Most of you have heard of the documentary We Believe In Dinosaurs, which will be airing tonight on PBS. The production’s website says:
Young-earth creationists build an enormous, $120 million Noah’s Ark in rural Kentucky to prove the Bible is scientifically and historically accurate. Told through the eyes of three Kentuckians (Doug, who creates lifelike animals for the Ark; Dan, a geologist who blows the whistle on the Ark’s discriminatory hiring practices; and David, a former creationist who now blogs about the beliefs he used to hold), We Believe in Dinosaurs tells the story of the tension between science and religion in America.
Today there’s a good article about it in the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum). Their headline is ‘We Believe in Dinosaurs’: Kentucky Ark Encounter documentary offers flood of takeaways, and we don’t see any comments feature. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
The Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky has both amazed and angered boatloads of people over the years. “We Believe in Dinosaurs,” a documentary airing at 10 p.m. Monday on PBS, aims to capture — from the first days of construction in 2014 to the opening in 2016 — the polarizing nature of the theme park in Williamstown that features a 510-foot replica of Noah’s Ark. We already spoke last week with the filmmakers behind the documentary, but without giving too much away, here are a few takeaways from “We Believe in Dinosaurs.”
The first few paragraphs are about the dispute between creationism and evolution. You know that stuff, so we can skip most of it — except for this:
Doug Henderson, the lead exhibit designer for the attractions, references the documentary’s title early on when explaining the Ark Encounter’s features. “We believe in dinosaurs,” Henderson says. “We believe that dinosaurs and man lived at the same time. [Hooray for Doug!] The Bible does talk about creation week and all the mammals and humans were created on day six.”
They also quote one of ol’ Hambo’s creation scientists:
As Georgia Purdom, a molecular geneticist who serves as the director of educational content for Answers in Genesis, puts it when describing the Ark Encounter: “We want to be able to bring that same level that you see at the Smithsonian but without the evolutionary indoctrination, the evolutionary fairytale so to speak.”
Ah yes, Sweet Georgia Purdom. Then the Courier-Journal has a sub-head that asks: “Did Ken Ham like the documentary?,” and they give this unsurprising answer:
Nope. Although the “We Believe in Dinosaurs” filmmakers said they aimed to produce a non-judgmental look at the Ark Encounter and its history, Ham’s ministry was not pleased with how the documentary turned out. [Why?] “Despite assurances to the contrary dating back to 2013, the film’s deceitful producers created an agenda-driven propaganda piece that does not rise to the level of a real documentary, with many misrepresentations and errors,” Answers in Genesis said in a statement to The Courier Journal.
Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Then they say:
Viewers see Henderson, the lead designer, and his team designing the dinosaurs and animatronic figures inside the Ark Encounter. Everyone working on the project is a creationist, Henderson notes [That’s wonderful!], but he adds that he had doubts about his beliefs at one point in his life. “I want you to see that I’m a normal person,” Henderson says at one point. “I’m not crazy [Hee hee!], but I do believe in all of this.”
After that the newspaper starts talking about the good stuff — for example:
When a $120 million planned attraction in Kentucky is asking for state financial support, political drama is almost a foregone conclusion. The Ark Encounter featured plenty of political bickering, which “We Believe in Dinosaurs” spends plenty of time highlighting. A lot of it revolved around the Ark Encounter winning more than $18 million in state tax incentives while being built in 2014. [Gasp!]
[Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s administration, however, would try to take the tax break away from the Ark Encounter in late 2014 after learning the park would only hire Christians who, among other requirements, sign a “creation belief statement,” provide “salvation testimony” and regularly attend a “local Bible-believing church,” as the documentary shows. But Ham and the Ark Encounter would eventually sue the state in federal court and win the right to the tax incentives in January 2016. The documentary notes how the federal court ruling came shortly after former Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, took office.
We wrote about how ol’ Hambo “won” that court case — see Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court. Then the newspaper tells us:
The Ark Encounter received 78 acres of land for $1 from Williamstown, which also gave Answers in Genesis $175,000 in cash, according to the documentary. But after it was built and was opened to the public, the documentary shows some local leaders expressing disappointment over the economic returns. The Grant County judge executive at the time explains how despite hopes for increased traffic and visitors to local businesses as a result of the Ark Encounter, “maybe a few cars a day” pass through downtown Williamstown, “but there’s nothing here.”
There’s a lot more in the news article, so you may want to click over there to read it all. Anyway, the documentary airs tonight. Take a look at it if you get a chance. Then let us know if you liked it.
Addendum: Hambo has an opinion piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer of Cincinnati, Ohio, just across the border from Northern Kentucky where Ken Ham’s creationist empire is located. The title is Ark documentary another hatchet job. Near the end he says: “This is a reminder that those who oppose the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum often take selected pieces of information and weave a false story for their propaganda purposes.” Shocking tactics indeed!
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