Kentucky is giving the park a major tax break with the expectation that it will bring money to the state. But should economic improvement take precedence over seriously screwing over the next generation of park-goers by teaching them that humans, just six thousand years ago, co-existed with pterodactyls?
Let me fist say that this park doesn’t even sound fun, at all, and I pity any children whose parents will one day drag them to see a replica of the Tower of Babel and Noah’s Arc, instead of taking them somewhere cool, like Disneyland. You know, to a theme park with fun attractions, like roller coasters.
But the lameness of this park is benign compared to the detrimental effects that it’ll have on any future children that will be subjected to its Creationist attractions. A blogger for Barefoot And Progressive, Joe Sonka, astutely described it as a “theme park devoted to intellectually molesting children.”
The argument for or against tax incentives for the park isn’t an argument for the separation of church and state, like keeping prayer out of a public high school graduation. Gil Lawson of the Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet, says that the law for tax incentives are neutral:
“It’s not designed to favor or discriminate in any way…we look at these applications without any regard to religious issues. They stand on their own, and it depends on if it’s adequate financing and does all the things the applicant says it will do. Religion does not play a role in this.”
That’s fair enough. So it isn’t a matter of religious propaganda. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t extremely short-sighted for the state of Kentucky to approve of a theme park for financial gain that will teach children that the world is flat, that Earth is six thousand years old, or that we humans once co-existed with the dinosaurs.
The Courier Journal underscores the danger of introducing this kind of thinking early: “The National Center for Science Education asserts that ‘students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level.’”
President Obama, in his State of The Union Address, addressed our need to invest more in our educational system in order for the next generation’s innovations to spur the next wave of economic development. And that means not raising the next generation of Kentucky theme park goers with a self-imposed mental retardation.
And make no mistake, Creationism is a definite type of mental retardation. A short-term boost in tax revenue is no excuse for this unwillingness to embrace the complexity of life and risk slowing down whatever potential future innovators may visit the park.