Creationism is a marketing game

And they know it. Ken Ham has started a new billboard campaign for the creation "museum", with a variety of different designs, all featuring prehistoric* creatures as draws to get kids and family to attend. Here are some examples:

Notice what's smart about them? They're focused, featuring an element that they clearly know is a key draw, dinosaurs; they're eye-catching; they're professionally designed and have thematic unity; and the Creation "Museum" knows that good marketing is a way to get people to come in to their propaganda mill. You know they invested a good chunk of money in this effort.

So now Ken Ham is openly gloating about his wonderful billboards.

…just like everything else we do at the Creation Museum, they are done professionally—first class!

To make matters even worse, he goes on sneer at the feeble efforts of real museums, and to mock several atheist billboard campaigns, posting examples of some of the worst. And the sad thing is — and you won't hear me saying this very often — Ken Ham is right. Real museums are strapped for cash, and most of their money is going into curating scientific collections and paying scientists to do work for them, while atheist organizations are actually small time compared to the multi-million dollar operating budget of a commercial enterprise like the Creation "Museum".

Ham doesn't have a clue about any of the things real museums do. When an NCSE spokesperson says he wishes more science museums could engage in this kind of promotion, Ham whimpers defensively.

You mean our government-funded (using our tax money) Smithsonian would not have a marketing budget as big as the marketing budget of the Creation Museum? And what about all the other secular museums (no doubt most are funded by our tax dollars) such as the Chicago Field Museum and New York Natural History Museum—and the many, many others!

The Smithsonian, the AMNH, and the Field Museum are not about marketing! They're institutions doing science. Ham is confused in thinking that his freak show exhibit and monument to bunkum is anything like those places. He does not have a museum, he owns a sideshow attraction!

The article reveals Ken Ham's ignorance in so many ways. He really doesn't understand the difference, and he doesn't comprehend why scientists might be worried about his campaign.

As of writing this blog post, an Associated Press article about our new dinosaur billboards has appeared on many news sites, including ABC News and the Washington Post. The AP article and many blogs indicate that secularists are concerned about them. Isn’t it amazing that they are so worried about one Creation Museum. Think of all the hundreds of secular museums and thousands of secular schools, colleges, and universities where evolution and millions of years are taught as fact—and the secularists are really worried AiG’s Creation Museum! That shows how insecure they really are. Secularists just can’t stand it when information they have censored from the public is being disseminated by us. And they don’t want people thinking for themselves; they want them to swallow their anti-God religion!

Those billboards and his "museum" are not disseminating censored information. Information about creationism is freely available all over, and gets routinely spread in a common American institution, church. We are worried because Ken Ham is spending buckets of money disseminating slickly-produced lies, while scientists are trying to do science. Lies are cheap and easy; the truth is harder to come by. That he follows the cheap and easy route means he has more money to sink into public relations.

We're not worried that Ken Ham has some uncomfortable truth that he's getting across to people. We're worried that he's an effective charlatan.

And really, it's easy to see what a lying fraud he is. Did you notice one of the billboards in that montage above?

Yeah. Ken Ham claims that fire-breathing dragons were real.

*Well, actually, if Ken Ham were right, these are historic creatures that lived within the last 6,000 years.

More like this

Ufff... I guess these guys think "The Flinstones" is actually a science documentary. WTF!

Economy in half of the countries of the world is in one way or the other powered by theism. It's all up to the people ;)

Religion already has the best product imaginable: eternal life; and now they've added dinosaurs to their product line. It doesn't get much better than that.

By Emma Poots (not verified) on 17 Jun 2012 #permalink

Nah, they don't have any pirates.


Wow, dragons! At a museum! I have been duped all my life!

By ooooDragons!! (not verified) on 17 Jun 2012 #permalink

A Nordic creation myth museum should set up shop across the street as competition. Because if box office figures are any indication (i.e. the Lord of the Rings vs. Jurassic Park franchises), giants, dwarves and ogres are a bigger draw than dinosaurs

By purplekoolaidblog (not verified) on 17 Jun 2012 #permalink

Why did my comment disappear?

By purplekoolaidblog (not verified) on 17 Jun 2012 #permalink

I'll pray to Richard Dawkins and conduct quiet time with my God Delusion more fervently in hopes that the museum will miraculously transform into a real museum.

By Moreland Baker (not verified) on 18 Jun 2012 #permalink

Ken Hambone should put his brain up on a billboard to show the process of evolution from slime mold to deranged ossification by religion.

Do these IDiots get a religious, charitable, or educational tax break?

By Bert Chadick (not verified) on 18 Jun 2012 #permalink

501(c)3 all the way, baby -- tax dollars indirectly fund every aspect of this ode to ignorance.

I really want to go, but refuse to contribute. I hear its free toward the end of December.

I think you are onto something. It's horribly ad homonym, but surely we could put together a paper on a new species of hominid "Kenhameus anencephalus" based on the recognition/biological species concept that any 'normal' human would never reproduce with such a monstrosity. A few nice physical descriptions along the anecephalus line, large mouth, vocalise with loud incomprehensible booming; habitat/habit: live in the dark, feed on ignorance and paranoia, possible biological control is being looked into...
could be a nice little publication! ;)
The only sad thing is that if it were published in a 'real' journal, he'd never see it...

For people making money with religion it is better than just 'eternal life' with dinosaurs. The eternal life part, ostensibly the biggest benefit, happens only where it is impossible to confirm, in a mythical/supernatural afterlife.

It's also impossible to get a refund, lorn

I visited the "Creation Museum" this past weekend. It's an incredibly well-designed and very insidious place. Their "planetarium" show has a lot of accurate science and then subtly includes handwaving magic (time dilation effects, or c-decay) to explain why starlight from millions of lightyears away can be seen on earth. Sigh. I will donate an equivalent or higher amount of money as my admission price to a science charity, I'm thinking the American Museum of Natural History.

Futurama had that the speed of light was increased in the year 2300.

If it wasn't for the lawyers at Hanna-Barbara, he'd probably be displaying the actual skeletons of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, to round out his tableaux of saddle-wearing dinosaurs. And he has the logic and perception to match:
"Secularists ... don’t want people thinking for themselves; they want them to swallow their anti-God religion!"
That's right, he is saying that you can only claim to think for yourself if you swallow his (pro-God) religion. Audacious!

Sorry that this is a bit off-topic from the flashy billboards, but it is still related to the shameless deception practiced by the AiG folks. Here's the story: I found out recently that David Menton, one of the Creation Museum employees trotted out by Ken Ham as a real scientist, actually did teach at my university for many years. I looked into this issue, and as hard as it is to believe, Menton seems to have been a well-liked teacher who evidently kept his creationist views to himself.


...the AiG website contains blatant misinformation that trumps up Menton's accomplishments. Specifically, Menton's biography (linked below) states that he was "Elected 'Professor of the Year' in 1998 by the Washington University School of Medicine Class of 2000." My lab is across the street from the building where these awards are displayed, so I checked it out. Menton did not win this award (or any other major award) in 1998 or any other year.

Here are the links:

I have to say that I totally agree with Ken Ham and largely disagree with PZ. Is there any reason why "genuine" museums should NOT be marketed aggressively? Is there a law that "genuine" museums MUST lose money and thus require taxpayer dollars to survive? Would museums lose their "genuine" status if they had a makeover with whizz-bang elements to draw more visitors? No, no, no.

By Mike Mellor (not verified) on 27 Jun 2012 #permalink

Maybe it's just me, but there's so much emphasis on the beasties that the important information just kind of disappears into the background. With the way people drive around here, it would take several viewings for the ad to sink in, and even then, that logo is pretty forgettable....