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Business incentives that are a real leap of faith: State of Kentucky to help pay for Noah’s Ark

1036693826_8a11e4ac03_oThe Christian organization Answers in Genesis, known for its rigorous campaigning against “secular evolutionists” through young earth creationist propaganda, has been struggling financially over the years to raise enough funds to build its $150 million Noah’s Ark theme park. But thankfully Kentucky, one of the few states that can apparently compete with North Carolina when it comes to flawed budget and tax policy, has come to the rescue by approving $18 million in new tax breaks for the project. Meanwhile, 27% of the state’s children live in poverty.

Unless the state means to show blatant religious favoritism, which would obviously be unconstitutional (if not, perhaps, terribly surprising), we will just assume that the officials behind the subsidy are intending to bring in more tourists in order to promote economic development.

So, given that as a backdrop (and awkwardly sidestep the question of whether state-funded creationist propaganda is good for the scientific literacy of the general populace) let’s assess whether this is a fiscally responsible plan.

Initial signs are not terribly encouraging. The Creation Museum, which opened in 2007, was reported to have a sizable attendance drop for the fourth year in a row in 2012.  That doesn’t leave a very large window of time for an increase. Indeed, just last year it was reported that the museum is in financial trouble as a consequence. The reasons why are not difficult to discern.

The museum has a reputation of being boring and repetitious. Rather than filling the museum with scientific information alongside fossils and informative exhibits, the tour mostly consists of Bible verses, fake vegetarian dinosaurs living with people, and anti-secular propaganda. Unlike real science museums in which exhibits and information are continually updated and revised according to the latest research, the Creation Museum just stays the same as it is based on ancient Biblical literature that never changes. In fact, Answers in Genesis gladly places the “Word of God” over scientific data any day, referring to the latter as “man’s word.” In other words, if the data contradicts the Bible, the data is automatically incorrect.

Due to declining attendance and loss of ticket sales, the Creation Museum did what any science museum would do in that situation: it added a zip line and dragon exhibit. That’s right. Equally comical and terribly ironic, the Christian fundamentalists–known for attributing natural catastrophe to divine wrath–were on one occasion on the receiving end of a lightning strike on the zip line, injuring one employee.

The prediction here: Ultimately, the State of Kentucky’s $18 million tax break for AIG’s Ark Encounter will be an encounter with broken policy and fiscal irresponsibility. Year one: an influx of out-of-state tourists will come aboard the ark either out of pure curiosity or religious conviction. Years two-infinity: attendance will drop as past attendees will have “seen it all.” Unless, of course, AIG adds another zip line onto the ark or brings some extra dragons and unicorns on board.

6 Comments

  1. Alan

    August 5, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Seriously? even the nuts of Civitas/JLF aren’t commenting here? Perhaps even they know it’s too crazy to support the notion of a 6000 year old earth and dinosaurs and humans coexisting?

    Somewhat surprised that the nuts aren’t out in full force defending “the truth” of Noahs Ark.

  2. Terry

    August 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I would like to respectfully ask that your organization would perform the research before commenting on an issue. I understand that you do not believe in creation – and I certainly respect that. I do believe there is sufficient scientific evidence that refutes evolution, and supports a young age for the earth. That disagreement aside, your comment about the tax break is misleading at best: NO money is being supplied by the State of Kentucky for the construction of the Ark Encounter. This project, like any other new tourist attraction in the state, qualifies for a rebate of Sales Tax collected (after construction/completion), IF they meet attendance goals. I call upon you to correct this misrepresentation.

  3. Randy

    August 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    The idea of tax breaks and incentives from the state has been debunked. What does this have to do with NC? Instead of attacking This museum, you. Should be working to keep rural Viadent Pungo Hospital open!

  4. Meri

    August 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Why is it that you can’t get your facts straight? These are the same lies the progressive/secular community has been for months and years. If you want people to follow your words, shouldn’t you do your homework? You have included flat-out lies in this post. At best you haven’t bothered to research the topic, at worst you are promoting lies. Really, if I were a progressive, I’d be embarrassed to associate with this group. Take this sad little piece of pure junk down.

    But, of course, lies are all you have to try to fight the Lord. What more should I expect?

  5. Monica

    August 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    It is obvious that the author of this article is making things up or has never visited the Creation Museum and is repeating the lies of others. You don’t have to like the place, but making things up isn’t cool and is shameful journalism. I have personally been to the Creation Museum many times, and find the accuracy of the story laughable. Go there on any Saturday, and the place is PACKED wall to wall and everyone you meet is so excited to have found a museum that isn’t ashamed to be Christian. I could not begin to count the totally new exhibits that have been added in just the last year or two. Friends of ours who have gone have commented that the quality of the exhibits and overall museum is better than Disney!

    The state of Kentucky is not paying one cent to build the Ark, and this can easily be verified by anyone seeking the truth. That is a lie being promoted by atheists who are upset at the success of the Creation Museum and desperate at the thought that the Ark Encounter will be even larger and more successful. The Ark project will bring millions of dollars to the state of Kentucky, and tourists flocking to the state – an achievement that will long be the envy of the tourism industry that is in sharp decline in other states.

  6. Alan

    August 7, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Well, it certainly looks like the bible thumping zealots have been offended by a statement of fact.

    Terry what on earth are you talking about, “I do believe there is sufficient scientific evidence that refutes evolution, and supports a young age for the earth”? Have you any idea just how ridiculous this sounds? No wonder the rest of the world laughs at us.

    Meri, why can’t you get your facts straight? Are you really one of those that actually believes the earth in 6000 years old and humans and dinosaurs coexisted? Fight “the Lord”, you’re clearly living in a bible thumping fantasy land where reality doesn’t exist. I feel sorry for you, and anyone like you.

    Monica, seriously We ain’t as stupid as your ilk. I think your crazy talk of “seeking the truth” is a dead giveaway to what you really represent.

    My statement of “Somewhat surprised that the nuts aren’t out in full force defending “the truth” of Noah’s Ark was obviously a little premature. LOL…