Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter hits iceberg of reality on maiden voyage

For those of you who still haven’t seen the jaw-dropping disaster on blogs like Friendly Atheist, Twitter hashtags like #OhNoahHeDidnt, and elsewhere, Ken Ham’s megamillion dollar Ark Encounter theme park — which purports to reconstruct “accurately” the mythical Noah’s ark — tanked hard on its opening day.

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Photos of a nearly deserted parking lot and nonexistent entry lines (the sheer number of unmanned ticket windows is a pitiful testament to how badly AiG overestimated the popularity of the whole farce) combine with reports that there were more atheist and pro-science attendees than anyone else, except perhaps staff. It could not have been anything but demoralizing, as much as AiG will doubtlessly try to spin it as a resounding success.

What immediately strikes you upon viewing the images that have been posted so far is that, absurd as it all is, this is a construction that spent the hell out of the nearly $100 million that was poured into it. Elaborate displays, rows and rows of animal cages with speakers placed within providing atmospheric honks and squawks, intricately carved wooden signs inventing elaborate explanations for how waste-product disposal and feeding were supposedly handled.

And dinosaurs. Yep, it’s got ’em.

All this money and all this effort spent on a momument to propogating ignorance and myth. All to defend the delusions of a sad man (lots of them, really), terrified that science is telling him he has no heaven to go to when he dies. Imagine living in so much fear of knowledge that you dedicate your life to moronity on this massive a scale. After all these years I still shake my head at it all.

On the death of Jan Crouch, Martin looks back…

Yes, it’s me. I did leave the show, but as I said at the time, I’m not cutting all ties.

From the earliest days of my involvement with AXP, I watched Trinity Broadcasting Network as often as I could, for the sheer bizarre spectacle of it. The shamelessness. The utter lack of taste in its Vegas-y approach to Christian worship, and the way in which it worked so well for the Crouches as a machine to print money. Even my memories of my own church-going days as an adolescent held nothing of this weird world of massive pink fright wigs and gaudy suits. I was struck by the pocket universe TBN created, in which it seemed you weren’t just merely watching a channel but being drawn into a world that you yourself could share in… if only you sow your seed of faith right now.

Right around the turn of the century, before blogs were really a thing, I started up one o’ them Geocities sites and wrote about six or seven snarky columns I called Martin’s TBN Watch. As they can be a bit of a pain to find after 15 years, I’ve decided to reprint one here for your amusement, to commemorate the passing of one of America’s great Christian grifters. Enjoy.
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