Critics of the Ark Encounter and the Trump Presidency: A collision of east and western thought

While doing a little research on the Ark Encounter for an article reporting my recent visit there I ran across a number of really disturbing trends which correlate perfectly to the Trump presidency.   It’s no secret that evangelicals supported Donald Trump massively in the last election and that they would continue to be a solidifying electorate base—so obviously the criticism leveled at the type of evangelicals who were behind the Ark Encounter project were the same who wanted to end the Trump presidency with bizarre conspiracy theories and constant small-minded thinking—especially in the example below from the lunatic making fun of not only the Ark Encounter, but the type of people who live in Kentucky.  What we are seeing is a classic battle between traditionalists and the progressives from the coastal territories and the urban viewpoints that their culture is superior from a European mindset, contains all the arrogance which articulates our current crises in America—and they are of course dead wrong.

I am not a “young earth” believer and I see many flaws in the foundation beliefs of the Ark Encounter presentation.   I watched with great effort the great debate at the Ark Encounter between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and the amusement park’s founder, Ken Ham.  My view is that both were functioning from a mythic perspective represented by their two foundational philosophies.  I admired Ken Ham’s passion and his beliefs even though I think there is more evidence that is needed to tell the story.  After all, my father-in-law is a geology professor and I have many friends around the world who are archaeologists, historians, and paleontologists and many of the sciences they are working on is showing that earthly civilizations are much older than 6000 years, that human societies are millions of years old and that a Vico cycle has dominated human thought for many cycles over that time for which the Noah story is all but the most recent one.  But I also reserve the right that everyone might be wrong and that evidence may come forward that shines light in a totally new direction—so from my perspective the stories of these cultures—including our present one provide some of the best insight that we have to work with and serves as a proper starting point for any discussion.  But with Bill Nye—he’s clearly functioning from the European Marxism which has crippled western civilization from the start and the foundation of his entire premise is rooted in global warming being the dominate threat of all mankind.  So as radical as he wants to make Ken Ham out to be for the Ark Encounter’s “young earth” debates both sides are essentially arguing over basic religious views.  The modern progressive is proposing a new religion in earth worship to correct obvious flaws in their traditional thinking and to do that they have to eliminate people like Ken Ham from the discussion to make their own pieces of thought fit and that is why they are so hostile.

I think the Ark Encounter is actually a wonderful place to provoke actual philosophic debate that is badly needed.   I compared it to not only the movie Jurassic Park, but also the Universal Studios attraction which is based on hard science but has many fictional elements added to psychologically tell a story our human minds need to deal with, real philosophical challenges provided by DNA manipulation and other modern concerns,  There is incredible value in that particular modern mythology that cannot be taken factually, but as part of an immersive story.  The Ark Encounter’s value is not in its factual elements—whether Noah built the Ark in 2200 BC and that once all the waters of the world receded from the Biblical flood the vessel ended up on top of Mt Ararat in Turkey.   It’s in the study of good and evil and how decisions on the furtherance of mankind should be articulated in relation to the primal actions of biological urges.   Should human beings allow themselves to be basic primal organisms eating, drinking, and procreating as a blob of cellular activity or should human thinking exceed biological necessity?  As primal as many might blame Ken Ham’s evangelical perspective it is actually the basic foundation which asks the question of mankind—shouldn’t we be more than just a biological mechanism of earth’s many life forms?  If mankind is actually unique in that spectrum and has a special place in a universe created by God on the sixth day of a grand construction project—than shouldn’t we act on an elevated platform?   Such discussion are meant for the temples of the world but at the Ark Encounter Ken Ham has actually revisited the great debates known to Greek society back into the modern world and the effect is quite dramatic—and valuable.  Scholarship shouldn’t be afraid of the truth—because in debating these things, we learn a lot about ourselves and our positions.  The real value isn’t always in the facts which are hard to know when evidence is slow to emerge from science—but the stories that are told contain elements of a hidden truth that our psychology requires to behold advanced concepts beyond the primal necessity of our biological requirements.

As sophisticated as Bill Nye’s reliance on actual science might appear his basic premise is that we live, we die, we leave behind other collective organisms to continue our species—but that humans are not particularly special compared to dogs, cats or ocean animals—and that the greatest threat facing our modern times is man-made global warming.  It is from the Bill Nye type of thinkers that the NASA program was all but shut down in the past and that they don’t want humans thinking too much about themselves intellectually but instead need to find their happy place on planet earth and learn to live there in harmony with nature.   The evolution of this progressive thinking actually comes from medieval Europe where the Christian church proposed by the remnants of the Roman Empire had been adopted by that society which actually came from oriental sentiment considered in India at the time and collided with the individual thinking of the Troubadours and Arthurian romances already in bloom.  The two vantage points never fit together correctly and Europe has been fragmented in its thinking for well over a thousand years now and that essential problem is at the heart of everything concerning conflict between the eastern and western worlds.  The people of the Middle East will admit that they are collectivists so it’s easy for them to submit themselves to angry gods who rule from the heavens.  Eastern societies are also collectivists and will sacrifice their individuality in a moment to the higher powers of celestial involvement.  However Europe was already asking hard questions about the role of the individual soul well before Roman brought that eastern religion of Christianity to its empire and people didn’t agree, and they still don’t leaving us with a very fragmented religious element that still desires to put the individual at the front of thought while the collective nature of all religion seeks to remain the superior force.

The critics of The Ark Encounter fail because they essentially insist that the new religion of earth worship be the dominate bond that unites America with the rest of the world in “progressive” thought.  Their religion is actually one that the Nazi movement was based heavily on—a kind of Celtic reinvention from a time before the Roman Empire used Christianity to unit its empire with common thought.  But, the Celtics were not the Troubadours so there are factions of people who uniquely professed to the world that individuality was important and that our souls were special in the role of the universe—that God would have Noah be the keeper of the world’s animals and that he alone with his three sons and their wives would save all mankind on earth for another round on the Vico cycle.  To me it’s a story that says a lot more than history can put its finger on at the moment.  To others it is the path to eternal life to harbor their individual souls spiritually.  To others it’s a threat to that classic European problem—an eastern religion mixed with western thought to provide so much conflict and pain, that ancient religions long destroyed by the Roman Empire are still desired behind the mask of “earth worship.”

What’s important is the discussions that pour forth and who would have ever known that little Williamstown, Kentucky would be such a center for philosophic discussion.  It’s not New York or Chicago or even London that is the center of modern debate such as Athens served in the past—but a little exit along I-75 where Ken Ham built a massive recreation of Noah’s Ark and invited debate on a campus designed to spark discussion.   That is the aspect to all this that is beautiful and those who don’t want the debate—but just want to lazily accept the conclusions of religions that came before us as fact of course don’t want those debates to occur—just as they don’t want Donald Trump to Make America Great Again.  They just want to live, die, and be forgotten so that the Earth can live its life as a celestial sphere only to eventually die itself as the sun runs out of fuel and the universe will never know that we ever had a human race that thought, built and contemplated new ways of thinking aside from the inherit violence of a universe expanding, contracting, and dying itself for reasons that defy reasoning.  At least at the Ark Encounter there is a defined purpose for living that is presented and that maybe the greatest threat of all.

Rich Hoffman

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