So Kentucky is going to build a Noah’s Ark theme park, which will complement the already famous creationist museum in the state. And guess what? I support the idea.
Sure, there are many issues with the state government getting involved, including the extension of tens of millions of dollars of tax breaks to the creationist organization Ark Encounter LLC, and the disregard for any notion of separation of church and state. But these major issues aside, I think the theme park will do more good than harm.
The whole idea of taking a seriously catastrophic event in the literature that is the Old Testament and making a fun, easy time out of it with roller coaster rides and cartoonish Biblical characters is exactly the point. So eager are the Christians to promote this Biblical view that they fail to realize how silly they look, and how silly they make their own stories look.
What was once a bedrock of religious belief–the idea that we were created separately from the animals–is now relegated to what nonbelievers call myth and what thinking believers call “religious metaphor” (interesting since it can be argued that a majority of American Christians don’t believe in evolution). For those that do accept the evidence-based view of life, seeing Animatronic dinosaurs walking with humans is just that–a man-made fantasy made into a spectacular display for children.
When Christians insisted on the veracity of the 7 days of creation, science came along and amazed the world with deep, geologic time. When Christians said that only a purposeful designer could explain great complexity in biological life, Darwin came along and showed the remarkable selections and adaptations in nature, how interconnected we are to every form of life, and how simple were our beginnings. The ideas in the Bible–from the claim that there were literally two teenagers on Earth in a Garden at one time, to the idea of a flood with enough water to cover the world, to the young-earth creationist timeline of a few thousand years–science has pushed these ideas back, back to the world of cartoons, theme parks, and expensive displays for children.
And that’s my point. Religion often spits out completed incoherent and obfuscated statements, but for those testable or verifiable hypotheses that it does offer, science illuminates the path for a true and beautiful understanding of how the natural world works and who we really are.
Build those theme parks. They are a testament to progress.