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Days after white doves and shofar horns christened the opening of a new Noah's Ark attraction in northern Kentucky, the land-anchored ship welcomed a conspicuous and curious visitor: Bill Nye "the Science Guy."
The bow-tied man of science — openly skeptical about the exhibit from the time it was announced — was an invited guest at the Ark Encounter, which opened July 7 and is billed as the largest timber-frame structure in the world, at 51 feet tall and 1-1/2 football fields in length.
Nye had to see the voluminous vessel for himself, and set off for the rolling green vistas of Williamstown, a rural community south of Cincinnati.
What he found, he told NBC News, was an eye-catching attraction that was "much more troubling or disturbing than I thought it would be."
"On the third deck (of the ark), every single science exhibit is absolutely wrong," he said. "Not just misleading, but wrong."
Nye said the exhibit encourages visitors to trust faith over science and thereby undercuts their ability to engage in critical thinking.
"It's all very troubling. You have hundreds of school kids there who have already been indoctrinated and who have been brainwashed," he said, recalling how one young girl on the Ark told him to change his way of thinking.
"The parents were feeding her word for word," Nye added.
Nye said that while he appreciated some of the craftsmanship details that went into building the boat, which was the handiwork of Amish laborers, something else behind the scenes has troubled him.
He takes issue with a tax break that the commonwealth of Kentucky provided to the Ark Encounter — built at a cost of $102 million. Despite opposition in 2014 by former state officials, a federal judge earlier this year ruled that the Ark could take advantage of a state sales tax rebate worth as much as 25 percent of the investment.
You can seldom share your beliefs with others here unless you drink the kool-aid. Even at the schools. Can't wait to move. Can't believe anyone taking this ark seriously but I know all the churches around here have rented the buses and are sold out in tickets. Scary.
originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
Tell us about the rides...I want to know about the rides there!!!
Is there a dinosaur with a saddle thing that you put some coins in and it rocks back and forth??
Nye said the religious element of the theme park itself doesn't worry him — rather, he's concerned about what it's passing off as fact.
"I'm not busting anyone's chops about a religion," he said. "This is about the absolutely wrong idea that the Earth is 6,000 years old that's alarming to me."
Ham, on the other hand, has accused atheists of being "intolerant bullies" toward people of faith. He is confident both the Ark Encounter and his Creation Museum will see a shared surge in interest.
"So while a large group of people were gathered around, I publicly prayed for Bill. I did ask him if we could be friends, but he said we could be acquaintances with mutual respect, but not friends."