This past week, the film We Believe in Dinosaurs premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
The film is a documentary about Ark Encounter, including the financial promises made to the city of Williamstown. It’s a look at America’s “troubled relationship with science.” It also features Ken Ham and the Creationists who made the displays you see inside the boat; Dan Phelps, a local paleontologist who has been instrumental in letting the world know what’s going down in Williamstown (you can thank him for the Ark’s attendance figures we share on this site every month); and David MacMillan, a former Creationist who no longer believes in that nonsense.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s review is almost adorable for realizing the absurdity of one of Ham’s catchphrases.
There are disturbing scenes that show children and adults indoctrinated into spouting catchphrases to defy the scientists. For example, when scientists talk about the history of the earth, children are taught to call out, “Were you there?” In addition to sending a message, the sponsors of these museums are aiming to make money. Over a million people visited the Ark Encounter museum in its first year of operation, but the residents of Williamstown, Kentucky, who hoped to see an economic boom from tourism, were ultimately disappointed. The novelty quickly wore off, and stores that were hoping to capitalize on the tourist trade soon found themselves shuttered.
There’s a more in-depth review of the movie from Alan Ng at Film Threat. He suggests that the film itself isn’t an attack on Creationism, but the Creationists in the movie aren’t doing themselves any favors.
After viewing from what is inside the Ark Encounter and its founders, I have some serious reservations about its conclusions about Noah’s ark. They present several facts that I just don’t agree with and draw a few conclusions that defy logic. In other words, this is their explanation of Creationism and does not represent what I’ve understood creationism to be. These creationists are honestly not helping their argument at all.I’ll give you one example. The ark submits that dinosaurs were on board Noah’s Ark during the flood. The dinosaurs represented as animatronic robots on the ark are ones never seen before in fossil records and represents a transitory state to some species familiar to us today. Which essentially proves that species have been evolving over the last few millennia, thus proving evolution is true. Go figure.
(Ham would likely yell back that those dinosaurs are the same “kind,” whatever he thinks that means, and that the dinosaurs aren’t turning into cats right before our eyes, so checkmate, atheists.)
At one point, Ng says “Note: you must sit through the ending credits.”
What’s that all about? Phelps told me that the ending credits include a clip of Ken Ham on his “Answers News” show ranting about how the filmmakers are going to be completely unfair to him in this movie. In fact, they let Ham speak (without further commentary) throughout the film. If that makes him look bad, well, whose fault is that? Ham is his own worst enemy.
Incidentally, I interviewed two of the filmmakers back in 2016, and you can hear our conversation below. I can’t wait to see the final product. Hopefully, it’ll be picked up for widespread distribution soon.