Seth Andrews recently visited Ark Encounter with fellow atheist Matt Dillahunty, and he brought along a video camera and a giant backpack full of sarcasm. As is so often the case, the place was fairly empty when they went.
Do yourself a favor and watch their experience. If nothing else, you’ll save yourself a $40 entry fee + $2.40 in sales tax + $0.50 for the safety fee + $10 for parking.
I’ll take issue with one thing Seth said. He points out near the end that there are better uses for $100 million than this boat. I would agree. Still, I’m not a fan of the argument that says people who spend money in one way are wrong or immoral because they could’ve done something more noble with it. By that logic, just about everything optional we spend money on can and should be donated to a greater cause. If we’re making that criticism of Ham, we ought to make it of everybody, everywhere. But we don’t. We seem to only say it about people we disagree with. (Atheists raised plenty of money to hold two Reason Rallies in Washington D.C. over the past several years, but I wouldn’t spend much time thinking about criticism from Christians if they said the money should’ve been donated to charity instead.)
Ham fundraised for this project because he felt this was a way to spread his faith. We can criticize the junk bonds he sold. We can criticize the way he screwed over the local taxpayers to get sweetheart deals. We can criticize the bad “science” inside the boat. We can criticize the effect this boat may have on the minds of young people. But I have no doubt about Ken Ham‘s intentions, and it doesn’t bother me that he raised and borrowed money — even an obscene amount of it — for his pet project.