Pharyngula

If any of you are writing to Governor Beshear of Kentucky about the life-sized Noah’s Ark the state will be underwriting, don’t wait for a reply — he’s sending out a standardized form letter, which many people have been forwarding to me. Here it is, in case you haven’t got one.

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about proposed “Ark Encounter” tourist attraction. I appreciate knowing your views.

Bringing new jobs to Kentucky is my top priority, and I believe this project will be beneficial to our future, providing an estimated 900 jobs and $250 million in annual revenue for the regional economy. The theme park is expected to draw 1.6 million visitors in the first year alone. I am excited to have another unique, family-friendly tourist attraction for the state.

The theme park will be funded by private developers at a cost of $150 million. The for-profit developers are seeking state tax incentives under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act – the same program used to help bring the state’s first NASCAR race to the Kentucky Speedway. Any tax incentives the project may receive will come in the form of sales tax exemptions once the project is completed, and as long as it meets the guidelines under the Development Act.

The state has reviewed the project from a legal standpoint and, if the Noah’s Ark application meets our laws, finds nothing unconstitutional about a for-profit company investing $150 million in Kentucky to create jobs and bring tourism to our state. The tax incentive law does not discriminate among religions and was not created specifically to benefit the theme park. The Tourism Cabinet also is in the process of reviewing the park’s application for tax incentives to make sure the project can deliver on certain performance measures. This project is an investment in the future of the Commonwealth and is sure to bring people from across the country to Kentucky.

Again, thank you for sharing your views. As always, please feel free to contact me in the future whenever an issue is important to you.

Sincerely,
Steven L. Beshear

I feel like I’ve been slimed reading that.

First of all, it’s not about jobs, and he knows it. That “900 job” estimate is, as near as anyone can tell, a fiction from a feasibility study cobbled together by one of Ken Ham’s cronies, and which no one else has actually seen. The state will be coughing up more money than they’re telling us, too: AiG is already asking for road expansion. What else can we expect them to ask for?

It’s never just about jobs. If it were, the state would be expanding investment in education and would be taxing the churches. There are always other motives behind exactly what the state government will and will not support.

Come on. This project the governor is supporting only reinforces the stereotype of Kentucky as a state full of ignorant hillbillies and gullible rednecks, making the place a laughing stock. Seriously. Fred Flintstone-style dioramas and exhibits of people working with dinosaurs? Dragons, unicorns, and the Loch Ness monster touted as evidence for the Bible? The whole notion of the Ark itself is ludicrous and untenable…and Beshear is simply dismissing reason and evidence to promote superstition and folly in his state. Because it will part the rubes from their cash. That’s cynical and contemptible.

If the governor were sincere in his desire to invest in the future of the state, he wouldn’t be supporting miseducation and lies and a low-class, rinky-tink gang of pseudoscientific poseurs and bible-thumping con artists.