David Williams says Ark Encounter won’t be built, campaign still strong

The Louisville Tea Party held a town hall last night featuring Sen. Rand Paul, GOP statewide candidates, and independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith.

As David Williams was speaking, he off-offhandedly mentioned — while criticizing Kentucky’s tax structure — that he did not think Ark Encounter would ever be built. The project — featuring a “replica” of Noah’s Ark that depicts a 600-year old Noah herding dinosaurs onto it a few thousand years ago — is receiving a $43 million dollar tax break from the Beshear administration, which is a big cheerleader behind the project.

I asked Williams afterward about why he is skeptical of the project:

LEO Weekly: So you don’t think the Ark is going to be built?

Williams: No, I don’t think it will ever be built.

LEO: Why not?

Williams: I don’t think there’s an economic feasibility study that indicates it will ever be feasible. And it doesn’t matter how much tax credit you give anybody, in order to get tax credits, you have to have the income in order to create it. And there’s never been a feasibility study I’ve ever seen, I don’t think there’s ever been one done. I think the governor is just playing politics with this.

The original “feasibility study” was actually one by a business partner of Ken Ham, the head of Answers in Genesis and the force behind the for-profit project. Following this study, the Beshear administration commissioned a study that predicted more modest numbers for the park, yet still incredibly — or miraculously — high.

I asked Williams what he thought about the nature of the project.

LEO: What do you think about dinosaurs on the ark, or are you agnostic on that?

Williams: Well, I’m not agnostic.

LEO: Well not literally agnostic. The whole young earth, dinosaurs and humans…

Williams: (deadpan) I wasn’t there.

This is, of course, a variation of the ridiculous line that Ken Ham teaches children to use when adults tell them that the earth is billions of years old, not 6,000 years old — “Were you there?

After the ensuing LOL’s died down, Williams elaborated.

“You know, here’s what I believe. I believe that I am a Christian and I come from a Judeo-Christian belief. And I believe that the Bible is a valid document. So if the good lord wants to calculate his years in different terms than our 365-day rotation of the sun … if I am forgiven at the time of my death and in good grace, he’ll reveal all that to me. But until then, I won’t ever be sure.”

I then asked Williams about the state of his campaign, which many are describing as in disarray — as polls show him more than 20 percent behind Beshear and his campaign manager recently resigned in order to pursue other “career opportunities.”

“I don’t know anyone who knows my campaign that says it’s in disarray. They’re hoping it’s in disarray, but we’re not in disarray. We had one person who went off for other opportunities, and we have a strong management team in place. And we’re fighting an organization that, as Mitch McConnell said down at Fancy Farm, likes his state employees like he likes his martinis — shaken down and not heard.”

Williams again said during his speech — when unfavorably comparing Kentucky’s system of taxation and employment to Tennessee — that Tennessee has 2 more congressmen than Kentucky, which is the second time we’ve heard him do so on the campaign trail (in addition to one time he said they have the same number, to point out how many more people Tennessee employs). Tennessee actually has nine congressman, to Kentucky’s six.

When I pointed this out to Williams, he replied: “Well that’s even worse than I say.”

Williams’ argument is that Kentucky is losing population to Tennessee because of their tax structure — which features a high sales tax but no regular income tax. However, Tennessee’s unemployment rates currently sits at 9.8 percent, just above Kentucky’s also-bad 9.6 percent.

Much more on the rest of the tea party town hall meeting to come…


  1. Cletis Stump
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    When this piece of shit wants to see his God, he just looks for the nearest mirror.

  2. Brandi
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    If this non-sense doesn’t get built, the hype dies down and people see that brain-washing our children with Bible literacy BS is WRONG, there may be a God yet!!

  3. Jason
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    This article is totally false? I just read the ark will be built starting in the spring on NKY.com. Its already got the go ahead. Sounds like it would be too late for Williams or anyone do anything about it? I don’t know what the point of this article is? Its already a done deal?

  4. Dan Langis
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Brain washing… Really!
    What do you think evolution has been doing all this time.

  5. Mark Siffer
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Yaaawwwn… here come the junk science bigots again. Evolution is mostly religion. At best it is only a “theory”… NOT FACT! All Ken is saying, “Here is what the Bible says”. So what! Hardly “brainwashing”. I know Ken Ham and the folks at Answers In Genesis and I support the building of the Ark Encounter, just as I supported the building of the Creation Museum… WITH MY OWN $$$. What is wrong with freedom of speech? Evolutionists know their theory is crumbling!

  6. J. Tyler
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    You say that Ken Ham is “brainwashing” children – the height of rhetoric. I say that evolutionists are brainwashing children into believing that they came from monkeys and that given enough time, hydrogen gas turns into people. This is fable and magic – not science. As opposed to the theory of evolution, at least we have reliable written records dating back to the beginning of history in the Bible to document Ham’s deductions.

  7. Hollywoodron
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Since no one was there 6000 years ago, or 6 billion years ago… Evolution and Creation should be taught, EQUALLY. Since, the Bible is the foundation of this very nation, the most printed, read, smuggled, burned, debated, studied, translated, historical & God inspired (the same God named Providence, and in our state constitutions)… then why is it expelled from our education system? Oh I know… atheist agenda.

  8. Kelly
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    You religious nutcases are totally freaking insane. Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, humans share a common ancestor with chimps (we also share 98% of our DNA) and humans certainly didn’t live with dinosaurs.

    There was no Noah and there is no god. That you continue to believe the words of a bunch of ignorant men who lived thousands of years ago tells me all I need to know. Belief in imaginary friends is not good for your mental health.

  9. The Tim Channel
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Dam those evil scientists and their atheist kin, what with all their fancy math and such.

    Problem with evolution is that it happens to be true. As in testable, predictable and reliable. Exactly the opposite of religion. So MATH AND SCIENCE MUST BE DESTROYED to save the world from the evil of the truth.

    That pretty much sums up the idiocy of the Christianist movement in a nutshell.


  10. Thomas M.
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    “You say that Ken Ham is “brainwashing” children – the height of rhetoric.”

    “Rhetoric” is the means by which people convince people – it’s not a pejorative, as it says nothing about the truth value of what’s being said. All public figures, including Ken Ham, as well as anyone else who has ever tried to convince anyone of anything, use rhetoric.

    “I say that evolutionists are brainwashing children into believing that they came from monkeys and that given enough time, hydrogen gas turns into people. This is fable and magic – not science.”

    In other words: “I don’t understand it, so it must be FABLE AND MAGIC!!!1!!1!” In reality, “fable and magic” is a more accurate descriptor of the creation stories Ken Ham proposes. We have far more evidence that suggests that humans did, in fact, evolve from a common ancestor of modern primates, than we do to suggest that the Flood really happened – but what’s that in the face of a two-thousand year old book?

    “As opposed to the theory of evolution, at least we have reliable written records dating back to the beginning of history in the Bible to document Ham’s deductions.”

    As opposed to the Bible stories of the Creation and Flood, which were written several thousand years after the events they “document,” we have reliable scientific procedures to test the validity of the theory of evolution. Those procedures tend to be rather more reliable than ancient writings, which often drew extensively on myth and folklore to tell their stories (see: The Odyssey, the Bible.)

    “Evolution is mostly religion. At best it is only a “theory”’

    Learn what a “scientific theory” is, and then learn what constitutes “religion,” and then come back and try again.

    “Evolutionists know their theory is crumbling!”

    I see this proposed a lot by Creationists, but see no evidence to support it. Their continued use of it, however, does reveal about their own desperation to be seen as legitimate, even though every piece of scientific evidence refutes what they say. In reality (something Creationists tend to be rather unfamiliar with), scientists get more and more evidence for the truth of evolution every day. Its ability to predict and to solve complex scientific problems suggests that it, in fact, a valid scientific theory. Of course, scientists do occasional discover problems with some of the specific mechanisms – but then tests are done and those problems fixed. The basic principles of evolution have been proven time and time again.

    “Since no one was there 6000 years ago, or 6 billion years ago… Evolution and Creation should be taught, EQUALLY.”

    Would you also suggest that all the many differing creation stories that have been told by all the thousands and thousands of religions in the world should also be taught EQUALLY. Also, astrology should be taught alongside astronomy, alchemy should be taught alongside chemistry, and so on.

    Of course, yours is an incredibly relativistic approach – in reality, there’s far more evidence to support the theory of evolution than there is to support the Biblical creation story. In fact, there’s nothing to suggest that the Earth is only 6000 years old, except for a single 2000 year old book – every piece of geological evidence, of archaeological evidence, of biological evidence, etc., on the other hand, suggests that it’s much, much older.

    “Oh I know… atheist agenda.”


  11. fionn maccumhail
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    J. Tyler wrote: “I say that evolutionists are brainwashing children into believing that they came from monkeys and that given enough time, hydrogen gas turns into people.”

    You got it a little scrambled, but yes, given enough hydrogen gas and time, life will appear. Scientists can even show you how this happens, and we have about a dozen testable ideas as to how life can emerge from non-life.

    Science is not brainwashing, no matter how much you want that to happen.

    And one other thing: When you talk about this “god” character, could you give us some actual evidence that it even exists.

  12. Cat's Valet
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    In conversation, a theory is a notion about how things work. In science, that would be a hypothesis, an idea, or a wild-assed guess. science, a theory is a well-thought-out explanation for how things happen–their mechanism. It must explain the observations we have and predict what we may see in the future. The theory of evolution does that. There is in fact more evidence for the mechanisms of evolution than for gravity or electricity.

    In fact, if you have offspring that are different from their parents, less than 100% of adults having children, and changing conditions, you will get evolution–there’s no way to keep the distribution of genes in a population exactly the same if adults have different reproductive success.

    Congratulations to your Republican candidate for telling the truth about the bogus attendance predictions for the unbuilt park. Other attractions don’t get that many visitors, so why should a static Fake Floating Barn attract them?

    Have a nice day, y’all.

  13. Hamilton
    Posted August 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Why, oh why, is our country burdened with so many ridiculous Christians?

  14. Hamilton
    Posted August 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    “The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party—the anti-science party, we have a huge problem.” -Jon Huntsman

    Let me guess: he won’t win the Republican primary.

  15. Incredulous
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    No one seriously denies micro-evolution. Change happens within species and that is scientifically absolute. The real issue is macro-evolution, that of one species evolving into another species. Sure, finches beaks change, moths adapt to the environment, but finches don’t become turtles and moths don’t become leopards. Their genetic code is transmitted to their progeny, so they can never cross the wall of species differentiation. What proof is there, just because the DNA of chimps is so similar to that of humans, that they have a common ancestor? Why do we still have chimps and why don’t they morph into humans any more? I believe in the fixity of species, as do micro-evolutionists. Change does occur over time within species, but one species has never morphed into another totally different animal; it is genetically impossible. By the way, Google the literature (much of which is suppressed by the liberal media and education system) about scientists who do not believe in macro-evolution, and see that their arguments are scientifically strong, and that the evidence for macro-evolution violates other established laws of physics and genetics. Most people are not aware that even traditional Darwinism has been debunked and replaced by other theories which are scientifically dubious at best.
    The cosmos was either designed and created by a Supreme Being, or we are the product of randomness and chance. But we cannot even understand the workings of nature, must less create it ourselves; how could our ecosystem, so delicately balanced, be the work of chance? Go look at the floor of your bedroom if you think that material items, left alone, organize themselves.
    There is an obvious Intelligence behind our universe, clearly seen its design. I’m sorry. To borrow a quote from an outstanding science book, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

  16. Madman_Andre
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    @ Incredulous

    Must… Resist… Posting on FSTDT…

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