As we’ve noted on this site multiple times, there’s a huge discrepancy between the (verified) number of paying visitors to Ark Encounter and the number of visitors claimed by Creationist Ken Ham.
It’s not just that Ham includes babies and lifetime pass holders in his count. It’s that his number includes approximately 140,000 people who get in for free, while also claiming those visitors are helping the local economy.
He discussed this issue on his Answers News show yesterday. He had every opportunity to explain the difference between ticket-buying customers and those who come in for free, and why he always cites the latter when giving numbers to the media.
He didn’t do that. Instead, he claimed his critics just couldn’t “stand a Christian organization actually having such success and reaching so many people.”
Ham then tried to explain away the atheists’ criticism:
… They have no understanding of all sorts of aspects of things, and they think… they can take some amount of ticket tax we have to pay to Williamstown and work backwards and all that. I mean, all their assumptions are so flawed, but they try to make out that it is — the whole place is failing. It’s just… incredible.
… In fact, numbers have been climbing ever since we opened, and we have more and more people coming. Word of mouth spreading. It’s so successful…
We do have an understanding… of math.
Ham wants credit for everyone who walks into the Ark, while the city is primarily concerned with everyone who buys tickets. Also, Ham has routinely exaggerated his estimates for the number of visitors, only to keep lowering the numbers as time goes on. If numbers have been “climbing” since day one, then why do his predictions and on-the-record attendance numbers keep sinking?
And then he quoted a reader who said he listened to an atheist podcast discussing the numbers. I don’t know which one — Ham, like every Creationist researcher, hates citing his sources because it might tempt Christians to explore the facts for themselves — but we do know the hosts were “hateful.”
[Quoting reader] “I just listened to an atheist podcast…” — what are you listening to an atheist podcast for? — “… on your numbers. I just had to laugh at these hateful, hateful individuals.”
Yeah, they are hateful. But… praise the Lord that they are responding, because it means they are taking notice of us. And they give us more and more publicity.
Well, if Ham wants bad publicity, I’m happy to give it to him. It’s good to know that people who search for information on the Ark will ultimately see something I’ve posted — with facts and reason — instead of his spin.