American television's beloved Bill Nye the Science Guy has a massive dinosaur bone to pick with a Noah's Ark exhibit that's the anchor of a new religious theme park in Kentucky.
Nye was invited to check out the Ark Encounter, a $100 million (£76m) Bible-themed attraction featuring the largest timber-frame structure in the world: a Noah's Ark (that can't float) built by a religious fundamentalist ministry.
According to the Bible story, an ark a bit like the replica, held two of every animal on the planet so Noah, his family and the animals could wait out a furious flood for 40 days and 40 nights brought about by an angry god.
Just not possible, says Nye. In addition, he was astounded and "troubled" by how many scientific inaccuracies the theme park features, beginning with presenting dinosaurs (which became extinct 65 million years ago) as living on contemporaneously with humans (who didn't appear on Earth until 50,000 to 100,000 years ago).
The park suggests the world was created just 6,000 years ago (scientists believe it's closer to 4.5 billion years old) and that dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth when Noah — who park organizers say lived to be 950 years old — built his ark.
It was "much more troubling or disturbing than I thought it would be," Nye told NBC News. "Every single science exhibit is absolutely wrong." He is particularly annoyed that the inaccuracies were funded in part by a big public tax break worth close to 25% of the total investment in the attraction.
He added: "I'm not busting anyone's chops about a religion. But it's all very troubling. You have hundreds of school kids there who have already been indoctrinated and who have been brainwashed."
Besides the glaring historical inaccuracies, Nye also laments that organisers "promote so very strongly that climate change is not a serious problem, that humans are not causing it, that some deity will see to it that everything is ok."
The answer? Pray for Bill Nye, says the man behind building the ark and park, Ken Ham, head of the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis. Ham hailed the difference of opinion — and an opportunity to "share the gospel" with Nye.
"Bill challenged me about the content of many of our exhibits, and I challenged him about what he claimed and what he believed," Ham wrote in a Facebook post. "It was a clash of world views."
Ham said when he asked Nye if the men could be friends, despite their differences, Nye responded: "Acquaintances ... not friends."