Kentucky’s Democratic governor Steve Beshear announced yesterday that a creationism theme park — dubbed “Ark Encounter” — is expected to open in the state in 2014. The governor boasted that the park would have a $250 million impact on the local economy annually. The park “will feature a 500-foot-long wooden replica of Noah’s Ark containing live animals such as juvenile giraffes.”
The project is a collaboration with a non-profit organization Answers in Genesis, which runs the Creation Museum in Boone County, KY. The Nation’s Chris Hayes noted on MSNBC last night that Answers in Genesis “is dedicated to portraying the Bible’s view of history. Among their claims, the Earth was created in six days, just 6,000 years ago, and that at one time, man and velociraptor co-existed peacefully.” (Of course, dinosaurs went extinct nearly 65 million years ago.) Yesterday during Beshear’s press conference announcing the plan, Barefoot and Progressive‘s Joe Sonka asked if there will be dinosaurs at “Ark Encounter”:
SONKA: Will there be dinosaurs on the Ark?
ANSWERS IN GENESIS OFFICIAL: [off-mike] Well you know the position of Answers in Genesis so you can probably answer that yourself. We’ll have appropriate animals on the ark based on — [on mike] I’m sure we’ll have representative kinds of animals on the ark, to include dinosaurs.
The park’s developers are seeking $37.5 million in state tourism development incentives which, the Louisvillle Courier-Journal reports, has “sparked debate among experts on church-state issues as to whether they would violate the constitutional ban on the establishment of religion by government.”
Sonka also noted that the “Creationuts handed out the fanciest press kit I’ve ever seen, with the following descriptions of the ‘attractions’ in their park, including a ‘Tower of Babel’ which ‘introduces exhibits on the origination of languages and people groups (so-called ‘races’).’” Sonka added that most of the questions during the press conference were “about the dimensions of the Ark, which couldn’t have been more useless considering that the governor of our state was up on stage presenting his endorsement of a theme park devoted to intellectually molesting children.” “Be ashamed, Kentucky. Be very ashamed,” Sonka wrote.
The Courier-Journal notes that “the National Center for Science Education asserts that ‘students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level.’”