Today was the day: Kentucky officially approved giving Ken Ham $43 million in tax breaks plus $11 million in road improvements. That’s a nice number; it’s about twice what Answers in Genesis sunk into their Creation “Museum” in total. Now they get double that back from the state, and they can use it to build their grandiose Ark Park.
There was only one surprise. Answers in Genesis brought up an alternative scenario, where they would build a slightly less flamingly insane version of the park. It doesn’t seem to have mattered, because the state seems to have stumbled all over themselves rushing to give the Hamites a big bucket of money, with no reservations.
Hunden divided his study under two scenarios for Ark Encounter. Under “Scenario A”, Ark Encounter would take a “mainstream approach”, where it “does not promote a creationist view of Biblical events that may turn off a portion of the potential market”. Under “Scenario B”, Ark Encounter would be full on Flintstone Truth, where kids are taught that a 600-year old herded T-Rexes onto a giant boat a few thousand years ago.
Now I know what you must be saying: “there’s no way that Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis would agree to Scenario A, as they make their living off of vilifying Christians who don’t take a 100% literal interpretation of the Bible and Young Earth Creationism”. First of all, you’re right. But when I questioned Hunden after the meeting about this, he said that AiG/AE assured them that they would consider doing this. In other words, Ken Ham has (as the title of his latest book is called and is about) Already Compromised. Yes, he agreed to abandon the core beliefs of everything he’s done throughout his entire career in order to not potential damage his ability to milk $43 million in tax breaks, plus the $11 million in state money for infrastructure at his park. Truly amazing that he would (1) agree to this, doubting the inerrant Word of God, and (2) that people would actually believe that they really considered this.
But back to the study. In the completely unrealistic fantasy of Scenario A, Hunden claimed that Ark Encounter would create 3,000 new full-time jobs over the next 10 years, 600-700 expected to be onsite. It would have a total fiscal impact of $103.4 million over 10 years and a yearly attendance of 1.24 million a year, in this fantasy world. But the numbers for Scenario B seem to be just as much a fantasy. Under Scenario B it would have a $53 million impact, and create 400-500 fewer jobs, and have a yearly attendance of 871,000.
Well, wait…it’s not just the unlikeliness of Ham actually compromising on his fanatically rigid views, but how do you take a park with a gigantic centerpiece of a life-size version of Noah’s Ark and make it any less of a Flintstone Truth? Its fundamental premises are all based on biblical literalism!