There is news out this morning that the silly Ark Encounter project may have gotten funded, although Sharon Hill is skeptical that this is true. If it is true, and if municipal bonds really are helping to fund this thing, then the residents of Louisville, Kentucky should be alarmed by what their local government is doing, and it seems like there should be a case for a lawsuit on constitutional grounds from someone.
Ken Ham is claiming that his debate with Bill Nye provided the necessary publicity to complete the funding, which I’m sure will cause a new wave of criticism of Nye for doing that debate. I’m not sure that criticism is fair though. I think debate events are an unproductive way to educate the public, but if you’re going to have them, I see no reason to avoid having them with creationists.
The argument that doing so gives creationists credibility is belied by the fact that, unfortunately, they already have that credibility with 33-46% of the American public. Sometimes you simply have to recognize that your opponents already have credibility and deal with them in that light. Certainly you wouldn’t want to debate a flat earther since hardly anyone pays attention to them, but that’s not the reality with creationists.
I think most of my readers know that I’m not a religious believer, but I fully admit that there is epistemological room for intelligent people to debate the existence of God. However, there is no room for young earth creationism to be true. No interpretation of the facts, no reading of the data, aside from solipsistic ones, gives room for creationism to be an accurate model of reality.
Creationism is false. It is demonstrably false. It is contradicted by most of modern science, not just evolutionary biology, but also geology with its evidence of rock formations that are billions of years old, with archaeology with its many discoveries of human structures going back tens of thousands of years and tools going back millions of years, with astronomy and its evidence of the size and development of the universe over 14 billion years, and mountains of other scientific evidence.
The danger with belief in creationism is its requirement that most of modern science be denied. When you look at the progress of humanity for the last 400 years, as compared to any other time in history, the contributions of science are enormous. I think it’s fair to say that our future prosperity will be intimately tied up with our cultural attitudes toward science. Any outlook that advocates against science should be vigorously countered.
Anyway, if people want to privately build an ark attraction, that’s certainly their right. But it’s not their right to use public funds to do it.