"We want seven billion people to come here." - Ken Ham
Built to demonstrate the truth of the Bible story and to disprove evolution, the enormous “life-size” wooden ark takes shape in rural Williamstown. Doug Henderson and his talented sculpture team labor for months, sometimes around the clock, creating lifelike animals for the exhibit. Among their creations are dinosaurs, which they believe sailed with Noah and his family. “They probably took juveniles,” he says, explaining how the enormous animals would have fit on the boat. “A young Stegosaurus was only about … this big.” To Doug it doesn’t matter that mainstream science puts the age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years. “Creation scientists” at the museum (several with Ph.Ds) maintain that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that evolution is the work of atheists. Doug believes them.
The creationists’ vision disturbs Dan Phelps, a Kentucky state geologist. For years, Dan has fought against the Creation Museum’s “non-science” through op-eds and letters to the editor. When he discovers the Ark Encounter will receive tax incentives despite discriminatory hiring practices, he ramps up his fight. A local Baptist minister also protests the incentives, intensifying the struggle over the American principle of the separation of church and state.
David MacMillan, a 26-year old former creationist, has a different perspective on the Ark Encounter. A charter member of the Creation Museum in his youth, he now writes articles and blog posts that explain the creationist mindset. He hopes to help creationists hear a different message: evolution is not the work of the devil, and creationism is not the only way to understand the world.
Shot over the course of four 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. By telling the fascinating story of the Ark Encounter, We Believe in Dinosaurs also tells the story of the unsettling and uniquely American battle between science and religion.
38% of Americans Believe the Earth is Less Than 10,000 Years Old.*
Creationists believe in dinosaurs. They believe that dinosaurs were created by God 6,000 years ago on the sixth and last 24-hour day of creation. They believe that dinosaurs lived among humans and that, except for those that survived on Noah's Ark, they were destroyed just over 4,000 years ago in the worldwide flood described in Genesis.
But in recent years, believing has not been enough for creationists. Determined to prove that the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate, they have begun building museums based on creation science. Their goal is to debunk evolution and to do that they are starting to think big.
A comparison of 34 industrialized countries finds that the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to public acceptance of evolution. Only Turkey ranks lower. And during the recent election, candidates for local and national offices openly criticized evolution.
"The whole point of this park is to show people that these were real events that happened in real time."
In the summer of 2016 in Williamstown, Kentucky, The Ark Encounter, a “life-size” reproduction of Noah’s Ark, opened to the public. News media swarmed and curious visitors lined up by the thousands to get a peek inside. With its museum-quality displays and meticulously crafted models of animals (including dinosaurs), The Ark Encounter became the newest and most sophisticated addition to the roster of creation museums located all around the country.