Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:01 pm 
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A hotbed of Creationism in the deep South shows the strength of Christian fundamentalism

This past summer in Williamstown, Kentucky, The Ark Encounter, a “life-size” reproduction of Noah’s Ark, opened to the public. . .Shot over the course of 3 years, “We Believe in Dinosaurs” follows the Ark Encounter from its groundbreaking to its opening day; from the designing and building of the Ark, to growing protests from scientists, Freethinkers, and even a Kentucky pastor. -Indiewire. Review in Hollywood Reporter by Stephen Farber.

38% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. This is a clear and present danger, not just in Kentucky. In Washington, the current Vice President is a fundamentalist Christian. These are people who believe the Bible is packed with scientific facts, that mainstream science, particularly evolution, is erroneous. Brown and Ross focus on Ken Ham, an Australian Christian fundamentalist and young Earth creationist and apologist who is behind the Creation Museum and the giant Ark "model" he raised money to build. You have to be pretty naive and ignorant to believe a great flood created by God wiped out most of the world's population of humans and animals because they were "wicked," but there is a whole population of people who believe this.

It should be noted that "we believe in dinosaurs" doesn't refer to rationalists or pro-science people, because the Creation Museum is full of dinosaurs. The creationists believe there were dinosaurs on the Ark with the mammals. They'd have to be, if everything happened within six thousand years. And the creationists under Ken Ham make good use of the great popularity of dinosaurs among kids. Ham's complex is a place of entertainment - and instruction - primarily aimed at the young and innocent.

In this film, we see the forces of creationism marshaled under the organization of Ken Ham working to indoctrinate people, especially children. We also see David MacMillan, a young former creationist who prided himself on being in the inner circle of Ken Ham's organization, who wises up and leaves Kentucky, and now works as a paralegal in Washington, DC. We also see Daniel Phelps, a paleontologist who remains in Kentucky campaigning against Ham's programs. Naturally, as one well aware of the age of the earth and the galaxy, he finds the "young earth" theory of fundamentalists abhorrent and obviously absurd. But the effort to withdraw tax benefits for the Ark and the Museum which he was active in, was first successful, but later reversed, and he feels frustrated.

It seems that the little town near these things has failed to benefit economically by the tourism as had been hoped. But the Museum and the Ark are going great guns, and Ken Ham has plans for turning the remaining land they own into what sounds like a veritable Creationism Disneyland, a Creationland, if you will. This is an industry, and a growing movement.

People with rational, pro-science outlooks discount this whole element in the population. It's just something you don't want to believe exists. And this is clearly a mistake.

We Believe in Dinosaurs, 105 mins., debuted at San Francisco, where it was screened for this review.

SFFILM showtimes:
Sat, Apr 13 at 2:00 pm - Dolby Cinema (EVENT HAS PASSED)
Mon, Apr 15 at 3:00 pm - Roxie Theater (EVENT HAS PASSED)
Sun, Apr 21 at 2:00 pm - Grand Lake Theatre

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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