, very active in the Christian circles right now.
Clint: And you may be asking yourself - or us - why a pseudo-science organization whose alleged goal is teaching about earthly origins is so concerned with contemporary hot-button topics like CRT and trans rights. And well, I’m gonna tell you. It’s because it was never about the age of the Earth or the flood or what happened to the fucking dinosaurs. It’s all a Trojan Horse for extremism. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what most people think about how the universe came to be. That, in and of itself, has very little bearing on our daily lives. But Ken Ham and people like him use these silly beliefs as a springboard to impose far-right political ideas onto their followers.
It literally says on the Answers in Genesis website that if you don’t subscribe to Young Earth Creation, you’re a “compromised Christian.” He ropes people in - particularly children - with fantastical stories of dragons and epic tales of worldwide floods. Then he positions himself as the sole arbiters of true science. And it’s one thing when we’re talking about dinosaurs, but if you get on the Answers in Genesis website right now, you’ll barely see anything about Creationism in their recent posts. It’s all religious right political propaganda. But they continue claiming scientific superiority and weaponize that to do things like invalidate the very existence of the LGBTQAI+ community. It’s fucking diabolical.
Jey: And it's just the beginning of the Christian nationalist worldview. And so this is just one of the many para church organizations that do similar things, like Focus on the Family is another one where it's creating a lot of Christian think pieces around topics so that they can move the Christian nationalist people to vote in such a way. And so it does affect our daily lives even if I don't want Noah's Ark out in Kentucky to affect my daily life, but it is.
Clint: It just makes me so fucking angry because he just outright lies to people about science and they believe it because it validates their worldview. Like, there is quite a bit of biological evidence of the validity of homosexuality. I don't feel like any of us need to be justified by some sort of scientific experiment but like-
Jey: Yeah, but it's so cool to learn about queerness within our species because I feel like it kind of validates, like finding out like, oh, male penguins, they care. Like two males will like adopt like a little baby penguin egg and there's like gay penguin babies.
Clint: I actually just read an AiG article that talks about the gay pengiun thing.
Jey: Oh, goodness.
Clint: I’ll tell you their explanation for it and this kind of answer is very common because when they get backed into a scientific corner, they just start weaponizing the Bible instead of science. But basically, the existence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom is undeniable at this point and Ken Ham knows that. So their argument now is that animals exhibit all kinds of behaviors that we don’t find acceptable in humans. The murder each other. They eat their young. They shit wherever they want. Therefore observing a behavior in animals doesn’t validate it as a human behavior.
Jey: Yeah. Except Christians have been murdering people for thousands of years. We've seen how, like, America was founded on slaughter. Like, fucking.
Clint: Of course. I mean, it’s a very weak argument. But it’s a hill they plan to die on. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Jey: Okay. So you've said that it's a Trojan horse and we've talked a little bit more about that. But young earth creationism, like I thought that at least in public school, that hasn't been taught. But you mentioned a little bit that might be.
Clint: No creationism of any kind is supposed to be taught in public schools, but of course, that isn’t exactly the reality. There have been several cases in the past few years where public school teachers have been caught sneaking creationism into the classroom. Even more prevalent are teachers who just skip over evolution entirely. There was a big blow up in Louisiana back in 2014. The teacher handed out a quiz in science class and one of the questions read, “Isn't it amazing what the (blank) has made?”
Jey: Oh. Isn't it amazing what the Zaddyi has made? Like, what are we supposed to insert there?
Clint: Maybe you could get half a point for Zaddy.
Jey: And what did this kid write?
Clint: Well, the kid complains, so I guess the kid wrote, “Go fuck yourself.” But yeah, it's still happening. It hasn’t been completely weeded out of schools. And to be fair, I don't expect a huge resurgence of creationism in the classroom. But the problem is that 38% of Americans believe it already. And we’re just talking about public schools here. We aren’t taking into account the hundreds of thousands of kids in this country who are being taught this every day in private Christian schools and in homeschool. We’ll be diving into conservative Christian curriculum in a future episode so stay tuned.
Jey: Really taking creationism out of schools makes Christians think that they are at target for something. So they think that they're being martyred. They believe that Christianity is under attack.
Clint: Absolutely. It’s persecution complex 101. Phrases you hear a lot like “equal time” and “teach the controversy.” The truth is, there is no controversy. This is settled scientific fact. There’s nothing to debate. And of course, they don’t want any other possible origin stories taught. They frame it as if there are two options - Christian creationism and evolution. But really it’s science vs literally any other explanation.
Jey: Yeah, but the way that I was taught it was creationism is real. Evolution is just some theory that they're trying - that's the thing. They teach that evolution is a theory. And so what they don't teach is what floored me the first time I watched Crash Course Big History. And she said a theory is something that's tested and true. Kind of like the theory of gravity. When I drop something, it's going to drop just because we know it. And that's the theory of gravity, just like it's the theory of evolution. And I was like, oh, my God. Because it's what the rest of science is based on. So there's so much science to back it up, like archeological evidence and like carbon dating and like they're finding more and links like every single day to just really like flesh this like this is observation and what has come through just looking at the earth and seeing what's in front of your eyes anyway and then stop preaching. But yeah.
Clint: You're 100% right. And that’s one of the most fundamental problems. They’re misrepresenting scientific terms to children. I was never taught that either. In scientific terms, a theory is more absolute than a fact.
Jey: It's amazing. Just learning tiny little bits like this. I just get so excited. Okay, I'm, you know.
Clint: Fully buying into Young Earth Creationism is about way more than just not believing in evolution. It requires you to disregard basically every single school of scientific thought - biology, geology, astronomy, archaeology, paleontology, paleobotany, climate science, carbon dating, radiometric dating. Literally nothing we know about the universe supports any possibility except evolution over billions of years. They are indoctrinating children to disbelieve the most basic facts about our universe. Not only is that abusive to the kid, but it’s going to fucking kill us all if people don’t start grappling with the reality of our current climate situation.
Jey: I think it's insane. They built an ark out in Kentucky. This is just one part of this insane para-church thing where they've literally got arms and articles. They've got like people on the ground trying to get creationism back in schools. Like, I just thought that we were over this. It's still like very, very relevant. It's just like a little bit disconcerting.
Clint: Well Jey, I think that’s pretty much it. Missionary lizards. If you happen to come across any in the remote regions of the world, please let me know. I would love to change careers and become a dinosaur hunter.
Jey: Can we just go dinosaur, not hunting? I just want to see them.
Clint: I don't mean hunting as I'm going to murder the dinosaurs. I want to go dinosaur watching, I guess. When you say the word birdwatching, I feel like it implies a very peaceful activity. Like, you’re walking through a park or a nature preserve. You’ve got binoculars and you're watching these birds. But then what if it was me and you, lost somewhere in an African jungle searching for dinosaurs?
Jey: Naked and Afraid, the show, but it's just us but we're dinosaur hunting we're like, “no, we're going to find them” and then we just get mauled by like a jaguar and die. You know, I get it though, because there was someone scrolling Google Maps just the other day that found this lost city because people just don't have the time to go through all of the GPS data that we have.
Clint: I’m sure there is plenty of interesting shit left to discover in the world but I just feel like living dinosaurs are something someone would have documented by now.
Jey: I saw a TikTok sound today and it said, “If I die dumb, take the video and put it on YouTube for everyone to see.” And I was like, Yeah.
Clint: Well if we do mount this expedition, we’re strapping GoPros to everything because I’m not missing that shot, even if I get eaten in the process.
Jey: I am so ready to go hunt dinosaurs with you. Like, we're going to find them. We're going to do it.
Clint: Well let’s wrap this up. Jey, where can people find us?
Jey: We are How Gay Thou Art at pretty much everything. So Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, we haven't actually posted on TikTok, don't get me wrong. And then howgaythouart.com. If you have any crazy things that you want to email us, stories you remember, going to the Ken Ham Road Show or anything like that, we would love to hear and read about it. If your family took a trip to the Ark, like, please tell me about it. If you want me and Clint to go to the Ark, I would have to dress in like Christian drag, but I'd do it like, let me know.
Clint: Oh we’re definitely doing that. It really isn’t that far from Chicago.
Jey: That's absolutely something that's happening. Also, side note, I remembered something else about the Answers in Genesis Road Show. They brought a magician and had those like magic ring things and then they're like, “See how they come apart?” And I'm like, “Why do you need a magician to trick people?”
Clint: Oh yeah, I’ve seen a few of those evangelizing magicians over the years. Sorry to say, I think it’s a relatively effective tactic.
Jey: The ones where they go and then they show you “See magic isn't real, but you know what? God is.”
Clint: And they do the little bit with the 3 rings to represent the trinity. Because it’s just 3 parts of a whole or whatever.
Jey: That's what they did. They were using all that stuff to witness. It's like a magic show for Jesus, and that was part of Answers in Genesis. And I remember that.
Clint: You may have heard of hallow-witnessing, but this is illusion-witnessing. Hallow-witnessing is when you give away tracts instead of candy on Halloween by the way.
Jey: Illusion-witnessing. I'm going to be the illusion-witness and you're going to be the hallow-witness and we're going to go find missionary lizards.
Clint: I could probably get more viewers with an illusion-witness YouTube channel than we're going to get for this podcast.
Jey: Look, let's do it. illusion-witness. That'll be our next thing.
Clint: Let’s do it. Thank you, everyone, so much for joining us today. We will see you again in two weeks!. My name is Clint Keller, he/him.
Jey: And I am Jey Austin. My pronouns are they/them.
Clint: And this is How Gay Thou Art.
Clint: I'm climbing to new heights, call me the next trilobite.
Jey: Yeah, get it. I can't…
Clint: I might be small, but I've got a lot of might, I’m a rock hard ancient trilobite.
Jey: Are you- This is- This is a great freestyle. Oh, my goodness…