P. Z. Myers drew attention to the fact that the infamous Answers in Genesis has hit a snag in their plans for an “ark park.” They aimed to raise $24.5 million for the project, and have stalled at around $4 million.
Why does one need even 4 million dollars to demonstrate the literal truthfulness of an ancient story about a lone man, without modern technology, perhaps helped by some family members and slaves, building a box-shaped boat capable of housing two or seven of all kinds of animals, if Answers in Genesis and their interpretation of the Noah story is correct?
Are they suggesting that Noah was the equivalent in his time of a millionaire? I know they will want to complete the project more quickly than Noah did, but even so, if it takes $24.5 million dollars to get it done, doesn’t that suggest something about the feasibility of the ark itself?
Would it be inappropriate to treat the exorbitant price tag of this project as evidence of what most people, including most Christians, can figure out even without calculating the cost of such a boat, the required space, the fact that the amount of fresh water they would have needed would have sunk the vessel, that the carnivorous animals needed to eat during the trip, or any other such details. It isn’t a story about something that actually happened.
And thank goodness. Most people are so inoculated against the actual story through exposure to versions in childhood featuring lots of cute animals and no emphasis on mass extermination, that they fail to notice what sort of deity the story actually depicts.
But the truth is that the amount Answers in Genesis was trying to raise doesn’t really prove anything about the Biblical story. What it demonstrates is something about Answers in Genesis. They aren’t interested in having one person or a small group show that it is possible to build an ark like Noah’s, as a man in the Netherlands recently did. They are interested in getting people to donate to a project that involves them turning Noah’s ark into a money-making enterprise aimed at bilking the gullible. Apparently in their thinking that is what Christianity is all about.
As Proverbs 17:16 says, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (NIV).
Of course, with all the people who have claimed to find Noah’s ark in various places, perhaps one could treat that as “evidence” that Noah had an enormous multi-million dollar fleet? :-)