I spent the last weekend in scenic Parsippany, NJ, participating in the annual chess extravaganza known as the U. S. Amateur Team East. As big a chess fan as I am, I am mostly retired from tournament play. It’s too hard and stressful! For the first time in a long while, however, I managed to make some decent moves, so you can be sure that you will hear all about it shortly! Alas, since I am digging out from all the work that didn’t get done while I was away, that might have to wait for the weekend.
In the meantime, you can take some comfort from this article, that appeared recently in Slate. It’s about Ken Ham and creationism and Darwin Day. My favorite part of the article:
But there’s trouble in Ham’s creationist paradise. In 2012, the Creation Museum reported a 10 percent decline in attendance from the previous year, and its parent group, Answers in Genesis, posted a 5 percent drop in revenue. That continues a four-year slump and a new low for the museum at 280,000 total visitors last year. Even more ominously, fundraising for the Ark Encounter has slowed to a crawl. Its future is further imperiled by the decline of the Creation Museum, whose visitors were expected to be a huge source of funding for the ark park. As of January, Ham had failed to raise even half the money required to build the ark replica itself, let alone the rest of the park. To help out, you can buy a peg, a blank, or even a beam for $100, $500, and $1,500, respectively—but seeing as the fate of the ark is in serious jeopardy, is a free pass to the grand opening really worth the risk?
The Creation Museum was one of the region’s biggest draws only four years ago. The museum’s vice president blames the downward spiral on the recession, but the decline has only worsened as the economy has recovered. Gas prices, the museum claims, might also be cutting into attendance, because 70 percent of visitors arrive from out of town. It’s true that fossil fuels—which are, on average, several hundred million years older than Ken Ham’s version of the Earth—have risen in price over the past several years, perhaps dissuading potential visitors.
The article’s conclusion?
If Ham’s decaying empire is any indication, Americans are rejecting his false choice between blind faith and wretched immorality. But on Darwin Day, it’s worth remembering that Ham and his acolytes are dedicated to undermining our country’s commitment to sound science. Every day in a small museum in Kentucky, a few hundred adults and children stare at a diorama of Adam sitting next to a placid dinosaur. If Ham had his way, schoolchildren across the country would see this image every day, and they’d never be taught the true diversity, complexity, and drama of the evolution of life. That’s a future that celebrants of Darwin Day are fighting. It’s not a losing battle by any means. But it hasn’t been won yet, either.
Well said, but I’m not sure if a small decrease in attendance really indicates a “decaying empire.” Here’s hoping! According to the Ark Encounter website, portions of the park could be open as soon as 2014, so we will know soon enough if they will be able to pull it off.