Republicans have no use for that ‘separation of church and state’ amendment.
When Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin had his inauguration party, most of the people who attended the nearly empty venue were evangelicals getting their Jesus on. In a remarkable tip of the hat to his supporters, the Gov finally approved a tax abatement costing Kentuckians $18 million along with an $11 million allotment to expand the highway to the Answers In Genesis Ministry of Ken Ham who has built a temple to man’s stupidity he calls The Ark Encounter.
The hope was by greasing the wheels of this “tourist attraction” that it would bring in countless millions in badly needed tourism dollars. Ken raised over $100 million from both citizens and a bond issue to build The Ark Encounter so that he could prove to all those godless atheist that the world was made 6000 years ago and that we are all decedents of Noah who managed to get two of everything on his big boat. Ken never could raise enough money for his bible-themed amusement park replete with dinosaurs no less, until he had a debate with Bill Nye the science guy, and lost, badly.
After getting made to look a fool by that uppity college graduate, every god-fearing bible-thumper got out their checkbooks and praised the Lawd with all the money he needed to finish his ark. No, of course, it did not matter that Ken could have bought every homeless person in the state of Kentucky a new house with $80 million. What really mattered as God’s messenger was proving that dinosaurs and the other 2 million creatures that have been on this planet could have been put up on the ark and had enough food to sustain them for a few months after the big flood.
Seemed like an economic boon of an idear.
Ken Ham was so absolutely certain that the good Lord above would provide enough visitors that every good Christian on the planet would flock to Kentucky to get their bible fix. He expected millions of people to flock to his monument to man’s stupidity that he spent millions on a parking lot that’s big enough to hold most Nascar races. There’s just one small problem, nobody is going to see that standing abomination.
To verify how much business the Ark Encounter is bringing in, one spry young lad took his new drone up to give the Ark Encounter the once-over on what you’d think was the busiest time of the entire week, Sunday at high noon. Only, there seems to be less than 75 cars in a parking lot built for thousands.
Ken Ham’s museum is a monument to self-delusion. Such is the power of religion which can cause a person to surrender their first right: to think for themselves. The Ark Encounter is so remote and so perfectly ridiculous that it was doomed to fail from the beginning. To believe what Ken Ham does requires that you be completely scientifically illiterate and to think that Charles Darwin was wrong about everything. Ken Ham could prove Darwin wrong with just one fossil but he knew he could be more successful propagating a lie, stoked in ignorance.
The big tourism “windfall” that Ken Ham and Matt Bevin promised is actually a rapidly expanding sinkhole that’s already swallowed $29 million taxpayer bucks. From Wikipedia:
AiG officials said the final cost of the park at its opening exceeded $100 million, including $62 million from the Williamstown bond offering and $36 million from individual donations. The second phase of the park construction is projected to commence in 2018 or 2019.
Bond holders might be waiting for the second coming before they get their money back. At this rate, Ken Ham will have trouble paying his operating expenses. If there’s any justice in the world, the Ark Encounter will bankrupt everyone that dared to put their money in such an abominable edifice dedicated to one man’s ego!
We don’t get to dismiss Ham’s failure’s as a human as not being part of man’s failures. Say what you want about Ken Ham but he is, at least as far as we can tell, human. And he’s certainly not alone in his beliefs. If we can stand on the Moon Landing, Penicillin, and the ability to carry computers in our pockets as monuments of man’s intelligence and ability, then we have to humbly accept Ham’s Ark as a monument of the levels of stupidity we can also reach. He did not do this alone.
By all means, ridicule it. Point out the obvious absurdity of the whole thing. Use the monument as a tool to propel us away from that line of reasoning. But don’t pretend we as a species can’t be this dumb. We are as smart as the engineers that put us on the moon with the computing power of a calculator, and we are as dumb as the creationists who think kangaroos hopped across the Indian ocean. And everything in between. Ken Ham and his Ark at least serve a purpose, in that they remind us we must always remain vigilant against ignorance and continue pushing our species forward, even kicking and dragging the ones who struggle to keep up.