A Documentary About Hambo’s Ark Encounter

The history of our age wouldn’t be complete without a documentary describing one of its most bizarre features — Ark Encounter, the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

We are pleased to announce that such a documentary is in the works. You can read about it in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, and they have a comments section. Their headline is Film about Ark Encounter to highlight Americans’ strange connection with science. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Filmmakers Clayton Brown and Monica Ross make documentaries about contemporary science, but about three years ago, they decided to explore what Brown calls “America’s troubled, strange, confusing relationship with science.”

One idea was climate change. The other, Brown said, was evolution. “The story of evolution denial and creation science is one that largely hasn’t been told,” he said by phone from Chicago, where their company, 137 Films, is based. “As we circulated through our various scientific networks, we found a lot of scientists don’t fully grasp the extent to which the American public resists evolution.”

A worthy undertaking Then the Herald-Leader says:

So where better to start than Grant County, where Australian creationist Ken Ham was in the process of raising a purported $100 million to build a 500-foot-tall wood replica of the Noah’s Ark described in the Bible. It also has lots of dinosaurs, which Ham contends lived alongside humans at the time.

Indeed. Wherever you find Hambo, there is Ground Zero for “America’s troubled, strange, confusing relationship with science.” Continuing:

For three years, Brown and Ross followed the construction of Ark Encounter, which opened this past summer, and the result, “We Believe in Dinosaurs,” is in the final stages. The filmmakers have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for finishing the project.

If you want to help, here’s a link to the fundraising effort: We Believe In Dinosaurs . They’ve raised over $29K of the $50K they need. Okay, back to the news story:

The film focuses on three people: an artist named Doug Henderson, who creates the dinosaurs and the other elaborate exhibits in the Ark that attempt to explain how a literal interpretation of the Bible’s story of creation is scientifically plausible; David MacMillan, a former creationist who no longer believes in those explanations; and Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, who has been an ardent critic of Ark Encounter, its sister Creation Museum, and the public tax dollars that have helped support them. (Phelps is fond of calling Ham the “Ayatollah of Appalachia.”)

Hey — catchy phrase! The news story continues:

Both Clayton and Ross — whose past works explored the Higgs boson particle and the search for “cold fusion” — emphasized that the film does not mock Ark Encounter supporters as much as try to understand their point of view from a secular mainstream perspective.

That sounds a bit mushy, but if Dan Phelps is involved, we’re not worried. Ol’ Hambo is worried, however. We’re told:

“The filmmakers’ recent public comments have revealed that they were not telling the truth when they insisted that AiG would be portrayed in a fair and accurate manner,” Ham said. “Therefore we don’t expect their finished film to feature the straightforward reporting on the Ark and Creation Museum that we were assured we would receive. It looks like their film will be more of a mock-umentary than a documentary.

That’s a good indicator. The documentary should be a much-needed work. This is how the article ends:

The filmmakers hope to raise about $50,000 to cover the editing and post-production costs so they can get the final product out by summer. They have high hopes that it will be distributed widely. Their first film, “The Atom Smashers,” was shown on PBS, and the second, “The Believers,” is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.

“At the end of the day, we want everyone to see the film,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to do a gotcha.”

We wish the producers well, and hope to see ol’ Hambo driven to new heights of fury by the final product.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “A Documentary About Hambo’s Ark Encounter

  1. Christine Janis

    Whoa — Doug Henderson created the images? I have to say I’m completely shocked, I’ve known Doug for years and always saw him as a rational scientist. Well,it appears that I was wrong.

  2. I don’t think Ol’Hambo is a reliable judge regarding things fair and accurate.

  3. “We Believe in Dinosaurs” is no problem. That’s where the evidence leads.

    But to believe that humans were cavorting around with dinosaurs is strictly an anti-science religious belief.

    And to believe that dinosaurs were cavorting around much after 65 million years ago is no better.

    And to believe ancient tribal myths rather than modern science is the hallmark of creation “science.”

  4. The problem is, if you portray AiG in a ‘fair and accurate manner’ you inevitably end up portraying a credulous, clownesque congregation in the eye of most viewers. It can be no other way.

  5. There is an old joke:
    “Do you believe in infant baptism?”
    “Believe? I’ve seen it!”
    In the context of creationism, “believe” carries overtones of religious belief. One believes in something by investing some value in it, some significance in one’s life.
    I know that one can casually say, “I believe I’ll have the ranch dressing on my salad.”
    But I quickly learned not to say that I believe in evolution. I accept the evidence for it.

  6. I was quite honored when Ken Ham spoke out against my book. To be criticized by Ken Ham is to find one’s self in quite good company. Here was my response: https://thehumanevolutionblog.com/2016/10/09/response-to-ken-ham-yes-humans-and-animals-are-not-so-different/

  7. I notice that you make reference to explanations which are alternative to evolutionary explanations. Aren’t you being rather generous to what the creationists have to say in calling them explanations? P

  8. @Draken: Exactly. The same result would obtain if you produced a “fair and accurate” documentary on an East Kentucky congregation of snake-handlers. But then, the size of such a congregation is by nature self-limiting.

  9. Tom S – totally agree with your perspective of ‘not believing’ in evolution. I love to drive my relatives up the wall by explaining to them that I don’t believe in belief 🙂 I accept some things as true, some things as false, and the rest as either unknowable or not yet known. My recommendation to them is to use hope rather than belief for many of their faith claims.