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According to NBC News, on July 7, 2016, the Ark Encounter theme park opened in Williamstown, Kentucky. The attraction is said to be the largest, wood framed structure in the world. The Ark stands at 51 feet tall and is 1.5 football fields in length. Bill Nye, who is known for the popular children’s television show, “Bill Nye, the Science Guy,” paid a visit to the theme park on July 8, 2016.
The creator of the Bible-based theme park, Ken Ham, hopes his creations attracts die-hard Christians from the neighboring sister site, the Creation Museum that was built in 2007. Local officials and the state are hoping to bring tourists to the theme park and in doing so, boost the economy. The famous children’s television host was given a personal tour of the 120,000-square-foot wooden structure, by Ham himself, who has become the leading voice in the Young Earth creationist movement.
Nye has been openly skeptical of the theme park since its announcement. After his visit to the exhibit, Nye stated, the theme park is “troubling and disturbing.” He went on to express that the third deck of the Ark Encounter’s exhibit is completely wrong and obfuscating.
The Ark exhibit shows that dinosaurs co-existed with humans. This is different from what scientists believe, which is that the prehistoric reptiles became extinct 65 million years ago before humans started to roam the earth. Nye is particularly upset about the dinosaurs in the Ark exhibit that were replicas inside cages alongside other strange-looking animals.
Another issue that Nye has with the exhibit is Noah’s story, told in the Book of Genisis, that he built the ark because God told him to in the anticipation of a Great Flood. Nye thinks this notion does not hold water, even though some scientists are open to the fact that a flood of Biblical proportions could have happened, scientists say there is no evidence of a worldwide flood of that capacity in the past 6,000 years.
The science enthusiast says that the exhibit encourages visitors to blindly trust faith over science, which does not allow or encourage critical thinking. He also stated that the hundreds of school children who have visited the Ark Encounters theme park had already been brainwashed, pointing out a young girl whose parents were, “feeding her word for word.”
Nye also has an issue with the tax break the Commonwealth of Kentucky is allowing the Ark Encounter. The cost of building of the exhibit was $102 million. Tickets to the attraction are $40 for adults and $28 for children between the ages of 5-12. In its first six days of operation, according to NBC News, there were 30,000 visitors.
In 2014, Nye and Ham debated over creation versus evolution, the sparring match was held at the Creation Museum and released on YouTube racking up millions of views. Ham was born in Australia and is the founder of the Answers in Genesis ministry. According to the “New York Daily News,” Ham’s belief is that the Bible and its Book of Genesis are real historical facts, meaning the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. This contradicts Nye’s theory, in which he believes, as a scientist, that the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old.
One of the requirements to work at the theme park is that the employees must sign a statement saying that they are Christians. The park is able to do this under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which allows the Ark to have religious requirements for their employees. Nye says it is not the religious factor of the theme park that bothers him, but rather what they are passing off as fact, that are in his opinion, not true. Although Nye and Ham do not see eye-to-eye on things, Ham has stated that having the science enthusiast grace his theme park was beneficial. The pair ended their encounter with a friendly handshake.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
NBC News: ‘Absolutely Wrong’: Bill Nye the Science Guy Takes on Noah’s Ark Exhibit
New York Daily News: Bill Nye accuses ‘Noah’s Ark’ museum of brainwashing kids
The Washington Post: Bill Nye visited a Noah’s Ark he doesn’t believe should exist
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