At first, the announcement earlier today seemed like one of those wacky news stories from primitive lands that David Letterman mocks in his nightly monologue.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Ark Encounter is expected to open in 2014. The creationist theme park will feature a 500 foot-long replica of Noah’s Ark containing live animals, a replica of the Tower of Babel, and a first century Middle Eastern village. See the full story here :
Hey, it is a wacky news story from a primitive land!
The whole endeavor would almost be funny except for a few problems…
First and most obviously, Noah’s Ark almost certainly did not exist, and if it did, there’s no way in hell that two of every animal (and 7 of some, according to Genesis 7:2 ) ever made it on to a huge pre-Iron Age boat. I won’t even waste the time to ask why God drowned everything that couldn’t tread water, or to argue the impossibility of 8 adults (Noah, his 3 sons and their wives) feeding and caring for hundreds of thousands (millions!) of animals in a vast windowless barge for over a year !
It couldn’t happen… then or now. (By the way, the folks behind this project believe there were dinosaurs on the Ark as well. At over 100 tons and up to 130 feet long, just feeding and housing an Argentinosaurus might get to be a headache. And you thought elephants had an appetite…)
Ok, so what’s the problem with a bunch of fundamentalist Christians spending their own money on a fantasyland that promotes their unscientific view of the world? The act of propagating unsound religious beliefs is not illegal. If it were, the police wouldn’t have time to write a jaywalking ticket on Hollywood Blvd.
The real problem is that the backers of this abomination – Ark Encounters LLC and Answers in Genesis – will receive massive tax breaks from the state of Kentucky for bringing tourist dollars to town. Under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, developers can recover up to 25% of the cost of a project, in this case almost $40 million!
So, Bluegrass State residents, your tax dollars will be:
• Promoting Fundamental Christian religious beliefs
• Denying multiple aspects of modern science
• Lining the pockets of at least 2 religious organizations
• Implying the tacit endorsement of the state of Kentucky that this bible tale is true
But all is not lost.
If we evidence-based citizens can’t find a way to stop this monstrosity from being built, there will still be a bright side to all this ridiculousness.
They will have to build it.
And they will have to run it, and in that process, they will discover how truly insane the notion of Noah’s Ark is.
So in the spirit of competing belief systems, I dare them to build this land ark (Lark?) – but I dare them to build it the way the holy book says it should be built.
I dare them to use ( at latest ) 4000 year-old technology and materials to construct the thing. I dare them to follow the bible’s directions to install one and only one window – and to coat the whole ark inside and out with pitch (tar).
I dare them to staff the ark-proper with only 8 workers, and fill that sucker up with as many large mammals as they can cram inside. Can they load up the hold with food enough for a year and make it the whole way without spoilage and without refrigeration? Hmmm?
Let’s see the 8 zookeepers dispose of the tons of dung and manure that will quickly build up every day. They’ll have to administer to any sick or injured animals in between all the shoveling.
If they really want to be true to the tale, I dare them to launch this thing in a lake or a river so the gigantic craft will have to be more or less watertight and support its own massive weight. Tsk tsk… no electric bilge pumps to keep the SS Lark off the bottom!
And finally, I dare all the good Christian visitors to plop down their hard-earned money to wind their way through this cramped, dark, methane-filled nightmare where animal hell has become reality.
Bring the kids, so they can see what God hath wrought!