Creationist theme park shouldn't get backing

Gov. Steve Beshear, Democrat of Kentucky, has lent his support to a creationist theme park, Ark Adventure, commissioned by Answers in Genesis. He has not only lent his support vocally, but he has itemized in the state’s budget a tax break worth $43 million for the park. This story appeared on The Huffington Post, and I couldn’t have been more confounded.

Luckily, a commenter on this story found a succinct way to summarize my thoughts: “If this is being a Democrat in Kentucky, I’m scared to ask what a Republican looks like.”

Now, I expect this kind of nonsense from members of the Republican Party: While he was in office, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) offered an amendment to the No Child Left Behind law that would have teachers introduce theories of creationism to students. Simply put, Democrats should know better, which is why Gov. Beshear’s actions are such a disappointment.

Creationism is the idea the earth is only around 6,000 years old, and mankind has always been around. It is a literal interpretation of Genesis in the Bible, and it is absolutely incorrect.

“The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically-themed attraction,” reads the company Answer in Genesis’s website. “In an entertaining, educational and immersive way, it presents a number of historical events centered on a full-size, all-wood Ark, which should become the largest timber-frame structure in the USA.

It’s a show of stupidity, because it essentially asserts The Flintstones wasn’t a cartoon, but a documentary as to how mankind roamed the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs. It attempts to override facts: the earth is 4.54 billion years old, dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago and archeologist estimate mankind has been on earth well over 6,000 years (200,000 years).

Has Gov. Beshear lost his marbles? Otherwise, how do you explain his support for a testament to stupidity, which will be buoyed by taxpayer’s funds? What makes this account even more egregious is, in the state budget, in which a tax break worth $43 million is outlined for the park, the governor demanded cuts to higher education, with funding falling to $1.17 billion from $1.25 billion.

And maybe Gov. Beshear was correct in demanding cuts to education, since clearly his state doesn’t seem very committed to it.

“We should be making substantial investments in our physical and intellectual infrastructure, to bring transformational change to our state,” said Gov. Beshear, as he introduced the state’s budget on Jan. 21, 2012.

“This budget does not allow us to do enough of that,” admitted the governor. But it does apparently allow for us to commiserate the very antithesis of intellectual infrastructure that is constitutionally questionable.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, based in Washington D.C., raised issues with the park’s partnership with the state government.

“The state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of fundamentalist Christianity, or any other religious viewpoint,” said Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Let these folks build their fundamentalist Disneyland without government help.”

A poll published by Gallup on the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin (February 11th, 2009), the father of natural selection, showed only 39 percent of Americans believed in evolution.

A subsequent poll published December 17th, 2010 showed that 40 percent of Americans believed in the fallacy of strict creationism, or “God created humans in present form.”

Faith should not be an excuse to disavow the facts of the world, or to allow the unobservable to take precedence over the observable. We, as a country, constantly comment on how poorly we do by international standards in areas of math and science, and we wonder why. Perhaps it’s because we have state governments that endorse fantasies instead of facts.

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