This is about the Ark Encounter project, a theme park under construction in northern Kentucky, promoted by Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
Hambo’s outfit is currently embroiled in litigation with the State of Kentucky over AIG’s application to receive millions in sales tax rebates. The last time we wrote about that was Ken Ham’s Litigation: Americans United Joins In. But we don’t have any news about the lawsuit for you. Ol’ Hambo has just posted this: Ark Encounter Estimated to Attract at Least 1.4 Million in First Year. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
I have some breaking news for you!
Wowie — what’s the news? Here it comes:
We are now revealing the results of a new study conducted by the highly respected America’s Research Group (ARG). It estimates the number of Americans who might visit the life-size Noah’s Ark attraction the first year it opens in northern Kentucky in 2016. As a result of ARG’s general population study, our projected attendance for year one at the Ark Encounter has increased. ARG originally predicted 1.2 million minimum in its 2008 study. Its new study predicts at least 1.4 million (and up to as many as 2.2 million)!
The research group is ARG? That’s an unfortunate set of initials for this blog. As our regular readers know, when your Curmudgeon is confronted with a claim we find particularly … ah, difficult to accept, our usual response is Aaaargh!! If that happens here, we hope there’s no confusion.
By now you’re wondering: Why do we care about this new prediction? Well, we don’t, not really, but Hambo’s post has some fun moments, so stay with us. He says:
ARG is a renowned consumer behavior research and strategic consulting firm led by Britt Beemer (ARGConsumer.com). He is the same man who predicted that 400,000 visitors would tour our Creation Museum during the first year, and 404,000 turned out!
There’s something else about Mr. Beemer that you may find interesting. Although Hambo doesn’t mention it, one of our clandestine operatives told us that Beemer and Hambo have a closer relationship than pollster and client. We were informed that they co-authored a book together. We checked the Amazon site and sure enough, they’re both listed as authors of Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it.
Is that important? Probably not. An honorable pollster, which we assume Mr. Beemer to be, wouldn’t let his relationship with Hambo affect the results of his work. Nevertheless, we’re surprised that ol’ Hambo didn’t think to disclose that relationship in his post. Well, it was probably just an innocent oversight. Let’s read on:
Now, after ARG estimated that first-year attendance at the Ark would be 1.2 to 2.2 million, the state tourism office — per its procedure when considering a possible sales tax rebate to successful tourist attractions — used its own research consultant for attendance projections.
[T]he state’s consultant gave a much lower attendance estimate. But the state’s research firm did not conduct the much more thorough primary research that ARG performed. ARG’s Britt Beemer shared with me that, “My primary research identified that the Ark Encounter would be successful due to the vast amount of Americans who believe in the Ark. The number is close to four out of five Americans.”
Four out of five Americans believe in the Ark? Aaaargh!!
Hambo continues with some speculation as to why Beemer’s results were so much higher than the state’s. We don’t find that interesting, but if you do you can click over to Hambo’s website and read about it. Then he switches topics and tells us:
By the way, ARG’s new research also indicates that the number of visitors to the Creation Museum will increase by about 400,000 guests a year!
Okay. Then he wraps it up with this:
Despite the efforts of secularist naysayers to undermine the Ark project and even with our struggles with state officials, ARG declares that the Ark Encounter is going to be one of the most successful tourist attractions in America.
So there you are. Everything’s looking rosy for ol’ Hambo. Your Curmudgeon is pleased, because that means we’ll have plenty to blog about for years to come.
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