You might, or perhaps might not be aware, that there exists a Museum in Kentucky that vigorously promotes the rather daft idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
Back in the 17th Century James Ussher, the Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland, sat down and calculated the age of the earth by using the genealogies contained within the bible, and arrived at the conclusion that it all began in 4004BC, or in fact to be more precise, at nightfall preceding Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC (that must have been one hell of a Saturday night).
So we now laugh at this because it is such a silly idea and nobody actually believes anything like that anymore … right?
Wrong … Ken Ham and his entire Answers in Genesis team truly does, and when challenged about this he demonstrates an astonishing resilience to reality, as was seen by us all when Mr Ham debated Bill Nye the science guy …
Mr ham’s only rebuttal consisted of “I have a book …”, and I’m sure you can guess which one.
One big project that Mr Ham’s Creation “Museum” (can we really call it that, such word usage is an abuse of the term) has embarked upon is the rather ambitious goal of building a life-size replica of Noah’s ark at the estimated cost of $73m and expects to have it finished by summer 2016.
Personally I think that when it’s done, we should turn up and ask him to place two of every species on earth into it and see if he can actually do that, and then when he can’t, ask him to explain. If curious, that’s two of each of the 8.7 million species that we know about, but there is also another estimated 80% that we have yet to discover.
Just when you begin to seriously think that it is totally impossible for any of this to get any sillier … it does.
The latest news is that …
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board has approved $18 million in tax breaks for a controversial Christian theme park in Northern Kentucky.
The board unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve sales tax incentives for the Ark Encounter, a religious theme park to be built in Williamstown. The theme park is controlled by Answers in Genesis, a conservative Christian non-profit that also operates the Creation Museum.
The project is slated to include a facsimile of Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel, and will proselytize Christian evangelicalism
Whoa, wait a second, what the frack happened to separation between church and state, am I the only one with that immediate thought? These guys are getting a $18m tax break to promote their very specific narrow and truly daft anti-science belief. It’s OK, I’m not alone, this has in fact been noticed and pointed out.
So the immediate issue here now, a rather interesting one, is that when you get tax incentives like this you are also obliged and expected to abide by all applicable state and federal laws such as … oh how about job discrimination, and if it is proven that you are in fact in breach of such laws, then the state is obliged to rescind any tax incentives.
So of course they obey all the non-discrimination obligations they have as an employer … oh wait, no they don’t, being a literal bible believing group with a very very narrow and rather well-defined set of beliefs they insist that anybody they hire must adhere to exactly the same beliefs, and as pointed out by PZ over on his site, they will openly discriminate against …
… Jews, gay men, lesbians, transgender men or women (or even individuals with gender dysphoria), Muslims, pro-choice citizens, Seventh Day Adventists, Scientologists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Buddhists, agnostics, pantheists, feminists, Sikhs, Quakers, or atheists employed at the Creation “Museum”. Also no honest physicists, geologists, or biologists. Karen Armstrong couldn’t get a job there, and neither could Neil deGrasse Tyson or Ken Miller
Are they really that crazy?
Actually no, they are in fact a lot crazier than you can ever possibly imagine.
They assert that dragons are in fact quite real … yes really.
They assert that unicorns are also quite real … yes really.
Unicorns! … but why oh why would they think unicorns are real? Well because they are mentioned in the bible (Job 39:9–10, Numbers 23:22, 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10; Isaiah 34:7) … so it just must be true – you are with them on this idea … right?
I’m happy for them to believe whatever they wish, and to be honest we all need a good laugh, but my tone changes to one of concern when I see millions of dollars of state funding being utilised to endorse and promote such lunacy, and so hopefully the act of many of us throwing a spotlight upon all this will result in all their tax incentives going up in smoke on a bonfire of such vanities.