The Lexington Herald-Leader has posted a copy of the executive summary. Just in case it goes away, here is a pdf of the 18-page executive summary; it’s a strangely fact-free document, relying on surveys and opinion polls to make estimates about economic impact. I’m serious: in the section that justifies the claim that it will bring in 1.2 million visitors a year, the sole source of information given is the results of a nationwide survey in which people were asked whether they’d take a family vacation to see Noah’s Ark, and 3 in 5 said they would.
I am reminded of surveys that evaluate how many Americans go to church — many more say they do than show up in church parking lots. This is not a reliable way to make attendance projections. A better way would be to make estimates from known, similar attractions in that part of the country, but they probably didn’t want to mention the bankrupt Heritage USA.
The most hilarious bit in their justification, though, is this:
CBS’ 60 Minutes news program, in conjunction with Vanity Fair magazine, recently conducted a survey asking which archaeological discovery would people want to be made next. The response: Noah’s Ark (43%), Atlantis (18%), Amelia Earhart’s plane (16%), Nixon’s lost tapes (13%), and Cleopatra’s barg (5%). Noah’s Ark continues to capture the imagination of the general public, and this interest spans all social, religious, and economic segments. The Ark and the Flood is one of the few historical events which are well known in the worldwide global circle.
That sort of says it all about the foundation of their “research”. A public opinion poll about what discovery ought to be made next (as if it’s a matter of choice) is irrelevant; the Ark Park is not going to be an archaeological discovery, and the most damning thing about the top two items is that they’re both mythological, and neither the Ark nor Atlantis ever existed. The claim that interest in the Ark spans all segments of society is clearly hyperbole — I don’t see much interest on the part of atheists or scientists, ever.
The ark and the flood are not historical events.
It’s a lot of fluff and wishful thinking. Sorry, Kentucky, you’re being taken for a ride.