A dinosaur denier interviewed a dinosaur liar. Now my head hurts.
Ken Ham affirmed the worst tendencies of Allie Beth Stuckey
This newsletter is free, but it’s only able to sustain itself due to the support I receive from a small percentage of regular readers. Would you please consider becoming one of those supporters? You can use the button below to subscribe to Substack or use my usual Patreon page!
In August of 2022, Allie Beth Stuckey, a conservative Christian conspiracy theorist with a large following on social media, released an episode of her show titled “I Don't Know if Dinosaurs Were Real” in which she posited that dinosaurs never existed.
This is a theory, okay? I'm just gonna say this: Dinosaurs never existed…
You've got these bones you've got these fossils, supposably [sic], and they supposedly date back millions of years. And then, I think it's a bunch of nerds constructing this fantasy world that they think is awesome. Like, how do you know what the, like, skin of a pterodactyl looked like? How do you know what it sounded like? Like, how do you know those things, really? And, like, the different color patterns and all of that? How are you picking that up from bones?…
If I were to pick, like, a theory, I'm, like, ugh, I could see dinosaurs not being real.
Dinosaurs are real. We know they’re real. We have good ideas about what they looked like because their fossils sometimes include soft tissues that tell us, for example, if they were covered in feathers. We know how muscular they were and where their eyes may have pointed. Sure, some of our recreations involve filling in the blanks as best we can, but educated guesses aren’t the same as stabs in the dark. Yet even when scientists suggest we need to update our understanding of dinosaurs, Stuckey treats it as a giant game:
She has all the intelligence and confidence of a person who peaked in elementary school.
Stuckey could’ve made sense of all this through basic Google searches or by asking a paleontologist. But her career is built on passing off ignorance as insight. She’d rather ask stupid questions than discuss smart answers.
You would think someone like Creationist Ken Ham—who believes in plenty of his own conspiracy theories—would want to correct the record on this. Sure, he thinks dinosaurs are only thousands of years old, which isn’t even close to accurate, but at he believes they existed. He has a skeleton of an allosaurus in the Creation Museum (which was donated by a pro-secessionist Neo-Confederate Republican, but that’s another story). There’s a stationary dinosaur visitors can ride! He has dinosaurs living with humans aboard Noah’s Ark over at Ark Encounter. This guy has a vested interested in convincing people dinosaurs are real!
So what happened when Stuckey interviewed Ham for two episodes that were recently released?
Ham never called her out for spreading (another level of) misinformation.
Instead, Stuckey insisted she only “jokingly talked about” not knowing what dinosaurs looked like in the past. (She was not joking. There is no wink to be found anywhere in her earlier comments.) She didn’t directly bring up denying their existence. But when she asked Ham how he knew that they existed and what they looked like, he responded by… feeding her conspiracy complex.
Well, first of all, you need to be skeptical about what they actually looked like, simply because, when they find dinosaur bones, they really only find a few. There's not that many…
First of all, do I believe in dinosaurs? And the answer is yes, but let me explain…
Ham actually mentions the fossils and tissues and how we can get a strong understanding of what dinosaurs looked like… but implies scientists go overboard and that believing what they say needs to be justified. Stuckey nodded along with his responses, but she never admitted her earlier conspiracy theories were wrong.
This is what happens when two conspiracy theorists both have a broken brain argument about a subject neither one knows much about. They end up affirming each other’s worst tendencies. Which is to be expected, I suppose. After all, the people who believe every animal pair in the universe boarded a single boat a few thousand years ago to save their species aren’t about to embrace scientific realities.
Ham probably wanted to stay on her good side, too. Stuckey appeared at an Answers in Genesis conference in 2023 and may appear at more in the future.
Paleontologist Dan Phelps, who’s spent years documenting Ham’s shenanigans, explained in an email [lightly edited below] why this two-part interview was so troubling:
Sadly, over 50,000 people have viewed the first part and 33,000 the second part of this insipid nonsense. No one would care, but [Answers in Genesis] and other Christian Nationalist organizations would be overjoyed to destroy public education and replace it with homeschooling and sectarian schools. Moreover, Kentucky Tourism is subsidizing the Ark Encounter by providing it a $1.825 million sales tax rebate incentive every year.
With that many viewers watching this interview and that much money helping spread Creationist lies, these are hardly fringe beliefs. When “just asking questions” lands you to the same place at Flat Earthers, you’ve made a huge mistake. And the people Ham and Stuckey surround themselves with don’t have the courage to tell them how wrong they are.
If you appreciated this article, please subscribe to my newsletter for free (!) or share this post on Reddit, Facebook, or the godawful Bird app.