RELIGION

Ken Ham Can Now Build 'Noah's Ark' Thanks To Bill Nye Creationist Debate

02/28/2014 12:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 28, 2014

Well, we didn't see this one coming.

A widely-publicized television debate on creationism and evolution between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' was handily dominated by Nye, most agreed.

But Ken Ham may have the last laugh, as the creationist announced Thursday that the debate revived interest in a flagging creationist project, spurring enough fundraising to build a 510-foot replica of Noah's Ark called "Ark Encounter."

Estimated to cost about $73 million, the Ark Encounter exhibit is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016, reports the Associated Press. A municipal bond offering by the city of Williamstown, Ky., site of the planned ark, raised enough money to cover those costs.

Ark Encounter was originally planned as part of a $150 million theme park that would include the attraction, but private donations to the project did not keep pace with the construction, so developers divided the development into phases. Ham declared, "It was a challenging time, one that on a human level required a miracle to overcome. And God in His providence supplied our needs.”

After learning that the project would move forward, Nye said that he was "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky," according to AP.

“If he builds that ark, it’s my strong opinion [that] it’s bad for the commonwealth of Kentucky and bad for scientists based in Kentucky and bad for the U.S.,” Nye said, reports Raw Story. “And, I’m not joking, bad for the world.”

Ham said that the Nye debate introduced his views about the historical accuracy of the Biblical creation story to a wider audience. But will the facts stand up once the Ark is built?

“I challenge them to try to float this ship, to try and make this a seaworthy ship,” Nye said.

Nye specifically addressed the Biblical account of Noah's Ark during the Feb. 4 debate:

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